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

SCENE I.—A wretched out-house or shed, supposed to be near a tavern, early morning.—Stage dark—EDWARD discovered lying on ground, without hat or coat, clothes torn, eyes sunk and haggard, appearance horrible, &c., &c.


Edward.

  [Awakening.] Where am I? I wonder if people dream after they are dead? hideous! hideous! I should like to be dead, if I could not dream—parched! parched


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'tis morning, is it, or coming night, which? I wanted daylight, but now it has come, what shall I do in daylight! I was out of sight when it was dark—and seemed to be half-hidden from myself—early morning, the rosy hue of the coming sunshine, veiling from mortal sight the twinkling stars—what horrid dreams, will they return upon me, waking? Oh, for some brandy! rum! I am not so ashamed, so stricken with despair when I am drunk. Landlord, give me some brandy. What horrid place is this? Pain! dreadful pain! Heavens, how I tremble. Brandy! brandy? [Sinks down in agony.

Enter LANDLORD, with whip, R.


Landlord.

  Where in nature can my horse be gone? Is there nobody up in this place? Hollo!


Edward.

  Hollo! Landlord, I say.


Landlord.

  What's that? Oh! I say, have you seen my, horse? What—as I live, that scape-gallows, Middleton, how came he here? [Aside.] I thought he was in Sing-Sing.


Edward.

  Oh! I know you, you needn't draw back—we have been acquainted before now, eh! Mr.—


Landlord.

  Zounds! he knows me—yes, yes, we were acquainted once, as you say, young man; but that was in other days.


Edward.

  You are the same being still—though I am changed—miserably changed—you still sell rum don't you?


Landlord.

  I am called a respectable Inn-keeper, few words are best, young fellow. Have you seen a horse saddled and bridled near here?


Edward.

  I've seen nothing—you are respectable, you say. You speak as if you were not the common poisoner of the whole village; am not I too, respectable?


Landlord.

  [Laughs rudely.] Not according to present appearances. You were respectable once, and so was Lucifer—like him you have fallen past rising. You cut a pretty figure, don't you? ha! ha! what has brought you in this beastly condition, young man?


Edward.

  [Springing up.] You! Rum! Eternal curses on you! had it not been for your infernal poison shop in our village, I had been still a man—the foul den, where you plunder the pockets of your fellow, where you deal


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forth death in tumblers, and from whence goes forth the blast of ruin over the land, to mildew the bright hope of youth, to fill the widow's heart with agony, to curse the orphan, to steal the glorious mind of man, to cast them from their high estate of honest pride, and make them—such as I. How looked I when first I entered your loathsome den, and how do I look now? Where are the friends of my happy youth? where is my wife? where is my child? They have cursed me; cursed me, and forsaken me!


Landlord.

  Well, what brought you to my house? You had your senses then, I did not invite you, did I?


Edward.

  Doth hell send forth cards of invitation for its horrid orgies. Sick and faint—make me some amends, my brain is on fire. My limbs are trembling—give me some brandy—brandy. [Seizes him.


Landlord.

  How can I give you brandy? my house is far from here. Let me go, vagabond!


Edward.

  Nay, I beseech you—only a glass, a single glass of brandy, rum—anything—give me liquor, or I'll—


Landlord.

  Villain! let go your hold!


Edward.

  Brandy! I have a claim on you, a deadly claim! Brandy, brandy! or I'll throttle you. [Choking him.


Landlord.

  [Struggling.] Help, murder! I am choking! help!

Enter WILLIAM DOWTON, R.


William.

  Good lord! what is this? Edward, Edward! [Edward releases Landlord and falls, R.


Landlord.

  You shall pay for this—villain! you shall pay for this. [Exit, hastily, L.


Edward.

  [On ground in delirium.] Here, here, friend, take it off, will you—these snakes, how they coil round me. Oh! how strong they are—there, don't kill it, no, no, don't kill it, give it brandy, poison it with rum, that will be a judicious punishment, that would be justice, ha, ha! justice! ha, ha!


William.

  He does not know me.


Edward.

  Hush! gently—gently, while she's asleep. I'll kiss her. She would reject me, did she know it, hush! there, heaven bless my Mary, bless her and her child—hush! if the globe turns round once more, we shall slide from its surface into eternity. Ha, ha! great idea. A


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boiling sea of wine, fired by the torch of fiends! ha, ha!


William.

  He's quite helpless, could I but gain assistance, he cannot move to injure himself. I must venture. [Exit, rapidly and noiselessly, R.


Edward.

  So, so; again all's quiet—they think I cannot escape. I cheated them yesterday— 'tis a sin to steal liquor—

Enter MR. RENCELAW, R.

But no crime to purloin sleep from a druggist's store—none—none. [Produces phial.] Now for the universal antidote—the powerful conqueror of all earthly care—death. [About to drink, Rencelaw seizes phial and casts it from him.] Ha! who are you, man? what would you?


Rencelaw.

  Nay, friend, take not your life, but mend it.


Edward.

  Friend, you know me not. I am a fiend, the ruin of those who loved me, leave me.


Rencelaw.

  I came not to upbraid, or to insult you. I am aware of all your danger, and come to save you. You have been drinking.


Edward.

  That you may well know. I am dying now for liquor—and—will you give me brandy. Who are you that takes interest in an unhappy vagabond—neither my father nor my brother?


Rencelaw.

  I am a friend to the unfortunate. You are a man, and if a man, a brother.


Edward.

  A brother! yes, but you trouble yourself without hope. I am lost, of what use can I be to you?


Rencelaw.

  Perhaps I can be of use to you. Are you indeed a fallen man? [Edward looks at him, sighs and hangs his head.] There you have the greater claim upon my compassion, my attention, my utmost endeavors to raise you once more, to the station of society from which you have fallen, "for he that lifts a fallen fellow creature from the dust, is greater than the hero who conquers a world."


Edward.

  [Starts.] Merciful heaven! My mother's dying words! Who and what are you?


Rencelaw.

  I am one of those whose life and labors are passed in rescuing their fellow men from the abyss into which you have fallen. I administer the pledge of sobriety to those who would once more become an orna-


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ment to society, and a blessing to themselves and to those around them.


Edward.

  That picture is too bright, it cannot be.


Rencelaw.

  You see before you one who for twenty years was a prey to this dreadul folly.


Edward.

  Indeed! no, no; it is too late.


Rencelaw.

  You mistake; it is not too late. Come with me, we will restore you to society. Reject not my prayers; strength will be given you, the Father of purity smiles upon honest endeavors. Come, my brother, enrol your name among the free, the disenthralled, and be a man again. [Takes his hand.


Edward.

  Merciful heaven! grant the prayer of a poor wretch be heard. [Exeunt, R.