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´╗┐Title: Past Redemption - A Drama in Four Acts
Author: Baker, George M. (George Melville)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Past Redemption - A Drama in Four Acts" ***

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PAST REDEMPTION.

_A DRAMA IN FOUR ACTS._


BY

GEORGE M. BAKER.


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


BOSTON:
GEORGE M. BAKER AND COMPANY.
1875.



PAST REDEMPTION.

_A DRAMA IN FOUR ACTS._


BY

GEORGE M. BAKER.


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


BOSTON:
GEORGE M. BAKER AND COMPANY.
1875.



COSTUMES.


_John Maynard._ Act I. Mixed pants and vest, blue striped shirt,
collar rolled over vest, without necktie, straw hat, bald gray wig,
heavy gray side-whiskers. Act II. and IV. Add a dark coat.

_Harry Maynard._ Act I. Neat gray suit, with game-bag, felt hat,
leggings. Act III. White shirt without collar, rusty black pants, and
coat out at elbows, unshorn face, hollow eyes. Act IV. Light pants,
dark vest and coat, with white overcoat, high-colored handkerchief
thrown about the neck, felt hat.

_Robert Thornton._ Act I. Light gray suit, leggings, game-bag, felt
hat, heavy watch-chain, and full black beard and moustache. Act II.
Handsome black suit, black hat, light overcoat on his arm. Act III.
Fashionable suit, with a liberal display of jewelry. Act IV. Dirty
black pants, torn at the knee, white shirt, soiled and ragged, showing
a red shirt beneath; rough grizzled beard and wig; pale and haggard;
dark, ragged coat.

_Tom Larcom._ Act I. and II. Rough farmer's suit. Act III. Flashy
mixed suit, false moustache and chin-whiskers. Act IV. Neat suit with
overcoat and felt hat.

_Nat Harlow._ Neat mixed business suit; a little dandified.

_Hanks and Huskers._ Farmer's rough suits.

_Capt. Bragg._ Dark pants, white vest, blue coat with brass buttons,
military stock and dickey; tall felt hat; bald gray wig, and military
whiskers.

_Murdock._ Fashionable dress.

_Daley._ Dark pants and vest, white apron, sleeves rolled up, no coat.

_Stub._ Act I. Gray pants, blue striped shirt. Act III. Dark pants,
white vest, red necktie, standing collar, black hat, short black coat.
Acts II. and IV. Same as first with the addition of a coat.

_Mrs. Maynard._ Acts I. and II. Cheap calico dress. Act IV. Brown
dress, with white apron, collar and cuffs. Gray wig for all.

_Charity_, age about thirty-five. Act II. Pretty muslin dress, with
a white apron, tastefully trimmed, lace cap, light wig. Act III.
Gray dress handsomely trimmed, gray waterproof cloak. Act III. Dark
travelling dress, handsome cloak and hat.

_Jessie._ Act I. Muslin dress, with collar and cuffs. Act II.
Something of the same kind. Act III. Handsome dress of light color.
Act IV. Gray travelling dress, with cloak and hat.

_Kitty._ Act I. Light muslin dress. Act II. Something of the same
kind. Act IV. Red dress, white collar and cuffs, shawl and hat.

_Chorus of Ladies_ for Act III. Dark and light dresses, with "clouds"
of different colors about their heads.



PAST REDEMPTION.

A DRAMA IN FOUR ACTS.



ACT I.--A HUSKING AT THE OLD HOME.


     SCENE.--_A barn. In flat, large door to roll back_ L.,
     _closed; above door, hay-mow, practicable staging, loose
     hay piled upon it; over that, window, through which
     moonbeams stream._ L., _stalls with harness suspended from
     pegs, bench on which are two basins and towels._ R., _bins,
     above stalls and bins_, R. _and_ L., _hay-mow with hay_
     (_painted_). R. C., _two benches thus_: B D A C, [Illustration]
     _on which are seated_ A. TOM LARCOM, B. NAT HARLOW, _and
     between them four farmers, three girls;  another girl
     standing_ C.; _beside her on floor, kneeling, a farmer picks
     up the husks thrown by the huskers, and puts them in a
     basket. A small pile of corn_, D., _which the occupants
     of the benches are at work on, throwing the corn into
     bins_, R.; _the husks behind. Just back of_ B., HANKS
     _seated on a barrel with violin playing, "In the sweet by
     and by."_ STUB _leaning against wing_, L., I E. _listening;
     stool_ R., I E.; _red lanterns hung_ R. _and_ L., _red
     light from footlights_. HANKS _plays the air through during
     the rising of curtain_.

STUB. Golly! hear dat now, will you? D-d-dat what I call music in de
har, fur it jes make my har stan' on end, yes, it does. And I feel--I
feel jes as dough I was skewered onto dat ar fiddle-bow, an' bein'
drawed frou a sea ob bilin' merlasses. Golly, so sweet!

NAT. There's a first-class puff for you, Hanks, from the mouth of a
critic--with a black border.

TOM. You do beat all nater, Hanks, with the fiddle; your hand is as
cute, and your ear as fine, as though the one had never held a plough,
or the other listened to the jingling of a cowbell. Talk of your
genuses. Give me the chap that's a Jack at any thing, from digging
ninety tater-hills afore breakfast, to sparking a pretty girl at
'leven o'clock on a starlight night.

STUB. Wid de ole man comin' roun' de corner ob de house wid a
double-barrel rebolver, "You scoot or I shoot." Don't forget de
embellishments, Tom Larcom. (_All laugh._)

NAT. Ha, ha! had you there, Tom.

TOM. What are you laughing at? If old Corum mistook me for a prowler
one night, am I to blame?

STUB. Coorse not, coorse not, when you didn't stop to 'lucidate, but
jumped de fence and scooted down de road hollering "Murder!" (_Laugh._)

TOM (_flinging an ear of corn at_ STUB). A little more ear and less
tongue, Stub.

STUB (_ducking his head_). Don't waste de fodder. Had ear enough dat
night. Golly! jes woke de whole neighborhood.

TOM. Ah! the course of true love never did run smooth.

STUB. By golly! you--you found it pretty smoove runnin' dat night.

TOM (_threatening_ STUB). Will you be quiet?

STUB. Ob coorse. Don't waste de fodder.

NAT. Ah, Tom, Nature never cut you out for a lover.

TOM. P'r'aps not; but I've got _art_ enough to cut you out, Nat,
if you do make up to my property, Kitty Corum. (_Enter_ KITTY, R.,
_overhearing last words_.)

KITTY. Indeed! Your property! I like that. And when, pray, did you
come into possession?

TOM. That's for you to say, Kitty. I'm an expectant heir as yet. Don't
forget me in your will, Kitty.

NAT. Don't write your will in his favor.

KITTY.

    "When a woman wills she wills: depend on't;
     And when she won't she won't, and there's the end on't."

TOM (_sings_). "If I could write my title clear."

NAT. Give me the title, Kitty.

TOM. I'd give you a title--Counter-jumper, Yardstick; that's about
your measure. You talk about titles; why, all you are good for is to
measure tape and ribbons, cut "nigger-head," shovel sugar, and peddle
herrings for old Gleason. Bah! I smell soap now.

NAT (_jumping up_). You just step outside, and you shall smell
brimstone, and find your measure on the turf, Tom Larcom.

KITTY. There, there, stop that! I'll have no quarrelling. Supper's
nearly ready, and the corn not finished.

TOM. We'll be ready for the supper, Kitty. If I could only find a red
ear.

KITTY. And if you could?

TOM. I should make an impression on those red lips of yours that would
astonish you.

KITTY. Indeed! It would astonish me more if you had the chance.
(_Laugh._) But where's Harry Maynard?

TOM. Off gunning with Mr. Thornton. He said he'd be back in time for
the husking: they must have lost their way.

KITTY. His last night at home, too.

STUB. Yas, indeed. Off in de mornin', afore de broke ob day. I's gwine
to drive dem ober to de steam-jine station. Miss Jennie gwine to see
him off; 'spect she'll jes cry her eyes out comin' home.

TOM. Well, I can't see the use of Harry Maynard's trottin' off to the
city with this Mr. Thornton. Let well enough alone, say I. Here's a
good farm, and a smart, pretty girl ready to share life with him; and
yet off he goes to take risks in something he knows nothing about.

KITTY. Don't say a word against Mr. Thornton; he's just splendid.

CHORUS OF GIRLS. Oh, elegant!

TOM. There it is! Vanity and vexation! here's a man old enough to be
your father. Comes up here in his fine clothes, with a big watch-chain
across his chest, and a seal ring on his finger, and you girls are
dead in love with him at first sight.

KITTY. Tom, you're jealous. Harry Maynard is not content to settle
down here; he wants to see the world, and I like his spunk. If I was a
man _I_ would get the polish of city life.

STUB. So would I, so would I. Yas, indeed; get de polish down dar.
Look at Joe Trash; he went down dar, he did. New suit ob store clo's
onto him, and forty dollars in his calf-skin. He come back in free
days polished right out ob his boots.

TOM. Well, I s'pose it's out of fashion not to like this Thornton, but
there's something in the twist of his waxed-end mustache, and the roll
of his eye, that makes me feel bad for Harry.

KITTY. You needn't fear for Harry. He won't eat him.

STUB. No, sir, he's not a connubial: he's a gemblum.

TOM. Ah! here's the last ear, and, by jingo! it's a red one.

CHORUS. Good for you, Tom! good for you!

NAT. I'll give you a dollar for your chance.

TOM. No, you don't, Nat; I'm in luck.--Now, Kitty, I claim the
privilege. A kiss for the finder of the red ear. (_All rise._)

KITTY. Not from me, saucebox.

NAT. Run, Kitty, run! (KITTY _runs in and out among the huskers_, TOM
_in pursuit_.)

TOM. It's no use, Kitty; you can't escape me. (_She runs down_ R.
_corner; as_ TOM _is about to seize her, she stoops, and runs across
stage, catches_ STUB _by the arms, and whirls him round_. TOM, _in
pursuit, clasps_ STUB _in his arms_.)

STUB. "I'd offer thee dis cheek ob mine." If you want a smack take it.
I won't struggle.

TOM (_strikes his face with hand_). How's that for a smack?

STUB. Dat's de hand widout de heart: takes all de bloom out ob my
complexion. (_Goes across stage holding on to his face, and exits_ R.
KITTY _runs through crowd again, comes_ R., TOM _in pursuit_.)

TOM. It's no use, Kitty: you must pay tribute.

KITTY. Never, never! (_Runs across to_ L., _and then up stage to back.
Door opens, and enter_ HARRY MAYNARD _and_ THORNTON, _equipped with
guns and game-bags_; KITTY _runs into_ HARRY'S _arms_.)

HARRY. Hallo! just in time. You've the red ear, Tom, so, as your
friend, I'll collect the tribute. (_Kisses_ KITTY.)

KITTY (_screams_). How dare you, Harry Maynard!

TOM. Yes, Harry Maynard, how dare you?

     (THORNTON, HARRY, KITTY, TOM, _and_ NAT _come down; others
     carry back the benches, and clear the stage; then converse
     in groups at back_.)

HARRY. Don't scold, Tom. It's the first game that has crossed my path
to-day: the first shot I've made. So the corn is husked, and I not
here to share your work. We've had a long tramp, and lost our way.
(_goes to_ R. _with_ THORNTON; _they divest themselves of their bags,
and lean their guns against bin. 2d entrance_.)

TOM (L. C.). Empty bags! Well, you are smart gunners: not even a
rabbit.

HARRY (R. C. THORNTON _sits on stool_, R.). No, Tom; they were
particularly shy to-day, so I had to content myself with a deer, your
dear, Tom. (_All laugh_; NAT, L., _very loud_, TOM _threatening him_.)

KITTY (C.). His dear, indeed! I'll have you to understand I'm not to
be made game of.

HARRY. No, dear, no one shall make game of you; but keep a sharp
lookout, for there's a keen hunter on the track, and when Tom Larcom
flings the matrimonial noose--

KITTY. He may be as lucky as you have been to-day, and return
empty-handed.

TOM. Don't say that, Kitty; haven't I been your devoted--

KITTY. Fiddlesticks! (_pushes him back, and comes to_ L. C.) If there
is any thing I hate, it's sparking before company.

NAT (L.). And there's where you're right, Kitty. As much as I love
you, I would never dare to be so outspoken before company.

TOM. Oh, you're a smart one, you are! (_Enter_ STUB, R.)

STUB. Supper's onto de table, and Miss Maynard, she says, says she,
you're to come right into de kitchen, eat all you like, drink all
you like, an' smash all de dishes if you like; an' dere's fourteen
kinds ob pies, an' turnobers, an' turn-unders, an' cold chicken,
an'--an'--cheese--

HARRY. That will do, Stub. My good mother is a bountiful provider, and
needs no herald. So, neighbors, take your partners; Hanks will give
you a march, and Mr. Thornton and I will join you as soon as we have
removed the marks of the forlorn chase.

STUB. Yas, Massa Hanks, strike up a march: something lively. Dead
march in Saul; dat's fus rate.

TOM (C.). Kitty, shall I have the pleasure? (_Offers his left arm to_
KITTY.)

NAT (L.). Miss Corum, shall I have the honor? (_Offers his right arm
to_ KITTY.)

KITTY (_between them, looks at each one, turns up her nose at_ TOM,
_and takes_ NAT'S _arm_). Thank you, Mr. Harlow. I'll intrust this
_property_ to you.

NAT. For life, Kitty?

KITTY. On a short lease. (_They go up_ C., _face audience; others
pair, and fall in behind them_.)

TOM (C.). Cut,--a decided cut. I must lay in wait for Yardstick when
this breaks up, and I think he will need about a pound of beefsteak
for his eyes in the morning. (_Goes_ L. _and leans dejectedly against
wing. Music strikes up, the march is made across stage once, and off_
R., STUB _strutting behind_.)

HARRY (_crosses_ L.). Why, Tom, don't you go in?

TOM. Certainly. Come, Hanks. (_Goes over to_ HANKS.) They'll want your
music in there, and I'm just in tune to play second fiddle. (_They
exeunt_ R., _arm in arm_.)

HARRY (_goes to bench_ L., _and washes hands_). Now, Mr. Thornton,
for a wash, and then we'll join them. (THORNTON _keeps his seat in a
thoughtful attitude_. HARRY _comes down_.) Hallo! what's the matter?
Homesick?

THORNTON (_laughs_). Not exactly; but there's something in this old
barn, these merry huskers, this careless happy life you farmers lead,
has stirred up old memories, until I was on the point of breaking out
with that melancholy song, "Oh, would I were a boy again!"

HARRY. Now, don't be melancholy. That won't chime with the dear old
place; for, though it has not been free from trouble, we drive all
care away with willing hands and cheerful hearts.

THORNTON. It is a cheery old place, and so reminds me of one I knew
when I was young; for, like you, I was a farmer's boy.

HARRY. Indeed! you never told me that.

THORNTON. No: for 'tis no fond recollection to me, and I seldom refer
to it. I did not take kindly to it, so early forsook a country life
for the stir and bustle of crowded cities. But, when one has reached
the age of forty, 'tis time to look back.

HARRY. Not with regret, I trust: for you tell me you have acquired
wealth in mercantile pursuits, and so pictured the busy life of the
city, that I am impatient to carve my fortune there.

THORNTON. And you are right. The strong-armed, clear-brained wanderers
from the country carry off the grand prizes there. You are ambitious:
you shall rise; and, when you are forty, revisit these scenes, a man
of wealth and influence.

HARRY. Ah, Mr. Thornton, when one has a friend like you to lead the
way, success is certain. I am proud of your friendship, and thankfully
place my future in your keeping.

THORNTON. That shows keen wit at the outset. Trust me, and you shall
win. (_Rises._) But I am keeping you from your friends, and I know a
pair of bright eyes are anxiously looking for you. (_Goes to bench,
and washes hands._)

JESSIE (_outside_ L., _sings_),--

    "In the sweet by and by,
     We shall meet on that beautiful shore," &c.

HARRY. Ah! my "sweet by and by" is close at hand. (_Enter_ JESSIE, R.,
_with pail_.)

JESSIE. O you truant! (_Runs to him._) Now, don't flatter yourself
that I came in search of you. Do you see this pail? this is my excuse.

HARRY. 'Tis an empty one, Jessie. I am very sorry you have been
anxious on my account; but I'm all ready, so let's in to supper.

JESSIE. Not so fast, sir: the pail must be filled. I'm going for milk.

HARRY. Then "I'll go with you, my pretty maid."--You'll excuse me a
moment, Mr. Thornton.

JESSIE. Mr. Thornton!--Dear me, I didn't see you! Good evening.

THORNTON. Good evening, Miss Jessie.

JESSIE. Are you very, very hungry?

THORNTON. Oh, ravenous!

JESSIE. Then don't wait, but hurry in, or I won't be responsible for
your supper: huskers are such a hungry set.--Come, Harry.

HARRY. Don't wait, Mr. Thornton: it takes a long time to get the milk;
don't it, Jessie?

JESSIE. Not unless you tease me--but you always do.

HARRY. Of course, I couldn't help it; and tease and milk go well
together. (_Exeunt_ JESSIE _and_ HARRY, L. THORNTON _stands_
C._looking after them_.)

THORNTON. Yes, yes, 'tis a cheery old place. Pity the storm should
ever beat upon it; pity that dark clouds should ever obscure its
brightness; yet they will come. For the first time in a life of
passion and change, this rural beauty has stirred my heart with a
longing it never felt before. I cannot analyze it. The sound of
her voice thrills me; the sight of her face fascinates me; the
touch of her hand maddens me; and, with it all, the shadow of some
long-forgotten presence mystifies me. This must be love. For I would
dare all, sacrifice all, to make her mine. She is betrothed to him. He
must be taken from her side, made unworthy of her, made to forget her.
The task is easy to one skilled in the arts of temptation. Once free,
her heart may be turned towards me. 'Tis a long chase: no wonder I am
melancholy, Harry Maynard; but there's a keen, patient hunter on the
track, who never fails, never. (_Enter_ JOHN MAYNARD, R.)

JOHN MAYNARD. Well, well, here's hospitality: here's hospitality with
a vengeance. That rascal Harry has deserted you, has he?--you, our
honored guest. It's too bad, too bad.

THORNTON. Don't give yourself any uneasiness about me, old friend.
Harry has left me a moment to escort a young lady.

MAYNARD. Ah, yes, I understand: Jessie, our Jessie, the witch that
brings us all under her spells. No wonder the boy forgot his manners;
but to desert you--

THORNTON. Don't speak of desertion; you forget I am one of the family.

MAYNARD. I wish you were with all my heart. I like you, Mr. Thornton.
I flatter myself I know a gentleman, when I meet him. You came up
here, looked over my stock, and bought my horses at my own price, no
beating down, no haggling; and I said to myself, He's a gentleman, for
gentlemen never haggle. So I say I like you (_gives his hand_), and
that's something to remember, for John Maynard don't take kindly to
strangers.

THORNTON. I trust I shall always merit your good opinion.

MAYNARD. Of course you will; you can't help it. There's our Harry just
raves about you, and you've taken a fancy to him. I like you for that
too. Then you are going to take him away, and show him the way to
fortune by your high pressure, bustle and rush, city ways. Not just
the notion I wanted to get into his head; but he's ambitious, and I'll
not stand in his way. He's our only boy now. There was another; he
went down at the call of his country, a brave, noble fellow, and fell
among the first; and he died bravely: he couldn't help it, for he was
a Maynard. But 'twas a hard blow to us. It made us lonely here; and
even now, when the wind howls round the old house in the cold winter
nights, mother and I sit silent in the corner, seeing our boy's bright
face in the fire, till the tears roll down her cheeks, and I--I set
my teeth together, and clasp her hands, and whisper, He died bravely,
mother,--died for his country like a hero,--like a hero.

THORNTON. Ah! 'tis consoling to remember that.

MAYNARD. Yes, yes. And now the other, our only boy, goes forth to
fight another battle, full of temptation and danger. Heaven grant him
a safe return!

THORNTON. Amen to that! But fear not for him. I have a regard, yes,
call it a fatherly regard; and it shall be my duty to guard him among
the temptations of the city.

MAYNARD. That's kind; that's honest. I knew you were a gentleman, and
I trust you freely.

THORNTON. You shall have a good account of him; and 'twill not be
lonely here, for you have a daughter left to comfort you.

MAYNARD. Our Jessie, bless her! she's a treasure. Sixteen years ago,
on one of the roughest nights, our Harry, then a mere boy, coming up
from the village, found a poor woman and her babe on the road lying
helpless in the snow. He brought her here: we recognized her as the
daughter of one of our neighbors, a girl who had left home, and found
work in the city. This was her return. Her unnatural father shut the
door in her face, and she wandered about until found by Harry. She
lingered through the night, speechless, and died at sunrise. I sought
the father, but he had cast her out of his heart and home; for he
believed her to be a wanton. Indignant at his cruelty, I struck him
down; for I'm mighty quick-tempered, and can't stand a mean argument.
I gave the mother Christian burial, took the child to my heart, and
love her as if she was my own. As for him, public opinion drove him
from our village; and her child is loved and honored as he could never
hope to be.

THORNTON. And your son will marry her with this stain upon her?

MAYNARD. Stain? what stain? Upon her mother's finger was a plain
gold ring; and, though the poor thing's lips were silent, her eyes
wandered to that ring with a meaning none could fail to guess. She was
a deserted wife; and, even had she been all her father thought her,
what human being has a right to be relentless, when we should forgive
as we all hope to be forgiven? But come, here I am chatting away like
an old maid at a quilting. Come in, and get your supper, for you must
be hungry: come in. (_Exeunt_ R. _Enter_ L., HARRY, _with his arm
round_ JESSIE, _the pail in his hand_.)

HARRY. Yes, Jessie, 'tis hard to leave you behind; but our parting
will not be for long. Once fairly embarked in my new life, with a fair
chance of success before me, I shall return to seek my ready helper.

JESSIE. Harry, perhaps you will think me foolish, but I tremble at
your venture. Why seek new paths to fortune when here is all that
could make our lives happy and contented?

HARRY. But it's so slow, Jessie; and, with the best of luck, I should
be but a plodding farmer. To plough and dig, sow and reap, year in and
year out,--'tis a hard life, all bone and muscle: to be sure, rugged
health and deep sleep; but _there_ is excitement and bustle, quick
success and rousing fortunes. Ah, Jessie, if one half my schemes work
well, you shall be a lady.

JESSIE. To be your own true, loving wife, your ever ready helper, is
all I ask. O Harry, if you should forget me in all this bustle!

HARRY. Forget you? Never: in all my hopes you are the shining light;
in all my air-built castles, which energy should make real and
substantial ones, you are enthroned my queen.

JESSIE. Enthrone me in your heart: let me be an influence there, to
shield you from temptation, and, come fortune or failure, I shall be
content.

HARRY. An influence, Jessie: hear my confession. Unknown to you, I
stood beneath your window last night, as you sat looking up at the
moon, singing the song I love, "In the sweet by and by." I thought
how soon we must part, and your sweet voice brought tears to my eyes.
Jessie, I believe, that, were I so weak as to fall beneath temptation,
in the darkest hour of misery, the remembrance of that voice would
call me back to you and a better life.

JESSIE. You will not forget me?

HARRY. Oh, we are getting melancholy. (_Smiles._) Why should _I_ not
fear a rival?

JESSIE. Now you are jesting, Harry. Do I not owe my life to you?

HARRY. Hush, hush! that is a forbidden subject, and all you owe to me
has been paid with interest in the gift of your true, loving heart.
(_They pass off_, R. _Enter_ CAPT. BRAGG, C.)

CAPT. BRAGG. Well, I never--no, never. If Parson Broadnose himself,
in full black, with all his theological prognostications to back him,
had said to me, Capt. Bragg, did you ever? I should have fixed my
penetrating eyes upon him, and answered boldly, No, never. Slighted,
absolutely, undeniably, unquestionably slighted! I, Capt. Nathan
Bragg, distinguished for my martial deportment, my profound knowledge,
my ready wit, yes, every thing that adds a charm to merrymaking; I,
ex-commander of that illustrious corps, the Lawless Rangers, that
rivals the grandest European regiments in drill and parade,--slighted
at a mean, contemptible little husking. Fact, by jingo! But I'm not
to be slighted: I won't be slighted. I am here to testify my profound
contempt for a slight. If John Maynard has a husking, and forgets to
invite the grand central figure on such occasions, it is the duty of
the grand central figure to overlook the little breach of etiquette,
and appear to contribute to the happiness of its fellow townsmen.
There is an air of gloom about this place, all owing to my absence.
They're in to supper: I'll join them, to cheer the dull hearts and
(_going_ R.)-- Hallo! guns, guns. (_Takes up one._) There's a beauty.
This reminds me of my warlike days at country muster, and the Lawless
Rangers. Ah, those rangers! every man with a Roman nose, six feet
high, and a dead shot: not a man would miss the dead eye at one
hundred paces,--if he could help it. Ah! I can see 'em now as I gave
the order: ready--aim--fire (_raising gun and firing as he speaks._)
Murder! the blasted thing was loaded. (_Drops it, and staggers across
stage to_ L., _trembling. A fowl drops from_ R., _at the shot. Enter_
R., MR. MAYNARD, STUB, HARRY, JESSIE, TOM, _and_ MRS. MAYNARD.)

MAYNARD. Who fired that gun? Ah, Capt. Bragg, what's the matter?

STUB (_taking up fowl_). Dat ar poor ole rooster am a gone goose.
Dat's what's de matter.

HARRY (_taking up gun_). Captain, have you been meddling with my gun?

MRS. MAYNARD. Of course he has: he's always meddling.

CAPT. Mrs. Maynard, that's an absurd remark. It's all right: one of my
surprises. You must know I wanted a rooster for to-morrow's dinner.
I'm very fond of them: there's such a warlike taste about them.
And we are a little short of roosters; my last one, being a little
belligerent this morning, walked into Higgins's yard, and engaged in
deadly combat: so deadly that Higgins's fowl was stretched a lifeless
corse upon the ground: for Bragg's roosters always lick, always. But
in spite of my earnest protest, despite the warlike maxim, Spoils to
the victor belong, Higgins shot my rooster and nailed him to his barn
door like a crow, and _his_ crow was gone. Fact, by jingo.

MAYNARD. Yes: but what's that got to do with my rooster?

CAPT. Well, I wanted a rooster: so says I to myself, Maynard's got
plenty, he can spare one just as well as not; so I'm come to borrow
one. Well, I found you had company, and not wishing to disturb you,
and seeing a gun handy, I singled out my dinner roosting aloft there,
raised the gun,--you know I'm a dead shot,--shut my eyes--

TOM. Shut your eyes! Is that one of your dead shot tactics?

CAPT. Shut one eye, squinted, of course, that's what I said, and
fired. The result of that shot is before you. If you will examine that
fowl, you will find that he is shot clean through the neck.

STUB. He's shot all ober; looks jes for all de world like a
huckleberry puddin'.

MAYNARD. Well, captain, I call this rather a cool proceeding.

CAPT. Ah, you flatter me: but coolness is a characteristic of the
Braggs. When I raised that company for the war, the Lawless Rangers, I
said to those men, Be cool: don't let your ardor carry you too far.

TOM. Yours didn't run you into battle, did it, captain?

CAPT. I couldn't run anywhere. Just when the call came for those men,
after I had prepared them for battle, and longed to lead them to the
field, rheumatism--in the legs too--blasted all my hopes, and left me
behind. But my soul was with them, and, if they achieved distinction,
they owed it all to my early teaching--to the Bragg they left behind.
(_Struts up stage._)

JOHN MAYNARD (_to_ THORNTON). Ah! he's a sly old fox.

THORNTON (_tapping his head_). A little wrong here.

MAYNARD. No, he's a cool, calculating man, but as vain as a peacock.

CAPT. (_coming down_). Sorry I didn't know you had company. Wouldn't
have intruded for the world.

MAYNARD. It's all right, captain. Join us: we were expecting you.
(_To_ THORNTON.) I can say that truly, for he's always popping in
where he's not wanted.

CAPT. Ah! thank you. A-husking, I see. What's the yield?

MAYNARD. Excellent. My five-acre lot has given me two hundred bushels.
That's what I call handsome.

CAPT. Pooh! you should see my corn. There's nothing like Bragg's corn.
My three-acre lot gave me three hundred bushels, and every other ear
was a red one.

CHORUS. Oh!

CAPT. Fact, by jingo! (NAT _and_ KITTY _enter_ R., _followed by
huskers_.)

MAYNARD. Come, boys, get ready for the dance.--Mother, you take the
captain in to supper.

MRS. MAYNARD. Come, captain, you must be hungry.

CAPT. (_coming to_ R.). Thank you, I could feed a bit. But don't stir:
I can find the table; and, when I do find it, I shall do full justice
to your fare, or I am no Bragg. (_Exit_ R. HARRY _rolls back the big
door, others put out lanterns. Moonlight streams upon the floor.
Change footlights._)

THORNTON (_to_ JESSIE). Miss Jessie, shall I have the honor of dancing
with you?

JESSIE. Thank you, Mr. Thornton. (_Takes his arm, and they go up._ NAT
_and_ KITTY _come down_ C.)

NAT. Ah, Kitty, now for the dance. Of course you will open the ball
with me.

KITTY (_hanging on his arm, looks around, and nods to_ TOM; _he comes
down on the other side_). Did I promise you a dance to-night, Mr.
Larcom?

TOM (_sulkily_). I believe you did: but I ain't particular.

KITTY. But I am.

NAT. Kitty, dance with me.

KITTY. I shall do just as Mr. Larcom says; if he does not wish me,
why--

TOM. Oh, Kitty, you know I do, you know I do! (_Takes her arm, and
whirls her up stage._ NAT _goes over to_ L., _and leans against wing
watching them_.)

HARRY. Now, boys, take your partners for Hull's Victory.--Come,
mother. (_Gives_ MRS. MAYNARD _his arm, and goes to door, taking the
lead_. TOM _and_ KITTY, THORNTON _and_ JESSIE _next, others form
in front of them_. STUB _goes to_ L. _Dance Hull's Victory. When_
TOM _and_ KITTY _come in front_, TOM _talks with_ MR. MAYNARD, _who
stands_ R., _and_ KITTY _makes signs to_ NAT: _he comes over, takes
her arm, and they go up and off_, L. U. E., _appearing soon after in
the loft at back; they sit on the hay, and watch the dancing. The
dance is continued some time_, STUB _dancing by himself_, L. _When it
is_ TOM'S _turn to dance_, STUB _slips into set, and gives his hand_.
TOM _dances a little while before finding his mistake; then pushes_
STUB _back, looks round and up, descries_ KITTY _and_ NAT. _Goes off_
L. U. E. _Dance goes on. Enter_ CAPT. BRAGG, R., _with a chicken-bone
in one hand, and a piece of pie in the other; stands watching the
dancers_. TOM _appears in loft, behind_ NAT. NAT _puts his arm round_
KITTY, _and is about to kiss her_; TOM _pulls him back upon the hay,
and pummels him_.)

NAT. Help! Murder! Murder! (_Dance stops._)

CAPT. Hallo! Thieves! Burglars! (_Seizes the other gun, raises it, and
fires. Fowl drops from_ L. STUB _picks it up_; MR. MAYNARD _seizes_
CAPTAIN'S _arm_.)

STUB. Dere's anoder rooster dead shot.

CAPT. Fact, by jingo!


TABLEAU.

     CAPT. R. C., _with gun raised_; MAYNARD C., _with hand on
     gun_; STUB L., _holding up fowl; others starting forward
     watching group_. TOM _has_ NAT _down in the loft with fist
     raised above him_. KITTY _kneels_ R. _of them, with her
     apron to her face_.

CURTAIN.



ACT II.--PAST REDEMPTION.


     _Exterior of_ MAYNARD'S _farm-house. House on_ R. _with
     porch covered with vines; fence running across stage at
     back, with gateway_ C., _backed by road and landscape_. L.
     C., _large tree, with bench running round its trunk; trees_
     L. _Time, sunset. Enter_ TOM _from_ L., _through gate, a
     bunch of flowers in his hand_.

TOM. The same old errand: chasing that will-o'-wisp, Kitty Corum,--she
who is known as the girl with two strings to her bow; who has one
hand for Tom Larcom and another for Nat Harlow, and no heart for
either. I'm the laughing-stock of the whole neighborhood; but misery
loves company, and Nat is in the same box. If she would only say No,
and have done with it, I believe I should be happy, especially if
Nat received the "No." She won't let either of us go. But she must.
To-night I'll speak for the last time; I'll pop. If she takes me,
well: if not, I'll pop off and leave the field to Nat. Luckily I found
out she was to help Mrs. Maynard to-day. Nat hasn't heard of it, and
no doubt he's trudging off to old Corum's. Here she comes. Lay there,
you beauties! (_Puts flowers on bench._) Kitty will know what that
means. (_Exit_ L. _Enter_ KITTY _from house_.)

KITTY. What a nice woman Mrs. Charity Goodall is, to be sure! so
graceful and sweet, not a bit like her big rough brother, John
Maynard. But then, she's learned the city ways. A widow, poor
thing--and not so poor, either; for her husband, when he died, left
her a consolation in the shape of a very handsome fortune. (_Sees
flowers._) I declare, somebody's attentions are really overpowering.
No matter where I am, either at home or abroad, when night comes I
always find a bunch of flowers placed in my way. Of course these
are for me: no one would think of offering flowers to Jessie. Poor
Jessie! 'tis eighteen months since Harry Maynard left home, and six
months since a line has been received from him. Ah, well! this comes
of having but one string to your bow. I manage matters differently.
(_Sits on bench. Enter_ NAT _from_ L., _through gate; steps behind
tree_.) Now, I really would like to know who is so attentive, so
loving, as to send me these pretty flowers.

NAT (_sticks his head round tree_, R.). And can't you guess, Kitty?

KITTY (_starting_). O Nat!

TOM (_sticks his head out from_ L. _Aside._) O Nat! indeed, you owe
Nat nothing for flowers. The mean sneak! (_Retires._)

NAT (_coming forward_). Now, this is what I call luck, Kitty. I heard
you were here, and I think I've taken the wind out of Tom Larcom's
sails to-night. No doubt he's tramping off to your house to find
nobody at home. Ha, ha! had him there. (TOM _creeps out, and gets
behind tree_.)

KITTY. And so I am indebted to you for all these pretty flowers.

NAT. Oh! never mind the posies, Kitty. I have something very serious
to say to you to-night. (_Sits beside her_ R.)

KITTY. Very, very serious, Nat?

NAT. As serious, Kitty, as though I were a prisoner at the bar waiting
my sentence.

TOM. Ah! in that case, there should be a full bench, Kitty. (_Comes
round and sits on bench_, L.)

NAT. The deuce! Tom Larcom, what brought you here?

TOM. I came to court; that is, to see justice done you.

NAT. You be hanged!

TOM. Thank you: let that be your fate; and I'll be transported. (_Puts
his arm round_ KITTY'S _neck_.)

KITTY. How dare you, Tom Larcom? (_Pushes off his arm._)

TOM. It's "neck or nothing" with me to-night, Kitty.

NAT. Tom, you are taking unfair advantage of me.

TOM. Am I? How about Kitty's posies, Nat, that I laid upon the bench?

KITTY. It's you, then, Tom.--O Nat! how could you?

NAT. I didn't: I only asked you a conundrum. All's fair in love.
What's a few flowers, any way? Why, Kitty, smile upon me, and you
shall have a garden.

TOM. Yes, a kitchen garden, with you as the central figure,--a
cabbage-head.

NAT. Kitty, you must listen to me. I have a serious question to ask
you.

TOM. So have I, Kitty.

KITTY. You too, Tom? A pair of serious questions! Shall I get out my
handkerchief?

NAT. Kitty, I have sought you for the last time.

TOM. Thank Heaven!

NAT. Perhaps--

TOM. O, Kitty, give him your blessing, and let him depart!

NAT. I am on the point of leaving--

TOM. Good-by, old fellow. You have our fondest wishes where'er you go.
"'Tis absence makes the heart grow fonder"--

NAT.--Of leaving my fate in your hands.

TOM. Oh, this is touching!

NAT. 'Tis now two years since I commenced paying attention to you.

KITTY. Stop, Nat. This is a serious business: let us be exact,--one
year and ten months.

TOM. Correct. I remember it from the circumstance that I had, about a
month before, singled you out as the object of my adoration.

NAT. "We met by chance."

TOM. "The usual way." Oh come, Nat, do be original!

NAT. I worshipped the very ground you trod on--

TOM. And I the shoes you trod in: that's one step higher.

NAT. From that time--

KITTY. One year and ten months.

NAT. From that time I have loved you sincerely, devotedly, and--

TOM. _Etcettery._ Same here, Kitty, with a dictionary thrown in.

NAT. You have become very, very dear to me, Kitty.

TOM. You are enshrined in this bosom, Kitty.

NAT. Without you, my life would be miserable--a desert.

TOM. And mine without you, Kitty, a Saharah.

NAT. I have waited long to gain your serious attention, to ask you to
be my wife. Now is the appointed time.

TOM (_takes out watch_). Fifteen minutes after seven: the very time I
appointed.

NAT. Let me hear my sentence.

TOM. Put me out of misery.

KITTY. This is indeed serious. Am I to understand that you have both
reached that point in courtship when a final answer is required?

NAT. That's exactly the point I have reached.

TOM. It's "going, going, gone" with me.

KITTY. You will both consider my answer final?

BOTH. We will.

KITTY. No quarrelling, no teasing, no appeal?

NAT. None. (_Aside._) I'm sure of her.

TOM. Never. (_Aside._) Nat's sacked, certain.

KITTY. Very well. Your attentions, Mr. Harlow, have been very
flattering,--your presents handsome.

NAT. Well, I'm not a bad-looking--

KITTY. I mean the presents you have bestowed upon me,--calicoes of
the latest patterns, sweetmeats in great varieties, which you, as a
shopkeeper, have presented me with.

TOM (_aside_). At old Gleason's expense.

KITTY. Of course I value them. But a girl wants the man she loves to
be a hero: to plunge into rivers to rescue drowning men, and all that
sort of thing.

TOM (_aside_). And Nat can't swim. That's hard on him.

KITTY. And you, Mr. Larcom, have been equally attentive. Your
gifts--the choicest fruits of your orchard, the beautiful flowers
nightly laid within my reach--all have a touching significance. Still,
as I said, a girl looks for something higher in the man she loves. He
must be bold--

NAT (_aside_). Tom's afraid of his own shadow. He's mittened.

KITTY. Rush into burning houses, stop runaway horses, rescue
distressed females; and I am very much afraid neither of my devoted
admirers can claim the title of hero. So, gentlemen, with many thanks
for your attentions, I say No.

NAT. No! That is for Tom.

TOM. No! You mean Nat.

KITTY. I mean both. (NAT _and_ TOM _look at her, then at each other,
then both rise and come front_.)

NAT. Tom.

TOM. Nat.

NAT. You've got the sack.

TOM. You've got the mitten.

NAT. She's a flirt.

TOM. A coquette.

NAT. I shall never speak to her again.

TOM. Henceforth she and I are strangers. (_They shake hands, then turn
and go up to her._)

BOTH. Kitty!

KITTY. Remember, no appeal. (_They look at her ruefully, then come
down._)

NAT. Tom, I bear you no ill-will. Are you going my way?

TOM. Nat, you are the best fellow in the world. I'm going in to see
John Maynard.

NAT. We shall be friends.

TOM. In despair, yes. (_They shake hands._ NAT _goes up to gate_, TOM
_goes to door_ R.)

NAT. Good-by, Kitty. I shall never see you again. I'm going across the
river. Should any accident happen, look kindly upon my remains. (_Goes
off_ L.)

TOM. Good-by, Kitty. I'm going in to borrow one of John Maynard's
razors; they are very sharp. Should I happen to cut any thing, don't
trouble yourself to call the doctor. (_Exit into house._)

KITTY. Ha, ha, ha! They'll never trouble me, never. They'll be back
before I can count ten. One, two, three, four, five--(NAT _appears_
L., _comes to gate_. TOM _comes from house: they see each other, turn
and run back_.) I knew it. The silly noodles! here they are again.
(_Enter_ JESSIE, _from house_.) Didn't I tell you my answer was final?
and here you are again.

JESSIE. Why, Kitty, are you dreaming?

KITTY (_jumping up_). Bless me, Jessie, is that you?

JESSIE. Have you seen Stub? has he returned from the office? Ah! here
he is. (_Enter_ STUB, L., _through gate, dejectedly_. JESSIE _runs up
to him_.) O Stub, have you brought no letter?

STUB. Jes none at all, Miss Jessie; dat ar' post-officer am jes got no
heart. I begged an' begged: no use. Squire Johnson, he got his arms
full, an' Miss Summer's a dozen. I tried to steal one, but he jes keep
his eye onto me all de time. No use, no use.

JESSIE. Oh! what can have become of him?

STUB. Dunno', Miss Jessie. He was jes de bes' feller, was Massa Harry;
an' now he's gone an' done somfin', I know he has. When de cap'n what
picked me up in ole Virginny, in de war,--when he was a-dying in de
horse-fiddle, says he to me, says he, Stub, I'm a-gwine; an' when
I's gone, you jes get up Norf. You'll find my brudder Harry up dar,
an' you jes stick as clus to him as you's stuck to me, an' you'll
find friends up dar. An' when it was all ober, here I come. An', Miss
Jessie, I lub Massa Harry almos' as much as I did de cap'n; an' I'd do
any ting for him an' you, who he lub so dearly.

JESSIE. I know you would, Stub. Heaven only knows when he will return
to us. If he comes not soon, my heart will break. (_Weeps; goes and
sits on bench._)

STUB. Pore little lamb! She wants a letter: she shall hab one too.
Massa Harry won't write: den, by golly, I'll jes make up a special
mail-train, an' go down dere to de city, an' fotch one. It's jes easy
'nuff to slip down dere, an' hunt Massa Harry up, an' I'll do it. Say
nuffin' to nobody, but slip off to-morrow mornin' an' hunt him up.
(_Exit_ R., I.E.)

KITTY (_comes down from gate_). Jessie, here's a surprise. Mr.
Thornton is coming up the road.

JESSIE (_springing up_). Mr. Thornton? Heaven be praised! News of
Harry at last! (_Runs up to gate, meets_ MR. THORNTON, _takes his
hand; they come down_.) O Mr. Thornton! Harry, what of Harry?

THORNTON. Miss Jessie, I am the bearer of bad tidings. Would it were
otherwise!

JESSIE. Is he dead? Speak: let me know the worst; I can bear it.

THORNTON. Be quiet, my child. He is not dead; better if he were, for
death covers all the evils of a life,--death wipes out all disgrace.

JESSIE. Disgrace? Oh, speak, Mr. Thornton! why is he silent? what
misfortune has befallen him?

THORNTON. The worst, Jessie. Perhaps I should hide his wretched story
from you; but I'm here to tell it to his friends, and you are the
dearest, the one who trusted him as none other can. Jessie, the man
you loved has been false to you, to all. He has abused the trust I
placed in him. He has become a spendthrift, a libertine, a gambler,
and a drunkard.

JESSIE. I will not believe it: 'tis false. Harry Maynard is too noble.
Mr. Thornton, you have been misled, or you are not his friend.

THORNTON. I was his friend till he betrayed and robbed me. I am his
friend no longer. Jessie, you must forget him; he will never return to
his old home, his first love. He has broken away from my influence: he
associates with the vilest of the vile, and glories in his shame.

JESSIE. Stop, stop! I cannot bear it.

THORNTON. Jessie, you know not how it pains me to tell you this; but
'tis better you know the worst. I have striven hard to make his path
smooth,--to make his way to fortune easy, for your sake, Jessie. For
I,--yes, Jessie, even in this dark hour I must say it,--I love you, as
he never could love.

JESSIE. You--love--me? You! Oh! this is blasphemy at such a time.

THORNTON. I could not help it, Jessie. (_Tries to take her hand._)

JESSIE. Do not touch me. I shall hate you. Leave me. O Harry, Harry!
are you lost to me forever? (_Staggers up and sits on bench._)

THORNTON (_aside_). I've broken the ice there. Rather rough; but
she'll get over it. Now for old Maynard. I'd sooner face a regiment;
but it must be done. (_Exit into house._)

KITTY (_comes down to_ JESSIE). O Jessie, this is terrible!

JESSIE. Don't speak to me, Kitty: leave me to myself. I know you mean
well, but the sound of your voice is terrible to me.

KITTY (_comes down_). Poor thing! Who would have believed that Harry
Maynard could turn out bad? I wish I could do something to help her.
I can, and I will too. Oh, here's Tom! (_Enter_ TOM _from house;
sees_ KITTY, _stops, then sticks his hat on one side; crosses to_ L.
_whistling_.)

KITTY. Tom!

TOM (_turns_). Eh! did you speak, Miss Corum?

KITTY. Yes, I did. Come here--quick--why don't you pay attention?

TOM. Didn't you forbid any further attention?

KITTY. Pshaw! no more of that! Do you remember what I told you my
husband must be?

TOM. Yes: a sort of salamander to rush into burning houses, an
amphibious animal to save people from drowning.

KITTY. Ahem! Tom, to save people: just so. Well, Tom, you can be that
hero, if you choose.

TOM. Me? How, pray?

KITTY. Harry Maynard has got into trouble in the city; he's a drunkard
and a gambler, and every thing that is bad.

TOM. You don't mean it!

KITTY. It's true. Now, he must be saved, brought back here, or Jessie
will die. Tom, go and find him, and when you come back, I'll sacrifice
myself.

TOM. Sacrifice yourself?

KITTY. Yes, marry you.

TOM. You will consider him found. O Kitty, Kitty,--but hold on a
minute. Have you given Nat Harlow a chance to be a hero?

KITTY. No, Tom: I'm serious now. Find Harry Maynard, and you shall be
my hero.

TOM. Hooray, Kitty: tell me all about it. I'll be off by the next
train. Come (_gives her his arm_), I can't keep still: I must keep
moving. (_Exeunt_ L.)

JESSIE. Lost! lost to me, and I loving him so dearly! You must forget
him! He said forget: it is impossible. He loved me so dearly, too,
before he left this house in search of fortune. No, no: I will not
give him up; there must be some way to save him. If I only knew how!
O Harry, Harry! why do you wander from the hearts that love you? Come
back, come back! (_Covers her face and weeps. Enter_ CHARITY GOODALL
_from_ R., _through gate_.)

CHARITY. Oh, this is delicious! I've climbed fences, torn my way
through bushes, and had the most delightful frolic with Farmer Chips's
little Chips on the hay, with nobody to check my fun and remind me
of the proprieties of life. Ha, ha, ha! How my rich neighbor, Mrs.
Goldfinch, would stare to see me enjoying myself in the country!
Little I care! I shall go back with a new lease of life, a harvest
of fresh country air, that will last me through the winter. (_Sees_
JESSIE.) Hey-day, child, what's the matter? (_Sits beside her._)

JESSIE (_flinging her arms round_ CHARITY'S _neck_). O Aunt Charity!
Harry, Harry--

CHARITY. Ah! the truant's heard from at last; and not the most
delightful tidings, judging by your tear-stained cheeks. Well, child,
tell me all about it.

JESSIE. He's lost to us. He has fallen into temptation; he's--

CHARITY. The old story. "A certain man went down unto Jericho, and
fell among thieves."

JESSIE. O Aunt Charity, how can you be so heartless!

CHARITY. Heartless, Jessie! You must not say that. You know not my
story. Listen to me. One I loved dearer than life was ingulfed in this
whirlpool. He was a brave, noble fellow, who took a poor country girl
from her home, and made her the mistress of a mansion, rich in comfort
and luxury. For years our life was one of happiness; and then a
friend, a false friend, Jessie, led him into temptation, with the base
hope of securing his riches by his ruin. The friend failed to acquire
the one, but wrought the other. He died ere he had become the wretched
sot he hoped to make him; died in my arms, loving and repentant. I
had his fortune, but my life was blighted. I refused to be comforted
until the wretchedness about me brought me to my senses. Then I sought
in work, strong, earnest work, consolation for my bereavement. With
his wealth, I sought out the wretched, the outcasts of society; gave
my aid to all good work, and so earned the title of a strong-minded
woman. 'Tis often spoken with a sneer, that title, Jessie; but they
who bear it have the world's good in their heart, thank Heaven for
them all! And so I go about doing all I can to relieve distress, the
surest solace for sorrow, Jessie; for there's nothing so cheering,
as relieving the wretchedness of others. So don't call me heartless,
Jessie.

JESSIE. O Aunt Charity, he was so good! he loved me so dearly!

CHARITY. And he has fallen. Who told you this?

JESSIE. His friend Mr. Thornton: he is here now, speaking with father.
O dear aunt! can nothing be done to save him?

CHARITY. Thornton? What Thornton? Speak, Jessie, who is he?

JESSIE. Here comes Mr. Thornton. I will not see him. He has spoken to
me of love,--his love for me, almost in the same breath in which he
told of Harry's ruin. Oh, let me go! I can not, will not meet him.
(_Runs off_ L.)

CHARITY. So, so: the friend of Harry makes love to his wife that is
to be, and his name is Thornton. I am curious to see this _friend_.
(_Enter_ THORNTON _from house_.)

THORNTON. That job's over. Now for Miss Jessie. (CHARITY _rises_.)
Charity Goodall!

CHARITY. Yes, Charity Goodall, widow of Mark Goodall, your friend,
Robert Thornton.

THORNTON (_aside_). What fiend sent her here to blast my well-laid
plans?

     (CAPT. BRAGG _appears_ R., _and leans on the fence. He is a
     little tipsy. No Toodles business_).

CHARITY. So, sir, you are the friend of my nephew, Harry Maynard? here
on a mission of mercy, to break gently to his sorrowing friends the
news of his downfall?

THORNTON. 'Tis true.

CHARITY. And to console his affianced wife with the proffer of your
affection.

THORNTON. 'Tis false!

CHARITY. It is the truth. I know you, Robert Thornton. Your work made
my life a burden. You robbed me of one I loved; and now you have wound
your coils about another victim.

THORNTON. You are mistaken: I sought to keep him from temptation; but
he was reckless, and forsook me.

CHARITY. Where is he now?

THORNTON. I know not; neither do I care. He robbed me; and, were he
found, I should give him up to justice.

CHARITY. Staunch friend indeed! He robbed you? I do not believe it.
I have cause to mistrust you. I never dreamed you were the friend of
Harry. But now I can see your wicked scheme. You have him in your
power, but beware! My mission is to save. (_Goes up_ R.)

THORNTON (_coming to_ L.). Too late, too late. I do not fear you.

MAYNARD (_outside_, R.). Say no more: I will not seek him. (_Enter
from house, followed by_ MRS. MAYNARD.)

MRS. MAYNARD. O John, don't say that! He is our only boy.

MAYNARD. He has disgraced the name of Maynard. I will not seek, I will
never allow him to cross my threshold. He went out a man: he shall
never return a brute. (_Enter_ CAPT. BRAGG, R., _through gate_.)

CAPT. Now, done yer say that, Maynard (hic). It's disgrace-ful to
drink. I mean to get full. I never got full. I can drink a gallon,
an' walk straight, I can (hic). But I'm a Bragg. I'm Cap'en Bragg of
the Horse Marines; no, the ill-ill-lus'rus Lawless Rangers, every
man--full--full--six-- Now look a' here, look a' me, if your son's
gone to the dogs, don't you give him up. Look a' me. I'm Bragg. I had
a son: you know him: went off twenty years ago. Do I give him up? Not
a bit of it (hic). He'll come back one of these days, rolling in his
carriage; I mean in wealth. But then, he's a Bragg. We can't all be
Braggs. Come, le's go down, and hunt him up. I know all the places.

MAYNARD. Not a step will I stir. (_Enter_ JESSIE, L.) He has made his
bed: let him sleep in it. He shall not disgrace my house with his
presence.

JESSIE (_runs to him, falls on her knees_). No, no, father: don't say
that. You will not cast him off. Think what a kind son he was: how he
loved us all. You will try to save him, father! Don't say you will
not; my heart will break.

MAYNARD. Jessie, you know not how low he has fallen. My son of whom I
was so proud! He has disgraced his home. Henceforth he is no longer
son of mine. I will not seek him. I have said it, Jessie, and John
Maynard never breaks his word.

JESSIE (_crosses to_ MR. THORNTON). O Mr. Thornton! you will seek him:
you will save him for my sake?

THORNTON. He is past redemption. 'Twere useless.

JESSIE. Then I will go in search of him.

MAYNARD. You, Jessie?

JESSIE. Yes, I. He saved me, when a babe, from the pitiless storm; now
I will seek him.

THORNTON. This is folly. He lurks with the vile and worthless, in dens
of filth and vice. Who will lead you there?

CHARITY (_comes down_ C.). I will.

JESSIE (_rises and runs into her arms_). O Aunt Charity!

CHARITY. Yes, I. When man shrinks from the work of salvation, let
woman take his place. Look up, child! Foul treachery has insnared
him. From the toils of the false friend, from the crafty arts of the
boldest of schemers, we will snatch him: from the depths of despair,
we will save him. Past redemption, Robert Thornton? False! While there
is life, there is hope!

     (CHARITY _with her arms about_ JESSIE, C.; THORNTON, L.;
     CAPT. BRAGG, L. C.; MAYNARD, R. C.; MRS. MAYNARD, R. TOM
     _and_ KITTY _come on_ R., _and stand behind fence, looking
     on, quietly_.)



ACT III.--CHARITY'S QUEST.


     SCENE.--_An elegant drinking-saloon. In flat_, R. _and_
     L., _arched doorways, with steps leading up and off_ R.
     _and_ L.; _between these a mirrored door, closed, opening
     to_ L., _and showing; when open, steps leading up over
     archway_, L. _Over arch the flat is painted on gauze for
     illumination. Three steps leading up to door_, C., _being
     a part of the steps that lead off_ R. _and_ L.; _the whole
     flat handsomely gilded. Bar running up and down stage_,
     R.; _behind bar, a handsome side-board, with decanters,
     glasses, and the usual paraphernalia of a bar-room. Table_,
     L. C., _with two chairs_; L. _of table a lounge, on which_
     TOM LARCOM _is stretched, apparently asleep_. THORNTON R.,
     _and_ MURDOCK L. _of table, seated, bottle and glasses
     before them_. DALEY _behind bar, and two gentlemen, well
     dressed, standing before it, drinking. After_ THORNTON
     _speaks they exit_ R., _up steps_.

MURDOCK. Thornton, you have a princely way of doing things, and the
luck of the evil one himself.

THORNTON. Shrewdness, old fellow. I'm an old hand at this sort of
business, and glitter and dash go a long way in sharpening the
appetites of one's customers.

MURDOCK. There's something more than glitter about this wine.

THORNTON. The wine is good, and costly too. Of course, I do not set
this before everybody, or the profits would hardly come up to my
expectation. I never throw pearls before swine. Home-made wares pay
the best profit.

MURDOCK. Ah! you do a little in the way of doctoring?

THORNTON. A great deal, Murdock. I have a very good dispensary close
at hand, and Maynard has made himself decidedly useful in that branch.

MURDOCK. Maynard? is that miserable sot of any use to you now?

THORNTON. Oh, yes! I alone can control him. Poor devil! he's breaking
up fast. It's a pity such a likely young fellow could not let rum
alone; but he would drink, and will until the end comes. 'Twill not be
long.

MURDOCK. Where do you keep him? I've not seen him about to-night.

THORNTON. Close by, but out of sight. Some of his friends, a few
months ago, made a demonstration towards his rescue from the pit into
which he had fallen. I believe they are now searching high and low for
him.

MURDOCK. An idle task, while he is in your clutches.

THORNTON. You're right, Murdock: he stood between me and the dearest
wish of my life. Meddling fools thwarted me in that; and now, from
sheer revenge, I'll hold him from them all.

MURDOCK. I'd rather have you for a friend than an enemy. (_Rising._)
Good-night. I must look after my own humble quarters. Ah! if I could
only have your dash!

THORNTON. There's money in it, Murdock. (_Rises._)

MURDOCK. I believe you: good-night.

THORNTON. Good-night: drop in again. (MURDOCK _goes up and off_ R.,
_up steps_.) Daley, who's that on the lounge?

DALEY (_comes from behind bar_). I don't know him: he dropped in an
hour ago, took a drink, and rolled on to the lounge.

THORNTON. Well, rouse him up, and get him out: that don't look
respectable. (_Goes behind bar, and looks about._)

DALEY (_goes to_ TOM, _and shakes him_). Come, friend, rouse up.
(_Another shake._) Do you hear? rouse up!

TOM (_slowly rises and looks at him_). Rouse up? wha's that (hic)? No,
le's fill up; that's besser (hic).

DALEY (_shaking him_). Well, get up; you're in the way.

TOM (_sitting up, and looking at him_). Say, wha's (hic) yer name?

DALEY. My name's Daley.

TOM. Daily (hic) what? Times? Oh, I know: you're a (hic) newsboy
(hic), you are. Don't want no papers. (_Attempts to lie down again._)

DALEY. Come, come, this won't do. Get up, I say!

TOM. I always take (hic) my breakfast in bed.

DALEY. You'll take yourself out of this! (_Gets him on to his feet._)

TOM. Wh- (hic) what you say, Mister Times? Say (hic), le's drink!

DALEY. No: it's time you were home.

TOM. Home (hic)? wha's that? Fools a (hic) to this? (_Staggers across,
and clutches bar._) I'm goin' t'stay (hic) here forever and always
(hic), forever.

THORNTON. Oh, get him out, Daley!

TOM. Yes, get me out, Daily, for (hic) exercise. Take the air (hic).
Air's good; le's have some sugar (hic) in mine. (_Gets down_, R.;
_aside, sobered_.) So he's here,--Maynard is here. I've run the fox to
earth at last. (_As before._) Fetch on the drinks, D-Daily (hic) and a
little oftener.

DALEY. Here's your hat; come. This way, this way. (_Leads him up to
steps_, R.)

TOM (_at steps, turns round_). Hole on a minute, D-Dai- (hic) ly;
give us your hand, D-Daily. I'll be back soon (hic), an' we'll never
(hic), never (hic) part any more (hic). Good mornin', D-D-aily (hic),
good-morn. (_Exit up steps._ THORNTON _comes down to table_, L.;
DALEY _takes bottles and glasses from table and goes behind bar. Two
gentlemen enter_, R., _drink, and go off_.)

THORNTON (_sits at table_). The luck of the evil one! Murdock is but
half right. The loss of that girl is a stroke of ill-fortune that
imbitters all my prosperity. Get your supper, Daley; I'll look after
the bar. (DALEY _exits_, R., _up steps_.) But for the interference of
Charity Goodall, she would have been mine. They have not found the
missing Maynard yet. I have him safe: he cannot escape me. (_Soft
music. The mirrored door, between entrances in flats, slowly opens,
and_ HARRY MAYNARD, _shrinking and trembling, with feeble steps, comes
down, closing the door behind him. He creeps down to_ THORNTON'S
_chair_.)

HARRY. Thornton, Thornton!

THORNTON (_turns with a start_). You here?

HARRY (_trembling_). Yes, yes; don't be fierce, don't. It is so dark
and dismal up there! and the rats--oh, such rats!--glare at me from
their holes. I couldn't stay. Don't send me back: I'll be very quiet.
I'm sober too. Not a drop for two days: not a drop.

THORNTON. What's the matter with you now?

HARRY. Oh! nothing, nothing: only I wanted to be sociable (_tries to
smile_),--as sociable as you and I were in the old times.

THORNTON. Sociable! you and I! Bah! you're shaking like an aspen. What
friendship can there be between me and a miserable sot like you?

HARRY. Yes, I know I'm not the man I used to be: I know it. Oh, the
thought of that other life I lived once, tortures me almost to madness!

THORNTON. Well, why don't you go back to it?

HARRY. Back? back to that old home among the hills from which I came,
full of lusty manhood? Back to the old man who looked upon me with all
a father's pride? the dear mother whose darling I was? the fair, young
girl whose heart I broke? Back there, with tottering steps, a pitiful
wreck, to die upon the threshold of the dear old home? No, no: not
that, not that!

THORNTON. Then be quiet. You have brought ruin upon yourself: you
can't complain of me.

HARRY. No, I don't complain. It was a fair picture of fame and fortune
you laid before me; and when I found the _honorable_ mercantile
business, in which you had amassed wealth, was work like this, I
should have turned back.

THORNTON. I told you to keep a clear head and a steady hand; to
_sell_, not poison yourself with my liquid wares.

HARRY. Yet you placed pleasures before me that turned my head, and--

THORNTON. They never turned mine. You were a fool, and fell.

HARRY. Ay, a fool! Yes, your fool, Robert Thornton. I quaffed the ruby
wine, I flung myself into every indulgence, because you led me. I must
keep a cool head and a steady hand, with fire in my veins! I feel
I am condemned. Of my own free will, I flung away a life. I do not
complain; but, when we stand before the last tribunal, Heaven be the
judge if your hands are unstained with my life-blood, Robert Thornton.

THORNTON. Enough of this: back to your den.

HARRY. No, no, Thornton, not there! I will be quiet, silent; but do
not, in mercy, do not drive me back there!

THORNTON. Poor devil! Well, stay here: look after the bar until Daley
returns. (_Aside, going_ L.) He can't resist: he'll make a dive for
the brandy, and forget. Two days without it: I should not have
allowed that. (_Exit_ L., I.E.)

HARRY. Stay here! No, no, he has given me a chance for freedom. The
doors are open: a dash, and I am free. Free for what? To die in the
gutter. I could drag myself no farther; and who would look with
compassion on such a ragged, bloated wretch as I? No, no: I have sold
myself, body and soul, to this accursed life. (_Staggers to bar._) Let
me get at the brandy; that, at least, will bring freedom,--freedom
from this maddening thirst, these horrible fears that drive me mad.
(_Staggers behind bar._) Ah, here, here! (_Seizes decanter._) The balm
for bitter memories. Stop, stop! That vision in the night,--Jessie,
with her warning finger: and the old melody I loved so well rang in
my ears. I vowed I'd drink no more, though I should die of madness.
(_Buries his face in his arms upon the bar. Enter_ R., _down steps_,
CAPT. BRAGG.)

CAPT. Found a new place. (_Looking about._)
Superb--gorgeous--dazzling! Here's juiciness! Just my idea of a
palace. The man who figured this place no doubt believes his plan
original. Absurd! I planned it years ago. Bragg's plan stolen! Fact,
by jingo! (_Raps on bar._) Come, young man, business, business. (HARRY
_raises his head_: BRAGG _staggers back_.) Harry Maynard, or I'm no
Bragg! (_Comes to bar, and offers his hand._) Harry, young fellow, how
are you? (HARRY _falls back, and glares at him_.) Don't know me, hey?
Why, I'm Bragg, Capt. Bragg, your distinguished townsman; Bragg of the
Rangers; every man a sharpshooter, and their commander--well, modesty
forbids my mentioning him in fitting panegyrics. Why, how you stare!
You don't look well.

HARRY. I don't know you.

CAPT. Won't do, my boy, won't do. You may be able to bluff common
folks, but I'm Bragg; Bragg of the judicial brow, Bragg of the
penetrating eye: it's a keen one, and, when I fixed that detective's
orb upon you, I said, There's my man! Why, they've fitted out an
exploring party for the purpose of hunting you up,--Mrs. Charity
Goodall, Jessie, Tom Larcom, and that black imp Stub. They've scoured
the city in vain. They didn't ask my help, and I am the keen-eyed
volunteer that never misses his mark. I have found you. Oh, here's
glory, for Bragg's outwitted 'em all! I knew I should: Bragg never
fails, never; and now I've got you, you can't escape me. Come, come,
don't glare like a madman. What will I have? Brandy, of course!
(HARRY _sets decanter and glass before him_.) They made a mistake:
when there's any detective business to be done, call a Bragg. He can
see farther and run faster than the sharpest of 'em. Fact, by jingo.
(_Pours liquor into glass._) Ah, that's my style! (_Raises glass._)
Here's to the glorious Rangers, Bragg's own!

HARRY (_excitedly_). Stop! don't drink that. See, there's a snake
twisting and turning about in the glass. Stop, or you are a dead man!

CAPT. (_sets down glass, and staggers back_). Jersey lightning!

HARRY (_glaring_). See, it's raising its head,--it will strike deep
and sure: and there's another, and another. Look, they are crawling
about the decanter: now they drop upon the bar: they are upon you:
tear them off, tear them off! They strike and kill, strike and kill!

CAPT. He's raving mad. I wish I was well out of this.

HARRY. Thicker and thicker, faster and faster, they come upon the bar.
See them glare at me! Back, back! (_Dashes his hands upon bar._) Ah,
they coil about my arms. Away, away! (_Attempts to tear them off._)
They crawl about me: they are at my throat. Help, help, help! (_Runs
into_ C., _and falls upon floor_.)

CAPT. He's got 'em bad. (_Runs to entrance_, R.) Fight 'em, young man,
fight 'em: it's your only chance. I guess I won't drink: can't stop.
(_Runs up and off_, R.)

HARRY (_raises his head_). Gone, gone at last with him. I've driven
them off again; but they will come again. What's that? (_Glares into
corner_, L.) Rats again: fierce and big! how they look at me! Away!
Gleaming teeth and eyes of fire! Away, I say! I cannot drive them
back. They swarm about me: they're at my legs. (_Tears them off._)
Devils, I'll fight you all! Closer and closer! (_Gets to his feet._)
They're making for my throat: away, I say! (_Tears them from his
breast._) I cannot, cannot. Now they're at my throat! (_Hands at his
throat._) Off, devils; off, I say! Help, help! oh, help! (_Falls
quivering upon the stage. Enter_ THORNTON, L.)

THORNTON. What's this, Maynard? Maynard, I say! (_Drags him to his
feet._)

HARRY (_clinging to_ THORNTON). Don't let them get at me: there's a
thousand of them thirsting for my life. Save me from them!

THORNTON. Oh, you've been dreaming! you're all right now. Come, get to
bed: you'll sleep it off. Up above you're safe enough. (_Drags him up
stage._)

HARRY. Not there, not there, Thornton. Don't thrust me into that hole
to-night. They're up there, lurking in corners, waiting to eat me.
Don't, Thornton, don't!

THORNTON (_struggling with him_). Fool, do as I bid you! (_Throws open
mirrored door._ STUB _comes down steps_, L., _and watches them_.)

HARRY. Not to-night, Thornton, not to-night! (THORNTON _pushes him in,
closes door, and locks it_. STUB _comes down softly, and sits_ L. _of
table_.)

THORNTON. He's safe there. I shouldn't wonder if this night rid me of
him.

STUB (_aside_). Shouldn't wonder a bit. (_Raps on table._) Here,
bar-keeper, innholder, porter, bootblack, somebody or anybody, am a
genblem gwine to wait all night? am he, say, somebody?

THORNTON. Hallo! who are you?

STUB. Hallo, yourself: a genblem widout extinction ob color. Hop beer
and peppermint for one. Be libely, be libely!

THORNTON. We don't serve niggers here.

STUB. Wh-wh-what dat? Wha's yer ignorance? wha's yer ignorance? Take,
keer, take keer: five hundred dollars fine! Cibil rights bill: dat's
me. You can't fool dis yer citizen widout extinction ob color: no,
sir. (_Raps on table._) Ginger ale and sassaparilla for one. Be libely!

THORNTON. Take yourself off: you cannot be served here.

STUB. Take keer, take keer; don't elebate my choler: don't rouse de
slumbrin' African lion; ef yer does, down goes de whole hippodrome.
Don't cibil rights bill say, don't he, ebery citizen, widout
extinction ob color, am entitled to all de privileges ob trabel,--de
smokeolotive, steamboat, and--and horse cars: an' to be taken in to
all de inns, an' giben all de freedom,--free lunch, free drinks, an'
five hundred dollars out ob de pocket ob any man dat says, Dry up?
Dat's de law, mind yer eye. (_Raps on table._) Soda and sassafras. Be
libely, be libely!

THORNTON (_takes a revolver from his pocket_). Will you have my pocket
flask?

STUB. O Lor! (_Slides under table._) Dat ain't de kind: put 'im up,
put 'im up! Ain't dry: guess I won't drink.

THORNTON. Out of this, or you'll get a taste of civil rights that will
teach you better manners.

STUB. I's gwine: don't want no manners. (_Creeps out, and goes up
stage. Enter_ CHARITY GOODALL, R., _down steps, enveloped in a
waterproof cloak: she comes down_ C.)

THORNTON. What want you here? Who are you?

CHARITY (_extending her hand_). Charity.

THORNTON (_turning to table, and laying down pistol_). Away: you'll
get nothing here!

CHARITY (_throws off cloak_). Don't be too sure of that, Robert
Thornton.

THORNTON (_turns quickly_). Charity Goodall! (STUB _comes down softly,
takes pistol, goes up, crosses stage, and hides behind bar_.) I beg
your pardon, Mrs. Goodall. This is indeed a surprise!

CHARITY. And yet you have been expecting me; dreading the hour when
you and I should meet face to face.

THORNTON. This is hardly the place for a woman who would guard her
good name from scandal.

CHARITY. You forget I am a woman above suspicion: that I have won a
good name, by daring to enter such dens as yours, on errands of mercy.

THORNTON. Ah! indeed! what errand of mercy brings the saintly Charity
Goodall into my humble saloon?

CHARITY. Ah, you confess ownership! The spider of the gilded web!
You, who, under the guise of a gentleman, lured my husband from an
honorable life: you, who, with flattering promises of honorable
wealth, tricked a brave lad to his ruin. Your humble saloon! You
sneer, and yet you tremble. Confess all: confess you are a villain and
a cheat!

THORNTON. I will not listen to you. Be warned in time: at any moment,
a rude throng may burst upon you. You are liable to insult from which
I could not protect you.

CHARITY. Fear not for me: my mission is my protection. Alone, I have
walked into the worst dens, without fear, without insult. With the
most abandoned, no hand is raised against one who comes to rescue and
deliver. Robert Thornton, listen to me: day and night I have sought,
with ready helpers, Harry Maynard. To-night I have tracked him here.

THORNTON. Here?

CHARITY. Ay, here! You threw me from the scent with your story of his
utter degradation. I never dreamed the silly fly was ensnared in the
gilded web. Give him back to the friends who mourn for him, and, spite
my wrongs, all shall be forgotten.

THORNTON. You ask too much: you see he is not here. You have been
misinformed: for once the shrewd angel of mercy has been deceived.

CHARITY. Indeed! Perhaps another may be more successful--Jessie!
(_Enter from_ R., _hurriedly_, JESSIE.)

JESSIE. Have you found him? Speak! in mercy, speak!

CHARITY (_putting her arm about_ JESSIE). Be calm, my child: there is
the man who holds him in his power,--Robert Thornton.

JESSIE. Mr. Thornton? No, no, it cannot be! (_Falls on her knees
to him._) If you know where he is, if you can give him back to his
father, to me, I will bless you.

THORNTON. You are mistaken, Jessie; I cannot give him back. You know
how much I loved him. Think you, if it were in my power, I would
refuse the request of the only woman I truly loved?

JESSIE. Oh, this is mockery! (_Rises, and goes to_ CHARITY, _who folds
her in her arms_.)

CHARITY. Poor child, your prayers are vain: that man is pitiless!

THORNTON. I told you you had been deceived. Was I not right? You
tracked him here, and yet you cannot find him. See how your well-laid
plan has failed!

CHARITY. No; for I have one resource left, one taught me by the noble
women of the West. You fear for my good name: do you fear for those
who come to my aid with the song he loved? Pray heaven it reach the
prisoner's ear! (_Raises her hand. Chorus outside_:--

    "In the sweet by and by,
    We will meet on that beautiful shore," &c.

_Enter, singing, from_ R. _and_ L. _down steps, filling the steps, a
chorus of women, well dressed, in light costumes; they stop upon the
steps_.)

HARRY (_above when the song ceases._) Help, help! save, oh, save me!

JESSIE. His voice, Harry's voice! (_Kneels to_ THORNTON.) Man, now, if
you have a spark of pity, lead me to him!

CHARITY. Robert Thornton, be merciful!

THORNTON. You plead in vain: he is beyond your reach.

STUB (_rising, behind bar_). Dat's a lie, dat's a lie! (_Runs up to
door_, C., _and throws it open_.) Quick, Miss Jessie: he's up dar. Go
fur him, go fur him! (_Steps_ L.)

JESSIE. O Harry, Harry! (_Runs up steps, and exits through door._)

THORNTON. Curse that fool: you must not enter there! (_Goes towards
door._ CHARITY _runs up, closes door, and stands with back to it_.)

CHARITY. Back! you shall not enter here.

THORNTON. Woman, stand back: who shall prevent me? (STUB _steps
before_ CHARITY, _and presents pistol to_ THORNTON.)

STUB. Cibil rights bill: dat's me. (TOM _runs in from_ R. _steps, and
seizes_ THORNTON'S _arms, binding them back_.)

TOM. Ha, ha! shrewdness, old fellow!

     (_Lime light thrown on from_ L., _above archway, showing_
     MAYNARD _extended on a low couch, resting on his right arm:
     dark pants, white shirt_. JESSIE _has her arm about him,
     supporting him_).

JESSIE. Harry, my own Harry, found at last!

HARRY. Jessie, Jessie, thank Heaven for this! (_Chorus_:

    "In the sweet by and by," &c.

_Repeated. Slow curtain._)



ACT IV.--THANKSGIVING AT THE OLD HOME.


     SCENE.--_Interior of_ JOHN MAYNARD'S _house. In flat_, R.
     C., _bow-window, backed by road and trees, white with snow;
     snow falling; door_ L. _Open fire-place_, R., _with bright
     fire; beside it, a high-backed seat for two; bureau between
     door and window, in flat. Mantle over the fire-place,
     with dried grasses in vases, clock, and other ornaments.
     Arm-chair_ L.; _chair back of that. Door_ R. U. E.; _door_
     L., _2d entrance_. MRS. MAYNARD _discovered at window,
     looking out_.

MRS. MAYNARD. The snow comes faster and faster. It's time Stub was
back from the depot with Charity. Ah, 'twill be a dull Thanksgiving
for us this year: not like the old times when we had Charley, Harry,
and Jessie, to make us all merry. Dear me! time does break up
households. (_Enter_ JOHN _from door_ L.)

JOHN. I've put him on Harry's bed, mother. I expect you'll scold when
you see your white counterpane muddied by his boots, for I couldn't
get him beneath it. Poor devil! I fear 'twill be his deathbed. I'd
about made up my mind that I'd never give another tramp shelter;
but he looked so bad, I hadn't the heart to turn him away (_sits on
bench_) when I thought, mother, that our poor boy might have come in
the same way.

MRS. MAYNARD (_comes down_). That's so like you, John! Is he very bad?

JOHN. Yes: broken down with hunger and drink. He begged hard for a
little brandy. It was well I had none, for 'twould have been cruel to
refuse him, and I would die ere I touched the curse, the cause of so
much misery to us.

MRS. MAYNARD. Ah, John, all that's over.

JOHN. Yes, mother, we must hope for the best. He was saved, thanks to
Charity: but still I fear for him. 'Twill be a day to remember, when
we have him back.

MRS. MAYNARD. A long, long year since Charity found him, and no word
or sign from our loved one.

JOHN. Ah, mother, I like that: I was uncharitable,--I, who have been
so bitter against others who turned their faces from the fallen. But
I'm proud of _him_. "Tell father," he said to Charity, "tell him I
will never cross his threshold till I can return as I went,--a man."
That's so like a Maynard! that's the true grit: I like that.

MRS. MAYNARD. And Charity will give us no news of him.

JOHN. No: she shakes her head. "Give him time, give him time:" but
she smiles when she says it; and, when Charity smiles, you can depend
upon it all's going well. We must trust her, mother. So we have two
more faces in the fire, Harry's and Jessie's. (_Sleigh-bells heard
without._) Ah! there she is, there she is! (_Goes to window._) No,
it's Tom and Kitty with the baby. Why, mother, they've brought the
baby: here's a surprise for you.

TOM (_outside_). Whoa, I tell you! Give me the baby, Kitty: that's all
right. Now come along, come along. (_Enters door in flat, with a baby
well bundled in his arms._)

JOHN. Tom, glad to see you: this is hearty. Come to the fire; and,
Kitty, give us a smack. (_Kisses_ KITTY.)

TOM. Hallo! easy there; but I suppose it's all right.

JOHN. Right? of course 'tis. Now give me the baby.

TOM. To serve in the same style? No, I thank you; it's a tenderer bit
than Kitty.

KITTY. Tom, don't be silly!

MRS. MAYNARD. I'll take him, Tom, the little darling. (_Takes baby._)

TOM (_reluctantly giving it up_). Certainly, only handle him gently:
I'm terribly anxious.

MRS. MAYNARD (_sits on settle._ JOHN _helps_ KITTY _off with her
things_). Oh, you little beauty!

TOM (_leans on mantle, back, and watches her_). The picture of his
daddy: that's what they all say. Is his nose all right? Ain't much of
it, but, if the frost got at it, good-by nose. Take care! Oh, Lord, I
thought you had dropped him. Hey, Johnny, look up: he's a smart one
for a three-months' older. Hadn't I better take him?

KITTY. Tom, do you suppose Mrs. Maynard don't know how to handle a
baby?

TOM. Well, I don't know, Kitty; they break awful easy. You just keep
your eye on him until I put up the horse. (_Going; returns._) Does he
look all right, Mrs. Maynard?

MRS. MAYNARD. Right! don't you see he's wide awake?

TOM. Yes: but hadn't he ought to be asleep?

KITTY. Tom, do go and put up your horse. I never saw such a goose;
when he's awake, you think he should be asleep, and when he's asleep
you want to wake him.

TOM. Parental anxiety. You see, Mrs. Maynard, this is something new to
me.

KITTY. Well, isn't it new to all of us? Do go along!

TOM. I'm off. (_Exit door in flat._)

KITTY. Such a plague!

JOHN. Ah, Kitty, not satisfied! You regret not having taken the other,
Nat Harlow.

KITTY. No, indeed. Tom's the best husband in the world. I've not heard
a cross word from him the whole year since we've been married; but he
does make such a fuss about baby! Sha'n't I take him, Mrs. Maynard?

JOHN. Oh, ho! somebody else makes a fuss too. (_Sleigh-bells heard._)
Ah, here's Charity at last.

CHARITY (_outside_). Drive to the barn, Stub; I'll jump out. (_Enters
door in flat._) Here I am, you dear old John. (_Shakes hands, and
kisses_ JOHN.)

JOHN. Welcome, Charity; a thousand times welcome!

CHARITY. I knew you'd be glad to see me. (_Runs to_ MRS. MAYNARD, _and
kisses her_.) You dear, dear old Hannah!

MRS. MAYNARD. Ah, Charity, you always bring sunlight with you.

CHARITY. A baby! bless me! Oh! it's yours, Kitty. That for you
(_kisses her_), and this for the baby. (_Kisses baby._)

KITTY. Young as ever, Mrs. Goodall. Come, Mrs. Maynard, let me carry
the baby off to bed. Don't move: I know the way. (_Takes baby, and
exits_ R. U. E.)

JOHN. Now, Charity, our boy--

MRS. MAYNARD. Yes, Harry! What news?

CHARITY. Dear me! do let me get my things off. (_Removes cloak and
hat._ MRS. MAYNARD _takes them, and carries them off_ R. U. E. CHARITY
_sits, and looks into fire_.) What a glorious blaze! (JOHN _leans on
back of bench_.) Ah, John, I've often envied you your quiet evenings
here, with this for company; often seen you and Hannah sitting here
together, taking so much comfort. (_Enter_ MRS. MAYNARD, R. U. E.,
_and leans on bench, between_ CHARITY _and the fire_.)

MRS. MAYNARD. O Charity! tell us of our boy.

JOHN. Yes, yes, Charity, be merciful: what of him?

CHARITY (_rises and comes_ L.). Oh, do be patient! I've a strange
fancy to see how you look there in the old seat. Come, take your
places, and tell me what you see there. (JOHN _sits with_ MRS. MAYNARD
_on bench, she next the fire; he takes her hand_.) That's nice. (_Goes
to back of bench._) Now, tell me, what see you there? (_Enter_ STUB,
_door in flat, excitedly_.)

STUB. I've put 'em up, Miss Charity, an'--an'--

CHARITY. Silence, Stub! (_He comes down_ L.)

STUB (_aside_). Dat's de quarest woman eber I see: ben in de house
five minutes, an' not tole de news.

CHARITY. Well, John, I'm waiting.

JOHN. There, Charity, is my picture-gallery of old memories, that both
sadden and cheer waiting and aching hearts. What do I see? (_Looking
into fire._) The face of my brave soldier boy: the face that has
glowed upon us in its noble manhood for many, many years.

CHARITY. The face of a hero, John: there are no bitter memories there.
He died bravely: passed into the better life with the grand army of
martyrs, crowned with glory.

STUB. Yas indeed, dead an' gone, Massa Cap'n: God bless him! Miss
Charity, am you gwine to tell--

CHARITY. Be silent! (STUB _goes_ L., _shaking his head_.)

STUB. I shall bust it out: I can't help it.

CHARITY. Well, brother John.

JOHN. Another, a younger face. Now I see it with the glow of health
upon the cheeks, the eye bright and laughing, as I have seen it come
and go before me in the old days. And now--'tis pale and haggard: the
eyes are bloodshot. O Charity, the face that has haunted my sleep! I
have tried to shut it out; but it comes before me with a look full of
reproach. Oh had I but been merciful, all this might not have been!

CHARITY. And yet that, too, is the face of a hero.

STUB. Oh! why don't she tell 'em?

CHARITY. Go on, John: look once more.

JOHN. Once more: the face of a fair, bright girl, who won her way to
my heart. I never knew how much I loved, until I lost her. She left
me, nobly left me: I had no right to stay her. Will she come back,
Charity? will she?

STUB. Why, don't you know--

CHARITY. Silence, Stub! Now, brother John, let me tell you what I
see there. I see the face of that same brave, true girl, in all its
beauty: the girl who forsook home and friends, with the brave wish
in her heart to save her lover from destruction. I see her gladly
embracing a life of hard, grinding poverty, cheering the fainting
spirit of a broken man, guarding and guiding him through the dark
valley of remorse, until he stands alone, strong, resolute, determined.

JOHN. Jessie, our Jessie: well, well, go on.

CHARITY. I see her with the rich glow of health again mantling her
cheeks: I hear the ringing laugh of the happy girl again: I see her
returning to her father's house (_enter_ JESSIE, _door in flat_), a
proud, true, happy wife!

JESSIE (_running down to_ JOHN). Here, here again: dear, dear father!

JOHN (_rising, and taking her in his arms_). Jessie, my darling, a
thousand and a thousand times welcome!

JESSIE. Dear, dear mother, your child has returned to you.

MRS. MAYNARD (_takes her in her arms_). O Jessie, Jessie, welcome! do
you come alone?

CHARITY. Be patient! sit you down and listen. (_They sit again_,
JESSIE _kneeling between_ MRS. MAYNARD _and the fire_.)

STUB. Wh-wh-what all dis mean? Ain't you gwine--

CHARITY. Silence, Stub! I see another face,--the face of the young
man who went forth to fight the battle of temptation. I see him
struggling: I see friends around him: I see one with a true, loving
heart, clinging to him through good and evil report: see him fighting
valiantly in the distant West: see the freshness of renewed life in
his ruddy cheek, until, his foe beneath his feet, he comes back to his
old home. (_Enter_ HARRY, _door in flat_.)

JOHN (_rushing down_ R.). I see it all, Charity: my boy has come home.
Where, oh, where is he?

HARRY. Here, father, here.

JOHN (_turns_). O Harry, Harry! my dear, dear boy! (_Rushing into his
arms._)

STUB. Hi, golly! dat's de ticket, dat's de ticket!

HARRY. Mother, have you no word for the truant?

MRS. MAYNARD (_embracing him_). My heart is too full, Harry! (HARRY,
C.; MRS. MAYNARD, R. C.; JESSIE, R.; MR. MAYNARD, L. C.; CHARITY, L.;
STUB, _extreme_ L.)

HARRY. Mother, father, of the bitter past--

JOHN. We'll not hear a word, Harry. We have you safe again: let the
sorrows of the past be forgotten in the joy of the present. Mother,
look at him! what a frame, what a face! Hang me, if I don't believe
all this has been a joke!

HARRY. Nay, father, in remembering the trials we have passed, we gain
new hope for the future. I am a free man, with a home of my own; rich
Western lands own me as master; but I owe all to the dear girl who
loved me,--the brave, noble woman who befriended me. Come here, little
wife: let my parents see that the child they adopted is now theirs by
right. (JESSIE _goes to him_.)

JESSIE. Yes, father, we ran away and were married: will you forgive us?

JOHN. Forgive you, puss? it was Harry's salvation! (_Enter_ TOM, _door
in flat_.)

TOM. There, the horse is all right: now for the baby. Bless my soul,
where's the baby? (_Enter_ KITTY, R. U. E.)

KITTY. Asleep, Tom; don't make such a noise!

TOM. Asleep! he'll die of starvation. Here! (_Takes nursing-bottle
from his pocket._) I forgot to leave his luncheon.

KITTY (_snatching bottle_). Tom, I'm ashamed of you, before all these
folks! (_They go up. Enter_ CAPT. BRAGG, _door in flat_.)

CAPT. Ah, Maynard, how are you? I just dropped in as I was going by.
Why, bless my soul! Harry Maynard, as fresh as a buttercup! Why, how
are you? and Jessie too! Well, this is glorious! (_Shakes hands._)
John, old friend, you're a lucky dog! I thought the boy was about
gone, the last time I saw him; but he's come round all right. Ah!
I always told you to keep up a stout heart! Look at me: I'm nearly
seventy: my boy has been gone twenty years; but I know he'll come
back,--come back a hero, or a millionnaire: he couldn't help it! he's
a Bragg. He'll come back!

THORNTON (_outside_, L.). Away! away, you cannot reach me: I defy
you, I defy you! (_Rushes in_ L., _and falls prostrate at_ BRAGG'S
_feet_.)

CAPT. (_shrinking back_). Hallo, what's this?

HARRY (_runs to_ THORNTON, _and raises his head_). Merciful Heavens,
'tis Thornton!

ALL. Thornton!

THORNTON (_feebly_). Who said Thornton? What, Maynard! Maynard, you
here?

HARRY. O Thornton! has it come to this?

THORNTON. Yes, Maynard, I'm down: down deeper than I had you. There's
no hope! Only a year, only a year! I was cheated. I, who thought
myself so shrewd and keen, in one night lost all, and took to drink.
Oh, it's glorious to drown all trouble in the flowing bowl! Ha, ha!
but it gets you at last: it has me. I have begged, cheated, stolen,
for a single draught. Give me a drink: a drop of brandy, only a drop
to cool my burning throat!

HARRY. You ask this of me, whom you so bitterly wronged?

THORNTON. Yes, I did wrong you; but I loved that girl as I loved but
one other! Maynard, Maynard, hear me! this one woman I wronged: she
haunts me: she was my wife. I forsook her, cast her off. She came from
your native town. Her name--her name was--Alice Clarke.

JOHN. Alice Clarke--Jessie's mother!

THORNTON. Jessie's mother! No, no; don't tell me that: don't make me a
greater villain than I know myself to be.

JOHN. She died beneath my roof, giving her child to my keeping.

JESSIE. He is my father: stand back! Harry, my place is here!
(_Kneels, and supports him._)

THORNTON (_looks in her face_). And I pursued you with a sinful love:
brought _him_ down to the very gates of death.

JESSIE. All is forgotten, all forgiven, father.

THORNTON. Take her away, take her away: I can't bear her touch!
(_Crawls down stage._) Her eyes glare at me! There's the look of her
dead mother in them. Oh, spare me, spare me!

HARRY. O Thornton, Thornton, this is terrible!

THORNTON. Thornton! you're wrong. Call me by my rightful name: you
must have heard it,--William Bragg.

JOHN. William Bragg?

CAPT. No, no; it cannot be! You, you my Bill? Curse you: you stole
that name! That was my boy's,--a handsome, noble fellow!

THORNTON. I am your son!

CAPT. It's a lie: you're a miserable wretch! Think you a Bragg would
come home in such a plight? I'll not believe it. (_Looks at him, then
sinks on his knees, covers his face._) It's false! I can not, will not
believe it.

THORNTON. You must, you do, old man. You might have made me a better
man; but you nursed my vanity, and--well, well, it's all over now.
I've dug my grave: let me rest in peace.

CAPT. (_rising to his feet_). No, no peace for you: you have disgraced
my name. Die, die like a dog! Why did you come back here to ruin me,
to drag me down from my position, to make me a by-word and a scorn
among my neighbors? Why didn't you die in the gutters of your infamous
city? But here, here! Die, but take my--

CHARITY (_puts her hand on his shoulder_). Pause ere you speak. He is
dying; he has sinned: leave his punishment to a higher Power. Here,
where our hearts are warm with gratitude for a blessed deliverance,
curse not, but forgive as we all hope to be forgiven!

     TABLEAU.--_With her left hand on his shoulder_, BRAGG
     _slowly sinks to his knees; her other hand is pointed
     up_. THORNTON _feebly raises his head, and follows her
     hand_. HARRY _sits in chair_, L., _with his arm about_
     JESSIE, _who kneels at his side, looking at_ THORNTON; STUB
     _extreme_ L. JOHN MAYNARD _with his wife stand_ R., _2d
     entrance_; KITTY _on bench_; TOM _leaning on back of bench,
     looking at_ THORNTON. _Slow curtain; music_:--

    "In the sweet by and by," &c.


       *       *       *       *       *


Transcriber's Notes

Retained author's use of lowercase words at the beginning of some
sentences.





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