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A Love Story,
IN THREE ACTS.
BY WILKIE COLLINS AND CHARLES FECHTER
AS FIRST PERFORMED AT THE ADELPHI THEATRE, LONDON, UNDER THE MANAGEMENT OF BENJAMIN WEBSTER, ESQ., ON MONDAY, MARCH 29, 1869.
TO WHICH IS ADDED
A DESCRIPTION OF THE COSTUMES--CAST OF THE CHARACTERS--ENTRANCES AND EXITS--RELATIVE POSITIONS OF THE PERFORMERS ON THE STAGE, AND THE WHOLE OF THE STAGE BUSINESS.
THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY.
Count Maurice de Leyrac (Lead)
Stephen Westcraft (Heavy Character)
David Michaelmas (Low Comedy or Old Man)
Plato (1st Low Comedy)
Provost Marshal (Utility)
Wolf (2d Heavy)
Slaves, Planters, Jailors, etc.
Miss Milburn (Lead)
Mrs. Penfold (Walking Lady)
Ruth, a Quadroon (Character)
Slave Girls, etc.
SCENERY (West Indian, Winter)
ACT I.--Scene 1st.--Boudoir, verandah, and landscape, in 4th grooves. Night.
Landscape on flat, distant view of high mountains; palmettos in middle distance; cactus and other tropical plants in foreground. Moon, R. C., transparent, which is not to show when this scene is seen by sunlight effect, as Scene 1st, Act 2d. Tubs of orange trees along flat. The windows in 3d groove set are French windows reaching to the foot of the flat, but are not used for entrance ways. The C. opening is large, width of a folding-doorway; curtains of light stuff to all these. Light matting down on stage front of 3d grooves, D. L. and D. R., practicable; vases of flowers, L. and R. front; candelabra, with wax candles burning, against flat. Upper entrance is arched over by a cane verandah roof. Dressing table, with mirror, L. C.; handle on it.
Scene 2d. Forest in 1st grooves, dark.
Scene 3d. Hut interior and wood in 4th grooves. Night. Limelight for moonlight effect in L. U. corner, in the flies, to cast rays upon roof U. E.
Roof let down of rafters; high up L. C., in flat, a large window, in ruins, 5 feet wide by 3 feet high, so as to discover Westcraft upon set roof on a level with its sill, A., in U. E.
ACT II.--Scene 1st. Same as Scene 1st, Act 1st, sunlight effect.
Scene 2d. Plain interior, open L. and R. E., in 1st grooves.
Scene 3d. Market-place in 5th grooves. Bright sunlight effect.
Landscape on flat. Bright sky, horizon of mountains; trees in foreground, with sugar-mill roofs, and bell-tower of planter's house. Trees for wings: sky sinks and borders. R. side : B, a profile set, representing a market cart, tilted down on the shafts, loaded with melons and yams, blending in with R. lower corner of flat, painted with clump of plants A, a vegetable stall, with awning, with melons and other fruit, L. side. 1st E., open; 2d E., set house, with pract., D., window above with striped awning; 3d g., set of wall of house; 3d E., stall of fruit and vegetables; C, profile set of rocks run on to mask side of steps, D. leading L. C. to C.
Backing to window in F., bright sky. The room is in a very dingy condition; cobwebs and stains on the walls; window-sash opens up; outside shutters open; curtains are full of holes; bed curtains are partly fallen from the canopy frame; the wall papering has a pattern of large rosettes at equal distances, so that on the L. side of window, the rows may allow of eight of these roses between it and L. set, and three roses from the set ceiling; door L. 1. E. is not to open, but is ruined no that the lights there show through it; small square of carpet down; the cabinet up R. open one door, with books tumbled out in disorder; waste-paper basket R. 1. E., upset, with papers partly out; a table R., with drawer partly open; U. E. by window arranged with open trap, so as to give the idea of stage level being of a room in the first floor over the ground floor; steps without for the window to be climbed into; small trap in flat, L. C., high up, to be reached by standing on bed.
Scene 2d. Prison interior in 1st grooves. Cane walls like those of a calaboose; shackles and chains painted on wall; open L. and R., or with transverse set with door to open L. and R.; keyhole to L. D.
Scene 3d. Same as Scene 3d, Act II.
NOTE.--The action is about 1830, but the costumer of the Adelphi chose to habit the characters in dresses of the present day. His dresses, according to that course, are therefore described. The Octoroon costumes will suit very well.
LEYRAC.--Act I.: Evening dress, note book. Act II.: Cane, white hat. Act III.: Walking dress. Scene 2d, Act III.: Handsome suit.
WESTCRAFT.--Panama hat with black ribbon round it, white shirt, loose cravat in sailor fashion, white linen jacket and pants, canvas shoes, carries a bowie within his jacket collar behind right shoulder; may smoke cigarette throughout; face a little browned, black moustache, crescent-shaped, points downward, black short-crop wig, or short curl, heavy eyebrows; passionate disposition and quick with his hands; sharp, quick speech.
MICHAELMAS.--Black hat, dark brown coat, fancy flowered vest, gray pants.
PLATO.--Negro; gray hair, gray eyebrows, tall white beaver hat with loose crown half off, ragged brim, hickory shirt, blue trousers coming down to mid-leg, black leggings, striped socks, cowhide shoes, long white swallow-tail coat of linen with buttons of different sorts and colors, pockets, very deep, in the tails. He is very polite, fond of bowing.
WOLF.--Negro; striped bandanna twisted round his head; savage look, moustache and short beard; light suit.
PROVOST-MARSHAL.--Blue coat of light stuff, straw hat, light pants.
PLANTERS.--Like MARSHAL and WESTCRAFT. Dark complexions.
GUESTS.--Evening dress, European, and like WESTCRAFT.
SECRETARY TO PLATO.--Negro. Striped shirt, light trousers, ragged wide-brim straw hat. Carries large book and pencil.
NEGROES.--Straw hats of all sorts, fancy striped calicoes, bright-colored handkerchiefs.
SERVANT.--Act I.: Livery, white coat.
MISS MILBURN.--Act I., Scene 1st: Satin ball dress, with train to be quickly detached, and leave the dress for walking, light mantle for her, ready R. D., jewelry. Scene 2d: Same dress, mantle worn. Act II., Scene 1st: House dress, white muslin with a few knots of ribbon. Scene 3d: White walking dress, fancy Leghorn hat with streamers. Act III., Scene 2d: White straw hat, blue dress. Scene 3d: White wedding-dress, Leghorn hat, trimmed with orange-flowers and white lace.
MRS. PENFOLD.--Act I.: Handsome ball-dress, jewelry, fan. Act II. and III.: May come on to form picture; white muslin walking dress, parasol, straw hat. (Dress of DORA SUNNYSIDE, in "Octoroon," will answer.)
RUTH.--Yellow face, hair in curls, fancy stripped dress. Scene 2d: Hair loose, face pale.
PLANTERS' WIVES, ETC.--Act I.: Ball dresses. Act II.: Like MRS. PENFOLD'S second dress, parasols.
SLAVE WOMEN.--Fancy handkerchiefs, calico skirts.
CHILDREN.--For the PLANTERS' sons and daughters, and for young slaves, in dresses to suit their characters.
PROPERTIES (See Scenery.)
ACT I., Scene 1st--Candles in stands; flower vases, tubs for orange-trees; ice creams in cups, on salver, wine glasses and decanter, on table L.; spring bell. Scene 2d: Books and pencil for SECRETARY; cards for PLATO. Scene 3d: Bed, table, candle in candlestick, bottle of medicine, pocket-book, paper in it. Act II., Scene 1st! Same set as Scene 1st, Act I.: Cane for LETRAC. Scene 3d: Vegetables, flowers, fruit, for stalls and baskets carried by NEGROES. Act III.: Loose papers, books; cabinet, bed, chairs; carpenters' three-foot rule; table up L.; letter at end of string in small trap, L. C. in F. Scene 2d: Key for jailer; paper for MARSHAL. Scene 3d: Same set as Scene 3d, Act II.: Rattans for some of the PLANTERS to carry; paper for WESTCRAFT; letter for DAVID.
SCENE I.--Boudoir interior, verandah and landscape in 4th grooves. Moon in flat, R. C. Night effect. Lights in candelabra on stage. Music of waltz.
Enter, L. U. E., looking about him eagerly, STEPHEN WESTCRAFT.
WESTCRAFT (comes on by C. D., and down C.). Not here either? (to MRS. PENFOLD) Have you seen Miss Milburn?
MRS. PENFOLD. No. (cease music.)
WEST. She is engaged to me for the next dance, and I can't find her anywhere. I can't understand the lady of the house neglecting her guests in this way.
MRS. P. She has been in the ball-room, hasn't she?
WEST. Yes, but not to stay long. Hang me if things will go smoothly if she displays as much reluctance to giving me her hand in marriage as she does for a dance with me.
MRS. P. Pshaw! You are looking at it too seriously, Mr. Westcraft.
WEST. No! I have seen something very curious in her conduct to me lately.
MRS. P. (aside). Oh! he has noticed that, has he? More penetration in him than I gave him credit for!
WEST. She has never been the same woman since her voyage to France. Hang me if I don't begin to think that there is another man at the bottom of it. (strikes table, L. C., with his hand passionately. Music, bass chord, piano.)
MRS. P. (starts). Ah! (carelessly) Do you think so? (watches WESTCRAFT closely.)
WEST. Yes. Well, I won't judge in a hurry. I'll look again, (saunters off L. U. E.)
[Promenaders exeunt slowly, L. U. E.
MRS. P. (aside). He evidently suspects something, and cannot be deceived much longer. Poor Emily! I can't understand her. What can be the reason for her strange conduct? (music for MISS MILBURN'S entrance.
MRS. P. (lightly.) Oh, here you are come back? The voluntary eclipse of the star has been missed already.
MISS M. You are not dancing, dear? I really don't know what to do with myself, (takes seat, R. C., languidly.) I think I need rest, (rises) Good-night. (going to R. D.)
MRS. P. (stops her). What nonsense! Go and hide yourself in slumber on your birthday fête?
MISS M. Don't speak to me of my birthday fête! I wish I had never had one. (seated R. C.)
MRS. P. And then you are engaged to Mr. Westcraft. He has been looking for you everywhere, (C.)
MISS M. Mr. Westcraft! (contemptuously.) Will you please see if there are any ices there? (MRS. P. hands her an ice from L. C. table) Let me have some. Thanks. (scarcely tastes it, puts it down wearily.) I--I think I had better retire.
MRS. P. Don't think of it.
MISS M. Why should I not stop away?
MRS. P. Oh! it would look so bad. How could you?
MISS M. What if I had a reason?
MRS. P. Oh! is it a good one?
MISS M. I don't know. (abruptly) Oh! I am so unhappy!
MRS. P. You unhappy, dear?
MISS M. I have a great mind to tell you. (MRS. P. approaches MISS M. affectionately) I wish to return to Europe.
MRS. P. Ah! Is London so tempting a place?
MISS M. London? London is a dreadful smoky, great, busy, slow-going place, where every good thing comes from abroad, even to the money. But Paris is the refuge for the dull and weary, who have the minds to appreciate it. It's the gayest city in the world! I don't regret London, but I have never been at peace since I have seen Paris,.
MRS. P. Ah, I thought your unrest sprang from something like this. I saw you were sighing for something.
MISS M. It is a most charming place!
MISS M. Ruth! (takes flowers.) Why, you ought not to be here. Thank you. You are not strong enough to be out. Do go in, do go in.
RUTH. I only wanted to see you and bring you these, with my sincere wishes for your happiness on your birthday.
MISS M. My happiness! (bitterly, almost in tears) I can't bear it! I'll go away--I am only plagued more and more. (kindly) But don't you be pained--it is not your fault, Ruth!
RUTH. I did not mean to grieve you, miss, (kisses MISS MILBURN'S hand, and exits D. F. and off R. U. E.)
MISS M. Poor old Ruth! poor girl! I was speaking to the doctor about her--he says she is dying of a heart broken, nothing else. Even a slave can love. (sighs) Ah!
MRS. P. But you have not told me what ails your heart. And how are the men there?
MISS M. The men?
MRS. P. The men. I suppose they do have gentlemen in Paris?
MISS M. I hardly know. They were much about the same as anywhere else. There was only one, indeed, whom I met more frequently than the others in society.
MRS. P. Ah! Mr. Westcraft was not altogether wrong, in fearing the influence of the French gentlemen.
MISS M. Mr. Westcraft! If he does me the discredit of suspecting me before marriage, he will do well not to have my hand at all. I can easily refuse him.
MRS. P. Then you do love a French gentleman? Poor heart! Come, what was the French gentleman like?
MISS M. You wouldn't like me to let you suppose I accepted him as a suitor? Pshaw! he was of high rank, fashionable, moving in the same society as myself, and so we danced together, and we saw each other. I met him everywhere--it was Fate! it was Fate that brought us together! No one can resist his fate! It was certainly strange. It was not my fault! How you look at me! (MRS. P. smiles) Don't you understand me? (rises) I wish I was dead! (sadly) Do you understand that? (to L. and return to C. with emotion.)
MRS. P. (R. C. up, quietly smiling to herself). So you completely forgot Mr. Westcraft?
MISS M. Who said so? Have I ever loved Mr. Westcraft?
MRS. P. I don't know. On what terms did you part with the French gentleman?
MISS M. (affectedly light tone). As the best friends in the world. But I remembered Mr. Westcraft. On the eve of my departure, my new acquaintance wished to know how he might renew the pleasure I had given him. (R. C., Mrs. PENFOLD to C.) I had in tell him that I was going back to the Island of Trinidad, where he would have to come for it. "When shall I come?" asked he, in the most matter-of-fact of tones. "Oh, you may come to my birthday fête, on my plantation, on New Year's Day," said I. (pretended careless tone) He took out his pocket-book, and wrote that down as business-like as possible--and--(embarrassed) we shook hands, and he smiled, and I laughed, and there's an end on't! (faint forced laugh.)
WEST. (aside, coming down C.). She is not in the ball-room. I'll swear to that. (aloud) Oh, there you are! This is a pretty way of treating the man with whom you are engaged for the next dance!
MISS M. I am not well.
WEST. Not well? Plaguey awkward, when they're forming for the next dance. (bites his lips, etc., in suspicious impatience.)
MISS M. I must retire for repose.
MRS. P. I'll go with you, dear. (aside to MISS M.) I have not heard all the story. (MISS MILBURN rings bell on table, L. C., and goes towards L. D., followed by MRS. PENFOLD.
MISS M. (aside to MRS. P.). Not now. (GIRL opens L. D.)
MRS. P. At least, what is his name? (MISS MILBURN turns to whisper to her.)
SERVANT. The Count de Leyrac! (MISS MILBURN starts and turns. Chord.)
LEY. Eh! I have not made any mistake? This is New Year's Day, 1830. This is the Island of Trinidad. This is Miss Milburn's birthday party. (recognizes MISS MILBURN, salutes her profoundly respectfully) Excuse me, but surely you have not forgotten the appointment you did me the honor of making. (MISS MILBURN takes his hand.)
[Exit SERVANT, L. U. E.
LEY. I beg to apologize if my costume is not quite correct, but the ship entered the harbor only an hour ago. (cease music.)
MISS M. I beg to apologize, you so surprised me. I did not ho--hope--believe you were in earnest.
LEY. Never more so in all my life!
WEST. (to MISS MILBURN). Who is this?
LEY. (turns and eyes WESTCRAFT steadily. They look at each other). Ah! a member of the family, no doubt? (MISS MILBURN whispers with MRS. PENFOLD animatedly, both glancing at LEYRAC) Most happy to know you, sir. Would you like to shake hands with me? (WESTCRAFT comes to his left during this, to place himself between LEYRAC and MISS MILBURN) You are her brother? No? Her uncle, of course!
WEST. (curtly) No! nothing of the sort. (MRS. PENFOLD laughs faintly, and WESTCRAFT gives her an angry look.)
LEY. How stupid of me! Her cousin? (WESTCRAFT raises his hand passionately to strike LEYRAC, who grasp it, and forces him to shake hands with him) Delighted to make your acquaintance. Ah! it has been the one dream of my life to look upon your superb island. I know all about it, as far as reading will teach. Your productions are as numerous as valuable; indigo, liquorice, sugar, cotton, cochineal, dyestuffs, oranges, limes, cocoa, pineapples, and I know not what else. I shall be most happy to be your guest. (to MISS MILBURN) I like your island, I like your cousin! I like his rich-brown face. I feel assured that I shall be delighted here, with such a pilot (to WESTCRAFT, bowing) to the countless beauties.
WEST. I do not doubt your assurance, Mr. Frenchman, but I do doubt that you will see much of this island if I am to show it you.
LEY. (fiercely.) Ah! (politely). I am very sorry to hear of such a loss of anticipated pleasure
WEST. (contemptuously). All very well, but fine words butter no parsnips. (turns to go up R.)
LEY. (puzzled). Fine words butter no parsnips? Oh! more productions of this superb island! Fine words--butter--parsnips! Indigo, liquorice, sugar, cotton, cochineal, dye-stuffs, oranges, limes, cocoa, pineapples, fine words, butter, parsnips. (laughs.)
MRS. P. and MISS M. (laugh at WESTCRAFT). Ha, ha, ha!
LEY. Why this is the earthly paradise! (bows to MRS. P. and MISS M., who take seats, L. C.) and you the angels that inhabit it. (ladies return the salute, smiling).
LADY (to WESTCRAFT). Are you coming? (LEYRAC bends over back of MISS MILBURN'S chair, to chat with her.)
WEST. (to LADY). Wait a moment. (to LEYRAC) If you have got anything to say to Miss Milburn, don't whisper to her, but speak out.
LEY. Speak out? As you do?
LEY. A thousand thanks, but I prefer to whisper! (turns his back on WESTCRAFT, and continues to speak with MISS M.)
WEST. (goes up C., passionately). Here, Wolf! (enter, R. U. E. to C., WOLF) The carriage at once.
LEY. (to MISS M.). I regret I did not arrive earlier.
LEY. But many thanks for the pleasant evening you have afforded me. (MRS. PENFOLD kisses MISS M. and exits R. U. E. on arm of GENTLEMAN. LADY takes WESTCRAFT'S arm, but he pauses, looking over his shoulder at LEYRAC.)
MISS M. (to LEYRAC, aside). Do not you go yet. I want to speak with you. I shall be back directly.
[Exit, R. D.
WEST. (fiercely). Come along, Wolf!
[Exit, R. U. E., with LADY on his arm, and WOLF following.
LEY. (looking after MISS M.). Certainly. (lights down, R. and L U. E'S. LEYRAC alone). She says I am not yet to bid her good night. Ma foi! Miss Milburn must understand well why I am here.
Ah! Miss Milburn, confess! you were not in earnest when you gave me the invitation to your birthday party!
MISS M. (laughingly). And you were not in earnest either, when you accepted it. For you to come all the way from Paris on my account, across I don't know how many oceans! Oh, how very absurd!
LEY. The height of absurdity I admit.
MISS M. You like to travel. You were in these seas, and you took the bold part of coming here, on the chance of seeing me again. I supposed you had quite forgotten me.
LEY. Forgotten you! You are right. This is not the action of the most part of men--but then, you are not like the most of women. But I travelled only to reach here. You begin to perceive. Why do you turn away? Yes, I have come all the way from Paris, I have crossed I don't know how many oceans! for you! And do I not deserve one look? (takes her hand) Ah! (about to draw her to him.)
DAVID. Hem! I beg your pardon, sir. (they start and retire from one another, confusedly.)
MISS M. Oh! is not that the old servant you had with you when in Paris?
LEY. Yes. (R. C.)
MISS M. David? Is not that the name? (offers her hand to DAVID) You rendered me many services when I was in Europe. I am happy to welcome you in Trinidad! I suppose you are quite a stranger here?
DAVID. Oh! thank you, not exactly. This is the second time I have been here.
MISS M. Oh! What brought you?
DAVID. Well, my plantation brought me here this time, though it sent me away before, (to LEYRAC) A word with you, sir.
LEY. (smiling). Have you never heard of the name of Michaelmas, Miss Milburn?
DAVID. That's my second name.
MISS M. I was not aware in Europe that I had the favor of being waited on by the owner of the Michaelmas estate.
LEY. I never knew of it myself until just before starting to come to Trinidad, and asking David if he had no objections to accompany me, he told me that he already had a local habitation and a name on the island.
DAVID. Not much to my credit, sir. It was very unexpected that I came into the property. I was very young, and my agents cheated me. I realized all the money on it that I could by mortgages, and went abroad, where I lost every penny of it in speculation, and have been a happier man for it ever since.
MISS M. It is going to be disposed of by auction.
DAVID. And so my presence is needed to sign some papers of the mortgages. (to LEYRAC) Only a word, sir.
LEY. What do you want? (R. C. with DAVID, MISS M. L.)
DAVID. It's a woman, sir.
LEY. A woman!
DAVID. And something unusual in your case, sir; it's an old woman! one of what they call quadroons in these parts, wishes to see you.
LEY. See me? Oh, it's some mistake. (lightly) Pooh!
DAVID. It's no mistake, sir. She says you are in danger on this island. There is something in it, sir. (music, bass, tremolo) Best to see what it means.
LEY. Well, wait for me in the shrubbery, and I will come to you. (DAVID bows to him and to MISS MILBURN, and exit R. U. E., by D. F.) Singular! (to C., aloud to MISS MILBURN) But the lights are put out and your guests have all gone.
MISS M. And you would be going, too? (aside) He said it was the first time in his life that he had been on this island, and yet a woman already makes an appointment with him. (aloud) Of course I may expect to see you to-morrow?
LEY. To-morrow. (going up C., gets his hat) Au revoir!
[Exit, D. F. and L. U. E.
MISS M. (aside, coming down C.). I heard his man say "a woman." He has gone to meet her. If I follow close--(rings bell on L. table.)
GIRL. Goin' out, missee?
MISS M. My cloak, I say! (exit GIRL, R. D.) I will be there, too!
GIRL. Yes, missee!
MISS M. Sit up for me!
[Exit GIRL, R. D. Exit MISS M., D. F. and L. U. E.
WEST. (looking L. U. E.) Going out alone, and at this hour? By heaven! that Frenchman is at the bottom of all this! They'll find one more than they expected at their meeting-place, be it where they may. (feels that his knife is ready within his coat at his right shoulder behind, and exits L. U. E., stealthily.)
SCENE II.--Forest in 1st grooves. Gas down.
Enter, L. to C., DAVID. Enter, L. to L. C., PLATO.
PLATO. Well, sah, you all alone? de Count not come?
DAVID. He will not be long. We will wait for him here, if you please.
PLATO. I consider 'um a pleasure to wait any whar wid you, sah.
DAVID. Indeed! May I have the honor to know whom I am addressing?
PLATO. I present my compliments and beg to present my card, sah. (gives card.)
PLATO. And allow me to present my secretary. (SECRETARY goes R. of DAVID at C.)
DAVID (reads card). Mr. Plato.
PLATO. Dat's me, sah.
DAVID. Then allow me to congratulate you on your name.
PLATO (bows). It's 'um pretty good name, sah.
DAVID (reads card given by SECRETARY). Mr. Horace, Mr. Washington, Mr. Spenser, Mr. Shakspeare. Mr. Milton. (SECRETARY sits R. C., and prepares to go to sleep) All black, sir?
PLATO. All brack men, sah.
DAVID. Ah! They were all white the last time I heard of them. Might I ask you how you came by the names of Shakspeare and Milton, and so forth?
PLATO. We took 'um, sah. Saving your presence, sah, we don't see why de dam white man should hab all de good names to hisself, sah.
DAVID. That's a quite unanswerable reason, Mr. Plato.
PLATO. I t'ank you, sah. (SECRETARY goes to sleep) I respect you, sah! You am de white man dat we men ob color tinks de highest most ob on dis island.
DAVID. Thanks. Perhaps you can tell me why I deserve such a compliment. All I ever did was to run away from my plantation, which has returned the compliment by running away from me. It's going to be sold for the benefit of the mortgagees.
PLATO. Answer me, sah. Did you eber try to teach de niggahs on you' plantatium anyt'ing?
PLATO. Berry well. Did you ever ax 'um to do any work onless dey agreed to it demselves.
PLATO. Den, dar you hab it. You left de brains ob de nigger sleep in him 'kull; you left de han's ob de nigger sleep in him pocket. God bress you! you good man! I offer you my hand. (DAVID, stepping aside, nearly stumbles over SECRETARY)
DAVID. Then I say, may ignorance flourish, and idleness be the best employment of human science. May I inquire if it was my words or yours that sent this worthy fellow off to sleep. (touches SECRETARY with his foot. SECRETARY snores)
PLATO. My secrumtary, sah! he am waiting for my orders before he go to bed. I am oberwhelmed wid de brack business ob dis island. Oh! de dam white man will not hab his own way much longer.
DAVID. Looking at it from the blackest point of view, I am very glad to hear it!
PLATO. T'ank you, sah! We hab two great political parties on dis island.
DAVID. So have we at home.
PLATO. I am sorry to hear it, sah! Dar's de Conserbative Bracks an' de Liberal Bracks.
DAVID. Strange coincidence! we have the Conservative Whites and the Liberal Whites. May I inquire how these political parties differ?
PLATO. We hab all on'y de one design in view--dat is de sacred cause ob Freedom! but we hab two ways ob gettin' it. De Liberal idea am to git up early one fine mornin' an' kill all de white folks on de island.
DAVID. A truly liberal programme. But one can understand it, anyhow!
PLATO. De Conserbative idea am----
DAVID. Stop a minute. May I inquire--are you a Conservative?
PLATO (proudly). I am de Conserbative chief, sah!
DAVID. Speaking as a white man, I am delighted to hear it!
PLATO. De Conserbative plan is not so bloodthirsty, dough it am much more slow. We found a club, sah! an' little by little we git all de black men on de island to join it, an' den, when all are in it, we demand de white fokes to quit.
DAVID. A charming prospect. As one of the white men, I shall be glad to leave at once. What is the name of the organization?
PLATO. De club am to be formed to-morrow night, and we propose to call 'um de Thickskull Club.
DAVID. The Thickskull Club? Why, even your most bitter enemies could not have hit upon a fitter name.
PLATO. Wait a lilly bit, sah! Dar's a reason for dat name. Answer me dis hyar? What am de most honorable part of de man's body? Why him head! Darfore de ticker him head, de more he hab ob de honorable part! See, sah? Dar you hab him!
DAVID. A very neat way of putting it, indeed. But a club to be constituted like this will be many months in progress.
PLATO. De longer time, sah, dat de officers ob de club will be enjoyin' deir salaries, sah!
DAVID. Hum! I see!
PLATO. Mr. Secretary! Mr. Secretary! Mr. Michaelmas, I present my compliments, an' would you please to kick de secretary?
DAVID (touches SECRETARY, who sits up). I present my compliments, Mr. Plato, and begs you not to mention it.
PLATO. Mr. Secretary, you have written down de performances for to-morrow night. In de fust place--de band ob music--dat is to say, two fifes an' a drum.
SEC. (refers to book). Yes, massa.
PLATO. De banner wid de crest ob de club--a thick skull, wid de motto ob de club: "Dam all white men, an' down with labor!"
SEC. (rises). Yes, massa.
PLATO. De refresherments for de six committee-men of the club--dat is to say, six bottles of rum punch, (smacks his lips) an' six corkscrews, an' six glasses, to be carried by de committee-men demselves, two by two, one abreast? An' six chairs for the committee-men, to be carried by de grateful public. Hab you got dem all down?
SEC. Yes, massa. (turns the book upside down, to write in it.)
PLATO. Den, Missa Secrumtary, you can go to bed.
SEC. T'ank you, massa. (to DAVID) Your sarvint, sah!
PLATO. Mr. Michaelmas, I would like to ax you to witness de foundation of de club, but dough you are de model white man ob dis island, you are a white man, an' dat am a fatal objection.
DAVID. Don't mention it. Besides, there might be one of the Liberals in the meeting, and the sight of me might lead to an objection even more fatal than that you allude to.
(Voice of LEYRAC, off L.). David! Michaelmas!
DAVID. This way, sir! this way!
LEY. Is she here?
DAVID. No, sir. She lives in a hut not far.
PLATO (bowing, hat in hand). On'y a lilly bit of way, sir.
LEY. Who is that man?
DAVID. I present to you the Conservative chief, Mr. Plato! (aside to LEYRAC) They have Mr. Milton and Shakspeare here, and all the great men.
LEY. Ha, ha!
DAVID. He has come to show you the way to the house.
PLATO. Do you present your compliments, sah, and request me to lead de way.
LEY (lifting his hat). With a thousand apologies for causing you the trouble.
PLATO. With two thousand thanks for have the honor of giving you so much trouble, (aside, hat on) No dam white man is gwine to be more polite dan me on dis island. (R.)
LEY. What's her name?
DAVID. Ruth, the quadroon. (LEYRAC shakes his head.)
LEY. You have seen her--do you know her?
DAVID. A perfect stranger.
LEY. She must be mad, or it's a mistake.
DAVID. No mistake, sir, I can assure you. She knew all about you, clearly enough.
LEY. I will see her.
DAVID. Shall I go with you?
LEY. You might see me to the place, and then go back to the hotel to wait for me.
DAVID (to PLATO). Come along, Mr. Plato!
[Exeunt PLATO and DAVID R. Music, tremolo. Gas down a little more.
SCENE III.--Hut interior in 4th grooves. Light on table, R. Gas down three-quarters turn. Gas up in L. U. E., and lime-light effect L. U. E. corner, in the flies.
RUTH. Time passes, and still he does not come. (weak voice) Look for him again, my dear. (GIRL goes to D. in F.) Look for him again. (GIRL opens D. F.)
PLATO. Dis am de place, sah. Dis am Ruth's hut. (bows and exits, L. U. E.)
RUTH. Is he there?
LEY. (on the threshold). Are you speaking to me?
RUTH. (eagerly). Yes, yes, come in! (sits up.)
DAVID. Shall I wait for you here, sir?
LEY. No. Go back to the hotel and wait for me there. (DAVID bows and exits, L. U. E. GIRL goes out D. F., shutting it behind her after showing in LEYRAC. ) Look at me. Am I really the person you want to see? (removes his hat.)
RUTH. Yes. (LEYRAC puts hat on table.)
LEY. You know my name?
RUTH. Your name is Maurice de Leyrac. Will you move the light a little closer? (LEYRAC moves table nearer head of bed) Thanks. (leaning on one elbow, hoarsely, eagerly) What has brought you to Trinidad?
LEY. What interest can you have in my movements? Oh, this is absurd. (kindly) I don't wish to speak harshly to you, my good woman, but you cannot expect me to stop here by your bed to hear your sick delusions.
RUTH. What evil wind brought you again to this accursed island?
LEY. The poor woman is wandering. (gets his hat.)
RUTH. Do you come to Trinidad of your own free will?
LEY. Of my own free will. Come, you are too ill--you are under some error. I--my time is precious. But--but, there--(puts down his hat)--is there anything I can do for you before I go?
RUTH. I want you to look back in your mind. What is the first thing that you remember, the first, first thing in your mind?
LEY. (interested, but still a little careless of tone). The first thing I remember? (thinking.)
RUTH. Do I live in your mind? Look at me! yes, look at me! pray, oh, pray, look at me! (leans forward.)
LEY. (shakes his head) The first thing that I remember? is--is being on board a ship with my father and mother.
RUTH (sighs disappointedly). Ah! (sadly) My memory goes back to a time farther than yours--when the Count and Countess de Leyrac adopted you for their own son.
LEY. Adopted me?
LEY. (incredulously). I am not the son of the Count and Countess?
RUTH. You are not their son.
LEY. (staggered). Ah! (quickly) Oh! she is mad.
RUTH. I am not mad. Is this the truth or is it not? The Count and Countess had no other children, and brought you up in France.
LEY. Oh! you speak the truth so far.
RUTH. When you spoke to them of your infancy, were you not surprised that they should always change the conversation to another subject?
LEY. (quickly). Over and over again!
RUTH. Ah! and when they died and left you in charge of a guardian, did he not carefully keep from you the family papers?
LEY. Great heavens! yes!
RUTH. Am I mad now?
LEY. You say I was adopted. Then my parents, my real parents--do they still live?
RUTH. One is dead.
LEY. My mother?
BOTH. No! your father.
LEY. Then my mother lives!
RUTH. Yes. His name was Brentwood. His widow----
LEY. My mother!
RUTH (hanging her head). Not your mother! his wife!
LEY. Then who was my mother?
RUTH. A slave-girl on your father's plantation.
LEY. A slave! Ah! (bitterly) It has been the one dream of my life to live worthy of my birth! And I was never so proud and glad of it as this day. And now!--(sadly) Is my mother living, say you?
RUTH (timidly). Do you blame her?
LEY. (forcibly). God forbid!
RUTH. You are not ashamed?
LEY. It is not my fault. I am sure, not hers. You would not keep me in suspense unless you feared for her. Where is she?
RUTH. Oh! don't look at me! (hides face with hands) Don't look at me!
LEY. Why not? You asked me to look at you an hour since, and now--Ah! (forcibly) you are--my mother! oh! mother! (falls on knees by bedside) kiss me. (they embrace.)
WEST. (aside). The lamp is moved, I cannot see, but I can hear! I can hear!
LEY. (rises) Hark! There is something moving outside (stands trembling with agitation, trying to recover his composure, dashes away a tear, etc.)
RUTH. Nay. 'tis only the night wind coming down from the mountains, and rustling the dry leaves of the thatch.
LEY. Let me look and make sure. (opens D. in F., and looks out. Moonlight on him, picture. Music, piano, tremolo).
MISS M. (aside). What has brought him to Ruth's cottage? (keeps herself hid, though seen from the front.)
LEY. No, there is no one. (closes D , retiring to bedside). I see no living creature, I heard nothing but the wind.
RUTH. Come here to me, I have not said what I wanted to say.
LEY. (tenderly). You are too weak, mother. Not now; when you are stronger.
RUTH. My time is too short for me to linger. Listen. When your father was on his death bed, he thought of me, he wrote to me, but his jealous wife destroyed his letters. He wanted to see me, but his jealous wife stopped the messengers. He had something to send to me, but thanks to his wife, I never received anything.
LEY. Go on, mother. (holding her hand in his.)
RUTH. His will left all his property, the plantations, houses, slaves and growing things to his widow. She hated me.
RUTH. I don't complain. I deserved it. She was in her right. But she hated you, and you had never harmed her. She delayed in her vengeance until you were born, and then--then she sold us to the highest bidder in the market place!
RUTH Wait. She repented of this when her time came for her to die. She had destroyed nearly all things which your father had left to be given to me. But she had not destroyed everything! A pocket-book left among papers, as of no importance, had escaped her jealous eyes, and later, it fell into my hands.
LEY. Where is that pocket-book?
RUTH. Still in my possession. Search under my pillow, my son.
LEY. (gets book from under pillow eagerly). Empty!
RUTH. No, a little scrap of writing--it is your father's hand.
LEY. My father's hand?
RUTH. Read it.
LEY. "The duplicate letter to the Provost-Marshal is hidden--my room--the old wing----" Mother, I cannot make out what follows? Can you?
RUTH (shaking her head). No more than you can. All clue to the hiding place died with Mr. Brentwood's death. Keep that pocket-book. It proves that your father thought of me at the last. You were but a child when there came to the island a wealthy French noble, the Count, with the Countess de Leyrac. They took a fancy to you, and wished to adopt you. They promised to treat you like their own son.
LEY. Thank heaven! They did, mother, they did!
RUTH. (tearfully). I had to choose between parting with you and having you grow up on the plantation amongst the slaves.
LEY. Yes, mother!
RUTH. I tried hard to bear it. But it broke my heart! (wandering, hand to forehead, to collect her thoughts) I had something more to tell you. Did I say that we were sold in the market-place?
RUTH And the Count and Countess took you away--to--to England.
LEY. (rises). To England, say you? God bless them! when my feet touched the soil of England, I became a free man! mother, a free man!
RUTH. But when you touched the soil of this island again, the laws of free England lost their hold, and you have become again what you were. Your old master that bought you can claim you for his own. You must leave me!
LEY. Leave you, mother! Never!
RUTH. Oh, why did you come back again? Go, go! While you remain here, you are under the shadow of the lash, you are a slave!
LEY. A slave! (hides his face, RUTH falls back and dies) Mother! (bends over her) She has fainted. Oh, God! her breath has ceased to come and go! her heart is still! Ah! dead! she is dead! (falls upon RUTH, embracing her, kissing her hand.)
MISS M. (in disgust and pain, aside). A slave! (sobs and faints, supporting herself by the door post.)
WEST. (triumphantly, aside). A slave! (smiles, music, solemn.)
SCENE I.--Interior, same as Scene I., Act I.
Enter, R. U. E. to C., and on by D. F., LEYRAC, with hat on and with cane.
Enter, R. D., GIRL.
LEY. Your mistress is up? She was to see me this morning. (GIRL curtseys and exits R. D. LEYRAC looks round) The sun shines brightly, and the fruit and flowers gleam, but I freeze in the ghastly moonlight of last night--the night my mother died! All seems dead to me now, and yet I breathe, I think, I move and live! (music) Ah! you whom I love! Emily! come to me with your light footfall and your gentle smile! come and give me the courage to tell you what I learnt last night! (music for MISS MILBURN'S entrance.)
MISS M. I am told you wish to see me. (affects not to see that LEYRAC expected to shake hands with her, remaining R.)
LEY. You did me the honor to permit me to call on you this morning.
MISS M. (absently). Yes, I remember.
LEY. I beg your pardon. You are not looking like your usual self this morning.
MISS M. Indeed, I am not well.
LEY. Will you let me offer you a chair?
MISS M. Thank you, no. (sits on sofa, R. C. LEYRAC is surprised) I have one. (aside) I wonder if I ought to offer him a chair? There is grief in his eyes. Why does he come here? I fear I know what he is going to tell me. (aloud) Won't you take a chair?
LEY. No, thank you. I am a changed man to what I was last night. I have many things to speak to you about. So do not notice if I am strange in my manner. (aside) Oh, how shall I tell her? (aloud) But, I see, I fatigue you.
MISS M. No. Pray, what do you think of our island by daylight?
LEY. All that is lovely is here. I think the view splendid. But, pardon me--I--I--Miss Milburn, you were good enough last evening to let my servant see me here. He brought a message from a stranger. That stranger--Oh! Emily! (she rises, startled) Have I offended you?
MISS M. (resumes seat, hesitatingly). N--no! (aside) Oh, my heart! (aloud, coldly) I have no objections to hear you.
LEY. Emily, will you hear me as no other woman would? Will you feel for me as no other woman can feel for me? (takes her hand.)
MISS M. (rises). Let go my hand!
LEY. (kneels to her). Oh! let it rest here one moment, one little moment in mine own. Suppose--try to suppose I have been moved from my high place--thrust down into a lower sphere, unworthy of the dust from off thy feet! Would there remain one hope for me--could I look up from my misery and see your love as a star above me? May I hope you would be the same to me?
MISS M. Pity, oh, pity! (takes away her hand.)
LEY. (rises). Pity? (scornfully) Pity! No creature living wants pity as I need it! My misery robs me of my courage--it makes me sin against my honor! The words I have to utter die upon my lips, while those I would have sealed up rush out, despite me. (draws MISS M. to C., on his left) Emily, come to my heart! I love you! (she resigns herself to his embrace at if unable to struggle against her pride) Look at me! Look up. Let me read your love in your eyes! Let me find it on your lips! (kisses her.)
MISS M. (starts angrily to L. C.). Oh, the shame of it! the shame of it! (sobbing.)
LEY. (surprised). The shame of it! What do you mean?
MISS M. Don't come near me! Advance one step, and I will call my servants (hand extended towards bell on table) and have you thrust from the house. Have you no thought of my weakness? Is nothing sacred to you? (indignantly) How he looks at me! one would think I had insulted him! Ah, I deserve it! I deserve this--all! Bitter as is the lesson, I deserve it. (sobs.
LEY. (C.). What do you mean? What shame? What bitterness?
MISS M. You ask me to say?
LEY. I demand----
MISS M. Don't you know that a lady is degraded on this island if a slave's hand has touched her? A slave's lips have touched mine!
LEY. (starts). Ah! (quickly and sternly) You were in the hut last night! You heard----
MISS M. (crosses to R. C.). I heard all!
LEY. (C.) Ah! (music, plaintive, change of tone and manner to calm ones) Miss Milburn! you have brought me to my senses. I ask your pardon. (voice falters for an instant, and then is strengthened by an effort) Humbly--on my knees--(droops on one knee) as a slave should! There is but one atonement (rises) that I can make. You will see me no more! (going up.)
MISS M. (starts to her feet to rush after him). Maurice! (remembers herself, stops short, trembling) Not in that tone! No! don't leave me! Not with that look! Oh! I have wrecked his proud spirit! I have broken his heart! I'll not leave you till you say you forgive me!
LEY. (sadly). Forgive you! Willingly! fully! with my heart of hearts!
MISS M. I did not mean it! I am but a woman! I did not know what I said. Oh! that look--that look of despair! that dreadful look of despair! Maurice, my heart bleeds for you! Say something angry to me--help me against myself! Maurice! (approaches him) Maurice! You know (falls on LEYRAC'S breast) I love you!
LEY. Oh! (in gratitude) I--I will remember this moment when the ocean rolls between us. For your dear sake I must quit this place at once.
MISS M. Oh, give me time to think. Don't be as cruel to me as I have been to you. I implore you, Maurice, wait here until I come back! I will come back! Wait for me. (goes R.) I'll not be long, Maurice!
[Exit, R. D.
LEY. (sighs). Ah! what a woman I have loved, what a woman I have lost! Wait for her here? (seated R. C) Why? To what purposed? It would but renew our leave-taking. No! I must spare her the misery of a last farewell. (rises) My life is ended. And yet I move! I breathe! I think I live! Pah! what am I surprised at? (up C.) It is the slave's blood in my veins--the slave's nature in my heart! A slave will submit to anything! (looks to R. D.) Farewell! my first and my last love, farewell! farewell! (hat on, goes up C.) forever! (chord.)
WEST. You here again? Once for all, Mr. Frenchman, one of us is one too many in this house--I am in my right place--you are not. (comes down.)
LEY. You are in your right place?
WEST. Here? yes!
LEY. What do you mean? (crosses to be on WESTCRAFT'S L.)
WEST. Why, I am engaged to be married to Miss Milburn!
LEY. (checks himself in almost going to strike WESTCRAFT). You! (forced laugh) Ha, ha! Mr. Planter! As we say in France, "Un bon parti n'est pas trop souvent pris."
WEST. Keep your foreign gibberish to yourself!
LEY. My foreign gibberish? One can see that your education has been neglected. In the first place, one gentleman does not speak to another in that rough manner and rude tone.
WEST. (sternly). You keep a civil tongue in your head! fingers get crushed that meddle with my mill!
LEY. Worse and worse! I had no idea there were such barbarians amongst these savage islanders.
WEST. Are you mad, or drunk?
LEY. (sternly). First lesson, Mr. Planter! When you meet a gentleman in a lady's house, you should take your hat off. You see I have mine in my hand. You will not take yours off! No! (WESTCRAFT laughs in his face) There, then! (knocks WESTCRAFT'S hat off with his cane. WESTCRAFT steps back and half draws his bowie) If you lay a finger on me, I will strangle you where you stand! (tosses cane over R. C. WESTCRAFT sheathes knife, scowling.)
WOLF. Carriage ready, massa.
LEY. (sternly). Keep this from Miss Milburn's knowledge, or expect another lesson! Send your seconds to my hotel. I shall await them there in an hour from this time, Mr. Planter! (bows formally and exits L. U. E. by D. F.)
WEST. (up to C., WOLF stepping in front of D. F., R. side of it). Wolf, pick up that cane, and wait for me in the market-place till I come. (smiles vindictively. WOLF picks up cane slowly, grinning fiercely.)
SCENE II.--Interior, hotel room in 1st grooves.
Enter, L. to C., LEYRAC.
LEY. I have provided for my faithful servant. If I fall in the duel all is over. If I live--(pauses) I live? There is one thing more. Michaelmas! (calling to R.) Michaelmas!
LEY. Give me your hand. (DAVID excuses himself) You know that fortune has reversed our stations. I, who was your master, am a slave on your estates. When I ask you for your hand, and you give it, it is an honor you do me, my master! Still refusing? Have you forgotten what I told you when I came back to the hotel last night?
DAVID. No, I have forgotten nothing of it. I wish I could.
LEY. I was your master in France--but you are my master here, and I am your slave.
DAVID. (feelingly). Oh! think of me as you please, but don't speak of yourself in that dreadful way. Here, as everywhere, you know what I am: the devoted servant of the best and kindest master man ever had.
LEY. Thank you, David!
DAVID. I am trying to keep down my emotions, sir, but, like champagne, they will bubble up. I know I ought to be ashamed of myself, as a well-trained servant. If I was a page under a butler now, he would punch my head, and serve me deucedly well right.
LEY. There, there, that will do. My mother last night gave me this pocket-book (shows book) as the only relic of my father. There is only in it this paper, which mentions a letter in duplicate, the original probably destroyed.
DAVID. But the copy is in existence!
LEY. That is just possible. (gives pocket-book.)
DAVID. (reads paper). "The duplicate letter to the Provost-Marshal."--"In a safe hiding place"--oh, here comes the clue--"my room--six along and three across." Hem! it is not easy for a stranger to discover it from this.
LEY. The document must have been of importance to my poor mother, and, therefore, perhaps of some to me. I believe you enjoy quite a popularity among the negroes of this island?
DAVID. Well, yes, sir, that I do. There is that Mr. Plato who has quite patronized me.
LEY. Some of the people who were about my father when he died may know something. Take the pocket-book and do your best with it.
DAVID. I believe I can find the very man.
LEY. I give you full leave to spare no expense.
DAVID. I will interrogate all the old servants. Ah! I have something to live for now. A chance to serve my slave--I begin to feel as if he were my master again.
LEY. One question before you go. Is all prepared for my mother's burial?
DAVID. I regret to say, sir, that there I have done nothing.
LEY. What! nothing. You know I could not move in the matter without risking the revelation of my parentage, and yet--yet you have done nothing.
DAVID. It is not my fault, sir. Another had arranged for all the funeral, whom no one knows.
LEY. No one knows?
DAVID. No one can guess.
LEY. (aside). I can! Oh, Emily! But I must not think of that now!
DAVID (to R.). I hear somebody coming up the stairs. Do you expect anybody, sir?
LEY. Ah! yes.
LEY. It is one of Westcraft's seconds. (turns, and sees WOLF, and is surprised.)
WOLF. Is not one of you the Count de Leyrac?
LEY. That is my name. You are Mr. Westcraft's servant?
WOLF. I am Mr. Westcraft's slave.
LEY. Ah! you come to me from his friends?
WOLF. No! I come to you from master himself.
DAVID How dare you speak to the Count in that manner?
LEY. Michaelmas, keep quiet.
DAVID. I ask your pardon, sir, but the impudence of this yellow scamp was too much for me.
LEY. Keep your reproof to yourself, and leave me to speak with this messenger for me. Come in. (WOLF steps a little forward) Go, Michaelmas. (exit, DAVID, R. D.) Well, you bring me a message from your master?
WOLF. Yes. About your cane.
LEY. About my cane. (puzzled) Oh! I remember now. I left it at Miss Milburn's this morning. Where is it?
WOLF. Waiting for you in the market place.
LEY. Again! (nearer to WOLF, eyeing him steadily) Is this insolence of yours assumed, or don't you know any better? I will give you the benefit of the doubt: you don't know any better.
WOLF. (curtly). Thank you.
LEY. Answer this question civilly, if you can. Did your master tell you to say this? Yes or no?
LEY. Mr. Westcraft told you to tell me what you have repeated to me?
LEY. Very well. Mr. Westcraft wants another lesson--Mr. Westcraft shall have it! Where shall I find your master?
WOLF. Where you will find your cane.
LEY. (going R.). You shall feel my cane over your back .
WOLF. Shall I?
[Exit, LEYRAC, R. D., and WOLF same, defiantly.
SCENE III.--Market-place in 5th grooves. Very brightly lighted.
Discover NEGROES, at stalls, crossing with baskets, dancing, speechifying, and PLANTERS' WIVES making purchases and promenading. Introduce ballet by SLAVE GIRLS and grotesque dance by COMIC NEGRO. SLAVES, with baskets, crossing stage several times, calling: Aguadiente! quien bebe? Watermillions! Mangoes--who'll hab de berry best mangoes? Lively music. Small WHITE BOY enters L., and deliberately knocks down two LITTLE BLACKS in his path, and struts up C. They grin and resume playing, as if it were a matter of course.
WEST. The hour is nearly up, and yet no signs of the Frenchman and Wolf. Here! some of you! look along the road and see if you can see anything of Wolf. (aside) If Miss Milburn thinks she can throw me over for another man, Miss Milburn will find out her mistake, and, what's more, if her walk this morning extends to the market-place, she will find it out here. (goes up C., and saunters off R. U. E.)
MISS M. (R. C. front). He surely will come back this way. I must see him once more. Oh! there is his man Michaelmas.
Mr. Michaelmas, where is your master?
DAVID. I left him at the hotel, miss.
MISS M. Is he alone there?
DAVID. Yes, except that he had Mr. Westcraft's servant with him.
MISS M. Mr. Westcraft's servant? (aside) What can he want with him. (aloud) Do you think he would come out this way?
DAVID. I can't say, miss
MISS M. Well, I'll wait for him here. (takes a few steps to and fro impatiently) No! I'll go there to find him. (aside) I must see him! even if I have to meet Mr. Westcraft himself. I'll go there first, anything is better than this suspense! (off R.1 E.)
DAVID. Ha! There's something wrong there! (C.) The young lady don't seem to know her own mind for two minutes together. In the time when I was a gentleman I should have asked if I could not be of some assistance to her, but now that I am a servant, I hold my tongue and mind my own business. Well, if I have got a few minutes before me, I had better run over the task I have set to myself. (produces letter) "Duplicate letter to the Provost-Marshal"--"my room"--that is evidently the room in which he slept--"six along and three across." The puzzle lies in those last few words. Taking inches it might be a chest--taking feet, it might mean a room.
DAVID. Ah! my expected pilot.
PLATO (bows). Hab I kep' you a-waitin', sah? Sorry, sah! But de press ob culled business in dis island am puffectly oberwhelminatin' on a public man like me.
DAVID. Are the public men well paid, Mr. Plato, on this island?
PLATO (disgusted). Well paid, sah! Dey is not paid at all, sah! All I gits is a lilly encouragement and de comfort ob my own approvin' conscience. (L. of DAVID at C.)
DAVID (aside). Hem! I think I can manage this part of it very easily.
PLATO. What am de use ob my approvin' conscience? Can we eat him? Will him fine me in clothes? Will he cober me up warm in de night? I is sick ob my approvin' conscience!
DAVID. Well, Mr. Plato, about the sights of town. What is the first of your public institutions?
PLATO. Whareber de flag ob England floats, what is de fust of public institootions? Why, sah, de grog-shop roun' de corner. Ha, yah!
DAVID. Well, before we patronize that public institution, I would like to put a few questions to you upon the old families of the island--all out of pure curiosity.
PLATO. I nebah encourage idle curiosity, sah. I hab moral objections to de same. Misser Michaelmas, I wish you a berry good mornin'. (stands still, face turned from DAVID.)
DAVID. Good-morning, Mr. Plato.
DAVID. (aside). He says good-morning, but he does not stir. I understand. (aloud) Mr. Plato, have you any moral objections to receive a sovereign?
PLATO. (turning around quickly). What dat you say, sah?
DAVID. Have you any moral objections to a sovereign?
PLATO. Not if you put It in my pocket when I am lookin' de oder way. Shall I look de oder way, Misser Michaelmas?
DAVID. Not yet, Mr. Plato. I want some information. If you can give it, I will pay you handsomely, in installments of a crown at a time. Do you know where is the house of the Mr. Brentwood, that died some years ago?
PLATO. Massa Brentwood, sah! I was one ob de sarvints ob de family.
DAVID. Ah! you can look the other way.
PLATO (turns his back on DAVID, both his hands in his coat-tail pockets, looking round). A lubly mornin', sah! I nebah see de birds look nicer a bloomin' on de trees.
DAVID (drops coin in PLATO'S pocket, PLATO rattles coin in one corner, fishes it up, furtively bites it, and drops it again in pocket, joyfully). Ky!
DAVID. Is the house far from here?
PLATO. Pooty good long way from heah, sah, on de coast road to de norf.
DAVID. Does anyone live there now?
PLATO. De present owner libs in de new wing, sah.
DAVID. The new wing. (aside) Then "the old wing" means the old wing of the house. That is one mystery cleared up. Mr. Plato, I think you are looking the other way.
PLATO (facing L.). I tink not, sah!
DAVID. Oh, yes, you are.
PLATO. Well, sah, a genibleman kin look de oder way without remarkin' it to himself. (about half of those on the stage may retire gradually, ready to come on for the final tableau) Hab you eber remarked dat, Mr. Michaelmas?
DAVID. Yes, I don't know but what I have. (PLATO shakes his coat-tails significantly) Once more about the old wing. No one lives there?
PLATO (shudders). Not a soul, sah! Dat's whar Massa Brentwood died, and den dey shut up all the rooms, and nobody eber go dar since, sah.
DAVID (aside). Then things are left just as when he inhabited there? Good. (aloud) You are looking the other way this time, Mr. Plato?
PLATO. I am admiring de beauty ob my native market-place. Lubly market-place, sah!
DAVID. I see. (drops coin in PLATO'S pocket.)
DAVID. Now then, I want a guide to take me to the old wing.
PLATO. Nobody is allowed to go dar, sah. Dey wouldn't let you dar eben if you axed.
DAVID. Then I shall go without asking.
PLATO. You want a guide, sah?
DAVID. Yes. Can you find me one to point me out the room in which Mr. Brentwood died?
PLATO. I am the only living man that knows de ole wing.
DAVID. Ah! (aside) I have been too hasty with my second crown. I will weigh the next more carefully. Mr. Plato, no, you needn't look the other way yet. I should like to take a walk along the road to the north. The rest of the sovereign will be found under the window of Mr. Brentwood's room.
PLATO. Dar won't be any risk to me, sah?
PLATO. Misser Michaelmas, dis is just do mornin' for a walk along de coast road to de norf. Permit me to offer you my arm, sah?
DAVID. Thank you.
PLATO (going L. with DAVID). Mine the pebbles in the road, sah? Don't 'tep in de puddle! (at L. D.) Dis way, sah, dis way. Ont ob de way dar, you white niggahs! Mine de 'tep, sah!
[Exit, with DAVID, L. 2 E. D.
WEST. The Frenchman is coming at last. Ah! (in satisfaction) I am glad of it. (cane in hand) Let her but come as I am correcting him, and it will be just the triumph I want. (L. C. front.)
WEST. So you have come at last?
LEY. You have sent me a message relative to that whip which you hold in your hand. Do you want another lesson such as I taught you this morning? Are you responsible for the insolence of this man? (meaning WOLF.)
WEST. Settle it with the man! (WOLF looks at LEYRAC and smiles defiantly) What does it matter to me?
LEY. Hark ye, Mr. Planter, I gave you the option of settling our quarrel like a gentleman.
WEST. Are you so vain as to imagine that any friend of mine would take a message to you? (ALL on for picture.)
LEY. Is that your answer?
WEST. All my answer, yes.
LEY. (drawing glove off). Then, take mine! (strikes WESTCRAFT across face with glove.)
WEST. Bear witness, all of ye, that he has struck me in the face with his glove.
LEY. What! do you call witnesses to your degradation? Is there no shame in you?
WEST. (sternly, with suppressed passion. Wait a bit. You shall see. Wolf.
WOLF. Master? (to C.)
WEST. How many years' experience have you had in flogging my slaves? (LEYRAC R. C.)
WOLF. Four years!
WEST. (gives WOLF cane). Could you flog a slave with that cane?
WOLF (lays blow right and left with cane, making it whistle in the air). Yes!
WEST (points to LEYRAC) Seize that man! (confusion. WOMEN stand back affrighted.)
VOICES. No, no! the French gentleman!
WEST. Who calls him a French gentleman? He is a slave!
ALL. Oh! (emotion.)
WEST. (to LEYRAC, tauntingly) The wind on the leaves of the roof last night was I! (LEYRAC falls back confounded) Ha! you see! he cannot deny it! (murmurs. The PLANTERS fall away from LEYRAC and side with WESTCRAFT) Stand back! would you break the laws? You know what is the penalty when a white man is struck by a slave. (WOLF gets three or four NEGROES to prepare to rush on LEYRAC.)
LEY. (fiercely). Wolf! if you want to see a coward, look at your master.
WOLF. Ha, ha! now, then, boys! (they seize LEYRAC, struggle. Hurried music.)
WEST. (laughing). Seize him up! That's right! Bear him to the whipping post. (LEYRAC kneels to him.
MISS M. Hold! (embraces LEYRAC, who is kneeling, exhausted.)
WEST. Are you mad! you are touching him?
MISS M. I am touching him.
WEST. You see the people around you?
MISS M. (scornfully). I see the people.
WEST. He is a slave!
MISS M. (with great force). I love him. (NEGROES and the foreign merchants cheer. Hurrah! The PLANTERS silence the NEGROES. ALL form picture.)
SCENE I.--Interior in 3rd grooves. Gas down in house and on stage, except U. E. and L. 1 R., off stage.
(Voice of PLATO R. U. corner). Dis am de winder ob Massa Brentwood's room, sah.
(Voice of DAVID, same). Place the steps. Now, stand out of the way. (hammers on shutters, opens them. Cobwebs fall and are torn apart. Gas gradually on, quarter turn. DAVID opens window sash Gas on, half-turn.)
DAVID enters by window and stands R. C., a little up, looking round as if puzzled by the darkness after the sun light. Gas up full in house and on stage.
DAVID. If every house-breaker felt as I do at present, the ancient and honorable profession of house-breaking would be at a discount. The foul air is fighting bravely with the damp oppression of the death-room. Mr. Plato. (at C.)
PLATO (shows his head at window, as if he were on ladder there). Yis, Misser Michaelmas.
DAVID. You found the tools? Where is that measuring rule that we borrowed of the carpenter as we came along?
PLATO (gives rule, putting his arm into room with great caution). Here am de rule, sah.
DAVID. Thank you. Are you not coming in, Mr. Plato?
PLATO (in fright). N-n-no, tank you, sah!
DAVID. There's nothing here but the things just as they were left when it was closed up. What are your objections to coming in?
PLATO. Coming into dat room, sah! I hab reasons ob my own. You see dis nose on my face? (taps nose)
DAVID. Well, it is rather flat, but still it is a nose. What then?
PLATO. What den, sah? A good deal, den, sah. Do you smell nuffin, Mr. Michaelmas?
DAVID. I can't sniffle like that, but I can only notice the smell of a room that has not been aired for years.
PLATO. You call dat de 'mell ob a room dat hab not been aired for yeah, sah?
DAVID. That's all. What do you call it?
PLATO (solemnly). I call dat de 'mell ob a ghose, sah!
DAVID. A ghost's smell! ha, ha!
PLATO. An' my nose hab strong objections to dat 'mell. I present my compliments to Massa Brentwood, and beg to leab him alone wid you, sah. Good-morning, Misser Michaelmas!
DAVID. Good-morning. (PLATO disappears) It seems the blacks have a host of virtues, amongst which is a delicate instinct for a ghost. Where is that paper? (gets paper from pocket) "My room in the old wing," So far, so good. "Six along and three across." A matter of measurement. Suppose (hesitates) I begin with the bed? (goes to bed, measures its length with rule.)
PLATO (head appears at window. Misser Michaelmas!
DAVID. Well, my friend with the delicate nose, (continues his measuring) what now?
PLATO. I present my compliments, and beg to add a lilly posescript.
PLATO. S'pose you find any money in dat room?
PLATO. I goes shares, sah, wid you, sah. Misser Michaelmas, I beg to wish you good-morning, (disappears.)
DAVID (impatiently). Oh, good-morning. (music, mysterious) Another talent of Mr. Plato's--a keen eye for the main chance. (shakes his head) No, it is clear Mr. Brentwood has not confided his secret to his bed. Stop! I'll try the floor. (goes R.) I have been measuring in feet--now I will measure in yards. (measures stage across from R.) Four--six--twelve--fourteen--confound it! (L. C.) it comes just in the middle of a board. Well, three across. (measures down from flat) Here is the point. The board is loose. (lifts board a little, stamps on the floor) Ugh! plenty of crawling creatures, at all events--spiders, centipedes, and such odd things--but not a line of written paper. I will try some other plan.
PLATO (shows his head as before). Misser Michaelmas!
DAVID. You, again? If you keep climbing up and down those steps much more, you'll convert them into a treadmill. What business has prompted you now?
PLATO. I present my compliments, and beg to offer another lilly posescript.
DAVID. Your conversation is like young ladies' letters, all postscripts.
PLATO. Why should two genblemen dispute about de money? I say, sah, you give me a dirty, lilly ten pounds down, and you hab all you git.
DAVID. I present, my compliments, and I beg to decline your offer. Good-morning, Mr. Plato.
PLATO (disgusted). De drefful greediness ob de white man am somefin' awful to behold. Mr. Michaelmas! Mr. Michaelmas! you are not going to lose a fortune for de sake of a lilly trumpetry ten poun' note? Don't you do it, sah! you'll git 'nuff money to pay off all de debts on you' estate.
DAVID. I shall have to be quick about it, as it is to be disposed of to-day for the benefit of the mortgagees.
PLATO. Did you speak, sah?
DAVID (shortly. No!
PLATO. You say you will gib me de ten poun' down?
DAVID. Go to the devil! (R.)
PLATO (solemnly). I renounce de debble, sah! I forgib you, Misser Michaelmas! When all de money comes tumbling out ob de wall 'bout your ears, you'll be sorry for dis!
DAVID (laughs). Comes tumbling out of the wall! ha, ha! does he think--eh? Why not, after all?
PLATO. Misser Michaelmas, you hab transgressed ag'nist de laws ob politeness. As a polite man myself, I beg to mention anoder lilly posescript!
DAVID. Oh, bother!
PLATO. No boder, sah--it's a pleasure. I want to make a poppersition. I present my compliments and beg to offer you my hat, sah! all de money dat you fine, you put in him hat, an' all de money what tumbles froo dat hat comes to me, and all de money what stops in de hat, goes to you. (throws hat in.)
DAVID (examines hat and puts his arm through it). All the money that does not tumble through the hat comes to me? Thank you for nothing. (tosses hat to PLATO) Have I been measuring all this time instead of counting? Where will I commence!? Oh, the pattern on the wall.
PLATO. Misser Michaelmas, won't you hab de hat, wid Misser Plato's compliments.
DAVID. Pshaw! (looks up at flat, R.) The window is in the way. I will try the top row of roses on the other side. (to L ) "Six along"-- down from that--one--two--three--that's the rose. But how to reach it. (stands upon bed.)
PLATO. I don't know whether I am most frightened ob losing de money or ob seein' de ghost! (sits up on window-sill, about to enter) Does yer see de money, sah?
DAVID (with joy). Oh!
PLATO (in terror). Ky! (tumbles out of window.)
DAVID (eagerly, hand at trap in flat Here is a piece of the matting loose and a bit of string hanging from it--a letter at the end of the string! Hurrah! (gets off of bed and runs to window with letter in his hand. Knocks the dust off it) I can hardly read it for joy! "Duplicate of the letter to the Provost-Marshal." Oh, my master! I must go back to town without delay.
PLATO (shows his head). Misser Michaelmas!
DAVID. Out of the way!
PLATO. Hab you foun' de money!
DAVID. Out of the way! I am going to jump for it! Out of the way! (PLATO disappears, DAVID leaps out of window, waving letter.)
PLATO (as if he had been jumped upon, screams). A-a-ah!
SCENE II.--Prison interior in 1st grooves.
Enter, R., JAILOR. Enter, R., MISS MILBURN.
MISS M. I want to speak to the Count de Leyrac. Here is the magistrate's order, (gives paper. JAILER looks at paper, bows, crosses to L., unlocks L. D., and then goes off L., pros. E.)
LEY. Good-morning, my darling. You are most welcome!
MISS M. I bring you good news, Maurice.
LEY. You were sure to be the first to bring that. (takes her hand.)
MISS M. The sympathies of everybody on the island are with you. The magistrates themselves are all in your favor. There is proof that you insulted Mr. Westcraft in the market-place, but none that you are a slave. You are only known as the Count de Leyrac. Oh! what a charming thing Justice is--when it is on your own side! You will pass a formal examination, and leave the court as free as other men. But how you look at me. Do you so admire me?
LEY. I admire you, and I love you with all my heart and soul!
MISS M. You must have patience, my love. Come, come, my hand has nothing to do with it.
LEY. Is the day so far off when the hand will be mine?
MISS M. Ah! that may be nearer than you have expected. Mr. Westcraft insisted on my giving a definite answer to his pretensions. I shall find much pleasure in so doing.
LEY. I who am to stand as one of them amongst the slaves! can I concern myself with marriage?
MISS M. Now, I dislike you. Ah, hear me! I almost rejoice that your misfortunes have come. I can prove my esteem of you by saying: Slave or free, I love you! Maurice, will you take my hand?
LEY. As the hand of my wife?
MISS M. (smiling). If you have no objections, sir!
LEY. And when will we be married? To-day?
MISS M. You are in a great hurry, sir! Ah! it is not easy to say so, but I know you will not think the worse of me for it, but--but I have hastened the time of our marriage.
LEY. You! Ah, I understand, (gloomily) Your friends----
MISS M. No! You don't understand. My friends may suppose what they like, and say what they will. Marriage, in my eyes, is too sacred to be made a refuge from the opinion of the world. I have no parents--you are an orphan. To me you are the world. Slave or free, what is that to me? To-morrow there is a ship sails for France--will you go with it, and take me with you, as your wife?
LEY. Emily! (embraces her) Does there a man live who is worthy of you?
MISS M. I think there does.
MARSHAL, Count Maurice de Leyrac, I regret that I have an unpleasant commission to perform. (R.)
LEY. (C., with MISS M. on his left). What is it, sir?
MAR. It is my official duty here to be present at the sale of slaves.
MISS M. My dear Provost-Marshal, that duty will be rendered less unpleasant by one exception to-day.
MAR. I run glad to hear it.
LEY. Stay, Emily. It is for me not to permit any thoughts injurious to my love of truth to be circulated. As far as regards me, your duty must be exercised.
MISS M. My darling, you are not bound to criminate yourself by revealing the secret of your birth.
MAR. You have only to remain silent. Mr. Westcraft has no written proof--and so matters will be in what is popularly termed a dead-lock.
LEY. I am not bound to volunteer any evidence that will injure me, but, if questions are directly put to me, I must not in honor permit my silence to pass for consent.
MAR. I must ask you certain leading questions, which will be registered in the records of the court.
LEY. Then, come what may I will not deny the mother that bore me! I am the son of Ruth the Quadroon! (MISS M. tries to check his speaking.
MISS M. Oh! think of me! Don't speak of that!
MAR. Though the consequences may be of such grievous import to yourself.
LEY. Knowing far more of the consequences than you think!
MAR. Sir, I respect you! (offers his hand which LEYRAC eagerly takes.)
LEY. Ah! thank you!
MISS M. (to MARSHAL). I will not be behind my husband in truth and self-sacrifice! Slave or free, you shall have the hand that I promised you!
MAR. Miss Milburn, you are a woman in a thousand!
MISS M. No! (embraces LEYRAC) I am only a woman who loves.
MISS M. What do you want here?
WEST. Ah! To tell you that the so-called Count de Laryac is included in the bill of sale. Does he deny he is a slave?
MAR. Alas! he will speak the truth.
WEST. You are wanted to attend the sale.
WEST. In an hour.
Miss M. (joyfully) Then there is time to do what I wish for. Mr. Marshal, you were an old friend of my father's.
MISS M. Well, will you do me a favor? I know you will. The rector is at my house, and all is ready for the ceremony; will you attend and give me away!
MAR. With the greatest pleasure!
WEST. Remember you are answerable for that man.
MISS M. (tauntingly). The Provost-Marshal shall not lose sight of him, sir!
WEST. I shall have the pleasure, Miss Milburn, of attending the sale and buying your husband.
MISS M. I shall attend and outbid you!
[Exit MARSHAL, R , MISS M. and LEYRAC to R.
WEST. (C.). What! would you spend all your fortune on him?
MISS M. (looking back, at R. D.) To the last mark!
[Exit R., with LEYRAC, affectionately.
WEST. (alone). Baffled! She meant what she said! And her fortune is more than mine. How shall I act? Let me see--(reads paper) "All the property composing the Michaelmas estate, moveables, standing crops and in store and mill, cattle, slaves and buildings--" "To be sold at public auction, unless previously disposed of by private contract!" (repeats excitedly) How did I come not to see that! by private sale! he's mine! he's mine at last!
SCENE III.--Market-place in 5th grooves, same as Scene III., Act II. Groups and market-people as before. PLANTERS, some with rattans and cowhides, strolling about, note-books in hand, smoking, etc.
FIRST PLANTER. What can all this mean? The first lot of the niggers hasn't yet arrived.
SECOND PLANTER. It begins to look like no sale.
FIRST P. Who'll come along of me around to the Provost-Marshal's? (going up.)
SECOND P. (up R ). Oh! here comes the Provost-Marshal.
MAR. What does this all mean?
SECOND P. There's no sale.
FIRST P. It ought to have been begun half an hour ago.
MAR. I will go to my office and see what has caused the delay.
WEST. The sale is stopped.
MISS M. (to LEYRAC). What does he mean? (uneasy. LEYRAC tries to quiet her.)
WEST. Yes. The notice has been sent to your office. (to MISS M.) It means that you rated your husband at the value of all your fortune, and I have rated my revenge at the whole value of mine. That is my slave! Take leave of your wife and come!
MISS M. (clinging to LEYRAC). He cannot part us! I will go with you! anywhere!
WEST. I forbid it! I forbid his wife to live on my plantation! He has married without his master's consent.
MISS M. (to MARSHAL). Oh! they cannot separate me from him?
MAR. (affected). I fear that the--the laws, in fact, he can.
WEST. Do you hear that?
LEY. Mr. Planter, your slave wishes a word with you on the subject of his wife.
WEST. Ha, ha! so you have found your tongue at last. You were silent enough the last time we met.
LEY. The last time that we met, and the other times that we have met, I was conscious that I came in between you, and the woman of your love. Besides, I was once or twice guilty of having given way to my passion towards you. Yet, I bore many an insult from you before I turned to chastise. I offered you the satisfaction of a gentleman, but you refused it. Then I insulted you in the public market place. Still you were the injured man.
WEST. I was the injured man. (loftily) Pray, how is it that I am not so now?
LEY. Your conduct this day to me in the presence of my wife! If the wrong I had done you had been a thousand times what it is, what you have done would be exacting its requital ten-fold! You refused to meet me sword in hand, and waited till you might hold the slave-whip. Villain, you have taken the coward's vengeance! You strike at me through my wife's heart! Reptile! you forbore the sting until she was on my bosom. (PLANTERS stand back from WESTCRAFT. WOLF enters, R. U. E., and comes down R., to stay behind WESTCRAFT) Tiger! you waited for this moment to tear her from me! (MISS MILBURN sobs, clinging to LEYRAC. Tenderly) What, tears! Don't cry! Your tears are a part of his vengeance! Look up! (fiercely, as before) Your slave defies you! Never can you sever what God and man have brought together! The prison is not strong enough to hold me! the whip is not twisted that can tame me! the laws not made that can keep me from her. Now, here she is! on her husband's breast! heart to heart! part us--part us, if you dare! and, by Heaven! you will do it at the peril of your life!
WEST. (laughs). Ha! my prison will hold you.
MISS M. (sobbing). No, no!
WEST. My lash will tame you! But I waste words on you. Wolf!
LEY. Try it!
WEST. For the last time, will you follow me? (Business. LEYRAC tries to release himself from MISS M. in order to fight with WOLF and other NEGROES.)
DAVID. Oh, master! (ALL fall back from LEYRAC) I have found it! (looks around, puzzled) What can have happened? You forget, sir--it is the letter that was hidden.
LEY. No matter! (tries to restore MISS M. to consciousness out of her faint, L.)
DAVID. But it may be of some importance. Oh! there is something wrong here!
LEY. Another time, good David! I cannot attend to it now.
DAVID. But it's the Brentwood letter! I found it by the instructions in the pocket-book of Ruth the quadroon.
WEST. What's that about Ruth the quadroon? If it concerns her son I claim an interest in it as his master. Let it be taken care of for me.
DAVID (to MARSHAL). It is directed to you, sir.
MAR. (takes letter). To me! Mr. Brentwood's handwriting! Mention of a duplicate letter addressed to me--I never received any letter-- could his jealous wife have suppressed it? Ah! (opens letter.)
WEST. There, now, will you follow me? (speaks to WOLF animatedly.)
DAVID (aside). I understand now! he is a slave on his plantation. Oh!
MAR. (aside). A few moments' delay will be a grace for his poor wife. (reads letter and evinces surprise and joy) What is this I see! can I credit it!
WEST. Come don't read it to yourself, but read it aloud.
MAR. You wish me to read it aloud. Ha, ha! Thanks to your interference, Mr. Westcraft, I have read this now when I might otherwise have deferred it, and repented my delay all the rest of my life. I hold here in my hand a paper of manumission signed and sealed by Mr. Brentwood, in favor of the son of Ruth.
WEST. What's that you say? (all are amazed.)
MAR. I congratulate you, Mr. Westcraft. You have bought the Michaelmas estate, but you have not bought Maurice de Leyrac.
WEST. It's a forgery! I dispute it!
MAR. A man like you always disputes the truth! (PLANTERS flock round MARSHAL to examine the papers.)
WEST. I'll spend every penny I have to contest it.
DAVID (L. C.). You can't! for you have spent every penny you have to buy my estate.
WEST. Oh! curse you all! (they laugh at him. He and WOLF and several NEGROES go up and exeunt R. U. E.)
MISS M. I live again. You are free! (takes LEYRAC'S hand, C.)
LEYRAC. No! (kisses her hand) I am your slave! (Picture.)
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