Charles Dickens.

Readings and scenes from David Copperfield; sixteen readings and twelve scenes for twelve girls online

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James Ella Selman


Price, 25 Cents



Copyright, 1896, by James Ella Selman

Monologues, Plays, Drills, Entertainments.

McDowell. This love and tragedy mon-
ologue for a man is designed as a
companion piece to "Zingarella, the
Gypsy Flower Girl" (monologue for a
woman, 15 cts.). Effective with gypsy
costume, and tambourine. Price, 20 cts.

Russell. Intensely dramatic monologue
for a man, from the play of " The Bells,"
played by Henry Irving. Five full-page
Illustrations. Full business. Price, 25 cts.

PiNER. Pathetic temperance monologue
for a man, who Is restored to wife by a
song. Opportunity to sing, with guitar ac-
companiment. Music given. Price. 15 cts.

Salvini. Monologue for a man. Colum-
bus reviews his wonderful career, begin-
ning, "Forlorn, alone and old— I die," and
ending, "I die content. Columbus will be
"' nown in every clime." Very effective,
especially if recited in costume. With
this come 15 other pieces. Price, 25 cts.

ENGAGED. By Livingston Russell. Ro-
mantic, humorous monologue for a
woman. Companion piece to "Cupid's
Victim" (monologue for a man, 20 cents).
A young woman who ha^ just become
engaged calls her departing lover back
several times, and then falls into a gush-
ing and hysterical reverie. She sorts
over her love letters, plans how their
room will be arranged, and runs off
stage singing the Lohengrin Wedding
March. Full business given. Price, 20 cts.

Bertha M. Wilson. Comedy monologue
for a woman. Much of the fun arises
from a dog running off with her slipper
that she takes off at a ball to rest her
foot. One of the characters assumed is
that of a "wild, woolly Western girl."
Full directions. Price, 15 cents.

THE DOOR IS LOCKED. Trans, and Arr.
by Ada Webster Ward. Comedy mono-
logue for a woman. A wife, working
herself into a fit of jealousy over the
absence of her husband, locks the door
and throws away the key She keeps
him standing outside, scolding him, until
she learns that he has been fighting a
duel for her sake. Then she eagerly hunts
for the key. Full business. Price, 15 cts.

Barnard, a romantic, temperance mon-
ologue for a woman, bringing in five
characters. Mr. Barnard, the success-
ful dramatist, has originated a new
monologue, this being his latest. Suited
to temperance, religious and other occa-
sions. Full business. Price, 25 cents.

C. Bergen. A comedy monologue for a

woman. A young lady indulges in vari-
ous kinds of emotions while impatiently
awaiting the coming of her lover. Op-
Dortunity for banjo work. Price, 15 cts.

ANDER. For outdoor and indoor use,
with musical accompaniment and illus-
trations. Price, 25 cents.

GUN DRILL. By A. Alexander With
musical accompaniment and illustra-
tions. Price, 20 cents.

Ella Sterling Cummins. A play for
floral festivals and public school enter-
tainments for the purpose of awakening
an interest in choosing a national floral
emblem for this country. Price, 25 cts.

rett W. Owens, a comedy drama in
one act for three men and four women.
Costume and scenery described and full
business given. Price, 25 cents.

MAYANNI. By Anne Henley. A fairy
play for children, either indoor or out-
door; ten characters for boys and girls,
or for girls only. Price, 15 cents.

HoFFNER Wood. Suitable for Christmas
time and other occasions. For 12 girls.
Fully described; illustrated. Price,15cis

sical accompaniment and 30 illustra
tions. A unique and easily produced
entertainment. Price, 25 cents.

WOMEN. By A. Laurie West. Brings
in Ariel, Portia, Juliet, Katharine (the
Shrew), Lady Macbeth, Miranda, Desde-
mona, Cornelia, Ophelia, Witches. Cos-
tumes described and business given.
Price, 25 cents.

Poem by Longfellow. Illustrated tab-
leaux, with musical accompaniment, by
Marguerite W. Morton. A most charm-
ing romantic, pathetic entertainment.
Tableaux minutely described and all the
music given. Price, 25 cents.

COLUMBIA. By Mrs. Belle T. Speed. A
drama bringing in a queen, 16 girls rep-
resenting principles of the Republic, 6
girls the navy, and six girls the army.
Patriotic and poetic dialogue, and a
concerted piece. Directions for cos-
tumes and evolutions. Price, 25 cents

P. Buford. a one-act play for school
commencements, church entertain-
ments. Characters: Titania, Eve, Isa-
bella of Castile, Pocahontas, Queen Eliz-
abeth, Mary, Queen of Scots, Christine
of Sweden, Bathsh-^ba, Empress Joseph-
ine, Cleopatra, Queen of Sheba, and
Queen Victoria. Price, 25 cents.

Cldear S. l¥erner. Publisher, 1^8 East 16tb Street, New York*


David Copperfield.

Master Micawber.

Mrs. Copperfield, David's mother.

Peggotty, David's nurse.

Mrs. Gummidge.

Little Em'ly.

Mrs. Micawber.

Miss Micawber.

Betsey Trotwood.

Janet, her maid.

Dora Spenlow.

Agnes Wickfield.


This arrangement of Dickens's favorite novel, " David Copper-
field," is the outgrowth of a deeply-felt need, that the public
exercises of our schools should combine the elements of true
literary and popular taste. Good literary taste is essential for
the culture of the pupils themselves, for the entertainment of the
cultured friends of the institution, and for the instruction of the
uneducated. But popular taste should not be disregarded, as it
often happens that in deep sympathy with the joys and sorrows
of humanity lies not only much of the success of the entertain-
ment, but also much of the culture to the pupil. Heart-culture
must go hand in hand with head-culture in true expression-work.

It is believed that "David Copperfield" combines perfectly
these elements of literature and popularity.

The presentation of this arrangement by my pupils was re-
ceived with such overwhelming praise and commendation that I
feel assured that it will be welcomed by many teachers.

It is arranged to be presented by girls alone, and requires one
hour and forty-five minutes for presentation.


If presented on stage with drop-cnrtain, the reciter should
stand before the curtain, in order that the stage-setting may be
changed for the different scenes without loss of time. The
scenes are so arranged that there need not be a minute of waiting
throughout the program.

A long stage may be made very attractive by furnishing two-
thirds of it as a reader's stage and enclosing the other third, by
means of curtains, for the acting. Indeed, this is the preferable
arrangement, as the readings make up the body of the entertain-
ment, and the scenes serve mainly to brighten and relieve the

As a support for the curtain which divides the stage, stretch
a wire from the front-curtain wire to a screw at the back of the
stage. The curtains should be closed while the readers are telling
the story, and promptly drawn open at the tap of a bell by the
teacher or director, who sits behind a screen at the opposite side
of the stage, to prompt the reader if such necessity should arise,
and to tap the bell for the drawing of the curtains at the begin-
ning and the end of scenes.

The reader's stage may be decorated by a tasteful arrangement
of rugs, chairs, tables, lamps, and palms, or other floral decora-

If the right hand side of the stage be curtained off, the readers
enter from the left, and if the reading be interrupted by a scene,
the reader retires to a settee at the left and back of the stage,
and remains seated until bell taps for curtains to be closed, when
the reader advances and resumes the reading.

Other directions will be given when needed, -


David Copperfield, a little girl (or boy) of about ten years
of age, very slender and precocious, with demure looks and ac-
tions. He wears knee trousers, ruffled shirt of white muslin, vest
of any color preferred, and an old-fashioned, long- tailed coat.
Ruffles of white lace should be worn in the sleeves and at the

Mrs. Copperfield, a very pretty girl who may even be con-
scious of her beauty. She should be small and girlish. Her hair
is caught high with a tucking comb, while three or four precise
curls fall to her shoulders. Her gown is a pretty, simple muslin
with a long fichu about the neck.

Peggotty should be large and stiff, and she must not despise
the aid of pads and a bustle in her make-up. She wears a serv-
ant's cap, a short frock of red or some other bright color, white
apron, neckerchief, and heavy shoes. Her manner is confident.

Mrs. Gummidge should be indeed a "lone lorn creetur." A
slight girl of melancholy features will take the part well, but
above all things she must be Mrs. Gummidge. She wears her
hair powdered, a black cap with a bit of white lace next the face,
a short black frock, white apron, white neckerchief with black
border, and heavy shoes.

Little Em'ly, a girl of ten with light hair. She wears a plain
and faded calico dress and old shoes.

Mrs. Mic awber, a ' ' thin and faded lady " with powdered hair
and a careworn expression. She wears a plain calico or home-
spun dress, and a white apron. Her bearing should be that of
one almost crushed by misfortune, but who still keeps her family
pride. She carries .the twins in her arms. These are made-up
babies dressed in long skirts and little caps.


g^LiTTLE Miss Micawber and Master Micawber may be im-
personated by any little children from three to five years of age.
They should be dressed shabbily. They have no speaking to do,
but add much to the effect of the Micawber home, and are useful
for holding the babies when Mrs. Micawber wishes it.

Betsey Trotwood is tall and angular, abrupt in manner. Her
hair is powdered, she wears a lace cap, and in all scenes except
the first in which she appears, she wears spectacles. Her gown
is of lavender color, made with plain, full skirt and long basque
and finished at neck and sleeves with black lace. She may wear
a fan or a small black bag suspended by a ribbon from the

Janet wears a plain shirt-waist and skirt, with white apron
and servant's cap.

Dora Spen^low is a plump pretty girl, with sparkling eyes
and happy face. She has been greatly spoiled and petted. She
wears a sheer blue lawn, made becomingly. Of course, Dora would
not be Dora without Jip. There will be found in every com-
munity a playful, submissive little dog to take the part of Jip.

Agnes Wickfield is larger than Dora and a girl of much sta-
bility of character. Her face is beautiful with the reflection of
a pure and noble spirit within. She has an ease and grace of
manner which wins the hearts of all, and, as is most fitting to
her purity of soul, is attired in simple white.

The costuming will be found an easy matter. The few articles
that have to be purchased can be found in iuexpensive material.

Much discretion should be used in the selection of characters
and even more, I might say, in the choice of readers. The read-
ings are of varied styles, and require more versatility and knowl-
edge of all the elements of expression, than do the impersonations.
The readings, as well as the impersonations, should be perfectly
memorized, so that there will be no necessity for prompting.



1. — My Earliest Recollections Name of Reader.

Scene I. The Crocodile Book.
Scene II. A Very Pleasant Evening.
Scene III. The Proposed Visit.
Scene IV. The Boat House.
Scene V. My First Grief.

2. — Miss Murdstone's Arrival Name of Reader.

3. — My Lessons at Home *'

4.— Barkis is Willin' "

5. — (a) My Reception at School

Scene VI. Take Care of Him , He Bites,
(b) My Mother's Death

6. — They Were Married

7. — »In the Service of Mnrdstone and Grimby. .

Scene VIL I Never Will Desert Mr.

Scene VIII. If Yon Please, Aunt.
8. — My School-Days at Canterbury

9. — Dora and I Were Engaged

Scene IX. What Beautiful Flowers!
10. — My Aunt's Losses

Scene X. How It Happened.
11.— The Cookery Book

12. — I Took Agnes to See Dora

Scene XI. Their Meeting.

13. — Dora and I Are Married *'

14. — Our Housekeeping


15. — My Child-wife is Dead Name of Reader.

Scene XII. Dora and My Annt.

16.— Agnes *'

It will be found that some of the impersonations are very short,
and in such cases the pupil taking the part may be assigned a
reading also, provided the reading does not come so near to the
impersonation as not to give time for change of costume.



Looking back into the blank of my infancy, the first objects I
can remember, as standing out by themselves, are my mother and
Peggotty. Peggotty and I were sitting one night by the parlor
fire alone. I had been reading to Peggotty about crocodiles. I
was tired of reading, and dead sleepy; but having leave to sit up
till my mother came home from spending an evening at a neigh-
bor's, I would rather have died at my post than gone to bed. I
propped my eyelids open with my two forefingers, and looked
perseveringly at Peggotty, as she sat at work.

[ Bell taps and Reader retires to settee^ ivliile the curtains are
drawn for Scene /.]

Scene I. — The Crocodile Booh.

The stage is set as "second-best parlor," with chairs, rugs, table,
cabinet, etc. , tastefully arranged. David and Peggotty are discovered
near the front. David is sitting with one elbow on the table, where a
lamp is brightly burning, and holds the crocodile book on his knees.
Peggotty is sitting near by, knitting assiduously. David yawns and
stretches himself and begins the conversation.

David. Peggotty, were you ever married ?

Peggotty [^with a start and stopping her wor¥\. Lord,
Master Davy ! What's put marriage in your head ?

David. But ivere you ever married, Peggotty ? You are a
very handsome woman, ain't you ?

Peg. [ shotui?ig greater surprise^. Me handsome, Davy !
Lawk, no, my dear ! But what put marriage in your head ?

David [ stretching and yawning^ . I don't know. You
mustn't marry more than one person at a time, may you, Peggotty ?


Peg. [ ivith promptest decision]. Certainly not.

David. Bat if yoa marry a person and that person dies, why
then you may marry another person, mayn't you, Peggotty ?

Peg. Yon may, if yon choose, my dear. That's a matter of

David. But what is your opinion, Peggotty ?

Peg. [ suddenly rising and speaking with much emphasis'].
My opinion is that I never was married myself. Master Davy,
and that I don't expect to be. That's all I know about the subject.

David [ looking up in great surprise]. You ain't cross, I
suppose, Peggotty, are you ?

Peg. [ throiving arms about David and turning over
leaves of crocodile look]. Lawk, no, my dear. Did you
think your old Peggotty could be cross with you ? Now let me
hear some more about the crorkindills, for I ain't heard half

[ Bell taps., curtains close, while Reader advances and con-


The garden bell rang. We went out to the door, and there
was my mother, looking unusually pretty, and with her a gentle-
man with beautiful black hair and whiskers, who had walked
home with us from church last Sunday. As my mother stooped
down on the threshold to take me in her arms and kiss me, the
gentleman said I was a more highly-privileged little fellow than
a monarch. I never saw such a beautiful color on my mother's
face before.

" Let us say * good night,' my fine boy," said the gentleman.

"Goodnight!" said L

" Come ! Let us be the best friends in the world ! " said the
gentleman, laughing. "Shake hands."

My right hand was in my mother's left, so I gave him the other.
My mother drew my right hand forward, but I was resolved


not to give it him, and I did not. I gave him the other, and he
shook it heartily and said I was a brave fellow, and went away.

Peggotty, who had not said a word or moved a finger, secured
the fastenings instantly, and we all went into the parlor. My
mother, instead of coming to the elbow-chair by the fire, remained
at the other end of the room, and sat singing to herself.

[Bell taps , curtains open, luhile Reader retires.^

Scene II. — A Very Pleasant Evening.

David is sitting with his head on the table, asleep ; Mrs. Copperfield
sits apart to the left and back of David and sings softly any familiar
love-song ; Peggotty stands in the middle of the room to the right and
back of David, holding a candle in her hand and looking as " stiff as a
barrel. "

Peg. Hope you have had a pleasant evening, ma'am !

Mes. Copperfield [sloivly returning from her abstraction'].
Much obliged to you, Peggotty, I have had a very pleasant eve-

Peg. a stranger or so makes an agreeable change.

Mrs. 0. A very agreeable change, indeed.

Peg. [still standing motionless in middle of room, and em-
pliasizing her speech loith her candlestick]. Not such a one as
this, Mr. Copperfield wouldn't have liked ! That I say, and that
I swear!

Mrs. C. [springing up and speaking angrily and tearfully].
Good heavens! You'll drive me mad! Was ever any jDoor girl
so ill used by her servants as I am ! How can you dare ! You
know I don't mean how can you dare, Peggotty, but how can you
have the heart — to make me so uncomfortable, and say such bit-
ter things to me, when you are well aware that I haven't out of
this place a single friend to turn to.

Peg. [groiuing more vehement and stamping]. The more's the
reason for saying that it won't do ! No ! That it won't do ! No !
No price could make it do ! No !


Mrs. 0. [grotus hysterical. Dayid wakes and looks in
amazeinent from Ms mother to Peggotty]. How can you be so
aggravating as to talk in such an unjust manner! How can yon
go on as if it was all settled and arranged, Peggotty, when I tell
you over and over again, you cruel thing, that beyond the com-
monest civilities nothing has passed. You talk of admiration.
What am I to do? If people are so silly as to indulge the senti-
ment, is it my fault? What am I to do, I ask you? Would you
wish me to shave my head and black my face, or disfigure myself
with a burn, or a scald, or something of that sort? I dare say
you would, Peggotty. I dare say you'd quite enjoy it. [Peg-
gotty is greatly affected^ and sets her candle on table to dig her
fist into her eyes and tveep aloud. Mrs. CoppERFiELD^oes to David
and embraces him in his elbow-chair. 1 And, my dear boy, my own
little Davy ! Is it to be hinted to me that I am wanting in affec-
tion for my precious treasure, the dearest little fellow that ever was?

Peg. Nobody never went and hinted no such thing.

Mrs. 0. [rising and speaking with energy a7id tear s^. You did,
Peggotty! You know you did! What else was it possible to in-
fer from what you said, you unkind creature, when you know as
well as I do, that on his account only last quarter I wouldn't buy
myself a new parasol, though that old green one is frayed the
whole way up, and the fringe is perfectly mangy. You know it
is, Peggotty. You can't deny it. [Kneeliiig and affectionately
placing cheek against David's, luho is sobbi7ig pitifully.] Am I
a naughty mamma to yon, Davy? Am I a nasty, cruel, selfish,
bad mamma? Say I am, my child; say " yes," my dear boy, and
Peggotty will love you, and Peggotty 's love is a great deal better
than mine, Davy. I don't love you at all, do I?

David [shrieking]. Peggotty, you are a beast!

[Peggotty m deep affliction kneels in front of Mrs. Copper-
field a7id David, embracing both at once, a7id mingling her
tears with theirs.]
[Bell taps, and Reader advances while the curtains are drawn.]



We went to bed greatly dejected. My sobs kept waking me for
a long time, and when one very strong sob quite hoisted me up
in bed, I found my mother sitting on the coverlet, and leaning
over me. I fell asleep in her arms after that, and slept soundly.

Gradually I became used to seeing Mr. Murdstone, the gentle-
man with the black whiskers. I liked him no better than at first,
and had the same uneasy jealousy of him.

We were sitting as before, one evening (when my mother was
out as before), in company with the stocking and the crocodile
book, when Peggotty, after looking at me several times and open-
ing her mouth as if she were going to speak without doing it,
said, coaxingly.

[Bell taps, curtains open and Reader retires. ]

Scene III. — The Proposed Visit.
Same as Scene I.

Peg. Master Davy, how should you like to go along with me
and spend a fortnight at my brother's at Yarmouth? Wouldn't
that be a treat?

David. Is your brother an agreeable man, Peggotty?

Peg. Oh ! What an agreeable man he is ! Then there's the
sea, and the boats and ships, and the fishermen, and the beach!

Dayid. It would indeed be a treat. But what would my mother

Peg. Why, then I'll as good as bet a guinea that she'll let us
go. I'll ask her if you like as soon as ever she comes home.
There, now!

David. But what's she to do while we are away? She can't live
by herself, you know. [Peggotty looks uneasy and does not re-
ply, ] I say, Peggotty, she can't live by herself, you know.

Peg. Oh, bless you ! Don't you know? She's going to stay


for a fortnight with Mrs. Grrayper. Mrs. Grayper's going to have
a lot of company.

David. Oh! If that is it, I am quite ready to go.

[Bell taps, curtains are drawn, and Reader comes forward
and proceeds with story. '\


*' Yon's our house, Master Davy."

'* That's not it," said I, "that ship-looking thing! "

"That's it, Master Davy."

If it had been Aladdin's palace, I suppose I could not have
been more charmed with the romantic idea of living in it. The
wonderful charm was that it was a real boat, which had no doubt
been upon the water hundreds of times and which had never been
intended to be lived in on dry land.

"Glad to see you, sir," said Mr. Peggotty. "You'll find us
rough, sir, but you'll find us ready."

I thanked him, and replied that I was sure I should be happy
in such a place.

We were welcomed by a very civil looking woman in a white
apron. I soon found out that this was Mrs. Gummidge, and
that she did not make herself so agreeable as she might have been
expected to do, under the circumstances of her residence with
Mr. Peggotty. Then there was a beautiful little girl, who
wouldn't let me kiss her when I offered to, but ran away and hid
herself. When the door was shut and all was made snug, it
seemed to me the most delicious retreat that the imagination of
man could conceive. Little Em'ly had overcome her shyness
and was sitting by my side.

{Bell taps, Reader retires, cm'tains open.]

Scene IV. — The Boat House.

All pictures and ornaments are removed, and the room is compara-
tively cheerless. A bare table is in the centre, with candlestick and
work-basket upon it. Fish-nets are hung upon the walls, and a pair of


oars are in the corner. Two plain, splint-bottom chairs are in the
room at each side of the table and a little back of it. A little low
bench is in front of the table, and somewhat to the left. Peggotty is
sitting to right of table, knitting; Mrs! Gummidqe to left, sewing;
Little Em'ly and David on bench, playing with toy ship.

David. You are quite a sailor, I suppose.

Em'ly. No. I'm afraid of the sea.

David [^standing ivith iold air\ Afraid! I ain't!

Em'ly. Ah! but it's cruel. I have seen it very cruel to some
of our men. I have seen it tear a boat as big as our house all to

David. I hope it wasn't the boat that — [resuming seat\

Em'ly. That my father was drowned in ? No. Not that one.
1 never see that boat.

David. My father is dead, too, and my mother and I have
always lived by ourselves.

Em'ly. Your father was a gentleman and your mother is a
lady ; and my father was a fisherman and my mother was a fisher-
man's daughter, and my Uncle Dan is a fisherman.

David. He must be very good, I should think.

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Online LibraryCharles DickensReadings and scenes from David Copperfield; sixteen readings and twelve scenes for twelve girls → online text (page 1 of 5)