Under the Gaslight

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WEMYSS' ACTING DRAMA.

UNDER THE GASLIGHT:


A TOTALLY ORIGINAL AND PICTURESQUE


Drama

OF

LIFE AND LOVE IN THESE TIMES,


IN FIVE ACTS.


By AUGUSTIN DALY,

AUTHOR OF "LEAH THE FORSAKEN," "GRIFFITH GAUNT,"
"TAMING A BUTTERFLY," ETC., ETC.


AS ORIGINALLY PLAYED AT THE NEW YORK THEATER IN THE
MONTHS OF AUGUST, SEPT. AND OCT.
, 1867.


AUTHOR'S EDITION




New York:
SAMUEL FRENCH & SON,
PUBLISHERS,
38 E. 14th Street, Union Square.

London:
SAMUEL FRENCH,
PUBLISHER,
89, STRAND.

 

ACTS:(not individually listed)

CAST OF CHARACTERS, AS PLAYED AT THE NEW YORK THEATER.

Produced August 12, 1867.

Ray Trafford [one of the New York "bloods"] Mr. A. H. Davenport.

Snorkey [a returned Veteran, established as a Soldier Messenger, but open to anything else] Mr. J. K. Mortimer.

Byke [one of the men whom the law is always reaching for and never touches] Mr. J. B. Studley.

Ed. Demilt [one of the rising Wall street generation] Mr. Newton.

Windel [his friend, "sound on the street"] Mr. Reed.

Justice Bowling. [of the Tombs police Court] Mr. Welsh Edwards.

Counsellor Splinter [an Attorney of the Tombs Court] Mr. Jas. Dunn.

Bermudas [one of the under crust, a sidewalk merchant Prince, with a "banjo swarry"] Mr. C. T. Parsloe.

Peanuts [a rival operator in papers and matches] Master Shea.

Lillywhite [another another operator in papers and matches] Master Shay.

Sam [a colored citizen, ready for suffrage when it is ready for him] Mr. Williams.

Rafferdi (nee Rafferty), [an Italian Organist from Cork] Mr. Sullivan.

The Sergeant of the River Patrol Mr. Hurley.

Policeman 999 Mr. Sampson.

Martin Mr. Fielding.

Peter Rich [the Boy who was committed] Master Willie.

The Signal Man at Shrewsbury Bend Mr. H. Ryner.

Members of the Tuesday Sociable, Court Officers, Dock Boys, &c.

Laura Cortland, [the Belle of Society] Miss Rose Eytinge.

Pearl Cortland, [pretty, but no heart] Miss Blanche Grey.

Peachblossom, [a girl who was never "brought up," with the doleful ditty of "the Knight, the dame, and the Murderous Rival."] Mrs. Skerrett.

Old Judas [the right hand of Byke] Mrs. Wright.

Mrs. Van Dam [one of the voices of Society] Miss Lizzie Davey.

Sue Earlie [one of the echoes of the voice] Miss Mahon.

Lizzie Liston [another echo] Miss Macy.


Reproduced December 4, 1867.

Ray Trafford [one of the New York "bloods"] Mr. G. H. Clarke.

Snorkey [a returned Veteran, established as a Soldier Messenger, but open to anything else] Mr. J. K. Mortimer.

Byke [one of the men whom the law is always reaching for and never touches] Mr. Welsh Edwards.

Ed. Demilt [one of the rising Wall street generation] Mr. Neal.

Windel [his friend, "sound on the street"] Mr. Reed.

Justice Bowling. [of the Tombs police Court] Mr. W. H. Collins.

Counsellor Splinter [an Attorney of the Tombs Court] Mr. T. L. Donnelly.

Bermudas [one of the under crust, a sidewalk merchant Prince, with a "banjo swarry"] Mr. C. T. Parsloe.

Peanuts [a rival operator in papers and matches] Master Willie.

Sam [a colored citizen, ready for suffrage when it is ready for him] Mr. Williams.

Rafferdi (nee Rafferty), [an Italian Organist from Cork] Mr. G. Lingard.

The Sergeant of the River Patrol Mr. Hurley.

Policeman 999 Mr. Sampson.

Martin Mr. Fielding.

Peter Rich [the Boy who was committed] Master Poore.

The Signal Man at Shrewsbury Bend Mr. H. C. Ryner.

Members of the Tuesday Sociable, Court Officers, Dock Boys, &c.

Laura Cortland, [the Belle of Society] Miss Irene Worrell.

Pearl Cortland, [pretty, but no heart] Miss Sophie Worrell.

Peachblossom, [a girl who was never "brought up," with the doleful ditty of "the Knight, the dame, and the Murderous Rival."] Miss Jennie Worrell.

Old Judas [the right hand of Byke] Mrs. Wright.

Mrs. Van Dam [one of the voices of Society] Miss Logan.

Sue Earlie [one of the echoes of the voice] Miss Wakeman.

Lizzie Liston [another echo] Miss Macy.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by AUGUSTIN DAY, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York.

 

ACT I.

SCENE 1st.Parlor at the Courtlands; deep window at back showing snowy exterior; street lamp lighted; time, night; the place elegantly furnished; chandelier.

Ray Trafford is discovered lounging on tete-a-tete (C.) Pearl is at (L.) door taking leave of Demilt, Windel, Mrs. Van Dam, and Sue Earlie, who are all dressed and muffled to go out.


Mrs. V. Good night! of course we'll see you on Tuesday.

Pearl. To be sure you will.

Demilt. Never spent a jollier hour. Good night, Ray.

Ray. (On sofa.) Good night.

Mrs V. You won't forget the Sociable on Tuesday, Ray?

Ray. O, I won't forget.

All. (At door.) Good night—good night! [Exit. L.

Pearl. Good night. (Coming forward.) O, dear! now they're gone, and the holiday's gone with them. (Goes to window.) There they go. (Laughter without.) Ray, do come and look at the Van Dam's new sleigh. How they have come out.

Ray. Yes, it's the gayest thing in the Park!

Pearl. (Still at window C.) I wonder where they got the money! I thought you said Van Dam had failed!

Ray. Well, yes. He failed to pay, but he continues to spend.

Pearl. (As if to those outside). Good night! (Response from without as sleigh bells jingle—"Good night.") I wish I was in there with you. It's delightful for a sleigh ride, if it wasn't New Year's. O! there's Demilt over! (Laughter outsidecracking of whipsRay saunters up to window. Sleigh bells jingle, sleigh music heard to die away. Ray and Pearl wave their handkerchiefs. Ray comes down and sits, C.)

Pearl. (Closing lace curtains.) Isn't it a frightful thing to be shut up here on such a beautiful night, and New Year's of all others. Pshaw? we've had nothing but mopes all day. O, dear! I hate mourning, though it does become me, and I hate everything but fun, larks and dancing. (Comes down).

Ray. Where in the world is Laura?

Pearl. O! do forget her for a second, can't you? She'll be here presently. You're not in the house a minute but it's, "Where's Laura?" "Why don't Laura come?"

Ray. (Taking her hand) Well, if anybody in the world could Page:Under the Gaslight.djvu/8 Page:Under the Gaslight.djvu/9 Page:Under the Gaslight.djvu/10 Page:Under the Gaslight.djvu/11 Page:Under the Gaslight.djvu/12 Page:Under the Gaslight.djvu/13 Page:Under the Gaslight.djvu/14 Page:Under the Gaslight.djvu/15 Page:Under the Gaslight.djvu/16 Page:Under the Gaslight.djvu/17 Page:Under the Gaslight.djvu/18

 

ACT II.

(Green Cloth down.)

SCENE I.Interior of a Basement. Street and railings seen through window at back. Entrance to F. from D. F. L. H. Stove with long pipe in fire-place, R. U. E. Table between two windows at back, with flowers, &c. Humble furniture. Table C. three chairs. Closet U. E. L. H..

Peachblossom is discovered polishing stove R. H.a slip-shod girl a la Fanchon.

SONG—Peach:

A lordly knight and a lovely dame, were walking in the meadow,
But a jealous rival creeping came a-watching in the shadow;
They heeded not, but he whet his knife and dogg'd them in the shadow.
The knight was brave, and the dame was true, the rival fared but badly;
For the knight he drew and ran him through, and left him groaning sadly;
The knight and dame soon wedded were, with bells a-chiming gladly.

Peach. (Talking while working?) The stove won't shine. It's the fault of the polish I know. That boy that comes here, just fills the bottles with mud, and calls it stove polish. Only let me catch him. Ah! Ah! (threatning gesture with brush.) I declare I'd give it up if I didn't want to make everything look smart, before Miss Nina comes in. Miss Nina is the only friend I ever had, since I ran away from Mother Judas. I wonder where old Judas is now? I know she's drunk; she always was; perhaps that's why she never tried to find out what became of me. If she did she could not take me away. Miss Nina begged me off a policeman. I belong to her. I wonder why she ain't got any other friends? She's awful mysterious. Tells me never to let any strangers see her. She's afraid of somebody, I know. It looks just as if she was hiding. I thought only bad girls, such as I, had to hide. If I was good and pretty like her, I wouldn't hide from the President. (Still polishing.) (Judas appears at window with basket of ornaments, &c.)

Judas. Hum! Is your ma in my dear?

Peach. (Starting.) Oh! (aside.) Old Judas! She's found me out at last. No she h'aint, or she'd have got me by the hair before she spoke. That's her way.

Judas. (Coming in at door. Peach keeps her back towards her.) Any old clothes to change for chany, my dear? Where's your ma's old skirts and shawls, my pet. Get 'em quick before mother comes in, and I'll give you a beautiful chany mug or a tea-pot for them. Come here, my ducky—see the pretty—(recognizes Peach.) Eh! why you jail-bird, what are you doing here? Are you sneakin' it? Answer me, or I'll knock your head agin the wall. (Catches her by the hair.)

Peach. You just leave me be? I'm honest I am! I'm good.

Judas. You're good? Where's my shoe? I'll take the goodness out o you.

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ACT III.

SCENE I.The Tombs Police Court. Long high desk, with three seats, across back from R. to L. on Platform. Railing in front. Railing around L. H. with opening C. In front of railing, a bench R. and L.H. Gate in C. of railing.

Judge Bowling and another Justice seated behind high desk, C. with clerk on his L. H. Justice is reading paper, with his feet upon desk, R. H. Policeman at R. and L., 1, 2, E. Policeman 9-9-9 at gate, C. Hard-looking set of men and women on benches, R. and L. Lawyer Splinter is talking to Rafferdi, who is in crowd down R.

(As the curtain rises noisy buzz is heard.)

Bow. Smithers, keep those people quiet. (9-9-9 handling people roughly.) Here—easy, officer; treat those poor people decently. Well, whom have you got there?

9-9-9. (Going to 1, E. L. H., and dragging urchin within railing.) Pickpocket, your Honor. Caught in the act.

Bow. What's he got to say for himself? Nothing, eh? What's his name?

9-9-9. (Stooping down to boy as if asking him.) Says his name is Peter Rich.

Bow. You stand a poor chance, Rich! Take him away. (Bowling consults with other Justice, as the boy is taken off E. R. H.)

Splinter. (To Rafferdi, who has his monkey and organ.) So you want to get out, eh? How much money have you got?

Raff. Be jabers! half a dollar in cents is all the money I'm worth in the world.

Splin. Give it to me. I thought you organ fellows were Italians.

Raff. Devil doubt it! Aint I got a monkey?

9-9-9. Here, you; come up here. (Takes Rafferdi inside the railing, L. H.)

Bow. Now, then; what's this, officer?

9-9-9. (Rafferdi takes stand R.) Complaint of disturbing the neighborhood.

Bow. What have you got to say for yourself?

Splin. (R. H.) If your Honor please, I appear for this man.

Bow. Well, what have you got to say for him?

Splin. Here is an unfortunate man, your Honor—a native of Sunny Italy. He came to our free and happy country, and being a votary of music, he bought an organ and a monkey, and tried to earn his bread. But the myrmidons of the law were upon him, and the Eagle of Liberty drooped his pinions as Rafferdi was hurried to his dungeon.

Bow. Rafferdi!—You re an Irishman, ain't you? What do you mean by deceiving us?

Raf. Sure I didn't. It's the lawyer chap there. I paid him fifty cints and he's lying out the worth of it.

Bow. You fellows are regular nuisances! I've a great mind to commit you.

Splin. Commit him! If the Court please—reflect—commit him—to prison—what will become of his monkey?

Bow. Well, I'll commit him too.

Splin. You cannot. I defy the Court to find anything in the Statutes authorizing the committal of the monkey.

Bow. Well, we'll leave out the monkey.

Splin. And if the Court please, what is the monkey to do in the wide world, with his natural protector in prison? I appeal to those kindlier feelings in your honor's breast—which must ever temper justice with mercy. This monkey is perhaps an orphan!

Bow. (Laughing.) Take them both away, and don't let me catch you here again Mr. Rafferdi or you ll go to jail.

[Exit Rafferdi 1 E. L. H. Splinter goes down, Raf. Exits.

9-9-9. (Pulling Sam who is drunk out of a crowd.) Get up here.

Sam. (Noisily.) Look yah—don't pull me around.

Bow. Silence there! what's all this noise about?

Sam. Whar's de Court? I want to see de Judge.

Splin. (Approaching him.) My colored friend can I assist you?

Sam. Am you a Counsellor-at-Law?

Splin. Yes, retain me! How much money have you got?

Sam. I ain't got no money but I've got a policy ticket. It' bound to draw a prize.

Splin. Got any pawn tickets?

Sam. Ob course. (Giving him a handful.)

Bow. Well, what's the charge?

9-9-9. (R. H. C.) Drunk and disorderly.

Bow. Well, my man, what have you to say?

Sam. Dis here gemman represents me.

Splin. We admit, if the Court please, that we were slightly intoxicated, but we claim the privilege, as the equal of the white man.

Bow. (To Clerk.) Very good! Commit him for ten days.

Splin. But this is an outrage, your honor.

Bow. (To Officer.) Take him off! (Motioning to Sam.) (Splinter sits down discomfited, Sam very wroth.)

Sam. What?

Bow. Take him away.

Sam. Look here, judge, hab you read the Civil Right Bill? You can't send dis nigger to prison while dat bill am de law of de land.

Bow. That'll do—remove him.

Sam. I ain't no gipsy, I'm one of de Bureau niggers, I am! Where am de law? Don't touch me, white man! Dis am corruption—dis am 'ficial delinquency.

9-9-9. (Collars him and carries him off.)

Sam. Mr. Stevens! Thaddeus! (Exit R. H. 1 E.

Bow. Any more prisoners? (Noise L. 1 E.) What noise is that?

(Officer goes out. Byke enters, followed by the officer who escorts Laura.)

Byke. Where is the judge? O, where is the good, kind judge?

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ACT IV.

No carpet.

SCENE I.Long Branch. Ground floor of an elegant residence—open windows from floor to ceiling at back—opening upon a balcony or promenade. Perspective of the shore and sea in distance. Doors R. and L. Sunset.


As the curtain rises to lively music, from R. enter Pearl, Mrs. Van Dam, Sue Earlie, and other ladies in summer costume, Demilt and Windel with them.

 

Pearl. And so the distinguished foreigner is in love with me? I thought he looked excessively solemn at the hop last night. Do you know, I can't imagine a more serious spectacle than a Frenchman or an Italian in love. One always imagines them to be sick. (To Mrs. V. D.) Do fasten my glove—there's a dear.

Mrs. D. Where's Ray?

Pearl. O, he's somewhere. I never saw such another. Isn't he cheerful? He never smiles, and seldom talks.

Mrs. V. D. But the foreigner does. What an ecstasy he was in over your singing; sing us a verse, won't you, while we're waiting for Ray?

All. It will be delightful—do.

Pearl. Well! [Song introduced.

(Air; When the War is Over, Mary.)

I.

Now the summer days are fading,
Autumn sends its dreary blast
Moaning through the silent forest
Where the leaves are falling fast.
Soon dread winter will enfold us—
Chilling in its arms of snow,
Flowers that the summer cherished,
Birds that sing, and streams that flow.


II.

Say, shall all things droop and wither,
That are born this Summer day?
Shall the happy love it brought us—
Like the flowers fade away?
No; be still thou flutt'ring bosom—
Seasons change and years glide by,
They may not harm what is immortal—
Darling,—love shall never die!

Pearl. Now, I've sung that to Ray a dozen times, and he never even said it was nice. He hasn't any soul for music; O, dear, what a creature!

Mrs. V. D. Yes, and what a victim you will be with a husband who has $60,000 per annum income.

Pearl. That's some comfort, isn't it?

Ray. (Enters L. H. bowing to others.) Going out, Pearl?

Pearl. Yes, we re off to Shrewsbury. Quite a party's going—four carriages—and we mean to stay and ride home by moonlight.

Ray. Couldn't you return a little earlier?

Mrs. V. D. Earlier! Pshaw! What's in you, Trafford. (The ladies and gents. go up.)

Ray. (Pearl, C.) You know that Laura will be quite alone, and she is still suffering.

Pearl. Well, she'll read and read, as she always did, and never miss me.

Ray. But, at least, she ought to have some little attention.

Pearl. Dear, dear, what an unreasonable fellow you are. Isn't she happy now—didn't you save her from drowning, and havn't I been as good to her as I can be—what more do you want?

Ray. I don't like to hear you talk so, Pearl, and remember what she and you were once. And you know that she was something else once—something that you are now to me. And yet how cheerful, how gentle she is. She has lost everything and does not complain.

Pearl. Well, what a sermon! There, I know you re hurt and I'm a fool. But I can't help it. People say she's good-looking, but she's got no heart! I'd give anything for one, but they aint to be bought.

Ray. Well, don't moan about it, I didn't mean to reprove you.

Pearl. But you do reprove me. I'm sure I havn't been the cause of Laura's troubles. I didn't tell the big, ugly man to come and take her away, although I was once glad he did.

Ray. Pearl!

Pearl. Because I thought I had gained you by it. (Ray turns away.) But now I've got you, I don't seem to make you happy. But I might as well complain that you don't make me happy—but I don't complain, I am satisfied, and I want you to be satisfied. There, are you satisfied?

Mrs. V. D. (Who with others has been promenading up and down the balcony.) Here are the carriages.

Pearl. I'm coming. Can't you get me my shawl, Ray. (Ray gets it from chair.)

Mrs. V. D. And here's your foreign admirer on horseback.

(Sue Earlie, Demilt and Windel, exit.)

Pearl. (Up stage C.) Bye, bye, Ray. (Exit.)}

Mrs. V. D. Are you not coming, Trafford?

Ray. I? No!

Mrs. V. D. Do come on horseback, here s a horse ready for you.

Pearl. (Without.) Ray! Ray!

Mrs. V. D. Pearl's calling you. Be quick or Count Carom will be before you, and hand her in the carriage.

Ray. (Taking his hat slowly.) O, by all means, let the Count have some amusement.

Mrs. V. D. (Taking Ray's arm.) You're a perfect icicle.

[They exit.

 

[Noise of whips and laughter. Plaintive music as Laura enters. L. goes to C. and gazes out at them.]

Laura. Poor Pearl. It is a sad thing to want for happiness but it is a terrible thing to see another groping about blindly for it when it is almost within the grasp. And yet she can be very happy with him. Her sunny temper, and her joyous face will brighten any home. (Sits at table C., on which are books,) How happy I feel to be alone with these friends, who are ever ready to talk to me—with no longings for what I may not have—my existence hidden from all, save two in the wide world, and making my joy out of the joy of that innocent child who will soon be his wife.

 

(Peachblossom appears at back looking in cautiously, grotesquely attired.

 

Peach. If you please.

Laura. (Aloud.) Who is there?

Peach. (Running in window F.) O, it's Miss Nina! O, I'm so glad; I've had such a hunt for you. Don't ask me nothing yet. I'm so happy. I've been looking for you so long, and I've had such hard luck. Lord what a tramp—miles on miles.

Laura. Did any one see you come here? How did you find me?

Peach. I asked 'em at the hotel where Mr. Trafford was, and they said at Courtlands, and I asked 'em where Courtlands was, and they said down the shore, and I walked down lookin' at every place till I came here.

Laura. Speak low, Blossom. My existence is a secret, and no one must hear you.

Peach. Well, Miss, I says to Snorkey—says I—

Laura. Is he with you?

Peach. No, Miss, but we are great friends. He wants me to keep house for him some day. I said to him—"I want to find out where Miss Nina's gone," and so he went to Mr. Trafford's and found he was come to Long Branch, but never a word could we hear of you.

Laura. And the others—those dreadful people?

Peach. Byke and old Judas? Clean gone! They hasn't been seen since they was took up for throwing you into the water, and let off because no one came to Court agin 'em. Bermudas says he's seen 'em in Barnum's wax-work show, but Bermudas is such a liar. He brought me up here.

Laura. Brought you up here.

Peach. Yes, he sells papers at Stetson's; he's got the exclusive trade here, and he has a little wagon and a horse, and goes down to the junction every night to catch the extras from the Express train what don't come here. He says he'll give me lots of nice rides if I'll stay here.

Laura. But you must not stay here. You must go back to New York this evening.

Peach. Back ! No, I won't.

Laura. Blossom!

Peach. I won't, I won't, I won't! I'll never let you away again. I did it once and you was took away and dragged about and chucked overboard and almost drowned. I won't be any trouble, indeed I won't. I'll hire out at the hotel, and run over when my work is done at night, when nobody can see me, to look up at your window. Don't send me away. You're the only one as ever was good to me.

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Laura. No; you good, honest fellow—no—I have no father.

Signal. Then, by Jerusalem! I'll do for you what I can. Anything but run away from them that have not their interest but yours at heart. Come, you may stay there, but I'll have to lock you in.

Laura. I desire that you should.

Signal. It's for your safety as much as mine. I've got a patent lock on that door that would give a skeleton key the rheumatism to fool with it. You don't mind the baggage. I'll have to put it in with you, hoes, shovels, mowing machines, and what is this—axes. Yes, a bundle of axes. If the Superintendent finds me out, I ll ask him if he was afraid you'd run off with these. (Laughs.) So, if you please, I'll first tumble 'em in. (Puts goods in house, Laura sitting on platform R. H. looking at him. When all in, he comes towards her, taking up cheese-box to put it in Station.) I say, Miss, I ain't curious—but, of course, it's a young man you're a going to?

Laura. So far from that, it's a young man I'm running away from.

Signal. (Dropping box.) Running away from a young man! Let me shake hands with you. (Shakes her hand.) Lord, it does my heart good! At your age, too! (Seriously.) I wish you'd come and live down in my neighborhood a while, among my gals. (Shaking his head.) You'd do a power of good. (Putting box in station.)

Laura. I've met an excellent friend. And here at least I can be concealed until to-morrow—then for New York. My heart feels lighter already—it's a good omen.

Signal. Now, Miss, bless your heart, here's your hotel ready.

(Goes to switch and takes coat off, putting it on.)

Laura. Thanks, my good friend; but not a word to any one—till to-morrow; not even—not even to your girls.

Signal. Not a word, I promise you. If I told my girls, it would be over the whole village before morning. (She goes in. He locks door. Laura appears at window facing audience.)

Laura. Lock me in safely.

Signal. Ah! be sure I will. There! (Tries door.) Safe as a jail. (Pulls out watch, and then looking at track with lantern.) Ten minutes and down she comes. It's all safe this way, my noisy beauty, and you may come as soon as you like. Good night, Miss!

Laura. (At window.) Good night.

Signal. Running away from young man, Ha! ha! ha!

(He goes to track, then looks down R.lights his pipe and is trudging off R., when enter Snorkey from L. U. E.

 

Snorkey. Ten minutes before the train comes. I'll wait here for it. (To Signal man who re-enters.) Hollo, I say, the train won't stop here too long will it.

Signal. Too long? It won't stop here at all.

Snorkey. I must reach the shore to-night. There'll be murder done, unless I can prevent it!

Signal. Murder, or no murder, the train can't be stopped.

Snorkey. It's a lie. By waving the red signal for danger, the engineer must stop, I tell you!

Signal. Do you think I'm a fool! What! disobey orders and lose my place; then what's to become of my family? (Exit R. U. E.

Snorkey. I won't be foiled. I will confiscate some farmer's horse about here, and get there before them somehow. (Byke enters at back with loose coil of rope in his hand.) Then when Byke arrives in his donkey cart he'll be ready to sit for a picture of surprise. (Byke enters L. U. E. suddenly throwing the coil over Snorkey.)

Byke. Will he?

Snorkey. Byke!

Byke. Yes, Byke. Where's that pistol of yours? (Tightening rope round his arm.)

Snorkey. In my breast pocket.

Byke. (Taking it.) Just what I wanted.

Snorkey. You ain't a going to shoot me?

Byke. No!

Snorkey. Well, I'm obliged to you for that.

Byke. (Leading him to platform.) Just sit down a minute, will you.

Snorkey. What for? (Laura appears horror struck at window.)

Byke. You'll see.

Snorkey. Well, I don't mind if I do take a seat. (Sits down. Byke coils the rope round his legs.) Hollo! what's this?

Byke. You'll see. (Picks the helpless Snorkey up.)

Snorkey. Byke, what are you going to do!

Byke. Put you to bed. (Lays him across the R. R. track.)

Snorkey. Byke, you don't mean to— My God, you are a villain!

Byke. (Fastening him to rails.) I'm going to put you to bed. You won't toss much. In less than ten minutes you'll be sound asleep. There, how do you like it? You'll get down to the Branch before me, will you? You dog me and play the eavesdropper, eh! Now do it if you can. When you hear the thunder under your head and see the lights dancing in your eyes, and feel the iron wheels a foot from your neck, remember Byke! (Exit L. H. E.

Laura. O, Heavens! he will be murdered before my eyes! How can I aid him?

Snorkey. Who's that?

Laura. It is I. Do you not know my voice?

Snorkey. That I do; but I almost thought I was dead, and it was an angel's. Where are you?

Laura. In the station.

Snorkey. I can't see you, but I can hear you. Listen to me, Miss, for I've got only a few minutes to live.

Laura. (Shaking door.) God help me? and I cannot aid you.

Snorkey. Never mind me, Miss. I might as well die now, and here, as at any other time. I'm not afraid. I've seen death in almost every shape, and none of them scare me; but, for the sake of those you love, I would live. Do you hear me?

Laura. Yes! yes!

Snorkey. They are on the way to your cottage—Byke and Judas—to rob and murder.

Laura. (In agony.) O, I must get out! (Shakes window bars.) What shall I do?

Snorkey. Can't you burst the door?

Laura. It is locked fast.

Snorkey. Is there nothing in there?—no hammer ?—no crowbar?

Laura. Nothing! (Faint steam whistle heard in the distance.) O, Heavens! The train! (Paralysed for an instant.) The axe!!!

Snorkey. Cut the woodwork! Don't mind the lock—cut round it! How my neck tingles! (A blow at door is heard.) Courage! (Another.) Courage! (The steam whistle heard again—nearer, and rumble of train on track. Another blow.) That's a true woman! Courage! (Noise of locomotive heard—with whistle. A last blow; the door swings open, mutilated—the lock hanging—and Laura appears, axe in hand.)

Snorkey. Here—quick ! (She runs and unfastens him. The locomotive lights glare on scene.) Victory! Saved! Hooray! (Laura leans exhausted against switch.) And these are the women who ain't to have a vote!

(As Laura takes his head from the track, the train of cars rushes fast with roar and whistle from L. to R. H.

 

 

ACT V.

SCENE I.An elegant boudoir at Courtland's cottage, Long Branch; open window and balcony at back; moonlight exterior; tree overhanging balcony.

Bed is at U. E. L.; toilette table R.; arm chair C.; door L. 2 E.; lighted lamp on toilette table; dresses on chair by bed L. H. and by window on R. (Music.)

Pearl is discovered (en negligee) brushing her hair out at table before mirror.

 

Pearl. I don't feel a bit sleepy. What a splendid drive we had! I like that foreigner. What an elegant fellow he is! Ray is nothing to him. I wonder if I'm in love with him. Pshaw! What an idea! I don't believe I could love anybody much. How sweetly he writes!—(picks up letter and sits on chair C.) "You were more lovely than ever to-night; with one more thing, you d bean angel!" Now, that's perfectly splendid: "with one more thing, you'd be an angel—that one thing is love. They tell me Mr. Trafford is your professed admirer. I'm sure he could never be called your lover—for he seems incapable of any passion but Melancholy." It's quite true. Ray does not comprehend me. (Takes up another letter.) "Pearl, forgive me if I have been cross and cold. For the future, I will do my duty, as your affianced husband, better." Now, did ever anyone hear such talk as that from a lover? Lover!—O, dear! I begin to feel that he can love, but not me. Well, I'd just as soon break—if he'd be the first to speak. How nice and fresh the air is! (she turns down lamp.) It's much nicer here, than going to bed. (Settles her self in tete-a-tete for a nap. Pause.)

 

[Moonbeams fall on Byke, who appears above the balcony. He gets over the rail and enters.

Byke. Safely down! I've made no mistake—no, this is her room. What a figure I am for a lady's chamber. (Goes to table, picks up delicate lace handkerchief, and wipes his face.) Phew! Hot! (Puts handkerchief in his pocket.) Now for my bearings. (Taking huge clasp-knife from his pocket.) There's the bed where she's sleeping like a precious infant, and here— (Sees Pearl in chair and steals round at back, looking down at hher.) It's so dark—I can't recognize the face. It's a wonder she don't feel me in the air and dream of me. If she does she'll wake sure—but it's easy to settle that. (Takes phial of chloroform from his pocket, saturated the handkerchief he picked up, and applies it.) So!—now my charmer—we'll have the ear-rings. (Takes them out.) What's here (Going to table.) Bracelets—diamonds! (Going to dresses, and feeling in the pockets.) Money! That's handy. (He puts all in a bag, and hands them over balcony.) Now for the drawers, there's where the treasure must be. Locked? (Tries them with bunch of keys) Patent lock, of course! It amuses me to see people buying patent locks, when there's one key will fit 'em all. (Produces small crowbar, and just as he is about to force the drawer, a shout is heard, and noise of wagon.) What's that? (Jumps, catching at bureau, which falls over.) Damnation!

Pearl. (Starting up.) Who's there? What's that?

Byke. Silence, or I'll kill you!

Pearl. Help! Help!

Byke. (Running to bureau for knife.) You will have it my pretty one. (Pearl runs to door L.)

Pearl. Save me! Save me! (Byke pursues her, the door bursts open and Ray and Laura enter. Byke turns and runs to balcony, and confronts Snorkey and Bermudas, who have clambered over.)

Laura. Just in time.

Ray. (Seizing Byke.) Scoundrel!

Snorkey. Hold him, Governor! Hold him. (Assists Ray to bind Byke in chair R. H.)

Ber. Sixty-sixth and last round. The big 'un floored, and Bermudas as fresh as a daisy.

Pearl. Dear, dear Laura, you have saved me.

Ray. Yes, Pearl; from more than you can tell.

Laura. No, no, her saviors are there. (Pointing to Ber. and Snor.) Had it not been for the one, I should never have learned your danger, and but for the other, we could never have reached you in time.

Snorkey. Bermudas and his fourth editions did it. Business enterprise and Bermudas' pony express worked the oracle this time.

Ber. The way we galloped! Sa-ay, my pony must have thought the extras was full of lively intelligence.

Pearl. Darling Laura, you shall never leave us again.

Ray. No! never.

Snorkey. Beg pardon, Cap'n, what are we to do with this here game we've brought down ?

Ray. The Magistrates will settle with him.

Snorkey. Come, old fellow!

Byke. One word, I beg. My conduct, I know, has been highly reprehensible. 1 have acted injudiciously, and have been the occasion of more or less inconvenience to every one here. But I wish to make amends, and therefore I tender you all in this public manner my sincere apologies. I trust this will be entirely satisfactory.

Ray. Villain!

Byke. I have a word to say to you, sir.

Snorkey. Come, that's enough.

Byke. My good fellow, don't interrupt gentlemen who are conversing together. (To Ray.) I address you, sir—you design to commit me to the care of the officers of the law?

Ray. Most certainly.

Byke. And you will do your best towards having me incarcerated in the correctional establishments of this country? (Ray bows.)

Snorkey. How very genteel!

Byke. Then I have to say if you will, I shall make a public exposure of certain matters connected with a certain young lady.

Laura. Do not think that will deter us from your punishment. I can bear even more than I have—for the sake of justice.

Byke. Excuse me, hut I did not even remotely refer to you.

Laura. To whom, then?

Byke. (Pointing to Pearl.) To her.

Ray. Miss Courtland?

Byke. O, dear! no, sir. The daughter of old Judas—the spurious child placed your cradle, Miss Laura Courtland, when you were abducted from it by your nurse.

Pearl. What does he say?

Byke. That you're a beggar's child—we have the proofs! Deliver me to prison, and I produce them.

Ray. Wretch!

Pearl. Then it's you, dear Laura, have been wronged—while I ——

Laura. You are my sister still—whatever befalls!

Pearl. Oh, I'm so glad it's so! Ray won't want to marry me, now—at least, I hope so; for I know he loves you—he always loved you—and you will be happy together.

Ray. Pearl, what are you saying?

Pearl. Don't interrupt me! I mean every word of it. Laura, I've been very foolish, I know. I ought to have tried to reunite you—but there is time.

Ray. Dear Laura! Is there, indeed, still time? (She gives her hand.)

Byke. Allow me to suggest that a certain proposition I had the honor to submit has not yet been answered.

Ray. Release him. (Snorkey undoes his cords.)

Byke. Thank you—not so rough! Thank you.

Ray. Now, go—but remember, if you ever return to these parts you shall be tried, not only for this burglary, but for the attempt to kill that poor fellow.

Byke. Thank you. Good-bye. (To Snorkey.) Good-bye, my dear friend; overlook our little dispute, and write to me. (Aside.) They haven't caught Judas, and she shall make them pay handsomely for her silence, yet.

[Enter Peach, L. 1 E.

Peach. O Miss! O, such an accident—old Judas!

Laura and Byke. Well?

Peach. She was driving along the road away from here—just now, when her horse dashed close to the cliff and tumbled her down all of a heap. They've picked her up, and they tell me she is stone dead.

Byke. (Aside.) Dead! And carried her secret with her! All's up. I'll have to emigrate. (Aloud.) My friends, pardon my emotion—this melancholy event has made me a widower. I solicit your sympathies in my bereavement. [Exit L.|2em}}

Ber. Go to Hoboken and climb a tree! I guess I'll follow him and see he don't pick up anything on his way out.

[Exit Ber. L. E.

Snorkey. Well there goes a pretty monument of grief. Ain't he a cool 'un? If I ever sets up an ice cream saloon, I'll have him for head freezer.

Peach. O, Miss Laura, mayn't I live with you now, and never leave no more.

Laura. Yes, you shall live with, me as long as you please.

Snorkey. That won't be long if I can help it (Peach blushes.) Beg pardon. I suppose we'd better be going! The ladies must be tired Cap'n at this time of night.

Ray. Yes, it is night! It is night always for me. (Moving towards door L.)

Laura. (Placing one hand on his shoulder, taking his hand.) But there is a to-morrow. You see it cannot be dark forever.

Pearl. Hope for to-morrow, Ray.

Laura. We shall have cause to bless it, for it will bring the long sought sunlight of our lives.


Curtain.




R. Snorkey. Laura. Ray. Pearl. Peachblossom. L. H.

 


This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.