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Title: Seeking His Fortune, and Other Dialogues
Author: Jr., Cheney, O. Augusta, Alger, Horatio, Jr.
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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                          SEEKING HIS FORTUNE,
                            OTHER DIALOGUES.

                           HORATIO ALGER, JR.,
                           O. AUGUSTA CHENEY.

                           LORING, Publisher,

       Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by
                              A. K. LORING,
       In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


                          MY FATHER AND MOTHER,

                               This Volume


                           O. AUGUSTA CHENEY.


Nearly all the dialogues in the present collection were originally
contributed to a juvenile magazine in New York. Many of them have been
used at exhibitions in different parts of the country, and met with a
degree of favor which has led to their publication in this more permanent
form. While intended for representation, it is hoped that readers may
find them a source of entertainment.

It is proper to add that only the first dialogue belongs to me. The
remainder are written by my sister, whose name appears with mine on the
title-page. So far as these are concerned, my part has been merely that
of an editor.

                                                       HORATIO ALGER, JR.

NEW YORK, May 1, 1875.



    SEEKING HIS FORTUNE                    11

    ONE WEEK AN EDITOR                     27

    KEEPING GENTEEL BOARDERS               37

    MRS. SKINFLINT’S BARGAINS              57

    MRS. GRUNDY’S TYRANNY                  67

    AUNT HANNAH’S VALENTINE                79

    MR. BLISS’ VISION                      95

    HIGH LIFE BELOW STAIRS                105

    BOARDING ON A FARM                    115

    TAMING A WIFE                         127

    JOHN SMITH’S TRIALS                   139

    AUNT RACHEL’S FRIGHT                  149

    THE HYPOCHONDRIAC CURED               161


    THE GHOSTLY VISITATION                183

    PRACTICAL HUSBANDRY                   193

    MR. SMITH’S DAY AT HOME               207

    THE COUNTRY COUSIN                    217

    TAKING POISON                         231

    DEACON ROBINSON’S PRESENT             237

    MRS. MARDEN’S LESSON                  249

    THE MAGIC MIRROR                      257



    MRS. ALMIRA PETERS, his Wife.
    THOMAS HAMPTON, a Commission Merchant.
    SAMUEL JENKINS, his Clerk.

    SCENE I.—_An old-fashioned kitchen. MRS. P. is paring apples,
    R. DEA. P. nodding over a newspaper, L. JONATHAN, a tall,
    countrified-looking specimen, sits moodily, C., with chair
    tipped back, and his hands in his pockets._

JONATHAN. Well, marm, I’ve made up my mind I shan’t stay in Beanville any

MRS. PETERS. Why, Jonathan, how you dew talk! What’s got into you?

J. I’ve got tired of Beanville, marm, that’s what’s the matter. I aint
goin’ to stay here all my life, raisin’ cabbages, and hoin’ taters. I’m
fit for somethin’ better.

DEA. PETERS (_rousing from his nap_). What’s the boy talkin’ about,

J. I might as well tell you fust as last, dad. I’m goin’ to Bostown.

MRS. P. Massy sakes! Bostown’s a hundred miles off. What you goin’ there

J. To make my fortin.

DEA. P. ’Taint so easy as you think for, Jonathan. You’d a plaguy sight
better stay round here and help me.

J. I can’t do nothin’ here, dad. I have to work till I get all tuckered
out, just to make a livin’ and can’t never wear anything better than
overalls. Now, if I was in the city, I could wear store clothes all the
time, like that are fellow that boarded up to the tavern last summer.

MRS. P. I’m afraid, Jonathan, you’re gettin’ proud. You aint no call to
be ashamed of wearin’ overalls. They’re what me and your father always

DEA. P. (_slily_). Yes, mother, you _do_ wear the breeches sometimes.

MRS. P. (_in a deprecating tone_). Now, father, you’d orter be ashamed.
You know I didn’t mean that. (_To_ JONATHAN.) I mean, Jonathan, your
father and me aint ashamed of wearin’ workin’ clothes. I’m afraid you’re
gettin’ proud, and pride’s a deadly sin.

J. Can’t help it, marm. When that feller passed me in the field last
summer, he turned up his nose at me, and I aint goin’ to stand it. I’m as
good as he is, any day.

MRS. P. So you be, Jonathan.

J. And I want, to dress as well. So I’ve made up my mind to go to
Bostown, and go into business there.

DEA. P. What sort of business?

J. As to that, I aint partic’lar. Anything that I can make money by.

DEA. P. Perhaps you’ll lose it. They’re pooty sharp in Bostown, I’ve
heard tell. Most likely you’d get cheated out of all you’ve got.

MRS. P. Yes, Jonathan, listen to what your dad says; he’s had more
experience than you hev.

J. He don’t Know much about Bostown, anyway.

DEA. P. (_complacently_). Yes, Jonathan, I know a good deal about the
city. I’ve been there three times. Fust time was just after me and your
mother was married.

MRS. P. Thirty-one years ago.

DEA. P. Yes, Almiry, thirty-one year. Then again, I went down to sell a
yoke of oxen for Squire Peabody.

J. That time you had your pocket picked, and had to borrow money to git

DEA. P. (_coughing_). Ahem! yes, I believe it was that time. Then again,
I went seven year ago, and stayed to the Mechanics’ Fair. That are was a
great sight.

J. Well, dad, I haint never been at all, and I’m goin’,—that’s all.

MRS. P. You aint nothin’ but a boy, Jonathan.

J. Aint I, though? I’m twenty-one year old, and taller’n father, and I
weighed myself down to the store, yesterday, and weighed a hundred and
eighty. I should think I was old enough and big enough to be trusted away
from home.

MRS. P. The city is a wicked place, Jonathan. Who knows but you’d get to
drinkin’ and swearin’?

J. There aint no danger of that, marm. I tasted some whiskey, the other
day, down to Hiram Johnson’s, and it most turned my stummik. I shan’t
drink anything stronger’n cider.

DEA. P. That’s right, my son. Cider’s good, for we know what it’s made
of. Apples are healthy, and when a body’s tired, a mug of cider goes to
the right spot.

MRS. P. (_doubtfully_). Yes, father, but you know Sam Wilson got drunk
on cider one town meetin’ day, and smashed forty panes of glass in the

DEA. P. Wal, wal, he drank more’n was good for him. But, Jonathan, to
come back to your plans, have you thought what you shall do when you get
to the city?

J. Why, dad, I calc’late there must be plenty of work to be did. I reckon
I should like to tend in a store.

DEA. P. Lazy business, Jonathan.

J. That’s what I like it for, dad. I’ve had hard work enough, and I want
to take it easy awhile. Maybe I shall go into business on my own hook, if
I get a good chance. There aint no reason why I shouldn’t get rich as
well as other folks.

MRS. P. (_hastily_). I hope, Jonathan, you aint goin’ to take that two
hundred and fifty dollars out of the Savings Bank, that yer Aunt Betsey
give you in her will.

J. Of course I be. How can a feller go into business without capital?

MRS. P. (_solemnly_). You’ll lose every red cent of it, take my word for

J. And earn five times as much more, marm; I guess I know how to make
money as well as other folks.

MRS. P. Deacon, do say somethin’ to git him off this foolish plan. He’ll
fail, sartain, an’ it’ll make his aunt rise from her grave, if he loses
all the money that she earned by knittin’ an’ dryin’ apples.

DEA. P. (_reflectively_). I don’t know, Almiry, but the boy might as well
try his luck, seein’ he’s sot on it. Perhaps he may do well, arter all.

J. (_delightedly_). That’s the talk, dad.

MRS. P. Well, I dunno. It seems to me mighty resky. However, if he must
go, he’ll have to wait till I’ve knit him some winter stockings. He’s
most out.

J. I kin buy some in Bostown, marm. They’ve got plenty there.

MRS. P. (_contemptuously_). And what are they worth I should like to
know? Boughten stockin’s won’t stand any wear at all. Then, there’s your
shirts; you aint got but three.

J. Well, there’s enuff; I kin wear one a week, an’ three’s enough to
shift with.

DEA. P. You’ll have to be more partic’lar in the city. I’ve heard that
some folks in the city wear as many as three clean shirts in a week.

MRS. P. They must be awful dirty to need changin’ so often. But I guess,
Jonathan, you’d better have one more made.

J. Well, you kin send the shirt and the stockin’s to me by express. I’ve
made up my mind to go next week.

MRS. P. An’ what’ll Mary Jane Parker say to that?

J. I don’t care.

MRS. P. I thought you were sweet on her only a little while ago.

J. Wal, she aint anything but a country gal. Maybe I shall find a
good-lookin’ city gal that’s got the tin.

MRS. P. O Jonathan, I’m afeard you’re gittin’ vain. “Vanity of vanity!
All is vanity!” says the Scripters. Mary Jane would make you a real
capable wife. She can make butter an’ cheese equal to any gal in
Beanville, an’ she made fifteen dollars, last summer, sellin’ eggs.

J. (_contemptuously_). What’s fifteen dollars?

MRS. P. The time may come when you’ll be glad to git fifteen dollars.

J. Now, marm, don’t go to discouragin’ a feller; I’m bound to be rich,
and when I’ve made money enuff, I’m going to buy you a silk gownd.

MRS. P. Thank you, Jonathan; I allus thought I should like a new silk
gownd. I aint had a new one for twenty year.

J. Well, marm, you shall have it jist as soon as I’ve made my pile.

MRS. P. Pile of what, for the land’s sake?

J. Made my fortin, I mean. And I’ll buy father a new Sunday go-to-meeting

DEA. P. I guess you’ll want your money for other things, Jonathan. Don’t
count your chickens before they’re hatched.

J. Can I have the horse to-morrow, dad?

DEA. P. What for?

J. I’m goin’ over to the bank to get my money.

DEA. P. Yes, I reckon so.

MRS. P. You’d better go with him, father. He might git robbed on the way
home. I shan’t feel safe with such a lot of money in the house.

J. Well, ’twon’t be in the house long.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_JONATHAN, in a blue suit with brass buttons, stands
    R. C., waiting for the stage. Beside him is a blue chest
    containing his worldly effects. DEACON and MRS. PETERS stand
    near the door, R._

J. (_looking toward L._). I hear the stage, marm.

MRS. P. Yes, it’s just comin’ over the hill. Hadn’t you better change
your mind, Jonathan, and stay to hum, arter all?

J. Not by a jug-full. No, marm, the dice is cast, and I’m bound to be
somebody. No more diggin’ taters for me.

DEA. P. Well, Jonathan, I wish you all success, but I kinder have my

MRS. P. Is the money safe, Jonathan?

J. Yes, marm, I’ve got it in my trowsers’ pocket.

MRS. P. Hadn’t you better leave part of it to hum? You might have your
pockets picked, you know.

J. They won’t catch this child so easy. Don’t you be alarmed.

MRS. P. I declare I’ve forgotten them doughnuts.

DEA. P. (_looking toward L._). Stage is just at the corner.

MRS. P. They’ll wait a minute.

J. (_starting towards L._). Can’t wait, marm. I’ll buy some dinner at the

MRS. P. It’ll be wastin’ your money.

DEA. P. Never mind.

J. (_going slowly toward L._). Good-by.

DEA. P. AND MRS. P. Good-by. Be sure and write.

J. I’ll write just as soon as I get to the city.

                                                              (_Exit L._)

MRS. P. (_with her apron to her eyes_). It’s an awful resk, Deacon,
Jonathan’s going away from home.

DEA. P. Cheer up, mother. He’s a man grown. He may make a fortune, after

                                                           (_Exeunt, R._)

(_JONATHAN returns L. for his chest._)

J. (_solus_). Good-by to Beanville. When I come back, I’ll make the folks
stare. Mary Jane’ll have to look up another feller. I’m goin’ to look

                                                              (_Exit L._)

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_A small room in the fifth story of a Boston hotel.
    JONATHAN, C., sits poring over the advertising columns of the
    Boston Herald._

J. I had no idee there was so many houses in the world. Bostown’s a
big place, to be sure. But I don’t see where they pastur’ all their
cows. I didn’t see none in that big lot in front of the State House.
I guess folks must have a power of money to live in such fine houses.
The State House must have cost twice as much as our meetin’-house, and
p’r’aps more. Anyway I’m bound to see if I can’t make my fortin here.
The landlord told me I might find a chance for business in this paper.
I guess I’ll look over it, and see what I can find. (_Reads the paper
intently for a few minutes._) Why, here’s the very thing! Let me spell it
out again. (_Reads aloud._)

“TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR! Wanted, a young man with a small capital,
to engage in a lucrative business, which is sure to pay him at least two
thousand dollars a year. Call at once on Samuel Jenkins, 15 S—— street.”

J. (_jumping to his feet in excitement_). Where’s my hat? I say that’s an
all-fired good chance! Two thousand dollars a year! Why, it takes away my
breath, thinkin’ of it. Here I’ve been workin’ for dad for ten dollars
a month, and that aint but a hundred and twenty dollars a year. Our
minister don’t get but three hundred dollars and his house-rent. Guess
he’ll hev to look up to me ef I git this chance. I must go right off, or
some other feller’ll be ahead of me.

                              (_Puts on hat, and exit L. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE IV.—_A small office. SAMUEL JENKINS sits R., in a
    lounging attitude, smoking a cigar. A knock is heard L. He
    jumps up hastily, and admits JONATHAN._

J. (_bashfully_). Be you Mr. Jenkins?

SAM. (_bowing_). I am, at your service.

J. I seen the advertisement what you writ in the papers, about wanting a

S. J. With a small capital?

J. Yes, with a small capital, and I thought I’d call and see if you’d
take me.

S. J. (_aside_). The fellow’s just from the country. I must impress him a
little. I wonder how much money he’s got. (_Aloud._) Well, as to that, I
can’t say, positively. I must ask you a few questions. Have you lived in
the city long?

J. Wal, no, I live to Beanville, when I’m ter hum.

S. J. (_reflectively_). Beanville! I don’t think I ever heard of the

J. Sho! I thought everybody’d heard of Beanville.

S. J. Then I suppose you have never been in business.

J. (_hesitatingly_). Wall, no, not exactly; but I tended in our store two
days when the other feller was gone.

S. J. That is nothing;—but perhaps you could learn.

J. (_eagerly_). Oh, yes, I kin learn pooty quick, ef you’ll only try me.

S. J. Then about the capital. How much money have you got?

J. I hed two hundred and fifty dollars when I left hum, but I guess
I’ll have to leave some to pay my board. I kin invest two hundred and
twenty-five dollars.

S. J. (_aside_). That isn’t as much as I hoped, but I’m dead broke, and
that’ll do to till I take in another flat.

J. (_anxiously_). Will that do?

S. J. Why, it isn’t as much as I expected; considering the large income
which you will receive, it is very small.

J. I will come for less than two thousand, if you’ll only take me.

S. J. No, I will pay what I guaranteed. I suppose you have references.

J. I’ll write to our minister to send me a character.

S. J. Never mind. I have a knack at reading faces, and I can tell by
yours that you are honest and industrious.

J. (_gratified_). Then you will take me?

S. J. Have you got the money with you?

J. Yes; shall I pay it now?

S. J. You might as well, and the partnership shall begin at once.

J. (_drawing out his pocket-book, and counting out some bills_). Two
hundred, two hundred and ten, two hundred and twenty-five. I guess you’ll
find it right.

S. J. (_looking over the bills carelessly_). Yes, quite correct. Stay, I
will give you a receipt. What is your name? (_Writes._)

J. Jonathan Peters.

S. J. (_passes him receipt_). Mine is Jenkins. Success to the firm of
Jenkins and Peters. I’ll see about a sign.

J. (_surprised_). Do you do it here? I don’t see nothin’ to sell.

S. J. Oh, it’s a commission business. I’ll attend to that, and you’ll do
the writing. I suppose you can write a good hand.

J. Oh, yes, I’ve been to writin’ school two winters. I can’t write very

S. J. Never mind, you’ll learn. Practice makes perfect. I think I’ll have
you begin to-day. Do you see that book? (_Points to an old ledger on the

J. Yes.

S. J. Well, there’s a blank book. I want you to copy out of the ledger
into the book, beginning at the first page.

J. All right. I kin do it.

S. J. Be very particular not to make any mistakes.

J. I’ll do my best.

S. J. (_taking his hat_). I’ve got to go round to the bank to deposit
this money, and will be right back. See how much you can copy while I am

J. Yes, I’ll work faithful.

                                                      (_Exit S. J., L._)

J. (_solus_). Well, aint that a streak of luck! Here I am, just come to
the city, and earnin’ a salary of two thousand dollars a year. Won’t it
make dad stare? I guess marm’ll be glad I come now. Wonder what Mary
Jane’ll say? She’ll be mighty sorry I’ve gone and left her. But she aint
fit for the wife of a merchant like me! I must write to dad to-night. I
would now, only my time belongs to the firm. Two thousand dollars a year!
Why, that’s six dollars a day, and more, almost as much a day as I used
to git in a month. Guess I’ll buy a watch after I git my first month’s
pay. Holloa, what’s that?

                                             (_Enter THOMAS HEMPTON, R._)

H. (_looking at JONATHAN with surprise_). What are you doing here?

J. (_with dignity_). Tendin’ to business.

H. And how do you happen to be attending to business in my office?

J. Look here, mister, I guess you have made a little mistake. This aint
your office. It’s mine and Jenkins’.

H. (_sarcastically_). Indeed! And I suppose that is your ledger that you
have before you?

J. Of course it is.

H. Well, you’re a mighty cool customer, though you look rather green than
otherwise. Perhaps you can tell me who this Jenkins is.

J. He’s the boss of this concern. That is, him and me are the two bosses.

H. Well, you’re about right there. You look more like bossies than
anything else. If you ever lived in the country, as I should judge from
your appearance you had, you will know what that means.

J. (_advancing in a threatening manner, and brandishing a ruler_). I say,
stranger, quit that. None of your sarse, or I’ll break yer head.

H. (_with dignity_). Enough of this, young man. Put down that ruler. Now,
tell me, have you given this man, Jenkins, any money?

J. Yes; two hundred and twenty-five dollars, and he’s took me into

H. When did you see him last?

J. He went out an hour ago.

H. You’ll never see him, I’m afraid, or your money either.

J. (_terrified_). What’s that, stranger?

H. In short, he’s swindled you. Jenkins is not his real name. He is a
clerk of mine, of whom, for some time, I have had suspicions. He took
advantage of a three days’ absence of mine in New York, to put an
advertisement in the paper, which has taken you in. He’s got your money,
and that will be the last we shall see of him, unless the police pick him

J. (_crying_). He’s carried off all my money. Boo! hoo! and I aint
earnin’ two thousand dollars a year after all. Aunt Betsey’s money gone.
Boo! hoo! What’ll marm say?

H. I’m afraid your money’s gone past recovery, but if you want to stay
in the city, there’s a friend of mine wants a good, strong fellow in a
grocery store. He will give you two dollars a day.

J. (_drying his tears_). Well, that’s pooty good. It’s a good deal more’n
I kin make in the country. I’ll take it. (_Enter boy, R., with a note._)

H. (_opening it hastily_). Young man, here is good news. The police,
having some suspicions of Jenkins, arrested him as he was on the point
of leaving the city for New York, and he is now in custody. You will
probably recover your money.

J. (_executing a double shuffle in his delight_). O crackey! my money
safe. Now I shan’t be ashamed to write home. You won’t forget about that
grocery place?

H. No, I will see my friend to-day, and I have no doubt he will take you.
By the way, where are you boarding?

J. At the Blank House.

H. The board is pretty high there.

J. My room is high, anyway, in the fifth story but they charge me only
three dollars a week.

H. Three dollars a day, you should say.

J. By gracious, you don’t mean it!

H. Certainly; some of the hotels charge four and five.

J. How do they expect a feller can eat three dollars’ worth of victuals
in a day?

H. You’d better leave there at once. I’ll give you the address of a place
where you can get boarded for six dollars a week, while you’ll be earning

J. We kin git board up to Beanville for two dollars a week.

H. Beanville and Boston are two different places, and differ greatly in
some important respects. If you will wait here a few moments, I’ll go out
and speak to my friend about this place that you want.

                                                              (_Exit R._)

J. (_solus_). Well, I wouldn’t ’a’ thought that Jenkins was such a tricky
feller. I’d like to jist git hold of him once, and ef I wouldn’t give him
a kick that would land him in the middle of next week, it’s because I’d
lost the use of my foot, that’s all.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    FERNANDO CLAPP, Editor pro tem.
    EPHRAIM SIMPSON, a Country Farmer.
    DR. JOHN JENKINS, Vender of Salve.
    EUGENE SNOW, Printer’s “Devil.”
    ARAMINTA ELLIS, a Sentimental Young Lady.
    GEO. CRANE, a Mechanic.
    DR. WM. RANDALL, Proprietor of Anti-Dyspepsia Pills.
    HENRY PERKINS, a Fierce-looking Individual.

    SCENE I.—_A country printing office. EDITOR pro tem. sitting R.
    before a table C. covered with MSS. Piles of newspapers upon
    the floor on either side of him. A pair of scissors in one hand
    and a pen in the other. Enter EPHRAIM SIMPSON, L._

EPHRAIM SIMPSON. Is this the office of the “Petersville Post”?

EDITOR (_with some curiosity_). It is.

E. You are the editor, I reckon?

ED. You are right.

E. Well, you see my name is Ephraim Simpson, and I live over to
Greenfield. I’ve been workin’ this summer hayin’, but I found it was too
hard work, and I reckoned I’d come to you and see if you couldn’t give me
a chance to edit a little.

ED. Why, you know it is quite a difficult thing to learn to edit a paper.
It requires education, judgment, and a variety of other qualifications.

E. Oh, as to that, I guess I can satisfy you. I have tended school in our
deestrict for four winters, and can read, write and cipher like a book.

ED. That is all very well, but you know one must be able to compose as
well as write.

E. Oh, compositions you mean. Well, I have written them some. Don’t you
want me to try my hand and show you what I kin do?

ED. I am not in particular need of an assistant just now, but perhaps
you might as well sit down and try your hand at writing an editorial.
(_EPHRAIM sits down, R._)

(_Enter, L., a rusty-looking individual, with a tin trunk under his arm._)

JOHN JENKINS. Are you the editor of the “Post”?

ED. I am.

J. J. Then, sir, allow me to present you with a box of my famous salve
(_hands box to him_).

ED. Thank you.

J. J. Perhaps you’d be willing to insert this little paragraph about it.
I wrote it off to save you trouble (_hands paper to editor_).

ED. (_reading aloud_). We have received from Dr. Jenkins a box of his
Magnetic Salve, which is warranted to cure every description of cut
or bruise in an incredibly short space of time. We know a boy who
accidentally cut off one of his fingers. His mother being absent, he
bethought himself of Dr. Jenkins’s salve, which she had bought the day
previous. He applied it to the injured finger, and before night there was
not even a scar to indicate where the wound had been.

ED. (_looking up_). You want me to insert this?

J. J. (_in an insinuating tone_). Yes, sir.

ED. But I don’t know the boy referred to.

J. J. My dear sir, aint you rather new in the business?

ED. (_indignantly_). Well, and what if I am?

J. J. (_smiling sarcastically_). I thought you were, or you’d understand
that this is the way they always do things.

ED. We are a little more conscientious than editors generally. However,
you assure me that the salve is good?

J. J. (_warmly_). Nothing better in the whole world, sir.

ED. And you think it would be safe to speak well of it?

J. J. Sir, you will be conferring a blessing on the community.

ED. Very well, I will write a little puff for you.

J. J. Thank you, sir.

                                                             (_Exit, L._)

PRINTER’S DEVIL (_entering, R._). More copy, sir.

ED. Here it is (_handing him a paper_).

                                                           (_Exit P. D._)

(_A knock is heard at the door, L._)

ED. Come in.

(_Enter young lady, L._)

YOUNG LADY. Please, sir, I am Araminta Ellis, the authoress of “Lines on
a Faded Buttercup.”

ED. I am delighted to see you, Miss Ellis. Did the—the poem you speak of
appear in the “Post”?

A. E. (_surprised at his ignorance_). No, sir, it was contributed to the
“Weekly Bulletin.” I have never written anything for the “Post,” but
should be willing to do so. What are your terms?

ED. (_blandly_). Three dollars a year.

A. E. I do not mean the subscription price of the paper, but how much do
you pay your poetical contributors?

ED. We—ahem—that is, our friends are kind enough to make us a free gift
of their productions in that line.

A. E. (_insinuatingly_). But don’t you pay for superior poetry? I have
here a poem which I would like to see transferred to your columns
(_passes manuscript to him_).

ED. (_taking the poem_). Seventy-seven stanzas! That would be too long
for our columns. Couldn’t you shorten it?

A. E. Not without marring its symmetrical proportions. But I will write
another and a shorter one soon, which will perhaps suit you better.

ED. Thank you, Miss Ellis. That will undoubtedly be better suited to our

                                                       (_Exit A. E., L._)

(_Enter, L., GEORGE CRANE excitedly._)

GEORGE CRANE. Sir, don’t you regard it as a part of an editor’s duty to
unmask villany and expose it to the world?

ED. Certainly, sir.

G. C. Then I should like to furnish you with some information respecting
a neighbor of mine, named Henry Perkins. He is a hypocrite, sir! He
professes a good deal, but secretly practises petty acts of meanness.
I have every reason to believe that he beats his wife; and he has been
suspected of robbing his neighbor’s hen-roosts. Just write an article
touching him up, and I’ll subscribe to your paper for a year.

ED. (_cautiously_). Cash in advance?

G. C. (_promptly_). Yes.

ED. Very well, then. I’m your man.

             (_G. C. hands ED. five-dollar bill, and receives two dollars
               back as change. Exit G. C., L. Enter WILLIAM RANDALL, L._)


ED. No, sir; but as his substitute I shall be happy to serve you.

W. R. You must know, sir, that I have been laboring for some years past
on the preparation of a remedy for dyspepsia. At length, after great
labor and research, I have prepared a pill which I am sure will prove an
infallible cure in the most obstinate cases. I have the pleasure, sir, of
presenting you with a box of Dr. William Randall’s Anti-Dyspepsia Pills
(_passes box to him_).

ED. Thank you.

DR. R. (_preparing to leave_). By the way, I suppose you will favor me
with a notice?

ED. (_hesitating_). Ye-es.

                                                      (_Exit DR. R., L._)

(_ED. sits down to write. After a moment’s pause EPHRAIM SIMPSON, who has
been writing (when not gazing at visitors), starts up._)

E. S. Well, Mister Editor, how’s that? (_handing him a paper._)

ED. (_reading aloud_). The hoss.—The hoss is a noble animal. He is also
interestin’ and knows a good deal. Some folks get very much attached to
their hosses. I knowed a Frenchman once, that thought so much of his hoss
that he even went so far as to call his own mother a _mare_ as a pet
name. Hosses are very interestin’ animals when they don’t rare up. Not
havin’ any more to say on this subjick, I will stop.

ED. (_gravely_). That is very good; but, on the whole, I don’t think
there is any need of an assistant just yet. If there should be a time
when I stand in need of one, I will certainly _think of you_.

E. S. (_disappointed_). Then you haint got anything for me to do?

ED. Not just now.

E. S. Then I must go.

                                                       (_Exit E. S., L._)

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_Printing office. ED., C., looking complacently at
    a newspaper spread out to its full proportions on the table
    before him._

ED. (_soliloquizing_). And this is the result of my first week’s labor as
an editor. Excellent as my friend Clark has heretofore made the “Post,”
I think he will acknowledge that I have made some improvements in it.
(_Glances complacently down the page. His eye is suddenly arrested by a
paragraph which startles him._) What! What’s this? (_Reads._)

    “MR. FERNANDO CLAPP,—_Dear Sir_: I am instructed by your tailor
    to present, for immediate payment, his bill amounting to
    twenty-one dollars, eighteen cents and three-quarters. You are
    requested to pay immediate attention to it, as otherwise the
    law will take cognizance of your delinquency.

                               “TIMOTHY PETTIGREW, _Att’y at Law_.”

ED. (_furiously to P. D. entering R._). How did this get into the paper?

P. D. (_smiling_). You gave it out as copy, sir.

ED. When?

P. D. The first day you were here.

          (_Exit P. D. as DR. RANDALL enters L. He is evidently very much
                    excited. He holds in his hand a copy of the “Post.”_)

DR. R. (_pointing to an item_). Did you write that?

ED. (_coolly_). Yes. I hope it suits you.

DR. R. Suits me! Confound your impudence! Suits me! What do you mean by
that, sir?

ED. You seem angry—why, I am at a loss to guess.

DR. R. Sir, in noticing my medicine, you have insulted me.

ED. (_surprised_). In noticing your medicine! How?

DR. R. (_placing paper within two inches of ED.’S nose, he repeats_),
“_He says it will cure the most obstinate case of dyspepsia. Perhaps it
may._” I demand an explanation, sir.

ED. (_stepping back_). It is very easily given. I only intended to say,
that personally I had no experience of the matter, and not being able to
speak positively, I said “_perhaps_!”

DR. R. (_suspiciously_). Is that true?

ED. Certainly. But, if you wish, I will recall the statement in our next

DR. R. That would be more satisfactory to me.

                                                             (_Exit, L._)

(_Enter, L., a fierce-looking individual._)

HENRY PERKINS (_in a threatening tone_). Are you the editor?

ED. (_with quaking heart_). Yes.

H. P. (_sneering_). I suppose you don’t know who I am?

ED. No, I don’t.

H. P. (_fiercely_). I am that Henry Perkins whom you have so atrociously
libelled in your paper of this morning. Don’t think, sir, that such
conduct is to go unpunished! I stand upon my rights, sir, as a citizen,
and I will not be trampled upon.

(_MR. P. seizes ED. by the collar of his coat and shakes him vigorously._)

ED. (_struggling_). Unhand me, sir!

H. P. (_still shaking him_). There, you little blackguard! I guess you
won’t slander me again in a hurry.

ED. (_passionately_). I’ll have the law of you, you villain!

H. P. You will, eh! Then I must give you your pay in advance.

(_He continues to shake him a moment. Then making a low, mocking bow, he
goes out._)

ED. (_furiously_). I won’t stand this. I’ll leave a note for Clark, and
go home this moment. There’s no knowing what may come next. It is as
much as one’s life is worth to be an editor.

                                                      (_Exit hurriedly._)

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    MRS. JONES, Keeper of a Boarding-House.
    AMANDA, Her Daughter.
    MRS. SIMPERTON,                ⎫
    ISADORA MALVINA,               ⎪
    COUNT HENRI DE FRIPON,         ⎪
    ABIGAIL TRIST,                 ⎬ Applicants for Board
    JETHRO BURBANK,                ⎪
    MRS. WESTWOOD,                 ⎭

    SCENE I.—_A room in the house of MRS. JONES. MRS. J., R., and
    her daughter, L., present, both seated._

MRS. JONES. Well, Amanda, now that we have taken a large house and
prepared it for boarders, the next thing will be to fill it.

AMANDA. Advertise in the “Herald,” mamma.

MRS. J. It may be a good plan. We ought to make money; but when I
consider that we have a large rent to pay, I can’t help thinking that
there is some risk about it. You know we were able to live comfortably on
the money your poor father left, and without any care or exertion on our

A. (_scornfully_). _Comfortably_, mamma! You know how we had to pinch
ourselves. I could hardly afford one bonnet a year, and, as to dresses,
I had to wear them so long a time I was positively ashamed. Other people
make money by keeping boarders, and why can’t we?

MRS. J. You may be right, Amanda. But about the advertisement. How shall
we express it?

(_AMANDA sits down at the table and writes._)

A. How will this do, mamma? (_Reads._)

WANTED.—A few first-class boarders, by a genteel family whose object is
to surround themselves by a pleasant social circle, rather than to make
money. Address “Boarders,” Herald office.

MRS. J. But, my dear, my object is to make money.

A. Of course, mamma; but it sounds well to seem indifferent to it.

MRS. J. Perhaps you are right. (_A pause._) I wonder when the
advertisement will appear.

A. To-morrow morning, probably, and we may expect applications at any
time afterward.

MRS. J. Then it would be best to fix on a price for board at once.

A. Yes, I suppose so.

MRS. J. How would twelve dollars a week do?

A. It wouldn’t do at all. We couldn’t pay expenses.

MRS. J. But I’m afraid if we charge such high prices we shall not be able
to fill our rooms.

A. That’s just the means to accomplish it. Many people judge of the style
and reputation of a house by the price asked. You ought to insist on at
least fifteen or twenty dollars for the best rooms, and a little less for
those not so desirable.

MRS. J. But that won’t correspond with the advertisement, where I say I
take boarders for company, rather than to make money.

A. I don’t think that will ever be noticed; but if it should, you can say
with truth, that you could not pay your expenses if you charged less.

MRS. J. Well, I hope we may be successful, for I have made such an outlay
in fitting up the house, that our income will this year be far less than
usual, and our expenses correspondingly larger.

A. There’s no doubt of our success. Three months from now we shall be
able not only to defray our necessary expenses, but also to replace the
money which you were obliged to draw to pay for the furniture.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_The same. AMANDA, L., present. She is looking over
    the morning paper. Enter MRS. JONES, R._

MRS. JONES. Ah, has the paper come, Amanda?

AMANDA. Yes, and the advertisement is inserted, and reads well. (_Passes
paper to her mother._)

MRS. J. That seems to be right—(_listens—sound of bell is heard_). But
hark! Isn’t that the door bell?

A. Yes; I hope it may prove an applicant for board.

(_Servant ushers in MRS. SIMPERTON and her daughter, L._)

MRS. SIMPERTON. This is Mrs. Jones, I believe.

MRS. J. You are right. That is my name.

MRS. S. (_affectedly_). I must introduce myself as Mrs. Simperton. And
this is my daughter, Isadora Malvina. (_MRS. J. bows._) We saw your
advertisement in this morning’s “Herald,” and when we called at the
office, were directed here.

MRS. J. Yes, my daughter and myself wished for company. It is rather
lonely for two persons to live by themselves in a large house like this,
with no one near but servants.

MRS. S. It must be so, and I do not wonder that you wish for companions.
My daughter and myself are thinking of boarding this winter, and I wish
to make some inquiries concerning your rooms. I suppose they are newly

MRS. J. Yes, they all contain new furniture.

MRS. S. And is it black walnut, with marble tops to the bureau and

MRS. J. Yes, a part of the rooms are furnished in that style.

MRS. S. I suppose we could have our meals in our own rooms.

MRS. J. (_hesitating_). Well—yes—perhaps it could be arranged so.

MRS. S. And I suppose we could have them at whatever hour we chose.

MRS. J. I think so.

MRS. S. That seems to be favorable. May I ask your terms?

MRS. J. For my best rooms, with private meals, I should be obliged to
charge twenty dollars a week apiece. If the meals came at unusual hours,
it would be worth more.

MRS. S. (_with emphasis_). Your charge is exorbitant. Such accommodations
are not worth more than half the sum you name. Still I am willing to pay
twenty-five dollars for both of us.

MRS. J. I couldn’t think of such a thing. I shouldn’t be able to pay my
expenses at such low rates for board.

MRS. S. I thought you didn’t keep boarders for profit, but only for the
sake of company.

MRS. J. That is very true. I don’t take boarders for profit, but neither
do I intend to take them at a loss. I shouldn’t consider their company to
be of sufficient value to compensate for that.

MRS. S. Very well; I see we must look further. I don’t believe we should
be suited here. Come, Isadora Malvina. (_Goes out, L., with a lofty air,
followed by her daughter._)

A. What airs people do put on sometimes! I’m glad she didn’t decide to
stay. I shouldn’t want her for a boarder at any price. (_Bell rings.

COUNT (_with a polite bow_). Can madame accommodate me with a suite of

MRS. J. I think so. What rooms do you desire?

C. I should like a _chambre à coucher_—what you call a bedroom; also a
parlor in which I could receive my friends.

MRS. J. You would require board, too, I suppose.

C. Oui, madame,—yes, you are right. I should wish board for myself, and
sometimes I might bring a friend with me to dine.

MRS. J. Certainly. We shall always be glad to see any of your friends. In
regard to terms—

C. (_with a deprecating gesture_). Pardon, madame, but—I never trouble
myself with these trifling matters. At the end of every month you will
send in your bill to me, and I shall pay it to you at once.

MRS. J. That will be satisfactory. But what name shall I put down?

C. (_with a courtly air_). Count Henri de Fripon, madame. Here is my
card. (_Passes it._)

MRS. J. (_bows, while a pleased smile overspreads her face_). And when
would you like to come?

C. I shall come to you next Monday, in the morning. I have the honor to
wish you good day, madame; bon jour, mademoiselle.

                                              (_Exit, L., with low bow._)

MRS. J. That’s a boarder after my own mind. He never inquired the terms,
and will be ready to pay when the bill is presented. I wish we might
secure others of the same kind.

A. And he’s one of the nobility, too. His presence will give quite a
distinguished air to the house.

MRS. J. Yes; he’s quite an acquisition. (_Bell rings._) Besides, who
knows but—(_Enter MISS TRIST, L._)

MISS TRIST. Good mornin’, ma’am. Good mornin’, miss. (_MRS. J. and A.
both bow._) I’ve come to see about gettin’ boarded.

MRS. J. I think we can accommodate you. What kind of a room would you

MISS T. It don’t make no sort o’ difference to me. I only want a shelter.
’Taint likely I shall be spared long to need one.

MRS. J. (_with sympathy_). Are you an invalid?

MISS T. No, I aint sick yet, but there’s no knowin’ how soon I may be. My
mother died _young_, and died suddenly, too. I expect to go in the same

MRS. J. I hope not. (_A pause._) We have rooms which, with board, vary
from twelve to twenty dollars per week.

MISS T. My sakes! That’s an awful price, aint it? But then I might as
well spend my money for board as to leave it for my relations to quarrel

MRS. J. That certainly is a better way.

MISS T. (_mournfully_). Perhaps you wouldn’t think it, from my comin’
here to get boarded; but I’ve got three sisters and two brothers, and
they’re all watchin’ to see if I aint goin’ to get sick an’ die, so they
can have my money.

MRS. J. You’d better come here to board, then. I dare say it would be the
means of prolonging your life.

MISS T. Do you think so? I wish I could believe it, though (_dismally_)
I haint got nothin’ to live for. But then, if I aint to live long, it
would be a comfort to spend my last days in peace. I’ve had a great many
troubles and trials in my time.

MRS. J. I am sorry to hear it.

MISS T. Yes, I lost my best friend just six days before we were to be
married. If he’d only lived one week longer, I might have been a desolate
relict instead of a lonely single woman.

MRS. J. It must have been a great disappointment.

MISS T. Yes; but then ’twas my luck. I don’t place no dependence on
anything now. (_Rising._) There’s no knowin’ what may happen; but I’ll
come, to stay, next Monday, if I’m alive an’ well.

                                                             (_Exit, L._)

A. (_drawing a long breath_). Oh, I’m so glad she’s gone. I hope
something will happen to prevent her coming. It’s as dismal to have her
round as to be alone in the house on a drizzly day in November.

MRS. J. We can’t refuse any one who is willing to pay our price. But
hark! some one is coming. (_Enter MR. SCOTT hurriedly._)

MR. SCOTT (_nervously_). I have come to get boarded here madam. (_With
deprecating gesture._) Don’t refuse me, for I shall certainly commit
suicide if you do. You see I’ve set my heart on boarding with you and
your charming daughter.

MRS. J. (_benignantly_). There is no occasion for my refusing you. We
have still a few rooms left that are not engaged.

MR. S. (_in a hurried manner_). And what are your terms—though that will
make no difference. I shall come, whatever they may be.

MRS. J. We have one room, at fifteen dollars, that may perhaps suit you.

MR. S. (_with a theatrical air_). Fifteen dollars! Ask me not to pay such
a paltry sum. I would never pay less than twenty-five.

MRS. J. Very well, you can pay any sum you choose.

MR. S. Then I choose to pay twenty-five dollars. But there’s another
inquiry that I wish to make. Can I have a piano in my room?

MRS. J. There is a piano in the parlor, which the boarders are at liberty
to use when they feel inclined.

MR. S. But that will not suit me. Perhaps I should wish to play when some
one else was using it. No, I must have one in my own room. (_Earnestly._)
I’m willing to pay extra for it—five, fifteen, or even fifty dollars a
week, rather than not to have it.

MRS. J. Certainly; if you are willing to pay for it I will have one put
into your room for you.

MR. S. You relieve my mind greatly. I will be here to commence boarding
to-morrow. Here is my card. (_Passes it._) Good-morning, ladies.

                                                     (_Exit hastily, L._)

A. What a strange man! It isn’t often that one meets with a person who
sets so little value on money.

MRS. J. His name is as strange as his actions.

A. (_with curiosity_). What is it?

MRS. J. Zachary Winfield Taylor Scott.

A. (_with interest_). Perhaps he is a son of General Scott. I’ve heard it
said that the families of great men are often eccentric.

                                 (_Bell rings. Enter JETHRO BURBANK, L._)

JETHRO BURBANK. I’ve come to see as how, could I get boarded.

MRS. J. We have some rooms still vacant, if the price is such as to suit

J. B. (_unheeding her remark_). You see, I’ve come all the way from
Hatchville, State of Maine, to see if I could get a situation here in
the city, and the fust thing is to get a boarding-place. What do you
calc’late to charge me now? Don’t set it too high.

MRS. J. The lowest-priced rooms we have left are fifteen dollars per
week, with board.

J. B. Gewhittaker! That’s an all-fired big sum. You don’t mean that’s
your lowest price.

MRS. J. Certainly. This is a first-class house, and we do not take any
boarders who can’t afford to pay our prices.

J. B. Wal, I don’t know what you call fust-class boarders, but marm
boards the schoolmaster, and the editor of the paper, and I guess they
aint second to nobody.

MRS. J. (_smiling_). And what does she charge for board?

J. B. Wal, she charges jest two dollars a week. That’s what I call a
reasonable price. But I knowed that prices were higher in the city, and
I calc’lated I’d have to pay as much as five dollars; but to pay three
times that, is more than I can stand. Why, the price of a year’s board
would buy me a good farm down to Hatchville.

MRS. J. Then I’m afraid you’ll have to go back there.

J. B. Wal, I shan’t give it up so. I’m going to try further.

                                                       (_Exit J. B., L._)

A. It is getting late. I don’t believe we shall have any more applicants

MRS. J. You are mistaken, for here is one now.

                                              (_Enter MRS. WESTWOOD, L._)

MRS. WESTWOOD. Good-afternoon, ladies. Am I too late for a place? Are
your rooms all taken?

MRS. J. No. We have several left. There are two in particular that I
think you would fancy. One is a very large and pleasant room. The other
is a little smaller.

MRS. W. Oh, I must have the large one, by all means.

MRS. J. The larger one, with board, will be twenty dollars a week.

MRS. W. Very well, I will pay it. I’ve got plenty of money at present.
My husband died a year ago, and left me with a large farm and a quantity
of stock. But I wasn’t going to be immured in a dismal farm-house—not
I. So I’ve sold the farm, and come to the city to board till my money
gives out. Perhaps then you’ll take me as a partner in the boarding-house

MRS. J. I find it takes considerable money, even for that business.

MRS. W. Oh, well, I’ve got enough—a couple of hundred thousand dollars.
But I’m not ready to go in yet. I want to see a little of city life
first. If I meet a good-looking gentleman that invites me, perhaps I
shall become his partner instead of yours. But time will show.

MRS. J. What time would you like to commence?

MRS. W. It might as well be now as any other time. I can send for my

MRS. J. Very well; I will show you the two rooms, though I think you will
prefer the larger one.

MRS. W. Oh, I am sure I shall.

                                         (_Exit MRS. J. and MRS. W., L._)

A. (_sola_). Quite a number of the rooms are already engaged, and I think
we may congratulate ourselves on having made a good beginning. How much
better it will be to keep a genteel boarding-house than to tend shop or
keep school for a living.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_The same. MRS. JONES present, R. Enter AMANDA, L._

AMANDA. Did you send for me, mamma?

MRS. JONES. Yes. I think it is necessary for us to have a consultation
about our affairs.

A. (_surprised_). I thought you were getting along charmingly. I’m sure
the house is full of boarders at good prices, and has been ever since we
commenced. What more could you wish for?

MRS. J. Everything would be quite satisfactory if the boarders would only
pay up promptly. But Mrs. Westwood and Miss Trist are the only ones that
I can depend on. The butcher and baker have sent in heavy bills, and this
morning I have received grocery and gas bills, as well as bills for extra
furniture that was required. Then, too, a month’s rent is due for the
piano in the parlor and that in Mr. Scott’s room.

A. Ask Mr. Scott for the money due you for his board.

MRS. J. I have done so repeatedly, but he has such a way of evading it
that I can’t get anything. Indeed, sometimes he gets so excited that I am
almost frightened, and glad enough to leave him, even without my money.

A. But surely the count has paid you.

MRS. J. Not a cent. I was to send in my bill three days ago, but before
I was able to do so he asked for an interview, and said that he had been
disappointed about receiving money which he expected, and asked me to
wait a week longer. He seemed so sorry about it that I couldn’t help
accommodating him.

BRIDGET (_entering, R._). An’ did ye take the silver, mum? I haven’t seen
a sight of it since I left it on the table after cl’aning it this morning.

MRS. J. (_surprised_). I haven’t taken it away. Was the front door locked?

B. Yis, I thried that same, an’ it was locked as usual. But jist as I
went to look if it was fast, the postman came, an’ brought this letter.

MRS. J. (_opening it hastily, and glancing at signature_). Why, this is
from the count. (_Reads._)

    “Dear Mrs. Jones: I write to let you know that I have just
    received the money I expected, and which I was only able to get
    by selling your silver, which I gathered up this morning for
    that purpose. As the jeweller said it wasn’t first quality,
    I got less than I hoped for, so I sha’n’t be able to settle
    my board bill at present. You will find the silver, also your
    daughter’s watch and rings, at the shop of Willis and Turner.

                                           “COUNT HENRI DE FRIPON.”

A. (_excited_). What! My watch and rings. How could he have got them?

B. Oh, the murtherin villain! An’ didn’t I tell Kate, the cook, that he
had too much blarny about him for an honest man?

MRS. J. (_troubled_). What shall we do?

B. Send the perlice after him.

                                                 (_Enter MISS TRIST, L._)

MISS T. Oh, my poor head! I can’t stand it any longer.

MRS. J. What’s the matter, Miss Trist?

MISS T. That Mr. Scott, whose room is right opposite mine, is all the
time playing on the piano. If it was sacred music I wouldn’t mind; but
it’s the quickest kind of dancing tunes.

A. Why don’t you knock at his door and tell him how much it disturbs you?
There is no one in the parlor, and he can play there all the afternoon if
he wishes.

MISS T. Perhaps I will do so, for I’m afraid I shall go distracted.

                                                             (_Exit, L._)

B. An’ I must tell ye, mum, that Katy an’ me’ll be afther lavin’ here
intirely, if our month’s wages aint paid by to-morrow.

MRS. J. Very well, I will attend to it. You can go now. (_Exit BRIDGET,
R._) I’m sure I don’t know what we’re going to do. I have received
two letters from Lawyer Snap about the last month’s rent. The second
one stated that if it was not paid immediately legal steps would be

(_At this moment hurried steps are heard, L., and MISS TRIST rushes into
the room, closely followed by MR. SCOTT; her cap strings flying, and
both hands are placed on her devoted head, as if fearing a blow there.
Her companion dashes madly after her, holding a heavy music-book in a
menacing way._)

MRS. J. Miss Trist, Mr. Scott—what is the matter?

MR. S. (_standing still for a moment, speaks in a fierce manner_). That
woman (_looking toward MISS T._) has been tormenting me. I was engaged in
improvising music, an opera which would have far exceeded anything that
Verdi or Meyerbeer ever composed, and was just arranging one of the most
delicate passages, when that woman knocked at my door. (_Enter SHERIFF
and keeper by entrance back of MR. S._) Of course the interruption was
fatal to my opera. And what did she come for? Why, she wanted me to go to
the parlor piano, because my music disturbed her. And through her means,
that divine opera is lost to the world. (_In a loud tone._) I will kill
her! (_more fiercely_) I will annihilate her! I will crush her to atoms!
(_AMANDA faints, MRS. J. clasps her hands with a deprecating gesture, and
MR. S. dashes after MISS T., who has sunk with a frightened air into a
chair in the farther corner. The SHERIFF seizes MR. S. from behind. The
latter struggles furiously, but vainly._)

SHERIFF. Here, Randall, take charge of this man. He’s that lunatic who
escaped from the asylum six weeks ago. They’ve searched most everywhere
for him.

MR. S. (_who is quiet for a moment—with a smile_). I was too cunning for
them. (_Again furious._) You shall not restrain me. I must annihilate
that woman, and then finish my opera. (_RANDALL takes MR. S., screaming
and struggling furiously, from the room._)

MRS. J. (_to SHERIFF_). How can I thank you, sir, for delivering us from
that madman?

SHERIFF. I am happy to have been of service to you in that way; but
my errand here was to give you trouble. (_MRS. J. looks expectantly
toward him. MRS. WESTWOOD enters, R._) I have been instructed to levy an
attachment on your furniture, on account of your refusing to pay your

MRS. J. I am sorry it so happens. I depended on the money which I was to
receive from my boarders to pay my expenses; but, of fifteen boarders,
these two ladies are the only ones who have paid.

MRS. W. (_coming forward_). That’s a shame. Mr. Sheriff, what’s the
amount of your bill?

SHERIFF. Rent $125, and costs $25 more.

MRS. W. Here’s the money, $150. Now give me a receipted bill.

SHERIFF. Here is one, though I didn’t expect to need it (_gives bill and
takes money_). Thank you, ma’am.

                     (_Exit SHERIFF, L. MRS. J. gazes in astonishment._)

MRS. W. Mrs. Jones, what do your other unpaid bills amount to?

MRS. J. About five hundred dollars.

MRS. W. Well, I’ve got a proposal to make to you. In the first place,
however, I must explain a little. Do you remember hearing your husband
speak of his sister, Sarah Jane, who went to California to become a
teacher, some twenty odd years ago?

MRS. J. Yes; she went away just before I became acquainted with him. He
frequently spoke of the circumstance; but the vessel was wrecked, and he
supposed, as he heard no further tidings, that she must have been lost
with the other passengers.

MRS. W. Well, she wasn’t lost, but returned a couple of months ago, and
now stands before you.

A. And are you my Aunt Sarah?

MRS. W. Yes. I went, as you know, to San Francisco with the intention of
teaching, but on board the steamer I became acquainted with Mr. Westwood,
who had started for California to seek his fortune. He and myself and one
other passenger were the only persons saved from the wreck. He persuaded
me to abandon my original plan, and marry him. I did so, and we went into
the country, where he bought a sheep ranch. He was prospered in all his
undertakings, and, last year, died, leaving me, by will, all he possessed.

MRS. J. But why haven’t you written to us in all these years?

MRS. W. We were intending, from year to year, to come back soon to
surprise my brother, but circumstances constantly arose to prevent
it. After my husband died, I determined to come at once and seek my
relatives; but when I arrived I learned of my brother’s death. I then
sought a boarding-place, and in looking over the paper met with your
advertisement. Although the name was the same, I had no idea you were his
widow till I saw his portrait hanging in the parlor. Though grown older,
his features had not yet changed, and I recognized him at once. I engaged
board with you, thinking if I enjoyed stopping here I would propose to
become a permanent member of your family. I now propose to take the
house, pay your debts and all the future expenses of house-keeping, in
return for the society of yourself and daughter. What do you say to the

MRS. J. I should be very glad to have it so, but I am afraid you do not
realize what you are taking upon yourself.

MRS. W. Trust me for that. I know what I am about.

MRS. J. Then there’ll be no more anxiety and worriment about unpaid bills.

A. And no desire to continue the experiment of Keeping Genteel Boarders.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    MRS. SKINFLINT, a very Parsimonious Woman.
    EZEKIEL ONTHANK, a Yankee Peddler.
    SARAH JANE HOBBS, Ezekiel’s Sweetheart.
    MRS. HOBBS, Sarah Jane’s Mother.

    SCENE I.—_MRS. SKINFLINT’S sitting-room. MRS. SKINFLINT, a
    tall, bony woman, with a sharp, pinched face, is sitting in a
    rocking-chair, C., knitting._

MRS. SKINFLINT (_soliloquizes_). I declare I’ll never buy another thing
at Thompson’s store. I paid fifteen cents a yard for my last kaliker
dress, and Mis’ Hobbs bought one of a peddler yesterday, jest as good,
for thirteen cents and three quarters. It’s a shame! On twelve yards I
lost fifteen cents. That’s too much money to lose in these hard times. I
wish that peddler would come along. I need a sight o’ things, and if I
couldn’t beat him down, my name aint Betsy Jane Skinflint.

(_A knock is heard at the door, R. MRS. S. rises and opens it. The
visitor proves to be EZEKIEL ONTHANK, a Yankee peddler, with a large pack
on his back. He enters._)

EZEKIEL. Mornin’, marm. Anything in my line to-day? Dress-patterns,
hoop-skirts, shawls, laces, ribbons, jewelry, spectacles, buttons,
scissors, needles, pins—

MRS. S. Massy sakes! don’t tell any more of ’em. I shall forget what you
sed fust. You haint got no good clocks, hev ye?

EZEK. Haint I though! I kin beat everybody on clocks. I’ve got some that
cum clear from Switzerland. I imported ’em myself. Here’s one (_taking it
from his pack_), the pootiest and best little timepiece ever you see.

MRS. S. Does it keep good time?

EZEK. I guess it does—tip-top. It goes ahead of anything ever you set
your eyes on.

MRS. S. (_cautiously_). What d’ye charge for it?

EZEK. (_hesitating_). Well, I hev been sellin’ on ’em all along for
twelve dollars apiece, but seein’ it’s you, I’ll let you have it for ten.

MRS. S. (_throwing up her hands_). Ten dollars! D’ye think I’m made o’
money? Besides, the clock aint wuth half that. But I don’t mind givin’
you five for it.

EZEK. That don’t pay the cost of importin’ ’em; but, ef you’re goin’ to
buy consider’ble, I’ll say five for it. What’s the next thing?

MRS. S. I want ter git a pair o’ spettercles. As I was ridin’ to meetin’,
last Sunday, mine fell off, and the wheel run right over ’em, and smashed
the glass all to pieces. I cared more about ’em ’cause they’d ben in the
famerly so long. Marm and granny both used ’em afore me.

EZEK. Mebbe they might be mended. Let’s see ’em.

(_MRS. S. produces a pair of heavy, iron-bowed spectacles. EZEKIEL looks
at them dubiously._)

EZEK. I s’pose they might be fixed, but it’s my opinion ’twouldn’t pay.
Besides, the bows are too heavy to wear. Didn’t nobody ever tell ye that
wearin’ heavy-bowed specs sometimes made folks round-shouldered?

MRS. S. (_straightening up_). No. Dew tell!

EZEK. But I’ve got somethin’ here that’ll suit you to a T. Jest try ’em
on (_handing her a pair of spectacles_). That’s jest the article you want.

MRS. S. (_trying them on and looking up_). Well, they’re pooty fair. But
I s’pose you’ll charge as much as a dollar for ’em.

EZEK. A dollar! Why, woman alive, you don’t think I’d sell them specs for
a dollar. They’re the real genuine periscopic Scotch pebble. They’re well
wuth five dollars, but I shall only charge you three for them. ’Taint
often you can get such a good article so cheap.

MRS. S. I’ll give you two dollars for ’em.

EZEK. No, I can’t afford to sell ’em so low. But I’ll tell you what I
will do. I’ll split the difference, and let you have ’em for two-fifty.
They’re very becomin’ to you—make you look ten years younger than the
others did.

MRS. S. (_smiling at the compliment_). Well, I s’pose I shall have to
take ’em. But I shouldn’t think ’twould take you long to get rich at that

EZEK. The fact is, I’m growin’ poorer every day. I ought not to sell my
goods so cheap; but the wimmen have such captivatin’ ways that I can’t
resist ’em. What’s the next thing?

MRS. S. Well, I want some caliker for a new gown. I bought enough for one
at Thompson’s, the other day; but I want another.

EZEK. I’ve got jest the thing for you (_showing her a piece of calico
with stripes of red and yellow_). That’s exactly your style, and it’s
only twelve and a half cents a yard.

MRS. S. Will it wash?

EZEK. Like white cloth. I’ve sold yards and yards of that same pattern.
It takes so well that one factory don’t make nothin’ else.

MRS S. Twelve and a half cents a yard is too much. I can’t afford it, but
I’ll give you a dollar for twelve yards.

EZEK. Couldn’t do it. Think of a nice dress pattern like that
(_displaying the goods in a tempting manner_) bein’ sold for a dollar.
No, marm, I can’t sell it any less.

MRS. S. (_looking at it longingly_). I’ll give you a dollar and a quarter.

EZEK. Well, as you’re taking consider’ble, I’ll let you have it for that;
but you mustn’t say nothin’ about it. Why, Mis’ Hobbs bought some of it,
and paid full price. I’m boardin’ there at Mis’ Hobbs’s. She’s got a
pooty daughter—that Sairy Jane. Between you and me, that’s the reason I
went to boardin’ there, for Mis’ Hobbs aint much of a cook.

MRS. S. (_elated_). I allers knew that. She never did hev much of a
bringin’ up (_MRS. S. passes him money._)

EZEK. (_preparing to leave_). Thank ye, marm. Well, aint there sumthin’
more? You’ll want some hooks and eyes, and thread to make your dress
with, don’t ye?

MRS. S. Oh, you’ll throw them in, won’t ye? The store people do.

EZEK. That’s askin’ a little too much.

MRS. S. Well, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll give you a mince pie
for ’em. I made some fresh ones to-day. What d’ye say? You know yer
boardin’-place aint anything to boast of.

EZEK. Well, I don’t mind doin’ it for once. (_MRS. SKINFLINT passes him
pie from the table._) But I think I’d better be goin’. It don’t pay much
to trade with you. You’re a deal too sharp. (_Taking his pack, he leaves
the house._)

MRS. S. (_self-complacently soliloquizes_). I think I did make a good
trade. Trust me for that. I saved enough on them trades to buy me a set
of furs, next winter. They don’t cost but eight dollars, and I daresay I
could get ’em for five. But there, it’s most twelve o’clock. I must be
gettin’ dinner ready.


                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_A curtain arranged from front to back, dividing the
    stage into sitting-room, L., and kitchen, R., as both must be
    seen at once. There must be a door between. MRS. HOBBS is in
    the sitting-room, sewing, R. MRS. SKINFLINT enters, L._

MRS. S. How d’ye do, Mis’ Hobbs?

MRS. HOBBS. Why, how d’ye do, Mis’ Skinflint? I’m glad to see you.
Sit right down in the rockin’-chair, do. (_She sits down, L._) It’s a
pleasant evenin’.

MRS. S. Yes, very pleasant. I cum over this evenin’, Mis’ Hobbs, to
see if there’s a peddler stoppin’ here. I bought a clock of one, this
mornin’, and he sed he boarded here. The clock don’t go, and I want him
to come and fix it, or give me another one.

MRS. H. Yes, that’s him; jest come into the kitchen. He’ll be right in, I
guess. He always sits in here, evenin’s.

(_Just then voices are heard in the kitchen. SARAH JANE is seen knitting,
L. EZEKIEL enters, R._)

SARAH JANE. Well, what adventures have you had to-day, ’Zekiel?

EZEK. The richest was with Mis’ Skinflint. Mis’ Deacon Pettengill told me
she was as mean as dirt (_here MRS. S. starts, but, on second thoughts,
waits to hear what is coming next. MRS. HOBBS smiles, grimly_), and I
thought I see if I couldn’t sarcumvent her.

S. J. What did you do?

EZEK. I offered her a clock for twelve dollars, and she beat me down to
five. I usually sell ’em for a dollar and a half.

S. J. I suppose ’twasn’t worth even that.

EZEK. It doesn’t go much, but when it does, it makes up for lost time.
Then she wanted some _spettercles_. She took a pair for two dollars and a
half that I generally get seventy-five cents for; but I’ll warrant they
won’t magnify any too much, for there’s nothing but winder-glass in ’em.

MRS. S. (_emphatically_). The villain!

S. J. You was rather too bad, ’Zekiel.

EZEK. Not at all. She bought some calico, and asked if it would wash. I
told her it would wash like white cloth, and I guess ’twill. After two or
three washings, there won’t be a bit of color left in it.

MRS. S. Oh, the wretch! Won’t I give it to him! (_MRS. HOBBS smiles. She
evidently enjoys the scene._)

EZEK. But the cream of the joke was that she wanted some hooks and eyes
and a spool of thread, and gave me a mince pie for them. I tasted it, but
it was such wretched stuff that I couldn’t eat it, so I threw it into
the river for the fishes.

(_MRS. SKINFLINT dashes into the kitchen with arms akimbo. EZEKIEL
shrinks back with mock terror. SARAH JANE and her mother come forward,
smiling, to see what will be done._)

MRS. S. What do you mean, you wretch, by cheatin’ me in such a way?

EZEK. I didn’t cheat you. You tried to keep me from gettin’ any profit on
my goods. I put a price on them, and you could take them or not, as you
pleased. You was willin’ to pay what I asked for them; so I don’t see how
I cheated you.

MRS. S. You didn’t tell me the truth about ’em (_furiously_). Then you
called the nice pie I gave you wretched stuff. I shouldn’t ’a thought of
givin’ it to you ef ye hadn’t said you didn’t git anythin’ fit to eat

MRS. H. (_starting forward_). What’s that? What did he say?

MRS. S. (_gloating over her discomfiture_). He said you wasn’t much of
a cook, and, ef it warn’t for courtin’ Sairy Jane, he couldn’t stand it
boardin’ here.

MRS. H. (_to EZEK._). So that’s the way you repay my kindness in taking
you in, is it, you miserable villain? I’m mad enough to pull your hair—if
you only had enough to pull.

EZEK. (_glancing sideways at her_). I shouldn’t dare to pull yours,
marm, for fear ’twould come off in my hand.

MRS. H. (_advancing with a threatening air, and catching up the tongs as
she goes_). Get out of the house, you insultin’ creature, and never let
me set eyes on you again!

(_EZEKIEL goes out as if in fear, R., slyly beckoning to SARAH JANE to
go too. She nods and goes out by another door, R. MRS. HOBBS throws
EZEKIEL’S pack after him._)

MRS. H. (_going toward MRS. S. with tongs upraised_). Now, old Skinflint,
do you go too. You’ve made mischief enough here. I don’t blame the man
for throwin’ your miserable pie away. I hope it wont pizen the fishes.

MRS. S. (_looking back as she goes out, R._). I guess you’ll find you’ve
got enough to look after, without ’tendin’ to your neighbors’ business
(_pointing_). There goes Sairy Jane with that peddler’s arm round her

                      (_Exit MRS. SKINFLINT from one door, R., while MRS.
                       HOBBS dashes out from another, R. Curtain falls._)



    MR. EDWARD HENDERSON, ⎬ Merchants.
    MR. FRANK BURLEY,     ⎭
    MRS. BURLEY, Mr. Burley’s Wife.
    MRS. STOCKBRIDGE,     ⎫ Mrs. Burley’s Friends.
    MRS. WHEELER,         ⎭
    JAMES, A Customer.
    BRIDGET MURPHY,       ⎫ Owners of Fruit Stands.
    KATE O’CALLAHAN,      ⎭

    SCENE I.—_CHARLES GOODENOW, R., sits in a chair, tipped back,
    gazing thoughtfully into the upper distance. His head rests
    upon his hands which are clasped behind it. Enter FRANK BURLEY,

FRANK. Hallo, Charlie. In the land of dreams? If so I won’t disturb you.

CHARLES (_not answering immediately_). Not exactly dreaming. There was
too much reality about my thoughts for that. But sit down, Frank.

F. (_sitting down_). And what were you thinking about, if I am allowed to

C. I was thinking what slaves we were to Fashion and Mrs. Grundy. I don’t
know of one of my acquaintances who would have courage enough to do
anything which would conflict with the usages of so-called good society.

F. Don’t include me in that category. I have too much independence to be
subject to the dictation of others.

C. You think so, my dear fellow; but you don’t realize your own weakness.

F. On the contrary, I am confident of my strength, and am willing to
wager you one hundred dollars against fifty that I will follow out any
plan you may promise to test my courage.

C. I accept the stakes, and feel sure of winning them. Now what shall the
plan be? Let me see. (_Covers face with his hands for a moment—pauses._)
I have it. Frank, you must tend a peanut and apple stand in the Park for
one whole day.

F. (_quickly_). I am willing to do it.

C. (_emphatically_). Remember, you must tend it the whole day long,
without absenting yourself for any cause, except to take an hour for

F. I agree to that; nay, I will go further, and will promise to dine at
the stand.

C. When shall the trial take place?

F. As soon as possible, that you may know how well I shall succeed. Let
_to-morrow_ be the day.

C. Very well; but there is to be one condition about the matter. No one
must suspect your reasons for doing this, as, in that case, there would
be no test at all. If you even hint anything about it, you will lose the

F. I agree to that.

C. Well, I’ll call round on you to-morrow, occasionally, to see how you
make out in the new business.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II. _In the Park. Two apple-stands at the back of stage.
    They are several feet apart, and presided over by BRIDGET
    stands a little in front, but between them, gazing first at one
    and then at the other._

MRS. O’CALLAHAN (_rising—with her knitting in her hand_). Some peanuts,
sir, or apples—nice apples three cents apiece?

MRS. MURPHY (_wiping apples on apron_). Here’s where you’ll find your
nice apples—three cents apiece, and a good deal bigger than the other

F. (_approaching MRS. M.’S stand_). What will you sell your whole stock
to me for, my good woman?

MRS. M. (_regarding him attentively_). And what do the likes of you want
of it?

F. I want to buy your stock, and tend this stand to-day.

MRS. M. (_doubtfully_). Honor bright?

F. Yes. To-morrow you can have it back again, and I’ll give you the stock
that’s left over.

MRS. M. (_shrewdly_). What’ll you give for it?

F. I don’t know what it’s worth, but I’ll give you ten dollars for the

MRS. M. (_quickly_). You can have ’em all for that.

MRS. O’C. That’s four times more’n they’re all worth.

MRS. M. You’d better mind yer own business, O’Callahan. There comes a boy
that wants an apple maybe. (_Boy comes in, looks at apples and passes

F. You’ll have to tell me how you sell the things. I don’t know anything
about the prices.

MRS. M. The apples are three cents apiece. Some of the peaches are three
cents, and some two cents, and them bananas are ten cents apiece. If you
sell a dozen of ’em at once, you’ll sell at a little less price.

F. That’ll do. I guess I shall get along well now.

MRS. M. Shan’t I lend you my apron to shine the apples with?

F. No, I thank you; I guess they look well enough.

(_MRS. M. went out, L., going past MRS. O’C.’S stand, and holding the
bill which she had received exultingly towards her. JAMES enters, L._)

JAMES (_to O’C._). How do you sell your apples?

MRS. O’C. Three cents apiece.

J. (_to F._). How do _you_ sell _yours_?

F. Two cents apiece.

J. Well as yours are bigger and lower priced I’ll take four of them.
(_Takes them and pays for them and exit._)

(_Several other persons pass in and buy of FRANK, to all of whom he sells
under price._)

MRS. O’C. (_coming towards him with threatening gestures_). What do you
mean by coming here, and interfering with a respectable woman?

F. I am not interfering with you.

MRS. O’C. Aint you, though? I call it interferin’ with my rights when you
come and sell your apples under price.

F. I’ll tell you what it is, my good woman, I’ve sold most of my apples,
and I will buy some of yours.

MRS. O’C. (_somewhat mollified_). And what’ll ye pay me for them?

F. Three cents apiece.

MRS. O’C. (_surprised_). And you’re goin’ to sell ’em agin for two cents?

F. Yes, there’s nothing like keeping trade lively.

MRS. O’C. Well, you’re the quairest man I ever did see.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_MRS. BURLEY’S parlor. MRS. B. present, R. MRS.
    STOCKBRIDGE and MRS. WHEELER enter L. They cross the room and
    shake hands cordially with MRS. B._

MRS. STOCKBRIDGE. How do you do, my dear Mrs. Burley?

MRS. WHEELER (_to MRS. B._) How do you do? I am delighted to see you
looking so well.

MRS. BURLEY. Thank you; I am well, and glad to see you both. Take seats,
won’t you?

MRS. S. (_aside to MRS. W._) _She_ doesn’t know of it, I’m sure. (_To
MRS. B._) Have you heard the news about Mr. Walters?

MRS. B. (_interested._) No. What is it?

MRS. S. He is hopelessly insane.

MRS. B. That is very sad. But what was the cause?

MRS. S. Overwork, I believe. Is it not so, Mrs. Wheeler?

MRS. W. That is the report, and it is said his wife doesn’t dare to be
alone with him.

MRS. S. I heard that, yesterday, he jumped from a window in the second
story, and injured himself very much.

MRS. B. How shocking!

MRS. W. He said he intended to kill himself, and was sorry he didn’t.

MRS. B. No wonder his wife feels timid. I dare say he will make another
attempt at suicide.

MRS. W. There’s no doubt of it. In fact he told his wife so.

MRS. S. He has threatened her life too; several times I believe. (_To
MRS. B. in significant tone._) By the way, Mrs. Burley, is _your_ husband

MRS. B. (_startled_). Certainly. But why do you ask?

MRS. S. Oh, I merely inquired.

MRS. B. But you had some motive in asking. What was it?

MRS. S. Tell her, Mrs. Wheeler.

MRS. W. Oh, it’s nothing I dare say. Still, some things look a little

MRS. B. (_anxiously_). Pray explain.

MRS. S. Was your husband at home to dinner to-day?

MRS. B. No, he said he should be too busy, and would dine down-town.

MRS. S. He didn’t state the nature of his business, did he?

MRS. B. No, but I supposed he was detained at the store. Do you know
anything of it?

MRS. S. Yes; he’s been tending an apple-stand all day to-day.

MRS. B. (_surprised_). It cannot be. You are surely mistaken.

MRS. S. Not at all. It has been the town talk.

MRS. B. (_meditatively_). It is very strange.

MRS. S. Insanity is not hereditary in your husband’s family, is it?

MRS. B. Oh, no; and yet—let me see. Yes, I am sure he told me that his
grandfather died insane. But Frank never could be in such a state. He has
too strong a mind for that.

MRS. S. Still, you can’t help thinking it is a little singular.

MRS. B. Ye—es. But I cannot credit it. It seems impossible.

MRS. W. Suppose you walk down to the Park and satisfy yourself.

MRS. B. (_eagerly_). I will do so if you will go with me. I am too
nervous to go alone.

MRS. S. We are willing to accompany you. Is it not so, Mrs. Wheeler?

MRS. W. Certainty. We could not desert you while you are in such trouble.

MRS. B. (_excitedly_). I will get my bonnet at once. I will not detain
you but a moment.

                                      (_Exit MRS. B., R. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE IV.—_Same as Scene II., except that MR. B. has charge of
    MRS. MURPHY’S stand. Enter JAMES, who examines fruit at each
    of the stands. MRS. B. and two companions are seen at side
    entrance, L., looking furtively at MR. B. They talk aside._

MRS. S. Arc you satisfied that it is he?

MRS. B. Yes, it is certainty Frank; but (_perplexed_) what can he be
there for?

MRS. S. Why don’t you ask him?

MRS. B. I hardly know what to do.

MRS. S. There are two gentlemen coming. Wait and see what they say.

(_Enter MR. GOODENOW and MR. HENDERSON. MRS. B. beckons to policeman, and
talks with him._)

MR. HENDERSON. Hallo, Mr. Burley; haven’t you got into a new business?

MR. B. Yes, I have (_smiling_).

MR. H. (_quizzically_). How do you enjoy it?

MR. B. Very much, of course, or I should not have entered into it.

MR. H. Going to make a permanent business of it?

MR. B. Can’t tell till I have tried it a week or two.

MR. H. (_amused_). Burley, you play your part well, that’s a fact.

MR. B. (_in apparent surprise_). Play my part well! What do you mean?

MR. H. Well, this is what I’ve got to say: If you are not tending this
stand you must be insane. (_Turning to MR. G._) Don’t you think so,

MR. GOODENOW. It looks like it, certainly. (_Enter MRS. G. and her
friends, L._) Ah! here comes Mrs. Burley.

(_MR. G. and MR. H. gaze at them with curiosity. MR. B. looks

MRS. B. What are you doing, Frank?

MR. B. Tending an apple-stand, my love.

MRS. B. And pray what do you mean by disgracing your family in such a way?

F. I don’t see any disgrace about it. A dollar earned in this way is as
good as one gained in Pearl street.

MRS. O’C. (_who has been listening interestedly_). An’ it’s little enough
money you’ll make out of this business. Sure an’ the sooner you give up
yer stand the richer you’ll be.

JAMES (_to F._). Here you, I say give me two of them bananas. (_Pays for
them, and exit, eating._)

MRS. B. (_aside to ladies_). Well, I can’t bear this any longer.
Something must be done.

MRS. W. What shall it be?

MRS. S. One can see plainly enough he is insane.

MRS. B. (_turning to policeman_). You can see that he is evidently insane.

POLICEMAN. He does act strange, don’t he? A rich merchant like him, to
tend an apple-stand! But what shall I do?

MRS. B. I don’t know. This is probably the first stage of the disease.
I’m afraid he may become violent.

P. Would you advise me to arrest him?

MRS. B. (_whose thoughts revert to MR. WALTERS_). I am so distressed I
hardly know; but it seems as if he ought to be prevented from doing any
mischief. Perhaps it would be better to do so. That would bring matters
to a crisis, and we should know the worst.

(_Policeman goes round and comes in at an entrance back of MR. B.
Before the latter realizes it, he is handcuffed. He starts up at once,

MR. B. What do you mean by insulting me in this manner? Take these irons
off this instant. Do you hear?

MRS. S. (_to MRS. B._). He is getting worse, you see.

P. I couldn’t do it, my man. You better come with me. (_Takes him by the

MR. B. Stop. First tell me what all this means.

P. Certainly. No gentleman in your position would think of leaving his
business and tending an apple-stand if he was in his right mind. So I
have put on these bracelets to prevent your doing any violence.

MR. B. Ha, ha, ha! “So fades my dreams!” Goodenow, you must give me
credit for sustaining my part of the agreement, as far as I alone am
concerned. But circumstances have conspired against me. (_Turning to
his wife._) My friend and myself laid a wager that I had not sufficient
courage to tend an apple-stand one whole day without giving any
explanation thereof. In attempting to do this it seems I have laid
myself under suspicion of being insane. I therefore abdicate in favor of
Mrs. Bridget Murphy, trusting she may find the position a pleasant and
more lucrative one than I have done. (_He comes forward and MRS. MURPHY
enters and takes his place._) Henceforth, like a dutiful subject, I will
restrain all improper inclinations, and confess that, like my friends and
neighbors, I, too, am a slave of Mrs. Grundy.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    MRS. CYNTHIA LELAND, a Farmer’s Wife.
    MRS. MONTGOMERY, a Friend and former Schoolmate of Mrs. L.
    HANNAH LELAND, Mr. Leland’s Sister.
    OBADIAH RAKESTRAW, a Bachelor.
    CARRIE LELAND, Mrs. L.’s Daughter.
    HERBERT WALTON, Carrie’s Lover.
    ADOLPHUS FITZ-WILLIAM, Mrs. M.’s Nephew.
    CALEB LELAND, Carrie’s Brother.

    SCENE I.—_In the field. CARRIE enters, R._

CARRIE (_soliloquizing_). So Mrs. Montgomery’s nephew is coming to-day.
I hope he is agreeable. I wonder if he is engaged. It must be nice to
marry a rich man, and live in the city, and go to balls, parties, and
the theatre. I don’t understand why Mrs. Montgomery doesn’t feel so. She
married a merchant, and can live in fine style in the city, but yet she
prefers the country. And to-day her nephew is coming here. He thinks
people on a farm are countrified, but I guess we can show him they are
not all so. I’ve a good mind to flirt with him a little, by way of
variety. I don’t believe it would be very difficult to captivate him.
Perhaps, I can teach him a lesson. (_Enter HERBERT, L., with a rake in
his hand._) Ah, Herbert—just going to work?

HERBERT. Yes. Won’t you go, too?

CAR. What inducement have you to offer?

H. A ride home on the hay after it is put into the wagon.

CAR. That might be sufficient sometimes, but not now, for I must hurry
home. Do you know, Herbert, we are to have a new-comer at our house, this

H. No. Who is it?

CAR. Mrs. Montgomery’s nephew. Adolphus Fitz-William is his name, I
believe. His aunt says he has never been in the country at all, and he
thinks farmers’ families are countrified to the last degree. She has his
picture, and it looks very foppish.

H. And he is coming to-day, is he?

CAR. Yes; he’s expected in the first afternoon train, and it’s about time
for that to be here. (_Hears a step, and turns toward L._) I guess that’s
he now. I must go. (_She hurries out, R._)

(_ADOLPHUS enters, L. He wears eye-glasses, and carries a cane; speaks

ADOLPHUS. Can you tell me, aw, where Fawmer Leland lives, Jawnathan?

H. (_leaning carelessly on rake—aside_). I think I’ll humor him.
(_Aloud._) Wal, there now, who’d ’a’ thought you’d known what my name
was? Who told yer?

A. (_disdainfully_). You’re vewy familiah. Do you know where Fawmer
Leland lives?

H. (_eagerly_). You aint come to court his daughter, be ye?

A. Ah, has he a daughter?

H. He has that, an’ a pooty one, too. Rosy cheeks an’ bright eyes she’s
got. I tell ye, she’s harnsome. I think some o’ sparkin’ her myself.

A. (_contemptuously_). You, aw! Impossible! She wouldn’t look at such a

H. You dunno. Love goes whar it’s sent, an’ mebbe it’ll be sent to me.

A. But, aw, you haven’t answered my question. Can you tell me, aw, where
Fawmer Leland lives?

H. Oh, yes, I remember. But, ’say, did yer come from the city to-day?

A. No, aw didn’t.

H. Is that so? I swar, I thought yer did—yer look so ’mazin’ spruce. How
long be yer goin’ to stay, now?

A. No mattaw.

H. Sho, now, don’t go ter gittin’ mad over it.

A. (_angrily_). Will you tell me, aw, where Fawmer Leland lives or will
you not, aw?

H. In course I will; but you needn’t git so mighty mad. Ye haint asked me

A. (_emphatically_). I’ve asked you fower sevewal times.

H. It’s no sich a thing. Ye asked me if I could tell yer where he lived
and ef I knowed where he lived. In course I couldn’t arnser a question
’fore ’twas put. I was eddicated to be perlite even ter my inferiors.
When yer _ask_ the question, I’ll arnser it.

A. (_in a loud voice_). You impertinent fellaw, where does Fawmer Leland

H. Don’t go to puttin’ on airs, now. D’ye see them chimblys over there?
(_pointing R._).

A. Yes, aw do.

H. Well, then, make a bee-line for ’em. Them’s the chimblys to Farmer
Leland’s house. (_Exit A., R._ _H., solus._) If he’d been a civil feller,
I’d ’a’ shown him the path. Now he’ll have to climb four rickety stone
walls, and I dunno as how he can do it safely with them tight breeches
on. But I must go to work. _Tempus fuggit_, as the schoolmaster says.

                  (_Exit, L., with rake on his shoulder. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_MRS. LELAND’S sitting-room. CALEB, sitting, R. C.,
    peeling apples. CARRIE, L. C., dusting furniture. Enter AUNT
    HANNAH, R._

AUNT HANNAH (_in a complaining tone_). Well, I declare, haint you begun
your baking yet, Car’line? It’s nigh onto noon, and you won’t get dinner
ready in season.

CAR. Well, you know I can’t make my pies till the apples are ready.
You’ll have to talk to Caleb. I’ve been trying to hurry him.

A. H. (_to CAL., severely_). I should be ashamed, if I was a boy, to be
so long peeling a few apples.

CAL. Oh, what’s the use in hurrying? There’s plenty of time.

A. H. (_testily_). In my young days things didn’t go on so. Good
house-keepers got their bakin’ done by eight o’clock in the morning. They
didn’t spend all day in the kitchen, as they do now.

CAR. Don’t be troubled, Aunt Hannah; everything will be finished early,
and dinner on the table at the usual time.

A. H. Well, I hope ’twill, but things don’t look much like it now.

                                                        (_Exit A. H., L._)

CAL. Aunt Hannah is never happy except when she’s finding fault with
somebody. She’s gone off mad, and I’m glad of it. I hope she’ll stay away.

(_Enter ADOLPHUS, L._)

ADOLPHUS. I’ve been looking for you, Miss Carwy. Will you, aw, go out and
walk with me this morning?

CAR. I don’t think I could. Mother is away, you know, and I have all the
housework to do.

A. Couldn’t I, aw, assist you, so you could go?

CAR. I think not. I’m afraid there’s none of my work that you could do.

CAL. (_shaking his head in a significant way_). You jest make me that
offer, Mr. Fitz. I’ll warrant you I won’t refuse. I know you’ll be able
to do _my_ work. And I can show you round a great deal better than Carrie

(_A. deigns no reply to CAL., but gazes earnestly at CAR._)

CAR. I declare, I’m afraid my bread is burning. I nearly forgot it.
(_Goes out, R._)

CAL. Heigho! I don’t feel like peeling apples. I guess I’ll see what girl
loves me best. (_Lifts the entire skin of an apple, which he has taken
off in one long strip, and swings it slowly three times round his head,
then drops it on the floor behind him. He stoops and examines it eagerly,
then claps his hands._) Sure’s the world, that’s an L, an’ stands for
Lizy Blake. I was most sure ’twould be so. That sign always comes true.

A. (_who had been looking on with interest_). What are you doing, aw,

CAL. I’ve been finding out who was my true love. Want to try your hand at

A. (_glancing round to see that no one else is present_). Well, aw, I
might try.

CAL. That one’s broken, but I’ll soon make you another. (_Takes an apple,
peels it, and passes the skin to A. The latter swings it very awkwardly
round his head, staggering as he endeavors to do so without breaking it.
At last he drops it on the floor behind him._)

CAL. I declare, Mr. Fitz, you’re about as graceful as a cow.

A. (_unheeding his remark, and examining the skin, which lay curled up on
the floor_). That’s a C, aw, plain enough.

CAL. (_looking at it closely_). It’s an exact H. Who can that stand for?
Oh, I know. It must be that you’re going to marry Aunt Hannah.

A. What do you mean, aw, by such a fawlshood? (_Attempts to strike CAL.
with his cane, but CAL. leaps behind a chair, which he lifts, and uses as
a protection. Enter CAR._)

CAR. Why, what’s the matter?

CAL. Nothing, only Mr. Fitz has been telling me who his sweetheart is,
and he don’t like it ’cause I won’t promise not to tell anybody.

CAR. You’d better go out in the kitchen, and finish your work. I’m in a
hurry for the apples.

                                  (_Exit, CAL., R. CAR. sits down, C._)

A. You must be tired, aw, with your labors.

CAR. Oh no, indeed; but I am waiting for that lazy Caleb to finish the
apples, so I can be making my pies.

A. (_deliberately spreading his handkerchief upon the floor before her,
and kneeling upon it_). Miss Leland—Carwy, I have long sought, aw, this
opportunity to confess, aw, my love for you. Do not deny me, aw, and doom
me to dwead despair.

(_A sound of approaching footsteps is heard._)

CAR. (_hurriedly_). Mr. Fitz-William, rise, I beseech you.

A. Not until you give me a favorable answer to my suit.

CAR. I cannot—I—(_Enter CAL., R. A. rises._)

CAL. (_laughs quite loud_). Ha! ha! ha! (_Enter MRS. MONTGOMERY and AUNT

MRS. MONTGOMERY. What can be the matter?

A. H. What’s all this noise about? Anybody’d think the house was afire,
to hear such a racket.

A. It’s that impertinent young wascal, aw, who’s been scweaming like a
locomotive whistle.

CAL. Who wouldn’t ’a’ laughed, if they’d come in, as I did, and seen Mr.
Fitz-William on his knees asking Carrie to marry him?

MRS. M. Why, Adolphus, I thought you were engaged to Helen Lindsay, who
lives in the city.

CAL. And ’twarn’t more’n ten minutes ago that he spoke about marryin’
Aunt Hannah. (_The spinster smiles benignantly._)

A. I did not, aw. I’d sooner marwy Beelzebub’s daughtaw than such a

A. H. (_seizing a broom and chasing him around the stage._) You would,
would ye? Then, you just git out o’ this house. You shan’t stay in it a
minute longer.

CAL. (_waving his hand_). That’s it, Aunt Hannah. Pitch into him lively.
Go ahead, an’ I’ll help yer.

                            (_Exit A., L., followed by A. H. and CALEB._)

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_The same. Time, six months later. MRS. LELAND,
    sitting at table, R. C., and CALEB, L. C. Enter AUNT HANNAH, R._

A. H. (_going to MRS. L._). Is this stockin’ goin’ to be large enough for

MRS. LELAND (_examining stocking_). I guess so. It is larger than the
last pair.

CAL. Aunt Hannah thinks my understanding is increasing pretty fast.

A. H. (_bluntly_). It’s a pity ’taint your politeness instid o’ your feet
that’s agrowin’.

MRS. L. (_looking up_). Take another chair, Caleb, and let your aunt have
the rocking-chair.

CAL. (_rising and taking another chair_). Of course—age before good looks.

A. H. (_sinking down into rocking-chair_). In my day, children warn’t
allowed to make fun of their relations.

MRS. L. Caleb doesn’t mean anything, Aunt Hannah, but he ought not to
speak so.

A. H. (_severely_). P’r’aps he don’t. This aint the fust time he’s been
sassy to me.

CAL. Well, why can’t you be jolly, like other folks? I have to make fun
so’s to make up for your lookin’ an’ talkin’ so dismal.

A. H. (_sighing_). Well, I shan’t always be here to trouble you with my
looks. When I’m gone, maybe you’ll wish you hadn’t laughed at me as you
have. (_Bell rings._)

CAL. (_eagerly_). There’s the door-bell. Shall I go, mother?

MRS. L. Yes, for I must go upstairs to get some pieces to mend this coat

                                                            (_Exit_, R.)

(_CAL. goes out, L., and immediately returns with a letter. He pretends
to be studying the address._)

CAL. M-m-iss Lel-land.

A. H. Calup, that letter’s for me. Give it to me this minute.

CAL. (_holding it behind him_). It aint a letter; it’s a valentine. It’s
got all sorts of pretty figures on the envelope. Promise, Aunt Hannah,
that you’ll let me see the inside of it, and I’ll give it to you right

A. H. (_rising, and laying knitting on the table_). I shan’t make any
promises. Give me that letter, Calup. (_CAL. runs round stage with
letter. His aunt, running after him, tries in vain to catch him._)

MRS. L. (_from outside_). Ca-leb! Ca-leb!

CAL. (_darting across the room in a tantalizing way, lays letter on the
table_). By the time you get it read, Aunt Hannah, I’ll be back all ready
to see it.

                                                             (_Exit, R._)

A. H. (_takes letter eagerly, and sits down, L. C._). It is a valentine,
as sure as I’m alive. Who could have sent it? (_Reads._)

    “My dearest One: This is St. Valentine’s, the day when every
    person is privileged to write tender epistles to their loved
    ones. So I have seated myself to write to you. I did think of
    asking you a question which my past attentions have, no doubt,
    led you to expect. But, on second thoughts, I have concluded to
    call on you and ask the question in person. I am sure you will
    have no difficulty in recognizing

                                          “YOUR DEVOTED VALENTINE.”

A. H. (_laying valentine on table, sits back in chair, clasps her
hands together, rocking, and apparently meditating_). Well, there’s a
perspective proposal, and I’m sure it couldn’t come from anybody but
Obadiah Rakestraw. His mother’s just died, and he used to go to singing
school with me when I was a girl (_complacently_), and he’ll be here
to-night. I guess I’ll go and fix up a little, as long as he’s sent me
word he’s coming.

                            (_Exit A. H., R. Enter CARRIE by same door._)

CAR. (_soliloquizing_). Oh, dear, how unhappy I am! it is six months
since Herbert went away, and I know it was because he thought I liked
that popinjay Adolphus. Of course, he doesn’t know that it was nothing
but a flirtation, and that I couldn’t endure the sight of Adolphus
afterwards. I didn’t think Herbert would have gone off so suddenly,
without even writing me a note to say he was going. Six months ago, and
I’ve been so miserable all this weary time! (_Suddenly sees the letter._)
What’s this, a valentine, addressed to Miss Leland? Why, that’s my name,
and, of course, I have a right to read it. (_Opens it, and notices
contents._) Yes, it was intended for me, and is in Herbert’s handwriting
(_joyfully_), and he is to be here this evening! But how came it opened?
(_With sudden thought._) It must be that Aunt Hannah has opened and read
it, thinking it was intended for her. I guess I’ll place the letter where
I found it (_lays it down_), and leave the room till the time comes for
Herbert to arrive.

                                  (_Exit CARRIE, L., and enter CALEB, R._)

CAL. Well, that’s pretty treatment, for Aunt Hannah to go off when I told
her partic’larly I was coming right back; and most likely she has carried
the valentine with her. (_Looking round, his gaze falls on the letter._)
No, she hasn’t, either. By George! she was quite good, for her. (_Takes
letter, which he opens and reads. Looks up with ludicrous expression._)
So Aunt Hannah has really got a beau! Who can he be? I guess he don’t
know her as well as some folks do. Let’s see (_Consulting the letter._)
He’s coming here to-night to ask her that question. It’ll be worth a
great deal to see anybody making love to Aunt Hannah. How can I manage
to be round to see how it’s done? (_Looks around._) Oh, this is just
the thing. (_Goes behind a curtain, which he draws, thereby concealing
himself. A. H., dressed in black silk and wearing a gay headdress,
enters, R._)

A. H. (_taking letter, which she puts in her pocket_). Well, there, I was
rather ventur’som in leaving this valentine on the table. It’s a wonder
that Calup didn’t come in an’ get hold of it. If he had, I’d never have
heard the last of it. (_A knock at the door, L. A. H. opens it, and

A. H. Good evening, Mr. Rakestraw.

OBADIAH RAKESTRAW. Good-evening, Miss Leland. So you’re all alone
this evening. (_They sit down with their backs to CALEB’S place of

A. H. Yes, I happen to be just now, but I suppose the rest of the folks
will be in soon. (_Aside._) I wonder if he won’t take the hint.

CAL. (_aside._) Oh, my! aint she sly?

O. R. I thought I’d just come in and make a neighborly call this evening.

A. H. Just so. I’m glad the spirit took ye. It be kind o’ lonesome for
you at home.

O. R. Wall, ’tis so sometimes.

A. H. Ye ought to get married.

O. R. I’m afraid nobody’d have me.

A. H. Oh, you’re too shy. There’s nothin’ like tryin’. To-night is St.
Valentine’s, and there aint no time like the present. All ye’ve got to do
is jest ask the question. I’ll warrant you’ll get a favorable answer.

CAL. (_aside_). Don’t she drive business?

O. R. Wall, I’ve a good mind to take your advice. As you say, ’tis kind
o’ lonesome, an’ I can’t more’n get refused (_rising_); so I’ll jest go
over an’ ask Hitty Trumbull if she’ll marry me.

A. H. (_indignantly, rising_). Mehitable Trumbull! You don’t mean you’re
going to offer yourself to her.

O. R. That’s jest what I mean.

A. H. Well, it’s downright dishonorable treatment, after the letter you
sent me to-day.

O. R. (_surprised_). I haven’t sent you any letter.

A. H. (_taking it from pocket_). Didn’t you write that valentine?

O. R. (_glancing over it_). I never saw it before; and, between you and
me, I don’t think it was intended for you.

A. H. Do you mean to insult me by saying I open other folks’ letters?

O. R. Not exactly, but I think this was written to your niece. It aint
the kind o’ valentine one would be likely to send to a person of your age.

A. H. (_in a high tone_). You mean to twit me about my age, do you? I’ll
just let you know that I’m six years younger than Mehitable Trumbull. But
I won’t listen to any more of your insultin’ remarks; so just leave this
house, or I’ll call somebody to help you.

O. R. It’s lucky I didn’t offer to marry you, as you asked me to. I see
your temper hasn’t improved any since we used to go to singing-school

          (_Exit O. R., L. A. H., almost frantic, paces back and forth._)

A. H. The villain! to treat me so. But it’s lucky none of the folks know
anything about it. I must change my dress before any of them come in.

                                                       (_Exit A. H., R._)

CAL. (_coming forward_). Wasn’t that rich? To think of Aunt Hannah, who
“wouldn’t marry the best man living,” offering herself, and then, after
all, that her love should be refused. (_Voices outside._) But who’s that?
Perhaps, she’s coming back again. She mustn’t find me here. (_Hides
behind the curtain. Enter HERBERT and CARRIE, talking earnestly._)

CAR. It was only by accident that I happened to see your letter at all.
Aunt Hannah received and read it, and thought it was sent to her.

H. Who could she have supposed sent it?

CAR. I don’t know, I’m sure.

CAL. (_peeping out, aside_). I know all about it.

H. But you haven’t answered the question it contained.

CAR. (_demurely_). Did it contain one? I thought the note said you
intended to ask a question; but, as you didn’t do so, I supposed you’d
changed your mind.

H. You needn’t pretend ignorance. I can’t propose with the same grace
that Adolphus did, but you can’t help knowing that I meant to ask you to
marry me. (_Taking her hand._) Will you be my wife, Carrie?

CAR. (_archly_). I suppose it wouldn’t do to say anything but “Yes,”
especially as, if I refuse, I couldn’t return your letter, since Aunt
Hannah has taken possession of it.

H. I shouldn’t be satisfied with any other answer. Now, let’s go and tell
your mother about it, and then we’ll set the wedding day.

                                                  (_Exeunt, arm in arm._)

CAL. (_coming forward_). Well that was a little addition I didn’t expect.
I’ve always wondered how folks popped the question, but I’ve found out
all about it, and now I can do it like a book. I guess I’ll go down and
see ’Lizy Blake before I forget how it’s done. If she says “Yes” we’ll
have a loaf of wedding-cake as big as our new school-house. (_With sudden
thought_) I don’t know though, but I ought to write a valentine, and send
to her, first, to let her know I’m coming. That’s the way Herbert did.
But then, just as likely as not, her aunt Lizy’d get it, thinking ’twas
for her. She’s cross-eyed, an’ wears false hair an’ store teeth, an’ I
couldn’t have her on my hands. No, I guess I’ll go right down, an’ do my
sparkin’ in good style, an’ wind up by askin’ ’Lizy if _I_ shan’t be her

                                               (_Exit L. Curtain falls._)



    MR. HIRAM BLISS, A Wealthy Bachelor.
    DICK WELLINGTON, His Nephew and Prospective Heir.

    SCENE I.—_MR. BLISS’ parlor. MR. B. present, pacing back and

MR. BLISS (_soliloquizing_). Sixty years old to-day! Well, well, how
time passes! It seems but yesterday since I was a lad, going to school,
and making love to the girls, instead of studying the lessons which
Master Winthrop gave out. It seems strange how persons change as they
grow older. Then, I was a favorite with the girls, and always escorted
one or more to every party, husking, or apple-bee. Now, when called upon
to entertain a marriageable person of the other sex, I’m thrown into a
decided flutter. It’s ridiculous for one of my age and experience, but
still it is a lamentable fact. There was Minnie Warren, a blue-eyed
little fairy to whom I got very much attached; in tact, we were engaged.
I believe if she hadn’t left Cherryville as she did, I should have
finally married her. I was indignant enough when I heard that her father
had bought the Union Mills, and the family were going to leave town. She
finally married, I heard, and made some man happy. (_A pause._) Well,
some say every one has their share of good and ill fortune; but the fact
is, I believe that some are fated to be happy, and some to be miserable
in this world.

DICK (_entering, L._). Hallo, uncle; have you got the blues? What right
have you to talk about being miserable—you, who have everything that
wealth can procure to make you happy?

MR. B. I know I have everything comfortable here, but the fact is, Dick,
I’m lonely in this great house. You, who pass most of your time in a
store, with people constantly coming and going, take pleasure in spending
a week or two in a quiet place, and among new scenes; but there’s no
novelty in it to me, who have lived here for twenty years with no one in
the house but servants.

D. It must be rather lonesome to live here all the time (_glancing
furtively at his companion_). I expect you’ll be marrying one of these
days, uncle.

MR. B. I might have done so once, but it’s too late now. I’ve got settled
down in my bachelor ways, and cannot depart from them.

D. (_mischievously_). You may be forced to depart from them, uncle.

MR. B. (_alarmed_). What do you mean, Dick?

D. You remember the widow Payne, that we have met several times lately?

MR. B. (_interested_). Yes. What of her?

D. She has been heard to express a very favorable opinion of you.

MR. B. That amounts to nothing.

D. But you know that this is leap year, when ladies are privileged to

MR. B. (_startled_). But you don’t think she would do such a thing?

D. (_solemnly_). It is impossible to say. She is a widow, and you know
the race of men has been warned, by an astute observer of human nature,
to beware of that class of humanity. If she has any sympathy with the
“Woman’s Rights” movement, I’m afraid you’re fated, uncle.

MR. B. I couldn’t stand that. But what shall I do, Dick? Leave town?

D. There wouldn’t be any use in that, unless you staid away the remainder
of the year.

MR. B. (_nervously_). I couldn’t do that.

D. Then be courageous and bear it like a man. Of course you’d refuse the
honor (_questioningly_)?

MR. B. Of course I should. I wouldn’t accept under any consideration.

D. Then that’s all settled. But if you should get into any kind of a
scrape, just let me know, and I’ll get you out of it—trust me, uncle.

MR. B. Well, I think I will. No doubt you know more about those things
than I do.

D. (_smiling_). I dare say I do.

MR. B. (_rising_). Well, I must go and take my morning walk. Will you go

D. (_rising_). Yes; where shall we go?

MR. B. We might as well go and call on the widow, and take a survey of
the situation, as I don’t mean to be entrapped by any of her wiles.

D. (_sharply scrutinizing MR. B.—aside_). I must look out for this uncle
of mine. He may himself propose to the widow, instead of her proposing
to him, and that would be death to my prospects. I must look out and not
lose the property. (_Takes out a couple of cigars, which he offers to his
uncle.—Aloud._) Have a cigar, uncle?

MR. B.—Thank you, I don’t care if I do. (_Takes one._)

                                            (_Exeunt, L. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_The same. Time, evening. MR. BLISS sits alone, R.,
    with his feet resting on the table, smoking and reading the
    evening paper. A lady (DICK disguised as MRS. PAYNE) enters L.,
    wearing bonnet and shawl, and closely veiled. MR. BLISS starts
    up in excitement and offers his hand._

MR. B. Good-evening, Mrs. Payne. I am very happy to see you. (_Leads her
to a seat._) Lay aside your bonnet and shawl, won’t you?

MRS. PAYNE. No, I thank you. I cannot stop long. I only came in to make a

MR. B. I am afraid this smoke is offensive to you.

MRS. P. Oh, not at all. I enjoy the fragrance of a good cigar.

(_MR. B. lays down his cigar._)

MRS. P. It is quite cool out, this evening.

MR. B. Yes—no—that is, it may be—but I haven’t been out this evening.

MRS. P. I haven’t seen you at our house for several days.

MR. B. (_nervously_). No—I—have been very busy and couldn’t come, but
have thought of you, and meant to come.

MRS. P. So you have thought of me. I am glad of that. I have thought of
you, also.

MR. B. (_startled_). Ah! Th—thank you, but—

MRS. P. (_interrupting_). I dare say you couldn’t guess my errand

MR. B. (_nervously_). Oh—no, of course not.

MRS. P. I have long loved you, and have felt certain that I was not
disagreeable to you—and, knowing your timidity, I have availed myself of
the privileges of Leap Year to come and offer myself to you. (_Rises and
throws her arms around his neck._) Hiram, I love you,—do you reciprocate
my affection?

MR. B. (_almost overpowered, and looking around, nervously_). I—I—must
take time to think of it—it is so sudden.

MRS. P. It may be sudden—and yet why delay our happiness? (_Her head
droops on his shoulder._)

MR. B. I—I need time to consider (_a sound of approaching footsteps is
heard_)—I—I must go—let me go. I have an engagement at nine.

MRS. P. Then give your consent to our marriage.

MR. B. (_struggling frantically to free himself_). I cannot—I—(_a sound
is heard as of a person at the door_). Let me go—let me go—(_in an
imploring tone_) quick—somebody’s coming.

MRS. P. Say yes, then, dearest Hiram.

MR. B. (_in an agony of fear_). Yes, yes—anything, if you will only
leave me. (_MRS. P. imprints an audible kiss upon his forehead and turns
to leave the room. Apparently by mistake she grasps the bell-knob and
pulls it vigorously. She goes out by one door, L., as servant enters by
another, R._)

SERVANT. Did you ring, sir?

MR. B. Ring? N—no. I don’t wish for anything.

S. That’s strange. The bell rang distinctly, and so loud that I thought
you was in a hurry.

MR. B. Well, it’s of no consequence. I don’t need anything.

                                                     (_Exit SERVANT, R._)

MR. B. (_pacing the room and soliloquizing_). What have I done? Engaged
myself to this widow, notwithstanding all my resolutions to the contrary.
But something must be done about it. What shall it be? I might leave
town—but that would be cowardly. Besides, I shouldn’t want to shut up
the house. I might write, saying I had changed my mind; but I’m afraid
that wouldn’t be just the thing. (_Paces back and forth a few moments
without speaking._) The fact is, I shall be obliged to marry the widow.
There seems to be no other way left me, after giving my promise to her.
But I won’t say a word to Dick about it. (_A pause._) After all, I might
do a worse thing. She would be a credit to my establishment, and the
presence of a woman _would_ brighten up the house. I guess I must go
there in the morning and talk the matter over.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_MRS. PAYNE’S sitting-room. MRS. PAYNE present
    sewing, R. MR. BLISS enters, L._

MRS. P. Good-morning, Mr. Bliss.

MR. B. Good-morning, and a charming morning it is. I came, Mrs. Payne, to
speak further on the matter we were talking of last evening.

MRS. P. Last evening? You mean a week ago.

MR. B. No, I mean last evening.

MRS. P. But you were not here last evening.

MR. B. (_perplexed_). Certainly not; but you called on me.

MRS. P. What do you mean, Mr. Bliss?

MR. B. (_smiling_). I mean that you made a leap-year call on me last
evening, and offered me your heart and hand, which I accepted.

MRS. P. (_casting down her eyes_). I am sorry to dispute you, but I had a
severe headache last evening, and did not leave the house.

MR. B. (_in a disappointed tone_). Is that so? But certainly some one
bearing your semblance called on me last evening. (_A pause._) It must
have been one of Dick’s harum-scarum tricks.

MRS. P. No doubt it was. He is full of mischief.

MR. B. Mrs. Payne—

MRS. P. (_smiling_). Well, Mr. Bliss.

MR. B. (_fidgeting nervously_). Couldn’t we make my vision of last
evening a reality?

MRS. P. Possibly we might, if you desired it very much. But I’m afraid
you haven’t counted the cost. You have been a bachelor so long, that you
might soon tire of a wife, and consider her an intruder.

MR. B. I am satisfied it would not be so. Besides it seems as if I had
known you before; where can I have met you?

MRS. P. Why, don’t you remember? I knew you at once—I was formerly Minnie

MR. B. Then I claim you by right of an engagement made between us
forty-six years ago—when you were twelve and I was fourteen. Have you
forgotten it?

MRS. P. Oh, no, I remember it perfectly well; and how I cried when we
left town because you could not go too.

MR. B. (_drawing his chair nearer and placing his arm around her_).
There is a good deal of change in the age and size of your lover as he
was and as he is. Are you not afraid of repenting if you should marry him?

MRS. P. (_archly_). Oh, no. It is a good trade to exchange a little Payne
for a greater bliss. I am satisfied as far as I am concerned.

DICK (_entering, L._). Hallo! What’s all this? I’m afraid I’m intruding.
(_Looks anxiously at his companions._)

MR. B. Not at all. Allow me to present you to your future aunt.

DICK (_bowing low—aside_). There’s my inheritance gone to the dogs, and
by my own act. (_Aloud to uncle._) This is something new, isn’t it? How
did it all come about?

MR. B. (_significantly_). I had a leap-year vision last evening, and have
concluded, this morning, to make it a reality.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    MISS EVELYN MONTAGUE, A lady of Wealth.
    KATY MAGUIRE,    ⎫
    ANN FLAHERTY,    ⎪
    BRIDGET MAGLONE, ⎬ Her Servants.
    JAMES DUNN,      ⎪
    PAT. GARVEY,     ⎭
    ELLEN SWEENY,    ⎫
    JULIA GRIFFIN,   ⎬ Servants of Mrs. Bradley.
    CORNY REILLY,    ⎭

    SCENE I.—_MISS EVELYN’S chamber. KATY MAGUIRE, R., dressed in
    blue silk, standing before a mirror. She is putting on a lace

KATY. It is my private opinion that this blue dress is the purtiest of
the lot, an’ as long as Miss Evelyn won’t wear it, there’s no reason why
Katy Maguire shouldn’t. It won’t be long before it’ll be out of fashion;
an’ it might as well be doin’ a little good to somebody, first.

(_She takes out from jewel-case several sets of jewelry, and fastens
them in conspicuous places on the waist of the dress. She puts all the
bracelets she can find on her wrists, and places around her neck a gold
chain, and also a string of cornelian beads. Taking a richly-embroidered
handkerchief in her hand, she gazes complacently at herself in the

K. There, Katy Maguire (_courtesying to the image reflected_), you look
like a lady born and bred. If your mistress should see you now, she
wouldn’t need to ask if you was an experienced dressing-maid. There aint
many that shows such fine taste in dressin’, or has enough jewelry to
set off the dress with. What an ilegant trail it has, sure! (_glancing
complacently back at the dress, and taking two or three steps forward to
see the effect. Enter MARY, R._)

MARY (_starting back in surprise_). Well, Katy, who ever’d ha’ thought of
this being you? What are you rigged up in Miss Evelyn’s finery for?

K. (_loftily_). I am Miss Maguire, now, and I expect you’ll treat me
like a lady, as I am. I shall give a reception this evenin’ in the
drawin’-room, an’ when you go downstairs, you can invite Miss Flaherty,
Miss Maglone, an’ Mister Dunn to be present. An’ if Miss Flaherty thinks
best, she might send in to the next house, an’ invite our friends there
to come in.

M. What do you suppose Miss Evelyn will say?

K. (_sarcastically_). If you feel anxious to know ye might ask her when
she gets home. The entertainment’ll be over before that time. But yer
better be goin’ down now to deliver the invitation, as it’s gitting late
(_walks along a few steps, swinging her dress_).

M. (_with a look of hatred which changes to a malicious smile_) I’ll be
after goin’, thin, Miss Maguire. (_With a mocking bow she leaves the
room, R._)

K. It’s aisy to see that Mary is jealous of my good looks. But I pity the
poor crathur, for she’s as homely as a sick duck. I must go downstairs
now. It’s most time for James to be home from drivin’ Miss Evelyn to the
party. He’s a nice lad, an’ I’ll be much surprised if he aint took wid my

                                                             (_Exit, R._)

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    JAMES DUNN, L. C., and PAT. GARVEY, L., present. Enter MARY, L._

M. (_excitedly_). Well, I never seen sich doin’s before! (_All come
forward expectantly._)

BRIDGET. An’ what is it, Mary?

PATRICK (_eagerly_). What’s the row upstairs? Anybody kilt?

M. Katy’s been up to Miss Evelyn’s chamber an’ rigged up in her clothes,
an’ she says she’s goin’ to give a grand party in the drawin’-room this
avenin’, an’ invites all to be prisint.

JAMES (_rubbing his hands_). Ah! Katy’s a jew’l.

ANN. Av course we’ll all accept the invitation.

M. She says if ye thought best, he might sind in to the next house an’
invite the frinds there.

B. Sure an’ we _do_ think best. Pat., jist run over to Mr. Bradley’s an’
ask the cook an’ all the rest to come over here an’ pass the avenin’.
We’re going to have a grand party here. Tell ’em to come right away.

P. I’ll bring ’em all in, in five minutes.

                                            (_Exit L., swinging his hat._)

M. An’ what d’ye think Miss Evelyn will say?

B. Arrah now, Miss Evelyn will niver know anything about it. We’ll be all
through with the party before she comes home.

A. Indade an’ ye may trust Katy to get through’t safely. She’s lived with
the quality before now, an’ knows how things is done. She’s shrewd, Katy

J. That’s thrue for you. An’ how can Miss Evelyn come home till I go
after her? She tould me to have the carriage there at half-past twelve
o’clock, an’ it isn’t ulleven yit.

A. I’m thinkin’ we ought to have a trate before the party is over.

B. Av coorse we must have some refrishments.

J. I ixpect you ladies can manage that.

A. We’ve got plinty o’ presarves and cake an’ wine. But we’ll want some

J. I’ll furnish that same. I’ll sind Pat. for it whin he comes back.

B. Thin we’ll go upstairs now.

A. The rest of yez go, an’ I’ll lay the table all ready for the trate. It
won’t be long before I’ll be wid yez.

                                    (_Exit all but ANN. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_MISS EVELYN’S drawing-room. KATY seated on sofa,
    C., with the skirts of her dress spread out so as to make as
    great a display as possible. Enter ANN, BRIDGET, MARY and
    JAMES, R. All but MARY make low bows to her. She acknowledges
    the salutations by a slight inclination of her head._

J. This must be a very select party, when Miss Maguire didn’t invite more
persons to be prisint.

B. Sure we don’t know how many invitations she has sint out. Fashionable
people don’t come very airly. We’ll have more byme-by. (_Bell rings._)
They’re beginnin’ to arrive now.

K. Misther Dunn ye’ll oblige me by goin’ to the door, if ye plaze.

(_JAMES goes out, and soon returns L., with CORNY REILLY, ELLEN SWEENY
and JULIA GRIFFIN. He conducts them to KATY._)

J. Miss Maguire, this is Miss Sweeny, Miss Griffin, and Misther Reilly.

CORNY (_bowing with many flourishes_). My respects to yez, Miss Maguire.
(_The other two visitors bow, and KATY returns the salutations of all._)

J. Miss Maguire, won’t ye favor us with a little illegant music?

M. It’s little enough of that kind ye’ll get.

K. If ye’ll esquort me to the pianner, I’ll play pervidin’ yez will all

A. (_who has just entered_). Av coorse we will.

M. I aint a-goin’ to sing anyway.

K. (_sarcastically_). Yer vice won’t be missed, Miss Finnegan.

J. Allow me to lade yez to the pianner.

(_KATY takes his arm and goes to the piano, L. C., where she seats

K. (_turning around_). What can ye sing, ladies?

J. You choose the song for us.

K. Well, thin, it’s a midley I’ll play, an’ then ye can sing what ye

(_She commences drumming on the piano, and her companions, grouped around
her, sing, each one a different piece, a short one. Enter PAT., R., who
dances round the stage till the close of the singing._)

P. (_going to KATY and speaking in a low tone, but loud enough for all
to hear_). Say, Katy, I’ve been down-town, an’ got some ice-crame. It’s
downstairs now. We’re going to have a big trate byme-by.

K. (_smiling graciously_). Is that so, Pat.?

P. Yis, an’ the things on the table looked so timptin’ that I stopped an’
refreshed mesilf wid a little cake an’ wine. (_Begins to sing some Irish

J. Look here, Pat.; what did ye meddle with that wine for? Ye spalpeen, I
b’lave ye’re dhrunk.

P. (_slyly_). Sure, that’s where ye’re wrong, Misther Dunn. I jist took a
wee dthrop to keep my sperits up. (_Begins to dance._)

J. It’s more like ye’ve put all the sperits down yer throat, yer thafe of
the world!

P. Owin’ to my partic’lar good nature, I shan’t notice that little
insinivation o’ yours. But say, now, let’s have a dance. If you aint
goin’ ter play, Katy, jest be my partner, will yer?

J. Miss Maguire’s engaged ter me.

K. Yis, I’m engaged to Misther Dunn.

P. Whew! That’s the way the wind blows, thin. Well _dunn_, Jimmy! (_All

J. (_pushing PAT._). Jist be a little more respectful to your betters, ye
blackguard! (_Turning to KATY politely_) Will you allow me, Miss Maguire?
(_Offers his arm, which KATY takes, and they take their places for the

P. Say now, who’s goin’ to fiddle for us? Or is we goin’ ter dance widout
any music?

C. Miss Sweeny plays on the pianner at our house.

K. Then perhaps Miss Sweeny will do us the favor ter play for us.

(_In imitation of JAMES’ example, PAT. immediately rushes up to ELLEN,
saying with many flourishes:_)

P. Allow me, Miss Sweeny. (_She takes his arm and goes to piano and seats

(_PAT. goes to MARY, and offers his arm for the dance, but she turns
disdainfully from him, and goes out with a lofty air. PAT. then goes to
JULIA, who accepts him as a partner. CORNEY, at the same time, takes
BRIDGET and ANN (one on either arm), and all have taken their places. At
the sound of the piano, they break into an Irish jig of the wildest sort.
PAT. cuts up the maddest capers. A bell rings outside, but in the uproar
it is unheard by the dancers. A moment later, MISS EVELYN appears at the
door, L. She stands for a moment, dumfounded at the scene before her. At
first she is not seen by any of the company, but ELLEN, happening to look
up, beholds her and clasps her hands in alarm. The dancers, not hearing
the sound of the piano, look toward it to discover the cause. They
observe the dismay pictured in ELLEN’S face, and, following the direction
of her eyes, they behold MISS EVELYN. They stand with startled faces._)

MISS EVELYN (_sternly_). What does all this mean?

M. (_triumphantly_). It’s all Katy’s doin’s, miss.

K. (_Darting a withering glance at the speaker, and then turning to MISS
E._). We were only indulgin’ in a little innocent amusement, ma’am. I
hope you’re not offended.

MISS E. But who gave you leave to deck yourself in this manner?

K. Sure I was only airin’ the dress, ma’am, as it had hung so long in the

MISS E. Well, I don’t approve of any such airs. Leave the room, every one
of you! The idea of my drawing-room being the scene of a servants’ party!
You will all receive your discharge to-morrow morning.

(_The servants leave the room, R., looking crestfallen enough—all but
KATY, who sweeps out of the room with a lofty air, determined to keep up
her character to the last._)

P. (_aside to ANN, who goes out last_). An’ aint we goin’ to have our
trate then?

A. (_aside_). Whist! Yis. Say nothin’. We’re goin’ to have it right away.
Miss Evelyn never comes down below at this time o’ night.


MISS E. (_seating herself C. in disgust_). Was there ever any annoyance
equal to that of keeping servants? Mine are a constant source of trouble.
I have threatened to discharge them all to-morrow morning. But what shall
I gain by it? I shall have another set who will perhaps try my patience
even more than these have done. Servants understand their importance,
and realize their power over their employers. It is becoming a species
of tyranny. If I could only do without them I most assuredly would do
so. (_A shout of laughter is heard in the distance. MISS E. stands up._)
What! haven’t they done yet? Probably they are gormandizing, downstairs,
at my expense. (_To the audience—a little sarcastically:_) I have heard
some persons wish for wealth, so that they could afford to keep servants
to wait on them. They do not realize the emptiness of their desires.
A person who has few wants, and can minister to them himself, is more
independent than the wealthiest person living. Those who keep a multitude
of servants are dependent on _their whims_, and should not be surprised
at frequent outbursts of High Life Below Stairs.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    MRS. MONTGOMERY, A Lady who is seeking Country Board.
    MR. MONTGOMERY, her Husband.
    FLORENCE MALVINA, ⎫ Their Children.
    MRS. JONES, A Farmer’s Wife.
    JONATHAN,         ⎫ Servants.
    PATTY,            ⎭

    SCENE I.—_Parlor. MR. MONTGOMERY, L., reading paper. MRS.
    MONTGOMERY, R., sewing._

MRS. MONTGOMERY. Mr. Montgomery.

MR. MONTGOMERY. Well, my dear.

MRS. M. We must go into the country this summer.

MR. M. Is it absolutely essential to your happiness?

MRS. M. (_with suppressed eagerness_). Of course I should enjoy it very
much. But I wasn’t thinking of myself. The children need it far more than
I do. They are both quite feeble and need fresh air and country living.

MR. M. I hadn’t noticed that the children were not as well as usual.

MRS. M. No, I dare say not. Men never notice such things. But they are
both ailing; and if I didn’t doctor them all the time, they’d be down

MR. M. We can’t afford to pay the extravagant prices charged for country

MRS. M. I don’t expect to go to a fashionable place. But we might get
boarded, at a low rate, at some farm-house where we could get fresh
fruits and vegetables, and those things which can only be found in the
country. I’m sure it’s better to pay one’s money for such things than to
spend it for medicine.

MR. M. The sea-breeze is better than the country air. You might take a
trip with the children to Hingham or Nahant once or twice a week.

MRS. M. (_slightly ruffled_). How foolishly you talk! But then it’s what
I might expect. These short trips always fatigue people more than they
benefit them. When it’s too late to help the children, perhaps you’ll
think of my advice and wish you’d followed it.

MR. M. If it’s as serious a matter as you suppose, and this is the only
remedy, I should say go, by all means.

MRS. M. You must judge for yourself.

MR. M. But I don’t believe it is possible to find such a place as would
suit you at a reasonable price.

MRS. M. (_eagerly_). I found an advertisement in last week’s paper
describing a place that I thought would be just such us we would like.
Here it is. (_Takes paper from table—reads._)

    “COUNTRY BOARDING.—Those who are leaving behind them the noise
    and dust of the city, and wish to refresh themselves by a
    communion with nature, will find a desirable summer retreat at
    Honeysuckle Villa, in the beautiful town of Hillsdale. It is
    within five minutes’ walk of the railroad, in the midst of a
    country rich in vegetation, and smiling under the liberal eye
    of a bountiful Providence. A beautiful lake, at the distance
    of a quarter of a mile, presents strong attractions for the
    angler, while a boat which has recently been placed upon it
    will enable the visitor to enjoy the luxury of a sail. No pains
    will be spared to render this a delightful retreat for the
    denizens of the metropolis.

                                                  “ELIPHALET JONES.”

MR. M. That sounds well enough. But what proof have you that things are
as represented?

MRS. M. I wrote to Mr. Jones, and received a very gentlemanly reply. As
he says, the terms are quite moderate. Mrs. Livingston pays nearly twice
as much.

MR. M. What are the terms?

MRS. M. Thirty dollars per week for you, myself, and the two children.

MR. M. But are there trains at hours to accommodate me?

MRS. M. Yes, I took pains to ascertain that.

MR. M. Very well, then, make whatever arrangements you choose. We can but
give it a trial.

                                                      (_Exit MR. M., L._)

MRS. M. (_triumphantly_). That’s one point gained. The next thing is to
make preparations for our journey. I was determined not to be cooped up
in the city another summer, when all our acquaintances are boarding in
the country.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_Country railway station. MRS. MONTGOMERY, C., and
    two children, R., sitting with outer garments on. Two trunks, a
    bandbox and travelling-bag on the floor. Enter JONATHAN HODGE,
    L., wearing a coarse frock and carrying a whip._

JONATHAN (_to MRS. M._). Be yeaou the folks what’s going to the Joneses?

MRS. M. Yes, we wish to go to Mr. Jones’, at Honeysuckle Villa.

J. Honeysuckle Villa. Wal, that’s a good un. Ha, ha, ha!

MRS. M. (_aside_). Is it possible that they have deceived me? But I shall
soon learn. (_Aloud._) Is the carriage ready?

J. (_laughing_). Ya—as, the kerridge is waitin’. You can see it from the
door (_nods toward door, L._)

MRS. M. (_looks out with some curiosity_). I don’t see any carriage.
There’s nothing but a farm wagon in sight.

J. That’s the kerridge that’s come for ye, anyway. Mr. Jones thought
mebbe you’d hev a lot of baggage, so he sent the hay-riggin’.

MRS. M. But there are no seats.

J. Yes, there’s a board to put across, after we get loaded up.

MRS. M. (_indignantly_). And we are expected to ride in such a vehicle as

J. There aint no use in callin’ it names. It’s easy enough ridin’ in it.

MRS. M. But we cannot all sit on one seat.

J. The children can set on the trunks. (_Takes up one of the trunks to
carry it out. Exit, L._)

GEORGE. Say, mother, have we got to ride in that old, ricketty wagon?
It’ll jolt like everything, I know ’twill.

MRS. M. (_in a soothing tone_). We’ve only got to ride a few steps.

J. (_entering_). Don’t know ’bout that. I reckon it’s a good mile down
there, and the roads aint none of the best.

MRS. M. (_indignantly_). Mr. Jones’ advertisement stated that his house
was only five minutes’ walk from the station.

J. Mr. Jones got the schoolmaster to write that notice for the paper. He
came up to the house one night and did it. Jones told him to put it in
pretty strong. The marster read it out ’loud after he’d writ it, an’ I
declair to goodness, I shouldn’t ha’ knowed ’twas the same place we lived

MRS. M. (_decidedly_). Well, if I don’t like the place, we shan’t stay,
that’s all.

J. (_smiling incredulously_). Oh, mebbe you’ll like it, after all. Folks
need a change sometimes. (_Takes out another trunk, L._)

FLORENCE. Mother, I’m thirsty.

MRS. M. There isn’t anything to drink here. We’ll soon get to Mr. Jones’.

FLOR. (_impatiently_). I want something to drink now.

MRS. M. Wait patiently a little longer, and then you can have a drink of
nice, fresh milk. (_Enter JONATHAN._)

J. (_aside_). I shouldn’t be a mite surprised if they was disapp’inted in
their expectations. I guess they won’t find many delicacies at Joneses.
Leastways, I never did. (_Aloud_) Kerridge is ready, folks. (_Takes
bandbox and bag and goes out L., MRS. M. and children follow._)

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_Dining-room at country farm-house. Table is set for
    dinner. MRS. JONES brings in pie, R._

MRS. JONES (_turning as she enters, and addressing PATTY in next room_).
Dish up the beans, Patty, and be spry now. (_Places pie on table and goes
out, R. FLORENCE enters L., and sits down._)

(_MRS. J. enters with potatoes, and PATTY with a dish of baked beans,
both of which are placed on table. PATTY goes out, R._)

MRS. J. (_addressing FLORENCE_). Go and tell your mother dinner’s ready,

FLOR. (_bridling_). My name’s Florence Malvina Montgomery.

MRS. J. (_glancing over the table to see if everything needful is upon
it_). Yes, I know it. Go and tell your mother dinner is ready.

(_FLORENCE goes out L., and soon returns with her mother and brother._)

MRS. J. Dinner’s ready, Mrs. Montgomery. Take that chair if you’re a mind
to (_indicating it_), and the children can set, one on each side of you.
(_They sit._) Will you have some baked beans, ma’am?

MRS. M. Thank you, no, I never eat them.

MRS. J. Don’t eat beans! Why, they’re the wholesomest victuals there
is. I’m sure I don’t know what I can give you to eat, then. I haint got
nothin’ else but some cold corned beef, and was savin’ that for dinner

MRS. M. I might, perhaps, eat a little of the cold meat.

MRS. J. (_in a loud voice_). Patty, bring in the cold beef that was left

PATTY (_outside_). Yes’m. (_Brings in meat R., then exit._)

MRS. M. Haven’t you any new potatoes yet?

MRS. J. Yes, but we thought, as we had these left, we’d use ’em up first.

MRS. M. But these are watery, and not fit to eat.

MRS. J. Oh, they aint bad for the time o’ year. Mr. Jones carried the new
potatoes to market this morning. They bring a good price now.

MRS. M. Well, I’m sure I cannot eat these. You may give me a piece of
pie, if you please.

GEO. Mother, I can’t cut the pie-crust.

MRS. M. I’ll cut it for you. (_Tries to cut it, but it is so tough the
knife slips and falls to the floor._)

MRS. J. Let me cut it. (_She, with some effort, cuts it and returns it to

MRS. M. Haven’t you any strawberries?

MRS. J. Yes, we’re goin’ to have some on the table Sunday. We send them
to market every day, the first of the season, they bring such a good

MRS. M. (_sarcastically_). I suppose you sell your cream too.

MRS. J. Yes, we find we can make more money that way than by makin’
butter and cheese. So we buy our butter at the store.

MRS. M. (_indignantly_). We came to the country expecting to get fresh
fruit and vegetables. But it seems we are more likely to find them in the
city. I am half inclined to go directly back; however, I will perhaps
remain one week. It depends on how we are treated whether we stop any

                                               (_Exit with children, L._)

MRS. J. Lor’ now, what airs these city people do put on! Seems to me
there’s no end to their whims and wants. They don’t have the least
thought about economy. (_In a loud voice_) Patty, you and Jonathan come
to dinner.

P. (_outside, R._). Comin’, ma’am.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE IV.—_Sitting-room. MRS. M. present, R._

MRS. M. I can’t stand boarding here much longer, that’s a fixed fact.
Mrs. Jones sets a most wretched table, and the children are really
growing thinner every day. If it hadn’t been for the name of it I should
have left Hillsdale before this. The reputation of going to the country
for the summer is hardly sufficient to pay for living in small rooms,
sleeping on stifling feather-beds, and enduring such execrable cookery,
and not a book but the Farmer’s Almanac to be found in the house.

(_FLORENCE runs in L., with a terrified expression of countenance.
Her hat is hanging down from her neck, and her hair flying in all

FLOR. Oh! oh! I’m so scared. (_Runs to her mother._)

MRS. M. Why, Florence Malvina, what a fright you make of yourself! Pray
what is the matter?

FLOR. I guess you’d be frightened if you’d been where I was. I just went
outside of the road to find some blackberries, when I thought I heard
somebody coming. I looked round, and there was a great ugly-looking
cow running after me. I ran as fast us I could till I couldn’t go any
further, and then I crept underneath the bars, and came up through the

MRS. M. It’s a shame for people to allow their cows to run around the
streets in such a way. It’s lucky that you were not killed.

FLOR. The cow would have taken me up on her horns if she had caught me,
I know she would. She held her head down all ready to do it. (_Enter
GEORGE, L., covered with mud and water_). Why George, did you almost get
drowned? Just look, mother. George is just as wet as he can be. (_GEORGE
looks askance at his mother, but says nothing._)

MRS. M. (_severely_). Well, George Alexander, this is a pretty plight for
you to be in. What have you been doing now?

GEO. (_defiantly_). I wasn’t doing anything, only building a dam down by
the spring, and pretty soon some boys came along, and they laughed at me,
and said they bet I couldn’t jump the ditch there. So I meant to show
them I could, and I did do it too; but the ground was all soft and wet
the other side, and when I tried to jump back again I fell into the ditch.

MRS. M. What boys were they?

GEO. The Dunn boys. They knew it was wet the other side, and when I fell
in, you ought to have heard them laugh.

MRS. M. They are nothing but ill-bred country blockheads. (_To GEORGE._)
But don’t stand there any longer with those wet clothes on. Go and change
them at once.

                                 (_Exit GEORGE, L. FLORENCE follows him._)

MRS. M. (_sola_). What a wretched place this is! If I was obliged to live
in such a way at home, I shouldn’t think I could bear it. The family
here haven’t even _decent_ accommodations for keeping boarders.

                     (_Enter FLORENCE, L., in state of great excitement._)

FLOR. O mother, two men are coming, and they are bringing father in. I’m
afraid he’s killed.

MRS. M. (_starting up_). What do you mean, child? (_Enter men, L.,
bearing MR. M. MRS. M. clasps her hands in anxious suspense; goes up to
her husband._) What is the matter, Henry? Has there been an accident?
(_The men place MR. M. on sofa and exit L._)

MR. M. It isn’t quite as bad as it seems. I was a little tired and
thought I’d ride up from the village to-night, instead of walking. But
the stage broke down, and I was thrown out. I was a good deal bruised,
but I believe there are no bones broken. Dr. Bryant examined me, and said
I would be all right in a few days.

MRS. M. Well, as soon as you are able to leave, I’m going back to the
city. I can’t stay here any longer.

MR. M. (_smiling_). You don’t mean that you are willing to go back to the
city, and endure all its discomforts again.

MRS. M. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are as many annoyances in
the country as in the city.

MR. M. But you forget that the children cannot have country fare after
our return.

MRS. M. No, I do not. I find that the country fare we sought is all sent
to the city, and we must return there in order to enjoy it. After two
weeks’ trial of living in the country, I am thoroughly tired of it, and I
think a long time will elapse before I again wish to try the experiment
of Boarding on a Farm.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    MR. GROVER, a Merchant.
    MRS. GROVER, his Wife.
    MRS. ROSS, Mrs. G.’s Mother.
    BRIDGET, their Servant.
    MR. FARWELL, ⎫
    MR. HUNTLY,  ⎭ Mr. G.’s Friends.

    SCENE I.—_A room at MISS DANE’S boarding-house. MR. FARWELL,
    R., half reclining on the sofa. MR. GROVER, C., sitting in a
    chair, with his feet on the table. Both smoking._

MR. FARWELL. Why don’t you get married, Grover? I suppose you intend, at
some time, to take to yourself a wife.

MR. GROVER. I might if I could find a woman to suit me. But I don’t want
any of the vain and frivolous creatures we constantly meet in society.

MR. F. They are not all of this description. Now, there’s Gertrude Hobbs.
She is a pretty girl.

MR. G. And when you’ve said that, you’ve said all there is to say.

MR. F. I’m sure she is pleasant and agreeable.

MR. G. And weak-minded.

MR. F. Ah! I see, you would like a girl of spirit. Then, why not take
Kate Ross? The only objection to her is, that she has an imperious
temper. I should not care to cross her if I were her husband.

MR. G. (_contemptuously_). Pooh! that is your spirit, is it? For my part,
there would be no pleasure in subduing a tame, spiritless creature; but,
if somewhat mettlesome, there would be some excitement in it. I am half
tempted to offer my hand to Kate Ross, to show you what a simple affair
it would be to tame a spirited woman.

MR. F. I hope you _will_ do so, as I shall not change my opinion till it
is practically refuted. And I will wager a hundred dollars that you will
talk in quite a different way after marrying her.

MR. G. You will probably lose your money. When I undertake anything, I
usually bring it to a successful termination.

MR. F. (_smiling_). I am willing to take the risk. Theory is very well in
its way, but it is practice that tells the story. I confess I have some
curiosity to see how the matter ends.

MR. G. Well, you will probably have that satisfaction within six months,
as Kate Ross will, without doubt, be Mrs. Grover before that time.

MR. F. You seem quite confident. Have you proposed to Miss Ross?

MR. G. No; but she would not think of refusing my offer. An opportunity
of gaining such a position is seldom presented to a poor girl.

MR. F. Very well. If you do not talk in quite a different way after
marrying Kate Ross, the money is yours.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_MRS. GROVER’S kitchen. Time—one month after
    marriage. BRIDGET, R., washing dishes. MR. GROVER enters, L._

MR. G. Bridget, I find that for two days past dinner has been served
before I came home. Hereafter, you must wait till I return before doing

BRIDGET. But it was kept warm for ye’s. An’ the misthress told me to do

MR. G. I know that; but you are bound to obey me rather than her.

B. (_bewildered_). Sir?

MR. G. To-day I shall not be at home till four o’clock. Four, remember.
On no account must you serve up dinner before that time.

B. (_astonished_). But what shall I say to misthress when she tells me?

MR. G. Say? You must tell her that I threatened to dismiss you if you did
so. Will you remember?

B. (_confusedly_). I’ll try.

MR. G. (_going toward door with satisfied smile_). There, I think that
will set matters right. I would give something to see how Mrs. Grover
will take it, when Bridget, by my direction, refuses to obey her. She
will begin to find out whom she has to deal with then.

                                                             (_Exit, L._)

MRS. GROVER (_enters by another door, R., in season to hear her husband’s
last words_). Has Mr. Grover forbidden you to follow my directions,

B. Yes, mum. He told me he shouldn’t be at home until four, and he should
send me away if I took up dinner before that time.

MRS. G. (_coolly_). Indeed! he is interfering beyond his province.
However, you are to obey me, not him. Be sure to have dinner on the table
at two o’clock precisely.

B. But he will send me away if I do.

MRS. G. And I will send you away if you don’t.

B. (_in ludicrous dismay_). Och, what will I do? It’s turned away I’ve
got to be whether I do it or not.

MRS. G. Better obey me, Bridget. If he should turn you away, you shall
be back again in less than a week, and, meanwhile, I will pay you wages;
but, if I turn you away, it will be for good.

B. Faix, mum, you’re a jewel. An’ if dinner isn’t on the table at two
o’clock precisely, then my name isn’t Bridget McDermott.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_MRS. GROVER, R., and MRS. ROSS, L., who is visiting
    her daughter, are seated in the dining-room. The table is
    spread, but there is no food on it. MR. GROVER enters, L._

MR. G. (_triumphantly_). You may order up dinner now, Mrs. Grover.

MRS. G. (_surprised_). Dinner! Is it possible that you have not eaten
dinner at four o’clock?

MR. G. (_in an appalling voice_). Have you eaten dinner?

MRS. G. (_coolly continuing her sewing_). Certainly. The table was
cleared an hour ago. Bridget kept the meat at the fire, but I was sure
you had dined down town. Shall I ring for it?

MR. G. (_frowning_). No. May I inquire if Bridget served up the dinner?

MRS. G. Of course you may. I have no objection.

MR. G. (_in a loud voice_). Madam, enough of this trifling. Did Bridget
serve up dinner?

MRS. ROSS (_expostulating_). Really, Kate and Mr. Grover, you should not

MRS. G. (_interrupting her_). Goodness! Mr. Grover, I could hear
distinctly enough if you spoke a great deal lower. Of course, Bridget
served up dinner. You don’t suppose I did it?

MR. G. At two o’clock?

MRS. G. Certainly.

MR. G. (_rings bell violently. BRIDGET appears, R._). Bridget, do you
recollect my telling you this morning I should not be home till four?

B. Yes, sir.

MR. G. And that dinner was not to be served up till that time?

B. Yes, sir.

MR. G. Then, why did you dare to do otherwise?

B. (_undaunted_). The misthress tould me to.

MR. G. Then I wish you to understand that I am the master, and my orders
are to be obeyed. I dismiss you from my service.

B. (_courtesying_). Yes, sir.

MR. G. (_angrily_). This instant. Do you hear?

B. (_courtesying again_). Yes, sir. My clothes are all packed. (_Turning
to MRS. G._) Good-by, mum.

MRS. G. (_unconcernedly_). Oh, good-by, Bridget. So you are going, are

B. Yes, mum.

MRS. G. Perhaps you would like a recommendation.

MR. G. I shall give none.

MRS. G. Because, if you would, I will give you one very willingly.

B. No, mum; I don’t think I shall live out ag’in just yet. I’m goin’ to
stop wid my sister a while.

MRS. G. Very well, Bridget; (_in a significant tone_) you must call again

                                                     (_Exit BRIDGET, R._)

(_A pause in which MR. G. seats himself, L., leaning back exultantly._)

MRS. G. (_as if unconscious of what had passed_). Is there any news from

MR. G. (_crustily_). No.

MRS. G. What course is Germany expected to take?

MR. G. (_in a forbidding tone_). I don’t know.

(_MRS. G. rises and folds up her work. MR. G. thinks, with a thrill of
gratification, that, in the absence of BRIDGET, MRS. G. will be obliged
to get supper._)

MRS. G. (_having reached the door, turns back_). By the way, Mr. Grover,
my mother and myself are going out to tea. We are invited to Mrs. Haven’s.

MR. G. (_startled_). But what am I to do?

MRS. G. (_carelessly_). I don’t know, really, unless you come up with us.
I presume Mrs. Haven will be very much pleased to see you. Will you come?

MR. G. (_sharply_). No. (_MRS. G. opens the door, preparatory to going
out._) Mrs. Grover, I have invited two gentlemen to dine with me
to-morrow, and it will be your duty to prepare dinner for them. You will
receive articles from the market by nine o’clock. You understand me, do
you not?

MRS. G. Perfectly.

MR. G. And know what I expect?

MRS. G. Certainly.

MR. G. And you understand also, that I am a man of my word.

MRS. G. I am very happy to hear it. I have always considered it a very
desirable quality.

                                (_Exeunt MRS. GROVER and her mother, R._)

MR. G. (_complacently soliloquizes_). I think that will settle the
matter. If Mrs. Grover married me with the idea of being a fine lady,
and having an easy time, she is quite mistaken. I don’t intend to
encourage female insubordination. I believe the man was made to govern,
the wife to obey. If more husbands had my firmness, things would go on a
little better in the world. But it isn’t everybody that has my tact at

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE IV.—_Dining-room at MR. GROVER’S. The table is laid for
    four persons. MR. FARWELL, R., MR. HUNTLY, L., and MR. GROVER,
    C., present._

MR. HUNTLY. Have you heard how Brown’s wife has treated him?

MR. F. Not a word.

MR. H. She has deserted him, and gone, no one knows whither. After dinner
yesterday, Brown went to his room a moment, leaving his pocket-book on
the table. When he returned, his wife, and his pocket-book—containing
several hundred dollars—were gone. And although a thorough search has
been instituted, no tidings have been had of either.

MR. G. It seems to me that a woman who would do such a thing has not been
properly trained by her husband.

MR. F. In my opinion, there are some women of such a nature that they
will not brook subjection even from their husbands; or, in fact,
subordination of any kind.

MR. G. (_firmly_). I would like to see any woman whom I could not bring
under subjection. I cannot conceive of a man surrendering the authority,
which is his natural right, into the hands of a woman.

MR. H. (_smiling_). Do you intend, Grover, to carry out your theory of
domestic government under your present circumstances?

MR. G. I certainly do not mean to submit to petticoat government. In my
eyes the husband should be at the head of the household, and, while I
occupy that position, I shall delegate my authority to no one. (_MRS.
GROVER enters, R._) My dear, allow me to present to you, my friends, Mr.
Farwell and Mr. Huntly.

MRS. G. I am happy to see you, gentlemen. As friends of my husband, I am
glad to make your acquaintance.

MR. G. (_turning to his wife_). Is dinner ready?

MRS. G. (_promptly_). It is on the table.

MR. G. (_with a smile of exultation_). Sit down, gentlemen. Mr. Huntly
will take a seat on my right (_indicating it_), and Mr. Farwell on my
left (_indicating it_). I have provided a dinner to-day, gentlemen
(_sharpening the knife preparatory to carving_), which is an especial
favorite with me—I mean roast turkey. (_Lifting the cover, his astonished
gaze rested on an uncooked turkey. He lifts, successively, the covers of
the other dishes, and sees uncooked squashes, and potatoes with their
skins on._)

MR. G. (_sternly to his wife_). Will you explain the meaning of this,

MRS. G. (_smiling blandly_). Certainly. Bridget left me yesterday
afternoon, by your direction. I have done what I could toward supplying
her place. I am truly sorry if the dinner is not to your taste.

MR. G. What do you intend by this insult which you have put upon me in my
own house?

MRS. G. (_fanning herself_). You are a little excited, Mr. Grover. You
remember that I warned you I should not supply Bridget’s place.

MR. G. (_angrily_). So it seems you want to rule me.

MRS. G. Not at all. I only object to being ruled.

MR. G. It’s the same thing, madam. You would like to have me become a
miserable, hen-pecked husband. But that will never happen. (_Turning to
guests_) Gentlemen, I regret that circumstances have conspired to render
useless the invitation I gave you to dine with me. I cannot, in such
case, invite you to stay longer, but shall renew the invitation at a more
convenient opportunity.

MRS. G. (_turning toward them_). I, too, shall be glad to see you,
gentlemen, and hope, on the next occasion, to offer you a more attractive
collation. That, however, depends entirely on whether my husband decides
to leave the management of the household where it belongs—in my hands.

                                (_Exeunt MESSRS. FARWELL and HUNTLY, L._)

MR. G. (_angrily_). Well, madam, I hope you are satisfied with this
disgraceful exhibition.

MRS. G. (_quietly_). I am not responsible for it.

MR. G. You have disgraced me before my guests.

MRS. G. Then why did you interfere with Bridget?

MR. G. I am the head of the household.

MRS. G. I beg your pardon. I imagined that Bridget was under my orders.

MR. G. You are right, as long as your orders do not conflict with mine.

MRS. G. Very well, sir, I leave you, then, to the sole management of the
household. (_Moves to go out._)

MR. G. Where are you going?

MRS. G. Home to my mother.

MR. G. (_alarmed_). Would you desert your husband?

MRS. G. Yes, until he knows his place. (_Opens the door, R._)

MR. G. But—what will the world say? Don’t go, Kate!

MRS. G. (_turning_). I will stay on one condition, and on one only.

MR. G. What is it?

MRS. G. That you will never, again, interfere in the affairs of the
household, and will agree to my recalling Bridget, at once.

MR. G. (_rather sheepishly_). Very well, anything for peace.

                                                             (_Exit, L._)

MRS. G. (_sola_). There, sir, I have taught you a lesson. I understand
you proposed to tame me. My impression is, that it is the husband that
has been tamed. There is truth in the old couplet:—

    “When a woman says she will, she will, depend on’t,
    And when she won’t, she won’t, and there’s an end on’t.”

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    MR. SMITH.

    SCENE I.—_In the parlor. MR. SMITH reclining on the sofa. He
    has a newspaper in his hand, but is not reading. MRS. S. enters
    L., wearing a plain dress._

MR. SMITH. Seems to me, Amanda, that for one who runs up such a bill as I
paid yesterday, you don’t appear remarkably well dressed. What have you
done with all the gay garments Madame Dubois has lately made for you?

MRS. SMITH. I haven’t run up any bill, and I don’t patronize Madame
Dubois. She is too high in her charges for people in our circumstances.

MR. S. But why should she send her bill here? It was directed in full, to
John Smith, Taylor’s Block, Central Street.

MRS. S. I’m sure I don’t know. All I can say is, there must be some
mistake. She never made any garments whatever for me. By the way, have
you the bill with you?

MR. S. Yes, here it is. (_Takes bill from his pocket, unfolds it, and
shows it to his wife._)

MRS. S. What is the amount?

MR. S. One hundred and twenty-five dollars and forty-seven cents.

MRS. S. (_surprised_). And you paid it?

MR. S. Certainly; I supposed it was all right.

MRS. S. Well, I don’t know what can be done about it. I never had any of
the articles mentioned.

MR. S. Do you suppose there is another person of the same name on this

MRS. S. Yes, Bridget told me, last evening, there were three other John
Smiths on this street, two of whom live in this block.

MR. S. Then there’ll be no end of mistakes.

MRS. S. None as serious as this, I hope.

(_Enter BRIDGET, R., bearing a letter, which she passes to MR. S._)

BRIDGET. An’ here’s a letther the postman brought, sir.

MR. S. (_examines superscription, which he reads aloud_). “Mr. John
Smith, Taylor’s Block, Central Street, B——.”

                                                     (_Exit BRIDGET, R._)

MRS. S. Where is it from?

MR. S. It is postmarked Ramsey, Minnesota.

MRS. S. Have you acquaintances there?

MR. S. It seems so, though I wasn’t aware of it.

MRS. S. Do open the letter. I’m really curious to know whom it is from.

MR. S. Ah, yes, woman’s curiosity! How do you know but it may be privacy?

MRS. S. I am satisfied that it is not. At all events, I’m willing to run
the risk.

MR. S. Courageous woman! Then I will venture to open it. (_Cuts off edge
of envelope and draws out a small, square piece of paper which he begins
to read aloud._)

    “You thief, you! You villain, you! So you’ve basely gone off
    and taken my best dress and bonnet, and all the silver my
    father gave me when I was married! I suppose you intended to
    adorn your wife with the clothes you stole! But you shan’t
    do it, as sure as my name is Dorothy Ann. I’ve got track
    of you, and just as quick as I can get money enough, I’m
    coming right along after you. You’re a mean, shiftless, lazy,
    good-for-nothing villain, and if you don’t send all back within
    a week, I’ll send the police after you.”

MR. S. (_turns towards his wife, smiling_). There’s quite an inducement
for John Smith. What do you think of that for a character? I’d better
not have read the letter aloud. Perhaps you will begin to repent having
married me.

MRS. S. I ought to, certainly, if this letter is true. But you haven’t
given me the dress and bonnet yet.

MR. S. No, I never thought of it. I wonder if it was the wife of this
John Smith whose bill I paid.

MRS. S. Don’t know. I think it’s doubtful if you ever find the one to
whom it rightfully belongs.

MR. S. I must try, at all events. I don’t feel like losing so much money,
or paying other people’s dressmaker’s bills.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_MRS. S. is seated, R., sewing. MR. S. enters, L._

MR. S. What vile odor is that I smell? What have you for dinner, Amanda?

MRS. S. (_complacently_). What you sent, of course.

MR. S. And that is—

MRS. S. Corned beef and cabbage.

MR. S. I knew it. I thought I could not be deceived. Such a villanous

MRS. S. (_surprised_). Of course you knew it. Did you not send it to me
this morning?

MR. S. (_excited_). Never! I sent you a pair of the plumpest wild-fowl to
be found in the market. My mouth fairly watered for a taste of them as I
entered the door, when I was saluted by the scent of that odious cabbage.

MRS. S. What do you suppose has become of them?

MR. S. (_indignantly_). Some other John Smith is doubtless regaling
himself on them.

MRS. S. Wouldn’t it be a good plan to send Bridget to see?

MR. S. Yes, and let her go at once.

                                                     (_Exit MRS. S., R._)

MR. S. (_soliloquizing_). Some one asks, “What’s in a name?” If his name
happened to be John Smith, he wouldn’t have to inquire. Why couldn’t my
parents have called me Hezekiah, Ezekiel, or any other heathenish name
rather than plain John? Then I should not have been victimized in this

(_Enter MRS. S., R., followed by a stranger._)

MRS. S. This gentleman wishes to see you, John.

STRANGER (_inquiringly_). Your name is Smith, sir? (_MR. S. nods._)
_John_ Smith, I believe.

MR. S. That is my name, though I wish to goodness it wasn’t.

STR. No wonder, sir, no wonder. When I call on professional business,
people almost always wish they were somebody else.

MR. S. And what is your business, if I may be allowed to inquire?

STR. Certainly you may, though there’s no doubt you’d soon learn it
without inquiring. I am Sheriff Bailey, and I came to levy an execution
on your furniture.

MR. S. And what is that for?

STR. Because it is not paid for. Messrs. Phillips & Hoffman sold you,
some time since, a quantity of furniture amounting to two hundred and
fifty dollars, which was to be paid for in thirty days. Here is the bill
of it. (_Passes to MR. S._) This was three months ago, and though they
have repeatedly sent letters calling your attention to it, no notice has
been taken of them. Have you anything to say in regard to this matter?

MR. S. (_dryly_). I think I have. In the first place, I haven’t bought
any furniture for a year. In the second place, I never heard of Messrs.
Phillips & Hoffman, and therefore, of course, never bought anything from
them (_sighing_). The fact is, sir, you’ve got hold of the wrong John

STR. You can’t come that dodge on me. The John Smith that I was looking
for lived in Taylor’s Block, and as this is the place, you must be the
man I am seeking.

MR. S. (_indignantly_). Do you doubt my word, sir? Let me inform you
that there are two other John Smiths living in this block, as I know to
my sorrow. Besides, if you’ll take the trouble to look at the furniture,
you’ll see that it has been used a much longer time. I notice by the
bill (_glancing at it_) that it was a suite of parlor furniture that
was bought, and this is the only furniture of that description which we

STR. (_looking around him_). This is not a new style of furniture,
certainly. It is possible that I may be mistaken in the person. If so, I
beg your pardon. I will make inquiries before proceeding further in this

MR. S. (_with an injured air_). You need make no apologies, sir. I’m
getting used to this sort of thing.

                              (_Exit SHERIFF, L., and enter BRIDGET, R._)

B. It was to number seven that the fowls went, sir.

MR. S. (_eagerly_). Did you bring them back with you?

B. No, sir, they’ve eaten ’em up. Ann McKay said Mrs. Smith thought
somebody sent ’em as a present. But she told me privately that they had
dinner an hour earlier than usual.

MR. S. A present indeed! They knew very well it was a mistake, and took
occasion to eat their dinner earlier, in order to have a nice meal before
the mistake could be rectified. Bridget, take the corned beef and cabbage
over, and tell them we have no use for it. Then come back and open all
the windows, and see if we cannot get rid of this intolerable smell.

MRS. S. But what are we to have for dinner?

MR. S. Boiled eggs—some of yesterday’s roast—or anything you may happen
to have in the house. For my part, I haven’t any appetite now.

                                      (_Exit BRIDGET, R. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_MRS. SMITH’S sitting-room. MRS. S. present, C._

MRS. S. (_soliloquizing_). I don’t see where Mr. Smith can be. It is
seldom he is out so late. (_Calls the servant, who is passing the door._)

B. (_enters, R._). Yes, mum.

MRS. S. Did Mr. Smith say where he was going when he left home?

B. No, mum. He axed me “was you out,” and I told him you had gone into
Mrs. Clarke’s for a few minutes. He said it was no matter; he only wanted
to know had you mended the pocket of his weskit.

MRS. S. I entirety forgot it. Just pass it from the hall-closet, Bridget,
and I will mend it at once. It will serve to pass the time away.

                                                          (_Exit B., R._)

B. (_enters, R._). Here it is, mum (_passes vest to MRS. S._). An’ I
think I’ll be goin’ upstairs, if ye don’t want me any more. It’s gettin’

MRS. S. Very well, Bridget. I believe that is all I need.

                                                     (_Exit BRIDGET, R._)

MRS. S. I think it was the pocket on the right side that needed mending.
(_Turns pocket inside out._) What is this? (_Picks up a letter in a small
envelope, directed in a lady’s hand._) It cannot be a letter from his
sister. I must open it. (_Unfolds the letter and reads_):—

    “DEAREST JOHN,—It is a long time since the sight of your face
    has gladdened my heart. Cannot you call on me this, evening? I
    will refuse myself to every one else. Remember I have not seen
    you for a whole week. Notwithstanding your protestations of
    devotion to me, I fear you are too attentive to your wife, and
    you know she does not appreciate your love as I do. Do not fail
    to come. If it is necessary to make any excuses, say that you
    are obliged to be away on business. I count the moments till we

                                                “LILLIAN PERCIVAL.”

MRS. S. (_bitterly_). Is it possible that John has deceived me, and is
carrying on an intrigue with such a woman as that?—I cannot believe
it,—and yet it must be so. (_Hears sound of a latch-key,—listens._) That
is his step now. (_Puts letter back in another pocket of vest, and begins
to sew._)

MR. S. (_enters, L._). What? Amanda—up yet. I expected to find you
asleep. Don’t trouble yourself with mending that vest to-night. I have
several others.

MRS. S. (_coldly_). Where have you been to-night, John?

MR. S. I was out on business.

MRS. S. It must have been important business to keep you out till this

MR. S. To tell the truth it was so. But it isn’t a matter you would be
likely to understand.

MRS. S. I understand it only too well. (_Passes letter to him._) Who
wrote that letter? (_Eyes him sharply._)

MR. S. (_bursting into a laugh_). I understand it all now,—you’ve read
that letter, and are jealous. Confess, now, that that’s the case. But I
didn’t suppose you’d be so ridiculous.

MRS. S. (_bridling_). Ridiculous indeed! When one’s husband receives such
letters as that, it’s about time for his wife to inquire into the matter.

MR. S. I received the letter this morning, but, satisfied that it was
written to some other John Smith, I thrust it hastily into my pocket, not
dreaming that it would stir up such a breeze as this.

MRS. S. I wish, John, that you would have your name changed.

MR. S. That is what I am intending to do. At the next session of the
Legislature, I have determined to apply for a change of name. I believe
there are more rascals by the name of Smith than any other one name in
the world. And if there is any villain who is brought before the police,
he is sure to give his name as John Smith. I don’t care what the new name
is,—Snooks, Jenkins, or Tubbs,—there isn’t one of them that would bring a
man into trouble half as soon, as to be called plain John Smith.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    MR. CAMPBELL, A Returned Traveller.
    MR. LEWIS, The Head of the Family.
    MRS. LEWIS, His Wife.
    AGNES,  ⎫
    PHILIP, ⎭ Their Children.
    MISS RACHEL, A Spinster Sister of Mr. L.

    SCENE I.—_Parlor at MR. LEWIS’. MR. C. enters, L._

MR. CAMPBELL. Well, I must say it seems pleasant to be home again,
once more. After travelling two years through foreign countries, it is
really refreshing to reach one’s native land. (_Throws himself into an
easy-chair, C._) But I wonder where Maria and her husband are? They will
be somewhat surprised to see me here a month earlier than they expected.
Fortunately, through all my travels I have kept my latch-key, and was
able to gain an entrance without the aid of a servant. However, now that
I am here, I feel impatient to see Maria and Arthur. I think I will ring.
(_Rings; servant enters, R._)

MR. C. Are Mr. and Mrs. Lewis at home?

SERVANT. No, sir, the family are all away at a party. You are Mrs.
Lewis’s brother, I suppose?

MR. C. Yes. (_Surprised._) Did she expect me to-night?

S. Yes, and she bade me say they were sorry to be obliged to be away. But
they wished you to make yourself comfortable. Here is the evening paper,
sir. (_Hands it to him._) As they will not be home till late, I will
conduct you to your room when you wish to retire.

MR. C. There’s no occasion for that. I remember my old room very well.
I will read a while before I go to bed. I may possibly sit up till they
come home. At all events, I shall not need any further service from you.

                                                     (_Exit_ SERVANT, L.)

Well, I must say I’m mystified. In the first place, I don’t see how
Maria heard I should arrive to-day. In the second place, when I asked if
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were at home, the servant said _all the family_ were
away. Now people don’t use such an expression as that when the family
consists of only two members. I wonder whether they have company? I
wish I might meet my sister Eliza here. But I won’t trouble myself with
needless conjectures. I shall learn all about the matter in the morning.
(_A pause._) I believe I’ll put on my slippers. (_Opens bag, from which
he takes slippers. He takes off boots, puts on slippers, then takes up
evening paper._) I wonder what the news is. In fact, it will be all news
to me. Ah! here’s the announcement of the arrival of the Rosamond. But
if Maria had seen it she wouldn’t have supposed that I was a passenger.
How _could_ she have heard of my arrival? That is a mystery to me. (_He
commences reading, but in one or two minutes his eyes close, and he
begins to nod. Suddenly his head falls back, and the paper drops from his
grasp. He wakens with a start._) Why, bless me, I nearly lost myself!
I feel very sleepy. (_Looks at his watch._) No wonder—it is nearly
half-past eleven o’clock. I think I will go to bed. (_Picks up paper, and
puts it on the table, then takes his bag—a small one—and a light, and
leaves the room, R._)

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_A chamber. There must be a bed in the room, C. This
    may be a lounge, but it must have curtains around it. These are
    necessary, and can be arranged on a light, portable frame. MR.
    C. enters the room, sets down the lamp on table, R., and looks
    around, in astonishment._

MR. C. It seems Maria has entirely refurnished this chamber. I can hardly
recognize the room I have occupied so many times. But I am too sleepy
to take much account of surroundings. If the bed is only comfortable, I
shall not take much notice of anything else. (_Takes off coat, vest, and
slippers, which he puts near head of bed, and extinguishes the light.
He then parts the curtains and throws himself upon the bed, drawing the
curtains to after him._)

(_A pause. Then the door opens, L., and an ancient maiden, in party
attire, enters. She sets lamp down on the table. Sits down, herself, and
proceeds to divest her head of its adornings. She takes off two sets of
curls, two or three braids, and numberless hairpins. Also takes from her
mouth a set of false teeth. While these preparations are going on, she

AUNT RACHEL. What senseless people one meets at a party, to be sure!

MR. C. (_peeping from between curtains, aside_). Who the deuce is this?

A. R. (_continuing_). There was that Fitznoodle, the puppy, trying to
make himself agreeable to our little Agnes. To be sure, she’s old enough
to have a beau, but I hope to goodness she won’t marry _him_. I wouldn’t
if he was worth his weight in gold.

MR. C. (_again peeping out,—in a low tone_). What a fate it would be for
a man to marry such a woman as that! Though, for that matter, there won’t
be much left of her, if she keeps on. She’s got her head most taken to
pieces, already.

(_AUNT R. puts on a very large night-cap, so that only a small portion
of her face is visible. She suddenly discovers the other lamp. MR. C.
frequently peeps out._)

A. R. (_in dismay_). Where did that other lamp come from? I know it
wasn’t here when I dressed for the party. (_Looks around. MR. C.’S head
disappears, and the curtains are closed. She discovers a coat and vest on
the chair near head of bed. Her eyes are fixed on them in horror. She
wrings her hands._) Oh, there’s a man in the room, I know there is! I
shall faint. (_She suddenly considers that, under the circumstances, this
would be improper._) If I only dared to go and look! (_Stands a moment,
with hands tightly clasped together, grows courageous, and slowly walks
toward the bed, peeps through the curtain, and, darting back, screams._)
Oh! oh! oh!

MR. C. (_parting the curtains a little_). Don’t be so foolish, madam. I
assure you it is all a mistake.

A. R. That’s what they always say. (_Runs to door, L., looking back now
and then, to see if she is pursued; screams_:) Emmeline! James! Help!
Murder! Thieves!

                                                    (_Exit AUNT RACHEL._)

(_MR. C. parts the curtain, and looks forth._)

MR. C. Well, I must say, that’s rather curious. The mystery thickens.
Pray who could that female be? I’m sure it’s no one that I ever saw
before. Perhaps she’s left a handkerchief with her name written on it.
I guess I’ll reconnoitre a little, as she has left me a light. (_Goes
to table, lifts, successively, the braids and masses of curls._) Here
is part of her make-up. But there’s no name on it. In fact, there is
nothing to give any clue to the mystery. But there’s one thing I can do.
I’ll fasten the door so that I shall not be interrupted again. (_Goes to
door and locks it._) Now I believe I will retire once more, and see if
I cannot get a little rest. And for fear I may be routed again, I will
leave the light burning. (_He goes to bed._)

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_Parlor at MR. LEWIS’. MRS. L., R., AGNES, C., and
    PHILIP, L., present. They are engaged in taking off their outer

MRS. LEWIS. How glad I am to get home again! I feel very tired.

PHILIP. I don’t feel tired a bit. I wanted to stop longer. Didn’t you,

AGNES. I had a nice time, and enjoyed myself very much. (_Smiling._) I
don’t suppose I should seriously have objected to stopping longer. Do you
know, Phil, I made a good many new acquaintances this evening?

PHIL. Yes, you seemed to be having a splendid time, talking with
Fitznoodle. I can’t say I admire your taste.

A. Oh, as for that, I don’t fancy him much, myself, but you know one must
be civil, even if they don’t like those they are talking with.

(_Enter AUNT RACHEL, R., with night-cap on, in a state of great

A. R. Oh, murder! Help! Thieves!

MRS. L. What is it, Rachel?

A. R. (_gasping_). Oh, dear! Oh, dear!

MRS. L. Why, Rachel, what is the matter?

A. Do tell us, Aunt Rachel.

PHIL. (_sturdily_). I’ll protect you, Aunt Rachel. Where’s the robber?

A. R. Oh, there’s a man in my room—and he spoke to me. (_Clasping her
hands._) What shall I do? Oh! oh!

MRS. L. A man in your room! It can’t be. How could he get in with the
doors all locked?

A. R. (_tartly_). I tell you there is a man there. Don’t you believe me?
He spoke to me too.

PHIL. What did he say, Aunt Rachel?

A. R. I’m sure I don’t know. I didn’t wait to hear.

MR. L. (_entering, L._). Pray what is the matter? You all look frightened.

MRS. L. And well we may. There’s a man in Rachel’s room.

MR. L. That’s all imagination. It is simply impossible that any one could
get in, under the circumstances.

A. R. (_in a high tone_). What! Do you mean to insinuate that I don’t
know what I’m talking about? I guess I haven’t lost the use of any of my
faculties yet. And I saw him with my own eyes.

MR. L. Don’t get disturbed, Rachel. We can easily learn whether there is
any one there or not. I will go myself and see.

MRS. L. Don’t go, Alfred. If there is a man there, of course he is armed.
What could you do to protect yourself against the assault of a desperate
man, and one well armed too? Take my advice and call a policeman.

MR. L. Well, perhaps that would be a better way. (_Starts to go out, L._)

MRS. L. But what shall we do? We can’t be left alone. He might murder us
all and escape before you got back.

MR. L. That is true.

MRS. L. Why can’t we arm ourselves, and all go, in a body? There wouldn’t
be much chance for him to escape, and we could, all together, overpower

MR. L. Very well. I’ll take the carving-knife. (_Takes it from, table._)

MRS. L. I’ll take the poker. (_Takes it._)

PHIL. I’ll take the tongs. (_Takes them, and stepping up behind AUNT
RACHEL, pretends to take off her night-cap with them._)

A. R. I’ll take the broom, and use it well, too. (_Takes it from behind
the door._)

A. I’ll get the clothes-line to tie him with. (_Exit AGNES, R. The rest
go out, R., in the following order—MR. and MRS. L., AUNT R., and PHILIP._)

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE IV.—_Same as Scene II. Bed with curtains drawn. Some one
    tries the door, L. MR. C. parts the curtains, and looks out._

MR. C. What’s to pay now, I wonder? I believe I shall have more
adventures in this one night than I met with all the time I was abroad.
(_Great pounding at the door._) Halloo there! Don’t break the door down.
What’s wanted?

MR. L. (_outside_). Open this door at once, in the name of the law.

MR. C. Well, well, wait a minute. (_He steps out of bed, thrusts his
feet in slippers, then goes and opens the door. Seems astonished at
seeing so many strange faces. They enter,—MR. L. and PHILIP pass to R.;
the rest remain at L.,—eying him cautiously, but concealing their weapons
behind them._)

MR. L. Well, sir, what do you mean by entering my house at night, and
frightening this lady (_turning to AUNT R._) in such a manner?

MR. C. I think I can explain it satisfactorily, sir; but I must first ask
a few questions. Is your name Lewis?

MR. L. It is.

MR. C. How long have you occupied this house?

MR. L. (_puzzled_). About a month.

MR. C. What was the name of the former occupant?

MR. L. His name was Lewis, also. I bought the house of him.

MR. C. _My_ name is Campbell. I am a brother of the other Mrs. Lewis. I
have been travelling abroad for the last two years, and arrived here late
last evening. Having a latch-key, and being ignorant of the change of
owners, I entered, but was disappointed at not finding any one at home.
The servant said the family were away at a party, and offered to conduct
me to my room when I was ready to retire. She said Mrs. Lewis _was
expecting her brother_.

MRS. L. I was expecting him, but he didn’t come.

MR. C. Under these circumstances, and misled by the name, I had no
suspicion that I was trespassing. I therefore told the servant I could
easily find the way to my room, as I had slept there many times before. I
must apologize to this lady (_turning to AUNT R._) for giving her such a
fright, which I assure her was entirely unintentional on my part.

MR. L. (_laughing_). Your explanation is perfectly satisfactory, sir. Mr.
Arthur Lewis lives three blocks farther down-town. But it is late, and
you must be our guest for the remainder of the night. We will furnish you
with another bed, and——

A. R. (_interrupting him indignantly_). Do you suppose I would sleep in
that bed after a man had slept there? Never! Let him stay here the rest
of the night, if he wants to. I shall sleep in the other chamber myself.

PHIL. That’s it, Aunt Rachel. Stand up for your rights.

MRS. L. Very well, let it be arranged so. And we’d better all retire, for
it is already an hour past midnight.

MR. C. I thank you all for your hospitality, and hope in the morning to
be able to vindicate my character more fully.

MR. L. That is quite unnecessary. Your statement is entirely
satisfactory. (_Turns to go out, L._)

PHIL. (_to A. R._) Hadn’t you better take your braids and curls and
things, Aunt Rachel? Mr. Campbell won’t have any use for them, and you
look better with them on than you do without.

A. R. (_hastily putting her hand to head—mortified_). I didn’t expect,
when I put this cap on, to receive callers. (_Goes and gets things from

MR. C. You are very excusable, under the circumstances.

A. R. (_bowing_). Then I will bid you good-night.

    MR. L.  ⎫
    MRS. L. ⎬ (_bowing_). Good-night.
    AGNES   ⎪
    MR. C.  ⎭

PHILIP (_bowing_). Good _morning_.

(_Exeunt, L., MR. L., MRS. L., AGNES, AUNT R. and PHILIP. MR. C.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    MR. CROWELL, A Hypochondriac.
    MARIA DAVIDSON, His Niece.
    MRS. FOSTER, His Housekeeper.
    MR. PRESTON, A Friend, disguised as a Policeman.

    SCENE I.—_The house-keeper’s room. MRS. FOSTER (an elderly
    person wearing spectacles) sits knitting, L. MARIA enters R.,
    and sits down, wearily._

MRS. FOSTER. Well, Maria, you look tired enough.

MARIA. I do feel rather tired.

MRS. F. (_emphatically_). It’s a shame for any man to be so trying as
your uncle is. He hasn’t any business to be so, even if he is sick. It’s
nothing but scold and fret from morning till night. And the more you do,
the more you may. You can’t please him any way you can fix it.

M. I’ve tried to please him, but haven’t succeeded. Now I’m going to see
if I can’t cure him both of his fault-finding and his sickness.

MRS. F. How is that?

M. I think of inviting him to go away on a visit.

MRS. F. I don’t believe he will go. He has an idea that he’s very sick;
but, for my part, I think it’s because he wants to make himself a

M. Hush, Mrs. Foster! You forget he is my uncle, and therefore entitled
to my respect and attention.

MRS. F. Well, I don’t see how you can stand it. I’d as soon wait on the
old boy himself.

M. (_smiling_). I hope you don’t compare my uncle to that renowned

MRS. F. Well, I don’t know which I’d rather wait on. He’s the most
contrary man I ever knew. (_A knock is heard on the floor outside, R._)

M. Hark! (_In listening attitude, and with uplifted finger. Knock
repeated._) There’s my uncle’s knock. He’s awake and wants me.

                                                             (_Exit, R._)

MRS. F. It’s a wicked shame for him to make such a slave of her. He’s a
real torment. (_Knits vigorously—starts as if suddenly remembering._)
But there, I promised to go over and sit with old Miss Barnard this
afternoon. I guess I’ll go, and take my knitting.

                                                 (_Exit. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_MR. CROWELL’S chamber. MR. C. apparently asleep, on
    lounge, C. He opens his eyes. No one else present._

MR. CROWELL (_in a querulous tone_). Where’s Maria? She’s always gone
when I want her. I might die here, and nobody’d know anything about it.
(_Knocks on floor with cane. MARIA enters, R._)

M. Are you awake, uncle?

MR. C. Awake? Of course I am. I’ve been awake this half hour. You might
have heard me knocking long ago, if you were not deaf.

M. I came up as soon as I heard your knock. And how does your head feel?

MR. C. A great deal worse. And my face is hot. I’m sure that I am going
to have a fever.

M. The doctor said it was only a cold.

MR. C. Doctors don’t know everything. Did you bring me up a cup of tea?

M. No; you didn’t say anything about it, did you?

MR. C. Well, I supposed you’d know that I should need something by this

M. It was only an hour ago that you took a bowl of gruel, and I didn’t
think you would wish for anything more so soon.

MR. C. It was full three hours ago. And I want a cup of tea,—hot, mind
you,—just as soon as I can have it.

                                                       (_Exit MARIA, R._)

MR. C. (_soliloquizing_). It is strange that some people haven’t sense
enough to know what a sick person wants, without being told everything. I
always thought Maria was a good nurse; but she is no better than the rest
of them. (_Enter MARIA._)

M. Here is a nice cup of tea for you, uncle.

MR. C. (_tastes it—throws down the spoon and turns his head away_). It’s
hot enough to take the skin off my mouth. I don’t want any more. Throw it

(_MARIA pours it away. She then takes a fan, and gently fans the invalid.
He bears it a moment, then says_:)

MR. C. Don’t keep that fan going; I shall take more cold.

M. You said your face was hot.

MR. C. Well, I don’t want to be cooled off so suddenly. Let me taste of
that tea again.

M. I threw it away.

MR. C. (_in surprise_). Threw my tea away?

M. Yes, you told me to. You said you didn’t want it.

MR. C. I should think you might know by this time that I don’t mean what
I say. Get me some more, quick.

(_MARIA goes out. During her absence MR. C. remains quiet, and with his
eyes closed. She soon returns._)

MR. C. Why didn’t you stay all day?

M. I hurried all I could, uncle; you know I had to wait for the tea to
get hot. (_Tasting._) It’s very nice.

MR. C. (_shaking his head_). I’ve got all off the notion for it, now.

M. Won’t you have some of it?

MR. C. No; I’ve lost all desire for it. (_M. places tea on the table. A
knock is heard._) Who’s that making such a racket?

M. I’ll go and see. (_Goes out—soon returns._) It’s Mr. Preston, uncle.
He wishes to know how you are.

MR. C. Tell him it’s none of his business.

M. Yes, uncle. (_Goes out—soon returns._)

MR. C. Well, what did he say?

M. He seemed quite angry.

MR. C. Angry at what, pray?

M. I suppose at being told it was none of his business.

MR. C. Maria, you didn’t tell him that?

M. Yes, I did, uncle. You told me to tell him it was none of his
business, and he said he shouldn’t trouble you by calling again.

MR. C. (_angrily_). Haven’t you got sense enough to know that I don’t
mean what I say?

M. I supposed, of course, you meant what you said, though I didn’t
exactly like to repeat your message to him.

MR. C. (_after a pause_). I guess I’ll try a little of the tea, Maria.
(_She brings it._)

MR. C. (_languidly_). You’ll have to feed me, Maria, I’m so weak.

M. Yes, uncle. (_Places napkin under chin, and proceeds to feed him._)

MR. C. Stop—stop—it’s hot. You’re choking me. (_But MARIA keeps on._)

MR. C. (_moving quickly one side_).—Sto-op. Can’t you understand plain
English? I don’t believe there’s a particle of skin left on my tongue.
What do you mean?

M. You told me I ought to know by this time that you didn’t mean what you
said. So I supposed I was to go on, at any rate.

MR. C. It’s horrible tasting stuff. You’ve been putting pepper into it.
While you were about it, why didn’t you put in vinegar, too?

(_MARIA, without a word, goes to the table, takes up the vinegar-cruet,
and pours vinegar into the cup._)

MR. C. (_starting up_). Maria Davidson, I believe you are either a fool
or insane.

(_MARIA sits down, and begins to cry. MR. C. gazes at her in
astonishment. A drumming is heard outside, R._)

MR. C. (_putting his hands to his head_). Oh, my poor head! my poor head!
Maria, take my pistol from the closet, and shoot the rascal. (_She goes
to the closet, gets the pistol, and fires, according to his direction._)

MR. C. What the deuce has got into the girl! (_He starts up, and goes to
the window, L.,—mechanically takes up the pistol which MARIA had laid
down. She glides out by one door, R., and immediately a policeman enters
by another, L._)

POLICEMAN. So here you are. I’ll just slip on these bracelets, so you
won’t do any more mischief.

MR. C. (_drawing back_). What do you mean by insulting me in such a

P. You’ve been attempting to murder a man.

MR. C. No, I haven’t.

P. Didn’t you fire a pistol from the window just now?

MR. M. No, I didn’t fire it.

P. Who did fire it, then?

MR. C. (_hesitating_). Why, I—you see—it was—my niece that fired it.

P. (_looking around room_). That’s a likely story. If she fired the
pistol, where is she now?

MR. C. She went out a few minutes ago.

P. You can’t come that dodge on me. It was only a moment ago that it was
done, and there’s no one but you in the room, and I found you with the
pistol in your hand. You must come along with me.

MR. C. But I can’t—I’m sick.

P. (_taking a look at him_). You don’t appear to be dangerously sick. I
guess you’re able to go with me.

MR. C. But I had the doctor this morning. I’m quite feverish, and it
might cause my death to go out.

P. If you’re sick you shall have a doctor to prescribe for you. Come
along. (_Takes him by shoulder._)

                                                           (_Exeunt, L._)

MARIA (_entering, soliloquizing_). My plot has been carried out well thus
far. I don’t think uncle recognized the policeman. It is astonishing how
the habit of complaining gains on one. But if a person is unreasonable,
and given to complaining, there is nothing that will effect a cure so
soon as _taking him at his word_. (_Uncle enters, L._) Ah, have you
returned so soon, uncle? I have felt quite anxious about you, fearing
you might take more cold.

MR. C. You are a very successful little manager, Maria, upon my word. I
felt mortified enough on starting from my own house in the character of a
criminal. But I could blame no one but myself, since my orders were all
obeyed, not only very promptly, but _very literally_. Then I thought what
an unreasonable bear I was, and what a patient little nurse you were, and
by the time we stopped I had become quite subdued. Then I discovered that
the policeman was my old and valued friend, Mr. Preston. It all flashed
upon my mind that it was a plot to bring me to my senses, and to show how
unreasonable I was.

M. Oh, no, uncle, not that exactly. We only aimed to show you that you
imagined yourself worse than you really were. But hadn’t you better lie
down awhile? You are not accustomed to such exertion.

MR. C. No; I am thoroughly cured in mind and body. Nothing would tempt
me to personate again the miserable hypochondriac I was when I left the
house. I am cured, and I mean to stay so.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    CLARA, Her Daughter.
    AUNT PATIENCE BURTON, a Lady of Property.
    ERNEST MONTGOMERY, Clara’s Suitor.

    SCENE I.—_MRS. GRANBY’S sitting-room. MRS. G., C., with sober
    countenance, holds in her hand an open letter, on which her
    eyes are fixed. Enter her daughter CLARA, R._

CLARA. Does your letter contain any sad news, ma?

MRS. GRANBY. Not exactly _sad_ news,—but _disagreeable_, to say the least.

C. (_interested_). What is it?

MRS. G. (_glancing at letter_). This is a letter from Aunt Patience
Burton. She is coming to make us a visit.

C. That is _horrible_ news. I shouldn’t want Ernest to see her—she is so
fussy and homely.

MRS. G. He will, no doubt, feel as we do, that money is of more
consequence than a handsome face. Besides, we shan’t be troubled with her

C. How long do you suppose she will stop here?

MRS. G. A week or two, I suppose. That is the usual length of her visits.

C. (_with the air of a martyr_). Well, I suppose we must try to endure
her presence for that length of time—hoping for our final reward.

MRS. G. (_in a brighter tone_). If she could only be persuaded into
making her will in our favor, I shouldn’t consider the trouble of having
her here anything.

C. How much is she supposed to be worth?

MRS. G. About thirty thousand dollars.

C. Just think how much more that amount would benefit us than it does
her. I dare say she hoards it up like a miser.

MRS. G. (_smiling_). That will be all the better for us.

C. Yes, if we get it. But when does the letter say she is coming?

MRS. G. I did not notice particularly. Let me see. (_Looks over
letter—reads_:) “You may expect me Friday, the twenty-fifth, wind and
weather permitting.”

C. (_interrupting_). The twenty-fifth! Why, that’s to-day! (_Bell rings

MRS. G. And there is the bell. I shouldn’t be at all surprised if that
were she. (_Both rise._)

(_Enter, L., a prim, elderly lady, with corkscrew curls, and wearing an
old-fashioned bonnet._)

MRS. G. (_greeting her with a smile of welcome, and shaking hands
warmly_). Why, Aunt Patience, how glad I am to see you! Clara and I were
just speaking of you.

AUNT PRUDENCE (_diving into the recesses of an ample pocket_). Wait a
minute, Elviry. (_Takes out an ear-trumpet, which she adjusts to her
ear._) There, now we can talk.

MRS. G. (_in a loud tone_). I had no idea you were so deaf, aunt.

A. P. I’m getting old, you know, and can’t expect to keep my faculties
like younger people. But where’s Clara?

MRS. G. This is Clara. (_Steps aside for her daughter to approach._)
Didn’t you recognize her?

A. P. No, she’s grown so I didn’t know her. How d’ye do, dear?

C. (_shaking hands_). How do you do, aunt? I’m glad to see you here.

A. P. Thank ye, child. It’s pleasant to find that old folks aint always
forgotten and wished out of the way.

MRS. G. (_in a loud voice_). Let me assist you in taking off your bonnet.

A. P. You needn’t speak so loud when I have my trumpet.

MRS. G. Then you can hear without using it?

A. P. Yes, but not without you speak pretty loud. (_Lays her trumpet

MRS. G. (_taking aunt’s bonnet, and carrying it to table. Addressing
daughter._) You see, she’s as deaf as can be. (_Old lady sits down._)

C. That’s lucky. We can relieve our minds without her hearing us. Is she
going to stay long?

MRS. G. I don’t know. I will ask her. (_In a loud voice:_) I hope you are
going to make us a long visit.

A. P. I shan’t be able to stop more than a month. But perhaps it won’t be
convenient for you to have me with you so long.

MRS. G. (_in a loud tone to aunt_). We shall be delighted (_in a lower
tone to her daughter_) when you go away. That’s true, isn’t it, Clara?

C. Yes, indeed. But (_dismally_) do you suppose we can live through the

MRS. G. We must try to, for the sake of the money. (_To AUNT P._) Have
you been well, lately, aunt?

A. P. No, I’ve enjoyed dreadful poor health this winter. I’ve been most
dead with roomatiz and I haven’t got over it yet.

MRS. G. It must have been hard to bear.

A. P. Yes, it made me feel as if I ought to make my will, and I think I
shall make it as soon as I get home again.

MRS. G. Oh, you have many years yet to live, aunt.

A. P. I can see well enough that I am getting old, and cannot live long,
anyway. I get tired out very easy. I think I shall have to ask you to
show me to the room I am to occupy, and I will lie down awhile. I aint
much used to travelling, and it tires me.

MRS. G. Shan’t I get you a cup of tea, aunt?

A. P. Oh, no. All I need is a little rest.

                                                             (_Exit, R._)

MRS. G. There, I think we have made a good impression. If she only makes
a will in our favor, I shall consider the attentions we pay her a good

C. But suppose she shouldn’t leave her money to us?

MRS. G. Oh, don’t let your imagination run in that direction. We must
manage to get into her good graces, so that we may become her heirs.

C. Well, I will do all I can to bring about so desirable a result.

                                      (_Exit MRS. G., R. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_The same. AUNT P., R., knitting. Clara, C., sitting
    idly, with book in her hand._

A. P. Didn’t you hear the bell just now, Clara?

C. Yes, I am expecting a friend here to-night. Ah (_rising as ERNEST
MONTGOMERY enters, L._), good-evening, Ernest.

ERNEST MONTGOMERY. Good-evening. You were expecting me, I suppose.

C. Of course I was. I always remember appointments. But I suppose I must
introduce you to my aunt. (_In a loud tone_:) Aunt Patience, this is Mr.

A. P. (_extending her hand to the young man_). I am very glad to see him.

C. (_to E. M._). We shan’t need to take any further notice of her. She’s
deaf as an adder, and can’t hear a word without her trumpet unless we
scream at her. I believe you never saw her before.

E. M. No.

C. She isn’t very handsome, is she?

E. M. Aren’t you afraid she’ll hear you?

C. Oh no, she’s too deaf.

E. M. But deaf people generally hear things that are not intended for
their ears.

C. Well, I’ll run the risk. When we speak to her she seldom hears the
first time.

A. P. What was that you said?

C. (_in a loud tone_). Only that it was so long since you had been here
that we should try to make you have a pleasant time.

A. P. (_in a satisfied tone_). Oh, was that it? Thank you, child.

E. M. (_with admiration_). You got out of that well.

C. Trust me for that. When one has a rich aunt, it is the best to keep on
the right side of her.

A. P. Did you speak to me, Clara?

C. No; I was telling Mr. Montgomery how fond I was of cider.

A. P. I used to like cider when I was a girl; but that was the genuine
article, and we used to go to the mill where they made it, and take it
through a straw.

E. M. (_interested_). So your aunt is rich?

C. Yes; she is said to be worth thirty thousand dollars.

E. M. That’s quite a fortune.

A. P. (_as if talking to herself_). Yes; deafness is quite a misfortune;
but one doesn’t mind it so much when they’re stopping among their own

C. (_smiling_). Yes, it is quite a fortune, and of course we put up with
her oddities for the sake of the money, which will, most of it, come to

E. M. She may outlive you.

C. That’s what I’m afraid of. It would be just our luck to have her live
to be a hundred.

E. M. How old is she now?

C. About sixty-five.

E. M. Then you would only have to wait thirty-five years for it.

C. We might as well never have her money as to wait so long as that for

E. M. It would be rather a long while, that’s a fact. By that time you
would look as your aunt does now. Do you know, I think you resemble her
very much?

C. (_tapping him playfully with her fan_). Take that for your
impertinence, sir. I must be a charming damsel, if that were the case.

E. M. So I thought; which was why I made the remark.

C. (_flushing_). I don’t esteem it any compliment.

A. P. What was that you said, Clara?

C. I was saying to Mr. Montgomery that people seldom say what they mean.

A. P. (_nodding_). That’s true—that’s true enough. (_After a
pause—holding up knitting._) Well, there, I’ve got that stocking pretty
well along, and haven’t been knitting a great while, either. Mr.
Montgomery, may I trouble you to tell me what time it is?

E. M. It is no trouble, madam, I assure you. (_Looks at watch._) It is
about (_hesitates_) five minutes past ten.

A. P. Five minutes past ten! I had no idea ’twas so late. (_Gathers
up her knitting._) That’s long past the time I usually go to bed.
Good-night, Mr. Montgomery; good-night, Clara.

C. Good-night, aunt.

E. M. Good-evening, madam.

                                               (_Exit AUNT PATIENCE, R._)

C. What made you tell her it was so late? It isn’t more than nine o’clock.

E. M. (_looking at watch_). It is just half-past eight. But although
I enjoyed her society exceedingly, I was willing to deny myself that
pleasure for the sake of having a little private conversation with you
on a very important matter. (_CLARA casts down her eyes. MR. MONTGOMERY
draws his chair near hers, and takes her hand._)

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_The same. MRS. GRANBY, R., and CLARA, L., present._

C. Doesn’t it seem a great relief to have Aunt Patience gone?

MRS. G. I must say that it does. I was constantly anxious for fear she
would learn our real feelings, though I flatter myself we concealed them
quite carefully.

C. I don’t believe she suspected at all that we were glad her visit was
over. Deaf people are most always obtuse.

MRS. G. I hope it may prove so, for her money would be a great help to
us. In fact, I don’t see how we can get along without it.

C. It would be very convenient if she would let us have an instalment of
a few thousands soon—before my marriage, for instance.

MRS. G. Yes, in that case we could afford to send to Paris for your
trousseau. But has the time for the wedding been fixed?

C. Yes; Ernest wishes it to take place in June.

MRS. G. I spoke of your marriage as liable to take place soon, and hoped
Aunt Patience would take the hint; but she didn’t seem to.

C. What reply did she make?

MRS. G. She said she hadn’t anything special against Mr. Montgomery, but
that _she_ would never think of choosing _him_ for a husband.

C. Perhaps he reciprocates her feelings. I don’t think it would be a
suitable match myself.

MRS. G. (_smiling_). Being an interested party, perhaps you are not a
suitable judge.

(_SERVANT enters, R., bearing a letter, which she passes to MRS. G._)

MRS. G. (_surprised_). A letter from Aunt Patience, as I live!

SERVANT. Yes, ma’am, and there’s a box downstairs, with one end of the
old lady’s ear-trumpet sticking out of it.

MRS. G. Very well, you may let it remain there for the present.

                                                     (_Exit SERVANT, R._)

C. (_clasping her hands, while an expression of horror overspreads her
face_). Don’t say Aunt Patience is coming back again. I certainly think I
couldn’t survive such an event.

MRS. G. (_who has read the letter—quite soberly_). It is worse than that.

C. Worse! I don’t know of anything that could be worse than another visit
from Aunt Patience.

MRS. G. Very well—read the letter and satisfy yourself.

C. (_Taking the letter, which she reads aloud:_)

    “NIECE ELVIRA: Thinking you might be anxious to hear from me, I
    write to say that I reached home safely. But since my arrival I
    have had an attack of rheumatic fever. Therefore, feeling that
    life is uncertain, yesterday I made my will. Before visiting
    you I had decided to leave my property to you; but I changed
    my mind, and have concluded to leave it to the Home for Aged
    Women, a charitable institution, where it will, I hope, do a
    great deal of good.

    “I shall not visit you again. It would be too much of a tax on
    you to ask you to put up with my odd ways. As you remarked to
    Clara when I came that you would be delighted to have me go,
    this information will doubtless be pleasing to you. Besides, I
    have a presentiment that I shall not live long, notwithstanding
    Clara’s fears to the contrary.

    “Although deaf as an adder when I came to visit you, my hearing
    has been wonderfully restored, so that I can now dispense with
    my ear-trumpet. I therefore send it to you, hoping it may do
    you as good service as it did me, in showing me for what I was
    valued most.

                                                   “AUNT PATIENCE.”

(_MRS. G. and CLARA look blankly at each other._)

MRS. G. So it seems we are not to have any of Aunt Patience’s money after

C. (_indignantly_). It’s a real mean thing for any one to be so
deceitful—going round pretending to be deaf. I’m glad she isn’t coming
here again. I couldn’t endure the sight of her.

SERV. (_entering, R._). Here’s a note that Mr. Montgomery left for you.

C. (_surprised_). Has he been here?

SERV. Yes, he came just after the expressman brought the box.

C. But why didn’t he stop?

S. He heard you reading the letter, and he said he couldn’t stop but a
moment; a message would do just as well as seeing you. So he wrote this
note in the drawing-room, and asked me to give it to you. (_CLARA gazes
at the note. SERVANT goes out, R._)

MRS. G. Why don’t you read your note?

C. I am so surprised. (_Unfolds the paper—reads aloud:_)

    “MISS CLARA GRANBY: I have received an appointment which
    will carry me to India, and I am to sail for that place this
    afternoon. I called to bid you good-by, but finding you
    engaged, and being myself in great haste, I make my adieu on
    paper. As I may be gone for a long time, perhaps a number of
    years, I deem it my duty to release you from your engagement.

                                               “ERNEST MONTGOMERY.”

MRS. G. What does it mean?

C. (_contemptuously_). It means that he overheard enough of Aunt
Patience’s letter to know that we are not to have any of her property; so
he has magnanimously released me from my engagement.

MRS. G. But what are you going to do about it?

C. Do? I don’t know as there is anything to be done. In fact, my present
feelings of indifference towards him show that my affections were not
involved, and I am well satisfied to have him leave me as he has done. As
to Aunt Patience, I guess we can get along without any of her money. I
have several accomplishments that can be turned to account if necessity
requires it.

MRS. G. (_with motherly solicitude, and looking at the matter from a
practical point of view_). But young ladies who earn their own living are
considered strong-minded, and never get married. I couldn’t bear to have
you an old maid.

C. (_calmly_). Well, I don’t know as that would be a terrible fate. It
would be a more independent life than marriage would give me. On the
whole, I think I shall decide to live a single life. (_Smiling._) Still,
as an old lady of eighty once said: “I’ve made up my mind not to get
married, and I don’t expect to; but if the Lord should see fit to send me
a good husband, I should try to be resigned.”

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    MRS. FLORA WILLIS, A Young Widow.
    MRS. LAWRENCE, Her Mother.
    ALFRED PERCIVAL, Flora’s Suitor.

    SCENE I.—_MRS. LAWRENCE’S parlor. MRS. L., R., FLORA, C., and
    MR. PERCIVAL, L., present._

FLORA. Oh, yes, mother believes in ghosts, and haunted houses, and all
those things, and I suppose that, as a dutiful daughter, I ought to do
the same; but I haven’t very much faith in them.

MR. PERCIVAL. Perhaps, if you had had any experience in that direction,
you might feel differently about the matter. I never believed in haunted
houses till I visited Charlie Baldwin, my former chum, last summer.

F. Do tell us all about it. I should like to hear a real nice ghost story.

MRS. LAWRENCE. I think we’d better wait till daylight before listening to
a story of that character.

F. No, it’s just the time for it; it is cold and dark outside. We can
more easily imagine the events real. So go on, please, Mr. Percival.

MR. P.—But my story is not a ghost story at all, and there is really
very little to tell. But we heard strange noises for which we could not
account. For instance, a door, which led from the house into the shed,
had swollen so that it was difficult to shut it, and whenever it was
opened and shut it creaked most musically, so that it could be heard in
all the lower rooms. One evening we were seated at the tea-table, when we
heard the door creaking. “Who is that coming in?” asked Mrs. Baldwin. “It
is very strange,” answered Charlie; “I am sure I closed and locked that
door not ten minutes ago.”—“Suppose we go out and see what it is,” said
Mr. Baldwin. “It certainly had a natural sound.” We all went out in a
body, and behold! the door was shut and fastened and everything all right.

F. (_interested_). Did you hear any other noises while you were there?

MR. P. Oh, yes, we frequently heard footsteps going up and down stairs
after we had gone to bed. Sometimes we could hear the chairs moved about
in the rooms below. And once, I remember, we heard a terrific noise, as
if the side of the house had fallen in. But the next morning everything
seemed as usual, and we laughed about the matter.

F. But were you not startled?

MR. P. Well, I cannot say I should like to live in that house long.

MRS. L. If you had heard all these things, Flora, don’t you think you
would have faith to believe that there are some strange things which one
cannot account for?

F. Oh, yes; “seeing is believing,” as the old saying is, and I suppose
_hearing_ is believing also. But I must ask you to excuse me now, Mr.
Percival, as I have a letter to write, which must go out by the next mail.

MR. P. Though we are sorry to lose your company, we will grant you leave
of absence for a short time. (_Rises and opens the door for her, L. Exit

MR. P. (_sitting down near MRS. L._). The turn which the conversation
took just now suggested a plan to me, which, with your permission, I
should like to carry out.

MRS. L. What is it?

MR. P. You are, of course, aware that I love your daughter, and would
gladly marry her. She has rejected me, but still I think she likes me as
well or better than any one else. Now, cannot I, by stratagem, bring her
to consent to a marriage with me?

MRS. L. I wish you might do so, and will gladly assist you in any way I
can. But what is your plan?

MR. P. I thought I might, with your assistance, personate the spirit of
her former husband, and appear to her to-night while this conversation
is fresh in her mind, and warn her, if she wishes him to rest in peace,
that she must marry a certain Alfred Percival, who will make her a good

MRS. L. It is a capital idea. I think the conversation seemed to affect
her considerably. Suppose you come here at ten o’clock to-night. I will
remain up, and arrange your ghostship.

MR. P. Very well, I will do so. And I believe I will go now, as I have
some preparations to make.

                                 (_Exit MR. PERCIVAL, L. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_A curtain is arranged from front to back, dividing
    the stage into two rooms, as both must be seen at once. There
    must be a door between. In right-hand room is a lounge with
    pillow and blanket. FLORA sits in rocking-chair, soliloquizing._

F. There’s something going on, I’m sure, but what it can be isn’t
quite clear to me. Mother has asked me half-a-dozen times if it wasn’t
bed-time; and yet she, herself, hasn’t made any preparation toward
retiring. I shall lie down, with my clothes on, ready for any emergency.
There’s no danger of sleep overtaking me. I feel as if I shouldn’t sleep
any at all to-night.

(_She lies down on lounge, in right-hand room, and covers herself with
a blanket. A moment after, MRS. L. looks into FLORA’S room and seems
satisfied at seeing her apparently asleep. She goes out into left-hand
room. A tap is heard at outer door of left-hand room. Exit MRS. L._)

F. Hark! what noise is that? (_Assumes a listening attitude._)

(_Voices of MRS. L. and MR. P. are heard from behind the scenes._)

MRS. L. (_outside_). I am glad you are so punctual. Everything is in
readiness. I just looked into Flora’s room and found she was fast asleep.

MR. P. (_in rather a high key_). Where shall I go to arrange my costume?

MRS. L. (_deprecatingly_). Hush! you mustn’t speak so loud, as her door
is ajar. Come with me, and we’ll soon have you fitted out.

(_They enter left-hand room cautiously. A sheet lies unfolded on a chair.
This MRS. L. drapes around her companion. He gathers it together so as to
conceal his clothes._)

MRS. L. It will never do to allow your features to show so plainly. You
are only Alfred Percival, after all. Flora would recognize you at once.

MR. P. Suppose I put the sheet over my head? (_Does so._) Is that any

MRS. L. Yes; but still I think your features would betray you. Let me
think a moment. I have it. I will get Mr. Willis’s wig; that will be just
the thing.

MR. P. So it will. That’s a good idea. (_She takes wig out of box. MR. P.
puts it on._)

MRS. L. That’s capital. Now stoop a little, and no one would be likely to
recognize you, particularly if they had just waked.

(_FLORA covers herself again and feigns sleep. MR. P. enters her room and
advances to lounge. FLORA moves uneasily; then opens her eyes, and fixes
them upon her visitor._)

F. (_in apparent horror_). Who are you?

MR. P. (_in sepulchral voice_). Flora Willis, I am the spirit of your
dead husband.

F. But why do you appear to me in this way? If you are really he, why
should you come to me at the dead of night?

MR. P. (_in hollow tones_). We, who are tenants of another sphere, mingle
not with mortals; and it is only when all eyes are closed in slumber that
we are permitted to walk the earth.

F. (_gaining confidence_). But what is your object in coming?

MR. P. (_slowly_). I come to warn and advise you. You are young, and, I
know, cherish my memory fondly; but I feel sure that you would be happier
and enjoy life more, if you should marry again.

F. But who is there I should be happy with?

MR. P. You have many suitors; choose among them.

F. I’m afraid they want my money more than myself, and such a union would
cause a lifetime of misery.

MR. P. You are mistaken. There is Alfred Percival. He would be a kind
husband. It is my wish that you marry him. Promise me that you will do so.

F. I cannot promise; it is too sudden.

MR. P. Think of it, then. One week from to-night I will visit you again.
(_Passes slowly out into left-hand room._)

F. (_musing_). Well, that’s curious. I’ve heard ghost stories of almost
every description, but never before did I hear of a ghost making love.
For, though he intended to personate a spirit, he certainly spoke of
himself. And I suppose he is congratulating himself on having completely
deceived me. (_Suddenly._) I’d like to know what he and mother are saying
about it. And why can’t I? They are only in the next room.

(_She rises and creeps cautiously to the door, which stands ajar. MR. P.
has laid aside his ghostly covering and is in the act of passing his wig
to MRS. L. FLORA listens._)

MRS. L. Then you think she did not suspect you?

MR. P. Apparently not. She appeared quite startled at first, but soon
regained her composure.

MRS. L. I suppose it would be better not to allude to the subject

MR. P. Not on any account. That would tend to arouse her suspicions. I
wouldn’t have her know that I took part in the stratagem.

MRS. L. And what do you expect will come of it? Of course she would not
be likely to come forward and tell you that she was willing to marry you,
even if she felt favorably inclined toward you.

MR. P. (_hesitatingly_). I think I shall call upon her to-morrow, and
then I shall be governed entirely by circumstances.

                         (_FLORA hurries back to the lounge. MR. PERCIVAL
                        goes out, L. MRS. L. cautiously goes and looks in
                      at FLORA, who appears to be asleep. Exit MRS. L., R.
                                                         Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_Parlor. FLORA present, C. She is arranging flowers
    in a vase._

F. (_soliloquizing_). So Mr. Percival is going to call on me to-day. It
is quite fortunate I happened to overhear his plans. I suppose he will
repeat that momentous question again, and I’ve about made up my mind to
accept him. Then the matter will be settled, and I shan’t be worried any
more by his importunities. Besides, he is a person of good standing,
and I don’t know as I love any one else more; and I don’t think he is
after my money. (_A pause in which she completes the arrangement of the
flowers. MR. P. enters._)

F. (_advancing toward him_). Ah, Mr. Percival, I was just thinking of
you, and you know the old saying, “If you think of the angels, you’ll
soon hear the rustling of their wings.”

MR. P. Excuse me, but I never heard it expressed in that way before. It
has been told me in this wise: His Satanic Majesty is always near when
you’re talking of him.

F. I must say my version is more complimentary than yours.

MR. P. So do I, and I draw encouragement from that fact. If you were
thinking of me, I take it as a favorable omen, and shall consider that I
am not so disagreeable to you as I feared I was.

F. (_interrupting_). Oh, by the way, Mr. Percival, I had quite an
adventure last night. I saw a real, _bona fide_ ghost.

MR. P. Did you really?

F. Yes; as I was quietly dozing, a tall figure, clad in white, stalked
into my room, and when I opened my eyes I beheld him close beside me, and
looking down upon my face.

MR. P. (_avoiding her eyes_). And what did he say?

F. (laughing). Oh, he pretended to be the spirit of my former husband,
and said I must marry again.

MR. P. (_taking both her hands in his_). Why will you not heed his
advice? Let me, too, add my solicitations. Marry me, Flora, and you shall
never have cause to regret it. (_He anxiously waits her reply._)

F. (_looking up into his face with an amused smile_). Why, Mr. Percival,
how much you remind me of my last night’s visitor! The expression of your
face, and the lines about your mouth—all but the white sheet and wig.

MR. P. (_changing color_). I see that you know all; but grant me a
favorable answer, and I shall be well satisfied.

F. (_smiling_). I suppose I ought to, since it is decided on high
authority that it is right and proper I should do so. In that way, if
in no other, I shall convince you that I am not afraid of ghosts, if I
promise to marry one.

MR. P. (_warmly_). And I shall feel well repaid for personating one by
the promised reward. Henceforth I shall look with kindness on shadowy
apparitions, feeling that, in other cases as well as my own, even ghosts
may be of some practical use.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    FRANK WEBSTER, A Young Man from the City.
    EDWIN ALDRICH, His Friend.
    MRS. LEIGHTON, A Farmer’s Wife.

    SCENE I.—_FRANK is seated, R., in the depths of an arm-chair,
    his feet resting on the table. He is smoking a cigar. Enter
    EDWIN, L._

EDWIN. Well, Frank, you look decidedly cosey and comfortable, that’s a

FRANK (_not altering his position, but motioning his visitor to a seat_).
That’s the way to do. One might as well enjoy life as he goes along. Have
a cigar, Aldrich? (_Offers him an open case, in which are cigars._)

E. (_throwing himself on a lounge, L. C._). No, Frank, I believe not. The
fact is, I’ve reformed—given up smoking.

F. Whew! I’ll wager that’s one of the consequences of matrimony.

E. I don’t deny it. But I think smoking is a bad habit, and have thought
of giving it up before, but never could persevere till now. That reminds
me, Frank; why don’t you marry? I dare say you could find some one in the
city foolish enough to take you for better or worse. And you don’t know
what a comfort ’tis to a man to have a good wife and a pleasant home.

F. That’s where the trouble is (_fondly stroking his mustache_). As
you say, I could easily persuade some one to marry me, knowing as they
do that I possess plenty of money. But don’t you think it would make a
difference if I were a poor man?

E. I dare say it might with some persons; but all are not alike. I am
sure there are many who esteem wealth of less importance than personal

F. (_assuming a sitting posture, and laying cigar down_). I have often
thought I should like to marry; but when I looked around among the ladies
with whom I was brought in contact, I became disgusted to see what
frivolous lives they led.

E. But all women are not alike, Frank.

F. That may be so, but where shall I go to look for a different class? I
have strong domestic tastes, and would be glad to change my present state
of single blessedness for a married life. If I could find my ideal of a
wife, I would marry at once.

E. I’ll tell you what it is, Frank. You must go into the country. The
girls are mostly sensible there, and think less about dress and fashion.
You can assume another name, and then look around you, and become
acquainted with some of the country girls. My wife was born and brought
up in the country, so I can speak from experience.

F. But how could I manage? I couldn’t go to a hotel and stop with nothing
to do. Country girls are ambitious as well as those who live in the city,
and if I remained there with no occupation, I should be supposed to be a
man of some property, and I shouldn’t be much better off than I am here.

E. That’s so, my friend. I never gave you credit for so much shrewdness.
But isn’t there anything you could do,—any kind of business, I mean?

F. I have it. I’ll hire myself out on a farm. In that way, as one
of the family, I shall become more intimately acquainted with the
neighborhood—girls included.

E. Imagine fastidious Benjamin Franklin Webster dressed in coarse
clothes and cowhide boots! (_Looking upward._) Shades of the illustrious
men whose names he bears, look down with benignity on the depth of
degradation to which he proposes to descend!

F. (_smiling_). That’ll do, Ed. I am only following the example of at
least one of those illustrious men in working on a farm.

E. And those delicate hands, that never did any manual labor, are to be
used in milking the cows and holding the plough!

F. Laugh away, Ed. I’ve made my plans, and now I’m going to carry them

E. But, seriously, will your strength hold out?

F. Without doubt. Besides, every one says farming is the most healthful
occupation any one can follow. So you may expect to see me back in the
fall so stout and fleshy that my friends will hardly know me.

E. And perhaps you will bring Mrs. Benjamin Franklin Webster with you.

F. That’s very uncertain. I haven’t really very great faith in the
project myself; but I’m tired of my present way of living, and any change
will be welcome, even if it does not bring about the desired result.

E. But how are you going to obtain the situation?

F. How am I? (_Smiling._) That’s the question before the meeting.

E. Suppose you advertise for one. That would be the best way, I think.

F. The very thing. Couldn’t you write an advertisement for me, Ed? You
know I’m modest, and couldn’t, of course, speak of my qualifications as
well as you could.

(_EDWIN takes sheet of paper from the table, and writes for a few
moments; then reads it._)

E. (_reading_). “WANTED—By a young man, a situation on a farm. Is willing
to work for moderate wages, provided he can learn the business. Address
Franklin Forrester, Box 68.” How will that do, Frank?

F. I guess that’ll answer. But what paper would it be best to insert it
in? The evening “Herald”?

E. Oh no, that wouldn’t do. It must be an agricultural paper. Better put
it into several; then you will be more sure of a reply.

F. I’ll insert it in every agricultural paper in the city. If I get one
reply from each, I shall have at least six.

E. Very well. If one has an object in view, there’s nothing like taking
every method to accomplish it.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_FRANK seated C., before a table covered with
    letters. Enter EDWIN, L._

E. Well, I must say the agricultural papers in the city have a goodly
number of subscribers, judging from appearances. This is the first
edition of letters, I suppose.

                                                             (_Exit, L._)

F. Yes, and, judging from the slight examination I have made, it already
needs to be revised and corrected. But there’s no doubt about my getting
a situation, Ed. You see what a demand there is for my services. Sixty
letters already! I can almost imagine myself at the head of a village

E. The quality may not be as satisfactory as the quantity. But if all
these letters are to be examined, we must to work, and use diligence too.
Suppose you open them, and read them aloud.

F. That’s a good way. Here’s one written in a wretched hand, which I will
read first.

(_Cutting off one end of the envelope he draws out a piece of paper about
six inches square, which runs thus:_)

F. (_reading_).

    “Mister Forrister: I seen your notis in the paper yisterdy. And
    sez I to myself, I don’t bleeve I cood do better than to hire
    that man. My bizness is diggin’ wells, wich is one branch of
    farmin’, becoz every farm has to have one or more. As you say
    you’re a green hand, I should expec you to pay your bord for
    the fust month. I’d give you your bord the second month for
    your work. After that we’d talk about wages, though I coodn’t
    pay much. When cood you kum?

                        “Yours to command,

                                               “SOLOMON PORCUPINE.”

E. (_laughing_). Ha! ha! ha! That’s a good one. If you go there you’ll
be sure to learn one branch of the business pretty thoroughly. Shall you
accept, and become a member of Mr. Porcupine’s family? By the way, he has
a charming name.

F. Yes, characteristic, I dare say. Accept the first chance? No indeed;
not as long as I have fifty-nine more left. (_Opens another letter._) But
what is this?

E. I’m all attention.

F. (_reading_). Mr. Forrester: “I notice by my paper that you want to
learn to farm. I should like to teach you ‘what I know about farming.’ It
would take some time to do it, but I would warrant you a good knowledge
of farming in six years. You couldn’t fail to get a thorough knowledge
of the business, as I should let you do all the work. My health is poor,
and I am only able to oversee the work. As you want a situation, you may
as well consider yourself engaged. I shall expect you next Monday. HORACE

F. Well! that’s cool! I am afraid that man is troubled by a disease
called indolence. But, Ed, we are getting along too slowly. Suppose you
and I read letters as fast as we can, and if either of us finds one that
we consider suitable it shall be read aloud. If not, it shall be thrown
into the waste basket.

E. Agreed.

(_They look over letters very hurriedly, occasionally laughing aloud as
they read something which excites their mirth. At length EDWIN says:_)

E. Here, Frank, here’s just the place for you. Shall I read?

F. Do so by all means. I am nearly discouraged.

E. (_reading_). “Franklin Forrester, Esq.—Dear Sir: Uncle William wishes
me to write to you concerning an advertisement of yours which he read in
our paper. He judges from it that you are not accustomed to working on
a farm. He has already two men, but wishes a little more help, provided
arrangements satisfactory to both parties could be made. He is willing
to pay whatever is reasonable as regard wages, but not knowing how much
you can do, he can say nothing more definite. If you wish any further
information, a letter directed to William Leighton, Ballardvale, Vermont,
will receive prompt attention. But if you prefer to come without
writing, uncle will be glad to see you at any time after the receipt of
this letter.”

F. (_eagerly_). What is the signature?

F. There is none, but it is evidently a lady’s hand. What do you think of

F. I think I shall start for Ballardvale to-morrow.

E. That’s a wise conclusion. You will be back by Christmas, I doubt not.
Probably by that time you will have become a practical farmer.

F. (_absently_). Time will show.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_Sitting-room at MR. LEIGHTON’S. Time, evening.
    MRS. LEIGHTON, C., ANNIE, R., and FRANK, L., present. FRANK is
    dressed in a coarse suit. MRS. L. is knitting._

MRS. LEIGHTON. Well, Mr. Forrester, how do you like your first day’s
experience on a farm?

F. Very much, indeed. But, you know, I have not had any work to do yet.
Mr. Leighton, unlike most employers, has given me a vacation to start

MRS. L. He wishes you to have a little time in which to look around first.

ANNIE (_smiling_). You find the hour for rising a little earlier here
than in the city, I suppose.

F. Yes, I do. This morning I was awakened by the sound of a bell. I
listened, wondering what could be the matter. There were sounds from
below, as if something had happened. Doors were opened and shut
hurriedly, and I could hear the voices of men outside. I dressed as
quickly as I could, and hurried downstairs. But it appeared that nothing
unusual had taken place. Mrs. Leighton was getting breakfast, and you
were laying the table. I glanced up at the clock, and saw that it was a
quarter past four o’clock (_smiling_),—about four hours earlier than I
have been accustomed to rise. Then it occurred to me that people living
on farms are obliged to get up early.

MRS. L. Yes, my mother used to say that an hour in the morning was worth
three later in the day. But did you rest well, Mr. Forrester?

F. Oh yes, very well.

MRS. L. When I pass the night in the city I can’t sleep, there is so
much noise. But last summer a lady who was visiting here could not sleep
because _she missed the noise_.

F. There is a great deal in habit. (_A pause._) By the way, I said that
I had done no work to-day. I forgot to mention that I had accomplished a
feat which I never attempted before.

A. What was that?

F. I unharnessed the horse.

A. How did you succeed?

F. I got the harness off, but not very scientifically, I’m afraid, for I
heard Mike tell Jerry that that city chap was the curiousest feller he
ever see, for he unfastened every buckle that was in the harness, and
then left it in a heap on the floor.

A. (_smiling_). I think that’s a little worse than I should do, for I
believe I should endeavor to hang the harness up.

F. To tell the truth, I thought of doing so, but there were so many small
pieces that it was impossible. If I had found a basket near, I should
have gathered them up and put them in that.

A. That would be a novel method of disposing of it.

MRS. L. I expect, Mr. Forrester, that you are one of those students who
don’t know much about anything but books.

F. At all events I find, in looking around me, that I don’t know much
about farming. But there’s one good feature in the case: I am anxious to

MRS. L. Oh, I haven’t any doubt but you’ll make quite a farmer yet!

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE IV.—_MRS. L.’S sitting-room. Enter FRANK and ANNIE, R.,
    wearing their hats. FRANK is carrying a basket of grapes (or
    some other kind of fruit). They take off their hats, and FRANK
    lays both on the table. ANNIE seats herself, R., and FRANK
    brings a chair and sits near her, L._

F. (_taking up the basket_). Now I feel like treating myself and you.
Here are some tempting clusters.

(_ANNIE spreads a clean napkin over her dress, while FRANK places the
grapes upon it. They sit for a moment eating the fruit._)

MRS. L. (_entering, R._). So you have got back again. I was wondering
what kept you so long.

F. Congratulate me, Aunt Lucy. Annie has promised to marry me.

MRS. L. That accounts for your being gone so long. I thought you couldn’t
be all this time getting a few grapes. But I’m very glad for you, and
think you have both chosen wisely.

F. (_slyly glancing at his companion_). Perhaps you wouldn’t think it,
but Annie offered to pay me for doing it.

A. (_with mock indignation_). Why, Franklin Forrester!

F. Didn’t you offer me a penny for my thoughts? And haven’t I been
thinking of this very thing for the last three months? (_Turning to MRS.
L._) But I indignantly refused to receive the money.

MRS. L. (_benignantly_). Don’t be foolish, children. Come out now—supper
is ready.

                                                   (_Exit, MRS. L., R._)

F. (_gently detaining ANNIE, who is about to follow her aunt_).—Wait
a moment, Annie, I have a disclosure to make. My name is not Frank
Forrester, but Franklin Webster.

A. What! Benjamin Franklin Webster, who lives on Marlborough street?

F. Yes.

A. Then you are the Mr. Webster that I have heard Edwin Aldrich speak of.

F. (_surprised_). Are you acquainted with him?

A. Oh, yes, he’s my cousin.

F. Your cousin? The young reprobate! Excuse me, but he was the very
person who suggested the idea of my coming here. I believe he planned the
whole affair.

A. I think you are mistaken there; for Uncle William had no thought of
hiring another person till he saw your advertisement.

F. Well, of course Ed knew about it when he saw Mr. Leighton’s letter in
reply to the advertisement. But, as I was saying, I had the misfortune
to lose my parents when quite young, and thereby became heir to a large
amount of property. As I grew up to manhood, my society was sought after
by all the marriageable young ladies and managing mammas. I determined to
find someone who would love me for myself alone; so I came out here, and
found my wishes realized. Can you forgive me, Annie?

A. What! for coming out here, and wishing to marry me? Yes, I’ll try to.
But (_archly_) I, too, have a confession to make. I also am possessed of
property, and came out here to Uncle William for the self-same reason
that you did. But I didn’t change my name. I lived on the street beyond
you, in the city. But it seems we were obliged to go a hundred miles from
home to become acquainted.

(_EDWIN enters R., FRANK and ANNIE start up in surprise._)

EDWIN. Look here, supper’s been ready this half hour, and the biscuits
are nearly cold already.

A. (_interrupting_). Why, Cousin Ed, when did you arrive?

F. Look here, you villain! You planned this affair!

E. (_striking an attitude and speaking in a melancholy tone_). He calls
me a villain for being the means of making him happy. Annie, if I were
you, I’d release him from the engagement at once.

A. (_smiling_). Come, Edwin, you haven’t told me when you arrived.

E. I have been here two hours.

F. (_in a comico-threatening manner_). Tell me, sir, did you not plan
this whole affair?

E. (_more seriously_). No, I knew nothing of it till I read the letter
in reply to the advertisement. I then recognized the handwriting, and in
that way discovered that Annie was stopping here. I felt sure that you
would be pleased with one another, and would both pass a pleasant summer,
if nothing more came of it. Yesterday was the first day of my vacation,
and I thought it time to be looking after you. But aunt tells me you are

F. Yes, and I feel amply repaid for coming so far, and for working three
months on a farm, in order to secure a wife to my mind. If any of my
friends in the city are troubled in the same way that I was, I shall
recommend to them to try my remedy, trusting it may produce the same
gratifying results.

E. And in that way I suppose they may expect to get a good knowledge of
“_Practical Husbandry_.”

                                    (_All three bow, and Curtain falls._)



    MR. SMITH.
    WILLIE (_five years old_).

    SCENE I.—_MRS. SMITH’S parlor. Table in centre of the room.
    MRS. SMITH is engaged in reading a letter. Her husband, L., is
    looking over the evening paper. He lays it down._

MR. SMITH. Well, Mrs. Smith, what is the news? You look as sober as if
you had lost all your friends.

MRS. SMITH. It is a serious matter. This letter informs me that my sister
Sarah is sick, and it is doubtful if she recovers. I ought to go and see
her, but I am afraid I shall not be able to do so.

MR. S. Why, what is the difficulty? I see nothing to prevent your going.
I’m sure you haven’t much to do. There are only three of us in the
family, and Bridget does all the work.

MRS. S. Yes, Bridget will do very well, if there’s some one to look after
her. But she isn’t one to be depended upon. I shouldn’t dare to leave
Willie with her.

MR. S. I think she would get along well enough.

MRS. S. I shouldn’t be willing to go under any such circumstances.

MR. S. Would you be any better satisfied if I should stay at home and
look after things?

MRS. S. Oh, yes, certainly. But could you leave the office for a whole

MR. S. I think so.

MRS. S. Well, then, I will go on the first train to-morrow morning.

MR. S. You needn’t hurry back. We shall get along famously, I am sure; so
you’d better stay till the late train, if you have the least desire to.

MRS. S. I should like to do so. That would give me a nice long day there.

MR. S. (_rising_). If you take the first train we must be up betimes.
What time do the cars leave here?

MRS. S. At eight o’clock, I believe.

MR. S. I will go now and write a note to Mr. Ferguson, saying I shall not
be at the office to-morrow.


MRS. S. (_sola_). This is a good chance for me. I want very much to see
Sarah. And then Mr. Smith is constantly telling me that I can’t have much
to do. It will be a good thing for him to have a little experience in
house-keeping. I think one day’s trial will be sufficient to satisfy him.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II. _Dining-room at MR. SMITH’S._

BRIDGET, R. C. (_washing dishes_). An’ what’s Misther Smith at home
to-day for, I wonder? Didn’t the missis think she left me enough to do,
widout havin’ him round? I was goin’ to invite Ann Malony to come and
pass the afthernoon and take tay wid me; but how can I do it wid him
spyin’ round?

(_Enter MR. SMITH, L._)

MR. S. Well, Bridget, we are left to keep house all alone to-day.

B. (_sullenly_). Yis, sir.

MR. S. What did Mrs. Smith say we were to have for dinner?

B. Cold roast beef and rice puddin’; an’ I was to make some hot biskit.

MR. S. It won’t take very long to do that, will it?

B. (_hoping for leave of absence after dinner_). No, sir, I could do that
much in an hour.

MR. S. Well, Bridget, Mrs. Smith is to be away all day, and I thought
we’d clean the kitchen closet while she’s gone, and so surprise her when
she comes home.

B. An’ d’ye think I’ll begin a big job like that while she’s away? She
always helps me at cleanin’-house time.

MR. S. Oh, well, I’ll help you. I’ll take down the dishes, and you can
wash and wipe them, and wash out the closet. Then I’ll help you put them
back again.

B. Axin’ yer pardon, sir, I can’t do it.

MR. S. What! do you refuse to obey orders? (_Sarcastically._) I suppose
you’ll expect to receive your wages just the same.

B. Av coorse I shall. I never refuses to do anything the _missis_
requires, but I aint goin’ to be ordered round _by a man_.

MR. S. If you’re not willing to do what I tell you, the sooner you find
another place, the better.

B. (_angrily_). I’m goin’ to lave the house this blessed minnit, so I am.
It’s Bridget McFinnigan that won’t be imposed upon by the likes uv you,
or any other man! (_She takes off her apron hastily, throws it over a
chair, and leaves the room, R., full of indignation._)

MR. S. Well, I’m afraid I’ve got myself into trouble. I’d better have
waited till after dinner before speaking about cleaning. But, as it
seems I’ve got to do what I can, alone, I might as well finish washing
the breakfast dishes. (_Takes BRIDGET’S apron, and ties it on loosely.
He begins to wipe a plate, but it falls from his hands and is broken._)
There goes a plate. I must go and throw it into the stove, or Mrs. Smith
will be twitting me about breaking things. (_Goes to the next room, R.,
where a stove is supposed to be, and leaves the broken plate. Returns and
commences washing dishes again._) After all, there isn’t much work about
keeping house. It’s astonishing how these women can employ all their
time! Perhaps it is better that Bridget left me as she did to-day, as now
I can show Mrs. Smith how easily housework may be disposed of.

WILLIE (_enters, L., with torn clothes, and rubbing his eyes with his
hands_). Ur-r-r-r, ur-r-r-r, (_louder_) ur-r-r-r!

MR. S. What’s the matter? What’s the matter?

W. (_crying_). Sammy Snow set his dog on to me, and hurt me. Ur-r-r-r!

MR. S. Well, be a brave boy, and don’t cry.

W. (_crying_). Give me some raisins, and I won’t.

MR. S. I don’t know where mamma keeps them.

W. I do; it’s in the kitchen closet.

MR. S. Does mamma give them to you?

W. Sometimes, and sometimes I get them myself.

MR. S. Well, you can get a _very few_. Raisins are not good for little

W. (_aside_). I guess I’ll have enough raisins this time. (_Goes out, R._)

MR. S. I ought to finish washing the dishes, but perhaps I’d better see
about dinner, first. Let me see. We were to have rice pudding. I haven’t
time to make an elaborate pudding. I think I’ll just boil some rice. That
is always good.

(_He goes toward the table, but steps on his apron and falls. He reaches
forward to take hold of the table, but, instead, grasps the paper of
rice, and both go on to the floor, the rice scattering in all directions.
He gets up, rubbing his bruised arm, and looks ruefully at the scene
before him; just then WILLIE comes in crying._)

W. There aint any raisins there, ur-r-r! Papa, what was I crying for,

MR. S. (_coaxing him_). Don’t cry, Willie, but come and help papa pick up
this rice, and you shall have an orange when I go to the store.

W. I want it now.

MR. S. I haven’t got one now; but here’s an apple, and I’ll give you an
orange this afternoon. (_WILLIE takes the apple. They gather up some
of the rice, leaving the greater part of it on the floor._) I wonder
how much of this I ought to boil. There are only two of us. I think a
quart will be enough. (_Measures it._) I don’t know but it ought to be
picked over. (_Looks at watch._) No, I shan’t have time. Of course it’s
clean enough; the floor is swept every day. (_Goes out, R., with rice;
returns._) The next thing is biscuit. That’s an easy matter. I have only
to mix flour and water together, and put it into the oven. (_Pours flour
into a pan, and adds water._) I believe it is customary to knead it well
with the hands. (_Puts his hands in, and stirs ingredients together. At
that moment a ring is heard at the door._) I declare if that isn’t the
door-bell. But I shan’t answer it,—not if they ring a dozen times.

W. (_who has peeped out of the window, L._) Papa, it’s the Ashtons! (_An
aristocratic family who have never before called on the SMITHS._)

MR. S. Is it? (_Thinks for a moment; the bell rings again._) Willie,
can’t you go to the door, and show the ladies into the parlor? Then come
out here, and I will go in and see them. Stop a moment, your face isn’t
clean. (_The bell rings again._) No matter; come here and wipe it on my
apron. Now go, like a good boy.

(_WILLIE goes to answer the bell, but, being a little confused, shows the
visitors into the dining-room, L. MRS. and MISS ASHTON look around the
room and exchange significant glances._)

MR. S. (_discomposed, takes his hands out of the dough, and wipes them on
his apron_). Willie, why did you bring the ladies into this room? I beg
your pardon, ladies; won’t you go into the parlor? I will be in directly.

MRS. A. (_superciliously_). Thank you; but we called to see Mrs. Smith.
Is she at home?

MR. S. No, she is not. Her sister is dangerously ill, and has sent for
her. She will be at home this evening.

MRS. A. Then we will call again (_significantly_), at a more auspicious

MR. S. I trust you will excuse my appearance. Soon after Mrs. Smith was
gone, the servant left me and—

MRS. A. Ah, yes! I understand—Good morning! (_Aside to her daughter._)
What a low family! I shall not think of calling again.

                                                           (_Exeunt, L._)

MR. S. (_provoked_). Why didn’t you take those ladies into the parlor, as
I told you, Willie?

WILLIE (_terrified_). I didn’t mean to, papa. Don’t scold. I won’t do so

MR. S. Well, see that you don’t. (_Soliloquizes._) I wonder if I ought
to put this bread in another pan before baking. I guess, however, this
one will do just as well. I’ve got dishes enough to wash already. I must
put this bread into the oven, and look after the rice. It is fortunate we
have some cold meat for dinner, as I haven’t time to cook any. (_Goes out
with bread; returns._) I must pile up those dishes and set the table for
dinner. Then I can wash all the dishes at once. Who would think that that
rice would have swelled so? There is nearly a peck of it already, and it
is still rising. Half a cup full would have been enough. But, no matter,
we shan’t have to cook any again very soon. I declare I must go and see
to the bread; it must be done by this time. (_Goes out; returns, and
finishes setting the table._) The bread is all done. It didn’t rise much,
and, somehow, I can’t get it out of the pan, but it seems to have baked
well. Perhaps I ought to have buttered the pan. (_Suddenly._) There, I
forgot to boil some potatoes. Well, it can’t be helped. At all events,
we’ve got plenty of rice, and that must take its place.

                                                             (_Exit, R._)

(_He brings in a small dish of meat, the pan of bread, and afterwards an
enormous soup tureen heaped up with boiled rice. The tureen may be nearly
filled up with any other substance, and the rice placed on top, causing
an observer to think it is entirely filled with rice._)

MR. S. (_goes to the door, L., and calls_). Willie! Willie! dinner is

W. (_entering_). I’m as hungry as a bear.

MR. S. Well, we’ve got plenty to eat. (_Helps him to meat and rice._)

W. Isn’t there any potatoes?

MR. S. No, but here’s some bread. (_Tries to cut the bread, but does not
succeed. At that moment the door opens, and MRS. SMITH walks in, L. She
glances at the table, and bursts into a laugh._)

MRS. S. What _have_ you got for dinner, Mr. Smith? I think you must be
fond of rice!

MR. S. (_rising_). Don’t say a word, my dear, don’t say a word! I’ve had
trials enough this morning to drive a man crazy. Say anything you please
about the drudgery of housework, and I will agree with you. I’ve had an
experience this forenoon which I shall not forget in a lifetime!

MRS. S. If it causes you to be more considerate in future, I shall not
regret having left you. I think you must have done something, judging
from the appearance of the room. (_Looks around._)

MR. S. And I suppose you think the prospect is, that there is still
something left to do. But as you have got home so early, I think I’ll go
down to the office a while. I have a slight headache, and think a change
of scene would benefit me.

                                                             (_Exit, L._)

W. (_rushing to door_). Don’t forget my orange, papa.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    MRS. ATHERTON, Eunice’s Aunt.
    BLANCHE, Mrs. A.’s Daughter.
    EUNICE HAYNES, The Country Cousin.
    MR. WARNER, A Visitor.

    SCENE I.—_MRS. ATHERTON’S drawing-room. BLANCHE, L., and her
    mother, R., present._

MRS. ATHERTON. Did you hear your father say we were to expect a visitor

BLANCHE (_surprised_). No, I heard nothing of it. Who is it?

MRS. A. The daughter of his only sister, who married a farmer in the
little village of Donnellsville.

B. Do you know anything of her?

MRS. A. No. They live at such a distance, that there has been but little
communication between the two families. Your father met Mr. Haynes in
the city a few days ago, and invited him to send his daughter here for a
visit. This letter, which he has just received, announces that she will
be here to-day.

B. Do you know her name?

MRS. A. Eunice Haynes.

B. What a wretchedly countrified name! And how unfortunate that she
should come just at this time. Next week, you know, we are to have our
party, and of course she will have to be present. I have no doubt she is
a country gawky, whose conversation will be mostly of “aour caows,” and
how much butter and cheese we make.

MRS. A. No doubt. I wonder that your father should have invited her here
until some of us had seen her.

B. As to that, I don’t know how we should ever see her unless she came
here. It will be bad enough to receive a visit from her, but it would
be still worse for us to visit them. I have no doubt they are genuine
rustics, who keep no servants, talk bad grammar, and take their meals in
the kitchen.

MRS. A. Very likely.

B. And then I suppose her dresses will all be calico or gingham, having
all the colors of the rainbow. No doubt she will select the gayest of
them all for the party. How disgusted I am at the thought of this visit!
I wish it were well over.

MRS. A. So do I. But couldn’t you pass her off as Isabel’s governess?

B. No, that wouldn’t do at all. In fact, she probably couldn’t sustain
that character. Besides, papa has such strange, out-of-the-way notions
on such points, that I fear he would be angry if such a thing were

MRS. A. Perhaps, after all, it may not be as bad as you think, Blanche.
We will wait patiently, and not judge her till she arrives.

B. And, by the way, you promised to go out with me to select a dress for
the party. We ought to go now, I think. Otherwise we shall be obliged to
invite _our cousin_ (_with emphasis_) to go with us.

                                            (_Exeunt, R. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_The curtain rising shows two chambers formed by
    a curtain extending from front to back of stage, it being
    necessary that both should be seen at once. SERVANT ushers
    EUNICE, who has just arrived, into R., one of them._

SERVANT. This is the room you are to have, miss. Mrs. Atherton and Miss
Blanche have gone out, but will be in soon.

EUNICE. Very well. (_Exeunt SERVANT, R. EUNICE takes off bonnet and
shawl, and lays them on the table. Afterward takes up a book, sits down,
and begins to read._)

(_MRS. B. and BLANCHE enter the other chamber, L., and lay aside their
outer garments._)

B. I wonder when our rustic friend will arrive? (_EUNICE looks and
listens attentively._) I am quite curious to see her. I suppose she
will begin by giving me an account of all the household matters in
particular, and the farm-work in general. I can imagine her dressed in a
rainbow-colored costume, making a deep courtesy to you, and giving a nod
of recognition to your humble servant. I dare say before night she will
tell me confidentially all about the country swain whom she most favors.

MRS. A. Why, Blanche, how you do run on! Don’t, I beg of you, make her
appear any more ridiculous than she naturally is. And, above all things
else, pray don’t introduce the subject of cows.

B. I’m sure I don’t see any harm in drawing her out. It will be so
amusing. I will invite her to go shopping with me to-morrow, just to
see how she will stare in the windows. There will be a slight contrast
between our large and fashionable stores and the one little variety store
in her native village, where they sell everything from a peck of potatoes
to a silk dress.

MRS. A. I should be too much mortified to do so. But she may have arrived
already. Let us go down and see.


E. (_astonished and amused_). Is it possible that my aunt and cousin
expect to find me so countrified? It would be cruel in me to disappoint
their expectations. I have always been considered quite good at
imitation, and I have a great mind to personate, for a little while, the
character of a backwood’s maiden—for my amusement as well us theirs. I
must practise a little, first, in order to carry it out well. (_Goes to
mirror and makes a low courtesy._) Why, haow d’ye do, Aunt Tildy? I’m
proper glad to see ye. And haow d’ye do, Blanche? I’m dreadful tickled
to meet ye. (_Turns round smiling._) I wonder how it would do to give her
what Charlie calls a “Down East hug.” They would be fairly horrified, I
think. But I will be governed by circumstances, and go down to meet them
without further delay.

                                          (_Goes out, R. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_MRS A.’S drawing-room. EUNICE enters, R._

E. (_looking round_). What! are they not here yet? I supposed they were
coming directly downstairs. However, I will sit down and await their
coming. Ah! there they are now.

(_MRS. A. and BLANCHE enter, L._)

MRS. A. (_coming forward_). I didn’t know you had arrived, Eunice. I have
just returned from—

E. (_interrupting her by advancing and throwing her arms around her
neck_). Why, haow d’ye do, Aunt Tildy? I’m proper glad to see ye. (_MRS.
A. withdraws from the embrace with a disgusted expression of countenance,
and smooths down her collar, which was disarranged by it. E. advances to
BLANCHE, who, fearing a like salutation, takes a step backward, and holds
out the tips of her fingers to her cousin. E. grasps them vigorously,
and, stepping forward, bestows a loud kiss upon her cousin’s cheek.
BLANCHE, with a slight frown, takes her handkerchief and wipes it off._)
How d’ye do, Cousin Blanche? I’m dreadful tickled to meet ye.

B. (_smiling_). And I am glad to make your acquaintance, Eunice. When did
you leave home?

E. Day before yesterday.

MRS. A. You must be quite fatigued (_E. stares_)—tired, perhaps I should
say—with your journey.

E. No; I aint tired a mite.

B. Were you ever in the city before?

E. I guess not. I don’t remember it if I was. It looks queer enough to
see the houses crowded so thick together. And I haven’t seen a barn since
I came. I suppose, though, they’re all in back of the houses; but then I
don’t see how folks get their caows in and out. I s’pose they pastur’ ’em
on the common.

B. Oh, no, they wouldn’t be allowed in any of the parks. It is too
thickly settled here for any one to keep cows.

E. You don’t mean to say that you have to buy all your butter! It must
cost a sight. Why, if I’d a’ known it, I’d have brought you a mess. We
churned the day before I came away, and the butter came tip-top.

                                  (_MRS. A. quietly leaves the room, R._)

E. (_noticing her aunt’s exit_). I s’pose your mother’s gone out to get
tea. If you want to help her, don’t let me hinder you. And if there’s
anything that I can do, jest let me know, for I’d just as lieves help as

B. Thank you, but there’s no need. We leave that for the servants.

E. How many helps do you keep?

B. There are four, I believe.

E. And how many have you in family?

B. (_smiling_). Four persons.

E. (_in assumed amazement_). Well, that beats all that ever I heard. What
do they all do?

B. We have a cook, housemaid, chambermaid, and seamstress, and they all
seem to find enough to occupy their time.

                                                          (_Bell rings._)

E. What’s that bell for?

B. (_rising_). That is to call us to dinner.

E. (_rising_). What, dinner at six o’clock! At home we have dinner at
twelve, and supper at five. And you ought to see our bell! Why, you can
hear it most half a mile. We have it to call the men from the field to
their meals.

                                            (_Exeunt, R. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE IV.—_MRS. A.’S drawing-room. BLANCHE, R., and her mother,
    L., engaged in crocheting or other fancy work._

B. Well, ma, what do you think now? Isn’t Eunice the most countrified
specimen you ever saw?

MRS. A. I must admit that she is decidedly rustic.

B. But did you notice the blunders she made at dinner?

MRS. A. I saw that she ate with her knife, and didn’t use her napkin.

B. (_much amused_). That reminds me that when I took my napkin from the
ring, she asked me if I used a towel in my lap because I was afraid of
spoiling my dress. She also said that, at home, the younger children
wore bibs, and she wondered we didn’t put one on to Isabel. (_Greatly
amused._) Imagine Isabel,—a girl nine years old, with a bib on!

MRS. A. I’m afraid she wouldn’t submit to it very quietly.

B. Then she took butter from the plate with her own knife, and when pa
asked her if she would have more of the meat, she said, “No; I’ve had
enough for this time.”

MRS. A. I think your father must have noticed her awkwardness.

B. I don’t see how he could help it. But he would not allow her to see
that he noticed it.

MRS. A. What did she say to the piano? I heard you playing for her.

B. (_laughing_). She thought it was a queer-looking thing, and said it
must be hard to work it.

MRS. A. Where is she now?

B. She has retired. She said she always went to bed as soon as it grew
dark. I should think she had been living in the woods all her life.

MRS. A. And yet, with all her blunders, she is quite pretty, and dresses
with a good deal of taste.

B. That is true. And yet, with such an ignorance of conventional rules,
what sort of a figure will she make at our party?

MRS. A. You will have to make the best of it, and hint to any one that
you may introduce to her that she is a country cousin.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    C., and MR. WARNER, L., present. Also other guests conversing
    in groups. EUNICE dressed in white, with a few simple flowers
    in her hair. BLANCHE dressed richly._

B. (_beckoning to MR. W., who comes to her, and speaking in a low but
audible tone_). Mr. Warner, I wish to introduce you to a cousin of mine,
a rustic damsel, who has never been to the city before. She is fresh
from the country, and I doubt not you will be greatly amused by her
conversation. There she is near the piano.

MR. WARNER (_surprised_). What, that young lady so tastefully dressed! It
cannot be! You are surely joking, Miss Atherton.

B. (_smiling_). You will discover by her conversation that I have spoken
truly. But here we are.—Mr. Warner desires the honor of an introduction,
Cousin Eunice. Miss Haynes—Mr. Warner.

(_BLANCHE retires to another part of the stage, L. EUNICE bows without
any show of embarrassment._)

MR. W. Have you been long in the city, Miss Haynes?

E. But a few days.

MR. W. And how do you enjoy it?

E. You will perhaps laugh at my lack of taste, when I say that, in my
judgment, it does not compare favorably with the country. City life is
too artificial to satisfy me.

MR. W. And yet city life has many advantages which you probably do not
get in the country,—lectures, concerts, and the opera, for example.

E. I confess these are advantages which I should be glad to enjoy, and
should fully appreciate. In these latter days, however, most of the
lectures are reported in the papers.

MR. W. Yes, but in reading them one does not get the full enjoyment that
is had in hearing them delivered.

E. That is true. It is also a great deprivation not to be able to hear
the great singers of the day.

MR. W. Then you are fond of music?

E. I am very fond of it.

MR. W. Do you play?

E. A little, sometimes, for my own amusement.

MR. W. Then let me beg a favor of you. There is a pause in the
conversation and music is called for. Allow me to lead you to the piano.

E. I will play if you wish it, but I fear you will be disappointed.

(_MR. W. conducts her to the piano, R. C., to BLANCHE’S great
astonishment. Guests look on and listen with interest. E. plays a short
prelude, and sings in a clear, sweet voice, which excites general
admiration, the following song:_)

    “I do not love the crowded street
      With all its varied show,
    Through which a sea of human forms
      Keeps heaving to and fro.
    My spirit yearns for fairer scenes,
      For bird, and flower, and tree;
    I cannot bid farewell to these,—
      A country life for me!

    “The bird has sought his last year’s nest
      Within the fairy dell;
    The squirrel in the greenwood hides,
      His haunts I know full well;
    Along the meadows flower-bestrewn,
      I hear the humming-bee;
    I cannot live apart from these,—
      A country life for me!

    “’Twas there I roved in years gone by
      With careless step and fleet,
    And scarcely deigned to pluck the flowers
      That blossomed at my feet.
    O golden time of childhood’s prime,
      When life was blithe and free,
    Thy memory lingers in my heart,—
      A country life for me!

    “I love to climb the steep hillside,
      And catch the sun’s first glow,
    When, rising from his watery couch,
      He gilds the waves below.
    My spirit yearns for fairer scenes,
      For bird, and flower, and tree;
    I cannot live apart from these,—
      A country life for me!”

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE VI.—_Drawing-room after the guests have left. BLANCHE,
    R., and EUNICE, L., present._

B. Do tell me, Eunice, what this means. I am _so_ curious to have it

E. So I supposed. But confess the truth, Blanche. Didn’t you think me a
genuine rustic, very ignorant, and quite countrified?

B. I certainly did, but you surely gave me reason. I give you credit for
acting your part well. But what induced you to take upon yourself such a

E. I was afraid of disappointing you.

B. (_surprised_). Disappointing me?

E. (_smiling_). Yes. The day of my arrival I was shown by the servant
into the room provided for me. I had scarcely laid aside my bonnet
and shawl when you and Aunt Matilda came into the chamber adjoining
mine. Unintentionally I overheard you conversing of me. You both had
the impression that, as I lived in the country, I must be ignorant and
uncultivated. I therefore decided to continue the illusion for a short
time. When the party came off, it seemed a fitting time for me to appear
in my true character.

B. I am glad that you are not what you seemed. I was almost overcome by
your vigorous salute, and your talk about pasturing cows in the parks,
and so on; and I feared that you might introduce these topics as the
subjects of your conversation at the party.

E. Fortunately no such mishap occurred, and since you prefer me in my
present character, I will still retain it, trusting that you may never
again have cause to be disturbed at the rusticity of your Country Cousin.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    MR. LEWIS FISHER, A very Nervous Man.
    MRS. SUSAN FISHER, His Wife.
    MISS HELEN FISHER, His Sister.
    DR. GIBBS, Physician.
    MARY, Servant.

    SCENE.—_Parlor at MRS. FISHER’S. MR. F. comes in, and sinks
    into a chair, R._

MR. FISHER. How weak I am! I wonder what can be the matter? (_Presses
his hand first on one cheek, and then the other._) I think I’m a little
feverish. (_Coughs as if it pained him._) And then this cough; I’m sure
my lungs must be affected. But then that’s no wonder, for most of our
family died of consumption, and I dare say I shall go in the same way.
(_Petulantly._) I wonder where Susan is; she’s always gone when I want
her. (_Rings the bell; servant enters, L._) Mary, where is Mrs. Fisher?

MARY. She went an hour ago, sir. Your sister, Miss Helen, came for her to
go shopping, and the two of them went out then.

MR. F. (_sighing, and leaning back in his chair_). Did she say what time
she would be back?

M. She did not, then. May be they won’t be home till dark.

MR. F. I shall be sick in bed before that time.

M. Couldn’t I do something for you, sir?

MR. F. (_shaking his head mournfully_). No. (_A pause._) Do you know
where Mrs. Fisher keeps the cough drops?

M. I do not, sir.

MR. F. Well, then, it’s no matter. I’ll wait till she comes.

M. Very well, sir.

                                                        (_Exit MARY, L._)

(_MR. F. leans back in his chair, and rocks for a few moments with closed
eyes. He then opens his eyes, and rises slowly._)

MR. F. It must be that Susan keeps the cough mixture in the closet.
I’ll see. (_Goes to closet, L., and returns, bringing a bottle, having
no label on it, with him._) Yes, here it is. I will take a teaspoonful.
(_He takes a spoon from the table, and filling it carefully, swallows the
contents._) I hope that will make me feel better. (_Sits down again in
the rocking-chair._) I don’t see what keeps Susan away so long. It always
was a mystery to me how women could enjoy shopping as they do. (_Begins
to cough._) I believe I’ll go into the dining-room and get some water.
(_Goes out, R.; enter MARY, L._)

M. (_looking around_). So master’s gone out. It’ll do him good, I’m
thinking. Sure I don’t see how missis gets along wid him, when he’s so
fussy. (_Goes to closet, L., and after a short stop, returns and exit, L.
MR. F. reappears, R., bearing a glass of water, which he places on the
table. He continues to cough._)

MR. F. The water does not remove the irritation in my throat. I must take
some more of the drops. (_Goes to closet, L., and returns with a bottle;
a label on it this time. He gazes at the label, and starts back in
terror._) What’s this? Poison? And I’ve already taken a spoonful of it!
That was what made me feel so strangely. Oh, I’m a doomed man! (_He rings
the bell violently, and sinks into a chair. MARY enters, L._)

M. Oh, lor sakes, what makes you look so pale, sir?

MR. F. (_excitedly_). I’ve taken poison, Mary. I feel a pain in my side,
already. Why doesn’t Mrs. Fisher come home? Oh, dear, what shall I do?

M. Can’t I get you something to take, sir?

MR. F. (_impatiently_). Oh, no, no. I’ve taken too much already. Nothing
would help me now. I feel the poison coursing through my veins already,
and cold chills are passing over me. Bring a blanket to cover me, Mary. I
hope I shan’t die before Susan comes.

(_MARY brings a pillow, which she places behind him, and puts a blanket
over his knees._)

M. Don’t you feel a little better now, sir?

MR. F. (_with an injured look._) Better! People don’t usually feel better
when they are dying. (_Sound of a bell is heard outside._)

M. Mrs. Fisher is come.

      (_Exit MARY, L., and, in a moment, enter MRS. FISHER and HELEN, R._)

MRS. FISHER (_with solicitude; going toward her husband_). Why, Lewis,
what’s the matter? Are you sick?

MR. F. Yes, Susan; not merely sick, but dying.

MRS. F. (_perplexed_). What can you mean, Lewis? You left home this
morning apparently well, and, after an hour’s absence, I return to find
you nervous and excited. You look sick, too. Do tell me what is the cause.

MR. F. (_excited_). That I can very easily do. I was sick—quite
feverish—and had a bad cough, so I thought I’d take some drops to relieve

MRS. F. That was right.

MR. F. I went to the closet, and took a spoonful, and thought they helped
me. So, in half an hour, I went and got some more to take, when I noticed
the label on the bottle, and found that, instead of cough-drops, I had
been taking poison.

MRS. F. O Lewis, how could you make such a mistake? (_Clasping her
hands._) What shall we do?

HELEN (_coolly_). Send for the doctor, I should say, if you haven’t both
taken leave of your senses.

MRS. F. Yes, send Mary for the doctor at once. Why didn’t we think of it

MR. F. (_dismally_). It will do no good. Nothing can be done now. I
feel cold chills passing over me. I shall not probably be alive when he
reaches here. It will only take up the little time there is left.

H. I shall send Mary for the doctor, at all events.

                                                             (_Exit, L._)

(_MR. F. moans frequently. MRS. F. is occupied in chafing his wrists.
Suddenly MR. F. speaks._)

MR. F. Susan.

MRS. S. (_through her tears_). Well, Lewis.

MR. F. You’ve been a good wife to me, Susan.

MRS. F. I’ve tried to be, Lewis.

MR. F. I’m glad you will be left in comfortable circumstances at my
death. I’ve left my whole property to you. In my little black trunk you
will find all my valuable papers. Here is the key. (_Passes it to her._)

MRS. F. (_sobbing, but takes the key_). Don’t think of such things,
Lewis. You must live—for me. I’m sure that the doctor can help you.

MR. F. (_mournfully_). No, it’s too late—too late. I would like to have
lived longer, but I must submit to my fate.

                                                 (_Enter DR. GIBBS, L._)

DR. GIBBS (_cheerily_). Well, my friend, what’s the matter with you?

MR. F. (_tragically_). Poison!

DR. G. (_surprised_). What! Got tired of living, hey?

MR. F. (_wearily_). Tell him about it, Susan.

MRS. F. It was a terrible mistake, doctor. He intended to take some cough
drops, but, instead, took some laudanum.

DR. G. (_feeling his pulse_). How do you feel?

MR. F. I feel cold chills passing over me, and it seems us if a thousand
needles were pricking my flesh; and I have got a terrible headache.

DR. G. But those are not the symptoms of poison. How long is it since you
took it?

MR. F. More than an hour and a half ago.

DR. G. I don’t believe it was poison at all. I see no signs of it.

MR. F. But I saw the label.

DR. G. Let me see the bottle. (_MRS. F. brings the bottle from closet, L.
DR. G. smells of the mixture, and then prepares to taste it._)

MRS. F. Oh, don’t taste it, doctor. It may be the death of you too.

(_The doctor lifts the bottle to his lips._)

DR. G. This is not poison. It is cough-drops, as I expected. Moreover, it
is some that I mixed myself, and I know there’s no poison in it. But how
came that label on it?

MRS. F. I prepared the label just before I went away, and told Mary to
paste it on the bottle of laudanum. But it seems she must have pasted it
on the wrong bottle.

MR. F. (_eagerly_). And haven’t I swallowed poison, after all?

DR. G. (_dryly_). Not unless you’ve taken it from some other bottle.

MRS. F. How thankful I am that it was a mistake; aren’t you, Lewis?

MR. F. Indeed I am. (_A pause._) By the way, Susan, you might as well
hand me back the key of the little black trunk.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    DEACON JONATHAN ROBINSON, Delegate to Political Convention.
    DOCTOR LEWIS CUMMINGS, Physician of Rossville.
    MR. CHAS. HERBERT FITZ HOWARD, A Young Exquisite.

(_DEACON ROBINSON is attired in a blue suit. The coat is short-waisted,
old-fashioned, and ornamented with brass buttons. He wears a
broad-brimmed beaver, far from new. CHARLES HERBERT FITZ HOWARD is
dressed in the height of fashion, wearing a jaunty little hat on the side
of his head, and a suit of clothes cut in the most fashionable style._)

    SCENE I.—_Office of a hotel. Table, C. LANDLORD present, R. C.

LANDLORD. Good-evening, deacon.

DEA. ROBINSON. Good-evening. I’ve come down from Morristown to ’tend the
convention. I may be here two or three days. Can you give me a room?

L. (_suavely_). Oh, yes, certainly; a nice room, too. Will you order
supper before going up stairs?

DEA. R. Supper! No, indeed! It’s nine o’clock, and I’m going to bed.
Besides, I took supper afore I left home.

L. But you’ll register your name, first? (_Passes pen to him._)

DEA. R. (_takes from his pocket a tin case, which he opens, takes
therefrom a pair of spectacles, which he adjusts upon his nose_). Wal,
yes, I hain’t no objection. (_Writes._)

L. Here, John, take this lamp and show the gentleman up to Number 33.

JOHN. Yes, sir. (_Takes lamp and goes out, followed by the DEACON._)


FITZ HOWARD. Aw—I say—aw—can you give me a good room?

L. Yes sir, directly. But, beg pardon, sir; perhaps you’d like some
supper first?

F. H. Aw—yes, but I’ll go to my room first—aw, and make my toilet—remove
the dust and travel—aw.

L. Your name, sir! (_Offers pen._)

F. H. Aw—yes—I had forgotten. (_Looking at pen—tries it._) What a deuced
poor pen! (_Enter JOHN, R._)

L. Here is another. (_Offers it._)

F. H. (_takes it; gazes at book before him_). Deacon Jonathan
Robinson—aw. What a name! Not much like the next one. (_Writes._)
Charles Herbert Fitz Howard—aw.

J. Ain’t he a swell, though?

L. (_in a warning tone_). John.

J. Yes, sir.

L. Show this gentleman up to number 35.

J. Yes, sir. (_To FITZ HOWARD._) This way, sir.

                                            (_Exeunt, R. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_A bed-chamber. DEACON ROBINSON is seen, C., dressed
    in ruffled shirt and tightly fitting pants. He surveys them

DEA. R. I don’t see but I’ve got to wear these clothes, as long as the
others are gone, for the convention meets at nine, and I shan’t have
much more’n time to eat my breakfast. But it beats all where them other
clothes went to, and where these come from. I declare, I never heard o’
such a thing in my born days. (_He thinks a moment—his face brightens._)
Yes, it must be—there’s no other way. Some of my friends here in
Rossville must ha’ clubbed together, and bought me this new suit, knowing
I was to be here to the convention. But when could they ha’ brought them
in, and taken my others away, for I’ve had my door locked ever since I
came into the room? Oh, I remember now, last night, when there was an
alarm of fire, I slipped on my overcoat, and went into the entry to see
where ’twas; but findin’ ’twas a false alarm, I came back in less than
ten minutes. They must ha’ been dreadful spry to ha’ made the change so
quick. (_Apprehensively—taking up the coat._) I’m afraid they’re too gay
for me, but I seem to be ’bleeged to wear ’em. (_Puts on the vest._) I
wonder if the coat fits as well as the rest. (_Puts it on and stands up
before the glass, R. Complacently._) Well, it’s a complete fit, and it
does really improve me amazin’ly—makes me look a good deal younger. The
cloth seems good too. They must ha’ cost a good deal. Really, my friends
have been very kind, but I do wish they’d brought a different hat. (_Puts
on the hat, which looks very jaunty for one of his years._) Perhaps I
can exchange it to-morrow, but I’ve got to wear it to-day, at any rate.
There’s one thing I haven’t thought of afore (_feeling in pockets_). I
wonder whether they thought to change things in the pockets from the old
to the new. There aint a single thing in any of ’em. (_Irresolutely._)
And what shall I do without money? (_Goes quickly to overcoat, and
puts his hand in pocket._) Ah, here is the old wallet. (_With a sigh
of relief._) Lucky for me I bought a newspaper last evening, or that
pocket-book would ha’ been gone too. I must go down and see if I can hear
anything about the rest of the things.

                                              (_Exit, L. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_The same. FITZ HOWARD is seen, L. C., sitting
    disconsolately with Deacon’s home-made shirt and pants on._

F. H. Well—aw—I’m sure, I don’t see what I’m going to do. I never can go
out on the street—aw—wearing such wretched-looking clothes. (_Standing
up suddenly and gazing upon them._) Why, they’re absolutely horwid.
It’s strange—aw—how anybody could have been quick enough—aw—to change
those clothes in the five minutes I was out—aw—last night at the alarm
of fire. I should just like to get hold of the thief—aw—that’s all. I
guess—aw—he’d never steal anything else. (_A pause. Emphatically._) I
won’t wear this horwid-looking coat (_lifting it up._) What would Dick
Hayes or Harwy Nichols say—aw—to see me dressed in this style! I won’t
wear the shabby ole thing. (_Throws it to the other end of the room, R._)
I should feel—aw—as if I was my own grandfather. And this horwid old
hat. (_Takes it in his hand, and with a kick sends it after the coat._)
Aw—I’ll ring for the landlord. (_Rings furiously. JOHN enters, R._)

F. H. Aw—where’s the landlord—aw?

J. He’s gone away.

F. H. When he comes back—aw—I want to see him.

J. Yes, sir; but he may not be back till noon, but I’ll tell him when he

                                                        (_Exit JOHN, R._)

F. H. (_solus_). Well—aw—there’s no help from that quarter. I don’t see
but I’ve got to come to it, for if I don’t wear these clothes—aw—what
shall I wear? There isn’t any shop that sells ready-made clothing that
I’d be willing to wear—aw—and if there was I haven’t money enough to
spare to buy another suit. (_Groaning._) I don’t see but I _must_ wear
it. (_Puts on vest and coat—looks in mirror._) Oh, dear! Aw—what a
fright! And I was going to call on Arabella Meade this morning. (_Puts on
hat, which, being a little too large for him, settles down on the back
side of his head. He paces back and forth, looking down._) But there’s
no use in my going there to-day. The servants would take me—aw—for a
ragamuffin, and thrust me out of the house—aw—if I attempted to enter it.
I suppose I shall have to go down in this costume—aw—and see if I cannot
find some clue to my own clothes—aw.

                                              (_Exit, L. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE IV.—_Parlor of the hotel. DEACON ROBINSON, C., looking
    over morning paper. Enter DR. CUMMINGS, L., who does not
    recognize the occupant of the room. Deacon Robinson advances to
    meet him warmly._

DEA. R. (_cordially_). How do you do, Dr. Cummings?

DR. C. (_distantly_). Really, sir, you have the advantage of me!

DEA. R. What, don’t you recognize me? You’ve known me for the last
twenty-five years. I’m Deacon Jonathan Robinson, of Morristown.

DR. C. Why, bless my soul, so you are! But, good gracious, deacon, what
possessed you to dress in this strange way?

DEA. R. Strange?

DR. C. (_sternly_). Yes. I consider it discreditable to one of your
years, sobriety, and position in the community, to make such a popinjay
of yourself.

DEA. R. (_uncomfortably_). But it isn’t my doings.

DR. C. Isn’t your doings? Then whose is it? I don’t understand it. Surely
Mrs. Robinson doesn’t countenance such folly!

DEA. R. She doesn’t know anything about it.

DR. C. No; I thought not.

DEA. R. (_a little vexed_). If you won’t be in such a hurry, Dr.
Cummings, I’ll explain it all. You see I came over to Rossville last
evening and put up here. I went to bed early, but about midnight there
was a cry of fire. I slipped on my overcoat, and went into the entry to
learn whether it was near by. In a few minutes I heard that it was a
false alarm. I hurried back to my room, which I couldn’t have been out of
more’n ten minutes, and locked my door. Then I went to bed and to sleep.
When I waked in the morning my old clothes, which have done me such
faithful service, were gone, and these were left in their place.

DR. C. How do you suppose they came there?

DEA. R. It is my opinion that my friends in Rossville, knowing that I
was to attend a convention, took this way of presenting me with a new and
fashionable suit of clothes.

DR. C. (_shaking his head_). It’s a strange story.

(_Enter MRS. R. R. She starts back, surprised at the appearance of her

MRS. ROBINSON (_sharply_). I should like to know, Deacon Robinson, what
has put it into your head to dress in this ridiculous style; you, a man
most sixty years old!

DEA. R. I’m only fifty-eight.

MRS. R. And you dress as if you were eighteen. You refuse me a silk
dress, and then go and squander your money on this foolish rig. I should
think you had gone stark, staring mad.

DEA. R. (_anxiously_). Stop, Reeny, I’ll explain it all. My friends in
Rossville came and brought me this suit in the night.

MRS. R. (_contemptuously_). Fiddlestick! Do you expect me to believe that
ridiculous story? I’m really afraid you’ve been drinking. Nothing else
could ha’ brought you to make such a fool of yourself.

DEA. R. (_excitedly_). Mrs. Robinson, I command you to be silent. It’s
you that are makin’ a fool o’ yourself, I’d have you to know. It’s enough
for you to think of your own dress, and not interfere with mine.

MRS. R. (_wringing her hands_). O Jonathan, is this the way you speak to
me, who’ve been a faithful wife to you for more than thirty years?

(_FITZ HOWARD, clad in the DEACON’S old-fashioned garments, bursts into
the room, L., and rushes up to DEA. R., assuming a belligerent attitude._)

F. H. So you’re the thief—aw—you rascal—

DR. C. (_rising and coming forward_). What does this mean?

F. H. (_gesticulating violently_). It means—aw—that this fellah has run
off with my clothes—a hundred-dollar suit, and left—aw—this worthless
rubbish (_extending his arms as if to show the clothes_) in its place.
(_In a loud tone._) Help! Police—aw—where’s the police?

MRS. R. (_indignantly_). O Jonathan, have you brought disgrace upon your
innocent wife and family by this strange conduct?

DR. C. (_in tones of horror_). O Deacon!

DEA. R. Hear me; hear me. There’s some strange mistake.

F. H. There’s no mistake about it. Bring the police.

(_Police enter, L., and endeavor to handcuff him. DEA. R. struggles

DEA. R. I won’t go to jail. Call the landlord.

MRS. R. (_earnestly_). Yes; call the landlord. Perhaps he can explain
about it.

(_One of the policemen goes out, R., and immediately returns with the

F. H. This man—aw—has stolen my clothes, and I demand his arrest.

DEA. R. Well, landlord, you’ve known me a good many years. Do you think I
should be likely to steal now—at my age?

L. Impossible; there must be some mistake.

F. H. But there can’t be any mistake; don’t you see—aw—he’s got on my
clothes, and I his?

L. (_smiling_). Yes; but if he intended to steal them he wouldn’t come
in, and sit quietly in the parlor with the garments on. But I haven’t
heard how it came about. Did either of you leave your room last night?

F. H. I only left it for five minutes—aw—when the alarm of fire was
raised—aw—and this morning when I waked—aw—my new suit was changed into
these horwid things. (_Glances with contempt upon them._)

L. (_to DEACON_). And did you leave your room, too?

DEA. R. Yes; but only long enough to go into the entry and back again.

L. I see how it is; your rooms were side by side. You both left them, and
when you returned, you each went into the other’s room. That accounts for
the change of clothing. (_One policeman beckons to the other, and they go
out, L._)

DEA. R. By George, that must ha’ been the way ’twas done. But I declare
to goodness, I never should ha’ thought about it. (_To LANDLORD._) Thank
you, landlord, for gettin’ me out o’ this scrape. (_To FITZ HOWARD._)
And look here, young man, suppose we just go up stairs and swap clothes
again. I guess these aint any more becomin’ to me than them are to you.

F. H. You’re right there—aw—old man. (_Exeunt DEA. R. and F. H., L._)

MRS. R. Well, I thank goodness things have turned out as they have. I
wouldn’t ha’ had Jonathan gone to the convention in that rig for nothin’
in the world.

DR. C. (_sarcastically_). Not even if they had been a present to him from
his friends in Rossville!

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    MR. JOHN MARDEN, A clerk,
    MRS. MARY MARDEN, His Wife.
    MR. EDWIN HASTINGS, His Friend.
    AUNT REBECCA, Mrs. Marden’s Aunt.

    SCENE I.—_Sitting-room at MR. MARDEN’S. MRS. MARDEN, present,

JOHN (_entering room, R., with boots in his hand_). It’s most time for me
to go to the store, Mary. (_Sits down, C., and puts on boots._) I declare
it’s astonishing how soon eight o’clock comes these short mornings.

MARY (_who is dusting the room_). It brings to mind the mornings, in the
days gone by, when you were obliged to go to school, I suppose.

J. Yes; and I can’t say I enjoy one any more than the other. It’s about
as disagreeable as leaving a nice, cosey fire on a winter’s night and
getting into a cold bed.

M. But then I think one appreciates his home more, and enjoys the time he
is able to pass in it more fully, than if he remained at home.

J. Perhaps you are right, Mary; but I shouldn’t object to try the other
way for awhile. (_Tosses slippers under the sofa._)

M. John, dear, hadn’t you better put your slippers in their place?

J. Oh, we’ll consider this their place. Then I shan’t have to go
searching after them to-night.

M. There won’t be any need of _searching_ for them. If you put them where
they belong, they will be sure to remain there.

J. But it’s a great bother to go out of one’s way for such trifles.
They’re much handier lying there, and will be all ready for me to put on

M. But life is made up of trifles, and leaving things round clutters up
the room so.

J. Why, no; a thing looks as well in one place as another. Besides,
what’s the use of having a house if you can’t keep things where you
want to? But there (_pushing them still farther under the sofa with his
foot_), they’re out of sight now. They will be handy, and no one will be
the wiser for their being there.

M. But I have to go around every day and pick things up after you.

J. Oh, well, don’t pick them up; just let them stay where they are, and
then I can find them when I want them. (_Takes up overcoat from chair,
where he had left it on previous evening, puts it on, takes hat from
table, and exit, L._)

M. (_alone_). Something must be done to cure John of this careless habit
of leaving things around; but how it can be arranged, I cannot tell yet.
I must think it over.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_The same. Room in disorder. Two hats on the piano,
    a vest on the table, and two coats on as many chairs. A
    dressing-gown thrown carelessly on the sofa, and slippers on
    the floor near them. AUNT REBECCA and MARY enter, L._

AUNT REBECCA. And you have married since I saw you last; married happily,
I hope. (_They sit down, C._)

M. Yes; I couldn’t wish for a kinder or pleasanter husband. But between
you and me, Aunt Rebecca, he has one fault that distresses me exceedingly.

A. R. And what is that?

M. He is so careless about his things. You have only to look about you,
and you will see at once what I mean. I haven’t been in this room until
now since he went to the store this morning. There are (_looking at each
as she speaks_) two hats, two coats, dressing-gown, vest and slippers
lying around. He is in such a hurry when he goes away, that he doesn’t
notice anything about it, and when he comes home, I have put them all in
their places, so I don’t think he realizes what an untidy appearance the
room presents.

A. R. That _is_ rather a disagreeable habit. Have you spoken to him about

M. (_laughing_). Spoken? Yes; I’ve delivered whole lectures on the

A. R. And what does he say?

M. Oh, he makes light of it, and manages to change the subject whenever
it is brought up. I don’t like to spoil the peace of our cosey home by
scolding, but I feel as if something must be done.

A. R. I see how it is, Mary. You must declare war.

M. (_looking up surprised_). In what way?

A. R. I haven’t fully matured a plan yet, but we will open the campaign
to-night, and, my word for it, if you follow my directions, you will come
off victorious.

M. I am filled with curiosity to know how it is all to come about.

SERVANT (_entering, R._) A littir for you, ma’am. (_Passes letter to M.
and exit, R. MARY reads the letter._)

M. It is a line from John, saying that he will bring his friend, Mr.
Hastings, home to dine with us. I suppose he thought it possible I might
be out.

A. R. What kind of a man is Mr. Hastings?

M. Very pleasant indeed, and as fond of a good joke as any one I know of.
He and John are great friends.

A. R. Then it will be just the time for us to open the campaign.

M. You have it all arranged, then?

A. R. Yes; draw your chair this way, and I will explain it to you. (_MARY
moves near A. R._)

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_Room in confusion. Slippers under the sofa, coats
    on chairs, two of MARY’S dresses on sofa, and her shawl and
    bonnet on JOHN’S arm-chair. Two of JOHN’S hats on table. MARY
    crocheting, R. JOHN and EDWIN HASTINGS enter, L._

JOHN (_glancing in surprise, first around the room, then at his wife_).
What! house-cleaning, Mary?

M. Oh, no. (_Turns to greet his companion._) I’m glad to see you, Mr.
Hastings. Sit down, do. (_Takes coat from chair, and tosses it carelessly
on sofa._) You haven’t been here for a long time.

EDWIN (_looking round with an amused smile_). It _is_ a long time for me
to be away.

J. (_taking M.’S shawl and bonnet from easy-chair_.) Say, Mary, what
shall I do with these dry-goods?

M. Oh, lay them on the table.

J. But there isn’t room.

M. Isn’t there? Well, put them on the piano.

J. But I was just going to open it, so that we might have some music.

M. Well, put them on the sofa, then. There’s certainly room enough there.

J. But some one may sit on them there.

M. I guess not.

J. (_glancing uneasily around_). Hadn’t you better pick up things a
little, Mary?

M. (_carelessly_). Oh, no, just let them lie as they are.

J. But they look so bad. And you know we frequently have callers in the

M. Oh, they don’t look bad. I don’t see but a thing looks as well in one
place as another.

J. I never saw your room look like this before, Mary.

M. (_apparently surprised_). Didn’t you? But I thought we might as well
keep things handy. What’s the use of having a house, if you can’t keep
things where you want to?

J. Oh, that’s it. So you’re giving an imitation of me, are you?

M. (_smiling_). I’ve tried to. But don’t you like it?

J. No, I don’t; that’s a fact.

M. Well, then, if you’ll agree not to do so again, I’ll straighten up the
room; but if you have a relapse, mind, I shall have one, too.

J. Oh, I shan’t; don’t fear. If I’m in danger of it, the recollection of
this scene will bring me back to the paths of rectitude.

E. (_coming forward, and bowing with mock deference_). I congratulate
you, on the success of your scheme, Mrs. Marden, and have no doubt it
will prove efficacious. It is worth a dozen scoldings, and is a far more
agreeable remedy.

J. (_exultantly_). I rather think it touches you a little, old fellow,
too, judging from the appearance of your bachelor apartments when I have
called there.

E. I am sure of that, and have taken a part of it to myself already. When
next you come to my rooms, you will, without doubt, be struck with the
transformation, and will perceive at once, that I, as well as yourself
have profited by Mrs. Marden’s lesson.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)



    MADAME DEVINERESSE, ⎫ Fortune-tellers.
    MADAME MARIE,       ⎭
    TOM, DICK, HARRY,   ⎫ School-boys.
    WALTER, JOE, NAT,   ⎭
    FAUSTINA, A Little Servant.

    SCENE I.—_Room at a country boarding-school. HARRY, C., TOM, R.
    C., and WALTER, R., present. Enter DICK, L. He advances to L.

HARRY. Hallo, Dick, what’s up?

DICK (_with a significant smile_). Who says anything’s up?

H. There is, I know there is; I can tell it by your looks. Come, tell us,
like a good fellow.

D. You must have a very vivid imagination to suppose one of my dignity
(_straightening himself up_) would descend to such trifles.

TOM. One of _your_ dignity! That’s a good one. But come now, Dick, do
tell us if anything is going on. It’s been the perfection of dulness here
for the last three weeks. Any change would be welcome.

D. (_dryly_). Does your last remark refer to your pockets, or some other
part of your habiliments?

T. (_smiling_). Apply it where you choose. But come, you’ve got some
plan, I know. What is it?

D. You are right, boys, I _have_ got a plan. But remember
(_impressively_), it must be a profound secret with us.

WALTER. We are willing to make the most solemn protestations of secrecy.
Who’s to be the victim?

D. Joe Sherman.

H. Good! What’s the programme?

D. He is to have his fortune told. (_The boys crowd around DICK._)

T. (_eagerly_). How is it to be done?

D. Perhaps you have learned that Madame Devineresse, the fortune-teller,
is stopping at the Everett House. It wouldn’t be very difficult for
her to flatter Joe into the belief that he was born for some great and
glorious end.

W. He’s satisfied on that point, already.

D. But you don’t understand. We will give her some hints of what he will
expect, and then can have the fun of listening to the whole performance,
and be better prepared to enjoy his remarks about it afterward. I have
had a little conversation with Madame Devineresse, and I feel sure she
will consent to co-operate with us.

T. (_excitedly_). I’ll wager an inkstand that Dick’s already had his
fortune told by madame.

H. That’s nothing strange. He has had it told by every fortune-teller
that’s visited the town for the last two years.

D. (_coolly_). What difference does that make, when every one tells a
different story? A fellow must have some excitement in a little country
village like this. Of course I don’t believe a word said by any one of
them. But Sherman would. He’s just one of that kind. If she told him
anything he wished to believe, he would put implicit faith in it.

W. (_shaking his head_). I don’t know about that. Joe is pretty cunning.
I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he should discover the plot.

D. Trust me for that. I’ve got things arranged so it is impossible he
could suspect anything.

T. When is it to come off?

D. This evening, at the rooms of Madame Devineresse. We are to be
concealed in the ante-room, and hear all that is said. It will be rich,
I assure you. Come to my room at seven o’clock, and we will be ready to
follow him. He will be there by half-past seven.

H. How do you know he is going at all?

D. I don’t expect he is thinking of it at present; but I must plan some
way to induce him to go, and to be there at that hour. So I must leave
you now. Don’t fail to be on hand at the appointed time.

                                         (_Exit DICK, L. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE II.—_The room of MADAME DEVINERESSE. She is seated in
    an arm-chair, R. C. On the table before her are placed an
    hour-glass and a pack of cards, a small mirror, and an open
    book. Charts covered with mystical characters are hung on the
    walls. A sickle, a stuffed eagle, and any other emblematic
    figures which can be obtained, are disposed around the room.
    A small picture (of any design) is hung up where it will be
    reflected into the mirror when held by JOE. Each time he lays
    down the mirror, the picture is changed without attracting his
    attention. JOE is ushered in by FAUSTINA, L._

JOE. You are the fortune-teller, I presume, madame.

MADAME DEVINERESSE. Yes; I am called so by those whom I serve. I unveil
the secrets of the future to those who desire to know them. Do you wish
to look into the magic mirror?

J. I should like to know something of the future.

MME. D. You shall do so. Bring me the magic mirror, Faustina. (_F. passes
mirror to her._) Young man, approach. (_J. draws near._) You wish to
learn something of the future. (_J. bows._) You are permitted to look
three times into this mirror, where you will see three scenes in your
future life. Take it into your own hands. (_J. does so._) What do you see?

                                                    (_Exit FAUSTINA, R._)

J. I see a school-room. There are many people present. It must be
examination day.

MME. D. Do you see yourself there?

J. Yes; the other scholars are all crowding about me, and seem to be
congratulating me for some reason. The teacher has come forward, and
presents me with a richly bound book.

MME. D. That picture represents a scene in your life _three_ years hence,
when you will leave this school. You will graduate as first scholar in
your class. You see yourself as having just delivered the valedictory.
The other pupils are congratulating you, but many of them are envious at
the distinction accorded you, and which you have so richly merited.

(_JOE’S face beams with pleasure. MME. D. holds out her hand for the
mirror. Taking it, she wipes it carefully, lays it on the table, waves
her wand over it three times, and then returns it to JOE._)

MME. D. What see you now, young man?

J. A crowded court-room. A case has just been tried. I am the centre of a
crowd of people, who are pressing up to shake hands with me. The opposing
lawyer sits at a little distance, casting glances of bitterness toward me.

MME. D. That picture represents a scene _fifteen_ years hence. You
have gained a famous law-suit, which has placed you, though young, in
the front ranks of your profession. Envious persons have maligned you,
and opponents assailed you; but, without deigning to notice them, you
have steadily gone on, till you have attained a high position in the
profession which you adorn.

(_MME. D. again takes the mirror. Taking a box from the table, she shakes
on the surface of the mirror a white powder. Wiping it carefully, she
makes passes over it with her wand, and hands it to the young man. He
gazes upon it for a moment in silence, and with pleased wonder. MME. D.
looks on benignantly._)

MME. D. The picture pleases you, then. What does the mirror disclose?

J. I see a beautiful house. On the balcony a gentleman is standing. He is
addressing a throng of people who are assembled before the house. They
wave their hats, and are full of enthusiasm. What does it mean?

MME. D. Do you not recognize the gentleman?

J. It looks like myself, but cannot be, for it is too old.

(_MME. D. takes the mirror, and gazes on it for a moment._)

MME. D. It does look somewhat older, and more mature. But why should it
not? It represents you as you will appear _thirty_ years hence. You have
steadily pressed onward, distancing all with whom you started at school.
You have just been elected as member of Congress, and the people, wild
with enthusiasm, are shouting your name, and calling for a speech. (_JOE
gazes, as if spellbound, on the mirror._) Are you satisfied with the
glimpses of the future which I have given you?

J. (_with dignity befitting his future position, and, returning the
mirror to her_). Yes, my good woman, you have done very well.

MME. D. There are few persons to whom such a brilliant future opens.
Whenever the glass has mirrored such scenes as I have shown you, it loses
power ever after to delineate scenes in _common_ lives. I therefore
present it to you, that, when depressed by the trials of life, you may
gain courage by gazing at its magic surface. I will place it in a box, in
which it must always be kept. Otherwise, it will lose all its power.

                                                     (_Exit MME. D., R._)

J. (_pacing back and forth_). And this is to be the end of my career! No,
not the end, for I may yet become President. I wonder what Harry, Dick,
and Walter would say, if they knew what I do. They have always thought
I put on airs; but they will, some time, realize that it was only my
natural dignity, which could not fail to assert its superiority to the
common herd around me. (_Enter MME. D., with box, which she hands to

MME. D. Here is the precious mirror. (_J. takes it._) Handle it
carefully. When not in use, on no account leave it out of the box. It is
capable of producing other scenes in your life than those which I have
shown you. Whenever you wish to test it, you have but to wipe its surface
carefully, wave your hand over it three times, and it will produce your
image and surroundings more faithfully than they have yet been shown you.

J. Thank you, madame, for your great, your inestimable gift. I will guard
it sacredly, and, when I become famous and powerful, I will reward you as
you deserve.

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

    SCENE III.—_DICK’S room. JOE enters, R. He goes to table, C.,
    and takes up book._

J. (_solus_). I thought I should find a dictionary _here_. Dick told me
this morning I was the most “stultiloquent orator” he ever listened to. I
never heard the word before, but it has quite a grand sound, and I mean
to use it the first chance I get, but I want to know its meaning. (_Turns
over the leaves, and finds between them a letter not yet folded._) Hallo,
what’s this? (_Takes up letter._) A letter to Tim Bellamy. How I’d _like_
to read it! But then it wouldn’t be just the thing. (_Glances towards
bottom of sheet._) What’s this? (_Reads._) “Now I tell you how we duped
Joe Sherman.” Why, that’s me. I must find out about that. (_Sits down
and reads._) “You know Joe is one of the most conceited boys in school.
Well, some of us fellows thought we’d have a little fun at his expense
through this failing. I heard, one evening, that a fortune-teller had
arrived at the hotel. You know I always had a weakness for having my
fortune told. So I went to see her, and finding her very pleasant and
obliging, I arranged with her to tell Joe’s fortune in a way that would
tickle his vanity. As I agreed to pay her for it, she was nothing loth
to do her part, and she did it well. Several of us fellows were in the
next room, and heard all that was said. She flattered him with glimpses
of the future which raised his opinion of himself so much that, since
then, he carries his head like a peer of the realm. By the way, these
glimpses of the future were had by looking into a seven-by-nine mirror,
which reflected pictures hung up behind Joe, and which we changed each
time he looked into it. We enjoyed, hugely, listening to the interview,
as I think we ought, for it took three of us several hours to draw the
three pictures. It was also quite a tax on the imagination, which had
to be stretched to the utmost to make Joe satisfied with his fortune.
But we were successful. I can’t help laughing when I think how carefully
he carried that little mirror home, promising to guard it sacredly. The
fortune-teller told him that when next he looked in it it would reflect
his image even more faithfully than it had yet done. I wonder what he
thought when he _did_ look in it and saw nothing but his own homely
countenance just as it was?” (_Puts back letter and closes the book._)

J. (_solus_). Well, that’s the meanest thing I ever knew Dick to do. I
wonder who were with him; Harry and Tom most likely. But Dick was the
ringleader. He always is. The idea of my being made such a laughing
stock! (_Paces back and forth._) It was the climax of meanness. But
I’ll turn the table on them. I guess Nat and I are capable of planning
something which will pay up old scores. We’ll have a consultation
to-night, for I want it done before Dick sends his letter, so he can not
only tell the story of his exploit, but also give the sequel. (_A noise
is heard, L._) Ah, somebody’s coming; I mustn’t be seen here.

                                              (_Exit, R. Curtain falls._)

    SCENE IV.—_Same as Scene II. The room is darkened. In the
    background is placed a large screen, from behind which—whenever
    they can escape observation—several boys peer out. Enter DICK,
    R., with an open letter. He advances to R. C._

D. I don’t see who could have sent me this notice. The handwriting is
evidently that of a lady. Possibly it is that of Mme. Marie herself. But
the puzzle is, how she happened to send it to me. I suppose, though,
some one informed her that I liked to have my fortune told occasionally.
(_Reads._) “Madame Marie, the veiled prophetess of the East, respectfully
gives notice that she has taken up her residence at Number 27 Osborne
Street, where she will remain for seven days only, during which time
she is willing to unfold the future of those who may wish to become
acquainted with its secrets. Madame Marie will disclose the mysteries of
the past, as well as the hidden events of the future. As her stay is
of limited duration, those wishing to consult her will do well to call
at once.” (_Places note in his pocket and paces back and forth with his
hands clasped behind him._) I received this note only an hour ago, and
hastened to call upon her. But although I have been here full fifteen
minutes, I have as yet seen no one. Where _is_ Madame Marie? (_Enter MME.
MARIE, L., shrouded with a black veil._)

MME. MARIE (_in measured tones._) She is here. What would you have? Shall
I tell you the past, or only the future?

D. I would hear something of the past as well as of the future, if you
please, madam.

MME. M. That is well. I will consult the oracles, and give you their
testimony. (_A pause. DICK looks expectant._) Ah, yes, the events of
our past life come crowding up before me. I see that you are credulous,
impulsive, and somewhat superstitious.

D. Credulous and superstitious! Oh, no.

MME. M. (_waving her hand_). Silence. It is not meet that you interrupt
the disclosures of the oracles. Superstition signifies a fondness for the
unknown and mysterious; therefore you are superstitious. You are also
credulous; for did you not believe the revelations of Madame Devineresse,
who came here a short time ago, and who is an arrant impostor? You were
the means of bringing to her a young man who wished to look into the
magic mirror.

D. (_smiling at the recollection_). Yes, and he went away with higher
aspirations, and a feeling of inward pleasure which cannot be described.
I think praise rather than blame is due me for this deed.

MME. M. I need not tell you of the deception which you practised on
him. Even now circumstances are at work which will bring to you direful
consequences on account of that deed.

D. (_somewhat troubled_). What do you mean? Has he discovered the trick?

MME. M. (_without heeding him_). I see the young man standing before a
tall, stern-looking person. The young man is talking earnestly, but I
cannot hear his words. The tall man listens attentively, and soon the
young man goes out. The tall man seems angry. Hark! he speaks: “So this
is the way the boys spend the hours they should be employed in study. No
wonder recitations are poor. But it is fortunate that I have discovered
the cause in such good time. I will make an example of this case, and
will inflict on the chief offender such a severe punishment that it will
strike terror into the hearts of the remainder of the school. What shall
it be? Ha! I have it. John, bring me a strong rope, and a couple of good
willow switches. Then call together the scholars.”

D. (_in a fever of excitement_). Is there no way of avoiding this

MME. M. (_unheeding him_). I see the scholars crowding into the room, but
there is one of them who cannot be found. No one knows where he is gone.
Now a note is handed to the tall man. He nods approvingly, and tells all
the scholars to follow him. Ha, they come this way! They are at the door!
They enter! (_She starts back, and the boys from behind the screen come
noisily forward. They surround MADAME M. DICK is in a state of great

NAT. Hooray for the great fortune-teller, Madame Marie! (_Pulls off her
veil and cloak, disclosing the features and figure of JOE SHERMAN._)

J. (_comes forward smiling_). Is your fortune satisfactory, Dick?

D. (_confused_). I don’t know. Let me see. (_Recovering himself._) Yes,
very much so. It’s turned out far different from what I expected, a
moment ago. I anticipated a more tragic and _striking_ close. (_Comes
forward, and takes JOE’S hand._) We’re quits now, Joe. I give you credit
for turning the tables on me completely. But henceforth I shall keep
clear of fortune-tellers. They are great humbugs, as I have had ample
opportunity to know. Besides, it would be far more sensible for us boys
to plan our future ourselves, and then try to live up to it, than to
listen to the idle talk of those who care for nothing but the money of
their victims. Now, Joe, I challenge you to enter the list with me, to
gain the prize offered for the greatest number of perfect recitations
during this term. What do you say?

J. I’ll do it, Dick. I’ll _try_ for the prize, anyway.

D. That’s it, old fellow. And whichever is successful, the progress we
have made will stimulate us to strive for still higher honors. And who
knows but we may yet gain as great distinction as was pictured to you by
Madame Devineresse, in the Magic Mirror?

                                                       (_Curtain falls._)

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