[Enter Miss GUMBIDGE gotten up in latest morning goivn.
She bozvs right and left as she approaches table, seats herself very
carefully at head of table and then beams on each boarder in
turn while she sees them properly served.]
Good morning, gentlemen, good morning! We had quite a
fright last night, didn't we ? Dora and I came pretty near paying
dear for a little frolic. You see, we were dressing up in character
to amuse ourselves, and I was all fixed up to represent an old
woman, and had put on a gray wig and an old flannel gown that
I'd found, and we'd set up pretty late, having some fun all to our-
selves ; and I expect Dora must have been pretty sleepy, when she
was putting some of the things away, and set fire to a dress in
the closet, without noticing it. I've lost my whole wardrobe, nigh
about, by her carelessness ; but it's such a mercy we weren't
burned in our bed that I don't care to complain so much on that
account. Isn't it curious how I got caught dressed up like my
grandmother ? We didn't suppose we were going to appear before
so large an audience when we planned out our little frolic. Don't
you think I'd personify a pretty good old woman, gentlemen
ha! ha! for a lady of my age? What's that, Mr. Little? You
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 89
wish I'd make you a present of that nightcap, to remember me by ?
Of course ; I've no further use for it. It's one of Bridget's that
I borrowed for the occasion, and I've got to give it back to her.
Have some coffee, Mr. Grayson do ! I've got cream for it this
morning. Mr. Smith, help yourself to some of the beefsteak. It's
a very cold morning fine weather out-of-doors. Eat all you can,
all of you. Have you any profiles to take yet, Mr. Gamboge ? I
may make up my mind to set for mine before you leave us ; I've
always thought I should have it taken some time. In character?
He ! he ! Mr. Little, you're so funny ! But you'll excuse me this
morning, as I had such a fright last night. I must go and take
up that wet carpet.
[Miss GUMBIDGE gets up, smiles and bows to all at table and
READY FOR A KISS,
MAMMA, Fse been washin'-
Don't you see I has?
Curled my hair my own se'f
Sweetest ever was !
Nozzer time I was not
Half so nice as this
See, Fse fixed up, mamma,
Ready for a kiss !
Johnny's having trouble
DrefHe trouble, too
Bird-eggs in his pocket,
Keeps a-comin' froo!
I ain't a dirt baby
Does you think I is?
Fse your little Taddie,
Ready for a kiss \
90 WERNER'S READINGS
THE LITTLE FRIEND IN THE MIRROR.
Comedy Monologue for Very Young Girl.
ANNA M. PHILLY.
Written expressly for this book.
CHARACTERS REPRESENTED: SMALL GIRL, Speaker, present; her
friend and playmate, MARY, her BIG SISTER, TOM and BOB, all
supposed to be present sometime during the monologue.
COSTUME: SMALL GIRL wears BIG SISTER'S silk skirt and car-
ries her best fan.
STAGE-SETTING : Dressing-room interior. Large mirror so
placed that audience can get profile view of SMALL GIRL and of
her reflection in mirror as she sits before mirror making-up with
powder, etc. Near large mirror is table on which is placed
doll, powder box, bow of ribbon, etc. About the room are
chairs, couch, etc.
SCENE AT RISE OF CURTAIN: SMALL GIRL standing near couch
on which sits MARY.
NOW, Mary, the boys are gone, and you and I will have a good
time with our dollies. I don't see what makes boys so
mean, do you ? They had rather tease than eat. Whenever they
see me talking to you they call out, "Oh, how do you do, Mary ?"
in such a silly way. I get so provoked at them.
[Listening.] I wonder what that noise was? Excuse me just
a moment, and I'll go see. [Runs to imaginary door and looks
out.] No, Mary, it was a false alarm; they are playing ball be-
hind the -barn, so we are safe.
[Admiring doll's dress.] Oh, thank you! I'm so glad you like
it. My grandma made it. Oh, it's just dimity. Yes, I think she
looks sweet in it. How is your baby this morning ? What ? You
don't say! What's the matter? I'll bet it's amonia on the lungs!
That's what Mrs. Paul's little boy had, and he died; wasn't sick
but two days! You'd better be careful with her. I'm just in fear
'AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. gi
and trembling (as mamma says), I'm so afraid Marabel will get
amonia or brownkitties, or something contiduous. Humph ! What
does "contiduous" mean? Why, it means let me see, what does
it mean ? Oh, yes, I know ; it means something catching, like
diphtheria ! Oh, that makes me think, did you know my Uncle
Herbert's children had the diphtheria? Oh, yes, they're all well
now; but when they were so awful sick that old German woman
who lives next door what is her name? Yes, that's it Mrs.
Blitzenhoffer. Well, when she saw the card out she came over
and tapped on the window and said, "Och, Mrs. Schmidt, I vas
so sorey your chillerns got the dip-te-ra-ri-a Och, dat was too
bad !" Wasn't that funny ?
And Oh ! you mean, hateful boys ! if you don't go away and
stop teasing me I'll tell mamma. I didn't say my doll had dip-te-
ra-ri-a, or any such thing! I just said [Calling up stairs.]
Mamma ! make Tom and Bob go off and stop teasing me. I'm
not a tell-tale either ! Oh, what does make boys so mean ? I
wouldn't be a boy for the world !
Oh, where is that pretty bow of ribbon ? I'm going to put it in
my hair. Oh, here it is. Yphm ! I think my hair looks pretty this
way. Now, isn't that sweet ? This dress? Oh, it's sister Amy's.
[Parades up and down in front of mirror, admiring her goivn.]
She has just loads of 'em. You know she plays and sings for con-
certs so much and has so many beaux, so she has to have lots of
different kinds. Humph? Oh, I don't know what the goods is,
but it's pretty, don't you think? And I like it.
Now, let's put a little powder on our faces. Oh, don't you long
to be a young lady? Yes, this is sister's fan, too. Oh, one of
her beaux gave it to her Tom Stewart, I think. Bah ! no, she
don't care a thing for him. He has such red hair, and such lots
of freckles. But he's awful good, mamma says, and has lots of
money, and he's awful nice to little sister. He always brings me
marshmallows a whole lot, fresh ones, too ; he don't try to poke^
off a lot of cheap stuff on me like some of the other old stingies do.
There! I thought I heard something. I'll bet those boys are
sneaking round again. [Goes to door and looks out.] Oh, it's
93 WERNER'S READINGS
my sister! What? Well, how did I know it was your newest
skirt? Well, I just thought it was pretty, and I'm not hurting it
one bit. Well, take your old skirt and fan. [Kicks skirt off and
tosses fan.] I don't want 'em, anyway! Maybe you'd like me to
give you the powder I put on my face [sarcastically]. I'm not
vain, either ! Well, you can tell mamma, if you want to. She
said I could play up here.
There ! she's gone Mary. Big sisters are almost as mean
as boys. When / get to be a big sister I'm going to be just as
good to all the little girls, and let them play with anything I've
Didn't sister look hateful and cross when she went out? My!
how she slammed the door ! But you ought to have seen her last
night when Fred Martin called. He's the one she likes best. She
had that skirt on that I just kicked off. And she carried her fan
and she winked and she smiled, and whenever she didn't under-
stand what he said to her she would say, :< Beg pahdon?" Just
like our new teacher talks the one from Boston. My ! but she
puts it on ! Just you wait. The next time he comes 'round I'll
let him know she's got a temper.
Say, Mary, I wonder who left their flowers here. Daisies are
my favorites. Let's tell our fortunes. Name it, Mary. Are you
, One j ^ tw<> j
Three I love, I. say.
Four I love with all my heart,
And five I cast away.
Six, he loves, seven she loves,
Eight they both love,
Nine he comes, ten he tarries."
Who is it? Pooh! I don't care for him, anyway; he's -
[Listens.] Now, Tom, if you don't let me alone I'll I wasn't,
either, talking about Teddy St. Clair. I was just practicing my
new recitation and getting ready for school. There goes the bell
now ! Dear me ! And I'm not ready at all. My ! but I'll haft to
hustle. [Gathers up doll and other things as she hastily leaves
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 93
Dramatic Pathetic Western Dialect Monologue in Verse for a Man.
CHARACTER : WESTERNER, Speaker, present.
COSTUME: Western farmer.
SCENE : Westerner enters, moves along as if listening to some-
one, nods his head and then speaks.
WANT to hear about Jim Dawson? he's a little tetched, you
Somethin' ails his upper story kinder cracked he's harmless,
How it sends the chilly shivers up an' down my spinal bone,
Freezes up my very marrer, when I think how Dawson's gone !
But about that Dawson fam'ly. Jim, he come in eighty-four,
Took up land an' built a shanty, batched it f er a year or more ;
Jim wuz such a jolly feller such a bang-up clever one,
That we liked him, an' we used to ask him over, an' he come
Purty often ; Marthy wondered if he'd took a shine to Cad
She's our oldest gal, an' handsome, if she does look like her dad ;
But Jim didn't do no courtin' 'round our gals, an' soon the boy,
Blushin' awkward, tol' my folks he'd got a gal in Illinoy.
Then he got more confidential after that, an' said that he
Would be married in September ; said her folks wuz farmers ; she
Hed been teachin' school a little, so's to help her folks to hum;
Said she made han'-painted picters, an' could play pianer some.
Wai, he brought her in September. Phew ! but she was purty,
My gals couldn't hold a candle to her, an' yet they ain't so slow :
My two gals hev got the muscle, they kin plow an' use the hoe,
But 'long side 'o her, fer beauty, my gals didn't stan' no show.
An' ye'd ort to see that shanty blossom out when she got there
94 WERNER'S READINGS
White lace curtains at the winders, ingrain carpet on the floor,
Drapes, an' lamberquins, an' tidies ribbon bows just filled the
Lots o' things I never heard of Dawson's woman brought out here.
Bunch o' cat-tails in the corner painted chromos everywheres,
Little bags o' scented cotton hangin' on the backs o' chairs ;
An' a-standin' in the corner, on a kind o' crooked rack,
Wuz some painted jugs an' vases think she called 'em bricky-
That ranch paralyzed the natives here ; some on 'em used to swear
That it looked like heaven ort to, with a angel hov'rin' there ;
I kin tell ye, mister, that it wa'n't exaggeratin' things
Very much, fer Dawson's woman wuz a angel, bar the wings.
Ez fer Jim wal, now ; ye couldn't tech him with a ten-foot pole.
Used to stay to hum on Sundays ; ez a man she called Jim
She wa'n't no shakes at housework, said she never hed no luck ;
So Jim washed an' scrubbed the kitchen floor, an' helped her cook
She told Marthy, confidential, when they'd got enough ahead
Built a house with foldin' doors, an' porch an' winder blinds, she
They'd go back to see her mother, an' she told her, too, that day,
When they got rich, they wuz goin' back to Illinoy to stay.
Their hard time begun that winter, fer the blizzards they raised
Froze the horses in the stables, froze the cattle in the shed ;
Folks took lots of exercise, ye see, the temper'ture wuz low,
An' fuel high ; we went without some necessaries, too.
Then the crops played out next season, fer the rust got in the
Dews an' sunshine done the business, an' our hailstorms can't be
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 95
Hail an' hearty, too, I reckon, fer they pelted at the corn,
Till they drove it out o' sight, an' let no second crop be born.
We're used to it, ez I told ye, but we got downhearted some,
Waitin' fer that summer's harvest, which it never, somehow,
Dawson's folks got clean discouraged, never seen 'em smile till
That there mornin' Jim come over, grinned, an' said they'd got a
Somewhat later, Dawson's woman piled the chromos in a heap,
Packed up all the fancy truck around the ranch, jest made a
She brought out all the bricky-brac, an' took the curtains down,
Loaded up the one-hoss wagon, took the kid, an' broke fer town.
I saw her comin' up the road, an' hollered, "What's to pay?"
She said, "Why, debts, o' course," then laughed an' turned her
She said they didn't need the things at all then tried to cough ;
She said she'd take 'em up to town an' try to sell 'em off.
I noticed that her eyes wuz red, but she went on to say
How the shanty wuz so crowded that the baby couldn't play.
She sold the traps an' paid the bills, an' hed enough, she did,
To buy a coat fer Jim, an' shoes an' dresses fer the kid.
I think Dawson's wife got homesick; don't believe she liked the
Guess she didn't like the sandstones, ner the Injins at their best;
Never'd seen a lively Injin till she come here, an' they used
To skeer her some, likewise the cowboys, prowlin' 'round the
Then a cyclone blew upon us, when the spring wuz gittin' green,
Struck us right an' left an' forrards, till it shaved the country
96 WERNER'S READINGS
In a quite emphatic manner lifted all we bed to spare
Splintered shanties, barns an' fences kindlin' wood whizzed
through the air.
Dawsons went to town that day, or else I don't know where they'd
They camped with us a week or two till they'd built up again ;
We wuz boardin' in the cellar, with a haystack fer a roof,
Which that breeze bed kindly put there, an' we thought it good
Crops wuz more than slim that summer, fer we bed a little drouth
Clean from April to September, not a drop to wet yer mouth
From the sky ; we kep' from chokin' at the river, till it slid,
Then brought water by the quart an' counted it by drops, we did.
How the sun swooped down upon us ! how it scorched an' cracked
the land !
How it parched the fields o' grain an' cooked the taters in the
Sucked up all the cricks an' rivers in Nebrasky, an' I'll bet
It raised a row aloft at night because it bed to set.
After that we had the prairie fire November, eighty-eight;
If ye want to see the jaws o' hell a-gapin' at ye straight,
With a million hissin' tongues o' flame, an' see them risin' higher,
An' ye hain't got no ranch to save, jest watch a prairie fire.
Miles away we heard it crackle, all the sky wuz blazin' red ;
Tumble weeds ez big ez hay-stacks helped to take the flames
All the land wuz jest like tinder, an' the wind wuz blowin' hard,
So the flames got mighty frisky, seen 'em jump two hundred yard.
Wai, we done some heavy plowin' 'round the Dawson ranch that
An' the wind jest took a friendly freak, an' drew the flames our
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 97
We saved our lives by managing I might relate jest how,
But I'm tellin' Dawson's story, an' my own ain't nowhere now.
Ez we crawled to Neighbor Dawson's when the fire hed gone
We saw a bundle, which it 'peared the wind hed blowed away ;
It wuz lyin' in the gumbo near the road, an' partly hid,
An' I hope to holler, stranger, if it wuzn't Dawson's kid !
She hed wandered from her mother, in the midst of smoke an'
She wuz little, so the hungry flames forgot an' left her there,
Lyin' smothered by the roadway ; so we took her to the home
Where she'd furnish^ all the brightness through so many days
Dawson's woman never held her head up after that, they say
Teased fer Jim to take her home; he set an' watched her every
Till the end, an' told her soon ez he could git enough ahead
They'd go back to Illinoy; "An' take the little one," she said.
5jC *(C 3fC 5|C 3|C 5JC 5JC yf.
Two lone mounds are over yender, on the banks o' Dismal Crick,
'Mongst the gumbo grass an' cactus, an' the sand burs growin'
But that stream still murmurs softer, an' the birds sing in the air
Jest a little sweeter, fer the sake o' them that's sleepin' there.
Dawson's got some luny notions ; he told Parson Gibbs, one day,
That he didn't b'lieve in God, no matter what the preachers say
Said if there wuz sech a bein', that he wouldn't hev the cheek
To handle folks so rough, when he hed made 'em poor and weak.
Settin' by them grave mounds yender, 'mongst the burs an' prickly
Dawson spends a heap o' time; he says he's 'feard they're lone-
some there ;
Says it ain't no place to keep 'em, an' he told me, jest to-day,
If he ever could he'd take 'em back to Illinoy to stay.
98 WERNER'S READINGS
DECEITFULNESS OF MAN.
Comedy New England Dialect Monologue for a Woman.
CHARACTER: AUNT SUSAN, Speaker, present. She directs her
conversation to the audience.
SOME say 't when Eve left the Garden a double burden was
imposed upon her because she had sinned twice, once in her
pride and once in eatin' the fruit, an' thet only a single burden was
placed on Adam. I dunno ez thet is true, an' I ain't sayin' it ain't.
My sex has its failin's, and none knows 'em better'n me who has
been one of 'em all my life, but sometimes it seems to me we have
our burdens. How did Ed Johnson treat my niece, Susan Wig-
gins, who married him less'n a year ago under false pretenses ?
It never made no diff'rence in the relations in our family thet
the Wigginses leaned toward Methodism, an' after Susan was
named for me I never mention'd it. The Johnsons was mostly
Unitarians, which, ez near ez I can calculate, isn't bein' much of
anythin' accordin' to rule.
Ed wasn't no better'n the Johnsons run, an' I ain't sayin' he
was worse. He had his faults, though, an' manlike he concealed
them till after he was married.
Well, Susan Wiggns was brought up about ez strict Methodis'
ez any one around here, an' her face was set against cards an'
the-aters an' rum an' tobacco about ez much ez any one's, if I do
say it myself. When Ed Johnson married her no one told Susan
thet he had any bad habits.
I knew thet poor Susan was ez innocent ez a mouse about the
wiles of men folks, an' bein' her aunt I made up my mind thet I
wouldn't see her imposed on.
Well, I give the young people a month to get settled an' then I
went over to take tea with them.
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. gg
Ed has his father's old house an' a farm thet's so full of rocks
thet I don't see how he's goin' to git a livin' an' none of the Haw-
kins's money is a goin' thet way now when I'm dead an' buried. I
wore my cameo brooch thet Susan admired an' my Paisley shawl,
for I didn't want her to be shamed by her branch of the family,
howsomever the Johnsons might act.
'Why, Susan," says I, as I came in the front door an' was
shown right into the parlor an' tol' to set down on the Johnson
hair-cloth sofa thet never was used when Ed's mother was alive,
"why, Susan," says I, "aren't you young folks gettin' very ex-
travagant, throwin' your parlor open when there ain't no funeral
or minister or anythin' ? I'm jus' one of the family an' you mustn't
make company of me."
"Not a bit of it, Aunt Susan," says she. "Ed says thet if things
ain't good to use they ain't good for anythin'."
Where Ed Johnson got such notions ez thet, an' him with a
rocky farm, I'm sure I dunno.
I just felt of my cameo brooch, casual like, but thinkin' it might
give Susan a hint thet if I saw old Mis' Johnson's things misused
I wouldn't be in a hurry to turn my pin over to some one who'd
wear it out every day.
Ed came in an' he not only slicked up before tea, but he put on
the clothes he was married in, ez fine black broadcloth ez you'd
want to see.
"Expectin* company?" says I.
"No one but you, Aunt Susan," says Ed. "Why do you ask ?"
"Oh," says I, "I see you're all dressed up. I s'pose thet's
'cordin' to rule now though, ez I see you have the slips all off'n
your mother's parlor furniture."
"We only live but once, Aunt Susan," says Ed, "an* I believe
in enjoyin' life ez we go along."
Rememberin' thet he was brought up Unitarian an' thinkin' thet
it was only one of their new-fangled notions, I didn't argufy the
question, but I had my doubts about Susan's happiness.
Ed talked a lot about the stones on his farm bein' some new
kind of marble, an' how there was money in them, but I said I
ioo WERNER'S READINGS
never knew stones to be anythin' but a detriment 'cept for fences.
Susan had brought all her plants from home an' I do think thet
growin' plants is her pet vanity. When tea was over Ed says :
"Susie, shall I get after the bugs to-night?"
"For mercy sake, Susan," says I, "if I hadn't heard Ed say so
I'd never believe it, an' Mis' Johnson was such a careful house-
keeper, too ! Dear, dear, but thet's too bad."
"Hold on, Aunt," says Ed, "you're on the wrong track," an'
then I saw them both laughin' ez if the minister had made a joke.
"Ed's talkin' about the bugs on my plants, Aunt," says Susan,
when she stopped laughin' ; "an' he found in a newspaper last
week a way to kill them. Ed's awfully thoughtful, Aunt."
"Oh," says I, settin' up very straight, "I'm glad to hear it."
I ought to have suspicioned thet somethin' terrible was comin',
for if you'll take perceivance you'll notice thet men don't potter
around household plants without havin' deep motives. I was thet
taken back, however, thet I was speechless.
"Dear Ed," says Susan, "I'd be very thankful if you would give
the bugs a dose."
''Certainly, Susie," says he, obligin'-like, and before my eyes he
took down from the clock shelf a pipe and a bag of tobacco.
He filled his pipe, went over an' sat down by the plants an'
lighted it. I never seen any one smoke more natcheral like. He
blew out great puffs of smoke an' there sat Susie lookin' ez proud
ez if he was leadin' an experience meetin'.
"Well, for land sakes, Susan Johnson !" says I.
"Now, Aunt," says Susan, "you are wrong. Ed has no bad
habits. We both noticed about a week ago thet there was bugs on
my plants. I tried liquorish water an' camphor an' I declare I was
mos' sick about it. Then Ed came down from the village one
night with a piece of one of those N'York papers. It said thet
tobacco smoke was the only sure cure for plant bugs.
" 'Do you believe it, Ed ?' says I.
" 'There it is in the paper/ says he.
" 'Well/ says I, 'the bugs are gettin' awful on them. I wish
you'd thought to bring some tobacco with you/
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 101
" 'I did/ says he. Now, wasn't thet thoughtful of him, Aunt?
"Well, we put a little tobacco on a saucer an' tried to light it
but it wouldn't burn. Ed says that it would only burn in a pipe,
an' to make sure of savin' the plants he brought along a pipe.
" 'Did you think, Ed/ says I, 'you could burn a lettle tobaccc
in a pipe for me without gettin' the habit?'
" 'Sure/ says he. An' he did an' I think it's just lovely of him,
I wasn't born yesterday, an' bein' of a thoughtful mind I've
taken some notice to the ways an' tricks of men. I could almost
swear thet Ed Johnson winked at me, but bein' a maiden lady I
didn't want to say so. Talk about the deceit of women ! It was
jus' ez I expected. I says to Susan:
"How long has Ed been killin' bugs for you this way?"
"Since las' Saturday," she says.
"Did he burn up more'n one pipeful the first night ?"
'Yes," says. she, "he said they needed a big dose to begin with
an 5 he's burned three pipefuls. Since then he's burned two pipe-
fuls every night.
"An' didn't the first make him sick?" says I.
: 'Why, no," says Susan.
"Did Edwin smoke before ?" says I, an' I could see he was get-
"No," says Susan, "certainly not."
"Well, then," says I, "all thet I can say is thet " An' jus'
then Ed Johnson says :
"Look out, look out, Aunt Susan; there's a mouse jus' comin'
out the buttery door."
I can't abide mice, an' I don't know now whether there was one
or not. I have my suspicions. I jumped up on my chair, however,
an' Ed knocked around with the broom handle real hard. When
he finished makin' a racket he began :
"Oh, Aunt Susan, I heard Joe Stebbins down to the village
yesterday tellin' what a good housekeeper you was."
You know thet some people did say thet Joe used to like me
better'n Lizzie Hooper, who is now Mis' Stebbins. I wasn't par-
102 WERNER'S READINGS
tic'lary curious to know what Joe Stebbins had said about me for
myself, but I knew thet if it could get back to Lizzie it would
make her real angry, an' I declare, in askin' Ed questions I for-
got all about smokin' an' I went home leavin' thet poor child in
innocence about thet man's deception.
You can't tell me thet if he hadn't been hardened in the tobacco