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CHRISTMAS - JERUSHA GRUMBLE ***




Produced by Emmy, MFR and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was
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[Transcriber's Note: Bold text is surrounded by =equal signs= and italic
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What Christmas Did for Jerusha Grumble

By
JOHN D. MACDONALD


_Price 25 cents each, postpaid_


_ALL RIGHTS RESERVED_

_Public performing rights given free
when 5 or more copies are purchased_

[Illustration: _Tullar-Meredith Co._]

265 West 36th Street New York City

_Copyright 1919 by Tullar-Meredith Co.
International Copyright Secured_




Requisites


———

TIME—_About 30 minutes_

CHARACTERS—_Isabel_, _Hazel_, _Julia_, _Jessie_, _Jerusha_

———

(Or it might be better if all used their own names except Jerusha.)




What Christmas did for Jerusha Grumble

A PLAY FOR FIVE GIRLS




SCENE—_A sitting-room at Isabel’s home_


_Isabel_ (_Isabel, Julia, Hazel busy with Christmas gifts_). I suppose,
Julia, you have finished all the Christmas presents that you intend to
make this year. You certainly have been very industrious for the past
few weeks.

_Julia._ Industrious is the right way to put it, Isabel; I certainly
have been very busy. But when this pair of mittens and wristlets that I
am making for Tom are finished, I can say I am through for this year.

_Hazel._ Have you made many presents this year, Julia?

_Julia._ Yes, quite a number of them, Hazel. I don’t remember just how
many, but I surely have been busy.

_Hazel_ (_teasingly, looking at Julia_). I have heard say that it don’t
take much to keep some people busy. For instance, now, there is——

_Julia_ (_quickly_). Now that’s not me, Hazel, not at all. When I work,
I work.

_Isabel._ So does a pump-handle, Julia. But then some one must take
hold of it.

_Julia._ I see you girls just want to tease me. Well go ahead, I don’t
care.

(_Enter Jessie, excitedly, laying aside her wraps._)

_Hazel._ Well, well! If here isn’t the sluggard at last. We thought you
were never, never, going to come. What detained you so long?

_Jessie_ (_flurried and excitedly_). Oh, girls, you couldn’t ever—ever
guess. In a year’s time you couldn’t ever—ever—ever guess.

_Isabel._ An engine down on the railroad crossing?

_Jessie._ No!—No! (_Shaking her head._)

_Julia._ Had to wait for your mother to fix your hair, or tie your hair
ribbons?

_Jessie._ No! No! Oh, girls (_holding up hands in surprise_) just think
of it! Jerusha Grumble was out sweeping off her walk as I came along
and she looked up and smiled, and said just as pleasant as could be,
“Good afternoon, Jessie.” (_All the girls rise quickly and look at
Jessie in astonishment._)

_Julia_ (_drawls out_). She d-i-d?

_Jessie_ (_nodding_). U-m. Um—m.

_Hazel_ (_with emphasis_). She—did—indeed?

_Jessie._—Um——. Um-m-m——

_Isabel_ (_more emphasis_). Really—did she?

_Jessie._ Um—m. Why, girls, I was never so surprised in all my life.
Jerusha Grumble never spoke so nice to me as she did to-day. I was so
surprised that I really had to stop every few minutes to think about
it. That is one reason why I am so late in coming here.

_Hazel_ (_girls take seats again_). Well, this is a surprise, Jessie,
to think Jerusha took the trouble to speak kindly to one of us girls. I
don’t think she would ever say good afternoon to me, for you know she
has been very angry with me ever since I called her a cranky old maid.

_Isabel._ Dear me. Hazel, you ought not to have said that to her.
Jerusha is cross, and awfully cranky, too, but perhaps there has been
something in her life that has made her dislike every one. I heard
father say once, that Jerusha had a sweetheart a long time ago, and
that a girl named Hannah Takehim won him away from her, and Jerusha
hasn’t been like the same person since. But I really do wish she would
be different.

_Jessie._ She must be getting different, or she wouldn’t have spoken so
nice to me to-day. Do you know, girls, what I was thinking of on my way
here? It was just this. That we four be a committee to go down to see
Jerusha, and invite her to go to the Christmas tree exercises to-morrow
night. Let’s try to get Jerusha out among the people of the village,
and when she sees that we want to be friendly with her, perhaps she
will be different.

_Julia._ As likely as not when she sees us come in her gate, she will
get angry and meet us at the door with a broomstick.

_Jessie._ Never mind how mad she is, we’ll pretend not to notice it,
but all speak pleasantly to her, and gently push our way into the house.

_Hazel._ I am perfectly willing to go, because I would really like to
see Jerusha live like other people, and not be such an unsociable old
creature. Shall we all go girls? I will lead the way.

_All._ Yes, we will all go, Hazel.

_Hazel._ We’ll all meet at my house to-morrow afternoon. (_All leave
for home with goodbyes, etc._)




SCENE II.—_Sitting-room at Jerusha’s home_

(_Oil stove in one corner; ironing board in the other. Jerusha’s large
rocker at one side. Jerusha very busy._)


_Jerusha._ Well, Jerusha Grumble, you’re getting awful tired, indeed
you are. But my sakes, how happy you have been to-day. (_Seats herself
in rocker._) Here I am just touching on fifty-eight, and all along
I’ve acted like sixty. That is, I’ve acted like some one sixty years
old, and not exactly that either, because most people sixty years old
act decent-like and get some enjoyment out of life. But I always was
cross-like, leastwise ever since Hannah Takehim done what she did. But
Hannah’s dead now, and Jeremiah’s a widower and most blind. Pshaw! them
things are all passed now, and I am going to live like other folks.
Dear me, you don’t just know how good I did feel after I had said good
afternoon to Jessie, yesterday. And how nice she did talk to me, and
she said she hoped I would have a nice Christmas! And after she went
on her way, I just thought to myself, Jerusha, just try and have a
real nice Christmas once, and so I sets to work and made pie and cake,
and molasses candy, and popcorn, and then I thought I would have a
Christmas tree all to myself. Only it ain’t going to be a real tree,
but just my new broom fixed up. When I was a little girl our poor dear
mother used to fix up the broom on Christmas, and we children had lots
of fun with it. You see we were very poor, and mother couldn’t afford
to buy a real tree, so we made the broom answer instead. They are going
to have a real tree up at the church to-night and wouldn’t I like to
see it? If I was like other folks I would go up there. Yes, and I will
go, too! Now I’ll lay out that old print skirt, and when I get time I
will press it. (_Lays out the things as she talks._) And I’ll fix my
old bonnet over, and I’ll darn the holes in my black gloves, and go to
the Christmas tree to-night. Now I must write this all down or I will
forget about it. (_Writes._) There now! I’ll fix up my own tree first
before I do anything else. (_Stands the broom up near her rocker, fixed
so that it can be easily knocked over._) There, I guess that will do.
It seems that the more I do to-day the happier I get. Now I’ll put this
popcorn trimming on—and this ’copia I’ll put on, and yes, I’ll just
write Jessie’s name on it, too. And this handkerchief is for Isabel.
And this ribbon is for Julia. Wouldn’t those girls laugh if they could
see my Christmas tree and presents on it for them? But it ain’t likely
they will ever know that I was so foolish. I have always been so cross
and cranky that no one ever comes here to see me, but I do mean to
be different from now on. (_As she finishes fixing up the broom._)
There, that does look real nice. Now I will just sit down and look at
it before I get things fixed up for to-night. (_Seats herself in chair
and admires the tree._) Jerusha Grumble, this has been your happiest
Christmas since Hannah Takehim.... But as I said before, Hannah’s dead
now, and Jeremiah’s a widower and most blind. (_Falls asleep in the
chair. Chair placed so she cannot be seen from door. Girls knock at
door. Jerusha does not waken. Girls open door a little and peep in, but
do not see her._)

_Julia._ Now Hazel, go in. You said that you would lead the way.

_Hazel._ Oh, supposing she gets mad and drives us away. You all know
what a cross-patch Jerusha is.

_Jessie._ Well, girls, all call out, “Merry Christmas, Jerusha,” and
then walk right in and begin to admire everything she has.

_Isabel._ Knock once more on the inside of the door.

_Hazel._ Here goes! Are you ready?

_Isabel._ Yes, Hazel, do for pity’s sake rap hard. Maybe she is
upstairs.

_Hazel_ (_raises her hand to knock_). Oh, girls, how can I?

_Julia._ You said you would, Hazel, now go ahead. Be quick!

_Hazel._ All ready, girls. (_Raps at the door; no answer. All laugh and
giggle._) She must be out or asleep. I’ll rap again. (_Raps again and
waits._)

_Jessie._ She may be sick. Let’s go right in. I’ll lead the way if
Hazel won’t.

_Hazel._ Oh, do go Jessie, we will all follow you. (_All tiptoe in and
find Jerusha asleep. Examine the tree and find the note Jerusha wrote._)

_Isabel._ Poor Jerusha is trying to have a Christmas tree all to
herself, and by the way this reminder reads, I should think she was
going to fix up for a visit somewhere.

_Jessie_ (_who has examined the tree_). Here is something for each
of us on this broom Christmas tree! I wonder what it means, anyway.
Perhaps Jerusha is trying to live a better life, and if so, then we
girls must help her.

_Julia_ (_who has been examining the dress, bonnet and gloves_). I say,
girls, let’s fix up these things while Jerusha is asleep, and perhaps
it will please her, when she wakes up, to find her work all finished. I
will mend the gloves, and Jessie, you fix up the bonnet, and Hazel can
help you, while Isabel presses out the skirt. Now all work quietly and
fast, for she may soon wake up. (_All get to work._)

_Isabel_ (_admires the skirt, which is of very loud or gay pattern_).
I guess Jerusha’s grandmother must have worn this dress. It’s most
loud enough to wake Jerusha out of her sleep. I wonder how long it
has been in the family? (_Here Isabel drops the iron on the floor.
All frightened. Jessie places forefinger on her lips. Hazel stands up
with one hand over her mouth and holding bonnet by one string. Isabel
holds up both hands and one foot. Julia, very much frightened, looks at
sleeping Jerusha._)

_Isabel._ My! but I nearly did it that time, girls. Jerusha is a good
sleeper. I’ll be more careful this time. (_Goes on with ironing._)

_Hazel._ I would put that feather in this way, Jessie, if I were doing
it.

_Jessie._ I think this is the best way, Hazel. Just see how graceful it
is! (_Holding up the bonnet._)

_Julia._ My job is done. How about you, Isabel, is that dress pressed
out yet? Oh, how I would like to see you in a dress like that. Do put
it on, Isabel, do now, just for fun.

_Isabel._ What if Jerusha should wake up and catch me with her dress
on? She would be awfully angry. No—no, I can’t do it.

_Hazel._ Oh, do put it on, Isabel, and the bonnet, too. We will be as
quiet as mice, and Jerusha won’t know a thing about it. Come, we will
help you with it.

_Isabel._ Well, if you all keep very quiet, I will see how it fits me.
(_Puts on the dress and bonnet._)

_Julia._ Oh, what a picture you are, Isabel. Just turn around so we can
see you. How sweet you look. Great grandmother, Isabel. (_All laugh
and have a good time as Isabel walks around the room. Finally some one
knocks the broom over on Jerusha, who wakes up with a start._)

_Jerusha._ Mercy me, what does this mean? Where did you all come from?
Who are you all? Oh, I know you, Hazel! You who called me a cranky old
maid! (_Grabs the broom to threaten Hazel._)

_Hazel_ (_very much frightened_). Now don’t use your broom on me,
Jerusha. Please don’t. You had it all fixed up for a Christmas tree,
and had presents on it for each of us, and now will you use it to drive
us out of the house.

_Jessie_ (_soothingly to Jerusha, placing hand on her shoulder_). Dear
Jerusha, let me explain it all to you. You see we girls came here to
spend the afternoon with you, and we knocked and knocked at the door,
and as you did not answer, we thought that you were sick in bed. So we
came right in and found you asleep, and you looked so tired we thought
that we would let you sleep on, while we fixed up the things you had
laid out for repairs. Now please don’t be angry with us, dear.

_Jerusha_ (_spies Isabel in the corner with her dress and bonnet on_).
Isabel, what are you doing with my dress on? And I declare, but you
have my bonnet, too!

_Isabel_ (_timidly_). Oh, Jerusha, after we got them all fixed up,
we thought we would like to see how they would look. (_Admiringly._)
Really, dear Jerusha, this is a beautiful dress. You don’t see any
like it nowadays, do you, girls? No Jerusha, we meant no offence, so
you’ll excuse us, won’t you?

_Julia._ No, Jerusha, we meant no harm. But do please sit down (_leads
her to chair_), and tell us how you came to make a Christmas tree out
of your broom. And why did you put presents on it for us girls? You
must have had a reason for doing it.

_Jerusha_ (_sits down, wipes tears from eyes. Julia sits beside her._)
Dear me, girls, I am real glad that you have come, even if you did find
me doing foolish things. But really I ain’t been so happy on Christmas
before, since Hannah Takehim done what she did. But pshaw, Hannah’s
dead now these twenty years, and Jeremiah’s still a widower, but most
blind. But you want to know about the broom Christmas tree, and I will
tell you. You see, when I was a little girl we lived in the city, and
we were always very poor, and when Christmas came we always wanted a
tree. But our mother, with six children, never could afford to buy
one for us. So we always dressed up the broom for a Christmas tree,
and what fun we did have! A few days ago, as I sat by the window, I
saw some men go by with a great big tree for the church, and I thinks
to myself, Jerusha, wouldn’t you like to go to a Christmas exercise
once more? And I said “yes” to myself. But then I thought how mean I
had always been to every one, ever since Hannah Takehim done what she
did. But pshaw, Hannah’s dead this many a year, and Jeremiah’s still
a widower. Still, I says to myself, Jerusha, you must do different,
and I just made up my mind that I will be different, and I will speak
pleasant-like to people, and I would go where the neighbors were, and
up to the Christmas tree I thought was just the place to begin.

_Hazel._ Yes, Jerusha, that will be nice and brave of you to come up to
the Christmas exercises to-night, and one of the reasons why we came
here was to ask you to go up to the church with us. We expect to have a
splendid time. You will come with us, won’t you, Jerusha?

_Jerusha._ I think it is real nice of you, Hazel, to invite me to go,
much nicer than to call me a cranky old maid. (_Jerusha reaches for her
handkerchief. Hazel thinks she is reaching for the broom and starts for
the door._) Don’t be afraid, Hazel, no, no, don’t be afraid. I know I
was cranky and mean, but I wouldn’t be an old maid if Hannah Takehim
hadn’t done what she did. But pshaw——

_Julia._ Jerusha, you haven’t said that you would go with us to the
exercises to-night. We girls would dearly love to have you go. You will
meet a lot of people there that you know.

_Jerusha._ Yes, and a lot that I never liked and who never liked
Jerusha Grumble, either.

_Isabel._ But Jerusha that is just the place to become good friends.
You know that Christmas was the time that the angels sang, “Peace on
earth, good-will toward men.” Now let us make it peace right here in
our own village. You must know Mr. Coutant, and Mr. Bennett and Mr.
Macdonald.

_Jerusha._ Oh, yes, I know all them. Mr. Macdonald is superintendent of
the Sunday-school, ain’t he, Jessie?

_Jessie._ Yes, my father is the superintendent of the Sunday-school.

_Jerusha._ Well, your father is ’most old enough to remember what
Hannah Takehim did. But, oh, pshaw! Hannah’s dead these twenty years,
and Jeremiah’s a widower still, and most blind. And I am just touching
on fifty-eight, so your father will remember. It’s no wonder I am a
cranky old maid. (_Hazel starts up again._)

_Jessie._ Let us all meet at my house, and go up together. I know that
every one will try to make it pleasant for you, Jerusha. We will tell
all our friends that you are coming to the exercises, and they won’t be
surprised when they see you.

_Hazel._ And I know that some young ladies will have a little present
on the tree for you to prove that they appreciate your coming.

_Isabel_ (_putting on her wraps_). Please don’t fix up too much,
Jerusha, for we are all plain people up there and we don’t put on any
airs.

_Jerusha._ No, no, I won’t fix up much. I may wear the things you girls
so kindly fixed up for me, and again I may wear my first best ones.

_Julia_ (_all should now have wraps on to go home_). Girls, let’s sing
a Christmas song for Jerusha before we start for home. (_All stand in
line, join hands and swing them back and forth child-fashion, while
they sing a verse of some familiar Christmas song. At the second verse,
Jerusha takes her place in the middle of the line and sings and swings
with the girls._)

_Jerusha_ (_near close of second verse says_). If only Hannah Takehim
could see me now! But pshaw——

_Jessie._ Merry Christmas, Jerusha. Now be on time. (_All say, “Merry
Christmas.”_)

_Jerusha_ (_as the girls are leaving_). I’ll be there on time, don’t
fear. (_Speaking to the audience._) Now ain’t this been just splendid?
And ain’t those young girls just lovely? I don’t think that Hazel
will ever call me a cranky old maid again. And I do just hope that
Jeremiah will be at the Christmas tree exercises. I’ll just show him
that Jerusha Grumble can go out in society even if I am touching on
fifty-eight and an old maid, which _he_ knows I wouldn’t be if Hannah
Takehim hadn’t done what she did. But pshaw! I must get ready for the
Christmas tree or I will be late, and I think after all that I will
wear my first best clothes, and look real pert—perter than Hannah—but
pshaw!

EXIT

(_If used at the close of a Christmas exercise, have
the girls and Jerusha come up the aisle of the church
or hall sometime during the distribution of the
presents. Jerusha should then be dressed in her “first
best clothes.”_)




Christmas Plays


=(+) OLA: OR A CHRISTMAS PRESENT FOR MOTHER.= In this
little 15-minute play the Christmas present the three
children of the “Good” family find for mother is
none other than “Ola,” a street waif who comes in
to get warm while mother is out shopping. Alta, the
only girl in the family, has been wishing she had a
sister to share the trials which two (2) wideawake
brothers bring to her, so she has a double motive in
wanting to hide Ola away when mother comes and then
bring her out and present her as a Christmas present
to mother. Only five characters, 2 boys, 2 girls, and
1 woman, required. No special costumes needed, and
the one home scene is simple to provide. Five copies
required. Price 30 cts., postpaid.


=(+) MISCHIEVOUS ESTHER AT GRANDMOTHER’S.= It was all
Grandmother’s fault. Having so many nice things
hidden about the house at Christmastime should not be
permitted, when the grandchildren are to be left in
the house alone while grandmother goes out for the
afternoon. Of course the boys were not mischievous,
not even curious, but with Esther it was different,
for she was a girl. She was a very sweet one though,
especially when the molasses she got into was all
over her apron. It was Christmastime and everything
ends right during this happy season, so putting the
soiled apron into the box from which she took the
kitten and putting the kitten into the wash basin
intended for the apron was only a slight mixup, from
which mischievous Esther would soon clear herself.
Three characters, 1 girl and 2 boys, 12 years of age,
are employed. A simple sitting-room scene; no special
costumes; time about 15 minutes. 3 copies only
required. Price 25 cts., postpaid.


=TELEPHONING TO SANTA CLAUS.= A Christmas dialogue for
two (2) girls, ten (10) or twelve (12) years of age,
who conceive the idea of using the telephone to tell
Santa Claus what they most want, and suffer no great
surprise when the very things asked for reach them
through the “phone.” A simple sitting-room scene in
which a make-believe “phone” is installed furnishes
the setting. Time of rendition about 10 minutes.
Price 25 cts., postpaid.


=(+) WHAT CHRISTMAS DID FOR JERUSHA GRUMBLE.=
Self-confessedly, she was only 58, but for years
she had acted like sixty, that is to say,—oh well,
in nature she had been true to her name, and when
one’s nature suggests a name like hers, it’s quite
a job to change it. She couldn’t forget that, many
years before, she had expected to change her name,
but, oh well, it wasn’t her fault, and Christmas
came along and helped her to cover up the past and
open a new future for her. Of course it couldn’t
change her name, but this little play tells how
very effectively it did change her nature, and then
the contrast between name and nature was a charm in
the hitherto repulsive life. It’s a pretty story,
made into a pleasing Christmas play. There are five
characters, all girls; two scenes, easily arranged.
Quite ordinary costumes are used and only 5 copies of
the book required. Time about 30 minutes. Price 30
cts., postpaid.


=(+) WANTED—CHRISTMAS SPIRIT.= In Prolog, Three Scenes
and Epilog. By Hester L. Hopkins. 22 females and
13 male characters in the entire play, but it can
be given with 8 females and 7 males by having some
assume different characters in various scenes. Time
of rendition, 30 to 40 minutes. If only 15 people
take part, 12 copies will be required. Price 30 cents
per copy, postpaid.


=(+) CHRISTMAS CHEER.= A play in two acts for six
females. Time of rendition about 20 minutes.

Four young ladies are the members of a Sunday School
class whose teacher has asked that each member of the
class shall do something to bring “Christmas Cheer”
to someone who would not otherwise be remembered.
Each of the girls, unbeknown to the other members of
the class, decides to make the “Jones Family” the
object of her Christmas visit.

It turns out to be quite a “Surprise party.” While one
of the girls prepares the Christmas pie, the others
of the class provide a pleasant entertainment. When
the Christmas pie is cut, Caroline and Amanda find
that it is filled with the presents which the class
brought. Simple setting and costumes. 6 copies
required. Price 25 cents. Postpaid.

_If the number of copies specified as “REQUIRED” is
ordered at one time, a discount of 33⅓ per cent will be
allowed from list price on all the above._








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