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without equivocation—declare your reasons for ble but foolish curiosity, to take a peep at the
presuming that some one had dared to entertain masquerade.
certain views with regard to Her Royal Highness! Duke. The masquerade?
Duch. What? Did the Doctor insinuate—oh, Dr. D. [aside.] She has told him! Doctor, Doctor! I'm ashamed of you! I Duch. Knowing that I could pass from my own
Dr. D. Madame, I assure you I never for one apartments through a corridor to that part of the
moment imagined—it was only, as 1 told the Duke palace in which the theatre is situated, I ordered
.the presumption of a young madman, who, be- Mile. Duval to procure for me a pink domino.
cause your Royal Highness happened to drop your handkerchief from your carriage window at the moment he was passing—
Duke. How? her handkerchief?
Duch. [aside.] Is it possiblei Unfortunate! I did lose a handkerchief—he will never believe it was by accident—
Duke. [aside.] She is confused. [To Doctor.] Has he the handkerchief in his possession?
Dr. D. No, monseigneur.
Duke and Duch [with different expression.] Ha.!
Dr. D. It is in mine—I took it from him, that he might not compromise Her Royal Highness by any vain display of it.
Duch. [aside.] No hope!
Duke. You took it from him—then you do know who he is?
Dr. D. I regret to acknowledge—he is my nephew, Pierre Palliot.
Duke and Duch. Your nephew!
Dr. D. [aside.] I have him now!
Duke. [aside.] Confound the rascal! is he making love to the whole Court? [Aloud to Dootor.] Produce the handkerchief!
Dr. D. It is here. [Drawing the handkerchief from his bosom and giving it to Duke.
Duke. Now, madame! perhaps you will tell me it was by accident this kerchief fell from your coach window?
Duch. [aside, having examined it.] Oh, Fortune! [Aloud and coolly.] How should I know? this handkerchief belongs to Mile. Duval.
Duke. and Dr. D. Mile. Duval?
Duch. At least, those are her initials.
[Handing it back to Duke.
Duke. Why, Doctor?
Dr. D. Monseigneur! [Aside.] It's witchcraft! I could take my oath I saw her own cipher and crest!
Duke. Dr. Druggendraft, did your nephew assert that this kerchief was flung to him by the Duchess? Remember, he is here and can be confronted with you.
Dr. D. No, Monseigneur! it was only my suspicion, in
cause I—[aside.] Oh, dear! oh, dear! he wouldn't
Dr.D. [aside.] Eh? she won't tell him, surely!
ble. [aside.] A pink domino? Duch. And for herself a blue one—and despite of all remonstrances, compelled the Doctor to accompany us to the ball. Duke. [aside.] My head spins round! Duch. We had scarcely arrived, however, when a rude, impertinent fellow who was probably intoxicated, created a confusion, during which he succeeded in separating us from our learned protector there, when Mile. Duval, believing that I was the object of attack, rapidly exchanged dominos with me, and suffering herself to be pursued, gave me an opportunity of regaining my own apartments undiscovered and ".umolested! Duke. Exchanged dominos? Dr. D. Then what became of Mile. Duval? Duch. By a most fortunate accident she found a protector in the person of your nephew, Doctor, who carried her in a fainting state to his own lodgings.
Dr. D. To his own lodgings! Mile. Duval? Duke. [aside.] The devil! but it might have been worse. If the Duchess—
Duch. And as soon as she was sufficiently recovered, procured a coach for her to return in.
Duke. [aside.] A coach? she hasn't said a word about the supper.
Dr. D. Returned in a coach! How did she get in? I've been watching all night!
Duch. By the private door—with my key, which you know I took with me for fear of accidents. Dr. D. [aside.] I don't believe a word of it! Duch. Do you forgive my imprudence, Philip? Duke. [aside.] I ought to say something very moral and rather severe. [Aloud.] Madame, the candor could alone moderate the just and terrible indiguation with which I should otherwise have received the tidings. But for the generous devotion of Mile. Duval, a devotion which I scarcely know how to recompense, your reputation might have been tarnished and my name made a bye-word in the Court of Versailles.
Duch. They might, they might—I am overpowered by the thought! To have risked my fame, I acknowledge that j and that of the most faithful and devoted of busconsequence of—be-1 bands! a husband who at that very moment was
enduring fatigue, and braving the perils of dark ness in order to press me to his bosom a few hours sooner.
Duke. Enough, enough—I forgive you—I forgive you. [Aside. ] I must see Mile. Duval instantly and purchase her silence at any price—
Duch. You forgive me? Oh, rapture! too generous man—your anger I might have supported, but this kindness quite overwhelms me! It is more than I can bear—Doctor, I feel very unwell, call Mile. Duval.
Duke. I—m go for her.
Duch. [catching hold of him.] No, no, don't
Enter Mlle. Duval, C.
folly, and your devotion; he is all goodness to me, and gratitude to you. He has found your locket, too—give it her back, monseigneur—and here, Louise, in addition take this ring.
Duke, [aside.] My ring f Confusion!
Duch. 'Tis a pretty bauble, is it not, Philip f It was given me by a poor gentleman of Normandy, whose father had ruined himself in the King's service, and then received from the royal munificence a pension upon which it was impossible to exist.
Duke, [aside.] Ah, I begin to see through all this, but I am in the toils and must submit.
Duch. He died, poor man, and his son came to Paris to urge the claims of his family. He is promised a regiment, and if you would kindly use your influence for him—
Duke, [aside.] Madame, madame! I see you know all; I am at your mercy.
Duch. [aside to him.] Pardon for pardon, my dear Philip—there is something to forgive on both side3.
Duke, [aside.] It was you whom I supped with in the Rue de L'Echelle.
Duch. [aside.] But tho Doctor had better believo it was Mile. Duval.
Duke. And Monsieur Pierre Palliot—
Duch. I never saw till last night—when he really rendered me a service which should not pass unrewarded. Listen to what I propose.
[ They talk aside, R.
Dr. D. Mile. Duval, may I believe my ears? Were you at the Rue do L'Echelle last night with my rascally nephew?
Mile. D. Hush, Doctor—if it should get wind what would the Court say f
Dr. D. The Court! It is I, Mile. Duval, who am most interested in this matter—I, whoso ardent passion—
Duke, [to Duchess.] By all means—provided Mile. Duval—
Duch. 1 have spoken to her—she has no objection.
Duke. Then it has my sanction. Mile. Duval, the Duchess has informed me of the pretensions of Monsieur Pierre Palliot.
Dr. D. But, may it please your Royal Highness, it is I who pretend to the hand of Mile. Duval. My attachment, as I had the honor to inform your Highness—
Duke. Yours? Was Mile. Duval the lady, then, to whom you alluded? Dr. D. Undoubtedly, monseigneur.
Duke, [aside.] Bravissimo! I shall punish the Doctor, at all events. [Aloud.] How is this, Mile. Duval f Do you return the Doctor's affection f
Mile. D. Certainly not, monseigneur.
Duke. And you have no objection to the nephew?
Mile. D I have promised Her Royal Highnes —
Duke. My dear Doctor, I'm sorry for you—but the lady is engaged, you see—Monsieur Pierre Palliot!—where is Monsieur Pierre Palliot? Enter Pierre, R. C.
Pie. At your Royal Highness' service.
Duke. Young man, you have presurred to entertain a passion for a lady attached to the household of the Duchess de Chartres, without the knowledge and permission of Her Royal Highness.
Duke, [aside.] Silence, or the Bastile! [Aloud.] Fortunately for you, your passion is returned. Pie. It is?
Duke. And the services rendered by Mile. Duval to the Duchess induce us not only to look over your imprudence, but to consent to your union. Take your wife, sir.
Pie. My wife? oh! with all my heart.
Dr. D. But, monseigneur—
Duke. Silence, or the Bastile
Duch. And, in addition to the ten thousand livres which the Doctor has promised me to give his nephew— Pie. Oh, my dear uncle!
Dr. D. But, ma<1ame, really—
Duch. Obedience, or the Bastile! [Aloud.] In addition to those ten thousand livres, I shall give the bride twenty thousand from my own purse, as an acknowledgment of her services.
Duke. And I the same sum to the bridegroom, as a token of my approbation! [Aside to him.] And the price of his discretion.
Pie. Oh, monseigneur! oh, mademoiselle! oh, uncle! A beautiful wife and fifty thousand livres! I shall go crazy with joy!
Dr. D. And I with vexation!
AIR.—Duchess.—From "Le Philtre."
Ye who so oft have deigned to cheer
This poor heart with fear when sinking,
Sav' havo I been too bold in thinking?
Should mine not have jndsrod aright,
But to the Follies of ToNight
And kindly put all cares to flight,
THE END. - .
Casts Of Characters, Stage Business, Costumes, Relative Positions. &c, t
Jhe J4ome £lr\CJLE, pRIVATE Jheatricals, AND THE ^MEFJICAN -staqe. ♦
Eatered according to Act of Congress, In the year 1876, by Wheat A Cornett, In the Office
A sitting-room in a house at Brighton. At back a large window, facing the sea, opens on to a balcony. The time is evening. The sea may be seen sparkling in the moonlight. As the curtain rises, Charles Cashmore slowly passes the window from R. to L., with a cigar in his mouth.
Enter Mr. Barker, L. H. D.
Barker. Charles! [Sniffing.] Dear me, a very strong smell of tobacco. Charles! where can he be f Florence! where is she too, I wonder f They're not together, that's all I can be certain of. Was ever such a contradictory couple? Just because a fortune's left them on condition that they marry, they've made up their minds to detest each other. Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars left to them if they marry each other, and forfeited by the one who refuses the match. Very strange arrangement, I allow, very strange. A great question, whether it will answer two people bound to each other in this unnatural way! What can come of such a marriage, except misery and Siamese twins f But he always was a strange man, their uncle Stephen, a strange fellow—stood five feet four, but very eccentric. Ah! dear, dear! I shall never look upon his like af?ain. Warm-hearted, but such a cast in his eye! Dear, dear! Well, perhaps it's all for the best; for if they both refuse, the money comes to me. Dear me, what a smell of tobacco! Charles!
Enter Charles from balcony.
Chas. I know you say Charles. [Looking in.] Oh, it's you, Mr. Barker.
Barker, [up R.] I say, my dear boy, there's a terrible smell of smoking.
Chas. [down L.] Is there, sir f Ah, perhaps there is; I've been having a weed out here.
Barker. You shouldn't, Charles. Not that I care about it myself a bit; but Florence will be dreadfully annoyed. 'It wouldn't matter if the wind were the other way, you know; but as it is—
Chas. But, bless my soul, sir, I can't keep my eye perpetually on the weathercock, in order not to annoy her. I am to wait for a favorable breeze. I suppose, before I light up, and then throw my cigar away half finished because the wind, has shifted. Hang it, sir, am 1 only to smoke "weather permitting," like the funnel of a pleasure-steamer?
Barker, [aside.] That don't sound much like a lover, ehf [Sits. Aloud.] Pooh, pooh! Charles, you mustn't be unreasonable. I can tell you, my dear fellow, that a manied man must—
Chas. But I'm not a married man, thank goodness!
Barker. Well, but you and Florence are next door to married, and—
Chas. [sits L.] Ah, but people may be next door neighbors for a long time without "being better acquainted.
Barker. I don't understand you, Charles. Do you mean to refuse to marry Florence f
Chas. No, I don't refuse.
Barker. No—no—such luck! But, my dear boy, you must make up your mind at once; for, you'll recollect, there's only a week left of the year which was allowed you and Florence, by your uncle Stephen's will, to— [Sits R.
Chas. I know, sir—to force a crop of love out of season, like a dish of early peas; to coax just sufficient afl'ection to get through the marriage service without perjury. I think such a will as my uncle made is a piece of abominable presumption.
Barker* But, Charles, he was so anxious that this marriage should come about.
Chas. [at table, t,.] Then his anxiety went the wrong way to work, sir. What way more likely to set us against each other than to leave his fortune to Florence and me, only on condition of our becoming husband aud wife; to ordain that whichever of us refused to fill this contract should forfeit his or her share in favor of the other! Bless my soul! such a will would breed dissension in Elysinm.
Barker! Nay, but Charles, listen to me—/orgive me for worrying you about this; but my own position with respect to this money is very delicate—
Chas. Yes, I know, sir.
Barker. For in case both you and Florence de
cline to marry, the enth-e sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars comes to me.
Chas. Yes, yes, I know, sir. [Impatiently rises.
Barker. Well, then—hut, my dear Charles, you're smoking in tho room now.
Chas. [fretfully.] Yea—yes—I know, sir. [Recollecting.]Oh, smoking? Oh, ah, yes!
[Strolls off to balcony.
Barker. Now, can they ever be happy together? Never! It's only kind to separate them; and any little device which one may employ to bring about that end [feeling in his pocket], why, it's common humanity. So I've got two photographs here; one of a lady and the other of a gentleman. There, we'll put the gentleman [suiting action to word] into her workbox; and when we've an oplx>rtuuity we'll put the lady into his hat [rubbing his hands] and the best results may be anticipated. Not that I do it to benefit myself—oh, no. If this money comes to me, it will all be spent in charity—I should found an asylum for insane dogs! That has been the dream of my life; and perhaps I'd better mention it to Charles. [Calls.] Charles! It will show I've no mercenary motive—Charles!
Chas. [leaning against window and looking in. Well, sir?
Barker. I just want to explain to you that should this money by any accident come to me, I shall employ it all in" charity.
Chas. Indeed, sir!
Barker. Yes, Charles. You're aware, of course, ofthegreatincrea.se in the number of cases of hydrophobia of late years.
Chas. Can't say I was.
Barker. Oh, yes; the cases are now six thousand, two hundred and fifty-four times as numerous as they were at the time of the deluge— statistics show it.
Chas. Of the deluge! Well, now, I should have faucied if there ever was a period when hydrophobia would have been common, not to say excusable—
Barker. Now the root of the matter is, of course, the dogs; and those poor lunatics must be our first consideration. Therefore, if this money comes to me, I intend to found an asylum for insane dogs—a canine Bedlam, Charles.
Chas. You don't say so, sir! [Aside.] And he'll be the maddest dog among them.
Barker. But, ha! ha! pooh! it will never come to me, of course; you don't mean, I'm sure, that you don't care for "that girl?
Chas. [crossing and sits on sofa, R.] Care for her? Pooh! [Blowing smoke out.
Barker. Why, where's the objection to her I Isn't she pretty?
Chas. Aye, no doubt, from the liberties she takes with it.
Barker. And then she plays; why, it's a real pleasure to me to hear her practicing.
Chas. A pleasure! Jove! it sickens me—that I ♦ everlasting conjunction of the Virgin and the ♦ scales. * Barker, [seated L.] Come, come, Charles, be I reasonable; don't let any silly scruples or absurd J romance prevent your carrying out your uncle's J intentions. 'Tis not a pleasant thing to be bound t to take one particular partner for life, I allow; J some minds couldn't consent to it. An intimate friend of my own, some time back, was left just in this way; renounced the legacy and went to Australia, where he found a nugget. Ahem! fortune favors the brave—ahem! But don't let that weigh with you. A very fine fellow he was—tall, but romantic. Don't imitate his example; sacrifice the nobler feelings of your nature a little for the sake of the fortune. Friend of mine did so once—excellent man, stout, but superstitious—destroyed himself soon afterward, poor fellow! But "on't let that influence you, don't. But, Charles,
Chas. 'Fon my word, I scarcely know; I never shameful indifference!
] I you're smoking again! [Looks off, R. s. E.J And
[Going off balcony, c. L.
Enter Florence Marigold, R. S. E. Flor. Dear me! [Crosses L.l What a dreadful smell of smoke! I declare, it makes me quite sick. [Turns up light on table.
Barker. [l.1 Yes, my dear. Charles— Flor. Oh! that is explanation enough, Mr. Barker; the mention of Mr. Cashmore's name quite accounts for the sensation I referred to.
Chas. [passing window.] Pleasant that! Ha, ha! [Passes on.
Barker. Dear, dear! I'm soiTy to hear you speak in this way, Florence. There may be a good deal that is objectionable about Charles, but you should try to look on the bright side.
Flor. How can I, Mr. Barker, wheu he has none—where each side is equally rude and unpolished i
Barker. Well, well, I allow his manners would bear mending.
Flor. [sits on sofa.] Nay, they are positively too bad to mend—no patching can restore them; nothing but a new set will be of any avail; he has absolutely the manners of a bear—worse; I declare he behaves to me as if he were my husband; if he had sworn at the altar to love and to cherish me, ho could not treat me with more
look at her if I cau help it.
Barker, [aghast.] Never looks at the girl he's going to marry!
Chas. No; why should I? I'm to have nothing else to look at for the rest of my life, I suppose, so it is as well to be economical.
Barker^ But, Charles, think how accomplished she is
Barker, [sits beside her.] Oh! yes, very sad; but as long as that vow has not been taken, you are still—still free, you know. Flor. Eh?
Barker. You need not fulfill the contract, my dear, you know, unless you like. Flor. What! and hand over the two hundred Why, my dear boy, she speaks three lan- and fifty thousand dollars to him for the benefit guages. 'of some other woman, some creature he has fallen
Chas. I can swear to two, at any rate; for I, in love with abroad! Is it likely, now? do the observe she uses quite a different one to me to very thing ho wants me to do—is it likely, now? what she does to other people. Barker, [aside.] Plaguey unlikely, indeed,
Barker. You should hear her speak French; whether you marry him or not. [Aloud.] Of!* gad! you'd think it was her own language. !course, my dear, I see you intend to marry him. ;♦
Flor. I've not decided what I shall do. Barker. But you've only a week left, now, to— Flor. Yes, I know, Mr. Barker. Barker. And if you don't come to an understanding by then, the money reverts to— Flor. Yes, I know, sir.
Barker. And will go to found an hospital for insane dogs.
Flor. Yes, I know—the money will go to the dogs, whether you get it or Charley, most likely.
Barker. Come, come, Florence, you must not let your high principle and your nobler feelings stand in your light in this matter. It never answers—at least not always. I certainly did know a young lady, a pretty girl, though far inferior to yourself, but a pretty girl, blue eyes and golden hair, and a beautiful singer, situated much as you are, who boldly refused to sell herself, as she called it. But she was romantic—married an earl afterward. Ahem! virtue is its own reward! ahem! But you must not be moved by this. You may not love Charley now, perhaps, but love always comes after marriage, they say, and no doubt it does. Knew a case myself: a lady who rather disliked her husband than otherwise when she married him, fell desperately in love afterward—head over ears, my dear, most satisfactorily—except that, now I think of it, it was with the wrong man—man in the army, a major, but unprincipled—ended in somebody's shooting somebody—I forget who. Sad, very sad. But you must not mind my talc. Charles is a very nice, good-looking— [Rises.
Flor. [rises.] Mr. Barker, if he were as handsome as Apollo, I should still detest a man that I was obliged by will to many. I'm left to him— left as if I were a mere piece of property, something in the stocks, or so many railway shares, or a cellar of wine—legacy duty to be paid on me, perhaps, and a photograph of me, for all I know, to be seen for a quarter at the surrogate's office. It's wicked, it's shameful!
Barker. So it is, my dear; so it is. [Soothingly.
Flor. I'm a martyr; that's the real fact—an unhappy martyr.
Barker. So you are, my dear.
Flor. But if I'm driven to marry him—
Barker, [aside.] Some one else will be the martyr then—not a doubt of it.
Flor. If I were a man, it would be different; but a poor, unprotected girl.
Charles enters; Barker rises, goes to R. of table.
Thank you, Mr. Cashmore, for smoking in the room where I have to sit.
Chas. Don't mention it—*quite welcome.
[Takes off his cap, puts it on table c.
Chas. [aside.] Now, I'll rile her. [Aloud.] I've such a joke to tell you, Mr. Barker.
Barker. Have you, Charles; what is it?
Chas. Why, when the Thunderer was off Kingston— [Looks at Florence.] Ah! never mind, 1*11 tell you some other time.
Barker. Nay, that's a shame, Charley; come, what Ls it?
Chas. No; another time, sir. Besides, perhaps it's not worth telling after all. Barker. Pooh! pooh! Charles; lot's hear it. Flor. Why trouble him about his joke, Mr.
Barker; a man may really do what he likes with his own.
Chas. I did uot say that it was my own.
Flor. You said it was not worth telling, which is much the same thing.
Chas. Then, as it happens, it is not my own.
Flor. No; I never supposed that wit of yours could be honestly come by.
Barker. Oh! come, come! [Aside.] That doesn't sound much like marriage I think, or rather a great deal too much like marriage to be at all like courtship.
Chas. [aside.] She's in a beautiful temper, ready to fly out at everything. I'll just provoke her till she's in a thundering rage, and then—then if she accepts me, there's no trusting a woman for the future. [To Barker.] Would you mind leaving us for a minute or two, Mr. Barker?
[Strolls out on balcony, humming an air.
Barker. Certainly, certainly. [Aside.] They'll fight like fury! [Aloud.] Ahem! I can't think why they've not sent the tea up, Florence; I'll go and see about it. f With meaning.] You must be prepared for Charles' saying something pointed, you know, my dear, and—and, so be on your guard.
Flor. Thanks for the warning, Mr. Barker; the surprise might have been too overpowering, considering how blunt his remarks usually are. [Exit Barker, R. H. D., slipping photograph into Charles' cap as he passes. After a pause, FlorEnce looks toward c, then turns bark again.] Now, as long as I can keep him thoroughly out of temper, he can't for very shame propose to me. It's abominable that I should be driven to such expedients, but perhaps it's rather wrong playing with fire in this way. [charles continues to hum.] Mr. Cashmore, if it would noc be asking too much, would you oblige mo by ceasing to make that shocking noise on the balcony f
Chas. [downc] Shocking noise! Ha, ha, ha! I declare, I can do nothing right.
Flor. A sad confession of incapacity, indeed, and the sadder from its undoubted truth.
Chas. [aside.] Confound jaer! [Aloud.] I declare, I haven't the privileges of a dog.
Flor. Oh! how can you say so, when you have been baying the moon for the last twenty minutes.
Chas. [sits, R.] Twenty minutes! Time must pass very quickly with you.
Flor. That depends upon my company. [Looks at her watch.] Only nine o'clock. Dear me! I thought it was much later. But you should be careful how you expose yourself to the moon, Mr. Cashmore, for they say that it has a tendency to send people out of their minds.
Chas. No doubt! The honeymoon—ha, ha! Don't think I am paying you a compliment; but the man who marries you should bo possessed of every virtue under heaven.
Flor. [with look of surprise.] Well, I'm sure, indeed, but you are very complimentary. [Softer tone.] Should he, indeed 1
Chas. Yes; for, by Jove! he'll need them every one.
Flor. If you can't speak without insulting me, I beg you will hold your tongue.
Chas. [aside.] Ah! I thought that would do it! [Aloud.] I'm agreeable, I'm sure.
Flor. Agreeable! you never were more mistaken, never in your whole life.