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Full Online Book HomePlaysTwo Men Of Sandy Bar: A Drama - Act 4 Scene 6
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Two Men Of Sandy Bar: A Drama - Act 4 Scene 6 Post by :sbeard Category :Plays Author :Bret Harte Date :May 2012 Read :3150

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Two Men Of Sandy Bar: A Drama - Act 4 Scene 6

(SCENE 6. The same. Enter SERVANT; opens folding doors C., revealing veranda and view of distant city beyond. Stage, fog effect from without. Enter STARBOTTLE and OAKHURST, R., in full evening dress.)

STARBOTTLE (walking towards veranda). A foggy evening for our anniversary.

OAKHURST. Yes. (Aside.) It was such a night as this I first stepped into Sandy's place, I first met the old man. Well, it will be soon over. (Aloud.) You have the papers and transfers all ready?

STARBOTTLE. In my--er--pocket. Mr. Morton, sen., should be here to receive his guests.

OAKHURST. He will be here presently: until then the duty devolves on me. He has secluded himself even from me! (Aside.) Perhaps it is in very shame for his recent weakness.

(Enter SERVANT.)

SERVANT. Don Jose Castro, Miss Castro, and Miss Morris.

Enter DON JOSE with JOVITA and MISS MARY on either arm. All formally salute MR. OAKHURST, except MISS JOVITA, who turns coldly away, taking seat remotely on sofa. COL. STARBOTTLE gallantly approaches MISS MARY, and takes seat beside her.

OAKHURST (aside). They are here to see my punishment. There is no sympathy even in her eyes.

(Enter SERVANT.)

SERVANT. Mr. Concepcion Garcia and Mr. CAPPER.

CONCHO (approaching OAKHURST, rubbing his hands). I wish you joy, Mr. Alexander Morton!

OAKHURST (excitedly, aside). Shall I throw him from the window! The dog!--even he!

CAPPER (approaching MR. OAKHURST). You have done well. Be bold. I will see you through. As for THAT man (pointing to CONCHO), leave him to ME! (Lays his hand on Concho's shoulder, and leads him to sofa R. OAKHURST takes seat in chair L. as SANDY enters quietly from door L., and stands leaning upon his chair.)

STARBOTTLE (rising). Ladies and gentlemen, we are waiting only for the presence of Mr. Alexander Morton, sen. I regret to say that for the last twenty-four hours--he has been--er--exceedingly preoccupied with the momentous cares of the--er--occasion. You who know the austere habits of my friend and--er--client will probably understand that he may be at this very moment engaged in prayerful and Christian meditation, invoking the Throne of Grace, previous to the solemn duties of--er--er--tonight.

(Enter SERVANT.)

SERVANT. Mr. Alexander Morton, sen.

(Enter OLD MORTON, drunk, in evening costume, cravat awry, coat half-buttoned up, and half-surly, half-idiotic manner. All rise in astonishment. SANDY starts forward. OAKHURST pulls him back.)

MORTON (thickly). Don't rish! Don't rish! We'll all sit down! How do you do, sir? I wish ye well, miss. (Goes around and laboriously shakes hands with everybody.) Now lesh all take a drink! lesh you take a drink, and you take a drink, and you take a drink!

STARBOTTLE. Permit me, ladies and gentlemen, to--er--explain: our friend is--er--evidently laboring under--er--er--accident of hospitality! In a moment he will be himself.

OLD MORTON. Hush up! Dry up--yourself--old turkey-cock! Eh!

SANDY (despairingly). He will not understand us! (To STARBOTTLE.) He will not know me! What is to be done?

OLD MORTON. Give me some whishkey. Lesh all take a drink! (Enter SERVANT with decanter and glasses.)

OLD MORTON (starting forward). Lesh all take a drink!

SANDY. Stop!

OLD MORTON (recovering himself slightly). Who says stop? Who dares countermand my orderish?

CONCHO (coming forward). Who? I will tell you: eh! eh! Diego--dismissed from the rancho of Don Jose for drunkenness! Sandy--the vagabond of Red Gulch!

SANDY (passionately seizing OLD MORTON'S arm). Yes, Diego--Sandy--the outcast--but, God help me! no longer the drunkard. I forbid you to touch that glass!--I, your son, Alexander Morton! Yes, look at me, father: I, with drunkenness in my blood, planted by you, fostered by you--I whom you sought to save--I--I stand here to save you! Go! (To SERVANT.) Go! While he is thus, I--I, am master here!

OLD MORTON (cowed and frightened). That voice! (Passing his hand over his forehead.) Am I dreaming Aleck, where are you? Alexander, speak, I command you: is this the truth?

OAKHURST (slowly). It is!

STARBOTTLE. One moment--a single moment: permit me to--er--er--explain. The gentleman who has just--er--dismissed the refreshment is, to the best of my legal knowledge, your son. The gentleman who for the past year has so admirably filled the functions of that office is--er--prepared to admit this. The proofs are--er--conclusive. It is with the--er--intention of offering them, and--er--returning your lawful heir, that we--er--are here to-night.

OLD MORTON (rising to his feet). And renounce you both! Out of my house, out of my sight, out of my heart, forever! Go! liars, swindlers, confederates! Drunk--

OAKHURST (retiring slowly with SANDY). We are going, sir!

OLD MORTON. Go! open the doors there WIDE, wide enough for such a breadth of infamy! Do you hear me? I am master here!

Stands erect, as OAKHURST and SANDY, hand in hand, slowly retreat backward to centre,--then suddenly utters a cry, and falls heavily on sofa. Both pause: OAKHURST remains quiet and motionless; SANDY, after a moment's hesitation, rushes forward, and falls at his feet.

SANDY. Father, forgive me!

OLD MORTON (putting his hand round SANDY'S neck, and motioning him to door). Go! both of you, both of you! (Resisting SANDY'S attempt to rise.) Did you hear me? Go!

STARBOTTLE. Permit me to--explain. Your conduct, Mr. Morton, reminds me of sing'lar incident in '47--

OLD MORTON. Silence!

OAKHURST. One word, Mr. Morton! Shamed and disgraced as I am, I leave this roof more gladly than I entered it. How I came here, you best know. How I yielded madly to the temptation, the promise of a better life; how I fell, through the hope of reformation,--no one should know better than you, sir, the reformer. I do not ask your pardon. You know that I did my duty to you as your presumed son. Your real son will bear witness, that, from the hour I knew of his existence, I did my duty equally to him. Col. Starbottle has all the legal transfers and papers necessary to make the restoration of your son--the integrity of your business name--complete. I take nothing out of this life that I did not bring in it,--except my self-respect! I go--as I came--alone!

JOVITA (rushing towards him). No! no! You shall take ME! I have wronged you, Jack, cruelly; I have doubted you; but you shall not go alone. I care not for this contract! You are more to me, by your own right, Jack, than by any kinship with such as these!

OAKHURST (raising her gently). I thank you, darling. But it is too late now. To be more worthy of you, to win YOU, I waived the title I had to you in my own manhood, to borrow another's more legal claim. I who would not win you as a gambler, cannot make you now the wife of a convicted impostor. No! Hear me, darling! do not make my disgrace greater than it is. In the years to come, Jovita, think of me as one who loved you well enough to go through shame to win you, but too well to ask you to share with him that shame. Farewell, darling, farewell! (Releases himself from JOVITA'S arms, who falls beside him.)

CONCHO (rubbing his hands, and standing before him). Oho! Mr. John Oakhurst--eh--was it for this, eh--you leaped the garden wall, eh? was it for this you struck me down, eh? You are not wise, eh? You should have run away with the Dona when you could--ah, ah, impostor!

SANDY (leaping to his feet). Jack, you shall not go! I will go with you!

OAKHURST. No! Your place is there. (Pointing to old MORTON, whose head has sunk drunkenly on his breast.) Heed not this man; his tongue carries only the borrowed lash of his master.

CONCHO. Eh! you are bold now--bold; but I said I would have revenge--ah, revenge!

SANDY (rushing toward him). Coward!

DON JOSE. Hold your hand, sir! Hold! I allow no one to correct my menials but myself. Concho, order my carriage!

CONCHO. It is ready, sir.

DON JOSE. Then lead the way to it, for my daughter and her husband, John OAKHURST.--Good-night, Mr. Morton, I can sympathize with you; for we have both found a son. I am willing to exchange my dismissed servant for your dismissed PARTNER.

STARBOTTLE (advancing). Ged, sir, I respect you! Ged, sir, permit me, sir, to grasp that honorable hand!

OLD MORTON (excitedly). He is right, my partner. What have I done! The house of Morton & Son dissolved. The man known as my partner--a fugitive! No, Alexander!

STARBOTTLE. One moment--a single moment! As a lawyer, permit me to say, sir, that the whole complication may be settled, sir, by the--er--addition of--er--single letter! The house of Morton & Son shall hereafter read Morton & Sons. The papers for the legal adoption of Mr. Oakhurst are--er--in my pocket.

OLD MORTON (more soberly). Have it your own way, sir! Morton & Sons be it. Hark ye, Don Jose! We are equal at last. But--hark ye, Aleck! How about the boy, eh?--my grandson, eh? Is this one of the sons by adoption?

SANDY (embarrassedly). It is my own, sir.

CAPPER (advancing). He can with safety claim it; for the mother is on her way to Australia with her husband.

OLD MORTON. And the schoolma'am, eh?

MISS MARY. She will claim the usual year of probation for your prodigal, and then--

SANDY. God bless ye, Miss Mary!

OLD MORTON. I am in a dream! But the world--my friends--my patrons--how can I explain?

STARBOTTLE. I will--er--explain. (Advancing slowly to front--to audience.) One moment--er--a single moment! If anything that has--er--transpired this evening--might seem to you, ladies and gentlemen--er--morally or--er--legally--or honorably to require--er--apology--or--er--explanation--permit me to say--that I--Col. Culpepper Starbottle, hold myself responsible--er--personally responsible.

CAPPER. CONCHO.

OLD MORTON. SANDY. MISS MARY. DON JOSE. JOVITA. OAKHURST.

Col. STARBOTTLE.

(Curtain.)


(THE END)
Bret Harte's play: Two Men of Sandy Bar: A Drama

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