spinach. Where is the spinach? [Bell rings.] I think the bell
rang ! Well, she may bother me as much as she likes to-day, noth-
ing can make me angry now. [Bell rings.] Yes, yes. [Goes to
Yes, ma'am ! Why don't I answer ? Well, here I am ! What ?
Impudent? I didn't say anything, I'm sure. Go about my busi-
ness? [Aside.] If I wasn't afraid but why should I care now?
Haven't I got five hundred dollars? Very well, ma'am, I will.
What ? Do I mean to leave you ? I can go at once ? Very well,
I will go. As soon as dinner is done, I will pack up my things.
[Slams the door.] There, ma'am, if you can play a trump, so can
I. But the dinner. Where on earth are the pigeons and the
spinach ? Oh, I am free and I must tell John ! I can't wait until
evening! [Takes off apron hastily.] I shall be back before the
soup is ready. John! How pleased he will be! [Runs out, but
turns back.] The letter ! I must show it to him ! Oh, where is the
letter ? Here it is ! John, John, how happy we shall be ! [Runs
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 61
TOM FAY'S SOLILOQUY.
Comedy Romantic Monologue for a Man.
Arranged as a monologue expressly for this book.
CHARACTER REPRESENTED: TOM FAY, Speaker.
COSTUME : Home costume.
STAGE SETTING: Handsomely furnished room, doors R. and L.
Large easy chair C.
SCENE: Enter TOM FAY, smoking cigar. Takes several puffs
as he crosses room and flings himself into chair. Puffs a while
in silence, listens, then repeats what he seems to have heard.
"Most any female lodger up a stair
Occasions thought in him who lodges under."
DON'T they, though? Not a deuced thing have I been able
to do since that little Gipsy took the room overhead, about
a week ago ! Pat pat pat, go those little feet over the floor,
till I am as nervous as a cat in a china closet. Confounded pretty
they are, too, for I caught sight of 'em going upstairs. Then I
can hear her little rocking-chair creak, as she sits there sewing,
and she keeps singing, "Love not love not !" Just as if a fellow
could help it. [Sits in chair.]
Wish she wasn't quite so pretty ; it makes me decidedly uncom-
fortable. Wonder if she has any great six-footer of a brother,
or a cousin with a sledge-hammer fist. Wish I was her washer-
woman, or the nigger who brings her breakfast ; wish she'd faint
away on the stairs ; wish the house would catch fire to-night !
Here I am, in this great barn of a room, all alone; chairs and
things set up square against the wall ; no little feminine fixings
'round ; I shall have to buy a second-hand bonnet, or a pair of little
gaiter-boots, to cheat myself into the delusion that there's two
62 WERNER'S READINGS
of us ! Wish that little Gipsy wasn't as shy as a rabbit. I can't
meet her on the stairs if I die for it ; I've upset my inkstand a
dozen times, hopping up, when I thought I heard her coming.
Wonder if she knows, when she sits vegetating there, that
Shakespeare, or Sam Slick, or somebody, says, that ''happiness
is born a twin" ? 'Cause if she doesn't, I'm the missionary that will
enlighten her. Wonder if she earns her living, poor little soul !
It's time I had a wife, by Christopher! Sitting there pricking her
pretty little fingers with that murderous needle ! If she were sewing
on my dickeys it would be worth while now ! [Jumps up.] That's
it by Jove ! I'll get her to make me some dickeys don't want
'em any more than Satan wants holy water, but that's neither here
I shall insist upon her taking the measure of my throat
[laugh]. Bachelors have a right to be fussy. There's a pretty
kettle of fish, now ; either she'll have to stand on a stool or I shall
have to get on my knees to her! [Laugh.] Solomon himself
couldn't fix anything better ; deuce take me, if I couldn't say the
right thing then ! This fitting dickeys is a work of time, too.
Dickeys aren't to be gotten up in a hurry. [Bell rings.] Hello!
there's the door-bell ! [Noise outside of trunk being thrown from
^vagon to sidewalk. Tom goes to window, looks out.] There's a
great big trunk dumped down in the entry! [Voice outside: "Is
Mrs. Legare at home?"]
Is Mrs. Legare at home? M-r-s. Legare? I like that,
now ! Have I been in love a whole week with M-r-s. Legare ?
Never mind, maybe she's a widow ! [Noise outside of some one
walking.] Tramp, tramp, come those masculine feet; [looks out
of windozv] handsome fellow, too! [Opens door R. and listens.]
Ne-b-u-c-h-a-d-n-ezzar ! If I ever heard a kiss in my life, I heard
one then ! I won't stand it ! it's an invasion of my rights. Guess
I'll listen again [same business]. My dear husband! p-h-e-w !
As I'm a sinner! [Listens again.]
What right have sea-captains on shore, I'd like to know ? Con-
found it all ! Well, I always knew women weren't worth thinking
of; [sits in chair C.] a set of deceitful little monkeys; changeable
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 63
as a rainbow, superficial as parrots, as full of tricks as a conjurer,
stubborn as mules, vain as peacocks, noisy as magpies, and full of
the "old Harry" all the time! There's "Delilah," now; didn't she
take the "strength" out of "Samson?" -and wasn't "Sisera" and
"Judith" born fiends? And didn't the little minx of a "Herodias"
dance "John the Baptist's" head off? Didn't "Sarah" raise "Cain"
with "Abraham/" till he packed "Hagar" off? Then there was-
well, the least said about her the better, but didn't "Eve," the fore-
mother of the whole concern, have one talk too many with the
old serpent ? Of course ; she didn't do anything else ! Glad I
never set my young affections on any of 'em !
Where's my cigar-case ? How tormented hot this room is !
[Business of lighting cigar as curtain falls.]
JACK'S SECOND TRIAL.
ROY FARRELL GREEN.
THE second time that Jack proposed
'Twas really a surprise,
Though still I gossips so supposed
Found favor in his eyes.
His first avowal, months before,
I'd treated with disdain,
And laughed at him the while he swore
He'd surely try again.
The second time that Jack proposed
I never said a word,
Though to assent I'd grown disposed
I simply overheard
By accident his earnest plea
While in the waltz's whirl ;
The second time 'twas not to me,
But to another girl !
64 WERNER'S READINGS
I AND MY FATHER-IN-LAW.
Comedy Monologue for a Woman.
HARRIET L. PEMBERTON.
CHARACTER: THE WIFE, Speaker, present; SERVANT, supposed
to be within hearing later on.
COSTUME : House dress.
PROPERTIES : Letter ; call-bell.
SCENE : Comfortably furnished room. Wife pacing the room.
I KNEW it must come to this at last ! Jack and I have had a
row, and with all the meanness of a man he has managed to
get the last word by bouncing out of the room and banging tke
door. And all for what, if you please? All for just nothing at
all. But that's always the way. Everything is always about
nothing. Just because what do you think simply because
merely because I've overdrawn my account for the third time
in the last twelve-month ! The first time it occurred he paid up
like a man and placed a fresh sum to my credit. The next time
he grumbled like a man ; but when I said : "Jack, dear, do it the
second time," he did it the second time. And now that it has oc-
curred again he has been swearing like a man ; oh, very like a
man ! and when I began : "Jack, darling, do it the third time," he
replied he'd be hanged if he would ! It was in vain I argued that
I must dress, must give to charities, must have everything I want.
He answered that I must cut my coat according to my cloth, and
that charity ought to begin at home, and all those ridiculous old
platitudes which people always fall back upon when they're angry.
And then he bounced out of the room and his last words were:
"It's no use my talking. I shall send my father to you and perhaps
he'll be able to make you listen to reason."
[Flings herself into a chair.] Oh! I'm the most miserable
of women ! I've quarreled with Jack ; I've not got a sixpence ;
'AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 65
and Sir John is coming to make me listen to reason ! I don't
want to listen to reason, I don't want to see Sir John ! I can
manage Jack all right by myself, but Sir John terrifies me out of
my senses. The first time he came to see us after we were mar-
ried, he asked me if I kept a meat-book; and he hoped I should
always be content with a low rate of interest for my money. I
said : "Dear Sir John, I will never condescend to anything low,
I like all things high high game, high steppers, high rate of in-
terest." I believe he observed after that he was afraid I was
flippant, and he trusted Jack wouldn't find out that he had made
a very poor bargain. And this is the man who is coming to make
me listen to reason !
Hush! there's the bell! [Listens.] Surely, he can't be coming
already. No; I don't think it was the front door-bell after all.
It was only the muffin-man. Now, how shall I take Sir John? I
think I'll try the pathetic, on my knees so [kneels], hands
clasped so [clasps hands]. 'Yes, I know ! I know! call me any-
thing you please foolish, idiotic, mad as a hundred hatters I'm
all that and worse! I've nothing to say for myself; I've nothing
to plead as an excuse. But consider my youth, consider my in-
experience, consider the atmosphere in which I was brought up !
Why, in my family we were taught to chuck away dollars as if
they were pennies ; taught, think of that ! Oh ! instead of gazing
at me with that stern countenance, take me and teach me to do
better. You could teach me if you would ; and I I would learn,
oh, so willingly !" Here I shall break down utterly, so [collapses
on floor]. And then he will take me by the two hands so [ex-
tends hands] and raise me up tenderly so [rises slowly to her
feet] and kiss me kindly on both cheeks so [movement as if
she were being kissed] and then he will say: "Bless you,- my
dear child ;" and so the victory will remain with me. Yes ; only
I can't quite fancy Sir John blessing me.
Hush! there's the bell. [Listens.] It is the front door this
time. He's really coming. [Stands waiting.] No. He doesn't
seem to be coming after all. I wonder who it is. [Looks out of
window:] Only old Ls% Alicia leaving her cards! Now, how
66 WERNER'S READINGS
shall I take Sir John? [Reflects.] I think I shall try the indig-
nant, very upright, so [draws herself up] head well back, so
[throws head back]. "Let me tell you, Sir John, once for all,
that I am not accustomed to be addressed in such terms as foolish,
idiotic, much less as mad as a hundred hatters ; and I must insist
-yes, I must insist on your giving me the explanation I have a
right to expect. When I no, don't interrupt me, please when
I did your son the honor of marrying him, it was on the distinct
understanding that I was to do as I liked. In my family we un-
derstand the value of money every bit as well as you, only we
understand it in a somewhat different way. But if the manner
of my upbringing was to be flung in my teeth as a cause of com-
plaint, you should have had it put in the settlements. As this was
not done, neither my husband nor my father-in-law has any right
to call my conduct in question, and that there may be no mistake,
I take this opportunity of putting my foot down at once." Here I
shall stamp my foot [stamps]. Sir John's breath will be quite
taken away, he will spread out his hands in a deprecating kind of
way, so [spreads out hands] and will murmur hurriedly: "My
dear lady, I assure you I meant nothing of the kind." And the
victory will remain with me. Yes ; only I can't quite fancy Sir
John's breath being taken away.
Hush! there's the bell. This must be he. [Listens.] He's
had plenty of time to get Jack's message. [Stands waiting.] No;
he doesn't seem to be coming after all. I suppose it was only the
post. Now, how shall I take Sir John? [Reflects.] I think
yes, I know, I'll try the familiar and the pert. Throw myself into
a chair, so [throws herself into a chair] look at him archly, so
[looks over shoulder]. "You know you don't mean it, really.
You were never hard upon a woman in your life, Sir John. I'm
sure you never were. Now look here ; it's no use pretending that
you're not like the rest of them. You like to see a pretty woman
well dressed. Nonsense ! don't talk to me ; of course you do ! A
man of your taste and all. Eh ? Aha ! I've found you out r Here
I shall shake my finger at him, so [shakes finger]. "And Tn) not
a bit afraid of you, you know, not a bit. No ; I never was ; from
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 67
the very first I always thought you and I would understand each
other. And I'm sure we do, don't we, perfectly ? Now, give me a
kiss and let's make up. That's right. I'm sure you feel better
now, don't you?" If I had a fan I should tap him with it here.
Then Sir John will chuck me under the chin, so [chucks herself
under chin] and call me "a little puss!" And so the victory will
remain with me. [Rises.] Yes; only I can't quite fancy Sir John
chucking me under the chin, or calling me "a little puss."
Hush ! there's somebody coming upstairs. It must be he. There
can't be any mistake this time. I hear the tramp of feet ! [Stands
waiting.] No; it's only the servant. [Turns as if addressing
some one at the door.] What is it? A letter? Give it to me.
[A letter is handed in to her; continues as if still addressing some-
one at door.] What? I can't hear what you say. A gentleman
wants to know if I will see him ? Didn't he give his name ? What ?
He didn't give his name because he said I would understand?
[Aside.] Yes, of course, I understand. Why didn't you say I
was not at home ? What ? I hadn't given any orders. Well, say
I'm very sorry, but I can't see any one this afternoon. What ? I
wish you would speak a little more distinctly. Very particular?
Yes, I know he's very particular; that's why I don't want to see
him. Say I'm very sorry, but I can't see any one this afternoon.
That will do.
[To herself again.] I wonder if he'll take offence at such a
message. It's rather a dreadful thing to say to one's father-in-
law. Falls rather flat, too, after the way in which I meant to re-
ceive him. [While talking she opens letter.] Hullo! why, what
in the name of fortune is this? [Reads.] "Dear Madam, We
have the honor to inform you that, under the will of the late Mr.
Puffin, you are become entitled to fifteen thousand pounds, free
of legacy duty, which will be paid into your account, so soon as
the necessary formalities have been gone through. One of our
firm will wait upon you with this letter to take any instructions
you may have to make. We remain, Madam, yours obediently,
Brown, Jones & Robinson."
Dear old Mr. Puffin ! I lent him a hymn-book once in church,
68 . WERNER'S READINGS
and he always said he would remember me in his will ; but, of
course, I never thought he would. Fifteen thousand pounds !
Now, let Sir John come and make me listen to reason ! I shall
know how to take him. [Walks round triumphantly, brandishing
letter; stops suddenly.} One of the firm would call. Then it was
one of the firm who wanted to see me. Oh, dear ! Oh, dear ! I
hope my message wasn't given correctly. Don't want to see him ;
of course I want to see him most particularly. Perhaps he's not
gone yet; I'd better go down myself and see. [Exits in a great
I'SE a poor 'ittle sowwowful bady,
An' B'idget's away down 'tairs! =
De kitten have scratched my finger,
An* my Dolly 'on't say her pwayers !
I'se jus' dot a 'ittle new buzzer
Dod jus' sent him down tozzer day
He kies and he kies so dwedful,
I 'iss Dod 'ood take him away !
I ain't seen my bootiful mamma
Since ever so Ion' adoe,
An* I ain't her own darlin'est bady
No lender, 'tause B'idget says so.
O, Fse a poor 'ittle sowwowful bady-
An' B'idget's away down 'tairs \
De kitten have sc'atched my finger,.
An.' my Dolly 'on't say her pwayers !
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 69
WHEN DAD ENJOYED HIMSELF.
Comedy Monologue for Small Boy.
[BoY enters and begins to talk ^vhen he gets near stage front.}
1WISH I had known my dad when he was a kid, instead of
knowing him now when he's growly most of the time. He
was the real thing.
I know it because I heard dad's mother, that's my grand-
mother, whisper to my mother, "Why, John was a regular little
devil when he was a boy. He was just full of fun and I can't see
for the life of me what makes him so glum all the time now."
Ma said she knew it and that the old man was jolly enough
when he was courting her. She didn't say "old man" of course,
but that's what she meant all right, because I've heard her say
lots of times that dad's the only man that ever courted her, and
then dad always says that she's the only girl he ever courted.
Then ma says : "Well, you're glad you're married ?" as if she
kinder didn't think so, and dad always says, "Of course. Are
you ?" And ma says, "I guess I am," with a lot of ginger in her
Well, when they tell each other that they're glad they're mar-
ried anyhow, that's usually the end of the first round. I always
know just what dad's going to say next. He says, "What we need
is a little real fun," and ma says, "That's so. What shall we do ?"
Ma's just dying to go to the theatre or the opera, but the old man
can't seem to catch on. He blurts right out the first thing when ma
says where will they go with saying that they must go somewhere
in the country.
The next thing dad does is to get out a lot of old maps. Maps is
the only thing he's really stuck on. He pretends that he only uses
'em to pick out a place to go to and I s'pose he really thinks that's
what he's doing, but tain't so. His fun is just in looking at 'em.
Why, dad and ma have traveled millions of miles on those maps,
sitting on the couch, but that's the only way they get anywhere.
He'll begin by asking ma how she'd like Nova Scotia, for in-
70 WERNER'S READINGS
stance. She says 'twould be lovely. Then he's just mean enough
to pretend Nova Scotia is her idea and he'll say : "Well, if you
are set on going there, I'll get a month's vacation and we'll try it.
I guess 'twould do us good."
Then dad measures off places in Nova Scotia with a pencil and
lays the pencil down on that little line in the corner with little
feelers on it that looks like a worm on its back, to see how many
miles off one place is from another. If it's less than a hundred
miles he says : "Now, it would be very interesting to walk that
distance and see the country. How would you like to take a
tramping trip ?" And ma says it would be lovely, if her feet didn't
trouble her so.
That usually makes the old man a little glummer than he was
before. Then he starts out something about riding and begins to
figure out the fares and the time-tables.
Well, when dad gets to figuring ma slips into my room, and
yawns. Then she goes back and asks him if he thinks they can
afford it. She just does that to keep the fun going, for it starts
him right off on another hour's figuring to see how much money
he'll earn the next six months and how much he'll spend.
But after dad has had the fun of figuring up what he's made
last year and dividing that by fifty-two, he multiplies that by
twenty-four weeks of the next six months and subtracts a lot of
things from that. What's left is for Nova Scotia, and he gets
But the other day dad tried to have real fun. Ma suggested
that it might do him good to go to a real funny show without her
or me to look after. He said kind of mournful that he was afraid
there might be a reaction after a funny show. Ma said "Non-
sense !" so dad went to the theatre.
I sneaked down the fire-escape with fifty cents out of the ice
money to follow him, for I'd risk any kind of a licking to see dad
really cut loose and laugh. I had a quarter besides for carfare.
First he walked up and down in front of half a dozen theatres. I
suppose he was trying to decide which one to go to. I went on
the other side of the street behind a lot of cabs and kept my eye
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 71
on him. Finally he went in downstairs to a high-priced seat.
That's just like dad, and he talks more about saving money, his
ma says, than any man she knows.
I went up in nigger heaven and got in the front row where I
could look over. It took me most ten minutes to pick out the old
man. He's getting bald, and the top of his head looks just like
the top of any other head a mile away. It seemed like a mile up
I kept looking from the folks on the stage to dad and back
again, 'cause I wanted to see the show myself and see the old man
laugh too. But he didn't move and he didn't clap, and I lost half
the show watching him for nothing until pretty soon there was
an awful racket and smash behind the scenes and a big dummy in
a yellow overcoat shot head first across the back of the stage and
landed with an awful thump on the other side. And in about
two seconds in walked a little short fat man with a yellow coat on,
just like the dummy's, and an automobile cap. He let on that he
was the dummy we had just seen and said that he was full of
gasoline after the explosion. Well, you'd thought every one in
that theatre was going to bust laughing and in a minute after
everybody else had got their laugh started I heard a yell down-
stairs. There was dad with his head so far back that I could see
his eyes and the end of his whiskers going up and down, and he
was slapping the arms of his chair with both hands.
Then I yelled and everybody downstairs was looking at dad
and everybody upstairs was looking at me. You couldn't stop
the old man after that. He let out enough laugh for a whole year,
and I'd have swiped another fifty cents just to have had ma with
me there to see him.
After the show he forgot all about going to cheap restaurants
to save money for Nova Scotia, but braced right into a swell place.
I was hungry, too, so I sneaked into the same place so I could
keep an eye on dad.
First he had something yellowish to drink with a round red
thing in it. I think he grinned again, after he put that down, but
I ain't sure. Then he had some raw clams and pretty soon a great
72 WERNER'S READINGS
big platter of something with a silver cover on top and a silver
pail with some ice and a bottle in it. He looked pleasant enough
to have his picture taken.
I slipped out and waited across the street for dad. It seemed
like an hour before he came out. He took the first car that came
along and we got on the same ferry-boat.
Then the funniest thing happened you ever heard of. There
weren't any wagons on that boat and nobody in the middle part
for horses. I'll be hanged if dad didn't go in there all alone and
begin saying over some of the funny things they had said at the
show. Then he whistled some rag-time and kept kicking up and
dancing back and forth across the boat like they did in the show.
I thought I would bust then, but the best of all was when dad
took a run and fell down head first on purpose just like a fellow
sliding for a base. He was practising doing what the dummy
in the yellow coat did. Then the boat bumped into the slip and
dad went right past me. I heard him kinder talking to himself
and saying he guessed he could be funny and cheerful 'round the
house if he tried.
I heard dad and ma talking in their room that night, but
couldn't hear what they said, only I heard 'em both laugh, and was
tickled to death. But dad's whole plan was ruined in the morning.
Ma and me got to the table first, as usual, and waited for dad.
We heard him whistling in the other room, trying to work up
gradual, I suppose, to being real lively. Ma looked pleased as
pie. In a minute dad came through the hall and just as he reached
the dining-room he gave a yell and fell flat.
It was the dummy trick, and I roared. Ma gave me a cuff and
kneeled right down on the floor side of dad and said : "Oh, John,
are you hurt ?"
She couldn't have said a worse thing. Her game was to laugh
when dad tried so hard as that to be funny, but he hadn't tipped
her off, because he wanted to surprise her. So, when she asked
if he was hurt, he just said "No," solemn as an owl and went to
It was the glummest breakfast we ever had.
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 73
LAUGHING AND CRYING.
Comedy Monologue for Man or Woman.
G. A. LANDRUM.
Arranged as monologue and business given expressly for this book by
Howell L. Finer.
[Enter stage laughing heartily and address conversation en-
tirely to audience.]
I WOULD be willing to choose my friend by the quality of his
laugh. [Give a glad, gushing laugh.} A clear, ringing note