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Title: Retained for the Defence - A Farce, in One Act
Author: Oxenford, John
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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_A Farce,_





_Twice Killed, A Day Well Spent, A Family Failing, Dice of Death,
Only a Halfpenny, Reigning Favourite, Rape of the Lock,
My Fellow Clerk, I and My Double, A Quiet Day, No Followers,
What have I done? Porter's Knot, &c. &c._

(_Opposite Southampton Street, Covent Garden Market_),


_First performed at the Royal Olympic Theatre,
on Monday, May 23rd, 1859._



MR. WHITEWASH                 MR. G. VINING.

MR. FERGUSON                  MR. H. COOPER.

THWAITES                      MR. H. WIGAN.

PAWKINS                       MR. F. ROBSON.


_Guests, &c._

_Time of Representation_--45 MINUTES.

PERIOD--_Present Day_.


DE WINDSOR--Blue coat with metal buttons, white vest, black trousers.

WHITEWASH--Modern evening suit.


THWAITES--Blue dress coat, white vest, black trousers, Berlin gloves.

PAWKINS--Long-tailed dress coat, colored vest, black trousers; hat and

AGATHA--Rich pink silk ball dress.

GUESTS--Evening dresses.


SCENE--_A Drawing Room fitted up for an evening party--to the left a
card table--doors, C. and L._

_THWAITES, who has finished lighting candles in chandelier at back,
C., steps back to survey the effect._

THWAITES. Now, that's what I call the real thing--the clean grit. The
position of that bokey (_bouquet_) is such, that none but the purest
taste could conceive,--those camellias, chastity itself. A fine
combination! Cutting the turnips and carrots to make ornaments for the
cold tongue; chusing the bokies at Covent Garden Market; mildly
tempering the brilliant light of wax and gas with the soothing hue of
flowers. I have brought all my arts to bear upon this sworry. The
party who is a greengrocer in the morning, is the only perfect waiter
in the evening.

_Enter AGATHA, C._

AGATHA. (L.) So, Thwaites, the room appears quite ready?

THWAITES. (R.) Yes, Miss Agatha; without exaggeration I may venture to
say, we are lit up.

AGATHA. My father has not returned?

THWAITES. No, Miss Agatha, he has not--since he left the house at two
in the afternoon--I haven't the slightest notion where he is gone.

AGATHA. Indeed! (_laughing--sits, L. C._)

THWAITES. No--though I did my best to ascertain;--"Are you going far,
sir?" says I. He stares, and he makes me no answer. "Shall you be
long, sir?" says I. He stares again, and again he makes no answer.
"Because sir," says I, "there's the party this evening!" "I know that,
better than you do," says he, "for I shall have to pay for it!"--just
like him, Miss Agatha--ha, ha, ha!

AGATHA. (_aside--vexed_) Really, 'pa must have a regular footman;
these tradespeople whom he engages as occasional waiters don't
understand subordination a bit.

THWAITES. I hope you admire the bokies, Miss Agatha; them camellias
are quite the thing, I flatter myself;--all my taste--ha! ha! You'll
be called to-morrow the Lady of the Camellias!

AGATHA. Most offensive! (_rises, and turns aside_)

THWAITES. Now, I thought I had said something very pretty--but she
don't look pleased.

AGATHA. No one has arrived, of course?

THWAITES. On the contrary, Miss Agatha--I'm sorry to differ from you,
but I rather think one has arrived, and is coffee-ing in the back
parlor;--here he is, too!

_Enter WHITEWASH, C. from L. C., and down, C._

Mr. Whitewash, as I'm alive!--No occasion to announce you, sir.

WHITE (C.). Ah, my dear Miss De Windsor, excuse me if I stopped a
minute to refresh myself with a _demitasse_ of your choice Mocha
instead of flying up stairs; but you see, a cause in which I was
retained came on late, and I was obliged to exert myself a good
deal--abnormally--if I may use the expression;--in short I was
regularly knocked up.

AGATHA. Don't think of apologies--as it is you are the first in the
room. So you have had another brief to-day--I hope you have been

WHITE. One of my most brilliant triumphs! I actually outshone myself!
(_THWAITES listens_) A rascal had stolen a watch from a gentleman's
pocket, and hid it!--ha, ha, ha!--in his umbrella.

THWAITES. Watch in an umbrella--come, that's not bad!--ho, ho, ho!

WHITE. Eh? (_looks half offended--then continues without noticing
THWAITES_) There is not the slightest doubt that the scoundrel was
guilty; indeed he had such a face that innocence would have been a
positive fraud upon nature--but, ha, ha, ha! I got him off--I got him
off!--a weeping jury declared that he was not guilty.

AGATHA. Capital!

THWAITES. Which it is capital!--just like you, sir.

WHITE. (_draws AGATHA aside_) I say--this person--rather familiar.

AGATHA. Yes, I know--I'm quite annoyed. He's our greengrocer. 'Pa
jokes with him in the morning when he buys the vegetables, and now
he's come to wait in the evening, he don't understand his position at

WHITE. I think I'll take the liberty of dropping a hint. I say,

THWAITES. Thwaites, at your service, sir. Cards ain't common in our
business; but my address is----

WHITE. Of your address, Mr. Thwaites, I have not the slightest doubt.
But I would speak a word with you.

THWAITES. And I'll listen if you talk for an hour. If I take up the
newspaper, is it to read about politics? No! About plays?--No, I
should rather think not! About pictures? bother, no! I look to see if
Mr. Whitewash has been saying something for some poor devil in the
Central Criminal Court. That's my intellectual treat!

WHITE. (_flattered_) Indeed! ha! ha! Really, my dear Miss de Windsor
we should do wrong to check this diffusion of intelligence among the

_Enter DE WINDSOR, C. from L. C._

DE W. He is here--is he--the dear boy. I must shake him by the hand.
(_rushes forward, R. C. and grasps THWAITES by the hand_) Eh! ha! ha!
You're not Whitewash! Ridiculous! I'm always making myself ridiculous;
I've too much heart. You feel what I mean, Whitewash. (_shakes his
hand violently_) You feel what I mean.

WHITE. (L. C.) Most acutely! (_wringing his hand_)

DE W. I'm so glad you are here before the others. Leave the room,
Thwaites. (_THWAITES lingers, moving at back to C._) I can now
disburden my heart. As I said, I'm all heart. (_THWAITES advances,
C._) Leave the room, Thwaites! (_THWAITES goes up, and moves chair
from R. to C._) This moment is the most important--Zounds! Thwaites,
will you leave the room?

THWAITES. (_aside, going up, C._) That's the man of money. Give me the
man of mind!

_Exit, C., off, L._

DE W. (_coming to C._) Now look, I hesitate no longer; I shilly-shally
no longer; I follow the dictates of my heart, and my heart tells me
to--Come here, Whitewash--come here, Aggy. (_joins their hands_)
Whitewash, consider yourself as my son-in-law.

AGATHA. Really, this is very sudden, 'pa.

DE W. Of course it is; I'm always sudden, I'm a creature of impulse.
But do you dislike the arrangement?

AGATHA. I did not say that, 'pa.

DE W. Didn't say that, 'pa! Then why don't you speak out? Wear your
mind in your face, as I do, or as my young friend here, with whom I
want to speak a few words in private. So, go and see how they are
getting on with the coffee.

WHITE. (R.) And don't forget, that you are engaged to me for the first
set, and the Polka, and the Lancers.

DE W. Of course, she won't forget. Run along child.

_Exit, AGATHA, C., off, L._

Now, I can give vent to my feelings; Whitewash, you've done it. I was
long making up my mind, but now, you've done it. You are one of the
men I like. (_shakes his hand violently--they sit_)

WHITE. My dear sir, I'm most happy. (_wringing his hand_)

DE W. Of course you are. Look you, it's only now that I like you; this
very morning I weighed your merits with those of Tom Tango of the
Stock Exchange, who you know has a sneaking kindness for my girl, and
the balance was considerably in Tom's favour. He's a better looking
fellow than you, and his conversation is more agreeable. Then, what's
a lawyer? said I, a creature all brains and no heart? no heart, sir!
But now, I'm changed, my views are more enlarged--more expansive--I
have been----

WHITE. Dining out?

DE W. No, I have been in the Central Criminal Court, during the cause,
"The Queen _v._ Pawkins."

WHITE. Ah, I see! and you heard my speech for the defence. It was not
bad, was it?

DE W. It was noble--it was glorious. While I looked upon that poor man
in the dock, and I heard you enunciate his virtues and expatiate on
the largeness of his small family, he assumed in my eyes the sanctity
of a martyr.

WHITE. You don't say so?

DE W. Perhaps you noticed that among the persons in the court one wept
aloud--very loud?

WHITE. I did. The policeman turned him out, I believe.

DE W. True--ahem! Some such brutal occurrence did take place; I was
the man that wept, sir, you were the man that made me weep; you
touched my heart, sir, you touched my heart.

WHITE. (_aside_) Really, a most sensible old gentleman!

DE W. Lingering at the door, I learned that the prisoner was
acquitted. So I walked home, and I said to myself--Whitewash is my
destined son-in-law. I as a manufacturer of fancy soap remove physical
impurities from the skin; Whitewash effaces the blots that calumny has
cast upon innocence.

WHITE. Innocence!

DE W. Of course; no one knows better than you that that poor
persecuted being was innocence itself.

WHITE. (_coolly_) Oh, yes--yes.

DE W. What delight you must have felt in restoring him to his weeping
wife, and those five small children!

WHITE. Wife! children! Oh! ah! I believe I did use the expression.

DE W. But there's a further pleasure in store for you. You know I
always follow the dictates of my heart. Well--well, my heart told me
that society owed that poor persecuted being a reparation, and was
bound to declare that he had not forfeited his social position. In a
word, sir, I've invited him to my ball this evening.

WHITE. (_rises_) Here? To your house? A fellow with the taint of the
dock fresh upon him!

DE W. A taint that he did not merit--a taint that you have so nobly
removed. (_rises_)

WHITE. (_aside_) Oh, this is an old fool!

_Enter AGATHA, C., and down, L._

AGATHA. (L.) Oh, papa, they are nearly all assembled in the other

DE W. (C.) Come along then--come along, that I may introduce you as my
son-in-law. Come, defender of persecuted innocence!

WHITE. (_to AGATHA_) Mind the first set--the Lancers--the----

DE W. Come along. (_taking his arm_)

_Exeunt DE WINDSOR and WHITEWASH, C. off L._

AGATHA. (_looking about_) Very foolish of my aunt not to fasten her
bracelet better. It can't be here;--I don't believe she has been in
this room. Tut, tut! (_goes up, R._)

_Enter THWAITES, L. D. 2 E._

THWAITES. (_announcing_) Mr. Pawkins!

_Enter PAWKINS, L. D. 2 E., he bows on all sides as if the room were
full of company. Exit THWAITES, L._

PAWKINS. Why, I'm blessed if there's a soul here!--it's werry
inconsistent bowing to two strings of nobody. (_suddenly sees AGATHA,
R._) Oh, I beg pardon, miss;--perhaps you may think it's like my
impedence, but is the gov'ner in?

AGATHA. The--the--governor?

PAWKINS. Yes, the gov'ner here; not my gov'ner--no, bless you, he's
been under hatches long ago. I want Mr.--I've got his letter
somewhere--Mr.--he's something in the fancy soap line.

AGATHA. Oh, my papa--Mr. De Windsor.

PAWKINS. Him's it! So he's your papa, is he? Well then, I say you do
him credit: I say it afore your face, and I wouldn't mind saying it
behind your back.

AGATHA. (_aside_) A singularly vulgar person! but 'pa does pick up
such strange friends in the City.

PAWKINS. Before we go any further I should like to settle one pint:
I've picked up this here gimcrack thing on the staircase. (_producing
bracelet from his coat pocket_)

AGATHA. (_R., catches it from his hand_) My aunt's bracelet! My dear
sir, a thousand--thousand thanks!

_Exit AGATHA, C._

PAWKINS. A thousand, thousand thanks!--my dear sir, too! Uncommon
pretty behaved young person!--a child will take a deal of whipping
afore it gets up to that pint of good manners. A shilling slipped in
one's hand would have given a finishing touch to the compliment; but
one can't have it all one's own way; then her pretty smile were worth
more nor a shilling a precious sight. Ah, bless her heart! she'd ha'
know'd fast enough that the man who picks up bracelets, and gives them
to the right owner, ain't exactly the sort of article as prigs

_Re-enter DE WINDSOR, C., and down, L._

DE W. (L.) Really a charming scene! most exhilarating! (_sees PAWKINS,
R._) Eh! why, he's here at last! Pawkins, the persecuted! (_shakes his
hand violently_) My dear sir, I'm delighted to see you.

PAWKINS. (_wringing his hand_) Thank you; but draw it a little mild.

DE W. (L.) Mr. Pawkins, you are one of the men I like.

PAWKINS. Same to you, sir. You are Mr. De--de--fancy soap line, sir?

DE W. De Windsor.

PAWKINS. Well then, sir, two minutes ago I told the young 'oman she
was a credit to you, and now I don't mind telling you you're a credit
to the young 'oman.

DE W. (_aside_) Somewhat coarse; but frank and genial.

PAWKINS. You've sent me a sort o' note, sir, as the saying is, asking
me to come here; but it strikes me there's some mistake.

DE W. Not in the least, Mr. Pawkins, not in the least. Take a seat.

PAWKINS. (_sits, R. after putting down umbrella, R._) That's all right
then. At all events I've brought the tongs in my pocket.

DE W. The tongs?--rather a singular proceeding!--and the shovel?

PAWKINS. No; get out with you--I mean the curling irons.

DE W. (_coldly_) I--I begin to comprehend; Mr. Pawkins, you are a

PAWKINS. No; that's where you put your foot in it. I ain't a regular
hair-dresser for a nobby concern like this. I cuts a little in the
common way, but I am chiefly in the easy shaving line.

DE W. I understand, you keep a hair-cutting saloon frequented by
gentlemen only.

PAWKINS. I calls it a shop, sir, but if you calls it a s'loon it's
werry kind on you, and I'm much obliged, and if you calls my customers
gen'leman, they ought to be werry much obliged to you too.

DE W. (_aside_) Ha! I wish he had been a little higher in the social
scale--but no matter. His wrongs have been extraordinary, society owes
him an extraordinary reparation. Mr. Pawkins, I trust Mrs. Pawkins and
the children are quite well?

PAWKINS. Mrs. Pawkins and the children--ha, ha, ha! Them's as well as
can be expected.

DE W. I see--a recent increase to the family.

PAWKINS. Recent gammon! Why there ain't no Mrs. Pawkins--there ain't
even a young un.

DE W. Bless me! (_aside_) I'm sure Whitewash talked about small

_WHITEWASH runs in C. from L._

WHITE. Mr. De Windsor, sir--(_aside_) Egad! the rascal's in full
confab. Sir----(_pushes himself between PAWKINS and DE WINDSOR, C._)

PAWKINS. (R.) Why, I'm blest if here ain't my professional gen'leman!

DE W. (L.) Ah, sir, Mr. Whitewash is your true friend.

PAWKINS. No mistake about that! No, Mr. Whitewash, I'm a poor man, but
if there's any way of shewing my gratitude----

WHITE. (_whispers_) There's an exceedingly cheap way. Make some excuse
and take yourself off as fast as your legs can carry you.

PAWKINS. Ah, he is indeed a friend! (_crosses to C._) Look here, Mr.
De----what's your name? There I stud reading the bill of the Royal
Victoria Theatre--something about Will Watch, the Bold Smuggler, when,
as if it was done o' purpose, some one smuggles a watch into my

WHITE. Yes, yes, we know all about that, the story is exceedingly
plausible, and I have told it already, much better than you can, in
the presence of this gentleman.

PAWKINS. They lugs me about--they takes me off against my will.

WHITE. Well, then, now indulge in the free exercise of your will, by
taking yourself off.

(_some of the COMPANY pass across at back of C. doors, from L. to R._)

PAWKINS. Stop a bit! though I mostly sticks to the easy shaving line,
I've a mind as can soar to the higher branches. That 'ere head of hair
is uncommon well got up, the one with the pearls, I mean. Just allow
me to have a look, gov'ner, I'll be back in a twinkling.

_Exit, C., and off, R._

DE W. (L.) Exuberant--unsophisticated creature!

WHITE. Oh, perfectly unsophisticated! I only wish he had not fixed on
the only head dress in the room that gives a notion of positive value?
No, no, I must not hesitate any longer. Look here, my dear, sir, you
are a man of heart--I may say, a noble creature--and it's one of the
specific weaknesses of noble creatures, to fancy everybody else as
noble as themselves. Now, suppose this favourite of yours, this
Pawkins, were really a little light fingered; suppose the dazzling
brilliancy of one of your table spoons caused him to forget the
distinction between _meum_ and _tuum_. Under these painful
circumstances, what would you say?

DE W. I should say that you were the most lying humbug I ever clapped
eyes on.

WHITE. Heyday! Why?

DE W. Why, didn't you stand up before the judge and jury, and bellow
out your belief in that man's immaculate virtue. Did you not clap your
hand on your heart, and declare that our country might be proud of
such a citizen; and St. Giles's in the Fields proud of such a
parishioner? Did not you cause me to blubber aloud, till I was turned
ignominiously out of court, as a charity boy is kicked out by a
beadle? And am I to understand that all that rhodomontade, followed by
that expulsion, was for the sake of a pickpocket? Abominable!

WHITE. But surely, you understand, my dear sir, that when one speaks

DE W. Sir, no one has business to tell lies, professionally or not; a
man should always speak what he thinks. I follow the dictates of my
heart, and I always speak what I think; my heart is in my heart, and
my heart is in my mouth.

WHITE. What a complicated piece of anatomy you must be.

DE W. I say, my heart is in my mouth.

WHITE. Then I wish you would swallow it, and say no more about it.

DE W. Yes, I dare say you think that a very good joke, but what I am
going to tell you is no joke. If Pawkins is a thief, you shan't have
my daughter, and Tango shall.

WHITE. Monstrous!

DE W. Not at all, I give you my girl because I regard you as a noble
defender of persecuted innocence; but if persecuted innocence turns
out to be a low pilfering scoundrel, I naturally retract.

WHITE. But, my dear, sir, the doctrine you so strangely maintain is
diametrically opposed to the very principles of British jurisprudence.
It is one of the high privileges of our blessed country, and of
several others, that even the vilest and meanest criminal is allowed a
professional defender in the courts of justice.

DE W. Sir, it is one of the high privileges of our blessed country,
and of several others, that a man need not give away his daughter
where he don't like.

WHITE. But, sir, by virtue of my profession I am positively bound

DE W. Well, I don't say you're not. But an honest man, sir, should
have nothing to do with clients that don't come into court with clean

WHITE. My dear Mr. De Windsor, borrow a little wisdom from your own
business. If everybody had clean hands, what would become of the soap

DE W. Go, go, and defend every pickpocket, forger, coiner,
housebreaker, in London. I don't want to hinder you, I only say that I
won't give my daughter to a man who makes respectable people blubber
till they are shoved out of court, on purpose to defeat the ends of

WHITE. Then, sir, I suppose, because he furthers the ends of justice,
you would give your daughter to the hangman.

DE W. (_puzzled_) Ahem! I shall not condescend to answer an argument
so obviously sophistical. I only repeat what I said before. If Pawkins
is a thief you sha'n't have my daughter.

WHITE. (_aside_) Reason is wasted on this old blockhead! I must try
another tack. (_aloud_) Ah, you have passed nobly through the ordeal.
Just to sound you I hinted at the remote possibility of Pawkins'
guilt, but he is in point of fact, as we both know, innocent as the
babe unborn. Did not the jury say so? However, ta, ta! for the
present, sir. (_aside_) I must look out, egad! I was only retained as
the rascal's counsel, but I find I am his bail.

_Exit, C., off L._

DE W. I'm sure he spoke of five small children! No; decidedly this
legal morality won't suit me. No, no--no barrister for me--decidedly a

_Enter THWAITES, C., from R._

THWAITES. Please, sir, the parties which is in t'other room can't get
on without you.

DE W. I'm coming! Bull and bears have the day!

_Exit, C., and off, R., followed by THWAITES._

_Re-enter WHITEWASH, dragging PAWKINS by the collar, from L. C._

PAWKINS. (L.) Come now, I say, draw it mild! You'll spile my best
coat; I only took it out a purpose to come here.

WHITE. (R.) Pawkins, we are alone--Pawkins, as your professional
adviser, you are bound to tell me everything. Pawkins, when you came
here, what was your intention?

PAWKINS. Why, I com'd here in the hope of doing something in the way
of business.

WHITE. Business, indeed! Why, there were all the streets of London
open to your ingenuity, and you must pick out the residence of my
father-in-law. (_takes stage to R._)

PAWKINS. (_following him up_) Well, I didn't know it was your
father-in-law--and if it is, what's the hodds? This 'ere Mr.--summat
in the fancy soap line, sends me a hinwite, and so I comes with the
tongs in my pocket--well, it turns out he don't want the tongs, but
he's taken a likin' to me. That arn't no fault o' mine is it? I never
tries to be extra agreeable. (_returns to C. of stage_)

WHITE. (_aside_) Perhaps the miserable wretch has commenced already.
What have you been doing with yourself?

PAWKINS. Why, I've been a looking at them silver gimcracks on the
sideboard, and I says to myself--my eyes! if one of them five
thingumbobs as don't seem no use here belonged to me----

WHITE. (_aside_) Unhappy train of thought! Allow me for a
moment----(_puts his hand in the tail pocket of PAWKINS'S coat_)

PAWKINS. What are you about?

WHITE. Professional! professional!

PAWKINS. Well, I always heerd you lawyers was tidy uns for putting
your hands in people's pockets.

WHITE. (_pulls out tongs_) What's this? a spoon!

PAWKINS. You're a spoon yourself! It's the tongs.

WHITE. For a wonder he speaks the truth. Now mark, I'm your
professional adviser, and I advise you to be off as soon as you can.

PAWKINS. Well, I don't mind; I've seen all there is to be seen, and it
arn't half so good as skittles. Between you and I, the gov'ner here
seems to have laid out a precious sight of money for werry little fun.

_Enter DE WINDSOR, R. C., and down, L._

WHITE. (R.) Go, cut short your moral reflections, and go! (_pushing
PAWKINS towards C._)

DE W. Why, Mr. Pawkins, what's the cause of this singular hurry?

PAWKINS. (_returns to C._) Well, I don't know; you see, I felt I was
somehow in the way like. Nobody says nuffin to me, and I say nuffin to

WHITE. (R.) Besides, an affair of the most pressing importance.

DE W. Very pressing, indeed! Humbug! You'll stop supper, my dear Mr.

PAWKINS. (C.) Oh, well, if there's anything in the way o' wittles a
coming, that alters the view of the case.

DE W. The supper will be served in silver plate,--in silver--in

PAWKINS. What, real silver? like that out there? Don't bother
yourself, gov'ner, I'll stop.

DE W. (_aside_) Ha! ha! I've tickled my trout!

WHITE. (_aside, R._) The old gent is playing against me, that's

_Re-enter THWAITES, C., with a tray of ices._

DE W. (L.) Thwaites!

THWAITES. (_coming down L. C._) At your service, sir.

(_THWAITES hands tray to PAWKINS, who first takes an ice, then a
spoon, and eats during the following scene_)

DE W. (_drawing THWAITES aside, L._) You observe that person?

THWAITES. Yes, sir: I don't think him much 'count, sir.

DE W. If that man steals anything, you shall have a couple of


DE W. Spread out the plate as much as you can, give him every

WHITE. (_R., beckons THWAITES to him, at back_) Here, waiter!

THWAITES. (_going to WHITEWASH at back, R. C._) Yes, sir!

WHITE. If that fellow with the ice leaves the house without stealing
anything, there's a five pound note for you. (_to THWAITES_)

(_DE WINDSOR walks round and round PAWKINS, with handkerchief dangling
from his pocket, during dialogue_)

THWAITES. The deuce!

WHITE. And do your best to keep the plate as much out of his reach as

THWAITES. Can't be done, sir; can't be done. Gov'ner orders the

PAWKINS. I can't make him out!

WHITE. Here, Pawkins, my good fellow, how do you like your ice?

PAWKINS. First rate! Beats the penny un's all to shivers!

WHITE. Ha! ha! But now you have finished it, you have no occasion for
the spoon. (_takes it_)

(_THWAITES on the other side takes empty glass from PAWKINS, and exit

PAWKINS. I can't make him out!

WHITE. (_aside_) I'll stick to him like a leech!

_Enter AGATHA, C. from L. and down R._

AGATHA. (R.) Mr. Whitewash, have you forgotten your engagement, the
first quadrille? Oh, fie! fie! they are waiting!

WHITE. (R. C.) I'm sure I beg a thousand pardons, but you see just at
this moment----(_pockets the spoon_)

PAWKINS. I can't make any on 'em out!

WHITE. (_whispers PAWKINS_) If so much as a salt-spoon is missing you
are a dead man!

_Exeunt WHITEWASH and AGATHA, C., off L._

PAWKINS. (R. C.) I say, gov'ner, about our young friend here; when
he's on the spree like, as he is now, don't you think he's a bit
cranky? Do you think all's right here? (_touching his head_) If I
behaved like that to my young woman, wouldn't there be a row neither.

DE W. (_aside_) Ha! the card table! A trap I didn't think of! I say,
Mr. Pawkins, have you any objection to a hand at cards?

PAWKINS. Not a bit on it.

DE W. Of course you play ecarté?

PAWKINS. Of course I don't; I never heerd on it.

DE W. Well--cribbage?

PAWKINS. I knows nuffin of cribbage.

DE W. Picquet?


DE W. Picquet?

PAWKINS. Pick hay? I knows nuffin about pick hay; I was werry nigh
being sent to pick oakum!

DE W. Well, what shall we play? Suppose we cut for a shilling a game.

PAWKINS. A shilling! Come! I was thinking of a fourpenny bit; but
there's nothing like pluck. I say, I hopes you keeps your temper when
you loses, for I give you fair warning, I shan't let you go till I've
got something out of you.

DE W. Affected candour! but it won't do.

(_they go up to table, L.--DE WINDSOR takes cards out of drawers of
table and they sit--DE WINDSOR, L. and PAWKINS, R., and they begin
cutting cards--staking money as they play._

PAWKINS. Well, you are a going it, you are--(_plays again--aside_)
Gov'ner can't be coming the old soldier! Oh, it's a do and no mistake!
I must have a eye on this old bird.

_Enter WHITEWASH, C. from L._

WHITE. Thank heaven I'm free again! What! cards! the devil! (_steals
up to table, and whispers to PAWKINS_) Lose!


WHITE. (R.) Lose, I say.

PAWKINS. (C.) Hang it. I have!

DE W. (_sees WHITEWASH--aside_) Oh! I see, the rascal's had his cue.

PAWKINS. There, I shan't play any more; you've got your three bob, and
if ever you catch me at it again, it'll do you good. (_rises and goes
forward--aside to WHITEWASH_) One good turn deserves another, I'll
give you an 'int. Don't let the old gov'ner there get you down to
cards, he's a downy 'un, he is!

DE W. Let me see. (_rings money on table_) No! nothing wrong! I have
not caught him yet!

_Enter THWAITES, C. from L., announcing._

THWAITES. (C.) Mr. Ferguson.

_Enter FERGUSON, C. from L., DE WINDSOR goes up to C. door to meet

PAWKINS. It's a gent as knows more about me than I want. (_goes across
to R. for umbrella_)

WHITE. (R. C.) Ah! the owner of some stray pocket handkerchief! Make a
rush at the door!

PAWKINS. (_crosses to L. D._) Bolted, by jingo!

WHITE. This last stroke will finish me!

DE W. (_coming down, R. C._) Allow me, my dear, Mr. Ferguson, to
introduce you to my intended son-in-law.

FERGUS. (_down R._) Sir, allow me to congwatulate you on your vewy
interwesting position.

DE W. Mr. Whitewash, sir, is one of the brightest ornaments of the
legal profession, and this gentleman is one of his most ornamental

FERGUS. Vewy much delighted. (_bowing to PAWKINS_) Heyday! Here is
certainly a party who has taken me by surpwise.

DE W. What do you mean?

FERGUS. I mean that a certain party, a fwiend of mine, found that
party (_pointing to PAWKINS_) in his cupboard, at thwee o'clock in the

DE W. (R. C.) All right! You are quite sure of your man?

FERGUS. (R.) Oh, perfectly! (_aside_) Seeing that the fwiend was
myself. (_goes up a little_)

DE W. (_rubs his hands_) Capital! capital! Tango wins the day!

WHITE. (_seated, L. C._) Father-in-law looks pleased--that's unlucky.

DE W. Come here, my orator! come here, my Cicero! I've a bit of news
for you;--Tango will have my daughter--ha, ha, ha! (_pokes WHITEWASH
in the ribs_)

WHITE. (L. C.) What, sir! you, a man of heart, who have given your
word to me----

DE W. Yes, if Pawkins turned out all right; but he don't--he don't--he
don't--ha, ha, ha!

WHITE. Mr. De Windsor, allow me to remark, that an innocent man's
character is not to be impugned without sufficient ground. Come here,
Pawkins. (_whispers to him, "Brazen it out"_) Pawkins, a malignant
slanderer says you are fishy, but you ain't, are you?

PAWKINS. (L.) Not as I am aware on.

DE W. Then, most respectable Mr. Pawkins, what were you doing in a
certain cupboard at three o'clock in the morning?

WHITE. Ha! the case is desperate, and a desperate effort must be made.

_AGATHA and several GUESTS enter from L. C., and form an AUDIENCE, R._

Listen, all parties present.

DE W. (R. C.) Well, talk away, and make the best of it.

WHITE. Look at the face of this worthy man. Pawkins, get into the
dock! (_places him on chair, L., and turns another chair round to lean
on, &c._) Examine every lineament.

PAWKINS. (_on chair, L._) Come, come, you do make one look such a

WHITE. (L. C.) Believe me, this excellent man is one of those rare
natures that are seldom to be found. Ask the independent electors of
Marylebone, whom they would place in the van.

PAWKINS. I've been in the wan!

WHITE. Whom they would place in the van as the staunchest champion of
their interests. They will answer Pawkins! Ask the poor----(_takes
tongs from his own pocket_)

PAWKINS. Them's my tongs!

WHITE. (_throws them on table_) Ask the poor--the suffering poor--whom
they regard as their kindest benefactor. They will answer--Pawkins.
(_aside to him_) Cry!

PAWKINS. I can't! I say, ain't you pitching it raither too strong!

WHITE. They say we were found in a cupboard at three o'clock in the
morning. Well, we admit the trivial fact, we were in the cupboard.

PAWKINS. No, no, no!

WHITE. Though we have every high virtue, we are still but human; we
have hearts not altogether unsusceptible to female beauty. (_FERGUSON
comes forward, R., in great agitation_) Do you now persist in asking
why we were in the cupboard? Well, then, we were there for the sake of
one of the fair sex.

FERGUS. But, sir, there is a husband----

PAWKINS. Now he's done it!

WHITE. A husband! Do you call that a husband? As Mr. Justice Blesswell
remarked in the great divorce case of Martyr _v._ Bangwife--such a
wretch is not worthy the name of a husband. A man who indulges in
large potations--comes home at little hours--and is limited in his
notions of crinoline! (_bangs chair during speech, then turns it and

PAWKINS. He'll smash that ere chair!

FERGUS. But, sir, I'm the husband----

WHITE. (_rises and goes to PAWKINS_) That's awkward!

PAWKINS. Yes; it is awkward!

WHITE. But we won't flinch! Mr. De Windsor, I must say your society is
not the most select. (_pulls chair from under PAWKINS_)

FERGUS. (_crossing to L., and collaring PAWKINS_) And now, you
villain--you destwoyer of my domestic peace--what have you to say for

PAWKINS. Why, I cannot say nuffing, while you goes on choking me like
that! (_FERGUSON lets go_) That's better! Well, then, I didn't have no
thoughts about Mrs. Ferguson--Mrs. Ferguson don't come up to my hideas
of female beauty. (_snaps his fingers_) That for Mrs. Ferguson! If you
will tear from me the secrets of my 'art, I com'd arter Jemima, Mrs.
Ferguson's young 'oman--there, now, ye knows all about it. I've told
the truth, and I can shame--Ferguson!

THWAITES. (_comes forward, L._) So, Mr. Pawkins, it was Mrs.
Ferguson's Jemima, was it? Are you aware, sir, that I pay my
attentions in that quarter? Are you aware that I'm Thwaites?

PAWKINS. Are you, indeed?--who says you ain't? There ain't no
advantage in being Thwaites, as I sees--I don't want to be Thwaites.
You're one of them swells as takes out a young 'oman on a holiday, and
grumbles at the expense all the blessed way there, and all the blessed
way back;--you prefers the ha'penny boat to the penny, and you prefers
walking to heither. Thwaites, you ain't the favored man, so drop Miss
Jemima;--I don't say what I'll do if you don't--but just take an 'int,
and drop Miss Jemima.

(_AGATHA and DE WINDSOR come forward, R._)

AGATHA. (R.) Really, papa, this is an extremely vulgar scene, at our

DE W. (R. C.) Disgustingly so, my dear--but join the guests, and make
the best of it. (_AGATHA retires up_)

WHITE. (_coming forward, C._) Well, father-in-law, I hope you are
satisfied now!

DE W. Mr. Pawkins, I have an apology to make to you--you'll think it
very absurd--but I--I--ha, ha!--I scarcely know how to express it--but
I actually took you for a thief!

PAWKINS. (L. C.) You ain't the first, else I shouldn't have been tried
at the Hold Bailey this morning. Look ye--a fellow chucks a watch into
my umbrella----

WHITE. (C.) Yes, yes, we know all about that; besides, you are
completely cleared.

DE W. (R.) Perfectly; your character is as cloudless as a fine day in
July, and I am about to give you the most convincing proof of my

PAWKINS. (_aside_) He's going to ask me to shave him!

DE W. (_crossing to C._) I have long been looking out for a man of
indubitable integrity, to act as my cashier; I keep nearly the whole
of my fortune locked up in a strong box, so I may as well give you the
key now. (_about to give key, WHITEWASH hastily comes between them_)

WHITE. (_C., intercepting_) No! no! what are you about? A thief!--a
common pickpocket!

DE W. (R.) Ha, ha! victory!--you admit it, do you?

(_retires to GUESTS, R._)

WHITE. (_aside_) Caught, by all that's unlucky!

PAWKINS. (L.) Come, I say, master, this 'ere won't do: when I looks
black, you makes me white; and when I'm whitened, you makes me black:
I've a jolly good mind to----

WHITE. Oh, go to the devil!

_Enter THWAITES, C. from L., with a letter._

THWAITES. (_to WHITEWASH_) Please, sir, a knowin' party, as calls
himself your clerk, has brought this. (_gives letter to WHITEWASH;
WHITEWASH opens letter at first with indifference, but proceeds to
read with eagerness; DE WINDSOR, AGATHA, and FERGUSON come forward,

DE W. (R. C.) My dear, this matter is settled; you shall be the wife
of Mr. Tango.

AGATHA. (R.) La, papa! how shocking!

FERGUS. (_coming down R._) I beg your pardon; you don't mean Tom
Tango, of the Stock Exchange?

DE W. Yes, I do.

AGATHA. Then you haven't heard the news: he was declared a defaulter
this vewy afternoon.

DE W. The devil! One swindles--another tells lies: where can I find an
honest man?

WHITE. (_rises, having been seated while reading letter_) Here!
(_leading PAWKINS forward_) Look at that face--and read that letter?
(_gives it_) The sum and substance of it is this: A notorious
pickpocket has just been arrested, and retains me for the
defence--confessing that he threw the watch into Pawkins' umbrella.

PAWKINS. Does he? Then there's some good in the waggerbone after all.

DE W. Well,--as a barrister who twaddles, is better than a stock
jobber who waddles--here's my daughter. (_joins the hands of WHITEWASH
and AGATHA_)

PAWKINS. Ah! werry good! Jines hands and gives the paternal blessing!
All right and proper! But wot good comes to me on it all? It strikes
me you are a rum lot--you are. There's this 'ere wenerable party--(DE
WINDSOR) asks me to 'is house--gives me a hice, which doesn't agree
with me, and does me out o' three bob at cards! Here's another chap
(FERGUSON) as talks as if he had gooseberries in his mouth, and tries
to stop my windpipe. Then here's a sort o' costermonger in disguise
(THWAITES) as interferes with my young 'oman.--And here--(WHITEWASH)
here's the wust villain on 'em all. Ladies and gents, if I'm in any
trouble touching your good-will--him's the party you must pitch
into--cos vy? Don't you see? He's retained for the defence.

WHITE. That won't do! I haven't had a refresher.

PAWKINS. Haven't you? Then take your refresher there--(_pointing to
AUDIENCE_) that's my refresher. Give me them 'ere parties on my side,
and hang me if I'll want any defence at all!

   R.                                               L.


Transcriber's Note

This transcription is based on images digitized by Google from a copy
made available by the University of Illinois and posted by the
HathiTrust at:


In general, this transcription attempts to retain the punctuation and
spelling of the source text. A few changes were made for the sake of
consistency and to correct minor errors.

The following changes were noted:

- p. 2: Changed the name "Fergusson" in both the character list and
the costume notes to "Ferguson" to be consistent with how the name is
spelled elsewhere in the text.

- p. 5: WHITE. (L. C.) Most acutely! _wringing his hand_)--Inserted
an opening parenthesis before "_wringing_".

- p. 11: (_some of the COMPANY pass across at back of C. doors, from,
L. to R._)--Deleted the comma after "_from_".

- p. 14: DE W. (_aside_) Why, Mr. Pawkins, what's the cause of this
singular hurry?--Pawkins' and Whitewash's subsequent lines indicate
that both hear De Windsor. Therefore, the direction indicating that
this line is an aside was deleted.

- p. 17: Gov'nor can't be coming the old soldier!--Changed "Gov'nor"
to "Gov'ner" for consistency.

- p. 18: Tango will have my daughter. ha, ha, ha!--Changed the period
after "daughter" to an em dash.

- p. 18: Mr. De Winter, allow me to remark--Changed "De Winter" to
"De Windsor" for consistency.

- p. 19: They say we were found in a cupboard at three o' clock in
the morning.--Deleted the space before "clock" for consistency.

Note that Thwaites re-enters on p. 21 when he delivers a letter to
Whitewash, but there is no stage direction for Thwaites to exit after
Pawkins tells him to "drop Miss Jemima" on p. 20. He could exit either
at the end of Pawkins' speech or when De Windsor apologizes to

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