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To the dim lit porch of a fisher's home
In the little port 'tis a holiday,
“ This purse of gold, and ten purses more,
Hark! out from the shadows there comes a cry,
À GAME OF CHESS.-ROBERT C. V. MEYERS.*
[ COPYRIGHT, 1889. )
FISHER PLODDER, an absent-minded man who is writing a manual on “The Art
of Cultivating the Memory." MAJOR TURLINGTON, whose pride consists in his invincibility at chess. Guy Leigu, who should have known better but did not. MARIAN TURLINGTON, about to be made a victim of her father's pride. AUNT MINERVA, male to be loved, but having the misfortune to lack lovers. FANNY, a humble maid who is positive that she is the daughter of titled parents
too modest to put in a claim for her.
SCENE.—Drawing-Room, with stove. Door in center. Entrance
at each side. Table with books. Handsome furniture, and piano. Flowers in stands. Aunt Minerva and Fanny discovered, the latter tidying the room.
AUNT MINERVA. I must say, Fanny, that for a servant you give your tongue many liberties.
FANNY (durting). I only said, ma'am
AUNT M. You only said that it was a shame to marry my niece to a man she has never seen.
Fanny. Her father has never seen him either, ma'am. Nor have you.
Aunt M. But he has seen me somewhere, it appears, and has openly expressed his admiration of me. A man of peculiar wit, a wide, far-seeing man whose judgments are singularly mature.
*Anthor of " A Bonnet for my Wife," in No. 28; and other Comedies and Farces especially suited for Parlor aud Amateur Theatricals, which will be found in Dramatic Supplements appended to the earlier Numbers of this series A descriptive Catalogue seat free.
Fanny. Yes, he's not young.
Aunt M. Nor should any husband be young. Youth means flippancy, gush of sentiment, changeability. A husband should be
FANNY (eagerly). Yes-yes-
Aunt M. Besides, who could come more highly recommended than Mr. Jonathan Chester? Our friends say every thing that's kind of him, his heart and his fortune. Ah! if he had only met me-that is, I mean to say, Fanny,-and mark this, girl,-age is a recommendation in a husband.
FANNY. Naturally you think SO, ma'am.
AUNT M. Naturally I do nothing of the sort. Show me the man, young or old, who gives me encouragement-Fanny, you are simply unbearable. I certainly am not a mere chit of a girl, but it does not follow that I should view Methuselahs with matrimonial intentions.
FANNY. I only meant, ma'am
AUNT M. You only meant it to be impudent. Do you think I did not hear you tell cook that you would rather marry a baby than the baby's grandfather! Highly indelicate in an unmarried woman to speak thus. You never hear me express myself in such language, I am sure. But enough of this. It is sufficient for me to say that when a girl like Marian falls in love with a foolish young man
FANNY. Of course, Mr. Leigh's foolish jf to be young is to be foolish. In that case I am foolish. So is Miss Marian. While you, ma'am
AUNT M. Do not presume to say that I am foolish.
Aunt M. 'Tis well, and to end the matter let me say that you shall connive at no more meetings between Mr. Leigh and Marian. The other gentleman arrives this morning.
FANNY. Oh, ma'am, has he ever had a wife before?
FANNY (hopefully). I thouşbt, that may be he might-he might turn out to be—to be my father.
Aunt M. It is about time for you to give up expecting to find your father, Fanny. Are you not happy with us?
Fanny. But you're not my father, and I'd like to know who I am. It's no fun to know you're a foundling and that your name may be Smith, Jones or Robinson. Oh, dear!
Aunt M. Let well enough alone. Well, as I say, Mr. Jonathan Chester arrives this morning, and he marries Marian this evening. That is all you need to know.
FANNY (aside). All I need to know, but I thirst for more.
AUNT M. And when you have finished dusting this room you will go to Marian. Keep her in sight.
FANNY. Yes, ma'am.
Fanny. I never forget what I remember, ma'am. I must inherit that from my unknown father.
AUNT M. If I fin you again derelict in your duty, I discharge you at once (going). Remember.
[Exit. FANNY. Old cat! (mimicking,) “ If I find you again derederelict in your duties I discharge you at once.” Discharge me! as though I were a pistol. I'll discharge my duty to Marian first if it blows my head off. Poor dear! And what a sweet moustache Mr. Leigh has got. Umph! when my huspand comes along he's got to have just such a moustache, only he'll be a bandsomer man, oh, a great deal handsomer, proud and haughty, like this (walking in an exaggerated fashion), --sort of solemn and grand.
Leiga (peeping in). Hi! Fanny! Fanny, I say, Fan-ny!
Fanny. That it's all up-exploded—done for-finished My father must be a wonderful man, the English language has such a control over me.
LEIGH. The mischief with your father, how's the Major)
Fanny. The Major's all right. It's the gentleman who comes this morning to be married to Miss Marian this even. ing. (Leigh laughs.) And I'm powerless in the matter; if you so much as come into this room I'll be discharged: while as for meeting Miss Marian
LEIGA. Go tell her I wish to see her at once.
Fanny. I will, sir, but really I wish you would speak a little more respectfully of my unknown father. The idea of telling him to go to the mischief.
LEIGH. Don't I tell Marian's father to go there?
Fanny. But you know her father, and you don't know mine. You can say many things about persons you know; you should respect the unknown.
LEIGH. I apologize to your unknown parent. There! now tell Marian I wish to see her.
FANNY She'll be here in a minute.
LEIGH. Surely a sensible girl like you cannot be foolish enough to think that Marian will submit to her father's preposterous whim?
Fanny. I can only speak for myself. I never displease my unknown father, I wouldn't be so undaughterly; and Miss Marian's love for her father
LEIGH. Her love for me
Fanny. Her love for her father will never permit her to marry a man he objects to.
Leigh. He never objected to me till a week ago.
Fanny. When you beat him at chess. He'll never for. give that. He'd rather you'd burned the house down. And the same day you laughed at Minerva's wig.
LEIGH. It was on crooked, I'll swear to it.
Fanny. You shouldn't have laughed if she chose to wear it on one ear.
LEIGH. I was a fool.
Fanny. Of course I am. That is why I do all i can to bring you and Miss Marian together; that is why I pretend that Minerva's hair grows on her scalp; that is why I'd have let the Major checkmate me a week ago, rather than do it to-day with a new husband for his daughter.
LEIGH. Forgive me, Fanny, you are a faithful creature; your love for Marian is proverbial.
Fanny. Oh, is it? So is hers for me. Why I was only five years old when Minerva took me from the street (where I was wandering about, lost in a strange city, deserted by my