|SCENE:||Quartette sing at rise. The yard of York Driscoll's house at Dawson's Landing. A two story house R. with
veranda and balcony, steps leading to balcony, and door in R.2.E. On the L. slave quarters, with small practical window facing audience, and door L.2.E.
A neat paling fence extends diagonally from R.3. to L.2.E. At back of fence as if on other side of road a two story set house, with door obliquely set in the R. corner of the house. Over this door a swinging crane with sign reading "David Wilson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, Surveying, Conveyancing, etc." A window over this door to open in and back by interior. Another door in C. of this house, opening off backed by hallway. Trees at both sides of gateway. A drop showing landscape (in southern Missouri) on the Mississippi River. A spring of running water in trough L.3.E. Two rustic chairs and table R. in front of steps. Bench L. The foliage is of medium growth – that is, it may show advance in Act I.
MUSIC NO. 1. Lively Southern Music.|
DISCOVERED: Enter at rise R.U.E. York Driscoll and Howard Pembroke.
Hya'r Jasper! Roxy! Whar you all at?
(Howard goes to R. of table R.H., sits, takes off gloves)
(Enter Jasper L.2.E.)
Hyar I is, Missa York.
Ah! Jasper, tell Roxy –
(Jasper starts to exit R. in house)
– to fetch us a couple of sangarees.
(Goes to table R. – L. of it)
(Going to steps R.2.E.)
And Jasper, be sure she makes them.
Howard Pembroke, you see before you, sah, a perfectly happy man. I have been mightily perplexed for a long time, but now the last dollar is paid, and this estate is as free from encumbrance as the day my poor dead brother paid his cash for it.
(Sits at table R. – L. of it)
So I reckon now, your interest will keep you here in Missouri for a time.
(Shakes hands )
The dear old dominion! Missouri is a fine state, sah, but it is not Virginia, but now you have settled here at Dawson, I shall not feel so quite alone.
You mean the establishment of a law practice here at Dawson?
I beg your pardon, Pembroke. If you think I am too sanguine –
No! I assure you I was not laughing at that –
(Offers seat to York)
– but while you were speaking I could not help but thinking of our neighbor, Wilson, "Pudd'nhead," as the boys about hyar call him. Ha, ha, ha!
(Both laugh and sit)
(Enter Roxy R.2.E. with salver and 2 sangerees, cross to back of table R.)
A fellow that don't know the difference between a whole dog and a half dog –
(Howard laughs, then stops. Driscoll laughs, then stops. Shake hands. The two men keep up interchanges of laughter in a sort of "mutual admiration" as Roxy places salver with glasses on table unseen by them)
Sang'rees, Marse York.
Oh, yes –
(Roxy is about twenty years old, looking more like a Spanish girl, than a negress. She has a lazy, languid Creole manner, always exhibiting a good natured jauntiness with an unconscious familiarity with everybody)
No one can make a sangaree like Roxy –
(Turns and sees her for the first time. Drinks)
Why, how pretty you look this morning.
(Howard and Driscoll laugh)
(Howard and Driscoll laugh heartily – she saunters down C.)
What are you laughing at, Roxy?
(MUSIC NO. 3)
Someone else? Haven't I told you he would never belong to any one but me?
(He sits)But t'ings are mighty unsartin' in this world. I 'member dose times two years ago when most of owners 'bout here lose all de niggers. Dar was ole Squire Blake, he lose everything, nigger, plantation and all. You 'member his yaller girl Susan, his only chile too – they say she was. He thought a heap of dat gal, but she sold, and sold down the river. Den deer was ole Squire Swan. Everyone of his hands go. You 'member what happened to his girl Caroline, and her two children. Dey was too young to be took from the mother, so they all sell in a lump, and on de way down de river she took her two children in her arms and made their grave and hers in the Mississippi. Dis fam'ly mighty near gwine dat time. Would I reckon if it hadn't been for you, Marse York. I don't reckon your brother ever die if hadn't been for does troubles. I don't reckon Marse Swan or Marse Blake ever count on den things happening.
Well, Roxy, give yourself no uneasiness about your boy. His future shall be my care. What time does the christening take place, Roxy?
(X of L.C.)
Well, as I'm to act as God-father –
(Going up steps R.2.E.)
We had better be preparing for the church. Baby all ready Roxy?
'Cept putting on his frock. Golly, don't reckon he'd have much frock left for the christening if I put it on yet, ha, ha, ha!
Don't give myself any uneasiness. Can't help it sometimes when I get thinking. 'Sperience mighty frightening. 'Member on'y year whole batch niggers sold down the river. Jus' cause some stealing done been doing! Ha, ha, ha. Mighty near gwine myself dat time. Would I reckon if it hadn't been for you, Marse York. Sometimes I wake up in the night when I dream deys gwine to sell my boy down de river. Den I start up and I feel and I feel and I find him deer, but I don't done sleep no more dat night. don't give myself any uneasiness. I don't t'ink I can stand it if I dream dar way much more. I do something sure. I rather be dead nigger dan sold down de river and my boy too.
(She now takes up salver with glasses on it, and goes to [?] of steps R.2.E.)What's dat? Is dey comin' to de christenin' arready.
(Looks off R.U.E.)
(Wilson heard off R.U.E.)
(Feeble cry of child off R.2.E.)
Hush – Honey, I'se common' to you –
(Exit in house)
What a cranky idea. What are you doing with them things?
(All laugh and look at their thumbs)
(They all look at one another and wink knowingly)
(All laugh and walk up stage R.3. to gate. Wilson X C.)
I reckon that has prejudiced my chances some, but I hope to outlive that. Say boys, don't forget the funeral.
(All exclaim, laugh, point to Wilson and run off R.3.E.)
Hello, Roxy. How does that baby of yours come on? That name had any bad effect yet?
Mornin' Mars Wilson.
(Looking at babies)
How old are they?
Jus' four mons apiece, sah.
How you manage to tell them apart?
Can't you tell which is which, really now?
Golly no. Niggers don't joy dat privilege.
Oh! Is this –
Yes! dat's him. Dat's de young master.
(Wilson has taken out his glasses)
Roxy, I am going to have the babies' thumb marks.
(Roxy looks at him, then at glasses, laughs)
Thomas A. Becket Driscoll, May 19th, 1836.
(Wilson starts to take thumb of the other child)
For de Lors sake don't wake him, Marse Wilson.
(Labeling second thumb mark X C.)
Valey de Chambers, May 19, 1836. How old did you say, Roxy, four months?
(Going up steps to his house up L.)
(Suddenly X up C.)
Say, what you do dat for? No hoodoo, hey?
Oh no, may bring him luck some day. Thank you, Roxy, thank you.
(Exit B.L.F. in his house L.U.)
Wonder if he really crazy? Mighty nice man dough, if he is from de North. Ha, ha, ha.
(Looking at babies)
Couldn't tell which was which do, 'cept by de coral. I wonder how my baby looked wid dat on!
(Looks around to see if anyone is about, then takes coral off,
hides it behind her, slowly brings it out and looks at it.
Puts it on the other child, and takes a view of them)
Won'er how my boy do if he a gentlemen –
(Looking at Tom)
Won'er how you do if you slave, like my boy – Yo' no whiter'n he is.
(DISTANT CHURCH BELLS RING)
Dey's ringing' de bells fo' you, honey. Don't do dat for my baby!
Why not? Yo' his child –
(Pointing to R.2.E.)
Marse York Driscoll yo' father – but they don' ring no bells fo' you, honey – yo's on' a slave! A common ornerary nigger! ads all.
(Sits L. on bench near slave quarters, pushing carriage to and fro)(BELLS CONTINUE)
(Points off and calling in at door)
Dave Wilson, do you hear dose bells?
(Coming down L.C.)
I just knew that brother of mine would be late. Men always wait until the very last minute. But there's no use talking to him. He just wears my patience.
(CHURCH BELLS RING)
(Patsy is fussy and bustling in her talk and actions. She
comes down and almost runs over the carriage)
Oh! Bless me!
(Looking into the baby carriage)
There you are – Oh! you dear little – little –
(Looks from one to the other)
Which is he?
(Enter Wilson D. L. U. E. remains on steps with Sunday coat and hat on)
No, I mean which is the one that is to be christened?
The one with the coral about his neck, Patsy.
(Roxy starts, but still sits L.)
(Omnes enter R.U.E. Friends etc. Blake, Campbell, Swan and others – all C.)
(Patsy takes child from carriage)
(Enter Driscoll and Howard R.2.E. house)
Ah! Welcome friends, now if you will kindly proceed with us to the church. Everything is in readiness, I believe. Where is the baby, Roxy?
(MUSIC CHANGES TO NO. 6 TILL CURTAIN)
(Roxy starts to interfere)
No, I'm to carry him to church, ain't I, York?
Yes, Patsy –
– and you, my people, this shall be a holiday for you all. And Jasper, I leave it with you to make them as happy as their Master is to-day.
(CHURCH BELLS RING TILL CURTAIN)
(All form in procession and exit R.U.E. York, Howard and Patsy in lead off R.U. Wilson last of the whites, then slaves follow off R.U. The guests talking and laughing. Slaves exclaiming "Lor bless the young Massa," etc. When Patsy made the mistake in the children, Roxy rather enjoyed it. No thought of carrying out the deception entered her mind until now. She remains face front as if in a trance. The church bells have been ringing at intervals from the first, and keep up till curtain)(Quartette R.E.)
(Comes down C. and looks in carriage)
I – I – Now who believe just clothes do a ting like dat?
(Hurries to gate C. looks off R.U.E. looks back at carriage, then in a jaunty manner comes down again and looks in carriage)
I didn't do dat, Miss Patsy she do dat. I jus' sleep dar jus' dose for a minute – dats what I tell 'em – when dey find out. But – if – dey – don't find out'. Den I'se sorry for you. God knows I is.
(Looking at child in carriage)
But dars no Marse kin sell my boy down de river now! If dey don't find out!
(Wheeling carriage slowly up stage to C.)
(Colored singers at opening of Prologue – Chorus)