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Title: Comrades - A Drama in Three Acts
Author: Baker, George M. (George Melville)
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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                               COMRADES.

                        _A DRAMA IN THREE ACTS._


                                   BY

                            GEORGE M. BAKER.


      This play is protected by law, and can only be performed by
                  special arrangement with the author.


                        PRINTED, NOT PUBLISHED.

                                 1877.



             [Illustration: COPYRIGHT GEO. M. BAKER. 1877.]



                               COSTUMES.


_Royal._ Age 35. Act I. Velvet breakfast jacket, light pants, dark
vest, dark curly wig slightly sprinkled with gray, dark mustache, and
side whiskers. Act II. Dark suit, thin travelling “ulster,” slouch hat.
Act III. Dark mixed suit.

_Matt._ Age 45. Act I. Ragged suit, with army cap, full gray ragged
beard, rough gray wig; red nose, and general make up of a drunkard.
Act II. Riding coat, light pants, riding boots, wide collar rolled
over coat, open at throat; neat gray wig, long gray side whiskers;
face clean shaved, a little florid, whole appearance neat. Act III.
1st dress. Old ragged army overcoat, buttoned at throat, slouch hat,
whiskers and wig as in act II, but chin rough and dirty, nose red,
general rough appearance. 2d dress, on last appearance, same as in act
II, chin clean and smooth; general appearance the same as in act II.

_Marcus._ Age 24. Act I. Genteel riding suit, with boots and whip. Act
II. Darksuit, and travelling overcoat or ulster. Act III. Handsome
mixed full suit. Hair and mustache natural.

_Simon._ Age 25. Act I. Fashionable “loud” spring suit, red neck-tie,
white hat, red wig. Act II. Dark pants, green apron, short green
jacket. Act III. Light pants, blue coat with brass buttons, black
hat, large gold chain, diamond pin _a la_ Tweed; dark pants and white
gaiters.

_May._ Act I. Tasty morning dress, with pretty morning cap. Act II.
Afternoon dress, muslin; apron and gloves on entrance. Act III. Evening
dress, handsome and tasty.

_Bessie._ Three dresses of the same character to contrast with May.

_Nancy._ Act I. Balmoral Petticoat, calico dress, pinned up; sleeves
rolled up. Act II. Neat muslin dress, with apron. Act III. Brown dress,
white collar and cuffs.



                              CHARACTERS.


                      ROYAL MANNING.
                      MATT WINSOR, a tramp.
                      MARCUS GRAVES.
                      SIMON STONE, a Jack at all Trades.
                      MAY MANNING, “Roy’s Wife.”
                      BESSIE BRADLEY.
                      NANCY NIPPER.



                               COMRADES.

                         A DRAMA IN THREE ACTS.



                                 ACT I.


SCENE.——_Room in_ ROYAL MANNING’S _home. Doors_ C., _open to garden;
long window in flat_; L., _with curtains, draped back, stand of flowers
before it; upright piano against flat_, R., _of door, at which_ BESSIE
_is seated, playing, back to audience. Mantel_, R., _with fireplace._
ROYAL _standing in chair hanging a sabre_ (_sheathed_) _above the
mantel. Table_ L., C., MAY _seated_ L. _of it, sewing. Chair_ R. _of
table, hassock near it; ottoman back near window. Doors_ 1 _and_ 3
_entrance_ R.; _door 2d entrance_, L. _Flowers in vase on mantel; whole
scene tasty and comfortable. Music at rising of curtain,——“The Dearest
Spot on Earth to me is Home, Sweet Home!”_

ROYAL. There, May, we’ll hang this relic of my warrior days above the
mantel, to remind us, that now I have become a husband, the sword is
beaten into a ploughshare.

MAY. Very appropriate, now you have become a husbandman.

ROY. Good, very good! Wedlock has sharpened your wits. Yes, I am the
happy husband of the best little wife ever erring man was blessed with.
Oh, blissful state of matrimony! why did I not become your naturalized
citizen before? (_Steps from chair_). There, old friend, rest in peace!
no more shall we in fellowship dash upon the enemy; no more, hand in
hand, encounter the perils of the battlefield, the glory of triumph,
the shame of defeat. Oh, rest in peace, old dog of war, until you grow
rusty with honorable age!

MAY. How very pathetic! You have pronounced the eulogy. Bess, a dirge
would be appropriate just now.

BESS. Yes. How would “Old Dog Tray” suit the occasion?

ROY. Very bad. A biting sarcasm (_Looks at sabre_). Rather ornamental.
Hey, May? (_Sits in chair_, R. _of table._)

MAY. It has a wicked look. It makes me shudder.

ROY. Indeed! then down it comes. (_Rises._)

MAY. No, let it hang. I only fear that, like its master, it may
occasionally have martial fits, and then——

ROY. Fits! Well, what then?

MAY. My poor vases would fall beneath the sword.

ROY. Never fear; like its master, ’tis securely tied to your
apron-string. How time flies! ’Tis ten years since my old friend and I
closed our campaign.

MAY. And just three months since we closed our campaign——

ROY. Of courtship, yes, and massed our forces for the battle of life.
Yes, yes. Then I captured the heart, which, for two years, I had so
valiantly attacked.

MAY. Valiantly, indeed. ’Twas with fear and trembling, you, the veteran
warrior, approached the citadel.

ROY. Which was longing to surrender.

MAY. No; I’ll not confess that.

ROY. But you do not regret it, May? You are happy here?

MAY. Happy, Roy? I never dared to dream of so much happiness. I, a poor
sewing-girl, earning my living with the needle, have now a home any
lady might well be proud of, and a husband——

BESS. Ahem!

ROY (_rising_). Hallo! Little Pitcher’s ears are wide open. (_Crossing
to mantel, and leaning against it_). What’s the matter, Bess?

BESS (_swinging round on stool_). Can’t you speak a little louder, you
two? It’s so provoking to only hear the ripple of a conversation which
you know will be sure to end in a smacking breeze.

ROY. I was not within saluting distance. (_Aside._) I wish I had been.

BESS. Then I should have had a full report of your conversation. Ha!
ha! ha! you two have been married three months, and have not yet
finished your courting. Remarkable vitality! I thought love-making
ended at the altar.

ROY. Remarkable ignorance, Bess. But you are young and green. Did you,
indeed?

BESS. Yes; and that the flame of love was extinguished when the
husband, poor man! was obliged to rise, on a cold, frosty morning, to
build the fire.

ROY. That only adds fuel to the flame.

BESS. That the fountain of affection ceased to flow, when he had to go
a mile to draw a pail of water.

ROY. Liquid nonsense. You are alluding, of course, now, chatterbox, to
our first effort at housekeeping; but all that is over; everything is
nicely arranged, and we can now bask in the warmth of domestic fires.

BESS. If the chimney doesn’t smoke,——which it does, you know, awfully.

ROY (_crossing to chair_ R. _of table_). Hang the chimney! You’d put a
damper on anything. May, what shall we do with this girl?

MAY. Let her scoff. It will be our turn soon; her fate is approaching.

BESS (_jumping up_). Did you hear his step?

ROY. Ha! ha! ha!

      “By the pricking of my thumbs,
      Something wicked this way comes.”

BESS. It’s Marcus, and you have told me. (_Exit_ C.)

MAY. Stop! stop! Bess! I hear nothing.

ROY. Let her go; no doubt she’ll meet Marcus, and, having found him,
she’ll _mark-us_ no more. Do you know, May, I’m getting anxious about
that young man.

MAY. He’s a very agreeable fellow, seems honest, and is fast winning
the affections of Bess.

ROY. Yes, I know all that you know; but what we don’t know is what
bothers me. When, in pursuit of happiness, I made my way to the humble
but comfortable residence of the late Mrs. Bradley, you being the
attraction, I found this young man paying court to Bess in the parlor,
while I emulated his example by making love to you in the sitting-room.

MAY. They were well called suite (_soot_) er rooms, ha! ha! ha!

ROY. Allow me to correct your pronunciation for suite (_sweet_) er,
rooms, they must have been, with two pair of lovers. Well, Mrs. Bradley
died. You must have a home; there was nothing to hinder, and we were
married, came here, and brought Bess with us, a welcome addition to our
household.

MAY. Dear girl! She is the light of our house.

ROY. Well, I cannot exactly agree with you, having a star of the first
magnitude before my eyes. As a matter of course, Mr. Marcus Graves
follows. I don’t object to that, but I do object to his secretiveness.
Who is he? He seems to have no relatives, no friends: at least he never
speaks of them.

MAY. You know his business?

ROY. Yes. He’s a drummer.

MAY. A military man. Then you surely should like him.

ROY. A military man——not exactly, our military drummer——musters his men
to battle with the rattle of his sheepskin; your civil drummer, with
the rattle of his tongue, taps the sheepskin of the men he musters, and
too often makes enemies in his own ranks, with short and poor rations
not up to sample. Yes; I have become the natural protector of this
young lady, and should know something about this ardent suitor who
never speaks of marriage.

MAY. To be sure you should. Well, why don’t you?

ROY. What! Pin him in a corner, and, like a stern parent, ask him who
are his parents, and what are his intentions.

MAY. And what then?

ROY. Ten to one he’ll fly into a passion, tell me it’s none of my
business, and quit the house in disgust.

MAY. Somehow, Roy, I have faith in Marcus Graves.

ROY. Because Bessie loves him. Oh, the warm cloak of affection covers a
multitude of sins!

MAY. For the world I would not bring a pang to her dear heart! Her
mother, for fifteen years, was the dearest friend I had in the world.
When the war broke out, my father went to battle. We were all in the
West then. What ever became of him I never knew. No doubt he died for
his country as bravely as he went forth. My mother——

ROY. Deserted you! Fled with your father’s friend! It’s a sad story,
May. Don’t speak of it.

MAY. Yes: I was left to the care of strangers. And this kind neighbor,
Mrs. Bradley, took pity upon me. She was poor; but, hard as was her
lot, I was treated as her own child. O Roy! she was a mother to the
friendless little stranger! Heaven knows I am grateful! All the
tenderness she bestowed upon me I have tried to repay in love for her
child. In days of poverty, Bess and I shared our crusts together; and
now that fortune has blessed me with prosperity, her happiness is more
than ever, with your dear help, to be the aim of my life. Comrades in
adversity should be comrades in prosperity.

ROY. Right, Mary. For her happiness we will strive together. Comrades!
ah, that brings back the old days, May! But I forget; you do not like
to have me speak of them.

MAY. You do not mean that, Roy. Am I not proud of your war record? Do I
not glory in your triumphs, there where brave men fought and fell.

ROY. That old sabre, if it had a tongue, could tell wondrous stories.
Ah! old fellow! you failed me once. In those old days I had a
friendship for a man in our regiment, with whom I made a queer compact,
something after the manner of yours and Bessie’s. He saved my life
one day. ’Twas at Antietam, we were swooping down upon the enemy,——a
cloud of horsemen with flashing sabres. Just as we reached the foe, my
horse stumbled and fell. I thought my time had come. But between me and
a descending sabre rode my comrade. I was saved. That night in camp
we renewed our friendship, and, in jovial mood, vowed that whatever
good fortune should be in store for us in the future should be shared
between us. We were both poor——nothing but our soldier’s pay. The war
ending, we parted. He went West in search of friends. I come here, to
find my only friend, my father, dead, and, to my surprise, a small
fortune awaiting me. Poor fellow! I often wonder if he fared as well.
(_Rises, goes_ R.)

MAY. And you have not seen him since?

ROY. No: one of these days I mean to hunt him up.

MAY. To share with him your fortune?

ROY (_comes to back of her chair, hand on table; looks at her_). If he
be poor, yes; for I shall still be rich. He could not claim my chief
treasure, my pearl above price,——you (_stoops to kiss her_).

                           (_Enter Bess_, C.)

BESS. Ahem!

ROY (_starting up, and crossing to_ R). Bother that girl! Well, what
now?

BESS. I smell smoke, and where there’s smoke there must be fire.

ROY. Not where you are. You’re a capital extinguisher.

MAY. Did you find him, Bess?

BESS. No. ’Twas a false alarm. Oh, dear! why don’t he come?

ROY. Poor dear! how sad! Hasn’t seen him since last night——no, this
morning; for I’ll be hanged if the sun wasn’t rising when I got up to
fasten the door after him!

BESS. Yes, your father’s son. What a shame——

ROY. You’re right. I nearly caught my death.

BESS. To talk so! You know he left the house before ten.

ROY. This morning, yes. Quite time to be moving.

MAY. Roy, don’t torment her. See how anxious she is!

ROY. As anxious as a cat to seize a poor little mouse, that she may
tease it.

BESS. Oh, you wicked wretch! You know we never quarrel. (_Goes_ L.)

             (MARCUS _runs in_ C., _riding-whip in hand._)

MAR. Oh, here you are, Manning! Call your chickens under their mother’s
wing; fasten up the hen-roost; barricade your pigpen; call out your
troops, and plant your biggest guns upon the ramparts. The enemy is at
your door!

ROY. Halloa! Halloa! What’s the matter?

MAY. Enemy! what enemy?

BESS. Marcus, have you been drinking?

ROY. I told you he was up late. Well, old fellow, who is the enemy?

MAR. The terror of housekeepers! the devourer of cold meats! the robber
of the clothes-line! Hush! “take heed! whisper low”——the tramp.

ROY. Oh!

BESS. Ah!

MAY. Indeed!

MAR. Yes. I met a true type of the fraternity half a mile below. He
stopped my horse, and begged money. I always make short work of these
fellows, so tossed him a quarter and rode on. He turned into that
shanty set apart for the entertainment of man and beast, and no doubt
will pour entertainment down his throat in beastly style. So look out,
Manning. He may pay you a visit.

ROY. ’Twill be a short one, then; and I’ll give him no quarter.

MAR. Well, how are you all, particularly my bonny Bess? (_Shakes hands
with her_, L.)

ROY. Half a mile below. Did he look rough?

MAR. Rough, but good-natured. Dress ragged, face bloated, figure plump.
These fellows thrive on their pickings these pests.

ROY. Don’t say that, Marcus. The fellow may have been unfortunate.

MAR. Unfortunate? Bah! What’s misfortune but a roll in the dust?——jump
up, shake yourself, and you’re as good as new. I’ve no patience with a
man who wants vim——something on the side of his face——you know——cheek!

ROY. Yes: a quality which tramps (_aside_) and drummers (_aloud_)
possess in a wonderful degree. (BESS _goes up to piano._)

MAR. For my part, I never allow myself to be staggered by the blows of
fate. When they come, I take a long breath, and hit out straight from
the shoulder.

MAY. When did you hear from your father, Mr. Graves?

MAR (_confused_). Eh,——my fa——yes——oh, yes! That is——not lately.

MAY. He was well when you heard?

MAR. Oh, yes, beautiful——that is hearty——he wishes to be remembered to
all my customers——my friends, I mean.

                         (_Goes up to piano._)

ROY (_coming to table_). May, what are you doing?

MAY. Pinning him in a corner. You men are so afraid of each other.
Woman’s curiosity knows no fear. We’ve found out one thing: he has a
father.

ROY. Yes, and one other: he’s afraid of him. Did you notice his
hesitation?

MAY. Yes. There’s some mystery about that father, which I mean to
fathom.

ROY. But not now; give him time. You staggered him——after his boast,
too. He didn’t strike out well. Come, let’s go into the garden. The
young people want to be left alone. (_Goes up._)

MAY (_rising_). Yes. I want you to look at my heliotropes; they’re just
splendid! (_Goes up and places arm in_ ROY’S.)

ROY. All right. Good-by, Bess. Don’t catch cold. There’s a smacking
breeze coming.

BESS. And another going. Good-by.

                       (ROY _and_ MAY _exit_ C.)

(GRAVES _comes down slowly and sits in chair_ R., _of table._ BESS
_watches him without speaking._)

GRAVES (_slowly_). Now what possessed Mrs. Manning to speak of my
father? A subject to which I have never alluded. Can she mistrust me?
Egad! she nearly took away my breath. My boasted boldness vanished
like a flash. (BESS _rises, takes a wisp of hay from mantel, and comes
behind him._) And yet I’ve nothing to be ashamed of,——only a mystery.
Mystery! why should I have a mystery here? (BESS _tickles his ear with
the wisp. He brushes it off quickly._) Confound it! it’s hurting me.
This girl loves me, and I love her. I’ve only to speak and she is mine.
(BESS _tickles him. He brushes it off._) Hang it! I’m tormented with
doubts. But confession is a sure road to favor. I’ll make a confidant
of Bessie. If anybody else should tell her I should be (BESS _tickles
him again_) stung with shame. Yes, I’ll meet it (BESS _puts her arms
round his neck and brings her face round as he speaks this_) face to
face.

BESS. Dreaming, Marcus? (_Sits on hassock at his feet, back to
audience_).

MAR. Why, Bess, what a brute I’ve been! Yes, dreaming, Bess, of a happy
future, I trust, in store for you and me. Do you ever dream of that
time?

BESS. Not I. When the skies are bright above us, why should we seek to
peep even in dreams beneath the horizon when we know not what storms
may be gathering there to roll over the brightness of the present?

MAR. Yes; but the cautious mariner is ever alert for the faintest signs
of the coming storm.

BESS. Well, I am not a mariner, and my umbrella is always at hand.

MAR. Bess, can’t you be serious?

BESS. I don’t know. Try me.

MAR. Bess, I love you.

BESS. A failure, Marcus. That pleases me.

MAR. And you are to be my wife?

BESS. Another, Marcus. That delights me.

MAR. Yes, Bess; I know my love is returned. For three years we have
been all in all to each other; and now, Bess, I tell you I am unworthy
of your love.

BESS. You, Marcus! Now, you surprise me!

MAR. You trust me fully? You would go with me to the altar hand in
hand, beyond the altar to death itself——

BESS. To death itself, Marcus!

MAR. And yet, on my part, there has been no confidence; into my
past life you have had no glimpse. You took me, a stranger, to your
heart,——never questioned me; and, beyond the interchange of affection,
myself, my fortune, and my home are strangers still.

BESS. Blind, Marcus! Blind, are you? My woman’s curiosity sought in the
beginning to know you; my heart’s instinct probed you, to know if you
were worthy. I found you polite, chivalrous, charitable, with a heart
open to every cry of distress, a hand ever ready to proffer assistance.
Oh, I tried you deeply, as your purse can show! I found you true,
noble, sincere. I had no right to question further.

MAR. But you must know me, Bess.

BESS. When you please, Marcus.

MAR. Then patiently hear me; for on your judgment rest my hopes of
future happiness.

BESS. Indeed! Now, Marcus, I _am_ serious.

MAR. Bess!

                 (_Enter_ SIMON STONE, C., _quickly._)

SIM. Beg your pardon! Don’t rise——I may be right. I may be
mistaken——Don’t rise. Is this the abode of Miss Nancy Nipper?

BESS (_rises quickly._ MARCUS _sits still_). Yes. Nancy is in the
kitchen.

SIM. Oh, made a mistake! Yes, yes. Can you point out the position of
the culinary department of your dwelling?

BESS. I will call her in. Take a seat.

SIM. Ah, thank you. (BESS _exit_ R. I. E.) Here’s my card. Gone! gone
without it, and I went to the expense of getting up that card for
the express purpose of having it placed in the hands of Miss Nancy
Nipper. Says I, “Simon, don’t be shabby. Go, like a gentleman. Spare no
expense.”——and it’s useless. (_Comes down_ R., _turns, and sees_ MARCUS
_in chair._) Halloa, Mark!——Mark, the perfect man.

MAR (_rises_). Si, old fellow where in the world did you drop from?
(_Gives hand._)

SIMON (_takes hand and shakes it_). Well, in truth, Mark——But stop. I
interrupted a _tete-a-tete_. There was a young lady sitting on that
hassock. O Mark, this is too bad! I’m in the way. Good-by (_starts for
door_).

MAR (_detaining him_). Stop, stop, Si! it’s all right. But why are you
here?

SIMON. I——why——well——Look here, Mark, I know I’m in the way. I’ll come
again (_starts for door_).

MAR (_detaining him_). No, no; it’s all right, Si. I see——you’re in
love with our Nancy.

SIMON. Our Nancy! Our——Good gracious, Mark! You don’t mean to say that
you are aspiring to the affection of that damsel?

MAR. Ha, ha, Si! You need not fear. When I said our Nancy, I meant our
girl——help, you understand.

SIMON. Oh! Ah! Then you are one of the family.

MAR (_confused_). Well, no. Not exactly.

SIMON. Oh, I see. Don’t blush, but I’m sure I must be in the way. I’ll
come again (_starts for door_).

MAR (_detaining him_). Simon, stop. If you leave this room we are
enemies.

SIMON. But, Mark, I might blast your prospects, were it known that you
and I——

MAR. Were friends, dear friends; that you were the only one who reached
out a helping hand to me a destitute stranger, when I entered yonder
city, five years ago.

SIMON. None of that, Mark. Don’t be shabby; helping hand, indeed, to a
loft in the sixth story, a bed on a heap of rags, and dry bread washed
down with water.

MAR. Divided your substance with me. Sim, when I forget your kindness,
may I be as hungry as I was then.

SIMON. Yes; but, Mark——

MAR. Hush. Here comes Miss Bess.

SIMON. Then I’ll just step outside (_going_).

MAR (_detaining him_). Not a step.

                        (_Enter_ BESS, R. I. E.)

BESS. Nancy will be here in a minute. Mr.——

MAR (_coming down_ L., _leading_ SIMON, _the right hands clasped_).
Bess, Miss Bradley, allow me to present a very dear friend,——Mr. Simon
Stone, my chum.

BESS. Indeed (_offering her hand_). Mr. Stone, you are very welcome
here.

SIMON (_takes hand_). Ah——yes; thank you. Thank you——very kind (_goes_
L.). Chums. Chums,——before her, too. There’s nothing shabby about that.

MAR. We’ll leave you, Simon, to your friend; but don’t go until I’ve
seen you again.

BESS. Oh, no. You must stop to dinner.

            (BESS _and_ MARCUS _exeunt_, C., _arm in arm._)

SIMON. Yes, thank you, much obliged. Well, now, that’s hearty; pretty
as a picture, and he, there’s nothing shabby about him. Now, for Nancy.
Won’t her eyes glisten when she sees me in this stunning get-up. I
never did care for dress, but when I made up my mind to look after
Nancy again, I said to myself, “Simon, don’t be shabby; do the thing
in style;” and here I am, bran’ new from top to toe, from shampoo to
shining leather, but with the same old heart inside of me, advancing
double-shuffle to the tune of “Nancy is my darling.”

                       (_Enter_ NANCY, R. I. E.)

NANCY. Now, I’d like to know who——Good gracious! it’s Simon Stone.

SIMON. Nancy, it is. Simon, your Simon. How dye do (_offers hand_).

NANCY. Well, I declare! rigged out like a dancing-jack. You extravagant
dog!

SIMON (_turning round_). Gay, ain’t it. Cut to order by an artist,
(_turns round_); look at the “elegance of expression” in the back of
that coat, and the _tout ensemble_ of these pantaloons. That’s what
he called ’em, and I know they’re there, for I paid for ’em. Nothing
shabby about me.

NANCY. Well, and what brings you here?

SIMON. Love, Nancy. Devotion, Nancy. Affection, Nancy——

NANCY. Rubbish! Are you a fool? Don’t you know better than to bring
such things here on a washing-day?

SIMON. Washing-day! Confound it, Nancy! I’m fated to call when you are
in the suds.

NANCY. Because you always manage to come on a Monday, when I am up to
my ears in a tub.

SIMON. Monday——washing-day. That’s why somebody says cleanliness comes
next to godliness.

NANCY. Simon Stone, what is your present occupation?

SIMON. Nancy, at present I am a humble but earnest worker in the
confectionery business. (_Takes box from left coat pocket._) Have a
gum-drop? (_Offers paper._)

NANCY. No. Confectionery, indeed!

SIMON (_puts back paper_). Nancy, the first time I ever approached
you in humble admiration of your grace and beauty——try a peppermint.
(_Takes paper from his pocket and offers it._)

NANCY (_folding her arms and turning her head_). No.

SIMON (_puts back paper_). I was a butcher,——an honest but bloody
butcher. You turned up your nose at the scent of blood.

NANCY. Because I knew you wouldn’t stick to it.

SIMON. I turned my back upon the slaughtered beeves, and in that higher
sphere, the milky way, sought to win your love. You politely but firmly
assured me I couldn’t _comet_ in that line.

NANCY. I detest the whole race! Milk and water men! I’d like to scald
them.

SIMON. Cremation would suit them better. My next venture was in the
slippery walks of butter and cheese.

NANCY. Anything but a butter man.

SIMON. So I found out, when I attempted to slide into your affections
in that role. You told me to cheese it. I understood you, and I sought
a higher sphere. I embarked in the electric line, and went out into the
highways and by-ways to introduce lightning-rods.

NANCY. Well, I found no fault with that.

SIMON. No; but I did.

NANCY. Why didn’t you stick to it?

SIMON. Well, Nancy, (_takes box from breast pocket_). Have a little
taffee?

NANCY. No.

SIMON (_puts paper back_). The fact is, lightning-rods don’t agree
with me. I started out in high hopes, one bright morning, espied an
unprotected dwelling, rushed boldly up, rung the bell, notwithstanding
a gigantic mastiff lay at my feet, evidently occupied in catching
flies. Gent came to the door. In glowing speech I introduced my
business. He rubbed his chin, said, “I don’t know,” and looked at the
dog. I found he did know, when he further remarked, with emphasis,
“Rover, here’s another rod man.” The dog gave a growl and rose. An
electric shock was communicated to my being, and I calculated in one
brief minute how many rods I should have to clear before reaching
my rods outside. Then I left, closely attended by the dog. I didn’t
own these clothes then; if I had my loss would have been greater,
especially in that part of my wardrobe which the artist designated as
_tout ensemble_. I gave up that business in disgust.

NANCY. Well, what next?

SIMON. Then I sought the confectioner’s emporium. Said I, here’s a
sweet occupation, and a candid young man can win more lasses’ favor in
this line than in any other. Nancy, you would adore me could you see me
in a white apron, pulling molasses candy over a hook (_with gestures_),
with a long pull, and a strong pull, and a pull altogether!

NANCY. Simon Stone, you are a fool!

SIMON. Nancy, I know it, or I should not be running after you, when
I’ve been snubbed time and time again. Nancy, dear Nancy, look upon me
with favor this time. (_Takes box from pocket behind._) Accept this
slight but sweet offering of affection. (_Presents it._) Real French
candy——made it myself.

NANCY (_taking box_). Do you mean to stick to this business, Simon?

SIMON. To be sure I do, and it’s an awful sticky business I tell
you——specially setting down into a pan of hot, cooling candy when you
aren’t particularly tired.

NANCY. Well, Simon, if I thought I could trust you.

SIMON. You can, Nancy, you can. O Nancy, quit this scrubbing existence
and work for me alone!

NANCY. I’ll think about it when you find the soap.

SIMON. I have found it in the confectionery line.

NANCY. Well, Simon, I must confess I rather like that.

SIMON. Do you Nancy. Eurekey, I’ve found it at last! (_Takes paper from
pants pocket._) Try a chocolate drop, Nancy. (_She takes it._) You make
me so happy. It’s just the nicest business you ever looked upon. Rows
and rows of shelves filled with all that’s sweet to the tooth——and
profitable to the dentist. And then the girls, Nancy, you should see
the girls.

NANCY. The what?

SIMON. Girls. Pretty girls that tend behind the counters, dealing out
sugar plums, and——and lozengers, and——and kisses, with eyes full of fun
and mouths full of candy. Oh, it’s just glorious! Ha! ha! ha!

NANCY (_sternly_). Simon!

SIMON (_sobered_). Well, Nancy?

NANCY. Do you ever look at the girls?

SIMON. To be sure I do. I’ve often received a kiss from them.

NANCY. Simon!

SIMON. Sugar ones, Nancy.

NANCY. Very well, Simon, very well. I’m perfectly satisfied.

SIMON. Oh, Nancy! then you——

NANCY (_furiously_). I’ll have nothing more to say to a man who so
debases himself as to associate with lozengers and lollypops, sugar
plums and pretty girls, with eyes full of candy and mouths full of
kisses. Good morning, Mr. Stone.

SIMON. Where are you going, Nancy?

NANCY. Back to my washing. The business won’t suit, Simon.

SIMON. What! are you going to snub me again? (_Angry._) Hang it, Nancy
Nipper! I’m not going to be treated in this shabby manner! Take me now,
or you lose me forever. It’s the last time of asking.

NANCY. I’m glad of that. ’Twill save much trouble.

SIMON. Then give me back my French mixture. There is nothing shabby
about me; but if I can’t have your affection, you shan’t have my
confectionery.

NANCY (_throws box at him_). There!

SIMON (_picks up box_). Good day, Miss Nipper. You’ve nipped my
prospects of having your sweet self; but I’ve got a sweet thing left in
the sugar and molasses line, and I don’t mean to give it up.

NANCY. Go back to your sweet things, your pretty waiter girls. Go, sir!

SIMON. I will, you cruel, heartless, scrubby thing! and if ever I face
you again with an offer of my heart——

NANCY. Be sure to come on Monday; for then I always have plenty of hot
water.

SIMON. Bah! I hope you’ll live and die an old maid, Miss Nipper. Them’s
my compliments to you, and there’s nothing shabby about me.

                              (_Exit_ C.)

NANCY. Good riddance, Simon. Wonder in what new freak of business he’ll
appear next.

                            (_Enter_ MAY C.)

MAY. Ah, Nancy, you’ve had a visitor! Nice-looking, clever young man, I
should say. (_Seats herself at her sewing_ L. _of table_).

NANCY. Clever! he’s too clever. Thinks he knows a great deal; and
I think he knows more by this time. They’re all clever enough to
come offering their affection; but, till he can offer something more
substantial, he’ll find I’m clever enough to keep single. (MATT
_staggers in from_ L. _to door_ C. _and leans against side of door_
L.). Good gracious! here’s a tramp. (_Goes_ R.)

MAY (_rising alarmed_). A tramp!

MATT. ’Scuse me (_hic_). Somesin’ to eat——four days since I tasted
noth—_hic_—in. Somesin’ for a brave sol—_hic_—dier, who flought and fed
for his country. (_Hic._) Tha’s me.

NANCY. Go away; clear out. ’Sh! nothing for you, you beast!

MATT. ’Scuse me (_hic_). Here’s gratitude! Where’s your pat—_hic_—rism?
Us brave fel—_hic_—lers,——that’s me. I’m one on ’em. Fit and fled
(_hic_), and won the gl—_hic_—ory. Look at your waving (_hic_)
cornfields. We s_h_aved ’em. Your princely pal—_hic_—aces. We protected
’em. And now you (_hic_) ’sh! and would give us noble de—_hic_—fenders
of the soil noffin’ (_hic_) to keep the door from the (_hic_) wolf.
(_Staggering down to chair_ R. _of table, hand on back of it._)
’Sgraceful; ’scuse me; ’sgraceful. (_Hic._) No offence; but it’s
’sgraceful. (_Sinks into chair._)

NANCY. You ugly bear! Leave this house quick, or I’ll scald you!

MATT. ’Scuse me (_hic_), young woman. I’m ’dressing my
con—_hic_—’sation to your superior of—_hic_—ficer——

MAY. Silence, sir! You are intruding here. If you want something to
eat, follow Nancy and she will provide for you.

NANCY. If I do, I hope ’twill choke him.


MATT. Oh, that’s Nan—_hic_—cy, is it? Nan—_hic_—cy, my regards. I
salute you, Nan—_hic_—cy! I’m a poor old soldier, deserted by his
(_hic_) country; but I’ve an eye for beauty (_hic_). Sorry you haven’t
any, Nan—_hic_—cy.

MAY. Nancy, speak to your master.

NANCY (_starts for door_). That I will, quick!

MATT (_rising and stopping her_). Don’t trouble yourself, Nancy. I’m
unfor—_hic_—’nate, but I’m (_hic_) polite. Stay where you are. (_Sinks
into chair._) This company’s good ’nuff (_hic_) for me.

MAY. Oh, where can Roy be? This fellow terrifies me!

MATT. ’Scuse me. I’m a patriot. (_Hic._) This is what a man gets for
servin’ his country. (_Hic._) When the battle’s over, turn him adrift.
(_Hic._) Why didn’t they make me Pres—_hic_—ident as well as that
other fellow? I fit and fed (_hic_), and he fit and run (_hic_) for
President. ’Sgraceful shame! (_Hic._) ’Scuse me.

                  (_Enter_ MARCUS _followed by_ BESS.)

NANCY. Ah, here’s somebody’ll make you run.

MAY. O Mr. Marcus! Mr. Graves!

MAR. Halloa! what’s this? The tramp! (_Comes down._) Here, fellow, you
start!

MATT (_turns and looks at him_). ’Scuse me (_hic_), are you anybody in
par—_hic_—ticular?

MAR. Leave this room at once. Do you hear?

MATT. ’Scuse me. I’m com—_hic_—fortable; make yourself at home.

MAR (_striking him with whip_). Scoundrel, begone, I say.

                          (ROYAL _enters_ C.)

MATT (_rising_). Ha! it strikes me that you struck (_hic_) me. (_Hic._)
I don’t keep no accounts. So let that settle (_hic_) it. (_Strikes at_
MARCUS. ROYAL _comes down, seizes him by nape of neck, and throws him
on floor_ L. _halfway up._)

ROY. Lie there, you scamp!

MATT (_staggering to his feet_). Ha, surrounded! then I’ll die game
(_hic_), I will. (_Rushes at_ ROY; _they grapple, and stand looking
into each other’s faces. Chord._)

ROY. Matt Winsor.

MATT. Here. (_Hic._) Hold on a minute. Yes, it’s Roy (_hic_), Roy
Manning, as I’m a s_h_inner!

ROY (_grasping his hand_). My old comrade, Matt. Heaven bless you! It
is, it is.

MATT (_shaking his hand_). Yes it’s him, glory (_hic_), old boy; we’ve
marched together, slept together, fought together, now let’s take
(_hic_) a drink together.

ROY. Not now, Matt; you seem to have taken a little too much already.
May, this is my old comrade, of the war.

MAY (_turning away_). His comrade?

BESS (_comes down_ L.). May, he’s drunk.

MATT (_comes down_). ’Scuse me, ma’am, we were sweethearts in the camp
(_hic_), you’re his sweet—_hic_—heart now; but you can’t love Roy any
better than I did in those (_hic_) gay old days (_hic_), and now an
ungrateful (_hic_) republic turns her noble ’fenders out to starve.

ROY. Not quite as bad as that, Matt. I’ve enough and to spare. Come
with me.

MATT. Hold on a (_hic_) minute, Roy. Who’s the chap with the whip?

ROY (C.). Mr. Marcus Graves.

MATT. ’Scuse me (_hic_), what did you say his name was? Oh! Mr. Tombs.
We’ve met before.

MAR (R.). Yes, once before to-day, when I tossed you a quarter. Sorry
you made such bad use of it.

MATT. So am I (_fiercely_). I wish I had turned and flung it in your
face.

MAR. Sir.

ROY. Matt.

MATT. He struck me, Roy——me, an old soldier of the (_hic_) republic.
’Sgraceful. I’m going to pay off that score. We met once——before this
day.

MAR. I never saw your face before.

MATT. Indeed. (_Hic._) My face is one to be remembered.

NANCY (_enters_ R.). That’s so. It has no beauty to speak of.
(_Aside_). Paid off that score.

MATT. Once before, in the prisoner’s dock. I as a vagrant (_hic_), you
as a defaulter.

ROY. A defaulter! Matt.

MAY. Gracious heavens!

BESS. No! no! ’tis false.

ROY. Matt, you are crazy.

MATT. Am I? What says Mr. Graves?

ROY. That it is false.

GRAVES. Unfortunately it is true.

MAY. True?

BESS (_flinging herself into_ MAY’S _arms_). O May!

ROY. And you dare to enter my house, you,——a felon?

MATT (_staggering down and sitting in chair_ R. _of table_).
’Scgraceful! (_hic_) ’mong respectable people (_hic_) like me.

MAR. Hold, Mr. Manning! hear, before you condemn. I am innocent
of crime. Five years ago I was employed in a house in Chicago as
book-keeper. A large sum of money was found missing, and I alone had
access to it. I was arrested, and placed in the prisoner’s dock.
No proofs could be found to convict me, so I was discharged. I was
innocent. The cunning rogue had so covered his tracks that the real
culprit could not be detected. I was requested to resign my situation,
which I did.

ROY. And you took no steps to make your innocence clear?

MAR. Unfortunately, no. I knew I was innocent, and, anxious to keep the
matter from my father, Hon. Lucius Graves, of Wisconsin, I came East,
hoping that in time my innocence would be admitted, and I should be
recalled.

ROY. And your father?

MAR. Believes I am still in Chicago.

ROY. And without a word of explanation, with this stigma upon your
character, you have won the affections of an inmate of my household?
Mr. Graves, I am a just man; when you can clearly prove your innocence,
you will be welcome. Until then, my doors are no longer open to you.

MAY. O Roy!

BESS. He is innocent; I know he is innocent!

ROY. Let him be proved so, and no one will give him warmer greeting.
But when a man’s character is attacked, to turn his back upon the enemy
and fly without striking one blow for his reputation is a mark of
cowardice which no soldier can pardon.

MAR. I understand you, sir; and, bitter as are your words, I thank you
for them. You have shown me my duty. Bess, darling, be of good heart. I
will return to claim you. You know I am innocent; but I will not appear
until the world shall know the truth. Farewell!

                              (_Exit_ C.)

BESS. (_Throws herself into_ MAY’S _arms._) O May May! this is cruel!

MAY. Cheer up, cheer up, my darling; all will yet be well.

MATT. (_Hic_). Bless my soul. I’ve done it. (_Rises._) Good-by,
Roy, (_offers hand_) ole fellow! Glad you are prospering, though an
ungrateful country did turn me adrift.

ROY. No, Matt, you wander no more. Do you remember our compact at
Antietam? Whatever fortune the world had in store for us should be
shared together.

MATT. Yes; I’ll stick to it, Roy. I’ll share with you mine, the spoils
of the tramp, crusts, (_hic_) kicks, and all.

ROY. I’ll share something better with you, a comfortable home,
friendship,——a far better life for you, old wanderer!

MAY. His home here!

NANCY. Then I’ll give notice.

MATT. Roy, old comrade, you are jesting. I shall disgrace you.

ROY. Then out of my disgrace shall a man be born again. As we fought
together for the old flag, we’ll fight again. I see a victory to be
won, a loyal heart to be reclaimed from the clutches of the enemy. I
will lead, old comrade; will you follow?

MATT. To victory or death, Roy, hand in hand. (ROY _clasps hand in_ C.)

MAY. Royal, are you mad?——this wretch in our happy home! Why, why is
this?

ROY. Your counsel, May. Comrades in adversity should be comrades in
prosperity.

                                TABLEAU.

ROY _and_ MATT _hands clasped_, C. MAY _with her arm about_ BESSIE’S
_waist_ L. NANCY R. _hands on her hips._

                                CURTAIN.



                                ACT II.


SCENE——_same as in act_ I. _Table as before. Arm-chair_ R.
_Sewing-chair_ L. _Arm-chair a little back of mantel. Flat as before.
Entrance same. Flower-stand ditto._ NANCY _discovered dusting table
with a long-handled feather duster._

NANCY. It’s most time to hear from Mr. Manning. Two days since we’ve
had a letter. Queer freak that was of his’n, turning Mr. Marcus Graves
out of doors, and all at once starting off west to bring him back.
(_Dusts at back._) Couldn’t have been because Miss Bess was pining
away, because she isn’t. Her appetite is good; and, when love doesn’t
affect that, there’s no use in worrying. (_Dusts piano._) She’s just as
happy all day riding about with Matt Winsor as she was with the other.
And what a change in him. Came here, six months ago, a drunken tramp;
and now he’s as spruce and clean and shiney as our copper boiler,——and
so jolly and pleasant, too. And so eager to help, one can’t help liking
him. I’m sure Miss Bess does. (_Dusts at mantel._) Look out, Mr.
Graves; I wouldn’t give much for your chance three months from now, if
you leave the field to the tramp.

(_Enter_ C., MAY, _in apron and gloves, a trowel in her hand; followed
by_ SIMON, _who carries a flower-pot containing a geranium. He keeps
his back to_ NANCY.)

MAY. You may place that geranium on the flower-stand. (SIMON _goes to
stand and busies himself there._) That’s all I shall need at present.
Thank you. Anybody been here, Nancy?

NANCY. No marm. Mr. Manning hasn’t come yet.

MAY. You are mistaken, Nancy; had I meant him, I should not have said
anybody, for he is _everybody_ to me. Ha! ha!

NANCY. Well, then, there hasn’t been nobody here.

MAY. That’s better, Nancy. I’ll run and get rid of my apron and gloves,
for fear _somebody_ might happen in.

                            (_Exit door_ L.)

NANCY. Poor thing! She’s just as anxious to hear from her husband as
she can be. I know the symptoms. There’s that good-for-nothing Simon
Stone. I’ve not seen him since he took to the candy business; but I’d
just give all my old shoes to hear the sound of his voice once more.

SIMON (_sneezing very loud_). Ah-chah!

NANCY (R. _starting._) Good gracious! It’s that new gardener come
to-day. If he sneezes like that among his flowers, he’ll have
everything up by the roots. Look here, sir, that won’t do!

SIMON (_turning round_). Why not, Nancy, is it washing-day?

NANCY. Mercy! It’s Simon Stone!

SIMON. It is, Nancy. Your Simon. Come to my arms. (_Advances with arms
outstretched._)

NANCY (_thrusts the duster straight out before her._ SIMON _puts his
face among the feathers_). Hands off!

SIMON (_spits and sputters_). Phew! Pooh! Nancy, do you want to
strangle me?

NANCY. I don’t mean you shall strangle me. What are you doing here?

SIMON. Humbly, but earnestly, I trust, about my business.

NANCY. The candy business?

SIMON. No, Nancy; the saccharine and treacle elements have been
eliminated from my existence.

NANCY. What’s the meaning of that outlandish stuff? Can’t you speak
English?

SIMON. Yes; I’ve cut the sugar and molasses. In that line I burned to
distinguish myself, but I burnt too much candy in trying to do it. So
my employer requested me to cut stick.

NANCY. Sticks of candy?

SIMON. No, no, myself——leave, varmouse.

NANCY. Oh! you were discharged.

SIMON. Yes; I went off and became a policeman.

NANCY. A policeman! Simon, I always told you you would come to some bad
end!

SIMON. Well, the end of my career, in that line, was rather bad. Ah!
but Nancy, you should have seen me in my uniform, brass buttons, and
shield. You would have been proud of me, had you seen me on my beat
with my billy.

NANCY. Billy who?

SIMON. Ignorant female! My weapon of defence; the stick with which I
terrified old apple-women and young news-boys.

NANCY. Why didn’t you show yourself? I don’t think you needed any
_other_ stick to frighten them.

SIMON. Nancy, I was a hero on parade; but when it came to stepping
into a row, I must say I felt more like knocking under than knocking
over. In fact, my conscience became very tender on that point, one
night, on having my billy taken away from me by a burly butcher, and
being impressed, yes, several times impressed, with its hardness as he
whacked me over the head with it. The situation struck me so forcibly,
to say nothing of the billy, I quietly resigned my office, and retired
to the humble but more healthy walks of life.

NANCY. Well, Mr. Stone, what next?

SIMON. Mr. Stone! Nancy, don’t be hard on me; call me Simon, _pure_
Simon, _simple_ Simon. Do! O Nancy! you are my life, my love! Do come
to my arms! (_Advances with arms extended._)

NANCY (_advances duster as before_). Stand back! I prefer my own arms!

SIMON (_spits and sputters_). Ah-choh! You’ll smother me with dust!

NANCY. Then behave yourself. Go on with your next occupation.

SIMON. It is that honorable profession in which our first great
ancestor won renown.

NANCY. By sticking to it,——which you will never do.

SIMON. And yet, for love of you, cruel Nancy, I’ve sought this lowly
occupation. The Lady of Lyons inspired me.

NANCY. Who’s she? One of the candy-girls?

SIMON. Candy-girls? Nancy, have you forgotten the play?

NANCY. Oh! she was the young woman in spangles, that went in among the
lions at the menagerie. Pretty lady she was.

SIMON. Nancy, I blush for you.

NANCY. Well, I blushed for her. She had no chance herself, with such
daubs on her face.

SIMON. Nancy, you’re wrong. “The Lady of Lyons” is a play in which a
gardener, Claude——somebody, falls in love with a beautiful lady. I went
to see it, Nancy; and the way that young feller made love was amazing.
You’d never believe he knew anything about rutabagas and cabbages. It
give me an idea, Nancy. Says I, Simon, woo Nancy in that particular
metre when you meet her, and victory is yours. (_Strikes an attitude._)
“Nancy, I mean Pauline, bright angels have fallen ere thy time——”

NANCY. What! you saucy scamp! (_Chasing him round table, beating him
with brush._)

SIMON. Stop! Don’t! Quit! Nancy, that’s what the feller said in the
play——Claude, you know.

NANCY. Don’t you ever use such language as that to me, if you do I’ll
scald you.

SIMON. Now don’t let you and I get into hot water because we are under
the same roof. You shall have the prettiest flowers, Nancy, in the
garden, if you’ll only smile upon me. O Nancy! (_Strikes attitude._)
“If thou wouldst have me paint the home——”

NANCY. Paint! are you going to be a painter now?

SIMON. No, Nancy, that’s what Claude said.

NANCY. Bother Claude! stick to your gardening. Do that for six months,
Simon, and I’ll marry you.

SIMON. Will you, though? then I’ll stick to it forever. Nancy, seal the
bargain with a kiss. (_Advances._)

NANCY (_presenting brush as before_). Some other time.

SIMON (_shaking his head, and walking off_ L. _without touching
brush_). Thou _dust_ not tempt me.

NANCY. Now, Simon, quit your nonsense and tell me, where’s Marcus
Graves?

SIMON. The young man has gone West.

NANCY. And you know nothing about him?

SIMON. Haven’t heard a word from him. By the by, Nancy, who’s the gent
that sticks so close to Miss Bessie?

NANCY. You’d never guess, Simon; that’s the very identical tramp that
stopped here six months ago,——the very day you called——

SIMON. Yes, washing-day. Well, Nancy, you must have given him a
scrubbing. It seems to me he had something to do with Marc’s sudden
departure.

NANCY. Everything. He denounced him as a defaulter; and, on his
account, Mr. Manning turned Marcus Graves out of his house.

SIMON. Indeed!

NANCY. Yes. You see he was Mr. Manning’s comrade in the war! and he
thinks the world of him.

SIMON. And he accused Marc, the noblest fellow in the world. I’d like
to get even with him for that. Is he married?

NANCY. No; but I shouldn’t wonder if he and Miss Bessie made a match of
it.

SIMON. Poor Marc! What’s the fellow’s name?

NANCY. Matt Winsor.

SIMON. Matt! Matt! Stop a moment! (_Takes memorandum book from his
pocket, and turns the leaves rapidly._) H. I. J. K. L. M. Here it
is——Matt Winsor. Ha! ha! ho! ho! He’s mine! He’s mine!

NANCY. And what’s all that, Simon?

SIMON (_strikes book_). That, Nancy, is my savings bank. Little bits of
information that I picked up as a policeman, and preserved for future
use. Nancy, look at me! I’m going to astonish you. So the tramp’s sweet
on Miss Bessie, is he? Nancy, I’ll astonish him. Ay, the whole world
shall be astonished. (_Strikes attitude, and spouts._)

“And thou, Pauline, so wildly loved, so guiltily betrayed——all is not
lost. If I live, the name of him thou hast once loved shall not be
dishonored; if I die amidst the carnage and the roar of battle, my soul
shall fly back to thee.” (_Approaches her as before._)

NANCY (_advances brush as before; he runs upon it_). What are you
talking about?

SIMON (_sputtering._) Pooh! Pah! That’s what he said,——Claude, you know.

NANCY. Hang Claude!

SIMON. Hush! (_Looks around._) Nancy, can you keep a secret?

NANCY. Try me.

SIMON. Without opening your lips?

NANCY. Try me.

SIMON (_throws his arm about her, prisoning her arms._) There, keep
that, Nancy. (_Kisses her, and runs up_ C.)

NANCY (_fiercely_). You horrid wretch! (_Chases him up to door_ C.
_beating him with brush. He exits_ C.)

NANCY (_coming down wiping her mouth_). Well, this is a new business to
him, and I hope he’ll stick to it.

                (_Exit_ I. E. R. _Enter_ MAY _Door_ L.)

MAY. What can keep Bess so long? She went off riding with Matt two
hours ago. She seems very fond of him. (_Goes up to door, looks off,
and returns_ C.) I don’t like that. For Roy’s sake I have endeavored to
make this man’s stay with us pleasant, and though I can never forget
his rough introduction, I have no reason to complain of his conduct
since. He is gentle and obliging, has not tasted a drop of liquor since
that day, and in every way shown himself to be at heart a gentleman.
(_Sits in chair_ R. _of table._) And yet I have some good reasons for
complaint. He claims so much of Roy’s time. The hours he spent with
me here are now given to Matt, smoking in the garden, fighting their
battles over again, I dare say. I’m afraid I’m a little jealous of
that; and then his fondness for Bess, and her fondness for him. Ah!
there’s grave cause for anxiety there. Roy laughs at me when I speak of
it; but suppose they should fall in love with each other? Roy says he’s
much older than she. He forgets there is almost as much difference in
our ages as there is in theirs. I don’t like it. I believe Roy would
be pleased to have them marry; but not I. No! no! Oh, if Marcus Graves
would only return!

Bess (_outside_). Ha! ha! ha! fairly beaten. Victory, victory (_runs
in_ C. _down_ R.). Oh, May! such a glorious victory. I’ve distanced the
bold cavalryman on a clear stretch of five miles. Ha! ha! ha!

                           (_Enter Matt._ C.)

MATT. Cleverly done, little one. I tried my best, but for once, you
have fairly beaten me. Ah, Roy’s wife,——the little one is a capital
horseman. If ever I go to war again she shall be enlisted in the same
company.

BESS. Not I. There’s better company at home. Only think of it; Roger
beat Rollo, fairly outstripped him. He never did such a thing before.

MATT. The gallant fellow knew the soft caress of a pretty little hand,
would reward his efforts. Who wouldn’t do his best for that?

MAY. And the other gallant fellow was too polite to snatch victory from
those pretty hands.

MATT. No, no. No favor was shown.

BESS. Not a bit. You should have heard our cavalryman shout, and seen
him ply the whip. Mercy! I thought a troop of horse was coming down
upon me.

MATT. Yes, I was a little noisy I confess. For a moment the old feeling
was upon me. The swift pace, made my blood whirl. I saw before me not
you, brave little one, but the enemy, in line of battle; the roars of
cannon filled my ears, the smoke of battle my nostrils. The old cry
came to my lips. Down on them! Death to the foe! Charge. (_Goes_ R.)

BESS (_comes to_ C.). Goodness, gracious! what a noise.

MATT. I beg your pardon; I hope I didn’t swear.

BESS. Make your mind easy, with the discharge of that terrific
“charge;” there could be need for nothing more explosive.

MATT. Ah, well, it’s hard for a dog to forget his old tricks. I wish
I could mine. I’m a rough fellow at the best. It’s a new life for me,
this quiet home, you so kind and friendly, Roy’s friendship,——No, no;
that’s not new. Heaven bless him: he’s the same old comrade of the
battle days. I know I must be in the way here.

BESS. You are the best old fellow in the world (_gives hands_), and I
love you dearly.

MATT. Love _me_?

BESS. As if you were my own brother. There sir, there’s a confession:
make the most of it.

MATT. I wish I deserved it, little one; but it makes me (_wiping eyes_)
very——that is——its——too much. (_Aside._) Confound it, I shall blubber
(_Aloud._) Any news of Roy, Mrs. May?

MAY. No: I hoped you might have been to the office.

MATT. To be sure, and I galloping after this young Will-o’-the-Wisp.
Oh, it’s shameful, but I’ll go at once. If we only have Roy back what
a jolly day this will be. You shan’t wait long, Roy’s wife. Good-bye
little one. (_Goes out_ C.)

BESS (_goes_ R.). I challenge you to another race, to-morrow morning.

MATT (_turns_). I accept.

BESS. Five miles.

MATT. A straight course.

BESS. Mind, no favor.

MATT. All right. Shake hands on it.

BESS (_gives hand_). There you have it. Now to the Post
Office,——charge.

MATT. Ay, charge for liberty, or——

BESS. A letter. Don’t forget the letter.

MATT. All right, little one: I’m off. (_Exit._)

BESS. Isn’t he splendid, May? I never saw a man I liked so well.

MAY. Ah! have you forgotten Marcus Graves, Bess?

BESS. Eh? Hasn’t he forgotten me?

MAY. I think not. At any time we may have news of him. You know Roy is
now seeking him, for your sake.

BESS. He’s very kind. (_Aside._) Now what’s the matter with her, I
wonder?

MAY. And this man, Matt Winsor, caused his dismissal.

BESS. Poor fellow. He didn’t mean any harm. And I’m sure it is for the
best.

MAY. Suppose he should never return?

BESS. Well, then, I should try and make the best of it.

MAY. Bess, do you know this man loves you?

BESS. Marcus Graves? well, he ought to.

MAY. No, this man, Matt Winsor.

BESS. (_Aside._) Ah! the cat’s out of the bag. (_Aloud._) Good
gracious! Has he told you so?

MAY. No, but I read it in every glance at his eye, every flush of his
cheek. Oh! Bess, Bess, you must not encourage this.

BESS. Encourage,——I——well I never. Didn’t I tell him I loved him as a
brother.

MAY. Suppose he should some day tell you he adored you?

BESS. ’Twould be just like him. Soldiers adore, Civilians love. I
prefer adoration, its a longer word, and of course contains more of the
language of love.

MAY. Suppose he should ask you to marry him?

BESS. Suppose, suppose anything you like. (_Cross to door_ L.). I’m
going to change my dress.

MAY. And you withhold from me your confidence, Bess, Bess, this is not
right.

BESS. May, don’t lecture me. Do let me enjoy myself, ’twill be time to
warn when the grub brother turns into the butterfly lover. (_Aside._)
She dares to doubt my love for Marcus. I’ll plague her well for that.

                            (_Exit door_ L.)

MAY (_rising_). ’Tis as I feared, she is learning to love this man;
this tramp, who, in some unaccountable manner, fascinates the whole
household. Roy delights in his company. Bess is happy at his side; even
Nancy, the man hater, almost worships him, while I feel magnetized by
his presence; and yet he robs me of my husband’s society. But he must
not win my Bess, there’s too much at stake, an accident might rouse
the slumbering curse of his former life, and then what a fate would be
hers. Oh, no, she must be saved from that, though I make an enemy of my
husband’s comrade. But how? (_Sits_ R. _of table._) How?

                           (_Enter_ SIMON C.)

SIMON. I beg your pardon.

MAY. Well what is it; anything the matter in the garden?

SIMON. No, everything is flourishing there: I’ve weeded out all that’s
unsightly and unwholesome; but there’s something wrong here in the
house.

MAY. In the house,——what do you mean?

SIMON. Mrs. Manning, gardening has not been the sole occupation of my
life. Before I entered your service I was a policeman.

MAY. Well?

SIMON. Now, a policeman picks up a great many things in the course of
his experience, and, in my short career, I have gained a morsel of
information that may be useful to you.

MAY. I do not understand you.

SIMON. Mrs. Manning, I was a short time ago, one of the humble
instruments that rescued an unfortunate woman from the beastly
brutality of a ruffian. I say one, the other was my billy. She was a
poor fallen creature, who, in a drunken brawl was cruelly beaten. As
I said, _we_ rescued her in an almost dying condition. She was taken
to Belleview hospital. As this was the only real service I performed
during my brief career, I was interested in her case, and frequently
called to see her. I was told she could not live. In the kindest manner
possible for a policeman, I informed her of the fact. In return she
told me she was a wife and mother, that her husband still lived.

MAY. I do not understand how this can interest me. I pity the poor
woman. Can I help her?

SIMON. You can help her to find her husband.

MAY. I?

SIMON. Yes, for you know him. She gave me his name,——Matt Winsor.

MAY. Matt Winsor? impossible! he has told me he has no wife.

SIMON. Then he’s a villain. I have told you all I know. The woman is
dying. Let him know that, and if he denies her, then——

MAY. Why have you told me this?

SIMON. Because he wronged my warm friend Marcus Graves. Drove him from
this house. I want to see him treated as he treated Marcus.

MAY. Enough! you may go. (_Simon turns, and goes up._) Stay. I may want
to speak with you again. (_Simon goes up to plants, and busies himself
trimming them._) Drive him from this home. My husband’s friend. Wretch,
he deserves no pity. I’ll fling his perfidy in his teeth. He dare to
love Bess? Ah, I have the power to save her. Heaven be praised.

SIMON. He is here.

MAY. For the last time, I am determined.

                          (MATT _runs in_ C.)

MATT. No letter, Roy’s wife, and that’s the best news I could bring.
For as he has not written ’tis a proof he’s on the road home. Dear old
boy! How glad we shall all be to see him. (_Pause._) Ah! what’s the
matter?

MAY. When a spy is caught in his enemy’s camp, what is done with him?

MATT. He’s strung to a tree, without judge or jury.

MAY. When a rogue is caught playing the honest man, in a peaceful and
loving family, what should be his fate?

MATT. He should be turned adrift, and shunned forever more.

MAY. Right (_rising_). You have sentenced yourself. This house is no
longer your home.

MATT. No longer——my home;——why——what is this?

MAY (_rises_). Matt Winsor, listen to me. You entered this house a
miserable, drunken vagabond. You were tenderly cared for, because you
were our Roy’s comrade. We trusted you, confided in you, and you——like
a viper——turned and stung the hand that fed you.

MATT. No, no; ’tis false. I have repaid trust with trust.

MAY. Indeed! As you repaid the trust of that poor woman now dying in
Belleview Hospital. (_Enter_ BESS L.) Your wife.

MATT (_agitated_). My wife——my wife?

MAY. Ah! your agitation is confession, and yet you told me you had no
wife. Wretch! you dare not face my husband’s flashing eye, with this
infamy known to him. You drove a noble fellow away by your accusations.
Think you Roy, who could not bear his presence, will suffer a greater
criminal to rest beneath his roof. And what greater criminal can there
be than he who deserts his wife: his trusting wife?

MATT. Stop, stop, I say. You must not make me hate you, for you are
Roy’s wife. My friend’s wife. Taunt me not. I will go out into the cold
world once more. It’s only a step, and I am the outcast, the tramp,
again.

BESS (_runs to_ MATT). No, no, you must not go. Roy will soon return.

MAY. Let him face him if he dares. (_Goes_ R.)

MATT. Fear not, I will not face him. I told you, Bess, I was not wanted
here. I have come between man and wife. A part of the affection which
should have been all hers has gone out to the man who, in auld lang
syne, tried to be a true friend. Let it pass. For all your kindness to
me, accept my thanks. I shall trouble you no more. (_Goes up to_ C.)

BESS. Oh, Matt! Don’t leave us. (_Gives hands._)

MATT (_kissing them_). It is right, little one, we have been very
happy, too happy for so poor a wretch as I. Roy’s wife, hear me before
I leave your house. I spoke the truth to you. I have no wife!

SIMON (_comes down_). That’s a lie, and I can prove it.

MATT. Ah! this is your work.

SIMON. I own it. There’s nothing shabby about me. (_Goes_ R. _back._)

MATT. I spoke the truth. Years ago I went to battle for my country,
leaving at home my wife and child. Oh, how I loved them, bitterly I
knew when returning from my first campaign, I found my wife had fled
with my dearest friend, leaving our child to the care of strangers, who
had taken her far, far away. In vain I sought her. She was gone. Oh,
Bess, if you have found any tenderness in the rough soldier’s heart,
thank this for it; for out of grace and gentleness I had fashioned an
image of my lost child which you resembled, little one.

MAY. Oh, what do I hear?

MATT. Heaven bless you. Heaven bless all beneath this roof; and heaven
help the poor wanderer now. (_Goes out door_ C.)

BESS. Oh Matt, Matt, stay with us.

MAY. Matt, Matt, come back. (_Cross to_ L.)

MATT (_turns in doorway_). No; you have driven me out, as I drove out
another. We are quits. (MAY _sinks into chair_ R. _of table._)

                              (_Exit_ C.)

SIMON. He’s gone. (_Comes down_ R.)

                       (_Enter_ NANCY. R. I. E.)

BESS. Oh May, how could you be so cruel! (_Falls into_ MAY’S _arms._)

MAY. I thought it my duty, Bess.

NANCY. Who’s driven out now?

SIMON (_comes down_). Matt Winsor; and I did it, Nancy.

NANCY. You? ’Twas a shabby trick.

ROY (_outside_). May, May. Home again.

MAY. Roy, Roy, at last. (_Jumps up._)

                            (_Enter_ ROY C.)

ROY. Ah, my darling. (_Catches her in his arms._)

MAY (_runs into his arms_). Oh, Roy.

ROY. Bless you, sweetheart: it’s good to meet you once again. And Bess
bright as ever, give me a kiss.

BESS. A dozen. (_Kisses him._)

ROY. That’s sweet; and, in return, I’ve brought you something nice.

BESS. Good news? (_Goes_ R.)

ROY. Yes: in the original package. Come in Marcus.

                         (MARCUS _runs in_ C.)

MARCUS. Bess, my darling.

BESS (_runs into his arms_). Oh, Marcus.

ROY. Yes; we’ve had excellent luck: just at the last moment, too. We
had about given up in despair when the excellent but thick-headed
senior partner of the concern, happened to pull out a drawer in the
safe, and there, closely packed behind it was the missing bills. Marcus
was a hero, at once. I had hard work to bring him away; but here he is.
Ah, Nancy, how are you? (_Goes_ R. _and shakes hands with her._ BESS
_and_ GRAVES _comes to_ L.)

NANCY. Hearty, thank you sir.

ROY. And this is my new gardener (_shakes hands with him_). How does
the garden flourish?

SIMON. Splendidly, thank you, sir.

ROY (_returns to_ C.). Well, and how has my little wife spent the dull
days?

MAY. Trying her best to kill time, and bring this happy day nearer.

ROY. Well, I’m rejoiced to find you are well, and Matt——where’s Matt?
He surely should be on hand to give his comrade a merry welcome. (_All
stand silent._) How’s this, where is he? Is he ill?

MAY (_with an effort_). He is gone, Roy.

ROY. Gone? what, left the house?

MAY. Oh, Roy, he is unworthy of your regard. He has deceived us. He has
a wife living.

ROY. Indeed! How did you hear this?

SIMON. I, sir, was the humble instrument of his exposure.

ROY. Oh, you were.

SIMON. I was told by a poor, dying woman that he was her husband, and
I thought it my duty to inform Mrs. Manning of his duplicity. It was
a painful duty, sir, but I never shirk my duty. In that line there’s
nothing shabby about me.

ROY. Oh! then it’s my duty to inform you that your services as gardener
here, will no longer be required.

SIMON. Oh! (_aside_) here’s gratitude.

NANCY. Serves you right, Claude Meddlenot.

ROY. And so poor Matt, in shame, took himself off?

MAY (_confused_). No——Roy——you’re not quite right there; for
I——I——drove him away.

ROY. You,——May;——you drove the man, who once saved your husband’s life,
from his house?

MAY. I,——forgive me, Roy,——I thought I was right. (_Goes towards him._)

ROY. Don’t come near me. Driven my old friend out? Do you know what
that means?——disgrace for him, shame for me. He will die in the gutter.
No, no; it shall not be. I’ll not eat or sleep until I find him.

MAY. Oh, Roy, you will not leave me. (_Throws herself upon his neck._)

ROY. For his sake, May, yes. Do not hold me. You have done a fearful
wrong, as you will one day learn. (_She unfolds her arms and staggers
to mantel._) My brave, old comrade. You have struggled hard for a
better life. Strike out, struggle on. You shall not sink. I will save
you yet.

                            (_Runs out_ C.)

MAY _staggers down to chair_ R. _of table, face on table._ BESS _runs
and leans over her._ MARCUS, C. _watching them._ NANCY R. _points up
stage, and_ SIMON, _with a woeful face, looks at her._

                                CURTAIN.



                                ACT III.


_Scene as before. Fire burning in fireplace._ MAY _in armchair before
fire, half turned toward audience, gazing into the fire. Light on her
from fire._ BESS _at piano playing, “’Tis the last rose of summer.”_
MARCUS _has arm on piano, looking down at her. Study lamp lighted on
table_, L. C. ROY _seated_ L. _of table reading paper. Curtains at
windows down. Chair_ R. _of table, as music ceases:——_

MARCUS. Thank you, Bess. “’Tis the last rose of summer,” to-night we
pluck: the last of our delightful courtship, to be replaced with orange
blossoms, fit symbols of the fruits of happiness, we shall then garner
for the future. Ah, Bess, what blissful days are in store for us.

ROY (_eyes on paper_). Poor devil.

MARCUS. Eh? Did you speak to me, Manning?

ROY. Not I. “One more unfortunate” here (_tapping paper_). Found dead
in a doorway, with an empty bottle smelling strongly of “laudanum”
beside him,——wrapped in an army overcoat. Ah, so they go. Fighting
bravely the enemy of their country in war, overthrown by the enemy in
peace.

MAY. Oh, Roy, could it have been——

ROY. No one we have an interest in, I hope, May.

MAY. I was thinking of——

ROY. One whose name is no more spoken here. I know to whom you allude,
May. It was not him.

MAY. Then you have news?

ROY. I can give you no tidings of him. When three months ago I returned
from my search, we agreed to forget him. Let us abide by our compact.
It can be no pleasure to you: ’tis painful to me (_rises_). When a man
forgets all the obligations of friendship, withholds confidence from
his sworn comrade, and deliberately acts a lie, he no longer holds a
place in honest hearts.

MAY. Oh, Roy, so bitter.

ROY (_crossing to her chair_). To you, May, I owe it all. You, with
your clear, woman’s vision, pierced the mask and disclosed the
deception (_bitterly_). I thank you. (_Goes up to window and looks
out._)

MAY. Bitter, bitter. I have wounded his dear heart by my folly. Will he
ever forgive me?

ROY (_comes down_). It’s a blustering night. (_Rests hand on back of_
MAY’S _chair._) That’s a glorious blaze, May. Pity I cannot stay and
enjoy it.

MAY. Are you going out?

BESS. Not to-night, Roy?

MARCUS (_comes down to chair vacated by_ ROY, _and takes up paper_).
“There’s no place like home,” Manning.

ROY. Right, Marcus: especially if it’s somebody’s else home, with a
particular attraction in the shape of a pretty girl. Now, don’t press
me to stay, for you know you and Bess are dying to be alone.

MARCUS. Gammon.

ROY. Rather say backgammon, for with two that makes home a
_par-o-dice_. There’s but one will miss me.

MAY. Oh, Roy, must you go?

ROY. ’Tis Wednesday night: my evening out.

MAY. ’Tis Christmas eve, and to-morrow is——

ROY. The anniversary of our wedding, May. Did you think I had forgotten
that?

MAY. No, not forgotten it, Roy, but on the eve of——

ROY. Such a glorious anniversary, you think I should remain at home.
No, May, duty calls me,——a religious duty,——which I would not disregard
even for the sake of your dear company.

MAY. Roy, you are withholding confidence from me. You will not tell me
why you go, where you go? Is that right?

ROY (_laughing_). Ha! ha! ha! Inquisitive female. No, it’s all wrong;
but that I may right it I go, and you may have the blaze all to
yourself. Imagine yourself Cinderella among the embers, and wish the
fairy godmother would drop down the chimney to keep you company. Now
tell me what would be your first request?

MAY. That my husband would have no secrets I could not share.

ROY. That’s a very sensible request. What next?

MAY. That in our midst, home again, she would place the wanderer,——your
comrade,——Matt Winsor.

ROY. May!

MAY. With all my heart I wish it, Roy. That man’s fate, the possibility
of what he may have become, terrifies me. Think you I cannot feel how
that wild act of mine has shadowed your existence. When he left, driven
from your doors by me, something went out of our happy life, I would
give the world to reclaim.

ROY. May, do you doubt my love for you?

MAY. No, no; not that Roy. Not one look of reproach: not one word, for
what I have done, ever tender, thoughtful, patient. Oh, Roy, I do not
deserve it. (_Covers face with hands._)

ROY. May, you shall know all (_walks to table_). No, no, the secret is
not mine. I must be patient; she must suffer. (_Marcus looks up at him
from paper_). Well, what’s the matter with you?

MARCUS. Manning, old fellow, I’m afraid you’re going over to the enemy.
(BESS _comes down back of table._)

ROY. It’s about time, when the enemy——as you style her——is a sweet,
little woman, stung with remorse, and the attacking forces men, strong
men, who ought to be ashamed of themselves: I don’t like it.

MARCUS. Then strike your flag at once. There’s only one thing to
prevent it.

ROY. What’s that?

MARCUS. Your promise.

BESS. What in the world are you talking about——you two?

ROY (_turning away_). Bah! that girl would break up a council of war,
with her sharp ears and inquisitive tongue. (_Goes over to_ MAY’S
_chair._ BESS _talks with Marcus in dumb show._) Look up, May. I must
go; but this night shall be the last. Before you sleep you shall know
all, and I will ask forgiveness for my cruelty. Come, get my coat:
that’s a dear. Time flies. I must be off.

MAY (_rising._) You will return early?

ROY. As I always do. (_Exit_ MAY, _door_ L., ROY, _hand on back
of armchair watches her off._) ’Tis a hard lesson, wife of mine,
but through the tears, I see the smile, and behind the clouds, the
sunlight, that shall bring lasting peace forevermore. Halloa, you two
whispering? I don’t like that.

BESS. Third parties seldom do. I like it: that’s enough.

ROY. And so does Marcus. He looks as happy as though to-morrow were to
be a holiday for him.

BESS. ’Twill be a holy day, for us.

ROY. You’re to be married, to-morrow: to be enslaved. Ah, what will
become of you two?

BESS. We two will become one, that’s all.

MARCUS. Yes, the sum total of my bliss will be a unit.

ROY. How you _cypher_ that. Matrimonial figuring by addition makes two
one, subtracts sweets from added blessings, and multiplies comforts by
dividing labors. That’s the slate from which nothing can be wiped, but
by fractures. Well bless you my children. I hope you will be as happy
as May and I, and never quarrel.

BESS. And have no secrets——

ROY. Ahem! (_Aside._) From you, impossible.

BESS. And have no going out of nights. Hey, Marcus.

MARCUS. Most certainly not.

ROY. “Hark, from the _graves_ a doleful sound.” Charity calls me out.

BESS. Charity begins at home.

ROY. And ends there; but if it be true, it’s line of duty, between the
beginning and the ending, describes a circle that, like the equator,
embraces the whole world.

MARCUS. That’s very good, Manning.

BESS. But you’ve no right to break the home circle, and leave your poor
wife here alone.

ROY. Alone? Nonsense! when she has you and Marcus to amuse her.

MARCUS. Oh, we’re going to have a game of billiards.

ROY. Billiards, a _cue_rious game for lovers. But there’s lots of
“kisses” in it. Hey, Bess?

BESS. Oh, I could scratch you.

ROY. I’ll have a “run” before you do. Here’s May. (_Enter door_ L.
_with_ ROY’S _coat and hat._) Thank you. (_Takes coat and puts it on._)
You won’t be lonesome?

MAY. No, indeed.

ROY (_takes hat from her._) That’s right. Bess and Marcus are going to
play billiards. You don’t play, you know; but you can count.

MARCUS. Yes; (_aside_) one too many.

BESS. Of course; (_aside_) and spoil the game.

ROY. I’ve been giving the young people a lesson on charity. Bess
believes it begins at home, and now she has an excellent opportunity
to prove her theory, by forgetting that “two is company, and three is
none.” Good-bye. (_Kisses_ MAY, _and exits_ C. MAY _follows him to
door._)

MAY (_turns back and stops_ C.). I shall know all to-night. He said it.
I am content. I doubt not I shall laugh at my folly, when I know the
truth: only a little shadow flung across the brightness of our home,
so hard to bear? Heaven pity those to whom the sunlight never comes.
(_Exit door_ L.)

BESS (_feebly_). May, May, you’re not going? (_Louder._) Why, Marcus,
she didn’t hear me.

MARCUS. No wonder; the call was very faint. I’ll call her. (_Rises and
goes to door_ L.)

BESS (_runs up and brings him down_ C.) No, no. I don’t think she cares
for company.

MARCUS (_putting his arm around her waist_). I’m sure we do not, Bess.

BESS. Marcus, what do you suppose sent Roy out to-night?

MARCUS. Well, I think I could guess.

BESS. Oh, you could. Isn’t that splendid? Tell me, quick.

MARCUS. Ah! but it’s a secret.

BESS. Oh, dear! now you are beginning to be mysterious. Remember sir:
we are to have no secrets.

MARCUS. Quite right; and as you are not to learn this, we shall have no
secrets still——

BESS (_pouting_). Marcus, you’re as bad as Roy.

MARCUS. If I am no worse than that estimable man, then you will receive
a treasure to-morrow.

BESS. Take care, sir: “there’s many a slip ’twixt the cup and the lip.”

MARCUS. Don’t be alarmed: you shall have the treasure, Bess. Never mind
the cup; the lips will satisfy me (_kisses her_) now, and to-morrow my
cup of happiness will be full.

BESS. Ah! but I may change my mind before to-morrow.

MARCUS. Twenty times, if you like? but to-morrow you will only
change——your name.

BESS. And my dress. You haven’t asked me what I am to be married in.

MARCUS. I know,——in church.

BESS. Oh, provoking! have you no curiosity to know how your bride will
look?

MARCUS. I know you will look lovely. Let others admire the setting, I
shall have eyes only for the jewel. Come, a game of billiards. (_Goes
to table._)

BESS. Shall I call May?

MARCUS. No, I’ll call Nancy (_strikes bell on table_) to light the
billiard room. May will find us when she needs us. (_Enter_ NANCY, R.
I. E.) Nancy, be kind enough to light the billiard room, will you?

NANCY. My gracious! you’re not going to play billiards, to-night?

BESS (R. C.). And why not, Nancy?

NANCY. And going to be married, to-morrow? (_Crosses stage to_ I.
E. L.) Well, I never! Better be preparing your minds with something
solemn. The book of Job, now, will prepare you for trials, and there’s
a heap of comfort, at such times, in the book of Revelations. (_Exit_
I. E. L.)

MARCUS. Well, our good Nancy takes rather a gloomy view of marriage?

BESS. Yes, poor thing; she’s no such happiness to look forward to. I
think she’s a little ashamed of her conduct to Simon Stone. He’s not
been near her for three months.

MARCUS. Since he threw up gardening, on so short a trial. But Simon
loves her still, I’m sure. (_Enter_ SIMON, C.) He’ll turn up in good
time. There’s nothing shabby about Simon Stone.

SIMON. You may bet your bottom dollar on that, every time. How are you
Mark?

MARCUS. Holloa! speak of the——

SIMON. Don’t mention him (_gives hand_): we can’t say any good of him.
(_Turns to_ BESS.) Miss Bess, your most obedient (_bows_), allow me, in
feeble words, but heartfelt gush, to congratulate you and Mark on the
happiest day of your life,——to-morrow.

BESS. Oh, thank you.

SIMON (_presenting box_). With hopes and wishes, for loaves and fishes:
that is, prosperity.

BESS. Thank you (_opens box_). Diamonds? Oh, Mr. Stone, you are too
generous. (_Comes to_ MARK _at table: he looks at them._)

MARCUS. Why, Si! old fellow, this is a princely gift. What is your
calling, now?

SIMON. My what is it?

MARCUS. Your trade?

SIMON. Bother trade! Don’t speak of it. I’m above all that, you know.
I’m in the Ring now.

MARCUS. The Circus Ring?

SIMON. Do I look like an acrobat?

MARCUS. The Prize Ring?

SIMON. Prize humbug! Do I look like a bruiser? No, Mark: I’m a member
of one of those mysterious rings, you know, which surround the
government, keep it in its place, without which this glorious union
would go to smash. Where’s Mr. Manning? I must see him at once.

BESS. He’s out, but will soon return.

SIMON. Then I will wait.

MARCUS. Look here, Simon, it’s rather queer that you want to see Mr.
Manning. I should say Nancy would suit you better.

SIMON. Nancy?——what Nancy?——which Nancy?

BESS. Nancy Nipper, to be sure: have you forgotten her?

SIMON. Oh——ah——yes——yes, I remember there was a young thing, rather
smart, somewhat attractive, about here; but when one gets into “rings,”
hob-nobbing with senators and nabobs, one forgets these (_snaps
fingers_) these little trifles. Nancy? yes, yes.

MARCUS. Well, I’m rather glad to know that you are not in pursuit of
her this time, for, between you and me, Nancy has a chance to make a
good match now, with one who is dying for her.

SIMON (_excitedly_). You don’t mean it! Dying is he? I’ll finish him!
After Nancy——my Nancy! Who is he?

MARCUS. Ha! ha! ha! he’s a man who’s got above trade, you know: a
member of one of those mysterious rings, you understand. Ha! ha! ha!
Si,——old fellow,——it won’t do: I can read you. You’re on the old trail.
(_Comes to_ I. E. L.) Come, Bess.

BESS. Oblige me by making yourself comfortable, Mr. Stone. (_Crosses
to_ MARCUS.)

MARCUS. Yes; and forget those (_snaps fingers_) little trifles. Ha! ha!
ha! (BESS _and_ MARCUS _exit_ I. E. L.)

SIMON (_stands_ C. _looking after them_). Ha! ha! ha (_mockingly_)!
I’m on the old trail, am I? Can’t pull wool over his eyes. He’s right.
Nancy is the _dear_ I’m hunting: the Nipper that will satisfy my
thirsty spirit. They do say money is one of the sinews of war, the
strongest and the mightiest to win. If that’s so, I’m on my muscle.
That’s a glorious old blaze. Simon, make yourself comfortable (_sits
in arm chair_). She told me to, and when a pretty girl asks a favor,
there’s nothing shabby about me. (_Sits before fire, warming his hands,
chair with back to_ L. _Enter_ NANCY, L. I. E.)

NANCY. I declare, I’m mortified. To see that couple billing and cooing,
and she a little thing, who’s only just left her dolls, a-going to be
married, and I scrubbing along in single blessedness, because I hadn’t
the sense to take Simon Stone when I had the chance. Plague take the
fellow! no doubt he’s given me up, when if he had only stuck to it he
might have seen (_crosses to fireplace_), with half an eye, I was dying
to throw myself (_seizes back of_ SIMON’S _chair, whirls it round, and
bounces into his lap, as she speaks this_) into his arms. (_Screams,
jumps up, and runs_ L.) Mercy sakes! who’s that?

SIMON. Needn’t rise on my account, Nancy.

NANCY. What?——no——yes——it is. Why, Simon?

SIMON. Why Simon? because I was christened so, I ’spose, Nancy. Well,
how are you? You see I’m down here on a little business with Mr.
Manning. Didn’t think of seeing you. ’Sposed you must be married and
settled before this, Nancy.

NANCY. Do you mean to say that you are not here on purpose to see me?

SIMON. You don’t suppose a fellow is made of _injy_ rubber, to bounce
up after he’s been thrown, and run after the same girl that bounced
him, do you? No, Nancy; when I quit gardening so suddenly, I made up my
mind that chasing you was not a business that would pay to stick to.

NANCY. Good riddance, Mr. Stone.

SIMON. Thank you, Nancy. Just at that point in my hitherto unfortunate
career, Uncle Brim died, and left me a legacy.

NANCY. Who’s Uncle Brim?

SIMON. Uncle Brimer Stone. We called him Brim, for short——Brim Stone;
pretty good name for him, for he was a regular old Satan,——well, he
left me a thousand dollars.

NANCY. A thousand dollars?

SIMON. Exactly. Now, says I, Simon, you’ve been a rolling stone long
enough. You’ve got a nest egg: sit still, and see what will come of it.

NANCY. Well, what did?

SIMON. Calker Goodwin, the broker, came and wanted to borrow it: a
genial fellow after he found I had the money, though he did cut me a
week before; but then legacies, like death, level all distinctions.

NANCY. And you let him have it?

SIMON. No; declined with thanks, as the editors tell the poets. Then he
told me of a good investment. “The Iris.”

NANCY. Irish what?

SIMON. “The Iris,”——a silver mine,——somewhere or nowhere, it don’t
matter which. The stock was way down: eighty cents. Cal said it would
rise in three days: bade me go in and win. So in I went, invested my
thousand in Iris, and in three days it was way up to ten dollars, in
three weeks to forty; then I got scared.

NANCY. Scared?

SIMON. Yes; the thing looked too big. I said to myself, some poor
fellow will get into this, ’twill bust and up goes his all. And then
I’d been reading about rich men’s not being able to enter the eye of
a camel, you know; and says I, I’ll be no party to any such business.
There’s nothing shabby about me. I’ll sell out. Sold the next day at
forty, and three days after the Iris was all in my eye: it busted.

NANCY. But you didn’t.

SIMON. No, Nancy; I made forty thousand dollars. I’ve got it now, and
it’s the thing I mean to stick to——

NANCY. Why, Simon, you’re a rich man.

SIMON. Oh, so-so, so-so. You wait until we get our railroad, though.

NANCY. Our railroad?

SIMON. That’s one of my rings. I’m in lots of ’em.

NANCY. Where does this railroad run?

SIMON. Into my pockets, if government will help it. You see it’s not
laid out yet, but the papers are in proper trim for a grant.

NANCY. Grant! what’s he got to do with it?

SIMON. Oh, you’re simple, you are: it’s no use to talk to you of these
great schemes. Can I do anything for you, Nancy?

NANCY. What do you mean?

SIMON. Well, I’m not proud, Nancy; and when I look at you, the memory
of departed days is strong upon me.

NANCY (_tenderly_). O, Simon.

SIMON. And if there’s any young man you want to boost into a business
that would suit you——

NANCY (_sternly_). Simon!

SIMON. I’d like to help him to a start. I can’t forget your helping me
to a good many.

NANCY (_fiercely_). Simon Stone! you’re just as hateful as you can be.
You’ve got money, and now come here to put on airs before me. I knew
you when you didn’t know where the next meal was coming from: when you
hadn’t a whole rag to your back. Keep your money, and make the best of
it. I’ll have nothing more to do with you. (_Crosses to_ R. I. E.)

SIMON. Where are you going, Nancy?

NANCY. To the kitchen, where I belong. I’m no fit associate for a
member of the ring.

SIMON (_rising_). Then I’ll go too.

NANCY. Indeed! a dirty kitchen is no place for a member of the ring.
(_Exit_ R. I. E.)

SIMON. They’re in all kinds of dirty business anyhow. Don’t think,
then, that will prevent me. Well, I’ve made her about as mad as I dare.
She’s a smart girl, Nancy is, and she’ll find that, with or without
money, there’s nothing shabby about me. (_Exit_ R. I. E. MAY _runs in
front door_ L.)

MAY. Roy. Roy, where?——I must have dreamed, when I threw myself upon
the bed. Such a horrid dream. Where are they all? (_Looks off_ L.)
There’s a light in the billiard room, and Marcus and Bess are there.
I’ll go to them (_goes to_ I. E. L.). No, how happy they look; I should
be in the way. Dear Bess; to-morrow takes her from me, and gives her to
another. May she be happy! She will never know my foolish fears for her
made so much mischief. (_Goes slowly to chair at fireplace, stands with
her hand on back of it, looking into fire._) And to-night I shall know
all. Ah, Roy, my husband, you know not how those simple words comfort
me. In their fulfilment I feel there is a power to lift a burden hard
to bear. (_Sits in chair, half turned to fire._) And to-night I dreamed
of him——the outcast. (_Soft music_, MATT WINSOR _opens door_ C.
_softly, catches hold of side of doorway and steadies himself, appears
drunk._) I thought he appeared before me in all his rags, as once he
came (MATT _staggers to ottoman near window, catches at top of it and
steadies himself eyes on the fireplace_), wretched as then, the same
drunken look in his eyes. (MATT _staggers to table in same way._) Oh,
how I trembled as he fixed his eyes upon me and said:

MATT. Roy’s wife (_hic_), how are you?

MAY. Ah, ’tis he. (_Sinks back into chair._)

MATT. ’Scuse me. You did (_hic_) n’t ’spect me.

MAY. Oh yes, yes, you are very welcome: we have sought you——Roy has. I
longed for you to come to tell you how sorry I am for the wrong I did
you.

MATT. No such thing (_hic_): you did me no wrong. I de (_hic_) ceived
you, and you turned me out like a dog——a stray dog——just what I was.
What right had I ’mong hones’ folks.

MAY. The right every man has to recognition when he attempts to shake
off the shackles of habit, and be a man again.

MATT. Jes’ so; but you see it’s no use (_hic_). I fell again.

MAY. O Matt——Roy’s comrade——tell me you forgive me.

MATT. Well, you lis (_hic_) ’n to me. You told me to go to my wife——my
deserted wife (_hic_). I went; she died in my arms. (_Serious,
forgetting himself._) Poor woman! she had fallen by the way. I couldn’t
raise her, but I did the best I could; I made a pillow of the breast
where beat a heart that once was all hers. She died there: died like a
child sinking to rest. (_Weeps._)

MAY (_surprised_). Why, Matt!

MATT (_quickly assuming drunken manner_). Well (_hic_), she died——she
did. Poor Mary Randall!

MAY. Randall? (_Rises._) No, no, that was my name before I married Roy.

MATT (_hic_). Was it? ’twas mine before I met Roy. That’s something you
didn’t (_hic_) find out.

MAY. Oh, heavens! if it should be! Well, well, go on.

MATT. That’s all: she (_hic_) died.

MAY. But tell me of yourself. Who are you?

MATT. A tramp (_hic_) now; a soldier once; a happy husband and father
(_hic_) long ago.

MAY. A father?

MATT. Yes, I went to war, left them in a happy home; came back in a
year to find the mother flown, the child (_hic_) gone with strangers.
Then I went——I went to battle again to sell my life cheap (_hic_); no
use, I couldn’t die. I changed my name——the name she had disgraced——and
met Roy. You know the rest (_hic_). It’s only a tramp’s story (_hic_).
Who cares for him?

MAY. But the child?

MATT. Oh, I’ve found her (_hic_): she’s all right.

MAY. Thank heaven! my fears are groundless.

MATT. Yes, I found her, indeed, happy: a child to be proud of; but how
could I face her (_hic_)? I, a drunkard and a tramp.

MAY. Oh, she would forgive everything: run into your arms, and weep
with joy upon your breast.

MATT (_rises._) Would you do that?

MAY. I?

MATT. Would you, surrounded by luxury and comfort, happy in the love of
a kind husband, would you take that man to your heart, present him to
your husband?

MAY (_rises_). I?

MATT. Yes, you: May Manning,——once May Randall——you who turned me from
your doors——ponder well; for all the wretchedness and shame that clings
to me, is part and parcel of——your father.

MAY. Ah! (_Staggers to table and falls into chair_ R. _of it, her face
on her arm on table._ MATT _passes to back of chair at fireplace, and
with hand upon it looks at her._) I have told you the truth. As I am,
I have come to you, the father to his child. I go. If you, remembering
what I am, what I have been, and what I may yet become, desire my
presence, seek me. If you would escape the shame which must come with
the exposure, forget me, and my lips are closed forever. (_Looks at
her tenderly, opens his arms, and is about to step towards her, stops,
shakes his head, and steals out door_ R. 3d E.)

MAY (_after a short pause raises her head, and falls back in chair_).
Oh, shame! misery! disgrace! I, that could not warmly greet my
husband’s comrade when he came, because of pride; who turned him from
these doors, jealous of the kindly heart that turned to him, have
found my punishment at last. “If you would escape the shame,” he said,
“forget me.” (_Rises._) My father? no! no! Come shame, come disgrace,
the wanderer shall find rest, the father find a champion in his
daughter’s love. (_Goes_ L. _Enter_ ROY C.)

ROY. Ah, my darling. You see I’ve kept my word.

MAY (_runs up and throws herself on his breast_, C.). O Roy, Roy, never
so welcome. O Roy, I am so happy. (_Weeps._)

ROY. Well, well, little wife, tears are not signs of happiness. Let me
get off my coat. (MAY _turns and comes to table._ ROY _removes coat and
throws hat and coat on ottoman, then comes down to chair at fireplace,
and watches her, hand on back of it_. MAY _stands at table looking
down._)

ROY (_aside_). She bears it bravely. (_Aloud._) Well, May, now for my
promise: to tell you the mighty secret. (_Comes toward her._)

MAY. No, Roy, hear me first. (_Falls on her knees._) Hear my
confession. (_Enter_ BESS _and_ MARCUS, L. I. E.)

ROY (_quickly raising her_). Hush, wife! listeners.

MAY (_steps back in line with door_, 3 E. R.). I care not: hear it all.
(ROY _goes to mantel._) One whom I thought dead, one whom my mother
wronged, comes now in want and wretchedness, not to claim my duty as he
has a right, but with a nobleness that puts to shame my pride, to seal
his lips, that, with a word, could make me blush before the world. Do
you hear me, Roy?

ROY. I am listening, May.

MAY. Then seek him. It may be in dens of vice, among the fallen and
debased; but seek him, and when you find him say, I wait with loving
heart to greet him home,——his home for evermore.

                    (_Enter_ MATT, _door_ 3. E. R.)

MATT. You need not seek him: he’s here.

MAY (_throwing herself into his arms_). My father!

MATT. My child! My dear, dear daughter!

MAY. Roy, you hear.

ROY. Yes: I’ve heard too much. The weighty secret is out at last. Matt,
old fellow, you organized this campaign: after your treatment here, you
have a right to revenge; but to me it has been a meaner battle than
ever I hoped to engage in.

MATT. ’Twas but to test a daughter’s love, Roy. “All’s fair in love and
war.”

MAY. Then _you_ have been deceiving me. O Roy!

ROY. I couldn’t help it. ’Twas Matt’s work: we’ve all been engaged in
it.

MARCUS. Yes: all of us.

BESS. Well, I never; it’s the first I’ve heard of it.

ROY. It’s the first time, then, your ears have been off duty.

BESS. They’re not trained to secret service. (_Runs up to_ MATT.) O
Matt, I’m so glad to get you back. (_Shakes hands with him._)

SIMON (_outside_ R.) Come along, Nancy, I’ll make it all right.

ROY. Ah, who have we here?

           (_Enter_ SIMON _and_ NANCY, _arm in arm_ R. I. E.)

SIMON. Mr. Manning, I came down here as a bearer of dispatches.

ROY. Ah, for me?

SIMON. To you; but not for you. (_Steps up to_ MATT.) Mr. Randall, I
was guilty of a mean act towards you once.

MATT (_gives hand_). Never mind, Simon: you’ve been a good friend since.

SIMON. Well, but I do mind: it weighed upon me. I don’t like to be
shabby, and so, as I’m in the ring, I’m bound to wipe that out (_gives
packet_). There, sir, is a commission as postmaster; it’s a good one.
I’ve influence, you know. If you don’t like it, and want something
better, just say so; I’ll fix it for you, for I’m in the ring——in the
ring. (_Struts down to_ NANCY, R.)

NANCY. You told me you’d have nothing more to do with rings.

SIMON. Did I? Well, I’ll keep my word; but there’s one more ring we
can’t do without. (_Takes ring from his pocket and puts it on her
finger._) This, for instance, is our engagement ring.

NANCY. Why, it’s a diamond, Simon.

SIMON. It is, Nancy——a buster. This shall be followed by the wedding
ring, and then the teething ring.

NANCY (_claps hand over his mouth_). Simon Stone!

SIMON (_takes her hand and draws it through his arm_). You shall have
them all, Nancy. There’s nothing shabby about me. (ROY _goes up to_ L.
_of_ MAY.)

ROY. Well, little wife, are you satisfied?

MAY. Can you ask it, Roy? (_Gives him_ L. _hand._)

MATT. Ah, old fellow, the dear one was hardly pressed; she fought
bravely, and won a peaceful victory. To her be all the glory.

MAY. She has stepped between the comrades of old days only, I trust,
to be the link that binds them closer. (_Gives_ R. _hand to_ MATT.)
Hereafter, in the battle of life, we three march in line, joy and
sorrow, victory and defeat, to one, to all. Comrades in prosperity,
comrades in adversity, ever true, sworn comrades.

     (_Exit_ SIMON, NANCY, R. MATT, MAY, ROY, C. MARCUS, BESS, L.)

CURTAIN.



                          Transcriber’s Notes


SmallCaps have been converted to ALLCAPS.


Some typographical errors have been corrected:

  Page  Printed       Correction     Extract
  ——————————————————————————————————————————————
    3  hat           hat,           slouch hat, whiskers and wig
    3  Peticoat      Petticoat      Balmoral Petticoat, calico dress
    8  ROY           ROY.           ROY. What! Pin him in a corner
   10  Your          You’re         ROY. You’re right. I nearly
   12  its           it’s           it’s hurting me. This girl loves me
   13  their         there          there has been no confidence
   15  [...]         (...)          (BESS _and_ MARCUS _exeunt_, ... )
   15  bran          bran’          bran’ new from top to toe
   16  busines       business       the confectionery business
   17  pant’s        pants          Takes paper from pants pocket
   19  MATT (        (MATT          (MATT _staggers in from_ L.
   20  MAT.          MATT.          MATT. ’Scuse me.
   21  your’e        you’re         you’re his sweet—_hic_—heart now
   21  condemn       condemn.       before you condemn.
   25  her.)         her.           duster straight out before her.
   25  N ANCY        NANCY          NANCY. A policeman! Simon
   29  R             R.             (_runs in_ C. _down_ R.).
   30  one.          one,           not you, brave little one,
   30  C             C.             BESS (_comes to_ C.).
   30  R             R.             BESS (_goes_ R.). I challenge
   31  cats          cat’s          Ah! the cat’s out of the bag.
   31  Twould        ’Twould        ’Twould be just like him.
   31  L             L.             (_Cross to door_ L.).
   32  unacountable  unaccountable  in some unaccountable manner
   32  her’s         hers           a fate would be hers
   32  condition     condition.     almost dying condition. She
   36  C             C.             ROY (returns to C.).
   41  Aside,        Aside.         Ahem! (_Aside._) From you,
   41  Hark          “Hark          “Hark, from the graves
   42  C             C.             (_turns back and stops_ C.).
   42  BESS,         BESS.          BESS. Oh, dear!
   46  NANCY,        NANCY.         NANCY. But you didn’t.
   46  Nancy.        Nancy?         anything for you, Nancy?
   47  anyhow        anyhow.        dirty business anyhow.
   47  is is         is             She’s a smart girl, Nancy is,
   48  Matt Winsor   MATT WINSOR    MATT WINSOR opens door
   48  hic           _hic_          Roy’s wife (_hic_), how are you?
   48  hic           _hic_          You did (_hic_) n’t spect me.
   48  spect         ’spect          You did _hic_ n’t ’spect me.
   48  hic           _hic_          MATT. No such thing (_hic_)
   48  hic           _hic_          de (_hic_) ceived you
   48  hic           _hic_          but you see it’s no use (_hic_).
   48  hic           _hic_          Well, you lis (_hic_) ’n to me.
   48  hic           _hic_          deserted wife (_hic_). I went;
   48  hic           _hic_          Well (_hic_),
   48  hic           _hic_          something you didn’t (_hic_) find
   48  hic           _hic_          That’s all: she (_hic_) died.
   49  hic           _hic_          A tramp (_hic_) now;
   49  hic           _hic_          and father (_hic_) long ago.
   49  hic           _hic_          mother flown, the child (_hic_)
   49  hic           _hic_          sell my life cheap (_hic_);
   49  hic           _hic_          You know the rest (_hic_).
   49  hic           _hic_          It’s only a tramp’s story (_hic_).
   49  hic           _hic_          Oh, I’ve found her (_hic_):
   49  hic           _hic_          but how could I face her (_hic_)?
   50  L,            L.             (_Goes_ L. _Enter_
   50  C             C.             C.). O
   50  (_Weeps_).    (_Weeps._)     (_Weeps._)
   50  R             R.             3 E. R.). I care not:


Centered stage direction on page 20:
  (ROYAL _enters_ C.)

Added _Exit_ and parens to stage direction on page 52:
  (_Exit_ SIMON, NANCY, R. MATT, MAY, ROY, C. MARCUS, BESS, L.)





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