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

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.


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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.


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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


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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.