JUDGE DOUGLAS—Robert Clark
MRS. DOUGLAS—Alice Lyon
LINDY DOUGLAS—Dorothy Greene
LIEUT. CHARLES DOUGLAS, C.S.A...—Scott Fitzgerald
LIEUT. PERCY ALTWATER, C.S.A...—Gustave Schurmeier
JIM HOLWORTHY—Lawrence Boardman
CECILIA ASHTON—Eleanor Alair
VIRGINIA TAYLOR—Katherine Schulze
CAPT. ORMSBY, U.S.A—Wharton Smith
CLARA DOUGLAS—Letitia Magoffin
TOMMY DOUGLAS—Rudolf Patterson
MISS PRUIT—Elizabeth McDavitt
ANGELINA BANGS—Julia Dorr
PRIVATE WILLINGS—Scott Fitzgerald
PRIVATE BARKIS—Gustave Schurmeier
PRIVATE JOHNSON—Robert Clark
Scene—Living room in the home of Judge Douglas somewhere in Virginia. Rich furnishings in colonial style of the period.
(Discovered at rise of curtain—Judge Douglas, seated in invalid chair. Mrs. Douglas near him. Judge Douglas seems to be disturbed about something. In his hand he shakes a bouquet of fresh flowers.)
JUDGE D.: I tell you I won’t have it! I can’t have it!
MRS. D.: I’m sure he’s a good boy.
JUDGE D.: Good? Good be hanged! I’d rather see him a human devil and off to the war, than hanging around here when every able-bodied man in the South is fighting. If I were able to walk I’d be there against the Yanks if I had only a broomstick. And the idea of that impudent young jackanapes paying attention to our daughter Lindy!—Bah!
MRS. D.: Well, I’m sure she doesn’t encourage him.
JUDGE D.: That’s not to her credit. If she did encourage him she’d be a lunatic.
MRS. D.: Arthur!
JUDGE D.: That’s what she’d be—A lunatic.
MRS. D.: But she hasn’t encouraged him.
JUDGE D.: Then why did he send her these? Why, tell me?
MRS. D.: I’m sure I don’t know.
JUDGE D.: Call in Jeff. I’ll show him!
MRS. D.: (Rings bell.)
JUDGE D.: Throw these in the ash barrel, and any more from young Jim Hoi worthy as well. I’ll have no stay-at-homes making love to my daughter.
MRS. D.: I’m sure Lindy will see that a young man like that is not for her to become intimate with, but I see no harm in her seeing him.
JUDGE D.: But I do. Ned Holworthy himself said to me that he considered his son Jim a disgrace to his family. Why didn’t he enlist with my Charley and the rest?
JEFF: Dere’s somebody comin’. (Looking out window.)
MRS. D.: I suppose it’s the mail.
JEFF: No’m, it’s a female—two of ‘em. (Starts to leave.)
JUDGE D.: Where’s that Jeff? Where is her Ring the bell. Oh, there you are. I can’t talk to Lindy now. I’m liable to use violent language.
MRS. D.: Wheel Mr. Douglas to the side veranda and then leave him. He is testy today.
(Exit Jeff wheeling Judge Douglas in chair.)
(Enter Lindy, followed by Cecilia.)
LINDY: (In doorway.) Goodbye Ellen. Goodbye Miss Hazelton.
MRS. D.: That you, Lindy?
LINDY: Yes Mother.
MRS. D.: Oh, hello Cecilia.
CECILIA: Good morning, Mrs. Douglas. How’s everybody over here?
MRS. D.: All well. How’s your Mother, Cecilia?
CECILIA: She hasn’t been the same since John was shot.
MRS. D.: (Sighs.) Ah yes, I know. Charley’s well—praise be to heaven—but one son is not too much to give to the cause. Tommy would go if he were only old enough.
LINDY: Let’s not be doleful, Mother. I reckon I’ve got troubles enough. Look—(Holding out sewing.) Uniforms to make for Charley. How he can ever wear through a cloth this thick is a mystery to me, and yet they do—and always want more.
MRS. D.: Lindy, that’s no way to talk—You may be thankful you still have a brother to sew for.
LINDY: Well, I can’t help it—It is annoying! It’s sew, sew, sew—
I wish I were a man or at least as small as Tommy so that I could pretend I was.
CECILIA: Mrs. Douglas, what do you think? This morning I got all dressed for riding, boots and all, came down stairs and found that Kate, my new saddle horse, was gone.
MRS. D. and LINDY: Stolen?
CECILIA: NO, sent ahead to the Army. I guess I’ll be a pedestrian till Jeff Davis sits in Washington.
LINDY: Which will be a long while, I am afraid.
(Outside a fife is heard. Enter Tommy and Clara Douglas dressed as soldiers, Miss Pruit, their governess, following, carrying gun.)
TOMMY: Halt! Good morning, lady. You haven’t a pair of shoes for a poor old campaigner, have you? I haven’t eaten anything but salt pork since Bull Run.
CLARA: YOU ain’t going to eat shoes, are you?
TOMMY: Silence, Private Clara! If you speak again, I’ll make you the camp followers and advance Miss Pruit to the main army.
Miss PRUIT: Mrs. Douglas, do I have to stand for this? I’ve been the camp followers and the deserters and the Northerners all day. I wish I had remained in Boston as my folks advised, but I wouldn’t take the trip now for the Pilgrim Fathers themselves.
CECILIA: There aren’t going to be Pilgrim Fathers much longer, Miss Pruit.
MISS PRUIT: I want you to know, Miss Ashton, that my cousin’s aunt’s grandmother on my father’s side is related to Governor Bradford of New York.
CECILIA and LINDY: Oh excuse us, Miss Pruit!
TOMMY: Major Douglas, I think she’s a spy. If I mistake not, Boston is somewhere in Pennsylvania?
CLARA: You’re right.
TOMMY: TO the guard house. Charge! (They charge on Miss Pruity and all exit.)
LINDY: I guess they’ve all got the war spirit.
(Enter Angelina Bangs.)
ANGELINA: Good morning.
MRS. D.: Angelina. Come in.
ANGELINA: If I may. I am perusing a most attractive little book.
LINDY: What is it?
ANGELINA: The life of St. Cecilia. Your namesake, dear friend.
CECILIA: Here comes a sermon.
ANGELINA: Such a sweet book!
LINDY: And so dry!!
MRS. D.: Lindy, I’ve often wished that you were more like Angelina.
ANGELINA: I wish every one was.
CECILIA: Generous creature!
MRS. D.: Cecilia!!
ANGELINA: I have already forgiven her. You should learn, dear girl, not to be hasty.
MRS D.: There’s something for you to practice, Lindy.
LINDY: But I can’t be sanctimonious.
ANGELINA: But you can try. I, alas, have had hard struggles. I inherit all the low impulses of my father’s family, the Bangs. It is a continual struggle for the Angeline to overcome the Bangs. Alas, the Bangs often overcomes. This morning—I confess it with a tear of shame—I came very close to exclaiming “Rats!” in an ill-natured manner.
CECILIA: Oh do tell us. Did the Bangs win?
ANGELINA: NO, the Angelina conquered.
LINDY: I’m so glad.
ANGELINA: I must be going, Mrs. Douglas. Goodbye. Children, you have my prayers. (Exit.)
LINDY: What a sanctimonious creature!
CECILIA: I’d like to see the Bangs get out just once.
LINDY: It never will.
CECILIA: Oh Mrs. Douglas, will you show me that pattern for the coats?
MRS. D.: Certainly Celia; I’ve been meaning to. Come upstairs. (Turns toward door leading to hall.)
(Enter Jeff. He sees that Lindy is not alone, so retreats in haste.)
MRS. D.: I wonder what he wanted?
LINDY: Probably wants to sample some of Daddy’s cigars. (Exit Mrs. Douglas and Cecilia.)
(Enter Jeff, cautiously.)
JEFF: Ex-excuse me, Miss Lindy, bu-but dere’s a personal mattah I got to broach to you.
LINDY: All right Jeff, what is it?
JEFF: Dere’s a gemmen outside said he’d relieve ma present pecuniary emba’ssment if ah’d give yoh dis here note. He ain’t no friend o’ yoh father’s.
LINDY: Oh, it’s Mr. Jim Holworthy. (Reads note.) He wants to see me. Show him in.
(Enter Jeff, followed by Jim Holworthy.)
JEFF: I renounce Mistah James Holworthy.
JIM: Ah—ah—Morning, Miss Lindy.
LINDY: Good morning, Mr. Holworthy.
JIM: I—ah—just happened to be passing, so I thought I’d say “hello” with you.
JIM: Hello. I guess I’ll be going.
LINDY: Won’t you sit down? Take Mr. Holworthy’s hat, Jeff.
(Jeff starts to take hat.)
JIM: Hey there, what are you doing?
LINDY: It’s all right, Mr. Holworthy.
JIM: Sit down. Well, up—that is, begging your pardon. (Gets up and reaches for hat.)
LINDY: You may go, Jeff.
JEFF: Yassum, I’m agoin’. Mistah Holworthy ain’t forgot sumpin, is he?
JIM: Oh yes. Hmm—ah—(Fumbles in pockets.) Can you change ten cents, Miss Lindy?
LINDY: (Shakes her head.)
JIM: Well, here’s the money. It’s more than I intended. (Gives money to Jeff.)
JEFF: Ten cents Confederate!
LINDY: Jeff, go out at once!
JIM: If there ain’t ten cents gone quick!
LINDY: That’s too bad, Mr. Holworthy.
JIM: Yes, it is. (Pause.) Are you feeling well?
LINDY: Pretty well, thank you. How are you?
JIM: I reckon I’m all right; how are you?—I mean—oh you’re all right—you just said so.
LINDY: Yes. (Pause.)
JIM: How’s your mother?
JIM: Your father?
LINDY: Fine, thank you.
TIM: Your little sister?
LINDY: She’s all right.
JIM: And your brother?
LINDY: He’s right well.
JIM: Ain’t there a governess?
JIM: HOW’S she?
LINDY: Fine. (Pause.)
JIM: HOW are all the niggers?
LINDY: All right, I reckon.
JIM: That’s good. You’re all right, ain’t you?
LINDY: Oh yes, thank you. (Pause.)
JIM: Ah—ha! ha! (Laughs.)
LINDY: Are you ill?
JIM: Ill—Me? No, I ain’t sick.
LINDY: Then what are you laughing at?
JIM: Did you get those flowers I sent you?
JIM: Yes, flowers.
LINDY: What flowers?
JIM: The ones I sent you.
LINDY: Why no. (Rings.) That’s powerful funny!
JIM: Didn’t you get them? I left them at the door. (Enter Jeff.)
LINDY: Jeff, did I get some flowers this morning?
JEFF: Well, not exactly—You didn’t get ‘em, you received ‘em.
LINDY: Where are they?
JEFF: Why, yoh fathah—yoh fathah, he—he done planted ‘em.
LINDY: W—— There? Where?
JEFF: (Waves both hands.) Oh, all ‘round.
LINDY: Where, Jeff?
JEFF: In de—in de ash can.
JIM: They ain’t going to grow in the ash can, Miss Lindy. No kind of flowers going to grow in the ash can.
LINDY: You may go, Jeff.
JIM: I reckon those flowers are ruined. I suspicion your father ain’t over crazy about me somehow.
JIM: Yes. No man that grows flowers is going to plant them in an ash can unless he doesn’t want them to grow, Miss Lindy.
LINDY: How astute you are.
JIM: Oh yes, I am rather clever, but I don’t know—they don’t seem to care overmuch for me around here somehow.
LINDY: They don’t?
JIM: Father wanted me to go to war, but I didn’t care about it particularly. By the way, Miss Lindy, I’ve got a little matter I’d like to speak to you about.
LINDY: What’s that?
JIM: Do you want to get married?
LINDY: Eventually, I reckon. Why?
JIM: Oh, I just wondered.
JIM: What do you think of me?
LINDY: What do I think of you?
JIM: Yes, for a husband.
LINDY: I reckon you’d make a good husband.
JIM: YOU do?—Say, that’s fine. Well Lindy—
LINDY: Miss Lindy!
JIM: Why, ain’t we engaged?
LINDY: (Laughing.) Oh horrors, no! I didn’t say a good husband for me. I said a good husband for somebody else.
JIM: (Crestfallen.) Then—then say you’ll be a sister to me.
JIM: I was reading a story the other day, and the lady said she’d be a sister to the man she turned down.
LINDY: I’m afraid I can’t.
JIM: Well, could you be an aunt or a grandmother?
LINDY: Mr. Holworthy, my advice to you is right here: Before you come around proposing to a girl, you had better go out with my brother and the rest and do some fighting. Then people would have some use for you. Do you know why my father doesn’t like you?
LINDY: He thinks you are a coward.
JIM: (Calmly.) Does he?
LINDY: You’re a fine one! You sit right there and let me call you a coward, with no remonstrance?
JIM: What do you want me to do?—Hit you?
LINDY: Why didn’t you enlist when the rest did?
JIM: I thought one man wouldn’t make any difference and I didn’t care particularly how the war came out anyway, and there were plenty to go without me.
LINDY: Every man counts, Mr. Holworthy, and I and everyone else would respect you more if you had joined the army.
JIM: DO you really think so, Miss Lindy?
LINDY: Yes I do.
JIM: (Starting to go.) Well, goodbye.
LINDY: Where are you going?
JIM: I’m going to enlist.
(Enter Virginia on run.)
VIRGINIA: Oh Lindy, news, news! Our army is retreating and will pass by here within half an hour by the Royd Turnpike.
LINDY: And Charley’s regiment?
VIRGINIA: Your brother’s regiment is with them.
LINDY: Oh, what news! Mother! Mother! (Calling.)
MRS. D.: (Outside.) Yes Lindy?
LINDY: Come down quick. Virginia, how do you know?
VIRGINIA: The advance guard is already in sight. My little brother Dick rode out to make sure, and he was right. It’s Early’s division of Lee’s army.
(Enter Mrs. Douglas and Cecilia.)
MRS. D.: What’s the matter, Lindy? Oh, howdy, Virginia.
VIRGINIA: The army! Oh the army! Celia, rejoice, rejoice! Charley is coming home. Isn’t it perfectly romantic!
MRS. D.: For an hour perhaps.
VIRGINIA: (Sits at pano and plays “Away Down South in Dixie.”)
(Enter Tommy and Clara Douglas and Governess.)
TOMMY: Oh Mother, may I go out and see the soldiers? May I? May I? (Jumping with excitement.)
CLARA: Yes Mother, may I?
MRS. D.: Very well, children.
CLARA AND TOMMY: THANKS’ MOTHER.
(Exit Tommy and Clara on run.)
(Hoofbeats heard outside.)
(Enter Charley, followed by Percy.)
CHARLEY: Well Mother, I’m back again, Sister too, and Celia. (Embraces them all in turn.) Mother, this is my friend, Lieutenant Altwater. He’s an English sympathizer who came over and joined us.
MRS. D, CECILIA, VIRGINIA AND LINDY: We’re glad to meet you, Lieutenant Altwater. (Etc.)
PERCY: Delighted, I’m sure. You know, I haven’t seen a girl for six months. I declare I thought I’d die! You know, I love the girls, and alas they return the compliment.
VIRGINIA: (Thrilled.) Oh, are you a sharpshooter?
PERCY: Me? No, no, I’m in the Infantry, mounted at present.
CECILIA: Infant? Infant? A regiment of very young men?
PERCY: No, no,—Those on foot—Anyone on foot.
CECILIA: Oh girls, then we’re all infantries. (Laughs.)
VIRGINIA: HOW perfectly romantic!
MRS. D.: HOW do you like the army, Mr. Altwater.
PERCY: Very well, except for the servants. You know, they object to my keeping two valets. Isn’t it outrageous? I started out with a manicure lady but she eloped with my footman. Then my groom drank some of that bully Kentucky whiskey, and alas I don’t know where he is now!
VIRGINIA: How deliciously sentimental! Come, would you not like to see the place?
PERCY: I’d love to. (Extends arm to Virginia.) It reminds me of an old shooting lodge I’ve got up in Suffolk.
(Exit Percy and Virginia.)
CHARLEY: Well Mother, we’re rich. Our cavalry company fell in with a Yankee commissary train and here are twelve thousand dollars Union money. That’s shoes, guns, and what not for our whole division. Looks good to us. I’m acting commissary since old Wilkins was shot. Twelve thousand! That helps along.
LINDY: HOW long can you stay, Charley?
CHARLEY: Five minutes more. The division has passed now, and the Union advance is right behind us. But where is Father?
(Enter Judge Douglas, wheeled by Jeff.)
JUDGE D.: My son!
CHARLEY: Father! (They clasp hands.)
JUDGE Well, I’m mighty glad to see you. You don’t look any the worse for wear.
CHARLEY: I’ve been fine—A little scratch on my forehead—Nothing to speak of.
GIRLS and MRS. D.: Oh!
CHARLEY: Hardly drew blood, I assure you.
JUDGE D.: Charley, you are just in time to tell your sister what kind of a man Jim Holworthy is. He’s been sending her flowers.
CHARLEY: Jim Holworthy been sending Lindy flowers? Why Lindy, do you know that that man is a rank quitter? He’s a stay-at-home! The day we organized our company he refused to join, and wouldn’t give any reason. He’s—he’s—why—if he does it again I’ll take him out and horsewhip him!
LINDY: There, there, Charley, your little sister is quite old enough to take care of herself. Mr. Holworthy has just enlisted at my bidding.
CHARLEY: I didn’t know he had the nerve.
JUDGE D.: Oh, so you’ve seen him lately, have you? I’ll cane him!
LINDY: There, Father, it’s all right.
JUDGE D.: But I tell you it isn’t all right! He can’t—
(Exit Judge Douglas and Jeff.)
PERCY: Charley old sport, we’d better be going. We’re behind the column now, and the Yankee outriders are not far behind.
CHARLEY: I reckon you’re right, Percy.
PERCY: You’ll excuse us, Mrs. Douglas. You know, General Lee really needs me. I fancy he’s wondering now where I am. I’m rather the power behind the throne, you know.
CHARLEY: Well, goodbye Celia; goodbye LindyJ goodbye Mother.
PERCY: Good afternoon Mrs. Douglas. Sorry I haven’t a card with me.
(Enter Judge Douglas and Jeff.)
JEFF: Mistah Charley, dere’s a squad of Yanks jumpin’ over the fence down by de cow pasture and comin’ up here right pert!
CHARLEY: All right, Jeff. You haven’t a few cigars, Father? We don’t get such luxuries.
JUDGE D.: Here—Help yourself.
CHARLEY: (Takes cigars.) Here, Percy.
PERCY: If I may. (Also takes cigars.)
MRS. D.: DO hurry, Charley; I’m so afraid.
CHARLEY: Goodbye everyone. Come on Percy. (Exit Charley and Percy.) (Sound of hoof beats. Voice outside.) Hey, halt there! (Two shots fired.)
MRS. D.: Oh!
CECILIA: (At window.) They’re safe. Charley is waving his hat.
MRS. D.: Oh, thank God for that!
CECILIA: Some Yanks are coming across the yard.
JUDGE D.: Oh, if I wasn’t a cripple! Oh!! (Door of ens—)
(Enter Caftain Ormsby with Privates.)
CAPT. O.: Good morning. (No answer.) You don’t seem sociable. Well, don’t answer then, but listen. A few officers will have to be quartered on you tonight. I’m sorry, lady—I thought I’d prepare you. It’s a disagreeable duty.
LINDY: We need no sympathy from Yanks.
MRS. D.: None at all.
CECILIA: I think I’ll be going home, Mrs. Douglas.
LINDY: Goodbye, Celia.
CAPT. O.: (Looking at Judge Douglas in chair.) What’s this? A Southerner and not at war?
JUDGE D.: Your remarks, sir, are entirely out of place. I’ll have you know, sir, that I—I—
LINDY: My father is paralyzed from his waist down.
CAPT. O.: I see. Well, you may expect the officers for dinner.
MRS. D.: If we must, we must. How many?
CAPT. O.: Four.
MRS. D.: The pantry is open—They can serve themselves. I will wait on no Yankees.
CAPT. O.: By the way, who were those two Rebs that rode away just as we came up?
JUDGE D.: That is our affair.
CAPT. O.: There’re a pesky lot of cavalrymen. They robbed a commissary train this morning, and cost Uncle Sam twelve thousand in greenbacks.
JUDGE D.: That doesn’t concern me in the slightest. Jeff, wheel me out. Come on, Mary.
(Exit Judge Douglas, Mrs. Douglas, and Jeff.)
CAPT. O.: I’ll put a guard in front of the house, Miss Douglas, to keep the soldiers from annexing food.
LINDY: As you please.
(Exit Captain Ormsby.)
LINDY: (Goes to table and picks up work. Under it she finds the money. She hides it under cover.)
JIM: (Outside.) I don’t know any countersign—I ain’t ever been behind a counter anyhow. I ain’t no clerk.
PRIVATE WILLINGS: (Outside.) I tell you you can’t pass.
(Enter Jim Holworthy, followed by Private Willings.)
LINDY: Well, Mr. Holworthy, did you did it? Did you en—
JIM: Hobble gobble gobble!
LINDY: Why, what’s the matter? I only wanted to know if you en—
JIM: Hobble gobble!
PRIVATE W.: What’s the matter? Is this some plot?
JIM: No. You see, she’s got a cold, and she wanted me to go to the drugstore and get her a mustard plaster.
JIM: For her dog. You see, she’s fond of the dog, and it caught the cold.
LINDY: Mr. Holworthy, it’s no such thing—I just wanted to know if you—if you—
PRIVATE W.: This is treason. I heard him say, “I could have had you.” You’re a spy.
JIM: No, I ain’t.
LINDY: This man isn’t a spy—He’s just afraid to go to war.
PRIVATE W.: Well, I’ll believe you, mum. But don’t let me see you snooping around here, Rube!
(Exit Private Willings.)
JIM: Did you hear what he called me? Come back here, you—I’ll show him. I’ll—I’ll—
(Makes motion of stabbing.)
(Enter Private Willings.)
PRIVATE W.: Did you call?
JIM: Me? No, I didn’t call. Me? Oh, oh, I didn’t call.
PRIVATE W.: Excuse me, lady.
(Exit Private Willings.)
LINDY: Well, did you enlist?
JIM: Almost. I tossed a coin to see which army I’d join.
LINDY: Horrors! Who won?
JIM: Don’t be afraid, the South won me.
LINDY: And did you enlist?
JIM: Well, the recruiting officer had fled south with the Southern army, so I thought I’d try the Yanks, but they had a picture in a book on the table—
LINDY: A picture?
JIM: All blood. It was a battle. And—and then I realized that I’d better wait and join the other side, so I told the man to wait for me.
LINDY: Mr. Jim Holworthy, never speak to me again! I told my family I had influenced you to enlist, and—and—they believed me, and now you didn’t! I think you are contemptible—
JIM: Excuse me.
(Enter Judge Douglas wheeled by Jeff.)
JUDGE D.: What’s this? What’s this? Tell me, what’s this? On my honor it’s the worm!
JUDGE D.: You impertinent young scamp, calling on my daughter. I’ll—I’ll cane you! Jeff—my cane! Wheel me at him! (Jeff starts to wheel and Jim retreats.)
JIM: Oh Judge Douglas, be reasonable.
LINDY: Father, you’ll have a fit! Remember your liver is in poor condition.
JIM: Look out, Judge, there ain’t anything like a good liver.
JUDGE D.: What do you know about my liver? Lindy did you ever mention my liver to him?
LINDY: Never, Father—(Cautioning.) But your liver—
JUDGE D.: Bother my liver.
JIM: Well, don’t bother me.
ANGELINA: A family disagreement? How perfectly shocking. Our family never squabble.
JUDGE D.: What’s this? Do you, young lady, mean to dictate to me in my own house?—
LINDY: GO slow, Father.
ANGELINA: Oh the Bangs in me is rising. Oh can I stop it? Can I? (Struggle.) There. I have conquered it. Angeline stands victorious.
JUDGE D.: What’s this? Bangs, Angelina? Why the Bangs in you is the best part of you. Why Georgie Bangs ever married that patron saint mother of yours beats me. And you (turning to Jim), you’re a pair—I can’t control myself—I’ll burst! Wheel me out Jeff—No, don’t! Go ahead! Young sir—Stop! If I ever—Keep going!—see you again—Stop I say! I’ll—I’ll thrash you—
(Exit Judge Douglas, growling, wheeled by Jeff.)
ANGELINA: His words are blasphemous. I am shocked. I will return home and pray that he will never regret this moment. (Exit.)
JIM: (Sings.) “Throw out the life line.” He ain’t pleasant somehow. You know, he doesn’t love me.
LINDY: NO he doesn’t. (Whistle heard outside.) That’s my brother’s whistle that we used when we were children. He’s—he’s in the house! He’s coming back! Heavens!! And the Yankees everywhere. Oh Charley, Charley. (Whistles.) Where’s the sentry?
JIM: On the other end of the veranda.
LINDY: Charley, what brings you here? The Yankees are all around the house. There is a guard on the doorstep. Oh go, before it is too late.
CHARLEY: I came back for—
JIM: (Stepping up.) Howdy do, Charley.
(Charley snubs him.)
CHARLEY: So this is your resource when your friends are in the army?—this—this stay-at-home!
LINDY: We won’t quarrel now.
CHARLEY: I’m sorry, Lindy. But I must hurry. I mislaid that money. Where is it?
LINDY: Here it is. (Gets money from under cover.) Take it and go!
CAPT. O.: Has no one gone in or out?
LINDY: (TO Charley, motioning him to door.) Quick! Go out here.
(Enter Captain Ormsby.)
CAPT. O.: Good morning, Miss Douglas; my duty is most unpleasant. There is a man concealed here. My sergeant saw a horseman ride through the gap and leave his horse in the woods. He was seen entering here.
LINDY: I’m afraid you are mistaken.
CAPT. O.: I sincerely hope so. Still, I am forced to assure myself of it.
LINDY: There is no one here.
CAPT. O.: You will kindly stand aside. It is hardly my pleasure to disobey a lady.
(Enter Charles Douglas, revolver in hand.)
CHARLEY: I will save you that trouble. Hands up, Captain.
CAPT. O.: (Raises hands.) I have men at this very doorstep. I have but to raise my voice.
CHARLEY: And you’ll be raising it with the angel chorus, or as you are a Yankee, contrarywise, if you say another word.
LINDY: Charley, what shall I do? (Pulling him to side.)
CHARLEY:(Aside to Lindy.) I’ll have to hide here. Get him out of here first. (To Yankee.) Yank, right about face. You walk from here right down to the gate without looking behind. A sign to your men and you go—(Still pointing pistol at him.)
CAPT. O.: Your chances are one in a million.
CHARLEY: NO remarks. March!
(Exit Captain Ormsby.)
LINDY: Quick—open this. (Pointing to chest.) Charley, quick—get in. Now slam that door, (to Jim)
(Voices heard outside, and tramping.)
CAPT. O.: Here they are. (Enter Capt. Ormsby, Private Willings, and Private Barkis.) Quick—Through the house! He can’t get away. (Exit Privates.) (Turning to Jim.) So you’re a pal of his, are you? In plain clothes—You’ll swing for this. He’s in uniform—lucky beggar.
JIM: NO, I ain’t.
CAPT. O.: And you, young lady, may have to eat prison fare for a while. This is high treason.
LINDY: YOU dare—you—
JIM: Let him alone, Miss Lindy. He’ll get mad.
(Enter Private Willings.)
PRIVATE W.: NO trace of him, sir. Three men are still searching. He must be here.
CAPT. O.: I’ll get that fresh Reb. Where is he?—Tell me!
LINDY: Do you think you can frighten me?
CAPT. O.: Here is a man we can. (Going towards Jim.) If you are wise you will say.
CAPT. O.: Where is he?
JIM: I don’t know.
CAPT. O.: (To soldier.) Give this fellow a lash or two and then—Well, there are ropes in camp.
(Soldier grabs Jim.)
JIM: Don’t! I—I—
CAPT. O.: Hurry.
JIM: I—oh, I can’t!
CAPT. O.: Away with him.
JIM: Stop! I’ll tell. He’s—he’s in there. (Pointing to chest. Soldier springs to it and takes out Charley.)
CHARLEY: YOU damn coward!
CAPT. O.: (To Jim.) Here—Here’s a quarter. Southern manhood!
LINDY: (Crying.) Goodbye Charley. Oh, my brother.
CHARLEY: I’m only a prisoner of war, Lindy.
CAPT. O.: Right about face—March!
(Exit Captain Ormsby, Charles Douglas and Private Willings.)
JIM: Gee, they’re taking him away! They almost took me. Well, that’s over. What’s the matter? Why—why—you ain’t mad, are you, Miss Lindy? I—I—oh, I see, I shouldn’t have told, but I didn’t know. I didn’t—as God sees me, I didn’t! I was afraid. Speak to me, Miss Lindy. I just had to tell! Oh, don’t think I’m a—traitor. Don’t, Miss Lindy—Don’t!—oh don’t! (Stiffens.) I reckon I see now. I’m a—a what he called me, a coward! (Pause.) Goodbye, I’m going now, south to the army. I see now, I’m—I’m—Goodbye, Miss Lindy—Goodbye.
(Lindy turns and leaves him without an answer.)
(Scene same as Act I, and three years later.)
(Curtain rises showing Jeff setting table. He gets milk in a jug and fills two glasses half full. Then he gets water jug and fills up the rest of the glasses. Surveys his table. Places four crackers at plates. Then puts flowers in center. Something is lacking so he removes four flowers and places them at each plate. Surveys table again with satisfaction.)
(Enter Mrs. Douglas.)
MRS. D.: Good morning, Jeff.
JEFF: Mawnin’, Mrs. Douglas. (Hints at table with evident pride.)
MRS. D.: What’s this?
JEFF: De—de luncheon, Mrs. Douglas.
MRS. D.: YOU surely don’t expect us to eat flowers.
JEFF: No’m—No’m—You kin if you wants to, but I don’t advise you to. Dey’s not good to eat, ‘ceptin’ maybe cauliflower or bakin’ flour.
MRS. D.: And is there nothing else in the ice house?
JEFF: Oh, yassum—Yessam—Dey’s lots! Dey’s—ah—three or four pieces of bread and one of ‘em still pretty good. An—an—half a jug o’ milk, an—an—a egg an—a apple—All that!
MRS. D.: I reckon we’re mighty poor, Jeff.
JEFF: Don’t talk that way, Mrs. Douglas! Dat ain’t no way to talk. Times’ll mend—but dis here coat won’t.
MRS. D.: Yes, it is well to be hopeful, but I trust the horrible war is almost over. Since the Judge died we’ve been pretty poor, and Charley, though he has escaped so far, is still there.
JEFF: But you got a daughter.
MRS. D.: Poor Lindy! Having to give up all and become a school teacher. She practically supports us now, Jeff.
JEFF: Ah expect dey’ll be a heap o’ offers for her when de young men gits home from de wah.
MRS. D.: Jeff—You mustn’t talk that way.
JEFF: Yassum—Excuse me. (Goes to window.) Dere’s Miss Lindy now.
(Enter Lindy and Cecilia.)
LINDY: Hello, Mother. (Removes shawl and hat.)
CECILIA: Good morning, Mrs. Douglas.
MRS. D.: Good morning, Celia.
CECILIA: I met Lindy on the way back from her schoolhouse, surrounded by a most adoring crowd of little nuisances. I rescued her, and here we are.
MRS. D.: Did you have a good day, Lindy?
LINDY: Fine, Mother. I think it will be all right now that that Tompkins boy has decided to behave. Mrs. Tompkins sent a note with him this morning authorizing me to punish him to the fullest extent of the law, and when I punish!—I tell you, Mother, I’m growing strong.
MRS D.: Oh, if Charley were only here to take the burden of supporting us off your shoulders.
CECILIA: I reckon he will soon. Our army is getting weaker and weaker. They’re going to make a stand at Appomattox, so Eddie Randolph wrote his mother.
LINDY: We haven’t seen Charley for two years.
MRS. D.: I miss him, oh, how I miss him!
LINDY: We can only wait for him. I’ll be back, Celia.
CECILIA: YOU are not the only one who misses him.
MRS. D.: Celia, I thought so! So you are engaged?
CECILIA: He has asked me to marry him. He wrote me and said that his first duty was to you. He spoke also of Captain Holworthy. He was awarded a medal at the battle of Petersburg.
MRS. D.: Holworthy? Jim Holworthy?
CECILIA: Yes, I reckon he’s changed some. He wasn’t very popular when he left here, but somehow he joined the army, and he has proved himself.
MRS. D.: But does Charley like him after what happened that time three years ago in this very house, when he was captured through this Holworthy’s cowardice?
CECILIA: Charley bears no resentment. Holworthy has saved his life since then. I’m sure I’m willing to accept him as all right if he comes home.
MRS. D.: Perhaps you’re right.
CECILIA: And Mrs. Douglas, Charley wrote something else about him—a curious thing—The day Holworthy saved his life—it was in a skirmish—he was wounded slightly, and Charley, in “nbuttoning his collar to give him air, saw a locket spring open that he was wearing around his neck. Before he closed it he noticed the picture inside. Holworthy saw that Charley knew, and blushed, saying it was a hobby of his. But Charley knew that Captain Holworthy was carrying Lindy’s picture. I’ve often wondered if she has forgiven him.
LINDY: (From the doorway.) Yes, she has forgiven him. (Enter Lindy.)
CECILIA: Lindy, I didn’t know—
LINDY: I was standing here. It makes no difference—I am interested in Captain Holworthy because I started his—his change. He’s—he’s rather a protege of mine.
CECILIA: I must go now. Mother is waiting for me—waiting luncheon.
MRS. D.: Will you stay and dine? (Jeff coughs.) We have not much to offer, but— (Jeff coughs)—Jeff, will you be quiet!—but we would be so glad to have you.
CECILIA: NO thank you, Mrs. Douglas. I think I’ll be moving along. Good morning.
MRS. D. AND LINDY: Good morning, Celia.
MRS. D.: Jeff, never do that again. Don’t you know we are always glad to have anyone share whatever we have?
JEFF: Yassum, but we ain’t got but one share. You can’t share a share.
MRS. D.: That’s true, but—
JEFF: Dey’s plenty o’ chairs—You don’t have to chair de shares—I mean chair de chairs—No, I mean share de shares—Mrs. Douglas, luncheon is ready.
LINDY: The children?
MRS. D.: At the Taylors for luncheon.
LINDY: Oh, I almost forgot—Teacher—“that’s me”—was presented with two oranges today. I’ll get them.
JEFF: (Goes to window.) Lawd o’ massy! It’s Mistah Charley!
(Enter Captain Charles Douglas.)
MRS. D.: My boy!
JEFF: Large as life and twice as natural!
CHARLEY: Home at last, Mother. Where’s Lindy?
(Enter Lindy with plate of oranges. She sees Charley and drops plate which Jeff catches.)
CHARLEY: Lindy! Home again. It seems great.
LINDY: And the war?
CHARLEY: Is over. Lee surrendered at Appomattox twelve hours ago. We did all we could—We were all gone—It was too much for us.
MRS. D.: My poor boy!
CHARLEY: I’m lucky to be alive and have a home to come back to, and a place for food. (Looks at table.)
MRS. D-: Sit down. You must be famished.
CHARLEY: Ah, milk! (Drinks and sputters.)
MRS. D.: Why, what’s the matter?
CHARLEY: Nothing. But I’ve learned something.
CHARLEY: There are some things worse than prison fare.
MRS. D.: (Drinks and sputters.)
LINDY: (Holds up glass.) Jeff, what’s the matter with this milk?
JEFF: (Examines it carefully.) Nothin’.
MRS. D.: Nothing?
LINDY: Taste it!
JEFF: (Tastes it.) Oh, I recollect—I was enockomizing. Dey’s water—a little bit—in dis milk—Jes’ a bit.
CHARLEY: I should say there was. Mother, are we in need of economizing like this?
MRS. D.: Lindy teaches school.
CHARLEY: By all that is holy! I’ll get some work tonight. Mother, can you let me see exactly how we stand?
MRS. D.: Yes, I have the accounts in the parlor.
(Exit Mrs. Douglas, Captain Douglas and Jeff.)
JIM: Good morning, Miss Lindy.
LINDY: Mr.—Captain Holworthy! Good morning.
JIM: It’s—it’s four years since I saw you last.
LINDY: Four years.
JIM: I was different then—I reckon we all were.
LINDY: Yes, I reckon we all were.
JIM: I’ve always thought that you rather set me right somehow.
LINDY: YOU do me great honor, Captain Holworthy.
JIM: I haven’t forgotten it, either.
LINDY: YOU haven’t?
JIM: NO, I’ve—I’ve thought of it a lot more than you know. I realized long ago what I was.
LINDY: Well, you’ve come back different.
JIM: Yes, I reckon so. Do you remember the day when—when your brother was captured—what I said to you earlier in the day?
LINDY: Yes—yes, I think I do.
JIM: Well I—I can’t explain but—it’s you that I owe everything I’ve become—and that’s not much, for the last soldier of a lost cause doesn’t bring back much except an empty scabbard.
LINDY: And medals.
LINDY: That little iron cross—Where did you get that?
JIM: Well, General Lee is the only one that can tell. HE—he gives them away instead of cigars; he was out of cigars the day I called.
LINDY: I see you’re more modest than you used to be.
JIM: It isn’t much of a virtue when you have nothing to be vain about. My vanity wants satisfaction in another way now.
JIM: Yes. I could be proud—very proud if—Miss Lindy, you know what I want to say. You’ve been with me always. You made me go south. You have made me what I am. Whenever I received promotion it was because you inspired me. And—and—will you keep inspiring me?
LINDY: YOU ask me to be your wife?
LINDY: Ji—Captain Holworthy, the man I marry must have my whole respect. I have lived in a war time and have had death and bravery brought very near to me. Bravery and moral courage are to me necessary to respect and love. I—I—Do you remember that morning you told me you had a strain somewhere in your nature of cowardice?
JIM: I remember.
LINDY: Tell me then, if you have completely conquered that?
JIM: And if I have.
LINDY: If you have, I—I will marry you.
JIM: Miss Lindy—Lindy, I am telling you the truth, though God only knows it hurts me to do it—I haven’t conquered it. When it’s something impulsive or where I don’t have to reason, I’ve done many dangerous things, but when I think, I hesitate and give up. I got these trinkets for things like the first. This for a flag I took at Chickamauga, and this for saving Bragg from being shot at Shiloh; but I remember once when Lee asked for volunteers for secret service I didn’t step out with the rest. And when I was in Libby prison before I was exchanged, three fellows who were with me had a chance to escape. They offered me an equal chance—It was an even chance—death or escape, and I didn’t take it. I reckon it’s a yellow streak in me somewhere. I would like to try once more.
LINDY: I see. But your chance of trying is over now.
JIM: I reckon.
LINDY: Well, goodbye Jim.
JIM: Goodbye Miss Lindy. You are right—I shouldn’t have hoped for you. It was all a kind of a dream. (
Starts to go.)
LINDY: You may have a chance yet to prove it.
JIM: NO, I reckon not.
JEFF: On celebration o’ Mistah Charley’s return kin ah get out de best tableclof? He’s got a bit o’ money and he’s goin’ to buy a good dinner.
LINDY: Yes Jeff, anything.
JEFF: NOW whah was dat? In—in de oie linen chest what hain’t been used fo’ yeahs. Lemme see. (Goes to chest and opens it.) Why I—I feels sumpin! (Pulls out roll of money.) Jumpin’ Jerusalem it’s money! Stacks of it! Northern money. Now dat’s one hundred and one hundred is—Gee, I ain’t no mathematician. Now lemme see—How did that money get thar? That chest ain’t been used since Mistah Charley was captured out o’ it three years ago. Why, don’t I recollect he had some army money wit him? But it won’t do to tell him it was dat—He’d send it away to General Lee. I’ll—I’ll—diplomatize—dat is, if I’m as good a liah as ah used to be. (Steps heard outside. Starts sweeping.)
(Enter Mrs. Douglas and Charley.)
JEFF: Mrs. Douglas, dere’s a mattah ah wants to broach to you.
MRS. D.: What is it, Jeff?
JEFF: (Hesitates and jumbles.) On de later desease—demise of youh inflected husband he sum-mumoned me to his bedside jes aftah he died, and thrust into mah hands a small sum o’ money which he said to give you after de triffic encountah which was den ragin’ triumphantly and spasmodically—de very words he used—was done. De circumstances is now justified. Behold! (Produces money.)
CHARLEY: (Takes it.) Why, what’s this?
MRS. D.: Why, I didn’t know Arthur had any money when he died.
CHARLEY: Mother, it’s twelve thousand dollars good money!
MRS. D.: If Jeff is telling the truth—
JEFF: Mrs. Douglas, ma mouf is as clean from lyin’ as is de grass from de snow—in de wintah time.
CHARLEY: It sounds true. Mother, we’re rich! It’s yours!
MRS. D.: It’s too good to be true.
CHARLEY: And I’m off.
MRS. D.: Where?
CHARLEY: TO see Cecilia.
JEFF: (Aside.) No sah, dere ain’t nothin’ like a little judicious lyin’!
(Enter Lieutenant Percy Altwater.)
PERCY: Mrs. Douglas, good morning. I fancy you are surprised to see me.
MRS. D.: I remember you perfectly, Mr. Hotwater.
PERCY: Altwater, my dear lady—Altwater.
MRS. D.: Excuse me.
PERCY: Certainly. Do you know, I hesitate to tell you why I returned. Do you know, I fancy Cupid has been at work and brought me back, fair as a—a—What am I fair as?
MRS. D.: A dancing elephant.
PERCY: Yes, a dancing elephant—er—oh, that doesn’t sound just right, does it?
MRS. D.: Doesn’t it, Mr. Warmwater?
MRS. D.: Excuse me.
PERCY: And as I was saying, I made the acquaintance of a most fascinating young lady at your house, Miss Virginia the tailor—I suppose they meant dressmaker. But even if the poor girl is a dressmaker, I would wave aside caste and er—marry her.
MRS. D.: Very condescending of you, Mr. Breakwater.
PERCY: Altwater—Altwater. I think so myself.
MRS. D.: But she isn’t a dressmaker. That’s just her name.
PERCY: Miss Virginia Dressmaker—That’s a very odd name.
MRS. D.: NO no!—Miss Virginia Taylor.
VIRGINIA: Good morning, Mrs. Douglas.
MRS D.: Here is a friend of yours, Virginia.
VIRGINIA: Mr. Sweetwater!
PERCY: Miss Dressmaker!
(Exit Mrs. Douglas.)
VIRGINIA: I am delighted to see you again.
PERCY: Did you get my letter?
VIRGINIA: Yes, and the coat-of-arms.
PERCY: Rather a pretty crest, isn’t it? I picked it up at a stationer’s in Richmond.
PERCY: I’m sorry. You’ll forgive me?
VIRGINIA: Yes. Who would not forgive the lost soldier of a last cause.
PERCY: Yes, but I’m not lost.
VIRGINIA: A slip of the tongue—I mean, the last soldier of a lost cause.
PERCY: Just so. It’s rather sad.
VIRGINIA: Sad? It’s all pathetic.
VIRGINIA: All pathetic.
PERCY: Miss Virginia, I’ve something to say to you.
VIRGINIA: It’s coming!—Isn’t it perfectly thirteenth century!
PERCY: Will you—will you—
VIRGINIA: Oh, I feel faint! Catch me! (Fakes a faint.) (Percy springs forward.) No, on the other side—It looks better. (He helps her sink into chair.) All right. Now go on.
PERCY: Will you marry me?
VIRGINIA: (Dreaming.) She looked tenderly into his dark brown eyes—
PERCY: But my eyes are not dark brown.
VIRGINIA: Sh!—And lisped—whispered tenderly—
PERCY: But this isn’t a novel, you know.
VIRGINIA: Now you’ve spoiled the whole thing. I want to look back upon my proposal as something romantic.
PERCY: But this is my proposal. Will you—
VIRGINIA: (Jumps up.) Wait! It must be on bended knees in the flower garden, with the roses—
PERCY: And the bugs—
VIRGINIA: With the green grass—
PERCY: My poor trousers!
VIRGINIA: Come, Alphonso—
PERCY: But my name isn’t Alphonso—
VIRGINIA: Never mind that—Come let us flit to the rose garden. (She flits, and Percy very awkwardly “flits” after her.)
(Percy and Virginia cease flitting.)
ANGELINA: Unchaperoned. This is perfectly awful. Unchaperoned!
PERCY: But we’re engaged.
ANGELINA: How terrible! Blush, young lady, blush with shame. How could you admit it? I wouldn’t admit it.
PERCY: YOU can’t admit it unless you’re engaged.
ANGELINA: Let me read you from this little work a short sermon on conduct of young ladies. “Young ladies should never under any conditions be alone with young men. The best authorities such as Miss Grayson, Miss Finch, Miss Spence and Miss Spindle agree in regard to this.” (Percy and Virginia have sneaked out.) “A young lady on meeting a young man in the street should on no account—” (Sees that the others are gone.)
ANGELINA: Poor misguided people. I will pray for them. Yes I will pray for them. (Exit.)
(Enter Lindy and two soldiers—Privates Willings and Barkis—from opposite doors.)
LINDY: What do you want here?
PRIVATE W.: Good morning, lady.
PRIVATE B.: Greetings, fair one.
LINDY: GO out of here!
PRIVATE W.: We just came back from Appomattox, lady, and passing this spacious house, we thought perhaps you had a few trinkets to donate to the Union cause, just to cement the peace.
(Removes cartridge belt and lays it on table.)
LINDY: We have nothing, nothing in the house.
PRIVATE W.: We’ll look and see, lady, if you have no objections.
(Exit Privates Willings and Barkis.)
LINDY: Jeff! Jeff! Oh, if Charley were only here.
LINDY: Jeff, run out and find someone!—Any man!—Say that there are two Yankees here who are trying to pillage the house! Quick! (Exit Jeff.)
(Enter Private Barkis.)
PRIVATE B.: Lady, where’s the pantry?—I’m hungry. My pal prefers the valuables; I prefer the victuals.
(Lindy -points toward pantry.) I bid thee adieu. (Bows low.)
(Exit Private Barkis.)
(Enter Private Willings.)
PRIVATE W.: Lady, there ain’t a valuable in the house—Not one! Except I see you’ve got a mighty fine necklace round your neck.
LINDY: Oh, you thief—you—!
(Enter Jim Holworthy.)
JIM: What’s this?
LINDY: Jim, this man—(Jim and Private Willings both rush to cartridge belt on table. Jim reaches it first. Willings fires twice with the two guns he is carrying but they refuse to work on account of lack of ammunition which Jim now holds.)
JIM: I reckon I’ve got your stock of ammunition, Yank. You may go.
PRIVATE W.: Your lady friend here has a chain I want.
JIM: You may go, I say. (Advances toward him.)
PRIVATE W.: Keep back! I’ve got a friend in the kitchen.
JIM: I have many in the town. This lady has but to run out and—
PRIVATE W.: Can’t we settle it peaceably? You don’t want to get hurt by me and my friend, and we don’t want to get chased by the town. But I’ve taken a fancy to that necklace. Isn’t there any way we can decide?
JIM: Yes, there is a way—one way. (Thinks.) Are we at truce for a minute?
PRIVATE W.: Yes.
JIM: Load one of these pistols.
PRIVATE W.: One?
JIM: Yes. Now the lady will take them both, mix them up behind her back, then she’ll put one in each hand, and you choose one. I’ll take the other. Then we fire. One will refuse to work.
PRIVATE W.: My God! Only one pistol loaded? But the lady—
JIM: You may trust the lady. May he not, Lindy?
LINDY: Yes. But I didn’t mean for you to do this, Jim!
JIM: It will end it one way or the other.
PRIVATE W.: Here they are. (Hands his two pistols to Lindy who mixes them as directed.)
JIM: All right, Yank—Choose.
PRIVATE W.: I—I—oh, I’m going—I can stand a battle, but you’ve got some nerve.
(Exit Private Willings.)
JIM: (Pause.) Well, I reckon I bluffed him. Glad to have been of service to you. Goodbye.
LINDY: You’re not going, Jim?
LINDY: And you have nothing to say?
JIM: Nothing, I reckon. What’s the use?
LINDY: I think, Jim, you have had your chance.
JIM: Then you think you really will—?
LINDY: Jim, come here—You are a worse coward than you were four years ago. (They embrace.)
A drama in two acts, written for The Elizabethan Dramatic Club, given for the benefit of the Baby Welfare Association, and presented at the Saint Paul Y.W.C.A. Auditorium, Friday evening, August 29, 1913.