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Full Online Book HomePlaysTwo Men Of Sandy Bar: A Drama - Act 4 Scene 2
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Two Men Of Sandy Bar: A Drama - Act 4 Scene 2 Post by :Dusty13 Category :Plays Author :Bret Harte Date :May 2012 Read :2679

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Two Men Of Sandy Bar: A Drama - Act 4 Scene 2

(SCENE 2. The same. Enter door R., OLD MORTON, in dressing-gown, with candle.)

OLD MORTON. Not abed yet, Alexander? Well, well, I don't blame you, my son it has been for you a trying, trying night. Yes, I see: like me, you are a little nervous and wakeful. (Slowly takes chair, and comfortably composes himself.)

OAKHURST (aside). He is in for a midnight gossip. How shall I dispose of Sandy?

OLD MORTON. Yes (meditatively),--yes, you have overworked lately. Never mind. In a day or two more you shall have a vacation, sir,--a vacation!

OAKHURST (aside). He knows not how truly he speaks. (Aloud.) Yes, sir, I was still up. I have only just now dismissed the policemen.

OLD MORTON. Ay. I heard voices, and saw a light in your window. I came to tell you, Alexander, Capper has explained all about--about the decoy! More; he has told me of your courage and your invaluable assistance. For a moment, sir,--I don't mind telling you now in confidence,--I doubted YOU--

OAKHURST (in feigned deprecation). Oh, sir!

OLD MORTON. Only for a moment. You will find, Alexander, that even that doubt shall have full apology when the year of your probation has expired. Besides, sir. I know all.

OAKHURST (starting). All!

OLD MORTON. Yes, the story about the Duchess and your child. You are surprised. Col. Starbottle told me all. I forgive you, Alexander, for the sake of your boy.

OAKHURST. My boy, sir!

OLD MORTON. Yes, your boy. And let me tell you, sir, he's a fine young fellow. Looks like you,--looks as you did when YOU were a boy. He's a Morton too, every inch of him, there's no denying that. No, sir. You may have changed; but he--he--is the living image of my little Alexander. He took to me, too,--lifted his little arms--and--and-- (Becomes affected, and leans his head in his hands.)

OAKHURST (rising). You are not well, sir. Let me lead you to your room.

OLD MORTON. No! it is nothing: a glass of water, Alexander!

OAKHURST (aside). He is very pale. The agitation of the night has overcome him. (Goes to table R.) A little spirits will revive him. (Pours from decanter in glass, and returns to MORTON.)

OLD MORTON (after drinking). There was spirits in that water, Alexander. Five years ago, I vowed at your mother's grave to abandon the use of intoxicating liquors.

OAKHURST. Believe me, sir, my mother will forgive you.

OLD MORTON. Doubtless. It has revived me. I am getting to be an old man, Aleck. (Holds out his glass half-unconsciously, and OAKHURST replenishes it from decanter.) Yes, an old man, Aleck; but the boy,--ah, I live again in him. The little rascal! He asked me, Aleck, for a "chaw tobacker!" and wanted to know if I was the "ol' duffer." Ha, ha! He did. Ha, ha! Come, come, don't be despondent. I was like you once, damn it,--ahem--it's all for the best, my boy, all for the best. I'll take the young rascal (aside)--damn it, he's already taken me--(aloud) on equal terms. There, Aleck, what do you say?

OAKHURST. Really, sir, this forbearance,--this kindness--(aside) I see a ray of light.

OLD MORTON. Nonsense! I'll take the boy, I tell you, and do well for him,--the little rascal!--as if he were the legal heir. But, I say, Aleck (laughing), ha, ha!--what about--ha, ha!--what about Dona Jovita, eh? and what about Don Jose Castro, eh? How will the lady like a ready-made family, eh? (Poking OAKHURST in the ribs.) What will the Don say to the family succession? Ha, ha!

OAKHURST (proudly). Really, sir, I care but little.

OLD MORTON (aside). Oh, ho! I'll sound him. (Aloud.) Look ye, Alexander, I have given my word to you and Don Jose Castro, and I'll keep it. But if you can do any better, eh--if--eh?--the schoolma'am's a mighty pretty girl and a bright one, eh, Aleck? And it's all in the family--eh? And she thinks well of you; and I will say, for a girl brought up as she's been, and knowin' your relations with the Duchess and the boy, to say a kind word for ye, Aleck, is a good sign,--you follow me, Aleck,--if you think--why, old Don Jose might whistle for a son-in-law, eh?

OAKHURST (interrupting indignantly). Sir! (Aside.) Stop! (Aloud.) Do you mean to say, sir, that if I should consent to this--suggestion--that, if the lady were willing, YOU would offer no impediment?

OLD MORTON. Impediment, my dear boy! you should have my blessing.

OAKHURST. Pardon me a moment. You have in the last year, sir, taught me the importance of business formality in all the relations of life. Following that idea, the conditions of my engagement with Jovita Castro were drawn up with your hand. Are you willing to make this recantation as formal, this new contract as businesslike and valid?

OLD MORTON (eagerly). I am.

OAKHURST. Then sit here, and write at my dictation. (Pointing to table L. OLD MORTON takes seat at table.) "In view of the evident preferences of my son Alexander Morton, and of certain family interests, I hereby revoke my consent to his marriage with the Dona Jovita Castro, and accord him full permission to woo and win his cousin, Miss Mary Morris, promising him the same aid and assistance previously offered in his suit with Miss Castro."

OLD MORTON (signing). Alexander Morton, sen. There, Aleck! You have forgotten one legal formality. We have no witness. Ha, ha!

OAKHURST (significantly). I will be a sufficient witness.

OLD MORTON. Ha, ha! (Fills glass from decanter, after which OAKHURST quietly removes decanter beyond his reach.) Very good! Aleck, I've been thinking of a plan,--I've been thinking of retiring from the bank. I'm getting old, and my ways are not the popular ways of business here. I've been thinking of you, you dog,--of leaving the bank to you,--to you, sir, eh--the day--the day you marry the schoolma'am--eh. I'll stay home and take care of the boy--eh--hic! The little rascal!--lifted his arms to me--did, Aleck! by God! (Incoherently.) Eh!

OAKHURST. Hush! (Aside.) Sandy will overhear him, and appear.

OLD MORTON (greatly affected by liquor.) Hush! eh!--of course--shoo! shoo! (The actor will here endeavor to reproduce in OLD MORTON'S drunken behavior, without exactly imitating him, the general characteristics of his son's intoxication.) Eh!--I say, Aleck, old boy! what will the Don say? eh? Ha, ha, ha! And Jovita, that firebrand, how will she--hic--like it, eh? (Laughs immoderately.)

OAKHURST. Hush! We will be overheard! The servants, sir!

OLD MORTON. Damn the servants! Don't I--hic--pay them wages--eh?

OAKHURST. Let me lead you to your own room. You are nervously excited. A little rest, sir, will do you good. (Taking his arm.)

OLD MORTON. No shir, no shir, 'm nerrer goin' to bed any more. Bed's bad habit!--hic--drunken habit. Lesh stay up all ni, Aleck! You and me! Lesh nev'r--go--bed any more! Whar's whiskey--eh? (Staggers to the table for decanter as OAKHURST seizes him, struggle up stage, and then OLD MORTON, in struggle, falls helplessly on sofa, in same attitude as SANDY was discovered.)

(Enter SANDY cautiously from door L.)

SANDY (to OAKHURST). Jack! Eh, Jack--

OAKHURST. Hush! Go! I will follow you in a moment. (Pushes him back to door L.)

SANDY (catching sight of OLD MORTON). Hallo! What's up?

OAKHURST. Nothing. He was overtaken with a sudden faintness. He will revive presently: go!

SANDY (hesitating). I say, Jack, he wasn't taken sick along o' me, eh, Jack?

OAKHURST. No! No! But go (pushing him toward door).

SANDY. Hold on: I'm going. But, Jack, I've got a kind of faintness yer, too. (Goes to side-table, and takes up decanter.) And thar's nothing reaches that faintness like whiskey. (Fills glass.) Old Morton (drunkenly and half-consciously from couch). Whiskey--who shed--whiskey--eh? Eh--O--gimme some, Aleck--Aleck, my son,--my son!--my old prodigal--Old Proddy, my boy--gimme--whiskey--(sings)--


Oh, yer's yer good old whiskey,
Drink it down!


Eh? I com--mand you,--pass the whiskey!

SANDY, at first panic-stricken, and then remorsefully conscious, throws glass down, with gesture of fear and loathing. OAKHURST advances to his side hurriedly.

OAKHURST (in hurried whisper). Give him the whiskey, quick! It will keep him quiet. (Is about to take decanter when SANDY seizes it: struggle with OAKHURST.)

SANDY (with feeling). No, no, Jack, no! (Suddenly with great strength and determination, breaks from him, and throws decanter from window.) No, NEVER!

OLD MORTON (struggling drunkenly to his feet). Eh--who sh'd never? (OAKHURST shoves SANDY in room L., and follows him, closing door.) Eh, Aleck? (Groping.) Eh, where'sh light? All gone. (Lapses on sofa again, after an ineffectual struggle to get up, and then resumes his old attitude.)

(Change scene quickly.)

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