The gratifying success of a previous volume of “Amateur Dramas,” and the increasing demand for pieces of a light character suitable for representation without the usual costly theatrical accessories, has induced the writer to prepare a second volume for publication. Like the first, it contains pieces which have been specially prepared for occasional exhibitions, society benefits, and parlor theatricals, and which have only been admitted to “The Mimic Stage” after having stood the test of public approval. For their production, no scenery is required. A moderate-sized room, having folding-doors or hanging curtains to separate the audience from the actors; costumes such as the modern wardrobe will easily supply, with now and then a foray on some good old grandmother’s trunks; a wig or two; a few pieces of chalk; red paint; and India-ink,—is all the “extraordinary preparations” and “great expense” necessary.
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DOWN BY THE SEA
A CLOSE SHAVE
THE GREAT ELIXIR
THE MAN WITH THE DEMIJOHN
AN ORIGINAL IDEA
“MY UNCLE, THE CAPTAIN.”
NO CURE, NO PAY: A FARCE.
HUMORS OF THE STRIKE
BREAD ON THE WATERS
The gratifying success of a previous volume of “Amateur Dramas,” and the increasing demand for pieces of a light character suitable for representation without the usual costly theatrical accessories, has induced the writer to prepare a second volume for publication. Like the first, it contains pieces which have been specially prepared for occasional exhibitions, society benefits, and parlor theatricals, and which have only been admitted to “the mimic stage” after having stood the test of public approval. For their production, no scenery is required. A moderate-sized room, having folding-doors or hanging curtains to separate the audience from the actors; costumes such as the modern wardrobe will easily supply, with now and then a foray on some good old grandmother’s trunks; a wig or two; a few pieces of chalk; red paint; and India-ink,—is all the “extraordinary preparations” and “great expense” necessary. For benefits, fairs, and temperance gatherings, many of the pieces will be found particularly appropriate. To give variety, three dialogues, originally published in “Oliver Optic’s Magazine,” have, by the kind permission of its popular editor, been added to the collection. Amateur theatricals have now become a part of the regular winter-evening amusements of young and old; and, with proper management, no more rational, pleasant, and innocent diversion can be devised. Endeavoring to avoid bluster and rant, relying more on touches of nature, hits at follies and absurdities, for success, the writer trusts his little book may contain nothing which can detract from the good name those amusements now enjoy.
Crusty (a man of means, generally considered a mean man).
Tonsor (a barber).
McGinnis (his assistant).
Zeb (a colored apprentice).
Heavyface (a hypochondriac).
Simper (an exquisite).
John Gale’s house down by the sea. Fireplace, r. Doors, r., l., and c. Table right of c., at which Mrs. Gale is ironing. March seated on a stool, l., arranging fishing-lines.
Mrs. G. Do, March, stop that confounded racket!
March. Racket! well that’s a good one. Mother Gale, you’ve got no ear for music.
Mrs. G. More ear than you have voice. Do you call that singing?
March. To be sure I do. (Sings.)
Mrs. G. March Gale, if you don’t stop that catawauling, I’ll fling this flat-iron right straight at your head.
March. Now, don’t, Mother Gale. Don’t you do it. The iron would enter my soul. (Sings.)
Mrs. G. Dear, dear! what does ail that boy? March Gale, you’ll distract our fine city boarders.
March. Not a bit of it. Don’t they come from the great city where there’s lots of grand uproars, organ-grinders, and fiddlers. I tell you, Mother Gale, they are pining for the delights of the city; and I’m a public benefactor, when, by the sound of my musical voice, I wake in their hearts tender recollections of “Home, sweet Home.” (Sings.)
Mrs. G. I do wish you were sailing. Now, do stop, that’s a good boy. You make my head ache awfully.
March. Do I? why didn’t you say that before: I’m done. But, Mother Gale, what do you suppose sent these rich people to this desolate spot?
Mrs. G. It’s their whims, I s’pose: rich people are terrible whimsical. Mr. Raymond told your father he wanted a quiet place down by the sea.
March. Blest if he hasn’t got it! It’s almost as desolate here as poor old Robinson Crusoe’s Island.
Mrs. G. Well, well! p’raps he had a hankering for this spot, for he was born down here. Ah, me! how times do change. I remember the time when Abner Raymond was a poor fisherman’s boy. Law sakes, boy, when I was a gal, he used to come sparking me; and he and John Gale have had many a fight, all along of me. Well, he went off to the city, got edicated, and finally turned out a rich man.
March. You don’t say so. Why, Mother Gale, you might have been a rich lady.
Mrs. G. P’raps I might, March; p’raps I might: but I chose John Gale; and I never regretted it, never.
March. Bully for you, Mother Gale, and bully for Daddy Gale, too. He’s a trump. But I say, Mother Gale, isn’t Miss Kate a beauty? My eyes! Keep a sharp look-out, Mother Gale, a sharp eye on our Sept.; for, if I’m not much mistaken, he’s over head and ears in love with her.
Mrs. G. Goodness, gracious! what an awful idea!
March. Awful! perhaps it is; but she likes it. I’ve seen them on the rocks as chipper as a pair of blackbirds; her eyes glistening and her cheeks rosy, while Sept. was pouring all sorts of soft speeches into her ears.
Mrs. G. Heavens and airth! this won’t do! I’ll tell your father of this the minit he comes home.
March. No you won’t, Mother Gale. Hush, here’s the young lady now.
(Enter Kate, r.)
Kate. May I come in?
Mrs. G. To be sure you may, and welcome (places a chair, r., and dusts it with her apron). It’s awful dirty here.
Kate (sits). Dirt? I have not yet been able to discover a particle in the house. It’s a miracle of cleanliness. Well, March, what are you doing?
March. Oh! fixin’ up the lines a little.
Kate. Who was singing? While I was sewing I’m sure I heard a musical voice.
March. No: did you though? Do you hear that, Mother Gale. Miss Kate heard a musical voice. I am the owner of that voice, and I’m mighty proud of it; for there’s precious little I do own in this world.
Kate. You should cultivate it.
Mrs. G. Fiddlesticks! there’s no more music in that boy than there is in a nor’easter.
March. Now, Mother Gale, don’t show your ignorance of music. Yes, Miss Kate, I should cultivate it; but then, you see. I’m an orphan.
Kate. An orphan?
March. Yes, an orphan,—a poor, miserable, red-headed orphan. The only nurse I ever had was the sea, and a precious wet one she was.
Kate. Do you mean to say you are not the son of John Gale?
March. That’s the melancholy fact: I’m nobody’s son. I was found upon the sands, after a fearful storm and a shipwreck, very wet and very hungry, by Daddy Gale. This little occurrence was in the month of March. Fearing, from my youth and inexperience, I should be likely to forget the circumstances of my birth, Daddy Gale christened me March, and it’s been march ever since. You march here, and you march there.
Kate. And September?
March. Oh! Sept. came in the same way, by water, a little sooner, the September before. Daddy Gale evidently expected to complete the calendar, and have a whole almanac of shipwrecked babbies.
Kate. He is not Mr. Gale’s son?
March. No, he’s a nobody, too: we’re a pair of innocent but unfortunate babbies.
Kate. Strange I have not heard this before. I have been here nearly a month.
Mrs. G. Bless your dear soul, John Gale doesn’t like to talk about it. He’s precious fond of these boys; and I tell him he’s afeard somebody will come and claim ’um. But he’s done his duty by them. No matter how poor the haul, how bad the luck, he always manages to lay by something for their winter’s schooling; and, if ever anybody should claim them, they can’t complain that they have’nt had an edication.
March. That’s so, Mother Gale, all but my singing; but I have strong hopes of somebody coming to claim me. I feel I was born to be something great,—a great singer, or something else.
Mrs. G. Something else, most likely.
March. Yes. I expect to see my rightful owner appearing in a coach and four to bear me to his ancestrial castle.
Mrs. G. Fiddlesticks!
March. Mother Gale, your ejaculations are perfectly distressing. I don’t open my mouth to indulge in a few fond hopes, but you ram your everlasting “fiddlesticks” down my throat to choke all my soaring fancies.
Mrs. G. Well, I should think your throat would be sore, with all those big words.
March. Yes, Miss Kate: I have strong hopes of being rewarded for my blighted youth with one or more parents of some standing in the world.
Kate. I trust your hopes will be realized. This is a strange story, and will interest my father, startle him; for years ago he lost a child by shipwreck.
March. A child,—a boy?
Kate. Yes, a boy, the child of his first wife, who left France with her infant in a ship that never reached her port.
March. Good gracious! when was this?
Kate. Oh! a long, long time ago, before I was born, for I am the daughter of his second wife: it must have been twenty,—yes, more than twenty years ago.
March. A boy, shipwrecked twenty years ago. Good gracious, it almost takes away my breath.
Kitty (outside, c.). Much obliged, I’m sure. You’d better come in.
March. Hallo! there’s Kitty. (Enter Kitty, c.) Hallo, Kitty! who’s that you are talking to?
Kitty (tossing her head). Wouldn’t you like to know, Mister Gale?
March. To be sure I should.
Kitty. Well, you can’t: a pretty idea, that I can’t have a beau without being obliged to tell you who it is!
March. A beau! It’s that Bige Parker: I know it is.
Kitty. Well, suppose it is, Mr. March Gale.
March. I’ll just give him the biggest licking ever he had: you see if I don’t.
Kitty. What for, pray?
March. What right has he to be tagging after you, I’d like to know?
Kitty. Suppose I choose to let him, Mr. Gale; and suppose I like to have him, Mr. Gale. What do you say to that?
March. That I’ll punch him all the harder when I get at him.
Kitty. Will you? You’re a pretty brother, ain’t you? Won’t let your sister have a beau without making a fuss!
March. I ain’t your brother: you know I ain’t. I’m a shipwrecked innocent.
Kitty (laughing). Oh, ho, ho! you’re a pretty innocent, you are!
Mrs. Gale. Kitty Gale, stop your laughing and behave yourself. Don’t you see Miss Kate? Where have you been?
Kitty. Oh! I’ve been over to Mrs. Parker’s.
March. Bige Parker’s. Darn him.
Kitty. Mrs. Parker was not at home (looking slyly at March): nobody but Bige.
March. I’d like to get hold of him: I’d send him home, and keep him there.
Kitty. Oh, dear! I am so hungry!
March. I am glad of it.
Kitty. Bige Parker wanted to give me a great thick slice of bread and butter; but I knew there was somebody at home (looking at March) who could spread bread and butter better than he.
March. No: did you, Kitty? you just keep still, and I’ll bring you a slice. (Exit, l.)
Kate. O Kitty, Kitty! I suspect you are a little coquette.
Kitty. Me! why I never thought of such a thing.
Mrs. Gale (going to door, c.). It’s about time for John to be back. (Enter March, l., with slice of bread and butter.)
March. There, Kitty, there you are!
Kitty. Oh! ain’t that nice, now if I only had a seat.
March. Here’s one: here’s a high old seat (attempts to lift her upon the table, burns his hand with the flat-iron, yells, drops Kitty, and runs, l.).
Mrs. Gale. I told you you’d catch it (takes iron from table, and places it in the fireplace).
March. You didn’t tell me any such thing: I found it out myself. Look at that (shows his hand). There’s a blister.
Kate. Dear me! I forgot I had a message to deliver. Father would like to see you in his room a moment.
Mrs. Gale. I’ll go right up.
Kate. Where’s Sept., March: I haven’t seen him this morning?
March. I saw him off the point about an hour ago: it’s about time he was in.
Kate. Come up to my room when you have finished your luncheon. I’ve something to show you. (Exit, r.)
Kitty. Yes, I’ll come right up.
Mrs. Gale. Now, March, be careful of that musical voice of yours while I’m gone: don’t strain it. (Exit, r.)
Kitty. March Gale! you ain’t a bit perlite: why don’t you give me a seat?
March. Well, I’ll give you a seat, now the flat-iron’s out of the way (lifts her to table, where she sits swinging her feet and eating bread and butter).
Kitty. Isn’t she pretty?
March. Mother Gale?
Kitty. Mother Gale! No: Miss Kate.
March. Yes, indeed.
Kitty. And she’s so rich, and dresses so fine. I suppose she lives in a big house with a buffalo on top, and a pizzaro, and a miranda, and all that.
March. Yes, indeed, she’s very rich; but then you just wait till my mysterious parent turns up. I know he’s a rich man: you never heard of a shipwrecked baby but what had a rich father,—never. Sometimes I think he’s a rich English lord, or a French marquis, or a Turkish bashaw. I do hope he’s a Turk: I am very fond of Turkey.
Kitty. So am I, with cranberry sauce.
March. Oh, pshaw! what’s the use poking fun!
Kitty. Do you know what I would do if I was rich?
March. No: what is it?
Kitty. I’d have some molasses on my bread.
March. You won’t have to wait for that (runs off, l.).
Kitty. Now, ain’t he obliging. I do like to be waited upon: and there’s plenty to wait upon me; for, between March and Bige Parker, I’m very comfortably settled. (March runs in, l.)
March. Here you are Kitty (pours molasses on her bread).
Kitty. Oh, ain’t that sweet!
March. Yes, Kitty, I’ve been thinking that it’s about time I should make an effort to find my father.
Kitty. But what can you do? there is nothing by which you can be identified.
March. No, but instinct will guide me. I know, if I once set eyes on the man who is truly my father, there will be a come-all-overishness that will cause me to rush into his arms, crying, “Father, behold your son!” In the mean time I must wait.
Kitty. While you are waiting, suppose you take me down from this table.
March. All right (lifts her from table), down you come. I say, Kitty, what did Bige Parker say to you?
Kitty. Oh! lots of sweet things.
March. Darn him!
Kitty. Let me see,—what did he say? He said that the sand seemed like shining gold when I walked upon it.
March. I’d like to stuff his throat with it: perhaps it would change the color.
Kitty. He said the sky seemed filled with beautiful rainbows.
March. I’d like to paint a rainbow round his eyes. He might see stars too.
Kitty. And the water—
March. Oh, confound the water! you set me on fire. I’ll punch that Bige Parker, you see if I don’t.
Kitty. Why, March, you’re jealous.
March. Jealous! well, perhaps I am. But I won’t have that Bige Parker sneaking after you: mind that, now. And the next time I see him grinning at you, he’ll catch it: mind that, too. He’s a confounded sneak, darn him. (Exit, c.)
Kitty. Well, I declare, March is really jealous. Now, that’s too bad. (Enter John Gale, l.)
John. What’s too bad, Kitty? Where’s all the folks? where’s your marm? where’s Sept.? Where’s anybody?
Kitty. Where’s anybody? why, don’t you see me?
John. Yes, I see you, you chatterbox. Where’s your mother?
John. Up-stairs: now, what is she doing up-stairs?
Kitty. I’m sure I don’t know.
John. Then run and find out.
Kitty. Well, I suppose—
John. You suppose! Now, what right have you to suppose? Run and find out, quick!
Kitty. Gracious, the fish don’t bite. (Exit, r.)
John. Pretty time of day, this is. Cold, wet, and hungry; and nobody at home. Wonder where my rich boarder is? Having what he calls a siesta, I s’pose. Well, every one to his taste; but the idea of a live man snoozing in the house when there’s salt water, a bright sun, and a roaring breeze outside. Bah! (Enter Mrs. Gale, r.)
Mrs. Gale. Well, John, back again?
John. Back, of course I’m back. You don’t s’pose I’d stay out after four hours’ fishing, without a bite, do you? Hey!
Mrs. Gale. Well, you needn’t bite me. You’ve had bad luck.
John. Now, what’s the use of telling me that? Don’t I know it? I tell you what, old lady, if we ain’t mighty careful, we shall have nothing to eat one of these days.
Mrs. Gale. When that time comes, we’ll begin to complain. But with two sich boys as our Sept. and our March—
John. Now, what’s the use of talking about them boys? What are they good for? Where’s Sept.?
Mrs. Gale. Off in his boat, I s’pose.
John. His boat! a pretty boat he’s got. If he’s not kerful, he’ll see the bottom afore he knows it.
Mrs. Gale. Our Sept.! Why, he’s the best boatman along shore. You needn’t be scared about him.
John. Not when he’s a stout plank under him. But that skiff of his is as frail as a shingle. Where’s March?
Mrs. Gale. I left him here a minnit ago.
John. There’s another beauty. I tell you what, Mother Gale, I’m going to turn over a new leaf with these boys. I won’t have so much of this shirking work. Sept. shall sell that boat; and March—
Mrs. Gale. Why, you ugly old bear! what’s the matter with you? Turn over a new leaf indeed! Well, that’s a good one. Only this morning you were blessing your stars you had two such boys,—the best and smartest—
John. Humbug! you don’t know what you are talking about. I tell you they’re a good-for-nothing, lazy pair of—Hallo! here’s Raymond. (Enter Mr. R., r.)
Ray. Halloo, Gale! back already? what luck?
John. Hem! luck. Precious poor.
Raymond. I’m sorry for that. But, Gale, my daughter has been telling me a strange story about these boys. They’re not yours.
John. Who says they ain’t? I’d like to know who’s a better right to ’em.
Ray. Well, well, I’m not going to dispute it. But I would like to hear the story from your lips.
John. It’ll be a precious short one, I can tell you. Well, they ain’t my boys. They were shipwrecked on the coast twenty-three years ago.
Ray. Twenty-three years ago?
John. Yes, exactly twenty-three years ago, in the month of September, we were awakened one night by the booming of guns off shore. ’Twas a black night, I tell you,—a roaring gale, the sea dashed over the rocks almost to our door, and the rain poured in torrents. We hastened to the beach. Half a mile off, stuck fast in the sands, was a ship, blue-lights burning and cannons firing. It was no use: mortal man could not reach her in such a sea. In the morning, scattered pieces of the wreck, a few dead bodies, and a live baby, was all there was left of her.
Ray. A living child?
John. Yes, our Sept. A precious tough time he had of it, I can tell you: we thought he’d die; but mother’s care and a healthy constitution brought him through, and there is not a smarter boatmen or a better lad on all the coast than our Sept., if I do say it.
Mrs. Gale. Why, John, you said just now—
John. What’s the use of talking about what I said just now? You never did take kindly to him; but I say he’s the best lad—
Mrs. Gale. John Gale, you’re stark, staring mad! Don’t I idolize ’em both?
Ray. But the other, Gale?
John. Well, he came in the same way. ’Twas very queer; but the very next March, in a blinding storm, we were again turned out at night by the booming of guns. Another ship in the sands; more blue lights; in the morning, more wreck, more dead bodies, and another live baby.
Ray. March? (Enter, March, c.)
John. Yes, March; and he was a roarer, I tell you. We haven’t had a shipwreck since: the squalls of that brat, night after night, was enough to scare off all the ships in creation. He weathered it; and though I do say he’s a smart clever— (sees March, l.) You confounded scoundrel! where have you been?
March (Aside). My! touching biography. (Aloud.) Where have I been? been looking for you.
Ray. But, Gale, was no inquiries ever made for these lads?
John. No; and I didn’t take particular care to hunt up their owners. If they don’t care enough for ’em to hunt ’em up, I’m content. They’ve been well brought up: they’re a credit to anybody. There’s a good home for ’em here; there’s the broad ocean for their labor; and there are honest hearts here that love ’em as their own; and, if they’re not content, ’twill not be the fault of John Gale.
March. Hurrah for John Gale!
John. Now, what do you mean by yelling in that way, you good-for-nothing—
Mrs. Gale. Smart, clever,—Hey, John?
John. Now what’s the use of talking—
Ray. But these lads, Gale: was nothing found about them by which they could be identified?
John. No; Sept. was well bundled up in nice soft flannels, while March was tied up in an old pea-jacket: but no name or marks about them.
Ray. This is very strange—very strange. (Enter Kitty, r. hurriedly.)
Kitty. Oh, dear!—run, quick!—run, quick!
March. Run quick! where, what’s the matter?
Kitty. Oh, dear! I’m so frightened!
John. What is it?
All. Speak, speak!
Kitty. Oh! do wait till I get my breath! No, no! run quick!
Mrs. Gale. Lord sakes, Kitty! what is the matter?
Kitty. I was up in Miss Raymond’s room, looking out of the window—
All. Well, well!
Kitty. Oh! if you don’t run quick something will happen.
March. Well, well, where shall we run?
Kitty. I saw Miss Kate walking on the rocks—
All. Well, well!
Kitty. When suddenly she slipped—
All. Well, well—
Kitty. And fell into the sea.
All rush for door, c. Enter Sept., c., with Kate in his arms.
Sept. Very wet, but safe and sound.
Mrs. Gale. Thank Heaven!
Ray. My daughter! (Takes her from Sept.Mrs. Gale places a chair, c., in which they seat her.)
March. Hurrah for Sept.!
Mrs. Gale. Here, Kitty, March, run for my camphire. (March takes a flat-iron from the fireplace. Kitty runs off, l., and brings in a bucket of water. They rush around the stage two or three times. March, finding the iron hot, plunges it into the bucket of water, l. Have iron hot so it will sizzle in water.) Land sakes, what are you doing? ye’ll set the house afire.
March. Darn your old irons: there’s another blister.
Kate. Don’t be alarmed, there’s nothing the matter. I accidentally slipped off the rock; but, thanks to dear Sept., I am quite safe.
Mrs. Gale. Come right straight up to your room, and change your clothes. You’ll ketch your death a cold. Come right along. (Leads Kate off, r.)
Ray. (seizing Sept.’s hand). Sept. Gale, Heaven bless you! you’ve done a noble deed. (Exit, r.)
Sept. Well, well, here’s a jolly spree about just nothing at all! But, I say, March, isn’t she splendid? Do you know, when I pulled her from the water into my little craft—I couldn’t help it—I felt as though she belonged to me. Yes: rich, young, beautiful as she is, but for the arm of the rough sailor she would now be sleeping her long sleep beneath the waves.
March. Well, I dunno about her belonging to you. All the fish you pull out of the water are yours; but a woman isn’t exactly a fish.
Sept. No, no, not exactly, March.
March. Sept., you’re a lucky dog. That’s just your luck. I might have been on the water a month without making such a haul as that.
Sept. Well, Father Gale, my little spinning Jenny, as you call her, has done good service to-day. Haven’t you a little better opinion of her?
John Gale. Sept., my boy, as March says, you’ve had a streak of luck. But don’t brag about that boat.
Sept. But I will, though. She is the fastest sailer on the coast; the neatest trimmed, and the cleanest built; and I’m proud of her. Hallo, Kitty, what’s the matter?
Kitty. Oh, dear, this is an awful world! Suppose Miss Kate should have been drowned,—and she would if it hadn’t been for me,—hurrying down stairs to tell—
March. After she had been saved. You’re a smart one, you are.
Kitty. I couldn’t help being late, could I? (Enter Mrs. Gale, r.)
Sept. Well, mother, all right, hey?
Mrs. Gale. Yes, Sept., all right. Come right here and kiss me. You’re a dear, good, noble— (hugging him).
Sept. Now, don’t, mother. You’ll spoil me. You’ll make me believe I’ve done something great instead of my duty. (Enter Mr. R., r.)
Ray. Kate has quite recovered. Sept. Gale, how can I express my obligations, how reward—
Sept. Now, please, don’t Mr. Raymond. Don’t say any thing about it. If I have been the humble instrument of Heaven in saving a life precious to you, believe me the consciousness of duty done is a rich reward, and I ask no other. Oh! here’s Kate. (Enter Kate, r.)
Kate. Here I am, just as good as new. Where’s my preserver? Now, don’t raise your hand: I’m not going to say one word in praise of your conduct. Man was born to wait on woman; and so, sir, you will please follow me to the rock to find my handkerchief, and see that I don’t take another bath. Come along. (Exit, c.)
Sept. Ay! Ay! I’ll watch you: never fear. (Exit, c.)
John. Mother Gale, it strikes me forcibly that if we are to have any dinner to-day—
Mrs. Gale. Heavens and airth! I forgot all about it. You, March, run and split me some wood; and you, Kitty, peel me some pertaters; and you, John—dear, dear, what a confusion! (Exit, l.)
March. Come along, Kitty.
Kitty. Dear me! If there’s any thing I hate, it’s peeling taters.
March. Well, you jest wait until I get my wood, and I’ll fix ’em for you. Come along. (Exit Kitty and March, l.)
John. It strikes me, that March has a mighty fancy for our Kitty. Who knows but what there’ll be a wedding here some of these days? I say, Mr. Raymond, you’ll excuse me, but I must look arter my boat. (Exit, c.)
Ray. Oh, never mind me! Twenty-three years ago! What revelation can fate have in store for me? Twenty-three years ago, I was the possessor of a young and beautiful wife. Travelling in France, I was hastily summoned to America, and obliged to leave my wife, with her infant child, to follow me: she took passage in the ship Diana, in the summer of ’31: the vessel was never more heard of. Every inquiry was made, but no intelligence could be obtained. What was also remarkable, the ship Gladiator, which sailed from Havre on the same day, met a like mysterious fate. These boys found on the sands,—can they be connected with this history? Strange, strange, I never heard of this circumstance! But twenty years ago communication was more difficult than now; and that dreadful winter the fearful losses by storm were never known. New ties,—another wife,—she, too, gone,—a daughter loving and beloved,—have stilled the longings to gain tidings of the fate of the lost one: but this strange history awakens a desire to learn more. I have watched them attentively, but can see no resemblance to my lost wife in either of their faces. Yet something tells me that this strange meeting—this desolate place—the wrecks—the children—cannot be accidental. I will be calm, and watch and wait: for I believe that in one of these boys I shall find my lost son. (Exit, r.) (Enter March, c., with an armful of wood, in time to hear the last words. He drops the wood.)
March. It’s coming, it’s coming! Hold me, somebody! Hold me, especially my head, for I hear strange sounds! I hear the roll of carriage-wheels, and oh, there’s a piebald horse gave me a thundering kick in the head! What did he say? “one of these boys must be his lost son.” So, so! he’s got a lost son; and I’ve got a lost father, somewhere. I shouldn’t wonder if we found out we were related. I’ve seen quite a resemblance between Mr. Raymond and myself,—the same aristocratic air. Suppose it should be—oh! it must be,—I never could have been left out in that cold sand, hungry and wet, for nothing. Won’t it be gay? I long for the time when he will disclose himself. I knew he never could have come to this desolate spot for nothing. And now it’s all out. (Enter Mrs. G., l.)
Mrs. Gale. Yes, it is all out, you lazy scamp! Didn’t I tell you to put the wood on the fire?
March. (Picking up wood he dropped.) Now, don’t scold, Mother Gale. There’s a fire here (hand on heart).
Mrs. Gale (at fireplace). I tell you, there’s no fire here. What are you thinking of?
March (placing wood on fire). “I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls.”
Mrs. Gale. Marble fiddlesticks! O March, March! you’ll never set the river afire!
March. Won’t I, Mother Gale? You may be sure of one thing: I shan’t try in a hurry. Shall I tell her? no; I will keep silence, least I interfere with his plans. (Enter Kitty, l.)
Kitty. Oh, dear! oh, dear! I’ve cut my finger with those plaguey taters.
March. Dear me, Kitty! you are always in trouble.
Kitty. Well, I couldn’t help it. My hands were never made to peel taters.
March. No, indeed, they wa’nt. Here, let me fix it for you (wraps cloth round it). You shan’t do it again. Fortune has at last smiled upon me: I shall soon be rich, and then—
Kitty. How long must we wait?
Mrs. Gale. How long must I wait for the pertaters?
Kitty. Oh, dear! I wish they were in the sea (goes to door, c.). O March, look here, quick! There’s a yacht coming round the point. Isn’t she a beauty?
March. My eyes! look at her! A gentleman’s yacht, and headed this way.
Mrs. Gale. Mercy sakes! More visitors. Who can it be? (All exit, c. Enter Raymond, r.)
Ray. Confusion! That confounded Capt Dandelion, to escape whom I fled to this out-of-the-way place, is almost at the door in his yacht. His pursuit of Kate is persistent; and, but that I knew the utter selfishness of the man, I could honor him for the apparently unwearied patience with which he follows her. (Enter Kate and Sept., c.) Well, child, you have heard of the new arrival?
Kate. A new arrival? No: who is it?
Ray. Your persevering gallant, Capt. Dandelion, is after you. That is his yacht just dropping anchor.
Kate. Now, what could have sent him here?
Ray. You don’t seem pleased. Perhaps I may have been unkind in thought; but, remembering your partiality for him in the city, I feared you might have clandestinely invited him here.
Kate. Why, Father! can you think so meanly of me? Capt. Dandelion is very pleasant society in the city; but here I can do without him. Oh! I forgot: Sept. wants to speak to you.
Sept. Me? No I don’t.
Kate. Why, Sept.! what did you tell me when we were walking by the shore?
Sept. What did I tell you? why—that—I—what did I tell you?
Kate. Come, come, sir.
Sept. Well, then, I said you were very beautiful.
Kate. Oh, pshaw! not that.
Sept. Yes, I did; and I meant it; that you were rich, admired and courted; that your presence here had been like the coming of a new star in a dark night, to light the path of us hardy fisherman; that—that—
Kate. O father! speak to him.
Ray. Well, Sept., I’m willing to obey; but what shall I say?—that I fear the presence of my daughter has made a young man forget his lowly station?
Sept. Yes, you may say that: it has. It has made him forget that he is poor, rough, and untutored,—that there are social bonds which hold the rich within their circles, where the poor may not enter. He has forgot all, all this. For the manhood within him—the love of the beautiful implanted in his breast—has burst all slavish bonds, and his heart has forced from his lips the words, ‘I love you!’
Ray. And you have said this to my daughter?
Sept. I have: I could not help it.
Ray. Base,—base,—base! you have taken advantage of having saved my daughter’s life—
Kate. Hold, father! you are mistaken. He has taken no advantage: I do not believe he ever thought of it. It was I who remembered that when I said, ‘Sept., I am glad to hear this; for I dearly, truly love you.’
Ray. Confound it, girl! what have you done?
Kate. Obeyed the instincts of a true woman, who, when she gains the heart of a man noble and good, accepts it fully and freely, caring not for wealth or station.
Ray. You’re a pair of romantic fools. I tell you, girl, you know not what you have done. This must not, cannot be.
Kate. Oh! but it is; you are too late: the mischief is done. So, father, give your consent and make us happy. (Enter Kitty, c.)
Kitty. O Miss Kate! here’s somebody to see you,—a real gentleman, with rings on his fingers and bells on his toes, I should say, a great mustache under his nose, and half a pair of specs in one eye; and he says “he’s deused wearwy, ah!” (imitating.)
Kate. That’s Capt. Dandelion, sure. (Enter March, c., with Captain.)
Capt. Wall, now, wearly, what a surpwise! You don’t know, my dear fwiends, what a search I’ve had for you; you don’t wearly!
Ray. Well, Captain, you have found us out. I suppose it would not be polite for me to say we came here on purpose to get rid of you?
Capt. Say it, my dear fellah, say it: it’s just like you; it is, wearly; you’re always joking. But, you know, you can’t affwont me, ’pon my word.
Ray. (Aside.) No: I wish I could.
Capt. And how is the beautiful, bewitching, adowable Miss Kate?
Kate. Quite well, thank you, Captain. How are all our friends in the city?
Capt. Miserwable, perfectly miserwable: the sun don’t shine in the city when you are not there; it don’t, wearly. I couldn’t live there, and so I took my wacht and sailed after you.
Kitty. (l. to March, l.) Took his what?
Kate. Excuse me, Captain: let me present my friends. This is Mr. March Gale.
Capt. No, wearly? What a queer name! queer fish, too, ’pon honor.
March. The Captain and I have met before. He’s a little near-sighted, and tumbled head over heels over a rock; but I picked him up.
Kate. And this is Mr. Sept. Gale.
Capt. Oh! wearly, a fisherman.
Sept. (Takes Captain’s hand, and gives it a rough shaking.) Glad to see you, Captain, glad to see you: we’ll make you comfortable here; plenty of fish.
Capt. (Grinning, and shaking his head.) Fish! Yes, and lobsters, too: I’ve felt their claws.
Kate. And this is Miss Kitty Gale.
Capt. Ah, wearly! (Bows, puts his eye-glass to his eyes.) Positively bewitching! wuwal simplicity! Wenus in a clamshell! (To Kate.) But all fisherman.
Kate. Yes, all fisherman; and you’ll find me handy with the line, too, thanks to Sept.’s teaching.
Capt. Glad to hear it; quite a womantic place this; so pwimitive, though it does smell hawibly of fish.
March. Yes, Captain, she’s a capital fisherman. (Aside.) I do wish they would clear out, and give me a chance for a word with Mr. Raymond. There’s something in my bosom tells me—
Mrs. Gale (Outside, l.). March, March!
March. Yes: there’s always something telling me that. It’s nothing but March. (Exit, l.)
Capt. By the by, Miss Kate, I have a message from a friend in the city, Blanche Allen.
Kate. Dear Blanche! give it me quick.
Capt. I declare I’ve left it in my wacht.
Kate. Oh! do run and get it quick. Come, I’ll go with you.
Capt. Will you? that’s deused kind of you,—it is wearly.
Kate. Come, come! I’m impatient to hear from dear Blanche. (Takes Captain’s arm, and exit, c.)
Sept. She seems mightily pleased with her city friend. Well, he’s an elegant gentleman, while I’m but a rough fisherman. Can I ever hope to win her! And yet she told me, but a little while ago, she loved me. (About to exit, c.)
Ray. (r.) Sept., a word with you.
Sept. Ay, ay, sir. (Comes down, l.)
Ray. John Gale has been telling me a strange story about you. You are not his son.
Sept. Ah, the story of the shipwreck. No, sir: I am not his son by birth; but he has been a true father to me, and I love him as though he were my own.
Ray. Have you no recollection of a mother?
Sept. None: I was an infant when found upon the shore.
Ray. This rough fishing life,—do you like it?
Sept. Like it! to be sure I do; for I have known no other. I was lulled to sleep in infancy by the dash of the waves upon the rocks, the whistling of the breeze among the shingles of the old house; and, winter and summer, I have been rocked upon the bosom of the only mother I know,—the ocean.
Ray. Oh! but there’s danger in it.
Sept. Yes, there is danger; but who, with a true heart and a stout arm, cares for danger! Ah, that’s the sport of it! To be upon the sea when the winds are roaring, and the waves are seething in anger; to hear along shore the dash of the sea upon the rocks, and to know you have a stout plank beneath you and a light bark obedient to your command, braving the fury of the tempest,—ah, that’s glorious!
Ray. But it is mere drudgery. You have read some, I know. Have you never longed for other scenes,—other occupations?
Sept. To be sure I have. As I have read of great generals and their campaigns, of merchant princes,—their thrift and industry,—I have longed to be among them, to bear a hand in the battle, to test my brain, or strain my sinews with the best.
Ray. Well, why have you never tried? The city is open to all who possess industry and talent.
Sept. Ay, ay, sir. But here’s father and mother Gale; age is creeping upon them: who is to take care of them? No, no! let the dream pass. They might have left me to die upon the sands: but they took me to their hearts; and, with Heaven’s help, I’ll be a true son to them in their old age. (Enter March, l.)
March. (Aside.) Halloo! what’s going on here! Something about me.
Ray. March,—is he contented here?
March. (Aside.) Not by a long chalk.
Sept. March? Oh! he’s a queer fish; his head is filled with whimsical notions regarding his parentage.
Ray. Has he any clue to his parents?
Sept. No more than I have.
March. (Aside.) Don’t be too sure of that.
Ray. Has he any recollection of a mother?
March. (Breaking in.) Most certainly he has.
March. That is, I think I must have had one; and my father,—I know where he is, and just what he looks like.
Ray. You do!
March. Yes: he’s rather tall, gray hair, dresses well, and looks like me.
Ray. (Laughing.) A very accurate description.
March. You know him, then?
Ray. Me! how should I?
March. He’s rich too.
Ray. Ah! that’s good.
March. Yes; and he’s got his eye on me. He’s looking after me. He’s only waiting to see how I take it. He fears it will overcome me: but when he finds I am instinctively drawn towards him; when he finds I only wait to hear a voice say— (Enter Kitty, l.)
Kitty. March, I’ve peeled the taters.
March. Confound your taters!
Ray. Well, well, March, remember the old adage, “Patient waiting, no loss.” Come, Sept., let’s go down and look at the captain’s boat. (Exit with Sept., c.)
March. Kitty Gale, you’re enough to try the patience of Job: just when I was on the brink of a discovery, you must pop in, and spoil every thing.
Kitty. How could I help it? I did’nt know you was on the brink of any thing.
March. In another moment, I should have found my father.
Kitty. Oh, pshaw! you’re always finding a father. I don’t believe you ever had one.
March. You don’t, hey? I have got one, and he’s rich too; got a fine horse—
Kitty. Then why don’t you find him? Bige Parker don’t have to hunt for his father!
March. Bige Parker! Do you dare to speak his name to me?
Kitty. To be sure I do. I’m going to walk with him to-night: perhaps he’ll see more beautiful rainbows.
March. We’ll see about that. I’ll just go and hunt him up, and he’ll ketch the darndest licking ever he got: you see if he don’t. (Dashes out, c.)
Kitty. Now he’s gone off mad. Well, I don’t care. (Enter Mrs. Gale
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