Our American Cousin
by Tom Taylor
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Asa [Finishing the strain.] "I don't think you'll go home at all.'' Now, then, quick, Murcott, before the butler comes back, get his keys. [Murcott gets keys from Coyle's pocket and throws them to Asa.] Is this all?

Mur No; the key of his private bureau is on his watch chain, and I can't get it off.

Asa Take watch and all.

Mur No; he will accuse us of robbing him.

Asa Never mind, I'll take the responsibility. [Coyle moves.]

Mur He is getting up.

Asa Well, darn me, knock him down again.

Mur I can't.

Asa Can't you? Well, I can.

[Pulls Murcott away. Knocks Coyle down; is going towards D. in F., meets Binny with tray and glasses; kicks it, knocks Binny down and exits up staircase, followed by Murcott, carrying candle. Dark state. Binny rises; Coyle ditto. Blindly encounter each other and pummel soundly till change.

Quick Change

Scene 4—Chamber in 1, same as Scene 2.

Enter Dundreary and Vernon, L. 1 E. Dundreary stops, C., and is seized with an inclination to sneeze. Motions with his hand to Vernon.

Ver My lord! [Business Dundreary sneezing.] Your lordship! [Dundreary same bus. Louder.] My lord!

Dun There you go; now you've spoiled it.

Ver Spoiled what, my lord?

Dun Spoiled what? why a most magnificent sneeze.

Ver I'm very sorry to interrupt your lordship's sneeze, but I merely wanted to express my gratitude to you for getting me a ship.

Dun Sir, I don't want your gratitude, I only want to sneeze.

Ver Very well, my lord, then I will leave you, and this gives you an opportunity for sneezing. [Crosses to R.] But in return for what you have done for me, should you ever want a service a sailor can offer you, just hail Harry Vernon, and you'll find he'll weigh anchor and be alongside. [Hitches up breeches and exits, R. 1 E.]

Dun Find him alongside? What does he mean by a long side? and he always wants to weigh anchor. What funny fellows the sailors are. Why the devil won't they keep a memorandum of the weight of their anchor? What's the matter with the sailor's side? [Imitates Vernon.] Oh I see, he's got the stomach ache. [Exit, R. 1 E.]

Change Scene

Scene 5—Library in Trenchard Manor in 3 or 4.

Enter Buddicombe, R. 1 E., following Lord Dundreary.

Bud A letter, my lord.

Dun [Takes letter.] You may go. [Exit Buddicombe, R. 1 E. Opens letter.] "My dear Frederick.'' He calls me Frederick because my name is Robert. "I wrote you on my arrival.'' Why, I never heard from him. "But I am afraid you didn't get the letter, because I put no name on the envelope.'' That's the reason why I didn't get it, but who did get it? It must have been some fellow without any name. "My dear brother, the other day a rap came to my door, and some fellows came in and proposed a quiet game of porker.'' A quiet game of porker, why, they wanted to kill him with a poker. "I consented and got stuck—'' Sam's dead, I've got a dead lunatic for a brother—"for the drinks.'' He got on the other side of the paper, why couldn't he get stuck all on one side. "P. S.—If you don't get this letter let me know, for I shall feel anxious.'' He's a mad lunatic. [Exit, R. 1 E.]

Change Scene

Scene 6—Coyle's Office in 2. High desk and stool, R. Modern box center against flat. Cabinet, L.

Asa discovered looking over papers on box. Murcott looking in desk.

Asa Have you found it?

Mur No, Mr. Trenchard. I've searched all the drawers but can find no trace of it.

Asa What's this?

Mur That's a cabinet where his father kept old deeds, the key he always carries about him.

Asa Oh, he does, does he? Well I reckon I saw a key as I came in that will open it. [Exit, R. 1 E.]

Mur Key, oh, my poor muddled brain, what can he mean!

Asa [Re-enters with axe.] Here's a key that will open any lock that Hobb ever invented.

Mur Key? what key?

Asa What key, why, Yankee. [Shows axe, begins to break open Cabinet.]

Enter Coyle, R. 2 E.

Coyle Villains! would you rob me?

Mur Stand off, Mr. Coyle, we are desperate. [Now seizes him.]

Asa Here it is a sure as there are snakes in Virginia. Let the old cuss go, Murcott.

Coyle Burglars! oh, you shall dearly pay for this.

Asa Yes, I'll pay—but I guess you'll find the change.

Coyle The law—the law shall aid me.

Asa Wal, perhaps it would be as well not to call in the law just yet. It might look a little further than might be convenient.

Mur It's no use to blunder, Mr. Coyle, you are harmless to us now, for we have that, that will crush you.

Coyle Well, what are your conditions? money, how much?

Asa Wal, we warn't thinking of coming down on your dollars. But you have an appointment with Sir Edward at two, haven't you?

Coyle Well?

Asa Well, I want you to keep that appointment.

Coyle Keep it?

Asa Yes, and that's all I do want you to keep of his, and instead of saying you have come to foreclose the mortgage, I want you to say, you have found the release which proves the mortgage to have been paid off.

Coyle I accept. Is that all?

Asa Not quite. Then I want you to pay off the execution debts.

Coyle What, I pay Sir Edward's debts?

Asa Yes, with Sir Edward's money that stuck to your fingers naturally while passing through your hands.

Coyle [To Murcott.] Traitor!

Mur He knows all, Mr. Coyle.

Coyle Is there anything more!

Asa yes, I want you to apologize to Miss Florence Trenchard, for having the darned impudence to propose for her hand.

Coyle What more?

Asa Then you resign your stewardship in favor of your clerk, Abel Murcott.

Coyle What, that drunkard vagabond?

Asa Well, he was, but he's going to take the pledge at the first pump he comes to.

Mur Yes, I will conquer the demon drink, or die in the struggle with him.

Coyle Well, anything more?

Asa Yes, I think the next thing will be to get washed. You're not a handsome man at best, and now you're awful. [Coyle makes a dash at Murcott. Asa catches him and turns him round to R.] Mr. Coyle, in your present state of mind, you had better go first.

Coyle [Bitterly.] Oh, sir, it is your turn now.

Asa Yes, it is my turn, but you can have the first wash. Come along Murcott. [Exeunt, R. 1 E]

Change Scene

Scene 7—Library in Trenchard Manor in 3 or 4.

Sir Edward discovered seated R. of table.

Sir E The clock is on the stroke of two, and Coyle is waiting my decision. In giving her to him, I know I shall be embittering her life to save my fortune, but appearances—no, no, I will not sacrifice her young life so full of promise, for a few short years of questionable state for myself, better leave her to the mercy of chance. [Enter Florence, R. U. E.] that sell her to this scoundrel; and to myself, I will not survive the downfall of my house, but end it thus. [Raises pistol to his head. Florence seizes his arm and screams.]

Flo Father, dear father, what despair is this? [Sir Edward buries his face in his hands.] If it is fear of poverty, do not think of me, I will marry this man if I drop dead in my bridal robes.

Enter Binny, R. 1 E.

Binny Mr. Coyle, sir who has come by happointment.

Sir E I will not see him.

Flo Yes, yes, show him up, Mr. Binny. [Exit Binny, R. 1 E.]

Sir E Florence, I will not consent to this sacrifice.

Enter Asa, Coyle and Murcott, R. 1 E.

Sir E How is this Mr. Coyle, you are not alone?

Asa No, you see, squire, Mr. Coyle wishes me and his clerk to witness the cutting off the seals from the mortgage, which he has been lucky enough to find the release of.

Sir E Heavens, is it so?

Coyle Yes, Sir Edward, there is the release executed by my father, which had become detached.

Asa [To him.] Accidentally.

Sir E Saved, saved at last from want!

Coyle Meanwhile I have paid the execution debts out of a find which has just fallen in.

Asa Accidentally. It's astonishing how things have fallen in and out to-day.

Sir E But your demand here? [Points to Florence.]

Coyle I make none, Sir Edward. I regret that I should have conceived so mad a thought; it is enough to unfit me for longer holding position as you agent, which I beg humbly to resign—

Asa [Aside to him.] Recommending as your successor—

Coyle Recommending as my successor Abel Murcott, whose knowledge of your affairs, gained in my office, will render him as useful as I have been.

Asa Yes, just about.

Sir E Your request is granted, Mr. Coyle.

Asa And now, my dear Mr. Coyle, you may a-b-s-q-u-a-t-u-l-a-t-e.

Coyle I go, Sir Edward, with equal good wishes for all assembled here. [Darts a look at Murcott and exits, R. 1 E.]

Asa That's a good man, Sir Edward.

Sir E Yes.

Asa Oh, he's a very good man.

Sir E Yes, he is a good man.

Asa But he can't keep a hotel.

Sir E Mr. Murcott, your offence was heavy.

Flo And so has been his reparation. Forgive him, papa. Mr. Murcott, you saved me; may Heaven bless you.

Mur Yes, I saved her, thank Heaven. I had strength enough for that. [Exits L. 1. E.]

Flo You'll keep your promise and make Mr. Murcott your clerk, papa?

Sir E Yes, I can refuse nothing; I am so happy; I am so happy, I can refuse none anything to-day.

Asa Can't you, Sir Edward! Now, that's awful lucky, for there's two gals want your consent mighty bad.

Sir E Indeed; for what?

Asa To get hitched.

Sir E Hitched?

Asa Yes to get spliced.

Sir E Spliced?

Asa Yes, to get married.

Sir E They have it by anticipation. Who are they?

Asa There's one on 'em. [Points to Florence.]

Sir E Florence! and the other?

Asa She's right outside. [Exit, hastily, R. 1. E.]

Sir E Well, and who is the happy man, Lord Dun—

Flo Lord Dundreary! No, papa—but Harry Vernon. He's not poor now, though he's got a ship.

Re-enter Asa, with Mary.

Asa Here's the other one, Sir Edward.

Sir E Mary? Who is the object of your choice?

Mary Rough-spun, honest-hearted Asa Trenchard.

Sir E Ah! Mr. Trenchard you win a heart of gold.

Flo And so does Mary, papa, believe me. [Crosses to Asa. Mary and Sir Edward go up.]

Flo What's the matter?

Asa You make me blush.

Flo I don't see you blushing.

Asa I'm blushing all the way down my back.

Flo Oh, you go long. [Goes up stage.]

Asa Hello! here's all the folks coming two by two, as if they were pairing for Noah's ark. Here's Mrs. Mountchestnut and the Sailor man. [Enter as Asa calls them off.] Here's De Boots and his gal, and darn me, if here ain't old setidy fetch it, and the sick gal, how are you buttons? [Dundreary knocks against Asa, who is in C. of stage.]

Dun There's that damned rhinocerous again. [Crosses to L. with Georgina, and seats her.]

Asa Here comes turkey cock, number two, and his gal, and darn me, if here ain't Puffy and his gal.

Sir E Mr. Vernon, take her, she's yours, though Heaven knows what I shall do without her.

Mrs M [Rising.] Ah, Sir Edward, that is just my case; but you'll never know what it is to be a mother. [Comes down, L. C.] Georgina, Augusta, my dears, come here. [They come down each side of her.] You'll sometimes think of your poor mamma, bless you. [Aside to them.] Oh, you couple of fools.

[Bumps their foreheads. Dundreary has business with Georgina, then leads her to a seat, L.]

De B [To Dundreary.] Why, Fred, we're all getting married!

Dun Yes, it's catching, like the cholera.

Binny I 'ope, Sir Edward, there's no objections to my leading Miss Sharpe to the hymenial halter.

Sir E Certainly not, Mr. Binny.

Bud [To Dun.] And Skillet and I have made so bold, My lord—

Dun Yes, you generally do make bold—but bless you, my children—bless you.

Asa Say, you, lord, buttons, I say, whiskers.

Dun Illustrious exile? [Comes down.]

Asa They're a nice color, ain't they?

Dun Yes, they're all wight now.

Asa All wight? no, they're all black.

Dun When I say wight I mean black.

Asa Say, shall I tell that sick gal about that hair dye?

Dun No, you needn't tell that sick gal about that hair dye!

Asa Wal, I won't, if you don't want me to.

Dun [Aside.] That man is a damned rattlesnake.

[Goes up, sits in Georgina's lap—turns to apologize, sits in Augusta's lap—same business with Mrs. M, then goes back to Georgina.]

Asa Miss Georgina. [She comes down.] How's your appetite? shall I tell that lord about the beefsteak and onions I saw you pitching into?

Geo Please don't, Mr. Trenchard, I'm so delicate.

Asa Wal, I won't, if you don't want me to.

Geo Oh, thank you.

[Backs up stage and sits in Dundreary's lap, who has taken her seat.]

Asa Miss Gusty. [Augusta comes down.] Got your boots, hain't you?

Aug Yes, Mr. Trenchard.

Asa How do they fit you? Say, shall I tell that fellow you were after me first?

Aug [Extravagantly.] Not for the world, Mr. Trenchard.

Asa [Mimicing.] Wal, I won't, if you don't want me to.

Asa [To Mrs M.] Mrs. Mountchestnut.

Dun [Coming down.] Sir, I haven't a chestnut to offer you, but if you'd like some of your native food, I'll order you a doughnut?

Asa I dough not see it.

Dun [Laughs.] That's good.

Asa Yes, very good.

Dun For you.

Asa Oh, you get out, I mean the old lady.

Dun Mrs. Mountchessington, this illustrious exile wishes to see you. [Mrs M. comes down.]

Asa Wal, old woman?

Mrs M Old woman, sir?

Asa Got two of them gals off your hands, haven't you?

Mrs M I'm proud to say, I have.

Asa Shall I tell them fellows you tried to stick them on me first?

Mrs M You'll please not mention the subject.

Asa Wal, I won't, if you don't want me to. [Backs up;—curtseying;—knocks back against Dundreary, who is stooping to pick up a handkerchief. They turn and bunk foreheads.] Say, Mr. Puffy. [Binny comes down.] Shall I tell Sir Edward about your getting drunk in the wine cellar?

Binny You need not—not if you don't like unto.

Asa Wal, I won't, if you don't want me to.

Binny Remember the hold hadage. "A still tongue shows a wise ead.''

Asa X Q's me.

Binny O, I, C. [Goes up.]

Flo [Comes down, L.] Well cousin, what have you to say to us? [Mary comes down R. of Asa.]

Asa Wal, I ain't got no ring, to put in your noses, but I's got one to put on your finger. [To Mary.] And I guess the sailor man has one to put on yours, and I guess you two are as happy as clams at high water.

Flo I am sure you must be very happy.

Asa Wal, I am not so sure about my happiness.

Flo Why, you ungrateful fellow. What do want to complete it?

Asa [To Audience.] My happiness depends on you.

Flo And I am sure you will not regret your kindness shown to Our American Cousin. But don't go yet, pray—for Lord Dundreary has a word to say. [Calls Dundreary.]

Dun [Sneezes.] That's the idea.



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