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

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.


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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!


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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.