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THE PK.^^P0BL1SHING COMPANY



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923 Arch Street, Philadelphia



THE WHEATVILLE



A Rural Political Play in Four Acts



BY



WARD MACAULEY

Author of " EXAMINATION DAY AT WOOD HILL
SCHOOL," "BACK TO THE COUNTRY STORE," etc




PHILADELPHIA
THE PENN PUBLISHING COMPANY

1911






Copyright 1911 by The Penn Publishing Company



The Wheatville Candidates



CC1.D 25633



V



The Wheatville Candidates



CAST OF CHARACTERS

Hon. Kentworth Howell . . Who knoivs the ropes

Ezra Little A political novice

Frank Lee Wright An editor

C. A. Page Another

Jeremy Lawson . , . . Postmaster and philosopher
Harriet Lawson .... The sharer\>f his fortunes

Edith Lawson A cause of dissensio?t

KiB Lawson . A you/i^er brother

Zeke Jones Half a deputy

Jed Smith The other half

Molly Hempstead A youthful enthusiast

A. Frank Pryor . . An exemplar of practical politics
Mrs. Jorkins ........ Who wants to vote

Delegates, villagers ^ etc., as desired.

Time of Playing : — Two hours and a half.



STORY OF THE PLAY

Kentworth Howell, candidate for state senator from the
Wheatfield district, expects an overwhelming victory. He
also looks forward to an easy conquest of Edith, daughter
of Postmaster Jeremy Lawson. To his surprise, Ezra Little,
a young teacher and law student, who has been nominated
against Howell for a joke, makes a strong campaign, both
for the senatorship and the girl, and wins both.

Act I. — In front of Wheatville post-office. The rival edit-
ors quarrel over "an amicable understanding." "You've
been elected three times before, Kent. It'll be a cinch."
Kent proposes to Edith. " Just meditate over it." Jeremy,
"mighty ambitious for my Edith," favors Kent. Jed and



4 SYNOPSIS

Zeke plan to share Widow Jorkins' insurance money. Ezra
and Edith. " Is there any hope for a country school-teacher
with a few dreams? " Wright notifies Ezra of his nomina-
tion. "Oh, they only put me up for a joke." Kent's
friend laughs at *' the school-teacher pohtician." Ezra sur-
prises them. *' Now I'm in the fight, I stay in."

Act II. — Jeremy Lawson's house. Jeremy and Ezra.
*' Ain't ye resigned yet, Ezry ? " Mr. Pryor shows Ezra
some " practical politics." "I wouldn't touch your dirty
schemes with a forty-foot pole." Edith asks Ezra not to
urge an "eight-hour law." " Father says it will ruin the
International Company. Our money's all in that." " Edith,
if that bill is right I must vote for it." Jed Smith's queer
parliamentary law. "I got the book right here." Kent
and Edith. " I'm kind of sorry to beat the boy two ways
at once." "Perhaps you won't."

Act III. — Same scene as Act I. Jed is despondent.
" We're licked, Kent." Molly hurrahs for Little, and Kent
bribes her with candy. Ezra says he'll "win if he gets
enough votes." Kent wants Edith's answer — " after the
votes are counted." Jeremy thinks " pohtics is skittish as
women." Ezra makes his speech. " A greenhorn can fight,
and he has a vote." Kent's speech. "Leave it to me,
and I'll take care of you." Ezra and Edith. "Remember,
if I win ! "

Act IV. Same as Act I. Jed and Zeke. "We want to
break up a partnership." Jeremy tears up the contracts.
"Five dollars apiece, please." Mrs. Jorkms asks Jed and
Zeke to her wedding. Jeremy announces the returns. Jed
bets Molly a cake of soap — the loser to eat the soap. Kent's
triumph proves premature. Ezra and Edith. "Have I
won the prize that only you can give, Edith ? " " You know
you won it long ago."



SYNOPSIS



Act I. — Street in Wheatville, before the post-office, after-
noon in September.

Act II. — Mr. Lawson's home, evening, one week later.
Act III. — Same as Act I — evening. Three weeks later.
Act IV. — Same as Act I. Election night.



1



COSTUMES AND CHARACTERISTICS

Howell. A self-assertive, somewhat bombastic rural
politician ; state senator for several terms. Should dress in
very slightly pronounced manner. Should be played by a
large man, made up to look forty to forty-five years old.

Ezra. A slender man of twenty-five, of modest, retiring
nature, but of forceful character and kindly humor. Should
be quietly dressed.

W PHT ) ^^^ editors. Both should be men along

p ' y toward middle age, fairly well dressed. Busi-

) ness rivalry marks their relations.

Lawson. Somewhat eccentric old man. Dressed rather
carelessly. Sharp spoken and opinionative.

Mrs. Lawson. Typical matron of fifty years. Rural
costuuie not over-emphasized. (May double with Mrs.
Jorkins.)

Edith. A very pretty girl of twenty. Must be becom-
ingly dressed in simple style.

KiB. A mischievous boy of fourteen. Ordinary boy's
costume, short trousers, etc.

y ^ The comic rural young men. Both should wear

-r ' ' |- pronounced country clothes. One should be

•' ■ J stout and short, and the other tall and thin.

Molly. A lively, attractive, tomboy-like girl of fifteen,
dressed attractively. Should be almost constantly in motion.

Pryor. An unprepossessing type of politician. Florid
style of personal appearance, loud tie, large diamond, etc.

Mrs. Jorkins. Severely plain woman of about forty,
dressed in plain style. (May double with Mrs. Lawson.)

Villagers and delegates should be dressed in the varying
shades of country village style, but none should be portrayed
farcically.

PROPERTIES

Howell. Act I. Money, suit-case, large card with
words '' Howell for Senator," tacks, hammer, envelopes.
Act IV. Note-book and pencil.

Ezra. Act I. Small book. Act IT. Papers. Act IIL
Manuscript. Act IV. Note-book and pencil.

Page. Act I. Note-book and pencil, and same in
Act III.

Wright. Act I. Paper, Act III. Package of sheets
of paper, supposed to be printed circulars.

5



SCENE PLOTS

Lawson. Act 11. Newspaper, note-book, pencil. Act
IV. Megaphone.

Jed. Act II. Watch, book. Act III. Banner with
words " Howell for Senator." Act IV. Folded paper, with
writing and large seal, cake of soap.

Zeke. Act IV. Folded paper, with writing and large seal.

KiB. Act III. Mouth-organ. Act IV. Several slips
of paper.

Edith. Act II. Plate and towel. Act III. Purse con-
taining coin.

Molly. Act 1. Letter, paper bag of chocolates, law
book wrapped in paper. Act III. Box of candy.

Mrs. Jorkins. Act I. Two letters, umbrella. Act IV.
Letter.

Mrs. Lawson. Act II. Potatoes, bread, dishes, etc., for
supper scene.

SCENE PLOTS
ACTS I, III, IV



//yr£/f/Ofi BACffWC






tVOOD



o/i



nooo



Oft



HOt/S£



HOU<SE



jv/yvcd




Scene. — Exterior of Lawson's grocery store and post-
office. Store front, with steps or porch, and practicable
(ioor, c. Interior backing. Sign over door, "J. Lawson,
Grocery, Post-Office, Etc." Chairs and boxes on steps or
porch, and in corners. One large, strong box for speakers
to stand on in Act III. Wood or house wings. Exterior
of store may show signs, placards, etc.



SCENE PLOTS
ACT II
fNTE^IOR BACHING-



"^DOOjt



^Q /^^sAfO^y^-^sQ



o



TABL£ <i CHAIR'S



OOORl



o



o>



Scene. — Interior of Jeremy Lawson's house. Entrances
c, L., and R. Large round table, c, with four chairs.
Chairs down r. and l. Screen, with chair behind it, up r.
Other furnishings to make a comfortable village " sitting-
room."



The Wheatville Candidates



ACT I

SCENE. — Street in Wheatville. Afternoon of a September
day. Up c. should be represented the exterior of the
post-office with a practicable entrance c. In front of the
post~offt,ce are chairs, boxes, etc. Sign over post-office
'^y. Lawson, Grocery, Post- Office, Etc.^^ The town
hall in which the convention is being held is supposed to
be near by, l., and cheering and hand-clapping should be
heard intermittently throughout the act. The entrances
are R. {down road^j l. (up road toward town hall^, and
c. {into post-0 ffice~).

(As the curtain rises, Frank Lee Wright and C. A. Page
walk rapidly toward each other from opposite sides of the
stage. Seeing each other, each takes a wide sweep to
keep as far from the other as possible. After they pass y
they turn and shake fists at one atiother.^

Page {pausing). Oh, I say, Wright.



Wright {loftily). Sir, do you desire to converse with
me?

Page. What's the use of our being on the outs ? Why
not come to an amicable understanding?

Wright. That's what I say — an amicable understand-
ing. I'm always strong for peace. Why, I believe in the
disarmament of the nations. I

Page. It's a fool idea. Nations — especially civilized
nations — have got to build big navies and maintain big
armies so as to make the other fellows behave, and I say
that the bigger the array the more chance for peace, and
anybody who contradicts that is a rattle-pated imbecile
and

Wright. If I had no more sense than to believe such
rubbish, I'd keep still and not betray my ignorance. The

9



IQ THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

smallest boy in school knows that a great world-wide peace
movement is on

Page. It's got to be an armed peace, I tell you.

Wright. You're wrong.

Page. I'm right.

Wright. I say you're wrong, and that settles it.

Page. You don't settle anything, not even your bills.

Wright. I'll settle you

Page {belligerent attitude). Come on.

Wright. I'll settle you by the peaceful method of supe-
rior argument in my editorial column. You show your in-
feriority by desiring to descend to brute force.

Page. I can lick you, physically or mentally.

Wright (jvalking off ^r.). Remember, sir, I shall chas-
tise you severely in the pages of the Wheatville "Gazette."

Page {as a parting shot). I don't care. Nobody reads
it.

.{Enter Hon. Kentworth Howell, l.)

Howell. Hello, Page, what are you two argufying
about ?

Page. Oh, Wright and I came to an amicable under-
standing again.

Howell. Don't bother about him. Any man who'd
write the political folderol he does has something lacking.
{Shouts and applause are heard from the convention hall, L.)
They're making enough racket over there. I suppose they
think they can nominate a man who can lick me.

Page. No, they don't figure on winning, I guess, but
they've got to shout for their good old principles, as they
call 'em.

Howell. Principles? What good are principles if you
don't get elected ? Say, Page, I missed you at our conven-
tion. I had to do some of the slickest wire-pulling you ever
saw to get the nomination on the first ballot.

Page. I wish I could have come, but it was press day.
Say, Kent {jerking thumb toward convention hall, 'L.,from
which shouts and applause are being heard), whom do you
suppose they'll put up to run against you?

Howell. Some unwilling martyr, you may be sure.
Why, Page, I don't care a bean, a liftle bit of an under>
sized, shrivelled-up bean who they nominate. Getting nomi-
nated doesn't admit a man to the pie counter unless he gets



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES II

the biggest bunch of ballots on election day — and there's
only one man going to be elected state senator from this
neck o' the woods in the present year o' grace, and he goes
by the name of Kent Howell to folks that know him real
well.

Page, You've been elected three times before, Kent.
It'll be a cinch.

Howell. If I didn't enjoy campaigning, I'd feel per-
fectly safe in going off hunting till election.

Page. I wish I was as sure of my circulation.

Howell. You get all the government advertising in the
county. That's enough for you.

{ Enter 1L\^ Lawson, l., excitedly.)

KiB. Oh, Mr. Howell, I sneaked in at their old conven-
tion, and I heard a man get up and say you were no more
fit to go to Turnersport than a scarecrow.

Howell (drily). I wonder how he found it out.

KiB. 1 don't know, sir.

Howell. Now look here, youngster, here's a nickel.
{Hands coi?i.) Go back, and when that speaker you men-
tioned concludes his peroration, you yell '' Hurrah for
Howell!" Peroration's the correct thing in that place,
eh. Page?

(Page carefully examines a much-thumbed pocket dictio7iary.)

Page. I can't find it, but I guess it's c'rect, though I
usually leave off the per.

Howell. Per must mean a couple, I guess.

Howell {running l., excitedly). Hurrah for Howell !
Who'll be elected ? Howell, Howell ! Hurrah for Howell !

{Exit, L.)

Page. It's lucky he's under age, Kent. You can't be
indicted for bribing a voter.

Howell. Trust me for that, Page. I wasn't born yester-
day, nor last week, and I want to tell you confidentially that
I'm pretty near next to the big chaps at Turnersport, and I
wouldn't wonder if I'd be our next candidate for — {looking
cautiously around and putti7ig finger io lips) sh — governor.

Page. When you get there, Kent, I hope you'll remem-
ber those who stood by you.



12 THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

Howell. See here, Page, understand me. Let this
percolate into your think-case — percolate's the word, I guess.
I'm a self-made man. What 1 aai I did myself — you catch
that?

Page. Oh, most assuredly, certainly, in fact, without a
doubt; but {timidly) somebody had to vote for you.

Howell. Sure. Folks recognize merit when they see
it. 1 produce the merit. Consequentially, I go to Turn-
ersport term after term.

(Noise and applause from convention hall heard.')

(Enter Kib, l., on the run^ somewhat the worse for wear.)

Page. Hello! What's wrong, youngster?

Kib (tearfully). I yelled ** Hurrah for Howell " up there,
and look what they did to me.

Howell. I don't seem to be exactly popular in that
quarter. Page.

Kib (shrewdly). Did you say a quarter, Mr. Howell?

Howell (good-naturedly handing money). Sure, a quar-
ter's none too much for what you've had done to you.

(Exit Kib, r., whistling.)

Page. I guess Til look in at the convention. They
can't keep a newspaper man out.

Howell. Keep me posted up to the minute. Page.

Page. I thought you didn't care whom they put up.

Howell. I just want to extend my sympathy to the
victim and family, if any. Say, Page, of course this thing's
k cinch, but just to make assurance doubly sure, I've fixed
up a little scheme.

Page. It's a good one, I bet.

Howell. If I put it over, it's sure to be a good one.
I'm going to help 'em choose a candidate — if things work
out right. One of the delegates just happens to be a par-
ticular friend of mine, and if it should come to a deadlock
or they can't find anybody, he's going to propose — well,
who do you think he is going to propose?

Page, Somebody easy, of course.

Howell. Well, I thought Ezra Little'd about fit. Nice
fellow, all right, but a greenhorn at politics.

Page. And a youngster I Say, 1 hope that scheme goes
through. It will be soft. Well, 1 must be moving.



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES I3

i^Exif, L. Howell makes notes on the back of old en-
velopes, etc.')

{Enter Edith Lawson, r.)

Howell {effusively'). My dear Miss Lawson, good-
afternoon. Have a campaign card ?

{Opens a sniall suit-case and exhibits a large card.)



HOWELL
FOR SENATOR



Edith. I don't believe I have congratulated you on your
nomination, have I?

(Howell tacks the card on the front of the post-office.)

Howell. A mere matter of form, Miss Lawson.

Edith. Have you heard who is to run against you ?

Howell. I don't care a bean — the smallest, measliest —
excuse me, I meant to say that the choice of the opposition
is of httle interest to me.

Edith. You expect to win, then ?

Howell. Sure, same as usual. Sun shines when it isn't
cloudy, doesn't it? Well, I can't see a cloud on my p'litical
horizon just at this precise juncture. Miss Lawson.

Edith. It must be interesting to be up at Turnersport,
making the laws of your native land.

Howell. Making 'em and breaking 'em, eh? [Laiis^hs
heartily. Edith looks up astonished.^ Oh, I'm an excep-
tion, of course. And interesting? Well, it's got the most
exciting novel I ever read beaten, I can tell you. Say, Miss
Lawson, how'd you like to get a glimpse of it?

Edith {eagerly). I'd love to. Father says he's going to
take me up there some session.

Howell. I was thinking I might take you up, Miss
Lawson.

Edith {demurely). That would hardly be proper, would
it, Mr. Senator ?

Howell. I guess it'd be O. K., if I slipped a little shiny
band on your finger before we went.



14 THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

Edith. Gracious, I believe the man is proposing !

Howell. Your conjecture is correct, Miss Lavvson. In
fact, you have hit the nail on the head, so to speak. I'm
generally out 'n' out in politics, and I want you to know my
platform on this love question. Every plank is Edith Law-
son, and you can't beat it.

Edith. But, Mr. Howell, I

Howell. Yes, 1 know how it is. You know your an-
swer, but you want time to think it over. 1 remember once
a crowd of reformers asked me how I was going to vote on
a temperance bill. I couldn't tell 'em till 1 found out what
the rest was going to do, so 1 told 'em to give me time to
consider.

Edith I hardly

Howell. Not another word. I know just how you feel
— kind o' flustered, like a man making his first speech, but
just meditate over it, and when you get good and ready, let
me know if I may count on your support — 1 mean let me
have your answer, which will be favorable, I hope and trust.

Edith. 1 must be going. Mrs. Jones is expecting me.

Howell. Of course you must. Don't blame you a bit.
Good-bye, and don't forget what I told you — meditate.
(^Exit Edith, l. Howell gazes after her.) As fine a girl
as ever peeled a turnip. I guess my chances in that quarter
are better than average. Yes, I guess 1 can concede my
election. {Enter Page, l., excitedly, almost out of breath.)
Bellows need repairing. Page ?

Page. No, -but say

Howell. What have they done?

Page. They've nominated Squire Perkins.

Howell (almost falling from his box). What !

Page. Yes, Squire Perkins on the third ballot. (Howell
looks up in agony.) But the squire declined.

Howell {reproachfully). How could you do it. Page,
how could you? Wounding so tender a flower as my
heart ! You know Perkins could get elected to anything
since he gave the town that free hbrary. What are they
doing now?

Page. Well, they've nominated a half-dozen or so, and
they've all refused it.

Howell {pompously). None of 'em wants to waste
money getting beat. It ought to be about time that Ezra's
name should be mentioned, eh ?



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES I5

Page. They've named Jim Foster, a faraier over in
Beanport, and they're 'phoning to find if he'll run. Just
now they're fixing up the platform. It does everything to
you except apply the tar and feathers.

HoviTELL. I'm glad they showed me that much Christian
charity. Say, Page, I've got a few notes here for you to use
in your head-lines. (^Glajices at envelopes?) <* Kentworth
Howell a Philanthropist." — " Howell Makes a Hit in Speech
at Blueberry Junction."

Page {writing in large note- book). When do you speak
at Blueberry Junction ?

Howell. Next week, Thursday. {Reads.) "Howell
a Great Orator, a Credit to the District." — ** Howell a Sure
Winner." By the way, Page, I wish you came out daily
from now till election.

Page. The Wheatville ''Press" has always appeared
once a week, rain or shine, barring illness or death of pro-
prietor, injury to the press or other catastrophe, and that
makes yours truly work hard enough, thank you.

{Enter Jeremy Lawson, l.)

Howell. Been up to the convention?

Lawson. Yes, they threw me out. I moved they indorse
the Hon. Kent Howell, and they insinyated I weren't a
delegate and suggested that I remove my obnoxious pres-
ence forthwith.

Page. Do you think Foster'U run ?

Lawson. I know Foster, and he ain't clean crazy, and
so I'm countin' he won't run. They're working on the
platform now, and so far they've put worse things into it
than you ever heard at a ladies' aid society.

Howell. Preserve us !

Lawson. They're figuring on putting that fool eight-
hour day proposition in.

Howell. You don't fancy that much ? {Laughs. )

Lawson. About as much as the Hon. Kent Howell.

Howell. I never b'lieved in interfering with business.

Lawson. 'Specially when you've got your hard-earned
savin's invested in stock o' the International Manufacturing
Company

Howell. Sh — ^just's well not to speak haphazard about
private business, Jeremy.

Lawson. A still tongue in a wise head, every time.



l6 THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES

Howell. Say, Jeremy, the president of the International
loaned me a fine new automobile to use in the campaign.

Lawson. They must want you to win.

Howell. It'd be just as well, but o' course he knows
I've got a cinch.

Page. I must be moving along. I've got a paper to get
out.

Howell. Better send to the city for some three-inch
letters for that head-line stuff. (^Exit Page, r.) Say, Jeremy,
I'm no hand to sit on the dock a half hour before getting
into the water. I've got both my eyes on your daughter —
have had for some time, and if I can get her to look at it
sensibly, I'd be willing to take her along to Turnersport this
■ winter.

Lawson. I always was mighty ambitious for my Edith.

Howell. Of course you were. What father would not
be? She is the apple of your eye, your one ewe lamb,
your-

Lawson. Abbreviate it, Kent. You aren't making a
speech.

Howell {laughing). That's right, Jeremy. I want to
ask you, man to man, do I get your support ?

Lawson. I'd like mighty well to have Edith in the swim,
as they say.

Howell. Being state senator may not be as far up the
ladder as I'll climb, either.

Lawson {loudly). Now, if you was to be governor

Howell. Sh

Lawson. If you was governor, mebbe Mrs. Lawson and
me might spend a week at the executive mansion, and

Howell {doubtfully). I suppose so.

Lawson {excitedly). Guess I can visit my own daugh-
ter, can't I ?

Howell. Why, certainly, I

Lawson {jiot placated). Even if she is the governor's
wife.

Howell. " We can arrange that all O. K. -

Lawson. Don't you forget I'm mighty ambitious for my
Edith. She's turned down three Wheatville chaps already.

Howell. You're ambitious, and you're shrewd, Jeremy.
The best you ever did was to divide the job of deputy be-
tween Jed and Zeke.

Lawson. The government wouldn't allow a deputy to a



THE WHEATVILLE CANDIDATES 1 7

peanut office like this, but I can hire 'em cheaper than if
they were regular hired men. They've got to pay for the
dignity of holding a government position.

Howell. You've got an eye for business.

Lawson. Yes, and I've got an eye for Edith.

Howell. I'll be back when the convention has had time
to do its worst.

(^Exit, R.)

(Lawson turns toward the post-office door and enters as
Molly Hempstead and Ezra Little etiter l. Ezra
has a small book?)

Molly. What do they do at political conventions, Mr.
Little?

Ezra. Now, that's a pretty hard question, Molly. I
have heard sometimes that there were queer doings at them.

Molly (^persistent). But what are they doing at this
one?

Ezra. Their principal object is to find some one to run
against Mr. Howell for state senator.

Molly. Oh, I wish you would, Mr. Little, and I wish
you'd beat him

Ezra. Me? Why, I'm a school-teacher, not a states-
man.

Molly. I wish you'd do it, anyway.

Ezra. It isn't for me to do, you know. That would be
the delegates' work. But why do you wish that I would
run, Molly?

Molly. 'Cause I want you to beat him. He's after


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