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Title: Zina: the Slave Girl or Which the Traitor? - A Drama in Four Acts
Author: Thompson, A. Hamilton (Alexander Hamilton)
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.

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by the Library of Congress)



                          ZINA: THE SLAVE GIRL
                           WHICH THE TRAITOR?


                        _A DRAMA IN FOUR ACTS._


                  BY DR. A. THOMPSON, OF LOWELL, MASS.


[Entered according to an Act of Congress, in the year 1882, by AUGUSTIN
THOMPSON, of Lowell, Mass., in the office of the Librarian of Congress,
at Washington, D. C.]


                             LOWELL, MASS.:
                   COURIER PRESS: MARDEN AND ROWELL.
                                 1882.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                         ZINA: THE SLAVE GIRL.



                          CAST OF CHARACTERS.


 GEN. FRANCIS HALCOM. An exile.
 KEELE BRIGHTLY. Slavetrader, gambler, and guerilla chief.
 MARTELLE D’ARNEAUX. A true type of the old Southern chivalry.
 MERALD MYERS. A gambler, duellist, and slavetrader.
 GEN. W. T. SHERMAN. Commanding the Union Army of the Cumberland.
 GEN. J. B. HOOD. Commanding Rebel Army of the Tennessee.
 HEZEKIAH GOFERUM. A striking illustration of what the back towns can
    produce in a case of emergency.
 BARNEY O’FLANAGAN. An adopted citizen, who sticks by his friends.
 COL. J. H. GILDAY. Of the Rebel Army.
 ORDERLIES, SOLDIERS, ETC.

 ZINA: THE SLAVE GIRL. Property of Keele Brightly.
 SALLY RIDEOUT. The girl with a farm of her own, who dotes on Hezekiah,
    and sings to keep her disposition level.



                                 ZINA:

                            THE SLAVE GIRL.



                                 ACT I.


SCENE 1.—_Streets of Mobile._ D’ARNEAUX _discovered looking over some
papers R. Enter_ ZINA _L, carrying a heavy carpet-bag_. D’A. _recognizes
her_.

D’ARNEAUX. Ah! your master and myself seem to be of one mind today. I
did not see you on the train. When do you return?

ZINA. When master has drank enough and played his money away.

D’A. Zina, you have been weeping. Some more abuse?

ZINA. Oh, please don’t ask me anything, master.

D’A. Zina, do you like your master?

ZINA. Please don’t ask me to say.

D’A. Now, my little one, do you think you would be happier if you should
come to live at our cottage?

ZINA. Oh, I should be so glad, Master D’Arneaux; but I can not think of
that, it is so impossible!

D’A. My mother seems so happy when you come over to sing to her.

ZINA. I pity her so much; she is so helpless and lonely since Nelly
died.

D’A. Zina, you could be a daughter to my mother.

ZINA. She seems to stop mourning for Nelly when I sing to her, and her
face lights up with the old smile as it used to do, when I used to come
over to learn to read and sing.

D’A. If I should buy you off your master, how would you like it?

ZINA. Oh, please, Master D’Arneaux, don’t give me a hope like that! When
disappointment comes it makes me feel so bad.

D’A. Now, why would you be glad to come with us?

ZINA. You have been so kind to me. Oh, if you will buy me, I will work
so hard for you!

D’A. Are you not happy in your old home?

ZINA (_looking about_). Please don’t tell master! but I get so tired—My
life is so hopeless, and the driver beats me so hard—

D’A. Why do they do that? I always see you at work.

ZINA. Because I hid in the swamp when he was trying to sell me to some
brutal traders from the coast. Oh, please buy me, Master D’Arneaux! I
will work for you day and night and eat the poor food after the other
hands.

D’A. But you have seemed to be so much attached to your master, I had
hardly dared to broach the matter of adding your pretty face and good
heart to the family of my mother.

ZINA. Oh, please do not say what I tell you! they would whip me so. I
force myself to appear happy and contented, to please master. He is so
cross when he finds me crying. Oh, he drinks so much! You will not tell
him what I have said? (_Falls on her knees, sobbing._) I am so fearful
of a worse fate than that.

D’A. Have they dared to insult you while you are but a child?

ZINA. Oh, please buy me, Master D’Arneaux, I am so _miserable_ now.

D’A. Zina, your honor is more sacred than your life, and you have the
right to defend it to the death, even against your master (_handing
stiletto_). Take this knife and kill the miscreant who would insult you.

ZINA (_kissing and hugging it to her bosom_). Oh, I am so helpless alone
with them.

D’A. Zina, you were not born to be a slave. God has not put the stamp of
that race in your angel face. Your brain is sharper than your master’s.
Think! at fourteen you read as well as the best at the plantation. In
music you are a prodigy.

ZINA. Oh, Master D’Arneaux, you are always so kind to me. Heaven is good
to your help when it gives so good a master.

D’A. It is Heaven, too, that gives _you_ so much of sympathy and
goddness.

ZINA. I have thought I was so bad, Master D’Arneaux.

D’A. Why did you think that, my little one?

ZINA. The driver says, only the wicked are unhappy. Oh, it is so hard
for me to be good.

D’A. You make a very grave mistake, Zina. The best people that have
lived have been full of tears.

ZINA. I feel so much better when I can cry.

D’A. So did you cry when our Nelly died, yet you had done no wrong.

ZINA (_hesitatingly_). She was such a sister to me, when I was only a
miserable slave. She learned me to sing and your mother learned me to
read—

D’A. And you have repaid my poor, helpless old mother with so many
beautiful songs—

ZINA. How else can I pay her for all that makes sunshine for my
miserable life?

D’A. Zina, you are a noble girl. Too good and pure for labor among the
coarse field hands. Heaven never made you for this. Your brain and voice
came from Him who gives such gifts for a nobler purpose. To scatter
happiness as He scatters beautiful wild flowers in the uninviting nooks
of the earth.

ZINA. Oh, I do not know what to say, Master D’Arneaux, you are so good
to me. (_Zina rises._) If you buy me, may I have a little bed of
flowers? I will take care of them when there is no work to do.

D’A. All the flowers you please, little one, where you like, and your
own time to work in them.

ZINA. Oh, I am so glad! I forget all my misery and unhappiness when I am
doing that.

D’A. It is an evidence of a pure and noble heart to love the beautiful.

ZINA. Please don’t tell master, but he stamps on my flowers and tells me
to waste my time in the cotton field. Oh! I try so hard to please him,
that he won’t order the driver to beat me!

D’A. He is a brutal dog!

ZINA. Please don’t say so to him. He will know I have been saying
something to you (_taking bag and goes to R_). Oh, I must go now! He is
so angry when I am gone too long.

D’A. But he knows you are after the baggage?

ZINA. And he knows I have had time to go and get back (_dropping on
knees_). Oh, please buy me, Master D’Arneaux, I am so unhappy now! I
will work so hard to get your money back.

D’A. (_Brushing hair from forehead._) Dry the tears, little one, I will
see what I can do for you.

ZINA. Oh, you will try, won’t you, Master D’Arneaux? I am so fearful
that I shall be sold to some traders tomorrow. (_Seizes and passionately
kisses D’A.’s hand, Zina rises slowly, covering face, then hurries out
R._)

D’A. I _will_ try (_looking after her_)! That was a rash promise. What
if he shall demand more than I have? That would sweep my mother’s
comforts away (_overcome_). My God! Can it be right that such innocence
should be given to the mercy of such brutes? If this system is divine,
it is _not_ divine that devils should own or handle it. If in the coming
conflict I shall fall, what next? Poor Cora, when I told her my duty was
at the front, and I trusted my mother to her care, that look of agony I
shall never forget, as she gathered her babies to her heart and said:
“Master, I could always be a slave for you, but if you are killed, what
will become of my baby boys?” It has rung in my ears like the knell of
hope, _forever_ since. Poor woman! They shall never send your children
to the auction block to pay a debt for me. If from shame I left her then
without an answer, she shall have it today from the best of my manhood.
I will free my people before I go. The land and cottage will keep my
mother—Ah, I had forgotten Brightly’s mortgage! My death may send my
mother to the poor-house (_thinking_). The proceeds of my last crop will
clear this, or buy the girl. Heaven help me to do right! (_Exit R._)


SCENE 2. _Cafe in Hotel Leon, Mobile._ MYERS _and_ BRIGHTLY _are
discovered seated at a card table L. Bar rear centre._

BRIGHTLY. A fact, as said old Bob, “Cotton is king,” and a truer boast
never was made.

MYERS. Some idle slush that happens to suit the vanity of the cotton
growers. Our roosters always strut the loudest.

BRIGHTLY. Why not? If two hundred millions’ worth of cotton never
crossed the sea, how long would you have to hunt for a gold coin on the
Atlantic seaboard?

MYERS. What of your gold mines?

BRIGHTLY. A drop, only. Shut off the cotton production and how would we
carry on a foreign trade?

MYERS. Exchange your cereals. Again,—if you had nothing to buy with, you
wouldn’t buy. No matter how much you produce here, you are forced to
part with it to feed your always famished vanity. Before California,
your cotton, cereals and meat went. Now it is California as well! Mark
this: If thrown on your own resources, without a particle of foreign
importation, you would be infinitely better off, because it would give
an impetus to the development of your natural resources, so
unparalleled.

BRIGHTLY. Come to natural resources, how came New York and New England
with their wealth, and how would your pauper labor obtain their cheap
clothing?

MYERS. Egypt can raise cotton enough for the world. Thrift, hard labor
and plenty of brains will make anybody what he needs.

BRIGHTLY. Of course, even if the business was basswood, hams and Peter
Funk jewelry.

MYERS. It is not to your credit that they find a susceptible market
here.

BRIGHTLY. Why, Myers, we run the rest of this country as middlemen. We
have tolerated the leeches a hundred years. Now we propose to shut down.

MYERS. When you will spoil the whole. (_Enter Hood R._) It takes brains
to run a country like this, and the south haven’t got the material.

HOOD. Indeed!

MYERS. Yes, sir; indeed. It is one thing to raise cotton and another
thing to make it valuable. You never had sense enough in the south to
utilize it. If you have, where are your mills? The south is loaded with
water-power. The brains of the country are in New England and the middle
states. Kick those friends in the face and where are you? England, you
say? They would hold the same relation to you at once. What do you gain?
An enemy on the border. I owe allegiance to the British crown, but I
like your country. It will be my future home.

BRIGHTLY. I was going to say—that I was afraid this country couldn’t do
without ye.

MYERS. Sum the south and its institutions, and what is it? Planters who
know nothing but to buy and work a nigger. A large element whose highest
ambition is hog, hominy, a horse race and whiskey enough for the
present. Politicians, who discover nothing but that the north is
leeching its living from the south and stealing its niggers.

BRIGHTLY. How much would it cost to get two or three Johnny Bulls like
you to come over and run this machine?

MYERS. Sarcasm don’t answer argument. It takes a variety of people and
interests to make a country like this. I have travelled it all over.
It’s a big thing. Believe me, gentlemen, when I say that you require New
England for its manufacturing push, the west for its bread and meat, the
south for its cotton and sugar. Kick out one and you spoil the whole.

BRIGHTLY. Myers, you should have chosen the law instead of Faro and
speckelatin in niggers.

MYERS. Why?

BRIGHTLY. You got so much cheek, and you can twist a lie so it will look
like a fact.

MYERS. Now don’t insult me!

BRIGHTLY. Oh, get out! You are as sensitive as a Yankee nigger stealer.
(_Enter D’Arneaux R._)

D’A. Good morning, gentlemen. Brightly, please say to my mother,
pressing business calls me to Charleston, at once.

BRIGHTLY. The devil! What is up now?

D’A. The last dispatches announce that the bombardment of Sumter has
commenced.

BRIGHTLY. Jest as I expected.

D’A. I enter the army tonight, Capt. Hood, may I expect to enter under
your command?

HOOD. Sorry, but my company is full. Everything is full.

BRIGHTLY. Why not stick to the Regulators? You got a commission there?

D’A. Then I will return to Creelsboro tonight, take leave of my mother
in the morning, then hie for the frontier.

BRIGHTLY. What’s your rush? I can’t get ready as soon as that!

D’A. The state owns the right to my head and arm now. A quick blow, and
an honorable, bloodless peace.

HOOD. Well said, my boy. We fight our own countrymen, whose ancestors
stood shoulder to shoulder with ours for the first independence. The
first shot makes me shudder, for I cannot see the end.

D’A. War is cruel, and I have hoped against hope that it would not come.

HOOD. I like your sentiments, my boy. May I hope a bullet may never find
you. But the north will fight. It is the exasperation wrought by cruel
pictures of the wrong we have carried as best we could, through the
first century of the Republic.

BRIGHTLY. Now, gentlemen, don’t get melancholy. Yankees won’t fight.
They are by instinct thieves and shopkeepers. I will bet you my best
nigger you can’t hire one to cross the line.

MYERS. I have travelled in that country some, and I will meet your wager
and go you one better, that you smell as much Yankee gunpowder the next
year as you can take care of.

BRIGHTLY. (_Pointing to Myers, laughing._) It’s chronic, Johnny Bull!

HOOD. Did I understand you that you are an Englishman?

MYERS. An Australian, sir, on a spec, plying between Mobile and Havana.
Got anything to sell?

HOOD. Your line of trade?

MYERS. I prefer handsome women.

D’A. And when he is tired of them, they are turned over to another
master in the auction yards of Havana.

MYERS. Exactly. I made $700 on the last one.

HOOD. It remains for Old and New England to furnish the men, that have
loaded the south with its most ignominious reputation. (_Myers springs
to his feet._)

MYERS. Do you insult the legitimate business of your country?

HOOD. The absolute freedom the Republic confers upon you has never
legalized a crime against humanity.

MYERS. What say you, sir?

HOOD. When this country opens its doors to the citizens of another
state, it expects no insults to its hospitality!

MYERS. Do you fight, sir?

HOOD. I do, sir, most assuredly.

D’A. You can take your choice, sir.

MYERS (_to D’Arneaux_). I have no quarrel with you, sir. (_To Hood._)
You will hear from me in the morning. Your profession, sir?

HOOD. It is honorable, sir. Be assured that I feel the degradation of
the match as much as yourself.

MYERS. This squabble with the free states has seemed to convey the idea
to every scrub in the south that he must carry the honor of his own
section on his own little back.

D’A. Squabble?

MYERS. Well, what else? Neither section has an army, or a respectable
ship of war. There are not ten thousand men in the country that know a
right-shoulder shift from a present. This is a fanatical mob broke
loose.

BRIGHTLY. Myers, it is cruelty to a lunatic to fight you.

MYERS. Nothing collapses the vanity of a ponderous presumption so quick
as a ridiculous fact.

BRIGHTLY (_to Hood and D’Arneaux_). Oh, he knows it all. (_To Myers._)
Look here. I knew of a Johnny Bull once that had the conceit taken out
of him by a little nation that made a navy out of its little coasting
schooners. It lays hard on Johnny’s stomach to this day.

HOOD. Whatever the merits of this quarrel may be, John Bull will soon
observe that it don’t take three years to make a soldier on this side of
the water.

MYERS. Come, Brightly, as you and I have not quarrelled, let us have a
whack at the national game. (_Deals cards—they play._)

BRIGHTLY. Myers, you are the sauciest devil in Mobile.

MYERS. Why?

BRIGHTLY. Because you are the best shot, I suppose.

MYERS. Then Mobile tolerates me, does it?

HOOD. It does.

MYERS. Then suppose it should choose to do otherwise?

HOOD. Some citizen would wring your nose and kick you out. (_Myers
springs to his feet, Brightly between._)

BRIGHTLY. Hold on, gentlemen. There’s time enough to settle this hash in
the morning. (_Pushes Myers to his chair._) Deal the cards.

MYERS. These gentlemen insist on being insultingly snappish.

HOOD. This is a slave state, sir, but not an auction room. I desire you
to understand the strength of my contempt for yourself and the business
that gives you a dishonorable living.

MYERS. If you should ever cross the water, do you think anything in the
line of Royalty would be able to obtain any condescension from you?

HOOD. I associate with nothing but gentlemen, sir.

MYERS. And I suppose you fight nothing but gentlemen, sir?

HOOD. I sometimes kick a ruffian!

MYERS (_suppressed rage_). Indeed! We will see how hard you kick, in the
morning. Say, Brightly. Now you are off for the army, sell me that
little red-cheeked jade I saw carrying your baggage to the depot.

BRIGHTLY (_catching a look from D’A._). No siree! That girl is the
smartest piece of meat in the whole of Tennessee! I brought her up from
a baby. Why, she can sing like an Opera, and read—wal, she does all the
readin’ and letter writin’ on the plantation. (_Hood and D’A.
converse—R._)

MYERS. I s’pose that all goes for talk!

BRIGHTLY. Why, bless your heart, there ain’t a nigger or white woman in
Creelsboro’ that wouldn’t die for her! She’s one er the institutions of
that place.

MYERS. Worth about a thousand more, I suppose, on account of that! Never
saw a Tennessee trader that didn’t have sixteen or seventeen hundred
dollars’ worth of extra virtues in his particular nigger!

BRIGHTLY. On er bright, and no blowin’!

MYERS. Oh the south is full of them!

BRIGHTLY. Then go and buy ’em.

MYERS. Brightly, I don’t know why, but I have just taken a liking to
that little romp. She is pretty and fresh as a new picture. Say, she
hasn’t been married?

BRIGHTLY. Not a bit of it. She’s only jest sixteen.

MYERS. Say, I will give twelve hundred for her, because you and I are
old friends.

BRIGHTLY. No, yer don’t!

MYERS. Fifteen?

BRIGHTLY. It’s no use talkin’! If I should sell that little brat, there
would be hell to pay in Creelsboro’ for two years.

MYERS. Now look here, Brightly; when I take a liking I am willing to pay
for it. I am going to make you an offer you won’t refuse—twenty-five
hundred!

BRIGHTLY. You had better wait and see if you get by Hood in the morning.

MYERS. I shall kill him at the first shot.

BRIGHTLY. But he fires once, himself.

MYERS. He will die too soon for that. I have never found it necessary to
fire twice. The other man always forgets to finish his business.

BRIGHTLY. Why, Myers, you hain’t no more idea of what there is in that
gal, than you have of kingdom come. (_Blows a whistle, and Zina dashes
in R, looking inquiringly._) Ain’t that jest the handsomest piece of
furnicher ye ever looked at?

MYERS. Beautiful!

BRIGHTLY. Now I jest want you to hear her sing. Now, little one, hoe in.
Do yer handsomest, and I’ll give yer four days off.

ZINA. Oh please, master, I feel so bad today. (_Falling on her knees and
covering her face._)

BRIGHTLY (_Rising and drawing a whip from under his coat._) Ah ha! Sulks
again? Niggers don’t say won’t to me.

ZINA. Please don’t make me sing, master, today. (_Falls on face
sobbing._)

BRIGHTLY (_interrupting_). Ah, you won’t, hey? Then I will give you
something to sulk for. (_Advances towards her, and D’Arneaux steps
between. They look each other in the face a moment. Brightly goes to
seat again._) The young one ain’t well today.

MYERS. Well, three thousand.

BRIGHTLY. (_Catching a look from D’Arneaux._) I’ll tell ye tomorrow.

MYERS. I’ll bet ye five hundred on this hand without lookin’. (_D’A.
raises Zina up to knees. She clings to D’A.’s hands—face hid._)

BRIGHTLY. All right. My chance is as good as your’n, then. Show!

MYERS (_as both show_). Got ye! This is a matter of pure luck, and may
as well be done blindfolded. Do you know I lost fifteen thousand dollars
once in Havana at one sitting?

BRIGHTLY. Enough to make me rich! (_Rests face on hands._)

MYERS. I was teetotally cleaned out. I put up my breastpin and won. When
I got up, I was five thousand dollars better off than I was when I
commenced. Try it again?

BRIGHTLY. I have just about enough left to get me home again. (_Turns
away._)

MYERS. Borrow?

BRIGHTLY. (_To D’A._) D’Arneaux, lend me a thousand dollars.

D’A. I shall be obliged to use all I have tomorrow. I would play no
more.

MYERS. I want him to win back part of this, so we can part with good
feeling.

D’A. Then give it to him, and have done with it!

BRIGHTLY. I refuse a gift from any one!

MYERS. Any gentleman would say that.

D’A. Then return what you have won dishonestly.

MYERS (_springing to his feet_). This is the second time you have
insulted me tonight, without provocation.

D’A. _Gentlemen_ resent the first insult!

MYERS. Can I expect to see you at “Bayou Sara” with your friend in the
morning?

D’A. You can, sir! I prefer to meet you first myself.

MYERS. It is immaterial to me.

BRIGHTLY. Now, gentlemen, this quarrel is for nothing.

D’A. He has insulted the hospitality of my country. He must carry his
life in his hands for that!

MYERS. Do your boasting after the fight. Brightly, I lend you five
hundred to continue the game. I want to go out from here with one
friend.

BRIGHTLY. Jest as you say (_they seat at table_). I am going to get ye
this time. You dealt last (_deals cards_).

MYERS. Will bet you the even $500, and show as before.

BRIGHTLY. Playin’ is all luck, anyway.

MYERS. Do you go it?

BRIGHTLY. Yes. What have ye got (_both show_)?

MYERS. Sorry, Brightly. I was hoping you would win this. Nevertheless,
luck will come somewhere. Say, I will bet you thirty-five hundred
against the girl?

BRIGHTLY. No, I won’t! (_D’A. and Zina, excited, gather nearer._)

MYERS. That would give you a chance to win 2000 more than you had when
you commenced. Try it again.

BRIGHTLY. (_Hesitating, finally brings his fist down on the table._)
Done!

ZINA. Oh, master. (_Zina drops on her knees and bows her head on
Brightly, sobbing. Brightly throws her off._)

D’A. (_Dashing forward and flinging his pocket-book on the table._) No,
by heaven, you shall not! There are eighteen hundred dollars. It is all
I have. Take it and say the girl is free. Then _waste_ the money if you
like.

MYERS. (_To Brightly._) Do you take this scoundrel through the country
as guardian for your property, because you are unfit to handle it
yourself?

BRIGHTLY. What I own I control. Deal the cards! It is $3500 or the girl!

MYERS. Thirty-five hundred dollars or the girl. Show (_both show_.) You
have lost again!

D’A. And you have won dishonestly!

MYERS. You lie! (_Zina half rises in terror._)

D’A. Take that money and let the girl go free.

MYERS. Who are you (_rises and confronts_)?

D’A. What are you?

MYERS. Well, say it.

D’A. A gambler with the honor of a thief.

MYERS. In the morning you shall swallow that.

D’A. A libertine without an honorable thought!

MYERS. This shall be your last croak!

D’A. A ruffian, whose business it is to send—

MYERS. Have done—

D’A. Beauty and virtue to the auction block for prostitution! (_Myers
strikes D’Arneaux and is struck in return._)

MYERS. I will not wait for morning to settle this. (_Flings off hat,
draws knife. Zina rises in terror._)

D’A. It shall be as you choose (_dashing to bar and seizing a knife_).
And the freedom of this helpless girl shall be the issue!

BRIGHTLY. (_Dashing between._) Hold on, gentlemen!

D’A. Stand aside, sir! This is a question of manhood you are unfit to
decide. (_Myers dashes by Brightly and attacks D’A. They fight. Myers is
killed L. at once. D’A. drops his knife and stands aghast at his work.
Turning suddenly to R._) It is a poltroon who would not fight from such
a provocation. (_Zina drops on her knees sobbing._)

D’A. (_To Brightly._) The result of this duel ends your control as
master here. (_Zina falls on face sobbing._)

BRIGHTLY. When did I give papers to convey her?

D’A. I sought the quarrel that has ended that miscreant’s life, because
he has lived in vandalism on the ruins of helpless innocence!

BRIGHTLY. What is that to me?

D’A. By every sense of even a gambler’s honor, this child is free. If
you deny that, it shall be the last time the law shall protect your
infamy. Peril her liberty and honor again if you dare, and you shall
answer to me. (_Curtain._)



                                ACT II.


SCENE 1. _Landscape. Whole stage. Gen. Halcom discovered, R, looking
away with field-glass. Soldiers “en picket,” rear._

_Enter Barney L. U. E., looking badly as if from a drunken debauch._

1st SOLDIER and SOLDIERS. Guardhouse! Guardhouse!

BARNEY. (_Stopping, &c._) Close up them holes in your face; the flies
may get inside and blow you.

1st SOL., &c. Pull up yer trowsers, they are wearing out your heels.
(_Soldiers laugh. Barney enraged._)

BARNEY. I will have that thafe killed that got so many idiots down here.

1st SOL. Turn off the gas or your head will collapse.

BARNEY. (_Throwing off hat and coat, L._) Come out here with them
idiots. Come out! Come out! (_Spanks his hand on floor._)

1st SOL. Ah-r, Barney, get out, we were only in fun.

BARNEY. Go away wid you for a thafe and blackguard ye are.

1st SOL. Come, Barney, let’s have a drink and make up. (_Soldier
produces bottle. Barney looks incredulous, as if expecting some
imposition. He approaches very slowly._)

BARNEY. And you have no sickness in it?

1st SOL. Ah-r, what do you take us for? (_Barney takes bottle and
attempts to drink. Finds it empty. Flings it out L. Spanks his hand on
the floor. Soldiers laugh very loud._)

BARNEY. Come out! Come out, you thafe er the worruld! I’ll bat your dam
head off you. Come out! (_Gen. Halcom turns, looks at them a moment.
Barney subsides, and as he puts on coat and hat, turns often to see if
Hal. is looking at him. Enter Orderly L. U. E._)

ORDERLY. (_To Gen. Hal._) A note, sir, from the commander-in-chief.

HALCOM. One moment (_reads note_). Say to the commander-in-chief that
the enemy are massing on our immediate front. (_Orderly salutes and
retires L. U. E._) The picket will report to chief of brigade guard.
(_Pickets retire. L. U. E. Halcom follows slowly. Soon a squad of rebel
soldiers enter R. with Keele. Brightly peering cautiously. D’A. shows R.
U. E. A picket fires out L. U. E. A return shot and he falls. Three
other shots and rebels retire R., but soon come slowly back._)

BRIGHTLY. Some of those Yankees have learned to shoot since this fight
began. (_To men._) Take that body behind the hill and bury it. (_Rebel
soldiers drag the body out R._)

D’A. (_Approaching, handing Brightly a note._) An order from the
commander.

BRIGHTLY. (_Reads and throws it down._) I take no orders from any one.

D’A. Are you a soldier or brigand?

BRIGHTLY. Either you please.

D’A. The laws of every nation compel allegiance to the country that
gives its protection.

BRIGHTLY. Protection, did you say?

D’A. Aye, protection!

BRIGHTLY. When this confederacy finds itself able to stand alone, it may
assume impudence enough to ask my allegiance on account of the
protection it can give.

D’A. As did the colonies in the first insurrection, this government
holds the inhabitants of its territory subject to the military
conscription.

BRIGHTLY. Its object, an asylum for broken down political beats.

D’A. A separation from the free states!

BRIGHTLY. Which I oppose.

D’A. Then, sir, you are a traitor.

BRIGHTLY. Be careful, young man; you are not robust enough to use such
talk with a man. I fight to repel Yankee intrusion upon our domestic
affairs.

D’A. A patriotism that simply asks protection for your pocket.

BRIGHTLY. Whose reaches farther?

D’A. Who has no pride in a magnificent nationality, would simply root
his way through the world like a hog, for the benefit of his stomach.

BRIGHTLY. Well, who gets, or cares for more?

D’A. He whose ambition leaps the instinct of the animal, to achieve
honor, magnificence and power.

BRIGHTLY. You had that before and the north paid the bills. This is
simply a domestic fight.

D’A. For the liberty and honor of the south.

BRIGHTLY. Liberty and honor? The world very properly forgot both when
the crusade ended. A country hampered with slavery and the arrogance of
wealth, prating of liberty and honor!

D’A. Well, you have graduated at a school that can say even more.

BRIGHTLY. Honor is a bag of gas for the mouth. A presumptuous idea
manufactured for the occasion.

D’A. Well?

BRIGHTLY. While driving a sharp bargain for a soul and body in a black
hide, or speculating on deceptive conclusions, did you ever feel it?

D’A. I have done neither.

BRIGHTLY. I spoke of the custom of the country you defend.

D’A. Well?

BRIGHTLY. What is liberty? An unwanted, useless thing, stamped upon in
every prosperous part of the country. Even the old cradle of our fabled
liberty rocks for the benefit of the capitalist, who starves his
brainless neighbor for the benefit of his vanity. I do not disagree with
him. From the beginning, custom, law and tradition have said, it is to
him that can. In nature, the large fish eat the smaller. The same of the
birds and beasts. The _world_ is a slave pen. Statutes never made a man
free. Take in the boasted freedom and civilization of New England, are
her working people more free than ours? Does the working man dare assert
the rights of a freeman there? The hypocrisy of this presumption is
manifest everywhere. The rich demand the servile submission of the poor,
and they give it or starve! Be frank. Say that you fight to control for
your pocket and stomach. Unite with the slaveholders of the north and
shed no more aristocratic blood. Say he that works for another is a
slave, and I am with you.

D’A. Are you done?

BRIGHTLY. For the present.

D’A. For the last three years the regulators have lived a life of
brigandage for your benefit. They now demand that you shall receive your
orders from the department commander.

BRIGHTLY. Ah, indeed! Then they propose that the tail shall wag the dog.

D’A. The last trap to which you led cost half the command. Take your
orders from the proper source, or they refuse to follow you farther.

BRIGHTLY. This is treason!

D’A. In this instance, it is to him that can.

BRIGHTLY. Then they would command?

D’A. Or be commanded for a less purposeless object.

BRIGHTLY. How long since these brainless brutes set themselves up to
direct the intellectual part of this campaign?

D’A. Since they have learned that they are without a competent leader.

BRIGHTLY. Are they not thieves and drunkards by instinct?

D’A. I will convey the insult to the troops.

BRIGHTLY. And as much to yourself!

D’A. When the country has used my life to its satisfaction, I will
resent that in a proper manner. For the present it shall help to make
the nation.

BRIGHTLY. A nation? What are nations? The synonym of two neighbors who
fight across a fence over the scratch of a hen. Their dogs assume the
dangerous roles. If the leaders of this breakup were compelled to
shoulder a rifle and take themselves to the front, there would be no
war. Instead, that Christian concession they call the “Peace Congress,”
would come to the front so quick, it would excite your admiration, and
its present auxiliaries would still live to swallow insults, instead of
sneaking behind the servile hounds they push to the front.

D’A. And the brave and honorable Brigand Chief, whose chivalrous ilk
forbids such dishonor, would still steal on his helpless enemy at night,
though it wore a petticoat, in sightless slumber, and compel the knife
and torch to hide his cowardice!

BRIGHTLY. (_Drawing knife._) I will not wait for the birth of a nation
to settle that insult!

D’A. (_Drawing._) This result is your own seeking! (_As they attempt to
fight, Hood dashes in L. U. E. and intercepts._)

HOOD. Hold! Is there not blood enough wasted already? (_Both attempt to
speak._) Not a word, gentlemen! There is a chance for your sanguinary
extravagance at the front. D’Arneaux, an hour since you volunteered for
the enemy’s lines. Do you serve the army by quarrels with ruffians?
Attend to your business, or leave it with better hands. Now, too!
(_Neither move._) I command here! (_Both leave slowly. Brightly L., D’A.
R._) So do the ruffianly elements divide my strength, and ruin the
efficiency of the army. Half the pickets are drunk or asleep. I am not
surprised that the federals push their advance to our very camp fires.
(_Hez. creeps on very cautiously at L. U. E., cocking gun at port._)

HEZEKIAH. How de dew? (_Hood starts and turns. Both eye each other a
moment in silence._)

HOOD. Well?

HEZEKIAH. I s’pose your my meat.

HOOD. Can you direct me to the federal headquarters, sir?

HEZEKIAH. (_Looking at Hood a moment._) I’ll be darned if ye hain’t got
me. Old Tecump keeps his office on top of his old white horse most of
the time.

HOOD. (_Pointing R._) I think, sir, in this direction.

HEZEKIAH. Don’t you go there! Johnnies are thicker in them woods than
lunatics in a crazy house. Jest popped one on ’em, less ’n half an hour
ago.

HOOD. I have some valuable information for the federal commander.

HEZEKIAH. You git out! Is old Hood got shot?

HOOD. Not to my knowledge.

HEZEKIAH. I bin wantin’ to light on that old critter’s kerrin for over a
month. If I get a bead on him, Old Secesh is goin’ ter have a fewneral.

HOOD. I am very anxious, sir, and no time to lose.

HEZEKIAH. I bin whoopin’ on that line since daylight. I’m hungrier than
a Floridy allagater.

HOOD. (_Turning to leave._) I must be moving. Good day, sir.

HEZEKIAH. Say! Ye hain’t got nothin’ in yer pocket ter scald a feller’s
in’ards, have ye?

HOOD. I regret, sir, that I cannot accommodate you. Good day, sir.
(_Attempts to leave R._)

HEZEKIAH. If ye stick to me, I’ll get ye there when the relief comes.
When the old general sees you with me, he’ll do the square thing by ye.
I know old Tecump just as well as I do you. He and I have spilt some
fluid since we come down on this racket. He’s five trumps and four aces
in a lone hand every time you hit him.

HOOD. You observe I am in the disguise of a rebel general, to avoid
their pickets.

HEZEKIAH. I wonder if I don’t know skim milk when I see it?

HOOD. If I should be seen in the company of a Yankee, I should be shot
at sight.

HEZEKIAH. Wal, I guess yer head is level on that.

HOOD. (_About to leave—R._) Good day, sir.

HEZEKIAH. Say, I don’t s’pose you’ve got any tobacker in yer trowsis,
have ye?

HOOD. (_Producing it._) Certainly, sir.

HEZEKIAH. Jest give us a chaw. (_Hood complies._) My stomach is as
holler as a collapsed balloon. (_Bites off a chew, and returns plug._)
’Bliged at ye.

HOOD. (_Turning to go._) Good day, sir.

HEZEKIAH. Say? You jest keep your eye peeled, or them Johnnies will get
your hair. (_Exit Hood—R._) That’s a darn nice old critter. But I don’t
think he’s so bright as some folks, or else he wouldn’t be caterwaulin’
round here on the picket line alone. He don’t know nothin’ about war!
I’ll be darned if I don’t think I’ve got stuck some myself. Down east,
you can foller the tellegraff poles. They hain’t got scarcely any on ’em
in this heathen country. This is about the meanest place I ever
travelled in. If I hain’t eat my peck of dirt 250 times since I hit this
land er snakes, you can chaw my ear. I hain’t had a good square wash for
over two years. My hide would raise pertaters stouter than a down-east
cut-down. (_Shot from R., and his hat flies into L. wings._) Gosh all
Jewpiter, if that critter hasn’t spil’t my best hat. (_Chasing it out L.
Other shots, and two rebel soldiers creep on R. A shot from L.; one
falls, and the other retreats. Hez. comes on L._) There ain’t no two
Johnnies can drive me. (_Feels of the dead rebel._) Bet ye tew dollars
and a half that critter won’t get well. (_Exit L. slowly, looking back
often. Brightly creeps on from R._)

BRIGHTLY. Those Yankee pickets will shoot the rear guard through the
camp yet. (_Looking out, R._) Come here. (_Enter Zina, hatless and
ragged._) I have spotted you. If you attempt to escape again, I will
shoot you at sight! What are you skulking around here for?

ZINA. I was lost; I did not know where I was going.

BRIGHTLY. You lie! Why do you follow my lieutenant’s footsteps so much
like a cur? You are my property. Not a dog. What do you hope for? That
he will buy you? He can never do that. Not if his house was solid gold,
and he offered me all he had. White niggers are hard to manage, but I am
the man that never failed on one yet. Look at me! (_Zina looks at him in
terror._) If you speak to him again, I will flog your hide off.

ZINA. Oh, he is all the friend I have in the wide world.

BRIGHTLY. Who feeds your hungry maw and rags your lousy hide?

ZINA. When my heart is almost breaking, and I beg for God to let me die,
the kind words he speaks make me hope again so much—

BRIGHTLY. In love, hey? A nigger, a field hand, in love with a
gentleman! At least, he passes himself off for one. Within twelve hours,
I will take the pimp out of his proud strut.

ZINA. Oh, I am such a miserable slave to love so good a master as he. He
is too noble to do a wrong to any one.

BRIGHTLY. While he has dogged my footsteps when I leave the camp with
you, and has twice incited you to escape?

ZINA. Heaven is my witness, he _did_ not do that.

BRIGHTLY. I will have an end of this! Today he volunteered to enter the
enemy’s camp as a spy—ostensibly as a deserter. He will be betrayed!

ZINA. Do with me as you will, and I will never complain; but he is
innocent.

BRIGHTLY. When he attempts to return, he will be arrested by the enemy,
with the proofs of his business on his person! A court-martial, an
execution, and the end! (_Zina in agony._)

ZINA. My God, what shall I do?

BRIGHTLY. Nothing. (_Zina drops on her knees._)

ZINA. Oh, what will you ask of me, and I will never cause you trouble
again?

BRIGHTLY. I make no conditions when I control!

ZINA. If I have ever loved anything, it has been lost to me. (_Sinking
down, sobbing._)

BRIGHTLY. Of what use are you to me now? I have taken insult after
insult from _him_, until I have reached the last. If this fails, I will
kill him!

ZINA. (_Springing up._) Then I will tell him the infamous traitor that
you are.

BRIGHTLY. (_Dashing forward to strike her._) You will?

ZINA. (_Defending with stiletto._) Stand off, you cowardly cur!

BRIGHTLY. (_Springing back and drawing bowie knife._) Ah ha, revolt?

ZINA. Aye, revolt!

BRIGHTLY. Before this, I had determined to kill you. (_Rolling up cuffs,
&c._)

ZINA. Who strikes a woman is a coward!

BRIGHTLY. You have earned your right to the knife now, and you shall
have it.

ZINA. I have worked for you since I could walk, and never played. You
have beat and starved me in return, after I had done the best I could.

BRIGHTLY. Rant, for this shall be your last time!

ZINA. Your brutal strength loves best to beat the helpless. But while I
live I will defend myself!

BRIGHTLY. Before my arm—like a breath of heedless air.

ZINA. This shall be the last with me. My hands have earned the right to
be free, and now I will be, or you shall kill me!

BRIGHTLY. This knife shall answer that!

ZINA. Aye, it shall be to the death for one. But you shall see how a
puny girl shall fight a brutal coward, in defence of her life and honor!

BRIGHTLY. Your snarling lout shall not protect you this time.

ZINA. (_Despair._) God help me and save Master D’Arneaux!

BRIGHTLY. (_Quickly._) He has already passed the guard! (_Zina starts,
chokes, staggers, drops her stiletto and faints. B. rushes towards
her._) I will end these insults here. (_A shot from the L. strikes his
arm. He whirls round and dashes out at R., as Hez. rushes in at L.,
saying:_)

HEZEKIAH. Gosh all hemlock! That’s twice we missed that critter in the
same place. Here I been catawaulin’ round here for four days, and I
hain’t took but thirteen scalps. But I wonder if we didn’t wade inter
them critters yesterday. There is more cannon balls wasted down in that
ar’ medder than you can stow inter our meetin’ house. Hannah Doolittle!
Wan’t there some glory got loose in that fite! There was more halleluyer
in four minnits than you could twist out er two hundred and fifty
comeouter camp meetings. Jewlyus Jehosafat! I jest as lives died as not!
When we scooted that rebel meat, I felt prouder’n Sal Screwton when she
got her fust bussel. (_Meantime, enter Gen. Halcom, L._)

HALCOM. Well?

HEZEKIAH. (_Turning, surprised, cocking his gun._) Gosh all Jewpiter! I
thought it was Jeff Davis!

HALCOM. What have you found?

HEZEKIAH. Guess them critters have gone a fishin’. Hain’t had a houter
of a pop for half an hour, except one, as I hope ter holler. (_Halcom
discovers Zina._)

HALCOM. What is this, Hezekiah?

HEZEKIAH. Wall, I’ll be darned if ye hain’t got me. Do ye s’pose they
lay out round here nights?

HALCOM. (_Looking closely._) She sleeps. (_Tries to wake her and
fails._) She is unconscious. (_Turns her face towards himself, starts._)

HEZEKIAH. Hain’t she handsome?

HALCOM. She is indeed beautiful! The child is sick, and perhaps
starving. Give me your canteen. (_Bathes her face._) Call some of the
pickets. (_Bathes still. Hez. goes out L. U. E., and soon returns with
Barney and a stretcher._)

BARNEY. Indade now. Do thim blackguards murder beautiful little girruls
like that?

HALCOM. The child is seriously sick. Take her to my surgeon, and say it
is my desire that every effort shall be made in her behalf. Handle her
carefully. (_Hez. and Bar. put her on the stretcher, raise her tenderly,
and bear her out at L. U. E._) Poor child! She is the victim of
brutality, or the hardships of the front have nearly killed her.
(_Hesitates._) So much like my mother’s face! (_Bows head. Enter Sherman
R. U. E., in heavy military cloak._)

SHERMAN. Well, Halcom, have the blues got you again? (_Darken stage
gradually._)

HALCOM. General, you must not remain here! We are within rifle range of
the enemy’s pickets. It is exceedingly dangerous.

SHERMAN. It is growing too dark for sharpshooters to operate.

HALCOM. The country cannot afford to have you exposed.

SHERMAN. Pray, why not?

HALCOM. We are engaged in a desperate march to the sea. The army is too
far from its base to exist without a competent leader. If you should
fall, what next?

SHERMAN. Half my men, sir, are fit to command.

HALCOM. General, you are too sanguine of the capabilities of others. I
repeat again, you _must_ be careful. The safety of the army demands it.

SHERMAN. Halcom, you are too anxious for the safety of every one but
yourself. The army has a common impression that you are the most daring,
reckless officer at the front.

HALCOM. It matters but little if I fall.

SHERMAN. Why, my dear sir, your life—

HALCOM. Is worth nothing for myself. If it please heaven that I live to
see a full and earnest liberty here, with all the stars of the old flag
still lingering there, it matters little what becomes of me.

SHERMAN. Halcom, I never see you smile! There is some terrible
misfortune hidden behind your sad, melancholy face, you have never yet
revealed. Desperate; rash; impetuous; you have won your double stars at
twenty-eight. A brilliant military dash that thrills the army; and you
fell back so quietly to the seclusion of your quarters, and never seem
to hope or look for reward. But for this, your life has been a blank to
me.

HALCOM. There is nothing in the history of my family I could wish to
conceal.

SHERMAN. I have looked in vain for its justification, while I have
observed in you a seeming too sanguinary hate of our misguided
countrymen.

HALCOM. I have sometimes thought that I may be insane from the wrongs I
have suffered from the men who lead this revolt. Not thirty leagues from
here I first saw the light. My family came of the Huguenot emigrants
that settled in the Carolinas. As the rush of population swept towards
the west my ancestors found a home in the wilds of Tennessee. My father
inherited twenty thousand acres in the Cumberland Valley. Our home was
happy. My angel mother was a friend to the helpless and wronged. At
twelve years of age I kissed her the last good bye (_hesitating_), and
left to educate myself in the free schools of New England. My father was
no traitor to the principles of right and justice. Accused of no overt
act, he had the right to advocate his convictions, and these were so
born and educated in right, infamy had no manly response. The knife and
torch of the assassin met his appeal to the honor of his adversaries.
One day a dispatch came to me. I hurriedly broke the seal. They had all
perished by the hand of the assassin. Five weeks later I awoke from the
delirium of a fever that has never left my brain. (_Shows Sherman a
picture._) My mother. She was so good and beautiful.

SHERMAN. She was, indeed, beautiful (_returns it_).

HALCOM. Kneeling in my New England home, with her sweet face looking
from that picture into my own, I swore that my hand should never stay,
until it should find the life of her assassin.

SHERMAN. Such revenge is honorable.

HALCOM. An infant sister was born during my absence—

SHERMAN. She still lives?

HALCOM. Her ashes mingle with the others in the ruins of our old home.

SHERMAN. Only the class that can buy and sell human hearts and
affections can produce such villains.

HALCOM. Fifteen years since I have made my annual pilgrimage to the
desolate spot where I was born. A tablet to their memory survives until
I leave. Often in disguise I have entered the councils of my enemies.
Seven of the fiends I have looked in the face, while my hands clutched
their throats till the last gurgle of life had been gone an hour. The
chief still survives. I have tracked him through the gambling hells and
slave yards of the southern cities, till I have found him in command of
a guerilla force in this department. Twice I have seemed to annihilate
them, but he has never appeared among the slain.

SHERMAN. Be careful, Halcom. You must not peril your life for so
worthless an object. Your military fame is the property of the country.
You peril this for a chance at a dog. When your division assaults the
works of the enemy tomorrow, I urge it as a claim of your country, that
you shall not needlessly expose yourself.

HALCOM. So much will I as becomes a soldier who would defend his country
from such assassins. If I fall, let me sleep in my old home in the soil
of Tennessee, whose honor I have tried to defend against the cowards who
have dragged her into this infamous revolt.

SHERMAN. (_Taking his hand._) Well said, my boy. You will not fall. God
will protect the brave hearts that are to save the home he has made for
the poor. I have gazed in wonder and surprise so many times on the brave
fellows that sprang so wildly to the front, before the echoes of
Sumter’s cannon had hardly died away among the free hills of the north.
Half of them fit to be governors or presidents! What a people have
sprung from the little squad that first planted civil liberty on old
Plymouth Rock. Brave old New England! How quickly her sword leaped from
the scabbard when slavery struck at this. How the offshoots of her brain
throb and flash across the prairies of the great west. How her freedom
and little church spires cling to the hills as her civilization marches
for the western sea! It is God’s advance guard leading the way to a
larger and freer home for the poor. Think, Halcom, of the glory that is
coming. The star is in the west now. Fifty years hence a hundred
millions of free and prosperous people will offer thanksgiving to heaven
for this, your sword shall help so much to win.

HALCOM. It is indeed beautiful to contemplate. But there are bitter cups
for many to drain before that glory comes. I hope for nothing. My family
are gone. When my heart reaches out for my kindred, it remembers only
that the assassin has left nothing to love but the ashes of the old
home.

SHERMAN. Let us pursue this painful subject no longer. Go and sleep now.
Howard tells me you are watching forever.

HALCOM. You will expect us to carry the left redoubts at daybreak?

SHERMAN. If heaven wills.

HALCOM. The men will do all you may expect. Listen for my cannon at
daybreak.

SHERMAN. At daybreak?

HALCOM. At daybreak. (_Hal. salutes and retires R. U. E._)

SHERMAN. The bravest and most honorable man I ever saw! So young to
command. (_Turns to leave L.U.E., meets Hez. entering._)

HEZEKIAH. Hold on there, you old gunpowder guzzler, you come here and
give me the password or I’ll blow you out er water. I will, by jingo!

SHERMAN. (_To rear centre slowly._) Atlanta.

HEZEKIAH. (_Scratching head and thinking._) I’ll be darned ter Moses ef
I don’t think that is the password arter all. My memory wants joggin,
wuss ’n Ike Acorn’s cabbages that was planted in a sandbank coz ’twas
easy hoin’.

SHERMAN. Are you on the regular picket tonight?

HEZEKIAH. I’ll be darned if ye hain’t got me. I bin catawaulin round
here all day ter get a pop at some er them Johnnies, and Barney brings
out the provender.

SHERMAN. Do you know the general-in-chief, sir?

HEZEKIAH. Well, I should think I ought ter. He and I have drinked over a
barrel together since this rumpus come up.

SHERMAN. How do you like the service, sir?

HEZEKIAH. Now you’ve hit me where I bile over. When the fightin’ fust
commenced, I thought I wan’t no great shakes er gettin’ shot for
thirteen dollars a month, till one day one er them bumbshells come along
and peeled the whole hind eend of my trowsers off. That made me madder
than a kicked hornet. I just got a bead on my old shooter, and I let her
sliver right into um. I shouldn’t wonder if I killed thirty or forty er
them darn skunks. I had four fingers and a half in that gun.

SHERMAN. Quite a good beginning, sir.

HEZEKIAH. Ye see when I get my dander up something has got to come, or
bust. How long do you suppose the old general is goin’ ter keep us out
here killin’ them critters? I’d jest like ter give him a piece er my
brains on that.

SHERMAN. Well, sir, what would you do to make the machine work faster?

HEZEKIAH. Well, I should pizen their grub. You tell him that and I
shouldn’t wonder ef he’d dew it. They say he’s a dam rough old critter;
but he can spile more Jersey pizen than any other critter this side er
sundown. Say, how long have you been in this machine?

SHERMAN. About thirty years, sir.

HEZEKIAH. You git out! Why you must be chock full er bullets by this
time. I spose you’d feel kinder lonesome if ye didn’t have two or three
pounds on ’em in ye all the time. I like ter had the daylights knocked
out er me yesterday. One er them bumbshells struck a tree jest over my
head, when I was fodderin’ up, and it sp’ilt forty cents’ worth er
vittles for me in less than two minnits. If that bumbshell had hit jest
seventeen inches lower, Sal. Rideout would er bin out jest my figger
exactly. I quit eatin’ then, and went inter my tent to fix up my shirt
collar, so if I got shot, I would lay out handsome, and who do you
s’pose I see crawlin’ under the back er the general’s tent, when the
guard wan’t lookin’?

SHERMAN. I have not the least idea, sir.

HEZEKIAH. A dam sneakin’ skunk of a rebel, with a knife in his mouth.
When I got in there, he tried ter hide under the general’s bunk. The way
I placed that old hob-nailed cowhide under the lower eend er his jacket,
would er upset a meetin’-house. I’ll be darned if that critter didn’t up
and snap a pistol right in my face. I jest laid down my gun, and if I
didn’t plow and harrer his anatomy, you can dig me out for a hog’s
trough, and kiss me for his mother.

SHERMAN. What became of the man, sir?

HEZEKIAH. I jist wasted him all over half an acre, fore he got away.
(_Hez. suddenly stops and presses his hand on his belly, doubling up._)

SHERMAN. What is the matter, sir?

HEZEKIAH. It’s my old colic comin’ agin. I got ter go and git a gin
sling. (_Dashes his gun in Sherman’s hands, knocking him half down._)
Jest hold my old shooter. (_Dashes out at L._)

SHERMAN. Hold on, sir. Here! Halt, you scoundrel! (_Recovering his
feet._) Gone? Confound that idiot. I will have him court-martialed for
leaving his post. (_Thinking._) Then I should be shown up for allowing
the fool to impose upon me. The general of the army on guard! I shall be
the laughing stock of the whole army. I’ll wage my commission that he
made that to get off for a drink. I’ll scare the idiot out of his senses
when he returns. Here he comes. Halt, sir! Stand there till I call the
officer of the guard. Move if you dare, sir, and you are a dead man!
(_Hez. walks up and takes the gun away, saying—_)

HEZEKIAH. You git out. If you don’t know me, you’re the biggest puddin’
head in the country!

SHERMAN. You are the most impudent scoundrel I ever met.

HEZEKIAH. (_Handing money._) Here’s a quarter for ye. Now you go home
and put that knowledge box er your’n under a gardeen, or somebody’ll
shoot you for a stray mule.

SHERMAN. You are an idiot, sir!

HEZEKIAH. (_Throwing hat, coat and gun down, L._) I don’t take that from
nobody.

SHERMAN. Hold on, sir! What are you going to do?

HEZEKIAH. Goin’ ter trample on your constitushun about four minnits.
(_Turns to attack, and meets Sherman’s revolver._) Lay down that
shooter, I’ll give ye four dollars.

SHERMAN. I am a gentleman, sir, no ruffian.

HEZEKIAH. Glad ye told me, I shouldn’t er known it.

SHERMAN. You want to fight, sir, do you? You shall have all you desire,
sir!

HEZEKIAH. Then peel and prong round here.

SHERMAN. I will meet you here at sunset, tomorrow, sir, for a duel.
Arms, broadaxes! Then I will kill you, sir, like a dog.

HEZEKIAH. How much do you weigh when you’re all bloated up?

SHERMAN. I am known as the worst man in the west, sir!

HEZEKIAH. Nobody would look at ye and dispute it. If I looked as bad as
you do, I’d hold my breath till I died. I chawed up twenty-seven men
once, with a common axe. When I wade in with a broadaxe—wall, you get
your friends to come down and hunt up the corpse in about fourteen
seconds after they say time.

SHERMAN. Do you stop to bury your dead, sir?

HEZEKIAH. Now you git out. (_Picking up coat._) If the old general
should come along and find me talkin’ to you, he’d raise all possess
about it.

SHERMAN. (_Turning to R. to leave._) Remember, sir, tomorrow at sunset.
I trust that you are no coward that will waste my time, sir.

HEZEKIAH. Don’t you fret. Fore I get through with ye, you’ll think a
meetin’-house has fell down on ye. (_Exit Sherman, R. Hez. puts on his
clothes._) Spose that critter will come, or was he blowin’? I don’t
think I’m healthy! I ain’t no ’count with a broadaxe! (_Enter Sally, R.
U. E., in male attire, face covered by a wide-rimmed hat._) Hello,
there, you padded up young scallawag! What are you catawaulin’ after,
out here?

SALLY. (_Aside._) He won’t know me.

HEZEKIAH. Come putty near shootin’ you for a stray calf. Bin more
corpses carried off er this beat since I bin on, than a hoss can haul.

SALLY. (_Approaching sideways, with hat over her eyes._) Come putty near
shootin’, did ye? You gaunt, hamstrung old spavin!

HEZEKIAH. You’d er bin a corpse now, if I hadn’t took you for a mule.

SALLY. I would, hey? You old collapse, you!

HEZEKIAH. If you should strain hard, do you spose you could tell whose
fool has broke loose?

SALLY. That is an insult I won’t swallow!

HEZEKIAH. Who told ye too?

SALLY. (_Bristling up._) I will have blood for that! Blood, sir! R. R.
(_As Hez. turns to L. she dashes out R. and hides._)

HEZEKIAH. If I don’t (_turns to L. to throw off hat and coat._) collapse
your constertushun, I hope I may rot. (_Turning, he finds she has
disappeared._) There’ll be two or three fewnerals round here bime by.
(_Looks out L. U. E._) There comes a Johnny! (_Hides, L. Brightly enters
cautiously, L. U. E. As he works along towards R. U. E., Hez. creeps up
behind, and pounces on him, throwing him down. They tussle all about the
rear of the stage. Enter Barney, L. and dances about to get in the
fight, as scene closes._)


SCENE 2. _Landscape and Wood. Centre._

(_Enter Sherman and Halcom, at L. U. E., and go to R._)

SHERMAN. I am about to attempt the capture of Atlanta by a flank
movement. I wish you to throw your Division forward and occupy that
ridge on the right of the railway. I have ordered twelve batteries to
protect you from an enfilade. The position, you see, covers the line of
his communications. The successful accomplishment of this will probably
compel Hood to evacuate his strong positions and fall back. I give you
the position of honor because you do not fail.

HALCOM. Thank you!

SHERMAN. Once clear of this line of entrenchments, we have them in the
open country before us. (_Enter Hez. L. U. E._)

HEZEKIAH. Say, General. We have just took the darndest, rantankerest
piece er rebel meat you ever put your eyes on. He’s got more red pepper
in his constertewshun than a Boston wholesale grocery store. He’s wus’n
them hyennys in Barnum’s circus! Had ter tie the darn critter ter keep
him from chawin’ up everybody. Don’t ye know, that critter had cheek
enough ter walk right over my beat, jest as if I want there. I jest laid
down my gun, and if I didn’t hop onter his kerrin, you can chaw my ear.

SHERMAN. Did you notice his rank, sir?

HEZEKIAH. Wal, I did think he was a little rank when I got through with
him.

SHERMAN. I mean, sir, did you notice if he was an officer?

HEZEKIAH. I never thought ter ask him ’bout that. He tumbled so fast. I
had ter hump ter keep up. Why, he’s the same feller I see trying ter
crawl under Frank’s tent.

SHERMAN. Who is Frank, sir?

HEZEKIAH. Jehosafat! Don’t you know Frank?

SHERMAN. I think not, sir.

HEZEKIAH. (_Pulling Halcom to the front._) There is jest the handsomest
piece er furnicher this side er sundown.

SHERMAN. Why, you rascal, that is General Halcom.

HEZEKIAH. You git out! That’s our Frank.

SHERMAN. Look here, sir, you were on guard last night.

HEZEKIAH. (_Looking at Sherman, and then aside._) Jewrusalem! That was
the old Gineral I run into last night. Now I’ve gone and spilt the apple
sass all over the best table cloth. (_Turns and grasps Sherman’s
hands._) How de dew? I know’d that was you last night, all the time.
Ain’t I the wust blackguard you ever run into?

SHERMAN. Bring in that prisoner, sir. I will deal with you when there is
less business on hand.

HEZEKIAH. (_Attempting to leave._) Jess you say. I spose you boss this
cahoot. (_Turns back._) Say, you keep your eye peeled. He’s a darn pizen
critter. He may try to get your guzzle. (_Exit Hez. L._)

SHERMAN. Is that man insane or a fool?

HALCOM. Neither. He is one of the rough diamonds of the army: the very
first man I enlisted in the old Bay State. Brave as a lion, and keen as
a razor.

SHERMAN. Why, the rascal would have thrashed me blind last night, but
for my revolver.

HALCOM. Indeed! His patriotism drifts only in the rudeness of its native
channel. I put up with his familiarities, because he cannot understand
the necessity for military etiquette. (_Crosses to L. front. Enter Hez.
and Barney, L. U. E., driving Brightly ahead of them, hands bound behind
him._)

HEZEKIAH. (_To Sherman._) Name it and you can have it.

SHERMAN. (_To Hez._) Untie his hands. (_Hez. unties, &c._) Sir, I hear
that you have been arrested as a spy.

BRIGHTLY. I am a prisoner of war.

SHERMAN. Now I remember—you have once before been convicted of spying,
and escaped. (_Halcom crosses to R. turns, when both start from
recognition._)

HALCOM. The assassin of my family!

BRIGHTLY. Of whom do you speak?

HALCOM. Yourself, coward!

BRIGHTLY. Then you may consider yourself a liar!

HALCOM. (_To Sherman._) During the last fifteen years, I have hunted
this brute through the slave yards and gambling hells of the south. Now
he shall answer to me. You shall meet me with the favorite weapon of
your cowardice.

BRIGHTLY. I am unarmed.

HALCOM. (_Throwing his knife at Brightly’s feet._) So am I.

BRIGHTLY. (_To Sherman._) Am I to be murdered while a helpless prisoner?

HALCOM. Take the knife, coward! (_Holding up his empty hands._) My
mother was helpless!

SHERMAN. (_Stepping between and taking hold of Halcom’s arm._) Not now,
Halcom. The military law shall accomplish all you desire. (_Brightly
seizes the knife from the floor, and dashes like lightning forward to
stab Sherman in the back. Hez. seizes him instantly, wrests the knife
from him, and flings him to L._)

HEZEKIAH. You darn sneakin’ dog, you!

HALCOM. Your own life!

SHERMAN. (_To Hez._) Remove the prisoner! See to it that he is well
ironed. I will deal with him tomorrow!

HEZEKIAH. (_To Sherman._) Say, General, if it don’t make no difference
to you, I’d like ter make this critter inter a stuffed pirate for
Barnum’s circus.

SHERMAN. I said remove him, and I hold you responsible if he escapes!

HEZEKIAH. Jess you say. It’s your fewneral! (_To Brightly._) Now you
travil, or I’ll let daylight through them rotten ribs er yourn so quick,
you’ll think your struck with all the litenin’ the Lord’s got the use
on. Git! (_Exit Brightly L. Turns at entrance to give H. and S. a look
of contempt._)

SHERMAN. If he escapes my bullet this time, it will be from the
intervention of heaven! (_Enter Orderly, front, and salutes._)

ORDERLY. Gen. Howard orders me to report that Hood has withdrawn behind
the river.

SHERMAN. Our opportunity is lost! There are other spies in the camp!
Tell Howard to move to the bank of the river, and await orders. (_To
Halcom._) Cross a heavy reconnoisance at Herrick’s ford, and report as
soon as possible. (_Halcom salutes and retires R. Sherman L. U. E. Enter
Barney R. U. E. passing along._)

BARNEY. Bad luck to this haythen country. I’m killed from every stone
and stump in it. I don’t like rebellyions! If yer killed with nobody to
get a pension for it, where’s the luck in it? (_Enter Hez. behind,
cautiously._)

HEZEKIAH. (_In a stentorian voice._) Move, and I kill you! (_Barney
motionless._) Drop that gun! (_Drops it._) Hands up! (_Holds up hands._)
Right about! (_As Barney turns, Hez. breaks down in loud laughter._)

BARNEY. Don’t you do that again; I might kill you sometime.

HEZEKIAH. Scartest man I ever looked at!

BARNEY. No sir—

HEZEKIAH. I see the bristles risin’ up the whole length er your back!

BARNEY. No sir. I was playin’ wid yer.

HEZEKIAH. Say, Barney, wasn’t ye scart?

BARNEY. I might be narvous a little.

HEZEKIAH. (_Pulling bottle._) S’pose we have a little nerve powder.
(_Hands bottle to Barney._)

BARNEY. I was always a friend to that! Here’s to George Washington and
Danny O’Connell. The two boys ye can’t make afraid or ashamed of the
country that giv em their first pertaties. (_Drinks, and hands bottle to
Hez._)

HEZEKIAH. Here’s tew Pardunk and the gal that’s waitin’ for me, and a
chain litenin’ diet to the darn sneakin’ skunk of a rebel that would
spit on the bird that’s goin’ to roost with impewnity all over North and
South Ameriky. (_Drinks; Barney looks about cautiously. Set guns against
tree, R. U. E._)

BARNEY. I would like it if there was no corporals.

HEZEKIAH. How much guard-house do ye s’pose you’ve had Barney, since we
left Pardunk?

BARNEY. I should guess fifteen months. And thim blackguards are the
spalpeens that bother me like that.

HEZEKIAH. What did ye come out here for, Barney?

BARNEY. For a pinsion!

HEZEKIAH. Gittin’ rich, wasn’t ye?

BARNEY. To be sure I was. Wasn’t I ingaged to Biddy Maloney? Didn’t she
have a peanut store on the sidewalk and a suit of rooms in Tim
Sullivan’s cellar? Didn’t she fail four times in one summer and pay ten
cints? Ah’r, the smart girl she is! With a gal like that, what is the
need er workin’?

HEZEKIAH. Say, Barney, how would you like to be a Jigadier Brindle?

BARNEY. What, one er them fellers with brass things on ’em?

HEZEKIAH. Yes.

BARNEY. I have ambishun like that. Then I could go to the hospittle when
the whiskey makes me sick, and be kapin’ out of the fight. (_Trying to
see something on Barney’s back, when Barney turns back to the audience.
As he does, Hez. says—_)

HEZEKIAH. Ye know how to protect yer rear. (_Lifts Barney’s coat tail,
and exhibits a black patch as large as a chair bottom, sewed on Barney’s
seat._)

BARNEY. (_Swelling with rage._) I do that! I’m a jintleman! No
blackguard! I poke no fun to make a laugh on a jintleman! Whin a
blackguard attacks me reputation, I don’t care what he says! When he
puts his dirty hands on my karrackter, I will resint it like a man! I’m
an Irishman, and me honor’s me own! I have no cheap words with a
blackguard without the iddication of a jintleman! I am no thafe to be
spit upon! Come out! Come out! (_Motioning towards R. U. E._) Come out!
(_Hez. hands a bottle towards him. Barney catches sight of it as he
says—_) Come—(_Breaks down in a broad grin._) What kind er wather is
that?

HEZEKIAH. Medicine for fits. (_Barney drinks._) Old Deacon Jones took
about a quart er that once, by mistake. Said he thought the whole
neighborhood was a jewsharp, and he was playin’ on it.

BARNEY. ’Pon my word!

HEZEKIAH. Know’d of a feller in Shadagy, that was brought up on that.

BARNEY. That same?

HEZEKIAH. Yes sir.

BARNEY. How long was he doin’ that?

HEZEKIAH. He grow’d so long they couldn’t tax him when he was
twenty-one.

BARNEY. How was the blackguard gettin’ by that?

HEZEKIAH. They considered the most of him was out er the county. (_Sally
enters R. in male attire. Steps between them and their guns. Draws
pistol._)

SALLY. Cowards! (_Both turn in dismay and take in situation._)

BARNEY. The blackguard!

SALLY. Prisoners of war, only to die!

HEZEKIAH. (_Throwing off coat._) Not if this piece er meat knows itself!
(_Turns and meets Sally’s revolver._)

SALLY. Halt! (_Hez. stops._)

HEZEKIAH. Darn your picter!

SALLY. I prefer to take you alive, that you may have the honor to die
under the majesty of the law, for connivance with the spies of the
enemy!

BARNEY. (_Looking at Hez._) The thafe!

HEZEKIAH. Who said that?

SALLY. The angels were lookin’!

HEZEKIAH. You tell him he’s a liar!

BARNEY. (_To Hez._) It’s some poor thing that’s crazy from bein’ insane.

HEZEKIAH. Yes, we know’ you’re a big ingin. (_Offers her a bottle._)
Have some firewater? (_Sally takes and pockets bottle._)

SALLY. So has the dignity of my mission been insulted: you shall die
now! Cowards, you have two minutes to live! Take off your hats and
coats. (_Both comply._) It were unworthy for you to die in the Union
blue! One minute more! (_Holds her watch in her hand._)

BARNEY. Stop! Will you take two months pay?

SALLY. How long shall I be insulted thus?

HEZEKIAH. Have you ever bin a father or mother?

BARNEY. Yes sir. Have you bin that?

SALLY. I’ll hear no more! (_Looking at watch._) Five seconds more! Now
your hour has come! (_Points pistol. Both duck and dodge._) Die,
cowards, die! (_Both dash up in L. U. E. Sally follows as if to shoot.
Both put up their legs and hands as if to ward off. Sally breaks down
laughing, and throws off her hat._)

HEZEKIAH. (_Recognizing._) Jewniper hallelewyer!

BARNEY. The blackguard?

HEZEKIAH. Jerewserlim swipes! Where did you bile up from?

BARNEY. (_Seizing his gun._) I shall bust with contimpt! (_Goes out L.
U. E. in a rage._)

HEZEKIAH. Gosh all Jewpiter! I thought you was old Hood. Come here and
let me see if you hain’t a ghost! (_Dashes into Hez. arms._) All here,
by beeswax! (_Kisses her._)

SALLY. (_Pulling out note book._) Look er that! I’m war correspondent of
the Pordunk Cultivater.

HEZEKIAH. You git out! Where ye get them close?

SALLY. Hez., after you went away, I couldn’t eat nor sleep for fourteen
weeks.

HEZEKIAH. You don’t?

SALLY. Fact! Then my best hen and the old cat died, and I jest thought I
should go crazy. Then Bill Larkins ’listed for a sutler, and I was mad
all over. After you left, that scallawag was preachin’ treason all the
time, till he found he could be a sutler. He’s bin _ravin’_ for rebel
blood ever since. A man jest told me that Bill bought a bad barrel er
vinnegar for half a dollar—made it into eighteen barrels er cider, and
sold it all out to the regiment for ten cents a glass!

HEZEKIAH. I thought I smelt vinegar awful strong when I was over there
t’other day!

SALLY. You jest wait for the next Pordunk Cultivater! If I don’t chaw
him up!

HEZEKIAH. You jest wait till I get home and light on him again!

SALLY. Ye see when Bill Larkins done that, I said I would get some men’s
clothes and ’list myself! When it come round ter bein’ examined by the
doctor, I had ter back out. Then I jest went and hired out on the
Perdunk Cultivater.

HEZEKIAH. Sal, I never’s so proud on ye ’fore in my life. Yer jest
handsum!

SALLY. Now you get out, Hez. You’re soapin?

HEZEKIAH. On’er bright?

SALLY. Oh, yer ought ter see me in my new dress, Hez. I had it made
after you left. Oh, my! It’s got a tail to it more’n four feet long!
Pashe Milliken made it. She got the pattern of Butrick in Boston. It’s a
stunner! Got a flummux all over the hind part of it. But Pashe beat me
on one thing, though.

HEZEKIAH. How’d she do that?

SALLY. Ye see they have to put in somethin’ behind here, to make ’em
swell. Pashe told me it was stuffin’. One day I heard a crumplin’, and I
ripped open the linen to see what it was. Don’t yer think, that hump was
swell’d up with old Pordunk Cultivators!

HEZEKIAH. You git out!

SALLY. When I get home, I’m jest goin’ ter lay fer her.

HEZEKIAH. Say, Sal. I s’pose ye got that dress ter git married in,
didn’t ye?

SALLY. Ye don’t s’pose I’d spread like that jest for a go-ter-meetin’
dress, do ye?

HEZEKIAH. Cost six dollars?

SALLY. Six dollars! It cost eight, beside the pattern; that was one er
the best ones Butrick had.

HEZEKIAH. You get out!

SALLY. Oh, wan’t Hannah Doolittle jealous! Such a tail draggin’ in the
street. She said she wouldn’t have one if it was give to her. Her pink
caliker cost ninety cents.

HEZEKIAH. Say, Sal. I bin lonesomer than a stray ghost, I ain’t seen you
for so long. Tell us all about what’s goin’ on ter home. Has Ike
Spaulding shingled his woodshed yet? What’s come of Preposterous Perkins
and Mercy Ann Stubbs? S’pose they’ve got a whole family by this time.

SALLY. (_Covering her face._) Now, Hez., ain’t you ’shamed er yourself!

HEZEKIAH. Has Suke Peabody and old Inkhorn tied up yet?

SALLY. Course they have.

HEZEKIAH. Suke don’t care any more for that old mummy, than she does for
our old farrer cow. She jest wants ter get her fingers in on his money,
then she’ll pizen him ter death in less’n a week. If she don’t she’s got
more endurance than a mule.

SALLY. Ain’t he soft on her, though?

HEZEKIAH. Soft? You can stab him with a cat’s tail, and not ruffle a
feather. (_A shot from R._) Jehosafat! Them Johnnies are comin’. Let’s
get out. (_Attempts to push her out, L._)

SALLY. (_Drawing knife and revolver._) Hold on, Hez. Let me get a lick
at them fellers.

HEZEKIAH. (_Pushing her out L._) You get out! You do no nothin’ about
war. (_Disappears L. Enter rebel soldiers R, and cross to L. Exit all
L._)


SCENE 3. _Night. Ordinary room, back. Window L, rear._ KEELE BRIGHTLY
_disc. chained rear centre, covered with a large blanket that reaches to
the floor_. BARNEY _R, on guard. Stage dark._

BARNEY. It’s the devil will pick your bones for you in the mornin’.
Shoot him at daylight, sez the gineral, and he’ll be doin’ it too. Do
you mind that! (_Brightly hangs his head in silence._) Now don’t be
blubberin’ about it. It won’t do ye any good. They’ are goin’ ter make
y’er bones inter rattles for them nagurs, and that’s the most good that
could come of ye.

BRIGHTLY. Fool!

BARNEY. (_Laying down hat and gun._) Don’t you talk back to me, or I’ll
bat you! You thafe er the wurruld! (_Enter Gen. Halcom, R. U. E._)

HALCOM. Keele Brightly, your last hour is close at hand. I have not
intruded myself to torture you with recriminations. I yield my right to
the law of military necessity. I come because I have been moved to pity
by that heart-broken child lying at the outer guard, begging so
piteously to see the last man she ought to love or respect. I have at
last obtained permission for her to see you, immediately preceding your
execution. I have come to ask you to forget the brute, and give her one
kind word before you die. All night long and yesterday, through the rain
and cold, shelterless, and refusing food, she sat by the door, waiting
for your coming. Her piteous pleadings for your worthless life, when the
General returned from the front, would have melted a heart of stone. How
have you repaid her life of devotion? She has never known father or
mother. A generous heart must love something! Within an hour she will be
out in the world, worse than an orphan. Who is she? She was not born a
slave. You sought a groundless revenge. Are you not satisfied? My
mother’s face lives in hers! (_Breaks down._) If any one of my family
live—looking God in the face—speak! Have you nothing to say?

BRIGHTLY. Nothing!

HALCOM. May God have mercy on you who never had any, when it was so easy
to give. (_Exit Halcom, R, looking back twice, as if expecting B. to
relent._)

BARNEY. (_To Brightly._) Did you mind that talkin’? (_B. silent._) Hey?
Jist one hour, says the Gineral, and you will be an orfin. If you make
yourself a dam fool like that, you may be two orfins! (_Zina dashes in
at R. U. E._)

ZINA. Master D’Arneaux! (_Drops on her knee._)

BRIGHTLY. (_Turned away._) Sh—do not recognize me. (_Giving his hand
behind, as Barney paces to R._) Are there any means of escape?

ZINA. (_Shying key into Brightly’s hands._) This will unfasten your
irons. I have removed the outer fastening on the window. It will open at
your touch. When the back of the guard is turned, unlock your irons. The
river runs close by. You are safe if you reach the other side. When I
seize the guard, spring through the window and make for the river. (_B.
drops on his knees as if in meditation. Zina kneels and leans her head
on his shoulder. As Barney turns to R, she springs on his back like a
tiger, locking her arm across his throat, strangles him. Meantime she
and Barney speak simultaneously. Brightly unlocks fetters._)

BARNEY. Lave hold er there, ye whilp! Lave go, or by me mother—

ZINA. The river! The river! (_Barney and Zina struggle, while Brightly
is unfastening his fetters. During the struggle, Barney’s gun goes off,
as Brightly disappears through the window. When the gun goes off, and
Zina sees Brightly clear, she falls on her face sobbing, and Barney
dashes out L. U. E., in pursuit. Curtain._)



                                ACT III.


SCENE 1. _Landscape or wood back._ (_Enter Barney, L. U. E., peering
cautiously._)

BARNEY. It’s to the river he would! The blackguard! ’Pon my word, I’ll
bat that thafe! Now didn’t that little girrul be doing that well! The
illegant little baste! And it’s so decavin where the little darlin’
found the kay! It was killed she was intirely, whin she found out it was
me she was chokin’. ’Pon my word, it is a thafe of a clown that wouldn’t
be proud to be choked by a pretty little girrul like that. She jist
cried as if she was killed. I told her she should choke me to death, and
I would find no fault. (_A sudden start as if a noise. Looking about._)
Ah’r, so ye would do that. (_Looking out L. U. E._) ’Pon my word, that
cow! (_Turning to look cautiously out R._) Let me see, (_cogitating_),
it was meself that would surround the blackguard, when Hezekiah would
bat the thafe when he would come round by them cook-houses. (_Enter
Brightly, L. U. E., stealthily. Dis. Barney; halts; draws a knife from
his bootleg. Creeps stealthily towards Barney, as Hez. enters behind
him; throws off hat, coat, gun, seizes a stone, and follows Brightly,
with the evident intention of knocking his head off. Meantime Barney is
saying_)—

BARNEY. Let me say that agin, and I won’t be forgetin’ it. It is I,
meself, that will surround thim cook-houses, while the blackguard will
bat Hezekiah, and its to the river says he—(_Arriving close up to
Barney, Brightly prepares to stab him. As he is about to do so, Hez.
flings the stone at his head with all his might. It grazes the top of
Brightly’s head, knocks his hat off, strikes Barney in the back, and
knocks him on his knees. Brightly dashes out R. U. E. Hez. kicks at him,
misses, then pursues. Barney springs up and with shut eyes, strikes
wildly towards his supposed assailant with both hands. He stops, looks
about and sees nothing. Supposing his assailant to be concealed very
near, he drops on one knee, spanks his hand on the floor._)

BARNEY. Come out wid yer! Come out, come out! I’ll bat your dam head off
you! Come out! (_Gets no response; gets gun and hat hastily, and
hurrying out L. U. E., saying,_) I will hunt two years for that thafe!
(_Enter Halcom, R. saying_)

HALCOM. A most marvelous escape! The poor child is excused in supposing
she was saving her friend. (_Enter Zina, L, trembling with fear. Drops
on her knees sobbing._) Your offence is forgotten.

ZINA. Oh, sir, I did not mean to do wrong. Please say you do not hate me
for that.

HALCOM. I do not. Your heroic impulsiveness for one you believed to be
your friend, excites only my admiration, though so disastrous to you, as
well as myself.

ZINA. Oh, I try so hard to do right. (_Sobbing._)

HALCOM. Do not feel so bad; the past can never be helped.

ZINA. Though he is so bad, I ought to love my master. Perhaps, when the
war is over, I can do something to make him a better man. Oh, you will
not think bad of me, I have so little to love. (_Sobbing._)

HALCOM. Zina, why do you try to love the man who holds your life in a
bondage more hateful than death? Who has returned your devotion with
nothing but misery, destitution, and the most servile submission. Who
would sell your soul and body to dishonor, without one pang of regret.
An assassin, thief, coward, ruffian; who blights virtue and crushes the
honest aspirations and civil rights of all he touches.

ZINA. Oh please, master, do not speak like that.

HALCOM. You have no master but God.

ZINA. Oh, I do not know what to do.

HALCOM. There is some dark mystery covers your early life. You are not
of the race whose brain and life have been crushed in the ignorance of
slavery since this Republic began. Something tells me your life was born
in wrong. The brain of the Anglo-Saxon—the white skin of another
nation—the quick intelligence and sublime conceptions of the northern
blood, betray the lie that binds you to a life like this.

ZINA. Oh, I do not know what I am.

HALCOM. But God says through your angel face, and the heavenly music in
your soul, that your life was not born for this.

ZINA. Oh, my life is so hopeless—

HALCOM. Do you remember your mother?

ZINA. I had no mother.

HALCOM. No mother?

ZINA. I grew up among the hands; I know nothing more.

HALCOM. You had but one master?

ZINA. Master Brightly is all I have ever known.

HALCOM. They have told you nothing of your origin?

ZINA. Nothing.

HALCOM. You have no little keepsake in memory of the past!

ZINA. Nothing.

HALCOM. (_Breaking down._) My God! There is a history here the earth
must have. Give it to me, and I will be content. (_Drops head._)

ZINA. (_Rising and looking at him earnestly._) Mistress D’Arneaux has
told me of a good God in heaven who gave us the beautiful earth and
flowers, who loves even the broken hearts of the poor and helpless,
whose hand leads always to happiness and truth, whose justice is as the
rocks and mountain cliffs of our old home, that are never moved. But
this is not for the slave, for master beats his hands so cruelly when
they have tried to do the best they could.

HALCOM. It is not the fault of heaven that men are bad. As justice lives
for all, so is there a counterpoise of wrong.

ZINA. Oh, my master has told me nothing of what you say.

HALCOM. Away back in the almost hidden past, there lived a man whose
mission was to substitute love for brutality. He laid down his life for
this. The same wrong that renders your life hopeless, crushed his.
Almost 1900 years have passed since then, but the silent hand of the
dead still lives in the better civilization of the north.

ZINA. Oh, I have thought so much, and looked in hope for better days to
come, but it has been so hopeless. (_Halcom looks earnestly at her._)

HALCOM. How would you like to come with me?

ZINA. Oh, you have been so good to me—but—but Master D’Arneaux will buy
me when the war is done. Oh, his hands are so happy—

HALCOM. You are right, my little one. Master D’Arneaux is a better man
than I.

ZINA. Oh no, I did not mean that. But—but I know Master D’Arneaux so
well. If it wasn’t that I know Master D’Arneaux so well, I—I would go
with you.

HALCOM. Right, right.

ZINA. Did—did you have a mother?

HALCOM. A long time ago. (_Turns away._)

ZINA. Master D’Arneaux had a mother, and he is so good to his help. Do
you feel bad because I said that?

HALCOM. Why, my little one?

ZINA. You always look at me so strangely. Oh, I do not know what to say
to you then.

H. Your face brings back to me so many memories of the past.

ZINA. I am so sorry I made you feel so bad. Does your mother live in the
north?

HALCOM. She is dead!

ZINA. Oh I am so sorry she is dead. She must have been such a good
mother.

HALCOM. She was indeed good, and beautiful as yourself. (_Advances,
kisses her forehead and turns away. Enter Sherman, L. U. E._)

SHERMAN. What, that little rebel owl again?

HALCOM. Prattling of the incongruous things of life, like the child she
is.

SHERMAN. The jade! I suppose she would assist that scoundrel she calls
her master, if she could.

HALCOM. She asks me to intercede with you, that she may go back to her
old home again.

SHERMAN. And concoct some scheme of assassination with that brute who
has escaped.

ZINA. Please let me go to my home. (_Drops on knee._)

SHERMAN. (_Sharply._) You will remain.

HALCOM. She is an innocent, artless child, General.

SHERMAN. Artless? She is a devil! During her master’s escape, she held
the guard with the ferocity of a tiger, while he took his leisure to
leave. Had she been a man, I would have had her shot at once. Orderly,
here! (_Enter Orderly, L. U. E._) Take this girl to the care of the
guard again. Say to the officer in charge, it shall go bad if she is
allowed to stray again. (_Orderly seizes her arm roughly and leads her
away, L. U. E._)

HALCOM. (_To Orderly._) Tenderly my boy.

SHERMAN. In war, women are devils, and you can’t strike back. I can
confine all but their tongues. They shall rant the empty air with them.

HAL. Certainly, General, her childish years must be harmless.

SHERMAN. Do you shut your eyes to the fact that she is only here as a
spy?

HALCOM. Why, she is a mere child, General.

SHERMAN. A very old child, with fifty years of a woman’s cunning in her
head.

HALCOM. Certainly you jest.

SHERMAN. Female spies may remain in this camp without harm. If they
leave it, I am to blame for it.

HALCOM. Why General, you see an enemy everywhere.

SHERMAN. Young man, you seem to have an unusual interest in that girl.
Remember, this is war. No time for love and moonshine.

HALCOM. Why, she is scarcely fifteen.

SHERMAN. Old enough to absorb this love looney that distresses incipient
womanhood so much. (_Rapid firing at R. Both bring their field glasses
to bear, and look out._)

HALCOM. A sortie in front of my division. (_Springs out R. Enter man
with field telegraph, L._)

SHERMAN. Order five batteries from the Chief of Artillery to the ridge
on the right of the attack. Open at once. Tell Schofield to shift his
reserves to Howard’s support at once. (_Firing gradually increases._)
Here comes the Artillery! Halcom can never stop that charge! Tell
McClernard to double-quick. They will be overpowered. My God! The whole
rebel army is upon him! This is a surprise! What have the advance guard
been doing? A splendid charge, McClernard, on my honor. (_Enter Orderly
excitedly, R. U. E._)

ORDERLY. Gen. Halcom is wounded and a prisoner!

SHERMAN. Orderly, my horse! (_To Operator._) Order a double-quick
advance all along the line. Order Kilpatrick to attack their right with
all the cavalry. Tell Schofield the double stars to the first Brigadier
inside the enemy’s works.

ORDERLY. (_Entering L. U. E._) Your horse, sir.

OPERATOR. Orders all right, sir.

SHERMAN. (_To Operator._) Now move to the hill on the right of the
attack. (_Sherman springs into the saddle and gallops off, R. Ord. and
Operator leave R. U. E. Firing recedes. Enter Barney, R. U. E., with
three old muskets strapped to his back, driving three rebel prisoners
ahead of him._)

BARNEY. Hip now, or I blow thim heads off ye. (_Arriving in centre._)
Stop now. (_All halt._) Look at me. (_All turn their heads only._) Look
round with the whole of ye or I break thim necks off ye. (_All front._)
You don’t know much, do ye? I guess not. You don’t know any educashun,
do ye? Hey? I have heard about that. You don’t know’ any readin’ or
writin’, do you? Hey? I have heard about that. When Abe Linken tells
you, go home and behave yourself, you would fight about that, would ye?
You don’t know Abe Linken, I guess. He would bat the divil out of ye. He
told me to shoot any blackguards lookin’ as bad as ye. Do you mind that?
Have you got any bottles in your pockets? You h’aint? (_Prepares to
shoot, when all rush up, and each gives him a bottle._) Don’t you stop
like that again, or I bat you. You don’t know Bin Butler? I guess you
don’t. You better give four dollars you don’t. He would break your damn
heads off ye. (_Pointing L._) Walk that way now, or I blows the hell’s
blazes out of ye. (_Exit all, L., to Yankee Doodle. Enter Sally, R. U.
E., a big horse pistol in one hand, and a gigantic bowie knife in the
other, her male attire covered with a water-proof cloak._)

SALLY. (_Feeling of her arms, &c._) I wonder if I’m broke anywhere.
Jints all workin’! Now hain’t I got a lounder for the Pordunk
Cultivater! Never got so excited in my life. Hez. is just inflated. He’s
struttin’ about the picket line askin’ ’em to send along somethin’
bigger. (_A shot, R. Sally dashes to R. wings and listens._) Gorry! I
thought that was another fight. (_Sings._)

Now that Zina don’t know which side she is on. But she’s a sharp sprout
though. Ye never know what she’s doin’ till she does it. Tried ter
interview her about her feller. She was the most surprised thing I ever
looked at. She don’t know nothin’ about courtin’. I wonder where her fun
comes in? She is the bluest thing out of a grave yard. By gorry, I ain’t
goin’ ter die till the time comes. I went over ter see her yesterday,
and she was down on the floor cryin’, and she didn’t know what for. The
old General thinks she’s got the devil in her. If she has, he’s an awful
mild one. Sometimes you could knock her down with a feather. The old
General don’t like women. He’s the first man er that kind I ever see.
Poor little Zina, she’s always in trouble. When she heard General Halcom
was took, she was jist crazy. In less’n two hours she was missing, and
the guard don’t know how. I’ll bet ye tew dollars that girl is off for a
fuss, or else things is deceivin’. If I was going ter give any advice, I
should say, that anything that weighs less than a ton, had better get
off the track. (_Firing away to R._) By gorry, there’s another fight.
(_Dashes off, R. U. E._)


SCENE 2. _Night._ Thunder storm rising. Flashes of lightning in the
distance. Heavy forest back. A river running through at rear, half
hidden among the trees. A flat-roofed log hut in rear centre. A hole cut
in the roof 2½ feet square, near front, and covered with short boards
nailed at one end, and so weakened by hewing that a woman’s strength
might be able to break them. A rope fastened overhead, where it would
dangle over rear of hut, then guyed to hang over the hole, and drawn up
out of sight. A door at R. end of hut, and bar behind it. (_Gen. Halcom
disc. asleep on the floor of the hut, wounded in the head. A rebel
sentry pacing outside the door._)

(_Enter Gen. Hood, Keele Brightly, D’Arneaux, and others, R._)

BRIGHTLY. General, I have called your attention to this matter at
midnight, because the circumstances admit of no delay. In yonder cabin a
Major General of the union army is confined as a prisoner of war. He
owes allegiance, and is a native of the state of Tennessee. As a traitor
to his native state, I would suggest that he be tried at once by a
drum-head court-martial, and shot as he deserves.

HOOD. Why so urgent?

BRIGHTLY. The federals are rapidly forcing our positions. He might be
recaptured. It would be a direful calamity if he should escape.

HOOD. He is but one man against us.

BRIGHTLY. A hundred men, sir. A devil, without restraint. It was his
division that first broke our lines at Lookout Mountain. That robbed us
of our victory at Chickamauga. His men are goaded to fight like devils,
while he plunges into the thickest of the fight, hewing his way through
the men as if they were dummies.

D’A. Such bravery merits our consideration.

HOOD. For a traitor?

D’A. Yes, sir, for a traitor. Though he wears the traitor’s garb, he is
still one of the iron hearts of Tennessee.

BRIGHTLY. It is this deference to treason that disheartens the army. The
south swarms with men who opposed secession. The coast clear, and they
will fight against us. To keep these traitors where they belong, the
patriotic men of the army demand an example. Refuse, and the foot of the
northern tyrant will be on our necks within the next year. As the
commander of the finest army in the south, I do not believe you will
disappoint them.

HOOD. Let the prisoner be brought forth.

BRIGHTLY. Sentinel, the Commander-in-Chief would speak with the prisoner
at once. (_Sentinel unlocks the door, and kicks Halcom to wake him. He
springs to his feet._)

HALCOM. Well, what next? (_Sentinel points to the door, and Halcom
passes out, &c._)

HOOD. You are a native of Tennessee?

HALCOM. Well?

HOOD. What do you mean by well?

HALCOM. Interpret to suit yourself.

HOOD. It has been represented that you are a traitor to your native
state.

HALCOM. Undoubtedly.

HOOD. Do you deny it?

HALCOM. Who is my accuser?

BRIGHTLY. I!

HALCOM. An assassin and ravisher of defenceless women!

BRIGHTLY. Liar!

HALCOM. A coward, who covers his tracks with the knife and torch!

BRIGHTLY. A traitor accuses me!

HALCOM. A blatant ruffian, who fights only when no danger steps in his
way. (_Brightly draws to attack him. Hood steps between._)

HOOD. Enough of this.

HALCOM. Leave him to his way.

HOOD. You were captured yesterday—

HALCOM. While insensible from wounds.

HOOD. While fighting against your native state.

HALCOM. To save her honor.

HOOD. By virtue of treason.

HALCOM. Who are you that speaks of treason?

HOOD. A soldier who never forgets his obligations to the soil that gave
him heritage.

HALCOM. Whose sword is dishonored with blighted virtue and broken
hearts, bartered for gold in the shambles of the auction yards.

HOOD. Keep your foul tongue civil, or I may forget myself.

HALCOM. It is honorable to be a traitor, when allegiance would strangle
liberty—outrage virtue—rob the poor of the right to their miserable
earnings, and trample on the most sacred affections of the heart.

HOOD. The defence of a hypocrite.

HALCOM. Only cowards defend dishonor. (_Brightly draws, and attempts to
rush on him. D’A. dashes between._)

D’A. The man is unarmed.

BRIGHTLY. Which leaves him no right to convey an insult.

HOOD. Call a court-martial at once. The military law shall settle this.
(_Brightly hurries out, R._) D’Arneaux, search his person for arms.
(_D’A. makes a fruitless search. Enter Brightly with a drum and
camp-stool, followed by a rebel officer._) Col. Gilday, you will act as
judge advocate. (_Gilday prepares for business._) Capt. Brightly, take
the stand. (_Sworn._) State to the court what you know of this man.

BRIGHTLY. The prisoner’s name is Francis Halcom. He is a native of
Creelsboro’, Tennessee, on the Cumberland river. I have known the family
since my childhood. With the exception of three years in Massachusetts
for education, Creelsboro’ has always been his home. When Tennessee
withdrew from the confederation, he immediately went north, raised
troops, and has since led them on to pillage and murder in his native
state. Yesterday, he was captured with arms in his hands, fighting as
becomes a traitor. (_Steps aside._)

HOOD. D’Arneaux, take the stand. (_Sworn._) Tell the court what you know
of this case.

D’A. I am acquainted with all the facts related by Captain Brightly. In
addition, while the prisoner was absent in Massachusetts, his family was
assassinated, and home burned, on account of political differences. When
the war broke out, he was exiled for the same reason.

HOOD. You would defend this murderer?

D’A. Justice demands _all_ the facts.

HOOD. Which palliate nothing.

D’A. Had the assassin destroyed my family, and deprived me of my civil
rights in the name of the state, _I too would have been a traitor!_

HOOD. Leave your sword at my headquarters, and consider yourself under
arrest. Step aside.

D’A. I wash my hands of this murder about to be consummated.

HOOD. Go to your quarters, sir. I command here. (_D’A. leaves slowly. To
Halcom._) You have heard the evidence against you—what have you to say?

HALCOM. Of what use is a defence in such a court as this?

HOOD. The court will hear an excuse, even.

HALCOM. The principal evidence is guilty of the murder of my family.

BRIGHTLY. I demand that he shall be made to prove that.

HALCOM. The closing of my life saves his.

BRIGHTLY. I demand an end of this cant.

HOOD. I will hold him responsible for every word he speaks.

HALCOM. Who speaks of responsibility? The history of today is yet to be
written. When it is, a page will be given to the infamy of the leaders
of this revolt. Two thousand years of the world’s best civilization
tramples with disdain on the barbarisms for which you contend. Justice,
Christianity and manhood alike repudiate the dishonor your sword
sustains. What is treason? (_Pointing to B._) To defend my country
against such reptiles as that!

BRIGHTLY. Will the court listen to this croaking liar longer?

HOOD. Leave him to his falsehoods. They but invite the bullet still
more.

HALCOM. Most wise judge! How evenly are the scales of justice balanced
in your court! How commendable are the tales that suit the judge! How
villainously disgusting are the defensive presumptions of the prisoner,
that might so basely impugn the intentions of the court!

HOOD. Who hatches crime, will defend a lie!

HALCOM. Who subverts justice, is a traitor to God!

BRIGHTLY. Let the bullet settle this at once.

HOOD. (_To the court._) Gentlemen of the court, you have heard the
evidence. Is the prisoner guilty?

ALL. Aye, guilty!

HOOD. Captain Brightly, return the prisoner to the cabin. He will be
allowed fifteen minutes to prepare. You will then call a squad of men,
and see to it that he is shot to the death.

HALCOM. Gen. Hood, I request that I may die by the hand of a brave and
honorable man.

HOOD. So I have decreed!

HALCOM. His hands are tainted with the murder of defenceless women.

BRIGHTLY. ’Tis false!

HALCOM. So is he a coward! Twice I have thrown my knife at his feet to
defend himself against my empty hands, and he has refused!

BRIGHTLY. (_To Hood._) Do you believe the falsehoods of a traitor?

HALCOM. Then be it so now!

HOOD. (_To Brightly._) Well?

BRIGHTLY. I will not risk a life that may be of use to my country, in a
duel with a man who has been condemned to death for treason.

HOOD. Well said, sir! Sentinel, remand the prisoner. (_Exit Hood, R.
Sentinel points to the cabin. Halcom goes slowly, as if to enter. Halts
at door and turns._)

HALCOM. Keele Brightly, the chances of war have favored you. I am the
last of my family. My mother’s ashes are still unavenged. I have had
faith in God. Justice may come at last from other hands than mine.
(_Turns and enters the cabin, and falls on one knee. Sentinel locks the
door. Brightly leaves R. As he disappears, Sentinel resumes his beat,
and Zina shows around L. end of cabin, and taps lightly to attract
Halcom’s attention. He hastens to listen._)

ZINA. (_Peering between the logs._) It is I, Zina, come to save you.
There is a bar behind the door. Bar the door on the inside, and make no
noise. Then return quickly.

HALCOM. God bless your brave little heart! (_Bars the door, and returns
to listen._)

ZINA. This cabin is close to the river. Your friends are on the other
side. The walls are too strong to be broken. I will climb to the roof,
tear off some boards, throw a rope over a limb, and drop it through the
opening. On this, ascend to the roof quickly. The river is too deep to
ford. A log is lodged on the shore in rear of the cabin. With the rope,
swing yourself astride this. Pull a rope fastened to the other shore,
and it will soon land you with your friends on the other side. If you
are fired upon from this side, throw yourself into the water and cling
to the log.

HALCOM. But what chance of escape is there for yourself?

ZINA. Don’t fear for me.

HALCOM. I will not accept my life, even, at the slightest risk to your
own.

ZINA. Do not hesitate. If you do, you are lost.

HALCOM. Tell me, on honor, is there any danger for yourself? (_Enter
Brightly, with squad of men, for execution, R._)

ZINA. On my honor, I shall be safe. Watch for the rope. I join you at
your own camp. (_Zina springs to rear of cabin, and ascends to roof,
while Brightly is saying_)—

BRIGHTLY. Sentinel, bring out the prisoner. (_Meantime Zina is tugging
to get off a board. Sentinel finds door fast._) Break down the door;
there is an attempt to escape! (_Rebs rush at door, one with an axe.
Zina gets off first board at word “escape.” Heavy firing, long roll,
L._) Some to the roof! Smash the door! (_Zina gets off second board at
word “door;” then fires at rebs climbing up sides, when they retreat.
Brightly to rebs retreating, sword drawn. Gets off third board._) Back
to the roof, cowards, or I will spit you like dogs. Get a log and crush
it! (_Meantime, she fires again, drives them back, and gets off fourth
board._)

SOLDIER. (_Entering L. in haste._) The Yanks are bridging the river.

BRIGHTLY. Fight them like hell! (_Fourth board drops; rebs crash in the
door. Zina screams, flings rope into tree, and drops it through hole.
Meantime shots inside cabin, and rebs tumble out door. Halcom climbs up
a rope to roof. Rebs climb cabin to catch him on roof. As H. arrives on
roof, Zina pushes him off rear into the water, and turns on the rebs._)

ZINA. (_Drawing knife._) Back, you cowards, or I kill you this time!
(_Brightly dashes to R. rear. Curtain. Encore._)

(_Curtain rises on last tableau, except Zina has seized the rope.
Suddenly she places her knife in her teeth, springs off rear, and swings
into the water. Brightly dashes off building to L._)

SOLDIERS ON ROOF. (_Rising._) She is swimming the river! (_Brightly
seizes a rifle from a soldier, dashes round L., and, during a flash of
lightning, fires at her. D’Arneaux dashing in L., knocks the rifle
aside, too late. Brightly springs to R._)

D’A. You have murdered that heroic girl! Take your knife, coward, for,
by heaven, one of us shall follow!

BRIGHTLY. (_To soldiers._) Arrest that man for treason! (_Soldiers
surround D’A. with a cordon of bayonets, when he drops his knife and
hangs his head._)

BRIGHTLY. I have waited for this! A court-martial and the bullet shall
end it! (_Curtain._)



                                ACT IV.


SCENE 1. _Night._ Heavy forest. Gen. Sherman disc. looking away to R.
Occasional flashes of lightning, and thunder in the distance. Occasional
picket firing, R. Staff, L.

SHERMAN. A terrible storm! The men must be wet and hungry. Orderly!
(_Enter Ord. L. U. E._) Tell the commissary to hurry the hot coffee and
fresh food to the front at once. (_Ex. Ord. L. U. E._) I must cross the
river before daylight, or my opportunity is lost. Martel! (_Enter
Telegraph Operator, L. U. E._) Tell Schofield and Howard they must force
a passage of the river at four o’clock, at all hazards. (_Op. works
machine and waits._) Do they understand?

OPERATOR. They do. (_Enter Halcom, R. U. E., coatless, hair dishevelled,
wounded._)

SHERMAN. (_Rushing to grasp his hand._) In heaven’s name, Halcom, from
where do you come?

HALCOM. The rebel camp.

SHERMAN. How did you escape? (_Men offer clothing._)

HALCOM. Ask God, and the angel sent to my relief. (_Declining clothes._)
Thank you, gentlemen, I need nothing now but a coat.

SHERMAN. Ah! A woman at the bottom of it. (_Halcom watches out R._) I
sent word to Hood that if any harm came to you, I would retaliate on
every rebel officer in my charge.

HALCOM. Thank you, General. But your communication would, doubtless,
have come too late. But for my escape, I should have been executed two
hours ago.

SHERMAN. Your escapes are marvelous. By the way, I have orders from
Washington to advance you to the first vacancy among the corps
commanders.

HALCOM. (_Dropping his head._) I had not expected that.

SHERMAN. Why not? In this army, sir, the best man wins.

HALCOM. I am a native and citizen of the south.

SHERMAN. There are no lines for loyalty in this country.

HALCOM. I am indebted to you for this.

SHERMAN. You are indebted to your own right arm, sir.

HALCOM. I have been but a simple soldier, no more entitled to
advancement than the private who takes the brunt of the fight in the
first line.

SHERMAN. Halcom, some men are born to command—to lead a forlorn hope—

HALCOM. Which I never have.

SHERMAN. Indeed! When at Lookout Mountain the storm of rebel shot had
melted the first line, and the reserves were already wavering, and you
seized and dared them to follow their flag, rallying the broken ranks to
that wild charge that swept the rebel army from its entrenchments among
the clouds, it was a glory beside which the command of this army pales
into insignificance!

HALCOM. Then the soldier shares equally with his commander! (_Watches
out R._)

SHERMAN. But you have not told me of this marvelous escape.

HALCOM. Ask me of something I cannot comprehend, and you have all I can
give.

SHERMAN. It often acts like that.

HALCOM. How?

SHERMAN. Simple as any other phase of life. A storm at night. A handsome
cavalier, unjustly condemned, awaiting execution. A lovely maiden hovers
near. She drugs the guard, and sets the prisoner free. Bewildered by the
ecstasy of love in such a moment of excitement, both are lost in its
wild delirium. They wake to an utter incomprehensibility of all that has
passed.

HALCOM. General, I am content if such chafing pleases you. But I am
weighted with an anxiety that will drive me mad. When I can know the
heroic girl is safe, who perhaps has sacrificed her life to save mine, I
can forget that I am a coward, and unfit to live! (_Crosses over to L._)

SHERMAN. Ah! I am getting interested in this case. Who is this woman?
What do you fear? Where is she? I can hardly imagine a situation in this
country or in either army, that can be dangerous to a woman!

HALCOM. No danger to a woman? They killed my mother when she was
helpless, and, with my sister, burned her in her own home.

SHERMAN. Such men are devils!

HALCOM. And so am I! Can you trace the maniac through Nashville,
Chickamauga, and over Lookout Mountain, to the banks of this river, and
not guess at the origin of the hell that is so fast consuming my life?

SHERMAN. Treat it calmly, Halcom. It is something that can never be
mended. Leave the past to take care of itself.

HALCOM. There are fires that refuse to be quenched. No one has struggled
more manfully than myself to forget this. When I would forget, memory
conjures up the scene in the old home! My mother’s helpless struggles
with the devils who crushed her innocent life! Of my sister burned
alive! My God! How can I forget this?

SHERMAN. Tell me of your capture and escape.

HALCOM. (_Hesitating._) My division was overwhelmed by the whole rebel
army. In the desperate struggle, I was left wounded and senseless on the
field of battle. I was discovered by my old enemy and conveyed to an old
hut on the banks of the Chattahoochee. After a parley with Hood and
others, I was tried by a drum-head court-martial for treason to my
native state, and sentenced to die fifteen minutes later. I was remanded
to the hut to await the preparations for my execution. I could see no
chance for escape, for Brightly had the details of my execution at his
own command. The rifles were already loading that were to send me to
eternity. I had sunk on my knees for the last prayer, when a tapping on
the logs outside, in rear of the hut, attracted my attention. I hastened
to listen. It was too dark to see. But through the crevices between the
logs, I learned that the little rebel owl who had escaped _your_ bullet,
because she was not a man, had come to effect my escape.

SHERMAN. That child? Surely, I was only in jest.

HALCOM. That heroic child had eluded your guard, swam the river at
midnight in the violence of that terrible thunder-storm, dragging a log
hitched to a rope that led to the friendly shore, that I might escape.

SHERMAN. Impossible!

HALCOM. I refused to save my life at the hazard of hers. She had planned
to escape with me. I heard the tramp of the soldiers detailed to take my
life. I heard her clambering to the roof of the hut; the orders to drag
me out to die; the sentinel try the barred door; the crack of the
breaking boards as she was making an opening for my escape; the crash of
the axe breaking the door; an order that sent the devils to the roof to
prevent my escape; the ring of her pistol as she drove them back to the
earth again. The door crashed in, and the devils were upon me; a rope
fell at my feet. With almost superhuman strength, I flung them back and
gained the roof. A crowd were clambering up the sides to destroy us. I
sprang forward to her defence. In an instant, she pushed me clear of the
hut, safely into the river.

SHERMAN. _Did you leave her!_

HALCOM. The next flash of lightning revealed her on the roof, with her
knife drawn, holding the traitors at bay, that I might escape. I sprang
back for the shore. I heard a splash in the water. The next lightning
flash revealed her battling the rapids of the river to gain the other
shore. A shot from the rebel side, and all was dark again. I sprang
after her. Two hours I have frantically searched this bank of the river,
without avail. She has perished in the rapids of the river, or by that
coward shot from the rebel rifle, and I live like a coward! (_Zina
staggers in at R. U. E., as if unconscious of the presence of any one;
wounded in the left side of the head, often looking behind to see if she
is pursued. She staggers and is about to fall, when she is discovered by
Halcom, who springs forward, and catches her in his arms. Sherman tears
off his military cloak, and wraps it about her._)

HALCOM. She has fainted.

SHERMAN. And is wounded. (_They revive her._)

ZINA. Please let me stay on this side of the river.

SHERMAN. Let you stay on this side of the river! I will shoot any man
who attempts to prevent it! You shall command this army if you like.
(_Zina faints again._)

HALCOM. The poor child is dying.

SHERMAN. Not a bit of it. She is too smart to die! Take her to my
quarters. Orderly, here! (_Enter Ord. L. U. E.; with Halcom takes her
out, L. U. E._) Have my surgeon attend that girl, and tell him if he
lets her die, I will hang him an hour after. (_Exit Ord. L._) I am the
biggest ass in the service. If I ever abuse a woman again, I hope I may
be shot by an idiot! (_Exit L. Enter Barney and Hez. L. U. E._)

BARNEY. Now whin I would be arrestin’ a blackguard like that, don’t you
be a botherin’ me.

HEZEKIAH. Now you git out. I guess it was jest about as cheap for him
ter git away, as it would be for you to get a collapse in your real
estate. (_Set guns against tree, sit down and wipe perspiration, &c._)

BARNEY. Now look in these two eyes of me. Didn’t ye be kickin’ that
blackguard whin I would be takin’ him?

HEZEKIAH. I rayther kalkerlate you was on the pint er passin’ in yer
chips when I lit on that critter.

BARNEY. Ah ha! I’m nobody, I s’pose. Was I?

HEZEKIAH. I guess that feller was the most astonished piece er meat I
ever traveled over. I kalkerlate that when I lit on the other eend of
his corperation, he come to the conklusion that he was wrastlin’ with a
first-class earthquake.

BARNEY. I don’t care about thim airthquakes. I want none er thim. My
reputashin is spit upon.

HEZEKIAH. I reckon I never jumped onter anything in that line er critter
that wanted ter go home so bad as he did.

BARNEY. Now look in me two eyes and be talkin’ honest about it, and no
braggin’. Didn’t ye be makin’ that blackguard get away when I would
arrest him?

HEZEKIAH. Now, Irish, you just spill your gas in some other line er
preachin’, er else I’ll let him get your guzzle next time. (_Enter
Brightly and rebel soldiers, R. U. E., stealthily, seize the guns and
cover both._)

BARNEY. Now whin I arrest a blackguard again, don’t you be botherin’ me.

BRIGHTLY. Throw up your hands! (_Points gun at them._)

BAR. (_Turning in surprise._) Stop that! That gun is loaded.

HEZEKIAH. (_Throws off coat._) If I don’t make him drop that gun.
(_Turns and meets gun—subsides._)

BRIGHTLY. Surrender, or I’ll kill you like a dog.

HEZEKIAH. Don’t care ef I dew.

BRIGHTLY., (_pointing R. U. E._) Step into line there. (_Both comply._)

HEZEKIAH. Say? Got eny terbacker in yer trowsis?

BRIGHTLY. Shut your mouth and march now, or I will see what virtue there
is in this gun.

HEZEKIAH. (_March off R. U. E._) Don’t care if I dew.


SCENE 2. _Gen. Hood’s headquarters._ Gen. seated at table, rear centre.
D’Arneaux and two guards, L., facing R.

HOOD. Lt. D’Arneaux, when you entered the military service, I believed
that you would soon wear the stars of a division commander. Instead, you
have presented us with the strange anomaly of patriot and traitor. While
to me you have presented a soul of honor, you have sought every
opportunity to strike your country a cowardly blow in the dark!

D’A. And I deny the falsehood with my whole soul and life.

HOOD. Under the circumstances, a denial is wholly unnecessary. You have
had a fair trial. No one regrets more than myself the military necessity
that compels me to sign the warrant for your execution. Your brilliant
military record is no excuse for disloyalty, and a most flagrant
treason.

D’A. As I expect to meet God before the next sunset, that accusation is
doubly false, though it comes from your own lips!

HOOD. There are a score of witnesses who saw you attempt the life of
your superior officer. (_D’A. hangs his head in silence._) If there had
never occurred another offence, the articles of war meet you with the
bullet. (_To guards._) Remove the prisoner to the care of the guard.
(_Ex. D’A. and guard, L._) Orderly! (_Enter rebel Orderly, L. U. E._)
Take this dispatch to Gen. McGruder. (_Exit Ord. with dispatch. Enter
Keele Brightly, L., salutes._)

BRIGHTLY. I have the honor to report that I have captured two Yankees,
found lurking within our lines as spies.

HOOD. Have them brought in. (_Brightly salutes and retires, L._) The
camp is swarming with them! It is utterly useless to attempt to prevent
it without recourse to the most severe measures! This careless
indifference of the guards allows a constant betrayal of my means of
defence. (_Enter Brightly, L., followed by Hez. and Barney, under
guard._) The guard will retire. (_Exit guard, R. Brightly observes R._)

HEZEKIAH. (_Rushing up to shake hands with Hood._) How de dew, Gineral?
(_Hood refuses to shake. Hez. astonished._) Don’t blame ye a Hannah
Cook! Never felt so mean about anything afore in my life. You must think
I’m putty darn small pertaters, to let myself get roped in by a pair er
runts like them. (_Looks in Hood’s face a moment._)

HOOD. Well, sir, what have you to say for spying?

HEZEKIAH. Now you get out! Why I know you (_grabs Hood’s hand_) jest as
well as I do Abe Linkon. (_Hood tries to disengage his hand._) Why, you
are that old covey that I met down there in the woods, that wanted ter
know where the old man lived. (_Lets go his hand._) Don’t blame ye for
wantin’ ter give me the shake. Say? Got any terbacker in yer trowsis?

HOOD. No, sir!

HEZEKIAH. (_Confidentially._) Say, I never felt so disgraceful about
anything afore in my life. ’Tween you and I, let me have a chance ter
distribit their meat in a fair scratch, and I’ll give ye forty dollars.

HOOD. (_To Brightly._) Who is this fellow?

BRIGHTLY. His name is Goferum.

HOOD. Goferum! What a name!

HEZEKIAH. (_Dashing to L., and throwing off coat._) Jess you say. I want
you to understand that forty dollars is scarcer than fools are in this
country. (_Coat off, turns._)

HOOD. (_To Brightly._) Seize the fool! (_Barney throws off coat, &c._)

HEZEKIAH. You bet! (_As he dashes for Brightly, he meets a pistol, and
knocks it one side as it goes off. Clinches Brightly, throws him, and
proceeds to punch his ribs, and struggle around._)

HOOD. (_Meantime._) Guards, ho! (_Barney dashes about for a fight._)

BARNEY. (_To Hood._) Don’t you say guard-house to me, you grayback thafe
er the wurruld!

HOOD. Guards, ho! Guards, ho!

BARNEY. Come out er that! Come out, you thafe er the wurruld. Come out,
and I bat your dam head off you. Come out. (_Dashes forward, kicks table
over, clinches Hood, throws him, and proceeds to punch his ribs, as
guards rush in R., and overpower them._)


SCENE 3. _Landscape and wood front._ Enter Sally with pail, L., female
attire.

SALLY. (_Looking about._) Now didn’t I wool that sargeant. I’ll bet he
hain’t got brains enough for a mule. It takes seven hundred er them
fellers to know as much as a Yankee. When he was stealin’ the chickens
at that deserted house, I told him it warn’t fair to steal my chickens,
when I was givin’ his men coffee. Gorry, won’t they sleep some! Now Hez.
he has learned ter steal chickens since he come down here. You jest wait
and see me break him er that when I get him back to Pordunk! Now I
should like to see a man of mine stealin’ chickens, or runnin’ after
other wimen! Now wouldn’t there be the handsomest fuss Pordunk ever
looked at! (_Looking about._) I guess them fellers are snorin’ by this
time. (_Exit R., cautiously._)


SCENE 4. _Room covering whole stage._ Door at R. centre. Large box, R.
U. E. Hezekiah and Barney disc. rear centre, chained to a ring in the
floor.

HEZEKIAH. I’ll bet ye tew dollars that feller come to the conclewshun
that he must er stole my gun from a whole regiment.

BARNEY. And the grayback thafe at the table, that twitted me about the
guard-house.

HEZEKIAH. Guess he thought he was goin’ through a fullin’ mill.

BARNEY. The blackguard! (_Very sober._)

HEZEKIAH. ’Drather give fifty dollars than ter had yer hit the old
General.

BARNEY. How the divil should I know he was a general, without the two
brass things on ’im?

HEZEKIAH. All them fellers az has ritin’ tools and tables in their
tents, is generals.

BARNEY. Didn’t the sargeant tell me I was never to know one er thim
without the two brass things on him?

HEZEKIAH. It don’t make no difference, now ye bin gone and done it.

BARNEY. Didn’t he begin it, twittin’ me about the guard-house, the
thafe!

HEZEKIAH. He was only callin’ the guard for help.

BARNEY. The blackguard! Whin he was as big as I! And he called thim
three spalpeens a coort, when it takes more than two dozen to make one
er thim any day. (_Door opens R., rebel soldier enters and reads from a
paper._)

SOLDIER. The General commanding orders that the two union prisoners,
O’Flanagan and Goferum, convicted of spying in the confederate camp, be
notified that they are to be shot at daylight. Per order General
commanding. (_Exit soldier, R. Barney and Hez. look at each other a
moment in silence._)

BARNEY. He will do that?

HEZEKIAH. That’s the kind of hairpin he is.

BARNEY. The blackguard!

HEZEKIAH. Wal, I guess I’ve airn’t the powder and shot. If my old
shooter hain’t tapped a hundred and fifty er them critters, you can jest
hope ter holler.

BARNEY. I will get some lawyer to appeal that coort.

HEZEKIAH. You get out!

BARNEY. That was no coort. The constitution of Ameriky says nothing
about a coort like that.

HEZEKIAH. It don’t make no difference. The shootin’ will come. They
don’t care for constitewshuns down here.

BARNEY. I’ll have that thafe tried for murder if he does that. And I’ll
tell him that to his face, too. I don’t care who any man is that will do
an illagal thing like that.

HEZEKIAH. They don’t stop for law down here.

BARNEY. The more the shame for ’em. He will have the contimpt er the
wurruld upon ’im.

HEZEKIAH. It wouldn’t do no good. They’ll bury you at daylight. (_Short
silence._)

BARNEY. And there ain’t niver a praste to be had in this haythen country
at all.

HEZEKIAH. Ye don’t need none. If I hain’t licked rebels enough ter get
ter heaven without a priest, they can jest kick me out.

BARNEY. Havn’t I done that same meself?

HEZEKIAH. So ye have, Barney, and this ain’t yer own country, neither.
If they don’t give ye two harps to my one, it ain’t doin’ the fair thing
by ye.

BARNEY. Divil a bit do I care for a harp, if I can get out er this.
(_Door opens, and Sally appears with two carbines in her hands;
hesitates a moment._)

HEZEKIAH. Now let me die.

BARNEY. ’Pon my word.

HEZEKIAH. Come here, and let me see if you ain’t a ghost. (_Sally lays
carbines behind the box and rushes to embrace Hez._)

BARNEY. Give us a taste er that.

HEZEKIAH. You git out. There ain’t enough ter go round. (_Sally tries to
unfasten irons._)

BARNEY. Oh don’t you spread yourself. I have one er thim. (_Turns
away._)

SAL. (_hunting round for axe._) Hain’t ye got no axe, Hez.?

HEZEKIAH. ’Taint no use, Sal. Them irons can’t be broke.

SALLY. You git out, Hez. You jest show me where they keep the axe.

HEZEKIAH. They don’t leave no axes round here. If ye had one, ye’d get
up such a noise, old Hood and the whole coop would be down here
whoopin’.

SALLY. I got the whole caboodle asleep with opium.

HEZEKIAH. ’Taint no use, Sal. That Keele Brightly said we was spies, and
we’re goin ter get shot at daylight. (_Sally speechless with
astonishment._)

BARNEY. The thafe. (_Sally drops on her knees sobbing._)

SALLY. Oh what shall I do?

HEZEKIAH. I know how’ yer heart is, Sal, but ye can’t do us no good.
Jest git out as fast as ye can, and save yourself.

BARNEY. And tell Gineral Halcom about it, and divil a bit but he will
bat that spalpeen in the mornin’.

SALLY. (_Springing to her feet and wiping eyes._) I have it. (_Dashes
for the door._) I know what I’ll do.

HEZEKIAH. Say, Sal. (_She turns back._) Perhaps I shan’t never see ye
again. (_Sally falls on his breast sobbing._) Tell mother she ain’t got
nothin’ to be ashamed on about me, except I’m rough, and can’t talk so
fine as some folks. Now she is cheated out of her part er the farm, and
the old man is so mean. I don’t know what she _will_ do. I’ve sent her
all my wages and bounty.

SALLY. Keep yer upper lip solid, Hez.; cos if yer lost to yer mother,
she can have a home with me as long as she lives. Good bye. I got to get
ye out, and I ain’t no time to lose. (_Dashes out at R. door._)

BARNEY. ’Pon my word, that gal will knock the hell’s blazes out er thim
spalpeens, or I’m a thafe and a liar.

HEZEKIAH. Ain’t she a rusher?

BARNEY. ’Pon me word she is. Yer a lucky boy to have a gal like that.

HEZEKIAH. Makes me sick, cos it’s all goin’ for nothin’. (_Makes a bad
face, as if to cry._)

BARNEY. Ah-r, don’t be doin’ that. Thim blackguards will be sayin’ yer a
Yankee coward.

HEZEKIAH. The man that can’t grind out some grief at leavin’ a gal like
that, ain’t got brains enough to know what he’s losin’.

BARNEY. Indade! Isn’t Biddy Maloney as fine a gal as she, barrin’ the
fitin’? (_Door opens at R., and Keele Brightly enters, followed by
D’Arneaux and guard, one of whom proceeds to iron D’A. to the same ring
with Hez. and Barney._)

BRIGHTLY. (_Looking about and at prisoners._) As incomprehensible as
ever. The guard drugged and disarmed, and the prisoners unmolested.
Corporal, place a guard of twenty men around this building, and you have
my orders to shoot any person, man or woman, approaching it without
authority. I have placed a barrel of powder beneath, with a fuse
attached, leading out under the door. If the Yankees attack us before
daybreak, fire the fuse, or kill the prisoners, and join your regiment
at once. (_Guard leaves with Corporal, R. Brightly lingers to see all is
secure, then leaves R._)

HEZEKIAH. (_To Barney._) Bet ye tew dollars this old machine is about
gin out. They’re killin’ their own.

BARNEY. (_To Hez._) Is he a Gineral? (_D’A. hangs head._)

HEZEKIAH. (_To D’A._) Say! Yer couldn’t tell a feller who’s gittin’
licked outside, could ye? (_D’A. gives them no attention._)

BARNEY. (_To D’A._) You don’t be talkin’?

HEZEKIAH. (_To D’A._) Talk is cheap, and I thought I’d give ye a chance
on what ye had the most on.

BARNEY. Shoot thim at daylight, sez he. (_Makes a bad face as if about
to cry._)

HEZEKIAH. Don’t be blubberin’, Barney.

BARNEY. Don’t you see the daylight is comin’ through thim cracks there?

HEZEKIAH. Let her come. It ain’t goin’ to last long. (_A board lifts up
at L. and Zina crawls up through._)

D’A. Zina!

HEZEKIAH. Now let me die!

BARNEY. ’Pon my word! (_Zina motions quiet._)

ZINA. The guard! Master D’Arneaux, how are you here?

D’A. A victim of the falsehood of your master.

ZINA. How?

D’A. Convicted of treason by false testimony, and sentenced to die at
sunrise.

ZINA. Oh this is so cowardly and _unjust_ to you, who have been so brave
and kind. Oh what _shall_ I do?

D’A. You can do nothing, Zina.

ZINA. I will go to the General and say it is _not_ true.

D’A. You are but a poor slave girl. It would avail nothing. Zina,
through economy and speculations, I have become possessed of five
thousand dollars in gold. It is all buried beneath the roots of the old
cotton-wood that stands by the grave of our Nelly. No one but my mother
knows this. If, by the fortunes of war, I should fall, it would keep my
mother from want. If, when peace and independence come, and I should
live, to buy your freedom, when I had determined to offer you my heart,
hand, and the honor of a soldier.

ZINA. Oh you _would_ not throw yourself away on a poor slave! You _do_
not know what you say!

D’A. This has been the nurtured ambition of my heart, since, with all
your native goodness, I saw your generous devotion to my helpless old
mother.

ZINA. How _can_ you love a poor, degraded slave girl, who has _nothing_
to offer but these miserable rags, and the memory that she came of the
hated race, so despised by all the world. (_Falls on her knees, covers
face._)

D’A. As God loves goodness in the human heart—as manhood admires the
noble, unselfish woman, though her covering be undeserving rags—as the
heart plays captive to the most generous impulses of nature—as the honor
of a soldier reaches out to grasp its ideal, so do I offer my tribute of
love. Zina, all these dreams of the future die with me when the sun
rises over the eastern hills. Go out from here. Avoid the guard. Find
the money, and fly with my mother, where you can be free. Save my mother
from want, and I am content. Waste no time, or you too may be lost.

ZINA. Oh I cannot be so cowardly as to leave you now! (_Rising._)

D’A. Why did you come here, where there is nothing but danger?

ZINA. (_Pointing to Hez. and Barney._) To save _these_ who have been so
good and kind to me. When my master had turned me away to starve,
_these_ men gave me their own food and blankets when the storm was cold
and pitiless. (_Shot R. Zina goes to R. door to listen._)

D’A. (_To Hez. and Bar._) My hand, good fellows. One often sees that to
admire in an enemy. (_Shake all, Hez. grudgingly. Zina looks around the
room and discovers the carbines, places them on the box._)

BARNEY. When I was first lookin’ at ye, didn’t I be knowin’ ye was no
blackguard.

D’A. When the other world begins to lift its shadows to light us to the
other side, the animosities of this life should be forgotten.

HEZEKIAH. (_To D’A._) Give me your hand again. I allus said I’d never
shake with a rebel, but I’ll take it all back.

D’A. Zina, before I die, there is a secret in your history the
excitement of the hour had well nigh caused me to forget. It came to me
by accident. You were not born a slave!

Z. Then who am I?

D’A. A lost child of the Halcoms!

ZINA. (_Falling on her knees and covering her face._) My brave, noble
brother!

D’A. While confined, previous to my trial, I overheard conversation
between Brightly and one of his ruffian comrades, detailing your history
and a plan for your destruction. The reason—slavery is abrogated, and
you are one of the Halcoms. Seventeen years since, Brightly was the
leader of a band of Regulators, raised to protect the planters from the
abolitionists, who were running off their help. I was a member of that
company, though a mere boy. An old political grudge had existed between
Brightly and your father for many years. On a dark December night,
backed by a crowd of selected desperadoes, he murdered your father when
he was without means of defence, outraged and killed your mother,—then
fired the house.

ZINA. (_Shuddering._) My poor mother! (_Sobbing._)

D’A. Some of those men are now standing guard around this building. You
were then a helpless infant in the cradle. Old Milly, the nurse, escaped
with you to the wood. Two days after you were both kidnapped by
Brightly, taken to his plantation in Alabama, where he raised you as a
slave. At the time of the murder, your brother Frank, at the age of 12
years, was educating in the free schools of New England. During the last
15 years he has not ceased to search for the murderer of his family. He
has no knowledge that you have been saved from the burning home. Within
the last three years, Brightly has repeatedly tried to sell you to
cotton planters on the coast. Only my vigilance and the color of your
skin have prevented it. It was Brightly’s hand that sent the bullet
after your life, on the night of your brother’s escape. If you are found
here, your life is lost. Go now. Day is breaking. God bless you.
Remember my mother. (_Distant rapid firing._)

ZINA. (_Springing to her feet and listening,_) Hark! My brother is
coming!

D’A. Escape while you can. Quick, or you will be lost!

ZINA. (_Flings off turban._) I will defend you until his sword shall
save us!

D’A. You cannot, you are a weak girl! (_Zina bars the door and slings
carbine on belt._)

ZINA. So I can fight and die with you! (_Rebs. attack the door
furiously. Zina holds it._)

D’A. This building is mined and you will be blown to atoms. (_Zina holds
the door._)

ZINA. I have filled the powder with water!

D’A. You will be killed. Conceal yourself beneath the floor. (_Rebs.
knock holes in middle of door with an axe._)

HEZEKIAH. Yes, go, Zina. God bless yer brave little heart.

BARNEY. Please go, little girl, ye can’t do us no good! (_Heavy,
increasing firing R. Blows on the door rapid and continuous. She holds
it._)

D’A. You cannot defend us! (_Zina seizes carbine and, springing back,
exclaims:_)

ZINA. I am a Halcom! This rifle shall avenge my mother’s life.
(_Confederates smash the door until they knock it to pieces. Then the
door breaks down and a crowd of rebels rush through, 5 rapid shots from
Zina and they retreat to outside, 3 men fall. She drops the old and
seizes another carbine as Brightly urges them back. Five more shots
throw them into a crowding confusion at the door, when she stops firing
from unloading. Brightly and six soldiers rush to left front. Zina draws
knife to defend prisoners._)

BRIGHTLY. (_As he and soldiers dash to L._) Kill the prisoners.
(_Soldiers spring forward to bayonet them and are met by Zina._)

ZINA. Who strikes the helpless is a coward! (_Soldiers hesitate, with
bayonets at her breast._)

BRIGHTLY. You shall be food for my dogs!

ZINA. Coward! Thief! Assassin of my mother!

BRIGHTLY. So you bite the hand that fed you to life!

ZINA. My hands have earned your bread and mine!

BRIGHTLY. (_To soldiers._) Kill her! (_Halcom dashes in R. followed by
soldiers, who cover rebs._)

HALCOM. Throw down your arms! (_Rebels drop arms and Zina rushes into
her brother’s arms saying:_)

ZINA. My brother!

HALCOM. I have long suspected this. My mother’s face lives in this girl
and in my memory seventeen years since as she begged for mercy from a
man who never felt it.

BRIGHTLY. I am a prisoner of war.

HALCOM. We have met, sir, for the last time. You shall fight women and
helpless prisoners no longer.

BRIGHTLY. Then have done with your preaching and come on! (_Drops sword
and draws knife._)

HALCOM. I will not keep you waiting long! You shall fight for your life
this time like an honorable man!

BRIGHTLY. (_To reb. soldiers_) The psalm of a traitor who has stabbed
his country in the back!

HALCOM. (_To prisoners and Union soldiers._) If this man passes my hands
safely he shall go free! (_Taking advantage while Halcom is speaking to
the Union prisoners, Brightly rushes forward to stab him in the back,
treacherously. Zina catches his purpose, drops on one knee, knocks his
hand up and drives her knife to the hilt in the ruffian’s heart.
Brightly staggers back and falls. Zina springs up, aghast at the result,
then drops knife, covering her face, says:—_)

ZINA. My poor mother! (_Drops on her knees, then face, sobbing until
curtain falls._)


                                THE END.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES


 1. The stage directions were inconsistently formatted. Some were
      italicized and some not. Also some were in parentheses and some in
      square brackets. (As if the typesetter ran out of parentheses or
      italics occassionally.) They were all altered to parentheses and
      italics.
 2. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 3. Retained anachronistic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as
      printed.
 4. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.





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