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Title: Vandyke Brown - A Farce in One Act
Author: Troughton, Adolphus Charles
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 "Vandyke Brown - A Farce in One Act" ***

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University, Google, and the Hathi Trust Digital Library.



VANDYKE BROWN

A FARCE
IN
ONE ACT

BY

ADOLPHUS CHARLES TROUGHTON, ESQ.

AUTHOR OF
_Living too Fast--Wooing in Jest and Loving in Earnest--Leading
Strings, &c. &c._

THOMAS HAILES LACY,
89, STRAND,
(_Opposite Southampton Street, Covent Garden Market,_)
LONDON.



VANDYKE BROWN.

_First performed at the Royal Strand Theatre, March 24th, 1859._


CHARACTERS.

VANDYKE BROWN, _a Photographic Artist_           Mr. J. CLARKE.
MR. AUGUSTUS BOBBINS, _a Retired Tradesman_      Mr. TURNER.
MR. FASTMAN, _a Law Student_                     Mr. MOWBRAY.

MRS. BROWN, _Vandyke Brown's Wife, living
under the name of Duval_                         Miss J. WILTON.
MRS. BOBBINS                                     Miss M. TERNAN.
REBECCA, _Mrs. Bobbin's Servant Maid_            Miss LAVINE.

-----

TIME.--One hour.

-----

COSTUMES.--The present day.



VANDYKE BROWN.

-----

SCENE.--_Mr. Bobbins's Lodgings. Chamber, C. D., backed by a
window--doors, R. and L.--table, R., chairs, books, newspaper--table,
arm chair R. of table, chair L.--table against flat, R., with bust of
Shakespeare--table against flat, L., with vase of flowers_.

MRS. BOBBINS. (_within, R. D._) It's useless your denying it, Mr.
Bobbins! I saw you do it--I saw you do it with my own eyes, sir!

AUGUS. (_within, R. D._) My dear Constantia!--before the servants!

MRS. BOBBINS. (_within, R. D._) Leave the room this instant, Rebecca!
Leave the room, I say! You'll quit my service this day month.

REBECCA. (_within, R._) Certainly, ma'am! certainly! with all my
heart!

_Enter REBECCA, R. D., slapping the door behind her._

Was there ever such a temper as missus? I never see such a one--never!
If master will keep staring at me, is that my fault, I should like to
know?

_Enter FASTMAN, door C. from L._

FAST. (L.) Rebecca!--just one word!

REBECCA. (R.) Here's that tiresome Mr. Fastman again.

FAST. Well, have you anything to tell me? When is she coming home?

REBECCA. Lor, sir! why should you want to know? Missus has come
home--she came home this morning.

FAST. No! you don't say so! Where is she?

REBECCA. Where is she?--why, where should she be? In the next room, at
breakfast with her husband, to be sure.

FAST. The deuce she is! Don't talk so loud.

REBECCA. Why not? _I'm_ not ashamed of what I'm saying.

FAST. Come home at last, then. Ah! (_sighs_) your mistress is a
beautiful woman, Rebecca.

REBECCA. Beautiful?--that depends upon opinion; for my part, I don't
like tall women.

FAST. I admire tall women. It seems to me an age since she has been
away.

REBECCA. It may seem so to you, sir, but it hasn't to me, I promise
you. I'm sure I wish she had stayed away ten times as long--for the
first thing she has done on her return has been to give me warning.

FAST. Give you warning! What for?

REBECCA. Ah! what for, indeed?--you must ask her that. She is jealous
of that husband of hers. She surprised him, just now, at breakfast,
making eyes at me. How could I help it?

FAST. Oh, fie, Rebecca? What! do you encourage your master in that
sort of thing?

REBECCA. I encourage him, indeed?--well I'm sure!--with a
twelvemonth's character from my last place.

FAST. I beg your pardon--well I am sorry you are going to leave--you
are such a nice obliging young woman, and I was going to ask you if
you couldn't manage to--to give this letter.

REBECCA. To my master!

FAST. No, not exactly that, Rebecca, to your mistress.

REBECCA. Indeed, sir! I shall do nothing of the sort, you had better
give it her yourself.

FAST. But I should never have the face, I tell you. There is something
about Mrs. Bobbins that keeps me so completely at a distance,
something so modest, so correct and proper--come, now, you are not
going to be illnatured, see here's a queen's head for it. (_showing
her half a crown_)

REBECCA. Sir, I'm ashamed of you, I'll have nothing to do with it!

FAST. Only give her the letter, and I'll help you to a place.

REBECCA. No, will you though? (_eyeing the money which he forces on
her, with the letter_) No! really I can't! no, no! Well if you insist
upon my taking the money--(_aside--taking the money_) But I'll be
hanged if I give her the letter.

FAST. Yes, I know of a place that will suit you exactly, without your
going out of the house. Mrs. Duval on the second floor here is in want
of just such a pretty, clever girl as you are, to help her in her
fancy work.

REBECCA. Why how did you come to know her, sir?

FAST. How did I come to know her? why, my sisters buy their wools of
her, she embroiders my shirt fronts, marks my pocket handkerchiefs for
me--you can't be in better hands; she is a most respectable person,
and a first rate temper.

MRS. BOBBINS. (_without R._) No, Augustus! no, Mr. Bobbins, I say she
shall not remain.

AUGUS. (_without_) Nay, but Constantia!

MRS. BOBBINS. Silence, sir, I won't hear a word.

FAST. Why there's your mistress at high words with Mr. Bobbins.

REBECCA. That's nothing new, sir.

FAST. I must beat a retreat! (_going_) But I'll run up stairs before I
go, and speak to Mrs. Duval for you. Don't forget the letter.

_Exit FASTMAN, C. to R._

_Enter MR. BOBBINS, R., in a dressing gown, followed by MRS. BOBBINS._

MRS. BOBBINS. Yes, Augustus! yes Mr. Bobbins, I repeat it, she shall
not remain any longer!

AUGUS. But, my dear, this conduct of yours is downright oriental
despotism; of all the tyrannies, there are none like the domestic.

MRS. BOBBINS. She shall go this very day! It's most abominable! I'll
pay her wages and send her about her business!

REBECCA. (_coming down, C._) Oh, very well, ma'am, just as you please
about that! I'm sure I don't want to stay--a month's warning, or a
month's wages!

MRS. BOBBINS. Oh, you are there, are you! Bold faced young woman, take
your wages. (_giving her money_) Pack up your things and prepare to
leave my service to-night.

REBECCA. (_counting the money_) Sixteen and eightpence, all right,
ma'am, and as for my place that is no great loss I'm sure! I can
easily get a better! I have only to choose. (_aside and tossing her
head as she goes out, C. to L._) Straightlaced crosspatch; she's more
fit for an old maid, than a married woman.

AUGUS. (_in chair, L._) Another victim to your implacable jealousy,
Constantia.

MRS. BOBBINS. (R.) Jealous of you! ha, ha, ha! Really Augustus, you
have a good opinion of yourself.

AUGUS. (_offended, and rising_) Jealous of me, yes to be sure, why
not? You know you are; we can't keep a servant in the place for it; we
have been married scarcely three years, and this is the nineteenth you
have discharged.

MRS. BOBBINS. Well, sir, and whose fault is that? A man without the
slightest sense of common propriety! or what is due to his own dignity
as a master of a family!

AUGUS. Go on, my dear, go on!

MRS. BOBBINS. My first husband never treated me so!

AUGUS. Comparisons are odious, Mrs. Bobbins. That first husband of
yours was a very remarkable fellow.

MRS. BOBBINS. You needn't think to pass it off so, sir: if this is
your behaviour before my face, I tremble to think what your conduct
may have been behind my back, during my absence.

AUGUS. Now, Constantia! my dear! Do I everlastingly torment you with
inquiries into _your_ conduct during _my_ absence? Here have you been
scouring the country to Salisbury alone, after a legacy, which, for
anything I can discover, appears to be all a bam, and do I annoy you
on your return with ridiculous jealous fits? On the contrary, don't I
promote and fall into all your little plans and amusements?

MRS. BOBBINS. Amusement! Do you think it's any amusement to me to be
worried out of my life with lawyers, and business I don't understand?
There's a fresh difficulty now about a cousin abroad. If you were like
other husbands, you would never suffer a young and pretty wife, more
than twenty years your junior, to travel about alone.

AUGUS. Oh, my dear, I have a thorough confidence in you--there's a
rigidity of propriety about your deportment, that will always act as
an efficient safeguard in the hour of danger.

MRS. BOBBINS. Don't make too sure of that. Don't provoke me by your
indifference to retaliate!--I should soon find an opportunity--

AUGUS. Oh, oh, oh, oh!

MRS. BOBBINS. You should have seen the assiduous--the delicate
attentions I received in the train, all the way between the
Bishopstoke station and town, from an elegant, foreign looking
gentleman--such a pair of moustachios!

AUGUS. Oh, oh! really now, Constantia--

MRS. BOBBINS. But you know I'm the most devoted--the most affectionate
wife in the world, and have no thoughts but of you, and our dear
little boy--and so you abuse the rectitude of my principles--

AUGUS. The little cherub!

MRS. BOBBINS. That reminds me that you wrote me word, that the
Highgate air has quite set the darling up again, and that old nurse,
Jones, was to bring him home to-day.

AUGUS. Yes, Bobby is coming home to-day.

MRS. BOBBINS. The little pet! He is my only joy--my only hope.

AUGUS. Yes, yes--a remarkably fine little chap--and extremely like his
papa! Ahem! can more be said--

MRS. BOBBINS. By the by, how inconvenient his coming back will be just
now, that we are without a servant.

AUGUS. You had better let Rebecca stay.

MRS. BOBBINS. Augustus! Mr. Bobbins! What again! You exasperate me!
No, sir, she shall not stay another day, if I have to run over half
London to find her substitute.

AUGUS. Very well, my dear. You are fond of exercise.

MRS. BOBBINS. This is too much to put up with!--past all bearing! I'll
be even with you for this, depend upon it. No, no, you needn't think
to gain your ends, Mr. Bobbins--I'll go round to all the tradespeople
this very minute. (_putting on her bonnet and shawl, which are upon
table, R._) I'll soon put a stop to this! I'll soon put a stop to
this!

_Exit, in a passion, C. to L._

AUGUS. What a singular woman Constantia is when she once takes an idea
into her head. No human argument now would ever persuade her that I am
not violently smitten with her own maid. Ridiculous notion! ha, ha!
and the best of the joke is--for reasons of a strictly private nature,
I rather encourage the idea--commit myself with Rebecca! No, no--I
look a little higher than that! The interesting object of my secret
intentions, is in no way beneath me--quite the reverse--she is above
me by a flight of stairs. It is really quite distressing, to think so
charming a woman as Mrs. Duval, should be obliged to occupy a two pair
back; but then, how tastefully she sets off her room! Clever creature!
she can turn her hand to anything--Berlin wool, potichomania,
crotchet, embroidery-- By the way, I begin to suspect that name of
hers, Duval, is only assumed--she doesn't look to me at all like a
Frenchwoman--and the only approach to anything in the shape of a
husband I have been able to discover, is this morning gown, which I
found one morning over a chair back in her room, and which, in a
moment of pecuniary pressure, I induced her to sell me for about four
times its value. It shows the fall in my back to some advantage, but
it's an uncommonly tight fit, although I have had it let out twice
since I bought it. I wonder how she came by it? No matter--I'm
convinced I have no rival--she is evidently pleased with my
attentions, and if it hadn't been for Mrs. Bobbins's ill-timed return
from the country, I should--(_crosses to L., sees MRS. BROWN at C.
D._) By Jove! here she is. It's lucky that my wife's not at home.

(_crosses to R._

_Enter MRS. BROWN, C. from R., goes down, L._

MRS. BROWN. (_seeing BOBBINS, R._) Ah, Mr. Bobbins! Good morning.

AUGUS. (R.) Good morning to you, my dear Mrs. Duval. This _is_ an
honour! Dare I venture to hope your visit is to me?

MRS. BROWN. To you--the idea! Hardly.

AUGUS. And why not, Mrs. Duval? Why may I not judge of your feelings
by my own?--for as the needle is attracted by the pole--

MRS. BROWN. (_interrupting him_) Oh, dear me! Ha, ha, ha! really, Mr.
Bobbins, you'll be a gallant as long as you live. I am sorry to
interrupt your ecstacies, but pray can I speak a word to Mrs. Bobbins?

AUGUS. To my wife?

MRS. BROWN. Yes--I understand she has come home?

AUGUS. Alas! yes.

MRS. BROWN. Alas? Why, you ought to be delighted! (_sadly_) How
fortunate Mrs. Bobbins is to be happy at home with her husband. Ah,
how I envy her.

AUGUS. (_delighted_) Envy her! Mrs. Duval!

MRS. BROWN. I do, indeed, with all my heart.

AUGUS. (_endeavouring to put his arm round her waist_) _Dear_ Mrs.
Duval! Oh, these words--this tender confession!

MRS. BROWN. (_retiring, L._) Why, Mr. Bobbins, are you taking leave of
your senses? If you wish me to remain in this room, sir, you must
restrain yourself within proper bounds.

AUGUS. Bounds, madam! There are no bounds to the emotions of the
heart. (_throwing himself on his knees_)

MRS. BROWN. Oh, my dear sir, do compose yourself--I beg of you. You
are _too_ poetical, you are, indeed. (_aside_) Ridiculous creature!

AUGUS. Tell me--only tell me--did you receive those two pots of Tom
Thumb geraniums--I know your beautiful passion for flowers.

MRS. BROWN. Yes, I thank you--but I can't possibly think of accepting
them--in short, I must forbid all further nonsense of the kind. I give
you fair warning, that if you persist in it any longer, I shall tell
Mrs. Bobbins, I shall, indeed, and be compelled to leave my lodgings.

AUGUS. Oh, don't be so cruel! Don't say that!

MRS. BROWN. Not that I have any great affection for them either, for
if it hadn't been for poor Br--(_recollecting herself_) for reasons
only interesting to myself, I should have given notice long ago.

AUGUS. For "poor" who, madam? You excite my curiosity. I trust there
is no gentleman in the case?

MRS. BROWN. Yes, but there is, though--but I entreat you to ask no
questions. (_wiping her eyes_) Ah, Mr. Bobbins, mine is the most
painful, the most trying of positions to an affectionate and faithful
disposition--

AUGUS. No scoundrel has dared to neglect--to abandon you? Ah, if you
would but accept of the consolation of a discreet friend, and if any
little assistance of a different kind--

(_taking out purse._

MRS. BROWN. (_offended_) You mistake my meaning, sir, altogether.
Assistance! no, sir, I am able to earn quite sufficient for my
support, and to afford myself some comforts besides--indeed, the
object of this visit, was to inquire of Mrs. Bobbins, Rebecca's
character, as I am informed she is about to leave her service.

_REBECCA has entered during this speech, but on seeing them, draws
back, L. C. D._

REBECCA. (_aside_) Ullo! master and Mrs. Duval!

(_listens, C._

AUGUS. (_aside_) Rebecca's character! The devil! that will never
do--she'll be telling her a pack of lies. (_aloud_) In the absence of
my wife, perhaps I shall do as well. I am afraid, ma'am, Rebecca will
never suit you.

MRS. BROWN. Pray, may I ask why?

AUGUS. Oh, she's an idle, gossipping, impertinent young hussy, and
burns no end of coals.

REBECCA. (_aside_) That's how you speak of me behind my back, is it?

AUGUS. And then, ma'am, her conduct in another respect, to a lady of
your extreme propriety, I am quite sure would be highly objectionable.
She encourages a great many followers, and with one young man in
particular, an articled clerk--she has--

REBECCA. (_coming down, C._) It isn't true--I haven't--don't believe
him, ma'am.

AUGUS. (_aside_) Confound it! Has she overheard me?

REBECCA. Don't believe a word he says, ma'am. It's all through him
that I've lost my place.

AUGUS. Silence, Rebecca! Go and fetch my hat, I'm going out.

REBECCA. And as to the young lawyer, if I were the gossip he says I
am, I could tell a different story.

AUGUS. Silence, I say, Rebecca! Did you hear me tell you to go and
fetch my hat and coat?

REBECCA. (_going, R._) Well, I'm going for your hat and coat.

_Exit, in a passion, R. D._

MRS. BROWN. So, sir, I perceive you are a general admirer of the sex.

AUGUS. My dear Mrs. Duval, you surely wouldn't pay any attention to
the aspersions of a discharged servant maid. You'll excuse my taking
off my morning gown. (_aside, and taking off morning gown, which he
hangs on chair L. of R. table_) I wouldn't have lost this opportunity
of shewing her the fall in my back for something.

_Re-enter REBECCA, R. D., with hat, &c._

REBECCA. (_giving him the coat_) Go and take away a poor servant's
character like that--I've a good mind--

AUGUS. (_interrupting her_) Rebecca!

MRS. BROWN. (L.) Never mind, Rebecca, I have seen enough of you to
think that you will suit me, so I shall take you all the same. When
can you come?

REBECCA. Thank you, ma'am--thank you! When you like, ma'am--now,
directly.

MRS. BROWN. No, not till to-morrow--not till you have given Mrs.
Bobbins proper notice.

REBECCA. Yes, ma'am--thank you, ma'am. (_to BOBBINS_) You ought to be
ashamed of yourself, sir, that you ought--an old gentleman like you!

AUGUS. Silence, Rebecca! If any one should call while I am out, tell
them to wait--I shan't be long. I have the honour to wish you a good
morning, Mrs. Duval.

MRS. BROWN. Good morning, sir.

_BOBBINS looks at MRS. BROWN, sighs, and goes out, C. to L._

Seductive old gentleman! Very well, then, Rebecca, I shall expect you
to-morrow.

REBECCA. Yes, ma'am.

MRS. BROWN. (_to herself, as she leaves the stage_) When shall I hear
from my poor Vandyke?

_Exit, C. to R._

REBECCA. Oh, that wicked old master of mine!

_Exit, R. D._

_The C. D. opens very quietly, and VANDYKE BROWN enters, stealthily,
wearing a Crimean beard and moustachios, his throat bare, and an
artist's steeple crowned hat, with a broad brim._

VAN. There's nobody here! Come, that's lucky--her surprise will be the
greater. I've been watching at the corner of the street for the last
half hour, and contrived to slip in as the door was ajar, while the
servant stepped over the way. My heart beats like one of the drums I
left behind me, at the thought of meeting my wife again after the best
part of a twelvemonth's chequered absence in the Crimea--driven from
my native land and the cultivation of the classic style of art, by the
detestable envy of the Royal Academicians, the cupidity of the
butcher, and the rapacity of the baker. A pretty life I had of it in
the camp--sometimes photographic artist, sometimes--tell it not ye
muses--a mixture of cook, valet, military secretary, and volunteer.
However, I should soon have made my fortune, for I took more portraits
in the Crimea in a day, than I ever did in London in a year. When one
unlucky evening, just as I was going to raise my terms, I ventured too
far on the Woronzoff Road for the purpose of making a sketch of some
outworks, and all of a sudden, when I least expected it--crack, whiz,
crack! half a dozen minie balls whistled about my ears, and a party of
Russians sallied out of the flank of the Redan, and succeeded in
carrying me into the town--luckily it didn't last long, for at the end
of a month, there was an exchange of prisoners, and I had the good
fortune to be swopped for the favourite jackass of a Russian officer
that had fallen, by accident, into the hands of the allies; so here I
am, just arrived from Portsmouth, totally unknown to my wife, once
again in my own lodgings. What the deuce! fresh paper--Brussels
carpet--and all this French polished mahogany! Upon my word! why, my
wife must have gone mad, or else she must be driving a rare trade in
the Berlin wool and fancy line. Stay, here she comes! I'll get under
the table and give her a surprise. How delighted she'll be to see me!
(_goes towards table, L._) No, it's not my wife. Why, good gracious,
she keeps an assistant, I'll be bound.

_Enter REBECCA, R. D._

REBECCA. (_seeing him_) Who is this?

VAN. Good morning, young woman. You are not a bad-looking girl.

REBECCA. (_aside_) He is mighty familiar. Might I ask how you got in?
I didn't hear any one knock.

VAN. No, the door was ajar--not that it would have made any difference
if it had been shut; you see I've a latch key.

(_shewing one._

REBECCA. A latch key!

VAN. Yes, I took it away with me by mistake in one of my pockets. Go
and tell your mistress, a gentleman with dark hair wishes to speak
with her.

REBECCA. You'll excuse me, sir, but your hair isn't dark.

VAN. Never mind the colour of my hair--do as I tell you--I want to
surprise her.

REBECCA. Missus is not at home, sir. (_aside_) A latch key, and so
intimate with Mrs. Bobbins, who the deuce can he be?

VAN. Very well--as your mistress is not at home, you can get me some
breakfast; I feel rather sharp set.

REBECCA. Breakfast, sir?

VAN. Yes, don't you understand me? B-r-e-a-k, break, f-a-s-t, fast,
breakfast--the girl's silly.

REBECCA. But won't you be pleased to tell me--

VAN. (_taking her up_) What I should like to have? Oh, anything--I'm
not particular; a steak or a chop.

REBECCA. No, sir, I mean who you are.

VAN. Who I am? True, you don't know me. My name is--(_recollecting
himself_) No matter for my name--I rather fancy your mistress will
know me when she sees me. I only hope it won't be too much for her.

REBECCA. (_aside_) Oh, he must be some relation. Master said if any
one called, they were to wait.

VAN. Come, look alive--be quick.

REBECCA. (_aside_) He's an extraordinary looking fellow! What a beard
he has got! I hardly know what to do, as they are neither of them at
home; but I suppose there will be no harm in giving him some
breakfast.

VAN. Come, I say young woman, are you going to move? You are not aware
that I haven't tasted anything to-day.

REBECCA. It will be ready directly, sir.

_Exit, C. to L._

VAN. That girl wouldn't make a bad model; but she don't seem very
bright. Egad! I have been so long away in the Crimea, that I feel half
inclined to make love to every pretty woman I meet. That was an
uncommonly fine creature that got into the train at Bishopstoke;
rather stiff though, at first, but before we came to the journey's end
I had quite broken the ice with her. By the way, I am afraid I ran
away from her rather abruptly this morning--quite forgot to look after
her luggage and all that sort of thing. No great wonder either--once
arrived in London, how could I think of any one but my dear little
wife? How I long to see her. (_going to sit down, sees the morning
gown_) What's this? a morning gown. (_examining it_) To be sure--I
recollect it. I declare, it gave me, quite a turn! The one I had made
just before I went away! Affectionate little soul! hanging over the
chair back to keep her company. I dare say she's in the habit of
kissing and talking to it every day of her life. I feel rather
tired--I'll put it on. (_takes off his coat and puts on the dressing
gown_) Home, sweet home! they may well say "there's no place like
home." (_wrapping the gown round him_) Ullo! why, it fits me like a
sack. How I must have fallen away in the Crimea.

_Enter MRS. BOBBINS, C. from L._

MRS. BOBBINS. (_speaking as she comes in, without seeing BROWN down
L._) I think, my dear, I have found--(_they stare at each other_)

VAN. (_aside_) Good gracious--I can't be mistaken! My travelling
companion.

MRS. BOBBINS. (_aside_) The foreign looking gentleman I met in the
train--in my husband's dressing gown! Why, he must have followed me
home.

VAN. (_aside_) An agreeable predicament this for a married man--very!
My wife may return every minute. (_aloud, rising, and confused_)
Madam, you'll excuse my being rather laconic, I have no time just now
for ceremony--to what am I indebted for the honour of this visit?

MRS. BOBBINS. I feel quite stupified! what effrontery!

VAN. I have no wish to affront you, ma'am, but as I said before, I
have no time for ceremony.

MRS. BOBBINS. Sir, this is monstrous! I took you, by your deportment
on the railway, for a gentleman, but I see I was deceived. Your
conduct is inconsistent and extreme.

VAN. I know what you allude to, ma'am, and I admit I did run away
somewhat abruptly; but if you knew my reasons--

MRS. BOBBINS. I wish to hear nothing further, sir. (_crosses to R._)
Pray let there be an end of this. (_takes off her bonnet and shawl_)

VAN. (_aside_) Why, she's absolutely taking off her things! Does she
think she is going to establish herself in the house, under my wife's
nose? I must get rid of her somehow or other. (_aloud, and getting
impatient_) Madam, as I have already said twice before, I have no time
for standing on ceremony--you will therefore excuse my coming to the
point at once--anywhere else--_any_where else I shall be happy to hear
what you have to say--any place you like to appoint--St. James's Park,
Kensington Gardens--

MRS. BOBBINS. Sir, I am of a highly excitable, nervous temperament,
and if you don't take care, you'll throw me into hysterics.

VAN. (_aside_) Confound it--she's no better than she should be. Oh, I
must turn her out. (_aloud_) I tell you what it is, my dear, this
won't do. I am a married man.

MRS. BOBBINS. Well, sir, what if you are--that makes your persecution
of me the more atrocious!

VAN. Zounds! madam, it is you who persecute me! Haven't you followed
me like a greyhound follows a hare--tracked me to my very door? Now
for goodness sake don't force me to say anything offensive, but will
you go, I say--will you make yourself scarce?

MRS. BOBBINS. This unheard of insolence--

VAN. (_interrupting her_) I tell you I have no time for ceremony. Will
you go--will you leave my lodgings?

MRS. BOBBINS. Your lodgings? Good heavens! I hear somebody coming!
(_crosses to L._)

VAN. (_going to door_) It's my wife!--it's my wife, I'll be bound!
(_down, R._) Go--go, I say--be off with you. (_trying to push her off,
R._)

MRS. BOBBINS. (_aside_) Oh, if it should be my husband!

VAN. Here, run in here! quick, quick--hide yourself under the bed!

_He pushes her into room R., and locks the door._

_Enter REBECCA, with a parcel, C. D. from L._

REBECCA. (_reading the direction_) "For my dear wife." Another sop in
the pan for missus.

VAN. What have you there?

REBECCA. (L.) A present for missus.

VAN. (R.--_aside_) My wife receive presents in my absence!

REBECCA. (_peeping into parcel_) What a beauty! all silk! What a
lovely dress it will make.

VAN. Who can possibly have given her a silk dress?

REBECCA. What a question! Master, to be sure.

VAN. Master! What do you mean?

REBECCA. Why, sir, you know, when they have a quarrel, that's his way
of making it up again. He always gives her a present--sometimes one
thing, sometimes another.

VAN. (_dropping into a chair_) What--what's that you say?

REBECCA. You are not taken with a swimming in the head, are you, sir?

VAN. No, no--tell me--what sort of a fellow is he--what's his name?

REBECCA. Lor, sir, I thought you knew him. What, don't you know Mr.
Bobbins?

VAN. Bob--Bob--Bob--Bobbins! (_aside_) The name sticks in my throat as
if it were a fish bone.

REBECCA. I thought you were old friends, sir!

VAN. (_getting up_) No, I don't know him! He's a friend of my wife's!
(_aside_) That explains the French polish mahogany--a damned cabinet
maker! (_aloud, violently_) Give me hold of that parcel!

REBECCA. (_moving away with it_) Take care, sir, what do you want with
it? (_putting it on table behind her_)

VAN. Bobbins! eh! Bobbins! Do you hear, young woman! Tell me, at what
time does he generally come here?

REBECCA. Come here? Who do you mean, sir?

VAN. This Bobbins!

REBECCA. At what time--why, he's here all day.

VAN. What? and goes away at night, I suppose?

REBECCA. No he doesn't--what should he go away at night for?

VAN. You don't mean to say that he sleeps here?

REBECCA. Yes, but I do though!

VAN. (_aside_) Under the same roof! Preposterous! I'll bombard the
house! Blow it into the air! (_aloud_) Very well, I'll wait for him.
(_takes off morning gown, and throws it on table, R._)

REBECCA. Won't you take your breakfast, sir? it's all getting cold.

VAN. Don't talk to me of breakfast! Stay! on second thoughts I don't
know! I must keep up my strength! _Nourish_ my revenge! Not eat my
breakfast! I'll go into training like a prize fighter! eat raw
beefsteaks every day for a month, and then come down upon him like the
Gladiator! (_striking the attitude_) Or Alcides throwing Lychas into
the sea! (_attitude_) Look out for yourself, Bobbins! I feel as if I
had the thews of the Farnesian Hercules! Oh! for the apples of the
Hesperides, to hit him in the eye, and a club like a weaver's beam to
knock his brains out!--my breakfast, I say! my breakfast!

REBECCA. This is the way to the parlour, sir! (_pointing L. D._)

VAN. (_taking up morning gown and flinging it over his left arm as
drapery_) Don't trouble yourself to show me the way to the parlour!
(_crosses to D._) I know the way to the parlour! Look out for yourself
Bobbins!

_Exit L. D._

REBECCA. (R.) He must be some madman escaped from a lunatic asylum. I
don't like being left alone with him in the house--I wish master would
come home--oh, here he is!

_Enter BOBBINS, C. D. from L._

AUGUS. Has there been a parcel left here since I went out?

REBECCA. Yes, sir, there it is on the table. Were you expecting any
one to call this morning, sir?

AUGUS. No, no one--(_looking up_) why, has anybody been?

REBECCA. Yes, sir!

AUGUS. Who? a lady?

REBECCA. No, sir, a gentleman.

AUGUS. What name?

REBECCA. He wouldn't give any name, sir. He came in with a latch key,
without knocking.

AUGUS. With a latch key? How do you mean? How did he come by it?

REBECCA. I don't know, sir; he appears to be a very extraordinary
person, I hardly know what to make of him. He hadn't been five minutes
in the house before he asked me to get him some breakfast.

AUGUS. Some begging imposter, I dare say.

REBECCA. No, sir, I don't think that, he was very well dressed.

AUGUS. That's nothing, he might have been one of the swell mob for
anything you know to the contrary--the town swarms with well dressed
swindlers now-a-days.

REBECCA. He said he wanted to see mistress.

AUGUS. Well, and how did you get rid of him?

REBECCA. I didn't get rid of him at all, sir; he is in the house now.

AUGUS. Nonsense!

REBECCA. I thought he was some relation or friend of the family--he's
taking his breakfast in the parlour.

AUGUS. Taking his breakfast in the parlour! What? alone with the
silver spoons!

REBECCA. Good gracious, I never thought of that!

VAN. (_without, L. D._) I say, what's your name! Young woman! you
haven't put any salt upon the table--do you take me for a cannibal?

AUGUS. (_aside, and staring at VANDYKE, who is standing in the door,
L._) Why the fellow has got on my morning gown! Confound his
impudence! (_crosses to R._)

VAN. (_aside_) Who's this, I wonder? He looks like a tailor; he can't
be one of my creditors, scented me out already. (_aloud--politely to
BOBBINS_) Good morning, sir; did you wish to speak to me? (_to
REBECCA_) You needn't remain.

AUGUS. (_alarmed_) No, no, stay where you are.

VAN. (_to REBECCA_) Do you hear? Never mind the salt; I'll finish my
breakfast by and by.

AUGUS. (_aside--alarmed_) He's actually sending her out of the way.
I'm getting very uneasy.

(_BOBBINS watches, and starts at every action of VANDYKE'S, throughout
the scene._

REBECCA. (_aside_) I am glad to get out of the room. I'll go and see
if I can find a policeman.

_Exit, C. D. to L._

VAN. (_with marked politeness_) Don't stand--pray be seated.

(_offers BOBBINS a chair, and takes one himself._

AUGUS. (_alarmed_) You are very kind, sir. (_aside_) I hope he don't
see that I'm afraid of him.

(_they sit, BOBBINS R., VANDYKE BROWN L._

VAN. (_after a pause of confusion on both sides_) You were observing,
I think, that you had called to--to--

AUGUS. (_aside_) I must mind what I'm about. I musn't provoke him.

VAN. I believe I understood you to say that you had called to-- Sir,
will you permit me to ask you one question? I throw myself entirely
upon your generosity. Did you--frankly--did you expect to find me
here?

AUGUS. No, sir, frankly, I did not--certainly not.

VAN. Sir, I thank you; you have removed a weight from my mind. I could
scarcely believe otherwise, only just arrived, as I am, from abroad.

AUGUS. Only just arrived from abroad--oh, indeed, sir. (_aside_)
Confound the fellow, I wish I could get rid of him. (_aloud, after a
pause of confusion on both sides_) May I inquire what part?

VAN. Oh certainly, sir--certainly. Russia, sir, Russia.

AUGUS. (_aside_) All a lie, I suppose. (_aloud_) Indeed, sir. (_after
another pause_) Pray, sir, what may be your opinion of the Russians in
general?

VAN. Very nice people, sir--very nice people.

AUGUS. Indeed, sir.

VAN. (_rising, after a long pause, during which they have been staring
at each other, not knowing what to say_) Sir, I am very happy to have
met you. Your conversation betokens great intelligence, and I regret
extremely that I have not more time to improve the acquaintance, but
unfortunately an unlucky engagement--

AUGUS. (_taking him up_) Pray don't mention it, sir--pray don't
mention it. (_aside_) Thank goodness he is going at last. (_each puts
his chair back, and, fancying the other gone, they meet in the centre,
and stare at each other_) Well, sir?

VAN. Well, sir, you have the advantage of me. To whom have I the
honour of speaking?

AUGUS. Before I answer that question, I must know what right you have
to ask it.

VAN. This is mere evasion, sir. I must request the favour of your
name. I have no wish to be personal, but, really, there are so many
vagabonds going about now--

AUGUS. (_taking him up_) Exactly, that's just it; what you say is so
perfectly true, that I don't feel safe with you, although I am in my
own lodgings.

VAN. What do you mean by presuming to call these lodgings yours.
(_aside_) A horrible suspicion! (_aloud_) Who are you, sir? I insist
upon knowing your name this instant!

AUGUS. (_alarmed_) Bobbins, sir, Bobbins!

VAN. (_starting_) Ah, you villain!

AUGUS. Why do you insult me like this?

VAN. (_going close to him_) _I'm her husband!_

AUGUS. What the devil do you mean? Whose husband?

VAN. Your victim's! you heavy swell, you--you old rascal!

AUGUS. (_aside_) Good gracious! he can't be alluding to Mrs. Duval!
Who can have told him? (_aloud_) Do you mean, seriously to say that
you are the husband of--

VAN. (_taking him up_) The woman you have so basely turned from the
paths of virtue!--of that dear being who, next to myself, I loved best
in the whole world.

AUGUS. Interesting traveller! respectable individual! believe me, on
my honour, there is not one word of truth in all you have been told.

VAN. It's false, sir!

AUGUS. Sir, you are transported by rage. Your anger won't allow you to
listen to reason.

VAN. Rage! anger! I shall suffocate myself! Language falls
short--words are too weak--let's come to blows!

(_drives BOBBINS round the stage, until he gets on the left of the
table, L._

AUGUS. Keep your hands to yourself, can't you? Strike me in my own
home?

VAN. Ah! again! you dare call this your home, you rascally cabinet
maker? Do you think, because you have sent in your goods, you have any
right to the premises? What do I care for your mahogany? Look here!
D--n your mahogany! (_throws down arm chair_) D--n your mahogany!

(_takes all the furniture in succession, chairs, table, R.--at last
takes a bust from R. table, close to scene, and throws it out at back
of folding doors--crash is heard, while BOBBINS is speaking._

AUGUS. Be quiet, I say. Let the furniture alone. You are mad--yes, you
are gone out of your senses! Will you hear me?

VAN. (R.) No, I won't! Mark me! I give you one quarter of an hour--one
quarter of an hour to take your things away.

AUGUS. (L.) This is beyond all patience! What on earth do you mean?

VAN. Mark me! One quarter of an hour! (_taking out watch_) It now
wants exactly fifteen minutes to eleven. If they are not gone as the
clock strikes, out they go through the window.

AUGUS. Police! Police!

VAN. Oh! you want the whole thing to get into the papers, do you! To
be all over the town! Very well, with all my heart! I'm your man!
(_seizing BOBBINS_) Come along, to Bow Street! Come along, come along!
(_dragging him to C. D._)

_Enter REBECCA, C. D. from L._

REBECCA. Please, sir, the nurse has brought home the baby!

VAN. (_lets BOBBINS go--rushes into R. corner_) The baby! (_during
this, REBECCA puts the furniture in its place_) Miserable little
wretch! I'll destroy it on the spot! (_rushing to C. D._)

AUGUS. (_stopping him_) Hold! Hold! (_struggling_) You wouldn't commit
a murder in the house! My child! my child!

VAN. Stand off, I say--I'll destroy it on the spot!

AUGUS. (_still struggling with him_) Monster! Rebecca! come and help
your master! (_REBECCA seizes BROWN, R.--they struggle round till
REBECCA is in left hand corner_)

REBECCA. Murder! murder!

VAN. Stand off, or I shall do you a mischief! (_shaking BOBBINS off,
who flies to C. D._) Do you see this revolver? (_REBECCA screams_)
It's a thorough bred Colt! I've used this revolver with deadly effect
upon the enemy! I can snuff six candles with it at sixteen paces,
without putting them out! (_REBECCA puts her hand upon his arm_) Stand
off, I say, or I shall do you an injury!

AUGUS. Hold him fast, Rebecca--hold him fast--don't let him go for the
love of goodness! Hold him fast while I run over the way with the
baby!

(_BROWN rushes at BOBBINS, who closes the doors upon him, and
exits--BROWN sinks into arm chair, L.--REBECCA quietly takes pistol
from him and puts it on R. table_)

VAN. Oh, Rebecca--that's your name, isn't it?

REBECCA. (R.) Oh, sir, sir, sir! what does all this mean? You'll
frighten us all out of our senses!

VAN. Oh, Rebecca, did you but know the atrocities that have been going
on here!

REBECCA. What atrocities?

VAN. What atrocities! They're not fit to be told to a respectable
young woman like you. This is the very temple of wickedness. Talk of
the horrors of the Reign of Terror, or the Rump Parliament--they're
nothing to it.

REBECCA. What horrors, sir?

VAN. What horrors? French polished mahogany--a silk dress--and a child
out at nurse.

REBECCA. But what can master's little boy have to do with you, sir?

VAN. Rebecca, he is _not his son_--he's mine.

REBECCA. Your son?

VAN. My son, and yet not my son--he is my father, but I am not his
son. No, no--I am his son, and he is not. No, no, no! my head dances
the polka.

REBECCA. I can't understand him.

VAN. What I mean is, I am not his father, but his mother is my wife.

REBECCA. Mrs. Bobbins!

VAN. Bobbins! What, does she openly bear his name? Monstrous! The
whole history of crime, from the Heathen Mythology down to the Newgate
Calendar, has nothing to equal this!

REBECCA. Do you mean to say, then, that she is not his wife?

VAN. His wife! no more than you are.

REBECCA. What, they are not married?

VAN. Married!

REBECCA. Well, hang me, if I didn't half suspect it! Now it's all
out--it's all explained. Oh, sir, how I do pity you! What a shocking
bad woman! I never liked her--and since she has behaved so wickedly, I
think it becomes my duty to tell you all I know.

VAN. Yes, tell me everything--what is it?

REBECCA. Courage, sir--are you sure you can bear it?

VAN. Out with it!

REBECCA. Well, then, sir, do you know there's another besides Mr.
Bobbins.

VAN. Another!

REBECCA. Yes, he's always running after her--isn't it shameful?--a
young lawyer.

VAN. What's his name?

REBECCA. Fastman--a very handsome young man. It was only just before
you came that he gave me a letter for her.

VAN. Where is it? give it to me.

REBECCA. Here it is in my pocket, sir. (_gives him letter_)

VAN. (_taking it_) Are there any more--half a dozen, I suppose, more
or less--(_reading letter_) So, so! A flowery composition--

_Enter FASTMAN, C. D. from L._

FAST. (_seeing VANDYKE_) Botheration! There's somebody here! (_down,
R._) Well, did you give her my letter?

REBECCA. (_C., indignantly_) No, sir, I gave it to her husband!

FAST. (_aside_) To Bobbins? No, you can't have played me such a trick!

REBECCA. Don't whisper, Mr. Fastman--I don't want your secrets; I tell
you I gave the letter to this gentleman.

(_pointing to VANDYKE, and going up, C._

FAST. (_aside_) What could induce you? Who on earth is he?

VAN. (_with forced calmness_) Come here, Fastman. (_they meet in C._)

FAST. (_R., astonished_) Fastman!

VAN. (L.) You are a likely looking fellow!

FAST. Return me that letter, sir--this instant.

VAN. Be quiet, Fastman. Don't kick up a row.

FAST. What right have you--

VAN. Be quiet, Fastman. I have every right in the world, to pitch you
out of that window, if I think proper.

FAST. Ah, indeed!

(_REBECCA gets down, R._

VAN. But I waive it--I waive it, on the condition of your becoming the
instrument of my revenge. I hereby, in the presence of a witness,
invest you with full powers to that end.

FAST. I don't understand you!

VAN. Fastman, you are in love with the woman to whom, by a civil
contract of society, I am united for life.

REBECCA. (_aside to FASTMAN_) Yes, it's quite true--he's her husband.

FAST. (_aside_) Her husband!

VAN. This woman has destroyed every possible link that bound me to
her. Hear me curse her, Fastman! I repudiate her!--do you understand
me, Fastman?--I repudiate her! Cut him out, Fastman--go in and
win!--Cut him out. I request it of you as a favour--you'll be doing me
an immense service.

FAST. Cut who out.

VAN. A perfidious dealer in mahogany! That rascally interloper,
Bobbins.

REBECCA. The good for nothing old fellow!

FAST. You amaze me! It's incredible!

VAN. If he attempt to expostulate--_mind,_ this is your answer--I have
the authority of her husband.

FAST. But my dear sir, suppose--

VAN. Now don't suppose, Fastman--I can't bear it. Remember that's your
answer--I have the authority of her husband. You shall revenge me! Cut
him out, Fastman! Spit at him! kick him! pull his nose! while I go
into training, in order that I may finish him! Spifflicate him!
pulverise him! Don't speak. (_crosses to C._) You have your full
instructions. Follow me, Rebecca--go to the butcher's and get me a raw
beef steak--I am now going to breakfast. (_to FASTMAN, as he is
leaving the stage_) Remember--I have the authority of her husband. Now
I'll go into training.

_Exit with REBECCA, C. D. to L._

FAST. I never was more astonished in my life! Why, what a greenhorn I
have been all this while! She must have laughed in her sleeve at me
finely. Oh, oh! I must go a different way to work with the lady.
(_loud knockings at the door, R., in which MRS. BOBBINS was locked by
VANDYKE_) What's all that knocking? Some one is locked in here. (_he
goes to door and unlocks it._)

_Enter MRS. BOBBINS, R. door._

MRS. BOBBINS. (_R., speaking as she comes down without seeing
FASTMAN_) I can't bear this any longer. I am determined to know what
it all means! (_seeing FASTMAN_) Mr. Fastman!

FAST. (L.) Yes, my charmer, I am here! Don't be afraid!

MRS. BOBBINS. (_astonished_) What do you mean, sir?

FAST. Come, come, don't let there be any more of this prudery. I'm
sure you'll give me the preference--you wouldn't make a comparison
between a young fellow like me and such an old Guy Fawkes as Bobbins?

MRS. BOBBINS. How dare you, sir, speak of my husband in this
disrespectful manner?

FAST. Your husband! Come, come, that's a little too good, Constantia.
_I know all about that._

MRS. BOBBINS. Constantia! You impertinent young man!

FAST. Yes, Constantia--_dear_ Constantia! I doat upon the very ground
you tread upon! Now you shall listen to me--

(_falling on his knees._

_Enter BOBBINS, C. from L._

AUGUS. (C.) What is all this?

MRS. BOBBINS. (_aside_) Good heavens! my husband!

FAST. (_getting up slowly_) Ah, Bobbins, old fellow! how are you? (_go
to L._)

AUGUS. (_in amazement_) Sir, my astonishment knows no bounds.

MRS. BOBBINS. (R.) My dear Augustus, don't for one moment imagine--

AUGUS. Silence, Constantia! (_to FASTMAN_) Will you have the kindness
to explain, sir, what the devil you mean by going down upon your knees
to my wife?

FAST. (L.) What's that to you?

AUGUS. Sir!

FAST. What's that to you, I say? She is not your wife!

AUGUS. This lady is not my wife?

FAST. You know perfectly well she is not--you ought to be ashamed of
yourself.

MRS. BOBBINS. What consummate insolence!

FAST. And I think you are a confoundedly brassy old fellow to attempt
to take a high tone with me, after all that has come to light.

MRS. BOBBINS. Do you suffer him to talk to you like this, Bobbins,
without replying? Why don't you speak up, like a man?

AUGUS. Police! It's false! When I married her she was a widow!

FAST. Nonsense, sir, nonsense! Her husband, I tell you, is alive. It
was from him that I had the whole of these particulars--the lady
herself, I think, will scarcely venture to contradict me.

AUGUS. (_alarmed_) Speak, Constantia--why don't you speak?

MRS. BOBBINS. (_in a state of hysterical excitement_) I shall swoon
away! Give me a little air.

AUGUS. Do you suffer him to talk to you like this without replying?
Why don't you speak up, like a woman?

MRS. BOBBINS. Call Rebecca--I'm going into hysterics!

(_takes a chair._

AUGUS. She changes colour, and makes no denial! Guilty! guilty!
Unhappy bigamist! (_falls into chair, L._)

MRS. BOBBINS. Oh, oh, oh!

FAST. (_crossing to C., and going to C. D._) Rebecca! Rebecca!

AUGUS. Oh, Mr. Fastman, you see before you a blighted wretch, with his
household goods--gods shivered around him.

(_buries his face in his hands._

_Enter REBECCA, C. from L._

REBECCA. What's the matter? (_MRS. BOBBINS goes into hysterics_)

FAST. Let's take her into her own room, she'll be better there!

_They take her into room, R._

AUGUS. (_rising_) Am I awake, or dreaming? Is this my quiet home,
converted into a perfect pandemonium? Constantia, the virtuous
Constantia, the wife of two husbands! Indelicate position! (_crosses
to R._)

_Enter MRS. BROWN, C. D. from R._

MRS. BROWN. (L.) Oh, I beg your pardon--I thought I would just mention
to Mrs. Bobbins, that I had engaged--

AUGUS. (_interrupting her_) Fly, Mrs. Duval! Leave me--this is no
place for you!

MRS. BROWN. Has anything happened? You appear much disturbed.

AUGUS. Fly, ma'am, fly! Don't aggravate my misfortunes by remaining
any longer in this room. (_whispers_) He suspects me--I have had such
a scene with him.

MRS. BROWN. With who?

AUGUS. Only think of the consequences if he should surprise us
together!

MRS. BROWN. Who are you talking of?

AUGUS. Haven't you seen him, then? Don't you know he's returned?

MRS. BROWN. How am I to understand who it is you mean?

AUGUS. (_whispers_) He is now in the house.

MRS. BROWN. Who--who, I say?

AUGUS. (_whispers_) Your husband!

MRS. BROWN. Vandyke! My dear Vandyke come home--and now in the
house--without my having seen him! I can't believe it. (_imploringly_)
Don't keep me in suspense--say, what does it all mean?

AUGUS. Goodness only knows. It's all a riddle to me.

(_BOBBINS completely overcome, drops his head on MRS. BROWN'S
shoulder_)

_Enter VANDYKE BROWN, L. C._

VAN. (C.) Ah, now I have you! (_crossing to L._) This is occular
proof!

MRS. BROWN. (_C., running to VANDYKE_) Is this reality? My dear--dear
Vandyke come home to me!

VAN. (_L., repulsing her_) Touch me not--perjured woman!

MRS. BROWN. (_amazed_) Vandyke!

VAN. Avaunt, I say, abandoned female!

MRS. BROWN. Abandoned!

VAN. To what hast thou fallen! Cleopatra and her aspics, Clytemnestra,
and the Queen in Hamlet, are all outdone by thee!

MRS. BROWN. Why, Van, you goose, who can have put this nonsense into
your head?

VAN. (_pointing to BOBBINS, R._) That reverend Antony--that old
Ægisthus--that miserable Claudius, King of Denmark, there.

AUGUS. (_aside to MRS. BROWN, getting behind her in a violent fright_)
Do try and pacify him--he's foaming at the mouth!

MRS. BROWN. (_aside to VANDYKE_) Van--Van, I'll never forgive you for
this. Why, where's your head? Jealous of such an object as that!
(_pointing to BOBBINS_) Look at him.

VAN. There's no accounting for taste. Besides, what do you say to your
other cavalier, the youthful Fastman?

MRS. BROWN. What now--the youthful Fastman?

AUGUS. Fastman--who I only just this minute discovered on his knees
before my wife!

VAN. (_rushing across to BOBBINS, who runs behind table, R._) Ah, you
dare to call her so to my face! (_MRS. BROWN runs after VANDYKE, and
holds him_)

AUGUS. Police--police!

MRS. BROWN. Now, my dear Van--how can you imagine that your own little
Emily--

VAN. (_throwing her off, L._) Imagine--false woman--imagine! Ha, ha,
ha! but don't suppose that I mind it. (_throwing BOBBINS round to L._)
Take your vile cabinet maker--don't think I'm going to commit suicide.
No, no--_I've_ a friend in a corner that will console me. She loves me
to distraction. She followed me all the way from the Waterloo Station.
I'll run off with her before your eyes. Come in, madam, come
in--there's no occasion to hide yourself any longer.

_Goes to R. D., and brings out MRS. BOBBINS, who opposes him in
confusion._

AUGUS. My wife!

MRS. BROWN. Mrs. Bobbins!

VAN. Mrs. Bobbins! is he (_pointing to BOBBINS_) your husband?

MRS. BOBBINS. (_aside to VANDYKE._) Hush! hush! don't say a word about
having met me on the railway before my husband.

VAN. (_to MRS. BOBBINS_) So you're his wife! So much the better! It's
poetical justice! You have overheard all, I suppose? (_pointing to
MRS. BROWN_) You see who he has given you up for--my wife!

MRS. BOBBINS. Your wife? (_aside_) This can't be true!

VAN. My wife--my infamous wife, who I resign in your favour.

MRS. BROWN. (_L. crying_) Oh! Vandyke, Vandyke! after all my tried
affection for you!

VAN. (_to MRS. BOBBINS_) Come, madam! come with me! (_drawing her
towards him_) Let us be revenged upon them both.

MRS. BOBBINS. (_to VANDYKE_) Let me alone, sir! let me alone!
Augustus, come to my assistance! Why do you suffer him to treat me
like this?

(_BOBBINS turns his back to her indignantly._)

VAN. It's all fair! Exchange is no robbery! He takes my wife--I take
his. You see your husband does not object.

AUGUS. Not I! As she has two husbands already, she may as well take a
third. Clap hands and a bargain--I agree to the chop. (_meets in
centre and shake hands_)

MRS. BROWN.  BOBBINS.  BROWN.  MRS. BOBBINS.
     R.                              C.

MRS. BOBBINS. (_crying and crossing to L. C._) Oh, oh, Augustus! what,
desert me after all my forbearance and exemplary conduct? Oh, oh, you
cruel man!

MRS. BROWN. (_crying and crossing to R. C._) Oh, Vandyke! Vandyke!

(_MRS. BOBBINS and MRS. BROWN cross at the same time while speaking,
and throw themselves into their husbands' arms. VANDYKE turns up
stage, R. indignantly--BOBBINS turns up indignantly._

_Enter FASTMAN and REBECCA, C._

REBECCA. Oh, come, here they are--that's fortunate!

FAST. (_throwing himself at MRS. BOBBINS feet_) Really, Mrs. Bobbins,
I am overwhelmed with confusion!

          VANDYKE.   BOBBINS.         REBECCA.
MRS. BROWN.        FASTMAN.  MRS. BOBBINS.
     R.                                  L.

VAN. (_taking hold of FASTMAN'S right hand, pulls him towards MRS.
BROWN_) No, no! you have mistaken your lady--pay your vows here,
sir--here sir!

AUGUS. (_taking FASTMAN'S left hand_) I say fair play to that. No
poaching on my manor. (_pulling him towards MRS. BOBBINS_)

FAST. (_shaking them off_) Be off, both of you! Go to Bath and get
your heads shaved. (_throwing himself on his knees to MRS. BOBBINS_)
How am I to apologise? How am I ever to make amends for my outrageous
conduct? I beg your pardon a thousand, and a thousand times! But it
was all this gentleman's fault--(_pointing to VANDYKE_) he told me
that you were his wife! (_rises_)

VAN. I! I told you she was my wife!

MRS. BOBBINS. Impossible!

FAST. Indeed he did, and I should still have thought so if it hadn't
been for the landlady of these apartments, who, on hearing the
disturbance just now, and Mrs. Bobbins going into hysterics, slipped
into the passage, as I was leaving the house to inquire what was the
matter, and I had no sooner begun to explain than she burst into fits
of laughter, and in a very few words cleared up the mystery.

VAN. No chaffing, young man! This is some of your humbug!

FAST. Only listen to me for one moment and you'll soon be
convinced--the whole truth of the matter is simply this--before you
went abroad you and your wife were occupying these rooms--

MRS. BOBBINS. (_interrupting him_) To be sure! of course--now I see it
all! which we have taken since, and this lady has gone up stairs--he
has mistaken the floor! (_FASTMAN goes up to REBECCA, at back_)

VAN. (_to his wife_) What, do you mean to say that you have moved,
then?

MRS. BROWN. I'll explain all that, Vandyke, by and by.

VAN. Oh! I see--to avoid the creditors, eh!

AUGUS. My dear Constantia! (_embracing_)

VAN. My dear little Emily! (_embracing_)

MRS. BROWN. My dear, dear Vandyke!

MRS. BOBBINS. Eh! what Vandyke? Vandyke Brown, brought up an artist?
Why, you are my cousin!

VAN. More mystery! I've no cousin of the name of Bobbins!

MRS. BOBBINS. No, I have married again--but you had a maiden aunt of
the name of Tabby?

VAN. I had?

MRS. BOBBINS. Your aunt is dead, and left you all her property.

VAN. Nonsense, you don't say so! Then I'll give up photography, and
return again to the grand style of art! And now, (_to the audience_)
if the unravelling of all this mystification has only been as
satisfactory to you as it has been to us, I can truly say that nothing
is wanting to complete the happiness of VANDYKE BROWN.

                                   FASTMAN.   REBECCA.
MRS. BROWN.   V. BROWN.   MR. BOBBINS.   MRS. BOBBINS.

     R.               CURTAIN                   L.

---------------------------------------------------------
Printed by T. Blower, 3, Black Horse Court, Fleet Street.



Transcriber's Note

This transcription is based on images digitized by Google from a copy
made available by Harvard University and posted by the Hathi Trust
Digital Library at:

   https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/011612920

In addition, it was checked against the text posted by the Victorian
Plays Project at:

http://victorian.nuigalway.ie/modx/assets/docs/pdf/Vol39xiiiVandyke.pdf

In general, this transcription attempts to retain the formatting,
punctuation and spelling of the source text. Thus, variant spellings
such as "musn't," "doat," "ecstacies," and "illnatured" have been
retained. Some minor inconsistencies and errors have been corrected as
follows:

-- p. 2: COSTUMES.--The pres--Based on the text available through the
Victorian Plays Project, changed the costume note to "COSTUMES.--The
present day."

-- p. 4: if you could'nt manage to--Changed "could'nt" to "couldn't".

-- p. 5: I'm sure I dont want to stay--Changed "dont" to "don't".

-- p. 5: we have been married scarcely three years. and this--Changed
the period after "years" to a comma.

-- p. 6: AUGUS The little cherub!--Added a period after "AUGUS".

-- p. 9: MRS BROWN. So, sir, I perceive you are--Inserted a period
after "MRS".

-- p. 10: I have the honour to wish you a good morning, Mrs
Duval.--Added a period after "Mrs" for consistency.

-- p. 13: Why, he must have followed me home--Added a period to the
end of the sentence.

-- p. 16: He had'nt been five minutes in the house--Changed "had'nt"
to "hadn't".

-- p. 16: (_they sit, BOBBINS R., VANDKYE BROWN L._--Changed "VANDKYE"
to "VANDYKE".

-- p. 20: There's somebody here! (_down. R._)--Changed the period
after "_down_" to a comma.

-- p. 22: FAST. (L) What's that to you?--Inserted a period after "L".

-- p. 25: Deleted the line before the tableau direction for
consistency.





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