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Title: What will they say at Brompton?
Author: Coyne, J. Stirling (Joseph Stirling)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "What will they say at Brompton?" ***

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Transcribed from the [1858?] Thomas Hailes Lacy edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org

                          [Picture: Book cover]



                            WHAT WILL THEY SAY
                               AT BROMPTON?


                               A Comedetta,

                               IN ONE ACT.

                                * * * * *

                                    BY
                         J. STIRLING COYNE, ESQ.

                                AUTHOR OF
     “_Man of Many Friends_,” “_My Wife’s Daughter_,” “_Box and Cox_
      _Married and Settled_,” “_Binks the Bagman_,” “_How to Settle_
        _Accounts with your Laundress_,” “_Did you ever send your_
        _Wife to Camberwell_,” “_A Duel in the Dark_,” “_Leo the_
              _Terrible_,” “_Mrs. Bunbury’s Spoons_,” “_The_
               _Water Witches_,” “_An Unprotected Female_,”
                 “_The Pas de Fascination_,” “_The Hope_
                  _of the Family_,” “_Willikins and hys_
                      _Dinah_,” “_The Old Chateau_,”
                        “_Fraud and its Victims_,”
                         “_Catching a Mermaid_,”
                          “_The Secret Agent_,”
                           _&c._, _&c._, _&c._

                                * * * * *

                           THOMAS HAILES LACY,
                               89, STRAND,
         (_Opposite Southampton Street_, _Covent Garden Market_),
                                 LONDON.

                                * * * * *

             _First performed at the Royal Olympic Theatre_,
                      _Monday_, _November_ 23, 1857.

                                * * * * *

CHARACTERS AT HOME.
MR. SAMUEL TODD (_of Cozy Cottage_,           MR. F. ROBSON.
_Brompton_)
MR. CROKER                                    MR. G. COOKE.
MRS. TODD                                     MISS WYNDHAM.
PERKS                                         MISS BROMLEY.
CHARACTERS ABROAD.
SIGNOR TODDINI                                MR. F. ROBSON.
JACOPO TERREBOLI                              MR. ADDISON.
GRIMBALDI                                     MR. H. COOPER.
A BRIGAND                                     MR. FRANKS.
MRS. TODD                                     MISS WYNDHAM.
MARIETTA                                      MISS MARSTON.



                   TIME OF REPRESENTATION—50 _Minutes_.



Costumes.


MR. SAMUEL TODD.—_First Dress_; Large morning gown, black trowsers.
_Second Dress_; Foreign cut black coat, full black trousers, white
Italian hat, with black hat band.  _Third Dress_; same as first.

CROKER.—Blue coat, with yellow buttons, black trousers, colored silk
handkerchief tied round his throat, broad brimmed black hat.

MRS. TODD.—_First Dress_; Muslin morning dress and cap.  _Second Dress_;
Black silk dress, mantilla and bonnet.  _Third Dress_; same as first.

JACOPO TERREBOLI / GRIMBALDI / BRIGAND } Brigand costumes.

PERKS.—Light coloured muslin dress and apron.

MARIETTA.—Italian peasant girl’s dress.



WHAT WILL THEY SAY AT BROMPTON?


SCENE I.


_A Parlour in Cozy Cottage_, _Brompton_, (2_nd_ _grooves_) _tastefully
furnished_; _door of entrance_, R. 1 E.; _door of Todd’s room_, L.1 E.;
_window_, _with curtains drawn_, C. _flat_.—_A large leather travelling
case on chair_, R. C.; _carpet bag_, _hat case_, _bandboxes_, _and a pair
of boots on the floor_; _fishing rod_, _telescope_, _and umbrellas
scattered about the room_, _which exhibits the disorder indicative of
preparation for a journey_.  _A table_, C., _on which is a writing desk_,
_two candles lighted_, _a chamber candlestick unlighted_, _and work
basket_.  _An arm chair_, L., _with concertina and case on it_;—_chairs_
R. _and_ L. _of table_.

     MRS. TODD _and_ PERKS _the maid servant are engaged packing the
                      travelling case on chair_, R.

MRS. T.  There, there, that will do.  My pink satin dress there; my
handkerchiefs; my collars—

PERKS. (_snatching a pair of Wellington boots from the floor_)  And
here’s master’s new boots, mum, can’t you make a tiny bit of room for
them between your lace cap and your Indian shawl?

MRS. T.  Perks, I’m astonished at your suggesting such an
association:—put them in the carpet bag.

PERKS.  La, mum, there’s not room for a tooth-pick in the carpet bag; how
we’re ever to get it’s jaws closed again I don’t know; and there’s a
dressing case, and a box of cigars, and a fishing rod, and two umbrellas,
a telescope and a pair of slippers, to be put up yet!

MRS. T.  Where’s my ugly?  What can have happened it?

      TODD _enters_, L. 1 E., _with a Bradshaw’s Guide in his hand_.

TODD.  Here it is!  I’ve found it!

MRS. T. (R.)  My ugly?

TODD. (L.)  No, my dear, our route.  I’ve been studying Bradshaw all the
morning, and I find that if we leave—page 49—I mean, if we leave the
Paddington—no—the Euston-square Station—at 7 o’clock, a.m., we can get by
the Oxford Junction to—to—page—(_turning over the leaves_)
page—page—no—that’s the Tilbury and Southend Line.  Ah! here it is!—we’re
then to take the express train to—to York—where we meet the Midland
Counties, you perceive, and then see—page 74—(_turning over the leaves_)
74—74—74—74—where there’s a branch to the Eastern Counties that takes us
to Norwich—and when we get to Norwich there’s a junction that takes
us—somewhere—I don’t precisely know where—but I have a strong reliance on
Bradshaw.

MRS. T.  I wish you would put down Bradshaw, Todd, and exert the limited
powers with which heaven has blessed you, and help me to pack and cord
these things—you leave everything for me to do.

TODD.  My dear Laura, there’s the difference between us—you’re remarkable
for physical energy—I for contemplative repose.  The study of Bradshaw
fatigues one’s mind so. (PERKS, _who has been clearing off luggage_, R.,
_gets round at back to_ L. _and takes up concertina from chair_)  Mind
that concertina, Perks—it’s the only instrument I play—(_takes it from
her_, C.), and having devoted myself for six months to “My Mary Ann,” I
rather flatter myself I shall create an extraordinary sensation amongst
the foreign echoes this summer. (_he commences playing_ “_My Mary Ann_,”
_when a knock is heard_)  Hah! who can this be?

                                PERKS _crosses at back and exits_, R. 1 E.

MRS. T.  I dare say my uncle Croker—come to bid us good bye.

TODD.  Your uncle, my dear, is a very worthy man.  I should feel bound to
respect his venerable hairs, if he had any left to respect, but that
hydropathic habit he has—of throwing cold water upon everything—is very
disagreeable.

 _Enter_ CHOKER, R. 1 E., _followed by_ PERKS, _who collects some of the
            scattered articles and carries them off_, R. 1 E.

MRS. T. (_kissing_ CROKER)  My dear uncle! (CROKER _crosses to_ C.)

TODD. (L. _shaking his hand_)  How d’ye do, Croker?  How are you?  Never
saw you look so jolly in your life. (_aside_)  Dismal as a cherub on a
tombstone!  It was very kind of you to call; we start on our tour in the
morning, so you’re just in time to see the last of us.

CROK. ( C.)  The last of you!  Ah, Samuel, I hope there may be nothing
prophetic in your words, but I have a melancholy foreboding—

MRS. T. (R.)  For goodness sake, uncle, don’t talk of melancholy
forebodings—when we are looking forward to the Continent.

TODD.  Aye, what do you think of six months amidst the classic scenes of
Italy.  Fancy smoking a cigar on the summit of Vesuvius; think of dancing
the Tarantula amidst the ruins of Pompeii; imagine the delicious
maccaroni—and the lazzaroni—and all the other oni’s. (_forgetting
himself_)  Picture to yourself the indescribable rapture of floating on
the moonlit sea with a lovely creature beside you.

MRS. T. (_indignantly_)  Mr. Todd!

TODD. (_recollecting himself crosses_ C. to MRS. TODD)  Ah, ah, ah, ah,
ah!  Of course my dear, I was thinking of you—idealizing you as it
were—in a poetic dream. (_crosses back to_ L.)  By the bye, Croker, is
there anything we can do for you abroad?  We expect to be in Boulogne
to-morrow night.

CROK. ( C.)  Well, I don’t wish to alarm you—but I had once a dear friend
who was lost in crossing to Boulogne.

TODD. (L.)  Lost! hem! dear me!  But with a good steamer you’re tolerably
safe, I believe.

CROK.  I’ve heard of several appalling catastrophes to steamers.  Now, if
you’d like to hear a few of them. (_sits on_ L. _of table_, C.)

MRS. T. (_seated_ R. _of table_)  Oh, dear, no!  Don’t trouble yourself,
uncle.

CROK.  The trouble is nothing; it is to me always a melancholy pleasure
to prepare my friends for the worst.

TODD. (_seated in arm chair_, L.)  We’re very much obliged to you—but
we’d rather have it without preparation.

MRS. T.  Do you know, uncle, we purpose crossing the Alps into Italy?

CROK.  It was but yesterday I was reading of a party of six young
Englishmen being buried beneath an avalanche on the great St. Bernard.

TODD.  Buried—alive?

CROK.  Alive.

TODD.  B—b—but it don’t often happen, does it?

CROK.  Continually, at this season.  Ask Albert Smith; _he_ knows:—and
what is most distressing, they all leave large families—of creditors to
deplore their loss.

TODD.  I’m not naturally timid; but these things are sufficient to shake
the stoutest heart.

CROK.  Take my advice, Samuel, and stay in your own country.  If you must
travel—if you must go to the seaside—have you not Gravesend, Southend,
and Mile-end?

TODD.  Oh, but you know, if one never moves from one’s native shore, one
might as well be born a muscle—or a barnacle!

MRS. T.  Besides, my dear uncle, it’s now too late to alter our
arrangements.  What would they say at Brompton if we went to Margate,
with a passport for Naples?

CROK.  Have you considered the practices of the Italian innkeepers, who
skin an Englishman alive, when they catch him?

TODD.  I shan’t mind that; I’ve undergone the operation so frequently in
our own happy country.

CROK.  Then there’s the danger of the roads.  I don’t want to alarm you;
but I had a dear friend once, who was travelling with his young wife, as
you might be, to Naples—

TODD.  To Naples?

CROK.  To Naples—where they were stopped in a lonely mountain road by
brigands.

TODD.  Did you say—by—brigands?

CROK.  Twenty of them—all armed to the teeth.  Their captain, a
ferociously handsome-looking scoundrel, clapped a carbine to my
unfortunate friend’s head—and—

TODD. (_earnestly_)  Blew out his brains?

CROK.  All that heaven had granted to him.

TODD.  Atrocious wretch!  And your unfortunate friend’s wife—did they
shoot her too?

CROK. (_solemnly_)  No—no;—it’s a horrible tale!

TODD. (_rises_)  Then I’d rather not hear it. (_crosses to_ C.)  Laura,
my dear; on reflection, hadn’t we better confine our views to Margate,
this year?

MRS. T. (_rises_)  No, Todd—no.  I’ve made up my mind, and packed my
trunks for the Continent; and nothing on earth shall alter my
determination.

TODD.  Of course not, my dear—I’m fully aware of the steadiness of your
purpose; but might it not be prudent—a—that is—a—advisable, to pause.

MRS. T.  You know, Todd, I never pause.  To-morrow morning, at six, we
start!  The policeman has promised to ring our bell at five.

TODD.  Then it’s fixed.  (MRS. TODD _goes up_ R. _and crosses at back to_
L.)

CROK. (_rises_)  Ah! well,—if you will rush on your fate!—I must be
going. (C.)  Good bye, Laura. (_embraces_ MRS. TODD, L.)

MRS. T. (L.)  Good bye, dear uncle—good bye!

CROK.  Bless you both!  Hah! I wish you a pleasant journey, with all my
heart.  Keep up your spirits, Samuel, man is born to misfortune.
(_crosses to_ L., _then turns to_ TODD)  I hope you’ve settled your
worldly affairs.  Good bye—this may be the last time we shall ever meet
each other in this world—but remember,—I tried to cheer you to the last.

TODD. (_dropping into chair_ R. _of table_)  Thank you—you’ve made me
very comfortable—very.

                                                    _Exit_ CROKER, R. 1 E.

MRS. T. (C.)  What a shocking raven my uncle is!—He hasn’t frightened
you, dear, has he?

TODD. (_seated_, R.)  No—not to say, frightened—but somehow I don’t feel
that glowing anticipation of our journey that I did this morning.  Vague
apprehensions will intrude into the—vacant mind—and damp one’s natural
hilarity.

MRS. T.  Nonsense! (_lighting a chamber candlestick_)  You’d better get
to bed—and you’ll forget all these terrible stories before morning.
(_crossing to_ R.)

TODD. (_rises_)  Very well—I’ll follow you in a few minutes, my dear.

          _Exit_ MRS. TODD, _with chamber candlestick_, R. 1 E.

Croker’s suggestion about arranging my worldly affairs should not be
neglected. (_sits_ at L. _of table and takes papers out of writing-desk_)
I have some papers and documents here which I must put in order before I
depart for “that undiscovered bourne from whence no traveller gets a
return ticket.”  Pshaw!  I must not let the dismal forebodings of old
Croker prey upon me!  Now! think of it, I’ll light one of those Turkish
cigarettes, which my friend, Captain Crasher, brought home from the East.
He tells me they’re prepared with opium and produce the most
tranquillizing effect on the spirits. (_he takes a cigar case from the
table drawer and lights a cigarette_)  This I hope will restore the
serenity of my mind.  Be a man, Todd! be a man!  Croker’s an ass!  He and
his stories may go to the devil. (_smoking and arranging his papers_)
Humph! ha! pooh! capital weed! (_taking up a bundle of papers_)  What are
these?  “Accounts settled.”  Um! um! (_puts them down and takes up
another parcel_, _turning them over_)  Mrs. Todd’s letters to me when we
were courting.  Ah! delicious smoke!  A lock of her silken hair!
(_smoking_)  How beautifully it curls! and this brown sprig of myrtle,
which she wore the night we vowed to love for ever.  Ha! we were green
then!  Her eyes remind me of—(_reading endorsement on another document_)
“The last will and testament of Samuel Todd.”  Dear me! what a sudden
chill the sight of this solemn instrument brings over me.  The paper
looks so ghastly white, and the ink so deadly black; that, gazing at it
as I sit here, seems like staring in the face of my own ghost.  Pshaw!
I’ll not give way to these desponding fancies! (_smoking_)  By the bye, I
may as well add a codicil to my will.  I’ve been thinking about it for
some time; no one can tell what may happen.  Let me see—(_running over
the will_) “I give and bequeath all that and those”—um, um, um, um, um,
um—“three per cent. consols”—um, um, um—“Shares in the”—um, um, um—“bank
stock, goods, and chattels, to my beloved wife, Laura,”—um, um, um!  Now
for the codicil, (_writes_) “Provided always, that if my said wife shall
survive me, and shall intermarry with a second husband, I hereby revoke
all and every of the bequests hereinbefore contained.”  That’s only
justice!  If it was my misfortune to be left a gay widower—would I marry
again? never!  At least, not until I had reflected seriously—and—pooh!
Deliciously soothing this cigarette!—not until, I had weighed in my
mind,—the—delightful aroma, and the—object however lovely, with—the
memory of the dear departed,—and the natural—weakness of—of—my head—no—my
heart—and conjugal affection.—I’m coming—my dear—com—ing!

_Music_—_The cigarette falls from his lips_, _and he sinks fast asleep
with his head on the desk before him_.  _Lights down_, _and the scene
gradually changes_—TODD _sinking through stage_, _with tables and
chairs_.

                                * * * * *



SCENE II.


_A Ruined Palace in the Abruzzi_.  _An apartment in a dilapidated
castle_, _still exhibiting traces of having been once occupied by persons
of taste and opulence_.—_The hangings are faded and torn_, _and the
pictures falling from their tarnished frames_; _some articles of antique
furniture are mingled with others of a new and modern fashion_; _table up
stage_, L. C., _laid for supper_, _and a lighted lamp on it_; _chairs_,
R. _and_ L.; _open window with balcony at back_, C., _with moonlight view
beyond_; _doors_, L. 2 _and_ 3 E. _and_ R. 2 _and_ 3 E..

      MARIETTA _discovered alone_, _looking out on balcony at back_.

MARI.  Not a living creature to be seen; not a sound to be heard but the
chirping of the cicalas amongst the pine trees, (_comes down_, C.)
Heigho!—what a lonely life is mine! no better than a prisoner in this
desolate old house in the mountains, seeing nobody but my uncle Jacopo
and his frightful followers, except when they happen to bring in some
unlucky traveller, who has fallen into their hands.

_Enter_ TODD, L. 2 E., _he is dressed in mourning_, _and wears a black
hatband round a high-crowned Italian peasant’s hat_; _he has a brace of
pistols stuck in a broad girdle_, _and a concertina slung over his
shoulder_.

What would I give for a companion in my solitude!

TODD. (_advancing_, L.)  Then behold one here, most interesting
aborigines, (_plays a few bars of_ “_My Mary Anne_,” _out of tune_)
Excuse the failure;—my heart is true, though my instrument be false.

MARI.  Pray who are you?

TODD.  A man of woes and mystery; carrying about with him a broken heart,
and a concertina to match. (_plays a few false chords on his concertina_)

MARI.  A stranger?

TODD.  A weeping stranger from a foreign land!

   Samuel Todd, it is my name;
      Britain is my nation,
   Brompton is my dwelling place,
      And Naples my destination.

That’s my passport in elegiac verse!

MARI. (_curtseys_)  Your humble servant, Signor Toddini.

TODD. (_aside_)  Signor Toddini!  I like Toddini—and I’ll stick to it.

MARI.  Travelling in search of health, Signor?

TODD.  No, in search of pleasure; my wife’s dead—my adored Laura (_plays
a few lively notes_) who was suddenly snatched from these widowed arms
three months since, in the bay of Genoa.

MARI. (R.)  Ah! drowned?

TODD. (L.)  Drowned—drowned—no more.  Neptune, envious of my happiness
robbed me of my earthly treasure—still, I don’t complain of Neptune—no, I
forgive him from my heart.

MARI.  But what accident has directed you to this secluded mansion,
signor?

TODD.  The strangest one in the world; you must know I rode out from
Naples this morning to visit a celebrated ruin in this neighbourhood;—I’m
fond of ruins, when they’re in a perfect state!  I was mounted on my
guide, while a mule carried my umbrella—no, I’m wrong, I was mounted on
my umbrella, while the guide carried the mule—no, I’m wrong again—for
’twas the mule carried _me_.  Well, I was riding along enjoying myself
wonderfully, thinking of my lost Laura, when, bang came a bullet through
my hat! (_takes off his hat and puts his finger through a hole in the
side_)  There! (_goes up and lays his hat on chair_ L. _of table_)

MARI. (_laughing_, _aside_)  My uncle’s usual way of requesting
travellers to stop.

TODD.  In the agitation of the moment I unconsciously drew a pistol from
my belt—it went off spontaneously—I heard an awful groan.

MARI.  A groan?

TODD.  A groan that made me tumble from my mule and roll down a
tremendous precipice by the roadside:—a torrent roared at the bottom, in
which I should have inevitably finished my tour, if my concertina had not
luckily got entangled in the roots of an old tree, where I hung nearly
strangled till evening, when I managed to extricate myself and crawl
through the wood, until I found a path, which led me to this hospitable
abode.

MARI.  Then you have no idea where you are?

TODD.  Not the remotest; but I can always make myself at home wherever I
go.  You don’t live quite alone in this tumble-down old place?

MARI.  No, I have an uncle, who resides here.

TODD.  Oh! (_half aside_)  A joint proprietor with the rats and owls.
And what is this uncle of yours, my dear?

MARI.  Hem! he has something to do with taxes on the road.

TODD.  I know:—a collector of Highway Rates.  One of the family used to
call regularly upon me at Cozy Cottage, Brompton.  The fellow used to
bring the Gas and the Sewers with him, and when the Sewers came, I was
certain the Thames Water Company was not far off.  Your name, sweet
flower?

MARI.  Marietta.

TODD.  Marietta!  Do you know, Marietta, you bear a striking resemblance
to my lost Laura—you have her eyes exactly, only yours are darker—the
same nose, only yours differs in shape—the same mouth, only yours is
smaller.

MARI. (_laughing_, _aside_)  A ridiculous creature! but I must try and
get him out of the trap, into which he has unconsciously walked.  Signor,
you must not remain here.  If my uncle returns and finds you, it may be
worse for you, and where to put you for the night I don’t know.  Hah!  I
have it:—you shall sleep in the fowl house—there (_points through window
at back_) on the opposite side of the garden.

TODD.  The fowl house!  You could never think of putting me to bed
amongst the cocks and hens, consider my feelings.  Bless me! what a look
of my lost Laura! (_aside_)  I feel I’m on the brink of an adventure!

MARI.  There’s some fresh pea straw in the corner, on which you can lie.

TODD. (_aside_)  This tender solicitude for my comfort proves she loves
me.

JACOPO. (_in his chamber_, R. 3 E.)  Marietta!

MARI.  My uncle!  He has awakened from his evening sleep, and is coming
here.

TODD.  The collector!—Perhaps I’d better retire with my emotions to my
pea straw.

MARI.  Yes—yes—make haste.  By this door, (_showing him to door_, L. 3
E.) down stairs and across the garden.

TODD.  Adieu, too lovely native.  Ah! pea straw with those we love.
(_begins to play concertina_)

JACO. (_without_, R. 3 E.)  Marietta!

  (TODD _rushes off precipitately_, L. 3 E.; MARIETTA _pretends to busy
                    herself about household matters_)

                    _Enter_ JACOPO TERREBOLI, R. 3 E.

JACO. (_entering_)  Marietta!  The girl can hear no voice, but her own.
(_yawns_)  Aw!  Awh!  I’ve had rather a long nap—what’s the hour,
Marietta?

MARI. (_up_, L.)  The moon has just risen, uncle.

JACO. (R.)  And Grimbaldi not returned yet. (_whistle outside_, _at
back_)  Hah! there they come.  Go and open the door, niece.

                                                 MARIETTA _exits_, 2 E. R.

St. Nicholas, send us some luck!  For the last three weeks there hasn’t
been a traveller between Itri and Naples worth stopping, till this
morning, when I had a crack at a fellow mounted on a mule, who looked as
if his pockets were well lined; but he must have been the devil, for he
disappeared like a stone in a lake, after lodging a bullet in Giuseppe’s
shoulder.

  _Re-enter_ MARIETTA, R. 2 E., _followed by_ MRS. TODD _and_ GRIMBALDI,
                   _with a_ BRIGAND _carrying luggage_.

MARI. (_as she enters_)  My uncle, signora.

GRIM. (R.)  The noble and excellent Signor Jacopo Terreboli, who will be
proud to offer your excellency the hospitalities of his princely mansion.

Mrs. T. (C., _aside and looking round the apartment_)  First appearances
are not much in favour of the mansion,—or its master. (_curtseys to_
JACOPO) Signor—a—

GRIM. (R.)  Jacopo Terreboli.

MRS. T. (C.)  I fear I am intruding.

JACO. (_bowing_, L.)  By no means, signora.  I am never more happy than
when distinguished ladies like yourself honour me by a visit.  You are
travelling, I perceive.

MRS. T.  Yes, on my journey to Naples, in search of my husband, when my
vetturino was overturned at the foot of the hill.

JACO.  Accidents do frequently happen to carriages at that particular
spot.  But my band—ahem! my servants were at hand to render you
assistance, signora?

MRS. T.  I never received greater attention in my life.  That gentleman
took charge of my luggage—and this—gentleman—(_designating_ GRIMBALDI)

JACO. (L.)  My major-domo! (GRIMBALDI, R., _bows profoundly_)

MRS. T.  Gave himself the trouble to secure my watch, rings, and other
valuables.

GRIM.  A—hem!  Don’t mention it.  The trouble was a pleasure.

JACO. (_crossing to_ GRIMBALDI)  I’ll be accountable for their safe
keeping, signora. (_putting them into his pockets_, _as_ GRIMBALDI _hands
them over to him_)  Your luggage shall also be taken care of.

 _He makes a sign to the_ BRIGAND, _who has remained up stage_, R., _and
                  who carries off the luggage_, R. 2 E.

MRS. T. (C., _aside_)  Not to say handsome, but prodigiously polite!

JACO. (R. C.)  Pray be seated, signora.

MRS. T.  Thank you; but I am anxious to procure some means of pursuing my
journey.

JACO. (R. C.)  Impossible to-night!

GRIM. (R.)  Quite impossible!

JACO.  To-morrow we can talk about it.  You must pardon our rough
housekeeping; but my niece, Marietta, will wait upon you. (MARIETTA, L.,
_curtseys_)  Marietta! go and fetch the signora’s travelling bag; she
will honour us by taking a bed here to-night.

   MARIETTA _crosses at back to_ R., _and in action expostulates with_
                     JACOPO—_then goes off_, R. 2 E.

MRS. TODD. (L. C., _aside_)  A perfect gentleman!

JACO. (R. C.)  You said you were travelling in search of your husband,
signora; may I inquire how you came to be separated?

MRS. T.  Well, it’s a strange story.  Mr. Todd and myself, wishing for a
little continental air, set out on a foreign tour last spring, and got as
far as Genoa, where we saw the mole;—but it’s no more like a mole than I
am:—and nothing would serve Todd but we should have a sail on the bay,
though he knew the sea always upset me—and it _did_ upset me—it upset us
all—for our boat was overturned by a squall, and I should inevitably have
died an amphibious death, if I had not clung instinctively to life;—and a
vigorous sailor, who swam—and swam—and swam, until we were fortunately
picked up by the boat of a steamer, bound to Marseilles, where I was
safely landed.

JACO.  And your husband?—

MRS. T.  I learned that he too had been saved; but imagining I had met a
watery end, he went into mourning for my loss, and to divert his
melancholy, had continued his tour.  I immediately set off for Italy, and
succeeded in tracing him to Naples, where I was going when—

JACO.  That fortunate accident happened to your carriage.

MRS. T.  Fortunate?

JACO.  Undoubtedly, signora—since it has procured me the pleasure of your
company.

GRIM. (_up_, R.)  Ho, ho, ho! (JACOPO _gives him a stem look_) ha, ha,
ha, ha! (_aside_)

MRS. T. (_curtseys_—_aside_)  Uncommonly well bred, (_a whistle is heard
at a distance_, _outside_—MRS. TODD _goes up stage_, L.)

GRIM. (_coming down_, R., _and speaking apart to_ JACOPO)  Here’s
something up!  The steward of a rich Englishman is expected to pass this
way to-night.

JACO. (R. _apart to_ GRIMBALDI)  Ha! he must not be neglected.  I’ll just
fetch my pistols and follow you directly. (_to_ MRS. TODD)  Addio,
signora!  A little business calls me away; but I shall soon return.  Your
chamber is in that corridor (_points to_ L. 2 E.)  First door on the
right—addio! (_kisses her hand_)  Ha, ah!

MRS. T.  Good night, signor.  I accept your hospitality gratefully for
this night; to-morrow morning I resume my journey.

JACO.  Oh! you must not think of leaving us so soon; none of our friends
do—they feel themselves so happy here.

 _Exit_, R. 3 E.  GRIMBALDI _then makes several awkward bows_, _and exit_
                                 R. 2 E.

MRS. T.  There’s something I don’t quite like in this house, and the
people about it.  I never saw a more ill-looking person than that
major-domo; the way they took possession of my trunks, and trinkets—good
gracious! if they should be brigands! (_she looks about the room_, _and
runs to door_, L. 3 E., _which she opens_, _goes in and returns
immediately_)  No more doubt—I’m in a robber’s den!  That room is full of
plunder and arms!  What is to become of me?  That dreadful man—his
looks—his words—Oh!  I must endeavour to escape at all hazards—better
wander all night in the forest than remain another moment in this fearful
place.

 _She is crossing to_ R., _when_ MARIETTA _enters_, R. 2 E., _with carpet
                                  bag_.

Ah, the girl!

MARI. (R. C.)  Here’s your carpet bag, signora. (_puts it down_, R.)
Bless me! how pale and agitated you look. (_aside_)  Can she have
discovered!

MRS. T. (L. C., _aside_)  She speaks and looks kindly, and may assist me.
Marietta, I know all—I have looked into that room—and I have seen—

MARI. (_alarmed_)  Hush, hush—my uncle!

MRS. T.  It is to escape from him that I implore your assistance.

MARI.  Impossible, signora.  My uncle never goes out that he don’t lock
all the doors after him.

MRS. T.  But there are windows, Marietta, and here is one. (_going
towards it_, _is withheld by_ MARIETTA)

MARI.  Stop—stop!—Would you kill yourself!  Hah!  I have it!  There is a
rope ladder here, (_going into room_, L. 3 E., _and returning with a rope
ladder_)  By means of this ladder you can descend into the garden, and
remain concealed there till daylight enables you to gain the high road,
(_fixing rope ladder to balcony_, C.)

MRS. T. (L. C.)  Thanks, thanks, ten thousand thanks, generous Marietta!
Let me not lose a moment.

MARI. (R. C.)  There’s no need to be in a hurry—my uncle never comes home
till past midnight.  You must have supper before you go.

MRS. T. (L.)  How kind of you, how very kind—but perhaps one day I may be
able to show my gratitude.

MARI. (R.)  Don’t mention it.  How surprised my uncle will be when he
finds you’re gone. (_putting bottle of wine and two glasses on table_—_a
whistle is heard outside_)  What whistle is that?  Don’t be alarmed, I’ll
go and look out.

                                                   _Exit hastily_, R. 2 E.

MRS. T. (_taking up hat from chair_ L. _of table_)  What an extraordinary
hat! (_looks in it and perceives name written inside_)  Good heavens!
what name is this written inside.  “Samuel Todd, Brompton.”  Oh, my
husband!  My Samuel!  Can he be here.  What terrible mystery have I to
learn. (_puts hat on chair_, R. C.)

                 _Re-enter_ MARIETTA, _hastily_, R. 2 E.

MARI.  Oh!  Signora, ’tis my uncle!  Conceal yourself in this room.
(_opens door_, L. 3 E.)  Here—here!—make haste!—He’s on the stairs!

MRS. T.  Ah! (MRS. T. _runs into the room_, L. 3 E. MARIETTA _closes the
door._)

                 _Then enter_ JACOPO TERREBOLI, R. 2. E.

JACO. (R. C.)  The fellow has escaped us by taking another road.  Hah!
Marietta—not abed yet?

MARI. (L.)  Not yet, uncle; I was waiting for—

JACO.  Waiting for who?

MARI. (_hesitating_)  For—nobody—uncle.

JACO.  Marietta, you can’t deceive me—you have had some one here.

MARI.  Indeed, uncle, I have not.

JACO. (_goes to window_, _and perceives ladder of ropes_)  Hah!—What’s
this?  A very pretty contrivance—I suppose, when love can’t get in at the
door, he flies in at the window—and here are his wings, (_holding the
rope ladder to view_)  And this hat. (_taking it off chair_, R. C.)
Pretty, innocent creature!  He’s here, then.—(MARIETTA _clasps her
hands_)  Humph!  Surely I have seen this hat somewhere—Ha! this
morning—and it was the devil who then wore it—or an Englishman! (MARIETTA
_drops on her knees_, _crying_)  Here’s the hole made by my bullet.—I’m
not angry, girl—you’ve trapped the fellow I want—get up, and tell me
where you’ve got him.

MARI. (L. C.)  I c—c—r—can’t uncle—he’s gone!

JACO. (R. C.)  Gone!  Maladetta!  Take care how you trifle with me.—(TODD
_is heard playing his concertina outside the window_, _at back_)

MARI.  Hah! (_starts from her knees aside_)—’Tis that unlucky stranger!

JACO.  After all, the bird has only fluttered a little way off.—(_to_
MARIETTA)  Go to the balcony.

MARI.  Uncle!

JACO.  To the balcony!  Your lover calls!

MARI.  But he is not—

JACO.  Silence! and obey me? (MARIETTA _goes to the balcony_, C.  _The
concertina ceases playing_)  Well?

MARI. (_up_ C.)  He perceives me and kisses his hand.

JACO. (L. C.)  Kiss your’s in return.

MARI.  But, uncle—

JACO. (_sternly_)  I command! (MARIETTA _kisses her hand_)

MARI.  Ah! he is going to mount the ladder, (_she retires from the
window_)

JACO. (L.C.)  Good!—now observe me.  You must receive this man as if I
were not present—invite him to supper, and make him sit in that chair.
(_pointing to chair_ R. C.; MARIETTA _curtseys submissively_; JACOPO
_crosses to_ R.)  I shall have my eye upon you.

TODD. (_outside balcony_, C.)  This is a terrific ascent!

  (JACOPO _retires into room_, R. 3 E. _and observes what passes through
the half-open door_; TODD _is seen slowly coming into view_, _outside the
      balcony_, C.; _he has a red handkerchief tied round his head_)

TODD.  Beautiful native!  You see I am here again! (_gets in at window_,
_and falls_)  Excuse me presenting myself in this miscellaneous manner—my
appearance may be startling; but, I trust not, repugnant.  The fact is, I
couldn’t get a wink of sleep in the fowl-house—the cocks and the hens—the
turkeys, and other lively insects, disturbed me so, that I forsook my
pea-straw and strolled into the garden, where I beheld you at your
window, and discovered the ladder you had placed.

                MRS. TODD _shows herself at door_, L. 3 E.

MARI. (R.)  Preposterous fool!

TODD. (L. C.)  In my country, ever since the invention of doors, the
practice of entering a house by the window has been confined to thieves,
cats, and lovers; (_tenderly_) need I say, it was in the character of the
last-named interesting quadruped, I risked my neck in the most perilous
performance I ever attempted on the slack-rope. (MRS. TODD _makes a
gesture of astonishment_; _up stage_, L.)  Sweet Marietta!  How I admire
that name!  It’s much prettier than Laura.  What’s your opinion of
Samuel?  Do you think, in the ardent simplicity of your exalted nature,
you could love a Samuel—or a Sam—or a Sammy, for instance?

MARI.  Never! (_sees_ JACOPO, R. 3 E., _who holds up his finger
threateningly_)  Hem!  I—can’t say—perhaps, after supper.  You have not
supped?

TODD.  Not in the wildest dreams of my imagination.

MARI.  You shall sup with me, then.  Sit down there. (_points to chair_
R. _of table_)

TODD.  With the greatest pleasure.

 MRS. TODD _retires and closes door_, L. 3 E.  MARIETTA _runs out_, R. 2
                                    E.

Supper!—and I’m actually going to sup _tête à tête_ with an angel, in
this picturesque but dilapidated mansion.  What would they say at
Brompton if they could see me?  Hah! they won’t believe me, though—when I
tell them—they’ll say it was an Arabian Night’s entertainment.  Ha! ha!
ha!  Poor fools! that’s the way they always sneer at travellers.
(_sniffs_)  As if that delicious odour of something uncommonly nice which
assails my nostrils could be a dream.

      _Re-enter_ MARIETTA, R. 2 E., _with a tureen containing stew_.

MARI.  Here it is. (_places it on table_, _and crosses at back_ to L. _of
table_)  You ought to have a good appetite.

                 MRS. TODD _re-appears at door_, L. 3. E.

TODD. (_sits_ R. _of table_)  Ah!  I’ve the appetite of a Board of
Aldermen! (MARIETTA _helps him to some of the stew_)  And this stew is
really so tempting!  I’ll make no apology. (_eats greedily_)  Never
tasted anything so savory.  Game—eh?  Delicious!  How d’ye make it?
Infinitely superior to my lost Laura’s giblet pie!  What a flavour!  Ah!
this is happiness!  I’ll take another spoonful, if you please.  Hah!  I
begin to feel I’m a lonely cockle on life’s dull shore.

(_while he eats with his head bent over his plate_, JACOPO, _who has come
 into the apartment_, R., _motions_ MARIETTA _away_; _she crosses quietly
at back to_ R. _and exits_, R. 2 E.  JACOPO _then takes her place_ L. _of
            table_.  MRS. TODD _retires as_ JACOPO _appears_)

TODD. (_still eating_, _not perceiving_ JACOPO)  Hah!  I never thought to
love again—you put tomatoes in your stew?—but from the moment I beheld
these lovely features, the image of my lost Laura has been growing
fainter and fainter in my bosom—like a faded daguerreotype—mushrooms, I
perceive—and when I gaze on that beauteous face—(_he lifts his eyes_,
_and seeing_ JACOPO _looking sternly at him_, _he remains transfixed with
terror_, _holding in the air the spoon he was conveying to his mouth_)

JACOPO. (_after a pause_)  Proceed with your compliment, signor.

TODD.  I—I—I—beg pardon—the—the—Collector, I presume.

JACOPO. (_brusquely_)  The master of this house.

TODD.  Oh! indeed! (_aside_)  Todd, you are a dead mackarel!

JACO.  You tremble.

TODD.  Oh, dear no, not at all.  Ha, ha, ha!  Merely a slight shiver—the
evening’s rather cool.

JACO.  Drink then, ’twill warm you. (_pours out wine for_ TODD)

TODD. (_takes the glass and puts it down again_—_aside_)  It may be
poisoned! (_with affected indifference_)  Thank you, I’m not thirsty.

JACO.  Then I am. (_fills for himself_, _and drinks_)

TODD. (_aside_)  He drinks himself.  There can be no danger.  On second
thoughts, I’ll do myself the honour of drinking your health. (_drinks_)

JACO.  Right. (_aside_)  Now we may speak without reserve, and first to
introduce myself, (_rises and bows_) I’m Jacopo Terreboli at your
service!

TODD.  Terreboli!  That desperate robber and cut-throat!  I—I—beg
pardon—I didn’t mean to—(_rising_)

JACO.  Make no apologies, signor, I’m the identical individual;—sit down
and finish your supper.

TODD.  Thank you, my appetite’s gone, and if you’ve no objection, I’d
rather follow it.

JACO. (_fiercely_)  Sit down! (TODD _drops into his chair_)  Now we can
proceed to business. (_placing pistols on table_, _and playing with
dagger_, TODD _turns muzzle of pistols from him_)

TODD. (_apart_)  Private and confidential assassination!

JACO.  Why don’t you drink? (_pours out wine_)  Every brave man drinks.

TODD.  You think I’m brave? (_drinks_)

JACO.  You’re a devil!  And yet how we may be deceived by appearances—to
judge by your looks—I should say you were a coward.

TODD. (_aside_)  Nature writes a plain hand!

JACO.  But I know that in that breast beats the heart of a lion.

TODD. (_aside_)  He means a mouse—the smallest of mice.

JACO.  Never saw anything like your coolness this morning, when you were
attacked.

TODD.  It was you then, who—

JACO. (_takes up_ TODD’S _hat_)  Made this hole in your hat.  I meant to
have made a bole in your head—half an inch lower, and the bullet would
have been through your brain.

TODD. (_aside_)  Calculating miscreant!

JACO.  How steadily you must have aimed to hit Guiseppe in the
shoulder—and then the wonderful manner you escaped when a dozen carbines
were levelled at you filled me with admiration and astonishment.

TODD.  Not more than it did me.

JACO.  But I don’t bear you malice, and prefer being your friend, (_gives
his hand_, _which_ TODD _takes in evident alarm across table_)

TODD.  I’m very much obliged to you—very.

JACO.  To come to the point, you love my niece?

TODD. (_aside_)  He’s laying a trap for me.—Oh! dear, no, not in the
slightest—I give you my word!

JACO.  Then what the devil brings you here?  How is it you have entered
my house, in my absence, like a thief? (_points to window_)  Answer me
that. (_touches his pistol_)

TODD. (_rising_)  Good gracious! don’t get so frightfully excited.  I
certainly came to—to—ha, ha, ha, ha! to take tea—with your niece,
Marietta—a very amiable—in fact, I may say, a most charming creature;—not
in the least like you.

JACO.  Your attentions have compromised her honour, signor, and you must
make reparation by marrying her.

TODD.  Marrying!  Do I clearly understand you? (_both come forward_, C.);

JACO.  Clearly; I have been long seeking for a man of coolness and
courage, as a husband for Marietta.  When you become my nephew, you shall
be second in command to myself in the band.

    (GRIMBALDI _is seen peeping in at door_, R. 2 E., _and listening_)

TODD. (R. C.)  Gracious powers!  Have I been growing up at Cozy Cottage
to be the nephew of a brigand?  What would they say at Brompton to that?

JACO. (L. C.)  Do you accept my offer? (_handling his pistols which_ TODD
_turns away_)

TODD.  No—yes—can’t I have a little time to reflect?

JACO. (_crosses to_ R.)  Certainly—five minutes; not a moment longer; I
have a priest at hand to perform the ceremony.

                                                   GRIMBALDI _disappears_.

I’ll go and apprise Marietta of her approaching happiness!

                                                    _Exit_ JACOPO, R. 2 E.

TODD.  In five minutes—in five short minutes I shall either be married or
shot!—ha! ha! ha! ha!  I must nerve myself for the tremendous
alternative! (_goes up to table_, _sits_ R. C., _and pours out
wine_—_drinks_)

  GRIMBALDI _re-appears at door_, R. 2 E., _and goes quietly up stage_,
                _until he stands at the elbow of_ TODD, R.

After all, the girl adores me; she is uncommonly pretty; and if I can
only bring home a tame brigandess to Brompton, what will they say?

GRIM.  Hum!

TODD. (_starts_)  Another! where the devil do they all come from?

GRIM.  You are going to marry Marietta?

TODD.  Well, suppose I am—suppose I intend making that superior young
person my wife?

GRIM.  And suppose I intend making her your widow?

TODD. (L. C.)  My widow!  There’s a dark ferocity in your words that
exactly matches your countenance.  I remember having seen you in wax at
Madame Tussaud’s.  What is it you contemplate?

GRIM. (R.)  Vengeance! (_crosses to_ L.)  The man who robs me of
Marietta, shall never survive the wedding night!

TODD. (R. C.)  What an atrocious idea!—but you can’t be serious?

GRIM. (_drawing his stiletto_)  Feel the point of that stiletto!

TODD.  No, no!—I can perfectly imagine the sharpness of your Italian
irony!

GRIM.  Hist! they’re coming.  Remember—if you marry her—

 _Lifts his stiletto threateningly and exit_, L. 2 E., _as_ JACOPO _and_
                        MARIETTA _enter_, R. 2 E.

JACO. (R. C.)  Well, signor, are you ready to accept my niece?

TODD.  Why—a—I may say—I have no personal objection—(_looks at
her_—_aside_)  Positively beautiful!—But there’s a party—

MARI. (R., _putting her fingers to her lips_)  Hush!

TODD. (L. C.)  Oh!—ah! (_to_ JACOPO)  Allow me to speak a few words to
Marietta.

         JACOPO _makes a gesture of assent_, _and exits_, R. 3 E.

I’ve seen the party.

MARI.  Ah! well;—what did he say?

TODD.  He said he’d take my life, if I married you.

MARI.  Then I dare say he’ll keep his word.

TODD.  Do you really think so?—By his countenance I’d judge him capable
of any atrocity.

MARI.  What do you mean?  I’m sure he’s much handsomer than you!

TODD.  Infatuated female!  Perhaps you love him?

MARI.  I do.

TODD.  You do.  And me?

MARI.  I hate you.

TODD.  Then you will decline to marry me?

MARI.  I must not disobey my uncle;—’tis you who must reject me.

TODD.  Impossible! your respected relative will put a bullet through my
head if I refuse.

MARI.  And I’ll poison you if you consent.

           _Re-enter_ JACOPO, R. 3 E., _and_ GRIMBALDI, L. 2 E.

JACO. (_coming down_, R. C.)  Well, have you decided, signor?

TODD. (_looking_, _from one to the other_—_aside_)
Poison!—pistol!—dagger!  It don’t matter much how they dispose of me.
(_in a tragic tone_)  Yes!  Let fate do its worst—my mind’s made up.
(_crosses to_ MARIETTA, R. C., _and takes her hand_)  I take
Marietta—with all her fatal consequences.

JACO. (_getting at back to_ R.)  Bravo!  Grimbaldi, this is the gallant
stranger I have chosen for a husband for Marietta—welcome him as a
comrade and a brother! (GRIMBALDI _looks at_ TODD _with a fierce scowl
and approaches to embrace him_—TODD _in evident alarm tries to avoid
him_)

GRIM. (L. _apart while he embraces_ TODD)  Vengeance!

TODD. (C. _staggering with affright_, _supports himself on_ MARIETTA’S
_shoulder_)  Murder!

JACO. (R.)  I see you are growing impatient.

TODD.  Oh, no! not at all—not in the least.  Hadn’t we better postpone
the awful ceremony?

JACO. (_crosses at back and down_, L. C.—_angrily_)  No!

TODD.  Oh!  I—I—only thought—the sudden shock—of—so much—happiness—might
be too severe for her—for me. (JACOPO _touches his pistol with a menacing
look_)  Oh!  Come, Marietta! (_offers his arm to_ MARIETTA, _and sees_
GRIMBALDI _threatening him with his stiletto_)  Let us proceed—to
execution!

_Exit_ TODD, _leaning on_ MARIETTA, _followed by_ JACOPO _and_ GRIMBALDI,
                          _threatening_, R. 2 E.

                _Re-enter_ MRS. TODD _from door_, L. 3 E.

MRS. T.  What a discovery I have made!  Samuel, my husband, who I fondly
fancied passed his nights watering his lonely pillow with his tears, and
his days in writing elegies to the memory of a beloved wife, to have
forgotten me so soon.  Not three months a widower, and the unconscionable
wretch has ideas of entering the marriage state again.  I flattered
myself my system of matrimonial discipline would have deterred him from a
repetition of such folly.  But some men are never to be taught.  How he
got into this house, I can’t imagine—but the object of his visit is
apparent; he comes to make love to the Signor’s niece—a pastime that I
shall take the liberty of interrupting.

                      _Re-enter_ GRIMBALDI, R. 2 E.

GRIM.  I can’t stand it any longer.  Diavolo!  I had a good mind
(_threatening with dagger_) but Terreboli’s eye was upon me, and I durst
not move a finger.

MRS. T. (L.)  You seem agitated—what has happened?

GRIM. (R. _gloomily_)  Oh, nothing! but—torture!—she is married!

MRS. T.  Who’s married?

GRIM.  She—she—Marietta—married—to—ten thousand fiends!

                                 _Exit in a state of desperation_, R. 3 E.

MRS. T.  Married to ten thousand fiends!  I wish I could find my little
fiend—stop—stop—explain yourself.

                                           _Exit after_ GRIMBALDI, R. 3 E,

   _Re-enter_ TODD, _leading_ MARIETTA _from_ R. D. 2 E.; _he hands her
across stage to_ L. D. 2 E. _and she exits_, _slamming door in his face_.

TODD.  It’s all over!  The desperate deed is done—I’m
married—married—married!  To be sure that’s an accident to which our weak
sex is continually exposed; but, to be married to a lovely rattlesnake,
and be in danger of my life from a ferocious rival—that’s horrible!
(_calling at door_, L. 2 E.)  Marietta!  Perhaps she’ll relent now she’s
my wife!  If she only listens to me.  Marietta! (_tries door and finds it
fastened_)  She’s fastened the door! (_speaking through the keyhole_)
Marietta! my angel!

                      _Re-enter_ MRS. TODD, R. 3 E.

MRS. T. (R., _sees_ TODD)  ’Tis he!

TODD. (_speaking through keyhole_, L. 2 E.)  One word! one little word,
from those sweet lips, (_to himself_)  No answer?  Put one of those
brilliant eyes to the keyhole, and observe me (_takes chair_, _and sits
opposite door_) kneeling on my knees before your door, and swearing never
to quit this painful posture till you take pity on me.

MRS. T. (_coming down a little_ R., _aside_)  Traitor!

TODD.  ’Tis I—your adoring Toddini!

MRS. T. (_aside_)  Villain!

TODD.  You know—you’re the only woman I ever loved!

MRS. T. (_shouting_)  Samuel!

TODD. (_starting up_, _and retreating_, L.)  Gracious powers! that
voice—you’re not?—

MRS. T.  I am.

TODD.  My lost Laura?

MRS. T. (R.)  Your living wife!

TODD. (L.)  Impossible!  You know you’re dead—you’re the _late_ Mrs.
Todd—you’re a blest shade.

MRS. T. (_goes up to him and leads him down stage by the ear_, _then
slaps his cheek_)  Will that convince you?

TODD.  Material evidence!  I’m wrong!  That rap was not a spirit’s.  You
_are_ my lamented Laura—to whose memory I ordered such a lovely monument
to be erected in Kensal Green, that you’ll regret you’re not dead when
you see it.

MRS. T. (R.)  Tell me directly, sir—to whom were you speaking?

TODD. (L.)  Hush!  She’s there. (_pointing to door_, L. 2 E.)

MRS. T.  Who?

TODD.  Marietta.

MRS. T.  Marietta!  Ha!—the girl!  She was married this evening—to
whom?—speak—to whom?

TODD.  Forgive me, my beloved Laura.—How shall I tell you—how shall I
shock your strict sense of propriety when you hear that your unfortunate
Samuel—the husband of your bosom—and the father—I mean the prospective
father of your children—is—is—look at me—much injured woman—and behold a
perfect specimen of—of—a—

MRS. T.  Monster!

TODD.  Monster’s the word!  A man with two wives must be a monster; but
I’m an innocent monster!

MRS. T.  Wretch!  Was not one good one enough for you?  Where is the
creature? (_attempting to cross to_ L. D., _is withheld by_ TODD)

TODD.  Don’t—don’t.  She’s a rattlesnake!

 _Enter at the same moment_ MARIETTA _from_ L. 2 E., _and_ JACOPO _from_
                                 R. 2 E.

JACO. (R.)  What’s the matter now?

TODD. (C.)  Don’t ask particulars.  Suffice to know that nature intended
me for a bridegroom; but fate has made me a double-wived monster.

MRS. T. (L. C.)  The wretch speaks the truth—I am his lawful wife.

JACO.  How!  And he has married my niece! (_takes a pistol from his
belt_)

TODD.  But I’m innocent—why don’t you speak, Mrs. Todd—you know I’m
innocent, my love.

                  _A_ BRIGAND _enters hastily_, R. 2 E.

BRIG. (R.)  Captain, the soldiers are approaching on all sides!

JACO. (R.)  Cospetto!  Then we must fly; but first set fire to the house
on all sides—they shall only find a heap of ashes when they come.

TODD.  Come, my adored Laura. (_he offers his arm to_ MRS. TODD, L. C.,
_who turns away scornfully_)

MRS. T. (_crossing to_ R.)  Good night—for ever!

                            _Exit_, R. D. 2 E.

TODD. (_offering his arm to_ MARIETTA, L.)  Come, Marietta.

  MARIETTA _turns away angrily_, _and crossing_, R., _exits_, R. D. 2 E.

Ungrateful sex—after marrying them both! (_taking_ JACOPO’S _arm_, R.)
Come, signor; let us fly together!

JACO. (R.)  No, you remain here.

                           _Points pistol at him_, _and exits_, R. D. 2 E.

TODD.  Hold!  You’re never going to roast me alive—to leave me to grill
my own bones.  Hollo! this is murder.  Ho!  Somebody!  Help!  Is there no
way of escape? (_runs to the several doors_—_opens them_, _and discovers
fire in each_)  Hoh!  Police!  Police!  Help!  I’m beginning to singe
already!  Oh! if I had had the luck to be born a salamander!  Oh!  Hah! a
thought—the rope ladder from the window—that way is open!

(_goes towards window_, _when_ GRIMBALDI _appears outside on the ladder_,
                   _menacing_ TODD _with his stiletto_)

Ah! (_staggers back_)

GRIM.  I told you I would be revenged!  I’ve kept my word!  Ha, ha, ha,
ha!

TODD.  Remorseless demon!

 (GRIMBALDI _disappears_, _and flames appear at the back through window_)

TODD.  Oh! (_drops into chair_, C.)  I shall be broiled alive! phew!  I’m
stifled! help! murder! (_starts up again_)  Hoh! water! water! air! oh!
two wives! two—too much—ooh! h—he—lp!

(_the smoke appears to fill the room_, _and conceals him from the view of
 the audience_; _after a short interval the smoke clears gradually away_;
                   _the Scene sinks_, _and changes to_)



SCENE III.


          _Todd’s Parlour in Cozy Cottage_.—(_Same as Scene I_.)

TODD _is discovered asleep_, _as at the close of the first scene_; _the
candles which were then long_, _have burnt down in the sockets_.

TODD.  Call the police! call the fire brigade! help! help! murder!—two
wives—Marietta—Mrs. Todd—murder—bigamy—

     _Enter_ MRS. TODD _hastily_, (_dressed as in Scene I_.) R. 1 E.

MRS. T.  Samuel, my dear, what’s the matter?

TODD.  Murder!  Cospetto!  Maladetta!

MRS. T.  Why, Samuel, Samuel! (_shaking him_)  You’re asleep—waken—will
you—you’ve slept here all night.

TODD. (_starts up and staggers about_)  Hoh! help—police—fire—water—she’s
a rattlesnake—a fiend—a demon—a—Lau—Laura—

MRS. T. (_holding and shaking him_)  Todd—Todd—Samuel!

TODD. (_becoming conscious and rubbing his eyes_)  Hoh! what?  Bless me!
where am I?

MRS. T. (R.)  Where should you be but in your own parlour?

TODD. (L.)  My own parlour?  And you are—

MRS. T.  Don’t you see—I’m your own Laura—your dear wife?

TODD.  My wife! but where’s the other?  Where’s my rattlesnake?

MRS. T.  Why, Sam, you’re not awake yet—you’re still dreaming.  You would
sit up last night over those papers, (_goes to table_, C.) and you’ve
been smoking a filthy cigar.

TODD.  An opium cigar! that’s it!  Then I’m not a brigand with two wives!
Laura, my love, come to the arms of your doting husband. (_they
embrace_—_door bell rings outside_)

MRS. T.  There’s the policeman who was to ring the bell at five o’clock.
You know we start at six.

TODD.  Oh, yes, to be sure!  I’ll be ready in five minutes.  But first a
word with our friends. (_to audience_)  If I have been dreaming that you
are pleased, pray don’t dispel so pleasant an illusion—but, with your
usual good nature—give me a lucky omen for my dream to-night and
to-morrow.—“What will they say at Brompton?”

                                MRS. T. R.

                                 TODD. L.

                                 Curtain.

                                * * * * *

              THOMAS SCOTT, PRINTER, WARWICK COURT, HOLBORN.





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