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THE GHOST OF JERRY BUNDLER

by

W. W. JACOBS and CHARLES ROCK

Adapted from W. W. Jacob's Story "Jerry Bundler"







Copyright, 1908, by W. W. Jacobs and Charles Rock

Caution: Professionals and amateurs are hereby
warned that "The Ghost of Jerry Bundler,"
being fully protected under the copyright laws
of the United States, is subject to a royalty,
and anyone presenting the play without the consent
of the owners or their authorized agents will be
liable to the penalties by law provided. Applications
for professional and amateur acting rights must be
made to Samuel French, 25 West 45th Street,
New York.

New York: London:
Samuel French Samuel French, Ltd.
Publisher 26 Southampton Street
25 West 45th Street Strand
All Rights Reserved

Especial notice should be taken that the possession of this book without
a valid contract for production first having been obtained from the
publisher, confers no right or license to professionals or amateurs to
produce the play publicly or in private for gain or charity.

In its present form this play is dedicated to the reading public only,
and no performance, representation, production, recitation, or public
reading, or radio broadcasting may be given except by special
arrangement with Samuel French, 25 West 45th Street, New York.

This play may be presented by amateurs upon payment of a royalty of Five
Dollars for each performance, payable to Samuel French, 25 West 45th
Street, New York, one week before the date when the play is given.

Whenever the play is produced the following notice must appear on all
programs, printing and advertising for the play: "Produced by special
arrangement with Samuel French of New York."

Attention is called to the penalty provided by law for any infringement
of the author's rights, as follows.

"SECTION 4966: - Any person publicly performing or representing any
dramatic or musical composition for which copyright has been obtained,
without the consent of the proprietor of said dramatic or musical
composition, or his heirs and assigns, shall be liable for damages
thereof, such damages, in all cases to be assessed at such sum, not less
than one hundred dollars for the first and fifty dollars for every
subsequent performance, as to the court shall appear to be just. If the
unlawful performance and representation be wilful and for profit, such
person or persons shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction
shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding one year." - U. S. Revised
Statutes: Title 60, Chap. 3.




THE GHOST OF JERRY BUNDLER.


Cast at The Haymarket Theatre.

SEPT. 9, 1902.

HIRST Mr. Cyril Maude.
PENFOLD Mr. George Trollope.
MALCOLM Mr. Lewis Broughton.
SOMERS Mr. Marsh Allen.
BELDON Mr. H. Norton.
DR. LEEK Mr. Wilfred Forster.
GEORGE (a waiter) Mr. Charles Rock.

NOTE. - Penfold, Malcolm, and Beldon represent different types of
Commercial Travellers.


Original Cast.

PENFOLD Mr. Holman Clarke.
MALCOLM Mr. Holmes Gore.
HIRST Mr. Cyril Maude.
SOMERS Mr. Frank Gillmore.
DOCTOR LEEK Mr. C. M. Hallard.
BELDON Mr. Cecil Ramsay.
GEORGE (a waiter) Mr. Mark Kinghorne.

_First produced, St. James's Theatre, London, June 20, 1899._

_Revived. Her Majesty's Theatre, June 20, 1902. Same cast as above
except Mr. Frank Gillmore, whose part was played by Mr. Charles Rock.
The Herman Merivale Benefit Matinee._

_Haymarket Theatre. Sept. 9, 1902. Ran 100 performances._

_Avenue Theatre. Dec. 20, 1902. Ran 38 performances._

[Illustration]




THE GHOST OF JERRY BUNDLER.


SCENE. - _The Commercial Room in an old-fashioned hotel in a small
country town. An air of old-fashioned comfort is in evidence everywhere.
Old sporting prints on the walls._

_On the table up C. are half a dozen candlesticks, old-fashioned shape
with snuffer attached. Two pairs of carpet slippers are set up within
fender. Red curtains to window recess. Shutters or blinds to windows.
Armchair and about six other chairs in the room. One old-fashioned
settle. One small table. Clock. Decanter of water, half a dozen toddy
tumblers. Matches, etc. The only light is a ruddy glow from the fire.
Kettle on hob. Moonlight from R. of window when shutter is opened.
Practical chandelier from ceiling or lights at side of mantelpiece.
DOCTOR'S coat and muffler on chair up L., his cap on mantelpiece._

_All lights out, dark stage. Opening music. Curtain rise - ticking of
clock heard. Wind, then church clock chimes, the Lights come very slowly
up, when the red glow is seen in the fireplace the low murmurs of the
characters heard, and gradually get louder as lights come up to when
SOMERS' voice tops all._

(_The stage occupied by all characters except GEORGE the waiter.
Discovered, PENFOLD, sitting in arm chair L. of fire, above it. DOCTOR
LEEK standing above fire and leaning on mantel-shelf. HIRST sitting on
settle below fire and nearest to audience. SOMERS seated on settle with
him but above him. MALCOLM and BELDON on chairs R. C., facing fire. ALL
are smoking, and drink from their respective glasses from time to time.
SOMERS has just finished a story as Curtain rises._)

OMNES. Oh, I say, that sounds impossible, etc.

SOMERS. Haunted or not haunted, the fact remains that no one stays in
the house long. It's been let to several tenants since the time of the
murder, but they never completed their tenancy. The last tenant held out
for a month, but at last he gave up like the rest, and cleared out,
although he had done the place up thoroughly, and must have been pounds
out of pocket by the transaction.

MALCOLM. Well, it's a capital ghost story, I admit, that is, as a story,
but I for one can't swallow it.

HIRST. I don't know, it is not nearly so improbable as some I have
heard. Of course it's an old idea that spirits like to get into the
company of human beings. A man told me once, that he travelled down by
the Great Western, with a ghost as fellow passenger, and hadn't the
slightest suspicion of it, until the inspector came for tickets. My
friend said, the way that ghost tried to keep up appearances, by feeling
in all its pockets, and even looking on the floor for its ticket, was
quite touching. Ultimately it gave it up, and with a loud groan vanished
through the ventilator.

(_SOMERS, MALCOLM and LEEK laugh heartily._)

BELDON. Oh, I say come now, that'll do.

PENFOLD (_seriously_). Personally I don't think it's a subject for
jesting. I have never seen an apparition myself, but I have known people
who have, and I consider that they form a very interesting link between
us and the after life. There's a ghost story connected with this house,
you know.

OMNES. Eh! Oh? Really!

MALCOLM (_rising and going to mantelpiece, takes up his glass of
toddy_). Well, I have used this house for some years now. I travel for
Blennet and Burgess - wool - and come here regularly three times a year,
and I've never heard of it. (_Sits down again on his chair, holding
glass in his hand._)

LEEK. And I've been here pretty often too, though I have only been in
practice here for a couple of years, and I have never heard it
mentioned, and I must say I don't believe in anything of the sort. In my
opinion ghosts are the invention of weak-minded idiots.

PENFOLD. Weak-minded idiots or not, there is a ghost story connected
with this house, but it dates a long time back.

(_GEORGE, the waiter, enters D. L. with tray and serviette._)

Oh, here's George, he'll bear me out. You've heard of Jerry Bundler,
George?

GEORGE (_C._). Well, I've just 'eard odds and ends, sir, but I never put
much count to 'em. There was one chap 'ere, who was under me when fust I
come, he said he seed it, and the Guv'nor sacked him there and then.
(_Goes to table by window, puts tray down, takes up glass and wipes it
slowly._)

(_MEN laugh._)

PENFOLD. Well, my father was a native of this town, and he knew the
story well. He was a truthful man and a steady churchgoer. But I have
heard him declare that once in his life he saw the ghost of Jerry
Bundler in this house; let me see, George, you don't remember my old
dad, do you?

(_GEORGE puts down glasses over table._)

GEORGE. No, sir. I come here forty years ago next Easter, but I fancy he
was before my time.

PENFOLD. Yes, though not by long. He died when I was twenty, and I shall
be sixty-two next month, but that's neither here nor there.

(_GEORGE goes up to table C. tidying up and listening._)

LEEK. Who was this Jerry Bundler?

PENFOLD. A London thief, pickpocket, highwayman - anything he could turn
his dishonest hand to, and he was run to earth in this house some eighty
years ago.

(_GEORGE puts glass down and stands listening._)

He took his last supper in this room.

(_PENFOLD leans forward. BELDON looks round to L. nervously._)

That night soon after he had gone to bed, a couple of Bow Street
runners, the predecessors of our present detective force turned up here.
They had followed him from London, but had lost scent a bit, so didn't
arrive till late. A word to the landlord, whose description of the
stranger who had retired to rest, pointed to the fact that he was the
man they were after, of course enlisted his aid and that of the male
servants and stable hands. The officers crept quietly up to Jerry's
bedroom and tried the door, it wouldn't budge. It was of heavy oak and
bolted from within.

(_OMNES lean forward, showing interest._)

Leaving his comrade and a couple of grooms to guard the bedroom door,
the other officer went into the yard, and, procuring a short ladder, by
this means reached the window of the room in which Jerry was sleeping.
The Inn servants and stable hands saw him get on to the sill and try to
open the window. Suddenly there was a crash of glass, and with a cry, he
fell in a heap on to the stones at their feet. Then in the moonlight,
they saw the face of the highwayman peering over the sill.

(_OMNES move uneasily._)

They sent for the blacksmith, and with his sledge-hammer he battered in
the strong oak panels, and the first thing that met their eyes was the
body of Jerry Bundler dangling from the top of the four-post bed by his
own handkerchief.

(_OMNES sit back, draw their breath, and are generally uneasy. Slight
pause._)

SOMERS. I say, which bedroom was it? (_Earnestly_).

PENFOLD. That I can't tell you, but the story goes that Jerry still
haunts this house, and my father used to declare positively that the
last time he slept here, the ghost of Jerry Bundler lowered itself from
the top of his four-post bed and tried to strangle him.

BELDON (_jumps up, gets behind his chair, twists chair round;
nervously_). O, I say, that'll do. I wish you'd thought to ask your
father which bedroom it was.

PENFOLD. What for?

BELDON. Well, I should take jolly good care not to sleep in it, that's
all. (_Goes to back._)

(_PENFOLD rising, goes to fire, and knocks out his pipe, Leek gets by
arm-chair._)

PENFOLD. There's nothing to fear. I don't believe for a moment that
ghosts could really hurt one. (_GEORGE lights candle at table._) In
fact, my father used to say that it was only the unpleasantness of the
thing that upset him, and that, for all practical purposes, Jerry's
fingers might have been made of cotton wool for all the harm they could
do.

(_GEORGE hands candle, gets to door and holds it open._)

BELDON. That's all very fine, a ghost story is a ghost story, but when a
gentleman tells a tale of a ghost that haunts the house in which one is
going to sleep, I call it most ungentlemanly.

(_BELDON places his chair to L. of table R. PENFOLD goes up to C. LEEK
sits in arm chair. BELDON goes to fireplace._)

PENFOLD. Pooh! Nonsense. (_At table up C._).

(_During his speech George lights one of the candles._)

Ghosts can't hurt you. For my own part, I should rather like to see one.

OMNES. Oh, come now - - etc.

PENFOLD. Well, I'll bid you good-night, gentlemen.

(_He goes towards door L. GEORGE opens it for him; he passes out as they
all say._)

OMNES. Good-night.

(_HIRST rises, crosses to L. C._)

BELDON (_up R., calling after him_). And I hope Jerry'll pay you a
visit.

MALCOLM (_rises, goes to fire_). Well, I'm going to have another whisky
if you gentlemen will join me. I think it'll do us all good after that
tale. George, take the orders.

(_GEORGE comes down with salver to table R., gathers up glasses._)

SOMERS. Not quite so much hot water in mine.

MALCOLM. I'll have the same again, George.

BELDON. A leetle bit of lemon in mine, George.

LEEK. Whisky and soda for me, please.

HIRST. Whisky!

(_GEORGE goes to table R., collects glasses, crosses to door L.
speaks._)

GEORGE (_to MALCOLM_). Shall I light the gas, Mr. Malcolm? (_At door._)

MALCOLM. No, the fire's very comfortable, unless any of you gentlemen
prefer the gas.

OMNES. No, not at all - etc.

MALCOLM. Never mind, George. (_This to GEORGE as no one wants the gas._)
The firelight is pleasanter.

(_Exit GEORGE for orders L._)

(_BELDON gets C._)

MALCOLM (_at fire_). Does any gentleman know another - - ?

SOMERS (_seated R._). Well, I remember hearing - -

BELDON (_up C._). Oh, I say - that'll do.

(_OMNES laugh._)

LEEK. Yes, I think you all look as if you'd heard enough ghost stories
to do you the rest of your lives. And you're not all as anxious to see
the real article as the old gentleman who's just gone.

HIRST (_looking to L._). Old humbug! I should like to put him to the
test. (_C._) (_Bus._) I say, suppose I dress up as Jerry Bundler and go
and give him a chance of displaying his courage? I bet I'd make the old
party sit up.

MALCOLM. Capital!

BELDON. A good idea.

LEEK. I shouldn't, if I were you.

HIRST. Just for the joke, gentlemen (_C._).

SOMERS. No, no - drop it, Hirst.

HIRST. Only for the joke. Look here, I've got some things that'll do
very well. We're going to have some amateur theatricals at my house.
We're doing a couple of scenes from "The Rivals," Somers, (_pointing to
SOMERS_) and I have been up to town to get the costumes, wigs, etc.,
to-day. I've got them up-stairs - knee-breeches, stockings, buckled
shoes, and all that sort of thing. It's a rare chance. If you wait a
bit, I'll give you a full dress rehearsal, entitled "Jerry Bundler, or
the Nocturnal Stranger." (_At door L._).

LEEK (_sneeringly_). You won't frighten us, will you?

HIRST. I don't know so much about that - it's a question of acting,
that's all.

MALCOLM. I'll bet you a level sov, you don't frighten me.

HIRST (_quietly_). A level sov. (_Pauses._) Done. I'll take the bet to
frighten you first, and the old boy afterwards. These gentlemen shall be
the judges. (_Points to LEEK and BELDON._)

BELDON (_up C._). You won't frighten us because we're prepared for you,
but you'd better leave the old man alone. It's dangerous play. (_Appeals
to LEEK_).

HIRST. Well, I'll try you first. (_Moves to door and pauses._) No gas,
mind.

OMNES. No! no!

HIRST (_laughs_). I'll give you a run for your money.

(_GEORGE enters, holds door open._)

(_Exit HIRST._)

(_GEORGE passes drinks round. Five drinks. SOMERS takes the one ordered
for HIRST and puts it on the table R. BELDON sits R. C. GEORGE crosses
to table, puts two drinks down, goes to fire and gives drinks, then up
to table, puts tray down, takes up glass and begins to wipe it, gets
down L. for lines._)

LEEK (_to MALCOLM_). I think you'll win your bet, sir, but I vote we
give him a chance. Suppose we have cigars round, and if he's not back by
the time we've finished them I must be off, as I have a quarter of an
hour's walk before me. (_Looks at watch._) He's a friend of yours, isn't
he?

SOMERS. Yes, I have known him a good many years now, and I must say he's
a rum chap; just crazy about acting and practical joking, though I've
often told him he carries the latter too far at times. In this case it
doesn't matter, but I won't let him try it on the _old gentleman_. You
see we know what he's going to do, and are prepared, but he doesn't, and
it might lead to illness or worse; the old chap's sixty-two and such a
shock might have serious consequences. But Hirst won't mind giving up
that part of it, so long as he gets an opportunity of acting to us.

LEEK (_knocks pipe on grate_). Well, I hope he'll hurry up. It's getting
pretty late. (_To SOMERS._)

MALCOLM. Well, gentlemen, your health!

SOMERS. Good luck.

LEEK. Hurrah!

BELDON. Chin-chin!

LEEK. By the way, how is it you happen to be here to-night?

SOMERS. Oh, we missed the connection at Tolleston Junction and as the
accommodation at the Railway Arms there was rather meagre, the Station
Master advised us to drive on here, put up for the night, and catch the
Great Northern express from Exton in the morning. (_Rises, crosses to
L._) Oh, George, that reminds me - you might see that 'Boots' calls us at
7 sharp.

(_BELDON rises, goes up to them to fire._)

GEORGE. Certainly, sir. What are your numbers?

SOMERS. 13 and 14.

GEORGE. I'll put it on the slate, special, sir. (_Goes to door L._)

LEEK. I beg pardon, gentlemen, I forgot the cigars; George, bring some
cigars back with you.

BELDON. A very mild one for me.

GEORGE. Very well, sir. (_Takes up tray from sideboard._)

(_Exit L._)

(_SOMERS sits R. C._)

MALCOLM. I think you were very wise coming on here. (_Sits on settle
R._) I stayed at the Railway Arms, Tolleston, once - never again though.
Is your friend clever at acting?

SOMERS. I don't think he's clever enough to frighten you. I'm to spend
Christmas at his place, and he's asked me to assist at the theatricals
he spoke of. Nothing would satisfy him till I consented, and I must
honestly say I am very sorry I ever did, for I expect I shall be pretty
bad. I know I have scarcely slept a wink these last few nights, trying
to get the words into my head.

(_GEORGE enters backwards, pale and trembling._)

MALCOLM. Why! Look - what the devil's the matter with George? (_Crosses
to GEORGE._)

GEORGE. I've seen it, gentlemen. (_Down stage L. C._)

OMNES. Seen who?

(_BELDON down R. edge of table R. LEEK up R. C. SOMERS up R._)

GEORGE. The ghost. Jer - Bun -

MALCOLM. Why, you're frightened, George.

GEORGE. Yes, sir. It was the suddenness of it, and besides I didn't look
for seeing it in the bar. There was only a glimmer of light there, and
it was sitting on the floor. I nearly touched it.

MALCOLM (_goes to door, looks off, then returns - to others_). It must be
Hirst up to his tricks. George was out of the room when he suggested it.
(_To GEORGE._) Pull yourself together, man.

GEORGE. Yes, sir - but it took me unawares. I'd never have gone to the
bar by myself if I'd known it was there, and I don't believe you would,
either, sir.

MALCOLM. Nonsense, I'll go and fetch him in. (_Crosses to L._)

GEORGE (_clutching him by the sleeve_). You don't know what it's like,
sir. It ain't fit to look at by yourself, it ain't indeed. It's got the
awfullest deathlike face, and short cropped red hair - it's -

(_Smothered cry is heard._)

What's that? (_Backs to C and leans on chair._)

(_ALL start, and a quick pattering of footsteps is heard rapidly
approaching the room. The door flies open and HIRST flings himself
gasping and shivering into MALCOLM'S arms. The door remains open. He has
only his trousers and shirt on, his face very white with fear and his
own hair all standing on end. LEEK lights the gas, then goes to R. of
HIRST._)

OMNES. What's the matter?

MALCOLM. Why, it's Hirst.

(_Shakes him roughly by the shoulder._)

What's up?

HIRST. I've seen - oh, Lord! I'll never play the fool again. (_Goes C._)

OTHERS. Seen what?

HIRST. Him - it - the ghost - anything.

MALCOLM (_uneasily_). Rot!

HIRST. I was coming down the stairs to get something I'd forgotten, when
I felt a tap - (_He breaks off suddenly gazing through open door._) I
thought I saw it again - Look - at the foot of the stairs, can't you see
anything? (_Shaking LEEK._)

LEEK (_crosses to door peering down passage_). No, there's nothing
there. (_Stays up L._)

(_HIRST gives a sigh of relief._)

MALCOLM (_L. C._). Go on - you felt a tap - -

HIRST (_C._). I turned and saw it - a little wicked head with short red
hair - and a white dead face - horrible.

(_Clock chimes three-quarters._)

(_They assist him into chair L. of table R._)

GEORGE (_up C._). That's what I saw in the bar - 'orrid - it was devilish.
(_Coming C._)

(_MALCOLM crosses to L. HIRST shudders._)

MALCOLM. Well, it's a most unaccountable thing. It's the last time I
come to this house. (_Goes to R. of LEEK._)

GEORGE. I leave to-morrow. I wouldn't go down to that bar alone - no, not
for fifty pounds. (_Goes up R. to arm-chair._)

SOMERS (_crosses to door R. then returns to R. C._). It's talking about
the thing that's caused it, I expect. We've had it in our minds, and
we've been practically forming a spiritualistic circle without knowing
it. (_Goes to back of table R._)

BELDON (_crosses to R. C._). Hang the old gentleman. Upon my soul I'm
half afraid to go to bed.

MALCOLM. Doctor, it's odd they should both think they saw something.

(_They both drop down L. C._)

GEORGE (_up C._). I saw it as plainly as I see you, sir. P'raps if you
keep your eyes turned up the passage you'll see it for yourself.
(_Points._)

(_They all look. BELDON goes to SOMERS._)

BELDON. There - what was that?

MALCOLM. Who'll go with me to the bar!

LEEK. I will. (_Goes to door._)

BELDON (_gulps_). So - will I. (_Crosses to door L. They go to the door.
To MALCOLM._) After you. (_They slowly pass into the passage. GEORGE
watching them. All exit except HIRST and SOMERS._)

SOMERS. How do you feel now, old man?

HIRST (_changing his frightened manner to one of assurance_). Splendid!

SOMERS. But - (_a step back._)

HIRST. I tell you I feel splendid.

SOMERS. But the ghost - (_Steps back to C._)

HIRST. Well, upon my word, Somers - you're not as sharp as I thought you.

SOMERS. What do you mean?

HIRST. Why, that I was the ghost George saw. (_Crosses to L. C._) By
Jove, he _was_ in a funk! I followed him to the door and overheard his
description of what he'd seen, then I burst in myself and pretended I'd
seen it too. I'm going to win that, bet - (_VOICES heard. Crosses to R._)
Look out, they're coming back. (_Sits._)

SOMERS. Yes, but - -

HIRST. Don't give me away - hush!

(_Re-enter MALCOLM, LEEK, BELDON and GEORGE L._)

(_BELDON and GEORGE go up to back C._)

HIRST. Did you see it? (_In his frightened manner._)

MALCOLM (_C._) I don't know - I thought I saw something, but it might
have been fancy. I'm in the mood to see anything just now. (_To HIRST._)
How are you feeling now, sir?

HIRST. Oh, I feel a bit better now. I daresay you think I'm easily
scared - but you didn't see it.

MALCOLM. Well, I'm not quite sure. (_Goes to fire._)

LEEK. You've had a bit of a shock. Best thing you can do is to go to
bed.

HIRST (_finishing his drink_). Very well. Will you, (_rises_) share my
room with me, Somers?

(_GEORGE lights two candles._)

SOMERS (_crosses to L. C._). I will with pleasure. (_Gets up to table C.
and gets a candle_). Provided you don't mind sleeping with the gas full
on all night. (_Goes to door L._)

LEEK (_to HIRST_). You'll be all right in the morning.

HIRST. Good night, all. (_As he crosses to door._)

OMNES. Good night.

(_ALL talking at fire, not looking to L. as HIRST and SOMERS exeunt.
HIRST chuckles and gives SOMERS a sly dig._)

SOMERS. Good night.

MALCOLM (_at fireplace_). Well, I suppose the bet's off, though as far
as I can see I won it. I never saw a man so scared in all my life. Sort
of poetic justice about it. (_LEEK with revolver in his hand, is just
putting it into his pocket. Seeing him._) Why, what's that you've got
there?

LEEK. A revolver. (_At fire._) You see I do a lot of night driving,
visiting patients in outlying districts - they're a tough lot round here,
and one never knows what might happen, so I have been accustomed to
carry it. I just pulled it out so as to have it handy. I meant to have a
pot at that ghost if I had seen him. There's no law against it, is


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Online LibraryCharles RockThe Ghost of Jerry Bundler → online text (page 1 of 2)