Time of presentation—One hour
Act I—Drawing room of Mr. Connage, New York City.
Act II—The same.
Time of action—about 10:30 P. M.
Hubert CONNAGE—Lawrence Boardman
THORTON HART DUDLEY, alias “The Shadow”— F. Scott Fitzgerald
MISS SAUNDERS, housekeeper .... Dorothy Greene
MR. BEVERLY CONNAGE, father of Hubert—Paul Ballion
MRS. BEVERLY CONNAGE, mother of Hubert—Margaret Winchester
Dorothy CONNAGE, sister of Hubert—Anne Winchester
Helen MAYBURN, friend of Dorothy—Eleanor Alair
Rabbit SIMMONS (A CROOK)—Theodore Parkhouse
CHINYMAN RUDD (A CROOK)—James Porterfield
OFFICER MCGINNESS (A DETECTIVE) John L. Mitchell
OFFICER LEON DUREAL (A DETECTIVE)—George Squires
EMMA KATE, the maid—Julia Dorr
The Shadow—dress suit.
Miss Saunders—gray housekeeper’s dress, kerchief, and cap and apron.
Mr. Connage—smoking jacket.
Mrs. Connage—dressy house dress and jewels.
Dorothy Connage—evening dress.
Helen Mayburn—evening dress.
Rabbit Simmons—old clothes.
Chinyman Rudd—old clothes, and checked suit later.
Officer McGinness—policeman’s suit.
Officer Leon Dureal—policeman’s suit.
Emma Kate—black maid’s dress, cap, and apron.
(Discovered: Emma Kate sitting asleep in the armchair.)
(Pause 10 seconds.)
(Voice outside heard singing “Silver Threads Among the Gold”)
(Enter Miss Saunders B. L. E.) (She puts on lights.)
(She crosses to the center of the stage, sees Emma Kate and folds her arms.)
Miss S.: Well!
(Pause 4 seconds.)
Miss S.: Well!
(Emma Kate stirs uneasily and rubs her eyes.)
Emma K.: (Drowsily.) Oh yes—yes mum.
Miss S.: (Sternly.) What on earth have you been doing?
Emma K.: (Sitting up.) Asleepin’, mum.
Miss S.: Sleeping, and in that chair. The best chair.
Emma K.: Yes mum.
Miss S.: Do you realize that it is after ten o’clock?
Emma K.: (Getting up.) Why Mrs. Connage toi’ me as how I was to wait here for young Mr. Hubert. He’s still out. An’ as he wasn’t come yet an’ the chair was settin’ there doin’ nothin’, I didn’t think it’ud be no harm if I slept a bit, mum.
Miss S.: (Shrugging her shoulders.) So Mr. Hubert is still out, is he?
Emma K.: Yes’m, Miss Saunders.
Miss S.: By the way, please brush out the chair.
Emma K.: Why I ain’t hurt the chair none.
Miss S.: (Angrily.) Please brush out the chair and no impudence.
Emma K.: I wasn’t meaning to be impudent. (She starts to brush out the chair.)
Miss S.: You may as well go to bed. I’ll watch out for Mr. Hubert. I intend giving him a piece of my mind. The idea of the young man coming home intoxicated every night. (Sits down at right.)
Emma K.: (Turns towards her.) Oh mum, he’s adrinkin’ awful. I’ve had to sit up for him almost every night an’ I was awalkin’ by Mrs. Connage’s room today and I hears her say—(Checks herself.)
Miss S.: Aha! You were eavesdropping, were your That’s a nice trick. A nice trick, I must say.
Emma K.: Honest to goodness, mum, I didn’t mean to hear her talkin’.
Miss S.: That’s a sly trick, Emma Kate, but I have detected you.
Emma K.: Yes mum.
Miss S.: Well now. What did Mrs. Connage say?
Emma K.: (Surprised.) Hmm?
Miss S.: What did she say?
Emma K.: Why mum, a minute ago—
Miss S.: I have no personal interest in what Mrs. Connage was saying. I simply desire to know how much you have found out about the family secrets.
Emma K.: I know most of the family secrets at that.
Miss S.: Eavesdroppers are certainly despicable creatures, heigh-ho—but I am waiting to hear what Mrs. Connage said.
Emma K.: Between you and I, miss—
Miss S.: I and you, if you please.
Emma K.: Cross your heart and hope to die if you tell?
Miss S.: How perfectly ridiculous. Of course I won’t go through any such childish proceedings. I wish to find out what Mrs. Connage said.
Emma K.: Well 1 was apassin’ up the hall an’ Mrs. Connage was atellin’ to Mr. Connage ‘at young Mr. Hubert had been in jail three days when his dad—when Mr. Connage thought he was in Atlantic City.
Miss S.: Preserve us! This is news, real news. Hmmm. (Changing her tone suddenly.) How perfectly awful for you to listen to all that. And did you hear anything else?
Emma K.: An’ Mr. Connage got awful mad. He swore some, too. Gee it was great! He kin swear better than the milkman. He said he’d turn Mr. Hubert out of the house and cut him off without a cent.
Miss S.: Dearie me! And what else did Mrs. Connage say?
Dorothy: Miss Saunders.
Miss S.: You may go now. (Emma Kate starts.) But don’t forget to brush out the chair. And no more of your mean sneaky eavesdropping tricks. (Emma Kate starts to cry.)
Dorothy: (Outside.) Miss Saunders!
Miss S.: I am here, Miss Dorothy.
Dorothy: (At doorway with newspaper.) Oh Miss Saunders, I’ve got the most fascinating newspaper article.
(Sees Emma Kate.) Why, what’s the matter here?
Miss S.: I found this girl monopolizing the best chair.
Emma K.: (Sniff, etc.)
Dorothy: Oh poor Emma Kate. Were you tired?
Emma K.: Tired? No mum. No I’m never tired.
Dorothy: She didn’t hurt the chair, Miss S.
Miss S.: She sat in it. I asked her to retire.
Emma K.: I’m goin’.
Miss S.: Have the kindness to hurry.
(Exit Emma K.)
Dorothy: Miss Saunders, what’s a sorehead?
Miss S.: Vulgar slang. And where did you hear that?
Dorothy: Why Brother Hubert said you were an awful sorehead.
(Miss Saunders displeased.)
Miss S.: (Sees newspaper.) Were you not forbidden to read newspapers?
Dorothy: Oh yes, but I found the most romantic story.
Miss S.: Romantic bosh.
Dorothy: It’s about a burglar.
Miss S.: Horrors!
Dorothy: Not an ordinary burglar.
Miss S.: What kind?
Dorothy: He is called the Shadow. For two weeks the police have been after him but they can’t catch him. He slips through their fingers. That’s why they call him the Shadow. Oh they say he’s so handsome.
Miss S.: Oh! (Sighs.)
Dorothy: So accomplished!
Miss S.: Oh!! (Sighs.)
Dorothy: And so wicked!
Miss S.: Oh!!! (Startled.)
Dorothy: I like to imagine that he isn’t really a burglar at all but only pretending to be one. Because he always sends back everything he steals with his compliments.
Miss S.: He does?
Dorothy: Yes. And real burglars don’t do that, do they?
Miss S.: Unfortunately they don’t. But I am perfectly aware that the person who stole my watch last year was a real burglar.
Miss S.: He might send that back and leave off the compliments. I’ll give him the compliments if I catch him. That’s the second Ingersoll I’ve lost in the space of ten years.
Dorothy: Yes, it’s terrible the way time flies. To change the subject, Helen Mayburn is coming over tonight to spend the night.
Miss S.: The poor girl that’s going to marry your brother?
Dorothy: Why Miss Saunders!
Miss S.: I think she is making a fool of herself to do it. And I have a right to my opinion. And I will tell Hubert so.
Dorothy: Poor Hubert.
Miss S.: Poor Hubert, indeed!
(Girl’s voice outside singing—“Everybody’s doin’ it”)
(Enter Helen Mayburn. She sees Dorothy and stops in the doorway.)
Helen: Why hello, Dorothy. What’s the row about?
Dorothy: Nothing at all.
Miss S.: Yes it is.
Dorothy: (To Miss Saunders.) Don’t you say a word.
Miss S.: Miss Mayburn, I feel it my duty to tell you that the man you are going to marry is a drunkard.
Helen: Miss Saunders, he is not.
Dorothy: Helen dear, don’t listen to her.
Miss S.: Indeed! Let me tell you young ladies that you must behave quietly tonight.
Dorothy: Oh we will.
Helen: Of course.
Miss S.: And remember, no raids on the pantry. Last time you two were together you tried to steal some cake which I would have given you if you had asked me politely.
Helen: Oh, but it was so much more fun to steal it.
Miss S.: And James thought you were burglars.
Helen and Dorothy: And we pushed him down stairs.
Miss S.: And he left the next morning. Well, we must have no more of that. Good evening, young ladies.
(Exit at L. B. E.)
Helen: What a most peculiar old lady.
Dorothy: Very. She’ll probably try to get you off in a corner and say all the mean things she can about Hubert.
Helen: Well! When we have our little chat, I’ll tell her what I think of her. Where is Hubert?
Dorothy: Down town somewhere, I suppose. Come let us go upstairs.
Helen: And Dorothy—we’ll practice the turkey trot before the big mirror in the hall. Come on.
(Exit the two.)
(Pause five seconds.)
(Knocking is repeated.)
Hubert: (Outside.) Ah, what in ze name of Pat is the matter now? Open ze darn old door. Can’t a person enter his paternal residence wisout his key, ‘specially when he’s been so confounded “nfortunate as to lose the old key? It’s aggravating and antagonizing. Hello. Hello. (Crash outside.) There’s a nice trick. Leave it unlocked all the time. Pick me up, boys. I’m not broken but only dented. Pick up those two teeth near the door. They may come in handy in the morning.
(He appears tottering in the doorway.)
Hubert: Good evening. Why there’s nobody home. (Enter behind hiyn Chinyman Rudd and Rabbit Simmons.) Come in, gentlemen. Make yourself at home and sit down. (Falls against Ruddy pushing him into chair. Then pushes Rabbit into chair. Tries to sit down.) Pardon me, but could you give me a slight assistance? (Rabbit pushes him into chair.) Much obliged. My legs are a little stiff from walking.
Rudd: Say, is this where you hang out?
Hubert: This is my domicile abode.
Rabbit: Your paternal hemorrhage?
Rudd: Heritage. You ain’t got no edication.
Rabbit: Say, we’ve forgotten your name.
Hubert: My name’s Hubert Connage. Dad is Mr. Connage. Mother is Mrs. Connage. And my sister is Dorothy Connage. All the family, you see, have the same name. It’s surprising to me, to say the least. I’ve often wondered what a remarkable coincidence it was that we all had the same name. There’s Dad, one—he’s really two but we’ll count him one—and me, two. No, I’m one too. One, two, three, four.
Rabbit: Who the deuce are we for?
Rudd: Forty-seventh Street gang.
Both: Rah! Rah! Rah! (Both whistle.)
Hubert: Hurray for you.
Rudd: Say, honest it’s awful nice of you to pick us up on the streets and bring us back with you to spend the night, but what will your governor say?
Hubert: Probably say “how-de-do.”
Rabbit: I don’t care if he only says it. What’s worrying me is,—Has he got a dog?
Hubert: No, there’s no dog. There’s a cat, tho’. Cutest little devil.
Rabbit: Divine, ain’t it, Ching?
Rabbit: Oh chickering.
Rudd: Say, this reminds me of Charley’s opium joint. All them there pictures and things.
Rabbit: (Sees statue of Venus de Milo.) Your mother swimmin’?
Hubert: Mother? No. That’s a good one. That’s Venus de Milo.
Rudd: Pity you broke it. How did it bust?
Rabbit: Some one kicked it on the impulse of the moment.
Hubert: I’m going to introduce you to Dad and tell him you’re my friends and are going to spend the night with me.
Rabbit: The likes of us ain’t for here. We both look like we been shot at an’ missed. We don’t move in the same circles.
Hubert: I don’t know about circles but I have lately been moving in all sorts of curves.
Rudd: We’re—we’re—A couple of crooks.
Hubert: That’s a good job. Are you married?
Rabbit: No, I got these scratches from a cat.
Hubert: What are your names?
Rudd: On the island he’s 96 and I’m 108.
Rabbit: In social life he’s Chinyman Rudd and I’m Rabbit Simmons.
Hubert: Rabbit, I had a rabbit once. Pretty little things, aren’t they? This rabbit was an awful crook. He stole more lettuce. So you’re burglars. What do you steal, bases?
Rabbit: We’ve been working for a fellow called the Shadow. He’s a kind of a gentleman burglar. He goes around in a dress suit and robs houses. We spy around for him, see when the family is going to be at home, find out about valuables and he pays us five hundred dollars a week apiece.
Hubert: Who the dickens is the Shadow?
Rudd: His real name’s Thorton Hart. Nobody knows nothing about him. He acts just like a gentleman. He came about two weeks ago and he’s about as nervy as they make ‘em. They can’t catch him. He slips through the cops every time.
Hubert: A shadow, hey? Well I’ll bet the old Shadow won’t have time for reflection if some good detectives get after him. Ever read Sherlock Holmes, Mr. Bunny?
Rabbit: Rabbit. No. Ever read Nick Carter?
Hubert: Never. Say, I don’t want to see the poor old Shadow shackled. I hope the police don’t get him.
Rudd: He’s got on a job tonight. He says it’s a big one but he won’t tell us about it.
Hubert: Success to him. Come, we’ll drink to him. (He fills up three glasses.) To the Shadow! May he never have the great misfortune to be a captured Shadow.
All: To the Shadow!
Hubert: Well, now I’ll procure you fellows some clothes. Why the way you’re dressed is a disgrace. I thought all crooks were rich. I’ll find you some good clothes. You make yourself at home and help yourself.
Rabbit: Well here’s our chance. Pile in a bagful of that silverware and beat it quick.
Rudd: Aw say, nix.
Rabbit: Why not?
Rudd: When the guy meets us on the street, then brings us home and tells us he’s going to have us here to spend the night, we oughtn’t to rush off with his silver. H’ain’t you got no manners?
Rabbit: Just look. What couldn’t we do with this and this. Hold me back, please.
Rudd: I got enough to do holding myself.
Both: Ohh. (Sighing.)
(Enter Hubert with clothes.)
Hubert: Now here’s some clothes. You go in there and put ‘em on. Try to look respectable and I’ll introduce you to Dad.
Rudd: What does your dad weigh?
Rabbit: How’S his punch?
Hubert: Don’t know, but his whiskey’s darn good.
Rudd: Say, are these ours for keeps?
Rabbit: Well I’ll leave my things here in exchange. They ain’t much to look at but they’re valuable as relics. It would grieve me if they were thrown away.
Hubert: Don’t worry. I’ll put ‘em in a glass case.
Rabbit: Say, this is awful good of you even if you are tight.
Hubert: Oh that’s all right, Mr. Hare.
Rabbit: Rabbit, Rabbit.
Rabbit: Naw, Rabbit is my name.
Hubert: Oh! I couldn’t imagine what you were talking about. Ha-Ha—(Laughs.)
Rabbit: Where do we change?
Hubert: In there. Oh. (Something occurs to him.) (Laughs.) I’ve got the greatest scheme. Aldermen.
Hubert: You! (Still convulsed with laughter.)
Rabbit: He’s dippy.
Rudd: Poor guy.
Hubert: Now don’t you see? I’ll introduce you as aldermen from the Seventh Ward.
Rudd: (Doubtfully.) Hm!
Rabbit: Crooked politics.
Rudd: Say, do we look like aldermen?
Hubert: Exactly, and it’ll be a capital joke on Dad.
Rabbit: No alderman has got anything on me. Clarence, pass the sherry.
Rudd: The skenatcho sauce, please.
Hubert: Now remember, you’re aldermen from the S-s-t Ward.
Rabbit: The what?
Hubert: The Whist Ward.
Rudd: Try and whistle it.
Hubert: Thixth. There it is. Thixth Ward.
Rudd: Not the Sixth. There’s an awful lot of roughnecks in the Sixth Ward.
Rabbit: Mercy me. How perfectly fumigating.
Hubert: Now you fellows come along and jump into these duds and then you can reform Tammany Hall.
(Exit Hubert and Rudd.)
(Rabbit sneaks over and fills a glass full of whiskey.)
(A head is poked cautiously in the back door. The Shadow is seen. He sees Rabbit and starts. He sneaks up to the table, seizes a book and throws it at Rabbit’s feet. Rabbit jumps.)
Rabbit: The Shadow.
Rabbit: What are you doing here?
Shadow: That’s just what I was going to ask you.
Rabbit: I am here with a special invitation.
Shadow: I am here with no invitation at all. In fact I intend to rob this house.
Rabbit: SO this is the job you wouldn’t tell us about.
Shadow: Exactly. Now what are you doing here?
Rabbit: I am thinking of going into politics.
Rabbit: I’ve got a job as an alderman. Sixth Ward.
Rabbit: That’s straight goods. I’ve always been fond of politics and now, why I’ve got some prominent capitalists backing me and—(Shrugs his shoulders.) The father of my chief backer owns this house and I’m spending the night with him.
Shadow: IS he crazy?
Rabbit: HOW the deuce did you know?
Shadow: Why (laughs) I thought he might be.
Rabbit: You’re tryin’ to kid me now. I’d really make a good alderman, tho’. I never was cut out for a crook. I was born for something better. Sometimes I get thinking that I ought to been a minister. Gosh! You ought to see me kiss a baby.
Shadow: Don’t take advantage of a child, Rabbit. The poor things can’t defend themselves.
Shadow: I have no doubt you’re a pious youth and will make a simply great alderman and a model politician.
Rabbit: Well, how about you? You’re not so bad as you try to pretend to be. I don’t think you’re no crook at all. Why do you pack “p all the stuff you steal and send it back to the people you steal it from with “the compliments of the Shadow” on a little card? I seen you sendin’ back the stuff you steal. You act as if you were doing it for fun.
Shadow: Maybe I am, Rabbit, maybe I am.
Rabbit: If you’re trying the crook business simply to find out what it’s like or to get fun out of it, why, you’d better cut it out. It doesn’t pay.
Shadow: Enough of this. I intend to do a little work tonight and see what I can pick up around the place. I must get familiar with the house and introduce myself to the inhabitants. Let me see. “House owned by Mr. Connage, married. Two children, Hubert and Dorothy, twenty-two and eighteen respectively, and Miss Saunders, housekeeper.” Hubert must have been the one you say you are acquainted with.
Rabbit: Yes, we are on quite intimate terms.
Shadow: I’ll look him up. In the meanwhile, of course, you’ll say nothing to any one about my being in the house.
Rabbit: Mum as a mouse.
Shadow: And now for inspection.
(Exit the Shadow.)
(Enter Rudd in a light check suit smoking black cigar.)
Rabbit: Well look at the duds.
Rudd: A little tasty class. They belong to the butler. Mr. Connage didn’t have any sporty enough for me.
Mrs. Connage: Beverly, oh Beverly.
Rabbit: Beat it quick.
Rudd: Stand your ground. It’s the lady of the house.
Rabbit: Oh. Oh. (Shivering.)
Mrs. C.: (Coming in.) Ah, callers. (To the crooks.) Good evening, gentlemen.
Mrs. C.: Have you called to see Mr. Connage?
Rudd: Well not exactly.
Mrs. C.: Or Miss Connage?
Rudd: Not minutely.
Mrs. C.: Have you called to see me?
Rabbit: Not precisely.
Rudd: The truth is we’re aldermen from the Sixth Ward.
Rabbit: Personal friends of your son.
Rudd: What do they call you?
Mrs. C.: I am Mrs. Connage. Well I’m afraid my son isn’t home yet.
Rabbit: Oh we just left him.
Mrs. C.: IS he in the house?
Rudd: (Aside to Rabbit.) Lie to her. If she finds him drunk we’ll get kicked out.
Mrs. C.: Where is he?
Rabbit: Why he’s pie-eyed.
(Rudd cautions him.)
Mrs. C.: My son been having trouble with his eyes?
Rudd: He was half shot.
Mrs. C.: (Screams.) Shot in the eye? Who shot him?
Rabbit: Well, when a guy gets half shot he usually does it himself.
Rudd: That’s so.
Mrs. C.: He shot himself?
Rudd: He did.
Rabbit: (Aside.) A pretty mess.
Mrs. C.: My heavens. This is terrible. Where is he?
Rudd: Why he’s here— I mean he’s— a—
Rabbit: Down town in a room of my boarding house.
(Mrs. Connage faints in the arms of Rabbit.)
Rabbit: Get some water quick.
Rudd: There ain’t none. Will whiskey do?
(They give her whiskey. She revives.)
Mrs. C.: I must go to him at once. Wait for me. I’ll get my wraps.
(Exit Mrs. Connage.)
Rudd: Well you did it.
Rabbit: You mean you did it.
Rudd: Whoever did it, between us, we’re in a pretty hole.
Rabbit: Well let’s clear out o’ here fore she comes down.
(They look out entrances.)
Rudd: Coast’s clear.
(They tiptoe out.)
(Enter Mr. Connage followed by Miss Saunders.)
Miss S.: But Mr. Connage.
Mr. C.: No buts. My daughter informs me that you have been extracting bits of information from the servants and this alone would make me discharge you. But the idea of your throwing all my cigars out the window because you thought they were cartridges, that is too much!
Miss S.: But I did think they were cartridges. They smelt like it.
Mr. C.: No matter. I asked you to leave in the morning and leave you shall. I am a man of my word.
Miss S.: But this is a serious step. Think. I have been with you so long and served you so well.
Mr. C.: If you are here by tomorrow I will have you forcibly removed.
Miss S.: Such is my lot to be derided and misunderstood. Such is my fate.
Mr. C.: Oh you still here?
Miss S.: Dear Mr. Connage—
Mr. C.: Ohh!
(Violent ringings of the doorbell, shouts, hammering at door.)
Emma K.: (Coming in at back.) Oh Mr. Connage, there are a lot of policemen at the gate all yelling that there’s a thief in the house. They’re breaking in.
Mr. C.: A thief in my house?
Miss S.: Where, where?
Emma K.: Oh what shall we do?
Miss S.: They’ve broken in.
Emma K.: Here they come.
Mr. C.: This is an outrage.
(Tramping in the hall. Enter a policeman.)
McGinness: Stop. I’ll enter. Sir, there’s a burglar in the house. We saw him enter.
Mr. C.: Impossible!
McGinness: Nevertheless, it’s so.
Emma K.: There is no burglar.
Miss S.: There may be.
McGinness: If you are concealing him—Leon!
(Enter Leon Dureal.)
Leon: Oui, oui, monsieur.
McGinness: Guard the stairs! Marshal the inmates. Search the house. We have reason to believe that the thief is none other than the famous Shadow himself.
Miss S.: The Shadow?
Mr. C.: In my house?
Miss S.: Terrible!
Emma K.: Awful!
VOICES OUTSIDE: Catch the thief. After him. Catch the Shadow. Nab the crook.
(Enter the girls.)
Dorothy: What is the matter?
Mr. C.: These men say there’s a burglar in the house.
Leon: Up ze stairs, men. I will lead and for ze honor of ze gen d’armes of France. Forward brave comrades.
McGinness: Up the stairs.
Mr. C.: One hundred dollars to the one that catches him.
Miss S.: One hundred dollars!
All: The Shadow! After him! Down with the thief! Capture the burglar! A cool hundred! Nab the reward!
(All talking at once, they rush out of the room. Enter the Shadow around the door at left.)
Shadow: Well here’s a pretty fix, to say the least. Policemen all around the house. Policemen in it and all looking for me. They probably saw me coming in. How to get out is what’s worrying me.
(Enter Hubert from right.)
Hubert: What’s all this row about? Why, what do you want here?
Shadow: Are you Mr. Hubert Connage?
Hubert: Yes, Mr.—Mr.—?
Shadow: Johnston. I called to see about the furnace.
Hubert: Why our furnace is all right. You’ve got the wrong house.
(Edges him toward door.)
Shadow: The truth is, I called to see your father. Is he in?
Hubert: He is.
Shadow: But you will do just as well. Let me see. What day of the month is this?
Hubert: The twenty-second, I think. I never keep track after twelve o’clock.
Shadow: Well, to proceed to business. This is the twelfth.
Hubert: NO, I said I never keep track after twenty-two—I mean twelve o’clock.
Shadow: Well twenty-two years ago next April—May—
Shadow: Why, what’s the matter?
Hubert: You been drinking too?
Shadow: No, certainly not. That’s the new fashioned way. Instead of saying “April and May,” you say “April-May.” Like, for instance, “April, maybe June, but always March.”
Hubert: Yes. What?
Shadow: You understand, I hope.
Hubert: Clear as mud.
Shadow: Listen. As I said, twenty years ago—
Hubert: You said ten.
Shadow: Did I? Split the difference and call it fifteen. Add six makes twenty-one; add seven and divide by two—I have fourteen, what have you?
Hubert: Go on. I want to see how much a fellow sees and hears when he’s drunk or how much he thinks he hears. Do you think you can persuade me I’m talking to you? You can’t. I’m in bed sleeping as comfortable—(
Turns but jails out of chair.)
Why in the dickens didn’t you try and persuade me I wasn’t?
Shadow: Because of Irving Berlin. Do you realize that he made thirty thousand on “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”?
Hubert: Look here—this is gone far enough. I’ve made aldermen and been to sleep tonight but I’m awake now and I never listened to such a lot of nonsense as you’ve been talking. What in the devil are you doing in the house anyways?
Voice Outside: After him. Catch the Shadow! Shackle the thief!
Hubert: The Shadow, why here? What are you doing here? The Shadow. The Shadow. Are you the Shadow? Well, I’ll be—
Hubert: I guess they’ve got you now, Mr. Shadow, or whatever they call you. When I yell, as I’m going to, it’s Sing Sing for you.
Shadow: But you won’t yell.
Hubert: I won’t?
Shadow: You won’t.
Hubert: And why not?
Shadow: Because I say so.
Hubert: We’ll see. Fa—!
Shadow: Stop. Hand up!
(Puts hand up.)
Shadow: Hand down. I have no gun.
Hubert: I’m a fool. Fath—!
Shadow: One more word and your fiancee, Miss—Miss—(looks at paper) Miss Helen Mayburn, will know where you were those three days last week. And it wasn’t Atlantic City.
Hubert: Good heavens! What do you want?
Shadow: I intend robbing this house if there is anything here that interests me.
Hubert: What do you want of me?
Shadow: Your absolute silence concerning me, nothing else.
Hubert: Well you shall have it since you know so much. And how did you know I was in prison three days last week?
Shadow: Simply enough. I was the policeman who arrested you. I saw you were drunk, saw you break in an old man’s derby, and I thought I’d give you a vacation.
Hubert: You were that ugly cop with the long beard?
Shadow: A rather doubtful compliment but I was he or he was I. Anyways, the problem now is this. They saw me enter this house. Some of them are in it. Some are out of it. I’ve got to get out.
Hubert: Well 1 hope they catch you.
Shadow: Remember, not a word from you.
Hubert: They’ll catch you anyways.
Shadow: They can’t.
Shadow: Look here—when you were little did you ever chase a reflection?
Hubert: Yes, but never caught it.
Shadow: Of course not. Not only because you couldn’t catch it but because it was an impossibility. Did you ever hear of a captured shadow?
Shadow: Of course not. There’s no such thing. It’s contrary to science. Now, I’m a shadow. So there you are.
Hubert: You will be a captured Shadow before four hours.
Shadow: Think as you please. I shall permit you to retire now. Good evening.
Shadow: You may go.
Hubert: This is my house.
Shadow: You may go.
Hubert: Oh very well. (Exit.)
(Enter Miss S.)
Miss S.: Why, who are you?
Shadow: Don’t be alarmed.
Miss S.: My nerves are in a turmoil. They say there is a thief in the house.
Shadow: There is but I’ll get him. I am a detective, my dear lady.
Miss S.: So you’re a detective, are you?
Shadow: I am.
Miss S.: A real detective?
Shadow: What do I look like? Papier mache?
Miss S.: And do you need assistance?
Shadow: Assistance? Ah, I have just the thing. Sh!
Miss S.: Oh, if I could help you find this burglar, Mr. Connage might take me back in his employ.
Shadow: Listen. I am hunting for the Shadow. I should like your assistance in a piece of work that requires careful handling. Now take heed. The real burglar is no other than Mr. Connage himself. He has been deceiving people for years but at last I’m onto him.
Miss S.: HOW perfectly awful. Still, I had long suspected.
Shadow: NOW the next person who enters this room I want you to stop and hold here till I come. Have you a revolver?
Miss S.: I’ll get one. (Takes revolver from case on wall.)
Shadow: NOW remember, no matter who the person is. Hold him or her up until I come, for I have reason to suspect that it will be Mr. Connage’s assistant. Remember, the police do not treat courageous work lightly. You will probably be rewarded and—How would you like a position on the women’s detective bureau?
Miss S.: Magnificent!
Shadow: YOU will obtain it. Now crawl under this table. Don’t fire “nder any conditions and remember that “wait” and “hope.” are the passwords.
Miss S.: Wait and hope. I will remember.
(Exit Shadow. She crawls under table.)
(Enter Mrs. Connage in coat and shawl.)
Mrs. C.: Gentlemen, I am ready to see my son. Why they’re gone. Where on earth—
Miss S.: (Under table.) Halt. Not another step.
Mrs. C.: What—what!
Miss S.: I have you covered.
Mrs. C.: Oh who are you?
Miss S.: One of the foremost members of the women’s secret service.
Mrs. C.: It’s Miss Saunders.
Miss S.: You have been found out.
Mrs. C.: The woman is crazy!
Miss S.: Put up your hands.
Mrs. C.: She is in league with some robbers.
Miss S.: The signs of guilt are written all over your face.
Mrs. C.: Miss Saunders, release me at once. My son is lying half shot—in a boarding house and I must go to him.
Miss S.: What language. Half shot indeed!
Mrs. C.: Will you kindly explain this?
Miss S.: No explanation is necessary. (Comes out from table.) I have you where I want you. My friend the detective will soon arrive.
Mrs. C.: But—
Miss S.: No explanations. I know all.
Mrs. C.: All what?
Miss S.: All about your husband.
Mrs. C.: (Aside.) Heavens! Can he have been up to something?
Miss S.: He has indeed. And you know only too well. You are his accomplice.
Mrs. C.: His accomplice? Me?
Miss S.: You.
(Enter Mr. Connage from back.)
Mrs. C.: Beverly!
Mr. C.: Why, what’s all this about? A pistol!
Miss S.: Put up your hands.
Mr. C.: What?
Mrs. C.: She says you’re a criminal.
Mr. C.: What in the devil is the matter?
Mrs. C.: And I’ve just received word that our son is shot.
Mr. C.: Shot? I just saw him. (To Miss S.) Did you shoot him?
Miss S.: Everything you say will be used against you.
Mr. C.: This is preposterous.
Mrs. C.: She must be in league with robbers.
Miss S.: You rascal, you!
Mr. C.: (To his wife.) Have you been up to something?
Dureal: We have zem.
McGinness: Bring them in here.
(Enter the policemen, each holding either Rabbit or Rudd, followed by Emma Kate.)
McGinness: We found them trying to sneak out of the back window. They have stolen these clothes.
Dureal: We have did ze duty.
McGinness: But what’s all this?
Mr. C.: Arrest this woman. (Pointing to Miss Saunders.)
Miss S.: Arrest this man. (Pointing to Mr. Connage.)
McGinness: But we have the crooks.
Miss S.: Pardon me but I have them.
Mrs. C.: But this woman is evidently a thief herself.
Dureal: Four crooks or five. Ah, this is a situation.
McGinness: Who—Who—What shall I do?
Dureal: These are the men.
Mr. C. and Mrs. C.: This is the woman.
Miss S.: Apprehend this couple.
McGinness: But which one shall I arrest?
Dureal: Arrest all of zem.
(Enter Hubert followed by girls.)
Dorothy: Papa! Mama!
Mrs. C.: My son, restored!
Helen: Miss Saunders!
Hubert: Rabbit and Chinyman!
McGinness: What shall I do? They each accuse somebody else.
Hubert: These are my friends. Pll vouch for ‘em.
Dorothy: This is my father and mother.
Dureal: Ze case grows complicated.
Rabbit: Arrest the old lady with the shotgun.
Hubert: You’re looking for the Shadow? There ain’t five Shadows.
(Enter the Shadow.)
Shadow: NO, there are not. But the Shadow is here.
Dureal: Shall I arrest this fellow too?
Miss S.: My friend the detective.
Shadow: Pm Johnston from the central office.
McGinness: Well, see if you can unravel this.
Shadow: I think I can. The Shadow is in this room.
McGinness: Where? Where?
Shadow: Look! The crook will be known in two minutes. Listen! Some one in this room is posing for some one else, but in reality is the Shadow.
All: The Shadow?
Shadow: The most daring crook in New York. He is one who has for years been leading a double life. Officer. Arrest Hubert Connage, alias the Shadow.
All: Hubert Connage?
Hubert: It’s a lie!!
Mrs. C.: My son.
(Hubert starts up. They grab him. All are startled and talk. Mrs. Connage faints and the Shadow lights a cigarette.)
(Thirty minutes later. Scene the same. Mr. Connage is seated at left. McGinness is standing at right and Hubert is gagged and tied to chair between them. Dureal is standing to the right of McGinness.)
Mr. C.: So now I hope you are convinced that my son is no burglar and no Shadow and that this is all a foolish mistake.
McGinness: Well I guess it’s pretty certain that you ought to know your own son, but you’ll admit it looked mighty suspicious when that detective fellow stood out here and called him the Shadow.
Dureal: Mais ou est-t-il. Le detective qui a lui denonce.
McGinness: Yes, yes. Speak sensibly.
Dureal: That detective. Where has he disappeared?
McGinness: He said he was going to call up the police station.
Mr. C.: But that was a half an hour ago.
McGinness: Well he hasn’t come back.
Mr. C.: Had you ever seen him before?
McGinness: Never. He said he’d just joined the force.
Mr. C.: I half believe he wasn’t a detective at all.
McGinness: Well he couldn’t have gone far. There’s a guard of policemen around the house.
Dureal: I knew, I knew continually, what ch’u call it, all ze time. I—ze brain, oui, moi.
McGinness: Your mouth is overcrowded with talk. Now spill one word at a time and you’ll be understood.
Dureal: I knew all the time.
McGinness: And you didn’t tell us? Why you mean little thing. He was a gent dee harm in France.
Dureal: Oui j’etais un gen d’arme en Paris. I nevaire before fail. That we have not caught him is due to this pig.
McGinness: Here, here, frogslegs—No names.
Mr. C.: Gentlemen. It is not too late to catch this burglar or bogus detective. There is still a guard of policemen around the house, so he must be in the house.
Hubert: (Gagged.) Mmmmm—mmm—mm—mmmm.
Mr. C.: My son evidently wants to be released.
McGinness: TO be sure. I forgot.
Hubert: Mmm—Ah. Oh my mouth. (Tries to stretch it.) Of all the ivory-headed policemen. To let that fellow get away from almost under your nose.
Dureal: What fellow?
Hubert: That fake detective. Why he was the Shadow himself.
McGinness, Mr. C and Dureal: He was the Shadow?
Hubert: Of course he was. If I hadn’t been a little intoxicated I wouldn’t have let him bluff me about keeping mum.
McGinness: You knew who he was all the time?
Hubert: Sure I did but he threatened to blab something he knew about me if I gave him away, but now he’s played me such a dirty trick and got my mouth so sore that I am going to catch that fellow if he tells about me all over town.
Mr. C.: Mr. McGinness has stationed men all around the house, so he couldn’t have gotten away.
Dureal: Well, after him.
Mr. C.: Come, we will search the house.
(Exit McGinness, Dureal, Mr. Connage.)
(Enter Mrs. Connage.)
Mrs. C.: Hubert, Hubert, my poor boy. So they released you. First some aldermen told me that you had been shot.
Hubert: Aldermen? I don’t remember any alderman. Oh yes, I have a dim recollection of picking up two men on the street and bringing them home and why—yes—why I promised I’d make them aldermen or something of the sort.
Mrs. C.: But my son, they said you had been shot in the eye and your eye looks all right. Where were you shot?
Hubert: In the excitement.
Helen: Oh excuse me. There has been so much excitement that I don’t know where I’m going.
Hubert: Why Helen, just in time. Mother, Helen and I are—are—Oh why don’t you tell her?
Helen: We’re—we’re—Why don’t you?
Helen: To be married.
Mrs. C.: Engaged? Why, why, how startling! But Helen, you dear girl, I haven’t the heart to blame you. You must tell me all about it in the morning. Come, it is getting late.
Helen: Here Hubert. Something I got for you down town today. (Hands him paper.) Sign it.
Hubert: What is it?
Helen: Why it’s a pledge.
(Exit Helen and Mrs. C.)
Hubert: Well I’ll be darned.
(Starts to throw it away, then examines it, then signs it and throws it on the table.)
(Enter Rudd and Rabbit.)
Hubert: Ah, good morning Mr.— Mr.—
Rabbit: You ain’t forgotten us, have you?
Hubert: Oh are you the fellows I brought home to spend the night with me?
Rabbit: We’re the ones. And say, you haven’t forgotten about aldermen?
Hubert: Hey, did I say I’d make you aldermen? What a fool I was!
Rabbit: Oh I don’t know about that.
Hubert: I tell you. I’ll consider the matter at least. You may spend the night as my guest.
Rudd: YOU talk like a goat.
Hubert: Where did you get that suit? It’s enough to wake any one up in the morning.
Rudd: Think so? You gave it to me.
Hubert: You mean that I ever had a suit like that?
Rudd: You said I could take it out of the butler’s clothes press.
Rabbit: It looks cheap.
Rudd: Cheap? Why it’s all covered with big checks.
Hubert: And here is a retaining fee and a happy rest to you both and—sh—sh—keep it dark about our political prospects.
Rabbit: I’m going to insure my money so if I spend it I will have it anyways.
Rudd: Come, we’ll go to bed. Say, is the Shadow still in the house? Wasn’t it slick when he told the cops that Hubert was the Shadow?
Rabbit: I guess they’re onto him now. Well let’s hope he gets out of the house safely. We know how it is.
(Exit both of them.)
(Enter the Shadow.)
Shadow: Well I’m in for it. I’m as good as caught. The Shadow caught, captured. After baffling the New York police for two weeks, to be caught like an ordinary second story man. Still, they can’t do much to me. I can prove that I have sent back every bit of stuff that I stole. But to be captured and by such ivory heads as this McGinness. Still, I must not give up. I’m not caught yet, not by a long shot. There is still a chance. One chance in a hundred, but a chance all the same.
Dorothy: Why it’s the detective. How do you do, sir. Sir, tell me. Why did you accuse my brother? Will you release him?
Shadow: Release him? Why, of course, if you wish.
Dorothy: I didn’t know detectives were so obliging. But tell me. Is the Shadow in this house? And who is the Shadow?
Shadow: I’m afraid it would be imprudent to tell you. You might put him on his guard.
Dorothy: IS he as romantic looking as the newspapers say?
Shadow: I should say not. He is an undersized, bullet-headed fellow. As ugly as I have ever seen, Miss Connage.
Dorothy: Well then, why did you take my brother for him?
Shadow: Why—oh yes—why yes—of course—Why that’s the question. Ha-ha. Well let me see. It’s a long story and my time for business is short. Listen. He is in this house and I must catch him.
Dorothy: I wish you success, Mr.—Mr.—
Dorothy: Mr. Johnston. But I am disappointed that the Shadow was not handsome for I had intended to fall in love with him.
Shadow: You had? Poor fellow that he doesn’t know it. He would jump at the chance but you would have no use for a fellow like that.
Dorothy: You never can tell. Good night, Mr. Johnston, and good luck.
(She goes out. He shakes his head sadly and then goes out.)
(Enter from opposite sides Rabbit and Miss Saunders.)
Miss S.: What a noble looking being!
Miss S.: Ah, ‘tis the politician. I thought I heard a noise in the library.
Rabbit: It must have been only the history repeating itself.
Miss S.: And how are you, dear sir?
Rabbit: I’m so thin from all this excitement that my shadow would puncture a bicycle tire.
Miss S.: Quite clever. You know I’m not as old as I look.
Rabbit: You couldn’t be and live.
Miss S.: He is eccentric. But will you not have a chocolate drop, sir? “Sweets to the sweet,” you know.
Rabbit: Have some of these. (Passes crackers.) Crackers to the cracked, you know.
Miss S.: Sir, I’ll have you know I’ll not be openly derided. Emma Kate. Show this man the door.
(Emma Kate comes in.)
Emma K.: And no mum.
Miss S.: What?
Emma K.: You was discharged this evenin’. I he’r Mr. Connage atellin’ you.
Miss S.: Entirely utterly crushed! I shall pray, and let me tell you my prayers will be heard, that this house will be swallowed by an earthquake—There!
Rabbit: And it’s good riddance to bad rubbish. Emma Kate, do you suppose that in the kitchen there is a little chicken and a bottle of beer ready to be eaten up?
Emma K.: There might be.
Rabbit: Come along then.
(Exeunt the two.)
(Enter the Shadow followed by Dureal whom he does not see.)
Shadow: Policemen at the front door, policemen at the back door, policemen at the side door and policemen at every window. How shall I get out? Let me see. Oh! the telephone.
Dureal: Non, monsier. You are my prisoner.
Shadow: Me your prisoner? You mean your guest.
Dureal: I, Dureal, have captured you. Hands up.
Shadow: Oh, is your name Dureal, the famous Dureal?
Dureal: What, you know me? (He is pleased.)
Shadow: Who has not heard of you—the cleverest gen d’arme in Paris, the handsomest and most efficient man on the New York police force.
Dureal: Monsieur. But are you not the Shadow?
Shadow: Yes I am, and you unaided have captured me. But it is no disgrace to be captured by you. It is rather an honor.
Dureal: You are too polite.
Shadow: One could never equal a Frenchman in politeness. But forgive me. You will sit down?
Dureal: With pleasure.
Shadow: But there is one thing I never could understand about the French police. Could you explain it? I hear they lock all the criminals in one large room. Now what’s to prevent them from breaking out?
Dureal: But they don’t. They lock the prisoners in cells.
Shadow: Surprising. Well now. How big are these cells? As big as these closets? (Opens closet door.)
Dureal: Oh yes.
Shadow: But now a man of your size couldn’t get in this closet.
Dureal: Why certainly. Here. I will go in—(Walks into closet. Shadow slams and locks door.)
Shadow: And you’ll stay there too. Monsieur Monsieur. (Laughs.)
(Dureal stamps and pounds.)
Shadow: And it’s always safer to work in the dark. (Extinguishes lights and lights candle on table.)
(Enter McGinness. He gives a cry of satisfaction and covers Shadow with a revolver. Shadow grabs up magazine and throws it so that it knocks revolver from policeman’s hand. He jumps over chair and grapples with policeman.)
McGinness: Curse you, curse you.
Shadow: Give up or I’ll break your arm.
(Enter Hubert followed by his father. He snatches up the candle and points revolver at Shadow.)
Hubert: Now we’ve got you, Mr. Shadow, or whatever you call yourself.
(Enter Dorothy, Helen, Miss S., Mrs. C., Emma K., and crooks.)
Shadow: Yes, you’ve got me at last. I’m caught.
Hubert: I thought there was no such thing as a captured Shadow.
Dorothy: So you’re a burglar?
Shadow: A burglar. Me—Yes.
McGinness: Well it was no cinch, and for two weeks you’ve led us a hard chase.
Shadow: I guess the game is up. But you know I’m not yet in the lockup. But I’d better make a clean sweep of it. My accomplice is in that closet.
McGinness: Bosh and nonsense! It’s one of his tricks.
Shadow: Will some one listen to me?
Dorothy: I will listen to you.
Shadow: Then listen. In that closet is locked some one who will be useful to you. (Poundings.) But he is desperate. So you must bind him directly. You take that shawl and throw it over his head. Here is the key. Ready. Unlock it. (McGinness unlocks door. Dureal comes out. They throw shawl over head, not recognizing him. Shadow steps behind screen in the excitement. Dureal sputters and fumes.)
Dureal: Fools. Fools. Where is he?
McGinness: (Looking around.) Gone!
Hubert: After him!
Dureal: Oh me, oh my!
(Exit all. )
(Shadow comes quickly from behind screen and steps to telephone.)
Shadow: Well? (Takes up phone.)
Dorothy: Put down that phone.
Shadow: The phone? (Takes down receiver.)
Dorothy: Yes, or—
Shadow: Nonsense. Hello—Hello. Oh here they are.
Dorothy: If you say one word over that phone, I’ll shoot.
Shadow: You will? Very well. Central, give me the Forty-fourth Street police station. All right. Why don’t you fire?
Dorothy: I—I can’t.
Shadow: And why not?
Dorothy: I don’t know.
Shadow: Hello—Is this the Forty-fourth Street police station? Well this is Officer McGinness. I am at the Connages’ house on Fifty-second Street. Immediately withdraw the guard from around the house. We’ve caught the Shadow at last. Thank you. Good evening. And please hurry. (Bangs down receiver.)
Dorothy: If I wished I could summon the police or counteract that telephone message.
Shadow: Why don’t you scream? I won’t stop you.
Dorothy: Because I’m not going to. I am going to let you get out of here. Listen—tell me the truth. Who are you? You don’t seem like a burglar. And is it true that you send back everything you steal?
Shadow: People seem to be onto me. Yes, I guess it is true.
Dorothy: Are you a real thief then?
Shadow: Why of course.
Dorothy: I wished you weren’t.
Shadow: You wish I wasn’t?
Dorothy: I—I—would like to have known you better. But as it is, it is out of the question.
Shadow: Yes, it’s out, out of the question. For I am only a burglar. Not fit to look at you.
Dorothy: But why—Why are you a burglar?
Shadow: Because I was born to it, I suppose.
Dorothy: Born to it? You were not born to it. You are a gentleman.
Shadow: Thank you, miss. Well, you are right in a way. By entering houses by stealth I’ve forfeited all claims to the name of gentleman, but I’ve never kept a thing I’ve taken and I’m glad you think I am. But as I am for the present a burglar, it is better we should not meet again. (At window.) I see the guard has been withdrawn. Good night, Miss Connage. Were I not a burglar, I might hope to know you better. But—(Opens door.)
(Clock strikes twelve.)
Dorothy: So is it goodbye?
Shadow: Listen—the clock has struck twelve. Up to twelve o’clock tonight I was forbidden by the terms to a bet to disclose who I was, but now I can tell you. My name is Thorton Hart Dudley. I made a bet of five thousand dollars with several New York men whom I met in Philadelphia that I could prove the New York police utterly incompetent, by committing daring robberies, and remain uncaught for two weeks. My two weeks is up now—I am a burglar no longer, and I have won my bet.
Dorothy: Then you are not a thief?
Shadow: Miss Connage, I am not in circumstances which put me in want of money. It was simply a question of daring with me. The fancy struck me that I should like to be a burglar for a while, and when I had once entered into an agreement, I stuck it out, and—(Takes her hand. She draws it away.)
(Enter Mr. Connage.)
Mr. C.: Here, here! What’s all this?
Dorothy: Oh Father, this is my friend, Mr.—Mr. Dudley.
Mr. C.: (Surprised.) Bless me, it’s the burglar!
Shadow: No sir—Never a burglar. Only a Shadow, and a Captured Shadow at that. (Glances at Dorothy.)
(Mr. Connage faints in chair.)
Published in Francis Scott Fitzgerald's St. Paul Plays 1911-1914 collection (1978). Written for The Elizabethan Dramatic Club and Presented on Friday evening, August 23, 1912 at Oak Hall Under the direction of Elizabeth Magoffin.