The Grass Widow


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The Grass Widow

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Title:
The Grass Widow
Creator:
Boucicault, Dion
Language:
English

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Playscript -- 19th century ( lcsh )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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PAGE 1

) l ' THE GR .... c:, V I oo.~ ,I I r

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THE GRASS WIDOW A Pla7 In One Act B,-DION BOUCICAULT Property ot Josephine Bouc1c ult c/o uel French 25 eat 45th Street New York, x.y.

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THE GRASS WIDOW Scene: A boudoir. R.I.E. a door. L.I.E. another door -2.E.L. a fireplace -Wood tire burning -L.H. at back a window. C.D. opening on balcony. Mrs. Merivale (outside R. C lla) . Annie! Annie! Annie! (She enters R . H. door I • • She 1a in wedding dress) (Ent r ADIE ) Why did you not answer the bell? Annie I was waiting on Kiss Helene. Krs. Merivale I saw the letter carrier entering the grounds go and fetoh me the mail. (ANNIE goes up c.)

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.. Annie Here is Joseph bringing it. (Disappears off c . by L . ) Mrs. llerivale Day after da7 I wait and no news from Paul. (Reenter. ANNIE) Annie A foreign letter tor 7011, lla•am, and a postal card tor Mias Helene. Mrs. Merivale Foreign letter? ( Takes it) •Tia his handwriting! (She opens it and r ads) He expects to arrive on the 15th -that is toda7 -toda7. (Continues reading) Annie -attend carefully to what I request. Thia morning a gentleman will present him.self and ask to see me. You will shew him into my dressing room and let me know. Annie What name will he give? Mrs. Merivale No matter. We receive here only one visitor, Mr. Louis Whiffletree who 1a engaged to my niece, Helene and calls here daily. Annie Very well Jla1am, but to avoid mistakes -You can make none. years ot age. Jira. llerivale The gentleman is tall -dark -about 30 Annie But if 7011 are dressing. Mrs. Kerivale Kever mind! shew him in. Annie Excuse my questions -but you are so particular about receiving strangers. Mrs. lterivale Thia is no stranger -quite the contrary.

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Annie Very well, Ma'am, as soon as your brother comes. Mrs. Merivale I have no brother. Annie Oh! I understand -some one who is going to be -Mrs. Kerivale Quite the contrary -some one who has been so lest you remain_tor a JDQment under a misapprehension -the gentleman I expect is my husband. Annie I thought Ma'am -you were a widow. Mrs. Jlerivale Your suppositions oblige me to repose a confidence in you which I desired to avoid -but I must rely on your silence -tor it I find 7ou have tailed to keep th1a secret -7ou may consider yourself discharged from my service tor I am not at liberty to betray the presence ot Captain Merivale until I receive hia sanction. Annie You may feel sure M _ a1am. Mrs. Merivale I do Hush Someone ia in the antechamber. Annie It is Mr. Louis -Shall I say you are not at home? Mrs. Merivale No! beg him to wait here! I will see him presently. (Exits R. reente 1 her room) (At door L.H. -Kay I come int Annie Yes. Louis Where is she? Annie Which or the shes? Louis Mrs. Merivale. I am sure I heard her voice.

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Annie She was here -but when she heard you coming --Louis She escaped into her room which means-Annie • Nothing of the kind -she wishes you to wait until she is dressed. (She takes up the scart veil Mrs. Merivale has left on sofa R.) Did she 1a7 aoT Yes. (Seizi~S 'Tis her, Annie. Louis Annie Annie She is expecting me to wait on her. Louis This scarf is hers Annie Yes. Louis It has embraced her neck. (Kisses it) Happy scart. Annie But excuse me you are kissing my hands instead of the veil. Am I, through the veil T pretty. Don't be foolish. Louis I thought -your hands are quite Annie Louis Bow can I help 1tT I am 1n love. Annie With my bands?

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Louis With your mistress. Annie And how about Miss Helene -your intended? Louis She is charming. I love her -as a sister. Annie I don't think she regards you as a brother. Lou1a Yes! that's the devil of it! It Mrs. Merivale wants to dispose other niece, she should not appear beside her. Before I saw the aunt I was dead gone on Helene. But, since then, I cannot help drawing comparisons. They are lovely• and not tour years difference in age -but Camille -I mean the widow -has experience -and like a practised duellist ahe I a a dead shot -every time! Helene be .trays a sulky temper -while Mrs. Mer1vale is always sweet and tender. They are both in love with me and if I mu.st choose -What are you laughing at? Annie Do you imagine 7ou can marry the aunt? Louis Why notT Annie For the beat ot reasons. She --Louis There 1a no one else -that I know nothing of? -No lover? Annie Oh no. (BELL rings) There she1Soall1ng me -please let me go. I shall be scolded for chattering here with you -how can I explain? Louil Tell her our conversation was ~t her. You know too much. (Exits) Annie Louis So when she heard I waa coming, she lett word for me to re•

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•in• until she had put the tiniahing touches to her beauty! (Looks around) What shall I dot One never finds a stray newspaper 1n a lad7's boudoir. What's here! -an album! her_ album! open at a blank page! I risk a declaration. (Be muses -he writes -a pause. Enter HELENE. behind him. She stops -creeps behind him and looks over hi shoulder) Helene What is he doing?. Be is writing in m7 album! Oh! it1s poetr,--"to her I adore" -how sweet of him. Louis Ah! 1Tis 7ou. Helene Did I trighten you! Louis Yes -I mean, no. Helene What were 7ou writing? Louis Nothing. Helene "To her I adore." Louis An imaginary being! poets are entitled to adore -a -that sort of thing. Helene Let me read a description of 7our imaginar,-being. Louis Nonsense. -I have not finished -Helene So much the better -(Takes the book -reads) Queen of my soul whose atarllke e7es Give all the l.ight I seek (Oh! how sweet) Thy lips breathe silent melodies The blushes on thy cheek To 1117 love. the love imparts In native language or our hearts.

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Oh! beautiful conceit! blushes and smiles are the native language or our hearts. Oh! Wherever can 7ou find suq}l splendid ideas? Louis Oh -the7 come -they arise. Helene (Reading) Pillow tb.7 head so on m7 breast and there let me uphold thy' raven hair. Louis (Aside) Oh Lord! she1a a blonde. Helene My raven hair!! Louis Golden you mistake. Helene It• is raven. See -look there. What does that mean? Louis Poetical license! In the starlight -or course -in the dark alLhair is black. Helene This was not intended tor me -I did not inspire these lines -You were thinking ot another. Louis What! Can you suppose --T Helene Sir! I am not 1n the dark. Louis Helene! Helene Kiss Kerivale sir -We will stop further poetry -it you please. (Sits down and obs) I shall never tor -give myself tor calling 7ou Louis. Louis I implore you not to cey. Helene I1m not ceying -Don--Don't flatter 7ourselt -I -I. Oh! Oh!

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a . Louis Listen -those verses were to an imaginary being -ETery poet keeps an imaginary being tor practice. Helene Go awa7. I hate 7ou Can.•t I er,-if I am miserable without 7our 1nterterence -1 wish -there! .(Enter MRS. MEBIVALE ) Mrs. Merivale What is the matter! Another dispute! Cannot you two spend an hour alone and together without coming to blows? Helene Oh, this time it is not my tault. It is Louis -I mean it 1s Xr. Whiffletree who is to blame -Listen Aunt. Mrs. Merivale Helene, I will not listen to allY' such nonsense. -It is the old story. Helene No Aunt -this is a new one. Mrs. Merivale Well, go and nurse it -lovers• quarrels! tell me Louis -have 7ou executed the commission I gave you! Louis Your portrait! Yes. It does not do you justicebut it 1s an ideal creature --(Handing her the locket) too lovely to be human. Helene (Half aside) Another or his imaginary beings, I auppose. llrs. Merivale Look! Helene -do you think it like me! Helene ( Not looking) Oh 7es -1t 1• all right. Mrs. Merivale Oh, Helene -don't be f'oolish -put on your bat and go with us. Helene No, thanks. I should only spoil your walk.

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Louis I see 7ou are dressed tor a promenade. Mrs. Merivale Yes -that ~s wh7 I asked 7ou to wait -I desired 7our escort. Helene (Aside) Ot course. Bow I can• t have it out with him!. I am always the one to be aaoriticed. Louis Where are we going? Mrs. Merivale Towards the railway station. I expect someone b7 one ot the early trains and I cannot suppress m7 impatience. Louis Ia it a she -or a he? Mrs. Merivale A he -very much. Louis -Ahem! have you remarked the change that has come over the weather? . llrs. Merivale Yea -it threatens rain. Louis We shall be caught in the storm. Mrs. Mer1T&.le Are you afraid of a few drops or rain? Louis It 7ou requested me to go over the falls ot Niagara tor your sake -I would say -provide your witnesses and a press gang to vindicate-the feat -so they may produce my remains in evidence. llrs. Merivale Louis! Louis! When will you have a lucid interval -So, Helene, you refuse to be of our party"? Helene Adieu! Aunt -I hope you will enjoy your escort. Louis Adieu -Hel -I mean Miss Merivale.

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10. Helene Good day Sir. (Exeunt MRS. MERIVALE and LOUIS) ohyea! now he will be as sweet as candy to her bu.t because he thinks he is sure of me he he leaves me out in the cold! Here are his verses -which I was fool enough to think were intended for me. (Opens album) Ba! ha! he thinks he can •-rite poetry. "Qu•en of my soul whose starlike eyes give all the light I seek" --I bet he stole that somewhere -I wish I knew -How mean I could make him feel! "thy lips breathe silent melodies" -how can melodies be silent? -bosh! I'll let him have that "The blushes on thy cheek." Where would he have them? On her noaet bah! Is it not pitiful! -There -come out you black thing whoever you are -I'll burn his imaginary_ being. (Tears out the leaf) There -into the fire you go -and fizzle in the flam.es -Oh! what have I done! There was his portrait on the back of the leaf! (Flings herself on her knees and tries to pull it out of the tire) he -he gave it to me on my birthday -his portrait -Oh dear! it -it 1s destroyed -Oh my love what have I done! Look at that, my Louis. (Cries over the loss -Enter ANNIE) Annie Oh! Miss Helene What bas happened? Helene I have bu.med him up -because -because I don't love h1m any more. Annie Why notT Helene Be -he loves someone else! OnlJ' think! I have discovered his new flame is a brunette! Fancy being in love with black hair! What bad taste in a man. Annie (Looking in the glass) I don't know about that -there is your Aunt -look at her hair. Helene That's true -I never thought of tba t. Annie She is lovely as a picture.

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through -(Crossing to R.D.) Louis I told you how it would be. (Exit MRS. MERIVALE and ANNIE R.) You will change your dress but how about mine? (Feeling his coat) 12. I gave her the whole of the umbrella and I received the benefit of the sacrifice. Thank goodness -there is a splendid fire -(Pulla oft his coat) I can dr my jacket and toast my trousers -Places his coat on be.ck of a chair before the fire, and sits across nother facing the fire, L.H.) Th.ere -that is comtortable. I hope Joseph has recaptured my bat. It was all the fault of Camille There -the storm is past. I told her it was only a squall -There was a grotto close by us where we could have found shelter -but she refused to enter it. The adventure of Dido with Eneas under similar circumstances may have occurred to her -as it did to me. (Enter CAPTAIN MERIVALE followed by a SERVANT who carries his valise and bundle of rugs which he places on obair at back and goes out) Hollo! Who is th1sf I have not mistaken (Aloud) Merivale The gentleman seems at home. the address. Surely I beg your pardon sir. Can I have entered the wrong house! Louis Probably. Merivale I thought this was Hollywood. Louis Right you are. Merivale The residence of Mrs. Mer1vale. Louis You are in it. (Turns his coat) •

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11. Helene I rorgot all about her -so she is dark. She is handsome and a widow -and now I think or it -they are always together. -I thought his attentions to her were on my account -Oh! I see it now. She's the raven! he wants to marry her -not me. Annie Ho! ho! If that be his object, he will find himself 1n the soup. Helene What do you mean, Annie? Annie Beg pardon Miss -it slipped out -I mean Mrs. Mer1vale oan never marry Kr. Louis -tor the best of reasons! I can say no more -but you may rely on that -so dry your eyes She has no more idea of marrying h1m that she has of •rl71ng me • . He is preparing to get a douche which will put out his tlam_e -Oh! listen .to the rain (Goes up) Helene (Dancing with joy) And they are out in it! They will be drenched -I am delighted. There is justice in Beaven. Annie (Looking oft) Here they come! running under shelter of the trees -Helene (Up at window) There goes Joseph to meet them with an umbrella -yes -but an umbrella will only hold one -Oh there! See! the wind has carried off Louis hat -and Joseph flies at-ter 1 t. Oh how I bless that rain. Serves them right. Annie It takes your part. Helene No! because it was much needed for the crops -ha! ha! (Runs otf) Annie What a child! but there's the makings of a sweet woman there -if Mr. Louis only knew his business. (Enter KRS. JIERIVALE and LOUIS) llrs. llerivale Quick! Annie -I must change my dress at once -I am wet

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Merivale I presume she is not at home. Louis Yes. She is in there. Merivale In that case, I shall take the libert,-. (Going R . ) Louis (J~ping up) No you won't -that is her dressing room. Merivale Now, this is yours apparently. Louis 13. For the moment. We were caught in the rain and while she hastened in there to change her dress -I availed myself or that moment to dry mine. You allow me• (Returns to fire) Merivale (Aside) Who is this easy going fellow who makes himself at home by my fireside! Louie It you are damp I can squeeze you in somewhere. Merivale You are very good. No -I found a carriage at the station. Louia Oh! You are the he she expected! how stupid I am to forget -Yes• how are you? She was quite anxious to see you -Sit down -I'll go and tell her you are there -Merivale Stop -are you entitled to enter that lady's dressing room• at such a moment? Louis No -I can speak to her through the door. Merivale No Excuse me -I preter to await her leisure. Louis All right. Then make yourself at home.

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llerivale You are ve17 good -I will -So she told you that she expected my arrival? Well -just casuall -(Rings bell Louis She seemed to attach more anxiety than importance to the matter. (Enter SERVANT) Joseph, bring some wood to the tire. (Exit JOSEPH) Meri vale My business with Mrs. Kerivale is or a private nature. Louis Oh! Ah! perhaps it concerns the affairs of her late husband? Kerivale Yes -her late husband. (Aside) I hope he is not too late. (Aloud) So that unless your position here entitlea you to be present when her family affairs are discussed• Louis No sir -I have no such claim. Kerivale. Ah! in that case -I hope you will --you understand. Louis Clear out! I see -(Aside) I wonder what his business is -he is too good looking tor a lawyer. ( loud) I say -shall you be long over this_ businessT Merivale Why do you askt Louis We have our little engagements ahead for the day. Kerivale I assure you I am quite as anxious as you can be to have this matter settled at once.

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16 . llrs. Kerivale When I received 7our l _etter trom Europe saying that in a tew hours atter its arrival you would be here -I was so mad with Jo7 that I could scarcely contain your secret -that the best ot husbands was alive. Kerivale The news or the loss of m7 ship in which all hands perished was the most tortunate circumstance• I was heavily involved in certain enterprises and all claim• on my estate were quickl7 and easily settled. Mrs. Merivale When did you first hear of your deatht Keri vale At Singapore -When I was landed trom the vessel by which I was rescued -the first thing that met me there was a cop7 of the Hew York Herald -with a full and circumstantial. account of my death and a complimentary obituary -with a reference to my lovel7 widow -and bJ' the way on arriving here I found a young --Mrs. Keri vale Your creditors behaved like angels and 7our affairs are now all clear of trouble. Merivale Thanks to rq guardian angel But I am curious to learn who is the youngMrs. Yerivale And 7our passage from Europe? was it agreeable! Ker1vale Splendid -I hurried from ship straight to my wife when on entering here I found• Jira. Yerivale You must be tired and hungry -Let me order 7ou • 11er1vale Nothing -I want nothing -b,ut to be alone with my angel • and you may be sure I felt surprised to find a young fellow installed here. Mrs. Merivale Oh! you saw Louis. Jlerivale And who the plague 1• Louis!

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Mrs. Merivale A delightful young fellow. Merivale I tailed to see hia delight. Mrs. Mer1Tale He belongs to one ot the best tam111es 1n New York. Merivale It 1a welcome to him. Mrs. Merivale A promising young lawyer. Merivale Have you a suit! Mrs. Merivale No, but I have a niece. Merivale Helene Mrs. Merivale She ia his fiancee. Merivale Oh! he comes . on her account. Mrs. Merivale Certainly. Merivale Will you allow me to doubt that! Mrs. Merivale Doubt it? Merivale 17. I have had few words with him -but those few lead me to feel sure that Helene is not the object or his devotion -It 1s rather a delicat. e subject to introduce at such a moment -but I must relieve my mind. Mrs. Merivale My dear Paul What can you meanT Merivale There is another attraction here -beside Helene -a lovely widow Mrs. Camille Merivale, my wife --

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19. Merivale Your portrait. Mrs. Meri vale And see -1n the same locket you will tind the portrait of someone else -My own -Merivale (Opens back of locket) (Goes to embrace her) Mrs. Merivale Hush! here he comes -1n there with you! do not lose a word! Merivale (Going into room R.) I shall be all ears. Mrs. Meri vale You shall confess to emulate the animal, distinguished by' their length. (MERIVALE enters room R. leaving door slightly open. Enter LOUIS ) Louis A thousand thanks tor the message 7ou sent me as soon as 7011 got rid of that insutferable bore. llrs. lrterivale Bore! Oh! You mistake the gentleman -You do not know him. Louis And have no desire to improve his acquaintance. Mrs. llerivale Oh! drop the subject please -and let us talk ot matters more agreeable to 70u. Louis Ah! with all my heart. Mrs. Merivale Du.ring the last three months 7ou have been a dail7 visitor here -of course I cannot~derstand the object of 7our presence. mis• Louis Yet I feared to avow it. Mrs. Mer1vale Why so! I am sure Helene bas shewn the nature of her feelings tor you.

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18. Krs. 11er1vale You are mad, m7 dear boy -to entertain such a silly suspicion and the sooner you get it ou t ofyour head the better. llerivale I feel so -Will you not forgive met Mrs. Merivale It must not trouble the first hours ot your return. Merlvale How do you propose to proceed? You cannot very well tax the gentleman with pretens~ona -which I presume he hasnever advanced. Mrs. Merivale You do me justice -ot course -he baa not -I have received him as the tiancee ot our niece -Stay -(Rings bell) I will send tor him -in what character did you represent yourself to him? Mer1vale Simply as your man or business. Mrs. Merivale My la.,-er! good! I shall speak to him on the question of his approaching marriase with Helene -the settlements and the date we shall propose. (Enter ANNIE) Please tell Mr. Louis that I desire to speak with him. (Exit ANNIE) Now you can place yoursel.t behind that door, and hear what passes between us -and after you have received the proof that your silly, Jealous suspicion was groundless you will su bm1 t your hair to be pulled. Jlerivale (Embracing her) You do not suppose I entertained any doubt ot you -Mrs. Merivale You do no t deserve that I should give you --WhatT Look! (Shows h Merivale • Jira. Merivale the portrait)

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Louis Poas1bl7, but my object was not Helene. Mrs. Merivale What! Louis 20 . She has only served as my wretched excuse! When I had met her at Newport, and received her permission to call here -at that time I had not seen you -I came and when I beheld you both together and when I was permitted to spend two fatal months by your side -I knew I had deceived myself. Jira. Jlerivale What are you talking about! Louis or my infatuation for you! You drive me to confess it, now and here, for the first time. I was prepared to conceal it until it had eaten my heart away -you might have learned it from my eyes -my wasted torm. , Krs. Merivale Be silent• for Heavens sake -I never dreamed of this. Louis 1!7 family is amongst the best in the State -my fortune ample -but this is nothing -You are tree -I judge by your happ7 life -and your joyous manners, that you have forgotten the late incumbent -I hear that he was not worthy ot possessing such a treasure. Mrs. Merivale Stop -I entreat. Louia You are a widow. Mrs. llerivale You forget yourself in -.king such a proposal. Louis Bo, Madam -I remember -I cannot forget the sweet ecstacies we have shared together when you seemed tor ely on me for all the 11 ttle services I rendered -the kind words -the tender regards you bestowed upon me. Mrs. Mer1vale But Sir -those worda,those looks were addressed to the future husband ot Helene -to my nephew• Louis Camille, 7ou cannot pretend 7ou did no t know I loved you -Anner me.

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Jira. llerivale There 1a the door -that is my answer. Louis Bo -I cannot leave you thus. Mrs. Merivale Must I then, quit the room? Louis You will recall me. Jira. Merivale Bever Bever Never! Louis I never tound you in this temper before. Mrs. Merivale Will you leave my house or will you notT (Going) Louis Oh. I 7ield Ma.dam ( side) What the plague has come over her! (Exits• MERIVALE appears at R . H . ) . Merivale door 21 . I think 1t was quite time that I returned; and I have ever,reaaon to congratulate myself on --Mrs. llerivale Oh! 7ou are not generous! You aurel7 do not believe --Merivale I believe 7ou to be blind to ,-our own attractions -Who could help long you? I know you were innocent of the danser in.to which you were leading that 7oung fellow. Krs. Merivale I shall forbid him the house. .. Merivale Nonsense do nothing of the kind you are unJuat. The fault is mine, in the first place, tor I induced you to pass tor a widow and now we must meet the consequences like honest people. Mrs. lfer1vale What do you propose to dot

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23. Louis Here 1s this fellow again! Oh! I can't stand this -Sir• Merivale Yes Sir -I believe I heard you scampering along the path on the tar side of that fence ot foliage -Louie And you took the liberty to stride over the tulip beds on the other side. Merivale Yes Sir. I performed that athletic feat. Louis May I be allowed to ask if your private business with Mrs. Merivale is likely to detain you here much longer. Merivale Yes -quite a time! and yours what is your business? Louis Ah none whatever -but I am always welcome. I am a friend of the family. In tact -I almost live here Mer1vale And I propose to live here altogether. Louis Here? in this house? Merivale I shall take up my residence -in tact -I may consider it my house (Opens valise) so it you will excuse me (He draws out a dressing jack t and begins to take off his coat) Louis What the deuce are you about? Mer1vale I am simply making myself at home! Louis In this room! But sir are you aware it communicates by that door with the bed-chamber of Mrs. Mer1vale! and by that door with the room of Miss Helene? Mer1vale That's all right. (Goes on dre sing)

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Merivale I shall see him. Mrs. Meri vale And you will take him --? Merivale The truth. Mrs. Verivale 22 • . I hope you do not think he received trom me any encouragement. Merivale I fear he thinks so--a sweet look trom eyes. like yours goes so far and a smile -lira. Merivale Why not allow me to dismiss him? Merivale My dear Camille -I did not interrupt your interview just now! do not interfere with mine (Goes up) This gentleman is• I preaume, airing his indignation in the garden -yea -there he is -Oh! do not fear -We shall not come to any quarrel -for when two men tall out about a woman ' .tis she who usually. bears the blows -so leave me to put this young tellow in his place. (Exits) llrs. Meriva.le What is he going to do? I know how quick tempered Louis 1a -If I could see him tor one moment! I could appeal to his better self' and he would, for my sake, retire trom a position that ma compromise me. (Goes up Bow could I suspect that he was falling in love with me! . Nothing was further trom my thoughts! -Ah! there he is -his eyes are fixed on this window -lly husband has not seen him -that wall of foliage intercepts! Why the foolish boy is maki signs to me -Is he mad? No sir! -certainly not. She make sign) What is he doing? -he mistakes me -he is running here -And there 1s Paul who thought I was beckoning to him! he is hastening back to me -Oh dear! they will meet at the balcony -or here What shall I say? I have made a tool or myself' a ain -here they come -I -I am off'. Exits) (LOUIS enters from R . MERIVALE from L. They meet c . }

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25. our pretensions you will candidly and on your honor deolare (Ph ! oh dear) how tar you have suooeeded in obtaining her tavoura. Louis And what have you to shew? Merivale We shall see you begin. Louis The lovely widow greets my arrival here with her sweetest smiles -When she invites me to accompany her in our daily walks by the seashore -•tis on my arm she leans -her hand falls naturally into mine -and sometimes I press it tenderly -it is not withdrawn. Merivale Did she return the squeeze! Louis No sir -Certainly not. What do you mean? llerivale Under similar circumstances -she pressed mine -distinctly. Louis I don't believe it. Merivale So tenderly -that on one occasion a ring her husband -her late husband -had given her, remained in my hand. Louis What did she do? She left it there Merivale here it is! Louis A ring proves nothing. Merivale Observe the two names engraved inside -"Camille -Paul" -Do you see 1 t? Louis You score one point. Merivale Go ahead.

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Louia And 7ou are getting into 7our pajamas? Kerivale I found 7ou here in your shirt sleeves. Louis Thia Sir, goes beyond a Joke. Kerivale I am glad 7ou see 1 t 1n that light. Louis 24. I shall take it upon m7self to protect these ladiea against your insolence. Merivale Oh! Oh! Measure your expressions. Louis I would prefer that you should undertake to resent them -you unde.rs tand? Merivale Perfectly -but do not accept your suggestion -I think we can adjust our differences without fighting over it -the lady might object to figure in such a squabble. ' Louis That is true. Kerivale Let him who proves himself to be the leas favoredLouis By the widow? Kerivale Precisely! let him clear out and leave the field clear to hia rival -7ou say you are in love with her! Louis Oh!! Merivale Very good! -You think she has given you encouragement. Louis Ah!! Kerivale I don't doubt your word -tor a moment -so -now to measure

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26 • . Louis She baa recentl7 had her portrait taken. She chose me to bring 1t to her this morning from the jeweller's -a lovel7 present and trom the manner in which she asked me how I liked it -I telt sure -llerivale Of what'? Louia It was destined tor me tomorrow is ID1' birtbda7 -Merivale My sincere congratulations -Many returns of it -but toda7 is mine -and 7ou see for whom the locket was intended. (Sho Louis the locket) Louis Oh! it it comes to that, I shall make no concealment of our relations I1ll tell 7ou all. Merivale' ( iping h s forehead) Ah! (Aside) What can he mean? Louis If she 1s playing a double game -if she is a heartless coquette -let us compar~ notes. Kerivale Certainl7 -notes by all means. Louis She frequently detains me here or a night after Helene has retired -then we set together by the fireside -and b7 its light alone. I read to her the most passionate romances I can find -then in low whispers -for fear of waking Helene -we exchange our thoughts -our feelings -Mer1vale In the abstract? Louis Certainl7 -of course -We do not know how time flies -Merivale Go on -Louis Then the clock chimes midnight.

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27. Merivale Midnight -Louis And atter promising ourselves many such soirees by the firelight -I take my leave. Ker1vale Well Sir -in my case. I spend the evening beside her 1n precisely the same manner -only when the hour to retire arrives -there is this little ditterenoe -I do not retire -I stop. Louis It is an infamous lie! You have insulted the moat pure and noble ot women. Kerivale Good -splendid -go on, young man. Louis Whose life is free from a shadow of reproach. Merivale Bravo! Lou1a For whose honor I .am ready to pledge m~ 1ife -Merivale Let me embrace 7ou -Louis Mo sir -(Pushes him otf) you have dared to impugn the reputation of this lady you say you have proofs of your intimacy with her -I demand to see them. Merivale Will her letters to me satisfy 7ouT Louis No sir you ma7 pass otf the letters of aey other woman as hers -I don't pretend that she ever wrote to me -so I am not familiar with her handwriting -Merivale Stop! -look at this• (Produc s portrait) Louis Her portrait! Oh we know all about that.

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• 28. KeriTBle Bo J'OU don't -take it -touch tba t spring. Louis That will prove nothing. Mer1vale Preas it. (LOUIS presses it -the back flies open -MERIVALE poses) What do J'OU see? Louis Your portrait. Merivale Read the legend: "To my darling Camille on our wedding day." Louis Oh!! then -you you are? Merivale The recent defunct! Do you see the likeness? Lo\lia No sir -the painter flatters ou damnably. (Hands bac k the locket And I am to believe that your widow knew J'OU were living? Merivale Certainly. Louis Then her conduct appears to me 1n a light so inexcusable• (Encour gingiy) Merivale So it does. Louis When I brought her that locket, she received it with a signif-1 icant smile I could not understand -Th.en she was making a fool of me? Merivale It looks like it! I am obliged to side with you against her. Louis Oh. I don't blame you in the matter.

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29. Merivale Thank 7ou. Louis But 7ou will pardon me it I sa7, my admiration for her is turning in~o contempt. Merivale How can 7ou help itT Louis Her niece, Helene is worth a dozen such! there 1s truth -tenderness -Merivale An angel. Louis So she is. llerivale Ah What a splendid idea -to turn the tables on Camille and prove to her you have been making a fool of her all the while. In your place, do 7ou know what I should do? I should confess that 7our devotion to her was only intended to provoke the jealousy or Helene of whose love you were now satisfied -then ask her to bestow her niece upon you -Oh! what a blow to her that would be. Louis So it would. I'll tb1nk or it. Keri vale No -don't think -don't cool over it you will never do it so well as now you are hot. (Rings the bell) Indignation will inspire you. (Enter ANNIE ) Where is Miss Helene! Annie Locked in her room Sir. She will not answer me when I call to her -Kerivale Tell her that her Uncle Paul is here -that he is not dead -that he wants to embrace her. (Exit ANNIE) Louis But stay -This 1a so precipitate.

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Kerivale You deserve the ti~at love or a pure, innocent, sweet bud like Helene how different from the full blown -second hand -out-flower like Camille -not a word -you are a splendid young fellow -I admire you. (Enter HELENE -she Nns to him) Helene Uncle Paul -rq dear, dear uncle -Oh! I am so happy that you are alive. llerivale . So am I, -and doubly happy to meet the estimable young man -who adores you -Helene No -he does not -he is 1n love with someone else -Oh I am so glad you are here -it serves him right. Merivale What! did you not profess to me -just now, your devotion to my niece! Louis Merivale That you could not live without her, and if I refused DfT consent, nothing remained but suicide or something of that kind! Louis Not precisely -but -Merivale (To Helene) You hear! do you •ant him to blow his brains out to prove his sincerity! Helene Oh Louis! do you mean it? Merivale He added a thousand things. I cannot recollect -have you no thing to reply to him. Helene {To Loui) Only one -Need I say it? -he lmowa it too well. Merivale Say it.

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Helene I love you. Louis (He itates) I don't deserve it. Merivale 31. No -I never knew a man that did -We take it all the same. (Aside to him) Quick, embrace her -here comes Camille. (He presses Louis and Helene together -Enter MRS. MERIVALE) lfrs. Merivale What is the matter? Merivale I have consented to the union ot these two children. (Aside to her) Shew some indignation -object -don~t lookso infernally pleased -consider his feelings• (Aloud) What objection can you tormt -They love each other. Helene Oh yes. Merivale Happy do -you don't know how happy you are. LOUIS a nd HELENE go up) Go unpack all the sweets that are in your head. Mrs. Meri.vale (Seated R . on sofa) And have you nothing to otter to meT Merivale (Beside her) Yea. I shall never again let my wife pass herself off as a widow. CURTAIN (END)

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