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Title: That Awful Letter - A Comedy for Girls
Author: MacKenzie, Edna I.
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 "That Awful Letter - A Comedy for Girls" ***

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[Transcriber's Note: Bold text is surrounded by =equal signs= and
italic text is surrounded by _underscores_.]


    Price 25 Cents

    PAINE’S
    POPULAR PLAYS

    That Awful
    Letter

    Mac KENZIE

    PAINE PUBLISHING CO.
    DAYTON, OHIO

    NO PLAYS EXCHANGED



New Entertainment Songs

By Edna Randolph Worrell.


These songs can be used in all manner of entertainments. The music is
easy, and both music and words are especially catchy. Children like
them. Everybody likes them. Sheet music. Price 25 cents each. Five
copies, $1.00.

=WE HOPE YOU’VE BROUGHT YOUR SMILES ALONG.= A welcome song that will
at once put the audience in a joyous frame of mind and create a happy
impression that will mean half the success of your entire program.
Words, bright and inspiring. Music, catchy.

=WE’LL NOW HAVE TO SAY GOOD-BYE.= This beautiful song has snap and go
that will appeal alike to visitors and singers. It is just the song to
send your audience home with happy memories of the occasion.

=WE’VE JUST ARRIVED FROM BASHFUL TOWN.= This song will bring memories
to the listeners of their own bashful school days. Words, unusually
clever. Music, decidedly melodious. A capital welcome song, or it may
be sung at any time on the program with assured success.

=MY OWN AMERICA, I LOVE THEE.= A song that will bring a thrill of
patriotism to the heart of every one who hears it. The children and
grown-ups just can’t resist the catchy music. It makes a capital
marching song.

=COME AND PARTAKE OF OUR WELCOME CAKE.= A merry welcome song and a
jolly one, too. The audience will be immediately curious about the
Welcome Cake, and the children will love to surprise the listeners with
the catchy words. Music, easy and tuneful.

=LULLABY LANE.= The music and words blend so beautifully that people
will be humming the appealing strains long after they hear this
charming song. A wonderfully effective closing song, whether sung by
the school or as a solo by a little girl, with a chorus of other little
girls with dolls.

=JOLLY PICKANINNIES.= Words by Elizabeth F. Guptill. Music by Edna R.
Worrell. This spicy coon song will bring down the house, especially if
you use the directions for the motions which accompany the music. The
black faces and shining eyes of the pickaninnies will guarantee a hit.
The words are great and the music just right.

=THE LITTLE BIRD’S SECRET.= Here is just the song for those two
little folks to sing together. They won’t have to be coaxed to sing
it, especially when they find that the whole school is to whistle the
chorus. This is a decided novelty, and will prove a rare treat to your
audience.

=A GARDEN ROMANCE.= This is a dainty little song telling of the romance
and wedding of Marigold and Sweet William. It is just the song for
dainty little girls to sing.

=COME TO THE NURSERY RHYME GARDEN AND PLAY.= Here is something
different for the little folks to sing. The Nursery Rhyme Folk are so
familiar to children, it will be no trick for them to remember the
words. The music has a most captivating swing.

    Paine Publishing Company      -      -      Dayton, Ohio



    That Awful Letter

    _A Comedy for Girls_


    BY
    EDNA I. MAC KENZIE


    Copyright, 1919, by
    PAINE PUBLISHING COMPANY


    PAINE PUBLISHING COMPANY
    DAYTON, OHIO



THAT AWFUL LETTER



CHARACTERS


    MARGARET NEILSON—A Snobbish City Girl.
    ELIZABETH NORTON—Her Country Cousin.
    HELEN MONTGOMERY—Margaret’s Dearest Friend.
    EDITH BROWNING—A Friend of Elizabeth’s.
    NORA—A Maid of Neilson’s

    (This part may be taken by Edith Browning.)

    TIME OF PLAYING—_About Forty Minutes._



SCENE I


(_Sitting-room in Neilson’s house, well furnished. Margaret
overdressed, is sitting reading a magazine. She looks up impatiently
and throws it down in disgust._)

MARGARET—(_crossly._) There’s no use in my trying to read or do
anything else when I’m so provoked. I don’t see why dad can’t (_the
bell rings_) Oh, drat that bell! I don’t want to see any person. I wish
people would stay at home. (_Goes and looks out._) Oh! it’s Helen! I
wonder what she wants now. She is always running over and I’m sure I’m
never over there any more than four times a day at the most. (_Helen
comes in and Margaret rushes to embrace her._) Oh Helen, you dear girl!
I’m so glad to see you. I was just wishing you would come over. Do take
off your hat and stay awhile. I’ve just been so mad I could boil over
or bite somebody or do something awful.

HELEN—Why, what is the matter with you? What are you mad about?
(_Aside, It seems to me she is always in hot water or a stew about
something._)

MARGARET—Well, sit down and I’ll tell you about it. (_They sit down
on a couch._) It seems that dad has some country relations somewhere
in the backwoods. He’s had them ever since he was born but he’s just
remembering them now. Well, it seems that there’s a girl about my age
and dad was looking over some old photos last night and came across one
of her when she was six years old. That picture put him into the notion
that he would like to see that girl and nothing will do but I must
write and ask her up.

HELEN—That won’t hurt you, will it? I think it would be nice to have a
girl visiting you. I know when Marian Staddon was visiting me, we had a
dandy time—parties, dances, and heaps of things.

MARGARET—Yes, but can’t you get anything into your head? This is a
cousin from the _backwoods_ and just imagine the kind of figure she’d
cut in our set! Why, she’ll likely have the oddest clothes and speak
most horrible English and, and—not know beans. And then that would
spoil all our plans for getting in with Edith Browning. The Brownings,
you know, are such an aristocratic family and are the whole cheese
since they moved to the city. I’m just crazy to get in with them, but
of course if they saw me with that girl, that would spoil everything.
Edith would know that my father had sprung from common ordinary farmers
and we have just succeeded in making people think we had very important
ancestors.

HELEN—(_aside_) Gee! but isn’t she some snob. Well, nobody is deceived
I can vouch for that. (_aloud._) I know Edith Browning is the whole
thing just at present. I’ve met her several times and think she is
lovely, (_pause_) not a bit stuck up, you know. Of course we want to
get in with her, especially this winter when Beth Norton is going to
visit her, for everybody will be having parties and things for her.

MARGARET—And pray, who is Beth Norton?

HELEN—Don’t you know? Why, she is the girl that all the girls at
Erskine College were just crazy about. Why, they say there’s never
been a girl there before who was as popular. And act! Why, she took
the chief parts in all their plays and the girls said she had any
professional actress beaten all to pieces. Oh yes, we must manage to
get in with them if we can. Now about your cousin, say, why can’t you
have her up for just a couple of days and keep her out of the way?

MARGARET—Dad is bound that I’ll invite her up for two weeks anyway. I
can generally manage him pretty well, but this time he’s as obstinate
as a mule. I’m glad I didn’t inherit his bad qualities.

HELEN—(_aside_) I think she has all of his and some of her own to boot,
(_aloud_) I have an idea. Write her such a letter that if she has any
sense at all she’ll know she’s not wanted and then perhaps she won’t
come.

MARGARET—(_jumping up_) That _is_ a good idea! Let’s write it now. What
shall we put into it? (_goes to a table where there is paper and ink,
sits down to write_)

HELEN—(_going to the table_) Tell her that,—oh, I don’t know. You
ought to be good at that sort of thing. (_Margaret looks up sharply_).
Writing letters I mean. You can write such splendid ones, you know.
(_Margaret writes awhile while Helen looks over her shoulder._)

MARGARET—(_rising_) There, that ought to do the trick. What do you
think of it?

HELEN—Well, if she can’t take the hint from that that she’s not wanted,
she must be as dense as a—a fog! (_goes to put on her hat._) I must go
for I promised to stay only a few minutes. Good-bye (_goes towards the
door_) I hope your cousin won’t be too boorish if she does come.

MARGARET—Good-bye. We’ll trust to luck. (_Helen disappears. Margaret
comes to centre of stage_) Well, that letter _is_ a good stunt, but my,
wouldn’t dad be angry if he knew! But I’ll chance it that he doesn’t
find out. Now for a toast. (_Pretends to drink._) Here’s to the refusal
of my invitation to my country cousin.


CURTAIN



SCENE II


(_A country kitchen. Elizabeth in middy and skirt, enters slowly toward
centre of stage, examining an envelope._)

ELIZABETH—(_still examining envelope._) I wonder who this letter’s
from. I don’t know the writing and it’s from New York City. But there’s
lot of people I know there. Perhaps it’s from one of those little girls
at Erskine College that were always getting a crush on us bigger girls
and bothering us to death with their gushing. Now, who is it from
anyway? (_laughing._) Say, I never thought of it, but perhaps if I
opened it I’d find out. (_Opens and glances over it, and seems amazed
and reads very slowly aloud._)

                             14 Riverside Drive, New York City.

    Dear Cousin Elizabeth:

    Father wished me to write and ask you to visit us for a
    couple of weeks. I know that you really wouldn’t want
    to come as you’d feel so shy and awkward in a city home
    and among the girls in our set and doubtless you have
    no clothes suitable for the city; but as he wished me
    to ask you, I have done so.

                                 Yours truly,
                                         Margaret Neilson.

(_Elizabeth looks up bewildered._)

ELIZABETH—What a queer letter! I wonder if any of the girls are playing
a trick on me. (_thinks._) Now, I have it. I’ve heard mother mention
her brother, Jerry Neilson, who went to the city and his aristocratic
wife made him cut his country relations when they got rich. So this
must be from my cousin. But how could any girl write such a rude,
insolent letter like that! She certainly was forced to write against
her will. I bet her father never saw that letter. It would serve her
right if I sent it to him. I’d feel out of place in a city home and in
her set! Well, (_laughing_) that’s a joke, when I’ve been in some of
the best homes in New York City. I wonder what Edith Browning would say
to that and a lot of the other girls at dear old Erskine. Well, my dear
cousin, I’ll just write you a polite note of refusal.

(_Goes to table and writes, then reads aloud_).

“Miss Edith Norton regrets with pleasure the sincerely cordial and
hospitable invitation of Miss Margaret Neilson.” Oh, (_suddenly
jumping and clapping her hands._) I’ve an idea! I’ll accept my kind
and hospitable cousin’s invitation since she’s so anxious to have me
and since she expects me to be such a queer freak from the backwoods,
it would be too bad to disappoint her, so I’ll dress and act the part
of the poor country cousin she’s looking for. Oh, (_dancing around_)
it will be heaps of fun. I’ll stay there a day and then I’ll pay Edith
Browning that visit I’ve promised her for ages. (_Going towards the
exit._) The girls at Erskine always said I was a born actress and now
I’ll have the chance to prove whether they were just flattering me
or not. (_Stops and glances at the address, 14 Riverside Drive._)
Why, Mildred Ewing lives just a couple houses from there. I’ll dress
there and just slip over when the coast is clear. There’s some of my
masquerade costumes up in the attic. I’ll run and see if I can find
something suitable for my new role. Say, but won’t I lead my dear
cousin a merry dance! (_Laughs and runs off the stage._)


CURTAIN



SCENE III

(_Sitting room in Neilson’s house. Margaret is seated doing fancywork.
Helen comes in and Margaret rushes to meet her._)


HELEN—Say, what’s up now that you had to have me come over in such a
hurry? Have you any startling news? (_Both go towards centre._)

MARGARET—Oh Helen, I’m in a terrible fix and all over that awful letter
you made me write to—

HELEN—(_interrupting indignantly._) I made you write!

MARGARET—Yes, to Elizabeth—or Lizzie as I guess she’s called. Would you
ever think she’d accept that invitation?

HELEN—No, she hasn’t, has she?

MARGARET—Yes, she has and here’s her answer. (_shows her a letter
written on some very brightly colored paper or wrapping paper._) Just
look at the spelling and the style! Wouldn’t it crimp you? And just
wait until I read it to you (_begins to read, while Helen follows her
over her shoulder and giggles all through the reading of it._)

    Dear Maggie—(_Isn’t that abominable?_)—

    I’ve been wanting ter visit the city ever since I was
    skin high to a grasshopper, but didn’t know I had any
    kin in the city that I could visit. It’s awferlly kind
    of youse to ask me and I’ll be there as sure as guns
    this coming Wednesday. I jest got some new clothes made
    by Susannah Sparks and they’re mighty stylish, I kin
    tell yer. I aint a bit bashful so youse kin invite all
    the people in youse like. I’d like ter meet yer friends
    awful well. Remember me to yer pap.

                                 Yers to a sliver,
                                          Lizzie Norton.

(_throws the letter down on the table in disgust and makes a face._)
Isn’t that perfectly awful? That means she’ll be here to-morrow and oh,
she must be dreadful! And what if she should tell dad about that awful
letter we wrote! Oh, why did I do it, and whatever will I do? (_Sinks
down in chair and begins to cry._)

HELEN—(_going over and putting her arm around her._) Oh, cheer up!
Things might be worse. You can manage to avoid the girls for awhile
and you can give Lizzie books to read or something to keep her in the
background and out of mischief.

MARGARET—(_drying her eyes._) It’s a good thing she isn’t coming today
for you know I’ve invited Edith Browning for tea and I want to be on my
best behavior and be as nice as I can so as to make a good impression.
If Lizzie were here, I would be mortified to death. (_bell rings behind
stage._) Oh, there’s the bell. It’s too early for Edith. I wonder who
it is. (_goes to the door and looks out._) There’s Nora answering the
door now. (_throws up her hands in horror._) Good heavens, who can that
awful person be!

HELEN—What person? (_Goes and looks too and giggles._) Goodness, I bet
she’s escaped from some asylum. But listen, Nora’s going to settle her.
(_both listen at door._)

NORA—(_behind the scenes_) Yez can’t come in here. This is no place for
the likes of ye. Ye’d better thry the asylum where ye belong.

ELIZABETH—(_behind the scenes_) Yer’d better go there yerself. Let me
tell yer that I kin come in if I want ter. I’ve come to visit my Uncle
Jerry and yer needn’t think a red-haired freckled flip of a thing like
yer can stop me. Now stop making a door of yerself and let me through
or I’ll tell my cousin Maggie on yer.

HELEN—Good heavens, here she comes! (_Drags Margaret to front of stage
where they both fall limp into chairs._)

MARGARET—Merciful powers, it’s Lizzie! Isn’t she—(_Elizabeth appears at
door, dressed in a most ridiculous fashion and carries an old-fashioned
telescope and a big satchel. Both girls sit staring at her._)

ELIZABETH—(_Rushing up to them and throwing down her telescope_)
Helloa, girls! Be one of youse my cousin Maggie? I’m Lizzie Norton. I
got a chance ter come up a day earlier so I didn’t think it would make
any odds. (_The girls have jumped to their feet thunder-struck._)

ELIZABETH—(_looks from one to the other_) Say, what’s the matter with
youse? Be youse both deef and dumb?

MARGARET—(_extending her hand which Elizabeth seizes_) I’m _Margaret_
Neilson so I suppose you must be my cousin Lizzie. We were not
expecting you until to-morrow. (_Aside to Helen._) Oh, Helen, isn’t she
perfectly dreadful?

HELEN—(_aside to Margaret_) Well, I should say! And her clothes sure
are the latest style as there’s never been any like them—yet!

ELIZABETH—(_tugging at the elastic on her hat_) Well, youse didn’t tell
me ter take off my hat, but I guess I’ll make myself ter hum. (_Takes
off her hat and throws it on the couch and stares around._) My, aint
everything here perfectly grand! (_Goes around the room._) Youse folks
must be pretty stylish. Now, ter home us folks aint never seen such
nice things. (_Turns suddenly._) Say, how’s Uncle Jerry, Maggie?

MARGARET—If you’re referring to my father, his name is J. Ernest
Neilson, so please call him Uncle Ernest. As for myself, I detest the
name of Maggie. _Do_ call me Margaret.

ELIZABETH—Oh, yer rather peppery aint yer? I’m sure Jerry is just as
good a name as yer kin find anywhere. Why, we named our old white horse
that and a better horse yer couldn’t have. As for Maggie, our black
and white spotted cow is called that and she gives more milk than any
of them. (_Margaret looks more and more disgusted and Helen amused._)
Say, aint you going to interduce me to your friend? At hum we always
interduce everybody to everybody else.

MARGARET—I beg your pardon. This is my friend, Miss Helen Montgomery.
(_Helen raises her hand very high and Elizabeth pulls it down and
shakes it heartily._)

ELIZABETH—Please ter meet you, Helly. I suspect I’ll get real
acquainted with yer before my visit’s over. Yer don’t look quite as
stuck-uppish as my cousin there. (_Margaret makes a face while Helen
laughs._)

HELEN—I feel greatly complimented, I’m sure. (_Aside_) She’s summed up
Margaret pretty well for a green country girl.

ELIZABETH—(_examining the girl’s clothes_) Say, girls, yer dressed up
mighty swell. Be yer going to a party?

MARGARET—(_proudly_) Why, no, these are just our every-day clothes.

ELIZABETH—(_in surprise_). You don’t say! (_Smoothing down her own
dress proudly._) Don’t you like my new dress? (_Margaret looks
disdainful._) I was bound to have Susannah make it stylish and put in
all the pleats and frills she could. I think she made a real good job
of it, don’t youse?

HELEN—(_sarcastically_) Why, yes, I think it is beautiful (_looking
at Elizabeth’s hat_) and what a lovely hat you have and so becoming.
(_Turns her back to laugh._)

ELIZABETH—(_getting the hat and turning it around in her hand_) Yes, I
think it mighty nice and so should it be for it was awferlly expensive.
I paid $1.98 for the shape itself at (_names a local milliner_) and
I trimmed it myself. (_Puts it back on sofa. Helen and Margaret sit
down._)

HELEN—(_aside_) It wouldn’t need a detective to make that discovery,
that’s one thing sure.

ELIZABETH—(_unfastening satchel and taking out a gaily colored
centre-piece_) Now, I’ll jest set down and work at this centre-piece.
(_Sits down in rocking chair and works._) I’m going to give it to you,
Mag—_Margaret_, I mean, for yer parler table.

MARGARET—(_aside_) Oh, gee, imagine that on our highly polished table.
I guess it will be more likely to adorn the attic. (_aloud_) Oh, that’s
very nice of you. By the way, how did you find your way here?

HELEN—Oh yes, how did you when you had never been in the city before?

ELIZABETH—Well, now, I did have a mighty hard time of it at first. I
asked one of them policemen if he could tell me where Uncle Jer—where
Mr. J. Ernest Neilson lived and he just laughed at me. (_She keeps
rocking._)

HELEN—Well, I should think he would. Didn’t you know any better than
that?

ELIZABETH—(_still sewing_) Why, I was told that them policemen could
answer any kind of a question. At hum everybody knows where everybody
else lives so I thought it would be the same here. (_Both girls
laugh._) Anyway he asked what his address was and I showed him the top
of yer letter.

MARGARET—(_in horror_) You didn’t show him my letter!

ELIZABETH—Sure and he must have got a good squint at what was in it,
too, for he looked so funny. Well he told me to get into one of them
street car things, and the feller who was all dressed up in brass
buttons and took the tickets told me when to get into another so it was
real easy. But I think the people here are dreadfully imperlite. They
kept giggling and giggling. I asked one what the joke was and she grew
awfully red and didn’t answer. I think it’s mighty rude not to tell
other folks the joke, why down to hum—(_looks up just as the girls are
turning up their noses_). Say, what’s the matter with your noses? Have
they nervous twitches in them? Get a bottle of Dr. Cure-all’s syrup of
tar at (_name of local druggist_) and it will soon stop that for it
cured my cold. (_Rising and throwing fancy work on chair._) Laws a me,
I’m awfully thirsty. Where’s the kitchen (_goes towards door, Margaret
starts up_). Never mind coming. I’ll just use the dipper so you don’t
need to get me a glass.

MARGARET—Well, tell Nora to get you a drink. (_Exit Elizabeth_). Oh
Helen, I never saw anybody so common—

HELEN—(_interrupting_). Why she’s the most _un_common specimen I ever
met in all my life.

MARGARET—(_proceeding_)—and horrid before—and oh, (_jumping up in
consternation_), I forgot all about Edith coming. She’ll be here soon
now and I simply must get Lizzie out of the way before she comes. Oh
Helen, (_putting her arm around her_), hurry up and think up something
to help me out of this hole.

HELEN—(_aside_), And she was so grateful when I tried to help her the
last time. But she’s in a pretty tight box now so I guess I’ll have
to try and patch it up. I wish her _important ancestors_ had given
her some brains. (_Aloud._) Oh, tell her—tell her—. Now let me think
(_thinks for a minute and suddenly grabs Margaret’s arm_). I have it.
Tell her that you know she must be very tired after her long journey
and that you’re sure she would like to rest and have tea quietly in
her own room. Nora could take it up on a tray. Lizzie will think it’s
so considerate of you, I’m pretty sure, and the novelty of having
things sent up to her might appeal to her. Let’s try it anyway.

MARGARET—All right. I’d try anything. (_Elizabeth appears._) But here
she comes now. (_Elizabeth comes toward centre and Margaret goes to
meet her and puts her arm around Elizabeth’s waist_). Oh Lizzie, I know
you must be pretty tired after your long journey. I think perhaps you
had better rest quietly until tea time. Then I’ll tell Nora to fix you
up a nice dainty tray and you’ll be under no nervous strain at all.

ELIZABETH—Me tired after that speck of a ride on the train! Why I’ve
saw me walk five miles ter town and go home and milk ten cows and not
be a bit the worse for it. And talk about nerves. Well I may be _nervy_
but I aint got them nerves that make people act like sillies. Now I’ll
just go up and put on my red chiny silk dress Susannah fixed up that
stylish with yeller bows and six frills and point de spit lace. It will
only take me a few minutes and I’ll be down in lots of time for supper.
(_Gets valise and goes towards exit, then stops at one end of stage_),
(_Aside_), I guess it’s time that I ended this farce. I think I’ve
given my dear cousin a pretty strong jolt, judging from her face and
actions. Gee, she’s the limit all right. Anyway, I had better change
into a decent dress as I would hate to offend Uncle Jerry—I mean _Uncle
J. Ernest Neilson_ (_exit Elizabeth_).

(_Margaret sits moodily in chair with head propped on knees. Helen sits
toying with some fancy work._)

HELEN—For goodness sake, Margaret, cheer up, you’re not dead yet!

MARGARET—I wish I were. What am I going to do? and Edith is due any
minute. I wonder what made Lizzie strike today.

HELEN—(_explosively_) Well, do you know, I like her!

MARGARET—(_in surprise_) Do you really? Well, I believe I do myself.
There’s something rather refreshing about her and she’s so frank and
good-natured. She doesn’t bear the least grudge for that horrid letter
we sent. Perhaps she doesn’t see anything wrong with it though. Oh,
whatever made me do it? I feel as mean as dirt everytime I think of it.
I’d give anything if I had never written it.

HELEN—Yes, I guess it was pretty shabby, but what’s done cannot be
undone. Anyway, I don’t suppose she knows enough to take offense at it.
(_Starting up._) Oh, I have an idea!

MARGARET—(_moodily_), I notice that you do catch on to one once in a
while. Well let’s hear it.

HELEN—(_aside in disgust_) Now, wouldn’t that crimp you! She couldn’t
find an idea all by herself in a thousand years. (_Aloud_). Why, I was
just thinking that Lizzie would look quite pretty if she had a decent
dress to wear and was fixed up some. Now, what’s to hinder you lending
her one of your pretty dresses and doing her hair in some becoming
fashion? I bet she wouldn’t look bad at all.

MARGARET—Why, she wouldn’t. I’ll go right up now and do it (_starts
toward exit_), or she’ll be coming down in some awful concoction of a
dress. Oh, dear, I feel awfully nervous.

HELEN—Did you hear what she said about nerves? The very idea, when
nerves are all the go now. (_Bell rings_). Oh, there’s Edith now. I
wish she had stayed away for half an hour longer.

MARGARET—So do I. And however will I manage to fix Lizzie up now?

HELEN—Talk for a few minutes and then excuse yourself and I’ll
entertain Edith until you come back.

MARGARET—(_warmly_) Helen, you’re a dear and just full of ideas. I
don’t know what I’d do without you. (_Goes out_).

HELEN—(_aside dramatically_), Behold the expanding of Miss Margaret
Neilson’s character. She is actually wakening up to what I am trying to
do for her and has even expressed one grain of gratitude. Well I guess
I’ll hang on to the grain, perhaps it will sprout. (_Sees Lizzie’s hat
and fancy work._) Goodness I’d better get these out of sight or they’d
be a sure giveaway. (_Runs and thrusts fancy work under a cushion and
throws hat behind couch. Margaret appears arm in arm with Edith who is
well but quietly dressed. Helen goes to meet them._)

MARGARET—You know Helen Montgomery don’t you, Miss Browning?

EDITH—Oh call me Edith, it’s more sociable and I’ll call you Margaret.
Why yes, (_shaking hands with Helen_), I have met you several times,
haven’t I? Coming to a new city it takes a person quite awhile to get
acquainted, but I’m managing not too badly.

HELEN—Why, I should say not. You have made hosts of friends already
from all accounts.

EDITH—Yes, everybody has been awfully kind to me and then I’d met
several people when I was at Erskine. (_All girls take seats, Edith
sitting where she can see the exit by turning slightly._) I hope you
girls weren’t expecting me any sooner. I had some shopping to do and
that delayed me.

MARGARET—Oh, that’s all right, but we were just saying we wish you’d
hurry up so that we could have a nice, long chat about everything
before supper, so—

HELEN—(_interrupting_) Oh, Edith, do tell us about some of the jolly
times you had at Erskine College. I’m just aching to hear about them.
(_Draws chair closer to Edith_).

MARGARET—Yes, please do! (_Draws her chair closer_).

EDITH—Why, I could tell you lots, but really I wouldn’t know where to
begin and once I began, I wouldn’t know where to stop. For one thing
we used to have midnight suppers whenever one of the girls would get a
box from home. We’d all meet in one room and have nothing but candles
for a light and when we heard anyone coming, we would have to blow them
out, quick as wink. Oh, but it was exciting when we heard any footsteps
outside! There’d be a wild scamper, I can tell you.

HELEN AND MARGARET—I guess there would be. What would you do?

EDITH—Everybody would grab the first thing that came handy and we’d
make ourselves as small as possible. We’d squeeze four or five into bed
with the eats and a few under while the rest would get into a closet.
One of the girls would snore and the teacher would think she was asleep
and pass on. It was pretty hard on the eats, though, being grabbed
in such a hurry and getting all crushed up, but then it was lots of
excitement and fun.

HELEN—What else did you do?

EDITH—Well, we put on some pretty good amateur plays. Beth Norton, was
simply grand in anything like that. Say, (_with enthusiasm_) you just
ought to know Beth. She’s the dearest girl out. Everybody raved over
her at Erskine. She was just bubbling over with fun and mischief and
kept things lively all the time. She was so good-hearted and kind too
and had the most forgiving nature. One girl said she was so full of fun
that there wasn’t a speck of room for spite to lodge in.

MARGARET—She must be lovely. I’d like awfully well to meet her.

EDITH—Well, I don’t see why you couldn’t for I just got a letter from
her and she said she was going to visit me in a couple days. She said
she was visiting some snobbish cousin of hers who needs to be taken
down a peg or two. I’d love to see her do it, but I wouldn’t like to be
the cousin, I can tell you.

MARGARET—No, nor I either, but those people who put on such airs ought
to have it taken out of them some way or other. I wonder who she is.

EDITH—I don’t know. Beth wouldn’t think of giving her away. (_Helen
stares fixedly at Margaret and nods. Margaret rises_).

MARGARET—I wonder if you’d excuse me for a few minutes. I have some
things I must attend to.

EDITH—Why of course. Don’t hurry back. (_Gazes at Margaret starting to
go out. Elizabeth appears at exit very daintily dressed._)

EDITH—(_rushing past Margaret seizes Elizabeth and hugs her_), Why
Beth, you dear girl, (_pulls her towards centre_), wherever did you
come from? The girls were just saying they didn’t know you. (_Margaret
and Helen both stand in amazement._) That’s funny.

ELIZABETH—Oh, helloa Edith! I didn’t know you knew my cousin. I’m just
staying here until to-morrow and then I’m going to your place for
awhile.

EDITH—(_aside in horror_), So this Margaret Neilson is the snob Beth
is to take down a peg. Good gracious, but I’ve put my foot into it.
(_Edith and Beth go to one side and eagerly converse in low tones_).

MARGARET—(_to Helen_), Lizzie, Beth Norton! Why whatever does it mean
anyway? (_thinks_), How can she be one and the same person? Oh, oh, I
see it now. The names are both nicknames and I never imagined my cousin
Elizabeth was the much talked of Beth. And so I’m the snob that Edith
said Beth was to take down a peg! (_Pauses_) And the worst of it is I
know I deserve it after that horrible letter. I don’t deserve to have
her ever speak to me again.

HELEN—But, whatever did she mean by dressing up like that!

MARGARET—Why, don’t you see? Didn’t you say that when she acted, she
had all the professionals beaten to pieces? Well, she’s acted that
country gawk I inferred in that letter to take me down that peg. Gee,
she’s taken me down a whole bunch of them. And oh look how we treated
her since she came. Oh, Helen, I’m so ashamed. I wish there was a hole
in the floor so that I could crawl into it.

HELEN—(_aside_), Thank goodness, she’s admitted that much. There’s hope
for her yet. (_Aloud._) We both acted awfully mean and for my part I’m
going to take my pill and swallow it.

MARGARET—I will too. It’s mighty bitter, but the worse the medicine
tastes, as a rule, the better are the results. I’ll never—(_Elizabeth
comes up to her_).

ELIZABETH—Well, Mag—Margaret, I guess it’s up to me to explain. You see
when I got your letter which showed me so plainly that you considered
any person brought up in the country was some sort of a curiosity
and nothing but an ignoramus, I thought I would come and explain to
you that the farmers of today are among the best educated and most
wealthy people there are and their daughters are receiving the very
best advantages that can be gotten. But when I read your letter over, I
couldn’t resist the temptation of acting the awkward gawk of a specimen
you expected. Did I succeed?

MARGARET—Succeed! Oh goodness, it was awful. (_Sinks into a chair and
starts to cry_), Oh, Liz—Beth, I mean. I know I’ve been as nasty and
snobbish as I could. And you don’t know how mean I’ve felt ever since
I wrote that awful, awful letter. I’ve wished again and again that I’d
never been so rude and horrid. Will you ever forgive me? (_Cries_).

ELIZABETH—(_Putting her arm around her_), Oh, cheer up, Margaret, of
course I’ll forgive you; you just need some of your notions changed.
That’s all. And when it comes to forgiving, perhaps I’d better ask you
to forgive me for playing such a trick on you. (_Aside, laughing_),
But, gee it was the best fun I’ve had for ages. Their shocked faces!
(_laugh_), their turned up noses, (_laughs_), their open disgust. Oh
glory, it was worth a circus to see them.

EDITH—Well, let’s forget everything that’s been done and said and begin
all over again. I think we’ll be great friends. Let’s shake over it.
(_She takes Helen’s hand, Elizabeth takes Margaret’s and they stand
with crossed hands in front of stage_).

ELIZABETH—Oh girls, see how our hands are crossed; I wonder who’s going
to be married first.


    CURTAIN



Christmas Entertainments


=CHRISTMAS AT PUNKIN HOLLER.= A new Christmas play by Elizabeth F.
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    Paine Publishing Company, Dayton, Ohio



READINGS AND RECITATIONS


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Our large Entertainment Catalogue sent on request.

    PAINE PUBLISHING COMPANY, DAYTON, OHIO.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes:

The back cover had a sticker over the top obscuring the first entry and
title. A duplicate advertisement was located and the words supplied
from that.

Page 6, repeated word “of” removed from text (and some of her own)

Back cover, “Chistmas” changed to “Christmas” (a beautiful Christmas)





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