|TIME:||Morning. (Lights: ambers and reds)|
|SCENE:||Wilson's Office as before. Half a dozen large tracings of thumb marks on table C., and two or three tacked on wall L. Pantograph L. Lamp burning on table. Room in general disorder. Easel with glass strips on it, on table, C. Large hand magnifying glass on table, C.|
|DISCOVERED:||Patsy and York.|
(Enter Patsy and York at rise, door R.U.E. York's R. arm is in a sling. He is leaning on Patsy's arm.)
This is mighty kind of you, Aunt Patsy, but I reckon I will be able to attend at the Court House today.
Well, Dave thought perhaps you wouldn't, so they have decided to carry on the trial here in Dave's office.
That was mighty considerate of him, but I think unnecessary.
It looks mighty bad for those twins.
Especially as the deed was committed with the very knife they said they had lost.
(X down back of table C.)
I came down here broad day light – and – bless me there's that lamp still burning.
(Lamp lighted table. Blows out lamp on table. York rising
and going R.U.E.)
Brushing up his law, I reckon. He is conducting the Count's defence. Say to him that I wish to express my thanks for his kindness, and trust he will do himself credit in this his first case.
Case, and such a case as he's made of it. The laughing stock of the court room, judge, jury and all, with his everlasting reference to them thumb things.
(At table picking up papers. Enter Dave Wilson L.U.E. to
back of table L.)
Now, Patsy, don't set things to rights. Was that York talking to you just now?
Yes. Looks mighty bad for the Count.
Did he say whom he suspected?
Say, Dave, do you think that Count had that knife all along?
Well I was inclined to, when I listened to the testimony at the trial yeaterday. But my investigations here last night have settled that. For the blood stain marks on the handle of the that knife –
Yes, Dave. Now Dave, do listen to sense. You were doing so nicely at the trial yesterday until you dragged in those thumb things, and then – my sakes alive! Now for goodness sakes don't do that again today. Or we'll just have to pack up and leave Dawson through sheer mortification.
(Exit L.3.E. with lamp.)
If we have to emigrate Patsy, it won't be for that. Now one of two persons made that attack on Judge Driscoll five days ago, yet as far as I can learn neither of them were in or near Dawson at the time, but that the blow was struck by Tom or Chambers, that I swear. But which? There's where I am stuck –
(Taking up two glasses from small rack on table, C.)
and all by my own carelessmess in mislabelling those plates. But to accuse those twins, no more like their marks than my signature is like that of the illustrious autograph of John Hancock on the Declaration of Independence.
If I could but imagine a motive. Surely the Judge's death could not have advantaged Tom for the will was destroyed and Tom knew it. And he returned as soon as he heard of the attack, while Chambers has disappeared from St Louis and gone no one knows where.
(Shakes his head walks to R. window.)
I am irretrievable damned if I lose this my first case.
(Enter Rowy L.3.E. to back of table C. with coffee on
salver, places it on table C.)
(She is crying. He crosses to C. of table.)
Thank you dear, what's the matter? Been crying?
(Begins to eat)
It's just a mean, wicked, nasty suspicious world, that's what it is.
(Rowy crosses C. He sits back of table.)
What has happened?
(Wilson has seated himself at table L.C. and commenced
to eat breakfast.)
(Rowy going R.3.E. suddenly stops, returns down R.C.
I'm not sure Patsy, but we might as well pack up our effects at once. This looks more serious than I had thought.
(Enter Tom R.3.E.)
Hello, Dave! Back to your old toys again, hey?
Yes. Must do something.
(Tom cross L.)
Tom, why don't you give me your thumb mark again.
Don't like the company. Niggers and whites too promiscuous. However, they say about here, you don't mind that.
(Sit on L. corner of table, C.)
Well, I do. Hear Blake has arrested that nigger Chambers?
Oh, niggers eh? They don't believe it was a woman, eh?
(Wilson is just swallowing some coffee and almost
chokes. Long pause.)
(Looks at Tom. Tom undoes a bundle that he has under his
arm. Pulls out a flashy yellow dress. Rises)
Look here! Why didn't they look for this? And this?
(Producing a small plaid shawl.)
The very dress.
Where did you get that Tom?
(Tom sits on edge L. of table and looks at glasses
on rack on table)
But you know niggers can't testify, Tom.
(Rises – Holds up glass. Bursts out in a rage and gets
There, that's what I object to. You got me right alongside of that nigger, Chambers.
(Is about to dash it down on table with right hand
Now, Tom, don't, like a good boy, Tom.
(Takes it from him – examining glass.)
What do folks say, Tom?
and comparing it while Tom is speaking with other glass.)
What's the matter?
(Tom backs L., surprised.)
If that's what they say of my niece.
(Enter Blake, (3); Rowy, (1); Chambers, (2) R.3.E.)
(Blake speaks in door. Chambers and Rowy come R.C.
Rowy stands on his L.)
Hit him hard that time.
(Crosses to R. to Blake in door R.3.E. crossing in front
Mornin', Marse Tom.
Brought the prisoner, Dave.
Now don't you let them frighten you, not one of them.
There what did I tell you. Can't you see she loves that nigger?
Miss Mason, I'm shocked.
Well, who cares what you are?
(Driscoll appears in D.R.3.E.)
I've been a lonely child with but one play fellow all my life, Chambers, no brother could have been kinder, and if I did not stand by him how, I'd be the most ungrateful girl alive.
And you're right Rowy. This is some conspiracy to ruin my boy.
(Crosses L. Blake goes up R.)
This is most distressing. Tom just told me of his arrest. Chambers, come here, sir.
(Chambers crosses to him)
You never told me a lie in your life, did you?
Only maybe jus' in fun, like dat.
Then answer now. Did you know anything of those robberies?
Do you now?
Can't you see he has some good reason and if it's to shield his mother he's right. I glory in him. I'd do the same.
Do you make the complaint, sir?
I? No, sir. By Gad! I shall defend him.
with the mark Tom had just made L.C., behind table.)
I make the complaint, Sheriff.
(Going L. to him.)
You must not blame your uncle, Miss Rowy. He is doing his duty as a citizen. Meanwhile, Mr. Sheriff, I will be security for the boy.
(Sits at table L.C. back of it.)
Just as you say. Court will be open in here in a few minutes. Gee! I got to look after that jury.
Chambers, I did not think you would withhold your confidence from me.
(Exit R.U.3.E. Chambers follows him sorrowfully to the
door up R.)
Oh! Chambers, if it is not to shield your mother –
What? What dat you say?
(Rowy crosses to behind Wilson's chair at table L.C. and stands watching Chambers)
How you know dat? You see dat man Massa Moorehead? He tell you dat?
(Crosses to R. of table)
(He gives her salver with coffee cup, etc.)
You leave all this to me. You'll thank me for it by and by, see if you don't.
(Chambers looks amazed at him. Sits R. of table C. Wilson picks up dress which Tom has left from chair L. of table. Chambers sees it and looks surprised.)
(For a moment he is taken back)
(He smiles and puts dress on chair L. of table.)
Marse Wilson. You sware you don't tell something I ask you? Jus one question? Has my mother got another child 'sides me?
(Clapping his hands in great delight and embracing
Chambers, that question has immortalized you. That is the proverbial nutshell. Yes, I reckon she must have had another son.
Den he my brother, ain't he?
Oh! that's your interpretation of it, is it?
Dat's what she tell him. Dat she was his mudder, and dat he
mustn't sell me, but dat he got to treat me like his own brother. She say dat to him, I under de bed.
(Distant murmurs outside R.U.E. by Blake, Swan, Tom, Campbell and jury)
(Goes D.R.3.E. Chambers goes L.)
(Enter Rowy and Patsy L.3.E. Wilson, Patsy and Rowy
at R.U.E. Mutterings grow louder and threatening.)
Hello, the boys look angry.
What's going on out there, Dave Wilson?
(Go to door R.3.E.)
Prayer-meeting, I reckon, Patsy.
No, they are quarreling. Tom is with them.
(Exit Patsy R.3.E.)
Come here, Rowy.
(She X to him)
Hide him somewhere till court opens. Then Chambers, go to the old mill and tell Roxy to come here. Say Tom wants her.
Innocent! He's the only original article. He's the beginning and end of innocence. He's altogether too pure for this world. Take him away –
(X up to window C.)
(Exit Chambers and Rowy L.3.E.)
That's just what will happen, and then there will be a general waking from a night-mare for some.
Dave Wilson, do you know what all this means?
(Points off R.3.E.)
It means, Patsy, that we won't have to leave by the next boat any way.
(Patsy X L.H.)
(Enter Blake, down R.C. Luiji and Angelo R.U.E. Wilson holds position at C. table. Twins and Patsy L. All others occupy the stage R. and C. Luiji and Angelo go to L. to Patsy. Swan, Blake and Campbell with four jurymen appear at door R.3.E. with Tom in the midst. He is violently harranging them. Blake R.C.)
Tom Driscoll you mustn't talk to the jury, it's agin the law.
What's the argument Sheriff?
Boys want to lynch Chambers.
Why should we wait? Do you want him to escape you?
(Swan and jury go down R.)
Don't you know he is here? That that girl Rowy –
Look here! Tom Driscoll, this ain't the first time I have heard of your insults to my girl. Now say, what you've got to say to me – and as for these, do you think a flock of chickens like that can scare me?
Chickens? Oh! now Patsy –
Cricky, chickens – Now we wouldn't have said that about you Patsy.
This is the jury, Patsy. The gentlemen of the jury.
(Patsy go L.)
What is this turmoil? Jury all here Sheriff?
I should think they were.
(X L. to twins)
(Enter Howard R.3.E. with two law books under his arm. X to Robinson C. table)
How do, Patsy?
(Sits at table C. back of it.)
(Tom X L. of L. table – Tom goes to Howard L. of him
Let me see, four can sit here –
(Point to sofa C. up stage)
(Business of jury trying to sit on sofa.)
(All jury look about for chairs.)
Reckon you forgot the fixtures, Dave.
Oh! Chairs for the jury, Patsy.
Chairs? Cradles would be better.
(Exit L.U.E. followed by Rowy. Bring on chairs L.3.)
Sheriff Blake, what is this I hear about lynching?
Boy's a little bit sensitive, I reckon.
(The jury go up towards Robinson, expostulating, when re-enter Patsy and Rowy with chairs L.U.E. All make a dash for the ladies)
Oh, Aunt Patsy, why didn't you –
(They get chairs and begin to sit thus –)
(Tom sits chair L. of table C.)
Oh, now ladies if you had only said –
Now, why didn't you let us do that, Miss Rowy? Where your niggers?
(General confusion in arranging of chairs for jury at back of stage in two rows R.)
(York sits R. below Robinson R. Robinson raps.)
(Robinson sits R.)
We will now proceed with the case, and the prisoners need have no fear of violence.
Oh! 'Twan't agin de twins, Jedge. It were agin de nigger.
Your honor –
Your Honor – If this court don't object I'd like to know something.
(Wilson goes to twins who are seated L. by cabinet)
What's that, Major?
(He tries to go on with his argument, but is overcome
You see, Judge, if there's only one side of the case – it's only just half a case, and what's the good of half a case?
(Wilson returns to his seat C. of table)
Your Honor, we are quite satisfied.
That pair's just committing suicide with malice pretense.
(Falls in his seat.)
Your Honor, and gentlemen of the jury. I do not wonder at the amazement I see depicted on your faces. Does the council feel that his case is so lame, so halt and his conduct of it so imbecile, so brainless that he must regard no such evasions? But it will not avail. Does he imagine that without one witness he can come whining and whimpering into this court to beg in advance a merciful consideration at the hands of this intelligent jury? I say it will not avail. Is not this a pitiable spectacle, your Honor, but it is his first case – and alas, alas, has our poor friend who all these years has hung out his sign attorney at law, not read the lesson of neglect, that has attended his call for clients? Then let him read it now. In this feeble, senile, driveling admission, "we have no witnesses" – For I challenge your Honor's memory to recall the like in this or in any other court in all the land, but your Honor and gentlemen of the jury, let us be merciful, and with that feeling of sweet kindness we all feel and acknowledge towards this simple minded gentleman, for it must be said his nature is harmless. Yet would I council him to husband that remnant of reason yet left. I would entreat him to cling to his toys of glass, and leave the law for others to interpret.
I will swear the witness.
(Driscoll stands R. above Robinson and is sworn in, done so
by Robinson. York sits R.)
I'd like to see them lynch anybody in my house.
(Driscoll sits R.)
At the time of the assault, where were you?
Seated in my library. I had been writing.
I thought so, but concluded I was mistaken.
For what reason?
(Sits back of table.)
(General breath of relief and bustling. Jury whispers across. Wilson rises.)
Order in de court.
You say you were writing your will?
(Sits back of table C.)
We rest your Honor.
Oh, dear I wish I was out.
Maw, do be quiet.
Bet a dollar he flumixes before he opens his mouth.
Your honor, and gentlemen of the jury. Even the most perfect circumstantial evidence is likely to be at fault, and ought therefore to be received with great caution. We will take for example the sharpening of a pencil by a woman. If you have witnesses [to] this you will find she did it with a knife, and if you take the simple aspect of the pencil you will say she did it with her teeth.
Now, what in thunder has that got to do with the case, I'd like to know.
(Loud laugh. General merriment)
(General movement. Great sensation)
But, your Honor, without corroborated testimony –
And I say so still – but –
Your Honor and gentlemen of the jury. For more than twenty years while my sign has been hanging at my door and I have waited patiently for the client who never came, I have amused my compulsory leisure in the study of these physical signatures, and there is not in this room a man, woman or child whose autograph in that kind is not in that cabinet –
(Take mirror from table C.)
and I now challenge any of you to leave the impression of his thumb on this glass when, if I fail to identify it amidst a multitude of others, I will follow the advice of my learned friend. I will nourish my sweet and gentle nature, my senile feeble-mindedness for evermore on toys of glass and leave the law for him alone to interpret.
(Great attention throughout this.)
You reckon you can do that, Wilson?
Jury comes down stage and surrounds Robinson, R.C. Wilson turns his back and walks up L.)
(Bus[iness]. of rubbing thumbs and making marks –)
(Swan bus[iness]. of both thumbs.)
Grease, I'm just sick.
Maw, go make your mark.
Do you think he can do it?
Now, do you all know your marks, gentlemen?
Come here and sit down, you Rowena Mason. One fool in this family's enough.
This is Swan's, that Judge Driscoll's, that is your Honor's presiding, that's Campbell's, that's Pierce's, that Stull's, that's Brook's. This is my niece, Rowy's.
Ha! ha! ha! There maw.
(Wilson hesitates slightly over this one, and everyone pays
This one is Swan's again, but this time with his left hand.
(Each one answers yes to his name. All return to seats, regarding Wilson with utter astonishment.)
(All seated as before.)
(He hands the copies to Robinson who hands it to Blake – who hands it to jury. Jurors look at them.)
(Blake hands them to Judge.)
(Same bus[iness]. Pass to jury as before.)
(L. Enter Chambers and Roxy. They stand in door
And it is labeled as I have always labeled them, not the next day, nor the next hour, but in the very moment and it is labeled with the name of Chambers!
(Roxy and Chambers come down R.C.)
There he is.
Hang the nigger, don't let him speak.
(All make a rush for Chambers)
Oh! Judge, don't let them.
Who said that?
I said it. Hang the nigger.
(Jury and Judge sit muttering)
I shall now gratify the desire of my learned opponent, and call one witness to the stand.
victim he read that will, in which his future and his fortume lay. Unless York Driscoll should again change his mind, and that he should not, he determined then and there to assassinate him.
In Heaven's name what are you saying? Have you lost your senses?
No more than you or this community have found yours. But you shall. For I now call on that hound, that Chambers, that inhuman natural son, who sold his own mother into slavery to pay a gambling debt, – to stand forward and confess.
What! You say he do dat, dat Chambers?
(Roxy points to Chambers R.)
No, not the Chambers who stands here, but the other Chambers whom you for four and twenty years have palmed off on this community as Thomas À Becket Driscoll, and who sits there.
(Holding out mirror)
I call on him to come forward and leave his mark on this mirror.
(Every one rises. Tom rises. Wilson holds glass towards him. He hesitates, tries to put his thumb on the glass, but has not the courage, and falls in a faint.)
(Roxy runs to Tom L. – also.)
(MUSIC CHANGES to No 2 till Curtain.)
He no 'count nohow. Mus be de nigger in him.
In heaven's name, what is the meaning of this?
(Other characters have assembled up C.)
I didn't do it. Miss Patsy, she do dat herself.
What, you infamous old witch, what?
(Tom is gasping for air.)
Poor Marse Tom. Judge – look, look.
What, you pity that villain, who robbed you of your birthright, whose murderous hand attempted my life?
(As she drops his head and rises, Tom staggers to his seat
L. of table.)
What! You say he do dat? And I tell him you – his –
well – he know I his mother, yet he sells me, and for $650.
No. You free, now. I b'long to Marse Moorehead.
What, you tink I let you do dat? Even if you could? No.
(On her knees to Chambers. Blake down R.)
Heaven bless you, sir and forgive me, no, I go dere myself. He, he aint worth $650.
(Roxy starts up stage R.U. Driscoll stops her, and shakes
his head. Rowy Xes over to Chambers.)
(She throws her arms around Chamber's neck and looks
defiantly at Sheriff Blake – who has come down R.)
(Go up C.R.)
(Rowy and Chambers X R.)
Prosecution, do you propose to go further?
Don't seem to be any case agin the twins, Jedge. But it this court don't object there's one thing this jury would like to find out.
(All walk down C. Pudd'nhead faces up stage C. and starts to explain.)