habit smokin' wouldn't have made him ez sick. You can't fool
me. An' I haven't been back to the Johnsons' house since, be-
cause Ed ez much ez told me to stay away.
You see, his old rocks did turn out to be marble, an' some folks
say ez how he will die rich. They won't need any of the Hawkins
money, which is fortunate, considerin'. I suppose such deceitful-
ness from man to woman is one of the burdens we females have
to bear because of Eve's sins.
They say Susan an' Ed's happy an' thet Ed regularly every
night kills the bugs on Susan's plants. Well, it ain't none of my
business, p'r'aps, but I can't help feelin' bad for Susan.
LAST night I kissed her in the hall
My promised wife.
She said, "Now tell me truly this
Another girl did you e'er kiss
In all your life ?"
I gazed down in her pleading face
And told her, "No."
Now, why did she, with pensive sigh
And sad look in her soft blue eye,
Say, "I thought so?"
The game she gave me, you'll admit,
Was pretty stiff,
And as I homeward went my way
And thought on what I'd heard her say,
I wondered if
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 103
THE COMFORTABLE CORNER
Comedy Monologue for a Man.
Translated from the French of M. Armand Sylvestre by Lucy Hayes
Macqueen especially for this book.
CHARACTER: The BACHELOR, Speaker, present, who directs all
his conversation direct at audience.
I AM a bachelor and I am a well-bred, well-behaved man. I
simply say this to let you know that I have no bad habits
which prevent me from offering myself a victim at the altar of
Hymen no, none whatever. I have simply found myself suffi-
cient unto myself. Why take another into partnership, when I
am capable of running the business myself? I have weighed my
own individuality and found myself worthy. I am on very good
terms with myself.
Now, a single man who has nobody and nothing tied to his
heels cannot do a better thing than travel about and see life. All
railroad directors and steamboat officials will tell you the very
I console myself for the loneliness inherent in a bachelor life
by traveling. I pass half of my life in going on journeys, and the
other half in returning from journeys, and I shall in all proba-
bility do this up to that fatal last journey of all for which I shall
buy no return trip ticket, for I shall never return.
I am a fellow who loves his ease, so I always travel as com-
fortably as possible. I wear a silk cap, you know, the kind that
sheds all the dust ; a little flask of brandy ; a little giblet patty in
my portmanteau ; a good novel ; but, oh, above all, when I have
to pass the night on the train, give me my comfortable corner
sleeping compartment !
It is not because I am more comfortable there than I would
104 WERNER'S READINGS
be in any of the other compartments which cost the same price,
it is not because human nature loves a bargain ; it is not because
I am cooler in the corner than I would be in the middle of the car
surrounded by all the passengers and a load of stuffed horse-hair
cushions ; no it is because i am a poet and love to see the be-
lated traveler rush after the train and try to throw himself on to
the platform near me, and I like to look out of the window and
see the receding landscape as I fly along you can see better from
the corner of the last car than you can anywhere else on the
Now, I tell you that I am a poet because you might not take
me for one if you should ever meet me in a crowded waiting-room
waiting for a train. I tell you this beforehand so that you will
not be surprised at my behavior, then, for in spite of my poetic
feelings I will jostle you terribly so as to get ahead of you into
that righthand corner compartment at the end of the car. I have
been known slyly to kick a chair in front of the other passengers
for them to fall over, so as to get ahead of them into that corner.
It is a very good old trick that chair trick, but do not employ it
upon me, if you see me coming into a car where you may be, for I
warn you that I would return the compliment by shoving a sofa
or a table in front of you to keep you out of that corner.
Well, in starting for Paris last night I secured my corner as I
have done hundreds of times before, I had employed the chair
for my fellow passengers to stumble over and the air was per-
fectly blue with bad language as we began our journey. I had
just rolled a good cigarette to scare all ladies away from my
corner, and had made a perfect barricade of the seats around me
with my hat, overcoat, portmanteau, umbrella, I even took out
the contents of my portmanteau and spread them about so as to
insure plenty of room.
Thanks to my barricade, every passenger who opened the door
and looked toward my corner immediately retreated.
Soon I heard the signal for starting, I was saved. Dear night !
Incomparable for dreams and revery ! A full moon ! How the
trees flew along under the stars !
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 105
What then did I hear ? A dastardly conductor yelling : "Here,
sir ; here, madam ; there is room here."
My privacy was invaded. A couple were thrust rudely in upon
me. The woman was charming the man, beastly. You'll find
it always that way.
I took no notice of them, but allowed them to install themselves
in the other side of the compartment. The lady went to the left
the gentleman to the right. He immediately put on his slip-
pers without asking my permission. I did not revenge myself
upon him my immediately donning mine, for I believe I have
told you that I am a well-bred man. I simply contented myself
with pitying the poor creature who had to live with him.
These people were soon very quiet and I decided not to look
toward them and to try to imagine that I had the place all to
Oh, charming night, filled with meditation and ecstasy ! It
seemed a little colder ! A mist had passed over the moon.
But there ! That villainous conductor was howling again :
"Here, sir ; here, madam ; there is room enough here, but hurry
The door opened and another couple swooped down upon me
the woman, pretty, the man a cyclops. You'll always find it so.
Then what do you think I did ? A frightful battle was fought
for an instant between my love of ease and my refined sense of
delicacy. Follow me I beg of you. If I retained my corner, my
charming neighbor would be forced to sit opposite me, and her
husband would, of course, have to sit beside her to protect her
then, you see she could not lie down at all, but would be obliged
to sit up, bolt-upright, all night. If I gave my seat to her hus-
band she would still have to suffer, for I would sit near her and
be obliged to watch that beast lie down and sleep placidly on soft
cushions, while she and I no I gave her my corner. I did so
in less time than it has taken to tell. The unbearable man seated
himself at my left and never even said : 'Thank you."
As shameless as the first man, he proceeded to make a night
toilet without even begging my pardon his wife did not, either,
io6 WERNER'S READINGS
but she, more's the pity, did not make a night toilet in front of
I could no longer make believe that I was alone and ignore
my neighbors. My night was lost ! The moon had gone in be-
hind a cold mist.
Once I carelessly glanced over at my first couple. I beheld the
ugly profile of the man's face, sitting beside me, for all the world
like a crow's if I had looked long at it, it would have driven me
Presently I gazed at the first couple. They were fast asleep
the lady like a drooping lily the man like an ogre.
I resigned myself to my fate and tried to sleep with the serene
consciousness that though the men could not appreciate my deli-
cacy and self-immolation the ladies could and did and only
the fear of exciting the jealousy of their husbands kept them from
expressing to me their thanks. I had no doubt that they had
mentally compared me with their beastly husbands much to my
My back felt as if it was broken, but my conscience was peace-
ful and it was sweet to suffer for that half of the creation which
is so incomparably more beautiful than the other half. Delight-
ful martyrdom. I even pretended to sleep, so as not to disturb
the dear creatures.
Then what did I hear? My pretty neighbor, opposite, was
awake. She stole gently over to my hateful companion and
whispered to him as she designated me with a look. I know it
is not polite, but I could not help listening :
"Poor dearie ! Why don't you ask that idiot if he is anywhere's
near his destination yet, so that you may lie down and stretch
And now, brother bachelors, give me your corners, please. I
am going to be married just to have the pleasure of taking those
corners from you and hearing my wife call you idiots afterwards.
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32-
HOW UNCLE MOSE COUNTS.
Negro Dialect Comedy Monologue for a Man.
Arranged as a monologue expressly for this book by Stanley Schell.
CHARACTERS REPRESENTED: UNCLE MOSE, Speaker, present;
MRS. BURTON, and other persons supposed to be present.
MAKE-UP : Poor old darkey, a regular chatterer and gossip.
STAGE-SETTING : A street in the South or an exterior scene.
SCENE : Enter UNCLE MOSE with basket of eggs on arm, and
carrying a folding chair on the other arm. He shambles along
as if it were too much effort to move, occasionally wipes face
with big red bandanna handkerchief. As he approaches side
of stage where houses are supposed to be he begins to shout.
POINTS : Whenever UNCLE MOSE asks a question, he invariably
stops between sentences and eagerly watches the face of the
person with whom he speaks.
AIGS, aigs ! fraish aigs ! from honest ole Mose. Try mah
fraish aigs. Aigs, aigs, aigs ! Yas'm, fraish laid dis mornin'
yas'm firty cents a dozen. Dear? Hens cain't 'ford to lay
no cheaper dis wedder. [Moves on.} Aigs! Aigs! Aigs! fraish
laid aigs ony firty cents dozen.
Good mornin', Miss Burton, good mornin'. Yas, indeed, I has.
Jes' receibed tan dozen fraish from de hens dis bery mornin'.
Fraish? Yas, I guantees 'em, an' an' de hen guantees 'em.
Nine dozen? In der basket? Oh, yas, 'M yas, 'M All right,
[Begins to take eggs from basket ivhich he has placed on the
opened folding-chair and puts eggs gently into woman's basket.
Counts and talks and, as a result, makes mistakes.]
One, two, free, foah, five, six, seben, eight, nine, ten Oh,
yas 'm, you kin 'ly on dem bein' fraish. How's yo' son comin'
on in de school ? Mus' be mos' grown.
A clark in de bank ? Why how ole am de boy ? Eighteen ?
You doan tole me so! Eighteen and gittin' a sal'ry 'ready
io8 WERNER'S READINGS
Eighteen [counts and puts eggs in basket], nineteen, twenty,
twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-free, twenty-foah, twenty-five.
An' how's yo' gal a-comin' on ? Mos' growed up de last time I
seed her. Married and livin' farder south ? Wall, I do declar',
how de time scoots away! And you say she hes chilluns? Why,
how ole am de gal? She mus' be jes' about Firty-free?
Am dat so? [Begins putting more eggs in basket.] Firty-free,
firty-foah, firty-five, firry-six, firty-seben, firty-eight, firty-nine,
forty, forty-one, forty-two, forty-free. Hit am sing'lar dat you
hab sech old chilluns. You doan look more'n forty yars ole yersef.
Nonsense ? Flatter you ? Fifty-free yars ole ? Dis ole darkey
hain't got no time to flatter. An' fifty-free! I jes dun gwinter
bleeve hit; fifty-free [goes on counting eggs and putting them
in basket], fifty-foah, fifty-five, fifty-six- I done wan' you to
pay 'tenshun when I count de eggs, so dar'll be no mistake. Fifty-
nine, sixty, sixty-one, sixty-two, sixty-free, sixty-foah
Whew! dis am a warm day. [Mops brow and rests a moment,
Dis am de time ob de year when I feels dat I'se gettin' ole
mysef. I hain't long fer dis world. You comes from de bery
fustes' family in de south, Miss Burton, an' when yo' fadder died
he was sebenty yars ole.
Sebenty-two? Oh, yas 'm I done fergot. Dat's old, suah.
Sebenty-two [counts], sebenty-free, sebenty-foah, sebenty-five,
sebenty-six, sebenty-seben, sebenty-eight, sebenty-nine- An'
yo' mudder, Miss Burton? She was one of de likeliest lookin'
ladies I ebber seed. An you 'minds me ob her so much ! She
libed to mos' a hundred. I bleeves she was done past a centuren
when she died- Ony ninety-six when she died? Den she
died 'fo' I done thought. [Counts.]
Ninety-six, ninety-seben, ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one hun-
dred, one, two, free, foah, five, six, seben, eight. Dere, dat's one
hundred an' eight nice fraish aigs jes nine dozen, an' here am
one more fraish aig in case I discounted mysef. Good mornin',
[Moves about stage shouting.]
r AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 109
Aigs, aigs, aigs ! No, ma'am, only one dozen left to-day kin
take yer order fer to-morrer. [Moves on.} Aigs, aigs, aigs!
Why, Mis' Burton, whut yo' call dis nigger? Now, yo' nos I
neber stole a t'ing in mah life. You heerd me a countin' ob dem
aigs. You recollects I tole you to see I done counts straight, an'
frowed in one in case I done discounts wrong. Yer knows I
counted straight? Yo' gal? Hab you one ob dem low white
trash fer a serbent? You has den dat 'splains. She stole dem
extry aigs, I reckon. You feel sure I done tell de truf ? Dat am
so, Mis' Burton ; I neber cheated no one, an' I wouldn't ; I'se an'
honest nigger, I is, an' you knows it. Yo' suah now I didn't? It's
dat white gal. You'll send her away? Dat am de only way to
do. De ideah ob sayin' I didn't count dem aigs straight. T'ank
yo', Mis' Burton ; de nex' time we'll count dem aigs togeder, so
no low down white trash kin put dirt on mah name agin. Good
mornin', good mornin'. [Goes toward exit.} Aigs, aigs! fraish
aigs! De idea, ez ef I didn't know how to count c'rectly. [Exit.]
LOVE IN LENT.
LQVE hides behind the door,
His quiver's on the floor,
The maiden bows her head,
The maiden's prayer is said,
The holy book is read,
Love hears a step outside
Love starts up, eager-eyed
'Tis Lent !
A man comes in, and lo !
Love blithely draws his bow
A twang ! And oh and oh,
'Tis Lent 1
no WERNER'S READINGS
Comedy Monologue for a Woman.
CHARACTER : MRS. ABBIE APPLEBY, Speaker, present.
COSTUME : House costume.
SCENE: A sitting-room. ABBIE discovered at desk.
THERE is one comfort about being a married woman that is,
of course, there are more than one there are a good many ;
but one especially, I mean. And that is to have a right to some
of the luxuries of life. Now, a husband isn't like an elder sister.
Of all creatures that tyrannize over their kind, an elder sister is
the very worst. A husband is rather well, rather bossy, Alfred
says "bossy," and it's a real good word, but then you prefer that
from them. Besides, one's husband is a man, you know ; and one
expects men to be a little masterful. Alfred is, sometimes, and
-I think I like it. It is such a comfort to ha^ve some one else to
take the responsibility for things, you know. And that reminds
me Alfred said I should keep accounts, now I'm married.
Where has that account-book gone to, anyway? I'm sure I put it
here under this pile of invitations to those five-o'clock nuisances
I just hate them! The impudence of that Hanson woman with
her teas ! She seems to think tea is a kind of legal tender ! I've
sent her cards for the last six where in the world is that ac-
count-book ? Oh, I remember ; I left it in the pocket of my blue
serge or was it my gray cashmere ? That old cashmere ! I
meant to leave it at home, but Ellen packed it in. It's worse than
the "Colonel's Opera Cloak." Let me see it's in the closet up-
stairs. [Starts toward door; then returns.] No, it isn't in the
pocket of the cashmere it hasn't any pocket. I remember now ;
I put it in the top drawer of my desk one of them. [Opens top
drawer.] No. Where can the old thing heavens, what a lot
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. in
of old stamps ! I had forgotten those. Those are for that Van
Blankenstyne girl. When she got a billion she was going to
endow a negro orphan baby in the South. He must be grown up
by this time ! Let me see ; I began to collect those stamps in eigh-
teen hundred and I don't know when. It must be years and
years long before Susie was married, and her oldest is I don't
know how old. Too old for dolls, anyway, because I thought of
giving her a doll for Christmas, and then changed to a book.
Where is that old book? Probably in the other drawer. [Opens
other drawer and finds it.] Here you are ! How good the Russia
leather smells ! I like red leather ; it's so business-like. [Spreads
book out on desk.]
Now where's the ink ? [Looks into inkstand, and turns it up-
side down, making a face when she finds it empty.] Never mind.
A pencil is just as good and better, if I should make mistakes. I
wonder if I remember my multiplication table ? Seven times used
to be a horror! Seven times seven are forty-nine, and seven
times eight are fifty. That isn't right. Fifty-two, I guess. Let
me see. [Counts on fingers.] It's so good to be married. They
didn't use to let me count on my fingers at school. Forty-nine,
fifty, fifty-one, fifty-two, three, four, five, sir. Seven times nine
are fifty-six. [Turns to desk again.] Now, what do you put
down first? It's either "debtor" or "creditor" to Alfred. He
gave me $35 yesterday morning, all in fives. So am I his creditor
or debtor? He gives it to me, you see, so I am his debtor for it.
Of course. And he's my creditor. All right ; here goes ! [Writes
for a moment.] Now that looks real sweet! "Alfred Appleby,
Creditor." And on the other page, "Abbie Appleby, Debtor."
But, let me see where am I to put down what I spend it for ? I
know they use only two pages ; I remember hearing papa talk
about taking a trial balance, and you can't balance three things
unless you're a juggler. I think I'll tear these two pages out.
No, I won't; it's only in pencil; I can rub it out. [Rubs vigor-
ously, and then blows the pages.] I don't wonder papa gets
tired over his accounts. It must be awful to be a bookkeeper, and
get all covered with red ink.
112 WERNER'S READINGS
[Looks around and sees a package.] Goodness! I forgot that
Chinese silk for the curtains. I must look at it before I go on
with my accounts. I am tired of figuring, anyway. [Opens pack-
age and spreads out silk.] How cheap these silks are nowadays!
This was only only forty-five cents a yard, and there's enough
to make a dress. I wonder how I'd look in it. [Drapes it arour.d
her.] There! [Strikes attitude before mirror.] I look like a
duchess at least. I wonder what duchesses look like, anyway? I
wish I could travel and see things. It must be splendid to be rich
-real rich, so that you don't care a bit how much you spend, and
don't have to keep accounts. Oh, that reminds me I must go
on with my account-book. I promised Alfred that I would have
it ready for him this evening when he came home. But he won't
care, even if I don't have it ready. Now, that's the difference.
If it were papa, why, I just have to be ready. What a comfort it
is that your husband isn't your father ! And how absurd it would
be to be your own grandchild or something like that! [Goes to
desk, and takes up account-book.]
Why ! I thought I had done a lot ! And I rubbed it all out.
Never mind ; a new broom sweeps clean. Oh, I remember it was
that debtor and creditor thing that stopped me. After all, what
difference does it make ? Alfred doesn't care. I'll choose one of
them and put it down. [Writes.] "Abbie Appleby, Debtor."
And now, on the other side [writes], "Alfred Appleby, Creditor."
There ! Next I put down what he gave me. He gave me let me
see [chewing end of pencil] it was $35 before I bought the lace
for hat trimming ; and it cost $2.99 a yard, and I bought 2^3
yards. My ! that's a puzzle ! How did we use to do it at school ?
What a lot papa spent on my school bills, and much good it does
me now ! Let me see here is the way Miss Gumption used to do
them. [Imitating.] : 'If 2^x3 yards of lace cost $2.99 a yard, and
if Alfred gave Abbie $35, how much did Abbie have to start
with?" [Suddenly, as she sees through the problem.] Humph,
that's easy! She had $35, of course! After all, an education is
worth something ! I suppose that is what men call logic. 7 think
AND RECITATIONS NO. 32. 113
Well, the answer is $35, and it goes down under [pause]
under [recklessly] "Creditor." There! Alfred is my creditor
for $35. That is plain. [Writes it down.] Next comes the lace.
Alfred isn't creditor for that, / know. So down it goes. [Writes;
then, after a moment of reflection, she speaks abruptly.] How
ridiculous ! "Abbie Appleby, debtor, to lace, $2.99 multiplied
by 2^/s" but I'm not. I can't be debtor when I paid for it; and
the idea of making Alfred creditor for several yards of lace,
when he doesn't know anything about lace, is too absurd for any
use ! I shan't change it, anyway. How much does it make ? Two
dollars multiplied by two yards is four four what? It can't be
done. You can't multiply yards by dollars, I'm sure. I remember
that much. Why, Miss Gumption used to tease us dreadfully
about that. She used to say, 'Two oranges multiplied by four
apples makes what?" And then the other girls the ones she
didn't ask would all laugh. And how that ridiculous Susie
Brewer did giggle ! That was all she knew arithmetic, and
things like that. She couldn't do a thing with Virgil and she's
an old maid now, too.
But I mustn't wander so. I wish I knew more about accounts.
Alfred will think I'm a perfect ignoramus. It's his own fault. If
he wanted somebody to keep accounts, he ought to have married
Susie Brewer; but he couldn't bear her he never could. Said
she gave him the creeps just to look at her frizzes. Still, it's a
good thing to be systematic; and that reminds me I wonder
what time it is. I didn't bring my watch. [Rises and searches
for it.] I know I put it somewhere. [Tries to recollect where.]
Ah, I know ! It fell out of my pocket when I was taking off my
jacket. It must be on the floor near the bureau. [Searches there,
and finds it. Picks it up.] I hope it isn't hurt! [Looks at the
cover.] No; none of the pearls are out. Now, what was it I
wanted it for ! Oh, yes to see the time. I'll have to wind it first.
I'm glad it's a stem-winder. [Tries to wind it.] But it won't
move but a click or two. It must be wound. [Puts it to ear.]
Yes why [in a tone of great surprise], it's going! The sweet
little thing. I guess I must have wound it some time or other.
ii4 WERNER'S READINGS
[Opens watch.] But it cant be so late. [Shakes watch and puts
it to ear again.} Yes, it's going. I must really hurry, or I shan't
have my accounts ready.
Where was I? [Examines book.} $2.99 multiplied by 2^6 is
I never can do it in the world ! Why, it's fractions and decimals
mixed! [Sighs. After a moment seises pencil confidently.} I
wonder I didn't think of that before! Of course $2.99 is prac-
tically the same as three dollars, and 2^ is nearly three yards ;
and three times three are nine yards. [Perplexed; then face
clears.} What a goose! Dollars, of course! nine dollars; and
except for car-fares and the caramels, that's really all I spent.
Call it ten dollars. [Writes it down.] Then $35 less $10 is $25,
and that's what is called the capital. No, that's not the right
word. [Thinks.] I think the word bookkeepers use is "deficit,"
but I don't like it. There is one commences with B, I'm sure. It
must be "bonus" ; that's it ! [Writes.] "To bonus, $25." Now
I must see if I have that much cash. [Laughs.] Why, how fool-
ish of me! That's the very word; I've heard papa say it often
and often. [Scratches out the last entry, and rewrites.] There,
that's better ; "To cash, $25."
Where's my pocket-book? Here. Now let's see. [Counts
change; stops suddenly, and examines one piece of money.] I
knew she was a hateful that impudent thing at Brady's ! She's
given me a fifty-cent piece with a hole in it ! What a sly, deceitful
thing she must be ! And yet they ask people to have sympathy for
those wretches ! No doubt that brazen creature makes a good liv-
ing by passing bad fifty-cent pieces on customers ! It's certainly
a wrong thing to do. And how can I get rid of it? [Reflects.]
Alfred says they take all kinds of money at liquor stores ; I sup-
pose they pass them off on drunken men. I might give it to Al-
fred. [Stops and laughs.] Well, what am I to do? I can't put
that down as "debtor" or "creditor," because neither Alfred nor