페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

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 you follow me? Cox. (rising) I'll be d―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, r.) 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 one) 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 poor fellow ?

Mrs. C. I doted on him: he was such a beauty with his silken hair, like his mother, and his charming long earsCox. (apart) Like his father I suppose.

Mrs. C. Then he was so playful.

tore

Box. Wonderfully! The very day I took him home, he 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 untimely end.

Mrs. C. What-is he dead?

Box. That was what I wanted to tell

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.

you,--poor dear little

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. It com

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 hair!

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

Cox. Oh! mighty fine, madam!

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 ever—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, .., 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-two 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 mine-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 defence-so 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, &c.

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. as 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 handkerchief, 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.

[ocr errors]

Mrs. B. (R. c.) What, are you gone and got married too? Mrs. C. Well, I hope I'm not infringing the rules of female propriety by saying, I've made Cox the happiest of his sex.

Mrs. B. What a lark, to think we should have both got off the shelf at last!

Mrs. C. Off the shelf, mem-ha, ha, ha !

Mrs. B. Ha, ha, ha! (both laugh, and continue to laugh until Cox and Box re-enter dressed for breakfast)

Box. (to Cox) There's no need of introducing our wives, Cox-you see, they've affected an amalgamation already. Mrs. B. Oh, we're old friends

Mrs. C. Fondly attached companions! (apart to Cox) A forward little chorus singer at the theatres, who, to my knowledge, has been laying traps for every man she met, for the last fifteen years.

[ocr errors]

Mrs. B. (apart to Box, L. c.) A paltry straw bonnet maker, who was on her last legs when she inveigled this poor stupid Cox.

[ocr errors]

Cox. Well, I vote we go to breakfast

Mrs. C. Oh, bravo! I've got such an appetite. (she is going towards the head of the table, when MRS. Box rushes before her)

Mrs. B. Beg pardon, mem, but if there be anything I sticks up for, it's my rank--the printer's lady before the hatter's wife. (sits* at head of table, L. Box sits L. c., Cox sits R. C.)

Mrs. C. Oh, mem, don't flurry yourself-I always give way to age. (sits at opposite end of table, R.)

Mrs. B. Age! why, my dear, when you was a grown young person at the bonnet trade, I was playing with my doll.

Mrs. C. I remember the doll perfectly, Sophy; a remarkably large sized one it was, with red whiskers, and a strong Irish brogue

Mrs. C.

Cox. (rising) Ladies, ladies! Although an advocate in general for freedom of discussion, I'm afraid we're now touching on delicate ground.

Box. Bravo! bravo!

*

Cox, R. c. Box, L. C.

[blocks in formation]
« 이전계속 »