George Henry Jessop Brander Matthews.

A gold mine: a play in three acts online

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rebs. You need not think of that, Madam, if I have
been enabled to right a wrong and do you a service at
the same time — I will go straight from here and have
this transfer properly attested and registered.

Mrs. M. And not a word of this till I have given the
signal.

Krebs. I shall obey your orders, Madam, (exit c.
down stairs l.)

Mrs. M. (sitting on sofa and fanning herself) This
is indeed a tangleci skein, and I cannot find the clue to
my brother's conduct. It really requires an explanation.
(noise heard in conservatory r.) Who is there? Is
that you, Everard?

George, (enter from conservatory) Oh, you dearest
and best of aunties, how are you? (kisses her)

Mrs. M. You do seem in better spirits, George.

George. In better spirits? Aunty, I am enjoying the
first pleasant day I have spent for six months. You
have no idea how miserable it is to live with a sharp
knife hanging over you that you expect will fall at any
moment.

Mrs. M. My poor boy, sometimes it is the sword of
Damocles which cuts the Gordian Knot, and you have
had a narrow escape this time.

George. And you need not fear my ever getting into
trouble again. I've learned my lesson and it has been
a hard task, but I've got it by heart now, and there's no
danger of my forgetting it. I've decided that it's time
for me to make a score off my own bat. Do you know
What I want to do, Aunty? I want to go away from



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64 A GOLD MINE.

London, to get free from the Governor, who is always
down on me.

Mes. M. ril send you to Oxford myself.

George. But, I don't want to go to Oxford. I'm not
a boy any longer, I'm a man. I want to work. I'd
like to go to America to work hard until I have earned
enough to pay off the friend who helped me when I was
in a hole. .

Mrs. M. But, you know who it was who gave you the
money to get out of the scrape?

George. I can't tell. The money was sent by a com-
missionaire as I told you.

Mrs. M. Who told you to go to Sharp & Selover's and
expect the money this morning? (George hesitates) Was
it Mr. Woolcott?

George. Hang it, aunty, how you do cross-examine a
fellow, {crosses r.)

Mrs. M. When I cross-question, I do not want a cross-
answer. Was it Mr. Woolcott?

George. He made me promise not to tell anyone, es-
pecially you. And now you have got it out of me.

Mrs. M. I knew it before I asked you. How I have
misjudged him!

George. Indeed you have, aunty. I always said he
was a brick but you were down on him and never gave
him a chance. And yet he was forever watching you,
and following you about.

Mrs. M. Stop, George, isn*t that your father I hear
below? Run down and tell him I must see him instantly
— instantly.

George. Aunty, you are not going to blow on a fel-
low?

Mrs. M. Silly boy, haven't I fretted myself gray-
haired to keep your secret from him. Tell him I want
to see him. (exit George c. doion stairs. Mrs. M. sits
again c.) I do not know much about business and its
methods and usages, it is true, but the more I think of
what Everard has done, the worse it appears.

(Enter Sir Everard. Coming down L.)

Sir E. George tells me you want to speak to me,

Florence. What is it now? Another ten thousand
pounds, eh?

Mbs. M. Yes, Everard, it is another ten thousand



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A GOLD MINE. 65

pounds. I hear you have bought Mr. Woolcott*s gold
mine.

Sir E. I have — and a very profitable day's work it
was.

Mrs. M. No doubt. And will you tell me why you
bought the mine under another man's name?

Sir E. It was a technicality of business, which you
would not understand if I tried to ei'plain.

Mrs. M. I am . afraid I understand without your
telling me. You did it to make money out of the com-
pany which you have formed.

Sir E. Florence!

Mrs. M. I know the details of the whole transaction —
how, Mr. Woolcott asked you twenty thousand pounds
for his mine, and how you offered him fifteen thousand
pounds, though you had all your plans made for making
it over to the company at twenty-five thousand pounds,
and when you found Mr. Woolcott was pressed for
ready money, you meanly dropped your offer to ten
thousand pounds!

Sir E. (with dignity) Tut— -tut— tut— -Florence. You
are taking a tor** with me that I do not like and will
not submit to. But I excuse you, for you are a woman
and you evidently do not in the least understand what
you are talking about. The whole affair is a strictly
legitimate business transaction and such as any man in
the City would gladly avail himself of, were the op-
portunity offered. It is rarely so profitable a chance
arises, though, and I flatter myself that there are few
who could handle the matter as skilfully as I have
done.

Mrs. M. (c.) You expect the transaction to be very
profitable, do you?

Sir E. (smiling with satisfaction) By that one-half
hour's work, I hope to make fifteen thousand pounds.

Mrs. M. Scarcely so much, I think.

Sir E. At the very least ten thousand pounds.

Mrs. M. You will not make ten thousand pence.

Sir E. The Yankee hasn't cheated me about the
yield of gold, has he?

Mrs. M. Oh no, he hasn't cheated you.

Sir E. I do not think he could, for I took every
precaution. I had the mine carefully examined, and
6



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66 A GOLD MINE.

the expert reported that it was well worth that which
Woolcbtt asked originally, and I have got it for half his
first figure.

Mrs. M. You haven't got it yet?

Sib E. It is mine, at least, I can have it when I
want it. Krebs holds it for me.

Mrs. M. (strong) It is not yours. You cannot have
it when you want it, and Krebs does not hold it

Sib E. {alarmed) What do you mean?

Mas. M. Krebs has parted with it.

Sib E. (excitedly) Do you dare to tell me that the
scoundrel has been bold enough to play a trick on me?

Mrs. M. Who began playing tricks first?

Sib E. Answer me! I insist on your telling me all
you know. Answer me! Krebs has disposed of the
mine?

Mrs. M. Yes.

Sir E. (choking with rage) The thief! The vil-
lain! I'll have him arrested at once. I'll put him in
the dock! I'll have him transported.

Mrs. M. You didn't mean him to keep it for him-
self, did you?

Sir E. (walking ahout) I cannot believe it I will
not believe it Such base ingratitude — a man who has
been a pensioner on my bounty for years. He is worse
than a dog to turn on the hand that fed him. (coming
to Mrs. M.) Say, it is not true!

Mrs. M. But it is true.

Sib E. It is impossible. He has had no opportunity.
When could he have disposed of it? Where? — to whom?

Mrs. M. (strong) This very day — in this very house
— to me?

Sir E. (profoundly astonished) To you!

Mrs. M. To me.

Sir E. To you? And pray what <?an you do with a
gold mine?

Mbs. M. I can restore it to the rightful owner.

Sib E. You are not going. to give it back to the
Yankee?

Mbs. M. I am.

Sib E. But I have bought it from him.

Mbs. M. And I have bought it from you. You need
not be afraid that you shall lose anything. I stand
ready to pay you what you gave for it (crosses l.)



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A GOLD MINE. 67

Sib E. (baffled) But I expected to make a profit
of fifteen thousand pounds.

Mbs. M. Great expectations are their own reward
sometimes.

Sir B. (coaxinff} Come, come, Florence, I am your
brother, your only brother. I have been a father to
you all your life. Now, I come to ask a favor — let me
have that mine. ♦

Mrs. M. I shall give it back to the man from whom
you conveyed it.

Sir E. And you would rob your brother to enrich
a stranger — a man for whom you care nothing. Eh —
what? (looks at her keenly) You color. You do care
for him?

Mrs. M. Everard!

Sir E. Thars it, is it? I see it all! (sneeringly)
The secret's out at last! You love this Woolcott.

Mrs. M. You have no right to speak to me so.

Sir E. And you are willing to rob me to enrich
this Yankee adventurer < who has got round you with
his glib tongue. Viscount Hathway's daughter-in-law
is looking high for her number two.

Mrs. M. (rising indignantly) I am ashamed of you.
And I refuse to listen to you any longer, (starts to go,
crosses R.)

Sir E. (seizes her hand) Stop!

Mrs. M. Take care, Everard, you hurt me.

Sir E. This is no child's play. I will prevent this
villainy if I can.

Mrs. M. You hurt me.

Sir E. (releasing her hand) Answer me now. How
do you know the deed has been made out in proper
form?

Mrs. M. It was made out on the blank form prepared
under your own directions.

Sir E. And witnessed?

Mrs. M. Wilson witnessed it.

Sib B. I will discharge him — him — ^Krebs — and every-
one who has had anything to do with this. Where is
this assignment? Let me see it.

Mrs. M. Mr. Krebs has taken it with him to have it
registered.

Sir E. Well, Madam, I shall see if there is any law
in England to reach this case. I' think Parliament in



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68 A GOLD MINE.

its wisdom has framed some statutes to cover conspir-
acy and the subordination of servants, {exit l. into
library, slamming door)

Mrs. M. (looking after him) And this is my
brother! Touched in his pocket — his most sensitive
point, it seems, his true self stands revealed. And I
have misjudged the American as much as I have mis-
judged Everard. And we might have been good friends
now, but for my silly fancy for sharpening my wit on
his shoulder. *

{Sinks into chair at door of conservatory b., half hidden

hy palms.)
He fell into the sport readily enough, but if I had
known his real value, I should have not kept him from
me by idle words, {musing) And yet, George says

WooLCOTT. {entering c. and coming down l.) Great
• Scott, I can't stand any more of that. Congratulations
and felicitations as if I were starting out on a wedding
trip, and not a poor devil of a commercial traveler in
Bitumen, for, as I can see that is about my position.
And I can't bear to tell them truth, for that would in-
volve a lot of explanations, and if there is one thing that
would rile my present temper more than another it
would be to explain Yet, I'd like to see Mrs. Meredith
to say good-bye. Maybe it's just as well I shouldn't see
her. I might say more than I could take back — {sits
c.) for when I'm talking to her, my heart's in my
mouth, and some fine day it will slip out and fall at
her feet — its proper place indeed.

Mrs. M. I wonder where he is? I wonder whether he
ever thinks of me when he is away from me, as I am
thinking of him now? I suppose he is busy making
ready to return to America now that he has sold his
mine.

WooLcoTT. {on so fay finding fan) Her fan! The
very one she held in her hand the night I saw her
first, here in this room, nearly five months ago. Gra-
cious, how time files! I see her now as she stood before
me that night, laughing at my blunder. And she has
been laughing at me ever since, and I have come back
again and again to be laughed at. Why, I'd sooner see
her laugh at me than any other woman smile on me.
I wonder if she ever knew what was deep down in my



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A GOLD MINE. 69

heart yrhen I had a light jest on the tip of my tongue?
Women are quick to see when they have made a fool
of a man, but I made a fool of myself, ^nd she is not
like other women.

Mrs. M. (rising) I cannot bear to think of it all.
(sees Woolcott) Why, there he is! When did he come
in? How long has he been here?

WooLCOTT. I'm glad I found this fan! I shall keep
it. She has my heart and she will not grudge me this
in exchange. I shall need a fan in Palestine,^ they say
the climate's rather warm there. I'll keep this, {kisses
it and puts it in hreast)

Mrs. M. (aside) He kissed my fan, then — (pauses,
then aloud) So you are there, Mr. Woolcott. (coming
down R.)

WooLcoTT. (springing up startled; l. c, puts fan in
pocket, corner out) Of course — of course. I — how do
you do?

Mrs. M. (r. c.) You have my fan I see.

Woolcott. (embarrassed) Yes, oh, yes, I have your
fan. I found it here. I thought I'd take care of it for
you.

Mrs. M. You are very kind. I'll take it if you wish
(holds out her hand)

(Woolcott kisses the hand she holds out as he restores
the fan.)

Mrs. M. Mr. Woolcott!

Woolcott. Do not be angry, Mrs. Meredith. I have
only come to say 'good-bye and the occasion seemed to
me to demand a little more than the usual shake of the
hand.

Mrs. M. I supposed you would be going now. I hear
you have sold the gold mine.

Woolcott. (aside) Damn that gold mine! (aloud)
Oh, yes, it's sold.

Mrs. M. And am I to congratulate you?

Woolcott. You may suit yourself about that. Per-
sonally I'd rather you did not. I've had rather more
of that kind of thing than I can stand.

Mrs. M. Then I'll refrain. And when do you return
to America?

Woolcott. I don't return to America at all — at least,
not at present.



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70 A GOLD MINE.

Mbs. M. No? But I thought you said you came to
say good-bye.

"WooLCOTT. America isn't the only place in the world,
though a good many folks over there think so. No,
I*m going to Palestine.

Mrs. M. (interested) To Palestine?

WooLcoTT. Now, for Heaven's sake, please do not
wish me a pleasant trip, and congratulate me on my
certain enjoyment of the associations of the Holy Land,
for I can't stand that either.

Mrs. M. May I ask what takes you to Palestine, for
I'm sure it isn't pleasure?

WooLCOTT. It's business — bread and butter In fact,
and mighty little of the butter. Never mind about that!

Mrs. M. Why need you go now?

WooLCOTT. Because — because I must

Mrs. M. But why so soon? The season is not over
yet?

WooLCOTT. The season has no pleasure for me — now.

Mrs. M. (aside) Poor fellow! (aloud) But, if you
sold the mine — a gold mine too — for a fair price

WooLCOTT. (seriously) Pray do not press that, Mrs.
Meredith. I've had ups and downs in my life, mostly
downs, and this is one of them. I parted with the
price of the mine before I had it. I can carry off my
poverty with a smile before the others, but somehow,
before you, I — I

(Mrs. M. ptUs out her hand, he seizes it and ahahes it,)
You did that as though you were really sorry for me.

Mrs. M. And would that surprise you?

WooLCOTT. I confess, it would a little.

Mrs. M. Don't you think I can be a sincere friend?

WooLcoTT. Why not? You are always telling me un-
pleasant truths.

Mrs. M. You don't take to heart all I say, do you?

WOOLCOTT. Don't I?

Mrs. M. Whatever you may think of me, I know you
are a staunch friend, for I have tried you and you were
not found wanting. You guard your secret well — but
I know it.

WooLCOTT. (suddenly) Who told you? (pauses) I
mean to say, that I have no secrets.

Mrs. M. I know why you sold your mine. I know



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A QOLD MIKB. 71

to whom you sold it, and the price he paid - the shame-
fully inadequate price. I would like to apologize for my
brother, if I knew how to do it, but

WooLOOTT. Stop! Hold your horses! Don't say a
word about him! He drove a hard bargain, but — ^he
did more than his bond called for — he's given me a
situation.

Mrs. M. What do you mean?

WooLcoTT. He has taken me into his employ. He
pays me two hundred pounds a year to go to South
Palestine to see wjiat has become of the Bitumen which
ought to be there.

Mbs. M. And that is why you leave us?

WooLCOTT. Why, certainly. I'm out of money and
out of isi job. Sir Everard offers me work — why shouldn't
I take it?

Mrs. M. You must not go!

WooLcoTT. Oh, yes, I must — ^now more than ever.

Mrs. M. (after a pause and shyly) But, I have
asked you to stay

WooLcoTT. Great Scott! Do you want to make me
speak whether I will or not? Do you want another
scalp to hang at the door of your wigwam? All right,
you can have mine. And I'm not sorry to have a change
to tell you all that's in my heart before I go away.
1 love you, don't Jump! — ^and J have loved you ever
since I first saw you. I know how unworthy I am of
you, but I couldn't help loving you. I have gone on
loving more and more even when we were exchanging
hard words. I set myself as 'a target for your jibes
just that I might hear the sound of your voice^ and
feast my eyes with a sight of your face. Now the
murder's out, and you can turn me away as soon as
you please.

{Pauses. Mrs. Meredith sits silently, with downcast

eyes,)
You do not dismiss me at once. Then, I'll go on to the
end. I'm a poor man now, I'm dead broke — the only
wealth I have in the world is my love for you, and it's
all I have to offer you. Will you take it? Will you
be my wife, Florence?

Mrs. M. (turns to him, raising her eyes and hands to
his) Yes.



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72 A GOLD MIN^

WooLCbtT; ipullinff her up, embrace and kiss) This
is. better thaa Palestine — it's paradise I (kisses her
again)

Mrs. M. Someone might come in — and just fancy
two old people like us

WooLCOTT. Don't fret! I feel like a boy of twenty —
and you look younger than your niece. Let me gaze
at you again, a man likes to survey his property. Well,
after all, I struck a streak of litck when I found that
mine — for it led me to you, and if I haven't the gold
mine, I have you.

Mas. M. You have me, and I have the gold mine.

WooLCOTT. What!
. Mrs. M. I bought it from Julius Krebs at the same
price my brother gave for it. You can have it back
again.

WooLCOTT. What is the odds, my dear? It'll be all
in the family. I'll never part with it again. It would
be flying in the face of good luck. We'll work ft our-
selves.

(Enter Una and Riordan upstairs R. and l. together, rac-
ing and running; Riordan pulling her dress and
down L.)

. HiORDAN. I'm with you.

. Una. Oh, aunt! Stop, Gerald, pulling back isn't fair!

(WooLcoTT al)out to kiss Mrs. If., head, turns, sees
Riordan, kick up stage.)

Mrs. M. What have you done with Mrs. Vandervast?

Una. (all out of hreath, crosses to l. c.) Oh, she's
coming. We ran on because we had a question for you
to settle, and we both wanted to get here first.

Riordan. {out of J)reathy same hus,) Una says

Una. No, Gerald says

WooLCOTT. In fact, you both say

Una. Gerald pretends that we can get married this
season, and I tell him it is ridiculously too soon. What
do you think?

WooLcoTT. {aside) Say this season, and soon too,
for, of course, we'll have to make a double wedding of it.

Riordan. Go on, Mr. Woolcott, I know you're putting
in a good word for me.

Woolcott. And two for myself. What do you think?



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A GOLD MINE. 73

(Enter Mbs. VANDEBVASTi)

Mbs. Van. And what's the decision?. These rude
young people ran away from me to appeal to you.

Mbs. M. What is your opinion?

Mbs. Van. I see no reason for delay. Juliet went to
Friar Lawrence's cell and got married at a day's notice.

Mbs. Mi You are in a minority, Una. We had better
say the close of the season.

WooLCOTT. . (aside to Mbs. M.) And we don't go to
South Palestine on our wedding Journey either.

(Enter Sib B. l. from library.)

Sib E. You are making too much noise out here, you
disturb me. (to Wooixjott) I presume, Mr. Woolcott,
that my sister has acquainted you with the result of her
scheming with my servants.

WooLCX)TT. Well, I don't know that I should put it
that way. Mrs. Meredith has acquainted me with a fact
of a very deep interest to me.

Sib E. And you intend to take advantage of her —
her generosity?

WooLCOTT. You bet your bottom dollar I do, every
time!

Sib E. That's enough, sir! I have nothing more to
say to you.

WooLcoTT. That settles it.

(Enter Geobge b. c, down b.)

Geobge. (going eagerly to Woolcott) Mr. Woolcott,
how can I ever thank you?

Woolcott. (shaking hands) Keep out of mischief
for the future, and never say a word about it.

Geobqe. But

Woolcott. (interrupting him) There's your lame
hand with the bandage looking three ways for Sunday.
Go over to your aunt — nephew.

Mbs. M. Come here, George, I'll settle it.

(Geobge crosses to her,)

Una. Papa, as I told you this morning, Gerald and
I have — have —

Sib E. I know you have. What then?

RioBDAN. We are thinking of getting married before
the close of the season. Sir Everard.



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74 A GOLD MINE.

Sib E. It is not to be thought of, sir. Your position
is too undecided. You must show a fixed income, a cer-
tain position; before

WooLCOTT. That'll be all right. I will appoint Mr.
Riordan London agent of the gold mine, with a good
salary and a percentage of the profits.

RioBDAN. Thank you, old fellow.

WooLCOTT. We shall need a paymaster and treasurer
at Grass Valley. I will give Krebs that position.

Sir B. George, I shall certainly forbid your playing
cricket if the result is to maim you and keep you away
from your duties at the office.

WooLCOTT. I think. Sir Everard, the boy will do bet-
ter away from the office altogether, and away from
London. My advice to him would be to go West and
grow up with the country. I daresay we can find him
a suitable position about the gold mine.

Sib B, (annoyed) Tut! Tut! Tut! Your gold mine
seems omnivorous, and ready to swallow up all my
household. Perhaps my sister will find occupation there
too?

WooLCJOTT. (extending arms to Mrs. M. who crosses
to him) She will. She has kindly consented to come
out and take care of the owner of the gold mine.



CXJBTAIN,



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^gr^SJSSD FOR A NEW DESCRIPTIVB CATALOOUIJ.



(Frenches Standard Drama Continued from 2d page o/Cover.)



321
322
323
324
325
328
327



329
330
3.S1
332

3;i3



337
338
339
340
341
34-i
343
344



VOL. XLI.
The Pirate's Lef acy
TIms Charcoal Buru«r
Adelgitha
Seuor Valiente
Forest Rose
Dake'g Da;\ighter
Camilla's Husband
Pure Gold

VOL. XLIL
Ticket of Leave Man
FooPs Revenge
U'Neil the tireak
Handy Andy
Pi r:iio of the Islet
hniichoa
Little Barefoot
Wild Irish Girl

VOL. XLIIL
Pearl of Savoy
Dead Heart

Ten N IghU In a Bar-room
Dumb Boy of Manchester
Belphegor theMounteb'k
Cricket on the Hearth
Printer's Devil
Meg's Diversioa



VOL. XLIV.

845 Drunkard's Doom

846 Chimney Comer

3*47 Fifteen Years of a Drunk

348 No Thoroughfan Tard's

349 Peep O' Day I Life

350 Everybody's Friend

351 Oen. Grant

365 Kathleen Mavottmeea

VOL. XLV.
353 Nick Whiffles
364 Fruits of the Wine Cup

356 Drunkard's Warning

366 Temperance Doctor

357 Annt t)inah

358 Widow Freeheari
369 Frou Frou

360 Lone Strike

VOL. XLVI.
861 Laroers
36i Lu'.llle
368 Raadall's Thumb

364 Wicked World

365 Two Orphans

366 Colleen Bawn

367 'Twixt Axe and Crown
868 Lady Clancarthy



VOL. XLVIL

369 Saratoga

370 Never Too Late to 1
871 Lily of France

372 Led Astray

373 Henry V

374 Unequal Match
375MayorDoUy'(Del
376 AUatoona

VOL. XLVIIL
911 Enoch Arden

378 Under the Gaa Llgb

379 Daniel Rochat

380 Caste

381 School

382 Home

383 David Garilck

384 Ours
VOL. XLIX.

385 Social Glass

386 Daniel Droca

387 Two Roses

388 Adrienne
889 The Bells

390 Uncle

391 Courtihip

392 Not Such a Fool



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Carnival of Authors

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Children's Plays

Comic Dramas for Male Characters

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Costume Books
Crape Hair
Cumberland Edition


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Online LibraryGeorge Henry Jessop Brander MatthewsA gold mine: a play in three acts → online text (page 6 of 7)