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Swear that you'll never tell that I found it. I will make it good to your master.
Tom. Hurry! Hurry! I'll swear to anything.
Mr. F. Then the present Mrs. Fothergill shall remain in that tense till death parses her otherwise than in the possessive case. I shall remonstrate with this young woman, and tell her to bear in mind how long the people in Scriptural times were kept waiting for their wives; I shall appeal to her womanly instincts and—and the whistle shall be made safe by honest means after all. But that young man—and his cheerfulness! And the cheerfulness of the ladies! I can not understand it. Is it a lunatic hospital after all?
They are njw inside the drawing-room.
Mr. A. This is a magistrate, Arsinoe.
Mr. F. Arsinoe!—that name! I am giddy already. But then there is a present Mrs. Fothergill!
Mr. A. (to Mr. F.) Are you quite ready, sir?
Mr. F. (dashing forward.) I cannot do it. Much as I prized a certain lady who reposed under my roof until the rain came and spoiled her—no, I am a magistrate, a philosopher, and I forbid the banns. I know the heroism of selfrestraint to be nobler than that of impulsive action. Not for all the silver whistles on the face of the globe shall the position of the present Mrs. Fothergill be imperilled! Never! Never!
H. T. (to the ladies.) I thought he was a little light-headed when I met him some time ago. I concluded that he was an indulged old family-retainer. But a magistrate!
Arsin. Would his light-headedness make less legal a ceremony of marriage?
H. T. Light-headedness is a requisite in certain affairs of life. Let me speak with him. (Crowes over to Mr. F.) Don't say that yon blew the whistle. I'll explain all after awhile. Come! my bride is waiting!
Mr. F. Your bride!
H. T. (aloud.) You will think this proceeding a little irregular perhaps, sir, but Mr. Allen will explain all.
Mr. A. Certainly. I forgot all about the magistrate—or clergyman; I have historical precedent for neglecting the clergyman. But the affairs of the past three days have so confounded me that I have not been so bewildered since the time I discovered that nine parts of oil to one of vinegar—
Mrs. A. (going to her husband.) This farce shall never go to the lengt h of a needless ceremony.
Mr. A. Needless! I insist upon it—I have vowed that my daughter shall be a married woman this day.
Mrs. A. Very w:ell, but I have an explanation to make.
Mr. F. (on the other side of Mr. A.) And so have I. You have a whistle which in all probability centuries ago aroused the Quirites to revolt against the distributive laws of the Agger lands—the sound of which bade Brutus do his dastard deed
Mrs. A. My explanation first (pulling at her husband's sleeve)! my explanation first!
Mr. F. Mine first (pulling at Mr. A.'s other sleeve).
Arsinoe and Templeton, baek, run from one side to the other of the trio, arm in arm; Tom rubbing his hands, goes from one to the other in front.
Mrs. A. My explanation is
Mr. F. (loudly, each pulling at Mr. A.) Mine is that the whistle which you purchased at the sale
Mr. A. (confusedly.) I purchased no whistle at any sale.
Mrs. A. (loudly.) My explanation is, that Arsinoe has known this young gentleman ever since
Arsin. I went to town to study music, for he
H. T. Met her the first day she came.
Mrs. A. And four days ago, the day before you brought Arsinoe home, they made up their minds and
Mr. A. I don't care! I don't care what they made up their minds about. I have made up my mind that Arsinoe ■hall be a married woman this day.
Arsis. And so I am. I was married
H. T. Four days ago to me.
Mr. A. What! Are you the idiot? Is it possible that a positivist as I am should be mulcted of my rights!
Mrs. A. (putting her hand over her husband's mouth.) Not a word, Octavus, not a word. Turn your attention to this old gentleman whose occupation seems gone, for there is no speculation in those eyes.
Me. A. I am boiling over. (To Mr. F.) As for you, you troublesome old fossil, let me tell you that if old Tom has lost that whistle, it is none of your affair, and you need not try to make mischief between me and a faithful friend and servant. Besides, it is of no account; for when I was looking about me for something which might make me precisely like the father in- the Ephesian scroll of the First Century, I happened to remember that I had by me an old policeman's whistle
Mr. F. (yelling.) A policeman's whistle! Have I been led into all this wretchedness by a policeman's whistle! — even into thinking that I was expected to act the role of a bridegroom! (The others are laughing.) And I have been rendered late to dinner (dashing the whistle to the floor)!
Arsinoe and Templeton are holding to each other, and laughing, while Mr. Allen is supporting hw wife, who is laughing. Tom is roaring. Dan has run in and is holding his sides.
Mrs. A. I forgive Arsinoe and her husband, if only for the rich joke! Ho! ho! ho!
Mr. F. (shaking his fists at one after the other.) You are a pack of swindlers, and I hope my horse has eaten every one of your fish-geraniums! Jupiter Tonans! I'll buy a new mummy to-morrow! In the meanwhile let me go to the present Mrs. Fothergill. (ExU.) [Curiam falls.
THE MATRIMONIAL ADVERTISEMENT*
Mart Cole. Grandmother Cot.e, who is very deaf.
Jack Cole. Aunt Martha Gordon. Cyrus Gordon.
SCENE I.—The sitting-room of the Cole family. Mary reading a newspaper; Grandmother Cole knitting; Aunt Martha crocheting; Jack playing with the balls in Aunt Martha's work-basket.
Mary Cole. Oh, Aunt Martha! only hear this! it's in the Chronicle. What a splendid chance! I declare, I've a great mind to answer it myself!
•From "Schoolday Dialogues," which contains, in addition to its other varied attractions, quite a number of Dialogues, Speeches, and Recitations for the very little folks. 382 pages, bound in cloth, price 31.00.
Aunt M. What have you got hold of now? You're al'ays a-makin' some powerful diskivery somewheres. What now? Something to turn gray eyes black, and blue eyes gray?
Mary. No; it's a matrimonial advertisement. What a splendid fellow this "C. G." must be!
Aunt M. Oh, pshaw! A body must be dreadfully put to it, to advertise for a pardner in the newspapers. Thank goodness! I never got in such a strait as that'ere. The Lord hez marcyfully kept me thus fur from havin' any dealin's with the male sect, and I trust I will be presarved to the end.
Jack. Didn't you ever have an offer, Aunt Mattie?
Aunt M. (indignantly.) Why, Jack Cole! What an idee! I've had more chances to change my condition than you've got fingers and toes. But I refused 'em all. A single life is the only way to be happy. But it did kinder hurt my feelin's to send some of my sparks adrift,—they took it so hard. There was Colonel Turner, he lost his wife in June, and the last of August he come over to our 'ouse, and I give him to understand that he needn't trouble hisself, and he felt s0 mad that he went rite off and married the Widder Hopkins.
Jack. Poor fellow! How he must have felt! And Aunt Mattie, I notice that Deacon Goodrich looks at you a great deal in meeting, since you've got that pink feather. What if he should want you to be a mother to his ten little ones?
Aunt M. (simpering.) Law, Jack Cole! What a dreadful boy you be! (Pinches his ear.) The deacon never thought of such a thing! But if it should please Providence to appoint to me such a fate, I should try and be resigned.
Granny C. Resigned! Who's resigned? Not the President, has he? Well, I don't blame him. I'd resign, too, if I was into his place. Nothin' spiles a man's character so quick as bein' President or Congress. Yer gran'father got in justice of the peace once, and he resigned afore he was elected. Seel he didn't want his repetition spiled.
Jack. Three cheers for Gran'father Cole!
Granny C. Cheers? What's the matter with the cheers now? Yer father had them bottomed last year, and this year they were new painted. What's to pay with 'em now?
Mary (impatiently). Do listen to this advertisement!
Aunt M. Mary Cole, I'm sorry your head is so turned with the vanities of this world. Advertisin' for a pardner in that way is wicked. I hadn't orter'listen to it.
Mary. Oh, it won't hurt you a hit, auntie. (Reads.) "A gentleman of about forty, very fine looking; tall, slender, and fair-haired, with very expressive eyes, and side whiskers, and some property, wishes to make the acquaintance of a young lady with similar qualifications"
Jack. A lady with expressive eyes and side whiskers
Mary. Do keep quiet, Jack Cole! (Reads.) "With similar qualifications as to good looks and amiable temper, with a view to matrimony. Address, with stamp to pay return postage, C. G., Scrubtown; stating when and where an interview may be had." There! what do you think of that?
Jack. Deacon Goodrich to a T. "C. G." stands for Calvin Goodrich.
Aunt M. The land of goodness! Deacon Goodrich, indeed! a pillar of the church! advertisin' for a wife! No, no, Jack; it can't be him! He'd never stoop so low!
Jack. But if all the women are as hard-hearted as you are, and the poor man needs a wife. Think of his ten little olive plants!
Granny C. Plants? Cabbage plants? Taint time to set 'em out yet. Fust of August is plenty airly enufl" for winter. Cabbages never begin to head till the nights come cold.
Jack. Poor Mr. C. G.! Why don't you answer it, Aunt Mattie; and tell him you'll darn his stockings for him, and comb that fair hair of his?
Aunt M. Jack Cole! if you don't hold your tongue, I'1I comb your hair for you in a way you won't like. Me answerin' one of them low advertisements! He, indeed! I haint so eager to get married as some folks I know. Brother Cryus and I have lived all our lives in maiden meditation, fancy free,—the only sensible ones of the family of twelve children; and it's my idee we will continner on in that way.
Mary. Why, don't you believe that Uncle Cyrus would get married if he could?
Aunt M. Your Uncle Cyrus! I tell you, Mary Cole, he wouldn't marry the best woman that ever trod! I've heern him say so a hundred times.
Mary. Won't you answer this advertisement, auntie? I'll give you a sheet of my best gilt-edged note-paper if you will.