페이지 이미지
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Cox. Hah !-Box, you're a villain.
Box. Cox,-you're another.
Cox. Drop my wife this instant, sir ?
Box. I shan't, till you relinquish my better half.

Cox. Miserable subterfuge! As the husband of that lady,
I demand your card, sir.

Box. You'll fiud it in my left-hand trowsers' pocket-come and take it?

Cox. I regret that the affair I have on hand prevents muy availing myself of your polite offer.

Box. Nothing but the pressing nature of my present engagement could make me think of putting you to so much trouble.

Cox. Don't mention it,-.will you allow me to make one observation ?

box. Certainly, Cox, with pleasure.

Cox. Well, then; I had no idea that Mrs. Box was so pon. derous.

Box. And I assure you, I am quite overpowered by the solidarity of Mrs. Cox. (a child is heard crying in room, R., another in room, L.) What's that? an infantine cry.

Mrs. C. (starting to her feet) The blessed child !

Mrs. B. (starting to her feet) The dear baby! (the LADIES qush into rooms, R. and L.)

Cox. Hen! The ladies having retired for the performance of their maternal duties, I presume we are alone.

Box. I believe I may venture to say we are.

Cox. Well, then, we must come to an understanding, sir. That glove shows the glove) requires an explanation.

Boc. (taking the glove) This glove--oh, yes! certainly. (puts the glove into his pocket) Ha! of course, my dear fellow, sit down.

Cox. I'd rather not.

Box. Sit down, I insist—(pushes him into a chair, R. C.) —now, we can talk the matter over calmly and dispassionately. (places chair for himself, L. C., and sits)

Cox. Proceed, Mr. Box.

Box. It was a lovely evening towards the close of the fourteenth century

Cox. What the devil have I to do with the fourteenth century, sir?

Box. (rises) If the honorable gentleman on the opposite

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

side requires an explanation, I shall give it in my own way. I repeat, then, it was a lovely evening towards the close of the fourteenth century, when two horsemen, enveloped in ample cloaks, might be seen slowly ascending the winding path that leads to the castle. “ By my Holidam!" exclaimed the elder swarthy stranger- Do


follow me ?
Cox. (rising) I'll be - d if I do.
Mrs. C. (calis in room, R.) Cox! Cox!
Box. (rises) Hah! there's your wife calling you.
Cox. Never mind my wife—the explanation, sir !

Box. There's your child, Box-your only child—the image of its father-do you hear ? Now it screams-

--inhuman parent, why don't you fly? (pushing him)

Mrs. C. (in room, R.) Cox! Cox! I want you.
Cox. But the explanation—the glove-the-the-

Box. There—your wife—your sweet babe-calls you-you can't resist that appeal. (pushes him iuto room, n.) Whew! I thought I should never have got him away—what's to be done, now--shall I confess_all ?—why shouldn't I ? I'll relate the whole story-how Fanny Hawes and I travelled in the same railway carriage-how I purloined her glove--how we got separated by the crowd at the station-how I was left with her lapdog in my arms- -how the poor creature got choked the following week-how Fanny Hawes and I never met until this hour. (Mrs. Cox enters from room, R.) Hah! Mysterious being-Fanny, dear-dear Fanny-I beg pardon, Mrs. Cox-forgive the emotion—the confusion—that this unexpected discovery makes in my intellect. (in a confidential tone) Where's Cox?

Mrs. C. I left him singing the child to sleep.

Box. Happy Cox! (places a chair, R. c.) Sit down, my dear Mrs. C., I have something particular to say to you. (sits L. C. beside her--Cox appears at door, R., and Mrs. Box at door, L., listening) You remember the circumstances under which we parted.

Mrs. C. Perfectly. And I have often thought since of the dear little creature that I left in your arms when we were rudely separated.

Box. (aside) He, lapdog !-she hasn't forgotten him then. A--you allude to

Mrs. C. My little Charley!
Cox. (apart, at door) Her little Charley!

Box. Yes, I wish to speak to you privately about him; you were greatly attached to the


fellow? Mrs. C. I doted on him : he was such a beauty with his silken hair, like his mother, and his charming long ears.

Cox. (apart) Like his father I suppose.
Mrs. C. Then he was so playful.

Box. Wonderfully! The very day I took him home, he tore up Mrs. Bouncer's best cap, for which I had to pay.

Mrs. C. I can't tell you how I grieved for him—until I got another

Box. then you have got another ?

Mrs. C. Oh, dear, yes. Cox has been very kind-such a little love-you can't think; but I never loved him as I did my pet Charley. Mrs. B. (apart at door Oh! her pet Charley ! Cox. (apart at door) Hoh!

Box. Of course, first affection is always the strongest. Poor Charley! It quite affects me when I reflect upon his pntimely end.

Mrs. C. What is he dead?

Box. That was what I wanted to tell you,--poor dear little Charley is no more.

Mrs. C. Oh! Mr. Box, you do shock me! Box. I knew you would be deeply affected; but I've done all I could to keep his dear remains for you.

Mrs. C. His remains ?-how?

Box. I've had him beautifully preserved—he looks just as if he was alive. I thought it might be a melancholy consolation to you to drop a tear or so upon the dear departed (Mrs. Box and Mr. Cox rush down suddenly on each side. mences raining)

Cox. (R.) Hah! so we've discovered you. (Mr. Box and, Mrs. Cox start up in surprise)

Mrs. B. (L.) Oh! we've heard all.
Cox. About the dear little creature.
Mrs. B. (to Box) Your darling Charley !

Cox. (to Mrs. Cox.) The playful little fellow, with his mother's silken bair !

Mrs. B. (to Box) And his father's long ears! (Box and Mrs. Cox laughing immoderately, throw themselves into chairs, R. and 1.)

Cox. Oh! mighty fine, madam!

It com


Mrs. B. It's just like you, Mr. Box!

Cox. My feelings as a husband have been trampled upon ! I'll join the Broken-hearted Club directly - I'll leave you for

—I'll take the first omnibus to Australia, and bury my sorrows in the Diggings ! (puts on his hat, Box and Mrs. Cox continue to laugh)

Mrs. C. Oh, go by all means -we can spare you ! Box. Don't stay a moment on our account ! Cox. But it rains tremendously! (calls at door, 3 E. L.) Mrs. Bouncer, has that cabman brought my umbrella yet?

Mrs. Boun. (outside) No-not yet, sir.

Cox. Not yet—how very extraordinary. (goes to window, T.., a Child cries in room R.; then another Child in room L.) Mrs. C. The blessed child. Mrs. B. My poppet! (they run into rooms, R. and L.)

Cox. (at window) Hah! why surely that's my umbrella a coming down the street, -brown gingham-brass spike-wo broken ribs : I can't be mistaken. (throws up window and calls) Holloa, sir-hey! I beg your pardon, but that umbrella is mine. I

say, sir, that umbrella you are carrying is my property.

Man. (in street) No it isn't, I gave a shilling for it this morning on Holborn Hill. Cox. It's quite immaterial what you gave for it, sir,

the umbrella is inine—and I expect you'll instantly give it up!

Man. (in street) Do you? then you'd better come and take it.

Cox. Oh, very well, only wait there till I come down, and see if I won't have it. (quitting the window) An impudent rascal, to refuse to give me up my umbrella, that I've had

for twelve years.

Exit, 3 E. L. Box. Holloa! I shouldn't wonder if there was to be a row. Honor calls me to aid my friend, but prudence whispers that I never learnt the noble art of self defenceso I shall look on and see fair play. (goes to window and looks out)

Cox. (in the street) Now, sir, give up my umbrella!
Man. (in the street) I won't!
Cox. (in the street) You won't ?—but I'll have it!

Man. (in the street) Holloa ! what do you mean? Police ! robbery! murder !

Box! Oh! there's Cox pitching into the stranger, and the Enter Mrs. BOUNCER, 3 E. L., carrying a tray with tea,

coffee, fc. Ah! Mrs. Bouncer,- breakfast-for four !

Mrs. Boun. There it is sir,-I thought as old friends you'd have it together. (lays tray on side table, c.) There it is. Tea, coffe, shrimps, muffins, eggs, fried bacon, muttonchops, and water-cresses. (puts articles on table c. us she names them)

Box. That will do for the present, we'll ring when we require more.

Exit Mrs. BOUNCER, 3 E. L. Mrs. C. (calling from room, R.) Cox! Cox !

Cox. There's my wife calling me,—she wants me to hook her. Ah, Box, that's a woman any man might be proud to hook !

Exit Cox, R. 2 E. Box. I've no doubt of it.

Mrs Box comes from 2 E. L, singing an opera air. Mrs. B. La, la, ra, la, la, &c. Dear me, I'm frightfully out of voice this morning : is breakfast ready, Box ?

Box. Yes, my dear, we only wait for my old friend, Cox, whom I met accidentally here this moment—you've often heard me speak of him. We once lived together, and now we are going to breakfast together. I'll just go and finish dressing, and be back presently.

Exit, 2 E. L. Mrs. B. Dear me, I wonder how I look. I only dressed for Box, and here's Cox coming. (looks at herself in chimney glass)

Enter Mrs. Cox, 2 E. R. Mrs. C. (crosses to L. as she enters) I'm curious to see this friend of Cox's. (perceives Mrs. Box) Why surely it never can be

Mrs. B. (turning) Hey--bless me--Miss Hawes !
Mrs. C. Sophy Dawes !

Mrs. B. Excuse me, Fanny, but I've changed my name. I've taken Dawes out of the corner of my pocket handker: chief, and put Box in.

Mrs. C. I really beg pardon, ma'am : I wasn't aware of the circumstance, as I've been abroad at Margate since my marriage.

« 이전계속 »