Our American Cousin
By Tom Taylor
Scene 1.—Oriel Chamber in one.
Enter Mrs. Mountchessington and Augusta, L. 1 E., dressed for Archery Meeting.
Mrs M No, my dear Augusta, you must be very careful. I don't by any means want you to give up De Boots, his expectations are excellent, but, pray be attentive to this American savage, as I rather think he will prove the better match of the two, if what I hear of Mark Trenchard's property be correct.
Aug [Disdainfully.] Yes, ma.
Mrs M And look more cheerful, my love.
Aug I am so tired, ma, of admiring things I hate.
Mrs. M Yes, my poor love, yet we must all make sacrifices to society. Look at your poor sister, with the appetite.
Aug What am I to be enthusiastic about with that American, Ma?
Mrs M Oh! I hardly know yet, my dear. We must study him. I think if you read up Sam Slick a little, it might be useful, and just dip into Bancroft's History of the United States, or some of Russell's Letters; you should know something of George Washington, of whom the Americans are justly proud.
Aug Here he comes, ma. What a ridiculous figure he looks in that dress, ha! ha!
Mrs M Hush, my dear!
Enter Asa, in Archery Dress.
Aug Oh, Mr. Trenchard, why did you not bring me one of those lovely Indian's dresses of your boundless prairie?
Mrs M Yes, one of those dresses in which you hunt the buffalo.
Aug [Extravagantly.] Yes, in which you hunt the buffalo.
Asa [Imitating.] In which I hunt the buffalo. [Aside.] Buffaloes down in Vermont. [Aloud.] Wal, you see, them dresses are principally the nateral skin, tipped off with paint, and the indians object to parting with them.
Both Ahem! ahem!
Asa The first buffalo I see about here I shall hunt up for you.
Mrs M Oh, you Americans are so clever, and so acute.
Aug Yes, so 'cute.
Asa Yes, we're 'cute, we are; know soft solder when we see it.
Aug [Aside.] Ma, I do believe he's laughing at us.
Mrs M Oh, no, my dear, you are mistaken. Oh! I perceive they are appearing for the archery practice. I suppose we shall see you on the ground, Mr. Trenchard.
Asa Yes, I'll be there like a thousand of brick.
Aug A thousand of brick!
Mrs M Hush, my dear! that is doubtless some elegant American expression. Au revoir, Mr. Trenchard.
Mrs M Au revoir. [Exit with Augusta, R.]
Asa No, thank you, don't take any before dinner. No use their talking Dutch to me. Wal, I never see an old gal stand fire like that, she's a real old bison bull. I feel all-fired tuckered out riding in those keers. I'd like to have a snooze if I could find a place to lay down in. [Sees curtain on window, L. E.] Oh, this might do! [Pulls curtain, then starts back.] No you don't! One shower bath a day is enough for me. [Cautiously opens them.] No, I guess this is all right, I shall be just as snug in here as in a pew at meeting, or a private box at the Theatre. Hello! somebody's coming. [Goes into recess.]
Enter Dundreary and Buddicombe, L. 1 E.
Bud My lord—
Bud My lord!
Bud Your lordship!! [Louder.]
Dun There, now you've spoiled it.
Bud Spoiled what, my lord?
Dun Spoiled what, my lord; why, a most magnificent sneeze!
Bud I am very sorry, my lord.
Dun Now that I can speak alone with you, tell me about that hair dye. Have you found it?
Bud Not a trace of it, my lord.
Dun If you don't find it, I'll discharge you.
Bud Very well, my lord. [Bows and exits, L. 1 E.]
Dun Very well, my lord! He's gone and lost my hair dye, and my hair turns red to-morrow, and when I ask him to find it for me or I'll discharge him, he says, "Very well, my lord." He's positively idiotic, he is— Ah! here comes Miss Georgina, that gorgeous creature—that lovely sufferer. [Exit, L. 1 E.]
Asa [Looking out.] What's the price of hair dye? Hallo! he's coming again with that sick girl.
Re-enter Dundreary and Georgina, L. 1 E.
Dun Will you try and strengthen your limbs with a gentle walk in the garden?
Georgina No, thank you, my lord. I'm so delicate. Oh, my lord, it is so painful to walk languidly through life, to be unable, at times, to bear the perfumes of one's favorite flowers. Even those violets you sent me yesterday I was compelled to have removed from my room, the perfume was too strong for me. I'm so delicate.
Dun Yes, Miss Georgina; but they're very strengthening flowers, you know.
Geo Yes, my lord, you are always right.
Dun Do you know I'm getting to be very robust?
Geo Would I could share that fault with you; but I am so delicate.
Dun If you were robust I should not love you as I do. It would deprive you of that charm which enchains me to your lovely side, which—which—
Geo Oh, my lord, my lord! I'm going to faint.
Dun And I'm going to sneeze, you faint while I sneeze.
Geo [Taking his arm.] Oh! my lord.
Dun Do you know what a sneeze is?
Geo No, my lord.
Dun She never sneezed. I'll tell you what a sneeze is. Imagine a very large spider.
Geo [Screams.] Where, my lord?
Dun No, no, I don't mean a real spider, only an imaginary one, a large spider getting up your nose, and all of a sudden, much to his disgust, he discovers he has put his foot in it and can't get it out again.
Geo That must be very distressing.
Dun For the spider, yes, and not very pleasant for the nose.
Geo Oh! my lord, do take me to mamma.
Dun No, you lovely sufferer, let's walk a little more.
Geo I can't my lord, I'm so delicate.
Dun Well, then, exercise, imitate that little hop of mine. [Hops.] It isn't a run, it's a—
Geo What is it?
Dun No, it isn't a what is it. Well, let me suppose I get you an oyster. [Georgina shakes her head.] Oh! then suppose I get you an oyster.
Geo No, my lord, I'm too delicate.
Dun How would you like the left wing of a canary bird?
Geo No, my lord, it's too strong for me.
Dun Let me ask you a widdle—why does a duck go under water? for divers reasons. Now I'll give you another—why does a duck come out of the water? for sundry reasons. No! No! see, you live on suction, you're like that bird with a long bill, they call doctor, no, that's not it, I thought it was a doctor, because it has a long bill—I mean a snipe—yes, you're a lovely snipe. [Exeunt, R.]
Asa [Looking after them.] There goes a load of wooden nutmegs. Hello, here comes somebody else.
Enter Florence, R., with paper.
Flo. [Reads.] "One who still remembers what he ought long since to have forgotten, wishes to speak with Miss Trenchard." Florence scratched out, "on matters of life and death, near the orel, in the west gallery," Written upon a dirty sheet of paper, in a hardly legible hand. What does this mean; it opens like one of Mrs. Radcliffe's romances. Well, here I am, and now for my correspondent.
Enter Murcott, L.
Mur Oh! for one minute's clear head, Miss Florence.
Flo I presume you are the writer of this?
Mur Yes, I am.
Flo You address me as an old acquaintance, but I do not recognize you.
Mur So much the better. So much the better.
Flo I hate mystery, sir; but you see I have come to rendezvous. I must know to whom I am speaking.
Mur As frank as ever. I am Abel Murcott.
Flo Starting back! You?
Mur Do not be ashamed, I have not the strength to injure you, if I had the evil. In this shabby, broken down drunkard you need not fear the madman, who years ago forgot in his frantic passion the gulf that lay between your station and his own. I am harmless except to my self.
Flo Speak on, sir; I hear you.
Mur I need not tell you by what steps I came to this, you don't know, maybe you never knew, what a maddening thing a passion is when it turns against itself. After being expelled from my tutorship in this house, I lost my employment, self respect, hope. I sought to drown recollection and draw courage from drink. It only embittered remembrances, and destroyed the little courage I had left. That I have bread to eat, I owe to Mr. Coyle; he employed me as his clerk. You know he has been with your father this morning. I have come to tell you my errand; are you as brave as you used to be when I knew—
Flo I fear nothing.
Mur I come to tell you of your father's ruin, his utter ruin.
Flo My father's ruin? What? What?
Mur His estates are mortgaged, his creditors clamorous. The Bailiffs will be in Trenchard Manor to-day, disguised as your own servants. This much Mr. Coyle has conceded to your father's respect for appearances.
Flo Then beggary stares him in the face. Poor father, what a sad blow for him. Is that all, sir?
Mur No; the worst remains.
Flo Go on, sir.
Mur Coyle knows your father's weakness and as a means of escape from ruin to the verge of which he has brought him, he has this day proposed for your hand.
Mur On consideration of settling on you the Ravensdale Estate.
Flo And my father, how did he listen to such insolence?
Mur You know as well as I do how he would hear such a proposal, at first a torrent of rage, then the strong ebb of selfishness set in, and he consented to listen to the terms, to view them as something to be considered, to consider them.
Flo Good Heavens, can this be true? No, I will not believe it of my father, and from such lips.
Mur You have full right to think this and to say it, but mark your father and Coyle to-day. You will then see if I speak truth or not.
Flo Forgive my distrust, Mr. Murcott.
Mur I am past taking offence or feeling scorn, I have carried more than can be heaped upon me, but I did not come only to give you warning of your danger.
Flo Can you avert it?
Asa (Coming down between them). Wal, stranger that's just the question I was going to ask.
Flo You here, sir, and listening.
Asa Wal, it wasn't purpose, I went in there to take a snooze, I heard you talking and I thought it wouldn't be polite of me not to listen to what you had to say. I'm a rough sort of a customer, and don't know much about the ways of great folks. But I've got a cool head, a stout arm, and a willing heart, and I think I can help you, just as one cousin ought to help another.
Flo Well, I do think you are honest.
Mur Shall I go on?
Flo Yes, we will trust him, go on.
Mur I found the Ravensdale mortgage while rumaging in an old deed box of Coyle's father's, there was a folded paper inside the deed. I took both to Coyle unopened, like a besotted fool that I was. My belief is strong that the paper was the release of the mortgage that the money had been paid off, and the release executed without the seals having been cut from the original mortgage. I have known such things happen.
Asa Have ye, now? Well, if a Yankee lawyer had done such a thing he would have Judge Lynch after him in no time.
Mur You can but find that release, we may unmask this diabolical fiend and save you.
Flo But, surely, a villain of Coyle's stability would have destroyed the paper, the very key-stone of his fraud.
Mur I fear so.
Asa Do you, now, wal, you're wrong, you're both wrong. I guess you ain't either on you done much cyphering human nature. The key stone of their fraud is just the point your mighty cute rascals always leave unsecured. Come along with me, stranger, and we'll just work up this sum a little, two heads are better than one. Yours is a little muddled, but mine's pretty clear, and if I don't circumvent that old sarpint, Coyle—
Asa Say I am a skunk, that's all, and that's the meanest kind of an animal. [Exit L. 1st E.]
Flo I owe you much, Mr. Murcott, more than I can ever repay.
Mur No, no, no, if you did but know the hope of seeing you has roused all the manhood that drink and misery has left me. God bless you, Miss Florence.
Flo No, you don't call me Florence as you did when I was the truant pupil and you the indulgent tutor. [Offers her hand.]
Mur No, no; for heaven's sake do not call back that time or I shall go mad! mad! mad. [Rushes off, L. 1 E., followed by Florence.]
Scene 2—Park in 4. Rural cottage, L. 1 E., adjoining which, and projecting on stage an inside view of a dairy with sloping roof, painting backing to look like milk pans. The whole scene should have a picturesque appearance. Garden fence run across back, ornamental gate or archway, R. 3 E. Pigeon house on pole near dairy, L. C. Spinning wheel inside cottage door, one or two rustic benches, R. and L.
Enter John, R. 3 E., with two milk pails on a yoke, puts them down near dairy, then looks off, R. 3 E.
John There they go, that's a bull's eye, I warrant. Dang me though, if I wouldn't rather see Miss Mary than this cock robin sports yonder, here she comes. Good morning, Miss Mary. [Enter Mary from cottage L.]
Mary Oh, Wickens, you are there. How kind of you to help me with the milk pails to-day, when all the lads and lasses have given themselves a holiday to see the shooting.
John Ah, Miss Mary, you ought to be among then, with a green hat and feather, if all had their rights.
Mary [Laughing.] Nay, ladies without a farthing in the world, ought to put aside their ladyships and make themselves: besides I'm proud of my dairy here, just help me with this troublesome fellow, steady, don't shake it, the cream is foaming so beautifully. There. [John carries pan into cottage and returns down, R.]
John Now, Miss Mary, what can I do for you?
Mary Let me see; well, really, I do believe, Wickens, I've nothing to do but amuse myself.
John Dang it, Miss, that's a pity, cos I can't help you at that, you see.
Mary Oh! Yes, bring me out dear old Welsh nurse's spinning wheel [Exit John into cottage, L. 2 E.] by the side of which I have stood so often, a round eyed baby wondering at its whirring wheel. [Reenter John with wheel, places it near cottage, L. 2 E.] There, that will do famously. I can catch the full scent of the jessamines.
John [R. C.] Anything more, Miss Mary?
Mary No, thank you, Wickens!
John [Going.] Good morning, Miss Mary.
Mary Good morning, Wickens.
John [Returning.] Is there anything I can get for you, Miss Mary?
Mary [Spinning.] Nothing, thank you.
John Dang me if I wouldn't like to stop all day, and watch her pretty figure and run errands for her. [Exit R. 3 E., crosses behind fence.]
Mary Poor Wickens is not the only one who thinks I am a very ill-used young body. Now I don't think so. Grandfather was rich, but he must have had a bad heart, or he never could have cast off poor mamma; had he adopted me, I should never have been so happy as I am now, uncle is kind to me in his pompous, patronizing way, and dear Florence loves me like a sister, and so I am happy. I am my own mistress here, and not anybody's humble servant, I sometimes find myself singing as the birds do, because I can't help it [Song, "Maid with the milking pail," can be introduced here.]
Enter Florence and Asa through gate, R. 3 E.
Flo Come along, cousin, come along. I want to introduce you to my little cousin. [Kisses Mary.] I've brought you a visitor, Miss Mary Meredith, Mr. Asa Trenchard, our American cousin. [They shake hands.] That will do for the present. This young gentleman has carried off the prize by three successive shots in the bull's eye.
Mary I congratulate you, sir, and am happy to see you.
Asa [Shakes hands again.] Thank you, Miss.
Flo That will do for a beginning.
Asa [ Aside.] And so that is Mark Trenchard's grandchild.
Mary Why have you left the archery, Florence?
Flo Because, after Mr. Asa's display, I felt in no humor for shooting, and I have some very grave business with my cousin here.
Mary You? Grave business? Why I thought you never had any graver business than being very pretty, very amiable, and very ready to be amused.
Asa Wal, Miss, I guess the first comes natural round these diggins. [Bows.]
Mary You are very polite. This is my domain, sir, and I shall be happy to show you, that is, if you understand anything about a dairy.
Flo Yes, by the way, do you understand anything about dairies in America?
Asa Wal, I guess I do know something about cow juice. [They turn to smother laugh.] Why, if it ain't all as bright and clean as a fresh washed shirt just off the clover, and is this all your doin's, Miss?
Mary Yes, sir, I milk the cows, set up the milk, superintend the churning and make the cheese.
Asa Wal, darn me if you ain't the first raal right down useful gal I've seen on this side the pond.
Flo What's that, sir? Do you want to make me jealous?
Asa Oh, no, you needn't get your back up, you are the right sort too, but you must own you're small potatoes, and few in a hill compared to a gal like that.
Flo I'm what?
Asa Small potatoes.
Flo Will you be kind enough to translate that for me, for I don't understand American yet.
Asa Yes, I'll put it in French for you, "petite pommes des terres."
Flo Ah, it's very clear now; but, cousin, do tell me what you mean by calling me small potatoes.
Asa Wal, you can sing and paint, and play on the pianner, and in your own particular circle you are some pumpkins.
Flo Some pumpkins, first I am small potatoes, and now I'm some pumpkins.
Asa But she, she can milk cows, set up the butter, make cheese, and, darn me, if them ain't what I call raal downright feminine accomplishments.
Flo I do believe you are right cousin, so Mary do allow me to congratulate you upon not being small potatoes.
Mary Well, I must look to my dairy or all my last week's milk will be spoiled. Good bye, Florence, dear. Good bye, Mr. Trenchard. Good morning, sir. [Exit into Cottage.]
Asa [Following her to door.] Good morning, Miss. I'll call again.
Flo Well, cousin, what do you think of her?
Asa Ain't she a regular snorter?
Flo A what?
Asa Wal, perhaps I should make myself more intelligable, if I said, a squeeler, and to think I'm keepin' that everlasting angel of a gal out of her fortune all along of this bit of paper here.
Flo What is that? [Takes paper from pocket.]
Asa Old Mark Trenchard's will.
Flo Don't show it to me, I don't want to look at it, the fortune should have come to Mary, she is the only relation in the direct line.
Asa Say, cousin, you've not told her that darned property was left to me, have you?
Flo Do you think I had the heart to tell her of her misfortune?
Asa Wal, darn me, if you didn't show your good sense at any rate. [Goes up to dairy.]
Flo Well, what are you doing, showing your good sense?
Asa Oh, you go long.
Flo Say, cousin, I guess I've got you on a string now, as I heard you say this morning.
Asa Wal, what if you have, didn't I see you casting sheep's eyes at that sailor man this morning? Ah, I reckon I've got you on a string now. Say, has he got that ship yet?
Flo No, he hasn't, though I've used all my powers of persuasion with that Lord Dundreary, and his father has so much influence with the admiralty.
Asa Wal, din't he drop like a smoked possum?
Flo There you go, more American. No, he said he was very sorry, but he couldn't.
Asa [Taking bottle out.] Oh, he did, did he? Wal, I guess he'll do his best all the same.
Flo I shall be missed at the archery grounds. Will you take me back?
Asa Like a streak of lightning. [Offers arm and takes her to dairy.]
Flo That's not the way.
Asa No, of course not. [Takes her round stage back to dairy.]
Flo Well, but where are you going now?
Asa I was just going round. I say, cousin, don't you think you could find your way back alone.
Flo Why, what do you want to do?
Asa Wal, I just wanted to see how they make cheese is this darned country. [Exits into dairy.]
Flo [Laughing.] And they call that man a savage; well, I only wish we had a few more such savages in England.
Dun [Without, R. 2 E.] This way, lovely sufferer.
Flo Ah, here's Dundreary.
[Dundreary enters with Georgina, places her in rustic chair, R.]
Dun There, repothe yourself.
Geo Thank you, my lord; you are so kind to me, and I am so delicate.
Flo Yes, you look delicate, dear; how is she this morning any better?
Dun When she recovers, she'll be better.
Flo I'm afraid you don't take good care of her, you are so rough.
Dun No, I'm not wruff, either. [Sings.] I'm gentle and I'm kind, I'm —— I forget the rest
Flo Well, good morning, dear—do take care of her—good day, Dundreary. [Exit through gate.]
Dun Now, let me administer to your wants. How would you like a roast chestnut?
Geo No, my lord, I'm too delicate.
Dun Well, then, a peanut; there is a great deal of nourishment in peanuts.
Geo No, thank you.
Dun Then what can I do for you?
Geo If you please, ask the dairy maid to let me have a seat in the dairy. I am afraid of the draft, here.
Dun Oh! you want to get out of the draft, do you? Well, you're not the only one that wants to escape the draft. Is that the dairy on top of that stick? [Points to pigeon house.]
Geo No, my lord, that's the pigeon house.
Dun What do they keep in pigeon houses? Oh! pigeons, to be sure; they couldn't keep donkeys up there, could they? That's the dairy, I suppothe?
Geo Yes, my lord.
Dun What do they keep in dairies?
Geo Eggs, milk, butter and cheese.
Dun What's the name of that animal with a head on it? No, I don't mean that, all animals have heads. I mean those animals with something growing out of their heads.
Geo A cow?
Dun A cow growing out of his head?
Geo No, no, horns.
Dun A cow! well, that accounts for the milk and butter; but I don't see the eggs; cows don't give eggs; then there's the cheese—do you like cheese?
Geo No, my lord.
Dun Does your brother like cheese?
Geo I have no brother. I'm so delicate.
Dun She's so delicate, she hasn't got a brother. Well, if you had a brother do you think he'd like cheese?
Geo I don't know; do please take me to the dairy.
Dun Well, I will see if I can get you a broiled sardine. [Exit into dairy.]
Geo [Jumps up.] Oh! I'm so glad he's gone. I am so dreadful hungry. I should like a plate of corn beef and cabbage, eggs and bacon, or a slice of cold ham and pickles.
Dun [Outside] Thank you, thank you.
Geo [Running back to seat.] Here he comes. Oh! I am so delicate.
Dun I beg you pardon, Miss Georgina, but I find upon enquiry that cows don't give sardines. But I've arranged it with the dairy maid so that you can have a seat by the window that overlooks the cow house and the pig sty, and all the pretty things.
Geo I'm afraid I'm very troublesome.
Dun Yes, you're very troublesome, you are. No, I mean you're a lovely sufferer, that's the idea. [They go up to cottage door.]
Enter Asa, running against Dundreary.
Dun There's that damned rhinoceros again. [Exit into cottage, with Georgina.]
Asa There goes that benighted aristocrat and that little toad of a sick gal. [Looks off.] There he's a settling her in a chair and covering her all over with shawls. Ah! it's a caution, how these women do fix our flint for us. Here he comes. [Takes out bottle.] How are you, hair dye. [Goes behind dairy.]
Dun That lovely Georgina puts me in mind of that beautiful piece of poetry. Let me see how it goes. The rose is red, the violet's blue. [Asa tips his hat over his eyes.]
Asa [Repeats business.]
Dun [Comes down, takes off hat, looking in it.] There must be something alive in that hat. [Goes up, and commences again.] The rose is red, the violet's blue, sugar is sweet, and so is somebody, and so is somebody else.
Asa puts yoke on Dundreary's shoulders gently. Dundreary comes down with pails.
Dun I wonder what the devil that is? [Lowers one, then the other, they trip him up.] Oh, I see, somebody has been fishing and caught a pail. [Goes hopping up stage, stumbling over against spinning wheel. Looks at yarn on stick.] Why, what a little old man. [Sees Asa.] Say, Mr. Exile, what the devil is this?
Asa That is a steam engine, and will bust in about a minute.
Dun Well, I haven't a minute to spare, so I'll not wait till it busts. [Crosses to R., knocks against private box, R. H., apologizes.]
Asa Say, whiskers, I want to ask a favor of you.
Dun [Attempts to sneeze.] Now I've got it.
Asa Wal, but say. [Dundreary's sneezing bus.]
Asa [Takes his hand.] How are you. [Squeezes it.]
Dun There, you've spoiled it.
Asa Spoiled what?
Dun Spoiled what! why a magnificent sneeze.
Asa Oh! was that what you was trying to get through you?
Dun Get through me: he's mad.
Asa Wal, now, the naked truth is—[Leans arm on Dundreary's shoulder. Bus. by Dundreary.] Oh, come now, don't be putting on airs. Say, do you know Lieut. Vernon?
Asa Wal, what do you think of him, on an average?
Dun Think of a man on an average?
Asa Wal, I think he's a real hoss, and he wants a ship.
Dun Well if he's a real hoss, he must want a carriage.
Asa Darn me, if that ain't good.
Dun That's good.
Asa Yes, that is good.
Dun Very good.
Asa Very good, indeed, for you.
Dun Now I've got it. [Tries to sneeze.]
Asa Wal, now, I say. [Dundreary trying to sneeze.]
Asa What, are you at that again?
Dundreary business. Asa bites his finger. Dundreary goes up, stumbles against chair and comes down again.
Dun I've got the influenza.
Asa Got the what?
Dun He says I've got a wart. I've got the influenza.
Asa That's it exactly. I want your influence, sir, to get that ship.
Dun That's good.
Asa Yes, that's good, ain't it.
Dun Very good.
Asa Yes, darn me, if that ain't good.
Dun For you. Ha! ha! One on that Yankee.
Asa Well done, Britisher. Wal, now, about that ship?
Dun I want all my influence, sir, for my own w—w—welations. [Stammering.]
Asa Oh! you want it for your own w—w—welations. [Mimicing.]
Dun I say, sir. [Asa pretends deafness. This bus. is ad. lib.]
Dun He's hard of hearing, and thinks he's in a balloon. Mister.
Dun He thinks he can hear with his nose. I say—
Dundreary turns Asa's nose around with his thumb. Asa puts his two hands up to Dundreary's.
Dun Now he thinks he's a musical instrument. I say—
Dun You stutter. I'll give you a k—k—k—
Asa No you won't give me a kick.
Dun I'll give you a c—c—card to a doctor and he'll c—c—c—
Asa No he won't kick me, either.
Dun He's idiotic. I don't mean that, he'll cure you.
Asa Same one that cured you?
Dun The same.
Asa Wal, if you're cured I want to stay sick. He must be a mighty smart man.
Dun A very clever man, he is.
Asa Wal, darn me, if there ain't a physiological change taking place. Your whiskers at this moment—
Dun My whiskers!
Asa Yes, about the ends they're as black as a niggers in billing time, and near the roots they're all speckled and streaked.
Dun [Horror struck.] My whiskers speckled and streaked?
Asa [Showing bottle.] Now, this is a wonderful invention.
Dun My hair dye. My dear sir.
Asa [Squeezing his hand.] How are you?
Dun Dear Mr. Trenchard.
Puts arm on shoulder. Asa repeats Dundreary business, putting on eyeglass, hopping round the stage and stroking whiskers.
Dun He's mad, he's deaf, he squints, stammers and he's a hopper.
Asa Now, look here, you get the Lieut. a ship and I'll give you the bottle. It's a fine swap.
Dun What the devil is a swap?
Asa Well, you give me the ship, and I'll give you the bottle to boot.
Dun What do I want of your boots? I haven't got a ship about me.
Asa You'd better make haste or your whiskers will be changed again. They'll be a pea green in about a minute.
Dun [Crosses to L.] Pea green! [Exits hastily into house.]
Asa I guess I've got a ring in his nose now. I wonder how that sick gal is getting along? Wal, darn me, if the dying swallow ain't pitching into ham and eggs and home-made bread, wal, she's a walking into the fodder like a farmer arter a day's work rail splitting. I'll just give her a start. How de do, Miss, allow me to congratulate you on the return of your appetite. [Georgina scream.] Guess I've got a ring in her pretty nose now. [Looks off, R.] Hello! here comes the lickers and shooters, it's about time I took my medicine, I reckon.
Enter, from R. 2. E., Sir E., Mrs. M. Florence, Vernon, Augusta, De Boots, Wickens, Coyle, Sharpe, Binny, Skillet, Buddicombe, two servants in livery, carrying tray and glasses, a wine basket containing four bottles to represent champagne, knife to cut strings, some powerful acid in one bottle for Asa—pop sure.
Sir E Now to distribute the prizes, and drink to the health of the winner of the golden arrow.
Flo And there must stand the hero of the day. Come, kneel down.
Asa Must I kneel down?
Flo I am going to crown you Capt. of the Archers of Trenchard Manor.
Asa [Aside to Florence.] I've got the ship.
Flo No; have you?
Sir E Come, ladies and gentlemen, take from me. [Takes glasses, Starts on seeing me in livery.] Who are these strange faces?
Coyle [In his ear.] Bailiffs, Sir Edward.
Sir E Bailiffs! Florence I am lost.
[Florence supports her father. At the same moment Dundreary enters with letter and money. Georgina appears at dairy door as Dundreary comes down, L. Asa cuts string of bottle, cork hits Dundreary. General commotion as drop descends.]