Sir John Tenniel Mrs. Burton Harrison.

Alice in wonderland: A play for children in three acts online

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^ou will send me back to my father.

Baroness. — 1 will do better, my dear child. I will con-
duct you there myself. What a sensation for society ! Mile.
de Fermstein, the proudest beauty of the Court, married to a
serf!

Poleska.— What humiliation !

Baroness (eagerly). — I declare, I almost wish I were
there already, to hear what people will say But the main
thing is, to dissolve the marriage. Of course there will be
no difficulty in finding a plea for divorce. He — this Alexis —
is rough and brutal ? Violent and cruel, eh ?

Poleska. — He ? Ah, no, he is gentleness itself.

Baroness. — Well, then, state your grievance as you
please, only be quick about it. (Poleska remains silent.)

Baroness. — Good Heavens ! girl, did I ever before see a
wife at a loss for a grievance against her husband ?

KOULIKOFF. — With submission, Madame la Baronne.
Madame la Baronne perhaps forgets that the Count himself,-
without tedious processes of law is able to break the mar-
riage of his serf.

Baroness. — True! they manage somethings far better
here than in Paris ! How lucky for Mile, de Fermstein. Go,
ray dear* into my chamber ; draw up your petition for divorce,



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56 A RUSSIAN HONEYMOON.

sign it and give it to me. The rest shall be speedily settled.
Poleska (reluctantly). — Y-e-e-s — Madame; but after-
wards

( Baroness (mimicking Poleska). — Afterwards ? What
do you mean ? You are free. You return to your father.
You will never see this wretch again. What more would
you have ?

Poleska.— And he — Gustave — Alexis, I would say — he
will be at liberty to marry — again ?

"Baroness. — Certainly, and so will you, my dear, so cheer
up. (A knock at L. D.)

Koulikoff (aside).— That's the villain, the hero of all
this rumpus. I locked him into the little blue cabinet an
hour ago. (Aloud.) I forgot to say Madame la Baronne,
that this man demanded to be shown to your presence, as if
it were his right, confound him.

Poleska (going and returning impetuously). — Ah,
Madame, see him. Talk to him. Console him, tell him 1
wish him no further ill, but tell him how unalterable is the

resolution I have taken to see him no more 1 mean, the

resolution I am about to take.

(Exit Poleska in tears R. D. Baroness looks after

her curiously and smiles.)

Baroness. — Intendant, produce your prisoner. How

nice it is to administer justice ! I am quite in the humor of

the thing. And now to meet this bold, bad man ! I must be

as stern and dignified as the situation demands.

(Knocking continues.)
Koulikoff (going slowly, opens L. D). What manners
for a jail bird !

(Enter Alexis L. D. Baroness looks up. and utters
a cry of astonishment, but is met by a warning
gesture.)



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A RUSSIAN HONEYMOON. 57

Baroness (aside), — My brother here, in peasant's garb ?
Impossible !

Alexis. — Madame la Baronne, I beg of you to require
this man to leave us. What I would say to you needs no
witness.

Koulikoff (swelling with rage), — Do you hear that ?
Madame la Baronne, I protest.

Baroness (without looking at Koulikoff), — Leave us,
fellow !

Koulikoff (to Alexis),— Leave us, fellow !

Alexis (menacingly), — Leave us, fellow !

(Koulikoff shrinks back,)

Baroness. — Take pens, ink and paper, Koulikoff, to the
young lady in my room. Remain outside until candles are
required.

Koulikoff (aside.)— He " fellow" me! A miserable
vassal I shall probably be called upon to knout before
bed time. Won't I lay it on for this, though ?

(Exit Koulikoff R, D.)

Baroness (throwing hr self in the arms of Alexis), —
Gustave, my dear brother, you here, in this disguise ! What
a comedy ! Oh ! I shall die of laughter !

Gustave. — I don't feel in the least like laughing, Leon-
tine, I assure you. To be cooped up in that stuffy blue
cabinet for an hour is no joke.

Baroness. — This mystery — this adventure — delicious as
it is, I don't in the least understand it. You have this mo-
ment arrived ?

Gustave. — I have been in the neighborhood for the past
three days on business, which involves the happiness of my
entire life. And your imprudence, my dear sister, has nearly
ruined me — that's all.

Baroness (laughing), — Ruined you! Are you, then,



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58 A RUSSIAN HONEYMOON,

the hero of this little romance? Oh ! this is too delicious for
anything ! (Sits.)

Gustave (sitting on stool besid? Baroness). — Leontine,
I was married to Poleska de Kernutein a week ago This is
our honeymoon, and already I am the most miserable of
men.

Baroness (shrugging shoulders). — Are you surpiised at
that ? Gustave, dear, I am dying of impatience. Tell me
the story in detail.

Gustave. — You remember, Leontine, when I first fell
passionately in love with Mile, de Fermstem, at a ball in
Baden, and without even making her acquaintance, how I
told you that she and no other should be my wife?

Baroness — Yes, and if I mistake not, I gave you some
advice which you religiously failed to appreciate.

Gustave. — Of what use is advice to a man who is in
love? Well, when, upon my next visit to Buda, I was pre-
sented to her in form, I rushed more blindly to my fate. I
would have her — I worshipped her madly — I — married her.
Alas! Her arrogance, her pride of rank, her scorn of
inferiors are irrepressible. I soon saw that the welfare of
our married Lfe was at stake. I resolved to cure her ; and
adopted a heroic remedy. Poleska's ardent desire to visit
our newly acquired estates in this region gave me the oppor-
tunity I desired. Poor Poleska ! It was a bitter cup I of-
fered her to drink ! (He stops abruptly.)

Baroness. — And now, you dear, odd, Quixotic Gustave
— and now ?

Gustave (sadly). — Now, hope has departed. My wife
despises me.

Baroness. — And it is to your naughty, mischief-making
sister you owe the chief part of your trouble. For had I not
sent so promptly to arrest you and your fellow villains, you



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A RUSSIAN HONEYMOON'. 59

might by this time have won over your Poleska to regard with
complacency her future life spent in a hovel at your side.
Ha, ha, ha !

Gustave.— I think she loves me, Leontine — did love me,
at least, after her fashion. And as ill luck would have it
just as I set the finishing touch to my structure- of cards,
down came the whole fabric crashing to the ground.

Baroness (twirling her fan). — Gustave, with all your
knowledge of society and of women, you are a very tyro in
a matter of this kind. If I were not so sorry for you, poor
boy, I should tell you that you deserve all you have got, for
making such an experiment j but I'll be merciful. What if
I tell you a secret, Gustave ? What if I whisper in your ear
that, in my opinion, Poleska is as much in love with you at
this moment as you are with her?

Gustave. — Leontine ! My darling sister !

Baroness.— And if I prove it ?

Gustave (kissing her hand), — Ah, Leontine, do not
jest with me. Prove it and I forgive all.

(Enter Koulik'ff C. D. F. with candle. He stops,
"with- exaggerated gestures of surprise, and backs
out discreetly, finger on lip.)

Koulikoff (aside). — Making love to the Baroness in
ten minutes' time. I'll hurry off and tell his wife. One
always likes to be the first to tell exciting news. W-h-c-w !

(ExitC. D.F.)

Baroness (archly). — In the first place, r he was not at
all anxious to have you handed.

Gustave (shrugging shoulders.) — Is that all ?

Baroness. — When I abused, you, sht- took your part;
that might have been through contradiction, to be sure. I
have often done so myself. But when I proposed to annul
your marriage on the spot, to my surprise she demanded



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60 A RUSSIAN HONEYMOON.

time for reflection. She wavered — she wept — in short, Gus-
tave, I believe that Poleskais on the brink of offering to share
your fortunes, good or ill..
Gustave. — You are in earnest, Leontine ?
Baroness. — For once, yes. When a pretty woman de-
mands time for reflection, it is. safe to assume that she is
about to commit a folly.

Gustave.— If I could hope ! Oh ! my Poleska. Oh ! Le-
ontine ! (Offers to embrace her.)

Baroness. — Keep that for Poleska, my dear boy. I know
the lover's liturgy by heart. Hark ! some one comes.

(Enter Koulikoff R. D. pompously, bearing pa-
per.)
Koulikoff. — Madame la Baronne, I have the honor to
present to you a paper this moment signed and committed to
me by Mile, de Fermstein.

(Koulikoff retires up. Baroness takes it eagerly*

glances at it and looks with alarm at her brother-.

Gustave takes the paper from her and reads

it.)

Gustave. — All is over. Pride has conquered. This is

the petition for our divorce, signed by Poleska with a firm

hand. Let me not be behind her in courage.

(He walks quickly to the table, writes and returns
paper to the Baroness.)
Gustave. — You will give this, signed by Gustave, Count
de Woroffski, to Mile, de Fermstein without delay. Her,
marriage with Alexis Petrovitch is annulled. It is my wish
that the young lady be returned at once, in a style suitable to
her rank, to her father, the ^General de Fermstein, and that
you, Baroness, accompany her. (To Koulikiff, aloud.)
Have a carriage made ready, and order servants to be in at-
tendance upon these ladies.



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A RUSSIAN HONEYMOON. 61

Koulikoff (at C. D. F.)— And by whose authority,
may 1 ask ?

Gustave ( L. stamping foot). — By whose authority, var-
let ? By my — at least — with the gracious permission of
Madame la Baronne. What is more, let them set at liberty
my late master, Ivan, the shoemaker, with a purse of one
hundred roubles, to make amends for his imprisonment.

(Koulikoff looks in astonishment at Baroness.)

Baroness. — Go, Koulikoff. These are my orders.

( Koulikoff lingers, aghast).

Gustave (perceiving Koulikoff, angrily) — What, still
here? Fifty blows of the knout for your own share — at
least— with the gracious permission of Madame la Baronne.

( Koulikoff flies in dismay.)

Baron ess (laying hand on Gustave' s shoulder).— Gus-
tave, dear, this is dreadful. If you would only see her once
again, all would go well, I'm sure.

Gustave.— Enough, Leon tine. Go and make ready for
your journey. Breathe no word to Poleska of my real rank
and condition until you give her to her father's hand. I
will prepare for you a letter to him, telling him all. When
you have left the Castle, I will announce myself to my
people.

(Enter Poleska C. D. F. He leads Baroness to R. D,
and parts from her affectionately. Poleska watches
them.)

Baroness (aside). — Thank Heaven, that I am not his
wife ; and now for woman's wit ; one more expedient, before
I lay my sceptre down. (Exit Baroness R. D.) *

Poleska. — It is true then, and Koulikoff did not deceive
me. Already Alexis has sought consolation in another's
smiles. (She comes forward.)

Gustave (perceiving Poleska, bows coldly).— You have



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62 A RUSSIAN HONEYMOON.

decreed our separation. Mademoiselle, and the Count has
signed the paper. You are treed foreyer from the tie you
found so hateful. In a few moments you will leave behind
the Chateau Woroffski and all the odious memories it
contains. Alexis, the serf, passes out of your life like an
evil dream, and perchance you will soon form an alliance
worthy of your rank and expectations.

Poleska. — You might have spared me that sneer. You
make no account of my blighted life, the scorn and humilia-
tion that await me.

( Her head droops and she turns away to hide her
tears.)

Gust ave (quickly). — Tears, Poleska? and I have
brought them to your eyes. Oh! pardon something to a
man mad with the sense of loss. I am mad, I confess it,
when I see you go from me, without a token of regret.

(He takes her hand. Poleska draws back.)

Poleska. — You mistake me tor the Baroness, perhaps.

Gustave (bewildered). — What do you mean? Leon-
tine ? The Baroness Vladimir ? Ridiculous.

Poleska (fiercely). — I might have pardoned all, Alexis,
until I heard from Koulikoff and saw for myself what passed
between you and one till now a stranger.

Gustave (aside).— Jealous ! Thank Heaven ! (Aloud.)
What you saw, Poleska, was no exhibition of mere gallantry,
but of gratitude from the bottom of my heart to a noble lady
who had promised to win back my wife for me. Now the
protection she has offered me will avail little. Let the
Count's sentence be what it may, fate can give me nothing
worse than this.

Poleska (at L .).— Sentence ! Great Heavens! Alexis,
are they going to do anything to you ?

Gustave. — You ^ on hard iv suppose that the Count de



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A RUSSIAN HONEYMOON. 63

Woroffski will allow to pass unpunished such audacity in his
serf? Stripes, banishment, death perhaps.

(Alexis witndraws to chair at table R. drops his

head moodily on his hands without looking to-

wards her.)

Poleska (screams).— Death— Oh ! Alexis — never !

never ! Let us escape together. I love you ! ■ I cannot live

without you /

( She crosses the stage and throws herself on her knees
at his side.)
GUSTAVE (lifting her to her feet, clasping her in his
arms, then putting her from him). — Think twice, Poleska.
He whose fortune you would share is no proud Count, but
an humble peasant, and the life to which you would go, a life
of toil and poverty.

Poleska. — Let me fly, Alexis — no matter where, so that
you are with me. Every moment's delay will endanger
you.

( They hurry towards C. D. F. and push it open to
be met by Koulikoff, Ivan, Micheline, guards, and
servants.)
Koulikoff (to guards). — Arrest that fellow, and con-
duct him without delay into the Count's chamber to await his
sentence from Madame la Baron ne. As for you, Mile, de
Fermstein, your carriage waits, and Madame la Baronne de-
sires your immediate attendance in her chamber.

Poleska (her arm in that of Alexis). — Say to Madame
la Baronne that I prefer to remain with my husband.

Koulikoff (extending paper). — Begging your pardon,
Mile, de Fermstein, you haven't any husband. Here is your
decree of absolute divorce which Madame la Baronne di-
rects me to hand to you. Move on, prisoner.



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64 A RUSSIAN HONEYMOON.

(Gustaye goes out C. D. F. with guards ; Poleska
remains with arms outstretched towards him.)

Micheline. — Oh, Madame, then they mean to make
you a great lady once more whether you will or not.

Koulikoff. — And pray what business have you to
prate, malapert ? The Count's word is our law, and what
the law decrees, let none gainsay.

Micheline (scornfully). — And does the law expect her
to forget her poor young husband in exile and in sorrow ?
For after all, she wants him for her husband, and he wants
her for his wife, and the law can't alter that, I suppose ?

Koulikoff. — Hum f I'm not so sure. Lawyers are
very clever.

Micheline (to Poleska, who is weeping upon her shoul-
der ). — Ah ! Madame, cheer up ! who knows but there are
brighter days in store *for you ? If we could only manage to
offer a big rouble taper to our Lady of Kazan ! Why — last
week when I had quarrelled with Osip at the Fair, I set two
little copeck candles only, before her shrine, and — and, the
foolish lad was back again by Sunday.

Ivan (coming forward). — Come, come, chatterbox. So
our would-be Countess takes the opposite side. That's the
way with you women. If I ever told my old woman to get
up early, she'd lie abed three days at a stretch. If I wanted
her to go to sleep, she'd sit on the stove and wag her tongue
till daybreak. (Movement of disgust from Poleska.)

Micheline. — Let be, let be, father; the poor thing has
trouble enough, dear knows.

(Enter Baroness R. D. dressed for traveling.)

Baroness. — Come, Mile de Fermstein, my dear, this will
never do. You have absolutely left yourself no time to re-
turn to the garb of civilization. Micheline here, will attend
you. ^o #o and make yourself presentable for our journey.



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A RUSSIAN HONEYMOON. 65

Poleska. — No, dear Madame ; if you will only give me
back Alexis I will never wear another dress than this.

Baroness. — My dear child, this is simply ridiculous. You
are soon to be away from this wretch who has deceived you.
You will meet some other more worthy of your love ; and to-
gether, one day, you will laugh at the * poor fool who once^
risked his life to win you.

Poleska. — Oh. Madame, have pity on me. Do you not
see that I love him, that my only happiness would be to fol-
low him to exile ?

Ivan. — Well, as I'm a free man with a hundred roubles
in my pocket, I do believe she wants him back again.

Micheline. — Of course she does, father, and small blame
to her, poor dear.

Baroness (to Poleska, coldly). — Did you not, of your
own free will, demand this separation ?

Poleska. — Oh, I did, I did, in a moment of madness.
Madame, you are a woman ; you can understand.

Ivan. — If she can, I can't.

Micheline (sighing).— I can. (Wiping Iter eyes.j
He's a beautiful young man.

Baroness.— I have no longer the right. My brother has
returned ; the matter has passed into his hands. The
Count is at this moment going into the gallery to give audi-
ence to his vassals. Stop crying, child, you will make a
fright of yourself. If you say so, although it is contrary to
custom, I will send word for him to come here. You will
see what a brother I have — so grand — so noble — and above
all, so just. What say you ? Shall I send for him?

Poleska.— Yes. Stay! W r hat shall I'do? What sav
to him?

Baroness. — Whatever your heart prompts.



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66 A RUSSIA:/ HONEYMOON.

Poleska. — Do you think he will be merciful ; that he will
give me back Alexis ?
Baroness. — Perhaps. He has a very feeling heart.
Poleska. — Then send for him. On my knees will I im-
plore him.

BARONESS (goes to table, writes hurriedly, rings bell ;
enter attendant R. D.). — See that the Count Woroffski re-
ceives this, at once. (Exit attendant R. D.)

Koulikoff— The Count! He has arrive J without my
knowing it. Let me fly in search of my keys.

(Exit Koulikoff C. D. E. March music heard
back.)
Baroness (to Poleska,)— He is coming ! Remain there.
(Points to back.) When 1 summon you to come forward —
you know the rest.

(Poleska retires back. Enter peasants and servants.
Group i rijht an J L'ft. Baroness Vladimir goes
about, receives greetings and salutes. Last of all,
enter G:t>/ave, Count de Woroffski, dressed in
rfch uniform, with orders, etc. March ceases.
Soft music during this scene.)
GdSTAVE. — You sent for mc, Madame la Baronne?
Baroness. — I did. (Aside to him.) Hope ! Love has
conquered.
G u stave (aside). — Thank Heaven !

(Baroness motions to Poleska, who comes forward,
and without looking up throws herself upon her*
knees as the Count approaches.)
Poleska (offering paper). — Count de Woroffski, I be-
seech you to destroy this fatal paper, divorcing me from
Alexis Petrovitch. I retract my appeal for separation. What-
ever be his sentence I ask you to let me share it. He is good
and noble and he has my whole heart I^only, through my



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A RUSSIAN HONEYMOON. 67

wicked folly, have exposed him to this degradation, and my
life's love shall atone for the wrong I have done him.

( rhs Cjunl impetuously tears the paper and throws
it away.)
Gustave.— And should I condemn .him and you to
exile ?

Poleska (kissi.ig his hand). — Thanks, my lord Count ; a
thousand thanks. Add one thing only to your bounty ; re-
store to me my husband.

Gustave (C). — Look up, Poleska, he is here.

(Poleska looks up, utters a cry and flies into his *•//-
brace.)
Baroness (at L. C). — It is your sister's turn now
Poleska. ( They embrace.) It is true that I hardly expect to
be forgiven for my share in Gustave's experiment, though
there is one thing to comfort you, my child ; you will have
henceforth, every opportunity to punish him as he de-
serves.

Poleska (R. C.).— I, Madame la Baronne ?
Bareness (laughing). — Yes, for is he not your hus-
band ?

(Enter Koulikoff L. D. in haste and confusion, bear-
ing the keys of the Castle on a tray. He kneels
with great humility before the Count.)
Koulikoff. — Monseigneur, I, your Intendarit. (Looks

up.) Good Lord ! the insolent vassal !

Count. — Yes, Koulikoff, the same, who, in this moment
of supreme happiness, is weak enough to forgive you the
knouting you deserve —at least— (glances at Baroness I with

the graci6us permission of Madame

Baroness (motioning towards Poleska). — Of Madame
la Comtesse. ( Koulikoff retires in confusion,)

Count.— Come hither, friend Ivan, shoemaker and philos-



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68 A RUSSIAN HONEYMOON.

opher. What ! not even a proverb ready to answer me with ?
i'Sfap* hiM on shoulder.) As for little Micheline, the
sooner she finds a husband, the larger dowry will I bestow
on her.

(Micheline, kisses Poleska' s hand gratefully. As
sne retires, Ivan pats her head, calls up Osip and
joins their hands in dumb show.)
COUNT. — And now, Poleska, if any one should tremble*
it is I. How can you ever pardon me ?

Poleska (archly). — You forget that Monseigneur has al-
ready pardoned my Alexis.

Count (kneeling at her feet).— Then may Poleska par-
don Monseigneur.

Curtain.



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The Outcast's Daughter £ ^ Acts

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CAST OP CHARACTERS

Carl Faber. An ex-convict

Howard Ross A manufacturer

Dennis Hogan Servant to Reus

Abel Gardener to Roas

Judge Havens. Of the police court

Recorder Of the police court

Lettner Clerk of police- court

Second Court Clerk Clerk of police court

Two policemen

Little Hugo Agatha's child

Agatha Sterne Ross' bookkeeper

Ida Rheinhold A retired singer

Mrs. Wilmuth A washerwoman

Katie Factory girl

Frances Factory girl

SYNOPSIS OF SCENES

Act 1. Ross* private office. "What has given me the honor of
this visit?" "I will never sing again. My life has been a sad
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but when a mother asks, a -child must forgive. Oh, Mr. Ross, help
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aiid you — you are nothing — nothing to me." "Agatha! Agatha!
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vas anything but a lady." "On the other side, towards the garden,
there are a few rooms I have never used. If you will take
them " "You do not look like a man who could commit mur-
der. How was it?" "I was a weak man and many misfortunes
made me desperate." "My picture! I must be mad." "You are
good, child, but you shall not call me father." "Father! Father!"

Act 3. Ross' Garden. "He is so good to me, but I cannot forget
my poor unhappy father." "The picture was taken when I was
young. He shall have it." "Stay here and be my wife." "That
suspicious old man is in the garden." "For her I sacrificed every-
thing." "Do you want to go to prison again?" "My father needs
me to defend and comfort him."

Act 4. A. Police Court "Do not ask me, your honor — I am an
ex-convict." "Your silence will not help you." "It vas dark und
Mrs. Sterne vas that scared she vas faint." "I hope, sor, yer honor
believes In a future life, sor." "He wished to see his child; I am
his child." "Grandfather, we love you." "I am his wife. Do not
condemn him."

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Online LibrarySir John Tenniel Mrs. Burton HarrisonAlice in wonderland: A play for children in three acts → online text (page 7 of 8)