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rhe -Best Plays of 
1919-1920 



BUR^' V ^NTLE 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-20 



THE 
BEST PLAYS OF 1919-20 

AND THE 

YEAR BOOK OF THE DRAMA 
IN AMERICA 

Edited by 
BURNS MANTLE 







BOSTON 

SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS 






&H3 



"Abraham Lincoln," copyright, 1919, by John Drinkwater. 
Published by Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 

"Clarence," copyright, 1919, by Booth Tarkington. 

" Beyond the Horizon," copyright, 1918, by Eugene G. O'Neill. 
Published by Boni & Liveright, Inc., New York. 

" Declassee," copyright, 19 19, by Zee Akins. 

"The Famous Mrs. Fair," copyright, 1919, by James Forbes. 

" The Jest," copyright, 

" Jane Clegs:," copyright, by St. John Ervine. 
Published by Henry Holt & Co., New York. 

"Mamma's Affair," copyright, 1919, by Rachel Barton Butler. 

" Wedding Bells," copyright, 1919, by Salisbury Field. 

' Adam and Eva," copyright, 19 19, by George Middleton and Guy Bolton. 



Copyright, 19 jo 

By small, MAYNARD & COMPANY 

(Incorporated) 



Second Printing, December, 1910 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

Introduction iii 

Review of the season 1 

"Abraham Lincoln" 14 

"Beyond the Horizon" 30 

"The Famous Mrs. Fair" 65 

"Declassee" 95 

"Jane Clegg" 120 

"The Jest" 149 

"\yeddipg Bells" 185 

"Acfam'arid Eva" 248 

"Clarence" 280 

The Plays and their Authors 314 

Forecast of plays to be presented during sea- 
son of 1920-21 

New York 316 

East and Middle West 319 

West and Northwest 322 

South 324 

The Season in London 326 

The Season in Paris 468 

Length of New York runs (1919-20) 335 

Birthplace and birth dates of prominent play- 
ers 459 

Necrology (June 15, 1919— June 15, 1920).... 465 

Long Runs on Broadway 468 



INTRODUCTION 

The drama, and more particularly the theater, has 
been somewhat neglected in the annual reviews cover- 
ing the artistic achievements of the year. The drama, 
at least, as it refers particularly to the " regular " theat- 
rical season. Notice is frequently taken of the various 
forward movements, and the work of interested ama- 
teur and semi-amateur organizations. Those interested 
specifically in the Little Theater movement, for exam- 
ple, have been kept well informed of the activities and 
achievements of its sponsors. But there is still some- 
thing to be said for the theater season that, for all its 
regularity and its admitted commercialism, still plays 
an important part in the lives of the people. 

The purpose of this volume, therefore, is to fill an- 
other of those long-felt wants of which, it pleases au- 
thors to assume, the public is never conscious until the 
want is supplied. The aim has been to cover, as com- 
pletely and as accurately as possible, the activities of 
the theatrical season in New York, the theory being 
that by so doing we cover at least the physical source 
of supply of the drama in America. There are, it is 
true, a number of productions of new plays made each 
season outside of New York, particularly in Chicago 
and Boston, and a scattering few in other cities. These 
are no less important than the productions made in New 
York, but it happens that in nine cases out of ten they 
are preliminary showings of plays intended later for the 
New York market, and, being worthy, they invariably 
reach New York within a season of their production. 
We feel, therefore, that every drama entitled to inclu- 



iv INTRODUCTION 

sion in this record is shown in New York some months 
ahead of the time it is ready to be submitted to the coun- 
try at large, and it is the theater foUowers of the coun- 
try at large whom we seek to serve. 

The body of the book contains excerpts, or descrip- 
tive synopses, of the ten best plays of the year. For 
the selection of these particular plays no more is 
claimed than that they represent the best judgment of 
the editor, variously confirmed by the public's indorse- 
ment. The intention frankly has been to compromise 
between the popular success, as representing the choice 
of the people who support the theater, and the success 
with sufficient claim to literary distinction of text or 
theme to justify its publication. As frequently has 
been pointed out, there are many plays that read well 
which do not " act," as the players phrase the descrip- 
tion, and many a success that '* acts," usually by reason 
of the popularity and skill of the players engaged, be- 
comes the sheerest piffle when submitted to the test of 
type. Therefore a sanely considered compromise of 
some sort is necessary to balance the selection. 

If we seem to have favored the American drama and 
the native dramatist, it has been without prejudice. 
However, in making a choice between a play of foreign 
and one of native authorship, other thing'? being equal, 
we have not hesitated to give the native dramatist the 
benefit of his proud countryman's interest in his suc- 
cess. We were, for instance, momentarily in doubt as 
to whether we should take W. Somerset IMaugham's 
immensely amusing and cleverly written English com- 
edy, " Too Many Husbands," or Salisbury Field's 
equally bright, but perhaps a shade less ingenious 
American comedy, " Wedding Bells." The fact that 
of the two the Englishman's comedy seemed to us quite 
a bit the more dependent upon the cleverness of the 
English actors who played it, helped in the decision, but 
we daresay had the Englishman written " Wedding 



INTRODUCTION v 

Bells " and the American " Too ]\Iany Husbands " we 
should have taken the latter play. 

We have included " The Jest," which, technically, 
belongs with the productions of 1918-19, having been 
produced in the late spring of 1919, first, because it 
represents one of the outstanding dramatic successes of 
the last decade, and, second, because though it was first 
produced a year ago it achieved its greatest success 
when its run was resumed at the beginning of last 
season. 

There can be little doubt as to the others. John 
Drinkwater's " Abraham Lincoln " is easily the most 
inspiring dramatic success of our time. Being a 
chronicle play, and divided into episodes with but a 
thread of continuity, it is one of those plays that is 
much more impressive in the acting than in the read- 
ing, and we have therefore reduced it to the descrip- 
tive synopsis form in the hope of thus more clearly 
visualizing the action. 

Eugene O'Neill's " Beyond the Horizon " is like- 
wise one of the fine achievements of the theater, for a 
duplication of which I believe American theatrical his- 
torians will search vainly. We, at least, recall no 
serious drama of native authorship to be compared 
with it in the quality of its observant philosophy, its 
homely and truthful characterization, its gripping 
theme, its inexorable logic. It won for Mr. O'Neill 
the PuHtzer prize of $1,000 as "the best play of the 
year." 

James Forbes' " The Famous Mrs. Fair " is of 
lighter weight, but it, too, has the advantage of a 
soundly fashioned foundation of character, and that 
holding human quality that differentiates the real 
from the superficial and artificial drama. 

Booth Tarkington's " Clarence " has been classified 
by one of its reviewers as the " finest light comedy 
ever written by an American." While personally we 



vi INTRODUCTION 

consider this praise somewhat extravagant, holding 
" Clarence " to be a cleverly written and amusing play, 
but verging too closely upon farce, and swinging too 
wide of plausibility, to be accepted seriously as repre- 
senting the native drama at its best, we feel it is easily 
entitled to its place in this list of entertainments. 

St. John Ervine's " Jane Clegg " is, to us, a perfect 
sample of the domestic drama at its best, a keenly ana- 
lytical observation of character, with neither a forced 
scene nor a wasted speech in its three acts. Zoe 
Akins' " Declassee " may truthfully be described, we 
believe, as the best imitation in style of the Pinero 
drawing-room drama that any American playwright 
has thus far achieved, which may be said without dis- 
credit to Miss Akins. When an imitation so closely 
approaches the work of a master it honors the imitator 
as greatly as it flatters the model. 

Of the lighter comedies selected, George Middle- 
ton and Guy Bolton's " Adam and P2va " is whole- 
somely and characteristically American ; a comedy 
drama with a touch of satire and a serious thought 
bracing its comedy theme, and " Mamma's Affair," 
which won for Rachel Barton Butler a $500 prize of- 
fered by Producer Oliver Morosco, and for Profes- 
sor George Baker's Harvard playwright^ '^uch addi- 
tional fame as attaches to the production of a reason- 
ably popular play written by a graduate of " English 
47," is a light but clever satire. And so the list is com- 
pleted. 

As for the remainder of the book's contents they 
are intended as a comprehensive record of the season 
as a whole. Though we consider that the theater year 
proper begins in August and is ended by the first of 
the succeeding June we have included in this record 
such summer productions as were made in June and 
July and continued playing during the fall months. 
It is a compilation, we believe, that has not previously 



INTRODUCTION vii 

been attempted in so complete a form, and it is hoped 
in succeeding volumes to amplify and improve upon 
it. As a work of reference we hope the Year Book 
will prove of interest to those whose pleasure it is to 
keep in close touch with the theater and of some value 
to those whose work demands such a reference con- 
stantly within reach. In compiling the list of advance 
bookings for the season of 1920-21 we are grateful for 
the assistance of Mr. Victor Leighton and Mr. Jules 
Murry. 

B. M. 

Forest Hills, L. I., 

June 15, 1920. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-20 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 



THE SEASON IN REVIEW 

FOR five weeks following the August opening of 
the theatrical season of 1919-20 the actors' strike 
halted, and also enlivened, the drama's progress. The 
Actors' Equity Association, which had for some years 
been gaining in strength and importance, issued what 
amounted to an ultimatum regarding certain reforms 
that its members had voted should be put into effect. 
These included extra pay for extra performances, 
eight performances to constitute a week's work, pay 
for rehearsals over a stipulated number necessary to 
the staging of a production, and full pay for those 
pre-holiday weeks, the week before Christmas and 
Holy Week, when for years it had been a common 
custom either to lay the company off without pay or 
play and pay half salaries. The actors demanded pay 
when they played. There were other minor problems 
involved, but these were the main contentions. The 
actors agreed to submit the issues to arbitration, but 
the managers refused the offer, saying that inasmuch 
as the Actors' Equity had allied itself with the Amer- 
ican Federation of Labor it had become in effect a 
labor organization, subject to the dictation of the 
supreme council of the laborites, and could not there- 
fore speak for itself as exclusively an association of 
actors. 

For the first weeks of the strike neither side made 
much headway. The managers completed their own 

I 



2 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

organization, agreed to an assessment of a heavy fine 
if any of them should violate his promise to refuse to 
engage members of the Equity Association or should 
otherwise compromise with the enemy, and the actors 
took readily to the familiar methods of winning 
strikes, first by " walking out " of the theaters and 
later by picketing the houses that were " unfair." 
The managers financed their fight by heavy contribu- 
tions to a war fund, and the actors supplemented con- 
tributions and assessments by giving all-star Equity 
Benefits, which were hugely successful. 

The sympathy of the public appeared to be largely 
with the actors. The same qualities that had en- 
deared them to playgoing thousands placed them some- 
what in the position of personal friends who were 
seemingly being unjustly treated, and this public sym- 
pathy did much to strengthen their position. 

Toward the end of the trouble a rival organization 
known as the Actors' Fidelity Association sprung into 
being. It was financed largely by George M. Cohan, 
who being both actor and manager, had sided with the 
managers and against his old associates of the Equity. 
The Fidelity attracted to its side some hundreds of 
those who were opposed to joining with the American 
Federation of Labor, feeling that art and labor had 
little in common. But by the time the Fidelity (the 
" Fidos " its members were called by their rivals) 
was established the Equity had the fight well in hand 
and finally, during the first week of September, at 
a meeting of representatives of the Producing Man- 
agers' Association and the Actors' Equity Association, 
with their respective attorneys, a compromise was 
reached and the strike declared off. 

It was, in the official announcements, a ** peace with- 
out victory," with both sides reasonably satisfied, but 
most of the jollifying was done by the actors. There 
was surprising little bitterness and no attempted re- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 3 

prisals following the settlement. The Equity form 
of contract was agreed upon and within a few weeks 
the arbitration committees of the two contending or- 
ganizations had settled amicably several thousand in- 
dividual cases submitted for adjustment. The mem- 
bership of the Equity Association was practically 
tripled by spring, and, thanks partly to the theatrical 
prosperity that followed, the managers appeared sat- 
isfied with the outcome. 

Following the strike there was a rush of new plays. 
By the end of the second week twenty-eight com- 
panies had reorganized and were playing in the Broad- 
way theaters. This number was rapidly added to 
until by October the full quota of approximately fifty 
musical and dramatic attractions were playing, a ma- 
jority of them to huge audiences. 

These included the exceptionally popular *' Light- 
nin' " and " East is West," the first of which began its 
run in August, 1918, and the latter in December, 1918, 
continuing, with the exception of the time lost during 
the strike, through the summer and the succeeding 
season. This gave " Lightnin' " the record for the 
longest continuous run in the history of New York 
theaters. It had been played for over 800 perform- 
ances and was still popular when this record was com- 
piled, while " East Is West " had passed the 600 mark 
and was still pressing forward. 

In the September list also were " Friendly Ene- 
mies," "The Better 'Ole," "The Royal Vagabond," 
*' The Ziegfeld Follies of 1919," the Hippodrome's 
" Happy Days," " Adam and Eva," " A Voice in the 
Dark," " The Crimson Alibi," " Clarence," " Civilian 
Clothes," " Moonlight and Honeysuckle," " The Five 
Million," " Scandal," " Greenwich Village Follies," and 
" The Gold Diggers." " Friendly Enemies " and " The 
Better 'Ole " were hold-overs from the previous season 
and " Scandal " had been brought on from Chicago, 



4 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

where it had already achieved something of a record. 
This play ran through the season in New York, as also 
did '* Adam and Eva," " Clarence " and " The Gold 
Diggers." The others, with a considerable number of 
less popular attractions, enjoyed average runs of two, 
three or four months and were then sent on tour. 

October added "The Storm," " Declassee," "Ap- 
ple Blossoms," " Too Many Husbands," *' His Honor 
Abe Potash," " The Little Whopper," " On the Hiring 
Line," " Buddies," and the Winter Garden's " Pass- 
ing Show of 1919." In Zoe Akins' " Declassee " 
Ethel Barrymore scored the most pronounced of her 
recent triumphs, and Booth Tarkington, who, in col- 
laboration with Harry Leon Wilson, had failed earlier 
in the season with " Up From Nowhere," was credited 
Vi^ith having written in " Clarence " one of the best of 
American light comedies. Both these plays ran the 
season out, as also did *' Buddies " and '* The Passing 
Show," while *' Apple Blossoms " achieved a cred- 
itable record of 236 performances. It was during Oc- 
tober that E. H. Sothern and Julia Marlowe returned 
to the stage for another season's tour, playing " Ham- 
let," " Twelfth Night " and " The Shrew." They were 
highly successful. 

The November contributions were only thirteen in 
number. By this time the available theaters were 
mostly occupied with paying attractions. The most 
notable of the thirteen were the musical comedy, James 
Montgomery's " Irene," David Belasco's production 
of his own and George Scarborough's "The Son- 
Daughter," both of which continued through till 
spring, and Salisbury Field's " Wedding Bells," which 
ran for 168 performances. Others included Billie 
Burke's return from a year in the cinema with Somer- 
set Maugham's " Caesar's Wife," an interesting but 
not popular Irish drama, Lenox Robinson's " The Lost 
Leader," and a production by the Theater Guild of 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 5 

William Dean Ilowells' " The Rise of Silas Lap- 
ham." 

Counting out the Sundays there were nearly enough 
plays produced in December to provide a new play a 
night. Twenty-two productions were made. These 
included the long-heralded '* Aphrodite," " One Night 
in Rome," " My Lady Friends," " Monsieur Eeau- 
caire," " Abraham Lincoln," " For the Defense," " The 
Sign on the Door," " The Famous Mrs. Fair," and 
Elsie Janis' war-time revue. John Drinkwater's 
" Abraham Lincoln " immediately took its place as the 
dramatic sensation of the year. Hartley Manners' 
*' One Night in Rome " brought Laurette Taylor back 
to a public with which she is immensely ])opu]ar, but 
failed to duplicate the success of her previous offerings, 
James Forbes' '* The Famous Mrs. Fair " was credited 
with being by far the best of the post-war plays. 
" Monsieur Beaucaire " duplicated in New York some- 
thing of the success it previously had enjoyed in Lon- 
don, and Channing Pollock's " The Sign on the Door " 
was accepted as the most stirring of the season's melo- 
dramas. There were also fourteen special matinee 
performances of Gorky's " Night Lodging " during the 
month. 

During the mid-season weeks of January there were 
another fifteen plays produced but of the fifteen only 
four were successful in meeting the test of 100 per- 
formances or more. And that is the test Broadway 
applies. If an attraction continues to play, without 
undue forcing, for twelve or thirteen weeks it is rea- 
sonably to be credited with being a success and may 
confidently be sent into the hinterland with the in- 
dorsement of the capital. But if it falls below that it 
usually is silently listed with the failures or quasi-fail- 
ures. 

The four that came through the January fire were 
"The Purple Mask," "The Acquittal," "Mamma's 



6 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Affair," " The Passion Flower," and a revue, " As 
You Were." Leo Ditrichstein's staging of and ap- 
pearance in '* The Purple Mask," an adaptation from 
the French made by the English actor, Matheson 
Lang, helped that old-fashioned mystery romance con- 
siderably. " The Acquittal " represented, technically, 
the best performance of melodrama the season dis- 
closed and established Rita Weiman, the author, as a 
playwright with a promising future. " The Passion 
Flower," as translated by John Garrett Underbill from 
the Spanish of Jacinto Benevente, a somewhat turgid 
but intimately revealing domestic drama, reintroduced 
Nance O'Neill, the tragic actress, to the Broadway 
stage after a considerable absence. ** Mamma's Af- 
fair," Rachel Barton Butler's Harvard prize play, 
created a considerable stir among discriminating play- 
goers, and " As You Were," following the usual form 
of the modern revue, revealed so surprising a beauty 
in setting as to win an enthusiastic press indorsement 
for its producer, a newcomer to the field named John 
Murray Anderson. 

The plays that fell below the Broadway test for one 
reason or another included a reverent but somewhat 
artificial rewriting of the Christ story with the Pas- 
sion Play of Oberammergau used as a background. 
This was called " The Light of the World," and was 
elaborately staged. Attributed in the program to the 
authorship of one " Pierre Saisson," it was later ac- 
knowledged by its real authors, George Middleton and 
Guy Bolton, who previously had been successful with 
" Adam and Eva " and the season before with ** Polly 
With a Past." Thirty-one performances at the Lyric 
Theater and it was gone. 'J'here was also a tine per- 
formance of Tolstoi's "The Power of Darkness" 
given by the Theater Guild, staged by Emmanuel 
Reicher, with his son, Frank Reicher, prominently cast 
as " Daddy " Akim. Grace George came forward with 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 7 

her second play of the year. *' She Would and She 
Did " having failed her she offered " The * Ruined ' 
Lady," a sprightly light comedy written by Frances 
Nordstrom of the varieties which, though it played for 
less than a month in New York, proceeded to Chicago 
and became there one of the marked successes of the 
season. Otis Skinner, electing to devote another sea- 
son to the romantic drama, and also to the t3'pe of 
Italian character he had played with popular successs 
in Booth Tarkington's "Alister Antonio," presented a 
play called " Pietro," of which Maude Durbin Skinner, 
his wife, was part author, and Jules Eckert Goodman 
the other part. It achieved forty-one performances 
at the Criterion Theater and then went bravely in 
search of box-office receipts in the West. A well- 
acted and more than reasonably interesting melodrama 
of the month was one called " Big Game," but the play- 
going public would have none of it and probably by this 
time it has been made over into a scenario for the 
screen. 

February was an interesting month for several rea- 
sons. For one Maxine Elliott, after having played 
most successfully through the West with William 
Faversham in " Lord and Lady Algy," determined 
upon a starring tour of her own, and presented a play- 
by William Hulburt called '* Trimmed in Scarlet " at 
the theater bearing her name. Miss Elliott was an 
entire success, commanding the usual chorus of super- 
latives in praise of her beauty's preservation, but the 
play was weak and the actress decided to withdraw it 
a^ter two weeks. Miss Elliott was followed at the 
same theater by John Drew, who also had been absent 
from the local stage for a matter of two years. Mr. 
Drew's play was Rupert Hughes' *' The Cat-bird," a 
pleasantly entertaining little comedy that presented the 
star as a middle-aged entomologist. But it, too, failed 
to achieve a popularity sufficient to keep it playing 



8 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

longer than a month. Near the end of February the 
Theater Guild presented its second St. John Ervine 
play, "Jane Clegg." Elsie Ferguson, after three 
years devoted to motion pictures, returned to the stage 
as the heroine of Arnold Bennett's " Sacred and Pro- 
fane Love," and Lionel Barrymore, eager to re-estab- 
lish himself as an independent star, following his joint- 
starring engagement with his brother John, in *' The 
Jest," appeared in Eugene Brieux' " The Letter of the 
Law." Miss Ferguson and Mr. Barrymore were wel- 
comed with considerable enthusiasm, but the plays in 
which they appeared caused no particular excitement. 
The Ervine drama, however, kept the Theater Guild 
busy, and happy, the rest of the season, February also 
saw Rachel Crothers' determined effort to show those 
defiant managers who had insisted her drama, *' He 
and She," was not one to pay its way, that they were 
wrong. When it had been done previousy, notably 
as " The Herfords," it had not been properly 
cast, insisted the author, nor was the temper of the 
times so well suited to the understanding of its theme. 
So she produced "He and She" herself, and likewise 
herself played the heroine. It was a good perform- 
ance of a sincerely and well written play, but the pub- 
lic was less responsive than was hoped for and after 
twenty-eight performances the courageous author ac- 
knowledged herself beaten and withdrew her play. 
"The Wonderful Thing," with Jeanne Eagels playing 
what was frequently referred to as a " French I'eg-o'- 
my Heart," and " The Night Boat," a Charles B. Dil- 
lingham musical play, were other successful produc- 
tions of the month. 

March was distinguished by the production of " The 
Tragedy of Richard HI," which brought John Barry- 
more forward in his first Shakespearean role. I'his 
was a triumphant occasion for all concerned, includ- 
ing Arthur Hopkins, the producer, and Robert Ed- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 9 

mund Jones, who designed scenery and costumes. 
Not only did young Mr. Barrymore surprise and de- 
light the most loyal of his admirers, but he convinced 
the doubters finally that he is possessed of great gifts 
of histrionism. Within comparatively few weeks he 
mastered the reading of verse and so improved his 
voice control as to add immeasurably to the beauty of 
his reading. There was no tinge of that flippant col- 
loquialism the modern actor so frequently assumes to 
mask his inability to read blank verse, nor anything 
resembling a pompous imitation of the booming rhe- 
torical school of old. A similarly sound and satisfy- 
ing compromise was effected in the playing of the 
scenes, with the result that the Barrymore " Richard " 
immediately took its place as a notable achievement of 
the theater rather than merely the personal success of 
a favorite actor. Unfortunately, in the midst of his 
triumph, and while the audiences were still crowding 
the theater to its capacity, Mr. Barrymore felt himself 
upon the verge of a nervous breakdown and decided 
that he must rest. In addition to rehearsing and help- 
ing to superintend the production of '* Richard," he had 
also been posing for the picture of " Dr. Jekyll and 
Mr. Hyde," and the strain had proved too severe. 
Therefore the engagement was halted and Mr. Barry- 
more spent the spring and summer in recuperating his 
wasted strength. 

In March also came Theda Bara with " The Blue 
Flame," thus giving a touch of variety to the drama of 
the day. Miss Bara, having achieved an international 
reputation as the most alluring, or at least the most 
effective, of those sinuous villainesses of the screen 
known as " vamps," was considered a good investment, 
a '* sure-fire " investment, in fact, as a legitimate star, 
if the proper play could be found for her. '* The Blue 
Flame " seemed just the right vehicle. The story was 
of a young agnostic who believed that he, as well as 



lo THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

God, could create life, and who tried it with the body of 
his fiancee, after she had been killed by lightning, only 
to discover that while he had restored the beat of the 
pulse he had been unable to supply the lady with a 
soul. The play was produced, and the curiosity to 
see it in certain eastern cities, notably Boston, was 
so great that frequently riots were threatened. New 
York, however, laughed openly at the rather prepos- 
terous dialogue and the wildly melodramatic situations, 
and so, after forty-eight performances " The Blue 
Flame " was sent on tour, where it prospered exceed- 
ingly. 

This was the month in which Percy Mackaye's 
" ballad-drama," " George Washington," was played 
for sixteen performances and withdrawn. Designed 
originally as a masque to be performed in the open, 
and on festival occasions, it did not lend itself grace- 
fully to reshaping for the theater. Furthermore it 
was brought into direct contrast with the impressively 
staged '* Abraham Lincoln," and the comparison was 
entirely against it. Walter Hampden, who had played 
the titular role, revived " Hamlet," in which role he 
he had scored a distinct success the previous season. 
There was also a revival of the '* Medea " of Euripides, 
given at the Garrick Theater by Maurice Browne and 
Ellen Van Volkenburg, and two melodramas inspired 
by the prevalent interest in things spiritual. These 
were " The Hole in the Wall " and " The Ouija 
Board," both interesting, but the latter rather the more 
wierd and thrilling of the two. 

Not much happened during April worthy of review. 
There was an elaborate revival of the twenty-year-old 
'* Florodora," with a new sextette of beauties and an 
old sextette dressed as were the original six. It was a 
worthy and also a successful revival. Ed Wynn, the 
comedian who, because of his activities in the actors' 
strike, had earned the undying enmity of his employ- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 ii 

ers, came to town with a " Carnival " which he per- 
sonally had organized and staged to provide himself 
with a job. His venture was entirely successful and 
promises to join the hardy annuals in the revue class. 
A musical version of Catherine Chisholm Cushing's 
Scotch comedy, " Kitty MacKaye," called " Lassie," 
was offered in April and popularly received, and there 
was a second revival of Gorky's " Night Lodging " 
which continued for a fortnight. 

]\Iay is usually a month of summer shows and dra- 
matic revivals — the summer shows hoping to gain 
such headway during the remaining weeks of reason- 
ably cool weather that they may continue through 
June and July, and the dramatic revivals offering 
managers with idle and expensive actors on their 
hands, to whom they have guaranteed salaries for a 
certain number of weeks, a chance to utilize their serv- 
ices. This year, however, there was but one revival, 
and that a modernized version by Zoe Akins of " For- 
get-me-not," called " Foot-loose." Arthur Richman's 
romantic comedy, '* Not So Long Ago," placed back 
in the New York of the early 70s, proved a placid 
but agreeable entertainment, and there was one prom- 
ising musical comedy in " Honey Girl," which is a 
musicalized version of the comedy drama, " Check- 
ers," popular fifteen years ago. Another drama with 
a spiritualistic theme was Anne Crawford Flexner's 
" All Soul's Eve," in which the spirit of a dead mother 
returns and takes possession of the body of an Irish 
nurse, the better to watch over a sick child. 

A fine season in many ways. A remarkable season 
in that it has been witness to the breaking of several 
records of one kind or another. The quality of the 
plays, speaking generally, averages much higher than 
it has in any season we remember in which there has 
been an equal number of new plays offered. The fact 
that there have been more long runs than ever before 



12 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

is not particularly significant, being traceable directly 
to the prosperity prevailing. It is significant, however, 
that there were a greater number of plays produced 
by independent producers, as distinguished from the 
organized and, in a sense, commercially allied pro- 
ducers, than ever before. This, first because there was 
a quantity of " outside money," war profits and the 
like, in search of theatrical investments; and, second, 
because the prevailing prosperity, having lessened the 
chances of failure, served to buck up the courage of 
the timid little fellow with a play to present and a 
small bank-roll with which to negotiate the debut. 
Many of these independents have been successful, and 
as in almost every instance they have brought with 
them new ideas, new courage and expanding ambi- 
tions their influence on the future of the drama is 
quite sure to be felt. 

In this connection we are reminded of the charge 
that the theater is gradually being taken over by the 
motion picture interests, a charge which created some 
little excitement during the winter when it was discov- 
ered that one big picture concern had secured control 
of three or four New York theaters w^ith the intention 
of producing plays therein which later would be turned 
into moving pictures. In this way it was " movie 
money " that financed Ethel Barrymore's season in 
" Declassee," and John D. Williams' ventures with 
" Beyond the Horizon " and ** For the Defense," not to 
mention half a dozen others. The fear of some is that 
plays will be chosen hereafter not on their merits as 
drama but rather because of their possible future value 
as screen plays. It is a little early to judge the eflfect 
the closer linking of the screen and stage will have on 
the drama, but personally, considering what we know of 
the influences bearing upon the selection and produc- 
tion of plays in the past, we cannot work up much 
excitement over the threatened invasion. And as this 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 13 

happens to be the first year in which the distrusted 
cinema magnates have taken a hand in producing plays, 
and also the best season we have enjoyed in years in the 
general quality of the productions made, we will have 
to wait a more convincing proof than any we have so 
far been shown before believing the new influence is 
working great harm to the theater. 

Statistically, also, it proved a most interesting sea- 
son. There were produced in New York approxi- 
mately 150 new plays, dramatic and musical. Of these 
there were six with more than 300 performances each 
to its credit, fourteen with over 200, and 26 that passed 
the 100 performance division. 



"ABRAHAM LI^)^COLN " 

An American Chronicle Play in Six Episodes 

By John Drinkwater 

WITH some slight misgiving on the part of both the 
English author, John Drinkwater, and the American 
producer, William Harris, Jr., " Abraham Lincoln " 
was first presented at the Cort Theater, New York, on 
Dec. 15, 1919. Much had been written in a jocular 
vein of the courage, not to say " nerve," required by 
an English poet who would attempt to write an histori- 
cal drama on so intimately American a theme as that 
supplied by the life and character of Lincoln, and there 
were many in the audience that opening night of a 
mind defiantly to oppose any indorsement of the pro- 
ceedings. As frequently happens, however, those who 
came to scofif remained to applaud. By the time the 
third episode had been reached the success of the pre- 
mier was assured and the triumph of the play freely 
predicted. 

We naturally are inclined to feel that the restaging 
the play received on this side of the Atlantic, had some- 
thing to do with its local success. Lester Lonergan, 
who directed the rehearsals, no doubt did a great deal 
to clear the action and the text of such foreign atmos- 
phere and incidental detail as were said to have been 
made sport of by those Americans who had seen the 
play in London. Also the outstanding success of 
Frank McGlynn, the actor engaged for the titular 
role, and who not only contributed a fine perform- 
ance but who is a perfect physical selection for the 

14 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 15 

** type," unquestionably helped greatly with the suc- 
cess. But there is something more deeply significant 
than can be accounted for by these material aids 
back of the success of *' Abraham Lincoln," some- 
thing that can perhaps best be described as a spiritual 
quality so fine, so universally human, so holding that 
the recital strikes a note of exaltation like unto that 
inspired by a passion play. It is a quality that was 
felt in England, both in Birmingham, where the play 
was first presented by the Repertory company of which 
the author is director, and later in London, as quickly 
as it was in America. 

" ' Abraham Lincoln ' was performed in London at 
an obscure and ugly theater in a distant suburb by an 
unknown management with a cast which did not con- 
tain the name of a single player of reputation," St. 
John Ervine has written for the North American Re- 
view. " There was not an actor in the cast with suffi- 
cient popularity to draw sixpence into the theater. 
The scenic effects were so slight as to be negligible. 
There was no orchestra. . . . And yet the play was 
an enormous success. 

It also is an enormous success in New York, and will 
be an enormous success on tour for years to come. 
Because it is truly a great play. A synopsis is ap- 
pended : 

Episode I 

It is early evening. In the parlor of Abraham Lin- 
coln's home in Springfield, 111., in the spring of 1861, 
two of Lincoln's neighbors sit before a grate fire 
quietly smoking. They are Mr. Stone and Mr. Cuff- 
ney, and, having heard that the Republican Convention 
in Chicago has agreed to extend to their old friend an 
invitation to be the party's nominee for the office of 
President of the United States, they have come to wish 
him well and to express the hope that he will accept. 



i6 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Lincoln enters the room unannounced. The pockets 
of his long coat are stuffed with papers, and the old hat 
is perched uncertainly above his high forehead. His 
clean-shaven, angular face is serious, as with the 
weight of the pending decision, but the lines are 
smoothed away in a gentle smile of greeting for the old 
friends and the wife. 

They have come, the visitors explain, to be the first 
to congratulate him. And they are humbled by the 
thought of his being chosen to *' be one of the great 
ones of the earth." It makes the chosen one humble, 
too, Lincoln agrees. It is not an office a man would 
seek nor accept, with times what they are — but for 
that inner conviction that shapes the destinies of 
men . . . They drink a health — ** to Abraham Lin- 
coln and ti:e United States " — and he joins them " to 
the hope of honest friends . . ." 

The delegation is shown in. Its members are Wil- 
liam Tucker, merchant ; Henry Hind, attorney ; Elias 
Price, preacher ; James Macintosh, editor. Mr. Tucker 
is the chairman, and, it may be, a little conscious of 
the honor. He, and his fellow delegates, have been 
sent to tender to Mr. Lincoln an invitation to become 
the Republican Party nominee for the office of Presi- 
dent of the United States, and because of an existing 
split in the ranks of the Democratic Party, the election 
of the Republican nominee is practically a certainty. 

Have they considered his disqualifications, as well 
as his qualifications? Lincoln demands. There are 
some things, some characteristic peculiarities, it may 
be, that Washington society may not approve. There 
are, too, Seward and Hook ; they are men of great ex- 
perience, and they are ambitious . . . 

There will be many serious questions of policy to be 
determined, and he is a stubborn man, Lincoln con- 
tinues. If it should transpire that the South should 
claim the right to secede, or to go farther than it has 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 17 

gone with slavery, and the decision should rest with 
him, he would have everybody's mind clear as to his 
attitude. If there must be resistance he will stand 
inexorably for that decision. . . . 

Knowing, then, his position on the greatest of the 
problems his administration will likely be called upon to 
face; that under no circumstances will he recede from 
his stand against slavery ; that, because of what he 
knows and of what he had seen when he was a boy in 
New Orleans, he has taken oath, if ever he has a chance 
to hit slavery he will hit it hard, they still have no other 
conditions to make ? 

They assure him again that they have none. Their 
invitation is still the same and there is not one among 
them who is not proud to bear it to him. Then, he will 
accept. He calls to Susan to show the gentlemen in to 
Mrs. Lincoln, and as they leave the room he stands 
silent for a moment. Slowly his eyes turn to the map 
of the United States hanging upon the wall. Steadily, 
anxiously he gazes upon it, spreading his great arms as 
though to embrace the country in charge of whose des- 
tinies he is shortly to be placed. Then, turning to the 
center table, he kneels beside it. His head is bowed 
and his face is buried in his hands in an attitude of 
prayer as the curtain falls. 

Episode II 

It is ten months later. In Secretary of State Sew- 
ard's room in Washington, Johnson White and Caleb 
Jennings, commissioners representing the Confederate 
States of the South, are meeting with the Secretary in 
some hope that he may help them to avert the calamity 
of civil war which threatens. They know, they tell 
Seward, as all the South knows, that he is the one 
member of the cabinet most likely to understand clearly 
the situation. 

The Secretary replies that he is not unconscious of 



1 8 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

their intended compliment, but he cannot go farther 
than that. Seven of the southern states have declared 
an intention of seceding from the Union ; President 
Lincoln, with the indorsement of his cabinet, feels that 
such action must inevitabl}' lead to the decline of 
America. 

Still, the commissioners insist, there is a chance for 
compromise. If the government will order the with- 
drawal of the garrison from Fort Sumter the South 
will agree to take no further action at present, and 
South Carolina will quite likely be willing to lead the 
other seceding states in a reconsideration of their inten- 
tion to break with the Union. . . . Certainly, though 
the President is firm in his decisions, even to the point 
of stubbornness, it is not unreasonable to hope that he 
might listen to the advice of the most able man among 
his advisers. 

Before the commissioners can gracefully withdraw 
President Lincoln enters the room. He is bearded, 
now, and already the strain of his great responsibilities 
are beginning to show in the lines of his face. Jen- 
nings and White seek to continue their exit, but Lin- 
coln asks them to remain. He would like to talk with 
them for five minutes, if they will be so kind — 

Seward explains that the gentlemen from the South 
have come in the hope of sounding such " moderating 
influences " as may be brought to bear on the situation. 
The President is equally hopeful that they have brought 
" moderating infiuences " whh them, it would, per- 
haps, have been in better taste if they had appealed 
directly to the government, but — what is it they have 
to suggest? 

Jennings repeats the proposition that the forces at 
Fort Sumter be withdrawn, and that the South be, in a 
measure, assured of its right to independent action, 
whatever the question involved. 

The President replies that such a compromise is im- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 19 

possible. They may believe that they have an honest 
case, but they have not. The South is much more 
deeply interested in putting the stamp of national ap- 
proval on slavery than it is in establishing its rights of 
secession, and that shall never be. It knows that aboli- 
tion is a possibility, if not a probability of the future, 
and seeks by forcing its right to secede to make aboli- 
tion impossible. . . . Let them understand, too, and 
that clearly, that the issue of civil war rests with the 
South. So long as it remains loyal to the Union it will 
be privileged to fight for slavery by all constitutional 
means, and extend its foundations if it can. But if it 
seeks the disruption of the Union by insisting upon its 
right to destroy the Union, then shall the burden of 
war rest with it. Let them send that message to the 
men of the South, and let them beg, by all the bonds 
of affection that should hold a united people together, 
that they order Beauregard's withdrawal before it is 
too late. A special wire shall be placed at their service 
to facilitate the transmission of their message. 

A messenger who had ridden straight from Major 
Anderson at Fort Sumter arrives. He brings the news 
that the fort can be held for no more than three days 
without provisions or reinforcements. Within three 
days the decision must be for war, unless the South's 
commissioners succeed in convincing their people. A 
vain hope. Already the reply has come from the South 
that they will not give way. Nor do they leave any 
opening for further discussion. Quickly the President 
summons the cabinet — Salmon P. Chase, ]\Iontgomery 
Blair, Simon Cameron, Caleb Smith, Burnet Hook (the 
one fictitious character in the play) and Gideon Welles. 
Solemnly the President states the situation to them. 
The government faces the gravest crisis in its history, 
either the order must be to hold Sumter or — 

Would it not be wise to withdraw altogether, queries 
Hook; to give the South a chance at suggesting com- 



20 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

promise, and to plead military necessity, if need be, as 
an excuse for the move? To which the President re- 
plies that in his opinion to do anything that would sug- 
gest temporizing then would be fundamentally to admit 
the South's claim to its right of independent action. 
And if that question be not met now, it would have to 
be met soon. To withdraw might postpone war, it 
could not conceivably prevent it. . . . To do all that 
could be done to hold Sumter would be to notify the 
world of the government's intention to defend a clean 
cause; they were not the aggressors, but the aggressed; 
in their hands they held a sacred trust ; their duty was 
to defend it. . . . The question is for the provisioning 
of Fort Sumter: The President, Chase and Blair vote 
aye. . . . For the withdrawal of Major Anderson's 
troops : Seward, Smith, Hook, Welles and Cameron. 
For a moment the silence is profound. Then the 
President speaks. The responsibility of over-riding 
the decision of the cabinet may devolve upon him. It 
is he Congress and the country will hold responsible. 
In the event of his taking that action should he receive 
any of their resignations? Again there is silence. 
The meeting is dismissed. . . . The messenger is sum- 
moned and bidden to return immediately to Major An- 
derson. Lincoln's decision has been made. The first 
shipment of provisions for the relief of the fort will 
go forward that evening ! 

Episode III 

Nearly two years later, in a small reception room in 
the White House. A Mrs. Goliath Blow has called. 
She has come to reassure herself that the dear Presi- 
dent is not growing weary of the war and that he will 
not think of lessening his firmness until the awful South 
is thoroughly beaten. Mrs. Blow is the wife of a war 
profiteer. 

A ^vlrs. Otherly is announced. She is in mourning.' 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 21 

She has lost a son at the front. Still, as Mrs. Blow 
points out, they must all expect to make sacrifices. 
Conditions are terrible, what with the price of every- 
thing advancing. She and Goliath have been actually 
compelled to cut down several of their subscriptions. 

The President enters the room. His face is drawn ; 
his eyes are tired. Yes, he has news. The Union 
forces have won a victory, with a loss of 800 men to 
the enemy's 2,700 — thirty-five hundred casualties ! 
What a whimsical way to look at it, observes Mrs. 
Blow — when only the 800 Federals really matter. 

Mrs. Otherly begs the President's permission to ask 
him a question? Must the war go on? Isn't there 
some way of stopping it? 

Such a foolish question would never have occurred 
to Mrs. Blow. She admits it. 

Yet, agrees Lincoln, it is a right question. For two 
years he has put it daily to hiinself. In two years war 
has become a bitterness to him almost past the endur- 
ing. But he can see no other way. The justice of the 
cause for which the North is fighting has not been 
changed. War is wrong; has always been wrong; al- 
ways will be wrong. But so long as men are weak, 
and foolish and jealous, wars will continue. None 
can outstrip the world. There is an instinct to which 
men are beholden that bids them resist aggression. 
Wrong it may be, but there it is. Gradually it may be 
overcome by clear thinking. To have said that there 
should be no war, because war was an evil thing, would 
have settled nothing. It is a great responsibility to 
decide so grave a question, bilt all he could do, all any 
man could do, was to uphold and to defend the truth 
as he saw it. 

Mrs. Blow agrees perfectly. Just as Goliath had 
said, those Southern brutes m.ust be taught a lesson. 
Perhaps, suggests the President, he could get Goliath 
a commission, seeing he is only 38. The idea is quite 



22 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

silly to Mrs. Blow. Goliath is needed at home. He 
has so many government contracts to look after. But 
she will be glad to tell him what the President has said, 
especially about those people who want to stop wars. 
Of covirse she is sorry for Mrs. Otherly, but why make 
matters worse by thinking that way about them? She 
does hope the dear President will not think of weak- 
ening. 

As she turns to go she offers the President her hand, 
which he does not take, but he speaks plainly. He 
would have her know that he is ashamed of her and 
of all her kind; of all who, without sacrifice of any 
kind, go about talking of destroying the South and 
preaching revenge and destruction and hatred. The 
people of the South are mistaken, but they are hon- 
estly mistaken and in, to them, a great cause. It is 
people like her that dishonor the cause for which the 
North is fighting. And as she leaves, too completely 
squelched to reply, the President summons Susan and 
bids her be careful the next time Mrs. Blow calls. He 
fears she may meet with an accident. 

President Lincoln has sent for William Custis, an 
aged negro preacher. The old man was born a slave, 
but gaining his freedom in later years, acquired some 
education and has spent his life working for his people. 
It is to him that the President first intimates his inten- 
tion of signing the Proclamation of Pmancipation. 
For long he has considered it. Now his decision has 
been made. Slavery shall be abolished. 

In the street below is heard the tramp of marching 
soldiers, and as they pass the window they can be heard 
singing in chorus : " John Brown's body lies a moul- 
d'ring in the grave." 

Episode IV 

A few days later there is a meeting of the cabinet at 
Washington. Caleb Smith is gone and Simon Came- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 23 

ron has been succeeded by Edwin M. Stanton, as Sec- 
retary of War. The others are Seward, Chase, Blair, 
Welles and Hook. They arrange themselves at the 
table while awaiting the arrival of the President. The 
talk is of the summons for this special meeting. Stan- 
ton explains that there is special news from the front. 
McClellan has just defeated Lee at Antietam. It is the 
greatest victory the Union forces have yet scored and 
will probably mark the turning point of the war. 

It is Hook's opinion that this is j)robably the time the 
President will select to bring up his Emancipation 
Proclamation again. And he (Hook) is unalterably 
opposed to it. What does it mean, anyway? As he 
understands the situation, the North is fighting to pre- 
serve the integrity of the Union. Now the President 
talks as though emancipation were the only thing that 
concerned him. 

Seward corrects him. The President has always 
held the preservation of the Union as the paramount 
issue of the war, but there has never been any question 
of his feeling regarding slavery. Had he not said : 

"If I could save the Union without freeing any 
slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing 
all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by 
freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do 
that. My paramount object in this struggle is to save 
the union." 

The President comes. Apparently he is in fine 
spirits, but almost afraid to admit it, even to him- 
self. It has been so long since there was good news to 
report. In his hand he carries a small book, and now, 
as though to compose his own thoughts as well as those 
of his associates, he begs permission to read it. Hook 
sneers, and Stanton moves uneasily in his seat. Here 
is a special meeting of the cabinet called to consider 



24 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

the greatest victory of the war and the President asks 
permission to read a book ! The others settled in their 
chairs as Lincohi proceeds to regale them with Artemus 
Ward's " High Handed Outrage at Utica." . . . 

The meeting proceeds. McClellan, Seward assumes, 
is in pursuit of Lee, which leads the President, with 
the suggestion of a smile, to intimate that his Secretary 
of State is something of an optimist. But, if McClel- 
lan is not in pursuit of Lee, he agrees, he will send 
Grant after him. But, interposes, Blair, Grant drinks. 
To which the President replies that if he knew Grant's 
brand he would send a barrel to some of his other gen- 
erals. Drink or not. Grant wins victories. 

Hook, growing restless, not to say disgusted, at this 
levity, would like to know if there is any other business 
to be considered. There is. And it is then the Presi- 
dent produces his proclamation. The moment has ar- 
rived, he believes, for its issuance. To refresh their 
memories he reads it to them again : 

" It is proclaimed that on the first day of January in 
the year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred and 
sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any state, 
the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the 
United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and for- 
ever free." 

Hook is immediately on his feet with a protest. Any 
such proclamation should not be issued before victory 
is sure. 'J'o put it forward now would cause dissension 
when unity was most needed. lUit the President is 
firm. He has for months considered with great ear- 
nestness the responsibility of issuing the proclamation. 
Once he had given way to them when they had thought 
it not the proper time to issue it. But now he is con- 
vinced the hour has arrived. ... 

Stanton, Chase and Hook arc for delay. Let the 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 25 

present business of preserving the Union be given all 
attention. But the President's mind is made up, and 
as he repeats the significant words, " Shall be thence- 
forward and forever free," he affixes his signature to 
the proclamation. 

There is a moment's silence and then the members 
of the cabinet quietly withdraw. Seward, Blair and 
Welles shake the President's hand ; the others merely 
bow. As Hook is leaving the President calls him back. 
As he had once had an understanding with another 
member of his ministry he now purposes to face Hook 
with the plain facts of his intriguing disloyalty. 
Hook, Lincoln knows, is am.bitious and envious. He 
tells him so. Hook is frank enough to admit that he 
is opposed to the President's policy and to his " lack of 
firmness." He would have him definitely declare what 
shall be the punishment of the rebels after the war. 
The President answers that he refuses to permit the 
war to become a " blood-feud '' ; the government will 
defeat treason, but in place of punishing it with sever- 
ity it will meet it with conciliation ; such may be a 
policy of weakness to Hook, but it is to him a policy of 
faith and compassion. 

As his anger mounts the accused minister offers to 
resign his post — and Lincoln accepts his resignation. 
Hook angrily departs, begging to be excused from the 
formality of shaking hands. Over the face of the 
President spreads a look of great pity, and of great 
weariness. He asks that his secretary be sent to him. 
When Hay arrives he bids him read a passage 
from Shakespeare's " The Tempest " — a favorite 
passage, beginning : " Our revels now are ended ; 
these, our actors, as I foretold you, were all spirits, 
and are melted into air, thin air;" and ending: 
" We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and 
our little life is rounded with a sleep." The curtain 
falls. 



26 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Episode V 

It is an April evening in 1S65. In a farmhouse near 
Appomattox, General Grant, as Commander-in-Chief 
of the Union forces, has made his headquarters. He 
is smoking and occasionally he takes a drink of 
whiskey. 

He is awaiting word from General Meade, in com- 
mand of the field forces that have General Robert E. 
Lee's Confederate Army practically surrounded. It is, 
so far as Grant can see, only a matter of hours before 
Lee will be forced to surrender. Lee is a great man. 
but he cannot conquer the unconquerable. 

An orderly announces the arrival of President Lin- 
coln. The President's visit is unexpected, but, as he 
explains to Grant, he grew anxious and could not keep 
away. Now he hears with a great sigh of relief that 
the end is seemingly near. When it comes they " must 
be merciful." 

The night passes. At 6 o'clock an orderly sent with 
a cup of coffee for the President finds him still sleep- 
ing soundly, his long body stretched between two chairs. 
A discreet rattling of dishes arouses him. Slowly, and 
a little painfully, he pulls himself together. 

A moment later General Grant arrives to report that 
word has come from General Meade. Lee had asked 
for an armistice at 4 o'clock. There is a moment's 
silence as the two men look at each other. The end 
has come, and yet, though for four long years *' life has 
been but the hope of this moment," how simple is its 
coming! Gravely the President extends his hand to 
his Commander-in-Chief. Grant has served the coun- 
try well ; he has made the President's work possible. 
But, replies Grant, he could not have succeeded if the 
President had not believed in him. 

Soon General Meade arrives to confirm the report of 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 27 

the surrender. After a word or two with Grant — 
and an order that there shall be no hanging or shooting 
of the conquered rebels ; that the worst that shall hap- 
pen to them is that they shall be frightened out of the 
country — Lincoln is gone, on his way back to the 
capital. 

General Lee arrives. A war-weary man, and a 
beaten one, but of dignified bearing and punctiliously 
groomed. He returns the salute of his conqueror and 
there is an exchange of compliments. General Grant 
submits the terms upon which surrender will be ac- 
cepted. They are " magnanimous," General Lee 
agrees, but he would like to make one submission. 
The officers have been allowed to keep their horses. 
Could the same privilege be extended the cavalry troop- 
ers? Their horses also are their own. Grant under- 
stands. Horses will be needed on the farms. It shall 
be as Lee wishes. A moment's pause and the gallant 
Southerner unbuckles his sword and offers it to his 
conqueror. Grant bids him return it to his scabbard. 
It has but one rightful place. They shake hands and 
gravely salute each other. As Lee turns toward the 
door the curtain falls. 

Episode VI 

In the lounge of Ford's Theater, outside the Presi- 
dent's box, the night of a gala performance of '* Our 
American Cousin," April 14, 1865, there are gossiping 
groups of spectators. Through the doors of the box 
President Lincoln and Secretary Stanton can be seen 
talking together. Near them are Mrs. Lincoln and 
another lady and an officer. 

An act of the play has been finished. There is the 
sound of applause from the auditorium. The orches- 
tra plays patriotic airs. Suddenly there are cries of 
" Lincoln ! " " The President ! " " Speech ! " The 
gossips stop to listen. The President rises slowly in 



28 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

his place and holds up his hand. There is immediate 
silence. The President speaks. . . . 

" After four dark and difificult years we have achieved 
the great purpose for which we set out. General Lee's 
surrender to General Grant leaves but one Confederate 
force in the field. The end is immediate and certain. 
. . . The task of reconciliation, of setting order where 
there is now confusion, of bringing about a settlement 
at once just and merciful, and of directing llie life of a 
reunited country into prosperous channels of good will 
and generosity, will demand all our wisdom, all our 
loyalty. It is the proudest hope of my life that I may 
be of some service in this work. . . . Whatever it may 
be it can be but little in return for all the kindness and 
forbearance that I have received. With malice to- 
ward none, with charity for all, it is for us to resolve 
that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of 
freedom; and that government of the pcoiilc. by the 
people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." 

The cheering dies away. A call boy announces the 
last act. The doors of the boxes are closed. The 
three raps of the stage manager are heard and the play 
is resumed. Suddenly from the entrance at the left 
John Wilkes Booth appears. He edges his way 
stealthily toward the center box. Arrived there he 
uncovers the hand hidden beneath his cloak, exposing 
the revolver he carries. Pulling open the door of the 
box he fires, slams the door to and hurries away. The 
door opens and an officer dashes out in pursuit of 
Booth. Mrs. Lincoln is .seen kneeling by the side of 
the President. A doctor is hurriedly summoned. A 
crowd of spectators from the other boxes and from the 
auditorium begins to gather. There is a buzz of muf- 
fled conversation, of exclamations of grief and of hor- 
ror. Suddenly a hush falls upon the crowd as Secre- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 29 

tary Stanton steps from the box. He raises his hand. 
" Now he belongs to the ages,'' he says. The sobbing 
of the crowd grows gradually in volume. The curtain 
falls. 



\ 



" BEYOND THE HORIZON " 

An American Tragedy in Three Acts 

By Eugene O'Neill 

BEING one of those serious dramas with which the 
commercial theater hesitates to ally itself, on the theory 
that American playgoers do not like serious plays, *' Be- 
yond the Horizon " was first presented at a special 
matinee performance at the Morosco Theatre on Feb. 
2, 1920 — partly as an experiment on the part of John 
D. Williams, the producer, and partly to quiet the 
pleading of Richard Bennett, the actor, who, having 
read the play, insistently demanded a chance to play 
the chief male role. The reviewers of the press hailed 
the new play with enthusiasm, and the matinees grew 
so steadily in popularity that when the Morosco Thea- 
tre was no longer available the attraction was mo\-ed to 
the Criterion, on Feb. 23. Finally the Little Theatre 
was secured and on March 9 the play began a " regu- 
lar " engagement there that continued until spring. By 
that time there were many who were willing to accept 
this first long play from Eugene O'Neill's pen as rep- 
resenting the closest approach any naf've author has 
yet made to iJie great American play so long and so 
hopefully looked for. 

" Beyond the Horizon " is the tragedy of a dreamer 
who lacked the courage to live his dream. Robert 
Mayo, son of James and Kate Mayo, born on a New 
England farm, but with no love of the soil, has grown 
up a frail youth to whom the mysterious far places of 
the world beckon alluringly. The opening scene of the 
play finds him as he is about to set out on his first 

30 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 31 

journey beyond the blue hills that encircle his home. 
" The hushed twilight of a day in May is just begin- 
ning. The horizon hills are still rimmed by a faint line 
of llame, and the sky above them glows with the crim- 
son flush of the sunset. At the rise of the curtain 
Robert Mayo is discovered. He is a tall, slender 
young man of 23. There is a touch of the poet about 
him expressed in his high forehead and wide, dark 
eyes. His features are delicate and refined, leaning to 
weakness in the mouth and chin. He is reading a book 
by the fading sunset light." 

Here his brother, Andrew, finds him. Andrew is 
four years older and an opposite type to Robert — 
" husky, sun-bronzed, handsome in a large-featured, 
manly way — a son of the soil, intelligent in a shrewd 
way, but with nothing of the intellectual about him." 
There is a deep brotherly sympathy between the two. 
They discuss Robert's sailing on his Uncle Dick's ship, 
the Sunda, next day. The appeal of the " far off and 
the unknown, the mystery and spell of the East . . . 
the joy of wandering on and on in quest of the secret 
that is hidden just over there beyond the horizon," 
does not appeal particularly to Andrew, but he's glad, 
for Robert's sake, that he is going. Presently another 
subject is touched upon lightly between them — that of 
Ruth Atkins. They have lived neighbor to Ruth prac- 
tically all their lives. Both brothers have been — still 
are, in fact — in love wnth her, but she has appeared 
to favor Andrew, and they have accepted her decision 
as final. " We can't help those things, Rob," suggests 
Andrew ; and they both understand. 

But later, when Ruth finds Robert still gazing in- 
tently at the sunset, the situation changes. *' She is a 
healthy, blonde, out-of-door girl of 20, with a graceful, 
slender figure, and undeniably pretty. . , . Her small, 
regular features are marked by a certain strength, an 
underlying stubborn fixity of purpose hidden in the 



Z2 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

frankly appealing charm of her fresh youthfulness." 
It is a little difficult for Ruth to understand why 
Robert is going away — and not so very easy for her to 
explain why she can't understand. " Oh, Rob, why do 
you want to go ? " she demands, finally, in a desperation 
born of her own unhappiness; ". . . it seems such a 
shame." 

" I could hardly back out now," he explains, a little 
puzzled; "even if I wanted to. And I'll be forgotten 
before you know it." 

** You won't," she cries. " I'll never forget ! . . ." 

!.obert) — {moodily). I doubt if you'll understand. 
It's ditticult to explain, even to myself.— It's more an 
instinctive longing that won't stand dissection .•—. I 
can remember being conscious of it first when I was 
only a kid — you haven't forgotten what a sickly speci- 
men I was then, in those days, have you ? 

Ruth — {with a shudder). They're past. Let's 
not think about them. 

Robert — Ye«^l ]»¥€ to- u nd e rs t an ti. Well — in 
those days, when Ma was fixing meals, she used to 
get me out of the way by pushing my chair to the 
west window and telling me to look out and be quiet. 
L" That wasn't hard. I guess I was always quiet in those 
days. ... So I used to stare out over the fields to the 
hills — out there — {pointing to the horizon) and start 
dreaming — someone had told me the sea was beyond 
those hills — and I used to wonder what the sea was 
like — and try to form a picture of it in my mind's eye. 
And other times my eyes would follow this road wind- 
ing oflf into the distance — towards the hills — as if 
it, too, was searching for the sea. And I'd promise 
myself that when I grew up and was strong — I'd fol- 
low this road — and it and I would find the sea to- 
gether, j You see — my making this trip is only keep- 
ing that promise of long ago. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 33 

Ruth — Yes. 

Robert — Those were the only happy moments of 
my life then, Ruth —■ dreaming there at the window. 
I got to know all the different kinds of sunsets by 
heart that took place over there — beyond the hor izon . 
So gradually I came to believe that all the wonders of 
the world happened on the other side. ai-tb«^^i3iUs, 
Beyond them was the home of the good fairies who 
performed beautiful miracles. ^T believed in fairies 
then — Perhaps I still do. Anyway in those days they 
were real enough — sometimes — I could actually hear 
them calling to me to come out and play ^'^-^dance with 
them down the road in the dusk in a game of hide and 
seek to find out where the sun was hiding. . . ^Then 
I would start crying because I couldn't go;and Ma 
would think I was in paiji -^ That's why I'm going now, 
I suppose. For I can still hear them calling — Do you 
understand me, Ruth ? 

Ruth — Yes. 

Robert — You feel it then ? 

Ruth — Yes — yes I do! (Unconsciously she 
snuggles close against his side — his arm steals abou 
her zvaist as if he z^'crcn't azvare of the action) Oh — 
Rob how could I help feeling it? You tell things so 
beautifully ! 

Robert — So you see when Uncle Dick said I could 
go to sea with him I was overjoyed at the prospect — 
then I suddenly awoke to the truth — the thing I 
wanted most3\vas right h ere — you mustn't mind my 
telling you this, RuTTT — it can't make any difference 
ngw^and I realize how impossible my staying here is, 
and I understand and Fm happy for Andy's sake and 
yours. You see — the revelation of my own love 
opened my eyes to the love of you and Andy. 

Ruth — (breaking out stonnily). I don't — I don't 
love Andy — I don't ! . . . Whatever put such a fool 
notion into your head? (She throws her arms about 



34 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

his neck) Oh Rob — don't go away — please — you 
mustn't now. You can't — I won't let you — it'd break 
my — my heart ! 

Robert — Do you mean that — that you love me ? 

Ruth — Yes — yes — of course, I do — what'd you 
s'pose? You stupid thing! I've loved you right 
along. 

Robert — But you and Andy were always together ! 

Ruth — Because you never seemed to want to go 
any place with me. You were always reading an old 
book and not paying any attention to me. I was too 
proud to let you see 1 cared because I thought the year 
you had away to college had made you stuck-up, and 
you thought yourself too educated to waste any time 
on me. 

Robert — And I was thinking — What fools we've 
both been! 

The revelation of Ruth's love for him changes all 
Robert's plans. " I think love must have been the 
secret — the secret that called to me over the world's 
rim," he confesses to the now radiant girl. But the 
prospect of breaking the news to the folks is not a 
pleasant one. Still, it must be done. 

The scene changes to the sitting room of the Mayo 
farmhouse about 9 o'clock the same night. *' The at- 
mosphere is one of the orderly comfort of a simple, 
hard-earned prosperity, enjoyed and maintained by the 
family as a unit." Father and Mother Mayo, and 
Uncle Dick are gathered around the center table. An- 
drew sits glumly at one side. The evening meal has 
been recently finished, Robert has gone to take Ruth 
and her mother home — rather to the surprise of the 
family, that task usually falling to Andrew. The 
family discussion is of " Robbie's " going away; of the 
good it will do him and the void it will leave in the 
family circle. Suddenly Andrew remembers the un- 
finished evening chores and leaves them, which gives 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 35 

Mrs. Mayo a chance to free her mind of a troubling 
thought. 

Mrs. Mayo — Did you notice, James, how queer 
everyone was at supper? Robert seemed stirred up 
about something and Ruth was so flustered and giggly 
— and Andy sat there dumb — looking as if he'd lost 
his best friend — and all of them only nibbled their 
food. 

Mayo — Guess they was all thinkin' about to-mor- 
row, same as us. 

Mrs. Mayo — No — I'm afraid something's hap- 
pened — something else. 

Mayo — You mean — 'bout Ruth ? 

Mrs. Mayo — Yes. 

Mayo — I hope her and Andy ain't had a serious 
fallin' out. I always sorter hoped they'd hitch up 
together sooner or later. What d' you say, Dick? 
Don't you think them two'd pair up well? 

Scott — A sweet, wholesome couple, they'd make. 

Mayo — It'd be a good thing for Andy in more ways 
than one. I ain't what you'd call calculatin' generally, 
and I b'lieve in lettin' young folks run their affairs to 
suit themselves, but there's advantages for both o' 
them in this match you can't overlook in reason. The 
Atkins' farm is right next to our'n. Jined together 
they'd make a jim-dandy of a place, with plenty of 
room to work in. And being a widder with only a 
daughter, and laid up all the time to boot, Mrs. Atkins 
can't do nothin' with the place as it ought to be done. 
Her hired help just goes along as they please, in spite 
of her everlastin' complainin' at 'em. She needs a first- 
class farmer to take hold o' things — and Andy's just 
the one, 

Mrs. Mayo — I don't think Ruth loves Andy. 

Mayo — You don't ? Well — maybe a woman's 
eyes is sharper in such things, but they're always to- 



36 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

gether. And if she don't love him now, she'll likely 
come round in time.. . . You seem mighty fixed in 
your opinion, Katey. How d'you know ? 
Mrs. Mayo. It's just what I feel. 

Then Robert comes, *' smilingly happy and humming 
a song to himself." An " undercurrent of nervous un- 
easiness manifests itself in his bearing," but he knows 
the story of his changed plans must be told, and is 
determined to have it over with. During the recital 
Andrew enters the room quietly and listens. Robert is 
so taken up with his story of the " something very won- 
derful and beautiful — something I did not take into 
consideration previously because I hadn't dared to hope 
that such happiness could ever come to me," that he 
does not notice Andrew. 

Mayo. Let's get to the point, son. 

Robert — Well — the point is this, Pa — I'm not 
going. I mean I can't go to-morrow with Uncle Dick 
— or at any other time either. 

Mayo — Seems to me it's a pretty late hour in the 
day for you to be upsettin' all your plans so sudden. 
What is this foolishness you're talkin' of ? 

Robert — Ruth told me this evening that — she 
loved me. It changed things a lot because I thought 
she loved someone else. So you see I couldn't go 
away now — even if I wanted too. 

Mrs. Mayo — Of course not! ... I knew it! I 
was just telling your father when you came in — and, 
oh, Robbie, I'm so happy you're not going ! 

Robert — I knew you'd be glad. Ma. 

Mayo — Well — I'll be damned! You do beat all 
for gettin' folks mind all tangled up, Robert. And 
Ruth, too! Whatever got into her of a sudden? 
Why, I was thinkin' — 

Mrs. Mayo — Never mind what you were thinking, 
James. It wouldn't be any use telling us that now. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 37 

And what you were hoping for turns out just the same, 
doesn't it ? 

Mayo — Yes — I suppose you're right, Katey. But 
how'd it ever come about ! It do beat anything I ever 
heard. 

The family congratulations follow. Even Andrew 
comes forward, a little awkwardly but whh frank sin- 
cerity, to wish his brother luck. Only Uncle Dick is 
seriously disturbed by the announcement that Robert 
has changed his mind. What's he goin' to do with that 
sta'b'd cabin he fixed up, an' the special grub he stocked 
up with, not to mention the new mattress and sheets 
and bookcases he had put in so's the boy might be com- 
fortable ? Like as not his crew'U " suspicion it was a 
woman " he'd planned to ship along, and that she give 
him the go-by at the last minute. Gawd A'mighty! 
That was a disturbin' thought. 

But Andrew plans to ease Uncle Dick's fears. As 
suddenly as Robert has decided to stay on and help run 
the farm Andrew decides to take his place in Uncle 
Dick's ship. To the Mayo family this decision is even 
more astonishing than the other. Particularly to Fa- 
ther Mayo, who had long since learned to lean on 
Andrew as his right hand man, to think of him as a 
Mayo born an' bred, who would live an' die on the old 
farm. " What's come over you so sudden, Andy ? " 
the old man demands, fairly stunned by the turn 
things have taken. " You know's well as I do that it 
wouldn't be fair for you to run off at a moment's 
notice right now when we're up to our necks in hard 
work." 

Andrew — You can easily get a man to do my work. 

Mayo — It sounds strange to hear you, Andy, that 
I always thought had good sense, talkin' crazy like 
that. Get a man to do your work! — you aint been 



38 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

workin' here for no hire, Andy, that you kin give me 
your notice to quit like you've done. The farm is 
your'n as well as mine. You've always worked on it 
with that understanding — and what you're sayin' you 
intend doin' is just skulkin' out o' your rightful re- 
sponsibility. 

Andrew — I feel I oughtn't to miss this chance to 
go out into the world and see things — and — I want 
to go. 

Mayo — (zfith bitter scorn). So — you want to go 
out into the world and see things ! . . . You're a liar, 
Andy Mayo — and a mean one to boot! 

Mrs. Mayo — James! 

Robert — Pa ! 

Mayo — I never thought Pd live to see the day when 
a son o' mine'd look me in the face and tell me a bare- 
faced lie ! 

Mrs. Mayo — James! 

Robert — Pa ! 

Scott — Steady there, Jim ! 

Mayo — Keep out of this — all of you. He's a liar 
and he knows it. You're runnin' away 'cause you're 
put out and riled 'cause your own brother's got Ruth 
'stead of you, and — 

Andrew — Stop — Pa ! I won't stand hearing that 
— not even from you ! 

Mayo — It's the truth — and you know it. 

Mrs. Mayo— Sh-h-h! 

Andrew — You're wrong, Pa — it isn't the truth. 
I don't love Ruth — I never loved her — and the 
thought of such a thing never entered my head. 

Mayo — Hump! You're pilin' lie on lie! 

Andrew — I don't care — I've done my share of 
work here. I've earned my right to quit when I want 
to. 

Robert — Andy — don't ! You're only making it 
worse. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 39 

Andrew — I'm sick and tired of the whole damn 
business. I hate the farm and every inch of ground 
in it. I'm sick of digging in the dirt and sweating in 
the sun like a slave without getting a word of thanks 
for it. I'm through — through for good and all — 
and if Uncle Dick won't take me on his ship — I'll 
find another. I'll get away somewhere — somehow. 

Mrs. Mayo — Don't you answer him, James. He 
doesn't know what he's saying to you. Don't say a 
word to him 'till he's in his right sense, again. Please, 
James, don't — 

Mayo — {to Andrew). You dare to — you dare to 
speak like that to me ! You talk like that 'bout this 
farm — the Mayo farm — where you was born — 
you — you {clenching his fist and advancing threaten- 
ingly) You damned whelp! 

Mrs. Mayo — James ! 

Scott — Easy there, Jim ! 

Robert — ithroiving himself betzucen them). Stop! 
Are you mad ? 

Mayo — (to 'Andrew). And you can go — tomor- 
row morning — and, by God — don't come back! 
Don't dare come back — by God — not while I'm living 
— or I'll — I'll — 

Trembling over his muttered threat Mayo makes his 
way toward the stairway leading to his sleeping room. 
Only the echoing clamp, clamp of his heavy boots is 
heard in answer to Mrs. Mayo's pleading that he take 
back what he said to Andy. 

Nothing can alter Andrew's determination to go, and 
Uncle Dick is willing to take him, though he's not the 
one to want to be a party to any family trouble. So it 
is planned that Robert shall drive them down to the 
harbor early in the morning, before the elder Mayos 
are stirring. Robert is shaken by the thought of what 
has happened, but Andrew is philosophical. 



40 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Andrew — Buck up, Rob. It ain't any use crying 
over spilt milk — and it'll all turn out for the best — 
let's hope. It couldn't be helped — what's happened. 

Robert — But it's a lie, Andy, a lie ! 

Andrew — Of course, it's a lie. You know it and 
I know it — but that's all ought to know it. 

Robert — God ! It's terrible ! I feel so guilty — 
to think that I should be the cause of your suffering 
after we've been such pals all our lives. If I could 
have foreseen what'd happen I'd never have said a 
word to Ruth. Honest I wouldn't have, Andy. 

Andrew — I know you wouldn't and that would 
have been worse, for Ruth would've suffered then. 
. . . It's best as it is. One of us had to stand the 
gaff and it happened to be me — that's all. Pa'll see 
how I felt — after a time. 

Robert — Andy! Oh, I wish I could tell you half 
I feel of how fine you are — 

Andrew — I guess Ruth's got a right to have who 
she likes. 

Andrew blows out the oil lamp and shuts off the 
drafts in the stove. *' In the shadowy darkness the 
dark figures of the two boys can be seen groping their 
way toward the doorway in the rear as tlie curtain 
falls." 

Act II 

There is a lapse of three years between the first and 
second acts. It is now the afternoon of a hot, sun- 
baked day in midsummer. The scene is unchanged, 
save in atmosphere. In the sitting room of the Mayo 
farmhouse " little significant details give evidence of 
carelessness, of inefficiency, of an industry gone to 
seed." 

Mrs. I\Iayo and Ruth's mother, Mrs. Atkins ("a thin, 
pale-faced, unintelligent looking woman of about 48, 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 41 

with hard, bright eyes ; a victim of partial paralysis for 
many years, condemned to be pushed from day to day 
of her life in a wheel chair, she has developed the self- 
ish, irritable nature of the chronic invalid;") are dis- 
cussing the most recent of the problems that has arisen 
to confront Robert and Ruth, and their little girl, Mary, 
now 2 years old. 

Mrs. Atkins — What I was sayin' was that since 
Robert's been in charge things have been goin' down 
hill steady. Robert don't let on to you what's hap- 
penin' and you'd never see it yourself if 'twas under 
your nose. But — thank the Lord — Ruth still comes 
to me once in a while. Do you know what Ruth told 
me last night ? But I forgot, she said not to tell you 
till he — still, I think you've got a right to know, and 
it's my duty not to let such things go on behind your 
back. 

Mrs. Mayo — You can tell me if you want to. 

Mrs. Atkins — Ruth was almost crazy about it. 
Robert told her he'd have to mortgage the farm — said 
he didn't know how he'd pull through 'till harvest with- 
out it, and he can't get money any other way. Now — 
what do you think of your Robert? 

Mrs. Mayo — If it has to be — 

Mrs. Atkins — You don't mean to say you're goin' 
to sign away your farm, Kate Mayo — after me 
warnin' you? 

Mrs. Mayo — I'll do what Robbie says is needful. 

Mrs. Atkins — Well — of all the foolishness! — 
Well — it's your farm — not mine — as usual I've 
nothing to say. 

There is a hope in the minds of all the family — 
Andrew is coming back. It may be, as the mother 
hopes, that he will have tired of travel and will be 
ready to settle down and take charge of things. Not 
much has been heard from Andrew. He has been 



42 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

made head officer of Uncle Dick Scott's boat, but 
neither Robert nor his mother, and least of all Ruth, 
believes that he will care to continue his seafaring life. 
*' That foolin' on ships is all right for a spell," avers 
Mrs. Atkins; " but he must be right sick of it by this 
time." 

Mrs. Mavo — I wonder if he's — He used to be 
so fine-looking and strong. Three years ! It seems 
more like three hundred. Oh — if James could 
only have lived till he came back — and forgiven 
him ! 

Mrs. Atkins — He never would have — not James 
Mayo. Didn't he keep his heart hardened against him 
till the last in spite of all you and Robert done to 
soften him ? 

Mrs. Mayo — Don't you dare say that! . . . Oh, I 
know deep down in his heart he forgave Andy, though 
he was too stubborn ever to own up to it. It was that 
brought on his death — breaking his heart just on ac- 
count of his stubborn pride. 

Mrs. Atkins — (the whining cry of the child sounds 
from the kitchen). It was the will of God! Drat 
that young one ! Seems as if she cries all the time on 
purpose to set a body's nerves on edge. 

Mrs. Mayo — It's the heat upsets her. Mary 
doesn't feel any too well these days, poor little child. 

Mrs. Atkins — She gets it right from her Pa — 
bein' sickly all the time. You can't deny Robert was 
always ailin' as a child. It was a crazy mistake for 
them two to get married. I argued against it all the 
time, but Ruth was so spelled with Robert's wild poetry 
notions she wouldn't listen to sense. Andy was the one 
who would have been the match for her. 

Mrs. Mayo — I've often thought since it might have 
been better the other way. lUit Ruth and Robbie seem 
so happy together. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 43 

Mrs. Atkins — It was God's work — not mine — 
thank goodness. And His will be done. 

But Ruth and Robert are not happy. Nor have they 
been for some time, though they have made an effort 
to hide their real feelings. " Ruth has aged appre- 
ciably. Her face has lost its youth and its freshness. 
There is a trace in her expression of something hard 
and spiteful." She resents Robert's lack of order, his 
being always late to his meals ; her care of the child 
has made them both peevish and irritable. She resents 
litde Mary's preference for her father. On this par- 
ticularly disagreeable day she- hates everything and 
everybody. The sight of Robert calmly reading a 
book after she has been sweltering in the kitchen to 
keep his dinner warm for him makes her furious. 

Ruth — For heaven's sake — put down that old 
book! Don't you see your dinner's getting cold? 

Robert — The food is lucky to be able to get cold 
this weather. 

Ruth — You've got work that's got to be done. 

Robert — Yes — I was forgetting that. 

Ruth — Work you'll never get done by reading 
books all the time. 

Robert — Why do you resent the pleasure I get out 
of reading? Is it because — ? 

Ruth — Because I'm too stupid to understand 
them, 1 s'pose you were going to say. 

Robert — It certainly looks — No — no. . . , Oh, 
Ruth — why must we quarrel like this? Why do you 
make me say things I don't mean? Why can't we pull 
together ? We used to. 

Ruth — I do the best I know how. 

Robert — I know you do. But let's both of us try 
to do better. We can improve — say a word of en- 



% 



./* 



44 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

couragement once in a while when things go wrong, 
even if it is my fault. You know the odds I've been 
up against since Pa died. Pm not a farmer. Pve 
never claimed to be one. But there's nothing else I can 
do under the circumstances — and Pve got to pull 
things through somehow. With your help I can do it. 
With you against me — So you promise that — and 
Pll promise to be here when the clock strikes — and 
anything else you tell me to. Is it a bargain ? 
Ruth — I s'pose so. 

The truce does not continue long. Soon the discus- 
sion veers again to its most common subject — that of 
Robert's incompetence and the general deterioration 
that has followed his management of things. But 
again there is that hope in Andrew's return. " Andy '11 
know what to do in a minute," declares Robert. 
** Though I doubt if he'll want to settle down to a 
humdrum farm life — after all he's been through." 

Ruth — Andy's not like you — he likes the farm. 
w^ Robert — God! The things he's seen and experi- 
enced ! Think of the places he's been. All the won- 
derful far places I used-to dream about. What a trip! 
God — how I envy him. 

Ruth — I s'pose you're sorry now you didn't go ? 

Robert — {too occupied with his oivn thoughts to 
hear her). Oh — those cursed hills — how I've grown 
to hate the sight of them! They're like the walls of a 
narrow prison yard shutting me in from all the free- 
dom and wonder of life. Sometimes I think if it 
wasn't for you, Ruth, and — j^little Mary 4— I'd walk 
down the road with just one desire in my heart— -to 
put the whole rim of the world between me and those 
hills and be able to breathe freely once more. {He 
<CsigJiSf) There -I-go — dreaming again — 

I^TH — Well — you're not the only one ! 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 45 

gOBERi-^- And Andy — who's had the chance — 
what has he got out of it? His letters read like the 
diary of a farmer ! " We're in Singapore now. It's a 
dirty hole of a place and hotter than liell. Two of the 
crew are down with fever and we're short handed on 
the work. I'll be damn glad when we sail again, al- 
though tacking back and forth in these blistering seas 
is a rotten job too!" . . . That's the way he summed 
up his impressions of the East. — 

Ruth — You needn't make fun of Andy. 

Robert '^^When I think — but what's the use — I 
wasn't making fun of Andy personally. 

Ruth — You was too — making fun of him! And 
I ain't going to stand for it ! You ought to be ashamed 
of yourself! A fine one to talk about anyone else — 
after the way you've ruined everything with your lazy 
loafing — 

Robert — Stop that kind of talk, do you hear? 

Ruth — You findin' fault — you're jealous! Jeal- 
ous because he's made a man of himself while you're 
nothing but a — but a — 

Robert — Ruth ! Ruth ! You'll be sorry for talk- 
ing like that. 

Ruth — I won't ! I'm only saying what I've been 
thinking for years. 

Robert — Ruth ! You can't mean that ! 

Ruth • — Well — what do you think — living with a 
man like you. You think you're so much better than 
other folks, with your college education, where you 
never learned a thing. I s'pose you think I ought to 
be proud to be your wife — a poor ignorant thing like 
me! But I'm not. I hate it. I hate the sight of you. 
Oh, if I'd only known! If I could have seen how you 
were in your true self — I'd have killed myself before 
I'd have married you ! I was sorry for it before we'd 
been together a month. 

Robert — And now — I'm finding out what — what 



46 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

a — a creature I've been living with ! It isn't that I 
haven't guessed how mean and small you are — but 
I've kept on telling myself that I must be wrong — 
mistaken — 

Ruth — You said you'd go out on the road if it 
wasn't for Mary and me. Well — you can go — and 
the sooner the better! I don't care! I'll be glad to 
get rid of you ! The farm'll be better off too. There's 
a curse on it ever since you took hold. So go ! Go 
and be a tramp like you've always wanted. It's all 
you're good for. I can get along without you, don't 
you worry. Andy's coming back — he'll attend to 
things like they should be. He'll show what a man 
can do ! We don't need you. Andy's coming ! 

RonERT — What do you mean ! What are you 
thinking of? What's in your evil mind? Do you — 
you — mean — 

Ruth — Yes, I do. I'd say it if you was to kill me ! 
I love Andy. I do ! I do ! I always loved him. 
And he loves me ! He loves me ! I know he does. 
He always did ! And you know he did, too ! So go ! 
Go — if you want to ! 

Robert — You — you — 

{He stands glaring at her js she leans back', sup- 
porting herself by the table, gasping for breath. A 
loud frightened zvhimper sounds from the azcakened 
child in the bedroom. It continues. The man and 
woman stand looking at one another in horror, the 
extent of their terrible quarrel suddenly brought to 
thefu. A pause. The noise of a horse and carriage 
comes from the road before the house. The tzvo, 
suddenly struck by the same premonition, listen to it 
breathlessly, as to a sound heard in a dream. It 
stops. They hear Andy's voice from the road shout- 
ing a long hail — " Ahoy there! ") 
Ruth — (IVith a strangled cry of joy). Andy! 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 47 

Andy! (She rushes and grabs the knob of the screen 
door, about to fling it open.) 

Robert — (In a voice of command that forces obedi- 
ence). Stop ! (He goes to the door and gently pushes 
the trembling Ruth azvay from it. The child's crying 
rises to a louder pitch.) I'll meet Andy! You'd bet- 
ter go in to Mary, Ruth ! 

" There is something in his eyes that makes her turn 
and walk slowly into the bedroom." Robert opens the 
door and walks out to meet Andy as the curtain falls. 

The scene changes to the top of a hill on the farm. 
It is II o'clock next day. From the hill there is a dis- 
tant view of the sea. It is a favorite retreat of Robert 
Mayo's. He is there now, with little Mary. " His 
face is pale and haggard, his expression one of utter 
despondency." Mary can't understand why her father 
doesn't feel like playing with her, and she is quite dis- 
tressed when he suggests that perhaps if he were to go 
away she wouldn't mind so very much — especially if 
her Uncle Andy were to stay on. But Mary is ever so 
positive she doesn't want her dada to go away — ever. 
He has to promise her he won't to quiet her. 

Andy finds them there — after he has been over the 
farm with Ruth and learned something, though not all, 
of how things stand. He does not suspect, for one 
thing, that Ruth and Robert have quarreled, or that 
Ruth, in her secret heart, is hoping that some arrange- 
ment can be made whereby he and not Robert will 
stay on — with her and Mary. But Andrew is full of 
his own plans — which are to get back to Buenos Aires 
and into the grain business, as soon as he can straighten 
out affairs at home a little and get Robert and the farm 
started right again. Still, the subject of Ruth must be 
discussed sooner or later, however reluctant the broth- 
ers may be to bring it up. 



48 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Andrew — You've forgotten all about what — 
caused me to go, haven't you, Rob? I was a slushier 
damn fool in those days than you were. But it was an 
act of Providence I did go. It opened my eyes to how 
I'd been fooling myself. Why, I'd forgotten all 
about — that — before I'd been at sea six months. 

Robert — You're speaking of Ruth ? 

Andre^^?— Yes. I didn't want you to get false no- 
tions in your head, or I wouldn't say anything. I'm 
telling you the truth when I say I'd forgotten long ago. 
It don't sound well for me, getting over things so easy, 
but I guess it never really amounted to more than a kid 
idea, I was letting rule me. I'm certain now I never 
w^as in love — I was getting fun out of thinking I 
was — and being a hero to myself. There! Gosh — 
I'm glad that's off my chest. I've been feeling sort of 
awkward ever since I've been home, thinking of what 
you two might think. You've got it all straight now, 
haven't you, Rob ? 

Robert — Yes, Andy. 

Andrew — And I'll tell Ruth too, if I can get up the 
nerve. She must feel kind of funny having me 
round — after what used to be — and not knowing 
how I feel about it. 

Robert — Perhaps — for her sake — you'd better 
not tell her. 

Andrew — For her sake? Oh, you mean she 
wouldn't want to be reminded of my foolishness? Still 
I think it'd be worse if — 

Robert — Do as you please, Andy — but for God's 
sake, let's not talk about it ! 

It is on the hilltop that, a little later. Ruth and Andy 
have their first confidential chat. Ruth has taken a 
holiday from the kitchen in honor of Andrew's visit, 
and put on her white dress. " She looks pretty, 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 49 

flushed and full of life " — until she, too, hears of An- 
drew's plans to go away again. Then all the joy of 
her new-born hope dies out of her face. 

Ruth — Oh, Andy, you can't go ! Why, we've all 
thought — we've all been hoping and praying you was 
coming home to stay, to settle down on the farm and 
see to things. You must not go ! Think of how your 
Ma'll take on if you go — and how the farm'll be 
ruined if you leave it to Rob to look after. You can 
see that. 

Andrew — Rob hasn't done so bad. When I get a 
man to direct things the farm'll be safe enough. 

Ruth — But your Ma — think of her. 
^ ANDREW^-^^he's used to me being away. She 
won't object when she knows it's best for her and all 
of us for me to go. You ask Rob. In a couple of 
years down there I'll make my pile — see if I don't! 
And then I'll come back and settle down and turn this 
farm into the crackiest place in the whole State. In 
the meantime, I can help you both from down there. 
... I tell you, Ruth, I'm going to make good right 
from the minute I land, if working hard and a deter- 
mination to get on can do it — and I know they can. 
You ought to be able to understand what I feel. 

Ruth — Yes — I s'pose I ought. 

Andrew — I felt sure you'd see — and wait till Rob 
tells you about — 

Ruth — What did he tell you — about me ? 

Andrew — Tell ? About you ? Why, nothing. 

Ruth — Are you telling me the truth, Andy Mayo? 
Didn't he say — I — 

Andrew — No — he didn't mention you — I can re- 
member. Why? What made you think he did? 

Ruth — Oh, I wish I could tell if you're lying or 
not. 

Andrew — What're you talking about ? I didn't 



50 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

use to He to you, did I ? And what in the name of 
God is there to He for? 

RuTii — Are you sure — wiU you swear — it isn't 
the reason ? — the same reason that made you go last 
time that's driving you away again ? 'Cause if it is — 
I was going to say — you mustn't go on that account. 

Andrew — Oh, is that what you're driving at? 
WeH — you needn't worry about that no more. 

Ruth - — Andy ! Please ! 

Andrew — Let me finish that now Pve started. 
It'll help clear things up. I don't want you to think 
once a fool always a fool and be upset all the time I'm 
here on my fool account. I want you to believe I put 
all that silly nonsense back of me a long time ago — 
and now — it seems — well — as if you'd always been 
my sister, that's what, Ruth. 

Ruth — For God's sake, Andy — won't you please 
stop talking? 

Andrew — Seems if I put my foot in it whenever I 
open my mouth to-day. Rob shut me up with almost 
the same words when I tried speaking to him about it. 

Ruth — You told him — what you've told me? 

Andrew — Why, sure — why not ? 

Ruth — Oh, my God ! 

Andrew — Why ? Shouldn't I have ? 

Ruth — Oh, I don't care what you do ! I don't 
care ! Leave me alone. 

The return of Captain Dick Scott puts an end to the 
interview — and to the happiness of everyone con- 
cerned, except Andrew. Uncle Dick has heard of a 
great chance for Andrew in the village — a ship is 
sailing next day for the Argentine and is in need of a 
second officer. Andy can have the berth, if he'll take 
it. Andrew doesn't know just what to do. He 
doesn't like to start right off again, just as he's got 
home — but there is the chance, and there mightn't be 



' THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 51 

another for six months. Besides, the quicker he goes 
the quicker he'll be back again, and in a position to help 
them with the money he is going to make in the grain 
business. So he decides to go. 

*' Andrew and the captain leave. Ruth puts Alary 
on the ground and hides her face in her hands. Her 
shoulders shake as if she were sobbing. Robert stares 
at her with a grim, somber expression. * Daddie, 
Mama's cryin', Daddie,' wails Mary. ' No, she isn't, 
little girl,' her father assures her, in a voice he en- 
deavors to keep from being harsh. ' The sun hurts 
her eyes, that's all.' . . . Ruth wipes her eyes quickly. 
'Come on, Mary; I'll get your dinner for you.' She 
walks out, her eyes fixed on the ground, the skipping 
Mary tugging at her hand. Robert waits a moment 
for them to get ahead and then slowly follows." 

Act hi 

Five years have passed. The scene is again the sit- 
ting room of the farmhouse, " about 6 o'clock in the 
morning of a day toward the end of October. It is 
not yet dawn. . . . The room, seen by the light of the 
shadeless oil lamp with a smoky chimney which stands 
on the table, presents an appearance of decay, of disso- 
lution The whole atmosphere of the room, con- 
trasted with that of former years, is one of an habitual 
poverty too hopelessly resigned to be any longer 
ashamed or even conscious of itself." 

" At the rise of the curtain Ruth is discovered sitting 
by the stove, with hands outstretched to the warmth as 
if the air in the room were damp and cold. . . . She 
has aged horribly. Her pale, deeply lined face has the 
stony lack of expression of one to whom nothing more 
can ever happen, whose capacity for emotion has been 
exhausted. When she speaks her voice is without tim- 
bre, low and monotonous." 



52 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Ruth's mother, huddled in her wheel chair, is asleep 
at the other side of the stove. They have been sitting 
up all night, waiting for Andrew, who, having arrived 
in New York from the Argentine, and learned that 
Robert is seriously ill, has wired that he is bringing a 
specialist to see his brother. 

" A moment later Robert appears in the doorway of 
his bedroom, leaning weakly against it for support. 
His hair is long and unkempt, his face and body ema- 
ciated. There are bright patches of crimson over his 
cheek bones and his eyes are burning with fever." 

The irritability that accompanies a long illness has 
seized him. He is embittered and ironical in his refer- 
ences to himself, to Ruth, to Andrew. They are in a 
conspiracy to make him out sicker than he is. He has 
no faith in doctors. Pleurisy is not consumption — 
and he is suffering from an attack of pleurisy. Noth- 
ing more. His thoughts are rambling and detached. 
Yet in his lucid moments he realizes the situation 
clearly. " Pll be frank, Ruth," he confesses at such a 
n:oment ; " Pve been an utter failure, and I've dragged 
you with me. I couldn't blame you in all justice for 
hating me," 

Ruth — (without feeling). I don't hate you. It's 
been my fault too, I s'pose. 

^ Robert — No. You couldn't help loving — Andy. 

t RuTii — (dully). 1 don't love anyone. 

(RoDERXi — You needn't deny it. It doesn't matter. 
(After a pause — tvith a tender smile.) Do you know, 
Ruth, what I've been dreaming back there in the dark? 
It may sound silly of me, but — I was planning our 
future when I get well. , . . After all, why shouldn^ 
weliave a future? We're young yet. If we can only 
shake oft' the curse of this farm \' It's the farm that's 
ruined our lives, damn it ! And now that Andy's com- 



S) 



-3 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 53 

ing back — I'm going to sink my foolish pride, Ruth ! 
I'll borrow the money from him to give us a start in the 
city. We'll go where people live instead of stagnatiog:, 
and start all over again. (Confidently) I won't be 
the failure there that I've been here, Ruth. You won't 
need to be ashamed of me therg. I'll prove to you the 
reading I've done can be put to some use. (Vaguely) 
I'll write, or something of that sort. I've always 
wanted to write. (Pleadingly) You'll want to do 
that, won't you, Ruth ? 

Ruth — (dully). There's Ma. 

Robert — She can come with us. 

Ruth — She wouldn't. 

Robert — (angrily). So that's your answer! 
You're lying, Ruth! You mother's just an excuse. 
You want to stay here. You think that because 
Andy's coming back that — (He chokes and has an 
attack of coughing.) 

Ruth — What's the matter? I'll go wath you, Rob. 
I don't care for Andy like you think. Stop that cough- 
ing, for goodness sake ! It's awful bad for you. 
(She soothes him in dull tones) I'll go with you to 
the city — soon's you're well again. Honest, I will, 
Rob ; I promise ! Do you feel better now ? 

Robert — Yes. Then you zvill go, Ruth ? 

Ruth — Yes. 

Robert — (excitedly). We'll make a new start, 
Ruth — Just you and I. Life owes us some happiness 
after what we've been through. It must! Otherwise 
our suffering would be meaningless — and that is un- 
thinkable. 

Ruth — Yes, yes, of course, Rob, but you mustn't — 

Robert — Oh, don't be afraid! I feel completely 
wenTrealTy I do — now that I can hop^ again. Oh, if 
you knew how glorious it feels to have something to 
look forward to — not just a dream, but something 



54 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

tangible, something already within our grasp ! Can't 
you feel the thrill of it, too — the vision of a new Hfe 
opening up after all the horrible years? / 

RuTii — Yes, yes, but do be — 

Robert — Nonsense! I won't be careful. I'm get- 
ting back all my strength. {He gets lightly to his 
feet) See! I feel light as a feather. (He walks to 
her chair and bends dozvn to kiss her smilingly) One 
kiss — the first in years, isn't it? — to greet the dawn 
of a new life together. 

Ruth — (submitting to his kiss — worriedly). Sit 
down, Rob, for goodness' sake ! 

Robert — I won't sit down. You're silly to worry. 
Listen. All our sufifering has been a test through 
which we had to pass to prove ourselves worthy of a 
finer realization. (Exiiltingly) And we did pass 
through it ! It hasn't broken us ! And now the dream 
is to come true ! Don't you see ? 

Ruth — (looking at him zvith frightened eyes as if 
she thought he had gone mad). Yes, Rob, I see; but 
won't you go back to bed now and rest ? 

Robert — No. I'm going to see the sun rise. It's 
an augury of good fortune. 

But his false strength fails him and soon he is willing 
to go back to his bed. The frightened Ruth wakens 
Mrs. Atkins. She needs company. A great fear has 
suddenly possessed her — that Rob is ''kind of mad." 
Soon Andrew comes, bringing with him the specialist 
from the city. Together they hurry to Robert's room. 
When Andrew re-enters he realizes for the first time 
something of what has been happening in his absence. 
" His face is drawn in a shocked expression of great 
grief. He sighs heavily, starinij mournfully in front 
of him." Ruth is watching him. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 55 

Andrew — (in a harsh vocic). How long has this 
been going on ? 

Ruth — You mean — how long has he been sick? 

Andrew — Of course ! What else ? 

Ruth — It was last summer he had a bad spell first, 
but he's been ailin' ever since Mary died — eight 
months ago. 

Andrew — Why didn't you let me know — cable 
me? Do you want him to die, all of you? I'm 
damned if it doesn't look that way ! {His voice break- 
ing) Poor old chap ! To be sick in this out-of-the- 
way hole without anyone to attend to him but a country 
quack ! It's a damned shame ! 

Ruth — I wanted to send you word once, but he 
only got mad when I told him. He was too proud to 
ask anything, he said. 

Andrew — Proud? To ask me? I can't under- 
stand the way you've acted. Didn't you see how sick 
he was getting? Couldn't you realize — why, I nearly 
dropped in my tracks when I saw him ! Pie looks — 
terrible ! I suppose you're so used to the idea of his 
being delicate that you took his sickness as a matter of 
course. God, if I'd only known! 

Ruth — (zvithout emotion). A letter takes so long 
to get where you were — and we couldn't afford to 
telegraph. We owed everyone already, and I couldn't 
ask Ma. She'd been giving me money out of her sav- 
ings for the last two years till she hadn't much left. 
Don't say anything to Rob about it. I never told him. 
He'd only be mad at me if he knew. But I had to, 
because — God knows how we'd have got on if I 
hadn't. 

Andrew — You mean to say — (His eyes seem to 
take in the poverty-stricken appearance of the room for 
the first time) You sent that telegram to me collect. 
Was it because — (Ruth nods silently) Good God! 



56 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

And all this time I've been — why, I've had every- 
thing ! . . . But — I can't get it through my head. 
Why? Why? What has happened? How did it 
ever come about ? Tell me ! 

Ruth — (dully). There's nothing much to tell. 
Things kept getting worse, that's all — and Rob didn't 
seem to care. 

Andrew — But has'nt he been working the farm? 

Ruth — He never took any interest since way back 
when your Ma died. After that he got men to take 
charge, and they nearly all cheated him — he couldn't 
tell — and left one after another. And then there'd 
be times when there was no one to see to it, when he'd 
be looking to hire someone new. And the hands 
wouldn't stay. It was hard to get them. They didn't 
want to work here, and as soon as they'd get a chance 
to work some other place they'd leave. Then after 
Mary died he didn't pay no heed to anything any more 
— just stayed indoors and took to reading books again. 
So I had to ask Ma if she wouldn't help us some. 

Andrew — (surprised and Jiorrificd). Why, damn 
it, this is frightful! Rob must be mad not to have let 
me know. Too proud to ask help of me ! It's an 
insane idea ! It's crazy ! And for Rob, of all people, 
to feel that way! What's the matter with him, in 
God's name ? He didn't appear to have changed when 
I was talking to him a second ago. He seemed the 
same old Rob — only very sick physically. (A sud- 
den, horrible suspicion entering his mind) Ruth! 
Tell me the truth. His mind hasn't gone back on him, 
has it ? 

Ruth — (dully). I don't know. Mary's dying 
broke him up terrible — but ) e's used to her being gone 
by this, I spose. 

Andrew — Do you mean to say you're used to it? 

Ruth — There's a time comes — when you don't 
mind any more — anything. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 57 

Andrew — (zvith great synipaihy). I'm sorry I 
talked the way I did just now, Ruth — if I seemed to 
blame you. I didn't realize — The sight of Rob 
lying in bed there, so gone to pieces — it made me 
furious at everyone. Forgive me, Ruth. 

Ruth — There's nothing to forgive. It doesn't 
matter. 

Dr. Fawcett's diagnosis is not encouraging. Ruth 
receives it dully. She had known what to suspect. 
But Andrew refuses to give up hope. There must be 
something that can be done — 

Fawcett — (calmly). I am concerned only with 
facts, my dear sir, and this is one of them. Your 
brother has not long to live — perhaps a few days, per- 
haps only a few hours. I would not dare to venture a 
prediction on that score. It is a marvel that he is alive 
at this moment. My examination revealed that both 
of his lungs are terribly afifected. A hemorrhage, re- 
sulting from any exertion or merely through the un- 
aided progress of the disease itself, will undoubtedly 
prove fatal. 

Andrew — (brokenly). Good God! (Ruth keeps 
her eyes fixed on her lap in a trance-like stare.) 

Fawcett — I am sorry I have to tell you this, sorry 
my trip should prove to be of such little avail. If 
there was anything that could be done — 

Andrew — There isn't anything? ^ "*%» 

Fawcett — I am afraid not. It is 100 late. Sfic 
months ago there might have — / 1 

Andrew — But if we were to take him to the moun-J 
tains — or to Arizona — or f 

Fawcett — That might ha\e prolonged his life six 
months ago. (Andrczvs groans) But now — (He 
shrugs his so'uldcrs significantly) I would only be 
raising a hope in you foredoomed to disappointhient if 




58 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

I encouraged any belief that a change of air could 
accomplish the impossible. He could not make a jour- 
ney. The excitement, the effort required, would inev- 
itably bring on the end. 

Andrew — Good heavens, you haven't told him this, 
have you, Doctor? 

Fawcett — No. I lied to him. I said a change of 
climate to the mountains, the desert, would bring about 
a cure. He laughed at that. He seemed to find it 
amusing for some reason or other. I am sure he knew 
I was lying. A clear foresight seems to come to people 
as near death as he is. One feels foolish lying to 
them ; and yet one feels one ought to do it, I don't know 
why. 

A part of the conversation Robert has overheard 
from the doorway of his room. The approach of 
death does not frighten him. He insists on coming 
again into the living room, and talking with them. " A 
dying man has some rights, hasn't he?" They fix a 
place for him by the fire. 

OBER x] — Listen, Andy. You've asked me not to 
talk — and I won't after I've made my position clear. 
(Slozvly) In the first place I know I'm dying. {Ruth 
bozvs her head and covers her face with her hands. 
She remains like this all during the scene between the 
tivo brothers.) 

Rob! That isn't so! 
.0BERT-^^^^'^Wa;'?7\'). It is so! Don't lie to me. 
„t's useless andiL irritates me. After Ruth put me to 
bed before you cajnc, I saw it clearly for the first time. 
(Bitterly) I'd bt.en making plans for our future — 
Ruth's and mine — so it came hard at first — the real- 
ization. Then when\ic doctor examined me, I^knew 
^Ar — although he tried to lie ahout it. And then to make 
sure I listened at the door to what he told you. So, 




THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 59 

for my sake, don't mock me with fairy tales about 
Arizona, or any such rot as that. Because I'm dying 
is no reason you should treat me as an imbecile or a 
coward. Now that I'm sure what's happening I can 
say Kismet to it with all my heart. 4/It was only the 
silly uncertainty that hurt. (There is a pause. An- 
drew looks around in impotent anguish, not knozmng 
what to say. Robert regards him zvtih an affectionate 
smile. ) 

Andrew — {Finally blurts out). It isn't foolish. 
; You have got a chance. If you heard all the Doctor 
■ said that ought to prjDve it to you. 

Robert — Oh, you mean when he spoke of the pos- 
sibility of a rnir.acle? (Dryly) The Doctor and I 
disagree on that point. I don't believe in miracles — 
in my case. Besides, I know more than any doctor on 
earth could know — because I feel what's coming. 

From Andrew he hears the story of his brother's 
early successes and later failures in the grain busi- 
ness — failures that came through speculation. 
There's irony in that. " You — a farmer — to gamble 
in a wdieat pit with scraps of paper," he says to Andrew. 
" There's a spiritual signihcance in that picture, Andy. 
I'm a failure, and Ruth's another — but we can both 
justly lay some of the blame for our stumbling on 
God. But you're the deepest-dyed failure of the three, 
Andy, . . . My brain is muddled. But part of what 
I mean is that your gambling with the thing yotl' used 
to love to create proves how far astray you've gotten 
from the truth. So you'll be punished. You'll have 
to suffer t(5 win back — " Again a spell of coughing 
stops him. When he has the strength his thought 
returns to Ruth — and the future. 

Robert — I want you to promise me to do one thing, 
Andy, after — 



6o THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Andrew — I'll promise anything, as God is my 
Judge ! 

Robert — Remember, Andy, Ruth has suffered 
double her share, and you haven't suffered at all. . . . 
Only through contact with suffering, Andy, will you — 
awaken. Listen. You must marry Ruth — after- 
wards. 

Ruth — (zvith a cry). Rob! 

Andrew — (making signs for her to humor him — 
gently). You're tired out, Rob. You shouldn't have 
talked so much. You better lie down and rest a while, 
don't you think? We can talk later on. 

Robert — Later on ! You always were an optimist, 
Andy ! Yes, I'll go and rest a while. It must be near 
sunrise, isn't it? It's getting grey out. 

Andrew — Yes — pretty near. It's after six. 

Robert — Pull the bed around so it'll face the win- 
dow, will you, Andy? I can't sleep, but I'll rest and 
forget if I can watch the rim of the hills and dream 
of what is waiting beyond. And shut the door, Andy. 
I want to be alone. 

Andrew is puzzled by Robert's attitude toward him 
and Ruth, and the request that they marry. He asks 
Ruth if she knows just what is passing -in Rob's 
mind. 

Ruth — He might be thinking of — something hap- 
pened five years back, the time you came home from 
the trip, ^ 

Andrew — What happened? What do you mean? 

Ruth — (dully). It was the day you came. We 
had a fight. 

Andrew — A tight ? What has that to do with 
me? 

Ruth — It was about you — in a way. 

Andrew — About me/ 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 6i 

Ruth — Yes, mostly. You see I'd found out I'd 
made a mistake about Rob soon after we were married 

— when it was too late. 

Andrew — Mistake? You mean — you found out 
you didn't love Rob? 

Ruth — Yes. 

Andrew — Good God ! 

Ruth — And then I thought that when Mary came 
it'd be different, and I'd love him ; but it didn't happen 
that way. And I couldn't bear with his blundering and 
book-reading — and I grew to hate him, almost. 

Andrew — Ruth ! 

Ruth — I couldn't help it. No woman could. It 
had to be because I loved someone else, I'd found out. 
(She sighs wearily) It can't do no harm to tell you 
now — when it's all past and gone — and dead. ]'ou 
were the one I really loved — only I didn't come to 
the knowledge of it 'til too late. 

Andrew — (stunned). Ruth ! Do you know what 
you're saying? 

Ruth — It was true — then. (With sudden fierce- 
ness) How could I help it? No woman could. 

Andrew — Then — you loved me — that time I 
came home? 

Ruth — Yes. 

Andrew — But — couldn't you see — I didn't love 
you — that way ? 

Ruth — (doggedly). Yes — I saw then; but I'd 
known your real reason for leaving home the first time 

— everybody knew it — and for three years I'd been 
thinking — 

Andrew — That I loved you ? 

Ruth — Yes. Then that day on the hill you laughed 
about what a fool you'd been for loving me once — 
and I knew it was all over. 

Andrew — Good God, but I never thought — 
. . . And did Rob — 



62 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Ruth — That was what I'd started to tell. We'd 
had a fight just before you came and I got crazy mad 

— and 1 told him all I've told you. 

Andrew — You told Rob — you loved me? 

Ruth — Yes. 

Andrew — (shrinking away from her in horror) 
You — you — you mad fool, you ! How could you do 
such a thing? 

Ruth — I couldn't help it. I'd got to the end of 
bearing things — without talking. 

Andrew — And the thought of the child — his child 
and yours — couldn't keep your mouth shut ? 

Ruth — I was crazy mad at him — when I told. 

Andrew — Then Rob must have known every mo- 
ment I stayed here ! And yet he never said or showed 

— God, how he must have suffered ! Didn't you know 
how much he loved you? 

Ruth — (dully). Yes. I knew he liked me. 

Andrew — Liked you ! How can you talk in that 
cold tone — now — when he's dying! What kind of 
a woman are you? I'd never believe it was in you to 
be so — Couldn't you have kept silent — no matter 
what you felt or thought? Did you have to torture 
him? No wonder he's dying. I don't see how he's 
lived through it as long as he has. I couldn't. No. 
I'd have killed myself — or killed you. 

Ruth — I wish he had — killed me. 

Andrew — And you've lived together tor five years 
with this horrible secret between you? 

Ruth — We've lived in the same house — not as 
man and wife. 

Andrew — But what docs he feel about it now ? 
Tell me! Does he still think — 

Ruth — I don't know. We've never spoke a word 
about it since that day. Maybe, from the way he 
went on, he s'poses I care for you yet. Maybe that's 
one reason he said what he did. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 63 

Andrew — But you don't. You can't. It's out- 
rageous. It's stupid ! You don't love me ! 

Ruth — I wouldn't know how to feel love, even if 
I tried, any more. 

Andrew — (brutally). And I don't love you, that's 
sure ! . . . It's damnable such a thing should be be- 
tween Rob and me — we that have been pals ever since 
we were born, almost. Why, I love Rob better'n any- 
body in the world and always did. There isn't a thing 
on God's green earth I wouldn't have done to keep 
trouble away from him. And now I have to be the 
very one. Its damnable ! How am I going to face 
him again ? What can I say to him now ? (He groans 
with anguished rage. After a pause) He asked me 
to promise — what am I going to do ? 

Ruth — You can promise — so's it'll ease his mind 
— and not mean anything. 

Andrew — What ? Lie to him now — when he's 
dying? Can you believe I'd descend as low as that? 
And there's no sense in my lying. He knows I don't 
love you. {Determinedly) No! It's you who'll 
have to do the lying, since it must be done. You're 
the cause of all this. You've got to! You've got a 
chance now to undo some of all the sufiFering you've 
brought on Rob. Go in to him ! Tell him you never 
loved me — it was all a mistake. Tell him you only 
said so because you were mad and didn't know what 
you were saying, and you've been ashamed to own 
up to the truth before this. Tell him something, any- 
thing, that'll bring him peace and make him believe 
you've loved him all the time. 

Ruth — It's no good. He wouldn't believe me. 

Andrew — You've got to make him believe you, do 
you hear ? You've got to — now — hurry — you 
never know when it may be too late. For God's sake, 
Ruth ! Don't you see you owe it to him ? You'll 
never forgive yourself if you don't. 



64 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Ruth — I'll go. But it won't do any good. (An- 
drew's eyes are fixed on her anxiously. She opens the 
door and steps inside the room. She remains stand- 
ing there for a minnte. Then she calls in a fright- 
ened voice) Rob! Where are you? Andy! Andy! 
He's gone ! 

Andrew — {rushing in to her. There is a pause 
and then Andrew is heard). God damn you! — You 
never told him ! 

( The Curtain Falls) 



" THE FAMOUS MRS. FAIR " 

An American Drama in Four Acts 

By James Forbes 

" THE FAMOUS MRS. FAIR " was produced at 
the Henry Miller Theatre, December 22, 1919. It 
proved the most timely of the post-bellum dramas and 
easily the most entertaining, and was soon accepted 
as one of the season's successes. The Mrs. Fair of 
the title is representative of those American women 
who, being in a position to do so, plunged into war 
work early in 191 5. " Nancy Fair," writes Mr. 
Forbes, " is the type of American woman who previous 
to the war found an outlet for the energies not spent 
in the care of her home and family, in society, women's 
clubs, charitable undertakings and outdoor sports. 
Unsuspected executive capacity so frequently inherited 
by American women from their fathers was called 
into play by the War and her success in organizing 
one of the first units of women to go overseas and its 
achievements under her direction during four years' 
service with the French Army has brought her admira- 
tion, honors, fame. She is devoted to her family and 
eager for the reunion with them, yet is restless, excited, 
and pathetically out of touch with their interests. Un- 
known to herself she is really less in tune with her 
family than with the women of her unit who adore 
her and with whom she has shared the dangers and 
the joys of war work. Her personality is vivid, her 
sense of humor keen, her disposition gay and affec- 
tionate and in a word she radiates charm." 

65 



66 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Among her other activities Nancy Fair became an 
ambulance driver, and because she was fearless she 
achieved the Croix de Guerre and gained for herself 
much fame. When America entered the war her 
19-year-old son, Alan, joined the American forces, 
took intensive training at Plattsburg and won his 
commission as a lieutenant. Her husband, Jefifrey, 
took a position as one of the " dollar-a-year patriots " 
at Washington, and the daughter, 16-year-old Sylvia, 
was left in charge of a housekeeper and such of the 
neighbors as remained at home. 

At the beginning of the play, following the signing 
of the armistice, Mrs. Fair has returned to her Long 
Island home eager to resume her position as wife and 
mother. The occasion of her return is the cause of 
much family rejoicing. The children have decorated 
the living room in her honor, a conspicuous placard 
bearing the legend, " Welcome to Our Heroine." Now 
she has arrived and the family greetings are over. She 
is holding her daughter at arm's length, greedily, 
proudly drinking in her youthful freshness and beauty 
through eyes misty with tears of joy. And Sylvia is 
as happy as she, " Oh, Mother," she cries, " you look 
so young ! " 

Nancy — Nobody ever had a nicer daughter. 

Alan — They've got to go some to tie you, mother 
— eh. Dad ? 

Fair — I'll say it. 

Nancy — Such compliments from my family. 
You're not getting me in a good humor so that you can 
spring something on me? 

Alan — How does it seem to be home. Mother? 

Nancy — If Sylvia won't be shocked at my lan- 
guage, I'll confess I'm having a pippin' of a time. 

Alan — You are going to find it awfully flat. 

Nancy — What do you mean? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 67 

Fair — Yes, Fd like to know what he means. 

Sylvia — Alan ! The idea ! She didn't find it flat 
when she was here the last time ! 

Alan — Mother was busy getting money for her 
unit and she was going back. Take it from me, I've 
been through it. You're going to miss the something 
— I don't know what it is — but life over there gets 
you. You know that, Mother. You'll find yourself 
thinking more about the people you left over there, 
than your old friends here. 

Sylvia — You won't get bored at home, will you, 
Mother? 

Nancy — Alan, be quiet ! 

Sylvia — You won't w'ill you. Mother? 

Nancy — What are you worrying about, dear? 

Sylvia — But you won't, will you ? 

Nancy — No ! No ! No ! You silly goose ! 
(Nancy has taken Sylvia's face in her hands. She 
kisses her' between each " no " and at the end of the 
speech. Then sits down and drazvs Sylvia dozvn be- 
side her). 

Fair — (to Alan). What are you trying to be? 
A kill-joy? (To Nancy) It's good to see you over 
there, Nancy. We missed you, eh Sylvia? 

Sylvia — And you missed us, didn't you. Mother? 

Alan — When she had the time to think about you. 
But you didn't have the time — 

Fair — Say, will you let your mother speak for her- 
self? 

Alan — Just the same, I'm right, aren't I, Mother? 

Nancy — Perhaps — in a way. But I had lois of 
time to be lonesome for all of you. . . . 

With the family greetings over, the talk turns to 
the neighborhood gossip and the family activities dur- 
ing Nancy's absence. Sylvia, she learns, has been 
thrown a great deal with Angy Brice, an attractive lit- 



68 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

tie widow who lives next door. Jeffrey, too, had taken 
a neighborly, not to say a fatherly, interest in Angy 
as one with whom he might legitimately pass a few of 
his lonesome evenings. Alan, who is secretly engaged 
to Peggy Gibbs the sister of his " buddie," a sensible 
little stenographer, has decided not to go back to Yale 
and is seriously thinking of " going in for mining." 
In the midst of these revelations a small, white cloud 
appears on the horizon of the Fair family's happiness. 
Dudley Gillette, the manager of a lecture bureau, has 
called and left a contract for Nancy to sign. Alan 
doesn't think for a moment that his mother will be in- 
terested in it, and the elder Fair, though he thinks 
Nancy would be the best judge of that, is inclined to 
treat the matter as a joke, a lofty masculine attitude 
that Mrs. Fair rather resents. " Well, Mr. Jeffrey 
Fair," she says, " there is nothing funny about the 
money he offers me. Alan, what's a hundred times 
$300?" 

Alan — $30,000. 

Nancy — Help! 

Fair — Oh, it's a fake. 

Sylvia — Mother, you couldn't lecture. You don't 
know how. 

Nancy — Oh, don't I, miss? I gave a little talk 
one night to the boys on the boat and they assured me 
that I was a " riot." 

Fair — What did you talk about? 

Nancy — My experiences. 

Sylvia — Did you like doing it ? 

Nancy — It was rather fun. Of course if I did it 
here it wouldn't be for the money. 

Fair — But, Nancy, you're not going to do it here. 

Alan — That contract calls for a coast-to-coast tour. 

Nancy — I've never been to California. 

Fair — Why, you haven't been home for more than 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 69 

twenty minutes. You're surely not contemplating go- 
ing away again? (Nancy is silent) Nancy, what 
are you thinking about? 

Nancy — I was just thinking that $30,000 would do 
a lot of reconstructing — 

Alan — She's back in France ! What did I tell 
you? 

Fair — This home could do with a little " recon- 
structing." 

Nancy — Oh, come now, Jeff. After what I heard 
you can't tell me that you need anything. 

Sylvia — We need you. Mother, awfully. 

Nancy — Well, my lamb, you are going to have me. 

Fair — The question is, for how long? 

Nancy — It's a wise wife who keeps her husband 
guessing. Come along, Sylvia, and watch Mother get 
the glad hand from the help. 

Though they do not take the lecture proposition 
seriously both the father and son are worried by it. 
The father is convinced that to oppose Nancy would 
be the worst thing they could do. Alan admits the 
logic of this decision but warns his father that he had 
better prepare for the day when " mother takes a look 
around and says : ' France never was like this.' " 

" And when that cold gray morning arrives," he 
adds, " don't be too busy to make life very damned 
interesting for mother." " That's a pretty tall order 
for a man without any gold lace on his chest," rephes 
Fair, " but I'll do m.y darndest." 

Nancy's own state of mind if further unsettled by 
the reports she gets from the other members of her 
unit, who have squeezed themselves again into their 
uniforms and are now come to welcome their beloved 
leader home. 

Nancy — Now girls tell me and tell me true. How 



70 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

does it feel to be at home? {No one speaks) Don't 
everybody shriek with joy at once! 

Mrs. Wynne — Seems to me I've been home a 
million years. 

Mrs. Perrin — After a couple of days with my 
kiddies, I sighed for the peace and quiet of an air 
raid. 

Mrs. Brown — You're in luck to have them. I've 
been driven to card indexing my hens ! 

Mrs. Converse — I wish you'd come over and card 
index my Swede cook ! 

Mrs. Wells — I must confess that after I had 
kissed my old man and all the grandchildren — they 
looked sort of strange to me. 

Nancy — Girls, this sounds awful. Possibly Alan 
was right. He said I would find it flat. 

Mrs. Wynne — After being on the hop skip and 
jump for four years, it's the very devil to sit around 
" Bla." 

Mrs. Perrin — Have you any plans? 

Nancy — I had thought of buying all the clothes 
in New York, seeing all the shows, playing around with 
my family. . . . 

Mrs. Converse — We've done all that. And then 
what ? 

Nancy — Why, eh — 

Mrs. Perrin — Exactly. " Why, eh — " 

Mrs. Brown — You see, Nancy — now we have time 
to burn and no matches. 

Nancy — What are all the other war workers do- 
ing? 

Mrs. Brown — Kicking about being demobilized. 

Nancy — It's a burning shame that Washington 
couldn't have used all this organized talent. 

Nancy, pinning on her croix de guerre, prepares to 
meet a small army of reporters arrived to interview 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 71 

her. " You're not going to see them ? " expostulates 
her husband. " Not if you don't wish it," replies 
Nancy. But at a warning glance from Alan his father 
withdraws his objection. As Nancy retires Fair turns 
to Alan. 

" Can you beat it — my wife ! " 

" That's not your wife, dad," Alan answers, " that's 
Major Fair." 

Act II 

A month elapses. Nancy has not signed Gillette's 
contract, but she has delivered her first lecture, as an 
experiment, and enjoyed the taste of fame and the 
thrill it gave her. On the lawn outside the Fair home 
the newspaper and magazine boys are waiting to photo- 
graph her. Everybody is excited and overjoyed at 
her success — everybody excepting her husband and 
her son. Sylvia, who has been reading reports of her 
mother's debut as a lecturer, is puzzled by the attitude 
of these two. 

Sylvia — Oh ! Have you seen the afternoon 
papers ? 

Fair — We have. 

Sylvia — (first to Alan then Jeffrey). Aren't 
they wonderful ? (Fair and Alan are silent) Aren't 
they wonderful? Oh, I think that you are both as 
mean as you can be about Mother ! I should think 
you'd be proud of her ! 

Fair — We were. 

Sylvia — Why aren't you now? Everybody crazy 
about her last night and neither of you so much as 
congratulated her. 

Alan — I couldn't get near her. 

Sylvia — You didn't try very hard. And, Daddy, 
you left us flat and went home with Angy Brice. 

Fair — Angy was feeling seedy. 



'J2 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Sylvia — Humph ! May be, sometimes I think 
Angy doesn't like Mother. 

Alan — Just finding that out? 

Fair — Nonsense, children, she admires her enorm- 
ously. 

Sylvia — You might have waited and said some- 
thing nice to Mother this morning. 

Alan — We had a foursome on and she wasn't 
up. 

Fair — Oh, enough people will make a fuss over 
her. 

Sylvia — I don't see why you two hate the " fuss," 
everyone makes over Mother, She can't help being 
celebrated and having people chase after her. You 
see just as much of her as I do. I don't mind but 
you, Alan, act so funny. (Tcarfidly) Nothing's the 
same as I thought it would be when Mother came home. 
I don't know what's the matter. (She cries.) 

Fair — Why, Sylvia, Alan and I wouldn't do any- 
thing to worry you for the world, would we? 

Alan — Certainly not. 

Sylvia — Then why aren't you both nicer to 
Mother ? 

Fair — Oh come on now, don't cry. Don't you 
know your old Daddy wouldn't hurt you? Pick your 
spot and FU lie down and let you walk on me. 
(Sylvia smiles) That's better. 

Sylvia — Don't you want to come out and get in 
the muss? 

Fair — Who's out there? 

Sylvia — Bridget Wynne and the others. 

Fair — No I saw all of them yesterday. 

Sylvia — Now, Daddy, you're not going to be nasty 
about these photographs. 

Fair — Not a yap out of me. . . . (After Sylvia 
has gone) Gosh I'd like to come into this place just 
once and not find that bunch of women here. A 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 73 

man v^^ould have more privacy in the Grand Central 
Depot. 

Alan — You said it. Whenever mother is at home 
this house looks Hke a Clubwomen's Old Home week. 

Fair — Wouldn't you think after four years to- 
gether, they'd be tired of each other? 

Alan — And the line of flattery they hand out and 
mother lapping it up like a cat does cream. 

Fair — I know. Even a woman as level headed as 
your mother will soon believe she's the greatest thing 
in the world. 

Alan — Why don't you take her away out of it 
all? 

Fair — She's booked up a month ahead. Banquets, 
receptions, although I thought she'd been given one by 
everybody from the mayor down to the Conductorette's 
Union. 

Alan — And they have almost worn out that Croix 
de Guerre passing it around from hand to hand. 

Fair — Yes, and what are you going to do about 
it? 

Alan — Why did you let her start ? 

Fair — Who told me to keep her busy ? 

Alan — I did — I did. I vv-asn't counting on the 
endurance of women. If I had hit a gait like Moth- 
er's — 

Fair — She hasn't rested a day since she arrived. 

Alan — It's a wonder to me that she hasn't had a 
nervous breakdown. 

Fair — Son, the only thing that makes a woman 
have a nervous breakdown nowadays is having to stay 
at home. 

Affairs in the Fair home are proceeding slowly but 
surely from bad to worse. The men folk would dis- 
courage Nancy's signing the lecture contract, if they 
knew how. Alan advises his father frankly to " tie 



74 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

a can to Gillette," but Fair is too wise to do that. 
" I haven't lived with your mother all these years 
without realizing that if you want her to do some- 
thing tell her she can't," he explains. Gillette, of 
course, is pulling every wire to induce Mrs. Fair to 
sign, and incidentally he is making love to Sylvia. 
Angy.Brice, too, taking advantage of the situation, is 
keenly sympathetic and ever so eager to do all that 
she can to help Mr. Fair accept the threatened deser- 
tion of Nancy philosophically. Alan's problem con- 
cerns Peggy Gibbs. He has decided to announce their 
engagement, though Peggy begs him not to. " Let 
your mother get to know me first," she begs. " If 
you thrust me at her it may prejudice her." Also 
she refuses to marry any man who expects to live on 
the money his father has given him. Alan proudly 
squelches this objection by announcing that he has a 
job. He is to work for the man who was his top 
sergeant and get $30 a week. 

Alan — Look here. I postponed our marriage to 
wait for a family reunion that didn't reune. Then 
I had to wait until I got a job. Well, I have one. 
Now it's up to you. If you don't want to marry me, 
say so. 

Peggy — I do, Alan. You know I do. But I want 
your father and mother to approve. There is a chance 
they mightn't like me. 

Alan — You're not marrying them. 

Their tiff is interrupted by the return of Fair. Thus 
he is the first to be told of the engagement. 

Alan — You see. Dad, Peggy is my "buddy's" 
sister. 

Fair — Yes? 

Peggy — Oh, Alan, let us be frank. {To Fair) 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 75 

It annoys him when I say it but I'm not of your class. 
I'm a stenographer. 

Alan — She's a private secretary. 

Fair — What is the difference? 

Peggy — Twenty dollars a week, sir. 

Fair — Thank you. I deserved that. 

Alan — Well, Dad, are you for me or " agin " me? 

Fair — That depends. 

Alan — On what ? 

Peggy — On me. You can't expect your father to 
give a snap judgment on a person he has just met. 
Suppose you leave us together so that we can have a 
little talk. 

Fair — A very good idea. 

Alan — (to Peggy). Don't be nervous, dear. 
Dad's aces. (To Fair) Now, Dad, no heavy father 
stuff. (Alan exits.) 

Fair — W'ell, Miss Gibbs? 

Peggy — To begin with, Mr. Fair, my family and 
I are, socially speaking, a total loss. 

Fair — In what way ? 

Peggy — My father is the village postman. My 
brother is now in the Detective Bureau but was a 
policeman. 

Fair — I see. 

Peggy — Yes, I thought you would. My mother 
does her own work but the weekly washing is sent 
out. 

Fair — Very interesting, especially that bit about 
the laundry. 

Peggy — I graduated from high school, then went 
to Brown's Business College. I am now employed at 
forty dollars a week as a private secretary in the office 
of a firm of lawyers, O'Brien and Rosenweber. 

Fair — I know of them. 

Peggy — I am twenty-three years old, quite healthy, 
am supposed to have a good disposition. Oh, there is 



'je THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

one thing more. I'm a suffragette and while I am not 
miHtant, I do parade. I believe that is all. 

Fair — And you have Thursdays off? My dear 
Miss Gibbs, Fm not interviewing you as a prospective 
servant but as a possible daughter-in-law. 

Peggy — Well, you wanted to know about me, didn't 
you? 

Fair — You suggested the interview. I appreciate 
that it's a very difficult one for you. It isn't exactly 
easy for me. Yet, if I didn't learn something of the 
girl my son wishes to marry, I would be failing in my 
duty as a father, wouldn't I ? 

Peggy — Yes. 

Fair — Why are you so on the defensive? 

Peggy — Possibly because I'm a little afraid. 

Fair — Surely not of me? Unless you're marrying 
Alan for — 

Peggy — For money and this sort of thing ! No ! 
Not that I wouldn't like it and enjoy it but only if 
Alan earned it. And he will in time. He's made a 
start. He has a job. 

Fair — Why didn't he come to me for a position ? 

Peggy — Oh, Mr. Fair, please don't help him. 
That would spoil all my plans. 

Fair — How? 

Peggy — It's better for him to be entirely on his 
own. 

Fair — Why? 

Peggy — The dear boy is full of the brotherhood 
of man — he got that from the trenches — and if he 
is going to keep it, it's necessary for him to live simply 
for a time at least ! 

Fair — Sounds to me like a very serious courtship. 

Peggy — Is anything more serious than marriage ? 
I'm scared to death of it. 

Fair — Why? 

Peggy — I have to give up a great deal of my liberty 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 ^^ 

and I want to be sure it's worth it. Oh dear, life and 
what to do with it and Alan's problem and mine seem 
so much simpler on our back verandah. 

After his talk with Peggy, Fair is quite convinced 
that she is a proper mate for his son. " If I were 
Alan and you were you," he confesses, " I'd marry 
you and say damn the families." But Nancy, return- 
ing from the club, is both surprised and hurt that 
she should not have been the first to be consulted in 
the serious matter of her son's matrimonial intentions. 

Nancy — (/o Fair). How long have you known 
of this engagement ? 

Fair — Not until to-day. 

Nancy — And did you welcome her with out- 
stretched arms at once? 

Fair — Frankly, I was surprised, but after I had 
had a talk with her — 

Nancy — Exactly. You had an opportunity to 
judge of her before you gave your approval, but I 
am expected to give at once, the son I've loved, watched 
over, prayed for, to a girl of whom I know nothing. 

Fair — I told you I vouched for her. 

Nancy — What's that to me? He's my son too. 

Fair — That's jealousy talking. 

Nancy — Is it strange that I should be jealous? 
Isn't it hard for any mother just at first to give her 
son to another woman? If Alan had had any right 
feeling for me he would have told me tenderly, tact- 
fully, that he loved some one else more than me. In- 
stead he let you thrust the fact at me. I don't know 
what I have ever done that he should have told you, 
even Sylvia, before me ; made me feel like an out- 
sider. 

Fair — Who is to blame for that? You put your- 
self outside your home. You can't hope to receive 



78 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Alan's confidence if you are never here to get it. 
You can't go on neglecting your family — 

Nancy — What? I give up everybody and every- 
thing belonging to* me and endure privations, horrors, 
because I think it's my greatest duty and then I am 
neglecting my family ! My family seems to have got- 
ten along very well without me and ever since I came 
home you and Alan have resented everything I've 
done. 

Fair — We don't approve- of what you've been do- 
ing. 

Nancy — Approve? Must I secure the approval of 
my husband and my son for what I think best to do? 

Fair — Your desire to appear in public, for in- 
stance ? 

Nancy — If you had been overseas and had been 
urged to appear in public would you have had to ask 
my approval ? No. It would have been the perfectly 
natural thing for you to do. 

Fair — It's not the same thing. 

Nancy — Because I'm a woman. Well, this war 
has settled one thing definitely. A woman's work 
counts for just as much as a man's and she is entitled 
to all the rewards it brings her. 

Fair — You've done your duty by your country, but, 
by God, you're capitalizing it. 

Nancy — Jeffrey ! 

Fair — Ever since you've been home you've thought 
of everything but your duty to your family. All you 
think of is your appearance at public functions, get- 
ting your name and photograph in print. Can you 
deny that you are eager to sign this contract so that 
you can make a triumphant tour of the country telling 
the great American public how you helped win the 
war? Wrell, you'll put an end to all this publicity. 
You'll stop all these ridiculous lectures. You'll tear 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 79 

up that contract. You'll give up this tour and remain 
here where you belong. 

Nancy — And why must I do all this ? Why must 
I remain here where I belong? 

Fair — Because I am your husband and I forbid 
you to go ! 

That little word " forbid " — a fighting word with the 
true feminist — settled it. " Nancy watches Jeffrey 
for a few seconds, then goes around the table, sits, and 
signs the contract." 

Act III 

True to her liberty-loving principles, Mrs. Fair went 
a-touring, and took her daughter with her. But after 
a month of it Sylvia returned suddenly to her father. 
" I can understand just what happened," Fair explains 
to Alan, who feared that Sylvia had quarreled with 
Nancy ; " her mother was entertained a great deal. 
That was part of the game of being ' the famous Mrs. 
Fair.' It wasn't possible to include Sylvia in all of 
the functions. Naturally, she was bored. So she 
came home." With Sylvia home Fair took rooms in 
an apartment in New York, because he suspected it 
would be lonesome for her in the country without her 
mother. Also he reverted to his former custom of 
looking to Angy Brice to help him fill in his dull eve- 
nings. Alan and Peggy have married, and, save for 
their regret over Mrs. Fair's attitude, are ideally 
happy. 

And now, three months later, Nancy is home from 
her first tour prepared to spend a few days with 
her family before she starts out again. She is not 
particularly happy over the situation as sjie finds 
it. She is ready and eager to " make up " with Alan 



8o THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

and Peggy, and she is not inclined to take seriously 
Jeffrey's developing grouch. But she is worried, not 
to say shocked, at the change she notes in Sylvia. At 
their first meeting Nancy seeks to discover the causes 
for this change. " Well, darling," she says, the mo- 
ment she and Sylvia are alone, pulling her " baby " 
down into the chair with her ; '* glad to have your 
mother home again ? " 

Sylvia — Believe me, I am. 

Nancy — Why do you wear your hair like that? 

Sylvia — Everyone in my crowd does. 

Nancy — Come and sit down. I want to know all 
you've been doing. 

Sylvia — I wrote to you. 

Nancy — Not so often lately. 

Sylvia — With somethin' doin' every minute, I 
didn't have the time. . . . My, I've missed this. 

Nancy — So have I, dear. Now begin at the be- 
ginning. 

Sylvia — Let's skip the beginning — it was horrid. 

Nancy — In what way, dear ? 

Sylvia — I was so lonesome. 

Nancy — As soon as I knew that you were to be at 
this hotel instead of at home, I wired Bridget Wynne. 
Didn't she look you up? 

Sylvia — Oh, all the women came once. Mrs, 
Wynne gave me a luncheon and a box party and asked 
all the girls in our set. It was a perfect lemon. 

Nancy — How ? 

Sylvia — For all the attention they paid me I might 
as well not have been there, 

Nancy — Why should they be rude to you? 

Sylvia — They didn't mean to be. I didn't know 
all the little intimate things they talked about. One 
girl's mother was doing this for her and another one's 
mother was doing that — Anyway, I felt like an out- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 8i 

sider in what should have been my own crowd. When 
I got home, I just bawled my head off and Daddy 
said we wouldn't bother with any of them again. But 
it was pretty awful, especially as I didn't have Angy to 
fall back on. 

Nancy — No? 

Sylvia — Daddy said you didn't like me to be in- 
timate with her. 

Nancy — I see. Haven't you seen Alan and Peggy? 

Sylvia — It's terribly dull at their flat. They're so 
crazy about each other that half the time they don't 
know you're around. 

Nancy — Didn't father go about with you? 

Sylvia — Oh yes. Daddy's a darling, but he is old. 
Gillie's been my lifesaver. 

Nancy — Who is Gillie ? 

Sylvia — Mr. Gillette ! He took me to tea one day 
at a dancing place and introduced me to his friends 
and when he found I liked them he said : " Sylvia 
this old town is yours. We'll take it all apart and 
see what makes it tick." 

Nancy — That doesn't sound like Mr. Gillette. 

Sylvia — Oh, he put on his grand manners with 
you. You don't know the real Gillie. 

Nancy — No, I don't believe I do. Who are these 
friends ? 

Sylvia — I don't know. Just New Yorkers. 

Nancy — Has your father met them ? 

Sylvia — Oh yes. 

Nancy — Has he gone around with you? 

Sylvia — Not to the lively parties. 

Nancy — My dear ! Who chaperones you ? 

Sylvia — A woman pal of Dudley's. 

Nancy — Is she a married woman? 

Sylvia — Is she? Three times. 

Nancy — How awful ! 

Sylvia — She's terribly nice. You must know her. 



82 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

So sweet to me. Takes me motoring in the park al- 
most every afternoon. 

Nancy — Where did you meet her, dear? 

Sylvia — At a party at the Drowsy Saint. 

Nancy — Where's that? 

Sylvia — It's a new freak place in the Village ! 

Nancy — Who took you there F 

Sylvia — Gillie. He's a sweetie lamb and so gener- 
ous. He spends money like water. 

Nancy — He doesn't make love to you? 

Sylvia — No — but I guess he'd like to. 

Nancy — Darling, you mustn't say such things. It 
isn't nice. 

Sylvia — Why not ? 

Nancy — Well, nice nice girls don't, that's all. 

Sylvia — (sitting up). What else don't they do? 

Nancy — Well, dear, they don't go to the places 
you've been going, and they don't rouge or wear hats 
from Francine's. 

Sylvia — All the women in my crowd do. 

Nancy — Then I think you're going with the wrong 
crowd. 

Sylvia — How do you know? You've never seen 
any of them. They may not belong, but they know 
how to be kind. 

Nancy — Sylvia, I'm sorry. I don't mean to criti- 
cize — 

Sylvia — (testily). But you are. Daddy's the 
only one that never finds fault with me. He's the only 
one that loves me, really. 

Nancy — It isn't always kind to allow you to just 
do as you please. Oh, my dear, don't say that to 
me. 

Sylvia — Doesn't everyone else in this family do as 
they please ? 

After her talk with Sylvia the light begins to break in 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 83 

upon Nancy Fair. By the time Gillette calls she has 
reached a definite decision concerning her next tour. 
Her manager comes, all smiles and compliments, and 
with a sly wink or two for Sylvia. 

Gillette — Good evening, Mrs. Fair. It's a very 
great pleasure to see you again. 

Sylvia — Well, Mother, when you're through with 
Gillie have them page me in the lounge. I'll go down 
and hear a little jazz. 

Nancy — No Sylvia. You'll wait in my room, 
please. (Nancy exits peevishly.) 

Gillette — Mrs. Fair, I must congratulate you on 
the success of your tour. It was phenomenal. I am 
proud to have had the privilege oi presenting you to 
the American public. (Nancy makes no reply) 1 
trust that you have found it agreeable to appear under 
my management? (Nancy still stares into space) I 
hope our association will continue. I've secured even 
better terms for the new tour. 

Nancy — I am not going on another tour. 

Gillette — You are not going on — but, Mrs. Fair, 
all the arrangements have been made. 

Nancy — They will have to be cancelled. 

Gillette — But you agreed to it by letter. You 
phoned me to bring these contracts to-night. 

Nancy — Things have occurred that have made me 
change my mind. 

Gillette — Are you dissatisfied with me? 

Nancy — No, but I can't go on. 

Gillette — You can't mean that you are going to 
give up all your triumphs ? 

Nancy — Triumphs ! 

Gillette — But Mrs. Fair I am leaving to-night for 
Montreal to arrange for your appearance in Canada. 
The people in the east haven't heard you talk of your 
great work. 



84 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Nancy — Mr. Gillette, there is nothing that could 
induce me to talk of my great work again. I will be 
very much obliged if you will bring me an accounting 
to-morrow. 

Gillette — To-morrow ? 

Nancy — Yes. I think there is about fifteen thou- 
sand dollars due. 

Gillette — Why, I won't be able to make a settle- 
ment to-morrow. It will take the bookkeeper several 
days to make out the statement. 

Nancy — Let me have it as soon as possible as I am 
going to reopen our house in the country. And now I 
believe Sylvia has some message for you — and I will 
send her in and you can say good-by to her. 

Gillette — Good-bye ? 

Nancy — I think it wiser. Sylvia has been telling 
me of your kindness to her. I don't wish to seem un- 
grateful but I would rather you did not see her again, 
at least for the present. 

Gillette — Are you insinuating that I am not good 
enough to associate with your daughter? 

Nancy — I never insinuate, Mr. Gillette. If I must 
speak more plainly I will and I hope you will not re- 
sent it. 

Gillette — Well — 

Nancy — Sylvia's story of her friendship with you 
has made me realize that you and I have rather dif- 
ferent standards as to the sort of associates and amuse- 
ments that are suitable for a girl of her age and up- 
bringing. 

Gillette — She enjoyed the associates and the 
amusements. 

Nancy — Probably, but I am sure that she will like 
much more the ones I intend to provide for her from 
now on. When may I expect the statement? 

Gillette — The day after tomorrow. 

Nancy — Good night, Mr. Gillette. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 85 

But it is not as easy as Nancy had hoped to turn 
Sylvia's thoughts away from Gillette. She sees the 
manager now as a martyr, and herself as the cause of 
his unhappiness, a state of mind that fits very well 
with the crafty " Gillie's " hastily made plans for the 
future. " Did mother say anything unkind to you ? " 
Sylvia demands when she is alone with Gillette. 



Gillette — Did she ? She spoke plainly and hoped 
I wouldn't resent it. Me doing all I could to keep you 
from being lonely ! A lot of thanks I got. Told me 
I wasn't good enough to associate with you. Well, if 
she objects to me, what's she going to say about your 
father and Angy Brice? 

Sylvia — Dudley ! What do you mean ? 

Gillette — The minute your mother's wise she'll 
get a divorce. 

Sylvia — Divorce ? 

Gillette — Why, you poor kid, aren't you on to 
your father and Angy Brice ? Everybody else in town 
is. 

Sylvia — Oh, I never thought my Dr.ddy would go 
back on me. 

Gillette — Your whole family's gone back on you. 
That selfish brother of yours having no time for any- 
body but his wife. Your mother leaving you alone 
for years at a stretch and your father running around 
with Angy Brice. A lot they care about you. 

Sylvia — Nobody wants me. 

Gillette — I want you. I'm the only one that 
cares anything about you and I've been ordered to say 
good-by to you. 

Sylvia — Good-by ? 

Gillette — Yes, and you're going to be taken down 
to the country. 

Sylvia — I won't go. 



86 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Gillette — You'll have to go. And you'll soon for- 
get all about me. 

Sylvia — I won't. 

Gillette — Oh, yes you will. 

Sylvia — I won't. 

Gillette — No ? Then prove it. 

Sylvia — How ? 

Gillette — Come with me to Montreal to-night. 

Sylvia — Oh, Dudley ! 

Gillette — We'll be married as soon as we get 
there. 

Sylvia — I couldn't. They'd never forgive me. 

Gillette — Sure they will. Didn't they forgive 
Alan? Why they'll be on their knees to you and to 
me too. 

Sylvia — I don't know what to do. 

Gillette — Oh, all right. I might have known you 
wouldn't come through. You pretend to care about 
me. It's only a bluff. Well, stay here where nobody 
wants you ! Good-bye. 

Sylvia — Oh, Dudley, please don't go. 

Gillette — Well, what are you going to do about 
it? 

Sylvia — You're sure you really want me? 

Gillette — Of course I want you. (Nervously) 
We can't talk here. Meet me downstairs in the lounge 
and we'll talk it over. Now, you won't weaken ? 

Nancy returns to find Gillette alone. He has said 
good-by to Sylvia, he explains, and she has gone to 
her room. Reassured that she has this particular 
angle of the family problem in hand, Nancy is re- 
minded of another phase when Angy Brice calls Jeffrey 
Fair on the telephone. Nancy speaks to Jeffrey about 
this friendship of his. Of course, she explains, she 
understands, but she is afraid others do not. She 
has heard what people are saying, and some of her 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 87 

friends have been kind enough to write her. Frankly, 
her pride is hurt. Jeffrey naturally views the affair 
differently. Hasn't Nancy deliberately forsaken his 
bed and board — hasn't she — 

Fair — What right have you to object to anything 
I do? 

Nancy — My right as your wife. 

Fair — Haven't you forfeited that right? 

Nancy — How ? 

Fair — If you prefer the public to your husband you 
mustn't kick at the price you have to pay. 

Nancy — Meaning that I am not to protest if you 
choose to make me conspicuous by your attentions to 
that woman. Really, this is delicious. (She laughs.) 

Fair — Are you paying me the compliment of being 
jealous of me? 

Nancy — Jealous of a man who doesn't want me? 

Fair — Oh, Nancy, you know damned well I want 
you. . . . You may not be jealous of me but I am of 
you and everything that concerns you. I'm jealous 
of your career because it took you away from me. . . . 
I tried to live up to our agreement. Hadn't I the right 
to expect that you'd live up to it, too? If it was my 
job to provide the home, wasn't it your job to take 
care of it? Had you the right, be honest Nancy, to 
go on this tour? You can't be married and be a free 
agent without making someone suffer. I am so damn 
sick of my life — as I'm living it now. But I don't 
want to keep you if you want to be free. 

Nancy — I don't want to be free. Oh wait. I 
want to be honest v;ith myself and with you. I 
couldn't go back to my life as I lived it four years 
ago. It isn't that I don't want my home. While I 
was in France there were glorious moments and honors 
and flattery, but there were nights when I was so sick 
of the horrors, the pain, the misery, that it seemed to 



88 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

me if I couldn't put my head on your shoulder and 
cry out the loneliness in my heart against yours I 
couldn't go on. With death on every side I used to 
worry for fear you weren't taking care of yourself. 
They decorated me for bravery. They never knew 
what a coward I was about you. Why on this tour 
the nights when I had had a great success and while 
people were crowding around me congratulating me, 
I'd see some wife tuck her hand through her husband's 
arm just as I had tucked mine so many times through 
yours and she would trot away home with her man and 
I would go to a lonely hotel room and think about you. 
Then's when I would realize that success meant noth- 
ing if I had to give up you. 

Fair — Then, Nancy, I've got you again. 

Nancy — Yes and hang on to me. If I ever try 
to go away again, lock me up on bread and water. 

But it is a short-lived reconciliation. Just as they 
are planning to go back to the country, and Nancy is 
radiant in thinking of all the things she will do to make 
up to her unhappy family for having deserted them, 
and of how she will win Sylvia back to her, Jeffrey, 
intending only to reassure her that she has nothing 
more to fear from Angy Brice's attractions for him, 
confidently remarks that he has that very evening " dis- 
charged all his obligations to her." 

Nancy has never suspected there were " obligations " ; 
that Mrs. Brice has any real claim upon Jeffrey is news 
to her — shocking news. Neither does Jeffrey's de- 
mand that she should " be big enough to understand " 
satisfy her. She could forgive a great deal — but not 
everything. If that is how matters stand there is noth- 
ing for her to do but to apply for a divorce. 

Nancy — I refuse to listen to anything more. All 
I want to know is are you going to try to keep me 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 89 

against my will or must I make a scandal to get free? 
. . . Surely you don't want to blacken the name of the 
woman you are going to marry? 

Fair — I am not going to marry her. She knows 
it. Fm not in love with her nor she with me. A sum 
of money will console her. 

Nancy — Your bargain with her has no interest 
for me. You may make what use of your freedom 
you choose. I mean to have mine. 

Fair — Very well. ]\Iy lawyer knows the amount 
of my income. You may have what you wish of it. 

Nancy — I wouldn't take any of it were it not for 
Sylvia. 

Fair — What do you mean ? Sylvia ? 

Nancy — Do you think I would allow her to re- 
main with you? Look what your neglect has made 
of her. Through your carelessness Mr. Gillette has 
been allowed to introduce her to a sort of life until she 
is no more the child I sent home to you. Do you 
think when I realize that you are responsible that I 
would entrust her to you again ? Never. Never ! 

Fair — She's the biggest thing in my life. Fll never 
let her go. 

Nancy — She's the only thing in mine. 

Fair — And do you think Fm going to let you have 
her? 

Nancy — If you force me to do it I will tell the 
truth about you. 

Fair — So that is your threat. She is in her room, 
you say. Well, you tell her the truth about me and 
let her decide. 

Alan — (entering excitedly). Dad — Mother — 
where is Sylvia? 

Nancy — She is in her room. 

Alan — She is not — I saw right, it ivas Sylvia 
in that taxi cab with Gillette. They drove away just 
as we arrived. 



90 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Peggy — I found this letter on Sylvia's dressing 
table. 

Alan — For you, Dad. 

Fair — " Daddy I — 

Nancy — Jeff — Jeff! 

Fair — She has decided — (rushing to the phone) 
Give me police headquarters — for God's sake — 
quick ! *j| 

The curtain falls. 

Act IV 

For two hours the search for Sylvia has gone on. 
Peggy's brother, the detective, is taking a hand in it. 
But so far no trace has been found, either of Sylvia 
or Gillette. Peggy is with Nancy, trying to cheer 
her. 

Peggy — We'll hear some good news soon now. . . . 
Wouldn't you Hke a cup of tea? (Nancy shakes her 
head) Not if I sent for the things and made it my- 
self? I make very nice tea. 

Nancy — I'm sure you do. But I couldn't. 

Peggy — Oh, Mrs. Fair, I wouldn't keep on reading 
that letter. 

Nancy — Oh, Peggy, I know it by heart. "I'm in 
everybody's way. Nobody wants me. Dudley does, 
so I'm going with him. . . , Sylvia." Oil my baby ! 

Peggy — Please don't cry. Please. 

Nancy — No. I mustn't. I musn't. Oh if I 
could only do something! 

Peggy — There is nothing to do but wait. 

Nancy — Oh Peggy tell me again that they'll find 
her. 

Peggy — Of course they will. Now Mrs. Fair you 
mustn't. Please don't cry. . . . The one thing I can't 
understand is Sylvia's leaving her father. She would 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 91 

never have gone if she hadn't felt that in some way 
he had turned against her. She might have left — 

Nancy — You could understand her leaving me. 
I'm beginning to understand that, too. I'm beginning 
to see that he has more right to her than I have. 

Peggy — Oh, I don't mean that she doesn't love 
you, but the love Sylvia had for her father was won- 
derful. 

Nancy — He had earned it. 

In the face of this greater tragedy the Fairs forget 
their own quarrel. And though Jeffrey is bitter, he 
also is " big enough " to be kind. He lays the blame 
all upon Gillette, whom he is now convinced is not only 
trying to steal Sylvia away from them but is also 
seeking to avoid an investigation of his financial ac- 
counts with Mrs. Fair. 

" Curse the day the swine came into my house ! " 
he shouts, but Nancy's pathetic answering plea stops 
him. 

" O, Jeff," she begs, " don't make me feel my re- 
sponsibility for it all any more than I do. I can't 
bear it. I can't bear it ! " 

" I'm sorry, Nancy." 

Suddenly Alan bursts into the room. " She's here ! " 
he cries. 

Fair — Thank God! (Nancy makes a rush for 
the door. Alan stops her.) 

Alan — Wait, Mother. What are you going to 
say to her? What are you going to do? 

Nancy — Oh, Alan what would I do ? 

Alan — I didn't know. 

Fair — Where did you find her? 

Alan — At 125th Street Station. They were on 
their way to Montreal. 

Fair — Where is he ? 



92 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Alan — I've taken care of him. He's — 

Nancy — What does it matter where he is? All 
that matters is that she's here. Don't shut her out- 
side. Alan, do you hear me? Let me go to her. 

Fair — Easy, Nancy, easy. 

Alan — All right. Mother, all right, but be careful, 
treat her very gently. (Alan goes to get Sylvia.) 

Nancy — Jeffrey, I'm giving up my claims to her. 
She's yours. So be kind to her. 

Alan brings Sylvia in. She is still defiant, and a lit- 
tle sullen. When her mother rushes toward her Sylvia 
slops her. Nancy is stunned. Peggy tries to save 
the situation by asking Sylvia if she will not sit 
down. 

" I can take what everybody has to say, standing ! " 
Sylvia replies. 

Nancy — Darling, don't be afraid. 
Sylvia — I'm not afraid. 

Nancy — We're not going to scold you. We're not 
going to say anything. 

Sylvia — No? Well, I am. 

Bitterly Sylvia denies their right to interfere with her 
affairs. Why did they "butt in"? Because they 
loved her? Humph, they acted like it. What right 
have they to suspect Dudley Gillette? They can't 
])rove he is an embezzler, or that he meant her harm. 
She won't believe he has confessed. Her father is 
the first she will listen to. 

Fair — I am sorry, dear, that all this had to happen; 
that you feel we've all conspired to disgrace you, but 
we were only trying to protect you. 

Sylvia — Protect me? If you wanted to protect 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 93 

me why wait ? You knew that I was going about with 
him. 

Nancy — But, Sylvia, your father didn't realize 
the sort of friends that Mr. Gillette was — 

Sylvia — He introduced me to the only friends he 
had. What do you know about them ? You never met 
them. 

Fair — Sylvia, I forbid you to use that tone to your 
mother. 

Nancy — Sylvia is right, Jeff. I judged them solely 
by what she told me of them. 

Sylvia — And while you were judging you passed 
sentence on Dudley too, didn't you? You forbade my 
best friend seeing me again. 

Fair — Your mother had every right to do that. 

Sylvia — She had no right to make him feel that 
he wasn't fit to associate with me, when she introduced 
him to me. 

Fair — She did not know that you were associating 
with him so intimately. 

Sylvia — No, she wasn't here, was she ? 

Nancy — No, Sylvia, I wasn't here. 

Fair — But I was. I'm to blame — I should have 
watched over you — 

Sylvia — But you didn't care what I was doing, 
where I was going, just so you were free to run 
around with Mrs. Brice. 

Nancy — Sylvia, how dare you talk like that to your 
father? 

Alan — Haven't you any respect? Haven't you 
any feeling? Can't you see that you are hurting 
Father and Mother cruelly? 

Sylvia — Well, haven't they hurt me ? 

But she can't keep the tears back long, and with 
her tears comes her confession. She wanted to get 
away from them all — because they do not want her. 



94 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Her mother doesn't love her, or she would not have left 
her. Her father doesn't love her — he loves Angy 
Brice. 

Sylvia — Everybody has known but us that he was 
going to get rid of mother and marry Angy. (She 
looks at her mother, pointedly) Mother, aren't you 
going to leave daddy ? 

Nancy — (turning azvay from all the family) No. 

Fair — Nancy ! 

Sylvia — Why Dudley said — that's why I went 
with him. I didn't know what would become of me 
when you separated. I thought Daddy had gone back 
on me. 

Fair — Sylvia, I'll never go back on you, if you'll 
only — 

Nancy — Jeff, don't make conditions. We've both 
been wrong, we must be content with whatever Sylvia 
wants. 

Sylvia — I only want you all to want me. 

Nancy- — Oh, my dear, my dear. 

With her daughter safe again in her arms, the prob- 
lems of one ambitious feminist are, temporarily at 
least, solved for her. It is Alan who has the tag of the 
play. 

"Alan," demands Peggy, "where is Gillette?" 
" In an ambulance," shouts that exultant youth. 



"DECLASSEE" 

A Drama in Three Acts 

By Zoe Aikins 

ETHEL BARRYMORE began her season at the 
Empire theater the evening of October 6th in 
" Declassee." Both star and play were acclaimed by 
the reviews and this verdict was generously indorsed 
by a public that continued to crowd the theater, until 
spring. " Declassee," though written by an American, 
Zoe Aikins, who was born in the Ozark ^lountains of 
Missouri, is concerned principally with the adventures 
of a titled Englishwoman, Lady Helen Haden — mar- 
ried to the somewhat impossible Sir Bruce Haden, a 
butcher elevated to the knighthood by a king grateful 
for the commercial prestige he has helped to build 
for England. Lady Helen has lived a little recklessly 
in an effort to make life a trifle more endurable. She 
has flirted discreetly, as becomes a lady whose father 
was an earl, whose godmother was a queen of Eng- 
land, and whose line of ancestors stretches back a 
matter of several hundred years, and she has been 
extravagant. " She doesn't know," declares a friend 
of hers, " and will never learn — the difference between 
a pound and a shilling." " Oh," replies another, '' she 
knows that a pound is something you give the head 
waiter and a shilling is something you give the taxi 
driver. Helen thinks that is what real money is for 
— to tip people with." 

At the opening of the play, without preliminary 
warning, the audience is plunged into the very heart 

95 



96 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

of a tense dramatic situation. Lady Helen has been 
entertaining friends at bridge. Sir Bruce, " a little 
bit drunk — and maybe a little bit jealous," has de- 
liberately accused Edward Thayer, a young American, 
and the guest of Lady Helen, of having cheated at 
cards. During the polite uproar following, the friends 
of the Hadens have striven diplomatically to adjust 
the matter, that it may be smoothed over and anything 
resembling a scandal avoided. At the rise of the cur- 
tain diplomacy has succeeded to the extent of inducing 
both Lady Helen and Sir Bruce to return to the draw- 
ing room and continue the game. The accused Thayer, 
at the pleading of the others, has agreed to " smile 
and do his best." 

This is the situation when Lady Helen enters. 

" A faint smile is on her face, but she is pale and 
very grave under the ripple of amusement that plays 
over her." The still ugly Sir Bruce, she notices, has 
returned to the brandy decanter. Her effort is to put 
the company at ease. Her tone is gay, but her nerves 
are taut as she volunteers the information that she 
has been consulting Zellito, a fortune teller. " Danc- 
ing is her real job," Lady Helen explains. " Fortune 
telling is just a sort of gift. She doesn't do it unless 
she feels a special interest in you. It's enormously 
flattering to have her feel a special interest in one. 
It makes one feel so important, psychically — as if 
one had a destiny or something of the bort. Zellito 
thinks I have one but she wouldn't tell me what it was. 
Some sort of spectacular doom, I suppose — I won- 
der? I never believe doctors and I never believe law- 
yers, — but I always believe fortune-tellers." 

Sir Bruce — Yes, you would, — being one of the 
mad Varvicks. 

Lady Helen — The mad Varvicks will soon trouble 
the world lo longer. (Turning to JMus. Leslie and 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 97 

Edward Thayer) I suppose you don't know about 
the mad Varv^cks? There was once quite a lot of 
us, and now I'm the only one that's left. We were 
very gay about five hundred years ago. But even 
then we were a little mad, too, I suppose. And we 
kept on being gay and mad through some of the sober- 
est days that England has ever known. Sometimes we 
lost our heads ; sometimes we went to house parties 
in the tower ; sometimes we hunted with the King 
and knew all the secrets of the Queen. But there 
never was a battle fought for England, by sea or land, 
in which some Varvick did not offer his gay mad life. 
Perhaps that's how we got the habit of dying. We've 
always died, I think we've rather liked dying, — just 
as we've always liked our ghosts and our debts and 
our hereditary gout and our scandals and our trouba- 
dours and our fortune-telling gypsies and even our 
white sheep. We do admit to an occasional white 
sheep in the family, — one every century or so. . . . 
And now — before we attempt to play again — (She 
grows stern) I think that my husband wishes to 
apologize to Mr. Thayer, before all of you, for what 
he said to Mr. Thayer, before all of you in this room 
a little while ago. 

Sir Bruce protests. He had his suspicions. He 
still has them. 

Lady Helen — You accused one of my friends, a 
young man who is a stranger in this country, and 
who came to this house on my invitation, of trying 
to cheat you at cards. You cannot prove your state- 
ment — that he systematically looked over your shoul- 
der, or your partner's; but on the other hand he 
cannot disprove it. It is one of those charges that 
it is infamously unfair to make because there is no 
way to get at the truth. But in this case, even if I 



98 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

had never seen Mr. Thayer before, — even if I did 
not know him impossible of such dishonesty, — I would 
insist, as I insist now, upon giving him the benefit of 
the very great doubt that your suspicions had any 
justification whatever — 

Sir Bruce — I tell you my suspicions — ! 

Lady Helen — Wait a minute, Bruce ! You were 
very headstrong a moment ago in calling this friend 
of mine a cheat and a liar, and ordering him from the 
house ; and I know you well enough to know that the 
story would have got about, and he would have been 
done for — even if everyone else in this room had 
kept decently silent. . . . Oh, I know ! 

Sir Bruce — Well, I let him stay, didn't I? There 
he is. I'm willing to say no more. 

Lady Helen — You — let — him stay ! Because I 
would have left this house — just as surely as I'm 
standing here — if you had not retracted! And you 
didn't want that. God knows why — but you didn't. 
You — 

Sir Bruce — I tell you I'm willing to say no more 
— if you want to let the matter drop now. I know 
men who wouldn't let it drop. But I'm willing. 

Lady Helen — But I'm not, — not until you've said 
to Mr. Thayer that you apologize. 

Sir Bruce apologizes, but not until Lady Helen has 
started to leave his house. Then he becomes abject. 
" I was w^rong," he says, slightly overdoing his hum- 
bleness, " I'm very sorry. I apologize to Mr. Thayer; 
I apologize to my wife; and I apologize to you all. 
I'm not a very pleasant sort, I suppose, and — oh 
well, I apologize, and I hope that everyone realizes 
that I spoke hastily and unjustly, and that I'm very 
sorry." 

" When I begin invoking the mad Varvicks for 
Bruce's benefit, you can always know that I'm a bit 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 99 

desperate," Lady Helen later explained to Lady Wil- 
dering. " It's the one thing that he still likes about 
me, — being a mad Varvick, I mean, — and of course 
he always pretends to scorn it." 

Lady Wildering — Of course. 

Lady Helen — But I think that he thinks I'm the 
maddest of the lot. We'd had some discussions earlier 
in the day — about a few bills that seemed particularly 
mad to him. Bruce believes in being extravagant 
economically. He's made a fine art of it. His apology 
was very pretty, I thought, — prettier than anyone 
could have hoped for, under the circumstances. 

Lady Wildering — Yes, — I think that he said just 
the right thing. 

Lady Helen — Thank God he did. It's not su- 
premely jolly to be married to Bruce, but I don't know 
what I'd do if he threw me over, or I had to throw 
him over . . . ? Run a hat shop or something, I 
suppose, — though every time I've run anything — 
even a booth in a bazaar — I've managed in some 
mysterious way to be in debt to somebody as a result. 
No, I'd have no luck with hat shops and things of that 
sort. It would be easier to sell a pearl every day or 
two — until they were all gone — 

Charlotte — Yes ? And then ? 

Lady Helen — Then . . . ? I suppose I'd become 
declassee, in time . . . and the Queen wouldn't care 
whether I had a cold or not ... I love that thing that 
Harry is always playing — oiily it's like — like rain 
and ghosts — and the moors in winter — and last 
year's styles — and photographs of one's self at seven- 
teen. There's no doubt about it, — it's depressing." 

Young Thayer is grateful, but still a little worried. 
He doesn't quite understand Lady Helen. "You were 
wonderful," he says to her. "If I didn't know better 



loo THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

I could almost have thought you really cared for me." 

Lady Helen — What I said in your behalf tonight 
I would have said, exactly as I told my husband, in be- 
half of any stranger in the same situation. 

Edward — Oh ! 

Lady Helen — But it wouldn't have meant so 
much to me, of course, if it had not been someone I 
cared for. 

Edward — Look here — do you care for me ? 

Lady Helen — You know. 

Edward — I wish I did know. 

Lady Helen — If you don't know, — if you really 
don't know, why bother about it ? 

Edward — One shouldn't bother about it. You are 
right. After all, I'm just an incident in your life — 
just someone who happened to interest you for a month 
or so, one spring out of all the other springs. Last 
year it was someone else ; and next year it will be 
another, and after that another — 

Lady Helen — So you don't mean to let yourself 
care one little bit more about me than you think I care 
about you, do you, Ned? {He does not anszvcr; she 
continues lightly) You think you are just one of my 
caprices, don't you? {He stilll does not anszver; 
again her tone is light, but very tender) I suppose, 
after all, there was someone whom you thought you 
cared for last spring — and the spring before? And 
surely there will be someone this time next year . . . ? 
And perhaps that someone will be the right one, and 
she'll have all the other springtimes, as well. I hope 
so. And I hope that she will have a very firm hand 
— for she will need it with you. my dear; and a very 
tender heart, for she will need that too ; and a very 
wise head — you're not very wise yourself, you know 
. . . And I hope that she will be young and lovely and 
that you will be always very happy together, and 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 loi 

very, very sad apart — as long as both of you live. 

Edward — That's a strange way to talk. 

Lady Helen — Poor Ned ! Hasn't anyone ever 
wanted you to be happy before? 

Edward — Not anyone who pretended to be in love 
with me. 

Lady Helen — Love is something that not many 
of us know much about. I don't pretend to know my- 
self — and I've never pretended to love you, Ned. . . 
I'm afraid of the very word. Love! It's a word I've 
never used ... to anyone . . . 

Edward — But only a week ago . . . oh, I don't 
understand you. 

Lady Helen — My dear, you are stupid. 

Edward — You wrote me such wonderful letters 
from the country. Is it stupid to think you cared for 
me when you wrote them ? 

Lady Helen — No, I don't think the stupidest per- 
son would doubt that I cared for you when I wrote 
them. But let's not talk about what we feel or don't 
feel, to-night. 

Lady Helen — It isn't really important whether I 
care for you or not ; or whether or not you care for 
me. If you were Tristan and I were Isolde, and we'd 
drunk a deathless love potion, there would be noth- 
ing that we could do about it . . . nothing! Don't 
smile. There are some things one can do nothing 
about. One is being born. One is love. And one is 
death. . . Oh, Tristan and Isolde could go into the 
wilderness for love, yes. . . But not you and I. At 
least not together. I don't know about you. You are 
younger ; less sophisticated ; not so restless, I hope, but 
you are selfish; and you are comfort-loving, just as I 
am. . . and, after all, there are no wildernesses any 
more, are there? So even if this feeling between us, 
this — shall I call it, like Juliet, " this bud of love " 



102 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

should perhaps prove a beauteous flower, it could 
bloom only to be trampled in the mire. I don't want 
that. I'd rather break it now, with my own hands, 
from its stem — and lay it away with the dream that I 
had once. 

Edward — I wish I could believe that, at least, you'd 
like for things to be dift'erent, and we could begin all 
over again together. 

Lady Helen — I don't know what I wish for my- 
self, Ned. But my life is like water that has gone over 
the dam and turned no mill wheels — there I am — not 
— happy, but not unhappy as my days run on to the 
sea, idly yet too swiftly, for I love living. But 
you. . . I want something very fine for you — I want 
to be so proud of you that there will be tears in my 
eyes when I think of you. 

The name of a certain Mrs. Leslie is mentioned 
She is also a guest at the bridge party ; an American, 
too, of a type frequently encountered in American 
colonies abroad. " One is always seeing them about 
and meeting them, too," Lady Wildering explains. 
" They are always living in hotels, always appar- 
endy on the wing; always good looking; always 
beautifully dressed; always pleasure-seeking; their 
friends are always people they've just met; they're 
agreeable enough, frequently amusing; they never have 
such things as husbands or relatives or children; and 
they emerge from perfect obscurity, as detached from 
any possible background as silhouettes cut from black 
paper, and pasted on a blank page." 

Mrs. Leslie has been Thayer's partner at bridge and 
the young man thinks Lady Helen may, in a way, 
resent his interest in her. But she denies the implica- 
tion. " She's very pretty ; she's amusing sometimes, 
and she plays admirable bridge. I'm not jealous — but 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 103 

I might like her better if I liked you less," her lady- 
ship admits. 

The bridge games are resumed and the curtain is 
lowered to indicate the passage of an hour. When it 
rises, the drama reverts quickly to the tense mood of 
the earlier scene of accusation and apology. From the 
room in which she has been playing with Mrs. Leslie, 
Mr. Thayer and Harry Charteris, Lady Helen sweeps 
in " in so furious a rage that she wears the superb 
aspect of a violet goddess walking on wind." Thayer 
follows " helpless, humiliated and in despair." He, 
(with Mrs. Leslie) has been caught cheating a second 
time — and this time by Lady Helen herself. She 
turns on Thayer. 

Lady Helen — God knows why you should have 
done this a second time ! You must be insane. Or — 
did you — did you think it all out very cleverly — ? 
Did you think I was too blind and too stupid to detect 
your miserable signals? Or that I had such supreme 
faith in you that I wouldn't believe even the evidence 
of my own eyes? Or that I would be complacent 
because I had defended you an hour ago, and would 
find it humiliating to go to my husband and tell him 
that he was right and I was wrong? Or has dis- 
honesty become such a habit with you that you find it 
impossible not to cheat when you can? Is that it? 
You'd better go, Mrs. Leslie. Don't try to speak to 
me. Just go. 

Edward — There's nothing I can say — now — ex- 
cept that I'm sorry. 

Lady Helen — You must say that to my husband. 

Edward — To your husband ! 

Lady Helen — Yes. He said it to you. You must 
say it to him. 



104 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Edward — You mean — to tell him ? 

Lady Helen — Of course. 

Edward — But why? You'll only put yourself in a 
hole. You'll only be admitting that you were wrong. 
And I won't ever come here again. I'll keep out of 
your way — but you can't — you can't tell him. 

Lady Helen — He was right. I was wrong. Of 
course I'll tell him. And I expect you to ask for his 
pardon before everyone that heard him ask for yours. 

Edward — I won't. I tell you, I won't. You know 
what sort of man he is. He'll tell his story all over 
London. And it won't stop there. They'll know it in 
New York. It will ruin me for good and all. . . I am 
sorry. I'll never do it again. I needed the money. . . 
It didn't seem so awfully wrong to fake a bit — and 
win it from people who didn't need it^ and who didn't 
care, as long as they were amused, whether they lost it, 
or not. And it got to be a habit — it got so I couldn't 
resist a chance — just as you said. But I'll never do 
it again. . . . Only, for God's sake, let me go — with- 
out the scandal that your husband will surely make. 
I — I'm not afraid of Charteris. He'll keep quiet if 
you ask him. But — life won't be worth living if 
everybody knows ! 

Lady Helen — Is that all ? Have you never heard 
of fair play? Well, turn about is fair play. It's my 
husband's turn now. 

Edward — You don't dare. 

Lady Helen — I don't dare? Dare what? Admit 
that I was wrong and he was right? 

Edward — You said tonight that if he kicked me 
out of this house, you'd go out of it too, forever. 
Very well; I say that if he kicks me out, you will go 
out of it too, forever. . . You don't get what I'm driv- 
ing at, do you? I mean that I've got letters of yours 
— I've got them, right here. If you tell on me, I'll 
tell on you. If you're so damned keen on playing fair 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 105 

with your brute of a husband — I'll play fair with 
him too. . . You're willing to see me sent to the devil, 
yes. But how about yourself ? 

Lady Helen's answer is to call her guests and her 
husband. " I've something to tell you, all of you," 
she begins. " About Mr. Thayer. You were right, 
Bruce — and I was quite, quite wrong. He — " 

The curtain falls. 

Act II 

There is a lapse of two years between the first and 
second acts. Lady Helen and several of her friends 
are in New York. Sir Bruce had ordered his wife out 
of the house the night of the interrupted bridge party, 
and divorced her a year later. The letters that Thayer 
had turned over to him were his excuse, though he did 
not introduce them as evidence. 

In New York Lady Helen has become rather de- 
classee, living by her wits and " going about with all 
sorts of people." Society had taken her up when she 
arrived, but had later dropped her. The sale of her 
jewels "one by one " has provided for her main- 
tenance, however, and permitted her to live true to her 
own code of respectability. Edward Thayer has dis- 
appeared. 

The Wilderings are on their way to Washington 
Sir Emmett having been appointed to the post of am- 
bassador. They are sitting now in the lounge of a 
prominent New York hotel wondering what has be- 
come of Lady Helen and rather hoping they will 
not meet her. " I should be seeing ghosts," says Sir 
Emmett, " ghosts of the mad Varvicks racing their 
phantom horses down the winds of eternity; swift 
riders with plumes streaming and armor flashing ; their 
phantom hounds leaping before them; a great race — 
warriors and courtiers and sportsmen riding into ob- 



io6 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

livion . . . and Helen following them — the last of 
their line, a ghost of to-morrow. The V^arvicks should 
have made a better ending." 

" But Helen's an Englishwoman," declares one of 
the party, " and our own kind, and although she's done 
every damnable thing that a woman can do to cut her- 
self adrift from us, there's nothing, nothing in the 
world that I wouldn't do for her, if it could do any 
good." 

Sir Emmett — But nothing can do any good. It's 
just because she is an Englishwoman and our own kind 
that we must be stern with ourselves about her. She 
had a great name, great traditions, great gifts, great 
charm ; and in God's name, what has she done with 
them? For her personal misfortunes one might be 
sorry — one is sorry, sorry beyond all words ; but as 
an Englishman, as a representative of my king, I can- 
not forgive an Englishwoman for making, in a strange 
country, a sneer of her class, a joke of her rank, and 
a miserable adventure of her life." 

And then Lady Helen walks in upon them. She 
has invited a mixed group of her American friends to 
have tea with her — three Croatian acrobats she had 
met through Zellito, the fortune telling dancer ; Ru- 
dolph Solomon, a distinguished and very rich Ameri- 
can Jew, and Alice Vance, his musical comedy mis- 
tress. 

The meeting with her English friends is quite ex- 
citing for Lady Helen, and a little sad. They try 
to make her welcome, to include her again in their 
plans — but she knows how they must feel. So she 
soon draws away from them and joins her own guests. 

Soon they are gone too, all but Solomon. And he, 
catching the meditative look in her eyes, grows serious. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 107 

" You are very child-like, Lady Helen," he says. 

Lady Helen — Is that why you are looking at me 
so sternly? Are you thinking that I've got my frock 
very soiled? 

Solomon — I'm thinking that you've run very hard, 
and played very recklessly. 

Lady Helen — So I have. It's sometimes very 
difficult to realize that this is a serious world — and 
that life is something more than a hill-top in the sun, 
with an adventure lurking in every flower. There are 
so many things to make one smile ; and the older one 
grows, and the more one is alone, the oftener one 
smiles to oneself. . . I don't say that they are always 
happy smiles — but just the fact of being alive is 
rather gay; 

"For to admire and for to see. 
For to behold the world so wide. . ." 
Only an Englishman could have written that. Did 
you ever meet Kipling, by the way? He used to dine 
with us — {She breaks off sharply). Thank you for 
the set of Conrad's books. I love them. Do you 
know the South Sea Islands? We cruised among 
them all one winter. The stars are very wonderful. 
We lived on the yacht and put in at every port that 
took our fancy. You should do that some time — if 
only for the stars and the strange hushed nights. 

Solomon — I was thinking of a shooting star, Lady 
Helen, — a star that I saw once, fall from the sky, into 
that dark garden of water that lies between New York 
and the outer ocean. I was a newsboy, and I had sold 
all my papers ; I was lying on the grass in Battery Park 
because it was better than going to the place that I 
called home. I was half asleep when I saw the 
lightning of the shooting star. 

Lady Helen — And now what are you thinking of ? 



io8 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Solomon — I was thinking that there are better 
things in Hfe, even than cruising beneath the stars in 
the South Seas. 

Lady Helen — It's very beautiful — crusing be- 
neath the stars in the South Seas. What is better? 

Solomon — Purpose. . . The Progress of one's 
spirit upon a pilgrimage of achievement ; the building 
of one's life after the plan of one's dreams. . . When 
the grass of Battery Park was my bed, an earl was as 
legendary to me as the Santa Claus that drove his 
reindeers down the chimneys of fortunate children at 
Christmas time. An earl's daughter as remote as the 
furthest star in the darkness of the night. Yet here 
we are, Lady Helen, — you and I. 

Lady Helen — Yes, here we are ; you and L . . 

Solomon — I suppose that I seem to you very con- 
scious of all that I have got from life? Well, I am 
conscious of it. It's a great satisfaction to have got 
what one has wanted. And I've not stopped, you 
know, at getting money. I've gone on. I know the 
world, and its finest things, — its cities, its music, its 
literature, and all its games. I've thrust my hand inio 
the past and touched history. In my house there aie 
marbles and swords and fans — memoirs of popes and 
emperors and warriors, and queens and immortal 
courtesans. And I've touched the future, too. My 
money is building projects that will benefit generations 
not yet born. 

Lady Helen — It's power that you really wanted — 
and have got, isn't it ? 

Solomon — Power — and the flavor of life at its 
rarest ; and to know that, there is one thing more that 
I must have — you ! I want you ! 

Lady Helen — But I'm no longer a sufficiently 
precious object for the golden cabinet of your very 
successful life. 

Solomon — But I want you. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 109 

Lady Helen — That's rather ambiguous. 

Solomon — I want an ambiguous thing, — romance. 

Lady Helen — Oh, I see. 

Solomon — I'd be very generous. 

Lady Helen — AHce Vance has not found you so. 

Solomon — You are not Alice Vance. My first 
generosity to you would be in the nature of generosity 
to her. . . 

Lady Helen — It means nothing to you, at all, I 
suppose, — that she cares for you ? 

Solomon — If she does, I am sorry; but that's the" 
usual tragedy of the heart, isn't it? Caring for some- 
one who does not care for you ? 

Lady Helen — I believe that it is — the usual 
tragedy of the heart — and one tragedy, more or less, 
in a world of tragedies, doesn't matter. 

Solomon — We might go very far together — you 
and I. 

Lady Helen — And I'm not likely to go very far 
alone, I suppose ? 

Solomon — I don't know. I can't say. To me 
you seem singularly in need of someone to take care 
of you — to take care of you, devotedly. I don't want 
you to disappear into the darkness. And there is a 
certain sort of outer darkness from which I can save 
you, forever. 

Lady Helen — Poverty, you mean ? 

Solomon — Yes. You're quite wonderful now, 
Lady Helen — but there's " to-morrow and to-morrow 
and to-morrow. . ." 

Lady Helen — I know. And there's old age 
around the curve — and just one more pearl. {She 
looks at the ring on her finger and laughs a little, un- 
easily). 

Well — whatever is ahead for either of us, we have 
each found life a strange adventure, haven't we? 



no THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

We've each come a long distance. The little newsboy 
has come a long way from his bed on the grass in Bat- 
tery Park, and the child who was christened Victoria 
Helen Alice Alexandria Varvick has come a long way 
from the arms of the queen who was her godmother. 

Solomon — And no one knows how much farther 
each of us has to go, Lady Helen " To-morrow and to- 
morrow and to-morrow." 

Lady Helen — No, no one knows ; but it's a part of 
the adventure to keep one's courage, and not to care 
too greatly how the wheel of fortune turns; for we 
must all go from the game, empty-handed, at last; and 
if we've played fairly I don't believe that we will mind, 
really, when the moment comes to blow out our candles 
and sleep. 

Solomon — You mean — ? 

Lady Helen — I mean, my friend, that I am going 
to refuse your ambiguous offer and all that it might 
lead to. And I really like you very much. And it's 
a temptation, too, to think of the sheer decency of hav- 
ing enough money again for one's whims — which 
seems so much more important, somehow, than one's 
needs. But it isn't quite cricket, according to my topsy 
turvy ethics, to take away a woman's lover — though 
I suppose I wouldn't hesitate if j'ou were her husband. 
Alice loves you ; and there's something about love — 
true love — that's very touching, to me; something at 
which even I cannot smile. . . 

Solomon — You must have been very much in love 
once. 

Lady Helen — I was. 

Solomon — What happened ? 

Lady Helen — I ran very hard and played very 
recklessly, and fell down, and soiled my frock and cut 
my hands and cried a little, and laughed a little. 
That's all. 

Solomon — Didn't he care for you? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 in 

Lady Helen — Not the least bit in the world. 

Solomon — And that was why — 

Lady Helen — Oh no ; that wasn't why I ran hard 
— and played recklessly. I knew, from the very be- 
ginning that he didn't care for me — at least, that it 
was nothing to what I felt for him. So I made up 
my mind to do what was best for him. . . I was mar- 
ried, you see. I had made up my mind never to see 
him any more — just to be an influence, if I could, for 
good, in his life. 

Solomon — What happened? (he lays his hand 
on hers a moment). Don't tell me if you'd rather not. 

Lady Helen — He cheated at cards. I couldn't 
bear that. 

Solomon — I understand. That ended it, of 
course. 

Lady Helen — It should have, but it didn't. 
That's all. 

Solomon — How long ago did this happen? 

Lady Helen — So long ago that it's not real now. 

With Solomon gone. Lady Helen calls for her 
check — and asks for a pencil to sign it. There is 
whispering among the waiters then, for there has been 
an order that Lady Helen is not to be permitted to 
sign any more checks. The head waiter explains, as 
gently as he can, and she understands. Slowly she 
slips a ring from her finger and, rolling up the check, 
puts the ring around it. " I'll give this to you, Jean," 
she says — " and — will you give my waiter his tip for 
me?" 

She had paid for her tea with her last pearl. 

Act III 

The third act advances the story a week to the night 
of Rudolph Solomon's party in his wonderful house, 
the scene showing "a room straight out of the Italian 



112 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Renaissance," richly furnished with some of the price- 
less antiques, of Solomon's collections. Lady Helen 
recognizes some of them — the King James' chair, for 
instance, that once stood in Varvick Hall, and in which 
the king sat for his portrait. And the Gainsborough 
portrait of her great great grandmother. " I'm always 
meeting my relatives on other people's walls," she ex- 
plains, " and sometimes I have to be introduced to 
them — if they were sold oft" before my day. I mean 
— but not to Georgiana, Duchess of Staffordshire. 
She was our greatest favorite — we kept her as long as 
we could possibly afford her." 

Ambassador and Lady Wildering are among the 
guests — Lady Helen suspects why. " We'd do any- 
thing for you, "Helen," Lady Wildering agrees. " Be- 
sides, your friend is a very remarkable man. It's been 
very pleasant for us to meet him." 

Lady Helen — Oh, Edith dear — I understand 
what you're all about, bless you. . . It's a perfect con- 
spiracy. You're determined to send my stock up so 
high that Rudolph Solomon will want to marry me — 
although he doesn't want to in the least. Don't deny 
it, Edith. Perhaps I will join the conspiracy my- 
self. . . There's " to-morrow and to-morrow and to- 
morrow," to be got through with, somehow ; and one 
must get used to the idea of the setting sun. . . This 
table came from the Palazzo Cavalli. . . The sun sets 
for cities and i-aces too. Venice is in twilight now. 
And the families that were glorious when she was 
glorious are only the ghosts that haunt her lagoons. . . 
I'm not very modern, I suppose. I love old things — 
things that one seems to share with time. . . It gives 
me a queer warm homesick feeling to see my great 
great grandmother's picture on that wall. {Siic goes 
and drait's back the curtains to look at the picture) 
How young she was once — my great great grand- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 113 

mother ! The sun never set for her. She fell from 
her horse, hunting, and died when she was thirty, soon 
after Gainsborough made her immortal. 

Lady Wildering — Where is Sargent's portrait of 
you? 

Lady Helen — It was sold. I believe that I'm 
hanging in the Louvre now. It's amusing, isn't it, how 
far and wide the winds of fate sometimes carry leaves 
from the same tree? 

Rudolph Solomon in no way resents the conspiracy, 
even though he may suspect it. His desire for Helen 
has grown with his better acquaintance of her. 

Solomon — I have thought of you. and you only, 
for months. I know you very well — better than any- 
one in the world knows you. You fascinated me from 
the moment I met you three years ago, in London — 
when you used to let me invite you to luncheon some- 
times — and nearly always forgot to come — or — 
when you came — forgot my name. You never could 
remember whether it was David or Abraham or Solo- 
mon. 

Lady Helen — I have always been stupid about 
names. 

Solomon — Particularly about your own. . . Oh, 
I know that if it were not so you would still be forget- 
ting mine. But if mine were yours would you be as 
careless of it as you have been of your own ? 

Lady Helen — If your name were mine? Are you 
asking me to marry you? 

Solomon — I want to ask you to marry me. But 
— I'm very proud of my name, Helen. That may 
seem a little silly to one whose ancestors have written 
themselves down, generation after generation, in the 
history of England. But I am proud of it. And it 



114 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1019-1920 

hurts me to give it into the keeping of one who has 
already been so careless of the traditions and glories 
about her own — as you. 

Lady Helen — This is a strange wooing. 

Solomon — Yes, it is a strange wooing, indeed. 
Strange for me. . . I'm not a sentimentalist. And 
I'm not a weakling. When I've thought of marriage 
at all I've thought of a mother for the children that 
I've hoped to have. Health and simple goodness and 
dignity — those were to be her indispensable charac- 
teristics. I've known women well enough to know 
that most of them determine their own fates accord- 
ing to their temperaments. But — what are you, any- 
way, Helen? A moth.er who never had a child? An 
artist without a talent? A courtesan born to the 
purple? What are you? 

Lady Helen — It doesn't matter. 

Solomon — But it does matter I I love you. You 
belong here — in my house. I didn't know that I 
loved you until a week ago when I looked into your 
heart, and found another love there — the thing that 
cut you adrift, I suppose, and sent you all soiled and 
broken, to me. . . . Do you care for me? You will 
marry me? 

Lady Helen — I — I like you. I've great respect 
for you. What I might come to feel for you I don't 
know. I can see how life with you would be very 
easy — very easy and beautiful. And you know that 
— if you want to marry me — I should be mad if I 
refused; 

Solomon — (faking a string of pearls from Iiis 
pocket). You have- been selling these, one by one. 
Put them on. (He gives her the pearls and she bends 
her neck while he fastens them). 

Lady Helen — Thanks. (He holds her by tl^c 
shoulders). 

Solomon — You ivill be good, won't you? You're 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 115 

so reckless — like a wind. But you will take care — 
won't you? And let all the old miserable gossip die? 
Lady Helen — I'll take care. I promise. I'll be 
good. I'll be quite a reformed chacter, Rudolph, if 
you talk to me like that. 

Then Edward Thayer comes back. He had been in 
South Africa since he left London, and he had pros- 
pered — prospered and reformed. He is a little 
startled to hear that Lady Helen is the guest of 
honor at Mr. Solomon's party — and more surprised 
to learn that she has agreed to marry his host. They 
do not meet at first, Thayer and Lady Helen. She is 
not even aware of his coming. Not until after Solo- 
mon has learned, through Mrs. Leslie, that Thayer is 
the man of the card-cheating episode, the man for 
whom Lady Helen had confessed her love, the ghost 
of which " still walked in her heart." And he knows 
his own romance is not to be after all. He goes in 
search of Lady Helen to explain. 

Solomon — I am going to say something which 
may seem strange to you. I think it would be a mis- 
take for us to go through with this marriage. You 
don't understand — but you will in a moment. There 
is someone else who can explain better than I. Wait 
here — {He goes toward the door of the dining 
room). 

Lady Helen — Don't bother to explain, my friend. 
It might be awkward ; and it isn't necessary — 1 can 
imagine so many more reasons than anyone could pos- 
sibly tell me. Good night. I shall never be sorry for 
those few intimate moments when I felt that I knew 
a very remarkable person, very well indeed, and when 
I had the very novel sensations of being safe, and at 
peace. 

Solomon — It is not always enough for a woman to 



ii6 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

feel safe and at peace. Don't go. There is someone 
I want you to see. Please — wait here ! 

But Lady Helen doesn't wait. For a little she 
pauses to Hsten to the wild gypsy music they are play- 
ing in the next room for Zellito's dance. " Almost in- 
stantly she is alive with interest." She stops a servant 
who is passing champagne and drains a glass — and 
then a second. But suddenly she is weary and de- 
termines to leave. " Say to Mr. Solomon that I was 
very tired and did not wait to say good night. . . 
That's all. don't wait.'' 

Lady Helen drinks her wine more slowly, thought- 
fully, " as if finding the flavor an experience — hut her 
eyes are a little frightened. Then she puts her glass 
down, and with a last lingering look about her leaves 
the room." 

A moment later Edward Thayer, as though in 
search of someone, enters and fiinding no one there, 
turns back disappointed. A second later Lady Helen, 
her brilliant evening cloak over her shoulder, stands 
for a moment in the doorway to listen to the music — 
and then passes on. 

It was Alice Vance who saw the accident. She was 
standing at the window trying vaguely to comprehend 
what Rudolph Solomon was saying — that he was not 
going to be married after all — and that she should 
be glad. The servant entered with his message. " I 
was to give you a message from her ladyshij'), sir," he 
said ; " she wished me to say that she was tired and 
would not stay to say goodby." 

Suddenly Alice Vance screamed and covered her 
face with her hands. From the window she had seen 
a woman — a woman in a brilliant evening wrap — 
knocked down by a swiftly moving taxi. It was Lady 
Helen Haden. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 117 

They brought her into the house, and did what they 
could to make her comfortable. " Don't worry about 
me/' she pleaded with them. " I hope it's the end. It 
ought to be at any rate — it would be such a regular 
Varvick ending! One ought to have something in 
common with one's family — even if it's only one's 
death. . . . Draw that curtain a little wider, Charlotte 
dear, so that I may see my great grandmother ■ — there 
— across the river." 

Thus it was that Thayer found her. He came for- 
ward, tremblingly, and threw himself at her feet. She 
moved her arm, painfully, to let it rest on his hair. 
" Ned," she said. " I don't understand. . . Is it a 
dream, my dear? It must be a dream." 

Solomon — You are not dreaming. He has come 
back. 

Lady Helen — Now I understand why you — 

Solomon — He's come back — a man. 

Thayer — Yes — I've come back — a man. I've 
wanted to thank you a million times. You did just 
the right thing — and oh, God ! I don't dare to think 
of what I did to you ! 

Lady Helen — Don't think — now. Tell me — 



more 



.-? 



Thayer — I went to South Africa — but it doesn't 
matter where I went or what I did. The only thing 
that matters is that you saved me. I've worked. 
I've been honest. I've made good — and I don't know 
what I would have been except for you. And I've 
been in torture whenever I've thought of you — and 
remembered what I'd done. . . I heard of you, now 
and then — and I came back to find you, if I could, 
and ask you if you'd forgive me — and marry me— ^ 
and go back with me — {She seems to bend her head. 
Solomon goes tozvards the doorKvy at the back.) 

Solomon — I will be — just outside. 



ii8 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Thayer — But it was because I thought it was the 
only decent thing I could do. You were right — when 
you said there'd be other springtimes, and maybe, one 
girl for all of them. I've found her now. I thought 
I hated all women for a while. Then I began to think 
how decent you'd been to me — even though you 
seemed so cruel that night. And before long you got 
sort of holy to me — like a sister or a good angel. 
Then I met the girl. Her name is Phyllis — isn't it 
pretty? Phyllis. . . You remember what you said 
about hoping that she and I would be very happy to- 
gether and very sad apart as long as we lived? That's 
just how it is with us. But we'd made up our minds 
that we ought to be sad — if — if some of the things 
we'd heard were true — and you needed me. If I 
hadn't found you were going to marry Rudolph Solo- 
mon, you'd have never known about — her. But he 
told me—" 

Lady Helen did not hear that part of the speech 
concerning the new-found Phyllis. When they re- 
vived her from the fainting spell she only remem- 
bered that Ned had returned. 'T got lost," she ex- 
plained. " You came to find me, dear, and what else? 
I beg your pardon, but I didn't seem to hear the rest. 
It's too wonderful. . ." 

Thayer — (steadily) I said that I had come to 
ask you to be my wife. 

Again she sinks into brief unconsciousness. When 
she can speak again she turns to Solomon. " I see 
how life with you would have been very easy and very 
beautiful," she said. "I do, really; I was quite dis- 
api)ointed when you threw me over to-night. I didn't 
know it was because Ned had come back. And — 
Ned—" 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 119 

Thayer — Yes. 

Lady Helen — Hold my hand. . . We're drifting 
out on the tide, together. Rather jolly — isn't it? . . , 
Where's the champagne? You'll have to hold it, I'm 
afraid, Ned. My arms have gone queer, too. . . 
Hold it high. It's a toast. To England! {SJie 
drinks a little) 'Oh to be in England — Now that 
April's here — ' Only it isn't April — is it? 

A Servant — The doctor is coming, sir. His car 
just stopped outside. 

Lady Helen — The doctor? It will be the first 
time I ever had one. I never was sick a day in my 
life. Ask Blossom. Oh Ned — (A convulsion sud- 
denly shakes her. She clings to him) Just you — 
and my young great great grandmother, in her big hat 
— there — across the river. And the gay music ! 
Everything else — is — going. It's like the theatre — 
when they turn out the lights — before the curtain 
rises — on the next act — " 

The last of the " mad Varwicks " was at peace. 



"JANE CLEGG" 

A Domestic Drama in Three Acts 

By St. John Ervine 

THE Theatre Guild, following its success with St. 
John Ervine's " John Ferguson " the previous season, 
began the new year full of hope with a fine staging of 
John Masefield's tragedy, "The Faithful" (Oct. 13). 
An artistic but not a financial success resulted. Then 
they turned to a dramatization of William Dean 
Howells' "Silas Lapham " (Nov. 25), and this lin- 
gered uncertainly through several weeks. Their third 
production was Tolstoi's " Power of Darkness " 
(Jan. 19), which earned them many fine reviews, but 
little money, and finally they decided to try another 
play by St. John Ervine, his " Jane Clegg," which was 
first presented by Miss Horniman's company in Man- 
chester, England, in 1913, and subsequently in Lon- 
don. This quiet little domestic drama, a perfect 
sample of its type, proved another popular success for 
the Guild and ran out the season. The first perform- 
ance was given February 23, 1920. 

The action of the play occurs in the living room of 
the Cleggs' house in a small English town. " Jane 
Clegg, a tall, dark woman, aged thirty-two, is seated 
at a large table, sewing. It is nearly nine o'clock, and, 
as the evening is chilly, a bright fire burns in the grate. 
The room has a cosy air, altiiough it is furnished in 
the undistinguished manner characteristic of the homes 
of the lower middle class. A corner of the table is 
reserved for a meal for a late comer. Johnnie and 

120 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 121 

Jenny, aged ten and ei-ght years respectively, are play- 
ing on a rug in front of the fire. . . Mrs. Clegg, the 
grandmother, is seated in a low rocking chair, her 
arms folded across her breast, idly watching them. 
She is a stout, coarse, and very sentimental woman 
and her voice has in it a continual note of querulous- 
ness. She glances at the clock and then speaks to her 
daughter-in-law." 

Mrs. Clegg — I can't think wot's keepin' 'Enry. 

Jane Clegg — (zuithout looking up from her sew- 
ing). Busy, I suppose. 

Mrs. Clegg — 'E's always busy. I don't believe 
men are 'alf so busy as they make out they are! Be- 
sides I know 'Enry ! I 'aven't 'ad the motherin' of 
'im for nothink. 'E don't kill 'imself with work, 
'Enry don't. 

Jane Clegg — {in an undertone) . Oh, hush, 
mother, before the children. 

Mrs. Clegg — Oh, I daresay they know all about 
'im. Children knows more about their parents now- 
adays than their parents knows about them, from wot 
I can see of it. 

Jane Clegg — Henry's work keeps him out late. 
It isn't as if he had regular hours like other men. A 
traveller isn't like ordinary people. 

Mrs. Clegg — No, that's true. It isn't a proper 
life for a man, not travellin' isn't. A married man, 
any'ow. They see too much. I don't believe in men 
seein' too much. It unsettles 'em. 

Jane Clegg — Oh, I don't know ! Some men are 
born to be unsettled and some aren't. I suppose that's 
the way with everything. 

Mrs. Clegg — You take things too calm, you do. I 
'aven't any patience with you ! Look at the way you 
took it when 'e went after that woman ! . . , . 

Jane Clegg — Oh, please, please ! 



122 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Mrs. Clegg — I'd 'ave tore 'er 'air off. That was 
the least you could 'ave done. 

With the children off to bed, and the tardy 'Enry 
still unaccounted for, the grandmother insists on con- 
tinuing the discussion of Henry's past derelictions and 
Jane's lack of firmness with him. It is all very well 
for a wife to " make allowances," as Jane suggests, 
but there's a limit — and there must be some explana- 
tion. 

Mrs. Clegg — I suppose you must be fond of 'im, 
or you wouldn't 'ave married 'im. 

Jane Clegg — I was very fond of him. 

Mrs. Clegg — But you're not now, eh ? 

Jane Clegg — {returning to her se-at). Oh, I don't 
know about that. I suppose I'm as fond of him as any 
woman is of her husband after she's been married to 
him twelve years. It's a long time, isn't it? 

Mrs. Clegg — 'Orrible! 

Jane Clegg — Do you know why I didn't leave 
Henry when that happened? It was simply because I 
couldn't. 

Mrs. Clegg — 'Ow du mean ? 

Jane Clegg — Isn't it simple enough? Johnny was 
four and Jenny was two. Henry had a good situation. 
If I had left him, I should not have earned more than a 
pound a week at the best, and I couldn't have looked 
after the children and worked as well. I don't sup- 
pose I should have got work at all here. A woman 
who leaves her husband on moral grounds is treated 
as badly as a woman who runs away with another man. 

Mrs. Clegg — Well, of course, it isn't right to leave 
your 'usband. Till death do you part, that's wot the 
Bible says. I wasn't 'intin' at anything of that sort 
I only suggested that you should be firm with 'im. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 123 

Jane Clegg — Why shouldn't I leave him, if he isn't 
loyal ? 

Mrs. Clegg — Oh, my dear, 'ow can you ask such a 
question? Wotever would people say? 

Jaxe Clegg — Why shouldn't I leave him? 

Mrs. Clegg — Because it isn't right, that's why. 

Jane Clegg — But why isn't it right ? 

Mrs. Clegg — You are a one for askin' questions ! 
Nice thing it would be I'm sure if women started 
leavin' their 'usbands like that. 

Jane Clegg — I don't believe in putting up with 
things unless you can't help yourself. I couldn't help 
myself before, but I can now. Uncle Tom's money 
makes that possible. 

Mrs. Clegg — That made 'im angry, that did. 
When you wouldn't let 'im 'ave the money to start for 
'imself. 

Jane Clegg — You know quite well he'd have lost 
it all. He's a good traveller, but he couldn't control 
a business of his own. He's not that sort. I made 
up my mind when I got the money that I would spend 
it on Johnny and Jenny. I want to give them both a 
good chance. You know how fond Johnny is of play- 
ing with engines and making things. I want to spend 
the money on making an engineer of him, if that's 
what he wants to be. 

Jane Clegg — I never see anything or go anywhere. 
I have to cook and wash and nurse and mend and 
teach ! . . . And then I'm not certain of Henry. 
That's what's so hard. I give him everything, and he 
isn't faithful. 

Mrs. Clegg — 'E was always a man for women. 
There's a lot like that. They don't mean no 'arm, but 
some'ow they do it. I 'card tell once of someone that 



124 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

said it was silly of women to complain about things 
like that, and mebbe 'e was right. They're not made 
like us, men aren't. I never wanted but one man in 
my life, but my 'usband, bless 'im, 'e was never satis- 
fied. 'E used to say it near broke 'is 'eart to be a 
Christian ! 'E 'ad a great respect for Turks an' 
foreigners. 'Enry takes after 'im. (She pauses for 
a mo'inent) I dunno ! Men's a funny lot wotever 
way you take 'em, an' it's my belief a wise woman 
shuts 'er eyes to more'n 'alf wot goes on in the world. 
She'd be un'appy if she didn't, an' it's no good bein' 
un'appy. 

Jane Clegg — I'm not like that. I demand as 
much as I give. It isn't fair to take all and give 
nothing. 

Mrs. Clegg — {impatiently). — But! . . . 

Jane Clegg — Oh, I know what you're going to 
say. I don't care what men say or what anybody says ; 
Henry must give me as much as I give to him. That's 
only decent. 

Mrs. Clegg — Well, I'm sure I 'ope you get it. 
There's few women does. Men is guilty sinners. 
You can't get over that. If they ain't sinnin' one way, 
they're sinnin' another, an' you can't stop 'em. The 
Lord can't do it, an' it ain't likely you can. 

The delayed Henry Clegg arrives at last. He is "a 
middle-sized man, good-natured, genial, fairly hand- 
some, though a little fleshy and somewhat weak look- 
ing. . . . Although he is superficially open and frank 
there is about him an air of furtiveness, almost mean- 
ness, and he will turn away quickly from a steady 
look." He is full of excuses to explain his being late 
and a little relieved to change the subject. A letter 
has come for him, and he finds it an important letter 
— one containing- a check for a hundred and forty 
pounds that should have been sent to the office of his 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 125 

firm. "Somebody ought to get the sack for that/' 
declares Henry. "HI wasn't honest, and was to hop 
'round to the bank tomorrow morning and cash this 
— well, it 'ud be all umpydoodelum with some chap's 
job." 

He hasn't much use for his employers, Henry 
hasn't. They drive a man something awful. " It's 
enough to make a chap turn Socialist." But he must 
put up with it. There isn't much chance of anything 
better turning up, and Jane hasn't indicated any in- 
tention of letting him have a bit of the money Uncle 
Tom left her. He could have done well with a bit 
of that money. 

Henry Clegg — I could have doubled that money 
three times over. I could still do it. I heard today 
about something ! . . . Look here, Jane, if you would 
let me have two hundred of it, I could pull off a good 
thing in about six months. Straight, I could. 

Jane Clegg — What could you pull off? 

Henry Clegg — Well, I can't give many particulars 
about it, because I told the chap I wouldn't say a word 
to anyone, not even to you. He knew you'd come in 
for a bit of money, and he mentioned it himself. He 
naturally thought I could get the money easy enough. 
I didn't like to tell him you'd got it, and wouldn't let 
me have any of it. Makes a man look such a damned 
fool, that sort of thing. It's a bit of a spec at present, 
of course, and there's one or two after it. That's why 
he told me not to tell anyone. 

Mrs. Clegg — I should think you could tell Jane. 
That's on'y nacherel,.she bein' your wife. 

Henry Clegg — No, I promised I wouldn't. 

Jane Clegg — Don't bother, Henry. I know you 
don't like breaking promises. Your friend won't get 
my money. I've made up my mind that I shall keep 
it for Johnny and Jenny. 



126 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Henry Clegg — (zvith great fury). There, you 
hear that, mother! That's the sort of a woman she is. 
Not a spark of love for me in her. 

Jane Clegg — You know, Henry ! . . . 

Henry Clegg — Don't talk to me. I don't want to 
hear what you've got to say. 

The arrival of Mr. Munce to see Henry on a busi- 
ness matter of supreme importance (to Air. Munce) 
sends the Clegg women to bed. Mr. Munce is a 
'* bookie." Through him Mr. Clegg has been trying to 
raise a little money by speculating on the chances of 
certain horses to outrun certain other horses. Their 
business dealings, covering a considerable period, have 
left Henry Clegg in the bookmaker's debt in the sum 
of twenty-five pounds, and as the latter sees ruin and 
exposure staring him in the face unless within the week 
he meet all his outstanding obligations, he is of a mind 
to press Mr. Clegg, who has made and broken any 
number of promises to pay, for the money due. The 
fact that Mr. Munce is in possession of two facts con- 
cerned with Henry Clegg's private life — first, that 
his wife, Jane Clegg, has recently come into a sum of 
money, and, second, that he {Henry) has been 
frequently seen of late entertaining another young 
woman on the other side of the town — contributes to 
his determination to have his money or know the reason 
why. 

Munce — What you done with your ole woman's 
money ? 

Henry Clegg — I tell you I haven't done anything 
with it ! 

Munce — Don't you tell me. I know. You bin 
spendin' it on that bit of skirt I saw you with this 
afternoon, that's what you bin doin', 'stead o' payin' 
your debts. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 127 

Henry Clegg — (anxiously). Don't shout, old 
man. 

MuNCE — It's enough to make a chap shout ain't it? 
— Goin' an' bhiein' all your money on a tart, an' you 
owes me twenty-five poun's. Twenty-five poun's. 
An' 'ere's me don't know where to turn for money. 

Hexry Clegg — I tell you I haven't spent it on her. 
Straight, I haven't. Look here, I may as well be hon- 
est with you. The girl you saw me with this after- 
noon, she's a friend of mine, see ! 

Munce — Yes, I thought so. Fine lookin' bit o' 
goods, too! 

Henry Clegg — (proudly). Not bad, is she? 

Munce — I s'pose your missus don't know about 
'er, eih? Ho, ho, ho, ho! 

Henry Clegg — Don't laugh so loud, old chap. My 
wife and me don't get on very well. You know ! 

Munce — (sympathetically). I know, old chap. 
Funny, ain't it, 'ow the one you're married to ain't 'alf 
so nice as the one you keep. 

Henry Clegg — And you see, well, things haven't 
been going right with me lately. Of course, Kitty, 
that's her name, not my wife, the other one, she's al- 
ways hard up ! . . . 

Munce — Just what I said, didden I? Spendin' all 
your blinkin' money on a tart 'stead o' payin' your 
debts of honour. Debts of honour, mind you ! That's 
wot I call doin' the dirty! 

Henry Clegg — I'm in rare old mess, that's wot I 
am. Kitty's bin to the doctor this mornin' ! She's 
not sure ! . . . 

Munce — (after a prolonged zvhistle). Oh, ho! 
So's that's 'ow the land lays, is it ? So 'elp me ! 

Henry Clegg — I don't know what the devil to do. 
There's you and Kitty . . . she'll want a bit of money 
to keep her mouth shut. If I could only raise a bit, 
I'd take her off to Canada or somewhere. I'm damned 



128 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

fond of her, that's what I am. I can't stick my wife. 
She's hard, Munce, hard as hell. 

MuNCE — I 'ope you won't do nothink rash, not 
afore you've paid me my whack. 

Henry Clegg — I haven't got the money to be rash. 
I wish I had. 

Munce — Well, I dunno. Seems t' me I shall lose 
what you owe me. I shall 'ave to do somethink. Ab- 
solute ! {He gets up, tzvirls round on his foot, and 
then sits dozvn again) What I can't make out is, 
what you done with your wife's money. 

Clegg insists that he has done nothing with his wife's 
money, because she has refused to give it to him, 
which is a rare joke in Mr. Munce's estimation. " A 
clout aside the 'ead " is what he would use as an 
argument if a wife of his dared take such a stand. 
In any event he sees no reasonable excuse in that 
argument for Clegg's not paying him. 

Munce — No good talkin' like that. You got to 
get it, or there'll be trouble. See! I don't want to 
be nasty, you know, but I could be nasty if I wanted 
to, couldn't I? 

Henry Clegg — Eh ? 

Munce — Your missus would be interested to 'ear 
about Kitty an' the interestin' event, eih, woulden 
she? 

Henry Clegg — You wouldn't give me away, would 
you? I told you in confidence. 

Munce — An' 'ow about my twenty-five quid, eih? 
Mebbe she'd like to 'ear about that. An' ole 'Arper, 
'e'd be delighted to 'ear as 'ow 'is traveller owed a 
bookie twenty-five quid, an' didden know 'ow to pay 
it, eh? 

Henry Clegg — You wouldn't do a dirty trick like 
that, would you ? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 129 

MuNCE — You pay me money, an' I won't. 'Ang 
it all, why should I consider you w'en you don't care 
a dam about me? I'll be ruined if 1 don't get the- 
money this week, but you don't think about that. 
It's all you with you. 

Henry Clegg — I'll do my best. 

MuNCE — (holding out his hand). You'll 'ave to. 
I'm about desprit, an' that's the God's truth. 'Ere, 
buck up, ole chap. You'll be all right. She'll pay up 
right enough. You kiss 'er a bit ; that'll put 'er in a 
good temper. You on'y got to treat 'em reasonable, 
an' they're all right. Give 'er a bit of a kiss now an' 
again, an' she'll be like a lamb. You bin runnin' too 
much after that Kitty, y' know, an' neglectin' your 
missus, an' o' course that gets their backs up. You 
got to yoomer 'em. I expec' it'll be all right. I 
woulden feel so perky about it, if I didden know she 
'ad that money. Straight, I woulden ! Goo'-night, ole 
chap. [He shakes hands unth Clegg.) 

Henry Clegg — Good-night, old chap. 

MuNCE — You be all right, you see ! {They go into 
the hall together, Clegg opens the door, and Munce 
passes out) Goo'-night, ole chap. Remember me to 
the missus ! 

Henry Clegg — Good-night ! (He shuts the street- 
door and returns to the sitting-room. He stands in 
front of the fire for a fezc moments in an undecided 
manner. He puts his hand in his pocket and takes 
out the cheque from Armstrong & Brozvn. He fingers 
it for a while, gazing abstractedly at the lire. Then 
he puts the cheque back into his pocket, turns dozvn 
the lamps, and goes out of the room, shutting the door 
behind him.) 



I30 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Act II 

Two days later Jane Clegg is again waiting for the 
family to gather for the evening meal, when Mr. 
Morrison calls. He is the cashier at Henry Clegg's 
place of employment and he has come in search of 
Clegg, who has not been at the office all day. Though 
Morrison is obviously evasive, his manner plainly 
indicates to Jane Clegg that something is wrong. She 
hurries the children through their meal and off to 
bed, before she seeks to get at the real reason for 
the cashier's call. 

Jane Clegg — Mr. Morrison, you know something 
about my husband ! 

Mr. Morrison — (startled). Oh, no, Mrs. Clegg; 
that is to say, I've really come to find out ! . . . 

Jane Clegg — What is it? 

Mr. Morrison — Well, the truth of the matter is, 
I'm afraid — mind you, I don't know! . . . 

Jane Clegg — Yes ! 

Mrs. Clegg — Is there anythink wrong? 

Mr. Morrison — I'm afraid Clegg may have made 
a mistake. Of course, I don't know. That's why I 
came round, just to find out. 

Mrs. Clegg — Mistake ! Wot mistake ! 

Jane Clegg — What kind of a mistake, Mr. Morri- 
son? 

Mr. Morrison — Well, you see, a cheque ! . . . 

Jane Clegg — Yes? 

Mr. Morrison — Of course, it may be a mistake, 
as I say, only it's odd. 

Mrs. Clegg — I dunno wot you're talkin' about. 

Jane Clegg — Go on, Mr. Alorrison, explain it all 
please. 

Mr. Morrison — Well, you see a firm that owes u-s 
some money, rather a big amount, sent the cheque in 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 131 

after a lot of bother, and it appears they made it 
payable to Clegg and setit it to him at the office two or 
three days ago. 

Jane Clegg — Yes. 

Mrs. Clegg — Yes, that's right. A boy brought the 
letter 'ere. I saw 'Enry openin' the letter meself. It 
was a cheque all right. You needn't be alarmed, Mr. 
Morrison. 'Enry'U 'ave it safe ! 

Mr. Morrison — That's just the point, Mrs. Clegg. 
You see he didn't say anything about it. I'm cashier. 
He ought to have told me. I sent a reminder to the 
firm, and last night they telephoned through to say 
they'd sent it, and explained what had happened. Of 
course, I thought it was odd Clegg hadn't said any- 
thing, or given me the cheque, only I thought he'd 
forgotten it, and I meant to ask him about it this 
morning. But he never turned up. 

Jane Clegg — How much is it, Mr. Morrison ? 

Mr. Morrison — I don't know quite. There's this 
cheque for one hundred and forty pounds, but there 
may be more. 

Mrs. Clegg — 'Ow can you say such things. 

Jane Clegg — Of course, Mr. Morrison, if what 
you say is true, the money will be repaid. 

Mrs. Clegg — Of course, it will. I dessay 'Enry 
didn't mean to take the money, that is if 'e did take it, 
which I don't believe, not really take it, I mean, but if 
'e did, if mind you, of course it'll be paid. 'E'd be 
the first to say that 'imself . 'Enry never done nolhink 
under'and, not really under'and. 

Mr. Morrison — (to Jane Clegg). You see, Mrs. 
Clegg, all our staff is insured against accidents of this 
'ort, and the difficulty is that the policy contains a clause 
to the eftect that the defaulter must be prosecuted and 
convicted before the insurance companys pays up, 
otherwise there's no proof of embezzlement. 



132 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Mrs. Clegg — I've always 'card them insurance 
companies was tricky. 

Mr. Morrison — Of course, if the money is paid 
back, the insurance company won't want to prosecute. 
In fact, I don't suppose the guv'nor'll say anything 
about it. As a matter of fact, he doesn't know yet. 
I'm the only one that knows. 

The turn of a key in the lock announces Clegg's 
return. He enters the room blithely enough, but at 
the sight of Morrison " he starts violently, then re- 
covers himself a little and smiles feebly." His at- 
tempts at jocularity do not carry him far, however, 
nor do his attempts at explanation explain anything. 
He has the check, he says, and will return it in the 
morning, which satisfies neither his wife nor Mr. 
Morrison. Under their questioning he finally is forced 
to confess that he cashed the check. The revelation is 
followed by a painful silence, broken finally by the 
cashier. 

Mr. Morrison — Of course, you know, this is very 
serious. 

Jane Clegg — (quickly). Mr, Morrison, you will 
remember your promise not to say anything about this 
to Mr. Harper. The money will be paid tomorrow. 
I'll see to that. 

Mr. Morriso'n — I didn't make any promise, Mrs. 
Clegg. It's my duty to tell Mr. Harper. This may 
not be the only sum ! . . . 

Henry Clegg — It is. 

Mr. Morrison — And it may happen again. I must 
tell him, Mrs. Clegg. 

Mrs. Clegg — But 'e'll lose 'is situation, if you do. 

Mr. Morrison — I'm sorry. As I said, we've 
worked together a good many years, but I must do 
my duty. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 133 

Mrs. Clegg — You wouldn't see 'im disgraced, would 
you? Oh, Mr. Morrison, don't go an' do it! Think 
of 'is wife an' children. An' me, too. (She zweps 
while she speaks) I've lived 'ere all me life, an' no 
one 'as never bin able to' say a word agin me, not 
no one. I've always kept meself respectable, wotever's 
'appened, an' now! {To her son) Oh, 'Enry, tell 
'im it ain't true. I'm an ole woman, an' I couldn't 
bear to die thinkin' you was in prison ! 

Henry Clegg — Prison ? 

Mrs. Clegg — 'E says you'll be put in prison for 
this. 

Mr. Morrison — Not if the money is repaid. 

Jane Clegg — It will be repaid. {She goes to Mrs. 
Clegg) It will be all right, mother. The money will 
be paid. Mr. Morrison, must you tell Mr. Harper? 

Mr. Morrison — I'm afraid so, Mrs. Clegg. I can't 
help it. 

Mrs. Clegg — You can 'elp any think if you want 
to! 

Mr. Morrison — I've got myself to think of, and 
if the guv'nor found out ! And there's the future. It 
might happen again. 

Jane Clegg — Mr. Morrison, will you agree to 
this ? Henry will resign his post with Mr. Harper, and 
we'll leave the town ! . . . 

Mrs. Clegg — Oh, no! . , . 

Jane Clegg — We'll go to Canada or somewhere, 
where we can start afresh. The money shall be paid, 
and you shan't have any anxiety about the future. 
Will you agree to say nothing to Mr. Harper, if we 
do that? 

Mr. Morrison — I don't want to appear hard ! 

Jane Clegg — Please, Mr. Morrison. You see, it 
isn't only Henry. There's Johnny and Jenny. 

Mr. Morrison — Yes, I see that, of course. 

Jane Clegg — I'd planned things for them, but! 



134 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

. . . Oh, well, it can't be helped. You won't speak to 
Mr. Harper about this, will you? 

Mr. Morrison — (after a short pause). All right, 
Mrs. Clegg, I won't! 

The quarter hour following is a bad quarter hour 
for Henry Clegg. Jane demands to know what he 
has done with the money — and his excuse, if he has 
any, for having taken it. Her insistence is not at all 
wifely, the elder Mrs. Clegg insists. " 'H's your 
'usbancl, Jane," she reproachfully reminds her daugh- 
ter. But Jane is not to be swerved from her de- 
termination to know the truth. " If I'm to repay the 
money he stole," she says, finally, " I must know what 
he did with it." 

Henry Clegg — All right. Look here, Jane, you'll 
see me through this, won't you? They could put me 
in jail, you know ... I couldn't stand that! It's 
Harper's own fault, blast him ! 

Mrs. Clegg — I knoo it was someone's fault ! 

Henry Clegg — (to Jane). It was like this, you 
see ! You know when they put me on that new round ? 

Jane — Yes. 

Henry Clegg — Well, it's an expensive round to 
work. You have to treat these damned shopkeepers 
like lords before they'll give you an order. And I'm 
only allowed a pound a week for expenses. I've spent 
that in a day. Of course, I didn't tell you. I didn't 
want to upset you, and I thought I should pull round 
all right. So I should, only for the bad debts. It 
was that did it. A man went smash and hadn't paid 
a sou to us, and so old Harper made me responsible 
for the whole bally lot. He's like that, the old screw. 
Makes his travellers bear the bad debts. That was how 
it began. I tried to make it up by horse-racing. You 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 135 

know ! Oh, it's a mug's game, I know that, but we're 
all mugs when we're in a hole. I was in a rotten hole, 
too. That fellow Munce who came in here the other 
night, he's a bookie. He was worrying me for money 
I owed him, and you wouldn't let me have any . . . 

Mrs. Clegg — I knoo you was doin' wrong in not 
lettin' 'im 'ave it. 

Henry Clegg — And then that cheque came. I 
didn't mean to take it really. It just came into my 
head. I thought I'd be able to make it up somehow. 

Jane Clegg — Why didn't you tell me about the bad 
debts? 

Henry Clegg — What would have been the good? 
It was before your uncle left you that money. 

Jane Clegg — Why didn't you tell me then? 

Henry Clegg — I'd started betting then, and I 
wasn't exactly proud of myself. 

Mrs. Clegg — Jus' like 'is poor father was. 'E 
was proud, too. 

Henry Clegg — Besides, I thought you'd be sure 
to let me have the money or some of it. It seemed 
natural somehow, 

Mrs. Clegg — Any nice woman would 'ave let you 
'ave it. 

Jane Clegg — It would have been better to have told 
me than to let Morrison find out. You'll have to leave 
Mr. Harper, now ! . . , 

Henry Clegg — I suppose so. 

Mrs. Clegg — Oh, what a good job it was your 
uncle Tom died when 'e did, Jane. It was jus' like 
the 'and of Profidence. You'll be able to make some 
use of that money, now, 'stead of 'oardin' it up. 

Jane Clegg — Yes, that's true. Only it wasn't the 
kind of use I wanted to make of it. 

Mrs. Clegg — What better use could you make of 
it than to save your 'usband's good name ? 



136 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Jane Clegg — (beginning to clear azvay the rem- 
nants of the meal). Yes, I suppose that's a great 
privilege. 

After Mrs. Clegg has retired Henry, still worried as 
to Jane's real feeling toward him, stands with his back 
to the fire watching her as she clears the dishes from 
the table. The dubious look in her eyes worries him. 

Henry Clegg — What are you thinking about, 
Jane? 

Jane Clegg — Oh, I wish I could be sure of you, 
Henry ! 

Henry Clegg — Well, you are, aren't you ? 

Jane Clegg — I don't know. Oh, yes, I suppose so. 
Come on, let's go to bed. (SJie gathers up her sewing 
and moves tozvards the door) Turn out the lamp, 
will you? 

Henry Clegg — Yes, dear. {He turns out the 
light. Jane stands in the doorivay) Don't be hard 
on me, Jane. I'm not really a bad chap. I'm only 
weak. That's all. 

Jane Clegg — I can't help thinking of that woman, 
Henry. 

Henry Clegg — {putting his arms about her). 
You needn't dear. I swear to God I've not done any- 
thing against you. I promised you ! . . . 

Jane Clegg — Yes, you promised ! . . . (She goes 
towards the stairs, and he folhnvs, closing the door 
after him.) 

Act III 

When, the following evening, Mr. Morrison comes 
to collect the money his welcome is polite without be- 
ing over warming. It has been agreed that the Cleggs 
shall go to Canada, and that nothing more shall be 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 137 

said of Henry's unfortunate mistake. Morrison has 
told Mr. Harper, however ; felt that he had to to save 
himself future embarrassment. " The guv'nor was 
almost sure to find it out," he explains, in justifying 
himself ; " and if he'd found I'd kept it from him, he 
might have thought I was in it, too. I've always kept 
my hands clean ! " 

Mrs. Clegg — You better touch wood, Mr. Morri- 
son. You don't know 'ow soon it'll be before ^'ou get 
into trouble. 

Mr. Morrison — I'm not that sort. I don't get into 
trouble. Trouble doesn't come to you ; you go to it. 
That's my belief. 

Jane Clegg — You're a fortunate man, Mr. Morri- 
son. I hope you will always be able to believe that. 
. . . I'll go and fetch the money. It's in notes, Mr. 
Morrison. I thought that would be more convenient. 

Mr. Morrison — Yes, that was the best thing to do, 
Mrs. Clegg. (Jane goes out and is seen to mount the 
stairs. ) 

Mrs. Clegg — I do think Mr. 'Arper ought to 'ave 
come 'ere 'imself for the money. 

Mr. Morrison — Oh ! 

Mrs. Clegg — 'Ow do we know it'll be all right ! . . . 

Mr. Morrison — Do you mean to suggest that I 
might steal the money? . . . 

Mrs. Clegg — I don't mean to suggest anythink, but 
I believe in bein' on the safe side. 

Mr. Morrison — {hotly). Everyone isn't like your 
son, you know. 

Henry Clegg — (angrily). You needn't put on the 
virtuous air, Morrison ! . . . » 

Mr. Morrison — I'm not putting on any virtuous 
airs. I've tried to make things as pleasant for you 
as possible, and I get nothing but insults from your 
mother. You'd think to hear her that I'd stolen the 



138 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

money, not you . . . I've always kept ruy hands clean. 
There's nothing in my life I'd be ashamed to let any- 
one know about. 

Mrs. Clegg — Well, you ain't yooman, then ! I 
tell you this, Mr. Morrison, I don't believe you. Now ! 

Henry Clegg — Mother, mother ! 

Mrs. Clegg — No, 'Enry, I won't sit 'ere an' 'ear 
you made little of. 'Ow do we know 'e's any better'n 
you. We on'y got 'is word for it. 

Mr. Morrison — I must say ! , . . 

Mrs. Clegg — There's things in everyone's life they 
don't want to talk about. If it isn't one thing, it's an- 
other. That's wot I've learned from bein' alive. It's 
on'y yooman. Wot 'ud be the use of 'avin' a Merciful 
Father if 'E 'adn't got nothink to be merciful about ! 
That's 'ow I look at it ! An' I dessay, Mr. Morrison, 
for all you're so good an' 'oly, you got somethink you 
don't want to go braggin' about. There's some people 
does things they're not ashamed of an' ought to be. 

Jane returns with the money, but Mrs. Clegg refuses 
to yield the floor. She is still bitter against those who 
have brought disgrace upon her son — after the way 
he was treated. They had no right to give Henry 
a " dear round and then make 'im pay the bad debts." 
Henry, seeing more trouble ahead, tries vainly to keep 
her still, and to get Morrison out of the house before 
further revelations are forthcoming. B;it Morrison 
has heard enough to arouse his suspicions and he re- 
fuses to stir before he has set himself and the guv'nor 
straight. 

Mr. Morrison — Look here. Mrs. Clegg, I've had 
enough of this, see ! I don't know what tale he's been 
telling you ! . . . 

Henry Clegg — It doesn't matter, old chap, it 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 139 

doesn't matter. Let's get this business settled ! 
Jane ! . . . 

Mr. Morrison — I'm not going to be shut up. (To 
Mrs. Clegg) He's had the best and easiest round 
of the lot, and he hasn't had a single bad debt for a 
year past, and those he used to have, the guv'nor bore 
two-thirds. See ! I'm not going to stay here and 
listen to you abusing the guv'nor for nothing! 

Jane Clegg — He hasn't had a single bad debt ! . . . 

Hexry Clegg — It's all right, dear. I'll explain it 
all presently. Let's settle this affair first. Morrison 
doesn't want to hear our quarrels. 

Jane Clegg — I don't understand. You said you 
had to pay the bad debts, and that you took the money 
to make them up. 

Mr. Morrison — All lies, that's what it is ! 

Mrs. Clegg — Don't you dare to insult my son, 
you! 

Jane Clegg — Please keep quiet, m.other. Henry, 
is this true? 

Mr. Morrison — Of course it's true ! 

Jane Clegg — I'm speaking to my husband, Mr. 
Morrison. Henry, will you explain ? . . . 

Henry Clegg — It's all right, dear. It's quite sim- 
ple. I can make it clear in a minute or two, but I 
prefer to do it when we're alone. I object to dis- 
cussing private matters before strangers. 

Jane Clegg — That'll do, Henry. Mr. ^Morrison 
will stay until you've explained the position. 

Henry Clegg — Then he can stay till he's blue in 
the face. I won't explain. I'm not going to be bullied 
by him or by you. I'm a man, not a child. 

Jane Clegg — I shall not pay the money until I hear 
your explanation. 

Henry Clegg — I don't care. Keep your damn 
money. They can do what they like. 



I40 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Jane Clegg — Very well. I'm sorry, Mr. Morri- 
son. Goodnight ! 

Mr. Morrison — This is pretty serious, you know, 

Jane Clegg — I know. Goodnight ! 

Henry Clegg — {still blustering). I don't care a 
damn! 

Mr. Morrison — I shall go straight to Mr. Harper, 
and tell him what's happened. I shouldn't be sur- 
prised if he applies for a warrant at once. 

Henry Clegg — (anxiously) . What, tonight ! 

Mr. Morrison — Yes. 

Jane Clegg — I can't help that. 

Mrs. Clegg — Oh, Jane, an' 'im your own 'usband ! 

Mr. Morrison — (hesitating). I don't understand 
you, Mrs. Clegg. After all, he is your husband! . . . 

Jane Clegg — I wonder. I thought I was marry- 
ing a man I could trust. Henry's a liar. I can't trust 
him. 

Henry Clegg — Go on. Make me out all that's 
bad. 

Jane Clegg — Henry, why are you talking as if you 
were being unjustly treated? You know that you have 
lied to me from first to last. Even now I don't know 
how you managed to get into debt as you did. 

Henry Clegg — I've told you. Gambling. 

Mr. IMorrison — Good heaven ! A gambler, a liar, 
and a thief ! 

Mrs. Clegg — It's none of your business. 

Mr. Morrison — No, thank God. 

Jane Clegg — You just gambled the money away, 
Henry ? Is that so ? 

Henry Clegg — Yes. I said that about the bad 
debts to make the thing look a bit better than it was. 
{He comes up to her) Jane, I'm sorry. I'm really 
sorry. I ought to have told you the truth. I know 
that. But I was ashamed, I was really. Get me out 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 141 

of this scrape, Jane, and I swear I won't give you 
cause to complain again. Morrison, you won't tell old 
Harper tonight, will you? Good God, man, I might 
be arrested this evening. Jane, you'll get me out of 
it, won't you. I couldn't stand it. Look here, I swear 
I'll be a good husband to you, I will. I'll swear it 
on the Bible, if you like. I didn't mean what I said 
just now. It was all talk. 

Jane Clegg — I wonder if you're worth saving, 
Henry! (Mrs. Clegg bursts into tears.) 

Henry Clegg — I'll make myself worth saving, 
Jane. I will, I swear I will. (He tries to kiss her, but 
she turns away from him) Morrison, you say some- 
thing. Mother. 

Jane Clegg — It isn't necessary, Henry, I'll pay 
the money. 

Mr. Morrison is no sooner paid and out of the house 
before there is a loud, persistent knocking at the outer 
door, which threatens to throw the now thoroughly 
frightened Henry into a state of hysterics. He thinks 
it is the police, but it is only Mr. Munce, demanding 
entrance. A very wrathy Mr. Munce he is, seeing that 
he thought he was about to be cheated out of his 
twenty-five pounds. Payment on the spot is what 
he demands. Henry's promise to settle with him in 
the morning has no efi:ect in quieting him. 'E's treated 
'Enry Clegg fair and 'e expects to be treated fair. 
Jane Clegg is free to admit his rights in the matter — 
but she will not pay his twenty-five pounds. 

Jane Clegg — I have just paid the gentleman you 
saw here a few moments ago, one hundred and forty 
pounds to replace the money my husband stole from 
his employer less than a week ago. 

Henry Clegg — You needn't advertise the fact. 



142 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Jane Clegg — (ignoring him). My husband told 
me that he stole the money to pay gambling debts due 
to you. 

MuNCE — 'E never! . . , 

Jane Clegg — One moment, please. It now ap- 
pears that he has not paid you anything. 

MuNCE — Not a 'a'penny, 'e 'asn't. 

Jane Clegg — Well, then, the inference is that he 
still has the money he stole. You can't dispose of a 
hundred and forty pounds in a day or two can you? 

Munce — (to Henry Clegg). Look 'ere, Clegg, 
'ave you got the money or 'ave you not? 

Henry Clegg — I tell you I haven't. 

Jane Clegg — Then what did you do with it? 

Henry Clegg — I haven't got it. Look here, I'm 
not going to be cross-examined as if I were a crim- 
inal ! . . . 

Jane Clegg — You are a criminal. You've robbed 
your employer. 

Henry Clegg — (throzving out Jiis Jiands). There, 
Munce, that's the sort of thing I have to endure. 
How'd you like it ! 

Jane Clegg — Tell us what you did with the money. 
Mr. Munce and I have a right to know. 

Henry Clegg — Well, you shan't know, see. Damn 
you, I've had enough of your questions. I'm sick of 
you! 

Jane Clegg — Yes, Henry, I think we've both about 
reached the end of things; but that won't help Mr. 
Munce, will it? 

Henry Clegg — I don't care about iVIunce ! 

Munce — (jumping up). Oh, don't you. Don't 
you then. We'll soon see about that. I bin treatin' 
you jolly well, I 'ave. I 'eld my tongue all this time 
when I might 'ave said things, on'y I didden want to 
round on a pal. (To Jane Clegg) 'Ere, ast 'im 
about 'is fancy woman ! . . . 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 143 

Henry Clegg — You swine ! 

MuNCE — Go on, ast 'im about 'er. Ast 'im what's 
the matter with 'er. Go on, ast 'im that. 

Henry Clegg — You dirty dog! {He rushes at 
MuNCE, and they close and struggle together) I'll 
choke the life out of you. 

Jane Clegg — You'll be hanged if you do that, 
Henry ! 

Henry Clegg — {snorting with disgust). You're 
not worth killing ! 



Jane Clegg — Listen, Mr. Munce, I'll pay you the 
twenty-five pounds on one condition. 

Munce — What is it? 

Jane Clegg — That you tell me about my husband's 
fancy woman ! 

Munce — Gimme the money first? 

Henry Clegg — Blackguard ! 

Munce — Gentleman ! 

Jane Clegg — I haven't got the money in the house, 
Mr. Munce, but I'll give it to you tomorrow. 

Munce — That's all very fine! . . . 

Jane Clegg — You'll have to trust me, Mr. Munce. 
After all, you've told most of the story to me already, 
haven't you? I know that there is a fancy woman 
. . . Henry didn't deny it . . . and I understand there 
will be a . . . fancy child ! You see, the remainder 
of the story hardly matters, only I'm curious . . . I'm 
just curious to know all of it. 

Munce — I don't know much meself about it, on'y 
one dy las' week I saw 'im an' 'er talkin' in the 
street ! . . . 

Henry Clegg — Look here, I can't stand this. I'll 
own up. It's true. 

Munce — I said to 'im when I come 'ere that last 
time, " That was a fine bit o' skirt you 'ad to-dy ! " 



144 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

and then 'e tole me abaht it. She'd on'y jus' been to 
the doctor! . . . 

Jane Clegg — I see ! 

Henry Clegg — I tell you I own up. Isn't that 
enough ? 

Munce — 'E said if 'e 'ad the money 'e'd clear out of 
Englan' with the woman ! . . . 

Henry Clegg — You're a pal. So help me God, 
you are! ^ 

Jane Clegg — If he had the money? . . . 

Munce — Yes. Go to Canada or somewhere! 

Jane Clegg — Canada! Canada! Oh! {Hei 
nerve fails for a moment; but she recovers herself) 
I suppose that was why he took the money. He 
wanted me to give him money ! 

Henry Clegg — I can't help it. You've never un- 
derstood me, never tried to. You've always sort of 
preached at me, and I'm not the sort that can stand 
being preached at. You're different from me. You're 
hard and you don't make allowances. Kitty's more 
my match than you are. I've been happy with her, 
happier than I've ever been with you, and that's 
straight. 

Jane Clegg — {to Munce). Will you come in the 
morning, Mr. Munce, for the money, and we can go 
to the solicitor together, and arrange the matter. 

Mr. Munce goes — but not before he has turned 
in the doorway to hurl a parting shot at Henry Clegg. 
" Serve you right if she'd led you go to quod, an' your 
fancy woman to the work'ouse ! '' he says. " Tooloo 
— absolute rotter ! " 

Jane Clegg — (sitting dozen before the fire). 
That's true, isn't it, Henry. 
Henry Clegg — What ? 
Jane Clegg — You are an absolute rotter. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 145 

Henry Clegg — I don't know. I'm not a bad chap, 
really. I'm just weak. I'd be all right if I had a lot 
of money and a wife that wasn't better than I am. . . . 
Oh, I know, Jane ! You are better than I am. Any 
fool can see that ! It doesn't do a chap much good 
to be living with a woman who's his superior, at least 
not the sort of chap I am. I ought to have married a 
woman like myself, or a bit worse. That's what Kitty 
is. She's worse than I am, and that sort of makes me 
love her. It's different with you. I always feel mean 
here. Yes, I am mean. I know that ; but it makes 
me meaner than I really am to be living with you. 
{He sits down at the table and begins to fill his pipe) 
Do you understand, Jane ? Somehow, the mean things 
I do that don't amount to much, I can't tell 'em to 
you, or carry 'em off as if they weren't mean, and I 
do meaner things to cover them up. That's the way 
of it. I don't act like that with Kitty. 

Jane Clegg — It's funny, isn't it, Henry. 

Henry Clegg — {lighting his pipe). Yes, I sup- 
pose it is. Damned funny ! 

Jane Clegg — It's so funny that we married at all. 
I used to think you were so fine before I married you. 
You were so jolly and free and light-hearted . . . 
Somehow, I feel as if I'd lost you in the church that 
day! Do you know? It's as if I went there to find 
you, and found someone else. 

Henry Clegg — And you're not like what I thought 
you were ! 

Jane Clegg — No. {She picks up her sezving and 
makes a few stitches. Henry Clegg gets up from the 
table and drazvs a chair up to the fire. He sits for a 
second or two smoking) Henry, have you spent all 
that money ? 

Henry Clegg — I haven't spent any of it. I've got 
. . . well, I have spent some of it. 



146 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Jane Clegg — Why didn't you pay Mr. Munce, 
then? 

Henry Clegg — What! Not likely. I need all of 
it! 

Jane Clegg — Yes, I suppose you do. When are 
you going to Canada? 

Henry Clegg — Eh ? 

Jane Clegg — You're going with her, aren't you ? 

Henry Clegg — {after a short pause). Yes. 

Jane Clegg — I suppose the money you spent was 
on the tickets? 

Henry Clegg — Yes. 

Jane Clegg — When are you going? 

Henry Clegg — {zvith a great effort). Tomorrow I 

Jane Clegg — What's Kitty like, Henry? 

Henry Clegg — She's prettier than you. 

Jane Clegg — Yes. 

Henry Clegg — Well, it's hard to say. You're a 
finer woman than she is, but she's my sort, and you're 
not. (He pauses in Jiis pacing, and then comes to the 
fireplace and stands before her) You're a rum sort 
of woman, Jane. There aren't many women would 
talk about this the way you do. 

Jane Clegg — No ? 

Henry Clegg — It's just as if we were strangers 
talking about something that didn't matter. 

Jane Clegg — It is like that, isn't it, only I have 
two children, and you're their father. 

Henry Clegg — {sitting dozvn). Well, I don't 
know ! It's a funny sort of a world ; mixed-up like ! 

Jane Clegg — I suppose so. (Rising and extend- 
ing her hand to him) Goodbye, Henry! 
Henry Clegg — How do you mean ? 
Jane Clegg — Goodbye, of course. You'll go to 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 147 

Kitty tonight. It . . . it'll be more convenient to- 
morrow. 

Henry Clegg — (standing up and gaping at her). 
My God! 

Jane Clegg — You didn't think I'd let you stay here 
tonight with me ! Oh, Henry, it wouldn't be de- 
cent! . . . 

Henry Clegg — You mean I'm to go now. 

Jane Clegg — Yes. 

Henry Clegg — But . . . 

Jane Clegg — There can be no argument about it. 
You must go now. It would be like committing a 
sin to let you stay with me tonight I 

Henry Clegg — I don't understand you. Damn it, 
you're condoning the offence. 

Jane Clegg — {again holding out her hand). 
Goodnight, Henry, and goodbye. I'm very tired. 

Henry Clegg — Oh, well ! . . . I suppose I can go 
up and look at the kids ? 

Jane Clegg — You might wake them, and they'd 
wonder ! . . . 

Henry Clegg — I could have a peep at them! 

Jane Clegg — It would be better not. 

Henry Clegg — All right ! {He goes into the hall 
and puts on his hat and coat. He returns to the 
room) How'll you explain? 

Jane Clegg — I'll tell your mother ! . . . 

Henry Clegg — You'll look after her, won't you? 
She's not a bad old soul though she does get on my 
nerves. 

Jane Clegg — Yes, I'll look after her. {There is 
silence for a fezv moments.) 

Henry Clegg — Well ! {He looks at her as if he 
does not know what to do.) 

Jane Clegg — Goodbye ! 

Henry Clegg — {taking her hand). Goodbye, 



148 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Jane. I've not been a good husband . . . You're well 
rid of me. {He tries to put his arms round her, but 
she struggles out of his reach) You might give me a 
kiss before I go. 

Jane Clegg — (covering her face zvith her hand and 
speaking like one zvho is horrified). I couldn't, I 
couldn't. It would be a sin ! 

Henry Clegg — {zvith an affectation of jauntiness) . 
Well, of course, if that's how you look at it. Good- 
bye, once more ! 

Jane Clegg — {she turns her back to him). Good- 
bye. 

Henry Clegg — Well, I'm damned ! {He goes into 
the hall, and puts his hand on the door. He waits for 
a moment.) I'm now oft'. {She does not reply. He 
opens the door, and then zvaits a little zvhile. She does 
not move. He goes out and closes the door after 
him. She stands for a fczv moments ga::;ing into the 
fire. Then she turns dozvn the light and goes up- 
stairs to bed.) 

(^Curtain) 



" THE JEST " 

A Tragi-Comedy in Four Acts 

By Sem Benelli 

(American Adaptation by Edward Sheldon) 

" THE JEST " was first presented at the Plymouth 
Theatre, New York, the evening of Wednesday, April 
19, 1919. It ran until June 14, 1919, was withdrawn 
for the summer, and the run resumed September 19, 
1919. It then continued through the better part of 
the current season, or until February 28, 1920. It 
is the work of one of the best known of the modern 
Italian dramatists and has been frequently played on 
the Continent. There are two characters of first im- 
portance to the dramatic action, Giannetto Malespini, 
a young painter of Florence at the time of Lorenza, 
the Magnificent, and Neri Chiaramentesi, a captain of 
mercenaries. Giannetto, because of his frail frame and 
efieminate ways, has inspired the ridicule of the brutal 
Neri and his brother, Gabriello. For years the poet, 
helpless to defend himself, has been the butt of the 
Chiaramentesi's jokes, the most brutal of which has 
been perpetrated the night before the opening of the 
play, when Neri and Gabriello, catching young Gian- 
netto near the Ponte Vecchio, first etched certain 
grotesque designs upon his tender skin with the points 
of their daggers and then, when he had swooned from 
pain, threw him into the river. 

Out of this terrifying experience is born in the 
mind of Giannetto not a new determination to be re- 

149 



I50 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

venged upon his persecutors, for that thought has been 
with him constantly, but a plan by which for the first 
time he sees a chance of carrying his revenge to a 
successful issue. Tornaquinci, a friend of the Magnifi- 
cent's, is to give a dinner in honor of Giannetto. The 
poet, instructed to select his own guests, invites Neri 
and Gabriello. It is at the feast he plans to set in 
motion the " jest " that shall prove the trap into which 
he hopes the lumbering Neri will unwittingly step. 
The table is spread in the great hall of Tornaquinci's 
house, and presently Giannetto, preceding his guests 
in order to acquaint his host with something of his 
plans, arrives. He stands, " against a background of 
the night sky and the stars — his small, wistful figure 
almost covered with a great white mantle. Close beside 
him is Fazio, his aged dwarf, carrying a lantern." 

To the astonished Tornaquinci Giannetto relates in 
detail the latest humiliation he has suffered at the 
hands of the Charamentesi and of Lorenzo's suggestion 
that he meet his enemies at Tornaquinci's dinner. But 
Tornaquinci is still at a loss to understand. " How 
comes it," he demands, " that Lorenzo the Magnificent, 
the Lord of Florence, the man of letters, patron of 
the arts — " 

Giannetto — ■ {interrupting). Should bid me 
grovel at the feet of two base Pisan mercenaries ? Ah, 
do not blame him, sir. Never was the Magnificent 
more worthy of his name ! Such tact ! Such taste ! 
{He kisses his hand) Wait, sir, and you will see ! 
{He si)i(js a little tune and pirouettes a few steps.) 

Tornaquinci — Were not the sack, the dagger 
points, the jeering crowds enough to make you serious 
for once. 

Giannetto — {changing his tone). No, honored 
sir. And if for a moment I am serious now, it is for 
your sake and the last time. You have reproached me 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 151 

for my light heart. That proves there is no blemish 
in my smiling mask. Yet all I feel, asleep or waking, 
is a dull ferocity — 

ToRNAQUiNci — (interrupting). Not that ! If that 
were true, after so many — 

GiANNETTO — (szvept On). Yes, yes, I know ! The 
sack, the dagger points, the jeering crowds. And yet, 
ferocious, savage though I be, I am a coward. That's 
why the Chiaramentesi chose me for their victim. I'm 
seventeen. Five years ago I was twelve. Then's 
when I met them first. In May it was and I was going 
to school. They had just come to Florence and were 
wrestling before the barracks in the Via Fossi. I 
stopped to watch them. They were strong as lions. 
And as I stood there, wondering in my childish way 
if Ajax and Achilles had been half so glorious, they 
spied me out and as they looked at me my heart stood 
still. " Hi, Tickle-my-chin," the tallest one cried, 
" what are you, cock or hen ? " I was so frightened 
I began to weep and then they spat on me and made 
me catch twelve big blue flies and eat them, one by 
one. (Pause) What could I do? I was so weak 
and small. And from that day to this we never met 
but they fell upon me with their fangs and claws. . , . 
Ah God, when I think of these last five years ! To 
wake up trembling every morning. Night after night 
to cry myself to sleep — yes, 1, Lorenzo's friend, young 
Messer Malespini ! To know in my own soul I have 
no courage, and that I never will have — never — 
never — 

ToRNAQUiNci — (soothing hint). My poor child. 

GiANNETTO — (after a pause). Then came the 
miracle. Into the gutter of my life there dropped a 
rose. She was the daughter of the fishmonger near 
the Roman Gate, Ginevra. We loved each other. She 
was good and beautiful. I pointed her as the Madonna 
in my " Annunciation." \\"e were to marry. And 



152 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

then, the night before the banns were published, they 
— they came. 

ToRNAQUiNCi — They ? 

GiANNETTO — The Chiaramentesi. They had found 
us out. They paid her father fifty ducats and carried 
her away. Neri as elder claimed her for himself. He 
put her in a great, rich house and keeps her for his 
pleasure. She is his slave, his toy, his animal. At 
first I thought I should go mad. Each night she 
drifted to me on my dreams, all white and piteous, 
whispering my name — at last, sir, I gave way. I 
wrote to her. I begged to see her just to say good- 
bye. She answered, telling me to come at sundown 
to her garden gate beyond the city walls. I went. 
That, sir, was yesterday. The rest you know. 

ToRNAQUiNci — She betrayed you? 

GiANNETTO — My poor white rose. 

ToRNAQUiNci — Forget about her. Lose yourself 
in work, my boy. 

GiANNETTO — (sadly). In work? Yes. I should 
have been a peaceful, hapnv painter of Madonnas. 
Like young del Sarto, sir, and Raphael, too. But now 
that dream has faded, . . . My heart is not the only 
thing that died beneath their torments. My soul died, 
too. {With a change of tone) But oh, sir! I have 
one thing left — my wits! turned by my suffering into 
gleaming steel ! And these wits of mine, set free at 
last, have shown me how to lure my enemies with flow- 
ers and feasting and with silver lutes to their eternal 
ruin. Strong, wild and lustful though their bodies be, 
my brain will blast them like a belt from hell. And 
when last night that vision came to me, came as they 
bled me like a vile buffoon, it was not agony that made 
me shriek, but laughter ! I laughed ! And I laugh 
still ! 

TORNAQUINCI — God savc us. And I thought you 
were resigned and meek ! 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 153 

GiANNETTO — I used to be. I W3.s so good until 
these two brothers changed me to a devil. (Fever- 
ishly) Sir, shall I tell you something terrible? For 
three years, for three whole years I have not said a 
single prayer! Each time I pray — oh, I try so often! 
— my tongue grows thick. The words refuse to 
come — ... I think it will be that way till vengeance 
falls. Revenge will give me back the power to pray. 

ToRNAQUiNci — (goes over to Giannetto and sits). 
Then, God be willing, you shall pray tonight. Come ! 
Shall we stab them as they sit at meat? Mix poison 
with their wine ? 

Giannetto — No, no I The Alagnificent and I 
wish peace. Yet peace from which revenge grows, like 
a scarlet blossoms. 

TOKNAQUINCI — But hoW ? 

Giannetto — (smiling). Patience, and you will 
see. Beneath my smiles the red bud breaks into a 
flower. I, too, may play a little joke, who knows? 
The Charamentesi have made jokes the fashion. Look, 
sir, what am I holding between thumb and finger? 

TORNAQUINCI — is'oihing. 

Giannetto — I hold a thread so fine, which I shall 
tie into a knot so hard that it would bind great Hercules 
himself. (To the dwarf) Come, Fazio! Come, old 
friend ! Tell Messer Tornaquinci I have not gone 
mad. Tell him how cunningly the trap is laid. (To 
Tornaquinci) He knows my plan, sir. I confide in 
him. We are two weak small creatures, so we help 
each other — (Suddenly) Llark! (There is the 
sound of a man's singing and distant laughter) Neri ! 
(Giannetto and, the dwarf cling to each other.) 

The doors are opened. " Without, red in the 
torches' smoky glare, stand Neri, Gabriello. and be- 
tween them, Ginevra . . . They are all arm in arm 
and smiling and very splendid." 



154 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Neri — Hail, noble host ! Three hungry gadabouts 
salute you! (To the others) Come, chicks, your 
nanners ! One! Two! Three! (They all bow'very 
low, then burst into a roar of laugher.) 

ToRNAQuiNcr — Welcome, Messer Neri. For you, 
I think are Neri ? 

Neri — Yes, Neri, in whose beard doves nest. And 
this, sweet sir, is Gabriello, by the grace of God my 
brother. To him the lambkins born last May are play- 
mates. 

ToRNAQUiNCi — (turning to Ginevra). And yon- 
der radiance that deigns to honor me? 

Neri • — Ginevra. Late the daughter of a vile fish- 
monger. Now an Orient pearl, hung lightly in my 
ear. 

Ginevra — (laugJtlng and curtseying lozv to Torna- 
QUiNci). Sir, do not heed him. He talks in cap and 
bells. 

Neri — (seeing Gianxetto for the first time). 
Ha ! Body of God ! Behold our little friend ! What ! 
Still alive ? A miracle ! Look, brother, he's put 
pomatum on his hair! 

Gabriello — No, water. River water. 

Neri — Bah ! Soul of a cat ! He sweats with fear ! 
(Taking Giannetto by the arm) Come, wren, be 
happy. We've brought the jewel of your twittering 
heart, your little birdship's dream of wedding-bells. 
Come lick-pot. Present her with a kiss ! On the 
hand. No lady gives her lips to mice. 

Ginevra — {bursting into a peal of laitgJiter). I 
cannot help it, love. He looks so foolish — 

Neri — Body of Bacchus! She's right! (PVith a 
wink at Gabriello) He bathes too much . . . that's 
how he lost his color! (To Ginevra) Come, give 
the little fish your hand! (To Giannetto) So, min- 
now . . . touch it gently now. There, that's enough ! 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 155 

Off! {TJirozi'ing him to the ground) Scum! 
Would you beslime my food ? 

ToRNAOUiNCi — {interrupting). Come, softer names 
and gentler manners, sir! The ^Magnificent himself 
has had you meet here for the sake of peace. 

Neri — A word that I am ill acquainted with. By 
the Eleven Thousand Virgins of Cologna, sir, war's my 
trade! I topple over dukes and princes, I give and 
take away crowns of kings. I'd pull the nose of any 
man in Christendom for two hairs from a blind dog's 
tail ! Why, many's the joke I've cracked with your 
Magnificent . . . 

ToRNAQUiNci — {interrupting). Take care! 

Neri — All Florence knows it ! I'm a famous 
jester. I begin with puns, quips, barbs of fantasy. 
Then if my humor does not stick, I use my hands. 
And if my hands can tickle forth no laughter, I call 
for sacks and put a point on this! {He sJiozvs his 
dagger) 

GiANNETTO — {good humorcdly) . You made me 
laugh last night, sir, I confess it. Since I am so help- 
less I ask for peace. 

Neri — Now by the white breasts of St. Jezebel. 

GiNEVRA — {interrupting). Say yes, my soul. 

Neri — What? I, who pick my teeth with a two- 
handed sword ? I, to make peace with this white food 
for fleas? 

GiNEVRA — {coaxing). Say yes, love, for my sake! 

Neri — {sighing). So be it. Peace it is. 

GiANNETTO — Your hand, good Neri. 

Neri — What? Shivering still? Poor jelly, calm 
yoiirself. Neri forgives you. Come, bantam, to a 
soldier's arms ! 

Giannetto eludes the embrace. He prefers, he says, 
to make his peace with Gabriello, with whom he feels 



156 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

he is " united by a bond of pain." Does not Gabriello 
also love Ginevra, his brother's beauteous mistress — 
yet dare not breathe the words because he, too, fears 
Neri? Gabriello whitens under the accusation, and 
Neri is furious again. Yet he is made calm and forced 
to laugh away the incident when both Ginevra and 
Gabriello make light of the charge. Gabriello, how- 
ever, is unhappy, and soon makes an excuse to with- 
draw. " May God forsake me, love, if I could so 
much as name the color of his eyes," declares Ginevra. 
when he is gone. " You know how faithful and how 
true I am ! " 

GiANNETTO — Perhaps she pierced his heart, good 
Neri, when she aimed at yours. Women are such bad 
marksmen — eh. Madonna ? 

Ginevra — True, sir, but more's the pity. Alas, 
poor Gabriello. (She puts her head on Ncri's shoul- 
der.) 

NerI' — Well, honey pot, I'll believe you for to- 
night. (Taking her in his arms, half savagely, half 
tenderly) What does it matter if those lips tell lies, 
they are so warm and soft , . . {He kisses her) Ah, 
mouth like the pomegranate flower! Red enemy of 
men that never sleeps ! Kiss me again . . . 

The dinner proceeds and there is much drinking. 
Neri grows mellow and quarrelsome by turns, until, 
when Giannetto determines the time ripe to bait the 
trap he subtly leads the argument to a doubting oi 
Neri's boasted courage. His voice grows shrill and 
taunting as he shouts: "I say that if I were not 
what I am, the vilest worm that ever crawled the earth, 
you would not dare to treat me as you do ! Last 
night would you have cut another's back as you cut 
mine? Never since Christ was king!" 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 157 

Neri — {leaping to his feet). You lie ! You He in 
your rat's teeth ! There's not a man in all this city, 
I'm afraid of ! No, not the Magnificent himself ! I 
shout it from the house-tops ! The* lord of Florence is 
a wooden spoon . , . 

GiANNETTO — Tut! Just to put your bravery to 
the test ! Til wager twenty golden ducats you dare 
not go tonight, this very moment, now, to Ceccherino's 
wine-shop in the Vacchereccia ! 

Neri — {rolling an eye). What's that? 

GiANNETTO — {rapidly). You know. The favor- 
ite lounging-place of half of Florence. Where all the 
young rips meet to gossip and shake dice. In short, 
the very animals you'd like to fry. You need not touch 
them, though. A joke's a joke! But, clad in steel, a 
weapon in your hand, stride through the crowd to 
where old Ceccherino sits, tweak his red nose, walk out 
. . . and the wager's won ! 

Neri — {outraged). What, lamb? What, lady- 
bird? Is that a fit test for a hero's heart? 

GiANNETTO — {sighing). Ah, perhaps not . . . 
that would frighten anyone. 

Neri — {Interrupting). What? Frighten tnet 
Snakes of Purgatory! Here, put your wager in his 
hand ! Quick, or I'll split you in two. 

GiANNETTO — {pretending to be terrified — empty- 
ing his purse into Tornaquinci's hands) Take it, 
sir. 

Neri — There's armor here ? 

Tornaquinci — Enough to cover a brigade. 

Neri — {prodding Ginevra uuth his foot). Ofif, 
cat, you're in the way! These are men's matters. 
Trot home and go to sleep. I may be drunk when I 
come in tonight. 

Ginevra — {rising). Plow sweetly, love, you mur- 
mur your farewells ! 



158 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Neri — {rubbing his hands). Death of my life! 
They'll run like pullets when they see a sparrow- 
hawk! (To Ginevra) Go on! What are you 
dawdling for . . . ? 

ToRNAQUiNCi — (smoothly). Dear friend, I pray 
you ! . . . not so harsh ! 

Neri — (gntmblingly) . Hell's teeth! Am I a 
troubador? (To her) To your kennel, wench! 

Ginevra — (putting on her mantle). I go, I go. 
Would God I'd never come ! 

Neri — (pointing to Giannetto). You came to 
watch that mongrel lick his lips at you. Well, he has 
done it. Are you satisfied? To bed. (Fuming) To 
bed, you fool ! 

Ginevra — Good night, my lord. Good night, old 
friend. (To Neri — shaking licr finger) Goodnight 
. . . you silly boy ! (She goes out the great doors at 
the back.) 

Neri — (Bazvling after her). Lock all the doors! 
I have my key! (To the others) Now I am ready. 
Where's the armor, sir? 

They truss the bibulous Neri in the suit of armor 
and put a great sword in his hand. Then Giannetto 
proposes a stirrup-cup to speed him on his way. With 
bawling gusto Neri drinks — "To the spavin-shanks 
of Lorenzo's barnyard ... To all his cowards and 
mountebanks and clowns . . ." 

Neri — (cutting the air zvith the szvord). Now, by 
Sir Lucifer, I could kill all Italy ! . . . Fling wide 
the gates of gold! (They obey. IVithoiit is seen the 
night sky blading zvith stars) Do you hear the blare 
of trumpets and the crash of drums? The armies of 
the world salute their conqueror! (Brandishing his 
szvord) Give way ! Give way ! The iloods and thun- 
der and the earthquake come ! I shake the moun- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 159 

tains ! I defy you, stars ! I am Death ! I am Truth ! 
I am God! {He staggers out, roaring. The doors 
close behind him.) 

GiANNETTO — Fool! You have walked into the 
spider's web. (Giannetto who has been hurriedly 
searching for something in Neri's doublet nozv finds it 
zvith a cry of joy.) 

ToRNAQUiNCi — What key is that? 

Giannetto — The key to Paradise! {Picking tip 
Neri's doublet and mantle and giving them to the 
dzvarf) Here, Fazio, take this cloak of his. Carry 
t home and put it on my bed. Then run to the fencing- 
master's in the Via Nuova. There'll be a crowd there. 
Push your way in. Tell them your news — that 
Messer Neri suddenly has gone mad! That he came 
here howling like a dog, and when the servants shut 
the door on him, he started for the Vacchereccia, 
swearing he'd turn it to a slaughter-house ! I'll go my- 
self and warn them there. {Throzving on his zi'hite 
mantle and opening the doors) Run ! Shriek it in the 
streets! Fly, Fazio, fly! {The dzvarf hurries azvay. 
Giannetto turns to Tornaquinci) You, sir, to the 
Magnificent. Tell him my vengeance has begun — 
atrocious, horrible, as he commands ! ( With savage 
exaltation) Tell him that there are banners floating 
in my heart tonight — And that tomorrow — tomorrow 
— I can pray — {He turns and goes blindly into the 
night as 

{The curtain falls) 

Act H 

In Ginevra's house next morning, just before dawn, 
the servants are aroused by those who come to report 
that Messer Neri is quite mad. The night before, m 
Ceccerino's wine shop, after he had wrecked the place, 
Lorenzo's guards had fallen upon him, " gagged him 



i6o THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

with an old shirt, trussed his arms, and locked him 
up," confident that the devil was in him. Cintia, 
Ginevra's maid, hastens to acquaint her mistress with 
the news. But Ginevra, emerging sleepily from her 
bedroom, is far from startled. 

Ginevra — Good Cintia, it is yoii who has gone mad. 

Cintia — What? Me, madonna? When I am 
telling you the truth ? 

Ginevra — {contemptuously) . A pack of Hes! 

CiNTHA — But why ? 

Ginevra — Because he's there. 

Cintia — Who? 

Ginevra — Neri. 

Cintia — In your bed? 

Ginevra — Where else, poor fool ? 

Cintia — (horrified). Madonna, you spent last 
night, then, with a madman ! 

Ginevra — (smiling). Ah, but a gentle madman! 
Poor Neri! He must have drunk deep and slept sound 
to have lain so still. 1 did not even know that he was 
there until you called me ! 

Cintia — He may be crouching at the keyhole now, 
ready to leap at us and tear us limb from limb ! 

Ginevra — Peace, woman! He is sleeping like a 
frightened child, the bedclothes all drawn up above his 
head. And when just now I stumbled over that red 
cloak of his and cried " God save us!" he never even 
waked to curse at me ! 

Cintia — Perhaps he was feigning sleep to put you 
off your guard ! 

Ginevra — You think so? (Rising) Come now, 
let's us go and see! {She takes Cintia firmly around 
the waist and leads her tozvard the bedroom door). 

Cintia — {resisting). No, no! Have mercy on 
me! Do nut bring me near him! I cannot bear it! 
I would rather die — {IVith a loud shriek) Ah, 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 i6i 

Mother of God! The door is opening! Fly! Fly — 
{It is Giannctto who stands at the bedroom door. He 
is in his shirt-sleeves, adjusting his belt. Over his 
arm he carries Neri's doublet and great scarlet mantle.) 

GiNEVRA — (gazing at him stupified). You! 

CiNTiA — Why, who is that, Madonna? 

GiNEV'RA — You! Giannetto ! In God's name, how 
were you — you — ( Unable to speak, she points 
towards the bedroom.) 

Giannetto — By a trick, madonna. 

GiNEVRA — {haughtily, as she seats herself). 
Now, sir, I listen to your tale. 

Giannetto — It is not long, madonna. Three little 
words! {Softly) I love you. 

GiNEVRA — {calmly). Ah, that I understood last 
night. Go on. 

Giannetto — Go on? What else is there to tell? 

GiNEVRA — Why, how you came here, sir! What 
demon gave you courage ? You, who turned sick with 
terror at my Neri's name ! 

Giannetto — Your Neri? So I did. How 
strange to stand here in the poor man's house, know- 
ing I shall never fear him any more ! 

GiNEVRA — ( nervously ) . Why ? 

Giannetto — Your Xeri has gone mad. 

GiNEVRA — {with a cry). No! No! 

Giannetto — {politely). What else, madonna, 
since he is not here? {Coming nearer) This is the 
hour when fruit hangs ripe and heavy on the bough. 
Where is the owner? Has he ceased to care? Or 
has he forgotten the old garden rule — that fruit, like 
kisses, should be plucked at dawn? 

GiNEVRA — {smiling). Wine makes the memory 
short sometimes. {Severely) But even so, the fruit 
belongs to him. You stand, sir, in his orchard, not 
your own I 



i62 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

GiANNETTO — According to the laws of Florence, 
one can inherit land from madmen as well as from the 
dead. 

GiNEVRA — So then ! You are his heir perhaps? 

GiANNETTO — (Jinmbly). Madonna, no. What 
have I dared permit myself? Of what can you re- 
proach me? 

GiNEVRA — (smiling a little). Not of greed, sir, 
truly. 

GiANNETTO — Do you know why? Because I love 
the fruit so much I could not tear it like a robber from 
the bough. That is another's way, not mine. No, I 
must kneel beneath the tree and watch and pray until 
it drops down of its own sweet will and falls into my 
hands. 

GiNEVRA — Indeed? And when, sir, will that 
moment come ? 

GiANNETTO — ( lightly ) . Who knows ? Today ? 
Tomorrow? Not ai all? 

GiANNETTO — It was SO Still when I crept up the 
stairs. So deathly still ! {Pointing to the doorzvay at 
left) Saints, how my heart beat coming through 
those curtains. This room was dark. {Pointing to 
the bedroom) But there, through the half-open door, 
a light was shining. 

GiNEVRA — (softly). The night-light by my bed. 

GiANNETTO — For hours, it seemed to me, 1 dared 
not move. I waited, listening. But nothing stirred. 
Then, inch by inch, I tiptoed nearer — nearer — until 
I stood there on your threshold, and looked in, and 
saw — 

GiNEVRA — Well ? 

GiANNETTO — A pool of gold Upon the pillow. 
One bare arm — oh God, how can I say the words ? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 163 

My brain caught fire, I shook, I could not breathe — 

GiNEVRA — (zvith irony). And then, sir, you 
went in. 

GiANNETTO — Yes. I Went in. I blew out the 
light. 

GiNEVRA — But why ? 

GiANNETTO — To bathe in that warm, tempting 
darkness ! To ghde down black walls of velvet to a 
sacred orchard, whose guardian giant was bound with 
chains of steel ! To lie there smiling through the 
slow, sweet hours, while you beside me slept and 
dreamed as the earth dreams of the coming of the 
spring ! 

GiNEVRA — Why did you not wake me, Giannetto? 

GiANNETTO — What ? 

GiNEVRA — Perhaps — the fruit might have for- 
given, might have even loved the hand that plucked it. 

GiANNETTO — (with a sudden sob of passion). But 
now I wait no longer! Look! I reach, I seize — 

GiNEVRA — (interrupting him). Too late, my 
friend. Robbers turns beggars at the break of day ! 

GiANNETTO — So be it then. I beg. And not for 
love alone, madonna. No ! For vengeance, too ! 

GiNEVRA — {puzded). For vengeance? 

GiANNETTO — {Pointing to tlie bedroom). Yes, 
now you know what kept you safe last night. Fruit 
that is stolen cannot satisfy my hate. It hungers for 
a ten times richer feast, spiced with the poison of your 
soft consent. 

GiNEVRA — (nervously). Take care! If Neri 
should appear — 

GiANNETTO — That madman? Tied up in a horse's 
stall? (Urging her tozvards the bedroom). Why do 
you think of him, madonna ? Come ! 

GiNEVRA — I am afraid — 

GiANNETTO — Of what? My dwarf is stationed in 



i64 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

the street outside. He'll run to warn us at the first 
alarm. {Looking at her oddly) They say fear whets 
the razor-edge of love. I wonder ! Come ! 

GiNEVRA — (half frightened). I do not know you 
when you talk this way — 

GiANNETTO — I know myself! I long for you! I 
want you ! 

GiNEVRA — (beginning to yield). Let me go — 

GiANNETTO — Our bridal night — at last, madonna! 

GiNEVRA — Thief ! 

GiANNETTO — My saint, my church, my altar- 
candle — 

GiNEVRA — Thief! 

GiANNETTO — My ruin, my hell, my black damna- 
tion — 

GiNEVRA — Thief ! 

GiANNETTO — (in a transport). Revenge! My 
beautiful revenge! 

GiNEVRA — (half fainting). Dear thief — (A 
pause, they listen) Did you hear? 

GiANNETTO — A door closed — (A cry from be- 
low). 

GiNEVRA — What is that? (He does not answer) 
You are trembling ! 

GiANNETTO — (forcing himself to be calm). No I 
(He goes to the curtains and listens). Someone is 
running up the stairs. 

GiNEVRA — (suddenly). Oh, I'm afraid! I'm 
afraid! 

GiANNETTO — Madonna, trust me. (He draws his 
dagger and faces the curtains as the dzvarf rushes 
through them and into the room). Fazio! 

Fazio — (throzving his arms about Giannetto's 
legs and clinging to him). Dear master, save your- 
self! He has escaped ! 

GiNEVRA — Holy God ! 

GiANNETTO — But hoW ? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 165 

Fazio — A squad of guards were taking him to the 
Palazzo Medici. Just as they came abreast of the 
Cathedral he broke loose, tore the sword from the cap- 
tain's hands, killed two and fled like a mad dog as the 
crowd gave way. 

GiANNETTO — In what direction? 

Fazio — Towards the Ponte Vecchio, they say. 

GiANNETTO — I knew it! He is coming here! 

GiNEVRA — (crossing herself). The saints protect 
nie ! 

Fazio — Fly, master, fly ! Escape while there is 
time ! 

GiANNETTO — I cannot leave her. 

GiNEVRA — Would you be my death? God knows 
he'll kill me if he sees you! Go! (SJic pushes Jiim 
towards doonvay at left.) 

Fazio — But not that way. You'll meet the mad- 
man, sir I 

GiANNETTO — The guards! Oh God, have they 
forgotten him ? 

GiNEVRA — Go this way. (She opens the secret 
door at right) . . . Til lock myself in here. {She 
pushes GiANNETTO through the secret door and locks 
herself in her bedroom.) 

With the crash of the outer door Neri bursts into 
the room. " He is dishevelled, wounded and streaked 
with blood. His armor is battered and his clothing 
torn. He still holds the great, two-handled sword. 
But its blade is broken off short. He is altogether a 
spectacle of horror." Like a mad man he rages of his 
wrongs and the revenge he will take. Frightening the 
last of Cintia's wits from her addled head he rushes to 
the door of Ginevra's room. 

Neri — {knocking). Sweet chuck, alwake! 

Awake! Your Neri calls! {He knocks again) Hey 



i66 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

there! I'm tired! I want to go to bed! {He listens, 
his ear to tJic crack) I heard you, love! Cock-robin 
heard his httle hen ! You are standing with the door 
between us, eh? (He pauses. Then, rattling and 
banging) Come, stop your joking, trollop! Let 
me in I 

Gixevra's Voice — {soothingly, from behind the 
door) — God help you, dear. I know they do you 
wrong. You are not half as bad as they pretend! 
And so you are going to creep away without a word, 
this instant, now — to show you love me. Are you 
not, my soul? 

Neri — {grinding his teeth). Lord God of Moon- 
shine! You believe it, too. {Roaring at her) 
Bawd ! Let me in ! You'll see how mad I am ! 

Ginevra's Voice — Be gentle, dear ! 

Neri — {mimicking her). "Be gentle, dear"! 
{Ferociously) Oh, I'll be gentle, when I lay my 
hands on you ! Til crack your little bones, dear, one 
by one ! 

Ginevra's Voice — {ivith a nervous laugh). Ha, 
ha! You are so droll, love! Run away! 

Neri — What, trull ? You mock at me ? I shall 
count three — If, when I cease, the door is still be- 
tween us — then, hell-hag, God have mercy on your 
soul! 

He knocks and curses without avail, until, as he is 
about to crash his way through the door the soldiers of 
the Medici swarm into the room. He turns upon 
them savagely, but they are too many for him and he 
is bound and held again. And while he lies thus 
Giannetto slips in through the secret door and with a 
gentle, pitying irony goads him to a greater and greater 
rage. Then he calls the frightened Ginevra to look 
upon her fallen lover. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 167 

GixEVRA — Poor Neri ! Ugh ! How hideous he is ! 

Neri — Harlot, be still! 

GiANNETTO — (to N cH) . Come, come! This is 
the last time you will ever look upon her face. Yes, 
from today she is alone. x\nd yet not quite alone, for 
I am here. 

Neri — O God — O God — 

GiANNETTO — (earnestly). I swear to you by all 
the Saints, poor friend, I'll do my best to cheer and 
comfort her ! 

Neri — Oh, for a moment — only one, dear God! 

— to hold their white throats in my naked hands ! 
GiANNETTO — I fear we lash him into fury, sir. 

For his own sake, lead him to the place I spoke of. 

Neri — No, no ! 

GiANNETTO — The best of care ! A priest and doc- 
tor, sir ! 

Neri — (frantically as they drag him aivay). 
Your hands — take them oti her — she belongs to 
me — 

GiANNETTO — Fear not, dear Neri, I am in your 
place ! I shall console her ! Watch me ! I begin ! 
(He kisses Ginevra. She drops her head with the old 
lascivious instinct into the same position she took with 
Neri in Act I.) 

Neri — ( shrieking ) . Ah — ! 

GiANNETTO — (triumphantly). Mouth like the 
pomegranate flower! Red enemy of men that never 
sleeps! Kiss me again — (She does so as he leads 
her slowly into the bedroom.) 

Neri — (hysterically as he is torn through the 
other door) . No, no — Ginevra — Giannetto — no 

— for Christ's sake, no — 

(The Curtain Falls) 



i68 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 



Act III 

" When the curtain rises the stage is perfectly black. 
There is a moment of silence, broken only by the 
steady drip-drip of water. Finally, at the right is 
heard the faint jangle of keys and the turning of a 
lock; the gate of rusty hinges and then, at last, a streak 
of yellow light . . . Framed in the blackness, against 
a narrow, winding staircase, Giannetto and the Execu- 
tioner are seen, followed by the Doctor . . . They are 
in a small, low, round cell. The vaulted ceiling rises 
from a thick stone pillar in the center. Attached to 
this pillar is a heavy iron ring, with chains and man- 
acles hanging from it . . . The whole place drips with 
moisture. It is evidently deep in the earth." 

In the cellar below this vault Neri is confined, in 
the keeping of the Executioner. Giannetto and the 
doctor have come to see what can be done for the 
" madman," the doctor holding confidently to the 
newest treatment for madness now applied by men of 
science in Florence. To Giannetto he explains the 
treatment — the " ordeal of confrontation." 

The Doctor — That madness is the possession of 
the human body by an imp or demon. Thanks to this 
law — the fairest blossom on my tree of scholarship — 
the cure of madness lies in confrontation. Sweet 
remedy ! I shall explain it, sir ! Suppose that some- 
one dear to you is killed, or that your wife is stolen 
by the brigands. You pine with grief, you fret, you 
lose your reason — or, as the vulgar put it, sir, go 
mad. Good ! Now suddenly the murderer or the 
bandit, as the case may be, appears before your wild, 
distempered eye. You foam, you cry out. Yet is it 
truly you? No, no, dear sir. It is the fiend within 
you, the demon whose dwelling-place you are ! And it 
is from this demon that we deliver the insane — 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 169 

(Breaking off suddenly) Are you listening, sir? 

GiANNETTO — (examining the instruments) . To 
every word. Your mouth drips milk and honey, doc- 
tor. I respect you deeply. Indeed I spoke of you to 
the Magnificent when, full of pity for poor Messer 
Neri, he bade me call the wisest man in Florence. So 
you think, sir, you can cure our friend? 

The Doctor — I'll cure or kill him — with the help 
of God. (Rubbing his hands) We shall confront 
him here, sir, hanging from that ring. If he show no 
sign of black possession — 

GiANXETTO — Pray Heaven he may not! 

The Doctor — Then we shall set him free like any 
fool. How many of them wander through the streets 
of Florence ! I often stop to watch them burrow in 
some rubbish-heap and run off tittering with a crust of 
bread. 

GiANXETTO — (sentimentally). Yes, God is good 
to simpletons. 

The executioner and his men go to drag Neri from 
his damp cell, as Fazio, the dwarf, comes to warn his 
master of the threatened approach of Gabriello, the 
brother. But far from being alarmed at this news 
Giannetto rejoices. Gabriello, too, shall figure in his 
planned revenge, if he can arouse Xeri's jealousy of 
him. He ponders the possibilities of this as the new 
plan takes shape in his mind. " Which flame burns 
hottest in his (Gabricllo's) soul I wonder — love or 
hate? " he asks Fazio. 

Fazio — Love ! Love, good master ! 

GiANNETTO — (deep in his own thoughts). And 
yet he loves his brother. 

Fazio — When you have lived as long as I, you 
will know one thing well. 

GiAXXETTO — What, Fazio ? 



i;o THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Fazio — That love of women transcends all other) 
loves. It is the breath of life, the voice, the cry, the i 
silver song that lifts the soul to God. It is the poison- 1 
ous weed whose perfume kills the white flowers in the' 
garden of the heart. It is the cup of blood and burn- 
ing wine that goads the father on to kill his child, the 
brother to commit the crime of Cain — the mo — i 

GiANNETTO — (his eycs gleaming). The crime of 
Cain! {He pauses. Then turning to Fazio) You 
think, then, that Gabriello's passion for Ginevra is 
stronger than his loyalty to Neri ? 

Fazio — I do not think. I know. 

GiANNETTO — {imth a terrible cry of joy)- At last 
I am stronger than my enemies ! 

The executioner and his assistants drag Neri up the 
steps from the cell below. "His head appears over 
the trap; his face is white and bloody; his hair is 
wet. . . . With a howl he suddenly tears himself from 
the men who are holding him and rushes up the remain- 
ing steps, his mouth foaming, his bound hands up- 
raised . . . Giannetto, co'wcring, clings to the execu- 
tioner " — until Neri is beaten again into submission 
and chained to the pillar. 

GiANNETTO — At last! (zvitJi exquisite tenderness). 
Poor Neri, are you very tired? Too tired to lift that 
handsome head of yours? (Neri stiffens and glares 
at him silently) How pale you are! Dear friend, I 
fear that you have sufifered much ! But do not mope, 
for all will yet be well. Come, come ! Remember that 
we only seek to cure you. We do what we must do 
for your own good . . . Poor thing, I wonder if he 
understands? Perhaps. For he is smiling. How I 
love that radiant, happy, sunny smile of his! 

Neri — Wait till my brother hears of this in Pisa ! 
He'll tear the windpipe from that silky throat of yours. 

GiANNETTO — (easily). Tush! How you fret! 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 171 

Yet I can guess the secret of your petulence. It is 
Ginevra ! 

Neri — ( interrupting) . No ! 

GiANNETTO — You chafc because the dear child may 
be weeping for you — eh? How hke a lover! Well, 
I bring good news ! Dawn found our young friend 
raised upon one elbow, teasing my nostril with a lock 
of hair. 

Neri — You lie, you lie. 

GiANNETTO — {continuing). I dreamed it was a 
rose. She scents her hair with roses, you remem- 
ber. . . . And then I woke and drew the baggage to 
me. That velvet bosom, those slim ivory flanks — 

Neri — {gasping). Enough! Be still! {Turns 
away. ) 

GiANNETTO — And as we lay and laughed in one 
another's arms, she put her rosey mouth close to my 
ear — like this — and whispered — {Giannctto is lean- 
ing against Neri and Xi'hispering in J. is ear.) 

Neri — {with a sudden hozd). The bawd! The 
harlot ! 

GiANNETTO — Wait! There is more! 

Neri — No — no — {Looking up) Oh God, where 
are you ? 

GiANNETTO — {in a hurst of infernal joy). God 
cannot help you, Neri. You must call on me. On 
me — for years the butt of all your bestial jokes! On 
me, who bear upon my unhealed back the shameful 
wounds of your vile cruelty ! 

Fazio — Master ! 

GiANNETTO — {resuming his former manner). 
And yet I do not wish to seem severe. I will have 
mercy, friend, though you had none. I will loose your 
bonds, restore you to the light and set you free if — 
If you will beg forgiveness for the past and kiss my 
hand in token of defeat. 

Neri — Defeat. 



172 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

GlANNETTO — You Will not ? 

Neri — (violently). No! No, by the liver of 
Mahound ! 

GlANNETTO — (singing to himself). 

Youth is fair 

But youth is fleet! 

Like the bee suck all its sweet — 

(As he sings, he quietly and rather carelessly picks up 
the scourge, left by tJie executioner. Neri is terrified. 
GlANNETTO sings as he tries the scourge on the air. 
Neri is more and more terrified.) 

GlANNETTO — Will you submit ? 

Neri — No! (Giannetto raises the scourge for 
the first blozv.) Yes! I can bear no more — 

GlANNETTO — Repeat these words — Obediently 
and with many tears of shame — 

Neri — " Obediently and with many tears of 
shame — " 

GlANNETTO — I beg forgiveness for my past trans- 
gressions — 

Neri — "I beg forgiveness for my past trans- 
gressions — " 

GlANNETTO — And humbly beg the leave to kiss 
your hand. 

Neri — "And humbly beg the leave to kiss your 
hand." 

GlANNETTO — (very graciously, throwing aside the 
scourge and putting his hand to Neri's mouth. Neri 
slowly leans forzcard his head. Then, with sudden 
ferocity, he seizes Giannetto's fingers with his teeth. 
There is silence as Giannetto^ zvith a great effort 
wrenches his hand away.) 

Neri — (bursting out — laughs madly.) Gian- 
netto with the face of a demon, lias picked up the 
scourge and is stealthily approaching him zvhen sud- 
denly, from up the stairzvay, comes the sound of 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 173 

women's laughter. Giaxxetto stops. The sound 
grows louder, snatches of song, etc.) 

For the ordeal of confrontation Giannetto has 
selected three women whom Neri had known and cast 
aside, " From the gutter where dear Neri flung them 
I have picked up three — three mildewed rags that 
once were clean as snow." They shall confront the 
madman and stir the devil that possesses him. " Then, 
with God's help," declares the doctor, '' we shall drive 
him forth through a hole in the side, made with these 
iron pincers, blessed by two bishops and heated white 
hot with the brazier there." ..." Thank God for 
science," solemnly adds Giannetto. 

One of the three is Fiammetta, once beautiful but 
now disfigured by a great scar. She is stone blind 
and feels her way about Avith a stick. One is Lu- 
crezia, " pale and thin, with great sunken eyes and 
yellow hair." And one is Lisabetta, " almost a child ; 
sad and lovely. Her clothes are humble but very 
neat." 

With these three Giannetto leaves Neri. " And 
now, farewelll, dear friend," he calls. ''And may they 
give you back a million times the frenzy you gave 
them." 

Lucrezia is first to face the shackled giant, a dagger 
gleaming in her hand. 

Lucrezia — Do you not know me, sir ! Three 
years ago you found me exquisite. I am Lucrezia, the 
jeweller's wife who sold her soul for you. I had a 
home, and children too — Then you came. And now 
I lie in wait for soldiers on the street. (Pause) Do 
you remember? {Wildly) If, Hke a beast, you can- 
not speak to me, then you must suffer like a beast. 
(She draws out a dagger — pause) Holy Madonna, 
how my hand is shaking! Why do you stare at me? 



174 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

(Pause) Stop! Stop, I sa}' ! What are you doing? 
(In a strange voice) I could have sworn I hated you, 
but now — (She stops. Then, in a hurst of emo- 
tion) May God forgive me, I love you still ! (And 
she sinks dozvn, kissing his feet, in a flood of passionate 
tears.) 

FiAMMETTA — (disgusted) . Have done, you 
snivelling drab ! What ! Would you drown the 
camel in your tears? (Reaching out with her stick) 
Where is the frog? Let me commune with him! I'll 
make him croak or know the reason why! (Her stick 
touches him) Is that your carcass, pretty one? 
(Kicking aside Liicrccia, dropping her stick and run- 
ning her hands over his body) How cold you are, my 
plunderer of virgins ! Like some great sausage on the 
cellar wall. And thin ! I can count each rib I Ha, 
does that tickle, and here's your face. So ! Gaze in 
my sockets. (Leaning on him and lonrring her voice) 
Do you recall a certain orchard nook, with a sly moon 
peeping through the apple blossoms — and how we 
kissed the jolly nights away? Ah, what brave times! 
But there was a child. You did not know that, did 
you? It lived two days. A girl. I'm glad she died. 
My father was a pious man — the fool ! He tried to 
kill me with a water jug. I wish he had! It broke 
and blinded me. So now I am a worthless jug my- 
self and sit a-begging by Giotto's Tower. (Holding 
out her liand) " A penny, signor, or the devil take 
you!" That is my life. I owe it all to you. 
(Ominously) But I am honest. Yes. I pay my 
debts. (Drawing a silver hairpin from Iter hand) 
You gave this to me once. Observe it well. It is the 
last thing you wmU ever see! And why? Because — 
(feeling about his face) — because those lecherous 
jellies that you call your eyes — 

Before Fiammctta can strike Lucrczia and Lisabetta 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 175 

drag her away from Neri and finally, by a subterfuge, 
get her from the room. Lisabetta alone is left. And 
from her confession it transpires that she is not one of 
Neri's victims, but one who long has loved him. 

Lisabetta — I wonder if you heard me lie to them. 
We never knew each other, did we, sir? You never 
even saw me till tonight. (Sighing) Poor soul, you 
cannot understand! {She cotiics nearer him) This 
is the moment I have prayed and longed for! How 
shall I use it, my beloved? Shall I pretend you are 
not mad, but love me? Yet granny says that love's 
a sort of madness. (Passionately) Then I am mad, 
for oh ! I love you so ! You never guessed ? But, 
oh, your eyes ! One glance, one careless glance as you 
rode by me on that horse of yours — and all day long 
I heard the harps of God ! And though you never saw 
me as you passed, my soul shone in the light you left 
behind ! 

And now Lisabetta, convinced that Neri is not mad, 
plans to effect his release. "If they are cunning, you 
must be cunning, too," she says. " Why not pretend 
that you are really mad, as if this joke of theirs they 
are so proud of had in good truth addled your poor 
brains?" 

Neri — They would but laugh the louder. 

Lisabetta — That may be. But soon they'll 
wonder what to do wiih you. 

Neri — They would not dare to give me to my 
brother. 

Lisabetta — To your brother, no. But I think 
they might to me. Now, listen ! I will swear that I 
still love you, and that I want to take you far away and 
nurse you as I would a little child. And as I plead for 
you, you'll seem, by word, by look, by gesture, every- 



176 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

thing, to be the simpleton that I claim you are. No 
raving madman, howling threats of doom, but a poor 
dunce — one of those mooncalves whom the streel- 
boys mock. If you but act this part — and act it well ! 
— they will not fail to put you in my charge — 

Neri — (in a burst of joy). O star-eyed child! 
Where did you learn such wisdom? 

LiSABETTA — (shyly). I think my schoolmaster 
was Love. 

Lisabetta's ruse is successful. When Giannetto and 
the guards return to the cell Neri babbles witlessly and 
is adjudged harmless. Even Giannetto is puzzled for 
a time — until, catching his enemy off his guard, he 
sees again the light of murder in his eyes and knows 
he is shamming. Yet by now Giannetto has no liking 
for the revenge he thought would be so sweet. He is 
willing to cry quits. 

Giannetto — I offered once to free you, Neri, but 
I asked a base humiliation in return. That was un- 
worthy. I confess it now. (His voice deepening) 
Once more I offer you your liberty — this time if you 
will only pledge your word never to hurt or frighten 
me again. (With broken gesture) There! I have 
said it, Neri. I have stripped my soul. You see me 
as I really am — in all my weakness and my vanity. 
Your joke had lasted for so many years and I had 
suffered so — ah, was it strange that when the moment 
came I struck at you? If I went too far, remember 
that I am not used to triumph. But now — please 
God! — the dreadful game is ended. Give me your 
word and I shall set you free. (He pauses, looking 
anxiously at his enemy) Your word, dear Neri ! I 
am waiting! (Again lie pauses. Turning wildly to 
LiSABETTA ) You, who say you love him, oh, for your 
love's sake ! tell him to consent — 

Neri — (grinning). If ever a dog begins to say 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 177 

his prayers — why, clap a muzzle on the filthy brute ! 

GiANNETTO — (Fiercely, clasping his hands). Oh, 
Neri ! Neri ! Will you not cry quits ? 

Neri — I see a spider, and the rogue has fur like 
cherry-colored velvet, soft and warm — 

GiANNETTO — Neri, this joke of ours is like a whirl- 
pool. To what vile depths have we already sunk! 
And who knows what the future has in store ? 

Neri — I am a cork. Around, around I spin. 

GiANNETTO — (at the Jicight of his despair). 
Peace ! Peace ! Upon my knees I beg for it ! 

Neri — (Looki)ig dozvn at him). Sir, are you 
hungry? Can you eat a cloud ? They say that he who 
eats one will be king ! 

GiANNETTO — {wiping the sivcat from Iiis own 
forehead). Think, Neri, think! There is a moment 
left, but once the die is cast, your doom is sealed. 
Now let me warn you ! I shall no longer keep you 
here in chains ! I shall release you ! Do not smile ! 
Because the first thing that you do v/hen you are free 
will be to walk again into my web and this time — this 
time you will be destroyed! {More and more terri- 
fied) Oh, Neri, keep me from that mortal sin ! I am 
so young ! I want so to be good — all good and clean, 
the way I used to be ! Oh, I would never pray again 
than ask forgiveness for such wickedness ! Now help 
me, Neri — no, you must — you shall — 

Neri — Ah, what a swarm of cowardly little stars ! 

GiANNETTO — I humbly beg of you in our Saviour's 
name — 

Neri — They fill the air ! But this is how I catch 
them — 

GiANNETTO — For the last time — 

Neri — {snapping savagely zvith Jiis teeth). Just 
like flies ! 

GiANNETTO — {after a pause, crossing himself). 
God's will be done. {He goes to the door, opens it and 



178 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

calls). Come! Set free this idiot. I am convinced 
that he is harmless as the babe unborn. 

But as Lisabetta leads Neri away Giannetto con- 
trives to whisper in his ear : " And now a parting 
word. You have not deceived me. When they un- 
bound you, not a moment since, I saw the murder 
blazing in your eyes — " 

Neri — (very gently). Dear little brother, will 
you come with me? The path is strewn with roses, 
so they say ! 

Giannetto — {continuing). But this is what I 
want to tell you, Neri. lonight, at my accustomed 
hour, I go to a certain house that you know well. 
Yes, to Ginevra's! For I love her so, to save my life 
I could not stay away ! Come there, my friend, and 
kill me if you can! Oh, have no fear! I shall be 
alone ! Yet say a prayer before you cross that 
threshold ! Sharpen your wnts ! Keep all your senses 
keen! For in some corner of that house of shame, 
in some dim passage or behind some door, there is a 
red shape waiting for its prey — 

Neri — {waving him off). Back, Satan, back! 
You cannot tempt me now ! Oh God, lean down from 
Heaven and pity us ! Yet courage, brothers ! For- 
ward on our way! {He goes tozvards the stairs, pre- 
ceded by the doctor, the executioners, and ^Jsabctta, 
who holds him by the hand) Over the moutains and 
across the sea, past snares and pitfalls of the Evil One, 
we come ! We pilgrims come ! Have mercy. Lord ! 
We are Thy children ! We belong to Thee — 

Giannetto — {closing the door). No, no, you 
fiend from Hell ! You i)elong to me ! Oh, Fazio, now 
how my plans, my pretty plans, how they wriggle and 
squirm to get away. . . . Fazio, tonight, tonight, I 
must damn my own soul to hell ! O, Lucifer, stretch 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 179 

out your blazing arms and catch me as I plunge into 
the abyss. {Facio cries and falls on floor) Pray 
for me, Fazio, for I shall never, pray again — {Breaks 
in sobs.) 

(Curtain) 

Act IV 

In Ginevra's house, that evening. " the room is dim 
and empty. Only the silver lamp above the toilet table 
and the tapers at the shrine are burning. Through the 
window a flood of moonlight pours softly on the floor. 
Outside a nightingale is singing." The garrulous 
Cintia is preparing Ginevra for the night. Their talk 
is of Ginevra's lovers, of those she has cause to fear 
and those she would welcome. "Moonlight! Spring- 
time ! And a poet's song ! Madonna, teach me how 
to love again ! " is Ginevra's prayer. 

Suddenly there is a noise outside the window, and 
soon " Neri pulls himself up and perches on the 
sill. . . . His whole appearance is horrible and fan- 
tastic. He pauses for a moment, glaring at the two 
paralyzed women, then drops into the room and comes 
toward them slowly." 

Cintia he casts from the room. Ginevra he com- 
mands with thunderous voice to stand before him. 
*' She comes slowly to where he points and stands 
there. He takes her by the arms ; she closes her eyes. 
When he speaks his voice is soft and malignant." 

Neri — If I am mad, why do you tremble so? The 
mad are gentle as a little child. Only the self- 
possessed are dangerous. And so to prove I am of 
sober mind, I fear I must be very cruel to you. 

Ginevra — (muttering). Neri, I am not to blame. 
I was — deceived — 

Neri — (very quiet). I know you were. And yet 



i8o THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

these arms have twined themselves about my enemy. 
This breast — this snowy breast that he has soiled ! 
What was it but the altar of my love? So now love's 
altar must be purified, and blood alone can wash the 
stain away ! 

GiNEVRA — Be merciful — 

Neri — If not your blood, then his, I leave the 
choice to you. 

GiNEVRA — Not that ! 

Neri — Well, do you throw him overboard? 

GiNEVRA — Oh God, have pity on me ! 

Neri — Yes or no ? 

GiNEVRA — {bursting into hysterical tears). Yes! 
Kill him if you must! But let me live — (With a 
cry, as he flings her to the floor) I cannot help it! I 
cannot die! {She lies weeping at his feet.) 

Neri — {contemptuously). You love him, then, as 
much as you loved me ! What a rag you are ! 
{Touching her zvith his foot) Lift up your head. 
{She obeys) What is Giannetto's usual hour? 

GiNEVRA — Last night — {Breaking down) Ah, 
Holy Virgin ! 

Neri — {again prodding her zvith his foot). 
Answer me ! 

GiNEVRA — {hoarsely). He came at ten. 

Neri — And the house was dark? {Pointing to the 
windozv) You put the little alabaster lamp there in 
the window-niche as in my time ! 

GiNEVRA — {as before). Yes, Neri. 

Neri — Take off that robe. {She does so) 
There! Now you're ready for him! {Half-fero- 
cious, half-passionate) LIow pink and white you 
are — {Feeling her body under the nightgown) 
How soft and small ! Saints ! Do you know I al- 
most envy him? The lucky dog! To die on such a 
breast ! 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 i8i 

GiNEVRA — (in a revulsion of feeling). Oh God, 
this is too much ! I cannot bear it ! What you are 
doing is monstrous, horrible — 

Neri — Go to your bed ! 

Neri — Take care now ! Not a sob or tear ! You 
cannot save this spider from his fate, so cahn yourself 
and meet him with a smile ! Remember, I am very 
close, concealed behind the curtains of your bed. If 
you so much as breathe into his ear one word of warn- 
ing, both of you shall die. He'll come — the little 
coward — surrounded by at least a score of men. 
He'll bring them up here, as he did before. But when 
he cannot find a trace of me, and sees your light there, 
meaning all is well, he will dismiss his body-guard and 
creep, like a hound, through your chamber-door. 
Then, as he slips between the silken sheet's, I glide out 
from my hiding-place and — 

The speech is broken by the sound of the convent 
bell striking the hour. It is ten o'clock. With a part- 
ing threat Neri bids Ginevra place the signal lamp 
and go to her room. Outside a serenader is singing 
the " Madrigal of May." 

In a cofifer Neri finds "a long, thin dagger with a 
jewelled hilt. Sitting on the edge of a chest he tries 
its point and polishes its blade with a fold of his 
mantle. . . . He goes softly into the bedroom. . . . 
The stage is empty. Only the music comes up from 
below. Then, through the doorway at left, appears a 
figure completely wrapped in Giannetto's white 
mantle . . . crosses the stage, enters Ginevra's bed- 
room and gently closes the door . . . The poet's song 
outside the window continues." 

" The song ends. The music dies away. . . . There 
is the stamp of feet, the fall of a heavy body, then the 



i82 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

door bursts open and Ginevra flies out shrieking, be- 
side herself with terror. Her neck and nightgown are 
stained with scarlet. . . ." 

"Neri's Voice — (in the bedroom). At last, oh 
saints ! At last ! (He siajids at the tJireshold, look- 
ing back into the room and jeering. He holds the 
bloody dagger in his dripping hand) Well, Giannetto? 
And did death taste sweet? Sweet as the taste of 
love — or sweeter still! (In a burst of triumphant 
hate. He turns away, zvitJi a savage laugh, and strides 
rapidly tozvards the doorway — left, as if to leave the 
house. As he reaches the steps that lead to this door- 
zvay, he looks up, and stops short with a gasp of horror. 
Above him, betzveen the curtains, in the full light of 
the moon, stands Giannetto, smiling dozvn at him. 
Fazio crouches at Jiis master's feet. Both are very 
pale. Neri's dagger falls to the floor. Choking, his 
hand at his throat, he looks from Giannetto to the 
bedroom, zvhich lie has just left, and then back to 
Giannetto. There is a silence. Then, in a dreadful 
zvh isp er) Not — you — ? 

Giannetto — {clinging to the tapestry, and thrust- 
ing his head forzvard like a poisonous snake) Yes, 
Neri. I ! {He pauses, looking at his victim with glit- 
tering eyes) Your hands are wet with blood. Whom 
have you slain ? My friend, I fear you have revenged 
yourself too hastily! We two are not Ginevra's only 
lovers. One of her minions came to me tonight with 
murder in his heart. To save my life, I bargained 
with the wretch. I said to him, " I tricked her once 
and you can do the same. Take this white mantle that 
she knows is mine. Go to her chamberdoor. Walk 
boldly in. The rest is easy ! " That is what he did. 
But oh! You killed the dog! And so, when all is 
said, you acted wisely. We are both revenged! 

Neri — {Jioarsely). Who was he? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 183 

GiANNETTO — Guess, my friend ! 

Neri — I cannot ! Speak — 

GiANNETTO — (in wild exultation). It was your 
brother ! Gabriello ! 

Neri — {reeling) . No ! 

GiANNETTO — You killed your brother, Neri ! 

Neri — (pifeously). No ! No ! No ! 

GiANNETTO — {springing forward). Fool! Do 
you doubt me? Take this lamp and see! Go lift him 
up! You'll find him where he fell! And when those 
dead eyes look into your face, remember it was you 
who murdered him! (Neri, staggering like a drunk- 
ard, goes into the bedroom, lamp in hand.) 

Fazio — {as Neri disappears). Quick! There is 
not a moment to be lost! {There is a zvail from the 
inner room) Hark! Do you hear that? Fly, dear 
master, fly ! 

GiANNETTO — I cannot. Something is holding me. 
{A burst of strange laughter from Zi'ithji.) 

Fazio — {frantically). Enough! Enough! Are 
you not satisfied? 

GiANNETTO — No, I must sec the look upon his face. 
He is coming — (Neri appears on the threshold of the 
bedroom. He holds the lamp in one hand; in the other 
GiANNETTo's zi'hite mantle, all spotted iv-ith blood. 
GiANNETTTO stcps forward, in an ecstasy of horror. 
Fazio has Hed). Oh, my enemy! I give and take no 
quarter! Kill me, too! {But Neri does not anszver. 
He looks at Giannetto zvith glassy, unseeing eyes, 
then zvanders rather uncertainly across the room drag- 
ging the mantle after him.) 

Neri — {faintly). Where are you, love? I have 
been hunting for you ! 

Giannetto — He is mad ! Stark mad ! 

Neri — Come back ! Come back ! I am so lonely, 
dear — 

Giannetto — {turning to the shrine). Ah, Holy 



i84 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Virgin ! Look into my heart and hear me as I pray 
for both of us — {He kneels and crosses himself) 
(From the garden below again comes the song.) 
Neri — Give me your hand ! I cannot see the 
way — 

GiANNETTO — Ave Maria, gratia plena — 
(Curtain) 



" WEDDING BELLS " 

An American Comedy in Three Acts 

By Salisbury Field 

" WEDDING BELLS " was produced at the Harris 
Theatre November 12, 1919, and continued there suc- 
cessfully until the middle of April. It proved a typical 
American comedy of the lighter type, dipping occasion- 
allly into situations that are frankly farcical, and being 
dependent for its popularity rather more upon its 
cleverness of characterization than upon its smart- 
ness of dialogue. 

Reginald Carter is about to be married to Marcia 
Hunter. In his New York apartment he is cleaning 
out such accumulated " incriminating evidence " as 
still remains in his desk. In the process he is senti- 
mentally reminded of a romance that had threatened, 
a year and a half before, to " wreck his life." Though 
neither his friends nor his fiancee were aware of the 
fact, Reginald had been married. Now confession is 
being forced upon him. He relates the circumstances 
to Spencer Wells, ** a gay, irrepressible young man, 
decidedly English in appearance and manner," who has 
long been his best friend and is to be his best man. 
" It happened on my way to Japan," he explains. 
*' We met in Santa Barbara. We were at the same 
hotel. Her name was Rosalie." 

Spencer — Rosalie. Pretty name, that. 
Reggie — It was very romantic. I put my shoes 
outside my door to be cleaned. Her dog chewed one 

185 



i86 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

of them up. And — and two days later we were mar- 
ried. 

Spencer — By Jove ! You didn't lose very much 
time. 

Reggie — (turns to Spencer). You see, she was 
going to Japan, too, and she had her ticket on the 
same boat. 

Spencer — Oh. that's why you married her? 

Reggie — {hotly). Nothing of the sort! It was 
a love match. You've no idea how wonderful she was, 
Spencer. 

SpExN-cer — Yes, I have. They're always wonder- 
ful. But what happened ? 

Reggie — (sigJiing). You know how I've always 
admired red hair. 

vSpencer — Yes, — but what's that got to do with it ? 

Reggie — Everything ! One day at luncheon, I ad- 
mired a woman in the dining room who had red hair 
— and the next day Rosalie dyed her hair red. Oh ! 
I was furious, and I told her she looked like a — a — 

Spencer — Yes, I know. 

Reggie — And she said it was plain I preferred that 
kind of woman, for the woman I'd admired looked 
like a — like a — 

Spencer — Exactly ! 

Reggie — And then she left us. 

Spencer — Us? 

Reggie — Me and the dog. 

Spencer — And you didn't follow her? 

Reggie — I couldn't, old chap, I came down with 
the measles. 

Spencer — Measles ? 

Reggie — Yes, measles. Caught 'em from some 
kids at the hotel. I was ill quite a long time, 

Spencer — Well, why didn't you send Jackson after 
her? 

Reggie — I didn't have Jackson then. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 187 

Spencer — Yes, but after you got well. Didn't 
you try to find her after you got well? 

Reggie — Of course I tried. But by that time she'd 
disappeared completely. I couldn't find a trace of 
her — not a trace. 

Spencer — Yes, but somebody must have known 
where she was. Didn't her people know? Who were 
her people? 

Reggie — I don't know. 

Spexcer — Don't know ? 

Reggie — You see, the few days we were together 
I was so busy talking about myself — that I didn't have 
time — 

Spencer — Naturally — naturally. But go on. 
Tell me what happened. 

Reggie — Well, 1 was feeling av/fully down at the 
time — blue, you know. And I knew she wouldn't 
have left me like that if she'd really cared — and I 
couldn't find her — and I had my ticket — and there 
was a boat sailing from San Francisco — 

Spencer — And so you went to Japan ? 

Reggie — Yes. And a month later — at Kobe — 
or maybe it was Nagasaki — I received word from 
her lawyer that she'd divorced me. 

Spencer — Oh ! She divorced you ! 
Reggie — Of course. I couldn't be marrying Marcia 
tomorrow if she hadn't, could I? 

Spencer — Did you ever hear from her again? 

Reggie — Not a word. I don't mind telling you, 
Spencer, it nearly wrecked my whole life. I don't sup- 
pose I would ever have looked at another woman as 
long as I lived — if I hadn't met ]\Iarcia. 

Reggie would have told Marcia, he explains, but 
" hang it all — a chap can't tell about the woman he 
loved yesterday to the girl he loves today. It isn't 
decent." But Marcia has discovered the truth. When 



i88 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

she went with Reggie to apply for the marriage license 
the story of the first Mrs. Carter had to be told — 
and she was furious. Also curious. Therefore she 
has followed her intended to learn the details. " I 
think it was outrageous for you to be married and 
divorced like that without telling me a word about 
it," she insists. 

Reggie — Well, you know about it now, don't you ? 

Marcia — Yes, no thanks to you ! 

Reggie — That's just it. I knew you wouldn't thank 
me for telling you so — so I didn't tell you. 

Marcia — But you haven't told me anything. 
(Pause) Why did you get married if you didn't in- 
tend to stay married? 

Reggie — I did intend to stay married. 

Marcia — Then why didn't you ? Had you known 
her long? 

Reggie — N-not very. 

Marcia — Who introduced you? 

Reggie — Nobody. 

Marcia — What? 

Reggie — I mean somebody who wasn't exactly 
anybody. (Lightly) You see she had a little dog, 
and — and I met her through the little dog. 

Marcia — (turns away). Oh! She was that 
kind of a woman ! 

Reggie — She wasn't that kind of a woman. Look 
here, Marcia, I know you're disappointed in me and 
— well, if you want to chuck me, it isn't too late, you 
know. 

Marcia — (horrified). What! And not get mar- 
ried tomorrow ? 

Reggie — Well, you don't seem to care for me very 
much. 

Marcia — Why, Reggie! How can you say that? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 189 

Reggie — Because if you really cared for me you 
wouldn't make me so unhappy, 

Marcia — Unhappy ? 

Reggie — Yes, Marcia, unhappy. I want to for- 
get about the past and you won't let me. 

Marcia — But Reggie ! 

Reggie — When I asked you to be my wife, I 
thought the past was buried. But today has brought 
it all back. I want to forget it, I tell you ! I want 
to forget it ! 

Marcia — Did you — did you love her? 

Reggie — Yes. 

Marcia — {to him). Do you — love her now? 

Reggie — I tell you I'd forgotten until today. And 
I'll forget tomorrow. Only please don't think about 
it any more ! Please ! 

So Marcia agrees to forgive — and forget as much 
as she can, though forgetting will be difficult. And 
that's settled. Then it transpires that Marcia also has 
loved another — and given him up. Douglas Ord- 
way, a youthful poet, subject to attacks of verse and 
passion in the spring, has confessed his great love for 
her, and she has admitted her liking for him — but 
Reggie is the better match and Marcia has made her 
choice. Still she hopes Douglas will go on loving 
her. " It's very comforting to a girl to know that 
someone is going to love her after she's married." 
And she bids him a fond goodbye — forever. 

That night Reginald is to give his farewell bachelor 
dinner. The arrangements are all completed, and his 
friends leave him that he may rest a bit before the 
great send-off. He has just stretched himself out 
on the lounge when Jackson announces a caller, a 
" Mme. Brousseau." Reggie doesn't know, and 
doesn't care to know, any Mme. Brousseau, He wants 



190 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

to rest. But Jackson is rather stubborn about it. 
Mme. Broussean having given him $io to arrange the 
interview he feels it must be arranged some way. 
So finally he prevails upon his master to see the 
lady, and — " Rosalie " enters. Her hair is no longer 
red, but she is so chic and charming that neither the 
Diety nor the audience can blame Reggie for what 
happens later. Jackson goes out, closing the door 
softly behind him." 

Rosalie — Reggie! {They stare at each other.) 

Reggie — Rosalie ! 

Rosalie — I — I suppose you're surprised to see 
me. 

Reggie — Surprised! I should say I was! 

Rosalie — I — I hope it's a pleasant surprise. 

Reggie — Pleasant? Why, I was thinking about 
you only a minute ago. It's the nicest thing that ever 
happened to me, your dropping in to see me like this. 

Rosalie — {Who has been agitated and not at all 
sure of her welcome, gains confidence as she goes on) 
Yes, that's it. I — I just dropped in. You see, I 
only arrived this morning, and 1 found your address 
in the telephone book, so — I — thought Pd call and 
get my dog. 

Reggie — Your dog ? 

Rosalie — Yes, Pinky — the dog I left with yo\i in 
Santa Barbara. {As Reggie is silent) Don't tell me 
anything has happened to him ! 

Reggie — Pm awfully sorry, Rosalie. 

Rosalie — Then something has happened ! 

Reggie — Yes. 

Rosalie — He — he's not dead? 

Reggie — 1 hope he's not dead. He was stolen. 

Rosalie — Stolen? 

Reggie — Yes. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 191 

Rosalie — Poor Pinky ! I think you might have 
taken better care of him. 

Reggie — I couldn't take care of him, Rosalia. The 
day after you left me, I came down with — an illness 
— a severe illness. I was sick quite a long time. 

Rosalie — You poor boy ! What was it ? 

Reggie — It was — er — measles. (As Rosalie 
laughs) I can assure you, for a man of my age, 
measles is no laughing matter. 

Rosalie — So you turned red — like my hair. 

Reggie — Yes. And I looked like the devil — and 
so did you, 

Rosalie — I know I did, Reggie. That's one rea- 
son I ran away. 

Reggie — It was? 

Rosalie — But I thought of course you'd follow 
me. 

Reggie — Well, you see I was angry with you for 
leaving me like that. And when I got over being 
angry, I had measles. And you can't follow anybody 
anywhere when you've got measles. And then, when 
I did try to find you, 1 couldn't — and I knew you 
didn't love me any more — and I'd lost your dog — 

Rosalie — Then you did try to find me? 

Reggie — I should say I did ! I hired detectives and 
everything ! 

Rosalie — Did you honestly. 

Reggie — Yes, I did. And before I got through 
I had a photograph or description of every red-headed 
woman in California. (Sadly) But none of them 
was you. 

Rosalie — Yet you went to Japan. 

Reggie — Well, I had to go somewhere, didn't I ? 

Rosalie — Yes, but we were going there together. 
If you'd really cared, you wouldn't have gone there 
alone. 



192 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Reggie — I would too, because I did. And I 
wouldn't do a thing I did if I wouldn't do it. (Pause) 
Besides, you had no right to leave me like that and 
hide so I couldn't find you. (Pause) And then to 
divorce me on the grounds of desertion. I didn't 
desert you. You deserted me. 

Rosalie — (smiling). I know. But the courts in 
California are so obliging. Did you like Japan, Reg- 
gie? 

Reggie — No. 

Rosalie — Did you go to China, too? 

Reggie — Yes. 

Rosalie — Did you like China? 

Reggie — No. And I went to India and I didn't 
like India. And I came back to CaHfornia and I 
didn't like California and I returned to New York and 
I didn't like New York. 

Rosalie — Why didn't you like them, Reggie? 

Reggie — You know very well why — I missed you. 
Everywhere I went I missed you. And then to have 
you come and see me like this. (Taking her card 
from pocket and studying it) Somehow I'd hoped 
you wouldn't marry again. 

Rosalie — Marry again? What do you mean? 
(As she sees card in his hand.) 

Reggie — (reading from card). Madame Brous- 
seau. 

Rosalie — Oh, that — (Goes up to piano stands 
pensive over the keys, one of zvhich she faintly strikes.) 

Reggie — Oh, Rosalie, how could you ? 

Rosalie — Then you don't believe in marrying 
again ? 

Reggie — (emphatically). No! (Startled by what 
he has said and hastily changing the subject) I mean 
one doesn't — one shouldn't — (Desperately) Did — 
did Mr. — Monsieur Brousseau come to town, too? 

Rosalie — No, Reggie. Why ? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 193 

Reggie — (throws card on table). Oh, noth- 
ing! .. . 

Reginald and Rosalie are very happy in that re- 
union — except when Reggie thinks of his wedding 
next day. Even then Rosalie, i)retending to know 
nothing about it, is not exactly depressed. Two or 
three times Rosalie suggests that she really must be 
going. She is off for Santa Barbara next day, and 
there is packing to do. And Reggie is " going south, 
too." So it seems they must say " Goodbye, after 
all." But Reggie can't think of that. Surely they 
can have one more dinner before they separate — 
forever ! Suddenly Reggie has an inspiration. They 
will dine together — in his apartment. He was giv- 
ing a party — to some men. But he will put them off 
some way, if she'll only say she will come. 

Rosalie — No, Reggie, I won't let you. 

Reggie — But I want to, Rosalie, I never wanted 
anything so much in my life. Besides, it's only a 
stag party — just a lot of men. 

Rosalie — Oh, if it's only men ! You're sure you'd 
rather ha/e just me? 

Reggie — You know I would. You'll come ? 

Rosalie — Why, yes, Reggie. I'll come with pleas- 
ure. 

Reggie — Rosalie! It's so sweet of you to come. 
I'm so glad you're coming. I don't know what to 
do. 

Rosalie — Well, you might tell me what time din- 
ner is. 

Reggie — Any time you say. 

Rosalie — Eight o'clock . . . 

Reggie — You're sure this isn't all a dream, Rosalie ? 
You're sure you're really coming back? 



194 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Rosalie — (at door). Yes, Reggie. 

Reggie — Cross your heart, and hope to die if you 
don't. 

Rosalie — {smiling and crossing her heart). Cross 
my heart and hope to die if I don't. Au revoir, Reg- 
gie. 

And so it is arranged that Reggie will send word to 
Spencer Wells that he is to take over the bachelor din- 
ner at the club because he (Reggie) has suddenly been 
taken ill. " And remember," he warns Jackson, 
" Mme. Brousseau and I are not to be disturbed, no 
matter what happens. Are you quite sure you un- 
derstand?" "I understand perfectly, sir," replies the 
knowing Jackson; "perfectly." 

Act II 

It is nine o'clock of the same evening. Reggie and 
Rosalie are still at dinner, and the echo of their laugh- 
ter can be heard through the doors of the dining room. 
Presently they appear. Rosalie never looked more 
charming, nor was Reggie ever in higher spirits. They 
have had such a good time remembering Santa Barbara 
and the glorious days that preceded their foolish 
quarrel over Rosalie's red hair. At the piano Rosalie 
plays the little song that used to make Pinkie howl so 
amusingly, and Reggie, to complete the picture, agrees 
to howl just as Pinkie did. They quarrel again, over 
the color of the rose on the piano, but it is a foolish 
love quarrel — and quickly made up. 

Reggie — Oh, Rosalie, why didn't we end that other 
quarrel like this. 

Rosalie — How could we when you didn't say you 
were sorry. 

Reggie — Well, I was sorry — afterwards. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 195 

Rosalie — Yes. But afterwards was too late. 

Reggie — It shouldn't have been too late. If you'd 
really cared it wouldn't have been too late. But you 
didn't care — And now you're married to someone 
else. 

Rosalie — I thought we agreed not to talk about 
that. 

Reggie — Yes. We're going to be happy while we 
can. {Pouring out two liquers) Have some? 

Rosalie — What is it ? 

Reggie — What do you think? 

Rosalie — Not Cointreau? {As Reggie nods 
"yes") Why, I haven't had any since I was in 
Santa Barbara. 

Reggie — {coming dovju). Well, I should hope 
not! Cointreau's our drink. {Handing her glass) 
The old toast, Rosalie. 

Rosalie — {puzdcd). The old toast? {Remem- 
bering). Oh, you mean the one about — the one you 
taught me when — 

Reggie — {eagerly). Yes, that one. 

Rosalie — ( extending her glass). Forever — 

Reggie — And ever — {They touch glasses and 
drink.) 

Rosalie — {dreamily). Today is forever. To- 
morrow comes never. 

Reggie — {shivering at the thought of tomorrozv, 
takes glass from her). Let's not talk about tomor- 
row. 

They go back again to their happy yesterdays. Reg- 
gie produces the very shoe that Pinkie had chewed the 
morning they met. " I didn't have a ribbon. I didn't 
have a photograph of you — or even a letter. I didn't 
have anything but this. . . . I've always kept it, be- 
cause if it hadn't been for Pinkie's chewing it, I'd 
never have met you. ... I tell you, Rosalie, Pinkie 



196 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

was some dog. (Proudly displaying scar on wrist) 
See that scar? That's where he bit me." 

R0.SALIE — He didn't mean to bite you. 

Reggie — Of course not. Why that dog fairly wor- 
shipped me. Only bit me twice. I felt terribly when 
he was stolen, Rosalia. You see he was all I had 
left. (Puts shoe in box.) 

Rosalie — Let's not talk about Pinky any more. 

Reggie — (lays box beside him). Well, there's an- 
other thing. Your lawyer didn't — I mean he should 
have — I mean — Hang it all, Rosalie, I'm rich, and 
I ought to pay you alimony. 

Rosalie — Why, Reggie! Of course not. 

Reggie — But Fd love to. (Eagerly) You 
needn't tell anybody about it. Just send your lawyer 
to my lawyer and they'll fix it up between them. And 
then I'll know you'll never want for anything. 

Rosalie — But I have everything I need. I have 
really. 

Reggie — Yes, but the time might come when 
you didn't. Please let me settle something on you, 
Rosalie. 

Rosalie — I couldn't, Reggie. But you're a dear 
to think of it. 

Reggie — I'm not. I'm a swine. Rosahe, tomor- 
row I'm — 

Rosalie — (rises, interrupting him). I thought we 
agreed not to talk about tomorrow, 

Reggie — We did. But there's something I've got 
to tell you sooner or later. 

Rosalie — Let's make it later, then. 

Reggie — I ought to have told you this afternoon. 
Only if I had you wouldn't have come to dinner. And 
if I told you now, you'd go home. 

Rosalie — Then I forbid you to tell me. I don't 
want to go home yet. I'm having a wonderful time. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 197 

Is it — Is it because of Monsieur Brousseau that 
you — ? 

Reggie — No ! Yes ! Let's not talk about him, 
either. 

Rosalie — Are you jealous of him, Reggie? 

Reggie — I hate him. Rosalie, if he ever — (He 
stops abruptly.) 

Rosalie — What were you going to say, Reggie ? 

Reggie — Nothing. 

Rosalie — That isn't true. 

Reggie — I know it. I zvas going to say some- 
thing. Only it seems so disloyal to talk about some- 
one who — (He stops.) 

Rosalie — Reggie, I'd no idea you were such a 
Puritan. 

Reggie — I'm not a Puritan. If I were, I wouldn't 
be making love to another man's wife. 

Rosalie — But you haven't been making love to 
me. 

Reggie — I have, too. If you knew anything about 
me, you'd know that every time I've looked at you 
I've told you I loved you. 

Rosalie — But you don't love me. 

Reggie — I do love you. I've always loved you. 
(As Rosalie puts her handkerchief to her eyes and 
sits L of table) Why Rosalie, dearest! What is 
it? 

Rosalie — I — I suppose it's because I — I'm 
happy, Reggie. You see, when I came here this 
afternoon, I — I — didn't know what had happened 
to you. I — I hadn't seen you for so long, and — and 
I thought perhaps — perhaps there might be someone 
else. (She glances at him to see hoiv he takes this. 
Reggie starts guiltily and looks front) But when you 
told me — and oh, it was sweet to hear you say it — 
that you thought — you thought it was wrong to marry 
again, I — I felt so guilty. 



198 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Reggie — So did I — (SJie looks at him) I mean 
one does get lonely. And one marries again just be- 
cause — 

Rosalie — No! No! One doesn't marry again if 
one cares. (As he looks at her ivonderingly) You 
— you really love me? 

Reggie — {turns azvay). Yes, God help me. 

Rosalie — {rise, very alluring). I've heard that 
God helps those who help themselves. 

Reggie — (turniug to embrace her, then stopping 
gloomily). Not if they help themselves to something 
they've no right to. 

At which moment the arrival of Spencer Wells in- 
terrupts the charming tete-a-tete. Spencer just ran 
over to see how dear old Reggie was getting on, know- 
ing he was ill and all that. The boys, having dinner 
at the club, were worried, too. He is a little sur- 
prised at finding Reggie quite himself, and more sur- 
prised at sight of Rosalie. Reggie tries diplomatically 
to avoid introducing them, but Rosalie is not at all 
willing to help him. She, in fact, is quite insistent on 
meeting Spencer, who finally introduces himself. " My 
name is Spencer Wells. I'm Reggie's best friend." 

Reggie — You are not ! 

Rosalie — And I once had the honor of being Reg- 
gie's wife for a few minutes. 

Spencer — Oh! I'm awfully glad to meet you. 
It's a great pleasure to meet any wife of Reggie's. 

Rosalie — Has he so many wives? 

Spencer — Oh. no! But he's going to — 

Reggie — (sharply). Spencer! 

Rosalie — He's going to what, Mr. Wells? 

' Spencer — He — he's going to — to Florida. 

Rosalie — So he told me. But perhaps — I only 
say perhaps, Mr. Wells — he'll change his mind. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 199 

Spencer — Oh, I say! You can't back out at the 
last minute like that. 

Reggie — Don't worry, I have no idea of backing 
out. 

Rosalie — (smiling). Wait and see, Mr. Wells, 
wait and see. 

There is no end to the interruptions after that. 
Reggie has given orders to both his servants that he is 
not to be disturbed — but that does little good. None 
at all in the case of a newspaper woman who in- 
sists she will stay until she sees Mr. Carter, no mat- 
ter how long it takes. Reggie simply has to see her 
— which gives Rosalie a chance to try to find out a 
few things from Spencer Wells. But she finds Spencer 
fairly alert, in his blundering way, and rather resent- 
ful of her continued interest in Reggie. 

Spencer — But must we talk about Reggie ? Can't 
you be interested in me a little? 

Rosalie — My dear man! Do you think I would 
have asked you all these questions if I hadn't been 
interested in you. You see I wanted to find out what 
kind of a butterfly you were. 

Spencer — Well, did you find out? 

Rosalie — I found out one thing. You certainly 
can keep a secret, 

Spencer — I say ! What's that got to do with it ? 

Rosalie — Nothing, because I know what it is Reg- 
gie told you not to tell me. 

Spencer — (amused). Oh, you do? 

Rosalie — Yes, I do — Yon don't believe me ? 

Spencer — Well, of course I believe you believe you 
know. 

Rosalie — But I do know. Reggie told you — 

Spencer — Yes. 

Rosalie — Not to tell me — 



200 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Spencer — Yes. 

Rosalie — Frankly, Mr. Wells, I don't approve of 
it at all. 

Spencer — Don't approve of what? 

Rosalie — Of Reggie's marrying that Hunter girl 
tomorrow. 

Spencer — Well, I'm dashed ! Then you did know ! 

Rosalie — (laughs). Of course, I did. 

Spencer — Well, Reggie doesn't know you know. 

Rosalie — I know he doesn't. He's been trying to 
tell me all evening only I wouldn't let him. What I 
didn't count on was his marrying so soon. 

Spencer — Oh, Reggie always marries in a hurry. 

Rosalie — But his engagement was only announced 
two weeks ago. 

Spencer — Oh, you knew about it two weeks ago? 

Rosalie — Yes. I read it in the Paris Herald. 

Spencer — And you hopped on a boat and came 
right over. What? 

Rosalie — Well you don't think I was going to 
let Reggie wreck his life, do you? What is she like, 
Mr. Wells? 

Spencer — Who? Marcia? Oh, she's like a kit- 
ten — purrs and scratches and plays about. 

Rosalie — Has she — has she red hair? 

Spencer — No. Marcia's hair isn't red. 

Rosalie — (with sigh of relief). I'm glad she 
hasn't red hair. That's the one thing I was afraid 
of. You want Reggie to be happy, don't you? 

Spencer — Of course I do. 

Rosalie — Then we must keej) him from marry- 
ing that Hunter girl. He'll never be happy with 
her. 

Spencer — How do you know he won't? 

Rosalie — Because he doesn't love her. 

Spencer — How do you know he doesn't? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 201 

Rosalie — Because he — he likes me better. 

Spencer — How do you know he does ? 

Rosalie — He just the same as told me, 

Spencer — Did you make him tell you? 

Rosalie — Yes. But if it wasn't true he wouldn't 
have told me. 

Spencer — Why not ? I would. 

Rosalie — Yes, but you're a butterfly. Reggie's 
not like that. 

Spencer, however, feels that he should remain loyal 
to Marcia. As he sees it, Rosalie had her chance 
and missed it. Now it's Marcia's turn. Reggie can't 
jilt her at the foot of the altar. That wouldn't be 
at all nice. A line of reasoning that does not impress 
Rosalie at all. Then Marcia and her mother are 
heard in the hall, and it transpires that Rosalie had 
told her maid to phone them just as it was Rosalie 
who had sent for the newspaper woman. She was 
so curious to see what Reggie's fiancee was like. 
Marcia, like Spencer Wells, sufifers too distinct shocks : 
First, on learning that Reggie is not at all ill, and, 
second, that he has deliberately put of? his bachelor 
dinner in order to entertain his divorced wife. Nat- 
urally she is furious. " Why should Reggie treat me 
like this ? " she demands. " Why, he wasn't sick at 
all. He just said he was sick so he could invite 
women to dinner." She crosses the room to face 
Rosalie. " You can have your old last year's hus- 
band ! " she almost shouts. " I don't want him ! " 

Rosalie — I hope you don't think I want him. 

Marcia — Well, if you don't want him, why are 
you here? 

Rosalie — I've already told you Reggie invited me 
to dinner. What I didn't tell you, not wishing to 



202 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

hurt your feelings, was that Reggie not only didn't 
tell me he was going to be married — he didn't even 
tell me he was engaged. 

Marcia — But that only makes it worse. 

Rosalie — I'm very cross with Reggie. He should 
have told me about you the very first thing this after- 
noon. 

Marcia — Do you hear that mother ? She was 
here this afternoon too. 

Mrs. Hunter — But Marcia — 

Marcia — (to Mother). Well you don't think I'm 
going to marry a man who invites his divorced wife to 
tea and dinner the day before my wedding, do you ? I 
tell you, I won't stand it. I suppose he thinks he's the 
only man in the world. Well, he isn't. There are 
plenty of others. Men much nicer than Reggie, 
Why, there's one breaking his heart for me this min- 
ute. (Looks at Spencer.) 

Mrs. Hunter — Marcia ! 

Marcia — Well, there is. Spencer. 

Spencer — (jumps from tabic). Now look here, 
Marcia. There's no use. 

Marcia — Don't worry, I don't mean you. It's 
Douglas. 

Spencer — Douglas ? 

Marcia — Yes. He's waiting in the motor. Tell 
him I want him. 

Spencer — Exactly. I'll fetch him. Oh! Doug- 
las, tender and true. 

Mrs. Hunter — Marcia, why are you sending for 
that Ordway boy? 

Marcia — (indicating Rosalie). To show some 
one I mean it when I say there are others, 

Mrs. Hunter — Yes, but — 

Marcia — I'm going to marry Douglas — 

Mrs. Hunter — You're not, I won't have it. 
What will people say? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 203 

Marcia — I don't care what they say. I'm going 
to marry Douglas. 

Mrs. Hunter — But I tell you — 

Marcia — Now don't argue, mother. It won't do 
any good. 

Mrs. Hunter — {to Rosalie). You're to blame 
for this. 

Rosalie — Yes, I'm afraid I am. But I shouldn't 
worry about it if I were you. She may change her 
mind. 

Mrs. Hunter — Oh, I hope you're right. Not that 
I believe in divorce, but I can't seem to like that 
Ordway boy. It's very uncharitable of me, I know. 
But I've read some of his poems, and they seemed 
to me quite immoral — not at all the kind of poems 
one would want the father of one's grandchildren 
to write. 

Marcia finds she has been leaning on a frail reed in 
Douglas. He is still deeply, passionately, utterly, hope- 
lessly in love with her, and nothing would give him 
greater pleasure than to marry her — but — unfor- 
tunately — he is already married ! It wasn't altogether 
his fault, but — Marcia is not interested in the de- 
tails. With Douglas gone, Marcia changes her tactics. 
She will not lose Reginald, too. Rather than see a 
designing divorcee get him she will magnanimously 
overlook the past and forgive him. Forgive him — 
and hold him to his promise to wed her next day. Reg- 
gie tries to convince her that she should not forgive 
him, that he doesn't deserve forgiveness, but she is 
satisfied. She will be waiting for him at the church. 
Reggie shows her to her motor and returns, hopelessly 
crestfallen. 

Reggie — Rosalie, I don't suppose you'll ever for- 
give me. 



204 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Rosalie — Why should I forgive you ? Has it oc- 
curred to you I might not have accepted your invita- 
tion to dinner if I had known you had a fiancee who 
would come stalking in like a policeman. 

Reggie — But I didn't know she'd come stalking 
in. I thought I'd provided against that. 

Rosalie — Oh, you didn't intend I should know 
you were going to be married? 

Reggie — I did intend you to know it. I was 
going to tell you before you went home. 

Rosalie — Oh ! You were saving it for the end 
— as a nice surprise? 

Reggie — Well, I couldn't have told you before. 

Rosalie — Certainly you could have told me before. 

Reggie — No, I couldn't. Because if I'd told you 
this afternoon, you wouldn't have come to dinner. 
And I had to see you again — I just had to. 

Rosalie — And why did you have to see me again ? 

Reggie — You know very well why. From the mo- 
ment you came into this room this afternoon, the only 
thing I could think about was seeing you again. 

Rosalie — Well, now that you've seen me again, are 
you satisfied? 

Reggie — No. 

Rosalie — But you're going to marry Miss Hunter 
tomorrow, aren't you? 

Reggie — Yes. 

Rosalie — Why are you going to marry her, Reg- 
gie? 

Reggie — Why? I've got to. She expects me to 
marry her. Her mother expects me to marry her. 
Everybody expects me to marry her. 

Rosalie — What of that? My mother expected 
me to be a boy and I was a girl. But I didn't mind. 

Reggie — That's just it. You don't mind. If you'd 
minded, you wouldn't have come to see me this after- 
noon, and upset my life like this. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 205 

Rosalie — I didn't come to see you. I came to get 
my dog. 

Reggie — You always did care more for that damned 
dog than you did for me. 

Rosalie — Well, at least Pinkie was loyal to me. 

Reggie — How do you know he was? He prob- 
ably forgot all about you the day after you left him. 
And even if he didn't, you don't think I'm going 
thru life being loyal to another man's wife do you? 

Rosalie — Why not? Lots of men do. 

Reggie — Well, Pm not like that. Pm going to 
play the game. 

Rosalie — You mean you're going to be loyal to 
Miss Marcia Hunter? ^ 

Reggie — Yes. 

Rosalie — That's good. Miss Hunter is charm- 
ing, Reggie. I like her — quite as much as she likes 
me. Pm sure you'll be very happy with her. 

Reggie — I won't!! How can I be happy with 
her, when I love you? 

Rosalie — Do you call that being loyal to Miss 
Hunter? 

Reggie — I didn't say I zvas loyal to Miss Hunter 
— I said I was going to be. 

Rosalie — Oh — ! Tomorrow ? 

Reggie — Yes. 

Rosalie — Well, I hope you have a nice day for 
it. . . . (Extending her hand) Goodbye. {They 
shake hands. She goes to the doors and throws them 
open.) 

Reggie — Will you — will you kiss me goodbye, 
Rosalie ? 

Rosalie — Do you think I should? 

Reggie — No, you shouldn't, but I wish you would. 
Will you ? 

Rosalie — No, Reggie. 

Reggie — All right. Pm sorry I asked you. But 



2o6 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

don't think I'm going to let you hang like a black 
cloud over my life. I'm not. Tomorrow I'll have 
a wife — one who appreciates me — one who is kind 
and thoughtful — one who forgives me when I do 
the wrong thing. There was a time, tonight, when I 
felt I'd made a mistake — when the few hours of 
happiness we've had together seemed worth more than 
all the future. But I know different now. My fu- 
ture is Marcia's. I'll be absolutely loyal to her. And 
I won't wait until tomorrow to begin. I'll begin now 

— tonight. 

Rosalie — Is this final, Reggie? 

Reggie — Absolutely ! 

Rosalie — Even if I've changed my mind. Even 
if I'll say goodbye to you the way you want me to. 

Reggie — (radiantly). Rosalie! Will you? 

Rosalie — (hacks up). No, Reggie. I only 
wanted to find out how loyal you really were. Good- 
night. 

She goes out, smiling sweetl}' over her shoulder at 
Reggie, who is doing what he can to '* express rage " 

— and succeeding admirably. 



Act III 

At 11:30 o'clock next morning all is in readiness 
for the wedding of Reginald Carter and ^larcia Hunter 
at St. Martin's, the bishop himself having consented to 
perform the ceremony. Spencer Wells, feeling 
extraordinarily nippy after a good night's rest, is 
also ready, having had his white gloves sand-papered 
so there will be little danger of his dropping the 
ring. Reggie, however, is still a trifle low in his 
mind, and nothing seems to cheer him. Even Spencer's 
suggestion that he try a stimulant is frowned upon. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 207 

Reggie — I don't want a cocktail. Spencer, do you 
believe in God ? 

Spencer — Good God, yes. Why ? 

Reggie — Nothing. Only it's a damned solemn 
thing to get married — especially the second time. 
And you get to thinking about things, and wonder- 
ing. {He kneels dozvn by sofa.) 

Spencer — (m an azced voice). Are you going to 
pray? 

Reggie — No, you idiot! I'm looking for some- 
thing. (He reaches under sofa and secures Pinkie's 
chewed shoe.) 

Spencer — (Eyeing shoe). What are you going 
to do — throw old shoes at yourself when you get 
married ? 

Reggie — This isn't a shoe, Spencer, it's a symbol. 
If it hadn't been for this shoe I mightn't have met 
Rosalie. I said I was going to keep it as long as I 
lived. But I'm beginning a new life today, and I'm 
going to begin it right. I've got to. After the way 
Marcia acted last night it's the only thing to do. She 
has a noble nature, Spencer. (Picks up zvastchasket 
and throws shoe into it) So that's the end of that. 

Spencer — Goodbye Rosalie, what? 

Reggie — Yes. I've put Rosalie out of my life. 
I'm never going to even think of her again. 

At which point the door opens and Rosalie enters, 
cheerily. She has come, presumably, to see her maid, 
who happens to be the wife of Reggie's man. But 
Reggie is suspicious. He believes she is there merely 
to devil him. 

Rosalie — (to Reggie). I wish I could have found 
time to go to your wedding, Reggie, but you see how 
it is — 



2o8 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

fering tortures you would only laugh at me. If I was 
dying you wouldn't raise a finger to save me. 

Rosalie — (smiling). You're wrong, Reggie. I 
would raise a finger. (She raises one finger.) 

Reggie — (further enraged). I don't know what 
I ever saw in you. You're not even a human being. 
You're a devil, that's what you are. But I'm through. 
If you don't believe me, look in the wastebasket. 

As Reggie rushes away to church, not at all in the 
humor of a happy bridegroom, Rosalie smilingly picks 
the shoe out of the wastebasket, rings for Reggie's 
valet and has him bring in one of Reggie's traveling 
bags. In the bag she carefully packs the shoe. Then 
she sends for Douglas Ordway, Douglas being the 
youth who wanted so much to marry Marcia Hunter, 
but could not because he had inadvertently, as it were, 
already married another. Rosalie has discovered acci- 
dently, as frequently happens in farce, that she knows 
the woman ; that she was an English girl Douglas had 
met on a Surrey farm, and that she had no right to 
marry Douglas, because she, too, had been married 
before to a man in her own class. Later she had 
gone into service and was even now Rosalie's maid. 
This leaves Douglas free to marry IMarcia — if she is 
not already married to Reggie. Which Rosalie has 
reason to suspect she is not. Her suspicions are con- 
firmed when the wedding party comes trooping back 
to the house. The bishop, having learned from a note 
he received just before the hour set for the wedding 
that Reggie is a divorced man, had refused to perform 
the ceremony. Reggie has gone in search of a " regu- 
lar " clergyman who will not be so strict, and every- 
body is terribly excited. 

Mrs. Hunter — Think what it meant ! Every- 
body there — St. Martin's crowded — the bridesmaids 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 209 

ready — the altar decorated — and Reginald divorced. 
(She breaks donn and zvipcs her eyes.) 

Douglas — (hopefully). Mrs. Hunter, I've never 
been divorced. 

Marcia — Do you hear that, Mother? Douglas has 
never been divorced. He's never been married either. 
He only thought he was. 

Spencer — What ? 

Marcia — Yes, Spencer. An unscrupulous adven- 
turess took advantage of his youth and inexperience. 
She already had a husband. 

Spencer — By Jove ! Did she though ? 

Marcia — Yes. (To Mrs. Hunter) So you see, 
mother. I can be married in St. Martin's after all — 
if I marry Douglas. 

Douglas — (takes her hand). My angel! 

Marcia — (she withdraws hand shrewishly). Be 
quiet ! 

Mrs. Hunter — (harshly). But Marcia, you can't 
do a thing like that. People will think you're crazy. 

Marcia — I don't care if they do. Besides, they 
think I'm crazy, anyway, trying to marry a divorced 
man like that in St. Martin's. 

Mrs. Hunter — But Marcia ! 

Marcia — (smiles at Douglas). Now don't argue, 
mother. I've made up my mind. 

Making up her mind was easy enough — but who 
is to tell Reggie? And what will he think? Perhaps 
he will hold her to her promise, after all. Then Reg- 
gie enters, all enthusiasm at having found his clergy- 
man. 

Reggie — It's all right. I've got him. He's a 
Presbyterian. He's a regular human being, too. 
Didn't seem to care that — (Jie snaps his fingers) 
when I told him I'd been divorced. (Others have 



210 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

listened indifferently. Seeing Douglas) Oh, hullo, 
Douglas ! Did you hear about the way they treated 
us at St. Martin's? A nice thing to do to us, wasn't 
it? Why I've been a stockholder — I mean pewholder 
— in that Church for years. 

Marcia — But Reggie, they couldn't help it. 

Reggie — Certainly they could. Who gave them 
the land they built their old church on ? My father. 
Who left them a hundred thousand dollars in his will? 
My father. And that Bishop? W^ho got him his 
job? 

Spencer — Your father. 

Reggie — Exactly! And they wouldn't even sus- 
pend one of their bylaws for me ! Talk about grati- 
tude — they don't know what it means! {Suddenly 
conscious that they arc all regarding him gravely) 
What's the matter? Anything wrong? 

Marcia — Tell him, mother. 

Mrs. Hunter — (up and dozvn L). I will not. 

Marcia — {appealingly to Spencer). Spencer! 

Spencer — Not on your life! 

Marcia — Douglas ? 

Douglas — {stepping forzvard bravely). Yes, it's 
my place to tell him. Reggie, I'm about to impart — 
we think you should know — it has become necessary 
that you should be informed — (He pauses and clears 
his throat) Reggie — {Stopping and glancing de- 
sparingly at Marcia) I can't tell him. 

Reggie — (irritably). Tell me what? What's the 
matter with everybody ? 

Marcia — It's about the minister you telephoned to, 
Reggie. 

Reggie — Didn't you tell me to telephone for a min- 
ister? 

Marcia — Yes, but — Reggie, you know how 
mother has set her heart on my being married in St. 
Martin's. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 211 

Reggie — Yes, Marcia. But it can't be done. 
There isn't any way. 

Marcia — I know a way, Reggie. 

Reggie — You do? What is it? 

Marcia — Well, you see, the only reason we can't 
be married in St. Martin's is because you've been 
divorced. So I thought, in order not to disappoint 
mother — 

Reggie — Yes. Go on. 

Marcia — In order not to disappoint mother — 
{She begins to weep, and flies to her mother, burying 
her face in her shoulder, in a muffled voice) Mother, 
you tell him. 

Mrs. Hunter — Yes, darling. {To Reggie) 
Reginald, if I had a son I couldn't be any fonder of 
him than I am of you. If my little Stephen had lived 
he would be almost your age. First my poor dear 
husband passed away. Then my little Stephen — 
{Overcome at the tender recollection, she weeps on 
Marcia.) 

Reggie — {to Spencer in a hushed voice). For 
God's sake, Spencer ! What's the matter ? 

Spencer — {in a hushed voice). Little Stephen. 
He passed away, you know. 

Reggie — Oh! {After a pause) But what's that 
got to do with it ? 

Spencer — {in a lozv voice). Nothing. 

Reggie — {bczvildered). But hang it all. {To 
Marcia) Look here, Marcia. You're hiding some- 
thing from me. 

Marcia — {uncovering a tearful face). Yes. 

Finally the truth is told and Reggie knows that 
Marcia has definitely decided to marry Douglas. It 
will be much simpler that way, she explains, seeing 
that mother would be so disappointed without a wed- 
ing in St. Martin's. " Oh, I'm so ashamed to tell you, 



212 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Reggie. I don't suppose you'll ever forgive me. But 
I don't think I ever loved you as much as a girl should 
love the man she's going to marry. And even if I 
did, I don't now, because I love Douglas more, and — 

Reggie — Do you mean to tell me you want to marry 
Douglas instead of me? 

Marcia — (humbly). Yes, please. 

Reggie — (looks around). Well, I think you 
might have mentioned it before. This is a pretty time 
to tell me about it. 

Marcia — Then you won't give me up ? 

Reggie — Certainly I'll give you up. I'm delighted 
to give you up. Nothing would please me more. 

Marcia — You darling ! 

So Reggie finds himself with a Presbyterian min- 
ister, a wedding ring and a developing grouch on his 
hands. Nobody loves him and he is quite depressed. 
Even Rosalie's increasing good humor fails to cheer 
him. 

Rosalie — Reggie — can I be of any help ? 

Reggie — I don't need any help — I'm going away. 

RosALiEj — Where are you going ? 

Reggie — I don't know where I'm going — if I knew 
I wouldn't go there. 

Rosalie — Oh, if that's where you're going. Here's 
your bag. (Picks up bag — brings it doivn.) 

Reggie — (grabs other handle of bag). Leave that 
bag alone. 

Rosalie — But I want to help. 

Reggie — I don't want any help — I want my bag. 
(Pulls bag open. Seeing shoe) Who put that shoe 
in my bag? 

Rosalie — (snatching shoe and returning it to bag). 
I did. (llicy drop bag on floor.) 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 213 

Reggie — (taking it out and throwing it on table). 
Well, I don't want it. 

Rosalie — Why, Reggie ! You said you were go- 
ing to keep that shoe as long as you lived. 

Reggie — Yes. And you said you were going to 
love, honor and obey me as long as you lived. And 
what did you do? You left me three days after you 
said it. 

Rosalie — And why did I leave you? What did 
you tell me I looked like? 

Reggie — Well, you did look like one with that 
damned red hair. 

Rosalie — I had a perfect right to dye my hair. 
Not many women would have made the sacrifice I 
did. 

Reggie — Sacrifice ? 

Rosalie — Certainly it was a sacrifice. You don't 
suppose I wanted red hair, do you. But my husband 
liked red hair. So I — poor deluded creature — tried 
to give him what he wanted. 

Reggie — I never wanted you to have red hair. I 
hate red hair. But of course I'm to blame. Oh, yes ! 
I'm to blame for everything! It's my fault you ran 
away — it's my fault you dyed your hair — it's my 
fault your dog was stolen. 

But it transpires that " Pinky " was not stolen. 
Rosalie had had him all the time. " It seemed too 
much to lose a husband and a perfectly good dog," 
she explains to Reggie, " so I wired the porter at your 
hotel, and he sent me ' Pinky ' by express." 

"Well, I'm damned!" shouts Reggie. "And I 
paid that porter five dollars a day just to keep looking 
for that dog." 

Rosalie — (to Pinky). Do you hear that. Pinky? 
He thought it was wonderful. And he had your boo- 



214 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

ful shoe all ready for you. (To Reggie) Give Pinky 
his shoe, Reggie. 

Reggie — {happily). Yes. (He picks tip shoe) 
No! (He throzvs it doztm) I'm damned if I'm going 
to give my shoe to another man's dog. 

Rosalie — But he isn't, Reggie. Pie's our dog — 
yours and mine. 

Reggie — Yes. That's what you tell all your hus- 
hands. 

Rosalie — But I haven't any husband. 

Reggie — My God ! Did you divorce that French- 
man, too? 

Rosalie — There wasn't any Frenchman. 

Reggie — What? 

Rosalie — No, Reggie. When I called on you yes- 
terday afternoon, I was afraid you wouldn't see me 
so I sent in my dress-maker's card. 

Reggie — Then you didn't marry anybody? 

Rosalie — No, Reggie. 

Reggie — Oh, Rosalie! (There is broad smile of 
joy fitting over Reginald's face as he embraces 
Rosalie, followed by an expression of determination 
suggesting that she zvill certainly have a time of it if 
she ever tries to get aivay from him again.) 



" MAMMA'S AFFAIR " 

An American Comedy in Three Acts 

By Rachel Barton Butler 

WHEN Oliver Morosco, the New York producer, 
heard that John Craig, of the Castle Square Stock 
Company in Boston, had withdrawn his annual offer 
of a $500 prize for the best play written by a student 
of Prof. George Baker's " English 47 " class of Har- 
vard and Radcliffe, he immediately substituted a prize 
of his own for a like amount, to be awarded under the 
same terms. 

As a result of this offer some forty plays were sub- 
mitted to the Morosco ofifice during the fall and early 
winter, and of the forty " Mamma's Affair," a satirical 
comedy written by Rachel Barton Butler, an alumnus 
of the Baker class, was awarded the prize. It was 
produced at the remodeled Little Theatre in New 
York, Monday evening Jan. 29, was well received, both 
by its reviewers and a public attracted to it, possibly 
by reason of its exploitation as " the Harvard prize 
play." After five weeks in this theatre the play was 
transferred to the Fulton Theatre, (Feb. 9,) where it 
added an additional eight weeks to its run, 

" Mamma's Aft'air " is the story of a sentimental 
hypochondriac. " It pleases her to think that she is 
ill and thereby absorb all the energy and attention of 
every human being in contact with her." For two 
years Eve Orrin and her mamma have been traveling 
in search of Mrs. Orrin's health. They have been ac- 
companied on this pilgrimage by Mrs. Orrin's dearest 



2i6 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

girlhood friend, Mrs. Marchant, and the latter's son, 
Henry. It is the desire of both mothers that Henry 
shall marry Eve, in the expectation that the great love 
they bear each other will thus be perpetuated. Henry 
is quite agreeable to the arrangement and Eve has ac- 
cepted him, though more " on mamma's account " than 
her own. They have now arrived at " The Wil- 
lows," a hotel in the Massachusetts hills where Mrs. 
Orrin and Mrs. Marchant had gone to school, and it 
is here the wedding of the young people is to take 
place within the month. 

In the hotel Mrs. Orrin's room has been selected 
with great care, with Mrs. Marchant superintending 
the arrangements, Henry executing them and Eve 
bustling about nervously to see that they are perfect. 

Mrs. Marchant — Henry dear — Did you speak 
to the proprietor about the extra pillows for Grace ? 

Henry — I did, Mother. 

Mrs. M. — And did you explain dear Grace might 
have to have all her meals in her rooms? 

Henry — Yes. 

Mrs. M. — Is this the quiet side of the house? 

Henry — It is — 

Mrs. M. — And could you arrange for our suite 
near, so I can be close to dear Grace? 

Henry — It is directly across the hall. 

Mrs. M. — {letting out a breath of relief). Henry 
dear, you're perfect. 

Henry — [modestly). Thank you. 

Mrs. M. — I have the strangest feeling! It's as if 
something terrible were going to happen. 

Henry — (impatiently). My dear mother — 

Mrs. M. — My son! My feelings are an infallible 
guide! Poor Grace — 

Henry — There's nothing going to happen to Mrs. 
Orrin, mother. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 217 

Mrs. M. — I can't help it. I have a terrible pre- 
monition that Grace is going to be ill. 

Henry — Mrs. Orrin will be delighted to be ill if 
you'll just speak to her about it, mother. 

Henry, " a tall, hay colored young man, with soul- 
ful eyes and a sonorous voice," is much more con- 
cerned about his approaching marriage and Eve's at- 
titude toward him than he is about Mrs. Orrin, a state 
of mind he reveals in their first scene together. 

Henry — Only a month — just for a short month 
— and there will be no separation — no moment we 
must share with others — no time when we shall be 
apart ! 

Eve — {steadily but without warmth). No, Henry. 

Henry — To call you — my wife ! I cannot believe 
such happiness awaits for me. " Forsaking all others, 
cleave only unto him so long as ye both shall live." 

Eve — {absently and slowly). It's a very long 
promise — isn't it ? 

Henry — Long! {He takes her hand in his) 
Don't you wish it were longer? Don't you wish we 
could promise for eternity? 

Eve — Henry — if you'll open the shutters — 

Henry — O ! 

Eve — Dear ! Mamma tires so — when she has to 
wait — 

Henry — Everything tires your mother except hav- 
ing you hang over her, kissing and petting her. If it 
comes to fatigue, I'm tired of never having you to my- 
self for an instant without a howl from your mother. 

Eve — Henry ! You know how delicate Mamma is ! 

Henry — She isn't delicate! She only thinks she 
is. 

Eve — Henry! You're cruel! Every doctor we've 
ever had has said — 



2i8 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Henry — Every doctor you've ever had has been a 
fashionable toadier — who's found out what your 
mother wanted to have and has let her have it — 
from brain fever to floating kidney! 

Eve — Henry ! 

Henry — The one doctor in Kalamazoo who was 
poor enough to tell her the truth — you dismissed at 
his first call. 

Eve — And perfectly properly ! He was not a com- 
petent physician. To dare to speak so to mamma ! 
Please, please, Henry, try to understand her! 

Henry — (grimly, exasperated). I understand your 
mother — you yourself look a great deal sicker than 
she does. 

Eve — Will you get mamma, Henry ? I'll open the 
shutters. (They bring Mrs. Orrin in. She is a 
frail, slender little lady, very pale-eyed, zvith a sweet, 
indefinite voice and lifeless hair. Whatever the pre- 
vailing mode she akvays somehow conveys the idea of 
trailing. She is a determined sentimentalist and her 
voice drips as honey from the comb. Her smile 
matches the voice.") 

Mrs. Orrin — Ah! what a charming room! 
(Smiling the wan hut determined smile of an accom- 
plished invalid) Too bad of me. Eve, little daughter, 
to spoil our perfect trip with one of my headaches I 

Eve — (tenderly). You haven't spoiled it, Mamma 
darling. 

Mrs. Orrin — How patient all of you are with me. 
I had hoped not to intrude even one of my headaches 
on yours and Henry's happiness. I wanted no cloud 
to darken the sunshine of these lovely, tender days 
before your marriage. (Smiling szucetly to HExXRv) 
You are very good to me, Henry. 

Henry — (sourly). Not at all, Mrs. Orrin. 

Mrs. O. — You are your mother's son, Henry. 
Who could dream of anvthing but gentleness and 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 219 

kindness from dear Judith's boy. Do you see my 
salts bottle anywhere, Henry? 

Eve — (an.viously). On the table Henry. {Henry 
goes to get it.) 

Mrs. O. — It's so distressing to be so dependent on 
others. Was there a little tea in the thermos, Eve, 
Dear? 

Eve — I'm not sure — {She goes to thermos and 
opens it). 

Mrs. Orrin — {to Henry ivho presents salts). 
Thank you, Henry, how sweet you are ! 

Henry — Not at all, Mrs. Orrin. 

Eve — {referring to tea). There is only a little — 
let me m.ake you some fresh ! 

Mrs. Orrin — No, no! That will do — just a 
swallow — my poor head. Does it seem cool in here 
to you, Henry? 

Henry — {ivr at h fully). No, Mrs. Orrin, I can't 
say that it does. 

Mrs. Orrin — Then it must be I — my circula- 
tion's so poor. 

Eve — Dear, are you chilled? Henry dear, there's 
a knitted shawl — on the bed — I think {Henry goes 
into the inner room.) 

Mrs. O. — {to Eve -ivho has put the tea in a cup). 
Thank you love. Now kiss me — (Eve docs so. 
Henry returns in time to zvitness it). {To Henry 
who carries the shazvl as if it ivere a dangerous break- 
able) Just around my shoulders, Henry dear — How 
patient you are, Henry — 

Henry — Not at all, Mrs. Orrin. 

Mrs. O. — What a son you will be to me. 

Eve — Dear, you'd better not try to talk for a little. 

Mrs. O. — {leaning back in her chair and closing 
her eyes). Perhaps you are right, my pet! Ah! 
{Her face contracts as if with pain. Murmuring) 
The light ! 



220 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Eve — Too much for your poor head ? I opened 
the shutters because I thought it would be more cheer- 
ful — but we'll shut them again. 

Mrs. O. — The coming back here — to the scene of 
my early girlhood. The sight of the place — so fa- 
miliar and yet so strange. 

Eve — O, mamma ! Perhaps we shouldn't have 
come. 

Mrs. O. — No, no, my pet ! It has been Judith's 
and my dream — ever since Henry and you have been 
bethrothed — to come back for your wedding to this 
scene of our old school days ! This headache — this 
nervous collapse — it is only the result of too great 
happiness. Happiness overwhelms me — like a wave ! 
I suffer — but I suffer an ecstasy! Kiss me! {Dur- 
ing this Henry enters and slams door on the " Kiss 
me.") 

With Mrs. Orrin comfortably settled the next most 
important thing is to get a physician to attend her. 
" Mamma never travels without a list of physicians in 
every large town and city where we are going to be." 
In this instance a certain Dr. Jansen has been recom- 
mended. He is a " tall, smooth-shaven, somewhat 
ruddy young man in the pink of condition. . . . He 
pleasantly but never aggressively radiates health and 
fine spirits. He is bubbling over with the very latest 
scientific ideas and bounteous enthusiasm, but his pro- 
fessional repose would do credit to a man of 50." Dr. 
Jansen is quick to note the unnatural paleness of Eve, 
and assumes that she is his patient. But Mrs, Orrin 
promptly corrects him. 

Mrs. O. — The child is so intense. Sometimes, I 
think our love for each other is an agony. 

Doctor (grimly). 1 am quite prepared to believe 
that, Mrs. Orrin — (as the door closes on Eve, briskly) 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 221 

Now, my dear lady, what can I do for you? (Sits 
chair left of chaise lounge.) 

Mrs. Okrin — Ah, Dr. Jansen, how many phy- 
sicians have asked me that question. And how re- 
curringly difficult I find it to answer them! (She 
applies her handkerchief to her eyes.) 

Dr. Jansen — (prosaically taking her wrist to feel 
her pulse). You've been motoring all day, do I un- 
derstand ? 

Mrs. Orrin — All the way from town — since early 
this morning. 

Doctor — That would readily account for fatigue. 
Pulse is good. 

Mrs. Orrin — (opening her eyes anxiously). 
Doesn't it miss a beat? 

Doctor — Quite regular. 

Mrs. Orrin — (removes her hand and feels her own 
pulse). How strange! Dr. Schell always finds it 
misses a beat, when one of these collapses is on me. 

Doctor — You have Dr. Schell in town ? 

Mrs. Orrin — (zcith enthusiasm). Yes. Ah, there 
is a man who has given his life to the understanding 
of just such women as I. 

Doctor — (drily). He has indeed, Mrs. Orrin, 
done just that. 

Mrs. Orrin — He is the only one who has ever 
really understood my case. How many times has he 
said to me : " Dear Mrs. Orrin, you live too intensely ! " 
And I have replied : " Can you deaden a heart too 
aware of the joys and sufferings of others? Can you 
cure me — of life? " 

Doctor — (prosaically). How is the appetite? 

Mrs. Orrin — Fitful — always fitful! When my 
emotions are stirred, my appetite goes. 

Doctor — You have been under a nervous strain 
for some length of time? 

Mrs. Orrin — For the past three months, I have 



222 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

suffered — exquisite pain — my daughter — my little 
Eve — (She brooks off.) 

Doctor — (ivaking up). Your daughter — yes? 

Mr.. Orrin — She is soon to be married. 

Doctor — (patiently). Yes. (Short pause) You 
do not approve of her choice of a husband? 

Mrs. Orrin — Ah, how little a man can read a 
mother's heart. She has chosen the one man of all 
the world who would have been my choice. But can 
you not guess what it means to me to give her to 
another? To share the sweet intimacy of her daily, 
hourly presence ! Dr. Jansen, I have lived in her 
since her first breath. I have been a widow since she 
was a year old. All that was denied me in my early 
wifehood, I have poured into living in my motherhood ! 
She is more than my daughter — she is the heart of 
me. Every beat of her pulse I can feel is mine. 
When she goes from me to another, one part of me 
will die. I — (As she opens her mouth on the pro- 
noun the doctor deftly inserts the thermometer which 
he has taken out of his pocket). 

Doctor — (very politely). Please pardon me — 
just a moment. (Mrs. Orrin is reduced to reproach- 
ful silence sucking the thermometer) Now, Mrs. Or- 
rin, we must set about mending these nerves of yours. 
And first of all, I am going to prescribe the simplest 
remedy I know — rest. (Mrs. Orrin tries to protest 
around the thermometer) Just a moment, please. 
Absolute rest — and quiet. No one in your room — 
particularly not your daughter — (Mrs. Orrin fl^/am 
tries to speak around the thermometer) Just a m.o- 
ment now — {He looks at his xvatch) No conver- 
sation that will tend to excite her — I mean you — 
just a moment — above all — rest — (He takes the 
thermometer) Thank you — (He rises, crosses to 
center, looking at thermometer, shozvs his disgust at 
her haz'ing no temperature.) 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 223 

Mrs. Orrin — (disappointed). Nothing to take? 

Doctor — (as to a cJiild). O yes, indeed. You 
shall have something to take. There will be a nerve 
tablet every half hour — unless you are sleeping. 
Light nourishment at six — a powder at eight and I'll 
have my druggist send up a new prescription I've 
found very successful in er — just such cases as yours. 

Mrs. Orrin — (in great relief). Thank you. I 
thought there must be something to take. 

Doctor — Now may I suggest you retire — at once, 
(Mrs. Orrin rises as if hypnotised and moves toward 
the door into the chamber) while I'm still here — and 
will you send your daughter to me for — er — in- 
structions ? 

Mr.. Orrin — (turns at door R). O — you didn't 
tell me! Have I a temperature? 

Doctor — (cheerfully). Not a fraction of a degree. 

Mrs. Orrin. — How very odd! Dr. Schell always 
finds I have a temperature when I've had one of these 
emotional collapses. 

Dr. Jansen tries to reassure Eve that her mother is 
in no great danger. She needs rest and quiet — and 
a good supper — " two soft boiled eggs, a good dish of 
milk toast, a substantial salad and some cooked fruit." 

Eve — (guilelessly) . Is that — a light supper ? 

Doctor — (at his most professional). Nothing there 
that will not agree in this case. In fact — I think 
you'll find she can take it — all. 

Eve — (looking up for more instructions). Yes? 

Doctor — That's all. 

Eve — All? 

Doctor — (zvith finality). All. 

Eve — You're sure it's not serious? 

Doctor — I stake my professional reputation on it 
— it is not. (Eve gives a sigh of relief.) 



224 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Doctor — (casually. At window). Have you no- 
ticed — we are paying our devotions to you with a 
glorious sunset? 

Eve — {absently). Yes. (Starts tip.) 

Doctor — Come — look. 

Eve — (going up to the windozv.) It's very lovely, 
isn't it? But I don't believe I care much for nature. 
Sometimes sunsets make me tired. 

Doctor — (encouraging ho' to talk). Really! Now 
I imagined you enjoyed that sort of thing. 

Eve — I have looked at some sunsets that only made 
me want to go into a dirty kitchen and fry eggs. 

Doctor — (laughing). That's a stitT reaction — 
unless you're particularly fond of eggs. 

Eve — Not particularly — but I'd like to try frying 
some. 

Doctor — (turns to look out of window). Well, 
you'll not deny our godly chapel spire does the proper 
thing. Lifts its head to Heaven against the evening 
glow, et cetera. 

Eve — That's the chapel where I'm to be married 
next month. 

Doctor — What ! 

Eve — That's the chapel where I'm to be married 
next month. 

Doctor — Pardon me — I didn't understand it was 
so soon — nor here. 

Eve — (in a monotonous ivicc, hardly noticing him). 
That's why we've come here. Mother and Mrs. 
Marchant learnt their prayer book in that chapel. So 
now that — that — Henry and I are to be married, we 
came up here to crown their joy — they say — by being 
married here. (Sits on chaise longue.) 

Doctor — (quietly). You will forgive me, I am 
sure, a professional question. How old are you, Miss 
Orrin ? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 225 

Eve — Eighteen. 

Doctor — Good God ! 

Eve — (in the same monotonous voice). It has been 
the dream of their hves that Henry and I should 
marry. And now we're going to — next month. Do 
you know — in the service — you have to say — " For- 
saking all others, cleave only unto him?" (Short 
pause.) 

Doctor — (to himself). Eighteen! (Aloud) Miss 
Orrin, you can't have been out of school long. 

Eve — I never went to school, really. Never to go 
away. Mother couldn't have me far from her — so I 
went to a little day school. And then there were 
governesses and lessons at home. 

Doctor — And when were you through with those? 

Eve — Last year. Then we travelled — out through 
Northern Canada and down through California. 

Doctor — The Marchants were with you, I sup- 
pose? 

Eve — O — of course. The scenery was lovely. 

Doctor — (smiling). And did you want to fry 
eggs? 

Eve — O — a good many times. 

Doctor — (gravely). Did you go to Santa Bar- 
bara? 

Eve — Yes. Henry and I got engaged there. 

Doctor — I've heard it's a heady place. (Pause) 
(Abruptly) Miss Orrin, you must forgive me if I 
seem officious — but won't you let me give you some- 
thing for yourself. You look fagged out. 

Eve — (as if bringing herself back from far off). 
O thank you, no. I am quite well. Only tired. 

Doctor — I suppose you've not had much appetite 
the past few days? 

Eve — How did you know? (Turning to him.) 

Doctor — I — guessed. Not sleeping much ? 



226 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Eve — Not much. (Rises) But mamma mustn't 
know that. Don't tell her. I keep perfectly still all 
night — and she doesn't guess. 

Doctor — You mean — you have been sleeping in 
the same room with her? 

Eve — [simply). Oyes! Of course. I have never 
slept away from my mother. 

Doctor — (grimly). Pardon me, that is a very bad 
practice. Then you won't let me prescribe for you ? 

Eve — (very politely but wearily). O. thank you! 
You are very kind to bother — but — I'll manage — 
somehow! (The doctor grips his jazv over some very 
evident violence. Short pause.) 

Doctor — \^'ell, then, since I can be of no pro- 
fessional service to you I'll not keep you. Good- 
night. (He puts out his hand.) 

Eve — (putting hers into it). Goodnight — and 
thank you. (The doctor starts. At the door he turns 
as if to make one last effort.) 

Doctor — I — 

■ Eve — (noticing that he has stopped). Can you find 
your way ? 

Doctor — Thank you. I think I know my way — 
in fact it's quite clear. 

After the doctor has gone Eve continues to stare at 
the sunset. So intent is she upon the scene, and so 
wrapped in thought, she does not hear her mother enter 
the room. At the touch of her hand she starts, and 
moves excitedly away from her. Nor are her sen- 
timental mother's efforts to soothe her effective. 

Mrs. Orrin — Look! The evening star! How 
many times have I said : Star light, star bright — and 
made a wish for you. my darling. I have wished for 
you the only real crown of a woman's life — love, 
love, love! (Half playfully) It's love that makes 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 227 

the world go 'round. (Eve makes a curious sound as 
if she took in her breatJi sharply) (Mrs. Orrin cross- 
ing quickly to her) Love, you are crying — I know 
how perfect joy can end in tears — 

Eve — (rushing past her in terror). — Don't touch 
me — don't come near me — {She crosses to center 
and throzvs herself on the floor, pounding and crying, 
hysterical, until the curtain) Go away, I can't stand 
it — I can't stand it — I hate sunsets — I hate the 
moon — I hate the stars — Oh, why was I ever born 

— why — why ? 

Mrs. Orrin — (thoroughly frightened she goes to 
door left, calling). Someone come — help — the bell 

— where is the bell — (She sees Henry coming) 
Oh ! Henry, Henry, come quick — 

Henry — (entering quickly). (He sees Eve hud- 
dled on the floor) What is it — for God's sake, Mrs. 
Orrin, what is it ? 

Mrs. Orrin — (hurrying him off). Go, go for the 
doctor at once, hurry go — (Henry exits) Eve, 
Eve — my baby — my baby — 

(Curtain) 



Act H 

A month later Eve is living in a private suite on the 
top floor of the hotel. Dr. Jansen, following her col- 
lapse, ordered that she should be kept there, in charge 
of his own housekeeper, Mrs. IJundy — " a small, 
round, brown-eyed, rosy-cheeked, snowy-haired, moth- 
erly, cozy little lady" — and should neither be permitted 
to see nor to communicate with any member of her 
party. All the letters that her mother and Henry have 
attempted to smuggle in to her have been pigeonholed. 
Under this " rest cure " treatment Eve has fairly blos- 
somed. " Her checks are faintly pink and her eyes 
bright, but not from excitement." She has acquired 



228 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

an electric stove and revels in the preparation of her 
own breakfast. Still she is a little worried about her 
mother. " You're sure Mamma is perfectly well, Mrs. 
Bundy?" 

Mrs. Bundy — Perfectly, my dear. 

Eve — What does she do all day ? 

Mrs. Bundy — These warm days she and Mrs. 
Marchant sit for hours on a corrugated iron bench at 
the end of the yard — and talk — 

Eve — What about ? 

Mrs. Bundy — Well, Mrs. Marchant talks about 
Henry and your mother talks about you. 

Eve — What does Henry do? 

Mrs. Bundy — (imtli a touch of severity). Henry 
prowls. He haunts the stairway — and the corridor — 
I've almost fallen over him in the dark once or twice. 

Eve — I've been happy, Mrs. Bundy, these past few 
weeks. Perfectly, gloriously happy ! After those first 
ten days in bed of course — But now I can do things 
— cook — and go out each morning with the doctor 
on his rounds ! I just sit in the sun and am ! (Pause) 
He's a very remarkable physician, isn't he, Mrs. 
Bundy ! 

Mrs. Bundy — Yes, my dear, he's a very remark- 
able — physician. 

Eve — It's strange, isn't it, Mrs. Bundy, that the 
doctor never married. 

Mrs. Bundy — Never! Good gracious child ! Give 
him time ! 

Eve — O, but he's never going to marry ! 

Mrs. Bundy — (drily). So he tells me every time 
he meets an attractive woman. 

Eve — But the doctor's never going to marry as a 
matter of principle. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 229 

Mrs. Bundy — Indeed. He's full of notions. 
What's the principle for never marrying, pray? 

Eve — He says there's a strong prejudice against 
MH-married physicians. So he's going to remain un- 
married and succeed, too, just to put the damned pub- 
lic in its place. 

Mrs. Bundy — Miss Eve! 

E\'E — O, that's not my " damn," Bunny. It's the 
doctor's. 

Mrs. Bundy — So I'm aware. I've broken him of 
many of his bad habits but I haven't succeeded in 
breaking him of swearing — {shutting her mouth tight) 
yet. 

Suddenly there appears a slight flaw in the amber 
of Eve's new-found happiness. She discovers that 
having paid no attention to the flight of time she has 
approached her wedding day without realizing it. To- 
morrow, according to the calendar, she should become 
the wife of Henry Marchant — and the idea is plainly 
disturbing. But Dr. Jansen has foreseen that inter- 
ruption to the continued progress of his patient and 
counseled the postponement of the wedding. Which 
rather interests the observing Mrs. Bundy. 

Mrs. PjUndy — You're very much interested in this 
case, aren't you? 

Doctor — Very. 

Mrs. Bundy — (significantly). I noticed. 

Doctor — (laughing). Wrong scent. Bunny; I'm 
interested — purely scientifically — in Miss Orrin. 
She's criminally and needlessly neuresthenic. 

Mrs. Bundy — (ivith knotving look). O — I see. 

Doctor — Now, l^unny, use your reason. Didn't I 
withstand the new organist even when you said she 
played "Abide Wilh Me" right at my head? 

Mrs. Bundy — She was fifty and had a squint. 



230 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

(Slight pause) Has it by chance occurred to you that 
Miss Eve might fall in love with you? 

Doctor — What! ! ! 

Mrs. Bundy — I thought you hadn't considered the 
possibility. 

Doctor — (crisply). Rot! (Short pause) Rot! 
You're incurably romantic! (Another short pause 
— somewhat uncomfortable . . . on the part of the 
doctor) Utter nonsense ! ■ 

Mrs. Bundy — (with placid maliciousness). O, 
I'm not implying, it's because of your hopeless at- 
tractiveness. But she's young and inexperienced. 
Your cure of her has had certain romantic aspects. 
Being up here by herself the past month has left her 
little to think about, but you. It could easily happen. 

Doctor — (after a moment's (jroiving conviction, his 
scientific mind taking it in). Hell! I beg your par- 
don, Mrs. Bundy, but — hell ! That's psychologically 
sound. 

Mrs. Bundy — It's humanly sound. 

Doctor — (in gronnng alarm). I'm old enough to 
be her father — (Mrs. Bundy smiles) but what dif- 
ference does that make? To her I'm not an individual 
— I'm a reaction — a natural, logical reaction from 
Henry! It would have been just the same if I had 
been the ashman ! I don't want her to fall in love with 
me ! It's got to be stopped at once. Do you hear me ? 

Mrs. Bundy — O yes; it would be difficult not to 
hear you, Dr. Brent. 

Doctor — Why the devil should I take an infant to 
rear! She's about as interesting, emotionally, as a 
frilled baby pillow with a blue satin bow stuck some- 
where about it. Why in hell — 

Mrs. Bundy — Doctor Jansen ! 

Doctor — I will swear, Bunny. So if you don't 
want to hear me — leave the room! If there is any 
woman on God's earth who will let a man enjoy an 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 231 

innocent, impersonal relationship with any girl and not 
want to label it wilh the sticky label of romance. My 
God — 

Mrs. Bundy — Dr. Jansen — 

Doctor — (defiantly). My God! You've spoilt 
every moment I shall ever have with that child ! I 
feel as if I'd been dipped in warm molasses and rolled 
in confectioner's sugar! {He stamps out savagely.) 

Mrs. Bundy — l3ear, dear ! How hard you do take 
things. 

Doctor — Hard? I take a sheer delight in that 
little girl because I made her well — She's my novel, 
my poem, my symphony, my sculptured masterpiece ! 

Mrs. Bundy — [as if to herself). Wasn't there a 
sculptor named Pygmalion? 

Doctor — {stamping). Be still, woman! While I 
make you understand I don't want to be in love with 
my masterpiece. Pygmalion did, and see what a 
damned mess he made of it. 

Dr. Jansen is really quite irritated at the thought of 
Mrs. Bundy's suspicions. He doesn't want to marry 
anyone ; he is not a marrying man. And furthermore, 
seeing that Miss Orrin's wedding day has only been 
postponed, he has no intention of interfering further 
with the afifair. He will withdraw from the case as 
soon as he reasonably and gracefully can do so. He is 
still rather irritable when Eve arrives to take her 
morning ride, making his rounds with him. Nor does 
Eve lessen his irritability by forcing him to analyze 
further his personal feelings toward her. 

Eve — When I was taken sick — why did you put 
me up here all by myself — and shut Henry and 
Mamma away from me ? 

Doctor — I've been expecting that question for 
the past ten days. I wonder if I can make you fully 



232 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

understand? (Smiling) You know you are — so 
exceedingly young. 

Eve — {quaintly). I'm not so young as all that. 

Doctor — Do you remember the afternoon of your 
arrival, when I was called to attend your mother? I 
insisted, rather forcefully on prescribing for you. 

Eve — Yes. 

Doctor — Well, I decided then, you must control 
conditions. In order to do that it was necessary to 
remove you from all your old environments. You are 
nearly well, and you must control conditions. It's a 
big burden to put on young shoulders, but it's really 
up to you. Live your own life, somehow ; in the end 
that will be really helping your mother. {After an 
uncomfortable pause, and zvatching her closely) And 
— your m.-irriage will make a difference. 

Eve — I'es — I sui)pose so — it's tomorrow, you 
know. 

Doctor — {still watching his effect). Perhaps not. 

Eve — {very startled). You mean — {Her breath 
catches in a sob) What do you mean? 

Doctor — Three days ago I told your mother I 
thought it ill-advised to carry forward the plans for 
the original date. 

Eve — And Mamma — 

Doctor — She put ilie matter entirely in my hands. 
And I decided at once that there must be a postpone- 
ment — how long a one depending on your recovery. 
I am quite sure you're not to be married, tomorrow. 
Will you pardon me, Miss Eve, if I seem intrusive — 
but — you are quite happy in the thought of your mar- 
riage to Mr. Marchant ? 

Eve — {simply). I am engaged to Henry. 

Doctor — {zdiiuisically). So I understand. 

Eve — An engagement is as binding as a marriage. 

Doctor — Will you pardon my saying it — there are 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 233 

those nowadays who beheve a marriage itself is in no- 
wise binding — 

Eve — I could never believe that. It would kill 
Mamma. 

Doctor — Oh ! Damn Mamma — I mean to say I 
thought I made it clear to you, you must think inde- 
pendently of your mother. 

Eve — But — I think the same about this. 

Doctor — {looking at his zvatch). I guess I'd best 
be getting on. Will you come? 

Eve — Please don't think I appreciate your interest. 
You have been very good to me. Very good ! 

Doctor — (ligJitly). What am I for if not to look 
after my patients? Are you coming for your ride? 

Eve — Yes — (She goes to the door of her room 
and pauses there) Do you take the sauie care of all 
your patients? (V/ith something akin to chill.) 

Doctor — (pause). I try to. 

Eve — (disappointedly). Oh! 

It is while the doctor is attending other patients in 
the hotel, and Eve is geiting her things preparatory to 
her drive with him, that Airs. Orrin decides to take 
again a hand in Eve's affairs, doctor or no doctor. 
Quietly she slips into the sun-parlor of the suite on 
the top floor. Eve is naturally overjoyed at sight of 
her, but still her sense of fairness to the doctor for- 
bids her taking pleasure in defying his orders. 
" Mamma, we promised the doctor not to see each 
other," she says. 

Mrs. Orrin — What is your promise to a man 
you've not known a month to my humiliation — my 
heart-break. 

EvE — Mamma! Darling! I'm only trying to do 
all the things he tells me so as tb get wcil quickly — 
for your sake, darling, darling! Don't you see? 



234 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Mrs. Okrin — (darkly). I see, I see, plainly 
enough ! A stranger has alienated my daughter from 
me — my only child — whose happiness has been my 
sole thought since the day she was born. Now — my 
unhappiness, my heart-break — means nothing to her ! 
My cup is full of bitterness indeed! (She weeps.) 

Eve — (struggling hard to control herself). Dar- 
ling — don't cry ! Please ! All I want is to be well so 
I may be with you always. 

Mrs. Orrin — But you are well. Eve, you are! I 
never saw you look so well and happy. 

Eve — Yes, darling, I am. I am really well and 
happy. 

Mrs. Orrin — All this without me. You have 
never been happy in your life before without me. 
Another has taken my place. I am only a lonely 
woman whose heart-blood has been drained from her 
and the sapjiing of that crimson liood has left her a 
lifeless wreck ! 

Eve — (crossing to her). Oh! Mamma, try to un- 
derstand. 

Mrs. Orrin — Oh, I understand! And the under- 
standing is breaking my heart. Well, let it break. I 
have not much longer to live! The symptoms of my 
decline are growing every day. 

Eve — Mamma ! What is it ? 

Mrs. Orrin — I fear I haven't much longer, dear 
little Eve — 

Eve — (going to her ivith a sharp cry, kneeling). 
Mamma ! No, no ! 

Mr., Orrin — {clasping her arms tightly about Eve 
and lifting a pitiful face). My darling, you'll come 
back with me, now, won't you? Let me have my last 
days with you, as we have always been? 

Eve — Yes, yes, yes! I'll never forgive myself. 
Let me take you to your room. Come dear ! Come 
with me. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 235 

Mrs. Orrin — Ah! This is as it should be. This 
will prolong my last days ! Kiss me, darling. 

They are on their way out when Dr. Jansen sud- 
denly returns. His demand to know their intentions 
reveals Mrs. Orrin's renewed hold upon Eve, and he 
promptly orders that young woman to her room. Eve 
is still a little afraid of the doctor and reluctantly obeys. 
Mamma's new " illness " is then discovered to have 
been brought on largely by her worry about Henry 
Marchant's keen disappointment when he learns that 
his wedding day has been postponed. She has not 
had the heart to tell him. Henry expects to marry 
Eve the next day, and it is Mrs. Orrin's idea that the 
ceremony — just the ceremony — could be gone 
through with without fuss or excitement. But Dr. 
Jansen is firm. 

Doctor — Mrs. Orrin, you are, of course, at liberty 
to do as you like in this matter. I have no way of 
forcing my will upon you . . . unfortunately. But I 
must tell you now, that if you consider such a course, 
I shall at once withdraw from the case. I cannot take 
the responsibility of Miss Orrin's condition, if you con- 
sider putting her through her own wedding tomorrow. 

Mrs. Orrin — But she goes out every day with 
you. I have never seen her look so well ! She is ra- 
diant ! 

Doctor — That is because she has been untroubled. 
(Quietly) Mrs. Orrin, help me to help her. Let her 
live a few weeks more of healthy, happy, normal ex- 
istence. 

Mrs. Orrin — How can I tell Judith . . . and 
Henry . . . poor Henry ! 

Doctor — Surely it will not be difficult to make it 
clear to him. 

Mrs. Orrin — Oh, but Plcnry's soul is like a sensi- 



236 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

tivc plant. . . . He will never understand. {The 
Doctok's set jcnv bears silent witness to zvhat he thinks 
of Henry.) 

Doctor — Mrs. Orrin, do you love . . . Henry's 
soul . . . more than you love your daughter? 

Mrs. Orrin — Oh, no, no ! 

Doctor — Then will you inform the Marchants of 
the postponement of the wedding? 
Mrs. Orrin — Yes ! 
Doctor — You'll do so this morning. 
Mrs. Orrin — Yes — even if it breaks my heart. 

But the Marchants still have something to say. 
While the Doctor and Eve are away they, too, invade 
the forbidden rest cure. Mrs. Marchant slips in first 
• — and finds Mrs. Orrin there. Her suspicions nat- 
urally are somewhat stirred by the encounter. 

Mr.. Marchant — Grace, you are my life-long 
friend. But before all I am a mother. Eve is Henry's 
promised wife. What befalls her befalls him. He is 
a marvel of patience and forbearance. All the more 
reason why I must insist for him. What ever has 
happened to Eve I must know. Am I or am I not to 
see her? 

Mrs. Orrin — Judy, dear, I want to tell you . . . 
I want to explain . . . {There is a knock at the hall 
door) There's . . . there's someone at the door. 
{Mrs. Marehant opens it. Henry enters. That he is 
in a state of mind, is evident at once.) 

Mrs. Marchant — Henry ! 

Mrs, Orrin — Henry, dear! 

Henry — {striding in and up to Mrs. Orrin ivho is 
center). Excuse me, Mother! {In suppressed rage) 
May I ask, Mrs. Orrin, if you're aware of Eve's 
whereabouts at the present moment ? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 237 

Mrs. Orrin — {fluttering). Well, Henry . . . not 
her exact whereabouts ... of course . . . but her 
general whereabouts, oh, yes ! 

Henry — Oh, yes! Her general whereabouts are 
in Dr. Jansen's noisy tin runabout. 

Mrs. Marchant — No ? 

Mrs. Orrin — Oh, Henry, dear . . . 

Mrs. Marchant — (aghast). Grace, Eve is out 
with that medical person . . . again? I — I — felt it 
— and my feelings are . . . 

Mrs. Orrin — {weakly). The doctor says what 
she needs now is fresh air and sunshine. 

Henry — And his society . . . 

Henry is excessively pained at the way he has been 
made game of by a country physician and he does not 
purpose standing any more of it. When they weakly 
tell him of the proposed postponement he is quite 
furious, and when Eve unexpectedly returns, having 
forgotten her gloves, he promptly assures her that he 
has decided their wedding shall take place, as sched- 
uled, the next day. At the announcement of this de- 
cision Dr. Jansen appears in the doorway, looking 
for Eve. He is a little surprised and quite angry 
at finding the Marchants and Mrs. Orrin there, and 
annoyed at their new tone of defiance. Henry repeats 
that Eve is to marry him next day. The doctor turns 
to her for confirmation. She shrugs her shoulders 
helplessly. " Sooner or later — what dilTerence does 
it make ? " 

Doctor — {coldly). As you please, of course, I 
have no authority over you ... {To Mrs_. Orrin) 
Mrs. Orrin, it is evidently quite impossible for me to 
secure any results in your daughter's case. Therefore, 
kindly permit me to withdraw. {He crosses to door 
left, opens it.) 



238 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Eve — (startled). No, no! 

Mrs. Marchant — An excellent idea. 

Henry — Since it spares us the task of discharging 
you! 

Doctor — (furious). Good morning. 

Eve — (starting after him). Please ... I ask 
you . , . 

Doctor — Under the circumstances you can hardly 
expect me to remain . . . Goodbye. 

The doctor starts out the door, and as Eve realizes 
that he is deserting her she begins to laugh, covering 
her face with her hands. She evidently is in for an- 
other attack of hysterics. The more they try to quiet 
her, the harder she laughs — nntil they are forced 
again to appeal to the doctor, who is still at the door. 

Doctor — Mrs. Orrin, if I take over this case again 
temporarily, I shall brook no interference from any- 
one ! I shall only undertake it on this condition. 

Mrs. Orrin — (Jierself beyond control). Do what 
you like, only help her . . . help her . . . 

Doctor — V^ery well. Leave the room, every one 
of you. 

Mrs. Marchant — I do not think Henry should be 
asked to leave. 

Doctor — Then let Llenry quiet her ! 

Henry — (he goes to her). Eve! 

Eve — (thru her zvild laughter). No, no, no . . . 
(SJie goes off again.) 

Henry — O, my nerves won't stand this. Come, 
Mother! (To Eve) When you're quiet, I'll return. 

Mrs. Orrin — Henry ! Please come ! O, Eve, Eve ! 
(TJie Doctor drives tliem all out zvithout ceremony. 
Mrs. Orrin clings to Mrs. Marchant, whose fighting 
blood is almost boiling oz'er. When they arc gone the 
Doctor comes quickly back to Eve.) 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 239 

Doctor — (emphatically) . St-op ! Stop this at once, 
do you hear me ? 

Eve — (her hands still over her face, whispering). 
Are they all gone? 

Doctor — What!!! {He is completely surprised.) 

Eve — {still seated). Gracious. I couldn't have 
kept that up much longer. 

Doctor — Do you mean to say you were tricking? 
(Eve nods) Well, on my soul . . . {In a manner 
amused.) 

Eve — I know it was mean . . . low ... to lie and 
frighten you all ! But I won't let them drive you 
away ! That's what they would have done ! The 
night I really had hysterics, everything was made so 
easy for me ... so that was the only way I could 
think of to make them let you stay! {She rises.) 

Doctor — {matter of fact). Well, you've found a 
way to manage your family! Plenty of women have 
used the method for years. Keep on using it ! But 
my services are hardly required. {He starts for the 
door.) 

Eve — Oh! Please don't leave me! If you go, 
there'll be no one to stand back of me, no one who 
understands ! I know I can never stand against them 
all alone. Until I knew you I never seemed to have 
breathed fresh air, I never seemed to have known how 
warm and bright the sun could be ! Pve lived in a 
room where the shades were always drawn, I've al- 
ways breathed air that was warm and stale, and per- 
fumed. I've been taken South in the winter, to be 
kept from the cold. I want to be cold — so cold I 
ache with it. I want clear bright sunshine, so pitiless 
it stabs my eyes, I want to be hurt — I want to live — 
live — {During this she has zvorked very close to him, 
and on the end of the speech she has her arms ex- 
tended. He lifts her from her feet in his arms, kisses 
her hard and fiercely on the lips. Then as suddenly 



240 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

releases her) I beg your pardon ... I am . . . pro- 
foundly . . . ashamed ! I don't know . . . what pos- 
sessed me ... I shall not expect you to see me again. 
Goodbye ! Goodbye ! (In a very Jionest shame and 
confusion, he goes to the door and out.) 

Henry, bursting into the room, finds Eve standing 
as the doctor's sudden embrace had left her, staring 
fixedly at the door through which he had just disap- 
peared. She is in no mood to listen to Henry then. 
He attempts to embrace her, but she repulses him with 
both hands, and also with ardor. She even throws the 
sofa pillows at him as she cries out : " Go away ! Go 
away ! Go away ! " 



Act hi 

It is early evening of the same day. Dr. Jansen has 
just returned to his office " five calls behind his after- 
noon schedule " and still trying to think of some rea- 
sonable excuse for his having kissed Eve Orrin that 
morning. The sudden appearance of Mrs. Marchant 
acquaints him with the fact that Eve has disappeared 
from the hotel and has not been seen for hours. 

Mrs. Marchant — After you left this morning, she 
behaved in a most unnatural manner. She treated my 
son to an hysterical scene — the details of which it is 
unnecessary to repeat. Then she locked her door and 
remained in her room ! Her mother — my son — I — 
all si)ent a futile day begging her to see us! At last 
my son telegraphed to Dr. Schell. About five this 
afternoon he arrived. When we went with him to 
Eve's room again she was gone! Her mother is pros- 
trated. Dr. Schell is — making an efi'ort to revive her 
— her heart is at its worst. 

Doctor — With Orme Schell to feel her pulse — I 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 241 

don't doubt it. If Doctor Schell is here, why do you 
come to me? 

Mrs. Marchant — I have not come to yon profes- 
sionally, be sure of that ! Dr. Jansen, your orders in 
Miss Orrin's case have been most peculiar — You 
have persistently denied to all of us access to her. 
She has recovered rapidly — and yet you have contin- 
ued to forbid her seeing her mother or her affianced 
husband. Miss Orrin will some day inherit great 
wealth. You are a country physician — It's not hard 
to believe — 

Doctor — (interrupting). Mrs. Marchant! Are 
you presuming to suggest — that I — 

Mrs. Marchant — Just that! That you have in- 
fluenced an inexperienced girl for your purposes. Do 
you deny that you desire her to break her engagement 
to my son? 

Doctor — I don't deny that I hoped she'd break it. 

Mrs. Marchant — Ah! 

Doctor — Because I have been quite sure she didn't 
love your son. 

Mrs. Marchant is not to be easily convinced the doc- 
tor is not a kidnapper and openly accuses him of hav- 
ing Eve hidden somewhere in his house at the moment. 
He offers to let her make a search of the premises if 
she will, and then changes his mind. He will not give 
her that satisfaction. Just as well that he did not, for 
Eve had that minute entered Mrs. Bundy's kitchen and 
been taken in by the kindly housekeeper. As soon as 
Mrs. Marchant is gone she appears. The doctor is not 
at all pleased. 

Doctor — A nice position you've placed me in — 
the two of you ! What am I to do ? What am I to 
say? I have just told Mrs. Marchant that you were 
not in the house. I feared when I heard the bell — 
but I didn't know! (Breaking out again) I should 



242 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

have expected better judgment from you, Ivlrs. Bundy ! 
At least, more discretion ! 

Mrs. Bundy — {still zvceping but zvitli a return of 
spirit). Discretion! Judgment! I don't know why 
1 thought you were flesh and blood ! Upon my soul ! 
I don't I This — child — {indicating Eve) — has come 
here worn out battling with herself and her family 
problems ! 

Eve — Mrs. Bundy, please — 

Mrs. Bundy — No, I'll say my say. She has no< 
place to go — no soul to turn to ! And you had been 

— kind to her — {luith significance) — at least! And 
she has turned — as any human being not made of 
sawdust would — to the only soul who has ever en- 
tirely understood her — and you — you — Oh I 
You're not a man — you're an emoiional vivisectionist. 
{She goes out into the kitchen and closes the door. 
There is a short pause. Eve breaks it, speaking in a 
voice that is evidently holding back tears, but deter- 
minedly steady.) 

Eve — I'm — I'm very sorry I I didn't mean to 
come here when I left the hotel this afternoon! I 
only wanted to think — But all day long they kept 
coming to my door — {With a little break) 
They wouldn't give me time to think. You — you 
have been very kind to me — always. This morning 

— when you — kissed me — I thought — you cared 
for me — that way. Now I see — I was mistaken. 
Please forgive me for — bothering you — and I'll go. 
{She starts for door in hall.) 

Doctor — Listen to me, my dear. Perhaps you 
were not — mistaken. (Eve turns to him zvith a little 
cry) No — no — Wait! Think just a moment of 
my — point of view — How much respect do you 
think I should have for myself — if I asked you to 
marry me. You are eighteen — I am twice your age. 
You are straight from the school room. You are even 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 243 

more immature emotionally than most girls of your age. 
They handed you over to Henry and you've played at 
a hideous mockery of something beautiful and sacred 

— to gratify an abnormal sentimentality in your 
mother and Mrs. Marchant — and soothe and feed 
Henry's vanity. I have been — you say — kind to 
you. You were in sad need of kindness and under- 
standing. How could I ever face you, if I took you 
now? You don't love me! (Eve looks at Doctor) 
Love wears a different face, my dear ! Go live — and 
learn — and wait — and the hian will come to whom 
you really belong ! 

Eve — {looking directly front, sadly). It is lonely 

— waiting! 

Doctor — It would be lonelier — with the wrong 
man ! You're going to live — and find how beautiful 
the world can really be. Some day you're going to 
love — (he hesitates) — and marry. Only wait — 
wait till you know ! Wait ! Wait ! 

Eve — (she turns to him). O, but I know now — 

Doctor — {across the table to her). Listen, my 
dear. Quite aside from what you know or feel. Are 
you going to ask me to do something that will cost me 
my self-respect ? 

Eve — (crying out). Ah, no ! 

Doctor — That is what this would mean to me. 

The doctor plans to send Eve back to the hotel in a 
cab. While he has gone to fetch one, Henry Marchant 
makes his way into the Jansen house and discovers 
Eve. It was quite as Henry suspected, but he is still 
considerably flabbergasted, both at finding her there 
and at her assurance in telling him that she has about 
decided she cannot marry him. Before he can fully 
recover from the shock Mrs. Orrin arrives. She, too, 
is surprised, not to say shocked, at finding Eve there 
and in so rebellious a state of mind. Still, it serves to 



244 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 
confirm what Mrs. Marchant and Henry have told her. 

Mrs. Orrin — (not making an effort to rise). Eve, 
my daughter, come to me ! 

Eve — {going to her). What is it, Mamma? 

Mrs. Orrin — Kneel here beside me. 

Eve — {kneeling). Mamma, please — 

Mrs. Orrin — Can it be ! Do you love — this man ? 
{She indicates the Doctor.) 

Eve — ( protcstingly ) . Mamma ! Don't ! 

Mrs. Orrin — Ah, then! You do — you do! 
That's why you no longer love dear Henry. You've 
come to care for — hitn! 

Eve — {looking squarely at tJie doctor). Yes. 

Mrs. Orrin — {to the Doctor). The dream of my 
life is shattered. I am a broken-hearted woman at 
last. {To the Doctor) But I'll not stand before my 
daughter's happiness. Take her — I will resign all 
my dreams — as I always have — for her ! Marry 
her — marry her ! And let me die somewhere alone ! 
I cannot survive this ! {She drops back and closes her 
eyes. ) 

Eve — (rises; iirmly). Mamma! Listen to me! 
Listen! (Mrs. Orrin opens her eyes. Eve catches 
her mother's eye and holds it) I — I asked — prac- 
tically asked — Dr. Jansen — to marry me — and he 
will not have me ! Now will you come ? 

Mrs. Orrin — Eve! What are you saying? 
(Rises and crosses to Eve) Has he led you on, only 
to break your heart. Forgive me. 1 did not under- 
stand. My poor, poor darling — come to me. Your 
mother's arms are always aching for you. Fold your 
crushed wings in my breast. Broken-hearted women, 
we shall wander the world alone — just we two — al- 
ways — always. (She trails dramatically tozvards the 
door.) 

Doctor — I'll be damned if I let you go to that! 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 245 

Listen to me, Mrs. Orrin. If I marry your daughter 
I wish you to understand exactly with what promises I 
do so. What she says is true. I decHned to marry 
her earlier this evening. For reasons I have fully 
explained to her. But what none of her most elo- 
quent pleadings could accomplish, you've managed 
to get away with in just two minutes. Mrs. Orrin, 
I'm going to marry her. 

Doctor — (coming doz^'n to Eve). Now, Miss Eve, 
I'm going to talk plainly to you. Do you understand? 

Eve. I'm quite used to that from you, Dr. Jansen. 

Doctor — I wish I could tell you that I'd marry you 
and let you live here in my house as my niece or my 
youngest grandchild. But I'm not big enough to do 
that. I'll marry you. But — if you ever want to 
leave me — if I ever suspect you want your freedom 
— I'll set you free. Goodnight ! 

Eve — (quietly). Goodbye, Dr. Jansen. 

Doctor — Good — ? 

Eve — Goodbye. I hardly can hope to see you 
again. 

Doctor — What do you mean ? 

Eve — We shall be leaving tomorrow. 

Doctor — But — but — 

Eve — Yes ? 

Doctor — What are you going to do? 

Eve — Why, I think I shall marry Henry — to- 
morrow. 

Doctor — Marry — ! ! 

Eve — Henry — toinorrow. 

Doctor — Are you out of your head? 

Eve — I don't think so. But I'm very tired. 
(Starts to door.) 

Doctor — But Henry — 

Eve — He's a very poor bargain, you mean. I sup- 
pose so. But I don't know anyone else to marry — 



246 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Doctor — I've just told you — I'd marry you — 

Eve — {flaming). You've just told nie — you'll 
take me on as a ward — and endure me as a wife. 
That's what you've just told me. You don't love me — 
(sJie comes down lo him) — but you'll take me in. 
Because you see no other way to prevent my becoming 
a chronic neuresthenic — you'll make your house a 
soft of permanent preventive institution ! You don't 
want me — but you'll take me in as you might a kit- 
ten — out of the cold! That's what you've just pro- 
posed to me, isn't it? 

Doctor — {utterly taken aback). I'm — I'm — 
sure I — 

Eve — {interrupting). "You're sure!" Yes, you 
are — very sure — always! And now you're sure I'll 
accept such a proposal — until an hour ago I admitted 
your sureness — I adored it! But now I'm tired of 
it — along with being tired of a good many other 
things. I'm tired of Mamma's tantrums. And I'm 
tired of Mrs. Marchant's tragicness and always ex- 
pecting the worst ! And now 1 find I'm even tired of 
being told what to do by you ! — I'm even tired of 
that ! But — you've helped me make up my mind. 
I'll marry Henry. I'll keep him on till I grow up — 
and then — if he doesn't divorce me — I'll divorce 
him — but what I'll set him free! {She flings herself 
to the door and opens it.) 

Doctor — Eve ! 

Eve — {to without). Mamma! 

Doctor — Eve ! 

Eve — Mamma! I've something to tell you! 

Doctor — You shan't marry Henry Marchant. 

Eve — O, yes, I shall. 

Doctor — ( softly ) . Eve ! 

Eve — {quietly). Yes? 

Doctor — Eve ! Please don't marry Henry. 

Eve — Why not ? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 247 

Doctor — Because — {He pauses.) 

Eve — Well ? 

Doctor — Because — I love you ! 

Eve — {with a little happy sigh). Ah! 

Doctor — {assumed severity). You bold faced — 
shameless — little — darling. {He suddenly seises her 
in his arms, lifting her clear of the ground as in the 
preceding act, he kisses her again and again roughly 
and repeatedly.) 

{Curtain) 



"ADAM AND EVA" 

An American Comedy in Three Acts by Guy Bolton 
and George Middleton. 

EARLY in September, the thirteenth to be exact, 
Gny Bohon and George Middleton, the collaborateurs 
whose " Polly with a Past " had scored a success the 
previous season, came forward with a characteristic 
comedy of American home life bearing the musical 
comedy title of " Adam and Eva." It was much to the 
liking of its first audiences, the reviewers were kind 
when they were not enthusiastic, and there was every 
indication the new play would continue until spring, 
which it did. 

The hero and heroine of this romance are Adam 
Smith and Eva King. Adam is the general manager 
of the King Rul^ber Company, and Eva is the daugh- 
ter of James King, head of that concern. Father King 
is very much disgusted with his family of " idle wast- 
ers " — the family including his two daughters, Eva 
and Julie; Julie's husband, Clinton, a foppish, ambi- 
tionless youth; Aunt Abby Rooker, the late Mrs. 
King's sister, and Uncle Horace Pilgrim, a humorous 
old gentleman who came to spend a week-end with 
Cousin James and stayed fifteen years. 

It is the first of the month and the bills are in, 
which intensifies James King's disgust. Something 
drastic must be done, he realizes, if any member of his 
household is ever to amount to anything, and after 
serious thought he has decided to close up the city 
house and reopen the old King farm in New Jersey 
for the sunmier. They can at least raise chickens, 

248 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 249 

and although he has Httle hope that much good will 
result, he thinks perhaps they " can learn something 
by seeing how hard they have to scratch for a liv- 

The family is properly horrified. The idea of sug- 
gesting anything resembling work to them, when not 
one of them has ever been taught to do a useful thing! 
They immediately decide that father must be crazy, 
and begin to search for some way of diverting his 
thoughts from so wild a scheme. Perhaps if they 
can induce Dr. Delamater, the family medical ad- 
viser, to suggest to Mr. King that he needs a rest, and 
a change — a long rest and a complete change — they 
can get him to go out of town, and by the time he 
comes back he will have forgotten all about New Jer- 
sey and the silly chicken business. Dr. Delamater 
is easily won over to the conspiracy. Being quite in 
love with Eva he realizes that if she moves to New 
Jersey he will see but little of her, while if she stays 
on in New York, and father is away, she may grow 
more dependent upon him. So he agrees to advise 
Mr. King to make a tour of inspection of his rubber 
plantations up the Amazon, a trip that will keep him 
away from home for three months. 

The family conspiracy is an entire success until it 
is exploded by Uncle Horace, who has heard the plot- 
ting and deliberately exposes the plotters. Then James 
King waxes exceeding wroth. So that's the scheme, 
is it ? Well, wait until they hear from him — 

Before he has a chance to turn on his family, how- 
ever, Adam Smith, his general manager, arrives. He 
is a good-looking, exceedingly personable young man. 
Innocently he stumbles right into the middle of his 
employer's grouch as he greets him. 

Adam — You're not looking zvell this morning, Mr. 
King. 



250 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

King — No? 

Adam — You know, what you need is a holiday? 

King — You think I ought to take a trip, too — 
eh? 

Adam — I suppose you'll say you can't bring your- 
self to leave this place — and really I don't blame you. 

King — You like it here, eh? 

Adam — Like it? It's perfect. It's a home. 

King — Yes, it's a Jwme all right! 

Adam — It takes a homeless lonely fellow like me 
to appreciate the way you're blessed, Mr. King! As 
I came up the drive and saw this lovely, big house 
hedged about with honeysuckle and roses, and looking 
so sweet and peaceful, I just realized all I v/as missing 
in life — (looks at windozu) And then when I turned 
the corner and saw your family sitting out on the 
porch — Oh, but it must be wonderful to have a 
family ! 

King — They were all on the porch? 

Adam — Yes, sir — And they looked so happy. 
They were all laughing. 

King^ — {getting up). Laughing? They were all 
laughing ? 

Adam — Yes. They seemed as merry and care- 
free as a lot of kids when the day school closes — 

King — {thru his teeth). Just wait — just wait! 

Adam — {startled). I beg pardon, Sir? 

King — {recovering hiniself). Nothing — Noth- 
ing. I mean if you just wait you'll have a family 
yourself some day. 

Adam — I hope you're right, sir, but I hate to think 
of all the time I'm losing. You're simply not living 
when you've only got yourself. Can you imagine what 
it would be like to come home and not find your loved 
ones wailing for you with outstretched arms? 

King — Outstretched arms? Outstretched hands, 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 251 

you mean. You know a hell of a lot about families, 
don't you? 

Adam — Why, Mr. King! 

King — They made a pretty picture out there on 
the porch, didn't they? The smiling faces — I know 
why they were smiling all right — and the sunshine 
filtering thru the honeysuckle and the soft-colored 
summer dresses. (Snatches up a bill, hands it to 
Adam) See that? 

Adam — What is it ? ( Takes hill.) 

King — The hill for those soft-colored summer 
dresses! How'd you like to pay that? Have you 
seen their hats? No, neither have I, but I've seen 
this. (Hands another hill) And here's the things 
they wear underneath. (Hands lingerie hill) Some- 
times on Monday afternoon I go out and sit in the 
clothes yard to try and get my money's worth on the 
lingerie bill. 

Adam — If you'll pardon me, Mr. King, why do 
you encourage them to be so extravagant ? You ought 
to speak to them. 

King — Speak to them! 

Adam — I s'pose you're afraid of hurting their feel- 
ings — but if you were very careful of the way you 
expressed it — All you need to do is just drop a 
hint — love is a wonderful interpreter. 

King — Say, where have you been all your life? 

Adam — For the most part I've been up at Manouse 
looking after your rubber plantations. 

King — Then I'm partly responsible for your inno- 
cence, am I? And I was just planning to send you 
back there, to-morrow. 

Adam — Yes, sir. That's what I want to talk to 
you about. Can't you send somebody else, Mr. King? 

King — Why don't you want to go? 

Adam — It's so lonely. I don't believe I could 



252 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

stand it again. You can't realize what it's like never 
to see a woman. 

King — Aren't there any women there? 

Adam — There were just three Anglo-Saxon women 
there when I first went there and one of them left and 
one's dead. 

King — What's the matter with the other one? 

Adam — She was almost killed by our kindness too. 
The whole club used to paddle six miles up the river 
on Sunday afternoon just to sit and look at her. She 
was the only relative any of the boys had. 

King — You had to i)addle six miles up river to see 
a relative ? You're not describing Manouse — you're 
describing Heaven. 

Adam — Heaven ? 

King — (raptly). I have always longed for a place 
like that — longed for adventure — to get off in the 
wilds — I love to picture myself sitting by the camp 
fire, listening to a cougar howling in the forest, or 
watching the crocodiles heave about in the river like 
drifting logs, while a pink cloud of flamingoes floats 
across the window of blue sky that opens between the 
palm trees. 

Adam — {quite nmnovcd). Sounds very wonder- 
ful, but take my word for it, it doesn't compare with 
a wicker chair out on your porch. Oh, gee — Life's 
a funny thing, isn't it ? Here I am envying you every- 
thing you've got and you're envying me everything I 
have had, and you talk about the place I call hell as 
Heaven, 

King — Adam — why can't we change places? 

Adam — {startled). Change i)laces — how do you 
mean ? 

King — I mean that I will go to Manouse — if you'll 
take over my family. 

Adam — You're joking. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 253 

King — Oh, no, I am not. You're longing for a 
family and I'm longing for a rest. 

Ad.am — Yon mean that you'd actually leave me in 
charge of your family? 

King — I mean I'll install you here as Father. 
They don't think much of me as father — so I should 
like to let them try a new one. 

Adam — If you will pardon me, Mr. King, I think 
that is one of the wildest ideas I ever heard. 

King — Not at all. It would be a liberal education 
for you — and believe me you need it. It's really 
awful to think of a poor innocent fellow going about 
with the idea that if you want to stop women from 
being extravagant, all you need to do is drop a hint! 
You long for the touch of a woman's hand, do you? 
You'll get it, boy, you'll get it, if you're not darn 
careful! You've done a lot for me, Adam. Your 
honesty and faithfulness have helped me to make a 
large fortune — so I'd like to do something for you. 
I want to open your eyes before you've landed your- 
self with a wife, a mother-in-law and a couple of 
kids. 

Adam — But what would your family say to the 
scheme ? 

King — We don't need to care what they say. I've 
still got one hold over my family. They all sit up on 
their hind legs and woof when 1 hold this little book. 
(Holds lip check-book as if it zvere a piece of sugar 
for a poodle.) 

Adam — (shocked). You rule them with a check- 
book! That isn't right, Mr. King. 

King — If you can discover any other way to rule 
them, I shall be most grateful. 

Thus it is arranged that young Mr. Smith shall for 
the time being become the " father "of the King fam- 



254 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

ily. His word is to be law. The girls are to be given 
their regular allowances, and there will be a certain 
sum set aside for the maintenance of the home. But 
all charge accounts are to be cut ofif, and, as their 
father explains to them: "H Smith doesn't approve 
your purchases all your C O D's will be S O S's." 
Even Adam is a little frightened at the prospect, as 
he notes the hostility of the family when he is intro- 
duced to them. " Really, Mr. King," he protests, " if 
they don't want me — and it is only natural that they 
shouldn't — " 

King — Of course they don't want you. They'd 
like a chance to do all the silly, extravagant, idiotic 
things that they can't do while I'm here. 

Julie — But, Dad, Mr. Smith is a stranger. He 
doesn't know us. 

King — No, and it's a damn good thing he doesn't. 
Mr. Smith has a very limited idea of family life. 
Hence he's longing for it. He has a charming picture 
in his mind that 1 hope you will all help him to realize. 
It is evening, the lamps are lit, the curtains down. Fa- 
ther is sitting by the log fire with his family all about 
him. Aunt Abby is knitting, Julie and Clinton are 
playing parchesi, Uncle Horace is reading out loud 
some interesting excerpts from the Literary Digest, 
while Eva is seated at the piano playing very softly 
and sweetly that dear old melody, " Home, Sweet 
Home." (Says this very sicectly thru his teeth zvith 
an exaggerated smile.) 

Adam — That's very charming, indeed, but really I 
shall feel like an intruder within the sacred circle — 
After all the atmosphere of the home is hallowed, an 
alien presence might shatter its mystic charm. 

King — You see ! He can't talk about a home with- 
out getting poetical. (To Adam) Oh, my boy, my 
boy, — what an awakening you're going to get ! 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 255 

Eva is the only one who is the least sympathetic, and 
it is Eva to whom any impressionable young man would 
most naturally turn. " Dad deserves a vacation," 
says she; "we have led him an awful life. , . . I'm 
sure Mr. Smith will make a splendid father." 

Adam — Thank you. Really, Miss King, if you feel 
that way about it I feel inclined to accept. Of course, 
I appreciate it's rather a wild idea, but after all you 
will want someone to lean on. 

King — Lean on? They won't want to lean on you, 
they'll sit on you. . . . 

Julie — But after all, father, do you think you'd 
better go on such a long trip? 

Abby — Yes, if you want a little rest, why not let 
us all go down to White Sulphur Springs. 

Clinton — Pious idea — 

King — I'm going to South America and I'm going 
alotie. 

Eva — He wants romance. Poor dear, he's never 
had it. 

Adam — He'll be sick of it soon enough. You don't 
realize it, Mr. King, but you're going to be terribly 
lonely. 

King — Don't realize it, don't I? Why that's the 
whole reason I'm going. All my life I've been long- 
ing for it. Lonely ! I'm going to try to be so blame 
lonely that maybe I'll be able to understand why a 
man is darn fool enough to raise a family ! 

Abby — (after Mr. King Jias gone). I'm sure Mr. 
Smith must feci as uncomfortable as we do. 

Adam — {thoroughly abashed in the presence of the 
ladies — he hesitates — starts to speak — cannot — 
smiles — tries again) Don't call me Mr. Smith — call 
me — Adam. 



256 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Eva — Oh, no. I'm going to call you " Father." 

Adam sinks weakly into a chair as the curtain falls, 
overcome either by the prospect of his new " job " or 
the enticingly mischievous smile with which Eva ob- 
serves him. 

Act II 

Ten days later James King is well on his way to 
South America and Adam Smith is comfortably in- 
stalled in the King home as substitute father — as 
comfortably installed, at least, as circumstances have 
permitted. He has been rather obviously tolerated by 
the members of his " family " and has felt consider- 
ably out of place. But he has done his best, taking 
tips from Clinton as to the way he should dress for 
dinner, and overcoming his proletarian liking for sleeve 
guards and tie-clips. Eva continues the most friendly 
of the group, but even she has not been as friendly 
as he could wish, one reason for which he learns when 
she comes to consult him about her particular problem. 
Shall she marry Lord Andrew Gordon, an affable 
Scotchman whom everyone suspects of being a fortune 
hunter, or Dr. Delamater? 

Adam — Good evening, Miss King. 

Eva — Miss King? That's rather a formal way of 
addressing your daughter. 

Adam — Don't you think we've had about enough of 
that father and daughter joke? 

Eva — Don't you want me to think of you as a 
father ? 

Adam — No. 

Eva — Why not ? 

Adam — Why not? Because — {He pauses and 
his courage fails him) If you think of me as a fa- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 257 

ther you'll begin to think of me as old — not old in 
years perhaps, but stoggy and serious. 

Eva — No — you're just the thing I've been asking 
for. 

Adam — (eagerly) Am I really? 

Eva — Yes — a young father — one who's not too 
old to understand my problem. 

Adam — Oh — {Laughs emharrassedly) I sup- 
pose, Miss King, you want to ask my advice about 
something? 

Eva — Yes, my own father took a dislike to Andy 
on principles, so it was no use to try to talk it over 
with hmi. 

Adam — Andy — you want my opinion of Lord 
Andrew ? 

Eva — I've been trying to make up my mind which 
would make the better husband, Dr. Delamater or Lord 
Andrew. 

Adam — Good Heavens. Do you have to marry 
one of them? 

Eva — Well, I suppose I've got to marry — some- 
one. 

Adam — I suppose — I've never met Dr. Delamater. 

Eva — He's coming here tonight — they both are. 

Adam — For an answer? 

Eva — Not exactly. You see. Lord Andrew hasn't 
proposed as yet. 

Adam — But you know they both love you ? 

Eva — Of course. Why a girl can always tell when 
a man is in love with her. 

Adam — Always? 

Eva — {nodding). Ahvays. 

Adam — That opens up a new line of thought — 

Eva — ... I don't think it can be very nice to 
marry anyone whose tastes and habits are on a differ- 
ent plane from your own. 



258 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Adam — Oh, you wouldn't marry a man who 
(pause) — I understand — However, both the men 
you're considering have got the right tastes and habits, 
so that doesn't enter into your problem, does it? 

Eva — No. 

Adam — Which one do you love ? 

Eva — I'm not sure that I love either — neither the 
doctor nor Andy quite fills the bill. You see, I like 
one for one thing — and the other for something else. 

Adam — I see — if you could marry them both, they 
would add up about a hundred percent. 

Eva — Yes. One to take me to a Polo Match, 
and one to take me to the Opera. Oh, you under- 
stand ? 

Adam — Oh, yes, I understand. Pve met lots of 
ideal women — ideal fifty percent of the time. But 
if I can't have my hundred percent girl, I don't want 
any. 

Eva — Oh, have you found a hundred percent girl? 

Adam — I've carried the picture of one around with 
me a long time. She rode into my dreams when I 
was up the great river — she was just a dim phantom 
then. It's only lately that she's grown real to me. 
I don't want one woman to go to a Polo Match with 
me, and another to sit by my side when I hear beauti- 
ful music. I want her all the time — everywhere I 
go. And most of all I want her to come home to — 
for after all it's the thought that the woman you love 
is waiting for you there that makes " home " the most 
beautiful word in all the languages of the world. 

Eva — Why, Father, I had no idea you were so ro- 
mantic. (She says it zvith a whimsical smile, not 
really meaning to tease him.) 

Adam — Romantic ? — Yes — I suppose I am. You 
see, being alone a lot forces a chap to live on dreams. . 

Adam soon faces the first family crisis. A new din- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 259 

ner gown arrives for Julie, COD, and the amount 
due is $435. "CO D," Eva explains to the puzzled 
Lord Andrew, is an Americanism meaning " Call on 
Dad." Adam, going over the books, knows that they 
have all overdrawn their accounts and are blithely run- 
ning into debt, just as they were accustomed to do with 
their real father. He realizes the time has come for 
him to take a stand and he frankly tells both Eva and 
Julie that he does not feel that he can pay for the 
gown. 

Eva — Julie, the Secretary of the Treasury de- 
clares our domestic government is facing a deficit. 

Julie — Really, Mr. Smith, you mean — 

Adam — {uncomforiably). I'm in a very awk- 
ward position, ^Irs. DeWitt. That package was sent 
COD. 

Julie — Well, what is the difficulty, Mr. Smith? 
Father supplied you with funds to pay our C O D's, 
didn't he — 

Adam — Yes, up to a certain amount. But he's 
been gone only ten days and we've already exceeded 
our month's allowance. 

Julie — Then we'll have to start drawing on next 
month's — Father grew quite used to that. ( Takes 
out dress and holds it up.) 

Lord Andrew — Oh, I say — that's a rip-snorter, 
if you like ! 

Julie — A Poiret model — nobody else can combine 
colors like that. {Drapes it on herself) Isn't it a 
poem ? 

Eva — ]\Iore like a song, I should say — 

Julie — A song? — 

Eva — Sweet and low. (To Andy) You see, 
Julie beleives in candor. No secrets among friends, 
even where moles and freckles are concerned. 

Adam — You say that when you exceeded one 



26o THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

month's allowance your father would let you begin to 
draw on the next? 

Julie — Yes. 

Adam — Well — that was all right for him — but 
I don't see how I can do it. You see, he limited me 
and I — I'm very sorry — 

Julie — Then you propose that I should send this 
dress back? 

Adam — I should think that would be the best solu- 
tion — yes. 

Julie — And what do you suggest I should wear at 
dinner tonight? 

Adam — Really I — that frock you have on looks 
very nice to me. 

Julie — A tea gown at dinner? 

Adam — I beg pardon. I'm afraid I'm not very 
well up on these things. 

Eva — Don't be a chump, Julie. You know you've 
got a closet full of dinner gowns. 

Julie — That's no reason why I should be treated 
like a school girl and humiliated by having my pur- 
chases sent back. 

Adam — If you feel that way about it, Mrs. DeWitt, 
I'll pay it out of my own account. 

Julie — Oh, please don't be so preposterous. 
(Swings dress to Corinthia, zvlio puts it in the box) 
Send the dress back. Tomorrow I'll take my pearls 
tip to town and pawn them. I think I can raise enough 
money to pay my bills until father returns — 

Adam — (going to her). Oh, no — you mustn't do 
that, Mrs. DeWitt. If we can just get together and 
see where we can save. 

Julie — Save! You talk as if the King Rubber 
Company were on the verge of ruin — 

Lord Andrew — (alarmed). It isn't, is it? 

Nor does the matter of Julie's dinner gown end the 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 261 

troubles of the worried father for the day. Distaste- 
ful as the task is, he suddenly discovers that he also 
is forced to discipline Eva. '* I'm afraid," says she, 
by way of opening the conversation, " that dinner 
gown will rankle for sometime." 

Adam — I'm awfully sorry to hurt her feelings. 

Eva — Before you put that check book back, I may 
as well make my application. 

Adam — Certainly, how much do you need, 
please ? 

Eva — I think a hundred and fifty will do. We're 
going to teach Andy to play Red Dog after dinner. 

Lord Andrew — I'm always very quick at picking 
up games. 

Adam — Red Dog? — is that gambling? 

Eva — Yes, Why? Do you object to my gam- 
bling ? 

Adam — I have no reason to object to your gam- 
bling, as long as your father doesn't mind. 

Eva — Oh, I can't say father doesn't mind. He 
kicks up an awful fuss whenever he hears about my 
losses. Now isn't that just like a man who gambles 
with millions in the rubber market to object to his 
children playing cards for money? 

Adam — The King Company is forced to gamble 
in order to protect its supply of raw material, but if 
you knew what a risky business it is you wouldn't 
wonder that your father dislikes gambling. 

Ev.\ — Well this is an occasion where his feelings 
are spared. {Holds out hand) One hundred and 
fifty, please. 

Adam — {miserably). I'm dreadfully sorry. 

Eva — Sorry ? 

Adam — Your father left me in charge and I prom- 
ised him I'd try and look after his home and family 
just as he would himself! 



262 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Eva — So because I tell you he objects to my gam- 
bling you won't give me any money? 

AuAM — I'll give it to you if you'll promise you 
vi'on't use it for that purpose. 

Eva — Well, if Julie felt like a school girl I feel 
like an infant. 

Adam — {trying to smile). You insist on calling 
me ' father.' Please don't be annoyed the first time 1 
act like one. 

Eva — No, I can appreciate a joke — even though 
it's on myself — but when you ask me for promises 
of good behavior it is too idiotic to be even funny. 
However, praises be — I also have a pearl necklace. 
So your lesson in Red Dog is postponed merely until 
tomorrow, Andy. 

Lord Andrew — Right, Oh ! 

Adam — Oh, please don't take it that way. Miss 
King. I feel perfectly rotten. 

Eva — Don't trouble to apologize. Come out on the 
terrace, Andy. (Andy rises) And you shall tell me 
what that thing is that is weighing on your mind. 

Lord Andrew — I don't know — 1 don't think it 
would be quite judish to tell it while you're in a bad 
mood. 

Eva — (sharply). Nonsense, I am in the right 
mood, if you only had sense to see it. 

Adam — (stopping her at door). Miss King, please 
don't go like that — I've been awfully clumsy. 

Eva — Why, no. You acted very conscientiously 
and creditably. It's only that I think Lve had about 
enough of parental authority. It's about time I be- 
came my own mistress. 

Adam now realizes that he has reached the point in 
his parental experiment when either he nnist control 
the situation or acknowledge himself beaten. Both 
girls have threatened to pawn their jewels. It would 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 263 

be perfectly simple for them to raise sufficient funds 
in that way to keep them in money until their father 
returned. Therefore, Adam determines there shall be 
a burglary while the family is at dinner — and that 
will dispose of the pearls. About which time he is 
struck with another idea. Word is telephoned from 
the offices of the King Rubber Company that there 
has been a flurry on the stock exchange that has hit 
the King Company pretty hard. What would happen 
if it were made to appear that not only a part, but all 
of the King money had been lost ? Adam is revolving 
this thought in his mind when Dr. Delamater, return- 
ing from a private conference respecting his chances 
of winning Eva away from Lord Andrew, suggests 
practically the same thing. " I'm not going to ask 
you to forbid the match," he explains. " I've 
thought of a way you can get rid of this adven- 
turer. It's pretty drastic, I admit, but then the 
case is becoming desperate and calls for a desperate 
remedy. 

Adam — All right. Doctor — prescribe — 

Dr. Delamater — To begin with you are Mr. 
King's business manager — (Adam nods) So any- 
thing you say about the business is going to be pretty 
conclusive — and then remember none of the family 
knows any more about business than a child. 

Adam — I don't catch your drift, Doctor. 

Dr. Delamater — Well, I see by the paper that 
there's been quite a flurry in the rubber market to- 
day — 

Adam — Flurry hardly describes it. 

Dr. Delemater — Mr. King was known to be a 
large speculator. 

Adam — Yes — 

Dr. Delemater — Why not announce privately to 
the family that Mr. King is ruined? 



264 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Adam — Eh? 

Dr. Delamater — Eva will of course tell the 
Scotchman that she is penniless and as he is penniless 
too, he'll be forced to show his real colors and back 
out as gracefully as he can. (Dr. Delamater stops 
and looks at Adam to see how he likes the idea.) 

Adam — (slozvly). You know, Doctor — it's a 
darn funny thing that you should propose this. 

Dr. Delamater — (surprised) . Yes — why ? 

Adam — (after a second's pause). Because Mr. 
King really is ruined. 

Dr. Delamater — Eh — ^//^T.? 

Adam — That little flurry you spoke about has 
wiped him out clean. 

Dr. Delamater — But, good God, man, do you 
mean to say that with a business like Mr. King's — 
it's — impossible. 

Adam — Seems so to me, too — I just can't realize 
it. 

Dr. Delamater — Why, I'd always understood 
King was worth millions. And you stand there and 
tell me he's lost everything f 

Adam — I'm afraid it's going to be an awful shock 
to the family. 

Dr. Delamater — SHOCK? I should say it is a 
shock ! (A soft chime is heard off, the Doctor starts) 
What's that? 

Adam — Oh, that's the dinner gong. I thought I 
wouldn't tell them till after dinner. It would be a 
shame to spoil their appetites. 

Dr. Delamater — Yes, of course — I'd better slip 
out before they come down — I couldn't talk to them 
now as if nothing had happened. (Looks around) 
All this gone — just think of it! What will they do^ 

Adam — Well, Doctor, I suppose Miss King will 
marry a man who can look after her. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 265 

Dr. Delamater — Yes — yes — she's an awfully at- 
tractive girl. Of course some fellow is bound to come 
along. 

Adam — (turning his head rather quickly). To 
come along? 

Dr. Delamater — (a trifle embarrassed). Oh — 
er — when you tell them please say that if there's any- 
thing on earth I can do to send for me. 

Adam — Thank you, Doctor ! 

Dr. Delamater — And that check for my bill — 
I shall tear it up. 

Adam — How good of you. 

Dr. Delamater — I only wish I could do more but 
— (Confidentially) My income is much smaller than 
people suppose — 

Adam — Well — there's just one bright side to this 
thing. 

Dr. Delamater — Yes, what's that ? 

Adam — Miss Eva will be quite safe from fortune 
hunters. (He looks at the Doctor meaningfully, as 
the latter makes an embarrassed exit.) 

It was v/hile the family was still at dinner that the 
wall safes in both Eva's and Julie's rooms were pried 
open and their jewels extracted, but the girls did not 
discover their loss for some time. 



An hour later, after dinner, the family is entertain- 
ing itself in the drawing-room. Eva has just an- 
nounced her engagement to Lord Andrew and Julie 
has gone upstairs to start a list of those socially 
ehgible for invitations to an announcement party, 
when the substitute father walks in upon his home 
circle. He is plainly disturbed and anxious, and this 
leads them to inquire the cause. It is quite evident 
that he has an unpleasant announcement to make. 



266 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Adam — I've been trying to muster up courage to 
tell you — I even put these clothes on so as to give 
myself another reason for delay — but it's no use 
stalling any longer. You've got to know. 

Eva — {really alarmed). Why, Mr. Smith, you 
don't — 

Uncle Horace — {breaking in). Your father's 
boat has gone down, just what I dreamed this after- 
noon. 

Adam — No, Mr. King is all right. That is to say 

— he's safe and well. 

Uncle Horace — Go on, then. Explode your 
bomb and bury our fragments. 

Adam — My dear people — Mr. King is ruined. 

All — (Eva rises). Ruined? 

Ai5RY — {speaking on same cue). Did he say 
ruined? 

Clinton — {speaking above the omnes). Not 
really ruined? {There is a moment's hushed silence 

— Adam nods his head slozvly.) 
AuBY — It's incredible ! Fantastic ! 

Lord Andrew — I say, does " ruined " mean the 
same thing here that it does in England? 

Adam — Yes, I mean financially ruined. 

Eva — But how — Jiozv could it happen ? Surely, 
he can't suddenly — Why he's been gone only ten 
days. 

Adam — The Brazilian Government placed an em- 
bargo on rubber shipments — that means a nation-wide 
shortage on raw material. This afternoon prices 
soared to the skies. The King Company is carrying 
a tremendous short account and that account has got 
to be covered if it takes cz'cry dollar. (Eva goes 
above chair L.) 

Lord Andrew — Every dollar? 

Clinton — But look here, Brazil has no right to do 
this to us. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 267 

Lord Andrew — No, I say, can't we get the good 
old U. S. A. to send some battleships? That's what 
we always do in England. 

Eva — Have you sent for father ? 

Adam — Xo, he's probably way up the river by this 
time, and he won't hear of it till he reaches Alanouse. 

Abby — Does it mean that everything is gone ? 
(Adam nods his head) His private fortune? 

Adam — Em afraid there is no private fortune; it 
is all in the business. Perhaps we can save the home. 
I'm going to try. But it can't be kept up. We've got 
to rent it. 

Uncle Horace — Rent it ? 

Clinton — Good God ! 

Uncle Horace — Then where the devil are we go- 
ing to live? 

Adam — That's the problem we've got to face. 

Abby — Well, there's only one thing to do — we'll 
just have to wait till ^Ir. King comes back. 

Adam — You actually propose to sit down and fold 
your hands until Mr. King gets back to earn your liv- 
ing for you ? 

Clinton — Well, if we don't know how to earn one 
ourselves? 

Adam — You'll have to do like other people, Mr. 
DeWitt, and find out how. Mr. King is over fifty 
years old. All his life he has worked for his fam- 
ily — for you. He has supported you — made a beau- 
tiful home for you — a home that none of you appre- 
ciate because you've never had to do without it. He's 
given you education, food, clothes, — everything you 
asked for within reason — and a great deal that was 
out of reason. And now, after years of office drudg- 
ery, of fighting and struggling for you, are you going 
to ask him to start in all over again — at his age — 
with a family hanging around his neck? 



268 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Eva — Of course we're not, Mr. Smith ! Though 
I don't blame you for thinking us quite capable of it. 

Adam — I beg your pardon. I had no right to talk 
to you that way. After all, I'm only an outsider. 

Eva — We'll be glad if you won't consider your- 
self an outsider — You see, we're a dreadfully help- 
less crowd, and we shall need someone with business 
experience to advise us. 

Adam — {goes to Eva). That's what I want to do. 
I'm tremendously fond of your father. I've been with 
him ever since I was a kid and he's been so damned 
white to me — 

There is little time to consider what's to be done 
before Julie arrives with the news of the jewel rob- 
bery — and that is the last straw. They might have 
lived some time on what the jewels would have 
brought, as Clinton sadly suggests, but — Well, there 
seems to be nothing to do but for them all to go to 
work. It is a terrible thought, but they must make 
the best of it. It is Clinton's suggestion that they 
look over the " Help Wanted " and " Business Oppor- 
tunity " ads in the newspapers, which they do, with 
the result that Uncle Horace decides to become an 
insurance agent and Clinton purposes to take a new 
line of *' snappy clothes " into the small towns. When 
it comes Eva's turn to choose Adam becomes some- 
what excited. " The only job that I can find that 
doesn't need previous experience," she admits, " is a 
shop assistant. I shall make a try for that." 

Adam — Oh, great Scott — no I I can't let you do 
that — I mean you mustn't do that. 

Eva — Why not ? 

Adam — Because you nmsn't. You don't realize 
what it would be like — to stand behind a counter all 
day. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 269 

Eva — Well, if other girls can do it, I can. 

Adam — No, no, wait a minute. Tell me, doesn't 
your father own an old place over in Xew Jersey? 

Eva — Yes — he's kept it out of sentiment. It's the 
place where he spent his boyhood. 

Adam — Why couldn't we turn it into a chicken 
farm? 

Eva — I believe there are chickens there now. 

Adam — I mean on a large scale. For instance — 
special brands of eggs for invalids — packed in fancy 
boxes and delivered by express. And honey the same 
way. Have little jars shaped like a bee hive. You 
and Mrs. DeWitt could run it. It would be better 
than taking some ill-paid job as a secretary or com- 
panion. 

Eva — What a splendid idea ! 

Julie — Yes, isn't it. And I know all about bees 
since I read that book of Alaeterlinck's. Oh, Clinnie. 
Have you read Maeterlinck's " Life of the Bee"? So 
fascinating — And the part about the Queen Bee 
and her young lover is deliciously risque. Poor dear, 
just like Cleopatra, she always murders him after the 
honeymoon. 

Adam — Really with your acquaintance to help get 
the thing started we could make a go of it. 

It is thus decided that Eva and Julie wall go to the 
farm and that Adam will board with them, build 
chicken coops on Sundays and sort of look after the 
business details. Aunt Abby decides to take a posi- 
tion as housekeeper and companion, until the bee and 
chicken enterprise is well under way. Which makes 
a place for everybody but Lord Andrew. Naturally, 
everyone expected with the King money gone his lord- 
ship would fade away, but as it transpires he is not 
that sort of a fortune hunter at all. " I say, look 
here," says he to Eva, " I'm going to make a confesh. 



270 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

I came over here to America with the idea of marry- 
ing money. That's true — absolutely. But I've found 
out tonight that the money hasn't a dashed thing to do 
with the way I feel about you." 

Eva — Why, Andy, that's very nice of you, but — 

Lord Andrew — So if good old Smith will help me 
I'm going to be naturalized and settle down in Amer- 
ica an — an — an — and get a job. 

Adam and Eva — A job? 

Lord Andrew — (a trifie anxiously). Yes, you 
won't think any the less of me for working, will you? 
And of course, I'll have to drop the title — 

Eva — Andy, you're a dear ! 

Adam — (Jwlding out his Jiand). Put it there, old 
man. I'll never say a word against the Scotch as 
long as I live. 

Lord Andrew — Thank you. 

Eva — But — one minute, Andy — your family — 
surely they are counting on you ? 

Lord Andrew — To bring home an heiress? Yes, 
I suppose they are. But then I've been a sore disap- 
pointment to my family from the very first. Will you 
believe it, they had it all planned out to christen me 
Victoria and marry me to a Duke. 

When Adam finds himself alone he decides to make 
way with the " loot." He can't go around with several 
thousand dollars' worth of pearls in his pocket, so he 
thinks he will hide them in some good place — perhaps 
back of the books. He takes an envelope from the 
desk and is just dropping the pearls into it when Eva 
re-enters the room and sees him. She is surprised — 
not to say shocked, but all she can say is : "I don't 
understand." 

Adam — (head down"). It is quite simple, Miss 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 271 

King. I am the man who took those jewels. {Holds 
them in his hand). 

Eva — Yes, but why — 

Adam — Those jewels mean you don't have to work 
— none of you. You can live on the money they fetch 
until your father gets back, and starts in again. (He 
hands the jezvels to her, she takes them mechanically.) 

Eva — Those jewels would be a big help to Dad; 
you want us to keep them and give them to him. 
That's it, isn't it? 

Adam — It will be great if you can. 

Eva — Can. Of course we can. (Offers them to 
him — he docs not take them) Take them back, I 
won't say a word to the others. 

Adam — You mean that ? 

Eva — I suppose we may have rather a hard time 
at first. It would be a temptation if they know we 
still had these. 

Adam — You're splendid. 

Eva — Oh, no, but we'll see if the Kings can't go 
thru like Andy did. (Adam takes the jeivcls) Good- 
night — Father. 

Adam — I am glad I am something to you. 

Eva — I didn't say it that time to tease you, I just 
want to tell you how grateful I am for all you've done 
for me — for us — 

Adam — " Me " was right. 

Eva — You've been — what was your expression? 
— " damned white." 

She turns and leaves the room as the curtain falls. 

Act III 

Thanksgiving day, three months later. The King 
family, represented by its present and prospective 
members, is reassembling at the King farm in New 



272 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Jersey for a celebration dinner. The " Queen Bee " 
honey and chicken business is booming; Clinton has 
made a success as a salesman of nifly clothes for 
nifty lads; Uncle Horace is the most persistently suc- 
cessful of insurance agents; Aunt Abby has married 
an aged widower with gout and a fortune, for whom 
she had been keeping house, and Lord Andrew has be- 
come the most popular riding master in New York. 
Adam is quite well satisfied with the way everything 
has worked out. He is even becoming reconciled to 
the thought of Eva's marrying Lord Andrew, though 
he finds that the hardest feature of the situation to 
accept. This Thanksgiving morning he is painting the 
coop that is to be sent to the poultry show with the 
prize Dorkings. Eva, carrying a glass bowl of corn- 
meal for the chickens, and a big red apple for Eva, 
spies him as she comes from the house. 

Eva — Don't tell me it's all done ? 

Adam — Yes, I got up and finished it early this 
morning. / was the man with the hammer that you 
were cursing for waking you. 

Eva — I didn't hear you. 

Adam — No ! Well of course I tried to hammer 
softly. 

Eva — Nonsense. I'll bet I was up before you. I 
took a little holiday and went riding with Andy. 

Adam — {trying to be airy about it). Must have 
been a perfect morning for horse-back riding. 

Eva — It was lovely. The air like cr3^stal and that 
nice woody smell that comes in late fall. Do you 
know I really love this place, Adam. And our funny 
little gray house makes me understand what you used 
to mean when you talked with so much feeling about 
a home. 

Adam — Yes, it'll be nice to look back at this time 
we've all spent here together. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 273 

Eva — Look back ? 

Adam — Andy is doing pretty well now, isn't 
he? 

Eva — (running her fingers thru the chicken food) 
He's getting on. 

Adam — Well, when is it going to be? {His at- 
tempt of carelessness is over done.) 

Eva — When is what going to be — Oh, the wed- 
ding, you mean? 

Adam — Uh — huh ! ( Whistles and regards his 
painting thru half closed eyes.) 

Eva — Oh, not for a long time yet. 

Adam — But isn't he getting pretty anxious ? I 
know if I loved a girl I simply couldn't wait for the 
day when — I could really call her mine. 

Eva — // you loved ? I thought you told me once 
that you had found the woman you'd always dreamed 
of? Your hundred-percent girl you called her. 

Adam — Did I say that ? 

Eva — Yes, but maybe she turned out not to be a 
hundred-percent after all. 

Adam — No. She turned out even better than I 
expected. Too good. 

Eva — Too good ? 

Adam — Too good for me. 

Eva — (shaking her head). I don't believe that. 

Adam — Yes, I think even you'd have to admit it 
if you knew her as I know her — and saw just how 
splendid she is. 

Eva — (piqued — she heedlessly spills the chicken 
food as she runs her fingers thru it). And does this 
female paragon realize that you think so highly of 
her? 

Adam — (painting away). No, sir — I should say 
not — Oh, no — and what's more, she never will. 
(Eva gives him a look hut he doesn't see it.) 

Eva — Too bad. Have a bite of my apple, Adam? 



274 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

And the unwary Adam takes quite as generous a 
bite as his ancient ancestor gobbled up in Eden, just 
as Lord Andrew himself appears on the scene man- 
fully shouldering a bag of meal he has brought in from 
the village for the " jolly old poultry." Lord Andrew 
is growing a little impatient, too, at being constantly 
put off by Eva whenever he suggests an early mar- 
riage. He can't altogether understand it — until an 
observing member of the family helps to open his eyes. 
Can't he see that Adam is head over heels in love with 
Eva, and Eva in love with him? No, he can't, dash 
it all. He can't. And before he has much of a 
chance to try James King appears suddenly on the 
scene and everything else is forgotten. His return 
from South America is what he intended it should be, 
a complete surprise. But — " what on earth are my 
family doing out here in this God-forsaken spot?" 
he promptly demands. 

Adam — Raising chickens. 

King — Raising what? 

Adam — Chickens. Oh, they love it here — the 
peace and quiet are wonderful. 

King — Peace and quiet — don't you ever say those 
words to me again. 

Adam — Why, what's the matter ? 

King — Eve had enough peace and quiet to last me 
a life time. I Vv-ant my family. 

Adam — I told you so. 

King — Oh, shut up — Em trying to grasp this 
thing — I came back expecting to find my whole fam- 
ily on Long Island raising hell and I find them in New 
Jersey raising chickens. 

Adams leaves ]\Ir. King while he goes in search of 
the family, that they may welcome their father home. 
When they assemble and the greetings are over, they 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 275 

try to make him understand the situation. He may 
not know it but he is a ruined man. Adam will tell 
him the details when he comes and he will understand 
that when the blow fell there was nothing else for 
them to do. 

Clinton — (szvaggering a bit). Well, of course we 
could have sat down and cabled for you to come back 
and work for us, but that never even suggested itself 
to us. 

Uncle Horace — (stoutly). I should say not. 

Eva — Wait till you hear what we've all done. 
You'll be proud of us. Why these past three months 
we've actually saved three times as much as we spent. 

King — (looks from Eva to Julie dumbfounded). 
Poor old Rip Van Winkle! I know just how he felt. 

Julie — So you see if you need any help, Dad. 
We've got some money to give you for a change. 

King — Good Heavens! You're all talking as if 
Fd gone broke. 

Julie — Well so you have, dear. 

Eva — That's the reason that we — 

King — Broke. I'm broke? Say, is this whole 
thing a joke? 

Clinton — (to Horace). Poor old Father. He 
doesn't realize what has happened to him. 

HoR.\CE — Of course, tropical heat. (Taps fore- 
head.) 

Julie — Father, dear, have you forgotten what hap- 
pened ten days after you left us? 

Eva — The Brazilian embargo on rubber ship- 
ments ! 

Julie — And the way the rubber shares jumped. 

Clinton — You had sold short and of course you 
had to cover. 

Uncle Horace — Even though it took the last dol- 
lar. 



276 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

King — My last dollar? Nonsense! I only lost 
about seventy thousand in that little rubber panic. 

Julie — (surprised). Seventy thousandf 

Clinton — (whisper hoarsely to Horace). I dare 
say that's what Adam let him think. 

King — You mean that something has happened to 
the business that I haven't been told about? 

Eva — Adam almost cried v^hen he broke the news 
to us. 

Julie — And he spoke so beautifully of you and of 
how you had always worked for us. 

King — I see what has happened. They made a 
mess of things down at the office — Adam and that 
fellow Russell. I was a fool to go away and trust 
a tricky business to a couple of underlings. 

So, that's it. The business ruined and knowledge of 
it kept from him by his general manager! Where is 
Adam? The last anyone had seen of him he was rid- 
ing toward the station. And there is a train for New 
York at a quarter to one! But Eva will not listen 
to such silly suspicions. They may all think what they 
like, but she will stake her life on Adam. None of 
the others are ready to share her trust, however. The 
elder King doesn't believe Adam is dishonest, but he 
does believe he has made a mess of the rubber busi- 
ness and is trying to cover his tracks. Which re- 
minds Lord Andrew that when he was investigating 
the jewel burglary he had found one of Adam's sleeve 
garters in Julie's room. And when he told Adam 
about it he blushed. It's true, admits Eva. Adam 
did take the jewelry. She had known that all the 
time. But he had a " splendid motive " for it. 

Eva — I don't understand about the failure or whose 
fault it was that Dad's business was smashed, but 
after it had happened Adam knew that we would never 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 277 

go to work if we had those pearls to sell, so he stole 
them. 

King — And you knew about it? 

Eva — Yes I knew. 

Julie — How did you manage to keep a secret like 
that? 

Eva — And do you realize Adam took all that 
trouble just for us. Look at us ! What were we when 
father went away? A lot of worthless idle wasters. 
And look at us now! He has given us self respect. 
He has shown us there is more fun in working and 
earning money than there is in spending it. He's fine, 
and no matter how things look — whatever you may 
say, nothing can break my faith in him. 

And then Adam comes in. He had been to town to 
get more paint. He laughs at their surprise at seeing 
him. " Oh, I see, you thought now your real father 
had come back it was time for me to abdicate. What 
do you think of my chicken coop, Mr. King? " 

King — Smith, my family have just been telling me 
that the King Company has gone to the devil. 

Adam — Oh yes, bad business isn't it? 

King — Very bad. 

Adam — But on the other hand the Bee and Chicken 
Industry is thriving. 

King — Tell me straight out, how did it happen? 
You must have been gambling with futures. 

Adam — Yes, sir, 1 was. 

Uncle Horace — Oh, perhaps I had better take 
down his confession in shorthand. 

Adam — Only it wasn't rubber futures I was gam- 
bling with — but human futures — the futures of all 
these people here. 

King — Yes, if you have ruined me — you have 
ruined them. 



278 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Adam — Ruined them? Good Heavens, look at 
them! Are they ruined? Look at Uncle Horace- — 
why he has even learned shorthand, isn't that marvelous 
— and look at my daughters — your daughters — our 
daughters — aren't you proud of them ? As a busi- 
ness man and a captain of industry you're a marvel, 
but as a father you're simply not in it with me. 

King — {realising the truth). Do you mean to 
say — 

Adam — Yes, the story of the ruin was a fake. 
You are still rich and can support them all as a crowd 
of spongers {they all resent this) if they will let you, 
but 1 miss my guess if they do. 

Clinton — To think this man faked up the whole 
story of the ruin just to make us work. Good God! 

Adam — That's it. 

Julie — Wasn't that a cute idea? 

King — I can see why you did it, but I'm darned if 
I can see how you did it. 

Adam — Well, I had to take the office into my con- 
fidence. 

It is all over now, but the understanding between 
Adam and Eva. Lord Andrew makes lh;it possible, 
by confessing that he has discovered they do really 
love each other. " I've just been watching you both, 
and I've noticed a few things." 

Eva — You noticed? Oh, no. Andy, you dear old 
silly — you couldn't notice anything of that sort. Not 
any more than Adam could. 

Adam — Eh? How's that? 

Andy — It — It's true enough — isn't it? (Eva 
nods her head "yes") Then that's settled — it's 
been deuced well worth while knowing you and being 
one of the family. 

Eva — You'll always be that Andy, dear. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 279 

Andy — Congrats, Adam, old boy an' — an' all that 
sort of thing. {Starts into house, turns again in door- 
way) I say that turkey smells devilish good. {Goes 
in whistling with an attempt at jaiintincss.) 

Eva — {pause — looking after him). Isn't he a 
dear? 

Adam — Eva — {he breaks off). 

Eva — Yes — Adam ? 

Adam — I don't know what to say — it — it doesn't 
seem possible. 

Eva — Maybe you don't love me. Do you ? Or 
don't you? 

Adam — Oh, Eva — there aren't any words to tell 
you. {He now finds the courage to hold her in his 
arms and is about to kiss her.) 

Eva — Father ? 

Adam — {thinking she means Mr. Kixg, jumps 
hack). Where? 

Eva — No, dear — not daddy. {Takes his hands 

— "helping him out") It's you that I'm calling that 

— don't you like the name ? 
Adam — Oh, gee, I forgot. 

Eva — Then I'll tell you something — I think 
maybe — after we're married we'll be like good old- 
fashioned country folk — and I'll always call you 
" father." {She says it slo2vly, he Jiolds her closer and 
kisses her — one long kiss). 

Uncle Horace — (at the window with a turkey 
bone in his hand). Say, if you don't hurry, there'll 
be nothing left for you but the neck — I say the neck. 
{He sees the situation). OlI-H!! 

{Curtain) 



•' CLARENCE " 

An American Comedy in Four Acts. 
By Booth Tarkington. 

" CLARENCE " was produced at the Hudson The- 
ater, New York, Saturday evening, September 20, and 
achieved an immediate popular success. It is written 
in a spirit of what, for lack of a better classification, 
may be termed " high farce." It relates the experience 
of a young entomologist who, having served as a 
drafted man in the American army, seeks employment 
in New York after his discharge. After several days 
of patient waiting he succeeds in making his way into 
the inner offices of Henry Wheeler, the " president of 
an impressive financial institution with offices on the top 
floor of the institution's building in Nassau Street, 
New York." 

The opening of the play finds the Wheeler family 
rather seriously upset, and Mr. Wheeler much con- 
cerned with the straightening out of its domestic tan- 
gles. Mrs. Wheeler, his second wife, much younger 
than he and entirely superficial, is nursing a growing 
jealousy of Violet Pinney, a youthful and attractive 
governess employed to look after Cora Wheeler. Cora, 
a sweet, but self-willed child " about 16," fancies her- 
self deeply in love with Hubert Stem, a middle-aged 
grass widower. " Bobby " Wheeler, a budding Tark- 
ington adolescent of the Willie Baxter type, is just 
home after having been " fired " from his third school, 
and, having forcibly kissed Delia, the housemaid, finds 
himself seriously entangled in an " affair." 

The opening scene is ])laycd in the ante-room of the 
Wheeler offices beginning with the entrance of W' heeler, 

380 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 281 

Sr. He consults his secretary, Mrs. Martyn, concern- 
ing his engagements for the day. 

Wheeler — Have I appointments with any of those 
people waiting? 

Mrs. Martyn — No; I haven't made any appoint- 
ments at all for you this morning. At one o'clock you 
go to Mr. Milly's lunch for the Secretary of the In- 
terior; you have a directors' meeting at three . . . the 
Unity . . . and the Pitch Pine consultation at three- 
thirty. Mr. Lindsay and Mr. Vance will do for all 
the people in the ante-rooms. Except one, perhaps. 

Wheeler — Who's that ? 

Mrs. Martyn — It's a soldier who . . . 

Wheeler — In a private's uniform . , . rather a 
sickly-looking fellow ? 

Mrs. Martyn — Yes. 

Wheeler — I noticed him waiting out there yester- 
day too. 

Mrs. Martyn — They sent him to Mr. Vance, but 
he wouldn't tell what he wanted ; said he had to see 
you. Of course Mr. Vance told him that was impos- 
sible ; he didn't even have a letter of introduction. 

Wheeler — Oh, well, he's a soldier; see what he 
wants. 

Mrs. Martyn — Very well. 

Wheeler — It's possible my daughter and her gov- 
erness, Miss Pinney, will come to town this morning to 
see me. Miss Pinney spoke to me just as I was leaving 
the house, and I understood her to say — I'm not just 
sure I caught her meaning — (His manner is the least 
bit confused) — She spoke in a low voice, for some 
reason . . . 

Mrs. Martyn — Your daughter did ? 

Wheeler — No. My daughter's governess — uh — 
Miss Pinney. I understood her to say that she wanted 
to see me in private ... I think she meant she wanted 
to talk with me about my daughter. 



282 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Mrs. Martyx — I understand. 

Wheeler — I think she implied that she and my 
daughter might come in town and turn up here at the 
office . . . 

Mrs. Martyn — I'll look out for them. 

Mr. Wheeler's surmise that he will be followed by 
certain members of his family is entirely correct. He 
has no sooner retired to his private office than Mrs, 
Wheeler herself appears. She has heard something 
of Miss Finney's intention of coming to the office, and 
though she is prideful of the fact that she never, never 
interferes with her husband's business, she believes it 
Just as well to keep a watch on his movements when he 
isn't concentrating. 

Mrs. Wheeler is followed by " Bobby." " He is 
hovering on the elder side of i6," explains Mr. Tark- 
ington. " His hair is to the mode of New York, ac- 
cording to the interpretation of his years, and so is his 
costume, which includes an overcoat. He also zvears 
a pair of pale spats, too large for his shoes — he is 
strongly conscious of them at times, and also of a large 
hook-handled cane, too long for him. He removes his 
hat at sight of Mrs. Martyn. At all times he is deathly 
serious ; and speaks quickly ; when he doesn't stammer. 
THIS IS BOBBY." 

" Bobby " is anxious to avoid a meeting with his 
father, but eager to effect a meeting with Violet Finney, 
who happens to be his latest passion. " Have they been 
here yet?" he demands of Mrs. Martyn, and in reply 
to her query as to whom he means he continues : 

Bobby — Why, my sister Cora and — (Suddenly 
gulps) . . . look ! I mean my sister Cora and . . . 
(Gulps again) . . . and Violent. I don't mean Vio- 
lent . . . (Hurrying on in Jiclplcss confusion, but zvitli 
abysmal gravity) Listen; I mean her and Cora. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 283 

Look; I mean Cora and Miss Pinney. Miss Pinney. 
Cora's governess, Miss Pinney. 

Mrs. Martyn — No. They haven't been here. 

Bobby — Well, they'll be here pretty soon then. I 
don't want my father to know Fm here if it's con- 
venient. We haven't got along too well lately and 
besides I took his spats. Look, do you suppose he'll 
care? He's never had 'em on ; I don't think he likes to 
wear 'em. It's right, isn't it? I mean you don't haf 
to be very old to wear spats, do you ? 

Mrs. Martyn — Oh, I don't think so. 

Bobby — Look; they haven't gone out in New York, 
have they? I been away at school for practik'ly a life- 
time ; and I haven't had a good chance yet to see what 
they're wearing. 

Mrs. Martyn — I didn't know you were interested 
in " what they're wearing." The last time I saw 
you ... 

Bobby — Well, I said that was about a lifetime ago! 
Look; I used to go around like a scarecrow, but you 
can't do that all the time because, look; why how do 
you look if you do? Do you think it's right to carry 
a stick over your arm like this ? With shammy gloves ? 
Or do you think you ought to kind of lean on it? 

Mrs. Martyn — (gravely). Oh, Fd lean on it. 

Bobby — (nervously) . Look; I think a single eye- 
glass may be all right, but look, I think it's kind of silly 
to 7vear one, don't you? 

Mrs. Martyn — I suppose it all depends. 

Bobby — Look ; I guess it wouldn't be any harm to 
ozvn one, would it ? Another thing I was goin' to ask 
somebody, well f'r instance s'pose, I found a lense that 
dropped out of a pair of somebody's spectacles, listen ; 
Do you think it wouldl damage your eyes if you had 
a hole put in it for a string and kind of practised with 
it in your own room? What I mean ; look, if you don't 
wear it all the time it wouldn't damage your eyes any, 



284 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

would it ? I guess it wouldn't look too well to have it 
on when — well, look, what I mean . . . 

The arrival of Cora and her governess precipitates 
the first of the scenes indicating the domestic inhar- 
mony prevailing at the Wheelers'. At sight of Miss 
Pinney Bobby is visibly flustered. Sister Cora, how- 
ever, is only amused. 

Cora — What do you mean calling Miss Pinney 
" Violet " ? You've only known her these four days 
since you got fired from this last school, and cer- 
tainly . . . 

Bobby — You show a little delicacy, please! {With 
emotion to Violet) Vio-Violent . . . Violet ... I 
only ask you to show me at least this much considera- 
tion that you would certainly observe to a mere — dog ! 

Violet — Fm not going to speak to your father 
about yoii at all, Mr. Wheeler. 

Cora — "Mister" Wheeler! Miss Pinney, do call 
the child " Bobby " ! 

Bobby — Haven't you got any sense at all ? 

Mrs. Martyn — He will see you and Cora now, 
Miss Pinney. 

Violet — I wanted to see him alone first. 

Mrs. Martyn — That's all right, Fm sure. 

Violet — Thank you. 

(Cora goes across to the door L. and listens.) 

Bobby — {bitterly). That's a woman's honor, that 
is! Eavesdropping! 

Cora — Door's too thick to hear, anyhow. That's 
papa's stick. The idea of a child of your age — oh! 
(Shouting) Look! (Pointing) Those are papa's 
spats too! Well, aren't you ashamed of yourself! 

Bobby — You 'tend to your own petty affairs. 

Cora — Golly ! I wish they zvcre petty ! She's 
come to tell papa on me ! 

Bobby — Wliat about ? 

Cora — You 'tend to your own petty affairs. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 285 

Bobby — Whyn't she discipline you herself? 

Cora — She thinks I'm getting so dissolute some- 
thing in the father line has to be done. She'll get into 
a scrape all right. 

Bobby — How will she ? 

Cora — Mama'll have a fit if she finds out about her 
coming here to papa's office. 

Bobby — Why will she ? 

Cora — School boys needn't ask too many questions. 

Bobby — I'm not a school boy ! 

CoR.\ — Xo ; that's so ! Bobby, what did they fire 
you for? Papa wouldn't tell me. 

Bobby — I want to know why will Miss Pinney get 
in a scrape. 

Cora — Oh — ]\Iama thinks Miss Pinney's too young 
and pretty to be a governess, anyhow ! 

Bobby — What you talkin' about ? 

Cora — Of course /'w not goin' to tell Mama we 
made this secret excursion to tell on me and discuss 
how my character's to be saved . . . but when she 
finds out . . . whoopee ! 

The entrance of Clarence is effective. Mrs. Martyn, 
thinking to avoid the confusion of the outer room, asks 
him to step into the inner office. " The soldier sham- 
bles in slowly, his hat in his hand," according to the 
author's instructions. " He is very sallow ; his hair is 
in some disorder ; he stoops, not only at the shoulders, 
but from the waist, sagging forward, and, for a time to 
the left side ; then, for a time, to the right ; his legs 
' give ' slightly at the knees, and he limps, somewhat 
vaguely. He wears the faded, old, shabby khaki uni- 
form of a private of the Quartermaster's Department, 
and this uniform was a bad misfit for him when it was 
new. A large pair of spectacles shield his blinking 
eyes ; his hands are brown ; and altogether he is an 
unimposing figure. Cora watches him closely as he 



286 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

comes down C. and stands, turning the rim of his army 
hat in his hands with an air of patience. He seems un- 
aware of anybody, and continues so throughout the 
next speeches. This is CLARENCE." 

Mrs. Martyn — I am Mr. Wheeler's secretary . . . 

Cora — She's papa's confidential secretary. It's 
just the same as talking to papa. 

Mrs. Martyn — We didn't want to keep you wait- 
ing any longer, when there's no opportunity . . . 

Cora— {intcrntpting her impulsively, but not un- 
sympatJietically). What makes you sag so much to 
one side? 

Clarence — (Turning his head to look at her 
solemnly). It's my liver! 

Cora— (blankly). Oh! 

Mrs. Martyn — You see Mv. Wheeler himself can't 
see everybody; and as you haven't even a letter to him, 
wouldn't it be the simplest thing for you to state your 
business to me? 

Clarence — \Ynw . . . WeW ... I haven't any 
business . . . exactly. 

Mrs. Martyn • — Well, your desires, then. 

Clarence — Well — I thought I'd better see him. 

Mrs. Martyn — Have you ever met Mr. Wheeler ? 

Clarence — Not — not yet. 

Mrs. Martyn — Of course we want to show con- 
sideration to any soldier . . . (As she speaks she takes 
a note-book and a fountain pen from a drawer of the 
desk) What is your name, please? 

Clarence — Clarence Smum. (He does not actu- 
ally say " smnmf This ivord represents Mrs. Mar- 
tyn's impression of what she hears. His voice dis- 
appeirs casually, as it were, during the pronunciation 
of his surname, though he pronounces " Clarence " dis- 
tinctly enough.) 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 287 

Cora — I do think . . . Clarence is a poetic name ! 
Some people don't, but I think it is. 

Mrs. Martyn^ — ^ Clarence what, please? (Cora 
after blurring Clarence's reply by speaking at the 
same time as Clarence, she continues the thought of 
the preceding speech.) 

Cora — There used to be Dukes of Clarence in his- 
tory, you know — very wealthy people that the king 
drowned in a barrel of cider or something. There 
could hardly be a nicer name than Clarence no matter 
what people say. Were you in the war? 

Cl.\rence — I was in the — army. 

Bobby — {sternly in a low voice). You don't know 
him. 

Cora — It's right to speak to soldiers. Isn't it? 

Clarence — If you . . . don't mind . . . what they 
say . . . back. 

Cora — {to Bobby). / told you. 

Mrs. Martyn. Now, if you please, Mister . . . 

Clarence — Well, I thought I'd better see him. 

Mrs. Martyn — If you're looking for a position, 
I'm sorry, we've taken on more returned soldiers, 
really, than we have places for. It would only waste 
your own time . . . 

CLARENCE' — ^Well — I thought I'd better — 

Mrs. Martyn — I know I\Ir. Wheeler would never 
decline to see you, but — your first opportunity, even 
for a few minutes wouldn't come until about Wednes- 
day of next week. 

Cora — Oh, yes, it could ! When ]\Iiss Pinney gets 
through telling about me in there, I'll cheerfully give 
this soldier my tim.e with papa ! 

Mrs. Martyn — ]My dear, that wouldn't . . . 

Cora — Why, yes, it would. It'd be the best thing 
that could happen for everybody! {Determineaiy) I 
atchally insist on it, Mrs. Martyn. {To Clar- 



288 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

ence) It's all right. Why don't you sit down? 
Clarence — (solemnly) . 1 will. 

The children are greatly interested in Clarence as a 
soldier, their curiosity intensified by their habit of look- 
ing upon all men in uniform as heroes of one kind or 
another. ''How did it feel when you first enlisted?" 
queries Cora, " her expression concentrated and seri- 
ous," while Bobby kneels on the settle near him. 

Clarence — It felt all right. There was nothing 
the matter with it then. 

CoRA^ — I don't mean your liver. I mean how did 
you feel when you first enlisted? 

Clarence — I was drafted. 

Cora — Were you just a private all the time? 

Clarence — Yes, all the time after I was drafted, 
I was. 

Bobby — I hope there'll be another war in about a 
couple o' years or so. 

Clarence — You want another war ? 

Bobby — You bet ! 

Clarence — So you could be in it ? 

Bobby — Yes, sir! 

Clarence — I wish you'd been in this one. What 
would you do? 

Bobby — Flying Corps. That's the life ! 

Cora — What did you do in the war? 

Clarence — {with a faint note of pathos). I 
drove a mule. 

Cora — What in the world did you do that for ? 

Clarence — Somebody had to. 

Cora — But what forf 

Clarence — They won't go where you want 'em to 
unless you drive. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 289 

Bobby — You don't haf to ask so many personal 
questions, do you? 

Cora — It's right to be personal to soldiers, isn't it 
— so as to look after their welfare? 

Clarence — It's very public-spirited. 

Cora — I think our American uniform is so becom- 
ing, don't you? 

Clarence — Do you mean you think I'd look worse 
in other clothes? 

Cora — No, but I would like to know why you drove 
a mule. 

Clarence — I didn't select that branch of the service 
myself. 

Cora — You mean somebody told you to ? 

Clarence — Yes. I thought it was better to do 
what they said. 

Cora — Did you have to learn to swear at the mules 
to make them obey? 

Cl.\rence — (thoughtfully). No. No, I didn't. 

Cora — Were you ever wounded ? 

Clarence — Yes, I was. 

Cora — Oh, he was wounded! Where was it? 

Clarence — At target practice ! 

Cora is summoned into the conference with her 
father and Miss Pinney. " Oh, murder," says she ; 
" here is where I get wounded ! " During her absence 
Bobby takes Clarence more completely into his confi- 
dence. " Listen," says he ; *' you been in the army. 
I'd like to ask your advice about some'p'm." 

Clarence — I hope you've come to the right man. 

Bobby — Listen; I'd like to ask you because, look, 
you been in the army and I can tell by your conver- 
sation you been around a good deal. Listen, do you 
think when a man's taken advantage of a woman's in- 
experience and kissed her he's bound to go ahead and 



290 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

marry her even if he's in love with another woman? 

Clarence — (gravely). Did you kiss somebody? 

Bobby — Yes. I wouldn't again ; not her, I mean. 

Clarence — Was it against her will? 

Bobby — She claims so. 

Clarence — Does she claim you ought to marry 
her? 

Bobby — She says if I don't, she'll tell the whole 
family because, look, the person that was engaged to 
her saw this thing happen, and he got mad at her and 
she says I either got to pay her damages or run off and 
marry her. Well, I haven't got any money for dam- 
ages. I wouldn't tell this to everybody. 

Clarence — No ; I wouldn't either. Who did you 
tell? 

Bobby — Well, I told Cora's governess, Miss Pinney 
— that just came in here for her. 

Clarence — Wliat did you tell Miss Pinney for? 

Bobby — Well, I told her because, listen, this other 
affair, it was just a passing fancy, but, look, I think 
when something higher and more spiritual comes into 
your life, why look, you're just hardly responsible for 
what you do, don't you? 

Clarence — You mean when the higher love comes, 
then you get really wild? 

Bobby — That's it! You see when this first thing 
happened I'd hardly even noticed what Miss Pinney 
looked like. 

Clarence — Miss Pinney is the spiritual — ? And 
this other person that has a claim on you — ? 

Bobby — It's horrible ! Look, you been in the army 
and everything. What would you do about it? 

Clarence — I'd go away to school again. 

Bobby — Yes, but look, when you've been fired from 
three prominent schools you get kind of a reputation, 
and, listen, it's kind of hard to get you in. Father's 
already had quite a rebuff from one principal and he 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 291 

says himself I'm about as big a responsibility for him 
as anyone in the family. 

Clarence — He does ? 

Bobby — Oh, yes, and besides, well look, I don't want 
to go 'way just when this other thing's happened to me. 
It's the biggest thing in my life. 

Clarence — You want to stay near ^liss Pinney. 
{Assenting.) 

Bobby — Sure. Wouldn't you? 

Clarence — Yes, I think I should. 

The efforts of her governess and her father to disci- 
pline Cora disgust that young woman utterly. " They 
can go to thunder," she announces on her return from 
the inquisition. " If two people ever made me tired 
it's papa and ]\Iiss Pinney ! Puritans ! " 

*' I believe you been up to somep'm again with that 
ole grass widower ! " ventures Bobby. 

" Hush up ! " returns his excited sister ; " he's one of 
the most perfect characters that ever came into my 
life. I leave it to you (Clarence) if grass widowers 
aren't just as perfect as the other kind of widowers?" 

"Yes," agrees Clarence, "just about." 

Cora — I did go out motoring with him and I did 
dine at his country club with him, and danced there 
till twelve o'clock — and then Miss Pinney came and 
got me, but I leave it to you; is there any harm in 
that ? 

Bobby — Well, of all the vile confessions — 

Cora — You hush up! Of course I said I was go- 
ing to spend the evening with a girl friend, but Miss 
Pinney found out — and ivhat I want to know ... if 
yoit were my father . . . (To Clarence) Would you 
go into thirty-five fits over a thing like that? 

Clarence — No. Not that many. 

Cora — Why, you ought to see those two in there; 



292 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

you'd think they were judges of the Ex-treme Court of 
the United States in Washington ! What I'm afraid 
of, they'll never let me see him again! (Sits, sobs 
suddenly.) 

Bobby — They ought to drown you ; I never heard 
such a disgusting story in all my . . . 

Cora — Hush up ! She dee-lib'rutly comes to father 
with this just because mama's only our step-mother and 
hasn't got any idea of discipline — and you just ought 
to hear her in there, the way she goes on about being 
responsible for the shaping of my character because 
she's my governess ! She'll get papa so prejudiced 
against me . . . 

Bobby — At that, I bet she hasn't told him half she 
knows about you! {To Clarence) Don't some 
women make you sick sometimes? 

Clarence — No; to me she seems attractive. You 
see, she isn't iny sister. 

Cora — Listen ; you've been in the army and all that. 
What would you do if you were a girl and in a fix like 
that? 

Clarence — I don't know what I'd do if I were a 
girl in a fix like that ; I don't even know what I'd do 
if I were a girl. 



Cora — I kept trying to talk to pa])a about you all 
the time. I told him again and again there was a sol- 
dier waiting to see him, but they wouldn't let me change 
the subject! 1 tried to tell 'em about the cannibals, and 
how you'd been wounded, and about your liver, and I 
did tell 'em how you could drive mules without swear- 
ing — 

Clarence — That wasn't what I said. I said I 
didn't have to learn how to swear at 'em. But did 
your father believe you when you said I could do it 
without ? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 293 

Cora — He didn't say; he switched the subject right 
back to me. Never mind! (Vindictwcly) They'll 
be in a fix, all right, if mama hears about it ! 

Bobby — Hoiv will they ? 

Cora — Why, they can't tell her they ignored her in 
the matter because she's merely an incompetent stcp- 
motJicr, can they? Besides that, there's somep'm else 
about mama and Miss Pinney and papa. 

Bobby — What ? 

Cora — I told you once and you were too dumb to 
understand. I'm not goin' to tell you again. 

Bobby — Aw, blub ! 

Wheeler Sr. attempts to dismiss Clarence, much to 
the disgust of both Cora and Bobby. Having told the 
soldier " everything " they feel that he may prove a 
friend in need. The climax is precipitated by the re- 
turn of Mrs. Wheeler. Without intending to, Clarence 
is forced to overhear her side of the controversy as well 
as that of the children. Her suspicious of Miss Pinney 
have reached a height that makes her partly hysterical. 
" Has Cora been in there with them all the time? " she 
demands of Bobby. 

Bobby — No, not all. 

]\Trs. Wheeler — I fancy not! 

Bobp.y — They let her out once, but they had to take 
her back. 

Mrs. Wheeler — What a farce! 

Bobby — It certainly was ! What's the matter with 
you, mama; you're kind of excited. 

Mrs. Wheeler — Oh no; I'm not. 

Bobby — I s'pose Cora makes you perty mad — 

Mrs. Wheei^er — Xo, she doesn't. I love Cora. I 
love both of you, Bol^by. It's only that being a step- 
mother's an unfortunate position. One has to leave 
"discipline" to fathers and — governesses — which 



294 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

means that fathers and governesses have to consult, 
very frequently! 

Bobby — Cora was sayin' somep'm about that her- 
self. She said : How could they ever tell you it was 
no use puttin' it up to you about her, but she thought 
herself it was goin' to make you perty mad. 

Mrs. Wheeler — So, even Cora thought I had a 
right to be angry, did she ? Oh, Bobby — 

Bobby — Say, what's the matter ? 

Mrs. Wheeler — {just barely keeping tJie sobs 
from becoming vociferous). Oh, Bobby, don't any of 
you see what I have to suffer? Don't you understand 
what I have to bear every day from your father and — 
these " consultations for discipline " ! He and Miss 
Pinney — (Clarence interrupts this emotional confi- 
dence unfh a loud, diplomatic cough) Is some one — 
(Clarence rises.) 

Bobby — Papa told him to wait there. I would like 
you to meet my friend, Clarence. 

Clarence — How do you do? 

Mrs. Wheeler — Have you been in here most of 
the morning ? 

Bobby — Oh, he knows everything that's been goin' 
on. 

]Mrs. Wheeler — I should think he would ! Well, 
you've been in the army ; I don't suppose there's any 
real reason to mind your having seen that we're a 
rather measly family. 

Clarence is attempting to withdraw as gracefully as 
possible, when Wheeler discovers him. " Oh, murder 
— I forgot you ! " confesses Wheeler. "I don't wonder 
at all," meekly responds the soldier. 

Rather than have Clarence leave bearing with him 
so much of the family gossip, Wheeler decides to em- 
ploy the soldier. As he is about to leave, Mrs. Martyn, 
after a conference with Wheeler, calls him back. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 295 

Mrs. Mart.yx — Where are you going, Mr. — Mr. — 

Clarence — I thought he — forgotten me again. 
He seemed to have several other things on his mind — 
so I — 

Mrs. Martyn — He wants you to sit down, please. 

Clarence — Thanks. 

Mrs. Martyn — He thinks he can find a position for 
you. But first — he wants me to ask you if it's really 
true you can drive mules without swearing. 

Clarence — Does that mean he expects to give me a 
position — at his house ? 



ACT n 

Three weeks later Clarence is comfortably installed 
in the Wheeler home. He has made himself a sort of 
high-class " handy man about the house." When the 
hot water system has given trouble, Clarence has re- 
paired it. When the piano needed tuning, he has bor- 
rowed the chauffeur's tools and sought to improve the 
tone of that instrument. He has also served Mr. 
Wheeler as a sort of private secretary. Yet he is still 
a good deal of a mystery. 

'* Clarence," demands Delia, the housemaid, " what 
line was you in before you went in the army? " 

" I was working in a laboratory." 

"Oh? In a hotel, I s'pose ! " 

Dinwiddie, the butler, is also puzzled. " You been 
here about three weeks now," he explains to Clarence ; 
" and the domestic side of the household ain't able to 
settle what you are." 

"What /are?" 

'* I mean, are you one of us, or do we treat you as 
one o' the family? " 

" It doesn't matter," replies Clarence. 



296 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

The Wheelers have all grown to depend on Clarence. 
Cora is sure he is the only one who understands her 
great love for the grass widower. Bobby is looking 
to him to settle his " affair " with Delia, the housemaid, 
and even Violet, in whom he is most interested, permits 
him to help her be rid of an unwelcome suitor, one 
Hubert Stem. Hubert was really Cora's grass 
widower, but it transpires that he had been using her 
infatuation only to cover his attempts to be near the 
governess. 

" Don't you think it is pretty odious of a man, when 
he knows a girl dislikes him, to pursue her by pretend- 
ing to pursue a younger girl who's in her charge?" 
Violet asks Clarence. 

Clarenck — Are you consulting me on this point 
because l\e been in the army, or more on the ground 
that I'm a person? 

Violet — {smiling faintly). More on that ground. 

Clarence — That surprised me. However, speak- 
ing to your point that a pursuer l)clonging to the more 
cumbersome sex becomes odious to a fugitive of the 
more dexterous sex, when the former affects the posture 
of devotion to a ward of the latter . . . 

Violet — Were you a college professor before the 
war? 

Clarence — No. Not a professor. 

Violet — Surely, not just a student? 

Clarence — No. Not a student. 

Violet — Well, then what . . . 

Clarence — What I was leading to, was, that I per- 
sonally, am indifferent to your reason for finding this 
young man, or any other young man, odious. 

Violet — Thank you. I didn't put it on personal 
grounds, I believe. 

Clarence — The reason, I say, is indifferent to me. 
I merely experience the pleasure of the fact. 

Violet — What fact ? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 297 

Clarence — That you don't like him. 

Violet — I believe you are the queerest person I 
ever met. 

Clarence — That's what my grandmother alv^ays 
said of my grandfather, and they had been married 
sixty-one years. 

Violet — Your grandfather was as queer as that? 

Clarence — No. Only to grandmother. 

Violet — Are you very much like him ? 

Clarence — I'm just as much like my grandmother ; 
you see, I'm descended just as much from her as I am 
from him. 

Violet — I never thought of that! 

Clarence — Well, after this, won't you think of me 
just as much like her as like him? 

Violet — {rather stiffly). Isn't that a little "per- 
sonal "? 

Clarence — Personal? Good gracious! Yo\C\^ 
just been discussing my most intimate family affairs: 
my grandfather, my grandmother . . . 

Violet — Never m'mdl I liill think of you as just 
as much like your grandmother as your grandfather! 

Clarence — It's very kind of you to think of me. 

Violet — I didn't say . . . 

Clarence — It's kind because you've got so many 
to think of : I want you to think of me; Mr. Stim . . . 
Stem ! . . . wants you to think of him ; Bobby wants 
you to think of him; Mr. Wheeler wants you to 
think ... 

Violet — That will do, please ! 

Clarence — Well, but doesn't . . . 

Violet — You know my position in this house ; do 
you think it's manly to refer to it ? 

Clarence — I don't know about " manly " ; maybe 
this is where I'm more like my ^XTxwAmothcr . My idea 
was merely that since so many want you to think about 
them, if you'd just concentrate your thoughts on some- 



298 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

body that had been in the army, it might avoid . . . 
complications. 

Violet — (bitterly). Do you suppose I'd stay in 
this house another hour, if I hadn't given my word to 
Mr. Wheeler I'd stand by Cora until she comes through 
this nonsense? He asked me to just stick it out until 
the child comes to herself again, and I gave him my 
word I'd do it. It seems you take ^Irs. Wheeler's view 
of me ! 

Clarence — But, Mr. Stem . . . he's . . . 

Violet — If I told Cora the truth about him, she'd 
only hate me. If I left her, she'd do the first crazy 
thing she could think of. She's really in love; it's a 
violence, but it may last a long while. 

Clarence — She tells mc it's " forever"! I'm her 
only friend and she made me her only confidant . . . 
except her stepmother, and Delia, and Dinwiddie, and 
both of the chauffeurs. She told us that when she first 
saw him, she knew it was forever. (Amiably) Do 
you think it's advisable, Miss Pinney, for . . . anybody 
... to fall in love . . . permanently ? ' 

Violet — (turning azcay coldly, then facing him). 
I don't think I feel like holding a discussion with you 
about such things ... or anything else. 

Clarence — That must be all then. 

ViOLETi — When you first came here, I thought you 
were another friendly person, like me; pretty well 
adrift in the world, so that you had to make yourself 
useful in whatever you could find, just as I did. I did 
make that mistake ; I thought I'd found a friend ! 

Clarence — Couldn't I keep on . . . being found? 

Violet — Thank you, no ! Not after what you said 
a moment ago! I'm glad you said it, though, because 
I like to know who my enemies are I 

Clarence — (blankly). Oh? 

Clarence could not continue long in such an ano- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 299 

malous position. " He's awful sympathetic and useful 
around the place," admits Cora ; " and so mysterious 
and likeable ; but I overheard Mama telling Papa last 
night she thinks he must be crazy for hiring him just 
because he could drive mules without swearing, and 
nobody knows a thing about him. Papa said it was 
mostly because Clarence was a stranded soldier and he 
didn't have any place for him except to dictate his let- 
ters to when he was home, but he guessed maybe he 
was crazy to do it." 

The elder Wheeler's conviction was strengthened the 
same evening when he came home to find the entire 
family " at it again " ; the children quarreling, Mrs. 
Wheeler with her tender feelings hurt over some new 
fancied slight ; Violet insisting that she must be re- 
lieved of her promise to him that she would stay on. 
She is convinced now that she should go. 

Wheeler — I can't let you do that. 

Violet — Wliat did you say — 

Wheeler — I said I couldn't let you do that. See 
here; I suppose I've seemed to you just a commercial 
machine — head of a big business and head of an un- 
happy, rowing family, like so many of us machines. 
Well, I'm not — not altogether. I'm a pretty tired 
man. The naked truth is I'm pretty tired of the big 
business and pretty tired of the family. It's so. 
Sometimes I don't know whether I'm an old man or 
just a sort of worn out boy ; I only know the game I 
play isn't worth the candle, and that I want to get 
away from the whole thing. I don't think I could stay 
with it, if you don't stay and help me. 

Violet — (touched). Oh, poor Mr. Wheeler! 

Wheeler — If you give me up, I'll give everything 
up. 

The fact that I\Irs. Wheeler overhears this statement 



300 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

does not in the least help matters, but just as the final 
domestic crash seems imminent, a curious wailing noise 
is heard off-stage. Wheeler is convinced that it is Cora 
indulging in another tantrum, but "it ain't," as Delia, 
dancing into the room in a state of high excitement, ex- 
plains. " It's him ; it's Mister Clair'nce all dressed up 
and wastin' his money on musical instruments." 

" The sound has now resolved itself into the loud 
cry of a saxophone rendering a march," explains Mr. 
Tarkington. " Clarence marches on in the sun-room ; 
he is the musician. Behind him Cora prances, clash- 
ing the silver covers of two dishes together for cymbals 
and loudly singing the air. Behind her Dinwiddle 
pompously dances, beating a tra}^ with a large spoon, 
and whistling. This procession evidently intends to 
move along the sun-room from off R. to off L. but is 
arrested by Wheeler's vehemence." 

Wheeler — What in the name of — (They stop; 
so docs the music. Mrs. Wheeler has stopped crying 
and has risen.) 

DiNW'IDDIE — Oh ! 

Wheeler — What in the — 

Clarence — (removing the saxophone front Jiis 
month). We didn't know there was anybody here. 

Cora — (enthusiastically). Look at him, Papa! 
(Clarence has made a remarkable change in his ap- 
pearance; he wears a beautifully fitting new suit of c.v- 
ijuisite gray or fa^vn material, and he has been at pains 
to brush his hair becomingly; has a scarf-pin in his tic; 
buttonhole ; and altogether is a most dashing figure. 
Cora goes on, zvithout pausing) Lsn't he zvonderful, 
Mama ? 

Mrs. Wheeler — (seriously and emphatically). 
Why, yes! He is! 

Cora — He went and bought those (his clothes) and 
the most glorious evening things all out of what he 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 301 

made in the war, and he borrowed the Swede's saxo- 
phone and never ever told us he could play it ! Just 
look at him! Turn around! (Obeying her gesture, 
made as she speaks, he solemnly turns round, so that 
they may see his back. Cora is carried away by help- 
less admiration. She almost means this; then as he 
faces front again) Oh, Clarence ! 

AIrs. Wheeler — It's beautiful! It's the most 
beautiful music I ever heard in my life. /'// play your 
accompaniment, Clarence ; I'd adore to ! 

The saxophone solo is entirely successful as a har- 
mony restorative, but all the joy is taken out of it for 
the performer when Violet abruptly leaves the room. 



ACT III 

Following the incident of the saxophone, the power 
and influence of the peacemaker grow apace. Soon 
Mrs. Wheeler is beaming upon Miss Pinney ; Cora, 
transferring her affections completely from the for- 
gotten Hubert Stem to Clarence, is ideally happy, and 
Bobby, seeing that even Delia is fascinated by the new 
idol, is greatly relieved. There is no letup in the family 
effort to clear up the mystery of Clarence's past, how- 
ever. 

" Will you answer me one question, Clarence ? " 
pleads Cora. 

Clarence — What is the question? 

Cora — It's simply, Clarence, what zuas the matter 
with your liver? 

Clarence — If I answer you this time, will you 
promise never to ask me again? 



302 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Cora — Yes. What zvas the matter with your liver, 
Clarence ? 

Clarence — I was shot in it! 

Mrs. Wheeler — {zmth eager loudness). At 
Chateau Thierr}^ ? 

Clarence — (^explosively). No! At target prac- 
tice! 

Cora — What else did you do that was heroic, 
Clarence? 

Clarence — I beg your pardon ? 

Cora — What was the next thing you did in the 
war? 

Clarence — That was the last thing I did. I didn't 
do any more after that. 

When they seek to discover how he became so pro- 
ficient a performer on the saxophone, he is again 
evasive. " It's only an accident that I ever knew how 
to play at all." 

*' How was that? " demands Wheeler. " How could 
you learn to play the saxophone by accident ? " 

Clarence — Why, we used it to see whether cer- 
tain species of beetles found in Montana are deaf, or 
if they respond to peculiar musical vibrations. 

Cora — Beetles! How wonderful! How could 
you tell if the bettles responded to the vibrations? 

Clarence — We placed them in a dish filled with 
food, that they were passionately fond of, and then I 
played to them. If they climbed out of the dish and 
left this food and went away we knew they'd heard 
the music. 

Bobby — Are the hotels good out in I\rontana? 

Clarence — I don't know. I was living in a tent. 

Wheeler — Hunting these beetles? 

Clarence — Yes. They live outdoors. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 303 

Bobby — And you were playing the saxophone to 
'em? 

Clarence — Yes. Hours and hours at a time — to 
the deaf ones. It got very tedious. 

Cora — I wish I'd been one. 

Bobby — You wouldn't haf to change much! 

The family is more deeply mystined by the recital, 
but Violet is moved frankly to laughter. This troubles 
Clarence and he seeks an explanation. 

Violet — You want to know why I laughed ? 

Clarence — I'm not sure! I'm not at all sure I 
do ; people aren't usually made much cheerf uller by 
finding out why other people laugh at them ! 

Violet — You told tlicni you had a question to ask 
me. You oughtn't to keep them waiting. 

Clarence — A question? Yes. You said this aft- 
ernoon we couldn't be friends any more. >\Iy question 
is: if that wasn't just an afternoon rule that we could 
consider not operating in the evening? 

Violet — Hardly ! 

Clarence — Couldn't ? 

Violet — It was on account of what you said this 
afternoon that I laughed at you this evening. You 
have so many to think of, you know! 

Clarence — I ? To " think " of 1 

Violet — Doesn't it seem rather funny, even to you : 
your giving me that little lecture this afternoon about 
the people that you said wanted me to " think " of 
them? 

Clarence — Oh, you mean when I said I wanted 
you to think of me! 

Violet — {scornfully). Oh ! 

Clarence — You mean you got to thinking about 
that this evening, and that's what made you laugh. 



304 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

You thought it was so funny my wanting you to think 
of me. 

Violet — No ; I thought it was so funny your giv- 
ing me that lecture ; you see, you seem to have so many 
to think of that I don't want you to think of mc! 

Clarence — I'd Hke to do what you want: I don't 
know. I don't know whether it could be stopped or 
not. A person goes around thinking — it wouldn't 
make any noise, just thinking. It needn't disturb you 
at all. 

Violet — I think you'll be able to stop it. 

Clarence — But it's the only pleasant thing I do ! 

Delia does not help in the clearing up of the Clarence 
mystery by repeating to Bobby that the soldier told her 
he formerly was employed in a " hotel lavatory," 
though Violet firmly refused to credit this statement 
when Bobby brings it to her. " Well, anyway," ad- 
mits Bobby, " it is only another of his stories about 
himself. Look, whenever he says anything about him- 
self, it's somep'm a body can hardly believe, or else dis- 
graceful like that. I and father been bavin' a talk 
about him and we both think it'll be better if you don't 
have any more to do with him, \"iolet." 

Violet — Why ? 

Bobby — Look ; the way / look at it is simply ; look 
at the way Cora and Mama and Delia arc! Look, you 
don't want to get like that; you got an awful high 
nature. It brings out all the most s])irichul things I 
got in me, and ive think this is gettin' to be a serious 
matter. 

Violet — {p\i::dcd). Clarence is? 

Bobby — Look ; don't even let him talk to you. 
'Course we don't feel it makes so much dilTerence about 
Cora and Mama — but with your spirichul nature, Vio- 
let, and all this and th.at, and he telling about these 
Montana beetles, and them listening to a saxaphone. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 305 

and being brought up by cannibals, and this mule story 
about bad language, and then workin' in a hotel lava- 
tory — and all thus and so, why we think it's time 
somep'm'll haf to be done about it ! 

Something, the elder Wheeler agrees, will have to 
be done " with this fellow Smun." But his mere men- 
tion of the name starts another explosion. Clarence's 
surname is not " Smun," insists Violet. It's " Moon." 
Mr. Wheeler knows it must be " Smun " because that 
is the name his secretary wrote down the day Clarence 
was employed. But, insists Violet, no one was ever 
named " Smun." 

Young Bobby has a diiTerent version. As he under- 
stood it, Clarence said " Smart." Into the midst of 
the discussion Hubert Stem projects himself with a 
clipping from a newspaper. He, taking an instinctive 
dislike to Clarence as a piano tuner, has made certain 
investigations on his own account and is positive that 
Clarence is none other than one " Charles Short, 
wagoner in the Quartermaster's Department ; deserted 
three weeks ago; sought both by war department and 
divorced wife seeking alimony. Also wanted in Dela- 
ware." 

This bomb is something of a " dud." Violet laughs 
at it. But the Wheelers admit it is worth investigating. 
Outside Clarence is playing an obligato on the saxo- 
phone while Mrs. Wheeler and Cora are striving to 
pitch their voices to the same mourn fuul tune. Clar- 
ence is summoned that Mr. Stem may interrogate him. 

Stem — (fiercely). My question is simply and 
plainly this: Did you ever hear the name of Charles 
Short? 

Clarence — (quickly). Charles Short? Yes. 

Stem — Do you know anybody by the name of 
Charles Short? 



3o6 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Clarence — Of course I do. 

Stem — Do you know anybod}' by tbe name of 
Charles Short zvcllf 

Clarence — Charles Shortwell ? I do not. 

Stem — But you do know a person named Charles 
Short? 

Clarence — Yes. Don't you? What do you 
mean? Everybody knows somebody named Charlie 
Short ! 

Stem. — I'm talkinj^ about the one you know! 

Clarence — I know three! 

Stem — I mean the one we're talking about ! 

Clarence — Well, good heavens, my dear sir, which 
one of them are we talking about? Fni not talking 
about any one of 'em. If you want to ask me a simple, 
direct question about somebody named Charlie Short, 
surely you ought to be able to say something more 
about him than that he's the one we're talking about. 

Stem — More quibbles ! Quibbles ! 

Clarence — " Quibbles "? I'm trying if possible to 
reach your mind! It seems you think we have a 
mutual acquaintance named Charlie Short, and you 
want to find out something about him from me, and 
you immediately proceed to lose your temper because 
your own powers of description are too limited for you 
to tell me which of the three / know is the one you 
know ! 

Stem — I want to know — 

Clarence — Well, I'll answer you: A'o.' I'm not 
this Charles Short ! I'm not this one here in the paper, 
understand! About my being either of the other two, 
or both of 'em, I won't commit myself, but I'm not 
this one I 

Stem — Isn't that quibbling, Mr. Wlieeler? 

Clarence — Does Mr. Wheeler think . . . Have 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 307 

you been sharing Air. Stem's suspicious as to his friend, 
this Mr. Charles Short? 

Wheeler — (emphatically). I have not. It might 
have been possible, so I let him ask you. I'm glad it 
came up because we certainly need to know more 
about you than we do. We need to know just who 
you are! 

Clarence — You need to know who / am! Why, 
I supposed you did know from the time I gave my name 
to Mrs. Martyn in your office ! 

Wheeler — Well, I didn't! We don't know any- 
thing about you ! 

Clarence — Why, good heavens, all you had to do 
was to look me up in the last edition of "Who's Who " 
— I don't mean that I'm a great man, but I certainly am 
one of the authorities on the coleoptera! 

Wheeler — On the zvhatf 

Clarence, — (shouting). On the COLEOP- 
TERA! 

The mystery might have been cleared up right there 
— but just at that moment the butler rushes in to warn 
Clarence that the hot water pipes have " busted again " 
and the " authority on the coleoptera " dashes madly 
to the rescue. 

" W^ell, what d'ye think about it, father ? " demands 
Bobby. " Don'cha think he's probably crazy ? " 

" I don't know," shouts Wheeler in reply. " Go get 
me a dictionary! And a copy of ' Who's Who? 



J >> 



Act IV 

The discussion relative to Clarence's name and the 
recently added mystery of the strange science upon 



3o8 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

which he was an accepted authority occupied the eve- 
ning and was resumed the next morning. Cora, her 
nose buried in mighty tomes, was sure Clarence had 
said " coal-something-or-other," but though her search 
had been diligent she was still unenlightened. " But," 
as she explained to her equally puzzled father, " the 
encyclopedia's absolootly more than useless whenever 
you need it the most. You can't get any help out of 
it at all unless you know just what you want to look 
up. rd have zvtllingly gone and asked Clarence last 
night while he was working in the cellar only you 
wouldn't let me." 

Mrs Wheeler — I don't just see you you couldn't 
have asked him yourself, Henry. 

Wheeler — Don't you? I suppose you think I'm 
so ridiculous already I needn't have minded making 
myself more so! 

Mrs Wheeler — But I don't see the ridiculous- 
ness — 

Wheeler — You don't see the ridiculousness of 
going down in the cellar to ask a man you've been 
badgering and who's repairing a heating plant for you 
— to ask him what a word was that he'd already told 
you tzvicc! 

There is neither a " Smun " nor a " Moon " in 
"Who's Who?" which adds to the distress of the in- 
vestigating Wheelers. One point Clarence does make 
clear, however. He had not, he explains, told Delia 
that he had previously been employed in a " lavatory." 
What he said was " laboratory." 

He makes further admissions of interest when he 
discovers that \'iolet. convinced that her usefulness at 
the Wheelers' is ended, has decided to leave. As he 
is also about to make a change he sees no good reason 
why they should not go away together. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 309 

Clarence — I suppose the important thing is that 
we're both going away — and don't know where. 
You've never told me. Haven't you got any father 
or mother or anything? 

VieLET — No. I've got a second cousin in Belfast 
— I've never met him. 

Clarence — I've got an aunt — in Honolulu. She 
used to write to me for money sometimes. I don't be- 
lieve she'd be much help. 

Clarence — There's something I want to tell you. 
It's about myself. I don't believe I've mentioned it. 
I have mentioned a lot of things about myself — 

Violet — Well, not a " lot " — but — some. 

Clarence — Nothing's so stupid as a man going 
about telling every one all about his private affairs — 
I'm afraid I talk about myself too much altogether. 
Of course, it was disgustingly conceited on my part 
to think Mr. Wheeler had looked me up — but wasn't 
it natural to think he'd do that when Mrs. Martyn had 
my name? I suppose I often forget I'm a specialist 
and that business men of course don't know about 
such people as entomologists. 

Violet — I — suppose — they — don't. 

Clarence — On the other hand, doesn't it seem 
strange they don't? My subject is of the most august 
proportions in the world. The colcoptera are the larg- 
est division of the animal kingdom. They outnumber 
mere human beings by billions of bilHons. Not held 
in check they would sweep the whole of mankind 
from the earth like a breath ! 

Violet — They would ? 

Clarence — I say I am an expert on them ; that 
only means I know most of the little we know about 
them; our ignorance is still of the dark ages! Mr. 
Wheeler is an expert on dollars. Anybody can know 
all about dollars. Put all the wealth of the nations 



3IO THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

together and you get a sum that can be spoken in hun- 
dreds of billions, whereas the coleoptera consist of 
eighty thousand species and the population of a single 
one of those eighty thousand species alone outnumbers 
the dollars of all the nations of the earth as stupend- 
ously as the dollars of those nations outnumber the 
dollars in Mr. Wheeler's pocket! No, no; there'-s no 
reason for Jiim to feel superior. No, no, indeed ! No- 
body need set up to be snobbish about beetles! 

Violet — Beetles ! Are the co-cole-optera — are 
they just beetles? 

Clarence — Why! Didn't you knowf 

Violet — I — I don't believe many people — do. 

Clarence — No. I suppose they don't. Each man 
to his trade — I've heard a politician get as excited 
about politics — or a minister about his congregation 
— as I do about the coleoptera ! You wouldn't be- 
lieve it, but — 

Violet — Yes, I believe it. I believe everything 
you say — but you said you wanted to tell me some- 
thing about your private affairs. You didn't mean 
the co-leoptera, did you? 

Clarence — Yes; in a way their affairs are mine. 
What I wanted to tell you is that it's possible we shan't 
need to worry about money. 

Violet — ^ Possible that " we " shan't ? 

Clarence — We might not, after this morning mail. 
You see, before the war I was on potato bugs — 

Violet — You were ? 

Clarence — Oh, yes; I was a long time on potato 
bugs. 

Now, the potato bug — the potato bug has several 
acknowledged authorities, and 1 was one of 'em. 

Violet — Of course. 

Clarence — My assistant was even more so; I'm 
a more general authority ; he's all potato bug ; he's 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 311 

spent sixteen years on potato bugs ; and he's the oldest 
bug man in the world to-day ! He is ! He's a good 
general bug man, too, a fine all round bug man, but 
when it comes to potato bugs, he can eat any other bug 
man alive ! 

Violet — He can ? 

Clarence — Yes, when I went into the army, this 
assistant of mine was appointed to the position I'd 
held ; and it was what he deserved. When I got out 
of the army I knew if I went back there the trustees 
would put me in again, and he'd be dropped, so I de- 
cided it was only decent not to disturb him, but I had 
spent a lot of money on outside experiments, and I had 
to do som.ething. However, I discovered that during 
a period of economic reconstruction after a world war 
there are extremely limited openings for a specialist 
on the coleoptera. 

Clarence — It will all depend on the letter. You 
see, several days ago the papers said my assistant had 
been called to Washington by the Department of Agri- 
culture and he'd accepted. So you see where that 
might put us, right away. 

Violet — " Put us " ? I don't see where it might 
put anything! 

Clarence — But my dear — 

Violet — What ? 

Clarence — My dear Miss Pinney. 

Violet — Oh ! 

Clarence — Don't you see ; that left me free to 
write the laboratory that I was out of the army — so 
I did write 'em yesterday, and if they think half as 
much of me as a coleopterist as I do of myself, they'll 
have my re-appointment in this morning's mail and 
we'll be all right. 

Violet — But " we," *' we " ! You keep saying 
"we"! 



312 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Clarence — Well, by that I mean us. I couldn't 
ask for a better salary. 

Violet — Oh, it's you that are going to lend money 
now — if your letter comes ? Would you lend me — 
half of it? 

Clarence — I thought probably — the best way 
would be — would be for you to take charge of all of it 
— as it comes in — and let me have what I need when 
I need it ! 

For a time it appeared that even the arrival of the 
mail would fail finally to clear up the mystery of Clar- 
ence. There was no letter, either for " Mr. Smun," 
" Mr. Moon," or " Mr. Smart." 

Cora — No. That's all there is : there isn't a single 
solitary other letter except just this one that'll have 
to be sent to the Dead Letter Office because it's ad- 
dressed to somebody that doesn't live here at all. It's 
addressed " C. Smith, Esquire," care of Papa. 

Clarence — But good heavens, that's it! 

Cora — What ? 

Clarence — " C. Smith," Clarence Smith; — of 
course it's it ! You gave me a fright ! 

Wheeler — Smith ? Clarence Smith ! 

Violet — " Smith " ! 

Cora — It's a 1916 "Who's Who in America" — 
before the war, that is. " S " — " S " — " Satter- 
thwaite" — " Smallcy " — Smith! Clarence Smith ! 
He's the very first Smith there is in it! {Reading) 
" Clarence Smith, zoologist. Born June 13, 1890, at 
Zubesi Mission Station, Congo River, Africa — I 
should say he did have cannibals ! — Son of Gabriel 
C. Medical Missionary and Martha S. Grad. Coll. 
Physical Science Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, Post- 
grad. Polytechnique, France. D. S. C. — D. S. C. ? " 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 313 

Bobby — It means he's a Doctor of Science. I had 
a prof, was one — ole Doc. Toser ! 

Cora — " Doctor of Science. Chief en — en — tom- 
ologist " — 

Clarence — Kntomologist. It means somebody 
that studies bugs. 

Cora — Bugs ? How lovely ! " Chief ento-tomolo- 
gist and curator of entomology. Sturtevant Biological 
Laboratories. Fellow N. Y. Acad. Science ; mem. N. 
Y. Zoological Soc — society — Address Sturtevant Bio- 
logical Laboratories, N. Y." Did you ever hear any- 
thing like it? And that just means Clarence! 

Violet — Smith! Clarence Smitli! 

Clarence — Why, you knew it was Smith, didn't 
you? 

Violet — No. No, I didn't. 

Clarence — Is it — is it going to make a difference ? 

Violet — I couldn't — I couldn't — 

Clarence — You mean you couldn't — because it's 
Smith? 

Violet — " Smith's " — beautiful ! 

Clarence — Yes — it zvill be. 

Cora — (disturbed) . What are they talking about? 

Mrs. Wheeler — Sh! They're going to be 
married. 

And so Clarence and Violet drove away in a taxi, 
waving their goodbys to a united family of Wheelers. 
Only Cora was unhappy. Her latest " amour " had 
been shattered and her spirits plunged into the abysmal 
depths of unrequited love. Clarence was gone — and 
she probably would never, never love again. 



THE PLAYS AND THEIR AUTHORS 

*' Abraham Lincoln." Copyright, 1919, by John 
Drinkwater. Pubhshed by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 
Boston. Mr. Drinkwater, born in England, June i, 
1882, devoted his early working days to the insur- 
ance business. He left this to become the manager 
of the Birmingham Repertory theater. He is the 
author of several short plays, including " The 
Storm," and " X-O," and is at work on three his- 
torical dramas patterned after " Lincoln," *' Mary 
Stuart," " Oliver Cromwell," and " Gen. Robert E. 
Lee." 

'* Beyond the Horizon." Copyright, 1919, by Eugene 
G. O'Neill. Published by Boni & Liveright, inc., 
New York. Mr. O'Neill is the son of James O'Neill, 
the veteran actor. He was born in Provincetown, 
Mass., in 18 — . He is the author of several short 
plays, notably " The ^loon of the Carribees," 
" Bound East from Cardiff," '* He," " In the Zone," 
and *' Where the Cross Is Made." His full length 
plays include " Chris," " The Straw," and " Gold." 

" The Famous Mrs. Fair." Copyright, 1919, by James 
Forbes. All acting and recitation rights reserved. 
Mr. Forbes is a native of the province of Ontario, 
Canada, where he was born Sept. 2, 1871. He be- 
came interested in the theatrical business in 1897, 
and took up writing for the theater in 1904. His 
first play, and his most successful until he wrote 
" Mrs. Fair," was " The Chorus Lady," written first 
as a vaudeville sketch for Rose Stahl and played by 
her for many years in its expanded form. Other 
Forbes plays have been " The Traveling Salesman," 
" The Commuters," and " The Show Shop." 
314 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 315 

"Jane Clegg." Copyright, 1919, by St. John Ervine. 
Excerpts printed by arrangement with the publishers, 
Henry Holt & Co., New York. This is the second 
of St. John Ervine's plays to achieve unusual success 
in America, his " John Ferguson " having run for 
several months a year ago. 

*' Clarence." Copyright, 1919, by Booth Tarkington. 
Mr. Tarkington, born in Indianapolis, Ind., in 1869, 
gained wide fame as a novelist before he attempted 
writing for the stage. His first play was a dramati- 
zation of " The Gentleman from Indiana." In col- 
laboration with Evelyn Greenleaf Sutherland he 
dramatized " ^Monsieur Beaucaire." With Harry 
Leon Wilson he wrote *' The Alan from Home," 
" Cameo Kirby," and " Up from Nowhere," and with 
Julian Street " The Country Cousin." Recently he 
has worked alone, producing " Your Humble Serv- 
ant," *' Mister Antonio," and " Clarence." 

" Declasse." Copyright, 1919, by Zoe Akins. Miss 
Akins was born in the Ozark mountains of Missouri, 
in the town of Humansville, in 1886, but has spent 
most of her life in St. Louis. She is the author of 
" Papa," a three-act comedy, " The Magical City," a 
one-act drama, and " Footloose," a modern version 
of the old melodrama, " For-get-me-not." She has 
also done much writing for the magazines. 

" The Jest." Copyright, 1919, by John Barrymore. 
The author of " The Jest," Sem Benelli, is one of 
the most popular of the younger Italian writers for 
the stage. In America he is known only for this 
drama and the libretto he prepared for the opera, 
*' The Love of Three Kings," but on the continent 
his '* Centaur's Nuptials," " The Mask of Brutus," 
and " II Manbellaccio " have been generously ac- 
claimed. 

" Adam and Eva." Copyright, 1919, by George Mid- 
dleton and Guy Bolton. All rights reserved. 
Working as colla'borateurs, Mr. Middleton and Mr. 



3i6 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Bolton have written " Polly With a Past," " The 
Light of the World," "The Cave Girl," and, with 
George Cohan, " Hit-the-Trail-Holliday." Mr. Mid- 
dleton, born in Paterson, N. J., in 1880, has been 
writing for the stage since 1902, when he helped Paul 
Kester with a dramatization of " The Cavalier." He 
is also the author of " The House of a Thousand 
Candles," "A Wife's Strategy," "The Prodigal 
Judge," and numerous volumes of short plays. Mr. 
JBolton is author, or co-author, of " Oh, Boy," " Oh, 
Lady, Lady," " Oh, Dear," " The Rose of China," 
"The Five Milhon," "The Rule of Three," and 
" The Fallen Idol." 

" Wedding Bells." Copyright, 1919, by Salisbury 
Field. Mr. Field is a Californian and one of the 
newer playwrights. With Margaret Mayo he was 
co-author of the farce, " Twin Beds." 

" Mamma's Affair." Copyright, 1919, by Rachel Bar- 
ton Butler. Miss Buller, born in Cincinnati, O., 
an alumnus of Prof. George Pierce Baker's " Eng- 
lish 47 " class at Harvard, won, with " Mamma's Af- 
fair " a $500 prize offered by Producer Oliver Mo- 
rosco. She also sold the same manager another play, 
called " Mom," and at the same time disposed of a 
third, entitled " The Lap-dog." Previous to this sud- 
den success she had been writing plays for several 
years without much encouragement. 

NEW YORK 

Including the plays of 1919-20 that will hold over, 
and the new plays scheduled for a New York hearing 
with the intention of remaining on or close to Broad- 
way as long as their success warrants, a tour of the 
eastern territory to follow : 
John Barrymore in " Richard 111." 
Maude Adams in " Mary Rose." 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 317 

Henry Miller and Blanche Bates in *' The Famous 
Mrs. Fair." 

David Warfield in " Peter Grimm." 

Ina Claire in " The Gold Diggers." 

George x\rliss in " Podelkin." 

Margaret Anglin in " The Woman of Bronze." 

Ruth Chatterton in " Just Suppose." 

Alice Brady in *' Anna Ascends." 

Billie Burke in " The School for Scandal." 

Frances Starr in " One." 

Lionel Barrymore in " Blood and Sand." 

Florence Reed in " The Love Woman." 

Walker Whiteside in ** The Master of Ballantrae." 

William Hodge in " The Guest of Honor." 

Taylor Holmes in " Crooked Gamblers." 

Nora Bayes in " Her Family Tree." 

Emma Trentini in a new play. 

Frank Tinney in " Tickle ^le." 

Frances White in " Jimmie." 

Martha Hedman and Arthur Byron in " Transplanting 
Jean." 

Raymond Hitchcock, Julia Sanderson and C. P. Hunt- 
ley in " Hitchy-koo, 1920." 

James K. Hackett in *' The Great Adventurer." 

Willard Mack in " His Grace, the Loafer." 

Leon Errol in a revue. 

William Rock in " Silks and Satins." 

Eddie Cantor in a revue. 

George White in " Scandals of 1920." 

Richard Carle in " The Jolly Colonel." 

Grace George in a new play. 

Louis Mann in a new play. 

Guy Bates Post in a new play. 

Charles Purcell in " The Poor Little Ritz Girl." 

Ruth Shipley in " Wild Cherries." 

Lou Tellegen in " Blind Youth." 

" Abraham Lincoln." 

" Bab," with Helen Hayes. 



3i8 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" The Champion," with Grant Mitchell. 

" Dear Me," with Grace LaRue and Hale Hamilton. 

" Borderland," with Holbrook Blinn. 

" Rollo's Wild Oat," with Roland Young. 

" Man and Woman," with Mary Nash. 

*' The Jury of Fate," with Lowell Sherman. 

" Arabian Nighties," with Hazel Dawn. 

" Crucible," with Henry Hull. 

" Paddy, the Next Best Thing," with Eileen Huban. 

" Little Old New York," with Genevieve Tobin. 

'* Broadway Brevities," with Dorothy Jardon, Bert Wil- 
liams and Geo. LaMaire. 

" The Maid of the Mountains," with Fred Wright and 
an English company. 

*' Call the Doctor." 

" Welcome, Stranger." 

" The Straw." 

" Golden Days." 

" Scrambled Wives." 

" Come Seven." 

'* The Man from the West." 

'* Cinderella on Broadway." 

" Genius and the Crowd." 

" The Innocent Violet." 

" The Checkerboard." 

'* The Winged God." 

" Pitter Patter." 

'* Opportunity." 

A George Cohan revue. 

" The Americans in France." 

" Abie the Agent." 

'* The Bat." 

" The Meanest Man in the World." 

"Self Defence." 

" Sweetheart Shop." 

" r)roadway to Piccadilly." 

" Blue Bonnet." 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 319 

The Charm School." 

The Cave Girl." 

Dearie." 

Honeydew." 

Happy-go-lucky." 

Kissing Time." 

Ladies' Night." 

The Lady of the Lamp." 

Little Miss Charity." 

IMecca." 

Man of the People." 

The Nightwatch." 

Nothing Doing." 

The Rose Girl." 

Sonny." 

Spanish Love." 

Tattle Tales." 

The Dream Girl." 

Maid to Love." 

Peggy." 

Broken Wing." 
The Thrust." 



EAST AND MIDDLE WEST 

Including cities and important towns between the 
Atlantic seaboard and Kansas City, Mo. : 
** Ethel Barrymore in " Declassee." 
** Henry Miller and Blanche Bates in " The Famous 
Mrs. Fair." 
*** Richard Bennett in " Beyond the Horizon " and 
'* For the Defense." 

* Fay Bainter in '* East is West." 

** William Gillette in " Dear Brutus." 

* Ina Claire in " The Gold Diggers." 

* Louis Mann in " Friendly Enemies." 

** Barney Bernard in " His Honor Abe Potash." 



320 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Raymond Hitchcock in " Hitchy-koo, 1920." 

* Lenore Ulric in " The Son-Daughter." 

** Marjorie Rambeau in " The Sign on the Door." 

* Jane Cowl in " Smilin' Through." 

* Leo Ditrichstein in " The Purple Mask." 

* Otis Skinner in " Pietro." 

* WilHam Collier in " The Hottentot." 

* Ed Wynn's " Carnival." 

* Charles Cherry in " Scandal." 

* Grace George in " The Ruined Lady." 

* Nance O'Neill in " The Passion Flower." 

** Walter Hampden in " Hamlet," and *' Romeo and 
Juliet." 

* Robert B. Mantell in Shakespearean repertoire. 
May Robson in " Nobody's Fool." 

George White's " Scandals of 1919." 
** *' Wedding Bells," with Margaret Lawrence and 
Wallace Eddinger. 
' Mamma's Affair," with Eiffie Shannon and Rob- 
ert Edeson. 
' The Storm," with Helen MacKellar. 
Mclntyre and Heath in " Hello, Alexander." 
' Civilian Clothes," with W^illiam Courtenay. 
' Buddies," with Peggy Wood and Donald Brian. 
' Shavings," with Harry Beresford. 
' The Wonderful Thing," with Jeanne Eagels. 
Al Jolson in " Sinbad." 

• Abraham Lincoln." 
'Jane Clegg." 
' Irene." 

* Clarence." 
' Adam and Eva." 

** Ziegfeld " Follies, 1920." 
** " Apple Blossoms." 

* •' My Lady Friends." 
' The Girl in the Limousine." 
' The Little Blue Devil." 



* 

* 
* 
* 

** 
** 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 321 

* " Nighty-Night." 

* " The Little Whopper." 
" Linger Longer Letty." 
" The Magic Melody." 
" The Rose of China." 

* " Aphrodite." 

* " The Acquittal." 

*** " Monsieur Beaucaire." 
" Angel Face." 
" Always You." 
" Frivolities of 1920." 

* " The Nightboat." 

* " As You Were." 

" My Golden Girl." 
" Breakfast in Bed." 

* '* The Ouija Board." 
'* Look Who's Here." 

" Mrs. Jimmie Thompson." 

* " Floradora." 
** ** Lassie." 

* " Honey Girl." 

" Betty Be Good." 
•' His Chinese Wife." 
" Up in Mabel's Room." 

* " Experience." 

* '• The W^anderer." 

San Carlo Opera Co. (see note). 
Dunbar Opera Co. (see note). 

* " Chu Chin Chow." 

" Greenwich Village Follies, 1919." 

* " Passing Show, 1919." 

* " What's in a Name?" 
" Three Showers." 

" The Hole in the W^all." 

* " The Bird of Paradise." 

* " Maytime." 

" Man Who Came Back." 



322 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" The Blue Flame," with Theda Bara. 

" Martinique," with Josephine Victor. 

" Footloose," with Emily Stevens. 

" Jack-o-Lantern," with Doyle and Dixon. 

Bertha Kalich in " The Riddle : Woman." 

Guy Bates Post in " The Masquerader." 

Anna Pavlowa in a ballet repertoire (see note). 

Thurston the Magician (see note). 

" The Man of the People " (see note). 

" The Royal Vagabond." 

" Three Wise Fools." 
Note. — These attractions have not been seen by the 
author. He is therefore unable to venture an opinion 
as to their quality as entertainment. 

WEST AND NORTHWEST 

From Kansas City, Mo., to the Pacific Coast, and 
including the larger towns and cities of the Southwest : 

*** '* Abraham Lincoln." 

*** William Gillette in " Dear Brutus." 
** Otis Skinner in " Pietro." 
** Leo Ditrichstein in " The Purple Mask." 
** Robert B. Mantell in Shakespearean repertoire. 
** Jane Cowl in " Smilin' Through." 
** Grace George in " The Ruined Lady." 

* Bertha Kalich in " The Riddle : Woman." 
Mclntyre and Heath in " Hello, Alexander," 

* Anna Pavlowa in a ballet repertoire. 

* Nance O'Neill in " The Passion Flower." 
** Milton Nobles in " Lightnin'." 

** Guy Bates Post in " The Masquerader." 

** " The Passing Show of 1919," with the Howard 

brothers. 
** •' The Blue Flame," with Theda Bara. 

* " Tiger Rose." 



** 
** 

* 
* 



** 



* 
** 



* 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 323 

Buddies." 

Gaieties of 1919." 

Clarence." 

Chu Chin Chow." 

Nighty-Night." 

The Storm." 

Hitchy-koo, 1919." 

The Girl in the Limousine." 

The Little Whopper." 

Linger Longer Letty." 

The Sign on the Door." 

Angel Face." 

Frivolities of 1920." 

As You Were." 

Breakast in Bed." 

My Golden Girl." 

Mamma's Affair." 

Floradora." 

Jack-o-Lantern." 
George White's " Scandals of 1919." 

Sweetheart Shop" (see note). 

Experience." 

The Wanderer." 

Keep Her Smiling." 

Good Morning, Judge." 

L'p in Mabel's Room." 

The Acquittal." 

Listen Lester." 

Flo-Flo." 

Twin Beds." 

The Man Who Came Back." 

The Bird of Paradise." 
San Carlo Opera Co. (see note). 
Dunbar Opera Co. (see note). 
Kolb and Dill (see note). 
Fanchon and ]\larco (see note). 
Note. — These attractions have not been seen by the 



324 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

author. He is therefore unable to venture an opinion 
as to their quality as entertainment. 



SOUTH 

*** William Gillette in " Dear Brutus." 
*** Mrs. Fiske in " Miss Nelly of N'Orleans." 
** " Wedding Bells," with Margaret Lawrence and 
Wallace Eddinger. 

* Robert B. Mantell in Shakespearean repertoire. 
*** Milton Nobles in " Lightnin'." 

**"The Acquittal." 

** Walter Hampden in " Hamlet," and " Romeo and 
Juliet." 
" Robert E. Lee " (see note). 
** " Clarence." 

* " Nighty-Night." 

" Hitchy-koo, 1919." 

" The Girl in the Limousine." 

* " The Little Whopper." 

*' Passing Show of 1919," with the Howard 
brothers. 
** " Buddies." 
** " Irene." 

*' Linger Longer Letty." 

*' The Rose of China." 

" My Lady Friends." 

" As You Were." 

" My Golden Girl." 

" Breakfast in Bed." 

* " Floradora." 

" The Man Who Came Back." 
'• Twin Beds." 
'* Listen Lester." 
" Flo-Flo." 

* " Experience." 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 325 

* " The Wanderer." 

" Keep Her Smiling." 
*' Good Morning, Judge." 
*' Up in Mabel's Room." 

* " Tiger Rose." 

" Three Showers." 
** " Lassie." 
** Bertha Kalich in " The Riddle : Woman." 

Mclntyre and Heath in " Hello, Alexander." 

San Carlo Opera Co. 

Fields' Minstrels (see note). 

Neil O'Brien Minstrels (see note). 
** '* Three Wise Fools." 

Note. — These attractions have not been seen by the 
author. He is therefore unable to venture an opinion 
as to their quality as entertainment. 



THE SEASON IN LONDON 

By Sidney Dark 

(Editor Jolin O' London's Weekly) 

IT was inevitable that during the war the English 
theatre should have practically ceased to have any 
artistic existence and that the playhouses should have 
been monopolised by ephemeral and generally banal 
entertainments. Most of the younger actors and dram- 
atists were in the army. All the older men shared the 
insistent anxieties that for over four years made any 
sort of imaginative work almost impossible. More- 
over, the theatres catered entirely for the boys home 
on leave from the front and they certainly did not 
want plays that made them think. All they wanted 
was to laugh and to forget. The armistice was signed 
nineteen months ago. The army is demobolised. New 
conditions (it would be false to say " normal " con- 
ditions) have come into existence. The London the- 
atres are still in most cases content to be merely houses 
of entertainment, but there are signs (at present little 
more than clouds the size of a man's hand) that our 
theatre is again ambitious and that the art of drama 
may once more flourish in the country ot Shakespeare. 
There is one fact, however, that must be accepted, in 
considering (so far, at least, as England is concerned), 
both post-war literature and post-war drama. That 
is that a literary era definitely came to an end on 
August 4th, 1914. With a few notable exceptions, the 
most considerable writers before the war ceased to 
count when the war began. We must look to new 

326 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 327 

men and new women for the real work of the present 
and the future. 

It should be said at the outset that this review of 
the London theatre is confined to the last six months 
of 1919 and the first five months of 1920. During 
this period there have been, as I have said, many in- 
dications both of the desire of the English actor and of 
a minority of English managers to produce plays of 
genuine dramatic value and of the English public to 
pay to see artistic plays when they have the chance. 

The older generation of actor managers, who cared 
for something more than box-office returns, has prac- 
tically disappeared. Sir Herbert Tree and Sir George 
Alexander died during the war. H. B. Irving has 
died since the peace. But a notable addition to the 
actor manager ranks occurred towards the end of last 
year when Henry Ainley became a partner with the 
American Gilbert Miller in the management of the St. 
James'. Mr. Ainley is without question the most 
gifted of contemporary English players. He possesses 
good looks, imagination, intelligence and unusual ver- 
satility. He began his stage career with Sir Frank 
Benson, who has trained most of the considerable 
players on our stage, and he learned a great deal from 
Mr. Granville Barker, the best producer England has 
seen for many a year and who, unhappily for us, now 
spends most of his life in America. Mr. Ainley began 
his management with the production of Tolstoi's 
" Reparation " and followed this gloomy drama with 
a revival of " Julius Csesar." When one remembers 
how much the English theatre owed to the enthusiasm 
of the late Charles Frohman, it is interesting to re- 
peat that Ainley is aided and abetted in his artistic 
ambition by another American. 

Even more interesting is the new management of 
the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, a small playhouse 
in a distant western suburb. This house is controlled 



328 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

by a syndicate of which Mr. Arnold Bennett is the 
head and which includes two of London's newspaper 
millionaires. Its first production was John Drink- 
water's " Abraham Lincoln," perhaps the most con- 
siderable play seen since the war. America has thor- 
oughly endorsed London's verdict on " Abraham Lin- 
coln." Its financial success here was as surprising as 
it was significant. It was followed by " John Fergu- 
son " by St. John Ervine, the young dramatist who 
lost a leg during the war. " John Ferguson," which 
was a success in America before it was seen here, only 
had a short run, despite its distinction and despite 
the fact that it was magnificently acted by a company 
largely recruited from the notable players associated 
with the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. " John Ferguson " 
was followed by a revival of " As You Like It " and 
this will give way shortly to a production of Gay's 
famous " Beggar's Opera." 

Incidentally it should be recorded as further proof 
of what I have stated that during the winter, two large 
theatres in the crowded mean streets of south London 
have been packed every evening by performances of 
Shakespeare and grand opera at popular prices. 

John Galsworthy's " The Skin Game " is far and 
away the most interesting new play produced in the 
West End. Plays with actual war incidents have a 
small chance of success in London. We are so weary 
of it all. But though Mr. Galsworthy does not refer 
to the war, he has evidently written under the infiuence 
of the events that have followed the peace. His play 
deals with the quarrel of an old aristocratic family 
settled for generations in a sleepy village and a push- 
ing " new " millionaire. But the play is really an 
allegory and there is a world of sad significance in the 
words of the aristocrat after he has won the fight. 
" We went into this fight with clean hands, are they 
clean now?" The acting of "The Skin Game" is 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 329 

altogether worthy of the play and it gives a definitely 
high place in the English theatre to Mr. Edmund 
Gwenn who plays the " new " man with splendid sin- 
cerity and intensity. 

Sir James Barrie's " Mary Rose " at the Haymarket 
is, of course, one of the successes of the season. Bar- 
rie is a sure card both in England and America. But 
this play emphasizes my assertion that the pre-war 
writers really finished their course in 1914. " Mary 
Rose " may be described as *' freakish sentimentality " 
and to me anyhow sentimentality cloys after the ultra- 
realism through which we have so recently lived. 
Once more, the excellence of the acting may fairly be 
noted. For nearly a generation English critics have 
been obliged to admit that, while we possessed a num- 
ber of actors who could be safely compared with the 
best in America and almost with the best in France 
and Germany, we were woefully poor in really capable 
actresses. Our Ellen Terry s and Mrs. Kendalls had 
no successors. Now we have actresses of far more 
than first rate promise and conspicuous among them is 
Miss Fay Compton who plays the Barrie heroine. 
Miss Compton is a sister of Compton Mackenzie, the 
novelist. 

Mr. Alfred Sutro's " The Choice " has had a long 
nm at Wyndham's Theatre, owing to some extent, 
perhaps, to the fact that Gerald Du Maurier is Su- 
burbia's favourite actor. Mr. Sutro can never forget 
his insistent admiration for " the strong silent man " 
who never exists in real life and has become a bore 
on the stage. Mr. Arnold Bennett's " Sacred and 
Profane Love," produced at the Aldwych in the late 
autumn, was a deft dramatization of an old novel. 

Mr. James B. Fagan, a dramatist of some distinc- 
tion, has been among the season's new managers. He 
produced at the Court Lennox Robinson's '* The Lost 
Leader," the play written round the life of Parnell 



330 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

which has since been seen in America. This well 
written drama was another success and again one had 
a proof of the old truth that good plays make good 
actors or rather that good plays give good actors the 
opporlunity to show how good they are. The " lost 
leader "' was admirably acted by Mr. Norman McKin- 
nel, the fighting head of the Actors' Association. Mr. 
Fagan followed this play with a production of " The 
Merchant of Venice " in which the famous Jewish 
actor, Maurice Moscovitch, gave a powerful perform- 
ance of Shylock, interesting particularly to English 
audiences because he disregarded almost all the con- 
ventions established by Henry Irving and copied by all 
subsequent English Shylocks. 

Among the other outstanding new plays of the sea- 
son one may mention " Mr. Pirn Passes By," a deft 
light comedy written by A. A. J\Iilne, one of the 
" Punch " group of humourists, in which Miss Irene 
Vanbrugh and her husband, Dion Boucicault, play with 
their usual charming light touch, and " The Young 
Person In Pink," by Gertrude Jennings. The latter 
may be described as an entertainment with brains. 
With amusing incident and bright dialogue it contains 
one character that Dickens might have created had he 
lived today. Mrs. Badger is, indeed, the most irre- 
sistible cockney type seen on our stage for many a 
day — unscrupulous but good natured, humourous and 
unfailingly resourceful. The part is played with 
abounding humour by Miss Sydney Fairbrother. 
" The Young Person in Pink " is the first essay in 
management of Mr. Donald Clayton Calthrop. whose 
father, John Clayton, was a distinguished Victorian 
actor manager and produced the famous Pinero farces 
at the Court Theatre. Mr. Calthrop's mother was one 
of the many talented Boucicaults. He is a capital 
actor, in the early thirties, who looks about eighteen 
both on the stage and off. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 331 

Miss Marie Lohr, who is established as the actress 
manageress of the Globe, produced a dramatic version 
by Mr. Macdonald Hastings of Joseph Conrad's great 
novel, " Victory," and followed it with Robert Hich- 
ens's " The Voice from the Minaret." Mr. Hichens is 
well known in America and all that need be said of this 
play is that it has most of *.he highly coloured qualities 
of its author's novels. Mr. Norman McKinnel was 
conspicuous in the part of an evil minded husband. 
Miss Lohr has revived the late Sydney Grundy's cos- 
tume comedy, " A Marriage of Convenience," and has 
appeared in the role created by Sarah Bernhardt in 
Rostand's " L'Aiglon." 

Colonel Robert Lorraine, actor and super-flying 
man, also chose Rostand for his first production since 
the war. His revival of " Cyrano de Bergerac " was 
altogether delightful and his performance of Cyrano 
was a joy even to those of us who can remember 
Coquelin in what was one of his greatest parts. 
Colonel Lorraine afterwards revived Bernard Shaw's 
" Arms and the Man." The Shaw plays do not, how- 
ever, appear to have much attraction for the present 
race of English playgoers. " Arms and the Man " 
had a comparatively short run, as had a revival of 
" Pygmalion " with Mrs. Patrick Campbell in her orig- 
inal part. 

John Masefield's " Pompey the Great," a thing for 
the study rather than for the stage, was played by Sir 
Frank Benson for a few nights at the St. Martin's. 
The production of a dramatization of the well press- 
agented *' The Young Visiters " should be regarded as 
a theatrical curiosity and not a dramatic event. Miss 
Constance Collier returned home from America to 
produce the dramatic version of Du Maurier's novel 
" Peter Ibbetson," which has, I believe, been seen on 
your side. Du Maurier regarded this gloomy story as 
by far his best literary work and the play written by 



332 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

the late John Raphael, an English journalist who lived 
most of his life in Paris, has real dramatic quality. 
Mr. Cyril Maude, who is also home again after a long 
stay in America, has been playing for months with 
Miss Connie Ediss at the Criterion in a naive farce 
called " Lord Richard in the Pantry." 

Captain Harwood's " The Grain of Mustard Seed," 
recently produced at the Ambassadors', is the cleverest 
political comedy we have had for many seasons. This 
is another instance of brains in the theatre with most 
satisfactory financial results. Incidentally, this play 
has added to Mr. McKinnel's acting successes. 

I have mentioned several Shakespearian revivals. 
To them must be added Sir Frank Benson's " Hamlet " 
and Mr. Matheson Lang's " Othello," both interesting, 
but neither epoch-making. Mr. Matheson Lang has 
produced a version of the Italian play called " Sir- 
rocco," a colourful drama slightly bowdlerised for 
English consumption and rechristened " Carnival." 

American plays have had a large place in theatre 
programmes during the past months. They have been, 
for the most part, bright, well constructed entertain- 
ments, exactly suited to the spirit of the times. " The 
Bird of Paradise," which is just finishing a long run 
at the Lyric, attracted by the pretty novelty of its 
Hawaiian atmosphere. " Business Before Pleasure " 
and " Nothing but the Truth " made us laugh when 
we badly wanted to laugh. Among the other Amer- 
ican productions may be noted " Three Wise Fools," 
"Daddies," "In the Night" (written by an English- 
man but produced in America with a different title in 
1916), "The Lilac Domino," "The Man Who Came 
Back " and " Mr. Todd's Experiment." America may 
be assured that the vni fortunate incident that occurred 
on the first night of Mr. Hartley Manner's " One 
Night in Rome " was certainly not caused by any 
hostile feeling to American players. Miss Laurette 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 333 

Taylor was already an established London favourite, 
one of the many clever American women, of whom 
Miss Edith Day is the latest, who have been warmly 
welcomed in London. The London theatre is, indeed, 
traditionally cosmopolitan, and because the American 
player speaks our language (though in his own char- 
acteristic way) his place here is always assured. Dur- 
ing this last season Mr. Walter Catlin, a comedian with 
admirable restraint and attractive personality, made a 
great personal success in " Baby Bunting," a musical 
comedy composed by the American Mr. Nat D. Ayer, 
whose success in London has made him a permanent 
resident here. This is one incident among many. 

Little need be said of the new musical comedies and 
revues. These productions are written to pattern. 
They are generally devised to exploit the talent of 
some one expensive performer. They are rarely ham- 
pered by wit or originality. They always have long 
runs and make much money — and then they are for- 
gotten. Mr. George Robey is the greatest London 
revue " star," with the American Miss Ethel Levey, 
the American Miss Lee White and the English Miss 
Violet Lorraine running him close. jMlle. Delysia has 
become a considerable draw here and the exotic 
" Afgar," in which she has been appearing has been 
one of the season's striking successes. Mile. Delysia 
will be seen in America in the autunm. 

Among the interesting artistic happenings of the 
season have been the visit of the remarkable Guitry 
family from Paris, Pavlova's dancing at Drury Lane 
and a series of revivals of Greek tragedy in which 
Miss Sybil Thorndike has played the leading parts. 

I have summarised the facts that give hope for the 
future of the theatre in England. I have suggested 
the facts on the other side. Unhappily one must in- 
clude with them the ever increasing commercialism of 
the theatre and the growing power of the mammoth 



334 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

managers. Profiteering has forced up theatre rents in 
London to such figures that experiment, which is the 
Hfe blood of every art, is only possible to a multi- 
millionaire. And more than half the London play- 
houses are controlled by half a dozen men (with mys- 
terious backers who include a Greek and an Ar- 
menian) who laugh at all talk about art and profess 
to care for nothing but profits. The art of the theatre 
would be far, far safer in the hands of the actor man- 
agers whom, a dozen years ago, we all used so con- 
stantly to attack. 



STATISTICAL SUMMARY 



(June 1919-June 1920.) 



Plays Performances 

Abraham Lincoln 193 

Adam and Eva 312 

All Soul's Eve 21 

Always You 66 
An Exchange of 

Wives 19 

An Innocent Idea 7 

Angel Face 57 

Aphrodite 148 

Betty Be Good 31 

Beyond the Horizon 11 1 

Apple Blossoms 256 

Acquittal, The 138 

A Regular Feller 31 

As You Were 143 

At 9:45 139 
A Young Man's Fan- 
cy 13 
A Voice in the Dark 134 
Big Game 21 
Blue Flame, The 48 
Bonehead, The 24 
Boys Will Be Boys 45 
Breakfast in Bed 75 
Buddies 259 
Carnival 13 
Cat-bird, The 33 
Challenge, The 72 



Plays Performances 

Crimson Alibi, The 51 

Cc-esar's Wife 81 

Civilian Clothes 150 

Clarence 300 

Curiosity 28 

Declassee 257 

Dancer, The 61 

Ed. Wynn's Carnival 64 

Elsie Janis and Gang 55 

Faithful, The 49 
Famous Mrs. Fair, 

The 183 

First Is Last 62 

Five o'clock 41 

Five Million, The 91 

Fi fly-Fifty, Ltd. 40 

Florodora 64 

Forbidden 18 

For the Defense yy 

Footloose 32 

Frivolities of 1920 61 

George Washington 16 

Girl from Home, The 24 
Girl in the Limousine, 

The 137 

Gold Diggers, The 282 
Greenwich Village 

Follies, The 232 



335 



336 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 



Plays Performances 
His Honor Abe Pot- 
ash 215 
Hamlet 16 
Happy Days 452 
He and She 28 
Hello, Alexander 56 
Hitchy-koo, 1919 56 
Hole in the Wall, 

The 7?> 

Hottentot, The 113 

Honey Girl 32 

His Chinese Wife 16 

Irene 228 

Jane Clegg 112 

Jest, The 179 

Just a Minute 40 

Katy's Kisses 13 

Lassie 63 

Letter of the Law 89 

Light of the World 31 

Linger Longer Letty 69 
Little Blue Devil, 

The 75 

Little Whopper, The 224 

Look Who's Here 87 

Lost Leader, The 31 
Luck of the Navy, 

The 2)^ 
Lusmore 23 
Magic Melody, The 143 
Mamma's Affair 98 
Martinque 40 
Medea 14 
Miss Millions 47 
Moonlight and Hon- 
eysuckle 97 



Plays Performances 
Monsieur Beaucaire 143 
Mrs. Jimmie Thomp- 
son 64 
Musk 9 
My Golden Girl 105 
My Lady Friends 214 
Night Boat, The 148 
Nighty-Night 154 
Night Lodging 14 
No More Blondes 29 
Not So Long Ago 31 
Nothing But Love 39 
Oh, What a Girl 68 
Oh, Henry 21 
On the Hiring Line 48 
One Night in Rome 107 
Ouija Board, The 64 
Palmy Days 50 
Passing Show of 

19 1 9, The 280 
Passion Flower, The 144 
Phantom Legion, The 5 
Piper, The (Mat- 
inees) 8 
Pietro 41 
Power of Darkness, 

The 40 

Purple Mask, The 139 

Red Dawn, The 5 

Roly-Boly Eyes 100 
Respect for Riches, 

The 15 
Rise of Silas Lap- 
ham, The 47 
Rose of China, The 47 
Ruined Lady, The 33 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 337 



Plays Performances 


Plays Performances 


Sacred and Profane 




Tick-Tack-Toe 


32 


Love 


88 


Too Many Husbands 


102 


Scandal 


318 


Tragedy of Nan, The 




See-Saw 


89 


(Matinees) 


4 


Shavings 


122 


Tragedy of Richard 




She Would and She 




HI 


27 


Did 


36 


Trimmed in Scarlet 


14 


Shubert Gaieties of 




Unknown Woman, 




1919 


87 


The 


64 


Sign on the Door, 




Up from Nowhere 


40 


The 


187 


Wedding Bells 


168 


Smilin' Through 


175 


What's in a Name 


87 


Sophie 


79 


Where's Your Wife? 


65 


Son-Daughter, The 


223 


W^hirlwind, The 


31 


Storm, The 


282 


Wonderful Thing, 




Those Who Walk in 




The 


120 


Darkness 


28 


Ziegfeld Follies of 




Three Showers 


48 


1919 


171 


Three's a Crowd 


12 


Ziegfeld Girls of 1920 




Thunder 


33 


(midnight revue) 


78 


(1 


'AT 


9:45" 





A melodrama in three acts by Owen Davis, produced 

by William A. Brady, Ltd., at the Playhouse, 

New York, June 28, 1919. 



Cast of characters — 

Judge Robert Clayton George Backus 

Howard Noel Tearle 

Jim Everett Leo Mielziner, Jr. 

Jack Grover Harry Green 

Captain Dixon Clifford Dempsey 

Doane Frank Hatch 

Doyle Frank Hilton 

Mack Peter Lang 

Dr. Norton Robert Thorne 

Gillaini Gustave Rolland 

Mrs. Clayton Edith Shayne 



338 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

IMoIly Nedda Ilarrigan 

Ruth Jordan Marie GofiF 

Mary Doane Madeleine King 

Margaret Clancy Idalene Cotton 

Tom Daly John Harrington 

Act I. — Scene i — Judge Clayton's Library. Scene 
2 — Waiting Room at the Ritz-Carlton. Act II. — 
Judge Clayton's Library. Act III. — Scene i — The 
Library. Scene 2 — Another Room at Judge Clay- 
ton's. Place — New York City. Staged Under the 
Direction of John Cromwell. 

The son of Judge Robert Clayton is mysteriously 
shot and killed at 9 45 on an evening when the family 
is away from home dancing at the Ritz. Upon the 
discovery of the body the work of untangling the mys- 
tery is turned over to Capt. Dixon of the police, who 
follows a variety of clews implicating practically every 
member of the cast. Not until the end of the play 
does the confession of the member of the household 
least suspected relieve the situation. 

"THE FIVE MILLION" 

An American comedy in three acts by Guy Bolton and 

Frank Mandel, produced by F. Ray Comstock 

and Morris Gest, at the Lyric Theater, 

July 8, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Ruth Hunter Sue MacManamy 

Mary Marie .\hearn 

Ada Lucile Webster 

Rhy MacDonald Helen Barnes 

Lill June Holbrook 

Pliil Bishop Ralph Stuart 

Nini Bishop Marjorie Poir 

" Mac " James Gleason 

Albert Weaver Purncll Pratt 

" Midge " Monahan Beatrice Noyes 

Douglas Adams Ralph Morgan 

Grant Adams Percy Helton 

JefTcrsnn Adams Charles .Abbe 

Otis Weaver Robert McWade 

Colonel Van Alstyne Kdward Poland 

Dan Monahan Harry Harwood 

Al Iliggins Harry MacKayden 

Queenie .Vmy Ongle, 



Act I. — School Room at Clinton Palls, 



' Ungiey 
. N. Y. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 339 



Act II.— Law Offices of Weaver & Weaver. Act 
III.— Dining Room of Monahan's Boarding House. 
Staged by Robert Milton. 



" GREENWICH VILLAGE FOLLIES " 

A revue in two acts and twelve scenes by Philip 
Bariholomae and John Murray Anderson, pro- 
duced by the Bohemians, Inc., at the Green- 
wich Village Theater, July 15, 1919. 

Principals engaged — 

Susanne Morgan Jere Delaney 

Charles Derickson Bessie McCoy Davis 

William Koran Irene Olsen 

Robert Edwards Rita Zalmani 

James Watts Irene Mathews 

Jane Carroll Rex Story 

Homer Rosine Ada Forman 

Gordon Drexel Cynthia Perot 

Warner Gault Edmond Makalif 

Edgar Thornton Olga Ziceva 
Staged by John Murray Anderson. 



"THE CRIMSON ALIBI" 

A melodrama in a prologue and four acts by George 

Broadhurst, produced by George Broadhurst, 

at the Broadhurst Theater, New York, 

July 17, 191 9. 

Cast of characters — 

Chuck Brown Gardner James 

David Carroll Harrison Hunter 

Professor Bristol Win. H. Thompson 

James Leverage Robert Vaughn 

Loomis Thomas Traynor 

Andrew Quincy Robert Barrat 

Collins Roy LaRue 

Robert Dorrington George Graham 

Larry Conover Robert Kelly 

Red Parks William E. Lemuels 

Mrs. Williams Mary Foy 

Judith Darrel Eilna James 

Mrs. Dean Thais Lawton 

Mrs. Barrage Inda Palmer 

!Mary Garrison Bertha Mann 

Mrs. Wrench Mary Foy 

Julia Cathrine Cozzens 

Prologue — A Room in the Home of Joshua Quincy. 



340 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Act. I. — Scene i — A Room in the Home of David 
Carroll. Scene 2 — Office of Police Inspector Lever- 
age. Act II. — Scene i — Veranda of the Quincy 
Home. Scene 2 — Joshua Quincy's Study. Act III. 
— Scene i — Office of Carter's Hotel. Scene 2 — 
Room 118. Scene 3 — Office of Carter's Hotel. Act 
IV. — Office of Police Inspector Leverage. Play 
Staged by and Entire Production Under the Supervi- 
sion of Mrs. Lillian Trimble Bradley. 

Joshua Quincy is stabbed in the dark, and Hkewise 
the heart, by a person, or persons, unknown. David 
Carroll, a local Sherlock Holmes who devotes most of 
his time to the composition of music, is prevailed upon 
to take the case. His suspicions shift from character 
to character, each with seemingly a plausible motive 
for making way with the old man, until the entire 
company, including Carroll's sweetheart, appears 
guilty. Then the investigator succeeds in fastening 
the crime upon the guilty party and forces confession 
from him. 



" SHUBERT GAIETIES 1919 " 

A revue in two acts and twenty-five scenes, produced 

by J. J. and Lee Shubert, at the Forty-fourth 

Street Theater, New York, July 17, 1919. 

Principals engaged — 

Henry Lewis Gladys Walton 

Jack Bohm Jimmie Fox 

Arthur Hull Gilda Gray 

Stewart Baird Llora Hoffman 

Harry Fender Clayton and White 

Marguerite Farrell The Glorias 

Irving Fisher Ina Williams 

Marie Stafford Billie Williams 
Ted Lorraine 

Staged by J. C. Huflfman. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 341 

"A VOICE IN THE DARK" 

A melodrama in three acts and nine scenes by Ralph 

E. Dyar, produced by A. H. Woods, at the 

Republic Theater, New York, July 28, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

IN THE PROLOGUE 

Mrs. Maria Lydiard Florine Arnold 

Amelia Fjinham Arleen Hackett 

Miss Meredith Harriet Ross 

Madge Conroy Anne Sutherland 

The Coroner John Ravold 

Tip Wilkins William Phinney 

Doctor Franklin Rexford Kendrick 

Harlan Day William Boyd 

Hugh Sainsbury Richard Gordon 

The Office of Dr. Franklin, Briarcliff, Tuesday, 

June 22, 4:30 P. M. 

IN THE play: 

Miss Gridley Doris Kelly 

Sam Cloyd Frank Monroe 

Robert Farrel W. L. Thome 

Harlan Day William Boyd 

Tom Hemmingway Stewart E. Wilson 

Adele Warren Georgia Lee Hall 

Blanche Warren Olive Wyndham 

Mrs. Maria Lydiard Florine Arnold 

Amelia I-3ilingham Arleen Hackett 

Miss Meredith Harriet Ross 

Hugh Sainsbury Richard Gordon 

Madge Conroy Anne Sutherland 

John Malone John Sharkey 

Joe Crampton V/illiam B. Mack 

Act L — Scene i — The Law Office of Day and 
Farrel, Wednesday, June 23, 9 A. W. Scene 2 — 
The Wood Near Briarcliff, Tuesday, June 22, 3 P. M. 
Scene 3 — Same as Scene r. Time, 10 A. M. Act 
II. — Scene i — Office of Day and Farrel June 23, 
10:30 A. M. Scene 2 — The Wood, June 22, 3 P. M. 
Scene 3 — Same as Scene 1. Act IIL — Scene i — 
Office of Day and Farrel, June 23, 1 1 A. M. Scene 

2 — A Railway Station, June 22, 10 P. M, Scene 

3 — Same as Scene i. 

Staged by W. H. Gilmore. 

Hugh Sainsbury, a profligate youth, has been mur- 
dered. Mrs. Lydiard, a deaf old lady, has been wit- 
ness to the crime, but has heard no word of the 
quarrel preceding it. She saw Blanche Warren bend- 
ing over the body with a revolver in her hand. The 
scene is re-enacted in pantomime as she describes it. 
Miss Warren, declaring her innocence, relates her ver- 



342 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

sion of the same scene, and it is again acted, with 
the dialogue suppHed. Finally a blind newsman, sell- 
ing papers in the railroad station, overhears another 
young woman confess that she did the killing. As he 
gives his testimony the scene he describes is acted in 
the dark. His recognition of the guilty person's voice 
leads to a confession that clears the mystery. 



" OH, WHAT A GIRL ! " 

A musical farce by Edgar Smith, Edward Clark; 

music by Charles Jules and Jacques Presburg, 

produced by Lee and J. J. Shubert, at the Shu- 

bert Theater, New York, July 28, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Downes Larry Francis 

Carr Mat Murphy 

Taylor George Stiftcr 

Smathers William Zinnel 

Holmes Harold ITulen 

Willliams William Barry 

Ross Dave Dreyer 

Washington Lew Cooper 

Bill Corcoran Frank Fay 

Jack Rusliton Sam Ash 

Margot M errivale Hazel Kirke 

Lola Chappelle \'era Groset 

Luigi Fravola Ignacio Martinetti 

Deacon Amos Titmouse Harry Kelly 

Perkins Sam Curtis 

Susie Smith Patsy De Forrest 

Amanda Titmouse Elizabeth Moffat 

Cinderella Clarice Snyder 

Prince Charming Kthel Mary Oakland 

Fairy Godmother Veronica Marquise 

Head Waiter Lester ScharflF 

Act I. — ■ Jack Rushton's Apartment. Riverside 
Drive, New York. Act II. — Scene i — Lawn of 
Uncle's Home. Cemetery Corners, N. J. Scene 2 — 
A Country Lane. Scene 3 — Century Midnight 
Whirl. That Night. 

Staged by Edward Clark. 

A country deacon and his nephew are flirting with 
the same cabaret singer. The nephew wins the girl 
by exposing uncle's duplicity to his family. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 343 

" THE CHALLENGE " 

A drama in three acts by Eugene Walter, produced by 

The Selwyns at the Selwyn Theater, 

New York, August 5, 19 19. 



Cast of characters — 

Harry Winthrop Holbrook Blinn 

ISIary Winthrop Jessie Glendenning 

A Nurse Ruth Benson 

Richard Putnam Alllan Dinehart 

Mrs. Bemis (A Maid) Georgia Lawrence 

Mrs. Mather Louise Macintosh 

William Mather Wilson Reynolds 

John Shanley Ben Johnson 

A Police Reporter Charles A. Sellon 

A Copy Reader Fred Karr 

Harry Day (A Reporter) Leonard Doyle 

Taylor Warren (City Editor) Hallctt Thompson 

Reddy Smith Frank Torpey 

A Telegraph Editor C. M. Van Clieve 

First Accountant Francis S. Merlin 

Second Accountant F. C. Bronson 

Third Accountant A. D. Glaser 

A Stereoptican Operator C. R. Brown 

Andrew Bemis Wm. T. Morgan 

John Hayes David Landau 

Tony Bertalini Vici loucelli 

Mat Smith . '. Herbert Bostwick 

ist member of committee Frank Vogel 

Prologue — A Garden adjacent to one of the French 
Hospitals near the front. Acts I. and IL — Home 
of Harry Winthrop. Act HE — Committee Room. 
House of Representatives State Legislature. Epilogue 
— Harry Winthrop's Home. 

Richard Putnam, a parlor socialist home from the 
war, becomes the head of a working men's committee 
seeking to bring about a social revolution. As a lead- 
ing propagandist, he is instrumental in electing a so- 
cialist governor and is ready to declare a general strike, 
when his fellow workingmcn turn against him. They 
have learned that their socialist governor has been 
bought by the capitalists and believe young Putnam has 
had a hand in the deal. Beaten and disillusioned, 
Putnam is finally made over into a good conservative 
by ]\lary Winthrop, the daughter of the capitalist for 
whom he worked. 



344 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" THE RED DAWN " 

An American play in three acts by Thomas Dixon, 

produced at the Thirty-ninth Street Theater, 

New York, August 6, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Tess Maloney Mattie Ferguson 

Fabia Miriam Battista 

Maria. . . .^ Flora MacUonald 

Richard Stanton DeWitt C. Jennings 

Zorin Edward Emery 

Cargin Austin Webb 

Margaret Frances Grayson 

John Duncan Averill Harris 

Pierre Marcel Rousseau 

Rev. Luke Jones John Saunders 

Napoleon Will Evans 

Jane Ethel Jennings 

Simpson George T. Mcech 

The Cub r.illy Wells 

Bolo K. Bianche 

Miss Vera Deverc Doraldina 

McCarthy Cassias Quimby 

Smith Hank Bovie 

First Dancing Girl Betty Mack 

Second Dancing Girl Frances Burns 

Third Dancing Girl Bobbie Reed 

First Musician Walter Kolomoku 

Second Musician Frank Kema 

Third Musician Dave Ploloka 

Corporal of the Guard B. F. Carew 

Act I. — Interior of the Red Leader's house. 
Mornina;. Act IL — Before the Ktd Leader's house, 
overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Evening. Act III. 
— Same Act I. The following morning. 

On an island off the coast of California an attempt 
is made by a young visionary to establish a socialistic 
colony to prove that the theories of socialism are prac- 
tical. The " central Soviet of Russia " attempts to 
gain control of the colony to help along the " universal 
revolution." Five billions in counterfeit money are to 
be used in financing the scheme, and the aid of a mil- 
lion ex-convicts, three million laborers, and ten million 
dissatisfied negroes is to be invoked. The scheme is 
frustrated after the dreamer realizes his mistake. The 
timely arrival of an off-stage U. S. cruiser helps. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 345 

" THOSE WHO WALK IN DARKNESS " 

A drama in three acts by Owen Davis, produced by 

Lee and J. J. Shubert, at the Forty-eighth Street 

Theater, New York, August 14, 1919. 

Cast of Characters — 

Nelson, a policeman L. J. O'Connor 

Dowd, a chauffeur Percival Reniers 

Bob, a waiter Alfred Knight 

" Doc " Hedges Howard Kyle 

Alec Breen i\rthur Shaw 

Mrs. Moss Helen Tracy 

Mrs. Spencer Millie Freeman 

Rufus Underwood Donald Gallaher 

A Girl Mabel Maurel 

Sally Kathryn Slieldon 

Viola Swan Laura Walker 

Dr. Bradford Everett Milburn 

Jessie Schofield Consuela Bailey 

Mrs. Alma Jen vey Amy Ricard 

Judge Joel Kennedy George W. Wilson 

Andy Jenvey Godfrey Matthews 

Act I. — A night lunch wagon on a New York 
Street, and Mrs. Moss' lodging house on 39th i^'treet. 
Act II. — Rufus I'nderwood's house. Act ilL — 
Outside Underwood house. 

Rufus Underwood of Chenango County, New York, 
goes to the city in search of employment. Taken ill 
in a 39th Street boarding-house, he is nursed back to 
health by Viola Swan, herself a small town girl who, 
coming to New York in search of a career, has failed 
and fallen. Falling in love with Viola, young Under- 
wood marries her, even though she confesses her some- 
what lurid past. They return to the boy's home, 
where the town gossips make it unpleasant for them. 
Viola is finally forced to confess her New York ex- 
periences in order to save another young woman from 
a similar fate. Then she tries to go away, but her 
young husband's faith in her is unbroken and they 
agree to stay in Chenango County and defy the gos- 
sips. 



346 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" HAPPY DAYS " 

A musical spectacle in three acts by R. H. Burnside 
and Raymond Hubbell, produced by Charles 
Dillingham, at the Hippodrome, New- 
York, August 2^, 1919. 

Principals engaged — 

Albert Froom Vera Bailey 

Henry Mallia Clyde Cook 

Charles Bart Bert Nagle 

William Williams Thomas Colton 

Joseph Frohoff Arthur Hill 

Bert Bowlen Alice Nash 

Chinco and Kauferaan Edna Nash 

The Agousts " Happy " Jack Lambert 

Salbini A'alodia N'estoff 

Hartley Belle Story 

The PerezofFs Hattie Towne 

The Great Hanneford The l~our Amaranths 

Family Maud Mallia, 

Dane Claudius Lalla Selbini 

Lillian Scarlet Minnie Kaufman 

Ventian Quartette Henry Taylor 

The usual succession of vaudeville and circus acts inter- 
spersed with musical comedy and elaborate scenic effects. 

Staged by R. H. Burnside. 



"UP FROM NOWHERE" 

A comedy in four acts by Booth Tarkington and Harry 

Leon Wilson, produced by John D. Williams, 

at the Comedy Theatre, New York, 

September 8, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

George Washington Silver Norman Trevor 

George "j Frederick Howard 

Georg.anna . His children. .. . Olive Murray 

Martha Leotta Miller 

Etta J Margalo Gillniore 

Linski, his secretary George Casselberry 

Sato, his valet Sato 

Captain Hercules Penny. Cecil Yapp 

Mrs. William Grenoble Somerset Grace Reals 

Frederic X'alcntine, her brother Clarence Uellair 

Edith, his daughter Ann Andrews 

The action, passing within twenty four hours takes 
place at Silver's home in a suburb on the Hudson. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 347 

George Washington Silver, a " new American " 
boasting a Portuguese father and Irish mother, as well 
as traces of Swedish and Italian blood, acquires a for- 
tune and a family. To discourage his snobbish son, 
bent on marrying Edith A^alentine, whom the father 
believes to be a fortune hunting daughter of an old 
New York family. Silver invites Edith to his house. 
In his efforts to expose her mercenary motives Silver 
falls in love with the girl himself and finally marries 
her. 

" LUSMORE " 

A play in four acts by Rita Olcott and Grace Heyer, 

produced by Rita Olcott at Henry Miller's 

Theatre, September 9, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Eithne Eva le Gallienne 

Mother Weir Beth Fox 

Taman Weir John McFarlane 

Lusmore Grace Heyer 

Mai O'FIynn John Hamilton 

Big Dermac Malone John Todd 

Daragh Murray William H. Malone 

Widow Ni Leary Elsa Sheridan 

Una O'Brien Mary Stephens 

Ellen of the Grey Locks Louise Poe 

Brother Bertram John Todd 

Brother Michell Richard Wallace 

Princess Oirein Regina Wallace 

Lady Margreadh Louise Poe 

Lady Cathleen Elsa Sheridan 

Wounded Knight Edwin Strawbridge 

Hugh de Lacy William H. Sams 

Aide Richard Walllace 

Soldier William H. Malone 

Fairy Queen Mary Stephens 

Acts I. and I\'. at the dwelling on Carrick Hill. 
Act II. — The woods of Conmaicne. Act III. — Camp 
of Hugh de Lacy. 

A poet hunchback named Lusmore, suspected of be- 
ing a changeling left by " the good little people " of 
Conmaicne wood, in Ireland, is not popular in the 
community. Being driven away he wanders in the 
wood until he meets some of his fairy ancestors. They 



348 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

take away his disfiguring hump, turn him into a hand- 
some knight and send him back to fight for his king. 
Finally he wins the heart of the loyal Eithne, a blind 
girl, whose sight is also restored by the good fairies. 



" NIGHTY-NIGHT " 

A farcical comedy in three acts by Martha AI. Stanley 

and Adelaide Matthews, produced by Adolph 

Klauber, at the Princess Theater, 

New York, September 9, 

1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Porter George W. Pierpont 

Trixie Lorraine Suzanne Willa 

Billy Moffat Francis Byrne 

Waiter Oscar Knapp 

Dr. IJentley Cyril Raymond 

Ernestine Oare Marie Chambers 

Mollie Moffat Dorothy Martimer 

Philip Burton Grant Mills 

Norah Ruby Craven 

Jimmie Blythe Malcolm Duncan 

Prologue — Section of a Washington-New York 
Pullman; Acts I. and II. — Billy MolTatt's apartments. 
Act III. — The Moffat kitchen. 

Trixie Lorraine, an ex-danccr, has married a second 
time without telling her new husband that she had been 
married before, or that she is the mother of a child 
by the first marriage. Running away from her jealous 
mate on the eve of his discovery of her past, she rents 
an apartment in New York, which happens to be owned 
by an old friend of the second husband who promptly 
follows her and becomes more jealous than ever. The 
usual farcical comj)lications, followed by the usual ex- 
planations. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 349 

" SHE WOULD AND SHE DID " 

A light comedy in three acts by Mark Reed, produced 
at the Vanderbilt Theatre, September 

11, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Frances Xesmith Grace George 

Mrs. Nesmith Isabel West 

Pearl Esther Howard 

Elsie Coward Cora Witherspoon 

Frank Coward John Cromwell 

Charlie N'incent Edward Arnold 

Bess Trull May Collins 

Wallie Byrnes John Adair Jr. 

Dr. Coburn Fletcher Harvey 

Fisher Brigham George MacQuarrie 

Worthen Bennett John Stokes 

Harley Hunt Lemist Esler 

Major Wilson Ned Burton 

Herbert .Arthur Keith 

Act I. — Drawing room at the Nesmiths. Act II. 
— Office of Brigham and Bennett. Act III. — Li- 
brary of the Cowards. Staged by John Cromwell. 

Frances Nesmith has been suspended from her golf 
club because she lost her temper and deliberately dug 
holes in the eighth green. In her efforts to have the 
suspension lifted she flatters, cajoles and tricks enough 
members of the greens committee to effect her tri- 
umphant reinstatement. 

" CIVILIAN CLOTHES " 

A comedy in three acts by Thompson Buchanan, pro- 
duced by Oliver Morosco, at the Morosco 
Theatre, New York, September 

12, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Billy Arkwright, late lieut. A. E. F Glen Anders 

Nora, the maid Millie Buttcrfield 

General Mclnerny, U. S. A Edward Mackay 

Jack Rutherford, late lieut. N. .X.. . .Arthur Albertson 

Florence Lanham Olive Tell 

Mrs. Lanham, her mother Isabel Irving 

Elizabeth, her sister Grace Kaber 

Sam McGinnis. late Capt. A. E. F Thurston Hall 



350 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Mrs. Margaret Smythe Marion Vantine 

Belle Henderson Bessie Eyton 

Zack Hart William Holden 

Mr. Lanham I-'rank Sylvester 

McGinnis, Sr Tames K. Applebee 

Bell Hop Edward Colebrook 

Maid at Hotel Mary Melrose 

Acts I. and II. in the Lanham home, Louisville, 
Ky. Act III. — Hotel in New Orleans. Staged by 
Frank Underwood. 

Florence Lanham, a proud southern beauty from 
Louisville, while Red Crossing in France, marries Cap- 
tain Samuel McGinnis. After an exciting honeymoon 
back of the lines she returns to •Paris and later hears 
Captain Sam has been killed. Some months later in 
Louisville, where she has said nothing about her mar- 
riage, Captain Sam turns up and is so disappointing 
a figure out of uniform that she hesitates to acknowl- 
edge him as her husband. Refusing to be put aside 
so easily, Captain Sam determines to give his snobbish 
wife a lesson and accepts a position in her home as 
butler. His experiment results in Florence's falling in 
love with him all over and her complete capitulation 
follows. 

"SCANDAL" 

A comedy in three acts by Cosmo Hamilton, produced 

by Walter Hast, at the 39th Street Theatre, 

New York, September 12, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

rtlham Franklin Charles Cherry 

Malcolm Frascr William David 

Sutherland York Malcolm Fassett 

Major Barnct Thatcher Robert Ayrton 

Pewsey Mr. Leonard Wood 

Sarah Margaret Collinge 

Mrs. Henry N'anderdyke .Mice I'utnam 

Miss Ilonoria X'anderdykc Isabel O'Madigan 

Mrs. Brown Mary Cecil 

Rcgina Watcrhouse Marjorie Ilast 

Helenc Doris Duane 

Beatrix Vanderdyke I*"rancine Larrimore 

Act I. — York's studio, New York. .Act II. — 
Beatrix's bedroom \'anderdyke country house. Act 
III. — Franklin's home in Connecticut. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 351 

Beatrix \^anderdyke, to save herself from the con- 
sequences of an embarrassing situation, informs her 
family and friends that she lias been secretly married 
to Pelham Franklin. Franklin, resenting the liberty 
taken, purposes to teach the young woman a lesson and 
insists upon following her to her room. Here, when 
she is properly frightened, he reads her a lecture on 
morals and a young woman's responsibility and then 
leaves her. This high handed treatment has the ef- 
fect of awakening her love for him, and in the end 
she is thoroughly humbled and they are legally mar- 
ried. 

" ADAM AND EVA " 

A comedy in three acts by Guy Bolton and George 

Middleton, produced by F. Ray Comstock and 

Morris Gest at the Longacre Theatre, 

New York, September 13, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

James King Berton Churchill 

Corinthia, his parlor maid Jean Shelby 

Clinton DeWitt, his son-in-law Reginald Mason 

Julie De Witt, his eldest daughter. ... Roberta Arnold 

Eva King, his younger daughter Ruth Shepley 

Aunt Abby Rocker, his sister-in-law. . .Adelaide Prince 
Dr. Jack Delamater, his neighbor. . .Richard Sterling 
Uncle Horace Pilgrim, his cousin 

Ferdinand GottschaJk 

Adam Smith, his business manager Otto Kruger 

Lord Andrew Gordon, his would-be son-in-law 

Courtenay Footo 

Acts I. and II. — The King home. Long sland. 
Act III. — The King farm in New Jersey. 

See page 248. 

" A REGULAR FELLER " 

A comedy in four acts by Mark Swan, produced by 

Charles Emerson Cook, at the Cort Theatre, 

New York, September 15, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Dan r>rackett Ernest Glendinning 

Charlie Winter Everett Butterfield 



352 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" Butch " Hawkins Dudley Clements 

Cyrus Pond James Bradbury 

Everett Davis Albert Busher 

Joseph Brackett, Dan's father Edwin Holt 

Milton Cross Charles Abbott 

Leslie Purvis Roy Gordon 

Vinton, chauflfeur George Cukor 

Bessie Winter Miriam Sears 

Jocelyn Cross. Margaret Greene 

Emelia Vandergrift, her aunt. .. .Charlotte Granvillle 

Mandy, waitress Kitty O'Connor 

Acts I. and III. — Interior of Roadside Garage. 
Act II.— Outside the Garage. Act IV. — " The 
Little House Across the Road." 

Dan Brackett, after a quarrel with his rich father, 
determines to make good on his own. He promotes 
the sale of a punctureless automobile tire and in a 
race from a Long Island village to New York he 
arrives in time to prevent the villain's voting the wrong 
way at a directors' meeting. Thus he wins the admira- 
tion of his stern parent and the hand of Bessie Winter, 
the heroine. Most of the scenes are laid in the Long 
Island village and the contrasts are those of the smart 
town boy and the country rubes. 

"FIRST IS LAST" 

A comedy in three acts by Samuel Shipman and Per- 

cival Wilde, produced by William Harris, Jr., 

at Maxine Elliott's Theatre, New 

York, September 17, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Doug Hassard Short 

Harvey Robert Strange 

Lnwcll Franklyn .Ardell 

Phil Richard Dix 

Steve Edward Robinson 

Madge Phoebe Foster 

Ethel Kathleen Comegys 

Annabelle Mary Newcombe 

Helen Elisc Rartlett 

Selby (a butler) James Kearney 

Act I. — Columbia College. Acts II. and III. — 
Libraiy in Lowell's home. 

A group of co-cds graduating from Columbia Uni- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 353 

versity agree to pool their futures. Meeting three 
years later to divide their profits, they discover they 
are, with one exception, all failures. The one success, 
the class poet, has become a garbage king and made a 
fortune. Dividing the profits of this enterprise, some 
5,000 cans of garbage, they start forth again. At 
their next meeting, two years later, they are still mostly 
failures. The poet, however, has given up his gar- 
bage contracts and gone in for mechanical toys, and 
is still a rich man. He marries the girl who had be- 
lieved in him as a poet and the others go their va- 
rious ways disillusioned, but still hopeful. 



" THE JEST " 

Adapted from the Italian of Sem Benelli's " La Cena 

delle BeiTe," produced by Arthur Hopkins, 

at the Plymouth Theatre, New York, 

September 19, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Giannetto Malespini John Barrymore 

Neri Chiaramantesi Lionel Barrymore 

Gabriello Chiarniantesi Charles Kennedy 

Tornaquinci Arthur Forrest 

Fazio E. J. Ballantine 

Calandra Paul Irving 

Nencio W. J. McClure 

Camus H. Charles Smith 

Cintia Maud Durand 

Ginevra Maude Hannaford 

Lapo. Arthur Rankin 

A Lieutenant Jacob Kingsberry 

The Doctor Cecil Clovelly 

The Executioner L. R. Wolheim 

Lisabetta Margaret Fareleigh 

Lucrezia Martha McGraw 

Fiametta (iilda \'aresi 

A Singer Thomas Williams 

Act -—At Tornaquinci's house. Acts II. and IV. 
— At Ginevra's house. Act III. — The pillar. 

See page 149. 



354 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" CLARENCE " 

A comedy in four acts by Booth Tarkington, produced 
by George C. Tyler, at the Hudson Theatre, 
New York, September 20, 1919. 
Cast of characters — 

Mrs. Martyn Susanne Westf ord 

Mr. Wheeler John Flood 

Mrs. Wlieeler Mary Boland 

Bobby Wheeler Glenn Hunter 

Cora Wheeler Helen Hayes 

\'iolet Pinncy Elsie Mackay 

Clarence Mfred Lunt 

Din widdie Barlowe Borland 

Delia Rea Martin 

Hubert Stem Willard Barton 

Act I. — Ante room to Mr. Wheeler's private 
office, New York. Acts II., III. and I\'. — Living 
room at Mr. Wheeler's home, Englewood, N. J. 
Stafied by Frederick Stanhope. 

See page 280. 



" THUNDER " 

A comedy in four acts by Peg Franklin, produced by 

John Golden, at the Criterion Theatre, New 

York, September 22, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Ma McBirney ^larie Day 

Pa McBirney Guy Nichols 

Mandy Coulter Liela I'.ennett 

Jeff Coulter Clias. McDonald 

Buck Babb Horace James 

Mr. Carson George Wright 

Mrs. Carson Eva Dennison 

Sam Disbrow Chester Morris 

Air. Disbrow .Wilson Day 

Dick Babb Benjamin Kauser 

Azalea Sylvia field 

Preacher Burr Mcintosh 

Pliny Doane Sam Reed 

Hi Kitchcll John Talbot 

Mrs. Kitchell Marion Kerby 

Mrs. Doane Blance Talbot 

Fidler Charles Althoff 

Tom Gerson .Mart E. Heisey 

Acts I. and I\^ — Dooryard of the McBirney cabin. 
Acts II. and III. — Cabin of Simeon Pace. 

( " Thunder " was afterwards called " Howdy 
Folks? ") 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 355 

Azalea is an orphan and a circus performer trav- 
elling under the protection of a guardian. When the 
guardian dies he asks " Old Thunder," a circuit 
preacher, to take charge of her. The preacher ab- 
ducts the child, carries her to the cabin of friends in 
the mountains and protects her when she is pursued 
and threatened by the proprietor of the circus. A 
neighboring miser without kith or kin dies leaving a 
small fortune. The preacher, confident God will for- 
give the lie, swears this money belongs to Azalea as 
the dead man's heir. Azalea is thus able to establish 
a local store and build a schoolhouse in which she and 
the juvenile hope eventually to acquire sufficient book 
*' larnin' " to guarantee their success and happiness. 

" SEE-SAW " 

A musical comedy in two acts, book and lyrics by Earl 
Derr Biggers, nmsic by Louis A. Hirsch, pro- 
duced by Henry W. Savage, at Cohan's 
Theatre, New York, September, 2t„ 
1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Helen Elizabeth Hines 

Billy Meyrick Guy Robertson 

Captain Starboard Horace M. Gardner 

Harkins Frederick Graham 

Lord Ilarrowby Charlie Brown 

Kinkaid John II. McKenna 

Cleo Ray Helen Bolton 

Spencer Meyrick George Barbier 

Aunt Mary Jeanette Lowrie 

Cynthia Meyrick Dorothea McKaye 

Jephson (of Lloyds) Charles Esdale 

Richard Minot Frank Carter 

Henry Trimmer Cliarles Meakins 

Bell Boy Jmimie Parker 

Bird Byron Byron Halstead 

Act I. — On board steam yacht " Lilith." Act II. 
— Courtyard of Florida Hotel. 

Cynthia Meyrick's mother wishes her to marry an 
English lord. Cynthia's father prefers a hustling 



356 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

young American. Lord Harrowby, the English candi- 
date, has insured his chances of marrying Cynthia with 
Lloyds of London for $100,000. Richard Minot, as 
Lloyds' agent in America, is assigned to keep an eye 
on his lordship and to protect the interests of the 
company. Falling in love with Cynthia, he finds him- 
self in an unhappy predicament. If he prevents her 
marrying Harrowby he is disloyal to his company and 
if he does not marry her he is disloyal to himself and 
likewise to her. A clause in the contract that was 
overlooked in the first act is instrumental in providing 
a satisfactory conclusion. 



"KATY'S KISSES" 

A farce in three acts by Neil Twomey, produced by 

Edward B. Perkins, at the Greenwich Village 

Theatre, New York, September 24, 1919. 



Cast of characters — 

Ned Summers Carl Jackson 

Nat Foster Frank Dawson 

Fred Jones William I. Clark 

Sam Levy Alfred Winn 

Mathew Davis Neil Twomey 

Katy Hartnian Mary Ann Dentler 

Margaret LaiiR Gcraldin Beckwith 

}. Q. Rockmirh Harry Maitland 
ohnnie Clifford Robbins 

Hez Iluckins Robert Craig 

Ambrose Quirk T. C. Hamilton 

Bill Griggs Reynold Williams 

Delia Dunn Agnes Kelly 

Acts I., II. and III. at Summers' Law Office. 



Matthew Davis, an " apostle of blufT." believing that 
the world accepts every man at his own estimate of 
himself, drifts into a small New England town. He 
is broke. So is the lawyer to whom he attaches him- 
self. But he (Davis) lies and blufi's his way to suc- 
cess, finally marrj'ing his partner to the village wash- 
lady's daughter and himself to a rich widow. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 357 



" ROLY-BOLY EYES " 

A musical comedy in three acts, book and lyrics by 

Edgar Allan Wolff, music by Eddy Brown and 

Louis Gruenberg, produced by John Cort, at 

the Knickerbocker Theatre, New York, 

September 25, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

J udge Robert Warren Hugh Chilvers 

Mrs. Robert Warren Adora Andrews 

Ida Loring Queenie Smith 

Myron S. Rentham Harry Anson Truax 

Mrs. Penelope Giddings Maud Leone 

Dorothy Giddings Kate I'ulhnan 

Buddie M ontrosc Earl Gates 

Michael J'iachetti Frank Martins 

Peter H. D. Blakeinore 

Dances by Margaret Edwards 

Billy Emerson Eddie Leonard 

Billy Rice Eddie Mazier 

Billy W^est Bert McGarvey 

Fred W. Wambold G. Clayton Frye 

Kitty Rice May Boley 

Act I. — Garden of Judge Warren's country home. 
Acts II. and III. — Sleeping porch of same. 

Billy Emerson runs away from home when threat- 
ened with arrest for a crime the villain committed. 
He joins a minstrel troupe and later returns to sing 
serenades to his mother and his boyhood sweetheart. 



'• AN EXCHANGE OF WIVES " 

A comedy in three acts, by Cosmo Hamilton, produced 

by Walter Hast, at the New Bijou Theatre, 

New York, September 26, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

William Armitage Forrest Winant 

Viola Hay ■ • Chry stal Heme 

Meakin Stanley Harrison 

Stanner Miriam Doyle 

Archibald Hay Lee Baker 

Margaret Armitage Margaret Dale 

Acts I. and IL — The Living Room. Act III. — 
Mrs. Armitage's sleeping porch. 



358 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

The Armitages and the Hays, intimate friends, take 
a cottage for the summer on Long Island. Under 
these Hving conditions Mr. Armitage and Mrs. Hay 
decide that they are much more suited to each other 
than they are to their respective mates. ReaHzing 
what the situation may lead to Mr. Hay and Mrs. 
Armitage decide the only way to cure the misguided 
ones is to pretend to accept the situation, and suggest 
a literal exchange of wives. Thereupon they pretend 
to become violently interested in each other and carry 
the joke as far as the sleeping porch. By this time it 
has ceased to be a joke, and as a result all parties are 
more than willing to return to their proper mates at 
the play's conclusion. 

" MOONLIGHT AND HONEYSUCKLE " 

A comedy in three acts by George Scarborough, pro- 
duced by Henry Miller, at Henry Miller's 
Theatre, New York, September 29, 
1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Pet Baldwin Flora Sheffield 

Tod MusKrave -James Kennie 

Hallie Halilvviii Katherine Kmmett 

Senator Baldwin Edward Fieldini? 

Jefiferson Lawrence Eddingcr 

ConKressman Ilamill Sydney Booth 

Courtney Blue Charles Trowbridge 

Judith Baldwin Ruth Chattcrton 

Mrs. Langley Luoile Watson 

The Three Acts of the Play Take Place in the Liv- 
ing Room of the Baldwin Home in Washington Dur- 
ing an Evening in May. The Action is Continuous 
— the Intermissions Marking no Lapses of Time. 

Judith Baldwin seeks to test the love of three men 
who have asked her to marry them — a society fop, 
a congressman and an educated cowboy. She invents 
a story of a scandalous past, tells it in turn to each of 
them and intimates that it is the story of her own life. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 359 

The fop and the congressman shy away, but the cow- 
boy is ready to shoot anyone who intimates that Judith 
has ever been less than 99 per cent. pure. Thus he 
wins the ingenious heroine and happiness impends. 



" THE DANCER " 

A drama in three acts by Edward Locke, produced by 

Lee and J. J. Shubert, at the Harris Theatre, 

New York, Sei>tember 29, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Paul Kerinski Effingham Pinto 

Olga ^iary Mitman 

Mrs. Penfield-Clarke Eva Lang 

Elvira Jargo Miriam Elliott 

Bojdan Borivenko Jose Ruben 

Nina Kosoloff Renee Adoree 

Roy Lingart (Ji,-orge Burnett 

Mascha Kosoloff Helen Salinger 

Lola Kerinski Isabelle Lowe 

Peter Quincy Hale John Halliday 

Richard Penfield-Clarke William Morris 

Stetson Philip Dunning 

Higgins Richard Freeman 

Acts I. and IIL — Lola's studio, New York. Act 
II. — Peter Quincy Hale's home in the Berkshircs. 

Lola Kerinski, a dancer, falls in love with Peter 
Quincy Hale, a New Englander who reflects the un- 
yielding attitude of his puritanical forebears. She 
marries him, is unhappy and returns to her life with 
the joyous vagabonds of the theater. Hale's relatives 
attempt to place her in a compromising position that 
they may force her to divorce her husband, but he 
returns from the war in time to prevent the success of 
the conspiracy. 



36o THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" THE GOLD DIGGERS " 

A comedy in three acts by Avery Hopwood, produced 

by David Belasco, at the Lyceum Theatre, 

New York, September 30, 1919. 



Cast of characters — 

Stephen Lee Bruce McRae 

James Hlake H. Reeves-Smith 

Barney Barnett Frederick Truesdell 

Wally Saunders Horace Braham 

Freddie Turner Austen Harrison 

Fenton Jessup Harold Christy 

Tom Newton D. Lewis Clinton 

Marty Woods Frank Lewis 

Jerry Lamar Ina Claire 

Mabel Muiiroe Jobyna Howland 

\'iolet 1 )ayiie Beverly West 

Mrs. Lamar Louise Galloway 

Top ;v St. Jolin Ruth Terry 

CiSBJc Gray Pauline Hall 

TrixiL' Andrews Lilyan Tashman 

Eleanor Montgomery Luella Gear 

Gypsy Montrose Gladys Feldman 

Dolly Baxter Katherine Walsh 

Sadie Louise Bur*on 

Acts I., IL and IIL — 'Jerry Lamar's apartment, 
New York City. 



" Jerry " Lamar is one of a band of pretty Httle 
salamanders known to Broadway as " gold diggers," 
because they " dig " for the gold of their gentlemen 
friends and spend it being good to their mothers and 
their pet dogs. In a pinch, which is to say in the sec- 
ond act, Jerry is willing to sacrifice her own reputa- 
tion to prove to the guardian of a little chorus girl she 
has taken under her wing that all the ladies of the 
ensemble are not as bad as they are painted. The 
guardian, becoming slightly alcoholic, accepts this as 
the life and asks Jerry to marry him. In love with 
him she honorably confesses the trick that she has 
played upon him, but he is sufficiently noble to forgive 
and marry her. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 361 

ZIEGFELD MIDNIGHT FROLIC 

A revue in two parts, lyrics by Gene Buck, music by 

Dave Stamper, produced by F. Ziegfeld, Jr., at 

the New Amsterdam Theatre Roof, New 

New York, October 2, 1919. 

Principals engaged — 

Frances White Martha Mansfield 

Fannie Brice Allyn King 

Chic Sale Irene Barker 

Ted Lewis ' Keegan and Edwards 

W. C. Fields Arthur Uttry 

Savoy and Brennan Hal Hixon 

Arthur Rose 

Staged by Ned Weyburn. 

"THE STORM" 

A melodrama in four acts by Langdon McCormick, 

produced by George Broadhurst, at the 48th 

Street Theatre, New York, October 

2, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Burr Winton Edward Arnold 

David Stewart Robert Rendel 

Maniteekwa Charles Hend -rson 

Jacques Fachard Max Mitzel 

Manette Fachard Helen MacKellar 

Act I. — Exterior Burr Winton's cabin. Act II. — 
Living room in the cabin. Ma^ette's bedroom. Act 
III. — Same as Act I. Act I\'. — Same as Act III. 

Manette Fachard, a young French Canadian and an 
orphan, is cut off from civilization in the depths of the 
Canadian woods, her companions being Burr Winton, 
a rough prospector of the northland, and David Stew- 
art, a travelled and cultured Englishman. All winter 
the three are imprisoned in a cabin. Both men are in 
love with Manette and she refuses to choose between 
them. In the spring the test of their loyalty is inten- 
sified. One of the men must make his way to Calgary 
to bring provisions back to the others. The girl still 
refuses to indicate which shall go, but by a trick Stew- 



362 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

art makes it appear she has named Burr. Before 
Burr can leave they are surrounded by a forest fire. 
Their lives are saved by a series of happy accidents 
and out of this experience the girl's true love for Burr 
is revealed and Stewart retires with more or less sfrace. 



"WHERE'S YOUR WIFE?" 

A mystery farce in three acts by Thomas Grant 

Springer, Fleta Camploell Springer and Joseph 

Noel, produced by F. C. Thompson, at the 

Punch and Judy Theatre, New York, 

October 4, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Florence Hentley Nila Mac 

Jane Ruth Parry 

Mrs. Hope-Harrellton-IIowe Grace Goodali 

Walter McLanc Charles White 

Mr. liwell Harry Quealy 

Joseph Ilodgens Jack Follard 

Howard llentlcy Jack Pendleton 

Taxi Driver Elmer Edwards 

Officer Casey James A. Boshell 

Matthew W^ard Murray Phillips 

James J. Barnes Geo. Howell ^ 

Madam Zeller Dorothy Newell 

Charles Whiting Roy ^lacN'icoI 

Carpenter Frank Atwell 

Rowan Taylor Maud Gilbert 

Mr. Watson .Arthur Keith 

Act 1. — 5.45 P. M. Act II. — Two Hours Later. 
Act III. — One Minute Later. Place — Living Room 
of the Hentley's Apartment in the Keystone .Apart- 
ment House, New York City. Staged by George 
Howell. 

A mystery farce in which an inquest in ordered to 
investigate the murder of a woman who has disap- 
peared. The discovery of bloodstains and a rusty 
knife provide circumstantial evidence, which is humor- 
ously pursued until it transpires that there has been 
no killing at all. The woman had merely gone to the 
Grand Central station with her husband. The blood 
stains were those of a freshly killed duck and the rusty 
knife didn't mean anything. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 363 



" DECLASSEE " 

A drama in three acts by Zoe Atkins, produced by 

Charles Frohman, Inc., at the Empire Theatre, 

New York, October 6, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Rudolph Solomon Claude King 

Edward Thayer Vernon Steel 

Harry Charteris Charles Francis 

Sir Emmett Wildering Julian Royce 

Sir Bruce Haden Harry Plimmer 

Count Paolo del Magiore Ralf Belmont 

Walters Edward Le Hay 

Lady Helen Haden Ethel Barrymore 

Lady Wildering Clare Eames 

Charlotte Ashley Beatrice Beckley 

Mrs. Leslie Katherine Harris 

Alice \'ance Madeline Delmar 

Zellito Gabrielle Ravine 

Act I. — Sir Bruce Haden's house, London. Act 
II. — Lounge of a New York hotel. Act III. — Ru- 
dolph Solomon's house, New York City. 

See page 95. 

"HAMLET," "TAMING OF THE SHREW." 
"TWELFTH NIGHT" 

Shakespearean repertoire presented by E. H. Sothern 
and JuHa Marlowe on their return to the stage, 
October 6, 1919, and the two weeks succeed- 
ing, at the Shnbert Theater, New York, 
under the direction of Lee Shubert. 

Hamlet 
Cast of characters — 

Claudius, King of Denmark E. L. Granville 

Hamlet E. H. Southern 

Polonius Frank Peters 

Laertes Henry Stanford 

Horatio Frederick Lewis 

Rosencrantz Vernon Kelso 

Guildenslern Boyd Clarke 

A Priest Malcolm Bradley 

Marceilus Colville Dunn 

Bernardo Arthur Ames 

Francisco Boyd Clarke 

Reynaldo Charles J. Sims 

Osric Vernon Kelso 



364 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

First Player Colville Dunn 

Second Player Malcolm Bradley 

First Gravedigger Rowland Rucksone 

Second Gravedigger Leon Cunningham 

Gliost of Hamlet's Father J. Sayre Crawley 

Fortinbras William Adams 

Gertrude Mma Kruger 

Ophelia Julia Marlowe 

Player Queen Norah Laraison 



The Taming of the Spirew 
Cast of characters — 

Baptista Frank Peters 

\incentio Malcolm Bradley 

Lucentio I'rederick Lewis 

Petruchio E. H. Sothern 

Hortensio H. L. Granville 

Gremio J- Sayre Crawley 

Tran io H enry Stanford 

Blondello Colville Dunn 

A Pedant Vernon Kelso 

Tailor Malcolm Bradley 

Haberdasher Leon Cunningham 

Grumio Rowland Buckstone 

Katharina Julia Marlowe 

Bianca Norah Lamison 

Widow Alma Kruger 

Curtis Ursula Fawcett 



Twelfth Night 
Cast of characters — 

Twelfth Night 

Orsino Frederick Lewis 

Sebastian Henry Stanford 

Antonio 1' rank Peters 

A Sea Captain E. L. Granville 

Curio Leon Cunningham 

Valentine Andrew Souther 

Sir Toby Belch Rowland Buckstone 

Sir Andrew Aguecheek J. Sayre Crawley 

Malvolio E. H. Sothern 

Fabian Colvil Dunn 

Feste, a Clown Vernon Kelso 

A Priest Boyd Clarke 

Olivia Alma Kruger 

Viola Julia Marlowe 

Maria Norah Lamison 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 365 

"THE GIRL IN THE LIMOUSINE" 

A farce in three acts by Wilson Collison and Avery 
Hopwood, produced by A. H. Woods, at the 
Eltinge Theatre, New York, Octo- 
ber 6, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Kargan Edward Butler 

Benny Dann Malloy 

Belty Neville 1 'oris Kenyon 

Dr. Jimmie Galen Charles Ruggles 

Tony Hamilton John Cumberland 

Kiggs Carnett Parker 

l-'rcddie Neville 1- rank Tiiomas 

Bernice Warren N'ivian Rushmore 

Lucia Galen Claiborne Foster 

Aunt Cicely Zelda Sears 

Giles Harry Charles 

Acts I. and II. — Betty's Bedchamber. Act III. — 
Verandah. 

Betty Neville is obliged to leave a house party and 
go to bed with the grip. Tony Hamilton, who had 
been in love with her before she married Freddie 
Neville, while on his way to the party is set upon by 
a pair of taxicab bandits, robbed of his valuables, in- 
cluding his clothes, pummelled into a state of insensi- 
bility, and dumped into Betty's room. Aunt Cicely, 
who has never met Betty's husband, finding Tony in 
her bedroom, jumps to the conclusion that he must be 
the husband and orders him into bed with Betty. Tony 
spends the rest of the evening in, out and under the 
bed, the situations being arranged to give as little of- 
fense as possible pending the usual explanations. 



366 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 



"HITCHY-KOO, 1919" 

A revue in two parts, book by George V. Hobart, 
music and lyrics by Cole Porter, produced by 
Raymond Hitchcock, at the Liberty 
Theatre, New York, Octo- 
ber 6, 1919. 



Principals engaged - 

Raymond Hitchcock 
Sylvia Clark 
Charles Howard 
Wan eta Means 
Charles Witzell 
Maurice Black 
Mark Sullivan 
James J. Doherty 
Joseph Cook 
Chief Eat;le Horse 
Dan Brennan 



Lucille Ager 
Eleanor Sinclair 
Ursula O'Hare 
Ruth Mitchell 
Florence O'Denishawn 
Billy Holbrook 
Josephine MacNicoIl 
Elaine J'almer 
Lilliam Keinhle Cooper 
Princess White Deer 



" HELLO, ALEXANDER " 

musical extravaganza in two acts, book by Edgar 

Smith and Emily Young, lyrics by Alfred Bryan, 

music by Jean Schwartz, produced at the 44th 

Street Theatre, New York, by Lee and 

J, J. Shubert, October 7, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Col. Winslow Dan Quinlan 

Lieut. Jack Winslow Jack Cagwin 

Aunt Kitiie Esther W^alker 

Ethel Winslow Jean Tyne 

Capt. Chonieiidley Earl Rickard 

" Toots " McSwat Sid Williams 

Joe Joe Haniilton 

Simons and Slocuni Boyle and Brazil 

Lieut. Clay Fred Bliss 

Lieut. Allen Murry Salet 

Lieut. Gordon Harry l-'orsyelh 

Lieut. Jackson Martin Griffin 

" Muggs " Casey Charles Judson 

Spike Murphy Eddie Fh-nn 

Jim Delilly Larry Clifford 

Lull Conners Joe Hamilton 

Leader of Crowd Milton Pohs 

Maude Bradbury Rosie Quinn 

M rs. Carter Gabriel Grey 

Gloria Carter Chick Barrymorc 

Gilda Gilda Gray 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 367 

Eczema Johnson Mabel Elaine 

Susie Folsom Lottie Reick 

Mary Lawton Peggy Dempsey 

Mollie Bragg Dot Aiantell 

Aunt Jeniinma N'ivian Holt 

Mammy Cloe Lillian Rusedr.le 

Alexander James Mclntyre 

Henry Clay Jones Thomas K. Heath 

Act I. — Scene i — Tampa Bay Hotel. Scene 2 — 
Exterior of Aviation Camp. Scene 3 — Grand Min- 
strel First Part. Jones' Ever-Ready Minstrels. Act 
II. — Scene i — Levee, on the Mississippi. Scene 2 
— At the Drug Store. Scene 3 — \'illa of Col. 
Winslow. Scene 4 — In New Orleans. Scene 5 — 
Jazz X'alley. Scene 6 — Ballroom, Col. Winslow's 
Mansion, New Orleans. 

A revamping of " The Ham Tree " story, with 
Henry luring Alexander away from a perfectly good 
hotel job that he may introduce him as a dusky poten- 
tate at a costume ball. 



"APPLE BLOSSOMS" 

An operetta in a prologue and two acts, music by Fritz 
Kreisler and Victor Jacobi, book and lyrics by 
William Le Baron, produced by Charles Dill- 
ingham, at the Globe Theatre, New 
York, October 7, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Julie Rcna Parker 

Polly Juanita Fletcher 

Molly Adele Aslaire 

Johnny Fred Astaire 

Nancy Wilda Bennett 

Lucy Fielding Pauline Hall 

Anabel Mason Hildali Reccicr 

Richard (Dickie) Stewart Pcrcival Knight 

Mail Carrier Frank Snyder 

Chauffeur George Fordyce 

George Winthrop Gordon Harrison Brockljank 

Harvey Roy .\twell 

Phillip Campbell John Charles Thomas 

Mrs. Anne Mcrton Florence Shirley 

Prologue — Garden of Castle Hall School. Act 
I.— Phillip Campbell's house. Act II.— The Ball 
Room. 

Philip and Nancy marry to please their parents. 
They agree, however, that immediately after the cere- 



368 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

mony each will be permitted to live an unfettered, or 
Greenwich Village, life. Nancy is in love with the 
comedian and Philip prefers the ingenue. Finding 
that the free life is not as attractive as they had an- 
ticipated it would be, and falling more hopelessly in 
love with each other with each successive duet, they 
end by acknowledging their mutual happiness in the 
married state. 

" TOO MANY HUSBANDS " 

A comedy in three acts, by Somerset Maugham, pro- 
duced by A. H. Woods, at The Booth Theatre, 
New York, October 8, 19 19. 

Cast of characters — 

Victoria Estelle Winwood 

Miss Dennis Beatrice Miller 

Taylor Carolyn Darling 

Mrs. Shuttleworth Marguerite St. John 

Leicester Paton Fritz Williams 

Major Frederick Lowndes, D.S.O.. Lawrence Grossmith 

Major William Cardew, D.S.O Kenneth Douglas 

Nannie Marion buckler 

Mr. Raham J. H. Brewer 

Miss Montmorency Florence Edney 

Boy Richard Gray 

Acts I and IL— The Bedroom. Act. IIL— The 
Drawing Room. 

Victoria, a clinging vine type of young English 
woman, is married to Major William Cardew, D.S.O. 
Hearing that William has been killed at Ypres, she 
consoles herself by marrying his best friend. Major 
Frederick Lowndes, D.S.O. A year later Bill re- 
turns unexpectedly from the war, having been im- 
prisoned in Germany, and Victoria finds herself em- 
barrassingly encumbered with two husbands, as well 
as a mixed assortment of offspring. Which of the 
men will she divorce? They, it happens, are equally 
willing to give Victoria up. Bill insisting that she should 
cling to Freddie and Freddie being equally determined 
that she shall return to \V\\\. A ictoria saves the situa- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 369 

tion by divorcing them both and marrying a flirtatious 
war profiteer. 



"THE FAITHFUL" 

A drama in three acts by John Masefield, produced by 

Augustin Duncan, at the Garrick Theatre, 

New York, October 13, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Asano RoIIo Peters 

Kurano Augustin Duncan 

Hazama Henry Travers 

Kodera Robert Donaldson 

Hara Erskine Sanford 

An Old Samurai Wm. J. Nelson 

A Widow's Son Noel Leslie 

Shoda Walter Geer 

Kira Henry Herbert 

Sagisaka Boris Korlin 

Kamai Walter Howe 

Honzo Erskine Sanford 

The Envoy Henry Stillman 

One Milton Pope 

Captain of Kira's Guards Albert Lester 

Wild Cherry Mary Blair 

Lady Kurano Helen Westley 

Chikara Richard Abbott 

Starblossom Julia Adler 

Act I. — Scene i — open space near Asano's Palace. 
Scene 2 — Room in Kira's Palace. Act II. — Open 
space near Asano's Palace. Act III. — Scene i — 
The Retreat of the Renin. Scene 2 — Room in 
Kira's Palace. 

Kira, a crafty and cruel usurper, seeks to rule a 
province of old Japan. By trickery he succeeds in 
causing the death of Asano, a kindly leader of the peo- 
ple. As his lust for power grows, Kira lays waste 
the land and makes outcasts of Asano's followers. 
Under the leadership of Asano's friend, Kurano, the 
people bide their time and finally sacrifice their own 
lives to reek deserved vengeance upon their enemy. 



370 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" BOYS WILL BE BOYS " 

A comedy in three acts dramatized by Charles O'Brien 

Kennedy from an Irvin S. Cobb story, produced 

at the Belmont Theater, New York, October 

13, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Willie Bagby Harold Bergh 

Georgia Green Edward Hayden 

Tommie Martin Donald MacPherson 

Jeff Poindexter Frank I. Frayne 

Mrs. Gafford Eugene Dubois 

Peep O'Day Harry Beresford 

Dr. Wells C. II. Reigel 

Nick Bell Claude Cooper 

Breck Quarles Erville Alderson 

Horace Gafford Charles Gibney 

Lucy Allen Winifred Wellington 

Tom Miner Robert Armstrong 

Mrs. Hunter Edna Archer Crawford 

Judge Priest William St. James 

Ivlr. -Sublette Robert Harrison 

Frankie Alton Michael Hanlon 

Harry X'arney Edwin Mouhot 

Katie O'Day Rose Mary King 

Sergeant^ Bagby George Park 

Minnie Summers Eldean Steuart 

Mary Kelly Noel Steuart 

George Foster Maury .Steuart, Jr. 

Tommy Bell Philip llayden 

Dan Spencer Gus Anderson 

Act I. — Our Favorite Gathering Place. .\ct. II. — 
Our Old Schoolhouse. In the Morning. Act III. — 
Same Place. Same Evening. 

A dramatization of Irvin Cobb's story in which 
" Peep " O'Day, a sweet-tempered, simple, kindly old 
bit of " white trash " in a Kentucky village, inherits 
$40,000 and " busts out." Never having had any 
youth he accepts this as a chance to make up for lost 
time. So he buys the school house for the privilege 
of throwing stones through the windows and a field 
of melons so the boys can " hook 'em." 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 371 

" THE LITTLE WHOPPER " 

A musical comedy in two acts, book by Otto A. Har- 
bach, music by Rudolf Friml, lyrics by Bide Dud- 
ley and Otto A. Harbach, produced by Abra- 
ham Levy, at the Casino Theater, New 
York, October 13, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Janet MacGregor Mildred Richardson 

Aliss Granville Nellie Graham-Dent 

Kitty Wentworth N'ivienne Segal 

George Emmett Sydney Grant 

John Harding Harry C. Browne 

Harry Hayvvard Louis Coombs 

James Martin Sidney Hall 

Oliver Butts W. J. Ferguson 

William ) »ir.,^ e- * 

Robert 1 Wihon Sisters 

Judge MacGregor David Torrence 

Mrs. MacGregor Lotta Linthicura 

Frances Lucille Williams 

Teenty Rose Wilton 

Tonty May Wilton 

Jack Dodge Edward Tierney 

Fred Rood Birnie Prevost 

Act. I. — Scene i — Grounds of the Arlington 
Academy. Scene 2 — Corridor of Blenheim Hotel, 
Philadelphia. Scene 3 — Harding's Rooms at The 
Blenheim. Act 11. — Scene i — The MacGregor 
Drawing Room, Baltimore. Scene 2 — The Same. 

Kitty Wentworth, attending boarding- school near 
Philadelphia, tells her preceptress she is going to the 
city to meet some friends of the family — which is a 
" little whopper." She is going to meet her fiancee 
with the intention of marrying him. In Philadelphia 
she gets into the wrong young man's room in a hotel, 
is followed by the schoolmistress and has considerable 
trouble fibbing her way out of her adventures. " The 
Little Whopper " was adapted from the screen com- 
edy, " Miss Geo. Washington, Jr.," played by Mar- 
guerite Clark. 



372 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" FIVE O'CLOCK " 

A comedy in three acts by Frank Bacon and Free- 
man Tilden, produced by Walter F. Wanger, at 
the Fulton Theatre, New York, October 
13, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Davis Paul Porter 

Mrs. Burdette Vivia Ogden 

Daniels Joseph Conyers 

Higgins David Higgins 

Dr. Marsh Tim Murphy 

Dr. Gould Paul Everton 

Alice Gould Alberta Burton 

Orville Stack-wood Leslie Austen 

Jimmy Robert Schilling 

Mrs. Murray Mina Gleason 

Holliday Hayward Ginn 

George Stackwood Perce Benton 

Emma Stackwood Gertrude Maitland 

Percival Brighton Byron Rusell 

Katherine Brighton Sarah Edwards 

Watkins Charles T. Lewis 

Dr. Doyle G. Lester Paul 

Miss Carroll Elizabeth Burbridge 

Act I. — Office of The Mansion House, Paulham, 
Mass. Act II. — Office of Dr. Gould in the Institu- 
tion. Act III. — Orville's cottage in " Hope Vil- 
lage." 

Orville Stackwood was a backward child ; also an 
orphan. His guardians, who were his relatives, de- 
cided to send him to an institution for the feeble 
minded, partly to be rid of him and partly to have a 
freer hand in the disposition of the trust fund pro- 
vided by his parents. For thirteen years they kept 
Orville in the home; then, having ceased to be back- 
ward and having become a thoroughly normal young 
person, he is helped to escape by Alice Gould, the 
superintendent's daughter, who loves him. After se- 
curing his legal release he devotes the later years of 
his life to the establishment of a home in whicii other 
backward children are treated kindly and given a 
chance to grow well and strong. " Five o'clock " is 
the hour at which all inmates, including the trusties, 
must return to the home. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 373 

*' THE LUCK OF THE NAVY " 

A naval play in three acts by Clifford Mills, producod 

by F. Ray Comstock and Morris Gest, at the 

Manhattan Opera House, New York, 

October 14, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Lieut. Clive Stanton, V.C, R.N Percy Hutchison 

Sub-Lieut. Louis Peel Aubrey -Mather 

Lieut. -Commander I'errin, R.N Geoffrey Webb 

Midshipman Wing Eden Patrick Ludlow 

Admiral Maybridge A. P. Kaye 

Francois Alarcel Rousseau 

Schaffer J. H. Croker-King 

Briggs Tracey Barrow 

Police Inspector Barry Whitcomb 

An Airman R. Huddlestone 

Mrs. Gordon Peel Kate Carew 

Cynthia Eden Muriel Martin-Harvey 

Dora Green Elsie Stranack 

Anna Blanche Le Roy 

Maidservant Eleanor Street 

Newspaper Boy .^ Edward Crompton 

Prologue — I — Lieut. Stanton's Submarine, 5-A, 
Below Surface. 2 — The 5-.\ Coming to the Surface. 
3 — The British Fleet in Action at Night Against 
a Zeppelin. Act L — Stanton and Peel's Apartment at 
Dunton, a Small Town on the East Coast of England. 
Time — Afternoon. Act IL — The Lounge at "Hill- 
side," Mrs. Peel's House at Brookridge, About 
Two Miles from Dunton. Time — About a Quarter 
to Seven in the Evening. Act IIL — The Same. 
Time — Shortly After Dinner. Period — The Clos- 
ing Months of the Great War. Staged by Percy 
Hutchison. 

Lieut. Clive Stanton is engaged in a contest of wits 
with a stageful of German spies, including the mother 
of an English naval officer who was German by birth 
and had been sent to England as a boy to grow up as 
a spy in the service, and another German posing as a 
wounded Belgian colonel. Stanton, after several nar- 
row escapes, succeeds in outwitting the enemy and in 
helping to win the war. 



374 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" HIS HONOR, ABE POTASH " 

A comedy in three acts by Montague Glass and Jules 

Eckert Goodman, produced by A. H. Woods, 

at the Bijou Theatre, New York, October 

14, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Rosie Potash Mathilde Cottrelly 

Irma Potash Lucille English 

Abe Potash Barney Bernard 

Henry Goodine: George Barnum 

Harry Potash Ted W. Gibson 

Robert Stafford Robert Cummings 

Georee Block James Spottswood 

Crawford Bertram Miller 

Rothwell Stanley Jessup 

Evans Frank J. Kirke 

Mr. Brady Harold Vosburgh 

Riggs Kalman Matus 

Detective Baker William Vaughn 

Henry Block Edwin Mordant 

Act I. — I-iving Room of Potash Home. Acts II 
and III. — Mayor's Office in City Hall, Damascus, 
N. Y. 

Abe Potash, a Jewish merchant in the village of 
Damascus, New York, holds his honor, both as a Jew 
and as a business man, as his creed. He accepts the 
nomination for mayor tendered him by the political 
boss of the town with the intention of using him as 
a tool. After Abe is elected, however, though the 
politicians try by all the familiar tricks of politics to 
bend him to their wishes, he refuses to weaken and 
in the end is still triumphantly honest. 

" NOTHING BUT LOVE " 

A musical comedy in three acts, book and lyrics by 
Frank Stammers, score by Harold Orlob, pro- 
duced by Maddock and Hart, at the Lyric 
Theater, New York, October 
14, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Billy Marbiiry Easton Yonge 

Lucy Cotton Marion Sunshine 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 375 

June Marbury Ruby Norton 

Allyn Hicks Andrew Tombes 

Dictor Tibbetts Donald Meek 

" His Majesty " l\lillicent Gleeman 

Drake Robert Woolsey 

Bella Florence Enright 

Mrs. Maud Winchester Arline Fredericks 

Teddy Winchester Clarence Nordstrom 

Brooks Philip Bishop 

Stacey Adams Jolin Roche 

Commodore Marbury Stanley H. Forde 

Fleming Jack McSorley 

Mignon Mignon Reed 

Muriel Muriel Reilly 

Luvah Luvah Roberts 

Grace Grace Weeks 

Nell Nell Hall 

Rose Rose De Vere 

Jere Jere Fitzgerald 

Elizabeth Elizabeth Darling 

Gracie Gracie La Rue 

Josephine Muriel Wilson 

Betty Betty Warlow 

Alice Alice Fessenden 

Claire Claire Stevens 

Dorothea Dorothea King 

Beatrice Beatrice Darling 

Florence Florence Allen 

Kathryn Kathryn Kelly 

Prologue — Living Room of the Marburys. (Note 
— Curtain will fall 30 seconds to denote lapse of six 
hours.) Act I. — Same as Prologue. Act II. — At 
the Yacht Club. Act III. — Plaza Mrs. Winchester's 
Home. Staged by Frank Stammers. 

Allyn Hicks, a hero who does not know that he is 
a hero because he is afflicted with a dual personality, 
saves the heroine from drowning and then forgets all 
about it. He hates the water and he can't swim. He 
tries vainly to escape the consequences of his heroic 
act until a friendly doctor clears his subconscious com- 
plexes and he feels justified in claiming the girl a-s his 
by right of conquest. 

"A YOUNG MAN'S FANCY" 

A fantastic comedy in three acts by John T. Mclntyre, 

produced by George C. Tyler, at The Playhouse, 

New York, October, 15, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Pickering Philip Merivale 

Martin Harry Barf oot 



376 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Handel Frank Allworth 

Lef twich Alfred Kappeler 

Costigan J. M. Kerrigan 

Devine Walter C. Percival 

Congo Krank Boyd 

Miss Halsey Mary Kennedy 

Miss Carter Jessie Busley 

Laramy Howard Lindsay 

Mary Darling Jeanne Eagels 

The Blonde Girl Bessie Owens 

The Pink Youth Morgan Farley 

The Hostess Eugenie Blair 

The Brown Haired Young Man Sidney Elliott 

The Dark Young Man John Davidson 

The Tall Girl Symona Boniface 

The Girl in Blue Viola Cain 

Mary's Image Jeanne Eagels 

The Man Servant John D. Seymour 

Act I. — Pickering's Home. Act II. — Inside the 
Store. Act III.—. The Street. 

Pickering, a poet and recluse, falls in love with a 
dry goods store dummy. Her waxen features so 
closely resemble those of a lost love that it is easy for 
him to weave romances about the various groups of 
which she is made the center by the window dresser — 
romances in which he invariably figures as the hero. 
Finally, he meets Mary Darling, the young woman who 
posed for the model, and confesses his love for her. 
She is really the assistant window dresser at the store, 
but she may also have been the young woman whom 
the poet had loved and lost before he became a recluse. 



"ON THE HIRING LINE" 

A satirical comedy in three acts by Harvey O'Higgins 

and Harriet Ford, produced by George C. Tyler, 

at the Criterion Theatre, New York, October 

20, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Sherman I'cssenden Cyril Scott 

Dorothy I'esscndcn Vivian Tobin 

Steve Mack Donald Gallaherr 

Mrs. Sherman Fessenden Laura Hope Crews 

Ronnie Oliver John Blair 

Mrs. Billy Capron Minna Gombell 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 377 

Ritchie Sidney Toler 

Billy Capron Robert Hudson 

Acts I, II and III. — Living-Room of Fessendea 
Country Home in New Jersey. 

The Sherman Fessendens, Hving in New Jersey, 
have a great deal of trouble keeping servants — partly 
because Mrs. Fessenden, eager to move back to New 
York, does whatever she can to discourage them. Mr. 
Fessenden, in love with the country, finally meets the 
servant problem by engaging two detectives, one to 
serve as cook, the other as butler. To explain his 
need of them he tells them they have been hired to 
watch things. They do — and discover what they be- 
lieve to be an affair between a visiting actor and Mrs. 
Fessenden. Mr. Fessenden is greatly excited until it 
is explained that the love letter the actor is supposed 
to have written to Mrs. Fessenden is really a copy 
of an old one he himself had written her before they 
were married. 



" THE PASSING SHOW OF 1919 " 

A revue in two acts and fourteen scenes, produced by 

Lee and J. J. Shubert, at the Winter Garden, 

New York, October 23, 1919. 

Principals engaged — 

Walter Wolf Jack Donnelly 

Harry Turpin Frank Martin 

Beth Elliott Frankie Heath 

Lon Hascall James Barton 

Hazel Cox Tillie Barton 

Charles Adams Katherine Witchie 

Eddie Miller Grace Haley 

Ralph Riggs Bernice Haley 

John Crone Mabel Haley 

Joe Opp Grace Keeshon 

Olga Cook Blanche Ring 

Roland Woodruflf Ray Oddo 

James Grant Charles Winninger 

Reginald Denny Mile. Madge Derny 



378 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" PALMY DAYS " 

A comedy-drama in three acts by Augustus Thomas, 
produced by Arthur Hopkins, at The Play- 
house, New York, October 27, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Sweeney John Robb 

Mrs. Curley Lillian Dix 

Big Lil Eugenie Campbell 

Jose Alexis M. Polianov 

Bud Farrell Harry D. Southard 

Leavenworth Thomas Walsh 

Texas Emmet Shackleford 

Kaintuck Wilton Lackaye 

Red Morgan George Spaulding 

Davy Woodford George Le Guere 

The Cricket Genevieve Tobin 

The Queen Mattie Keene 

Robinson Edward J. Guhl 

Fargo Bill Olaf Skavlan 

One-Eyed Conover.. Edgar M. WoUey 

Mrs. Woodford Grace Reals 

Acts I and IL — Mrs. Curley's Bar at Lone Tree. 
Act III. — Hallway of the Hotel. 

As a young man Kaintuck had been a dresser for 
the actor Edwin Forrest. Marrying an actress mem- 
ber of the Forrest company, he later named Forrest 
as correspondent in a sensational divorce case and left 
for the West. Three months after Kaintuck's deser- 
tion of his wife she bore him a daughter, and eighteen 
years later the daughter, having taken to the stage, 
is the toast of the mining camp district in which her 
father is a picturesque character. She is loved by 
many men, but prefers Kaintuck's young partner Davy 
Woodford, and Kaintuck, despite his divorced wife's 
interference, makes the consummation of their romance 
possible. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 379 

" BUDDIES " 

A musical comedy in two acts and an epilogue by 
George V. Hobart, lyrics and music by B, C. 
Hilliam, produced at The Selwyn 
Theatre, New York, Octo- 
ber 2^, I919. 

Cast of characters — 

Biff Robert Middlemas 

Buddy Bert Melville 

Hank George B. George 

Abie Adrian H. Rosley 

Johnny Horace A. Ruwe 

Pete ' Frank R. Woods 

Rube Richard Cramer 

Babe Roland Young 

Sonny Donald Brian 

Madame Benoit Camile Dalberg 

Marie Annette Monteil 

Babette Pauline Garon 

Julie Reggy Wood 

Alphonse Pettibui.s Edouard Durand 

Louise Maitland Maxine Brown 

A squad of American doughboys is billeted with the 
Widow Benoit in Brittany. The time is immediately 
following the signing of the armistice. One of the 
boys, called " Babe," brave in war but bashful in love, 
is deeply enamored of the Widow Benoit's daughter, 
Julie. Julie is also in love with him, and, thinking 
to give him courage to propose to her, she tries to 
arouse his jealousy by pretending to love his favorite 
" buddie." The conspiracy, halted momentarily by 
the discovery and exposure of a German spy in the 
camp, is finally successful and Julie and her " Babe " 
are united. 



38o THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" FIFTY-FIFTY, LTD." 

A musical comedy in three acts, book by Margaret 

Michael and WilHam Lennox, lyrics and music 

by Leon DeCosta, produced by the Sci- 

bilia Theatrical Enterprises, at the 

Comedy Theatre, New York, 

October 2y, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Phyllis Wyndliam ^^a^guerite McNulty 

Rosabelle Wyndham Elsie Douglas 

Katy Margaret Michael 

Monty William Lennox 

Judge Geoffrey Wyndham Lynn Pratt 

Kenneth Patterson Barrett Greenwood 

Fluffy La Grange Gertrude N'anderbilt 

Marian Carter Norma Hark 

Poultney Steele Frank Bernard 

Prof. Josephus Dabney John .Slavin 

Cornwallis Crosby Herbert Corthell 

Phineas Tanner Frank Walsh 

Minerva Crosby Jean Newcombe 

Claire Crosby Doris .\rden 

Dolly Manners and I „ „ . 

Angelica Manners \ G"^"^^" Twins 

Toodles Gray Alice Cavanaugh 

Miss De Bath Ann Lemeau 

Giovannina Yon Elsie Young 

Tommy Gallagher Wilma Bruce 

Pauline Bell Lillian Lee 

Betty Roberts Beatrice Moran 

Claire Campbell Kathryn Richards 

Frederica .Xshton Rose King 

Polly Leeds Fanny Driscoll 

Cissie Merideth Marian Driscoll 

Acts I and IIL — Reception Room, Judge Wynd- 
ham's Home, New York City. Act II. — Second 
Floor, Judge Wyndham's Home. 

A musicalized version of the old William Gillette 
farce, " All the Comforts of Home." So much of the 
plot as is retained repeats the adventure of the young 
man who rented his father's house furnished during 
the family's absence on a vacation. In this instance 
the tenants include a musical comedy chorus and the 
rented home becomes a sort of jazz boarding house. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 381 

" JUST A MINUTE " 

A musical comedy in two acts by Harry L. Cort, 

George E. Stoddard and Harold Orlob, produced 

by John Cort, at the Cort Theatre, New 

York, October 27, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

The Song Girls.. Niobe Warwick and Mae Terresfield 

The Saleslady Merle Hartwell 

The Demonstrators 

Messrs. Green, Murphy, Fenn and Curren 

The Girl Mabel Withee 

The Other Girl • Mona Celete 

The Porter Billy Clark 

The Aunt May \'okes 

The Executor Wellington Cross 

The Trouble George F. Moore 

The Pilot Percy Pollock 

The Bathing Girl \'irginia Clark 

The Dancers Morin Sisters 

Act I. — The Boardwalk, Atlantic City. Act II. — 
Private Yacht " Sweet Stuff." 

An heir to milHons, under promise to keep his iden- 
tity secret for a certain length of time, on penalty of 
losing the money, falls in love with the heroine and 
tells his real name too soon. The discovery that the 
setting ahead of the clocks to conserve daylight sav- 
ing has also saved the hero's money by " just a min- 
ute " permits a happy conclusion. 

"THE LITTLE BLUE DEVIL" 

A musical farce, book and lyrics by Harold Atteridge, 
music by Harry Carroll, produced by Joe Weber, 
at file Central Theatre, New York, Novem- 
ber 3, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Tom "^ Jack Geier 

Dick >• Bookkeepers Kdward Bisland 

HarryJ James Buckley 

Billie Eddie Cox 

Freddie James Whctlcr 

Mary Eleanor Griffith 

Stella Frances Dunlop 



382 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Pansy Anne Sands 

Augustus Rollett Bernard Granville 

Paulette Divine (' The Little Blue Devil " 

Lillian Lorraine 

Mrs. Lewellyn Eleanor Gordon 

Mr. Lewellyn Wilfred Clarke 

Phillip Scarsdale Jack McGowan 

George Wallus l-2d\vard Martindel 

Lizzie Marion Mosby 

Purkiss W. H. Powers 

Moss Eddie Cox 

Tiney, a dancer Katherine Hatfield 

Act I. — Office of New York Inter-County Rail- 
road. Act IL — " The Little Blue Devil's " Apart- 
ment. Act III. — The Home of Augustus Rollett. 

Augustus Rollett, secretary to the president of a 
railroad, is eager for promotion. Knowing that his 
employer is fond of the ladies Augustus conceives the 
idea of engaging a chorus girl to pose as his wife and 
to flirt with his boss. The girl engaged is known as 
" The Little Blue Devil " and so successful is she in 
compromising the railway man that the secretary gets 
his promotion, is able to explain everything to his 
real wife and all is as it should be at the end. " The 
Little Blue Devil " is a musicalized version of Clyde 
Fitch's " The Blue Mouse." 

" THE UNKNOWN WOMAN " 

A melodrama in four acts by Marjorie Blaine and 

Willard IMack, produced by A. H. Woods, at 

Maxine Elliott's Theatre. New York, 

November 10, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Joel Emerson Felix Krembs 

Gerald Hastintrs Lunibden Hare 

Margaret Emerson Marjorie Ranibeau 

Mr. Warrington Dodson L. Mitchell 

M r. Crosby Lincoln Plumer 

Richard Normand Hugh Dillnian 

Mr. Manncring Roy Walling 

Millicent Emerson Fan Bourke 

Mrs. Lyons Annie Mack Herleia 

Lizzie Florence Burdett 

Claire Hastings Jean Robertson 

Mrs. Burns Alice May 

Quinlan John Sharkey 

Patrolman Kelly Willis Reed 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 383 

Act I. — Drawing Room of Emerson Home. Act 
II. — Study in Gerald Hasting's Apartment. A'ct 
III. — Same as Act I. Act V.— The Governor's 
Home, Albany. 

Margaret Emerson, married to a philandering dis- 
trict attorney of New York, disgusted with her hus- 
band's repeated infidehties, turns for comfort and ad- 
vice to Gerald Hastings, with whom she had at one 
time been in love. The night of their meeting Has- 
tings' wife, a drug fiend, escapes from a sanitarium 
and kills herself. Hastings is accused of her murder, 
and refuses to clear himself by proving that he was 
with Mrs. Emerson because to do so would involve 
that lady in a scandal. He is convicted on circumstan- 
tial evidence, and sentenced to be electrocuted. The 
district attorney, now become governor, knowing the 
situation, tortures his wife by promising to pardon 
Hastings and then breaking his word at the last min- 
ute. Mrs. Emerson gets help from the outside, how- 
ever, and Hastings is saved in time to promise he will 
marry her as soon as she can divorce the governor. 

" WEDDING BELLS " 

An American comedy in three acts by Salisbury Field, 

produced by the Selwyns, at the Harris Theatre, 

New York, November 10, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Fuzisaki George Burton 

Reginald Carter Wallace Eddinger 

Jackson John Harwood 

Spencer Wells Percy Ames 

Douglas Ordway Clarke Silvernail 

Mrs. Hunter Mrs. Jacques Martin 

Marcia Hunter Jessie Glendenniug 

Rosalie Margaret Lawrence 

Hooper Maud Andrew 

Act I. — 'Five O'clock of an Afternoon in i-ebruary. 
Act II. — Nine O'Clock in the Evening of the Same 
Day. Act III. — Eleven Thirty in the Morning of 
the Following Day. The Scene is a Room in Reginald 
Carter's House in Madison Avenue, New Vork City. 
Staged by Edgar Selwyn. 

See page 185. 



384 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" THE LOST LEADER " 

An Irish play in three acts by Lennox Robinson, pro- 
duced by William Harris, Jr., at The Green- 
wich Village Theatre, New York, 
November 11, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Augustus Smith Hugh Huntley 

Lucius Lenihan Frank Conroy 

Mary Lenilian Mae Melvin 

James Powell-Harper Robert T. Haines 

Frank Ornisby Frank Compton 

Peter Cooney, J.P J. M. Kerrigan 

Kate Buckley Ruth Boyd 

Tames Clancy Edward O'Connor 

Major White, J.P Arthur Barry 

Michael O'Connor Frederick Arthur 

Thomas Houlihan Joseph Macaulay 

Long John Flavin Eric Maxon 

First Man John Ahearn 

Second Man Theodore A. Doucet 

Acts I and IL — The Smoking Room of the Hotel 
at Poulniore. Act IIL — The Standing Stones oa 
Knockpatrick. 

Founded on the legend that Charles Stewart Parnell 
lived on obscurely in Ireland following his reported 
death. Lucius Lenihan, an aged, bent old man, is 
proprietor of a hotel at Poulmore, Ireland. Falling 
under the hypnotic influence of a visiting psycho- 
analyst, Lenihan declares that he is in reality Parnell, 
and he is prepared, if the call shall come, to lead Ire- 
land out of her difficulties. Before those who had 
known Parnell can arrive to substantiate the old man's 
claims, he is struck down in the midst of a typical 
Irish political squabble — by the only man who had 
believed his story, a blind street singer. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 385 

" THE MAGIC MELODY " 

A musical play in a prologue and two acts, book and 

lyrics by Frederic Arnold Kummer, music by Sig- 

mund Romberg, produced by Max R. Wilner 

and Sigmund Romberg, at the Shubert 

Theatre, New York, November 11, 

1919. 

Cast of characters — 

PROLOGUE 

Anita Jeannette Kahn 

Delarose Marie McConnell 

Teresa Adele Freeman 

Salvatore Walter Armin 

Pietro Gus Stevenson 

Antonio Louis Morrell 

Beppo Corsini Charles Purcell 

Lisa Bertee Beaumont 

Gianina Julia Dean 

Beppino Billie Roth 

Postman Jack Manning 

Bianca Jean Rebera 

Maria Nellie Crawford 

THE PLAY 

Carmencita Fay Marbe 

Prince Vladimir Robert Bentley 

Lady Chester \ileen Poe 

Captain Arthur Stanley Charles Purcell 

Isabel de Vernon Renee Delting 

Richard Palmer Adams Earl Benham 

Mrs. Fishbacker Flavia Arcaro 

Sophie (her daughter) Carmel Myers 

Sir Reggie Chester Tom McNaughton 

Lulu Dorothy Wallace 

Cluclu Marie McConnell 

Madame Jessonda Julia Dean 

Marquis de Vernon Emile de Varny 

Eifine Bertee Beaumonte 

Melody of Dance Lois Leigh 

Lola Winwood Fay Marbe 

Salvatore Walter Armin 

Madamoiselle Cherie Legotie Hoover 

Madamoiselle Nitouche Marion Dixon 

Madamoiselle Fleurie Claire Hodgson 

Madamoiselle Marguerite Mary Cunningliam 

Madamoiselle Yvonne Eleanor Leigh 

Act L — Reception Room at Prince Potemsky's 
House, Paris. Act IL — Garden of Madame Jes- 
sonda's Villa, Versailles. 

Beppo Corsini, a composer, has his opera rejected 



386 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

the same day he is led to suspect his wife's faithless- 
ness. Under the pressure of the two disappointments 
he takes his young son and runs away. Corsini is lost 
at sea, but the boy is rescued, and is found twenty 
years after in London, his recognition by his mother 
being made possible by his remembering the principal 
aria of his father's opera. Mother was innocent all 
the time and the opera had really been stolen by the 
villain. 

" IRENE " 

A musical comedy in three acts by James Montgomery, 
music by Harry Tierney, lyrics by Joe Mc- 
Carthy, produced at the Vanderbilt 
Theatre, New York, No- 
vember 18, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Donald Marshall Walter Regan 

Robert Harrison IIol»art Cavanaugh 

J. P. ]3ovv(len Artliur Burckly 

Lawrence Hadlcy John B. Litel 

Clarkson Walter Croft 

Irene O'Dare Edith Day 

Helen Clicslon Eva Puck 

Jane Gilniour Gladys Miller 

Mrs. Marshall l-'lorencc Mills 

Eleanor Worth Hernice McCabe 

Mrs. O'Dare Dorotliy Walters 

Mrs. Cheston Lillian Lee 

Madame Lucy Bobbie Watson 

Act I. — Scene i — Marshall's home, Long Island. 
Scene 2 — O'Dare Home, New York City. Act II. 
— Scenes I and 3 — The Tenement. Scenes 2 and 
4 — The Garden of Bowden's Home. 

Irene O'Dare is a shop girl. One day, calling at the 
home of Donald Marshall, she is rescued from an un- 
pleasant situation by the young man of the house. Be- 
ing a philanthroi)ic youth, with a good heart and a 
clean mind, Donald wishes to help Irene. He tinds 
a position for her as a model for a ladies' tailor and 
after she has carried off all the honors at a great party 
on Long Island, where, as the model, she sings and 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 387 

dances and wears ravi shingly beautiful gowns, he asks 
her to marry him. The opposition of Irene's mother, 
who suspects the rich, provides the suspense to this 
particular Cinderella story. 

"THE SOX-DAUGHTER" 

A play of New China in three acts by George Scar- 
borough and David Eelasco. produced by David 
Belasco, at the Belasco Theatre, New 
York, November 19, 19 19. 

Cast of characters — 

Lien Wha Lenore Ulric 

Doctor Lum Low Marion Abbott 

Toy Yah Jane Ferrell 

Doctor Dong Tong Thomas Findlay 

Tom Lee Edmond Lowe 

Sin Kai Albert Bruning 

His Excellency, Fang Fou Hy Frederic Burt 

Fen-sha Harry Mestayer 

Wing John Willard 

Kang Ricliard Malchien 

Chao Pingkium Xick Long 

General Yuan Henry Weaver 

Wu Git John Amory 

Kai Pai W. T. Clark 

Chow Chang Charles R. Burrows 

Act L — Dong Tong's home in Pell St. New York. 
Act IL — A Few Hours Later. Act II. — At Lien 
Wha's Window; The "Sea Crab" at Work; Chamber 
of the Smiling Joss. 

Lien W'ha is the daughter of Dong Tong, an influ- 
ential Chinese merchant in New York. Tong has been 
called upon to raise a large sum of money as his 
assessment for the revolutionary party operating in 
China. Not having the money, the leaders of the 
revolution suggest his selling Lien Wha to one of the 
weahhier Chinese merchants for the sum needed. 
Lien Wha, torn from the arms of her lover, who is 
none other than the son of the revolutionary leader 
in China, accepts the sacrifice she is obliged to make 
and forces the bidding of the merchants to a large 
sum. In the end she kills the wicked imperialist who 



388 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

buys her and there is a last-curtain rumor that she and 
her lover escaped from their enemies by way of Van- 
couver and a Chinese steamship line. 

" LINGER LONGER LETTY " 

A musical comedy in three acts, music by Alfred Good- 
man, lyrics by Bernard Grosman, produced by 
Oliver Morosco, at the Fulton Theater, 
New York, November 20, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Letty Charlotte Greenwood 

Nancy Eleanor Henry 

Mayme Olga Roller 

Juliet Majorie McClintock 

Mrs. Brewster Louise Mink 

Ethelmay Bernice Hirsch 

Roberta I-'rances \'ictory 

Marie Virginia Travares 

Jim Olim Rowland 

Walter Arthur Hartley 

Colonel Cyril Ring 

Lazelle France Bendsten 

Father Oscar Figman 

Act I. — Kitchen of the Larkin Home. Act II. 
— Letty's Boudoir. Act III. — On the Lawn. Staged 
by Oliver Morosco. 

Letty is the ugly duckling of an ambitionless fam- 
ily. When her sisters go strawberry festivaling, Letty 
is left at home to do the work. Finally she rebels and, 
after contributing several specialties to the entertain- 
ment, is paired with Jim, the comedian with whom 
she has been in love from the first of their duets. 

" CESAR'S WIFE " 

A drama in three acts by W. Somerset Maugham, pro- 
duced by Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., at the Liberty 
Theatre, New York, November 24, 
1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Sir Arthur Little, K.C.B., C.C.M.G 

Norman Trevor 
Roland Parry Ernest Glendinning 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 389 

Henry Pritchard Harry Green 

Richard Appleby, M.P T. Wigney Percival 

Osman Pasha Frederic DeBelleville 

Mrs. Etheridge Margaret Dale 

Mrs. Pritchard Hilda Spong 

Mrs. Appleby Mrs. Tom A. Wise 

Violet Billie Burke 

Acts I and II. — House and Garden of the British 
Consular Agent, Cairo. Act III. — Terrace and 
Garden of Same House. 

Violet Little, married to Sir Arthur Little, twenty 
years her senior and a British Consul General in Egypt, 
finds herself violently in love with her husband's young 
secretary, Roland Parry. She frankly confesses her 
passion to Sir Arthur and he as frankly informs her 
that, though he feels he has done her a great wrong 
in marrying her, it is her duty, as the wife of a Brit- 
ish official, to conquer her weakness. The solution 
of her problem is made easier for Violet by the dis- 
covery that young Parry has met an American heiress 
in the third act in whom he has become seriously in- 
terested, and by curtain fall .she is convinced that Sir 
Arthur is really worth a whole dancing floor full of 
jumping juveniles. 

" THE RISE OF SILAS LAPHAM " 

A comedy in four acts by Lillian Sabine, produced by 

The Theatre Guild, Inc., at the Garrick Theatre, 

New York, November 25, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Silas Lapliam , James K. Hackett 

Batty Hubbard Milton Pope 

Persis Lapham Grace Henderson 

Katie Nell Hamilton 

Milton Rogers Henry Stillman 

Penelope Lapham Majorie X'onnegut 

Irene Lapham Grace Knell 

Tom Corey Noel Leslie 

Anna Bellingham Corey Helen Weslley 

Bromfield Corey Walter Howe 

Nanny Corey Mary Blair 

Lily Corey Grace Ade 

Edith Kingsbury Mildred Keats 

Mrs. Henry Bellingham Nell Hamilton 

Charles Bellingham Richard Abbott 

Mrs. James Bellingham Sara Enright 



390 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

James Bellingliam William Nelson 

Mr. Sewcll Erskine Sanford 

Mrs. Sewell Mary True 

Mr. Seymour Robert Donaldson 

Kobert Chase Walter Ceer 

Mr. Dunham Henry Travers 

Acts I and III. — Living Room in Lapham House, 
Boston. Act 11.^ The Drawing Room at the Coreys'. 
Act I\" — The Lapham Cottage at Lumberville. 

A dramatization of William Dean Howell's novel. 
In the play version Silas, made rich by his discovery 
of a mineral paint, seeks social position for himself, 
his wife and his daughters in Boston. He finds so- 
ciety cold, disgraces the family by becoming slightly 
alcoholic, later loses all his money, but saves his honor, 
and finally drifts back to the sun-bathed cottage in 
Lumberville from whence he started. 



"THE ROSE OF CHINA" 

A musical comedy by Guy Bolton, lyrics by P. G. 

Wodehouse, music by Armand Vecsey, produced 

by F. Ray Comstock and Morris Gest, at the 

Lyric Theatre, New York, November 

25, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Dum Tong Paul Irving 

Ton Ka Louise Brownel 

Ling Tao Jane Richardson 

Ting-1'ang-Lee Stanley Ridges 

Tsao Ling Wm. IL I'ringle 

Tommy Til ford Oscar Shaw 

Wilson Peters .Frank Mclntyre 

Polly Baldwin Cecil Cunningham 

Priest Leo Dwyer 

Chung ■ Thos. K. Jackson 

Grace Hobson Cynthia Perot 

Mrs. Ilobson Edna May Oliver 

Act I. — The Garden of Tsao Ling. Act IL — 
Tommy Tilford's Bungalow. Act III. — The Ter- 
race Outside the Bungalow. 

Tommy Tilford, a handsome young American ad- 
venturing in China, is forced to marry Ling Tao, 
the daughter of a Chinese dignitary, because he is the 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 391 

first male person to look upon her naked face. The 
situation is not serious, however, as the youth had 
previously fallen in love with the maid. His Ameri- 
can fiancee, who might have caused trouble, agrees to 
listen to reason and the ending is conventionally satis- 
fying. 

" APHRODITE " 

A romance of manners in ancient Egypt, by Pierre 
Frondaie and George C. Hazelton, from the novel 
of Pierre Louys, music by Henri Fevrier and 
Anselm Goetzl, produced by F. Ray Corn- 
stock and Morris Gest, at the Cen- 
tury Theater, New York, No- 
vember 24, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Timon Frederick Macklyn 

Phrasilas I^ichards Hale 

Horatius Mayne Linton 

Naukrates Ktienne Girardot 

Theoxenes K'lbert Ayrton 

Bubastic William McNeill 

Berenike Hazel Alden 

Officer of the Guard Nikolai Glovatski 

Demetrios McKay Morris 

Ampelis Rita Gould 

A Beggar Renwick Roget 

A Donkey Boy Basil Smith 

Fruit Peddler Arnold \an Leer 

Fish Peddler Lester Svvey d 

A Young Sailor Richard Schwendler 

A Snake Peddler William McNeal 

A Youth Edward Howell 

Harhingif Khyani Mark Loebcll 

Myrtis Annette Bade 

Khodocleia Carolyn Nunder 

Bacchy s Maude Odell 

Chrysis Dorothy Dalton 

Aphrodite Mildred Walker 

Jester Claude Forest 

Chimeris Clara T. Bracy 

Touni Nita Naldi 

Welitta's Mother Hazel WoodhuU 

Eunike Genevieve Dolaro 

Chief Butler Clarence Redd 

Aphrodasia Mile. Dazie 

Old Sailor William McNeal 

Hight Priest Guy Collins 

Staged by E. Lyall Swcle. 



392 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Demetrios, a sculptor of ancient Alexandria, has 
modelled a copy of the statue of Aphrodite, which he 
worships. In turn, he is much desired of Berenike, 
Queen of Egypt, to whose charms he is cold. Deny- 
ing Berenike, Demetrios turns his attention to Chrysis, 
a famous courtesan of Galilee, who would test his 
love. If he will commit the crimes of theft, murder 
and sacrilege for her, she will accept him. Yet when 
Demetrios has done these things and won the love of 
Chrysis, Aphrodite appears to him in a dream and 
turns his love to loathing, whereupon Chrysis, the 
courtesan, leaps from a tower into the sea. 



ELSIE JANIS AND HER GANG 

In a bomb proof revue in two acts, book by Elsie Janis, 
songs by William Kernell, Richard Fechheimer, 
- B. C. Hilliam and Elsie Janis, produced at the 
Geo. M. Cohan Theatre, New York, De- 
cember I, 1919. 

The Gang — 

Bill Kernell Chick Deveau 

Eddie Hay Richard Hay 

Bradley Knoche Bill Reardon 

Jerry Hoekstra Henry Janswick 

ack Brant Sam Burbank 

Charles Lawrence Frank Miller 
Herbert Goff 

Cast of characters — 

The Parisienne Eva Le Gallienne 

The Y. M. C. A. Girl Ruth Wells 

The K. of C. Girl Henru ua Orville 

The Ambulance Service Girl Margaret Sousa 

The Motor Transport Girl Lillian Cullen 

The Red Cross Nurse Mary Balfour 

THE JAZZ BAND 

Ewart Allan Harry Berger 

Norman Mcrleton Joe Wise 

Howard Johnson Nat Martin 

Edward W. Reno B. Romolo 

Act I. — l-'rance and sections of Paris. Act II. — 
Coblenz and New York. 

A series of episodes and specialties selected from 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 393 

the entertainments given for the soldiers back of the 
lines in France. 

" ONE NIGHT IN ROME " 

A drama in three divisions by J. Hartley Manners, 
produced by George C. Tyler, at the Cri- 
terion Theatre, New York, De- 
cember 2, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Richard Oak Philip Mericale 

Mr. Justice Millburne ,.H. Cooper ClifFe 

Signor Diranda George Majeroni 

Denby Wragge Barry Baxter 

Gresham Thomas Coffin Cooke 

Bikra John Davenport Seymour 

Mrs. Oak Mrs. Felix Morris 

Mrs. Redlynch Louise Beaudet 

Zephyr Melen Blair 

Kiara Olin Field 

lola Greta Kemble Cooper 

Aenea \'alentine Clemow 

La Bambina Marie Bianchi 

*' L'Enigme " Laurette Taylor 

Division I. — In the house of a Great City. Divi- 
sions II and III. — In the Heart of a Great Country. 

" L'Enigme," an Italian fortune teller, who has be- 
come something of a society fad in London, reads the 
palms of an English house party. Among her clients 
is Richard Oak, back from the war. In him " L'En- 
igme " discovers a marked weakness of character. 
The young man lacks decision. He is wabbly and 
afraid in every crisis that he faces. Later, she meets 
him at a house party and when they find themselves 
in a compromising position, from which he would 
flee, she determines to force a decision upon him — 
to make him stand and truthfully explain whv he is 
there. To do this she raises the house by deliberately 
smashing a jewel case, leaving herself open to the 
charge of intended theft. Young Oak, in order to 
protect the fortune teller, is forced to come forward 
and declare himself. Because of his declaration, his 



394 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

fiancee breaks their engagement, a climax that is not 
particularly displeasing to him as he had already ac- 
quired a sentimental interest in the fortune teller. In 
the end '* L'Enigme " confesses that she is an Eng- 
lish girl who had married an Italian noble and was 
forced to assume the disguise to escape the conse- 
quences of a scandal attending her husband's death. 

" MY LADY FRIENDS " 

A farce in three acts by Emil Nyitray and Frank 
Mandel. produced by H. H. Frazee, at the Com- 
edy Theatre, New York, December 3, 
1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Catherine Sinitli Mona Kingsley 

Eva Johns June Walker 

Hilda Rae Bowdin 

Lucille Early Theresa Maxwell Conover 

Edward Early I'rank Morgan 

James Smith Clifton Crawford 

Tom Trainor Robert Fiske 

Norah Edith King 

Gwendolyn Jane Warrington 

Julia Jessie Nagle 

Acts I and III. — Home of James Smith, New York. 
Act II. — Chickadee Cottage, Atlantic City. 

James Smith, who has made a fortune printing 
bibles, is desirous of spending a share of his money 
in having a good time. His economical wife opposes 
him so strenuously that he is forced to dissemble, 
so he adopts the habit of " spreading a little sun- 
shine " wherever opportunity offers. Whenever he 
finds an attractive young woman lonesome and neg- 
lected it is his custom to set her up in a nice little 
apartment and provide her with enough change to 
keep the wolf from the dumb waiter. Mrs. Smith, 
growing suspicious, follows him to Atlantic City, where 
he has called a convention of his little sunshine girls. 
Here she is convinced that, while he may be innocent, 
the only sure way " to keep a husband good is to 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 395 

keep him broke." After that she will attend to the 
spending of the surpkis family funds herself. 



" THREE'S A CROWD " 

A comedy by Earl Derr Biggers and Christopher 

Morley, produced by John Cort, at the Cort 

Theatre, New York, December 4, 

1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Plioebe Ne?ta Kerin 

Boots Andre Aubry 

Tims. Harry Sothern 

Josephine Vincent Daisy Ruddo 

Billy King Charles Compton 

Sir Alan l-'orbes Harold De Becker 

Peter Whitney Roy Gordon 

Kathleen Kent Phoebe Foster 

Captain John Blair, A. E. F. Allan I)inehart 

Philip Kent Byron Beasley 

Mrs. Kent .... Beatrice Moreland 

Wadleigh Douglas Ross 

Rev. Joseph Tilleymoss Walter McEwen 

Act I. — The Blue Boar Inn, Stratford-on-Avon. 
Act II. — Drawing room of Mr. Kent's home. Act 
III. — The Kents' kitchen. 

Four ex-army officers, an Englishman, a Frenchman, 
an American and a Canadian, happening upon a letter 
in France that indicates a certain English girl is in 
trouble, severally decide to rescue her. They make 
their way to the English town in which she lives and 
smuggle themselves into her house by various means, 
each offering himself as the most logical of her pro- 
tectors. Following numerous farcical complications 
she accepts one of them. The American, of course — 
in America. 



396 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

"MISS MILLIONS" 

A comedy with music, book by R. H. Burnside, music 
by Raymond Hubbell, produced by R. H. Burn- 
side, at the Punch and Judy Theatre, 
New York, December g, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Mary Hope Valli Valli 

Horace Honeydew Rayley Holmes 

Timothy Bond Clayton White 

Jack Honeydew \'inton Freedley 

Ephraim Tutt William Burress 

John J. Hawkins John Hendricks 

Mr. Sharpe Harry Hermsen 

Willie Lightfoot Lewis Sloden 

Bates l-'rank Farrington 

Waiter Walter Coupe 

Percy Frank Slater 

Reggie Alfred Siegler 

Ezra Tucker George Stuart 

Silas Dingley B. J. Tieman 

Tobias Wilkins Harry Smith 

Hiram Jones William Duane 

Mrs. Honeydew Louise Mackintosh 

Ethel Bradley Smith Vera Rosander 

Julia Joyce Jessie Standish 

Peggy Cissie Sewell 

Tabitha Tutt Mrs. William Pruette 

Aunt Miranda Genevieve Tucker 

Cynthia Bonnie Murray 

Matilda Amy Scott 

Martha Gladys White 

Act L — A Tea Shop on Fifth Avenue. Act H. — 
Reception room of " Mary's " residence. Act III. — 
A Farm in New Jersey. 

Mary Hope, a waitress in a Fifth Avenue tea shop, 
is engaged to marry Jack Honeydew, a young man 
of wealth and social position. Honeydew's uncle is 
convinced that Mary is a fortune hunter, to prove 
which he schemes to reverse the respective positions 
of the young pe()i)le. He provides Mary with a richly 
furnished house, convinces her that she has inherited 
it from a distant relative, and at the same time an- 
nounces to his young nephew the loss of his fortune. 
Mary is still true to Jack, however, until she learns of 
the uncle's scheine to test her. That makes her mad, 
and she runs away to New Jersey, forcing her lover to 
pursue her until the play's end. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 397 

"THE PHANTOM LEGION" 

A fantasy in three acts by Anthony Paul Kelly, pro- 
duced by the author at the Playhouse, New 
York, December 10, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Mrs. Weaver Effie Ellsler 

Jack Weaver Raymond McKee 

Dick Weaver Edwin Strawbridge 

George Weaver Frederick Howard 

Alice Craig Miriam Sears 

Tom Parker William Williams 

Peggy Carruthers Hazel Turney 

Ethan Leach John W(-iodford 

Chuck Leach, his son Junius Matthews 

Tip Turpin Harry Sedley 

Sergeant Bow-Bells John M. Troughton 

An English Corporal J. W. Mason 

Captain Croisset Paul Gordon 

Act I. — Living room of Mrs. Weaver's students' 
rooming house. Act IL— A bombproof shelter. Act 
III. — Lawn of the Weaver home. 

Jack, Dick and George, the adopted sons of Mrs. 
Weaver, go to the war and are killed. As disem- 
bodied spirits they discover in spirit land an organiza- 
tion known as " The Phantom Legion," made up of 
those who die but never surrender. It is the legion 
that sang hopefully to the charging Frenchmen at the 
first Marne and held the stubborn Britishers in Hne 
when they were pushed back at Mons. The three 
Weaver spirits also re-visit the home of their foster 
mother and hover around there trying to get the mes- 
sage across to her that no spirit can be happy in 
heaven so long as relatives and friends continue to be 
sorrowful on earth. Their best work is to soften the 
steely heart of the village miser as he is about to fore- 
close mother's mortgage. 



398 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" MONSIEUR BEAUCAIRE " 

A romantic opera in three acts by Andre Messager, 
produced by Gilbert Miller, at the New Am- 
sterdam Theatre, New York, De- 
cember II, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

^Monsieur Ueaucaire Marion Green 

Pliilip Molyneux John Clarke 

Frederick Bantison Lennox Pawle 

Kakell Spencer Trevor 

Frangois Yvan Servais 

Duke of Winterset Robert Parker 

Beau Nash Robert Cunningham 

Townbrake i\ndre Brouard 

Captam Badger I'ercy Carr 

Joiitfe Harry Frankiss 

Bicksitt Eric Snowden 

Marquis de Mirepoix Yvan Servais 

Lucy Marjorie Burgess 

Countess ot Greenbury Barbara Esme 

A Girl (in Act I) Ellen Grubb 

Lady Mary Carlisle Blanche Tomlin 

I'rologue. — Monsieur Beaucaire's lodgings in Bath. 
Act. I. — Lady Kellerton's ballroom. Act II. — At 
Mr. Bantison's park. Act IIL — Assembly room at 
Bath, 

An operatic version of Booth Tarkington's comedy, 
in which the adventurous Due d'Orleans, in hiding as 
Beaucaire, the barber of Bath, forces his introduction 
to the beauties and gallants of Bath by the Duke of 
Winterset, whom he has caught cheating at cards and 
threatens to expose. His identity as the barber is dis- 
covered, following his successful wooing of the beau- 
teous Lady Mary Carlisle, and he is ignominiously ex- 
pelled from the pump room. He is grandly triumph- 
ant in the end. however, when his true rank as the 
Due d'Orleans is established. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 
"ABRAHAM LINCOLN" 



399 



A drama in six scenes by John Drinkwater, produced 

by William Harris, Jr., at the Cort Theatre, 

December 15, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

A Chronicler Leonard Mudie 

Stone, a farmer.. Thomas Irwin 

Cuffney, ajstore Keeper Thomas J. Keogh 

busan, a Maid in Lincoln Home Florence Johns 

Mrs. Lincoln Winifred Hanley 

Mr. Lincoln. frank McGlynn 

lucker, Chairman of Delegation I'orrest Davis 

Hind, a Delegate Thomas V^aiden 

Price, a Delegate Duncan Cherry 

Macintosh, a Delegate Penwood Batkins 

White, of the Southern Commission. .Charles Fieiiiing 

Seward ■ ■■ • ■■ John S. O'Brien 

Jennings, of the Southern Commission 

....... . . ; .William R. Randall 

Hawkins, I-irst Clerk Conrad Cantzen 

Kay Paul Byron 

Messenger J. PhiHp Jerome 

Salmon Chase Frank E. Jamison 

Montgomery Blaii Ernest Bostwick 

Simon Cameron Herbert Curtis 

Caleb Smith Joseph Reed 

Burnet Hook William A. xVorton 

V/''e°" Welles Alfred Moore 

Mrs. Oohath Blow Mary Home Morrison 

«,-?,•• 0''^erly Jennie E. Eustace 

William Custis Charles S. Gilpin 

Stanton David Landau 

General Grant Albert Phillips 

Aide to General Grant George Williams 

Dennis, an Orderly Charles P. Bates 

William Scott Raymond Hackett 

General Meade l<rank Ginter 

V^P^^fh-h-^^-- James Durkin 

John Wilkes Booth J. Paul Jones 

Doctor. Charles Brill 

Scene I. — Lincoln's home at Springfield, i860. 
Scene II.— Seward's room at The White House, 
Washington. Scene III.— Another room at The 
White House. Scene I\'.— The Cabinet Room at The 
White House. Scene V. — General Grant's headquar- 
ters near Appomattox. Scene \'I.— A small lounge 
back of the boxes in Ford's Theatre. 

See page 14. 



400 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" CURIOSITY " 

A comedy in three acts by H. Austin Adams, pro- 
duced by J. S. Tepper, Inc., at the Green- 
wich Village Theater, New York, 
December i8, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Quong Arvid Paulsen 

Tom North Ramsey Wallace 

Mildred Irene Fenwick 

Ethel Merle Maddern 

Hal Peabody Cyril Keightley 

Act I. — The Living Room of the Norths' California 
Ranch-house. Act II. — The Same; a Few Hours 
Later. Act III. — The Same; the Next Morning. 
Time — The Present. Staged by Edgar Selwyn. 

Mildred North, knowing that her husband had been 
guilty of a serious flirtation in Honolulu some years 
after they were married, determines that she has as 
much right as he to a similar adventure. Finding 
herself alone with a sweetheart of her youth, she con- 
fesses to him her willingness to be tempted, but, after 
a struggle, he succeeds in explaining to her that a 
single standard of morals is impossible — men and 
women being as they are. Her returning husband, 
though threateningly suspicious, is convinced finally 
by his inquisitive wife's confession that she has been 
cured of any desire for further experiments. Her 
curiosity has been satisfied. 

" FOR THE DEFENSE " 

A melodrama in three acts by Elmer L. Rice, pro- 
duced by John D. Williams, at the Playhouse, 
New York, December 19, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Miss Brinton Virginia Jones 

IVIiss Smith Louise Closser Hale 

Margaret Cameron I'rederica Going 

Mrs. Reed Louise Sydmeth 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 401 

Jennie Dunn Mary Jeffery 

Madame Petrard Georgette Passedoit 

Dr. Kasimir John Sainpolis 

Collins, a reporter Charles Coghlaa 

Anne Woodstock Winifred Lenihan 

Selma Thorne Adrienne Morrison 

Dr. William Lloyd N. St. Clair Hales 

Christopher Armstrong Richard Bennett 

Jane Angela Ogden 

Officer McClellan Walter Brown 

Inspector Austin William A. Crimans 

Judge Gray George Riddell 

Act I. — Dr. Kasimir's Apartment. Act II. — Scene 
I — Anne Woodstock's Apartment. Scene 2 — Dr. 
Kasimir's Apartment. Act III. — Scene i — Judge 
Gray's Office. Scene 2 — Dr. Kassimir's Apartment. 
Scene 3 — Judge Gray's Office. 

Anne Woodstock and Selma Thorne are patients of 
Dr. Kasimir, a psycho-hypnotist practicing in New 
York. The doctor is a wicked person and has aroused 
the suspicions of Christopher Armstrong, the young 
district attorney with whom Anne is in love. While 
the girls are in Kasimir's rooms he is shot and killed. 
Suspicion points to Anne. She is brought to trial for 
the murder and the district attorney is forced to prose- 
cute her, believing her justifiably guilty. With the 
aid of a " flashback " scene, adopted from the movies, 
the real happenings in the Kasimir house the day of 
the murder are revealed, Anne is proved innocent and 
her ultimate marriage to Christopher Armstrong fore- 
shadowed. 



" THE SIGN ON THE DOOR " 

A melodrama in three acts by Channing Pollock, pro- 
duced by A. H. Woods, at the Republic 
Theatre, New York, December 
19, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Hugh Elwood Bostwj'k 

Frank Devereaux Lowell Sherman 

Ann Hunnjwell Mary Ryan 



402 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Captain Burke Jules Ferrar 

A Newspaper Photographer C. Bert Dunlop 

Mrs. " Laf e " Regan Mary Ryan 

Alan Churchill Neil Martin 

Helen Regan Beatrice Allen 

Marjorie Blake Mildred MacLeod 

" Laf e " Regan Lee Baker 

Bates, a butler Kenneth Miner 

Ferguson Robert Vivian 

"Kick" Callahan Herbert Broderick 

Inspector Trefty Paul Everton 

Officer McLoughlin Spencer Evans 

The Prologue — A Private Supper Room at the 
Cafe ISIazarin, New York. Act I. — The Summer 
Home of " Lafe " Regan, New Rochelle. Acts II 
and III. — A Room at the Ritz — a Small Apart- 
ment Hotel in the " Forties." 

Anne Hunniwell, a stenographer, unacquainted with 
the ways of New York, accepts the invitation of Frank 
Devereaux, her employer's son, to dine with him at a 
restaurant which, it transpires, is being watched by 
the police. While they are there the place is raided 
and a flashlight photo taken of the trapped couple. 
They are arrested and jump their bail between acts. 
Five years later Anne is married to " Lafe " Regan, 
a widower with an attractive daughter of i8. Frank 
Devereaux again appears on the scene, being this time 
in pursuit of Anne's step-daughter. Hearing the girl 
is in danger Anne goes to Devereaux's rooms to save 
her. While she is there her husband is announced. 
He has come to chastise Devereaux for having de- 
ceived the wife of a friend. The men scuflle and 
Devereaux is killed. Regan, placing the gun in the 
dead man's hand, hangs a sign on the door reading 
" Do Not Disturb Me," and leaves, locking the door 
on the outside and unknowingly locking his wife in 
the room with the dead man. The police come, Mrs. 
Regan is arrested and exposure seems imminent, when, 
by a lucky melodramatic twist, she is saved and for- 
given. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 403 

" FORBIDDEN " 

A romantic play in three acts by Dorothy Donnelly, 
produced by George Mooser, at the Manhat- 
tan Opera House, New York, De- 
cember 20, 19 19. 

Cast of characters — 

Brigadier General Slocum William K Harcourt 

Major Richard Flint George Connor 

Major Alexander Osgood Ben Taggart 

Captain Tottenham Knowles John Rutherford 

Captain William Bryant (" Snappy ") .John McKenna 
First Lieut. John Booth Lawrence ("Boots").... 

Richard Barbee 

First Lieut. Edwin Brice Henry George 

Second Lieut. Luke O'Keefe Nolan Leary 

Second Lieut. Vincent Moretti Walter Abell 

Private Isaac Levy Harry Shutan 

Private Darwin Bone Harold Salter 

Humboldt Feather Joseph Dunn 

Anton Roonje David Proctor 

Count Robert von Eckdorf William Bailey 

Kurt Schwartz John Burkell 

An Orderly Arden Page 

Josef Herman Ceroid 

Countess Hildegarde Schoenweg von de Verde.... 

Martha Hedman 

Countess Ermintrude Claire Mersereau 

Countess Wanda Georgia Lucile Mooser 

Carmen Flanagan Plermine Shone 

Katchen Annette Westbay 

Act I. — The Entry of the American Troops into 
the Coblenz Bridgehead. Act II and Act III. — Same 
Location. The action of the play takes place in the 
hall of the Schloss von der Verde, about thirty miles 
from Coblenz. 

During the early days of the Allies' occupation of 
the German Rhineland, following the signing of the 
armistice, First Lieut. John Booth Lawrence finds 
himself billeted with a group of fellow officers in the 
Coblenz home of the Countess Hildegarde Schoenweg 
von der Verde, one of the most attractive of our late 
enemies. The lieutenant falls in love with the countess 
and she with him. They plan to marry, but are sep- 
arated in the end, it may be for months and it may 
be forever, by Hildegarde's discovery that Lawrence 
is the very man who had shot her brother, a German 



404 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

sniper, during the war, to revenge the sniper's killing 
of the general's son and his (Lawrence's) best pal. 

" NIGHT LODGING " 

A drama in four acts by Maxim Gorki, produced by 

Arthur Hopkins, at the Plymouth Theatre, 

New York, December 22, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Michael Ivanov Kostiliov. William E. Hallman 

Vassilisa Karpovna, his wife Gilda Varesi 

Natasha Eva McDonald 

Medviadev Charles Kennedy 

Vaska Pepel Alan Dinehart 

Klestch Andray Nitrich Hans Robert 

Anna Rosalind Ivan 

Bubnov Cecil Yapp 

Kvashnia Lillian Kingsbury 

Nastia Pauline Lord 

Satin Edward G. Robinson 

Actor Edwin Nicander 

Baron Cecil Clovelly 

Luka W. H. Thompson 

Aloyshka E. J. Ballantine 

Krivoi Zob Louis Alter 

Tartar Alexis M. Polianov 

A series of detached but arresting incidents in the 
lives of Russia's submerged poor. 

" THE FAMOUS MRS. FAIR " 

A play in four acts by James Forbes, produced by 

A. L. Erlanger, at Henry Miller's Theatre, 

New York, December 22, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Sylvia Fair Margalo Gillmore 

Alan Fair Jack Devereaux 

Nora Betty Hall 

E. Dudley Gillette ..Robert Strange 

Angelica Brice Virginia Hammond 

Nancy Fair Blanche Bates 

Jeffrey Fair Henry Miller 

Mrs. Norman Wynne Dallas Tyler 

Mrs. Kellett Brown Marian Lord 

Mrs. Stuart I'crrin Maude Allen 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 405 

Mrs. Leslie Converse Alice Baxter 

Mrs. Gilbert Wells Florence Williams 

Peggy Gibbs Kathleen Comegys 

Acts I and II. — The Fair Home on Long Island. 
Acts III and I\'. — The Fair Apartment in a New 
York Hotel. 

See page 65. 



" THE WHIRLWIND " 

A melodrama by George C. Hazelton and Ritter 
Brown, produced by John Cort, at the Stand- 
ard Theatre, Xew York, December 
23, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Juan Ramson Jacob Kingsberry 

Rosita Marguerite Risser 

Dona Fernandez Helen Tracy 

Padre Antonio Frank Andrews 

Dick Yankton John C. King 

Don Felipe Ramirez John Davidson 

Chiquita Mme. Mimi Aguglia 

Captain Forest Orrin Johnson 

Driver Chief Manabozho 

Bessie Van Ashton Vivienne Osborne 

Mrs. Forest Rose Coghlan 

Col. \'an Ashton Oswald Yorke 

Blanche Lennox Paula Shay 

Bob Carlton Joseph Sweeney 

Jim Blake John Harrington 

Juana Jessie Villars 

Mariquita Miriam Batista 

White Cloud Dan Red Eagle 

Poncho Hank Durnell 

Tula X'irginia Russell 

Chiquita, a Mexican Indian maid, loves and is loved 
by a brave American army officer. His high-toned 
eastern family, however, discovering the situation while 
touring Mexico, seek to break up the affair. Chiquita, 
convinced that she should not marry the American, is 
about to call everything off and marry a villain whom 
she had, under threats, promised to accompany to the 
altar. She keeps her word, and goes as far as the 
altar, but there she spurns the villain and turns finally 
to the American. 



4o6 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" CARNIVAL " 

A drama in three acts, translated from the Italian of 

Mr. Pordes-Milo's play by H. C. M. Hardinge and 

Matheson Lang, produced at the 44th Street 

Theatre, New York, by Tearle, MacLeod 

and Ephraim, December 24, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Silvio Steno Godfrey Tearle 

Simonetta Margot Kelly 

Nino Bobby Clark 

Lelio pi Cesari Schuyler Ladd 

Ottavia, Baroness Delia Torre Olive Oliver 

Ettore, Baron Delia Torre Horace Pollack 

Andrea, Count Scipione A. E. Anson 

Camilla Harry Barfoot 

Giuseppe Idamae Oderlin 

Dionigi John P. Jendrek 

Tommasso Basil West 

Sandro Rupert Lumley 

Colia Mary Carroll 

Clelia Laura Alberta 

Nella Welba Lestina 

Grazzo Joseph Lothian 

Porter T. Whelan 

Doctor Edward Spalding 

Act I. — A Room in the Steno Palace, on the 
Grand Canal. Act II. — The Same. Carnival Night. 
Act III.— The Alfieri Theatre. The Entire Action of 
the Play Takes Place in Venice During Carnival Time, 
Staged by Godfrey Tearle. 

During the celebration of the carnival in Venice 
Silvio Steno, leading actor of the Alfieri theater, is led 
to believe that he has cause to be jealous of his wife, 
who is also his leading woman. They are rehearsing 
" Othello," and the night of the performance Silvio, 
believing his suspicions have been confirmed, proceeds 
to strangle his Desdemona in earnest. She is rescued 
just in the nick of time to prove her innocence and 
save a tragedy. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 407 



MORRIS GEST MIDNIGHT WHIRL 

A revue in two parts, music by George Gershwin, 

lyrics by Budd de Sylva and John Henry Mears, 

produced by Morris Gest, at the Century 

Grove, New York, December 27, 1919. 

Principals engaged — 

Helen Shipman Bessie McCoy 
Bernard Granville Davis 
Annette Bade Bennet and Rich- 
James Watts ards 
Rath Brothers — George, Margaret Morris 
Dick Gertrude Coates 



Staged by Julian Mitchell 



Gladys Zelian 



"ANGEL FACE" 

A musical play in three acts, music by Victor Herbert, 
book by Harry B. Smith, lyrics by Robert B. 
Smith, musical numbers staged by Julian Al- 
fred, produced by George W. Lederer, at 
the Knickerbocker Theatre, New 
York, December 29, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Tom Larkins John E. Young 

Arthur Griffin Tyler Brooke 

Sandy Sharp Richard Pyle 

Hugh Fairchild John Keinhard 

Rockwell Gibbs Howard Johnson 

Professor Barlow George Schiller 

Ira Mapes Bernard Thornton 

Slooch Jack Donahue 

Irving Wm. Cameron 

Mrs. Zenoba Wise Edna Von Buelow 

Betty Marguerite Zender 

Vera Minerva Grey 

Paula Mary Milburn 

Lily Marguerite St. Clair 

Pearl Gertrude Wadelle 

Mrs. Larkins Sarah Mc Vicker 

Tessie Blythe j Emilie Lea 

Moya May Thompson 

And Members of a Musical Comedy Company. 
Act. I. — Bachelor Apartment Shared by Arthur Grif- 
fin and Tom Larkins. Act II. — The Same. Act 
III. — The Hotel Lounge. Staged by George W. 
Lederer. 



4o8 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

A typical musical farce plot founded on the alleged 
discovery of Dr. Serge Voronoff that the grafting of 
monkey glands onto the aged will restore the vim and 
vigor of youth. Prof. Barlow, an eccentric scientist, 
has discovered an elixir of life, which he carelessly 
leaves on the table in the first act. It is sampled by 
various comic members of the cast and they are there- 
upon supposed to become more comic, and decidedly 
more agile. 

" SMILIN' THROUGH " 

A play in a prologue and three acts by Allan Langdon 
Martin, produced by the Selwyns, at the Broad- 
hurst Theatre, New York, December 
30, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

THE PROLOGUE 

Sarah Wayne Lalive Brownell 

Mary Clare Elaine Inescort 

THE PLAY 

John Carteret Henry Stephenson 

Dr. Owen Harding Ethelbert D. Hales 

Ellen Charlotte Granville 

Kathleen Dungannon Jane Cowl 

Willie Ainley Philip Tong •> 

Kenneth Wayne Orme Caldara 

Jeremiah Wayne Orine Caldara 

Moony een Clare Jane Cowl 

Prologue — Outside the Gate. Act I. — The Cateret 
Garden. 1914. Act. II. — The Same. Fifty Years 
Before. Act III. — ^ The Same. 1919. Staged by 
Priestly Morrison. 

Kathleen Dungannon is in love with Kenneth 
Wayne, but her aging and stubborn uncle, John Car- 
taret, having taken an oath that no one of his line 
shall ever wed a Wayne, forbids their marriage. 
Pressed for an explanation of his seemingly unrea- 
sonable prejudice he begins the story of something 
that happened fifty years before. There is a " flash- 
back " to the period in which Cartarct and one, Jere- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 409 

miah Wayne, were in love with Moonyeen Clare. She 
selected Cartaret, and Wayne, becoming wildly jealous 
and quite drunk, forced his way into the house the 
night of the wedding and, shooting at Cartaret, acci- 
dentally killed Moonyeen when she jumped in front 
of her lover. Remembering this Cartaret continues 
firm in his opposition to the modern romance until the 
spirits of Moonyeen Clare and Sarah Wayne, mother 
of Kenneth, get a message across from the other world, 
softening his stubborn heart. Then he dies and joins 
his spirit bride and the lovers are free to marry. 

" THE PURPLE MASK " 

A romantic melodrama in four acts by Matheson 

Lang, freely adapted from " Le Chevalier au 

Masque " by Paul Armont and Jean Ma- 

noussi, produced by Lee Shubert, 

at the Booth Theater, New 

York, January 5, 

1919. 

Cast of characters — 

The Due de Chateaubriand Burr Caruth 

Armand, Comte de Trevieres Leo Ditrichstein 

The Marquis de Clamorgan Stephen Wright 

Monsieur de Morleve Alfred Shirley 

The Vicomte de Morsanne George H. Frenger 

The Baron de Vivonne L'Estrange Millman 

The Abbe Brochard Walter Howe 

Fouche Eric Maxon 

Brisrjuet Brandon Tynan 

Captain Lavernais Orlando Daly 

Lieutenant Roche Earle Mitchell 

Brigadier Maillard Clyde Veaux 

Brigadier Caron Gustav Bowhan 

A Sergeant of the Toll-Gate M. A. Kelly 

A Sergeant of Police Robert A. Ranier 

Germain Burnie McDavitt 

Bernard William Nunn 

Keeper of the Toil-Gate Eldie P. Wood 

First Dandy Harold Seton 

Second Dandy Calvin Round 

Laurette de Chateaubriand Lily Cabill 

Valentine de Crisolles Ann MacDonnld 

Madame Anais Margaret Sutherland 

Sabine, Her Niece Boots Wooster 

A Customer Josephine Hamner 



4IO THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Constance Violet Rendel 

Irene Elsa Carroll 

Hussars, Gendarmes, Police Agents, Peasants, Etc. 
Act I. — Majolin's Shop in Paris. Act II. — The Pre- 
fecture at Evreux. Act III. — A Cellar Below 
Majolin's Shop. Act IV. — Boudoir at the Villa 
Recamier at St. Cloud. Act V. — Toll-House at North 
Gate of Paris. Time — 1S03. During the First Con- 
sulate of Napoleon Bonaparte. 

The Comte de Trevieres, a dashing royalist in Paris 
during the early years of Napoleon's ascendency, is 
the mysterious gentleman of the purple mask who has 
been causing Fouchet's police much trouble. During 
the working out of one of many plots to halt the man 
of destiny De Trevieres boldly challenges Fouchet's 
men, helps abduct the prefect of Evreux from the pre- 
fecture itself, though it is completely surrounded by 
the soldiers of the republic, and later carries off suc- 
cessfully several other equally exciting coups, during 
one of which he rescues Laurette de Chateaubriand 
the heroine and later escapes with her, her family, and 
his confederates to England. 

" THE ACQUITTAL " 

A Drama in Three Acts by Rita Weiman, Produced 

by Cohan and Harris at the Cohan and Harris 

Theater, New York, January 5, 1910 

Cast of characters — 

Barton Franklin Hall 

Nellie Barbara Milton 

Madeline Winthrop Chrystal Heme 

Dr. Hammand Willi.nn Walcott 

Edith Craig ....Ann Mason 

Joe Conway William Harrigan 

Kenneth Winthrop Edward H. Robins 

Robert Armstrong Morgan Wallace 

Clafiin \rthur V. Gibson 

McCarthy Willard F. Barger 

Ainscly Edward Geer 

Wilson John Rowan 

Hedges Harold G wynn 

Burke Norman Lane 

Act I. — Living Room. Act II. — JNIadeline's .Vpart- 
ments. Act III. — Same as i\ct I. Evening of Same 
Day. The Scenes of tlie Play Occur at the Winthrop 
Home in an American City. Staged by Sam For- 
est. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 411 

Kenneth Winthrop has been acquitted of the murder 
of his aged benefactor, a philanthropist with a kind 
heart and a lot of money. Joe Conway is a San Fran- 
cisco reporter detailed on the case, and one who is not 
satisfied with the verdict. Because the dead man 
was his friend Joe purposes to follow up the acquittal 
of Winthrop. Secreting himself in the Winthrop house 
he skillfully and patiently pieces together such bits of 
evidence as he is able to collect and finally extracts 
a confession from Winthrop that he did, in fact, com- 
mit the murder. Rather than face the facts, Winthrop 
commits suicide and Mrs. Winthrop, his young widow, 
who has some time since lost all affection for her hus- 
band, promises that after a decent interval, she will 
listen to the proposal of the young reporter, in whom 
she has acquired a sympathetic interest during the 
course of the trial and the events that followed. 

"ALWAYS YOU" 

A musical comedy in two acts, book and lyrics by Oscar 
Hammerstein 2nd, music by Herbert P. Stothart. 
Produced by Arthur Hammerstein at the Cen- 
tral Theatre, New York, January 5, 1920 

Cast of characters — 

Toinette Fontaine Helen Ford 

Bruce Nash Walter Scanlan 

An East Indian Peddlar Edouard Ciannelli 

Julie Fontaine Julia Kelety 

Charlie Langford Russell Mack 

Montmorency Jones Ralph Herz 

A Mysterious Conspirator Bernard Gorcey 

Joan Summers Anna Seymour 

Thomas Joseph Barton 

A Waitress Emily Russ 

Dancers Cortez and Peggy 

Prologue — Trouville, France, August, 1918. Act 
I. — The Grounds of a Hotel in Trouville, August, 
1919. Act 11.^ The Lounge of the Trouville Casino, 
Late Evening of the Same Day. 

Bruce Nash, when he was an A. E. F. captain in 



412 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

France, assured Toinette Fontaine that she was in- 
deed the only girl for him and ahvays would be. 
Then he returned to z-\merica and became engaged to 
his regular girl. Back in Trouville, however, he re- 
grets his action, and after a variety of lyrical and 
dramatic complications, he is able to shift again, and 
is again successful in convincing Toinette that it has 
always been she. This time she gets ready to marry 
him quick. 

" THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD " 

A drama in three acts by Pierre Saisson (Guy Bolton 

and George C. Middleton). Produced at the 

Lyric Theatre by F. Ray Comstock and 

Morris Gest, New York, January 6, 

1920 

Cast of characters — 

Mary kendel Percy Haswell 

Nathan Fuller Mellish 

Ruth le Doux Jane Cooper 

The Three Wise Men: 

Bert .\danis Wright Kramer 

Jan \'aii Veen Fred N'ogeding 

Arthur Brooks Leslie J'almtr 

Anton Rendel Pedro do Cordoba 

Simon Brock Kalpli Kellard 

Jonas KuTZ B. W'allis Clark 

Agnes Helen Chandler 

Timothy Charles Crunipton 

Pastor Saunders \rnold Lucy 

Martin Gast Ernest A. Elton 

James Mayre H-irke Clarke 

Paul Mayre dcrald Rogers 

Raymond Ilott Arthur 1-itzgeraId 

Margot Ilaser Philis Poyah 

Marna Lynd Clara Joel 

Act I. — The Home of Anton Rendcl. Act IL — 
Open Air Stage of the Passion Play Theatre, About 
I'our Weeks Later. .Act IIP — Same as .Vet I. A 
i*cw Days Later. The Scenes of the I'lay Are 
Laid in a small N'illagc in Switzerland Near the French 
Border. 

Anton Rindel, a wood carver in a small village in 
Switzerland and a nienibcr of the amateur company 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 413 

tliat periodically produces " The Passion Play," is 
asked to give shelter to Mama Lynd, the village Mag- 
dalen, who has been betrayed by Simon Brock, and 
who returns to the village with Simon's child. Simon, 
though he is Rindel's best friend, denies his respon- 
sibility as the father of Marna's child, thus throwing 
the burden of suspicion upon Rindel. The villagers, 
shocked by the scandal, take the role of Christus 
away from the wood carver and threaten to stone 
the sinning Marna from the village. A happy end- 
ing, however, is provided for this particular adaptation 
of the Biblical story. Simon relents and confesses, 
his wife forgives him, and Rindel is restored to favor 
as the Christus and the prospective husband of Marna. 



" NO MORE BLONDES " 

A Farce in three acts by Otto Harbach. Produced 

by A. H. Woods at Maxine Elliott's Theatre, 

New York, January 7, 1920 

Cast of characters — 

May Merkel Muriel Hope 

George Harper Leo Donnelly 

MilHcent Howells Nancy Fair 

James Howells Krnest Truex 

Mrs. Stubbs Alice Belmore Cliffe 

Tanner Dallas Welford 

Cecile Elizabeth Gergely 

Eve Powell Eileen Wilson 

Battline: Hogan Frank Allworth 

Thad Lynch Edwin Walter 

Tames Powell Edward Douglas 

Madge Saunders Yvonne Gouraud 

Act I. — Scene i — Harper's Real Estate Office. 
Scene 2 — Lounging Room on Third Floor of James 
Powell's Home. Scene 3 — The Same. The Next 
Morning. Act IL — Reception Room of the Same 
House. Act III.— The Same. Place — New York 
City. 

James Howells, an automobile salesman, comes from 
Cohoes, N. Y., to the big city bringing his fiancee, 



414 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Millicent, with him. It is James' idea that they will 
be married on the trip, thus permitting him to com- 
bine business with pleasure. They are married, but 
the day of the wedding the young bridegroom, in 
the interest of his business, takes a blonde to lunch. 
This so angers the new Mrs. Howells that she is about 
to start back for Cohoes, when a mutual friend, think- 
ing to patch up the quarrel, induces her to stay over 
a day. That night the friend installs young Howells 
in a furnished apartment. The wife of the owner 
of the apartment returns unexpectedly and the follow- 
ing morning, when Mrs. Howells is sent to the apart- 
ment to meet and forgive her husband, she finds he 
has spent the night under the same roof with another 
woman and suspects the worst. Complications until 
II P. M., followed by general explanations. 



"FRIVOLITIES OF 1920" 

A revue, in two acts and 21 scenes, music and lyrics by 

William B. Friedlander, additional songs by Harry 

Auracher and Tom Johnstone, scenes written 

by Wm. Anthony McGuire. Produced 

by G. M. Anderson at the 44th Street 

Theatre, New York, Jan. 8, 

1920 

Principals engaged — 

Henry Lewis Doraldina 

Moss ami Fry Colin Cliase 

Frank Davis Fletcher Norton 

Delia Darnell Doris Lloyd 

Nellie and Sara Kouns Mabel Roberts 

Zelda Santley \'ictorinc X'oltaire 

Edward Gallagher Jeanne \oltairc 

Dolly licst Irene Delroy 

Marie Grcnville Grace Lee 

Merle Ilartwell Thelnia Carlton 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 415 

THE PASSION FLOWER 

A drama in three acts by Jacinto Benavente, Trans- 
lated from the Spanish by John Garret Under- 
bill. Produced at the Greenwich Village 
Theatre, New York, Jan. 13, 1920 

Raimunda Nance O'Neil 

Acacia Edna Walton 

Dona Isabel Clara Bracey 

Milagro Gertrude Gustin 

l-'idelia Alba Anchoriz 

Engracia Helen Rapport 

Bernabea Aldeah Wise 

Gaspara Ridler Davies 

Juliana Mrs. Charles G. Craig 

Estaban Charles Waldron 

Tic Eusebio Robert Fisher 

Faustino Edwin Beryl 

Rubio Harold Hartsell 

Bernabe Charles Angelo 

Norbert J. Harper Macauley 

Act I. — Living Room in Raimunda's Home. Act II. 
— Entrance Hall to Raimunda's Home. Act III. — 
Same as Act II. The Scenes of the Play Are Laid 
on the Outskirts of a Small Town in Spain. 

Raimunda is the second wife of Esteban. Acacia 
is her daughter by her first marriage. Acacia is to 
be married, but the night of her betrothal her lover 
is shot and killed. A former lover is suspected, but 
gradually the suspicion shifts to Esteban, whose love 
for his step-daughter has long been a subject of gossip, 
though strenuously denied by the two. In the crisis 
following the accusation this love flares forth. Rai- 
munda is bitterly jealous, but willing to forgive her 
husband. As she attempts to drag him away from 
Acacia, however, she is shot and killed. 

" THE POWER OF DARKNESS " 

A tragedy in four acts by Leo Tolstoi. Produced by 

The Theatre Guild at the Garrick Theatre, 

New York, Jan. 15, 1920 

Cast of characters : — 

Anisya .•■•.•• I'^a Rauh 

Akoulina Marjorie Vonnegut 



4i6 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Peter Henry Stillman 

Nan Maud Hrooks 

Nikita Arthur Ilohl 

Akim I'red G. Alories 

Matryona Helen Westley 

Marina Bertha Broad 

Mitrich Erskine Sanford 

Simon William Nelson 

Bridegroom Walter Geer 

Ivan Henry Travers 

First Neighbour Mary Blair 

Second Neighbour Grace Ade 

Driver Robert Donaldson 

Police Officer Richard Abbott 

Best Man Michael Carr 

Village Elder Milton Pope 

Matchmaker Noel Leslie 

First Girl Grace Knell 

Second Girl Mary True 

Act I. — The Interior of Peter's Hut. Act II. — 
The Same Hut. Act III. — The Interior of a Court- 
yard. Act IV. — In I'ront of a Barn. 

Nikita, the godless son of old Akim, himself a 
godly man, assists Anisya in the murder of her hus- 
band, and later marries the widow. Heedless of his 
good father's advice he continues his descent into sin 
by abandoning his wife for the girl Akoulina, and 
later by strangling the child she bears him. " Sin 
fastens on sin," shouts old Akim ; " when the claw is 
caught the bird is lost." In the end Nikita confesses 
his sins and Akim is happy in his son's regeneration, 
even though the officers of the law are waiting to lead 
him away. 

"THE 'RUINED' LADY" 

A comedy in two acts, by Frances Nordstrom. Pro- 
duced at The Playhouse, New York, 
January 19, 1920 

Cast of characters — 

Dorothy Mortimer Leila Frost 

Dallis "Mortimer Richard Farrell 

Jack Torrence Freeman Wood 

Julia Helen Reimer 

Bixby Thomas Donnelly 

"Bill" Bruce John Miltern 

Mrs. Potts-Thompson Caroline Locke 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 417 

Olive Gresham Carlotta Monterey 

Ann Mortimer Grace George 

Mayene Breslin May Hopkins 

" Cutie " Bird Marie Bryar 

Act I. — At the Mortimers. Act II.— At "Bill's." 
Act III. — The Same Place — Long Island. Time — 
Spring. 

Ann Mortimer has been engaged to Bill Bruce so 
long she fears Bill has forgotten it. To refresh his 
memory, and also to bring him again to the thought 
of marrying her, she schemes to force him to " com- 
promise " her. She will be found in his rooms at 
night, and to save her good name he will have to 
marry her. The scheme works, but not without many 
amusing interruptions, including one that leads the 
neighbors to believe that Ann really is a genuine village 
vamp. 

" PIETRO " 

A comedy drama in a prologue and three acts by 

Maud Skinner and Jules Eckert Goodman. 

Produced by Charles Frohman at the 

Criterion Theatre, New York, 

January 19, 1920 

Cast of characters — 

IN THE PROLOGUE 

The Court Interpreter J. T. Chailee 

The Bailiff Walter F. Scott 

Tomlinson Robert Smiley 

Keith Oliphant Thurlow Bergen 

The Jail Matron Madalyn Kent 

The Bambina Elizabeth 

Pietro Barbano Otis Skinner 

IN THE PLAY 

Peter Barban Otis Skinner 

Alfred Peyton O. B. Clarence 

Angela Ruth Rose 

Keith Oliphant Thurlow Bergen 

Keith Oliphant, Jr Robert Ames 

Clark William Bonelli 

Padre Michetti Clarence Bellair 

Jarrold George Harcourt 



4i8 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Miguel Joe Spurin 

Teresa Mary Shaw 

Prologue — TI>e Ante-room of the Court House at 
West Durham, Pennsylvania. (Time — March, 1896.) 
Act I. — California. Terrace of the Barban-Peyton 
Estate, " Casa Esperanza." (May, 1914.) Act IT. — 
The Sun Room at " Casa Esperanza." Act III. — 
Same as Act I. Evening. 

Pietro Barbano, quarreling with his wife, Teresa, 
because she has abused their three-year-old bambina, 
suffers a momentary madness. When he recovers 
his wits his wife has disappeared and there are blood- 
stains all over the place. Pietro is tried for Teresa's 
murder, but the bloodstains are proved to be those 
of his pet dog, and he is released. He takes his 
child, and eighteen years later is discovered in Cali- 
fornia, his name changed to Peter Barban. He is 
now a rich man and has brought his girl up to be- 
lieve that her mother was something of a saint and 
therefore desired in heaven. Teresa suddenly re- 
appears on the scene, and Barbano's past threatens to 
spoil everything. A way to be rid of the mother is 
found, however, and the conclusion is sentimentally 
satisfying. 

" MAMMA'S AFFAIR " 

A comedy in three acts by Rachel Barton Butler. 

Produced by Oliver Morosco at the Little 

Theatre, New York, Jan, 19, 1920 

Cast of characters — 

Tommy Hooper Little Billy 

Henry Marchant George LeGuere 

Eve Orrin Ida St. Leon 

Mrs. Marchant Katherine Kaelred 

Mrs. Orrin Effie Shannon 

Dr. Brent Janson Robert Edcson 

Mrs. Bundy .Amelia Bingham 

.Act I. — " The Willows," a Hotel in the Hills of 
Massachusetts. Act 11. — A Private Sun Parlor on 
the Top Floor of "The Willows." Act III. — Living 
lioom at Dr. Janson's Home. Time — The Present. 

See page 215. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 419 

" BIG GAME " 

A drama in three acts by Willard Robertson and 

Kilbourn Gordon. Produced by Mrs. Henry 

B. Harris at the Fulton Theatre 

New York, January 20, 1920 

Cast of characters — 

Toe Charles Halton 

Pigeon William Morran 

White Reginald Barlow 

Lafontaine William Maxson 

Marine Smith Pauline Lord 

Larry Smith Alan Dinehart 

John St. John Paul Dickey- 
Lizard J. A. Curtis 

Act I. — The Snow. Act II. — Snowbound. Act 
III.— The Snow Lifts. The Action Takes Place in 
a Trapper's Cabin Somewhere North of Quebec. 



Larry and Marie Smith, he an American, she a 
French Canadian, are adventuring north of Quebec. 
They had been fellow employes in a department store 
in the States. Marie, accused of theft, was held in 
jail; Larry stood by her, and when she was released 
they were married. In the woods Marie hopes her 
rather anemic young husband will grow well and 
strong. But the life, the food, the people of the 
north rather disgust Larry and Marie begins to doubt 
his courage. When John St. John, a fascinating 
ladies' man, insults her she bids her husband avenge 
the insult by shooting St. John. Larry's refusal to 
take a human life convinces Marie that he is a weak- 
ling, and she boldly agrees to run away with St. John. 
Before they can start, however, Larry's courage re- 
turns and he plants three bullets in the person of 
the handsome villain. 



420 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

" AS YOU WERE " 

A fantastic revue by Arthur Wimperis. Music by 

Herman Darewski. Produced by E. Ray 

Goetz at the Central Theatre, New 

York, January 2J, 1920 

Cast of characters — 

Chase Clews Himli Cameron 

Ethel Niitt Ruth Donnelly 

Pinkie Smith \'irginia Watson 

Cuthbert Stanley Harif nn 

Wolfie Wafflestcin Sam Bernard 

Ki Ki Clifton Webb 

Gervaise Irene Bordoni 

Professor Filbert ... Frank Mayne 

A Marquis \'ioIet Starthmore 

Louis, Comte de Belamy Clifton Webb 

Ninon de I'Esclos Irene Bordoni 

De La Reynie Frank Mayne 

Nicole Kuth Donnelly 

Cleopatra Irene Bordoni 

Mask Antony Clifton Webb 

Wolfie Wafflestein, a manufacturer of pies, driven 
to desperation by Gervaise, his extravagant and flirta- 
tious wife, embraces the offer of a scientist to feed 
him pink pills that will turn time backward any sug- 
gested number of years. With the help of the pills 
Wolfie goes back through the ages searching for a 
loving, loyal and economical mate. He meets Ninon 
de L'Enclos, Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, and finally a 
primeval charmer — and satisfies himself that women 
are all alike and always have been. Then he flies back 
home, satisfied with the Gervaise he has married. 

" BEYOND THE HORIZON " 

An American tragedy in three acts by Eugene G. O'Neill 

Produced by John D, Williams at the Mo- 

rosco theater, New York, Feb. 2, 1920 

Cast of characters — 

Robert Mayo Richard Bennett 

Andrew Mayo Robert Kelly 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 421 

Ruth Atkins Elsie Rizer 

Capt. Dick Scott Sidney Macy 

Mrs. Kate Mayo Mary Jeffery 

James Mayo Erv-ille Aldersoa 

Mrs. Atkins Louise Closser Hale 

Mary Elfin F"inn 

Ben George Hadden 

Dr. Fawcett George Riddell 

Act I. — Scene i — The Road. Sunset of a Day 
in Spring. Scene 2 — The Farm House. The Same 
Night Act II. — Scene i — The Farm House. Noon 
of a Summer Day. Several Years Later. Scene 2 
— The Road. The Following Day. Act III.— The 
Farm House. Dawn of a Day in Late Fall. Five 
Years Later. Staged Under the Direction of Homer 
Saint-Gaudens. 

See page 30. 

" THE NIGHT BOAT " 

A musical comedy in three acts, founded on a farce by 

A. Bisson, libretto and lyrics by Anne Caldwell, 

music by Jerome Kern. Produced by Charles 

Dillingham at the Liberty Theatre, 

New York, February 2, 1920 

Cast of characters — 

Minnie Marie Reagen 

A Workman Irving Carpenter 

Mrs. Maxim -Ada Lewis 

Barbara Louise Gruody 

Mrs. Hazel White Stella Hoban 

Freddie Ides Hal Skelly 

Inspector Dempsey John Scannell 

Bob White John E. Hazzard 

Captain Robert Whilte Ernest Torrence 

The Steward ..Hansford Wilson 

Dora de Costa Lillian Kenible Cooper 

Little Miss Jazz Isabel Falconer 

Betty • • .\rline Chase 

Susan Lois Leigh 

Jane .• Kunny Wendell 

Alice Patricia Clarke 

Polly Lydia Scott 

Florence de Costa Betty Hale 

Mrs. Costa Mrs. John Findlay 

Act I.— At the White's. Act II. — The Night Boat. 
Act III.— At the De Co.sta's. 

In order to enjoy an occasional week end holiday 
Bob White has convinced his wife and his mother-in- 
law that he is the captain of an Albany night boat. Be- 



422 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

coming suspicious the mother-in-law directs an in- 
vestigation which brings Bob White's relatives down 
upon him during one of his trips. He borrows the 
real captain's uniform, but though it nearly covers it 
does not shield him for more than half an act. Ex- 
posure; explanations; finale. 



" MY GOLDEN GIRL " 

A comedy with music, book and lyrics by Frederic 
Arnold Kummer, music by Victor Herbert. Pro- 
duced by Harry Wardell at the Nora Bayes 
Theatre, New York, Feb. 2, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Wilson Robert O'Connor 

Blanche Dorothy Tierney 

Kitty Mason Evelyn Cavanaugh 

Capt. Paul de Bazin Richard Dore 

Arthur Mitchell \'ictor Morley 

Peggy Mitchell Marie Carroll 

Martin Raymond Barrett 

Mr. Hanks Ned A. Sparks 

Mr. Pullinger Edward See 

Helen Randolph Helen Bolton 

Howard Pope George Trabert 

Mrs. Judson Mitchell Edna !^Iay Oliver 

Mr. Clarence Swan Harold \'izard 

Mildred Ray X'ictoria White 

Lois Booth Adele Boulais 

Act I. — Scene i — Main Hall — the Mitchell's 
Country Home on Long Island. Act II. — The 
Mitchell's Private Bathing Beach. 



Arthur and Peggy Mitchell, having each discovered 
an affinity, agree to divorce each other. They send 
for their lawyers, and their soul-mates, and proceed 
about the matter in a perfectly dignified, musical 
comedy way. Before the evening is over the affinities 
have fallen in love with each other and the Mitchells 
have become happily reconciled. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 423 



"TRIMMED IN SCARLET" 

A comedy in four acts by William Hurlbut. Pro- 
duced at Maxine Elliott's Theatre, New 
York, February 2, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Mrs. Todd (Mollie) Peggie Payter 

Nurse Maid Luella Moray 

Mrs. Kipp (Ruth; !Mrs. Katharine Stewart 

Revere Wayne Lumsden Hare 

Sally Pierce Elizabeth Bellairs 

David Ebbing Sidney Blackmer 

Housemaid Gwendolyn Valentine 

Archer Kingston Albert Gran 

Cordelia, calling herself Mrs. Prudence 

Maxine Elliott 

Charles Knight Stanley Warmington 

Janitor Biron Eagan 

Blackburn Charles Hanna 

Benjamin Ebbing Montague Ruthurford 

Marie Sylvia Newton 

Act I. — Molly Todd's House. Act II. — David's 
Apartment. Act III. — Cordelia's Apartment. Act 
IV. — The Same Scene. The Next JMoming. New 
York City. 

Cordelia Ebbing has left her husband, and their 
two-year-old son, David, after an unhappy marital 
experience. Having departed with another man she 
creates a scandal which she does not consider suf- 
ficiently important to deny. Returning to her home 
city twenty years later she finds that her son has also 
left the home of his male parent, and is being black- 
mailed by the editor of a scandal sheet who threatens 
to reprint the story of his mother's past. To shield 
the son she promises to be kind to the man who holds 
David in his power, but in the end is saved that par- 
ticular humiliation, wins the love of one who trusts her 
and is re-united with her boy. 



424 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 



"BREAKFAST IN BED" 

A farce in three acts by George Feydeau. Adapted 
for the American stage by Willard Mack and 
Howard Booth. Produced by A. H. Woods 
at the Ehinge Theatre, New York, Feb- 
ruary 3, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Raphael Bates Harry Hanlon 

Terry Tommy Meade 

Hugo Getsit \'incent Dennis 

Emily Duval Bates Florence Moore 

Benjamin Colby Will Deming 

Gloriana Gorgeous Clara X'erdera 

Irene Anderson Gladys Gilbert 

Jack Marston Leon Gordon 

General Kosclinoduff C. Hooper Trask 

Seth Latimor Fred Strong 

Printe Nicholas Jules Epailly 

Mazie Anne Lorentz 

Camera Man J. O. Hewitt 

Justice of the Peace Waldo Whipple 

Cecily Blanche Clark 

Police Officer Wally Clark 

Act I. — Emily's Apartment. Act II. — Jack Mar- 
ston's Apartment. Act III. — Same as Act I. 

Emily Duval Bates, a moving picture actress, seek- 
ing to help out a friend who must have a wife in order 
to inherit a fortune, lets herself in for considerable 
trouble. During one adventure her companion ab- 
sorbs too much wine at a masquerade ball and she is 
obliged to accompany him to his apartment. Next 
morning she is discovered there by her fiance, having 
breakfast in bed. Explanations and a blanket pardon 
for the cast. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 425 

" HE AND SHE " 

A domestic drama in three acts, by Rachel Crothers. 

Produced by Lee and J. J. Shubert at the 

Little Theatre, New York, 

Feb. 12, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Keith McKenzie Fleming Ward 

Tom Herford Cyril Keightley 

Ann Herford Rachel Crothers 

Daisy Herford Margaret Vivian Johnson 

Millicent Faire Binn -y 

Ruth Creel Ethel Cozzens 

Dr. Remington Arthur Elliott 

Ellen I'rances Bryant 

Act I. — Studio in the Herford House. Act II. — 
Living Room in the Herford House. Act III. — 
Same as Act II. New York — The Present Time. 
Staged by Rachel Crothers. 

For seventeen years Tom and Ann Herford have 
lived a happy married life. Although they are both 
artists they have been able to control and make the best 
of their respective artistic temperaments. They are 
equally devoted to their sixteen-year-old daughter, 
Millicent. A prize of $100,000 has been offered for 
the best design for a frieze. Tom Herford is to com- 
pete, but Ann does not think his submitted design does 
him justice. She tries to induce him to accept her 
idea. He refuses, but urges her also to enter the com- 
petition. She does — and wins. Her victory is a 
blow to her husband's pride and threatens to create a 
domestic and artistic schism, which is avoided when 
Ann discovers that through her interest in the frieze 
competition she has neglected her daughter, who has 
come perilously near to eloping with an unworthy 
suitor. She decides that her first duty is to her child, 
gives up the prize which thus goes to the husband, and 
the family harmony is restored. 



426 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 



" SHAVINGS " 

A comedy in three acts from Joseph C. Lincoln's novel, 
dramatized by Pauline Phelps and Marion Short. 
Produced by Henry W. Savage at the Knick- 
erbocker Theatre, New York, Feb. 
1 6, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

J. Edward Winslow, " Shavings ". .Harry Beresford. 

Captain Sam Hunniwell James Bradbury 

Phineas Babbitt Charles Dow Clark 

Leander Babbitt Douglas MacPherson 

Major Leonard Grover Mitchell Harris 

Charles Phillips Saxon Kling 

Gabriel Bearse tieorge ^ Neville 

Roscoe Holway Dudley Clements 

Ruth Armstrong Clara Moores 

Barbara Armstrong Lillian Roth 

Maude Hunniwell Vivian Tobin 

Mrs. Powless Eleanor Martin 

Act L — Interior of Jed's Windmill Shop. June. 
Act IL — Yard Between Jed's Shop and Ruth's 
Cottage. July. Act III. — ■ Scene i — The Shop. 
Early September. Scene 2 — The Same. One Day 
Later. 

J. Edward Winslow, a Cape Cod bachelor, is nick- 
named " Shavings " because he makes a Hving whittl- 
ing toy windmills for the children. He takes little 
interest in life until a fascinating widow and her six- 
year-old daughter rent a cottage from him for the 
summer. The widow's brother is employed in the vil- 
lage bank, is wrongfully accused of misappropriating 
funds, is defended by " Shavings " and finally proved 
innocent. Then the widow marries an aviator and 
'* Shavings " philosophically returns to his windmills. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 427 



" THE CAT-BIRD " 

A comedy in three acts by Rupert Hughes. Produced 

by Arthur Hopkins at Maxine Elliott's Theatre, 

New York, February 16, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Martin Gloade John Drew 

James Brearley Arthur Barry 

Tom Forshay William Raymond 

Roy Morison Sidney Mason 

Ronald William Williams 

Parker Albert Reed 

MuUins Wi.lard Bowman 

Mrs. Fay Crosby Janet Beecher 

Coralie Tippet Ruth Findlay 

Fanita Angevine Pauline Armitage 

Act I. — The Professor's Vivarium. That After- 
noon. Act II. — The Hotel. That Evening. Act 
III.— The Same as Act I. That Night. 

Martin Gloade, a famous scientist, missed his chance 
of marrying the young woman with whom he was in 
love because he ran away in search of a particular 
parasite. When he returned the girl had married an- 
other. Years later he meets her again. She is a 
widow with an attractive daughter whom she is having 
some difficulty in managing. The scientist, offering to 
help her, falls again in love with the widow and in the 
end his belated romance is crowned with success. 

" THE TRAGEDY OF NAN " 

A tragedy in three acts by John Masefield. Produced 

by Walter Hast and Morris Rose at the 39th 

street theater. New York, Feb. 17, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Jenny Pargetter Beatrice Noyes 

Mrs. Pargetter Annie Hughes 

William Pargetter Harry Ashford 

Nan Hardwick Alexandra Carlisle 

Dick Gurvil Philip Merivale 

Artie Pearce Frank Gregory 

Gaffer Pearce John Harwood 

Tommy Arker David Urquhart 



428 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Ellen Susan Given 

Susan Mabel Hicks 

The Rev Mr. Drew Walter Kingsford 

Captain Dixon Charles !• rancis 

The Constable John Smith 

Mary Jean May 

Nan Hardwick, the daughter of a man hung for 
sheep stealing, is living with an aunt and uncle whose 
abuse of her is fiendish. Her love for Dick Gurvil, 
and his love for her, jjromises to take her away from 
her sordid surroundings, until the aunt, wanting Gur- 
vil to marry her own daughter, tells him of the incident 
of Nan's father and his hanging. The lover can't 
overlook that and deserts Nan, only to return when he 
hears the government purposes paying Nan a sum of 
money to recompense her for the loss of her father, 
whose innocence has been belatedly established. The 
distraught heroine, having poisoned her cousin, kills 
her false lover and throws herself into the sea. 



" THE WONDERFUL THING " 

A comedy-drama in four acts by Mrs. Lillian Trimble 
Bradley, founded on a story by Forrest Halsey. 
Produced by George Broadhurst at The Play- 
house, New York, February 17, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Donald Maiinerby Gordon Ash 

Laurie Mannerby Henry Duffey 

Captain Carser . Fred L. Tiden 

Thomas Fosdick Edward Lester 

Bates George Schaeff er 

Tabers Philip Dunning 

Jacqueline Laurcntie Jeanne Eagels 

Mrs. Mannerby Olive Temple 

Mrs. Truesdalc Gladys Maud 

Angelica Mannerby Jane Marbury 

Dulcie Fosdick Eva Leonard Boyne 

Act I. — -A Room in the Home of the Mannerbys. 
Act IL — The Same as Act I. Act IIL — The Same 
as Act IL Act I\'. — The New House. Near 
Brighton, England. Time — The Present. Staged 
by Mrs. Bradley. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 429 

Jacqueline Lanrentie is an English girl reared in 
France. Her father was a seller of hams, and when 
she returns to England she is snubbed by the aristo- 
crats. Misunderstanding their attitude, and being 
deeply in love with one of them, Donald Mannerby, she 
practically proposes to him, and he, being much in need 
of funds to assist a bad brother, accepts. After they 
are married the family continues snippy, and Jacque- 
line is finally led to believe that her husband does not 
love her and only married her for her money. She 
leaves him, but in the end discovers her error and they 
are reunited. 

" SACRED AND PROFANE LOVE " 

A drama in four acts by Arnold Bennett. Produced 

by Charles Frohman at the Morosco Theatre, 

New York, Feb. 23, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Mrs. Joicey Augusta Haviland 

Louisa Benbow ; Bertha Kent 

Snape A. Romaine Callender 

Emilio Diaz Jose Ruben 

Carlotta Peel Elsie Ferguson 

Jocelyn Sardis Peggy Harvey 

Lord Francis Alcar J. Sebastian Smith 

Marie Sardis Maud Milton 

Mary Ispenlove Olive Oliver 

Frank Ispenlove Alexander Onslow 

Emmeline Palmer Katharine Crook 

Rosalie Renee de Monvil 

Leonie Denise Corday 

A Parlor Maid Susan Given 

Act I. — Mrs. Joicey's Sitting-room on the I'irst 
Floor of Her House in the Five Towns. Act IL — 
Drawing-room of Carlotta's Flat in Bloomsbury. 
Act III. — The Salon of a Furnished Flat in a Dubious 
Street of Paris. Act I\'. — Drawing-room of Car- 
lotta's Flat in Bloomsbury. Staged by Iden Payne. 

Carlotta of the Five Towns is fascinated by the 
celebrated pianist, Emilio Diaz. Meeting him at one 
of his recitals she accompanies him to his lodgings to 
talk art and listen to him play for her alone, and re- 



430 TPIE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

mains the night. Next morning, horrified at the 
thought of what she has done, she runs home. For 
seven years Carlotta and EmiHo hear nothing of each 
other. Then Carlotta, now a successful novelist in 
London, learns that Emilio is a failure and a drug ad- 
dict in Paris. She gives up her career, hunts him out 
and, though he tries to kill her, finally reclaims him. 
Her reward is his profoundest gratitude, his love, and 
his offer of honorable marriage, which she accepts. 

" THE LETTER OF THE LAW " 

A drama in four acts, adapted from " La Robe 

Rouge " by Eugene Brieux. Produced by John 

D. Williams at the Criterion Theatre, New 

York, Feb. 23, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Madame \'agret ZefFie Tilbury 

Bertha Leona Hogarth 

Vagret Russ Whytal 

Cataliena Josephine Wehn 

Delorme Goldwin Patton 

Madame I'unerat Maud Ilosford 

La Bouzule Clarence Derwent 

Uunerat Charles N. Greene 

Mouzon Lionel Barrymnre 

Ardet Charles Coshlan 

Benoit James P. Uagen 

Janitor Wallace Jackson 

Mondoubleau Frank Kingdon 

Police Sergeant Jacob Kingsberry 

Policeman Herbert Vance 

Bridet L. R. Wolheim 

Etchepare Charles White 

Yanetta Doris Rankin 

Ltchcpare's Mother Ada Hosliell 

Attorney General of I'^ance Lionel Hogarth 

Act L — X'agret's Sitting Room. Mauleon, I'rance. 
Act II. — Mouzon's OlTice in the Courthouse. Act III. 
— Magistrate's Office in the Courthouse. Act IV. — 
Same as Act II. 

Mouzon, a French magistrate, in an effort to swelll 
his record of acquittals with the hope of advancing 
his chances for promotion, attempts to brow-beat a 
French peasant into a confession of murder. Prosecu- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 431 

tion becomes persecution and the poor and friendless 
prisoner is denied justice that the ambition of his judge 
may be served. In the crucial scene of third-degree 
examination the wife of the accused turns on the magis- 
trate and berates him with tiggerish ferocity and later 
stabs him to his death by way of reprisal. The play 
is an adaptation of Brieux' " La Robe Rouge." 



"JANE CLEGG" 

A drama in three acts by St. John Ervine. Produced 

by The Theatre Guild at the Garrick Theatre, 

New York, February 23, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Jane Clcgg Margaret Wyclierly 

Mrs. Clegg Helen Westley 

Henry Clegg Dudley Digges 

Mr. Munce Henry Travers 

Mr. Morrison Erskine Sanford 

Jennie Jean Bailey 

Johnny Russell Hewitt 

Act I. — The Sitting Room of the Cleggs House. 
Evening. Act II. — The Same. Two Days Later. 
Act III. — The Same. The next Evening. 

See page 120. 



" TICK-TACK-TOE " 

A revue in two acts and eleven scenes written, staged 

and produced by Herman Timberg at the Princess 

theater. New York, Feb. 23, 1919 

Principals in the cast — 

Flo Lewis Billy Drcycr 

iay Gould Pearl Eaton 

ierman Timberg " George Mayo 

Dora Hilton Ilattie Darling 

C. Leland Marsh J. Guilfoyle 



432 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 



" GEORGE WASHINGTON " 

A " Ballad Play " in a prologue and three acts by Percy 

Mackaye. Produced by Walter Hampden at the 

Lyric Theater, New York, Mar. i, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Quilloquon George Marion 

A Little Boy l-"red J. \'erdi 

A Little Girl Phvllis Loiighton 

The Comic Mask Albert Oswald 

The Tragic Mask James Whittaker 

The Theatre William Sautcr 

Tlie Presence J. Harry Irvine 

Lawrence Washington Frank Arundel 

Lord Fairfax . .Allen Thomas 

Mammy Sal Nellie Peck Saunders 

Captain Van r>ramm Le Roi Operti 

Mary Washington Elsie TTerndon Kearns 

George Washington Walter Hampden 

Sally Fairfax Beth Martin 

Ann Spearing Netta Sunderland 

Elizabeth IJent Beatrice Maude 

Humphrey Knight Ernest Rowan 

Zekiel G. F. Hannam-CIark 

Colonel George Washington Walter Hampden 

Martha Washington Beatrice Reinhanlt 

Leader of the Crowd Ernest Rowan 

Myles Cooper William Sauter 

Alexander Hamilton Gerald Hamer 

Jack Custis • • Donald Foster 

Billy Coulter Gaines 

Patrick Llenry Charles Webster 

Chaplain Emerson Jerome Colanuir 

Colonel Henry Knox I'rank Arundel 

A Boston Girl Katlurine Haden 

A Cambridge Girl Elizabeth Milburn 

A N'irgiiiia Soldier Bernard Merrick 

Leader of " Johnnies " W. Donald DuTilly 

Leader of " Jinnies " Richard Abbott 

General Washington Walter Hampden 

Billy Coulter Gaines 

Selectman Le Roi Operti 

Tom Paine Maxwell Ryder 

Lieut. James Monroe William Sauter 

A doctor Jerome Colanior 

Marciuis de Lafayette Paul I.cyssae 

Betsy Ross Beatrice Maude 

Colonel Nicola Wm. Sauter 

Act I. — Mt. X'ernon, 1750. Act IL — New York, 
1775. Act in. — \alley I'orge, 177S. 

A series of historic episodes concerning the life and 
times of " the man who made us." showing Washing- 
ton first as the young surveyor of Mount X'ernon, in- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 433 

terested principally in scientific farming, and carrying 
on through his marriage to the widow Custis; 
Alexander Hamilton's defense of the Tory Cooper be- 
fore King's (now Columbia) College in New York; 
Washington's departure from Mount Vernon for the 
war ; the lonely night spent on the shore of the Del- 
aware previous to the crossing at dawn ; the arrival of 
Lafayette at Valley Forge; the victory of the Conti- 
nentals at Yorktown and the return of Washington to 
the farm. 

"THE HOTTENTOT" 

A farce comedy in three acts by Victor Mapes and 

William Collier. Produced by Sam H. Harris at 

the George M. Cohan Theater, New York, 

March i, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Swift Donald Meek 

Mrs. Ollie Gilford Helen Wolcott 

Larry Crawford Calvin Thomas 

Alex Fairfax Arthur Howard 

Ollie Gilford I'reJeric Karr 

Peggy Fairfax Frances Ca rson 

Mrs. Chad wick Ann Andrews 

Perkins E(Lwin Taylor 

Sam Harrington William Collier 

Alice 1 'orie Sawyer 

McKisson Claude Cooper 

Reggie Townscnd Howard Hull Gibson 

Act I. — Living Ffoom in the Gilford Home. Act 
II.— The Same. Act III— A Hillside Clearing. 

Sam Harrington is in love with Peggy Fairfax. 
Peggy also loves horses and is much interested in a 
forthcoming steeplechase in which " The Hottentot," 
a swift, but vicious mount, is entered, flarrington, 
whose name is the same as that of a famous steeple- 
chase jockey, is mistaken for the rider, and so praised 
by Peggy for all the wonderful things she has heard 
about him, he is reluctant to admit that not only is he 
not the rider, but that he hates horses. To win the 



434 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

girl he feels he must ride the Hottentot, even tho he 
perish. He works many schemes in an effort to have 
the horse withdrawn, but is finally forced to ride. He 
wins, finishing strong, seated just back of the animal's 
ears, and Peggy capitulates. 

" LOOK WHO'S HERE " 

A musical farce, book by Frank Mandel ; lyrics by 

Edward Paulson ; music by Silvio Hein ; extra 

lyrics by Cecil Lean. Produced by Spiegels, 

Inc, at the 44th St. theater, New York, 

March 2, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

James Saunders Geo. R. Lynch 

May Madge Rush 

Flo Alicia McCarthy 

Jo Mary McCarthy 

Caroline Holmes Louise Kelley 

Carlos Del Monte Dave Quixano 

Robert W. Holmes ..Cecil Lean 

Rocamond Purcell Cleo Mayfield 

Horace Rream Georgia Mack 

Dorothy Chase Sylvia de Frankie 

Daniel V. Chase John F. Morrissey 

Act I. — The Lobby of the Dreamer's Inn, Catskill 
Mountains. Early Evening. Act II. — ■ Scene i — 
Tlie Balcony Hallway. After Midnight. Scene 2 — 
Interior of Holmes' Room in the Hotel. 3 A. M. 
Scene 3 — Same as Scene i. Scene 4 — Same as 
Scene 2. 



"SOPHIE" 

A satirical comedy in three acts by Philip Moeller. 

Produced by George C. Tyler at the Greenwich 

Village Theater, March 2, 1909 

Cast of characters — 

Marie Guimard Marjorie Ilollis 

Mile. Abigalette Hcincl Dai-^y \'ivian 

Sophie's Third Lackey Basil West 

Soiihie's Second Lackey I'aul \'. Atherton 

Sophie's I'irst Lackey Sidney Toler 

The Abbe de Voisenon Oswald Vorke 

Sophie Emily Stevens 

Rosalie Levasseur Jean Newcombe 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 435 

Louis Leon Felicite de Brancas, Count de Lau- 

raguais O. P. Heggie 

Vivienne Claire Mersereau 

Christoph Willibald Hitter \'on Cluck. . .Hubert Wilke 

Mercy D'Argenteau Adolf Link 

Captain Etienne Mars Hubbard Kirkpatrick 

The Count de Saint-Florentin John Webster 

Soldiers 
Act I. — Half-Past Seven, which Leaves Sophie in 
a Quandary. Act II. — Half-Past Nine, which Leaves 
Sophie in Danger. Act III. — Half-Past Eleven, which 
Leave Sophie Almost Alone. The Scene is Sophie's 
Little Drawing-Room Adjoining Her Boudoir in the 
House of the Austrian Ambassador in I'aris. 

Sophie Arnould, a famous singer in Paris in the 
17th century, is madly in love with the Count de 
Lauraguais, a dreamy poet who has been imprisoned 
for having indicted certain uncomplimentary verses to 
the king. The night of his release Sophie is eagerly 
awaiting his coming. She is somewhat troubled, how- 
ever, because of a previous engagement she has made 
with the Austrian Ambassador, in payment for the 
influence that official has brought to bear in securing 
for her the leading role in a forthcoming production of 
Gluck's " Iphegenia." She finally gets the ambassa- 
dor out of the way by forging an order for his arrest, 
and welcomes her poet with open arms. 



" THE TRAGEDY OF RICHARD HI " 

"As depicted by William Shakespeare." Produced by 

Arthur Hopkins at the Plymouth Theater, New 

York, March 6, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

King Henry \'I Arthur Row- 
Queen Margaret Rosalind Ivan 

Edward, Prince of Wales Birford Hampden 

Duke of York Marshall \'incent 

Duchess of York Mrs. Thomas Wise 

Edward (Afterwards King Edward I\') 

Reginald Denny 

George (Afterwards Duke of Clarence) 

E. J. Ballantine 
Richard (Afterwards Duke of Gloucester and Rich- 
ard III.) John Barrymore 

Edward Mary Hughes 



436 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Richard TTclen Chandler 

Children of Clarence j nd'fchandfer 

Earl of Warwick \^ alter Ringham 

Duke of Buckingham Leslie Palmer 

Duke of Norfolk Rnliert Whitehouse 

Earl of Derby George De Winter 

Lord Hastings Lewis Sealy 

Cardinal Bourchier Montague Rutherford 

Earl of Westmoreland Robert Whitehouse 

Lord Clifford Stanley Warmington 

Lord Rivers William J. Keighley 

Lord Grey •• Denis Auburn 

Sir James Tyrell John M. Troughton 

Sir Richard Ratcliff Montague Rutherford 

Sir William Catesby Stanley Warmington 

Sir James Blount Malcolm Barrett 

Sir William Brackenbury William J. Keighley 

The Lord Mayor of London Isadore Marcil 

First Murderer Tracy Barrow 

Second Murderer Cecil Clovelly 

Richmond Ravniond Bloomer 

Queen F.lizabeth Kvel yn WaUh Hall 

Lady Anne Helen Robbins 

The familiar acting version with four scenes from 
" King Henry VI " added to clarify the preliminary 
action. 

"ZIEGFELD GIRLS OF 1920" 

A new " 9 O'clock Revue " produced by Florenz Zieg- 

feld on the New Amsterdam Theater Roof, New 

York, March 8, 1920. 

Principals engaged — 

Allyn King Cameron Sisters 

John Trice Jones Mary Hay 

"Kathleen Martyn Thomas llanders 

Sybil Carmen Arthur Milliss 

Lillian Lorraine Princess Wha-Letka 

Vanda HotT Prince Royle 

Fannie P.rice Peggy Eleanore 
W. C. Fields 

" MUSK " 

A drama in three acts by Leonie de Souny. Produced 

by Dodge & Pogany at the launch and Judy 

Theater, New York, March 13, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Lars Larsson Henry Mortimer 

Elizabeth Blanche Yurka 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-192Q 437 

Olof Burnell Lunbec 

Thordis Natalja Morley 

Victor Leah Temple 

Nils Haglund Douglas Garden 

Antoinette Yvonne Garrick 

Aunt Anna Marguerite Rand 

Samaroff Cecil Owen 

Erik Scott Moore 

Celeste Olga Ziceva 

Act I. — Living Room in the Larsson Home. Act 
II. — Antoinette's Boudoir. Act III. — The Same. 
One Year Later. A Suburb of a Scandinavian Com- 
mercial Centre. 

Elizabeth makes the best of a bad matrimonial bar- 
gain until she discovers indisputable evidence of her 
husband's unfaithfulness. Then, disgustedly, in place 
of killing him she kills herself. The title refers to the 
scent affected by the lady who lured the husband 
away, and also to the heavy, sickening odors of city 
life as compared with the clear, fresh air of the 
country. 

" THE BLUE FLAME " 

A melodrama in four acts by George V. Hobart and 

John Willard, founded on a play of the same title 

by Leta Vance Nicholson. Produced by A. 

H. Woods at the Shubert Theater, New 

York, March 15, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

John Varnum Alan Dinehart 

Ah Foo Jack Gibson 

Larry Winston Donald Gallaher 

Cicely Varnum Helen Curry 

Ned Maddox Kenneth Hill 

Clarissa Arcliibald Thais Lawton 

Ruth Gordon Theda Rara 

The Stranger • ■ . .Earl House 

Nora IVIacrce Tcssie Lawrence 

Tom L)organ Harry Minturn 

Miller Tom O'Hara 

Patterson Frank Huglies 

Inspector Ryan DcWitt C. Jennings 

Quong Toy Henry Herbert 

Barnes Joseph Buckley 

Grogan Martin Malloy 

Wung Ming Robert Lee 

Ling Foo Royal Stout 



438 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Act I. — The Laboratory in John Varnum's House, 
on a Side Street of the Gramercy Park Section, New 
York City. Act II. — Ruth's Boudoir. Act III. — 
Cherry Street, Near the Bowery and a Room in 
Quong Toy's Home in Tell Street. Act IV. — The 
Laboratory. 

Ruth Gordon is engaged to marry a young scientist 
who does not believe in God. He, too, can create life. 
Give him the still warm body of a dead person and, 
with the help of an electrical invention, he will restore 
it to life. Ruth, being a gentle soul, is distressed at 
this attitude on the part of her intended and hopes in 
time to save him. At the end of the first act she is 
struck dead by lightning. Her atheistic lover there- 
upon places her body on his machine, and brings her 
back to life. She is as she was before — except that 
her soul has fled heavenward. Thereafter she is a 
heartless vampire on the trail of all men. She leads 
several to destruction, acquires the cocaine and murder 
habits, and is a generally uncomfortable person to have 
around — until the scientist weakens and discovers he 
has been dreaming. He promptly promises to reform. 

" THE PIPER " 

Poetic drama m four acts by Josephine Preston Pea- 
body. Produced by the Shakespeare Playhouse 
at the Fulton Theater, New York, March 
19, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

The riper A. E. .\nson 

Michael-the-Sword-Eatcr William Wiliiams 

Cheat-thc-Devil .Toscpli Allcnton 

Jacobus Reginald Barlow 

Kurt Klmer ButThain 

Peter R- Henry Handuii 

Hans Forrest Woods 

Axel \V. J. Clark 

Martin Paul Hayes 

Old Claus Leigh Lovell 

Veronika Olive Oliver 

Barbara Mabel Taliaferro 

Old Ursula Klizabeth Patterson 

Jan George Walcott 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 439 

A poetic fantasy founded on the legend of the pied 
piper of Hamelin. 

"WHAT'S IN A NAME?" 

A musical comedy in two parts, book and lyrics by John 
Murray Anderson, in collaboration with Anna 
Wynne O'Ryan and Jack Yellen, music by 
Milton Ager. Produced by John Mur- 
ray Anderson, Inc. at Maxine 
Elliott's Theatre, New York, 
March 19, 1920. 

Principals engaged — 

Phil White Ethel Sinclair 

Herbert W^illiams Marie Caspar 

Alice Hegeman Joe Burroughs 

Ed. E. Ford Beatrice Herford 

Charles Derickson Honey Kay 

Rosalind Fuller Vivian Connors 

Allyn Kearns Olin Howland 

Mary Lane Lane McLeod 

Rex Dantzler Robert Manning 

Sheila Courtney John Alexander 

Thomas Morgan Thomas Morgan 

" MEDEA " 

The Gilbert Murray translation from the Greek of 

Euritides. Produced by Maurice Browne at the 

Garrick Theatre, New York, March 22, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Nurse of Medea Janet Young 

Two children of Jason and Medea 

Dorian and Warner Anderson 

Attendant on the children Byron F'oulger 

Leader of the Chorus Miriam Kiper 

Chorus of Corinthian Women 

Dorothy Cheston, MarRarct Fransioli, Marion 
McCrea, Leah-Marie Minard, Cornelia Ripley 

Medea Ellen Van \'olkenburg 

Creon, ruler of Corinth Gordon Burby 

Attendants on Creon. .David Case and Irving Zechnoff 

Jason, chief of the Argonauts Moroni Olsen 

Aegeus, king of Athens Henry Stillman 

A Messenger Ralph Roeder 

The Scene represents an open space before Medea's 
Palace in Corinth. The Medea was first presented in 
B. C. 431, in Athens. 



440 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 



" THE HOLE IN THE WALL " 

A drama in three acts by Fred Jackson. Produced by 

Alex. A. Aarons and George B. Seitz at the 

Punch and Judy Theatre, New 

York, March 26, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Limpy Jim Charles Halton 

Deagon William Sampson 

Margaret Lyons Muriel Tindal 

Danny MacKeaver N'ernon Steele 

Gordon Grant John Halliday 

Jean Oliver Martha Hednian 

Nichols Robert Stevens 

Police Inspector Leighton Stark 

Mrs. Ramsay Cordelia MacDonald 

Donald Ramsay Walter Lewis 

Cora Thompson Doris Moore 

Act I. — At Madam Mystera's. Act IL- — Office of 
the Inspector of Police. Scene 2 — At Madam Mys- 
tera's. Act III. — Office of the Inspector of Police. 
Staged by Ira Hards. 

Jean Oliver, while acting as Mrs. Ramsay's com- 
panion, had the misfortune to attract the attention of 
the son of the house. To cure the young man's infat- 
uation his mother falsely accused Jean of theft, had 
her arrested and later sent to Sing Sing. After serv- 
ing a two-year sentence Jean returns to the city de- 
termined to be revenged upon Mrs. Ramsay. Falling 
in with a gang of crooks, one of whom she had met 
in prison, she agrees to help them with their " fake 
medium graft," if they will help her with the abduc- 
tion of Mrs. Ramsay's grandson. The bargain made, 
the child is stolon. In following various clews Gordon 
Grant, a young reporter-detective, comes upon Jean 
Oliver, recognizes her and helps expose her. But be- 
cause he loves her, he also saves her from arrest, proves 
her innocent of Mrs. Ramsay's charge and asks her to 
marry him. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 441 

" THE OUIJA BOARD " 

A play of the Seen and the Unseen in Three Acts by 

Crane Wilbur. Produced by A. H. Woods at 

the Bijou Theater, New York, 

March 29, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Jules George Dannenborg 

Richard Annixter Stewart E. Wilson 

Winifred Annixter Regina Wallace 

Kitty Kemp Ruth Hammond 

Barney McCare Crane Wilbur 

Norman Kemp George Gaul 

Henry Annixter William Ingersoll 

Rupe Gurney Edward Ellis 

Gabriel Mogador Howard Lang 

Bartlett John Wray 

Act I. — Library in Henry Annixter's House. Act 
II. — A Room in Gabriel Mogador's House. Act III. 
— Same as Act I. 

The action of the play takes place in a large manu- 
facturing town in the upper part of New York State. 
Staged by W. H. Gilmore. 

Gabriel Mogador is a spiritualistic medium who 
specializes in automatic writing. His uncanny skill 
so impresses Henry Annixter, a rich merchant, that 
Annixter relies on the advice he gets from his dead 
wife, via Mogador, implicitly. Because of this advice 
he is urging his daughter Winifred to marry his 
adopted son, Richard, and planning to leave Richard 
a goodly share of his fortune. Seeking a final word 
of confirmation of this arrangement from his wife's 
spirit Annixter visits Mogador. During the writing 
of this message Mogador suddenly loses control of the 
situation. The message he is receiving is a real spirit 
message. It tells Annixter that Mogador is a charla- 
tan ; that he had betrayed and deserted Mrs. Annixter. 
and that he is now scheming to come into possession of 
Annixter's money through the boy, Richard. Annix- 
ter stabs the medium and hurries away. A moment 
later a friendly detective, investigating the case, notices 
the hand of the dead man move. Another message is 
comins: through. It is a warning from the wife that 



442 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Annixter himself will be killed before aid can reach 
him. The detective hurries to the house and discovers 
the merchant has been shot through the heart while 
listening to a phonograph. Richard has attached an 
automatic revolver to the operating mechanism of the 
machine. The love story is carried by Winifred 
Annixter and Norman Kemp, who assists the detective. 



" MRS. JIMMIE THOMPSON " 

A comedy by Norman S. Rose and Edith Ellis in three 

acts. Produced by Joseph Klaw at the Princess 

Theatre, New York, March 29, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Dorothy Delmar Minna Phillips 

Julia Sara Enright 

Louise Clark Peggy Boland 

Edgar Blodgett Warren W. Krech 

Richard Ford Richard Taber 

Eleanor Warren Gladys Hurlbut 

Philip Bennett George L. Spaulding 

Remington Gilinan Gordon Jolinstone 

Katherine Summer Anita Rothe 

Mrs. Atwatier Gertrude Perry 

James Thompson Thomas A. Rolfe 

Rev. William Woolley John Clements 

Acts I and II. — Parlor at Mrs. Delmar's Board- 
ing House. Act III. — Eleanor's Room. Scene 2 — 
The Parlor. Time — The Present. 

Eleanor Warren, discouraged with stenography, but 
hopeful of achieving matrimony, fails to attract men. 
One man in particular. She is advised by a wise 
little manicurist living in the same boardmg house with 
her that young men are nowadays chiefly interested in 
married women, widows or divorcees. She thereupon 
conceives the idea of leaving the boarding house for 
two weeks and returning as a married woman, whose 
husband has been suddenly called to South America. 
The scheme works, and Eleanor soon is carrying on a 
violet flirtation with her favorite youth. There are 
complications, however, when she discovers the name 
she has selected, " Mrs. Jimmie Thompson," really be- 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 443 

longs to another woman in the same boarding house 
who has concealed her secret marriage. When the 
real J\Ir. Jimmie Thompson arrives there is a farcial 
riot. Explanations made and engagements consum- 
mated. 



" FLORADORA " 

A musical play in two acts, book by Owen Hall, lyrics 

by E. Boyd Jones and Paul Rubens, music by 

Leslie Stuart. Produced by J. J. Shubert at 

the Century Theatre, New York, April 

5, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Alarquita Marie \Vells 

Paquita Perle Germonde 

Leandro Nace Bonville 

Frank Abercocd Walter Woolf 

Pym Minor McLain 

Langdale George Ellison 

Symes Lucius Metz 

Allen Lewis Christy 

Scott Allen C. Jenkins 

Grogan William Lillite 

Anthony Tweedlepunch George Hassell 

Cyrus Gilfain John T. Murray 

Lady Hollyrood Christie MacDonald 

Angela Gilfain Margot Kelly 

Captain Arthur Donegal Harry Fender 

Claire Dama Sykes 

Bernice Dorothy Leeds 

Mabel Fay Evelyn 

Lucille Beatrice Svvanson 

Alice Marcella Swanson 

Daisy Muriel Lodge 

Dolores Eleanor Painter 

Juanita Isabelle Rodriguez 

Valeda Muriel de Forest 

Act I.— The Island of Floradora. Act II.— The 
Garden at Abercoed Castle. Scene 2 — The Ball Room 
at Abercoed Castle. Staged by Lewis Morton. 



444 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 



"ED WYNN CARNIVAL" 

A two-act entertainment. Dialogue and songs by Ed 

Wynn. Presented under the business direction 

of B. C. Whitney at the New Amsterdam 

Theatre, New York, April 5, 1920. 

Principals engaged — 

Ted Roberts Ed. Wynn 

Frank Ridge The Meyakos 

Richie Ling Lillian Wood 

Lillian Durkin Fay West 

Herbert Russell Lillian Fitzgerald 

Henry Regal Marion Davies 

Simeon Moore Earl Benham 

" THREE SHOWERS " 

A comedy with music, book by William Gary Duncan, 
lyrics and music by Creamer & Layton. Pro- 
duced by Mr. and Mrs. Coburn at the Harris 
Theatre, New York, Apr. 5, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Col. John White Walter Wilson 

Anna Mobberly Vera Rose 

Roberta Lee White ("Bob") Anna WheatOQ 

Ray White Edna Morn 

Willie Mobberly Andrew J. Lawlor, Jr. 

Peter Fitzhugh Paul Frawley 

Hudson Catling William Winter Jefferson 

'Rastus Redmond Reynolds (" Red ").. Lynn Starling 

Riley Wilbur Cox 

Bruce Payne Norman Jefferson 

" Worthless " Akers Wilbur Cox 

Act I. — " Longvicw," Col. White's Farm. Act 
II. — Interior of Barn. Somewhere in Virginia. 

" LASSIE " 

A musical comedy in three acts, book and lyrics by 

Catherine Chi.sholm Gushing, music by Hugo 

Felix. Produced by Lassie, Inc. at the Nora 

Bayes Theatre, New York, April 6, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Lily Miriam Collins 

-Mrs. McNab Louie Emery 

Winkic Colin O'Moore 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 445 

Sandy Ralph Nairn 

Jean MacGregor Alma Mara 

MacGregor Percival Vivian 

Meg Duncan Molly Pearson 

Kitty MacKay Tessa Kosta 

Lieut. The Hon. David Graham of the Coldstream 

Guards Roland Bottomley 

Philip Grayson Carl Hyson 

Lady Gwendolyn Spencer-Hill Dorothy Dickson 

Lord Inglehart David Glassford 

Mrs. Grayson Ada Sinclair 

Robbins Robert Smythe 

Act I. — Juniper Green, on the Banks of the Waters 
of Leith. Act II. — Lord Inglehart's Town House in 
Berkley Square, London. Act III. — Juniper Green. 
Place — Scotland and London in the 6o's. Directed 
by Edward Royce. 

A musicalized version of " Kitty MacKaye." The 
heroine, having been brought up obscurely by poor 
people in Juniper Green, on the banks of the River 
Leith, is sent for by those who had abandoned her as 
a baby and taken up to London town. I'here she lives 
in luxury and falls in love with the son of the family, 
only to learn that she cannot marry him because he is 
her half brother. Back to Juniper Green and poverty 
she goes, broken hearted, later to learn that she is 
not the girl she was thought to be after all. The 
original baby had died and Kilty had been substituted, 
that her foster parents could go on collecting the allow- 
ance for her care. Thus she is able to marry her true 
love after all. 

" THE BONEHEAD " 

A satirical comedy in three acts by Frederic Arnold 

Kummer. Produced by Claude Beerbohn at 

the Fulton Theatre, New York, 

April 12, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Jean Brent Vivienne Osborne 

Robert Campbell Edwin Nicander 

James Griggs Leonard Doyle 

Betty Campbell Myrtle Tannehill 

Horace Frothingham Claude Beerbohm 

Clarence Potts William St. James 

Mrs. Violet Bacon-Boyle Nita Naldi 

Mrs. St. Claire Beatrice Moreland 



446 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Ethelbert St. Claire John Daly Murphy 

Serge Levinsky Paton Gibbs 

Paul Popemoff David M. Callis 

Acts I., II. and III. — The Studio Room of the 
Campbells' Apartment in Greenwich Village, New 
York City. Time — The Present. Staged by Frank 
McCormack. 

Robert Campbell's wife has heard the call of the 
" free " Greenwich Village life. She surrounds her- 
self with a collection of village freaks. To cure her 
Robert pretends he, too, has received the great mes- 
sage. He becomes more freakish than any of them, 
and is particularly enthusiastic about acquiring a soul 
mate. Mrs. Campbell soon decides she had rather go 
back to Flatbush and the simple, normal life of the 
Brooklyn suburbs. 

" MARTINQUE " 

A romance in three acts by Laurence Eyre. Produced 

by Walter Hast at the Eltinge Theatre, New 

York, April 26, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Dede Elsa Roem 

Youte Liana Byron 

Ye Charles ' Kraus 

Rufz Quembo \rthur Hohl 

Marie-Clemence De Chauvalons Helen Blair 

Madame De Chauvalons Ida Waterman 

Pere Benedict Emmett Corrigan 

Stephane Seguineau Vincent Coleman 

Paul \'auclin Flerning Ward 

Zabette De Chauvalons Josephine Victor 

Nini Mary Laura Moore 

Azaline Maidel Turner 

Maximilien Bczart Frank Dawson 

The Pastry Seller Stewart Evans 

Cendrine Juliette Crosby 

Yzore . . .Margaret Bird 

Pierre Girott c Donald Coll 

Fabien Laridcs Edwin Mensley 

Loulouze Marion Dyer 

Diogenes Roy Hunt 

Dr. Arnauld Robert Hey worth 

Sister of Mercy Mercides Lee 

Act I. — Time — 184^. Gateway of the de Chauva- 
lons' Residence in St. Pierre. Two Weeks Elapse. 
Act II. — Zabettc's House in the Quarter. Six 
Weeks Elapse. Act III. — The Court-yard of Stephane 
Seguineau's House on the Outskirts of St. Pierre. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 447 

Zabette de Chauvalons, reared in a French convent, 
has been kept in ignorance of the facts of her birth. 
Following the death of her mother, the beautiful La 
Belle Carolie, Zabette pawns her jewels and goes in 
search of her father, wlio had but recently returned 
to his ancestral home in the French West Indies. Ar- 
rived in Martinique Zabette learns that her father also 
is dead, and that she has no legitimate standing in the 
De Chauvalons household. She is advised to find a 
place in the " quarter," with others of her class. She 
does so, but not until after she has met and charmed 
the handsome Stephanne Seguineau, who is being 
forced to marry the proud Alarie de Chauvalons, her 
half sister, that there may be an heir for the De Chau- 
valons lands. The night of his wedding Stephanne 
runs away from Marie to be with Zabette, and some 
weeks later, though he dies as a result of wounds in- 
flicted by a jealous rival, he dies content because Za- 
bette is able to assure him the De Chauvalons lands 
will have an heir, while she, its mother, will seek con- 
solation at the nearby convent. 

•' THE GIRL FROM HOME " 

A musicalized version of Richard Harding Davis farce, 

" The Dictator ; " hbretto and lyrics by Frank 

Craven ; music by Silvio Hein. Produced by 

Charles B. Dillingham at the Globe 

theater, New York, May 3, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Brook Travers, alias " Steve Hill " Frank Craven 

Simpson, alias "Jim Dodd " Jed Prouty 

Charles Hyne Russell Mack 

Col. John T. Bowie John Parks 

Duffy • • Charles Mitchell 

General Santos Campos William Burress 

Rev. Arthur Bostick Walter Coupe 

Lieut. Victor Sam Burbank 

Dr. Vasquez George E. Mack 

Jose Dravo John Hendricks 

Senor Hoakumo Jose Vallhonrat 

Lucy Sheridan Gladys Caldwell 



448 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Merci Hope Marion Sunshine 

Senora Juanita Arguilla . Flora Zabelle 

Sister Agnes Virginia Shelby 

Sister Eleanor Eleanor Masters 

Sister May Sophie Brenner 

Sister Marie Marie Sewell 

Sister Isabclle .Edna Fenton 

Sister Helen Kathryn Yates 

Sister Mabel Janet Megrew 

Sister Clara Clara Carroll 

Act I. — Deck of the Steamship Bolivar, Harbor 
of Porto Banos. Republic of San Manana, Central 
America. Act II. — The Exterior of the Hotel Del 
Prado, and Consulate of the United States at Porto 
Bancs. Act III. — ■ The Interior of the Consulate. 
Staged by R. H. Burnside. 

Brook Travers, running away to South America to 
escape arrest after he thinks he will be held for an 
assault upon a taxi-cab driver, plunges into a revolu- 
tion in the fictitious country of San Manana. Posing 
as the American consul, he becomes more and more in- 
volved until the only thing that saves him is a wireless 
call for help that reaches an American warship cruising 
in the vicinity. His efforts to convince Lucy Sheri- 
dan, an attractive ingenue he met on the boat, that he 
is worthy her abiding trust, in spite of appearances, 
provides the romance. 

" HONEY GIRL" 

A musicalized version of Henry Blossom's comedy 

" Checkers." Book by Edward Clark, lyrics by 

Neville Fleeson, music by Albert von Tilzer. 

Produced by Sam H. Harris at the Cohan 

and Harris theater. New York, 

May 3, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Judge Martin Peter Lang 

Cynthia Rene Riano 

Honora (Honey) Parker Edna Bates 

Lucy Martin Louise Meyers 

David (Checkers) Graham Lynne Overman 

Orville r.rvan Robert Armstrong 

Timothy (tip) Smiley George McKay 

G. W. Parker Dodson Mitchell 

Sol Frankenstein William Mortimer 

Carmencita Sidonie Espero 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 449 

Jim Hayward Edmund Elton 

Charles Hawkins Mercer Templeton 

Marion Rose Cissie Sewell 

Thomas Lyons Charlie Yorkshire 

Esther Blake Ottie Ardine 

CHARACTERS IN BLUE-BIRD NUMBER 

Good Fairy Sidonie Espero 

Berylune Lucretia Craig 

Fire Harriet Gustin 

Water Grace Elliott 

Light Catherine Wilson 

Night Helen Trainer 

(Bluebird) Cissie Sewell 

Tyltil Mercer Templeton 

Act I. — iParkerstown, La. Act II. — At New 
Orleans, La. Act III. — G. W. Parker's Home. 
Staged by Bert French and Sam Forrest. 

David ( " Checkers " ) Graham, trying to reform 
after years spent in following the races, drifts into 
the small Louisiana village of Parkerstown, and falls 
in love with Honora (Honey) Parker, the daughter of 
the village banker. The girl's father insists David 
can not have his daughter until he can produce $25,000 
cash. The boy leaves Parkerstown in search of the 
$25,000, after promising " Honey " that whatev-er else 
he does he will not return to racing. A year later 
he is still drifting and out of funds. " Honey " meets 
him at the races and suspects the worst, when Dave, 
in a last desperate effort to gather the $25,000, breaks 
his promise, pledges " Honey's " ring with a book- 
maker, and bets $1,000 on a horse named " Honey 
Girl" at 25 to i. He wins the money, returns to 
Parkerstown in time to save his future father-in-law's 
bank from a threatened run and wins the girl. 

" NOT SO LONG AGO " 

A romantic comedy in three acts by Arthur Richman. 

Produced by Lee and J. J. Shubert at the Booth 

theater, New York, May 4, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

A Lamplighter John Gray 

Sylvia Margaret Mosier 

Mary Leatta Miller 



450 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Elsie Dover Eva Le Gallienne 

Sam Robinson Thomas Mitchell 

Michael Dover George H. Trader 

Mrs. Ballard Esther Lyon 

Ursula Ballard Beth Martin 

Agnes MoUie Adams 

Rosamond Gill Mary Kennedy 

Billy Ballard Sidney Blackmer 

Rupert Hancock Gilbert Douglas 

Prologue — A Street in New York. Act I. — The 
Ballards'. Act II.— The Dovers'. Act III.— The 
Ballards'. Epilogue — A Street in New York. Time 
— The Early '70's. Staged by Edward Eisner. 

A romance of the '70s in which Elsie Dover, the 
romantic daughter of a visionary inventor, " pretends " 
that she is having a desperate love affair with " Billy " 
Ballard, the aristocratic son of the house in which she 
is employed as a seamstress. She tells all the neighbor 
girls about it. Word reaches her father through one 
of Elsie's jealous beaux of her " affair " with 
" Billy ; " and the old gentleman takes steps to warn 
young "Billy " off. Thus is Elsie's game of pretense 
exposed, but not until " Billy " has decided that she 
is altogether a charming person and makes love to her 
in earnest. Thus her dream comes true in the last 
act. 

" BETTY BE GOOD " 

A musical farce in three acts adapted from a French 
vaudeville by Scribe. Book and lyrics by Harry 
B. Smilh ; music by Hugo Reisenfeld. Pro- 
duced by Stewart and Morrison at the 
Casino Theater, New York, May 
4, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

First Bridesmaid Grace Ilallam 

First Guest Gladys Elliott 

Second Guest Louise Ilersey 

Page Frances Grant 

Soniers Short Raymond Oswald 

Philip Fuller Worthington Romaine 

Maggie Jcannette Wilson 

Bernice Thy Daly 

Col. Ichabod Starkweather Eddie Garvie 

Mrs. Starkweather Josic Intropodi 

Tom Price Irving Bcebee 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 451 

Amy Starkweather Georgia Hewitt 

Sam Kirby Frank Crumit 

Betty Lee Josephine Whittell 

Marion Love V'ivienne Oakland 

Madame O'Toole Lucille Manion 

Guy Raymond Oswald 

Percy Peter Mott 

Act I.— Exterior Bon Ton Hotel, Lenox, Mass. Act 
II. — Living Room of Betty's Apartment, New York 
City. Act III. — Exterior Betty's Country Home, 
Kew Gardens, Long Island. Staged by David Ben- 
nett. 

Betty Lee, a flirtatious actress, discovers an old 
sweetheart in Lenox, Mass., the day of his wedding. 
He seeks to keep her from knowing he is to be mar- 
ried, by pretending to be only the best man. The de- 
ception would have worked very well if the real best 
man had not rented the actress's New York apart- 
ment for the use of the bride and groom. There all 
parties meet, seek and dodge each other for two more 
acts. 

"OH, HENRY" 

A farce comedy in three acts by Bide Dudley. Pro- 
duced by Theodore C. Deitrich at the Fulton 
Theater, New York, IMay 5, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

John Carson Edwin Walter 

Mrs. Carson Jane Wheatley 

Jennie Carson Clay Carroll 

Harley West Roland Hogue 

Aunt Annabelle Carson Eva Condon 

The Stranger Spencer Charters 

Henry Boswell Dallas \V elford 

Lizzie O'Malley Florence Carrette 

Acts I, II and III. — ■ The Living-Room of the Carson 
Summer House at Long Beach. Staged by Tom Wise. 

A stranger, unmistakably under the influence of 
liquor, the eighteenth amendment notwithstanding, 
drifts into a Long Beach house and insists upon re- 
maining. The new butler suspects he may be the 
master he has never seen and attempts to hide him. 
The family, fearful lest the inebriated one be dis- 



452 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

covered by a prohibitionist aunt, aids in keeping the 
stranger out of sight until deception is no longer of any 
use. Then it transpires that the stranger is the newly 
acquired husband of the prohibitionist aunt, and is 
indulging his last spree. 

" FOOTLOOSE " 

A drama in three acts by Zoe Akins, adapted from 

" For-get-me-not," by Herman Merivale and F. 

C. Grove. Produced by George C. Tyler at 

the Greenwich Village Theater, New 

York, May lo, 1919. 

Cast of characters — 

Prince Malleotti Robert Casadesus 

Alice Verney Elizabeth Risdon 

Rose de Brissac Tallulah Bankhead 

Pietro John Webster 

Barrato O. P. Heggie 

Sir Horace Welby Norman Trevor 

Stephanie, Marquis de Mohrivart. ... .Emily Stevens 

Lady Phyllis Nelson Lillian Brennard 

Act I. — The Late Afternoon of a Day in Early 
Spring:. Act IL — The Next Afternoon. Act IIL — 
After Dinner, That Evening. The Action of the Play 
Occurs in Mrs. Verney's .Apartment in a Palazzo in 
Rome. Staged by O. P. Heggie. 

Stephanie, Marquise de Mohrivart, socially de- 
classee, determined to enjoy six weeks of respectability, 
forces Alice Verney, head of an exclusive English 
family, to accept her as a guest. Her hold upon the 
Verneys is gained through her threat to prove that her 
son was under age when he married Alice's sister, 
Rose. The marquise's conspiracy is highly success- 
ful until there arises in her path one Barrato, a Cor- 
sican whom she had on one occasion ordered thrown 
out of her husband's gambling parlor in Paris. The 
presence of Barrato so frightens Stephanie she is glad 
to scamper back to London and leave the Verneys in 
peace. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 453 

" RESPECT FOR RICHES " 

A comedy in four acts by William Devereaux. Pro- 
duced at the Harris Theater, New York, 
May II, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Sir Robert Chesleigh William Devereux 

Sir Guy Brampton George Giddena 

Louis Hirsch Fred Tiden 

John Ricker Hamilton Christy 

Lady Brampton Julia Stuart 

Mrs. Kenyon Alexandra Carlisle 

Mrs. Warrington .Lucile Watson 

Clara Warrington Muriel Martin Harvey 

Muriel Florence Malone 

Patridge Nancy Lewis Waller 

Jules Louis La Bey 

Henry Frank Bixby 

Acts I and II. — Room in Sir Guy Brampton's 
Country Home on the Thames. Act III. — Room in 
Crozier Inn Act IV. — Same as Act I. Morning. 
Time — The Present 

Mrs. Kenyon, supposedly a wealthy widow, knows 
that she is facing bankruptcy, and that the moment her 
real financial condition is made public the friends who 
have fawned upon her out of respect for her money 
will desert her. In order to help a brother who is in 
trouble, it is necessary that she should maintain her 
position until she can charm a rich youth into marriage. 
Her conspiracy is discovered by a philosophical 
bachelor who long has loved her, and though he is 
partly responsible for the exposure of her schemes he 
makes honorable and sentimental amends by marrying 
her himself, 

"ALL SOUL'S EVE" 

A domestic drama in. three acts by Anne Crawford 

Flexner. Produced by John D. Williams at the 

Maxine Elliott's Theater, New York, May 

12, 1920. 

Cast of characters — 

Alison Heath Lola Fisher 

Peter Leland Chandler 

Katy Eleanor Hutchinson 



454 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Oliva Larkin Anne Faystone 

Jim Heath Cyril Keightley 

Dr. Sandy McAlister Clifford Detnpsey 

Edward Knox, Jr Walter Kingsford 

Norah Lola Fisher 

Tom Larkin John Thorn 

Rua Manabozho 

Act I. — Jim Heath's Study. Act II. — The Nursery. 
All Souls' Eve. Two Years Later. Scene 2 — Jim 
Heath's Study. Scene 3 — The Nursery. Act III. 
— The Lanai of Jim's Home on Mt. Tantalus Outside 
Honolulu. Place — Any Little Suburban Home. 
Time — Always. Staged Under the Direction of 
Homer Saint-Gaudens. 

Alison Heath, devoted to her husband and their in- 
fant son, is killed suddenly in an automobile accident. 
Norah, an Irish girl but recently landed in America, 
having wandered into the Heath home the day before 
the accident, is retained as the child's nurse. A year 
later, on All Soul's Eve, when, according to an Irish 
superstition, the souls of dead mothers return to the 
earth to see if their children are being well cared for, 
the soul of Alison Heath returns to find her baby 
dangerously ill with the croup and her husband a 
spiritless, drink-befuddled failure. She tries to get a 
spirit message across to them, but only the child 
recognizes her. This recognition, however, makes the 
"miracle" possible; the soul of the mother is then 
permitted to inhabit the body of Norah, the nurse, and 
remain on earth. Two years later the neighbors have 
remarked Norah's likeness to the dead Mrs. Heath, 
but the reformed husband does not recognize it until 
the Irish girl threatens to leave. Then he asks her to 
stay on as his wife. 

"HIS CHINESE WIFE" 

A domestic drama in three acts by Forrest Halsey and 

Clara Beranger. Produced at the Belmont 

Theater, New York, May 17, 1920 

Cast of characters — 

Mrs. Alaide Barring Frances Neilson 

Mrs. Corinne Sturgis Leah Winslow 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 455 

Elise Vernon Brown 

Cecelia Sturgis Doris Fellows 

Livingston Sturgis Ethel Wright 

Rodney Sturgis. Forrest Winant 

Mrs. Rodney Sturgis (Tea Flower) . .Madeline Delmar 

Wan Ti Ti Laura Clairon 

Mrs. Maria Victoria Sturgis Mabel Burt 

Mrs. Caroline Stockton Jane Meredith 

Inspector Immigration Bureau George L. Brown 

Jane Frederica Going 

Act I. — At the Old Sturgis Home, on Sturgis 
Street. Act IL — -At the New House on Lorilard 
Boulevard. Act III. — Same as Act II. Small City 
in New Jersey. Staged by Hal Briggs and Jack 
White. 

Rodney Sturgis, member of an old and proud New 
Jersey family, is sent to the far east in the hope he 
will mend his dissipated ways. In China he is re- 
formed by a princess who finds him sleeping by the 
roadside. He marries the princess and brings her to 
America, where the Sturgises not only refuse to re- 
ceive her, but seek to force Rodney to divorce her. 
Their conspiracy, in which a former sweetheart of 
Rodney's takes the lead, is threatened with success, 
until the young man suddenly awakes and, with the 
aid of his most loyal grandmother, saves his Chinese 
wife from committing hari kari and decides to return 
with her to China, where there is more happiness and 
less Christianity. 



"AN INNOCENT IDEA" 

A farce in three acts by Martin Brown. Produced by 

Charles Emerson Cook at the Fulton Theater, 

New York, May 25, 1919 

Cast of characters — 

Henry Bird Robert Emmett Keane 

Ernest Geer Russell Fillmore 

Philomena Rose Miriam Doyle 

Myrtilla Marne Helen Barnes 

Lily Dell Antoinette Walker 

Bonnie Wing Claire Whitney 

Mrs. Lord Edna Archer Crawford 



456 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Mrs. Case Florence Gerald 

Fannie Fish Rose Mintz 

Chambermaid Amy Ongley 

Mrs. Coyle Sadie Duff 

Mrs. Lee Elizabeth Alexander 

Mrs. Turk Renee Johnson 

Henderson Wing Loral Lake 

Hector Home Harold Howard 

Waiter Arthur Villars 

Bell Boy Teddy Hart 

Act I. — The Parlor of Ernest Geer's Suite in the 
Battle Rapids Hotel. Act II. — Same as Act I. 
Act III. — The Corridor Outside of Ernest's Door. 
Staged by Max Figman. 

Henry Bird, known as the wickedest man in Michi- 
gan, seeks to prove to certain delegates to the Bed 
trust convention, that reports of his wild ways are 
greatly exaggerated. He moves out of his own hotel 
apartment, where anything might happen, and takes 
lodgings with a highly respectable friend across the 
way. The experiences he has there, trying to escape 
the wild folk of farce, are even more incriminating 
than any he had had at home. But the soubrette be- 
lieves him when he promises her to reform. 



" SCANDALS OF 1920 " 

A revue in two acts and sixteen scenes, book by Andy 
Rice and George White, music by George Gersh- 
win, lyrics by Arthur Jackson. Produced 
by George White at the Globe Theater, 
New York, June 7, 1920 

Principals engaged — 

Ann Tennington Lou Iloltz 

La Sylphe Lester Allen 

Frances Arms George Bickel 

Ethel Delmar Jack Rose 

Rutli Savoy George Rockwell 

Myra CuUen Lloyd Garrett 

Peggy Dolan James Miller 

Christine Welford Lester O'Keefe 

Darry Welford Al Fox 

Sascha Beaumont Yerkes Happy Six 

James Steiger 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 457 

" FALL AND RISE OF SUSAN LENOX " 

A melodramatic " pilgrimage " in three acts and ten 

scenes, by George V. Hobart. Produced at 

the 44th Street Theater, New York by 

Lee and J. J. Shubert, June 9, 1919 

Cast of characters — 

George Warham Walter Walker 

Mrs. Warham Anne Sutherland 

Ruth Warham Charline Thomas 

Betty Marie \'ernon 

Maud Jane Williams 

Belle Gladys Dale 

Lula Justine Braun 

Mary Eleanor Pendelton 

Susan Lenox Alma Tell 

Sam Wright Harry Southard 

Thomas Wright Albert Sackett 

Kesiah Ferguson Grace Hampton 

Jeb Ferguson Robert T. Haines 

Robert Burlingham Philip Lord 

Gregory Tempest John W. Cowell 

Jess Henry Lyons 

Elbert Eshwell Douglas Cosgrove 

Violet Anstruther Georginna Such 

Mabel Connomora Anna Straton 

Samuel Greenbrier Louis Mountjoy 

Roderick Spencer Perce Benton 

Ruf us Small Adin Wilson 

Gladys Beatrice Noyes 

Victoria Clara Burton 

Etta Brashear Marie Jepp 

Marie Irene Matthews 

Elhot Ray James Wolf 

" Fish Hawk " Morris Paul Stewart 

Barney John Abbot 

Cora Isabel Grey 

Mr. Gideon Edward Talbot 

A Maid M ilicent Sharpe 

Act I. — Geo. Warham's Home, Sutherland. Tnd. 
Act II. — Jeb Ferguson's Farm. Act III. — A "Show 
Boat " on the Ohio River; at the Entrance to a 
Park in Cincinnati; in Mrs. Marshall's Boarding 
House; in the Park; the Display Room in Spencer's 
Department Store. Act IV. — Drawing Room in 
Roderick Spencer's Home. 

Susan Lenox, a " child of sin " brought up by the 
George Warhams, trusts Sam Wright and is deceived. 
Her foster father, thinking to save her honor, forces 
her to marry Jeb Ferguson, a hard-drinking farmer. 
Susan runs away, joins a theatrical troupe on a Missis- 



458 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

sippi river " show boat," later makes her way to Cin- 
cinnati, where she suffers poverty until her true worth 
is recognized by Roderick Spencer, the rich proprietor 
of a department store. Marrying Roderick she is in a 
position to tell the Warhams, and the world, to go 
hang. 



WHERE AND WHEN THEY WERE BORN 

Adams, Maude Salt Lake City, Utah. . 1872 

Adelaide, Le Petite Cohoes, N. Y 1890 

Allen, Viola Alabama 1869 

Anglin, Margaret Ottawa, Canada 1876 

Arbuckle, Maclyn Texas 1867 

Arliss, George London, England 1868 

Atwell, Roy Syracuse, N. Y 1880 

Arthur, JuHa Hamilton, Ont 1869 

Bainter, Fay Los Angeles, Calif. . . . 1893 

Bacon, Frank California 1865 

Barrymore, John Philadelphia, Pa 1883 

Barrymore, Ethel Philadelphia, Pa 1880 

Barrymore, Lionel London, England 1878 

Bates, Blanche Portland, Ore 1873 

Barbee, Richard 

Beban, George San Francisco, Calif. . . 1873 

Bayes, Nora Milwaukee, Wis 1880 

Belasco, David San Francisco, Calif. . . 1862 

Beecher, Janet Chicago, 111 1884 

Bennett, Richard Cass County, Ind 1872 

Bennett, Wilda Asbury Park, N. J 1899 

Bernard, Sam Birmingham, England. . 1863 

Binney, Constance Philadelphia, Pa 

Bingham, Amelia Hickville, Ohio 1869 

Blinn, Holbrook San Francisco, Calif. . . 1872 

Brady, William A San Francisco, Calif. . . 1865 

Brady, Alice New York 1896 

Brian, Donald St. John's Newfound- 
land 1880 

Brooks, Virginia Fox. . . New York 1893 

Burke, Billie Washington 1886 

459 



46o THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Cantor, Eddie New York 

Carlisle, Alexandra Yorkshire, England . . 

Carle, Richard Somerville, Mass. . . . 1871 

Cawthorn, Joseph New York 1868 

Claire, Ina Washington, D. C 1897 

Clarke, Marguerite Cincinnati 188^ 

Chatterton, Ruth New York City 1893 

Coghlan, Rose Petersboro, England . . 1850 

Cohan, George M Providence, R. 1 1878 

Collier, Constance Windsor, England .... 1882 

Collier, William New York City 1866 

Collinge, Patricia Dublin, Ireland 1894 

Conroy, Frank London, England .... 

Corthell, Herbert Boston, Mass 1875 

Courtenay, William Worcester, Mass 1875 

Courtleigh, William Guelph, Ont 1867 

Cowl, Jane Boston, Mass 1890 

Crane, William H Leicester, Mass 1845 

Crothers, Rachel Bloomington, 111 

Crosman, Henrietta Wheeling, W. Va 1865 

Daly, Arnold New York 1875 

Dawn, Hazel Ogden, Utah 1891 

Day, Edith •. .Minneapolis, Minn 1899 

De Angelis, Jefferson. . . . San Francisco 1859 

Dean, Julia St. Paul, ATinn 1880 

De Belleville, Frederic. . Belgium 1857 

De Cordaba New York 1881 

Dickson, Dorothy Chicago, 111 

Dinehart, Alan Missoula, Mont 1889 

Ditriclistein, Leo Temesbar, Hungary . . 1865 

Dixey, Henry E Boston, Mass 1859 

Dodson, John E London 1857 

Donnelly, Dorothy Agnes. New York 1880 

Dressier, Marie Canada 1869 

Drew, Louise New York 1884 

Drew, John Philadelphia, Pa 1853 

Dunn, Emma England 1875 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 461 

Eagels, Jeanne Kansas City 1892 

Edeson, Robert Baltimore, Md 1868 

Eddinger, Wallace New York 1883 

Elliott, Maxine Rockland, Me 1871 

Eltinge, Julian Boston, Mass 1883 

Emerson, John Sandusky, 1874 

Errol, Leon Sidney, Australia 

Ewell, Lois Memphis, Tennessee . . 1885 

Fairbanks, Douglas Denver, Colo 1883 

Farnum, Dustin Hampton Beach, N. H.. 1875 

Farrar, Geraldine Melrose, Mass 1883 

Faversham, William England 1868 

Ferguson, Elsie New York 1885 

Fields, Lewis New York 1867 

Fisher, Lola Chicago, 111 1892 

Fiske, Minnie Maddern.New Orleans 1867 

Frohman, Daniel Sandusky, Ohio 1850 

Fulton, Maude St. Louis, Mo 1883 

George, Grace New York City 1880 

Gillette, WilHam Hartford, Conn 1856 

Gillmore, Margola England 1901 

Glaser, Lulu Alleghany, Pa 1874 

Glendinning, Ernest Ulverston, Eng 1884 

Hackett, James K Canada 1869 

Haines, Robert T Muncie, Ind 1870 

Hale, Louise Closser. . . . Chicago, 111 1872 

Hampden, Walter Brooklyn, N. Y 1879 

Hajos, Mitzi Budapest, Hungary . . . 1891 

Howland, Jobyna Denver, Colo 

Hayes, Helen Washington 1902 

Hedman, Martha Sweden 

Heming, Viola Leeds, England 

Herbert, Victor Dublin, Ireland 1859 

Heme, Chrystal Boston, Mass 1883 

Holmes, Taylor Newark, N. J 1872 

Hopper DeWolf New York 1858 

Hilliard, Robert S New York i860 



462 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Hull, Henry Louisville, Ky 1893 

Hitchcock, Raymond. . . .Auburn, N. Y 1870 

Hodge, William Albion, N. Y 1874 

Hopper, Edna Wallace. . San Francisco 1874 

Huban, Eileen Loughrea, Ireland .... 1895 

Illington, Margaret Bloomington, 111 188 1 

Irving, Isabel Bridgeport, Conn 1870 

Irwin, May Toronto, Canada 1862 

Janis, Elsie Delaware, 1889 

Jolson, Al Washington, D. C 1883 

Kalich, Bertha Lemberg, Poland 

Kelly, Margot Liverpool 1895 

Kolker, Henry Berlin, Germany 1874 

Keane, Doris Michigan 1885 

Kosta, Tessa Chicago 1895 

Lackaye, Wilton Virginia 1862 

Lawrence, Margaret Trenton, N. J 1894 

LeGallienne, Eva London, England 

Lewis, Ada New York 1871 

Mack, Andrew Boston, Mass 1863 

MacKellar, Helen Canada 

Mann, Louis New York City 1865 

Mantell, Robert B Ayrshire, Scotland 1854 

Marinoff , Fania Russia 

Marlowe, Julia Caldbeck, England .... 1865 

Mclntyre, Frank Ann Arbor, Mich. . . . 1879 

McRae, Bruce London, England 1864 

Miller, Henry London .... 1859 

Miller, Marilynn Dayton, Ohio 1900 

Moores, Clara Omaha, Nebr 1897 

Nazimova, Mme Yalta, Crimea, Russia. 1879 

Olcott, Chauncey Providence, R. 1 1862 

O'Neill, Nance Oakland. Calif 1875 

O'Ramey, Georgia Mansfield, 1886 

Painter, Eleanor Iowa 1890 

Pennington, Ann Philadelphia. Pa 1898 

Post, Guy Bates Seattle, Wash 1875 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 463 

Rambeau, Marjorie San Francisco, Calif.. . . 1884 

Richman, Charles Chicago, 111 1870 

Reed, Florence Philadelphia, Pa 1883 

Ring, Blanche Boston, Mass 1876 

Ricard, Amy Boston, Mass 1880 

Roberts, Theodore San Francisco, Calif. . . 1861 

Robson, May Australia 1868 

Russell, Annie Liverpool 1864 

Ross, Thomas W Boston, Mass 1875 

Russell, Lillian Clinton, Iowa i860 

Sanderson, Julia Springfield, Mass 1887 

Schefif, Fritzi Vienna 1879 

Scott, Cyril Ireland 1866 

Selwyn, Edgar Cincinnati, 1875 

Shannon, Effie Cambridge, Mass 1867 

Stahl, Rose Montreal, Canada 1872 

Skinner, Otis Cambridgeport, Mass. . . 1857 

Starr, Frances Oneonta, N. Y 1886 

Sothern, Edward H New Orleans, La 1864 

Stone, Fred Wellington, Kan 1877 

Taliaferro, Mabel New York 1887 

Taliaferro, Edith New York 1892 

Taylor, Laurette New York 1884 

Tell, Alma New York 1892 

Tell, Olive New York 1894 

Thomas, Augustus St. Louis, Mo 1859 

Thomas, John Charles . . . Baltimore, Md 1887 

Tobin, Genevieve New York 1901 

Tobin, Vivian New York 1903 

Toler, Sidney Warrensburg, Mo 1874 

Truex, Ernest Denver, Colo 1890 

Tynan, Brandon Dublin, Ireland 1879 

Ulric, Lenore New Ulm, Minn 1897 

Warfield, David San Francisco, Calif. . . 1866 

Valentine, Grace Indianapolis, Ind 1892 

Whiteside, Walker Logansport, Ind 1869 

Wilson, Francis Philadelphia, Pa 1854 



464 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Winant, Forrest New York i< 

Wise, Tom A England 1865 

Wycherley, Margaret. . . .England 1883 

Wood, Peggy Philadelphia, Pa 1893 

Wyndham, Olive Chicago, 111 1886 

Ziegf eld, Florence, Jr. . . . Chicago, 111 1867 



PROMINENT STAGE PEOPLE WHO HAVE 
DIED 

(June 15, 1919-June IS, 1920) 

George Primrose, minstrel, 68. Died San Diego, Gal., 
July 23, 1919. 

Oscar Hammerstein, impresario, 67. Born Berlin, 
Germany; died New York, Aug. i, 1919. 

R. Leoncavallo, composer, 64. Died Rome, Italy, 
Aug. 9, 1919. 

Harry A. Lee, old-time manager, 76. Born San Fran- 
cisco ; died Atlantic City, N. J., Aug. 2, 1919. 

Adalina Patti, prima donna, "jj. Died Craig-y-nos, 
Wales, Sept. 27, 1919. 

A. T. Ringling, circus man, 57. Died Oak Ridge, 
N. J., Oct. 21. 

H. B. Irving, eldest son the late Sir Henry Irving, 50. 
Died London, Oct. 17, 1919. 

Effie Ellsler, actress, 97. Played in support of Char- 
lotte Cushman, Edwin Forrest and Clara Morris. 
Died Nutley, N. J., Dec. 12, 1919. 

Ethan M. Robinson, vaudeville manager, 47. Died 
New York, Dec. 3, 19 19. 

Cleofonte Campanini, impresario, 60. Director Chi- 
cago Opera Company. Bom Parma, Italy ; died 
Chicago, 111., Dec. 19, 1919. 

Pauline Hall, comic opera star, 60. Died Yonkers, 
New York, Dec. 29, 1919. 

Frank Pixley, composer, 53. Born Richfield, O. ; 
died San Diego, Cal., Dec. 31, 1919. 

Nat C. Goodwin, actor, 63. Born Boston, Mass. ; died 
New York, Jan. 31, 1920. 
465 



466 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

Shelley Hull, actor, 35. Born Louisville, Ky. ; died 

New York, Jan. 14, 1920. 
Ermeti Novelli, Italian tragedian, 69. Died Rome, 

Italy, Jan. 30, 1920. 
Reginald De Koven, composer. Born Middletown, 

Conn,; died Chicago, 111., Jan. 16, 1920. 
Hiram (" Hi ") Henry, minstrel, 76. Died New York, 

Jan. 30, 1920. 
Maude Powell, violinist, 51. Died Uniontown, Pa., 

Jan. 8, 1920. 
Deshler Welch, dramatic critic and founder Theater 

Magazine, 65. Died Buffalo, N. Y., Jan. 7, 1920. 
Anson Phelps Pond, playwright, 71. Died New 

York, Jan. 22, 1920. 
Bessie Abbott, prima donna, 42. Died New York. 

Feb. 9, 1920. 
Rudolph Aronson, composer, 62. Died New York, 

Feb. 4, 1920. 
Lew Benedict, minstrel, 80. Born Buffalo, N. Y., 

died New York, Feb. 13, 1920. 
Gaby Deslys, French comedienne, 36. Born Mar- 
seilles, France; died Paris, Feb. 11, 1920. 
Frederick Hallam, comedian, 60. Of the team of 

Hallam and Hart. Born Montreal, Canada ; died 

New York, Feb. 29, 1920. 
Walter N. Lawrence, manager, 62. Died Bronxville, 

N. Y., Feb. 28, 1920. 
Richard Harlow, comedian. Famed as a female im- 
personator in Rice's " Evangeline," " 1492," etc. 

Died New York, Feb. 19, 1920. 
William E. Meehan, comedian, 35. Born New York; 

died New York, March 23, 1920. 
Bonnie Thornton, vaudeville comedienne, 47. Born 

New York; died New York, March 13, 1920. 
Charles H. Yale, manager, 64. Produced " The 

Devil's Auction," etc. Died Rochester, N. Y., 

March 2^, 1920. 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 467 

Sam Sothern, actor, 55. Brother of E. H, Soth- 

em. Bom England ; died Los Angeles, March 21, 

1920. 
Sidney Drew, comedian, 55. Brother of John Drew. 

Died New York, April 9, 1920. 
Imre Kiralfy, producer, 75. Famed as the producer 

of spectacles. Died London, April 27, 1920. 
Marjorie Benton Cooke, writer and monologist, 44. 

Died Manila, P. I., April 26, 1920. 
Lillie E. Wilkinson, comedienne, 79, Gained fame 

as the most successful of the Topsies in " Uncle 

Tom's Cabin." Born England; died Worcester, 

Mass., April 10, 1920. 
George P. Goodale, dramatic critic, "jy. Died Detroit, 

May 7, 1920. 
Frank Carter, comedian, 32. Died in automobile ac- 
cident near Grantville, Md., May 9, 1920. 
David Kessler, Jewish tragedian, 61. Born Russia; 

died New York, May 14, 1920. 
Hal Reid, playwright, 60. Died Red Bank, N. J., 

May 22, 1920. 
Clifton Crawford, comedian, 45. Born Edinburgh, 

Scotland ; died London, June 3, 1920. 
Gabrielle Rajane, French comedienne, d"^. Born 

Paris; died Paris, June 14, 1920. 



LONG RUNS ON BROADWAY 

Performances 
" Lightnin' " (to June 15, 1920) . . . 763 

" East is West " 680 

" A Trip to Chinatown " 657 

" Peg o' My Heart " 604 

"Adonis" 603 

" The Music Master " 540 

" The Boomerang " 522 

" Hazel Kirke " 486 



THE SEASON IN PARIS 

By Leon Stolz 
Paris Dramatic Correspondent, Chicago Tribune 

According to one French dramatic critic no one could 
reasonably expect good plays to be produced in Paris 
this year with the world's greatest play being acted 
daily in opposition. 

He was referring to the Peace Conference as the 
opposition. There is no denying that the Conference 
has had its moments and there is also no denying that 
the Paris stage has from an artistic standpoint had a 
sorry season indeed. Yet if you ask the manager of 
any one of Paris' sixty theaters he will assure you that 
seldom has his theater enjoyed a more prosperous 
years, despite a doubling in prices. The best theaters 
now get from 18 to 25 francs for their orchestra 
seats, which, at the rate of exchange latterly pre- 
vailing, amounts to about $1.50 to $2. 

468 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 469 

There were two brief interruptions in the season 
resulting from strikes, both of which ended in com- 
promises. The coal shortage also interfered somewhat 
with playgoing but the interference was not serious. 

From this rather dreary summary I turn to the plays 
themselves. Of these probably the one of widest in- 
terest to Americans as such was Eugene Brieux' new 
work " Les Americains Chez Nous " (" The Americans 
in Our Midst"), which, I am told, is to be produced 
by Leo Ditrichstein in New York. During the win- 
ter it has occupied a prominent place in the reper- 
toire of the Odeon, the subsidized theater of the Latin 
Quarter. A young American oflficer is stationed dur- 
ing the war on the run-down estate of an old French 
family. His American sense of business management 
is placed at the service of his hosts, among whom 
is his fiancee. There are troubles with the hired hands 
which the American adjusts rather ruthlessly, but all 
goes on more or less serenely until the son of the 
family announces he is going to America to marry 
a Red Cross girl, whom he met during the war. 

Indeed, he is not, replies the family. This can 
never be. Here he was born and here he must re- 
main to carry on the traditions of his race. 

There is a deal of talk and it is ended by the Ameri- 
can captain taking his French fiancee to America and 
the Red Cross girl and the son remaining on the 
somewhat mouldy French estate. The detail of the 
play develops the thesis that the French are a con- 
servative, beauty-loving people, whereas the x^meri- 
cans are a restless, forceful people. 

The American soldier has also appeared frequently 
on other stages, especially, as might be expected, in 
the revues, where he has been everything from a model 
of dashing ball-room propriety to an instructor of 
apaches in American methods of highway robbery. It 
is interesting to contrast this new stage American with 



470 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

the old one seen somewhat earlier in the season in 
the revival of " The Hawk " under its French title, 
'* L'Epervieu." This pre-war American was simply 
a brisk Yankee, full of money and hard, rather too 
hard, common sense, but the newer Yank is a man of 
infinite resource — and little soul. 

Paris theater-goes have not forgotten the Yanks, 
though they will persist in calling them Sammies. Nor 
has the war been forgotten. The play which probably 
was the most sensational of the year was " La Cap- 
tive," produced at the Theatre Antoine, which is 
Paris' art theater, under Gemier's direction. " La 
Captive " is by Charles Mery and it is frankly an anti- 
war play. No higher tribute to the French sense of 
artistic liberty could be paid than to record that this 
production, which I am convinced, would have been 
refused a permit in any American city, ran for three 
months in Paris at the very time when the Peace Con- 
ference was holding its daily meetings at the Quai 
D'Orsay. 

" La Captive " is the story of a mother who lives in 
an imaginary neutral country between two equally 
imaginary states at war. The play opens as war is 
declared. Now this woman has been twice married, 
once to a citizen of one of the belligerent nations and 
the second time to a citizen of the other. By each 
of her marriages she has had two children. The son 
of her first marriage has already joined the colors, and 
the first act presents the conflict between the mother 
and the two sons of her second marriage, both of 
whom are eager to volunteer. She pleads earnestly 
with them. What is there for them to gain? What 
cause are they fighting for worth the risk? How can 
their little contribution do any good? They belong 
to her, not to their father's country. Did she bear 
them in pain that they should go out to kill other men's 
sons and be killed themselves? 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 471 

The sons pay as little attention to the mother's pleas 
as sons usually do in war time, and rush out to join the 
somewhat theatrical drums beating in the distance. 
" Oh, the madness of men ! " cries the tortured mother 
and the curtain falls. 

What I cannot convey by this bare recital is the 
simulated physical suffering of the captive, the mother, 
as she sees the arguments she knows to be the very 
truth — w'hatever we may think of them — utterly 
ignored by those sons of hers, obsessed by notions of 
duty and glory. 

The play doesn't end there, though it might. As 
they story proceeds, we see the daughter, the only child 
remaining, also answering the call of patriotism. She 
leaves not only her mother, but her fiancee as well, to 
return to her father's land. But before she goes the 
French audience gets what it came for, a debate. The 
girl's uncle, a white-whiskered patriot, has come to 
claim her for his country's service as a nurse. He 
meets at her home a professor, the father of her fiancee. 
Now this professor is a Sermon-on-the-Mount, if not 
a League-of-Nations internationalist and he has it out 
with the uncle who, as noted above, is a good deal of a 
chauvinist. It is the clash of ideas that the books on 
French drama tell you about ; and the audience has a 
party. It is all to M. Mery's credit that he has played 
fair in the debate and stated each man's case as well 
as he could. That enables about two-thirds of the or- 
chestra and a fraction of the galleries to applaud the 
uncle to the echo ; and two-thirds of the galleries and 
one-third of orchestra to shout and stamp as the 
professor scores for internationalism. The cheering 
fairly broke up the play on the opening nights and 
I have no doubt accounted in a measure for the play's 
success. 

As the debate improved, the drama almost went to 
pieces, but it recovered for a moment in the last act, 



472 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

when the war was over and the two surviving sons 
who had fought on opposite sides, return home, one 
crippled, the other blinded. There is a terrific and 
pathetic scene when they meet and the blind one sinks 
into a chair as the lame one stumbles out. He has 
almost reached the door when the hobbling noise of 
his going pentrates the mind of the blind boy. 

" Where," he asks listlessly, " did you get it ? " 

" At Hill 102," the lame lad responds. They had 
both been there and suffered the same tortures. The 
common experience reconciles them, and the final cur- 
tain descends on the hope, if, alas, not the dawn, of 
universal brotherhood. 

M. Mery who wrote " La Captive " has written a 
number of pieces which have been acted at the Grand 
Guignol, Paris' theatrical chamber of horrors. I do 
not at the moment recall any of his plays which were 
done there this year where much the best productions 
have been revived adaptations from Poe. '* The Fall 
of the House of Usher " left a good deal to be desired 
to one who had the original in mind ; but for horror, 
physical horror, I commend you to the Grand Guignol 
version of " The System of Dr. Goudron." 

Of lighter plays we have, of course, had any num- 
ber, some of which will be sent overseas sooner or 
later, though they will have to be cleaned up consider- 
ably. I doubt if New York's chaste policemen will 
permit three women to undress and climb into bed 
right in front of everybody in the course of one eve- 
ning's entertainment, as they do in one of our revues, 
and I know they won't stand idly by while the com- 
panions of these three undress and climb in alongside, 
especially when it is recalled that Frenchmen persist, 
even on the stage, in wearing blue underwear and sus- 
penders. 

Rare among the lighter plays, partly because there 
was no undressing in it but especially because it was 



THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 473 

in the best French comedy tradition, was " Le Denseur 
de Madame " by M. Armont and Jacques Bousquet. 
It is a comedy trifle built about the theme that the 
devotees of the " new " dances are true devotees and 
therefore have no time for another love, be it husband, 
lover or friend. The central character is Huguette 
Chavelin who has all three, but time for none of them. 
She spends her afternoons and evenings and some of 
her mornings with her dancing partner, a professional. 
Here is the dancing man to the life. He is by no 
means pretty and, except when dancing, he is awk- 
ward. Always he is stupid. Huguette dances with 
him until the pleasures of dancing, despite her pro- 
ficiency, begin to be exhausted and there is a suspicion 
that the home life is calling her. The play ends as 
she announces that she is giving up dancing forever 
and agreeing to an engagement with her lover for 5 
o'clock the next afternoon. She has broken dozens of 
such appointments in the interest of the fox-trot be- 
fore ; but this one she is going to keep. 

So much for the story. It gains much by the ex- 
pertness of its handling by its author. I believe there 
is a future for " Le Danseur de Madame " in Amer- 
ica, provided the interest in dancing holds out until 
it can be worked over. Its title, by the way, is an 
echo of the title of the preceding success " Le Bon- 
heur de ma Femme," at the same smart little theater. 

Toward the close of the season, Paris saw a new 
Arabian Nights play presented under Gemier's direc- 
tion at the Champs Elysees. This theater may be 
remember by the A. E. F. as the Y. M. C. A.'s magnifi- 
cent playhouse on the Avenue Montaigne. Gemier 
is to France what Max Reinhardt is to Germany but 
" Les Mille et Une Nuits " is not to be considered with 
" Sumurun." The story is built around the Sheerazade 
incident. The sultan finds moral lessons in her tales 
of AH-Baba and Sinbad and retracts his order of 



474 THE BEST PLAYS OF 1919-1920 

execution. Whatever the Arabian Nights are, they 
are not -^sop's Fables. The play failed, but not in 
its pictures. The dancing and the costuming were be- 
yond praise. 

The revues this year have been far more daring 
than even Paris has known. The game is simply to 
shock and there are no rules. Thus Act I of the 
present piece at the Folies Bergere, " L'Amour en 
Folic ! " concludes with — I give you my word — the 
crucifixion of three of the chorus girls. In the sec- 
ond act the smoking-room story v/hich begins, " A 
traveling man went into a farm house one night because 
there was no place else to go in the rain " is enacted 
with more detail than humor and the finale is built 
around three naked women. I didn't see even the 
traditional beads. 

An interesting novelty for Paris is to be staged 
during the summer months at the Antoine, It is a 
French version of " Male and Female " which, quaintly 
enough, is entitled " L'Admirable Crichton ! " 



INDEX OF PLAYS AND CASTS 



'Abraham Lincoln," 5, 10, 14, 

399 
'Acquittal, The" 5, 335 
'Adam and Eva," 3, 6, 248, 351 
'Always You," 411 
'All Soul's Eve," 11, 453 
'Angel Face," 407 
'Apple Blossoms." 4, 367 
'Aphrodite," 5, 391 
'As You Were," 420 
'At 9.45," ZZ7 

'Better 'Ole, The" 3 
'Betty Be Good," 450 
'Beyond the Horizon," 12, 30, 

420 
'Big Game," 7, 419 
'Blue Flame, The," 9, 437 
'Bonehead, The" 445 
'Boys Will Be Boys," 370 
'Breakfast in Bed," 424 
'Buddies," 4, 379 

"Caesar's Wife," 4, 388 
'Carnival," 11, 406 
'Catbird, The" 7, 427 
'Challenge, The" 343 
'Checkers," 11, 448 
'Civilian Clothes." 3, 349 
'Clarence," 3, 280. 354 
'Crimson Alibi, The" 3, 339 
'Curiosity," 400 

'Declassee," 4, 12, 95, 363 
'Dictator, The" 447 
'Dancer, The," 359 



"East Is West," 3 
"Ed Wynn Carnival," 444 
"Elsie Janis and Gang." 392 
"Experience of Wives, An" 357 

"Faithful, The" 369 

"Fall and Rise of Susan Len- 
ox," 457 

"Famous Mrs. Fair, The" 5, 65, 
404 

"Fifty, Fifty, Ltd.," 380 
"First Is Last," 352 
"Five Million, The" 3, 338 
"Five O'clock." Z72 
"Florodora." 10, 443 
"Footloose," 11, 452 
"For-get-me-not," 11, 452 
"Forbidden." 403 
"For the Defense," 5, 12, 400 
"Friendly Enemies," 3 

"George Washington," 432 
*'Girl From Home, The" 447 
"Girl in the Limousine," 365 
"Gold Diggers, The" 3, 360 
"Greenvt'ich Village Follies," 3. 
339 

"Hamlet," 4, 10, 363 
"Happv Days." 3, 346 
"He and She," 8, 425 
"Hello, Alexander," 366 
"Herfords, The" 8 
"His Chinese Wife," 354 
"His Honor Abe Potash," 4, 
374 



475 



4/6 



INDEX OF PLAYS AND CASTS 



"Hitchy-koo, 1919," 366 
"Hole in the Wall," 10, 440 
"Honey Girl," 11, 448 
"Hottentot, The" 433 
"Innocent Idea, ' n" 455 
"Irene," 4, 386 
"Jane Cleeg," 8, 120, 431 
"Jest, The" 8, 149, 394 
"Just a Minute," 381 

"Katy's Kisses," 356 
"Kitty McKay," 11 

"La Robe Rouge," 430 

"Lassie," 11, 444 

"Letter of the Law, The" 8, 

430 
"Light of the World, The" 6 

412 
"Lightnin'," 3 

"Linger Lone;er Letty," 388 
"Little Blue Devil, The" 381 
"Little Whopper, The" 4, 371 
"Lord and Lady Algy," 7 
"Look Who's Here," 434 
"Lost Leader, The," 4, 384 
"Luck of the Navy, The" Z72> 
'Lusmore," 347 

"Magic Melody," 385 
"Mama's Afifair," 6, 215, 418 
"Ma tinique," 346 
"Medea," 10, 439 
"Mr. Antonio," 7 
"Miss Millions," 396 
"Monsieur Tcaucaire," 5, 398 
"Moonlight and Honeysuckle,", 

3, 358 
"Mrs. Jimmie Thompson," 442 
"Mu.sk," 436 
"My Golden Girl," 422 
"My Lady Friends," 5, 394 

"Night Lodging," 5, 11, 404 



"Nightv-night," 348 
"Night Boat, The" 8, 421 
"No More Blondes," 413 
"Not So Long Ago, 11, 449 
"Nothing but Love," 374 

"Oh, Henry," 451 
"Oh, What a Girl," 342 
"On the Hiring Line," 4, 376 
"One Night in Rome," 5, 393 
"Ouija Board, The" 10, 441 

"Palmy Days," 378 
"Passion Flower, The" 6, 415 
"Passing Show, 1919," 4, 2>77 
"Phantom Legion, The" 397 
"Pietro," 7, 417 
"Piper, The" 438 
"Polly With a Past," 6 
"Power of Darkness, The" 6, 

415 
"Purple Mask, The" 5, 409 

"Red Dawn, The" 344 
"Respect for Riches," 453 
"Regular Feller, A" 351 
"Rise of Silas Lapham, The" 5, 

389 
"Rolv-Bolv Eves," 357 
"Rose of China, The" 390 
"Ruined Lady, The" 7, 416 

"Sacred and Profane Love," 8, 

429 
"Scandal," 3, 350 
"Scandals of 1920," 456 
"See-saw," 355 
"Shavings," 426 
"She Would and She Did," 7, 

349 
"Shubert Gaieties of 1919," 340 
"Sign on the Door, The" 5, 401 
"Smilin' Through." 408 
"Son-Daughter, The" 4, 2iS7 



INDEX OF PLAYS AND CASTS 



477 



"Sophie," 434 
"Storm, The" 4, 361 



"Taming of the Shrew," 363 
"Those Who Walk in Dark- 
ness," 345 
"Three's a Crowd," 395 
"Three Showers," 444 
"Thunder," 354 
"Tick-tack-toe," 431 
"Too Many Husbands," 4, 368 
"Tragedy of Nan, The" 427 
"Trimmed in Scarlet," 7, 423 
"Twelfth Night," 4, 363 



"Unknown Woman, The" 382 
"Up from Nowhere," 4, 346 

"Voice in the Dark, A" 3, 341 

"Wedding Bells," 4, 185, 383 
"What's in a Name," 439 
"Where's Your Wife?" 362 
"Whirlwind, The" 405 
"Wonderful Thing, The" 8, 
428 

"Ziegfeld Follies, 1919," 3 
"Ziegfekl Girls of 1920," 436 
"Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic," 361 



PN 
6112 

1919 



The Best Plays of 
1919-1920 



PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE 
CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET 



UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY 



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