UTC
The Drunkard; or, the Fallen Saved
Adapted by W.H. Smith
New York: WM. Taylor and Co.1850

SCENE II.—Front and cut woods in C.

Enter LAWYER CRIBBS, L.


Cribbs.

  Well, that interview of mock sympathy and charity is over, and I flatter myself pretty well acted too, ha! ha! Yes, the widow and her child must quit the cottage—I'm resolved. First for the wrongs I years ago endured from old Wilson; and secondly, it suits my own interests; and in all cases, between myself and others, I consider the last clause as a clincher. Ha! here comes the girl—I must watch closely here. [Retires, L.S.E.

MARY enters, fearful and hestitating, L.


Mary.

  I have now nearly reached the old mansion house. In a few moments I shall see the young man, this dissipated collegian. Oh! my poor mother must be deceived! Such a man can have no pity for the children of poverty, misfortune's supplicants for shelter beneath the roof of his cottage—oh, my poor mother, little do you know the sufferings that—ha! a gentleman approaches. My fears tell me this is the man I seek. Shall I ever have


11

courage to speak to him? I will pause till he has reached the house. [Retires gathering flowers, R.

Enter EDWARD MIDDLETON, R. S. E., and CRIBBS, L. S. E. meeting.


Cribbs.

  Good day, good day, son of my old friend! I have been looking for you.


Edward.

  Mr. Cribbs, your most obedient; any friends of my father are always welcome.


Cribbs.

  Well said, nobly said. I see your father before me, when I look on you.


Edward.

  You were enquiring for me, Mr. Cribbs?


Cribbs.

  I was. I wished to see you with regard to the cottage and lands adjoining. I have an opportunity of selling them. When last we talked upon this subject—


Edward.

  I was then ignorant that a poor widow—[Mary at back, C., listening.]—and her only daughter—


Cribbs.

  Who are in arrears for rent—


Edward.

  Had lived there many years—that my father highly esteemed them—to turn them forth upon the world in the present condition of the old lady—


Cribbs.

  Which old lady has a claim upon the Alms House. [Mary shudders.


Edward.

  In short, Mr. Cribbs, I cannot think of depriving them of a home, dear to them as the apple of their eyes—to send them forth from the flowers which they have reared, the vines which they have trained in their course—a place endeared to them by tender domestic recollections, and past remembrances of purity and religion.


Cribbs.

  Oh! all that and more—the fences which they have neglected; the garden gate off the hinges; the limbs of the old birch tree broken down for firewood; the back windows ornamented with an old hat—


Edward.

  Cease, Mr. Cribbs; all this has been explained; my foster-brother, William, has told me the whole story. The trees were broken down by idle school-boys, and with regard to an old hat in the window, why, it was the hat of a man; can as much be said of yours, Mr. Cribbs?


Cribbs.

  You are pleased to be pleasant, to-day, sir. Good morning, sir; good morning. [Exit, L., muttering.


12


Edward.

  I'm sorry I offended the old man. After all he was the friend of the family; though it is strange, my poor father almost always took his advice, and was invariably unfortunate when he did so.

Re-enter CRIBBS, L.


Cribbs.

  Good morning again; beg pardon, sir. I now understand you better. You are right; the daughter—fine girl, eh! sparkling eyes, eh! dimples, roguish glances! Ah, when I was young, eh, ha? Well, never mind; you have seen her, eh?


Edward.

  Never; explain yourself, Mr. Cribbs.


Cribbs.

  If you have not seen her, you will, you know, eh! I understand. Traps for wild fowl; mother and daughter grateful; love-passion; free access to the cottage at all hours.


Edward.

  Cribbs, do you know this girl has no father?


Cribbs.

  That's it; a very wild flower growing on the open heath.


Edward.

  Have you forgotten that this poor girl has not a brother?


Cribbs.

  A garden without a fence, not a stake standing. You have nothing to do but step into it.


Edward.

  Old man! I respect your grey hairs. I knew an old man once, peace to his ashes, whose hair was as grey as yours; but beneath that aged breast there beat a heart, pure as the first throbs of childhood. He was as old as you—he was more aged; his limbs tottered as yours do not—I let you go in peace. But had that old man heard you utter such foul sentences to his son; had he heard you tell me to enter, like a wolf, this fold of innocence, and tear from her mother's arms the hope of her old age, he would have forgotten the winters that have dried the pith within his aged limbs, seized you by the throat, and dashed you prostrate to the earth, as too foul a carcass to walk erect and mock the name of man. [Crosses, L.


Cribbs.

  But, Mr. Middleton, sir—


Edward.

  Leave me, old man; begone; your hot lascivious breath cannot mingle with the sweet odor of these essenced wild flowers. Your raven voice will not harmonize with the warblings of these heavenly songsters, pouring


13

forth their praises to that Almighty power, who looks with horror on your brutal crime. [Crosses, R., Mary rushes forward, C., and kneels.


Mary.

  The blessings of the widow and fatherless be upon thee, may they accompany thy voice to Heaven's tribunal, not to cry for vengeance, but plead for pardon on this wretched man.


Cribbs.

  Ha! The widow's daughter! Mr. Middleton, you mistake me. I—I cannot endure a woman's tears. I—poor child! [Aside.] I'll be terribly revenged for this. [Exit Cribbs, L. S. E.


Edward.

  This, then, is the widow's child, nurtured in the wilderness. She knows not the cold forms of the fashionable miscalled world. Cribbs, too, gone; a tale of scandal—I'll overtake the rascal, and at least give no color to his base fabrications. [Crossing, and going, L.


Mary.

  (R.) Stay, sir, I pray you. I have an errand for you. This is part of the rent, which— [Holding out money.


Edward.

  Nay, then, you have not overheard my discourse with the old man, who has just left us. I have told him—


Mary.

  That we should still remain in the cottage. Oh, sir! is that a reason we should withhold from you these dues? now paid with double pleasure, since we recognize a benefactor in our creditor—take this, I entreat, 'tis but a portion of the debt; but be assured, the remainder shall be paid as soon as busy, willing hands can earn it.


Edward.

  Nay, nay, dear girl; keep it as a portion of your dowry.


Mary.

  Sir!


Edward.

  If you have overheard the dialogue that I just held with that old man, you must know that I sometimes speak very plain.


Mary.

  [Apprehensively.] Yes, sir.


Edward.

  I have spoken plainly to him: shall I now speak plainly to you?


Mary.

  Alas, sir! It is not our fault that the fences are broken down. When my poor father lived, it was not so. But since—


Edward.

  When that vile old man spoke to me of your charms, I heeded him not. There are plenty of pretty


14

girls in this section of the country; but I have since discovered what I had before heard, something more that the ordinary beauty which he described. A charm that he is incapable of appreciating. The charm of mental excellence, noble sentiment, filial piety. These are the beauties that render you conspicuous above all the maidens I have seen. These are the charms which bind captive the hearts of men. I speak plainly, for I speak honestly, and when I ask you to keep that money as a portion of your dowry, need I say into whose hands I would like to have it fall at last.


Mary.

  [Droops her head during the above.] To affect—to affect not to understand you, sir, would be an idle return for kindness such as yours, and yet—


Edward.

  I sometimes walk down in the vicinity of your cottage, and—


Mary.

  Should I see you go by without stopping—why, then—


Edward.

  Then what, dear Mary?


Mary.

  Then I should suppose you had forgotten where we lived.


Edward.

  Thanks! [Kisses her hand.] Ah! little did I think when I thought of selling that dear old cottage, that it should be regarded as a casket, invaluable for the jewel it contained. [Leads her off, L. U. E.