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Title: Josiah's Secret: - A Play
Author: Holley, Mariettta
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 "Josiah's Secret: - A Play" ***

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  _By Josiah Allen’s Wife_




JOSIAH’S SECRET--A Play in Three Acts


Characters:--Josiah Allen----Samantha Allen.


(Samantha’s kitchen, Samantha standing by a big churn looking very
tired. Josiah sitting by the table reading a newspaper with great

SAMANTHA. I’ve been churnin’ on this cream for two full hours, ever
since I finished white-washin’ the back kitchen, and ironin’ and
moppin’ and bakin’; I’m all beat out and I wish you’d help me a little.

JOSIAH. (Not lookin’ up from his paper). I would love to Samantha,
nothin’ pleases me more than to churn two or three pails full of cream.
Men had always ruther do that than to eat.

SAMANTHA. Take holt then and let me rest a minute. I did a big day’s
work before I begun to churn, and I’m tired out.

JOSIAH. (Still reading). I would in a minute, Samantha, but if I take
this tub of butter to Jonesville I’ve got to grease the democrat, it
don’t run good. (Lookin’ up from his paper). I want you to hear this
Samantha. Here is eloquence and good horse sense, I feel that I love
the man that wrote it--love him like a brother. You know I always
contended that wimmen wuz too weak and helpless to vote, even if they
knew enough, which they don’t.

(Samantha stretches up her weary form and leans on the churn dasher and
says). Yes, I know you always argyed that way, but what is the piece,

JOSIAH. Oh, he is answerin’ a Woman’s Sufferage argument. He sez the
idee of a great strong man allowin’ a weak and delicate woman to vote
or endure any other hardship is perfectly obnoxious and repugnant to
any man that has the sperit of a man. The very idee of lettin’ them
angels strain themselves liftin’ at the political pole is more than a
tender-hearted man can endure. And he goes on to say, If I were a woman
I would do nothin’ important, I would emulate the rose and its wisdom,
I would allure and charm and be silent. Man wuz made to protect woman,
to work for her, and vote for her. Woman wuz made to smile on man
and charm him in his hours of ease. Do you hear that, Samantha? That
masterly, convincin’ logick?

(Samantha has resumed her churning again and says). Yes, I hear it,
Josiah. But I want a pail of cold water; you know I have to draw it up
by hand since the pump broke, and git a ten quart pail of water on the
end of the pole, I don’t believe the political pole would draw much

JOSIAH. Yes it would, Samantha; I guess you’d find it drawed harder,
wimmen little know the awful tuckerin’ work it is to vote.

SAMANTHA. Well, I’d like a pail of water, Josiah, and I wish you’d come
and help me churn a little; seems as if my back will break off.

JOSIAH. I told you, Samantha, I’d got to grease that democrat! But what
do you think of this beautiful article?

SAMANTHA. The man goes too fur, Josiah, he hain’t megum enough, wimmen
hain’t angels.

JOSIAH. They be angels; I always said so.

SAMANTHA. And I always said they wuzn’t. And I always said that wimmen
did harder work than to vote and men never seemed to worry about that.

JOSIAH. (Solemnly). No they don’t do any harder work, Samantha, votin’
wears on us strong minded men turribly, and what would it do to a weak,
fraguile woman? Oh that man puts men and wimmen in their different
spears so beautiful and so plain that it seems as if a infant babe, or
even a woman, could understand it. (Josiah steps nearer to Samantha and
points to the piece in the paper). If you’d foller this man’s idees,
Samantha, I’d be the happiest man in Jonesville or the world. (He sits
down, leans back with his fingers in the arm-holes of his vest in a
very important attitude).

SAMANTHA. (Reasonably). I’d be willin’ to charm you, Josiah but I don’t
see how I could allure and charm and do my house work at the same time.
And even if I wuz to do the Rose Act when I have a big churnin’ to do
I don’t see how it would affect you, for you always have to grease the
democrat or the sarah, or ile harnesses churnin’ days.

JOSIAH. (In a cross tone). What of it? What if I do?

SAMANTHA. Oh don’t git agitated, Josiah, this butter has got to be
churned and worked over, and the rest of my mornin’s work done, and I
wish you’d pull up a pole of water, and help finish the churnin’ and
bring up that tub from the suller and help pack it. It is hard work for
a woman’s back and arms when they’re most broke already.

JOSIAH. (Rising and speaking very cross). If I go to Jonesville that
democrat has got to be greased. How can you expect a democrat to run
without ilein’? And sometimes they won’t run then. (He glances at
Bryan’s picture, hanging on the wall, grabs up his basin of wagon
grease, and starts off almost on the run and slams the door behind him.)

(Samantha stands a minute looking after him as if in deep thought, and
then she drops the butter dasher down with a bang, and sets the churn
back and says, speaking to herself). If I’m a angel I’ll stop churnin’
long enough to breathe, and if I’m too weak and delicate to drop a slip
of paper in a box once a year I’ll set down before I drop down.


(Samantha’s parlor, books, easy chairs, pictures, a high backed rocker
covered with cretonne, placed so its occupant can see through the open
door into the kitchen. Samantha is dressed in dark gingham with white
collar and cuffs and white bib apron, she is arranging some books on
the table and talking to herself.)

SAMANTHA. Josiah wants the Rose Act and he shall have it, I don’t know
exactly how to perform it without rules. I know roses blow out, but
it can’t be men want that, they’re deadly opposed to their pardners
talkin’ on duty, which they call “blowin’ round.” (She steps forward
in front of rocker and looks thoughtful). I guess it means to keep
still and look pretty. (Looks up satisfied). I will try faithful to do
it right, I’m always very thorough in anything I undertake. I believe
that to allure and charm I must be in a settin’ poster. (Sits down
in rocker). I believe I ort to clasp my hands in a easy, graceful
attitude. (Clasps her hands across her waist). And to look winsome I
must smile some. (Smiles a good deal).

(Josiah enters kitchen with his basin of wagon grease in his hand. He
glances at the churn and says). Gracious heavens! hain’t that butter
finished? Nor the tea-kettle on at half-past leven! (Glances into
the parlor). What is the matter? (Steps inside of door). What is the
matter, Samantha?

SAMANTHA. (Smiles sweetly. Josiah yells). Why in the name of the
gracious Peter hain’t dinner under way?

(Samantha smiles).

JOSIAH. (Steps close to her). What are you tryin’ to do anyway,

SAMANTHA. (Calmly and firmly). I’m bein’ winsome, Josiah, and tryin’ to
allure and charm.

JOSIAH. You’re bein’ a gol-darned fool, that’s what you’re a-bein’!

SAMANTHA. (Smiling, murmurs gently). Sweet pet!

JOSIAH. (Stamps his feet in anger and yells). Sweet pet! Dum
foolishness! I shall lose the chance to sell that butter! And I’m
starved!!! (Flings himself around). Twenty-four hours since I eat a

SAMANTHA. (Sweetly). Men are made to work for wimmen, dearest one. Them
angels hain’t made for work, or votin’, or any other hardship. (Sweetly
and smilingly). The cream is all ready for you to finish churnin’. The
chicken to brile is in the store-room, the potatoes and vegetables in
the suller. (Stops talking to give him three or four full smiles). The
mop is hangin’ up behind the back door, the stove brush and blackin’
in the suller-way, and the lamp-chimney cleaner is hangin’ over the
kitchen sink.

(Josiah had stood as if dumb foundered, now he yelled as he
straightened up.) Dum it all! What are _you_ goin’ to do?

SAMANTHA. I’m goin’ to charm and allure you, dear Josiah; wimmen are
made to charm men, they should do nothin’ important.

(Josiah drops into a chair, his arms hanging down at his side in a
despairing way and stares at her.)

SAMANTHA. A clean house is important, therefore I will not clean.
Eatin’ is important therefore I will not cook, I will emulate the
rose in its wisdom, I will charm and be silent. (She leans back in a
luxurious attitude and smiles a good deal at him).

JOSIAH. (Rising). Are you a consarned lunatick? Or what duz ail you?
(Puts on his glasses and looks closely at her. His angry looks changes
to one of deep anxiety and alarm. With his eye on her all the time
he edges off and reaches for the camphor bottle on a mantle in the
kitchen, takes it in one hand and then reaches for the soap stone on
the kitchen stove and carries it back in a scared fashion. He asks low
and appealingly). Don’t you want your back rubbed, Samantha? Where is
your worst pain? (He lays down the soap stun within easy reach on the
table and steps cautiously near). Won’t camfire relieve you? Shall I go
after Miss Gowdey or the doctor? (Steps to one side and looks round as
if uncertain what to do). Don’t you want your feet soaked? (Glancin’
towards the kitchen).

SAMANTHA. (Straightens up). Josiah Allen, I don’t want soap stuns or
camfire, I want reason and common sense in a pardner, that’s what I
want to relieve me. I have tried faithful to foller the rules you read
this mornin’. You said you loved the man that wrote ’em and if I would
only foller ’em you would be the happiest man in Jonesville or the
world. I have follered ’em for about twenty minutes and it has reduced
you to the condition of a lunatick. If twenty minutes has brung you to
this state, what would hours and days of it do and years? Now it has
made you lose your morals, tear round, use wicked language, break your
word to your grocer, and _act_. Now if you have had enough of allurin’
and charmin’ say so and I’ll stop it.

JOSIAH. (Moved uneasily around while she was speaking and then said).
Oh dum the piece! and dum the feller that wrote it!

SAMANTHA. (Leans back, clasps her hands and smiles, Josiah stamps on
the floor and kicks, Samantha smiles sweetly and murmurs). Sweet,
darling he-angel!

(Josiah runs his fingers through his hair till it stands on end,
stamps, kicks the boot-jack across the floor and loosens a panel in the
clothes press door. His anger seems to have spent itself in this, for
he turns to her and says mournfully). I haven’t had a mouful to eat for
forty-eight hours. (Putting his hand to his head as if in despair for a
minute or two, then lifting his head he says). Dear Samantha, I’ve had
enough of the Rose Act, and I’m willin’ to have you vote, I want you
to, I’ll carry you to the pole myself and swear you in if I go to jail
the next minute.

SAMANTHA. (Getting up and going towards the kitchen). Be megum, Josiah,
don’t go too fast.

JOSIAH. I tell you Samantha, I’ve had enough allurin’ and charmin’ to
last me through a long life, now I want some meat vittles, and I want
’em quick!


(A pleasant sitting room, lamps lighted for evening. Samantha dressed
in brown alpaca, with a book in her hand sits in an easy chair and says
to herself).

SAMANTHA. Josiah sot off in good season after all for Jonesville,
and at his request I went with him, and on the way we visited very
agreeable. He wuz extremely affectionate, caused partly by his
feelings, for he worships me, and partly by his dinner, for it wuz
as good a dinner as hands ever got. I briled the young tender fowl I
had already dressed, smashed up the potatoes with plenty of cream and
butter in ’em, made an orange puddin’ so delicious it would fairly melt
in your mouth, and some fragrant coffee so rich and yaller with cream
it would do anyone’s soul good to drink it, and while I wuz gittin’
dinner, such is my faculty for turnin’ off work, I finished that
butter, and immegiately after dinner packed it, put a snow-white cloth
over it, and we sot off in good season after all for Jonesville.

JOSIAH. (Enters room, hangs up coat and hat and takes a comfortable
chair, leans back looking very good natured, and says as he looks at
Samantha and hitches his chair nearer to her). That sweet flowery talk
I read this mornin’ is a comfort to men to write, and makes ’em feel
good natured and patronizin’ towards wimmen. But come to crumple right
down to real life that Rose Act wouldn’t work worth a cent, and if it
did, men would git sick of it, sick as a dog. (He draws his chair still
nearer to Samantha).

SAMANTHA. And I felt like a fool sittin’ there tryin’ to allure and
charm, smilin’ stiddy when I knew everything wuz at loose ends in the
kitchen. I wuz as happy agin when I wuz getting your dinner.

JOSIAH. (Heartily and loudly). So wuz I, Samantha, heaven knows, I wuz
as happy as a king when you wuz gittin’ it, and happier than any king
ever wuz when I wuz eatin’ it.

SAMANTHA. I don’t know when I am happier than when I am makin’ my home
comfortable and agreeable, gittin’ a good warm supper for you when I
know you are comin’ home tired and cold and hungry at night-fall. Goin’
round reasonable and calm in a clean kitchen, brilin’ a plump fowl
or cookin’ oysters and cream biscuits, and coffee or sunthin’ else
you like, settin’ the snowy table and keepin a bright fire blazin’ on
a clean hearth, waitin’ for the man I love. (Enthusiastically as she
steps to the table for her knitting). I am as happy again and any woman
would be as happy again as she would be tryin’ to do that Rose Act.

JOSIAH. (Earnestly). Yes, that is so, Samantha.

SAMANTHA. I tell you, Josiah, that wimmen that don’t keep a hired girl
and have to bring up five or six children by hand, besides doin’ all
the housework, washin’ and ironin’, sewin’, skimmin’ milk and makin’
butter and cleanin’ house and settin’ hens and feedin’ chickens and
makin’ rag carpets and quiltin’ bed-quilts and knittin’ stockin’s and
pickin’ geese and dryin’ apples and makin’ soap and paperin’ walls and
paintin’ doorsteps and tendin’ flower gardens and weedin’ onions and
etcetery, they have to do some important work, they cannot set still
and allure and charm, not for any length of time.

JOSIAH. That’s so, Samantha, it hadn’t ort to be expected of a poor

SAMANTHA. (With knitting in her lap and spec’s pushed up). No, Josiah,
nor from rich wimmen either that have to wait on three or four hired
girls, and have big houses in country and city, and tend big parties
and give ’em, and go out drivin’ every day and to the opera, and
theatres, and to Eourope every now and then and to the sea-shore and
mountains, and south and east and west, and ride out in yots and ortos
and air-ships, and set on boards, charity and missionary and hospital
boards, every one on ’em hard ones, and give balls and entertainments
for the same. And get their children headed right in morals and
education and society. And stand up hour after hour to be fitted
for mornin’ gowns and evenin’ gowns and tea-gowns and dinner gowns
and fussin’ with cameras and pianolas and lectures on every subject
under heaven. And their work amongst the poor, and makin’ more than a
thousand calls and receivin’ the same. Good land! what time do they
have for the Rose Act?

JOSIAH. They don’t have any time for it, I always said so.

SAMANTHA. And won’t you own up, Josiah, that rich wimmen and poor
wimmen do harder work than to drop a little slip of paper onto the pole
once or twice a year?

JOSIAH. (Looking very good natured). Yes, Samantha, we men know that
hain’t no harder on ’em than mailin’ a letter. If I dast, I’d tell
you the real reason why we male statesmen oppose wimmins’ votin’, but
I dassen’t tell, it is a state secret, jealously guarded by us male

SAMANTHA. I wish you would tell me, Josiah. Men’s talk on this subject
is so strange and queer I’d love to know the real truth.

JOSIAH. (Firmly). And I’d love to tell you, Samantha, but I dassen’t.
We male men have guarded that political secret as we have the very
apples in our eyes. (Shaking his head solemnly). No, as much store I
set by you, Samantha, I don’t dast to tell you.

(Samantha sits thinking deeply with her fingers on her forehead, then
her face brightens up and she says gently). I thought, Josiah, that
mebby you’d like to have me put on the tea-kittle and git a little
lunch, we eat supper ruther early.

JOSIAH. (Heartily). Yes, I _would_ like it, one of your good lunches
would go to the spot, I guess I _will_ tell you after all. But remember
it is in strict confidence. We male men oppose wimmens’ votin’ because
we want to keep the power in our own hands, and kinder boss round, and
we talk about the hardships of wimmens’ votin’ and call ’em angels and
so on jest as the doctor gives morphine to his patients to quiet ’em,
and keep ’em still. But don’t you tell for your life, Samantha Allen.
If it wuz known in high political circles that I’d let the cat out
of the bag, I’d no but I’d be imprisoned or exiled as a traitor and
political informer.

SAMANTHA. No, I won’t git you into any trouble, Josiah. I’d mistrusted
that wuz it for some time, but didn’t know it for certain till now.

JOSIAH. Well, don’t you let on to Miss Gowdey or any other woman if you
want _me_ to keep a hull skin. And don’t you think it is time to hang
on the tea-kittle?


  Italicized text is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

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