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

ACT III.

SCENE I.—Broadway

Enter LAWYER CRIBBS, R.


Cribbs.

  I wonder where that drunken vagrant can have wandered? Ever since he came to New York, thanks to his ravenous appetite and my industrious agency, he has been going down hill rapidly, Could I but tempt him to some overt act, well managed, I could line my own pockets and ensure his ruin. Ha! here he comes, and two of his bright companions. He looks most wretchedly. Money gone, and no honest way to raise it. He'll be glad to speak to old Cribbs now. I must watch my time. [Retiring.

Enter EDWARD and two Loafers.


1st Loafer.

  Cheer up, Ned; there's more money where the last came from.


Edward.

  [Clothes torn away and very shabby, hat the same.] But I tell you my last cent is gone. I feel ill. I want more liquor.


1st Loafer.

  Well, well, you wait round here a spell. Joe and I will take a turn down to Cross street. [Crosses L.] We'll make a raise, I warrant you.


Edward.

  Well, be quick then; this burning thirst consumes me. [Exit loafers, L.


Cribbs.

  [Advancing, L.] Why! is that you, Mr. Middleton?


Edward.

  (R.) Yes, Cribbs; what there is left of me.


39


Cribbs.

  Why, I don't see that you are much altered: though you might be better for a stitch or two in your elbows—


Edward.

  Ah, Cribbs, I have no one to care for me. I am lost; a ruined, broken-hearted man.


Cribbs.

  You won't be offended, Middleton, will you? Allow me to lend you a dollar. I am not very rich you know, but you can always have a dollar or two when you want it; ask me—there! there! [Offering it.] Before sundown he's a few yards nearer his grave. [Aside.


Edward.

  [Slowly taking it, struggling with pride and neccessity.] Thank you, Mr. Cribbs, thank'ye; you are from the village, I hardly dare ask you if you have seen them.


Cribbs.

  Your wife and child? Oh, they are doing charmingly. Since you left, your wife has found plenty of sewing, the gentlefolks have become interested in her pretty face, and you know she has a good education. She is as merry as a cricket, and your little girl as blooming as a rose, and brisk as a bee.


Edward.

  Then Mary is happy?


Cribbs.

  Happy as a lark.


Edward.

  [After a pause.] Well, I ought to be glad of it, and since she thinks no more of me,—


Cribbs.

  O yes, she thinks of you occasionally.


Edward.

  Does she say indeed?


Cribbs.

  Yes, she says she cannot but pity you. But that Heaven never send affliction without the antidote, and that, but for your brutal—hem!—your strange conduct and drunkenness—hem!—misfortune, she should never have attracted the sympathy of those kind friends, who now regard her as the pride of their circle.


Edward.

  Did she really say all that?


Cribbs.

  Yes, and she pities you. I am sure she thinks of you, and would be glad to see you—to see you become a respectable member of society.


Edward.

  [Musing.] It is very kind of her—very—very kind! pities me! respectable! But, Cribbs, how can one become respectable, without a cent in his pocket, or a whole garment on his wretched carcase?


Cribbs.

  [Pause.] There are more ways than one to remedy these casualties. If the world uses you ill, be revenged upon the world!


40


Edward.

  Revenged! But how, Cribbs, how?


Cribbs.

  [Cautiously.] Do you see this paper? 'Tis a check for five thousand dollars. You are a splendid pen-man. Write but the name of Arden Rencelaw, and you may laugh at poverty.


Edward.

  What! forgery? and on whom? The princely merchant! the noble philanthropist! the poor man's friend! the orphan's benefactor! Out and out on you for a villain, and coward! I must be sunk indeed, when you dare propose such a baseness to my father's son. Wretch as I am, by the world despised, shunned and neglected by those who should save and succour me, I would sooner perish on the first dunghill—than that my dear child should blush for her father's crimes. Take back your base bribe, miscalled charity; the maddening drink that I should purchase with it, would be redolant of sin, and rendered still more poisonous by your foul hypocrisy. [Throws down the money.


Cribbs.

  [Bursting with passion.] Ah, you are warm, I see. You'll think better when,—when you find yourself starving. [Exit, L.


Edward.

  Has it come to this?—an object of pity to my once adored wife: no longer regarded with love—respect—but cold compassion, pity; other friends have fully made up my loss. She is flourishing, too, while I am literally starving—starving—this cold-blooded fiend, too—what's to become of me? Deserted, miserable,—but one resource. I must have liquor—ha!—my hand-kerchief,—'twill gain me a drink or two at all events. Brandy, aye, brandy! brandy! [Rushes off, R.



SCENE II.—A Street.— Stage half dark.

Enter CRIBBS, R.


Cribbs.

  Plague take the fellow; who would have thought he would have been so foolishly conscientious? I will not abandon my scheme on the house of Rencelaw though; the speculation is too good to be lost. Why! as I live, here comes that old fool, Miss Spindle.

Enter MISS SPINDLE, L., her dress a ridiculous compound of by-gone days, and present fashions.


Miss S.

  Why! this New York is the most awful place


41

to find one's way I was ever in; it's all ups and downs, ins and outs. I've been trying for two hours to find Trinity Church steeple—and I can't see it, though they tell me it's six hundred yards high.


Cribbs.

  Why! angelic Miss Spindle, how do you do? How long have you been in the commercial emporium?


Miss S.

  Oh, Squire Cribbs, how d'ye do? I don't know what you mean by the uproarium, but for certain it is the noisiest place I ever did see. But, Squire, what has become of the Middletons, can you tell?


Cribbs.

  I've had my eye upon them; they're down, Miss Spindle, never to rise again; as for that vagrant, Edward—


Miss S.

  Ah! Squire! what an escape I had! How fortunate that I was not ruined by the nefarious influence, the malignant coruscation of his illimitable seductions. How lucky that prim Miss Mary Wilson was subjected to his hideous arts, instead of my virgin immaculate innocence!


Cribbs.

  Do you know why his wife left the village and came to New York?


Miss S.

  Oh, she is low, degraded! She sank so far as to take in washing, to feed herself and child. She would sooner follow her drunken husband, and endeavor to preserve him as she said, than remain where she was.


Cribbs.

  Well, well, they are down low enough now. Which way are you going, towards Broadway? Why, I'm going towards Broadway myself. Allow me the exquisite honor of beauing you,—this way perfection of sex, and adoration of ours—your arm, lovely and immaculate Miss Spindle. [Exit together, arm in arm, L.

Enter EDWARD and 1st and 2d Loafer, R.


1st Loafer.

  To be sure I did. I swore if he didn't let me have two or three dollars, I'd tell his old man of last night's scrape, and I soon got it to get rid of me.


2d Loafer.

  Hurrah for snakes! who's afraid of fire. Come, Ned, two or three glasses will soon drive away the blue devils. Let's have some brandy.


Edward.

  With all my heart. Brandy, be it. Since I am thus abandoned—deserted—the sooner I drown all


42

remembrance of my wretchedness the better, come! Boys, brandy be it. Hurrah!


Omnes.

  [Sing.] "Here's a health to all good lasses!" [Exeunt, R.



SCENE III.—Interior of The Arbor on Broadway.—Bar with decanters, &c., R.— Table with Back-gammon Board at back, C.— Two men playing at it.—Another reading paper and smoking.—Others seated around, &c.

Enter EDWARD and LOAFERS, R., singing,—"Here's a health," &c.


Bar-keeper.

  [Behind bar.] The same noisy fellows that were here last night. What is it to be, gentlemen?


Edward.

  Oh, brandy for me—brandy.


1st Loafer.

  Give me a gin-sling—that's what killed Goliath, ha, ha, ha!


2d Loafer.

  I'll have brandy. Come, old fellows tread up, and wet your whistles. I'll stand Sam, tread up. [Edward and others after drinking dance and sing, "Dan Tucker," "Boatman Dance," &c.


Bar-keeper.

  I must civilly request, gentlemen, that you will not make so much noise; you disturb others—and we wish to keep the house quiet.


Edward.

  Steady boys, steady; don't raise a row in a decent house. More brandy, young man, if you please. Come, Bill, try it again.


1st Loafer.

  With all my heart, hurrah!


Edward and Loafers.

  "Dance, Boatman, dance," &c. [Laugh.] More brandy, hurrah!


Bar-keeper.

  I tell you once for all, I'll not have this noise. Stop that singing.


2d Loafer.

  I shan't; we'll sing as long as we please,—give me some liquor.


Edward.

  Aye, more brandy—brandy.


Bar-keeper.

  Well, will you be still, then, if I give you another drink?


Edward.

  Oh, certainly, certainly.


1st Loafer.

  In course we will—


Bar-keeper.

  Well, help yourselves. [Hands decanters.


2d Loafer.

  What's yours, Ned.


Edward.

  Oh, brandy—here goes. [Fills and drinks.


43


1st Loafer.

  Here goes for the last.


Omnes.

  [Singing.] "We won't go home till morning," &c.


Man.

  [At table playing checkers.] Look here! that's my king.


2d Man.

  [At table.] You're a liar. I have just jumped him.


1st Man.

  [At table] I tell you, you lie. [Regular wrangle.


Edward and Loafers.

  Go it, you cripples. [Singing and laughing.


Bar-keeper.

  Stop that noise, I tell you. Come, get out. [Pushing man from table—The two men fight.


Edward and Loafers.

  Go it, Charley. Hurrah, &c. [Regular scene of confusion—Bar-room fight, &c.—Scene changes.



SCENE IV.—Exterior of a Bar-room on the Five Points.—Noise inside—CRIBBS enters and listens at door.


Cribbs.

  So, a regular bar-room fight. Middleton must be secured—here's the watch. [Enter 2d Watchman.—Exit Cribbs, L.

EDWARD, Watchmen and loafers enter struggling, singing, shouting, &c., &c. Exit fighting. Clubs are heard in all directions. First and second loafers enter clinching each other and fighting—several knock downs; square off, recognise each other.


1st Loafer.

  Why, Sam, is that you?


2d Loafer.

  Why, Ned, my dear fellow, is that you?


1st Loafer.

  [Who has had his hat knocked entirely over his head, crown out.] To be sure it is; look here, you've completely caved in my best beaver.


2d Loafer.

  Well, I ask your pardon. [Exeunt arm in arm, R.



SCENE V.—A wretched garret—Old table and chair with lamp burning dimly—MARY in miserable apparel, sewing on slop-work; a wretched shawl thrown over her shoulders—Child sleeping on a straw bed on the floor, R. covered in part by a miserable ragged rug.—Half a loaf of bread on the table.—The ensemble of the scene indicates want and poverty.


Mary.

  Alas, alas! It is very cold—faint with hunger—sick—heart weary with wretchedness, fatigue, and cold. [Clock strikes one.] One o'clock, and my work not near finished. I—they must be done to-night. These shirts I have promised to hand in to-morrow by the hour of eight. A miserable quarter of a dollar will repay my industry, and then my poor, poor child, thou shalt have food.


Julia.

  [Awakening.] Oh, dear mother, I am so cold. [Mary takes shawl from her shoulders and spreads it over the child.] No, mother,—keep the shawl. You are cold, too. I will wait until morning, and I can warm myself at Mrs. Brien's fire; little Dennis told me I should, for the gingerbread I gave him. [Goes to sleep murmuring.—Mary puts the shawl on herself, waits till the child slumbers, and then places it over Julia, and returns to work.


Mary.

  Alas! where is he on this bitter night? In vain have I made every inquiry, and cannot gain any tidings of my poor wretched husband; no one knows him by name. Perhaps already the inmate of a prison. Ah, merciful heaven, restore to me, my Edward once again, and I will endure every ill, that can be heaped upon me. [Looks towards child.] Poor Julia, she sleeps soundly, she was fortunate to-day, sweet lamb, while walking in the street in search of a few shavings, she became benumbed with cold. She sat down upon some steps, when a boy moved with compassion, took from his neck a handkerchief, and placed it upon hers, the mother of that boy is blessed. With the few cents he slipped into her hands, she purchased a loaf of bread, she ate a part of it. [Taking bread from table.] And the rest is here. [Looks eagerly at it.] I am hungry— horribly hungry. I shall have money in the morning. [Pause.] No, no, my child will wake and find her treasure gone.


45

I will not rob my darling. [Replaces bread on table, sinks into chair, weeping.] That I should ever see his child thus! for myself, I could bear, could suffer all. [Julia awakes noiselessly, perceiving shawl, rises and places it over her mother's shoulders.


Julia.

  Dear mother, you are cold. Ah you tried to cheat your darling.


Mary.

  [On her knees.] Now heaven be praised. I did not eat that bread.


Julia.

  Why, mother, do you sit up so late? you cry so much, and look so white—mother, do not cry. Is it because father does not come to bring us bread? we shall find father bye and bye, shan't we, mother.


Mary.

  Yes, dearest—yes, with the kind aid of Him. [Knock at the door, L.] Who can that be? Ah, should it be Edward? [Going to L.]

Enter CRIBBS, she gets C.


Cribbs.

  (L.) Your pardon, Mrs. Middleton, for my intrusion at this untimely hour, but friends are welcome at all times, and seasons, eh? So, so, you persist in remaining in these miserable quarters? when last I saw you, I advised a change.


Mary.

  Alas! sir, you too well know my wretched reasons for remaining. But why are you here at this strange hour; Oh, tell me, know you aught of him? Have you brought tidings of my poor Edward.


Cribbs.

  [Avoiding direct answer.] I must say your accomodations are none of the best, and must persist in it, you would do well to shift your quarters.


Mary.

  Heaven help me! where would you have me go? return to the village, I will not. I must remain and find my husband.


Cribbs.

  This is a strange infatuation, young woman; it is the more strange, as he has others to console him, whose soft attentions he prefers to yours.


Mary.

  What mean you, sir?


Cribbs.

  I mean, that there are plenty of women, not of the most respectable class, who are always ready to receive presents from wild young men like him, and are not very particular in the liberties that may be taken in exchange.


46


Mary.

  Man, man, why dost thou degrade the form and sense the great one has bestowed on thee by falsehood? Gaze on the sharp features of that child, where famine has already set her seal, look on the hollow eyes, and the careworn form of the hapless being that brought her into life, then if you have the heart, further insult the helpless mother, and the wretched wife.


Cribbs.

  These things I speak of, have been, and will be again, while there are wantons of one sex, and drunkards of the other.


Mary.

  Sir, you slander my husband. I know this cannot be. It is because he is poor, forsaken, reviled, and friendless, that thus I follow him, thus love him still.


Cribbs.

  He would laugh in his drunken ribaldry, to hear you talk thus.


Mary.

  [With proud disdain.] Most contemptible of earth-born creatures, it is false. The only fault of my poor husband, has been intemperance, terrible, I acknowledge, but still a weakness that has assailed and prostrated the finest intellects of men who would scorn a mean and unworthy action. [Crosses, L.


Cribbs.

  Tut, tut, you are very proud, considering—[Looking round.]—all circumstances. But come, I forgive you. You are young and beautiful, your husband is a vagabond. I am rich, I have a true affection for you, and with me—[Attempts to take her hand.


Mary.

  Wretch! [Throws him off.] Have you not now proved yourself a slanderer, and to effect you own vile purposes. But know, despisable wretch, that my poor husband, clothed in rags, covered with mire, and lying drunk at my feet, is a being whose shoes, you are not worthy to unloose. [Crosses, R.


Cribbs.

  Nay, then, proud beauty, you shall know my power—'tis late, you are unfriended, helpless, and thus—[He seizes her, child screams.


Mary.

  Help! mercy! [She struggles, crosses, R., Cribbs follows her.—William enters hastily, L., seizes Cribbs and throws him round to L., he falls]


William.

  Well, Squire, what's the lowest you'll take for your rotten carcase? Shall I turn auctioneer, and knock you down to the highest bidder? I don't know much of


47

pernology, but I've a great notion of playing Yankee Doodle on your organ of rascality. Be off, you ugly varmint, or I'll come the ingine, and set your paddles going all-fired quick.


Cribbs.

  I'll be revenged, if there's law or justice.


William.

  Oh, get out! You're a bad case of villany, versus modesty and chastity, printed in black letters, and bound in calf, off with you, or I'll serve a writ of ejectment on you, a posteriori to you—I learnt that much from Mr. Middleton's law books.


Cribbs.

  But I say, sir—I am a man.


William.

  You a man? Nature made a blunder. She had a piece of refuse garbage, she intended to form into a hog, made a mistake, gave it to your shape, and sent it into the world to be miscalled man. Get out. [Pushes him off, L. Noise of falling down stairs. Re-enters.] I did not like to hit him before you, but he's gone down these stairs, quicker than he wanted to, I guess.


Mary.

  Kind, generous friend, how came you here so opportunely?


William.

  Why, I was just going to bed, at a boarding house close by Chatham street, when I happened to mention to the landlord, a worthy man as ever broke bread, about you; he told me where you was. I thought you might be more comfortable there, and his good wife has made everything as nice and pleasant for you, as if you were her own sister. So come, Mrs. Middleton, come, Julia, dear.


Mary.

  But William, my poor husband. [Clubs, R. and L.


William.

  There's another row, well, if this New York isn't the awfullest place for noise. Come, Mrs. Middleton, I'll find him if he's in New York, jail or no jail, watch-house or no watch-house.


Mary.

  Heaven preserve my poor, dear Edward. [Exit, L.



SCENE VI.—The Five Points— Stage Dark, clubs, R. and L.—Enter EDWARD MIDDLETON in the custody of two watchmen, he is shouting.—WILLIAM DOWNTON enters hastily, knocks down watchmen, rescues Edward, and they exit, R.—Other rowdies enter, fight.—Stage clear, shouts, &c., and off, R.—Enter CRIBBS, with coat torn half off, and dancing, fighting about stage, from L. U. E.


Cribbs.

  Oh, my! Oh, good gracious! How can I get out of this scrape? I came here with the best intentions. Oh, my! to see the law put in force! Oh, dear! somebody has torn my coat tail—good gracious! Lord have mercy! I've lost my hat—no, here it is. [Picks up dreadful shabby hat and puts it on, runs from one side to another.—Enter watchmen and mob, meeting him from R.


William.

  [Pointing out Cribbs to watchmen.] That's the chap, the worst among 'em. [They seize Cribbs.


Cribbs.

  I'm a respectable man. [They pick him up bodily and carry him off, R., shouting, he exclaims, "I'm a lawyer, I'm a respectable man," &c.—William follows laughing.—General confusion


END OF ACT III.