Shenandoah - Representative Plays by American Dramatists: 1856-1911
by Bronson Howard
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The present Editor has just read through some of the vivacious correspondence of Bronson Howard—a sheaf of letters sent by him to Brander Matthews during a long intercourse. The time thus spent brings sharply to mind the salient qualities of the man—his nobility of character, his soundness of mind, his graciousness of manner, and his thorough understanding of the dramatic tools of his day and generation. To know Bronson Howard was to be treated to just that human quality which he put into even his hastily penned notes—and, as in conversation with him, so in his letters there are repeated flashes of sage comment and of good native wit. Not too often can we make the plea for the gathering and preserving of such material. Autobiography, after all, is what biography ought to be—it is the live portrait by the side of which a mere appreciative sketch fades. I have looked through the "Memorial" volume to Bronson Howard, issued by the American Dramatists Club (1910), and read the well-tempered estimates, the random reminiscences. But these do not recall the Bronson Howard known to me, as to so many others—who gleams so charmingly in this correspondence. Bronson Howard's plays may not last—"Fantine," "Saratoga," "Diamonds," "Moorcraft," "Lillian's Last Love"—these are mere names in theatre history, and they are very out of date on the printed page. "The Banker's Daughter," "Old Love Letters" and "Hurricanes" would scarcely revive, so changed our comedy treatment, so differently psychologized our emotion. Not many years ago the managerial expedient was resorted to of re-vamping "The Henrietta"—but its spirit would not behave in new-fangled style, and the magic of Robson and Crane was broken. In the American drama's groping for "society" comedy, one might put "Saratoga," and even "Aristocracy," in advance of Mrs. Mowatt's "Fashion" and Mrs. Bateman's "Self;" in the evolution of domestic problems, "Young Mrs. Winthrop" is interesting as an early breaker of American soil. But one can hardly say that, either for the theatre or for the library, Bronson Howard is a permanent factor. Yet his influence on the theatre is permanent; his moral force is something that should be perpetuated. Whatever he said on subjects pertaining to his craft—his comments on play-making most especially,—was illuminating and judicious. I have been privileged to read the comments sent by him to Professor Matthews during the period of their collaboration together over "Peter Stuyvesant;" they are practical suggestions, revealing the peculiar way in which a dramatist's mind shapes material for a three hours' traffic of the stage—the willingness to sacrifice situation, expression—any detail, in fact, that clogs the action. Through the years of their acquaintance, Howard and Matthews were continually wrangling good-naturedly about the relation of drama to literature. Apropos of an article by Matthews in The Forum, Howard once wrote:

I note that you regard the 'divorce' of the drama from literature as unfortunate. I think the divorce should be made absolute and final; that the Drama should no more be wedded to literature, on one hand, than it is to the art of painting on the other, or to music or mechanical science. Rather, perhaps, I should say, we should recognize poligamy for the Drama; and all the arts, with literature, its Harem. Literature may be Chief Sultana—but not too jealous. She is always claiming too large a share of her master's attention, and turning up her nose at the rest. I have felt this so strongly, at times, as to warmly deny that I was a 'literary man', insisting on being a 'dramatist'.

Then, in the same note, he adds in pencil: "Saw 'Ghosts' last night. Great work of art! Ibsen a brute, personally, for writing it."

In one of the "Stuyvesant" communications, Howard is calculating on the cumulative value of interest; and he analyzes it in this mathematical way:

So far as the important act is concerned, I have felt that this part of it was the hardest part of the problem before us. We were certain of a good beginning of the act and a good, rapid, dramatic end; but the middle and body of it I felt needed much attention to make the act substantial and satisfactory. To tell the truth, I was quietly worrying a bit over this part of the play, while you were expressing your anxiety about the 2nd act—which never bothered me. There must be 2nd acts and there must be last acts—audiences resign themselves to them; but 3rd acts—in 4 and 5 act plays—they insist on, and will have them good. The only exception is where you astonish them with a good 2nd act—then they'll take their siesta in the 3rd—and wake up for the 4th.

This psychological time-table shows how calculating the dramatist has to be, how precise in his framework, how sparing of his number of words. In another note, Howard says:

This would leave the acts squeezed "dry", about as follows:—Act I, 35 minutes; Act 2, 30; Act 3, 45; Act 4, 20—total, 130—2 hrs., 10 min., curtain up: entr'acts, 25 min. Total—2 hrs., 35 min.—8:20 to 10:55.

There are a thousand extraneous considerations bothering a play that never enter into the evolution of any other form of art. After seeing W.H. Crane, who played "Peter Stuyvesant" when it was given, Howard writes Matthews of the wisdom shown by the actor in his criticism of "points" to be changed and strengthened in the manuscript.

"A good actor," he declares, "whom I always regard as an original creator in art—beginning at the point where the dramatist's pen stops—approaches a subject from such a radically different direction that we writers cannot study his impressions too carefully in revising our work." Sometimes, conventions seized the humourous side of Howard. From England, around 1883, he wrote, "Methinks there is danger in the feeling expressed about 'local colouring.' English managers would put the Garden of Eden in Devonshire, if you adapted Paradise Lost for them—and insist on giving Adam an eye-glass and a title."

Howard was above all an American; he was always emphasizing his nationality; and this largely because the English managers changed "Saratoga" to "Brighton," and "The Banker's Daughter" to "The Old Love and the New." I doubt whether he relished William Archer's inclusion of him in a volume of "English Dramatists of To-day," even though that critic's excuse was that he "may be said to occupy a place among English dramatists somewhat similar to that occupied by Mr. Henry James among English novelists." Howard was quick to assert his Americanism, and to his home town he wrote a letter from London, in 1884, disclaiming the accusation that he was hiding his local inheritance behind a French technique and a protracted stay abroad on business. He married an English woman—the sister of the late Sir Charles Wyndham—and it was due to the latter that several of his plays were transplanted and that Howard planned collaboration with Sir Charles Young. But Howard was part of American life—born of the middle West, and shouldering a gun during the Civil War to guard the Canadian border near Detroit against a possible sympathetic uprising for the Confederacy. Besides which—a fact which makes the title of "Dean of the American Drama" a legitimate insignia,—when, in 1870, he stood firm against the prejudices of A.M. Palmer and Lester Wallack, shown toward "home industry," he was maintaining the right of the American dramatist. He was always preaching the American spirit, always analyzing American character, always watching and encouraging American thought.

Howard was a scholar, with a sense of the fitness of things, as a dramatist should have. Evidently, during the collaboration with Professor Matthews on "Stuyvesant," discussion must have arisen as to the form of English "New Amsterdamers," under Knickerbocker rule, would use. For it called forth one of Howard's breezy but exact comments, as follows:

A few more words about the "English" question: As I said, it seems to me, academical correctness, among the higher characters, will give a prim, old-fashioned tone: and you can look after this, as all my own work has been in the opposite direction in art. I have given it no thought in writing this piece, so far.

I would suggest the following special points to be on the alert for, even in the best present-day use of English:—some words are absolutely correct, now, yet based on events or movements in history since 1660. An evident illustration is the word "boulevard" for a wide street or road; so "avenue," in same sense, is New Yorkese and London imitation—even imitated from us, I imagine, in Paris: this would give a nineteenth century tone; while an "avenue lined with trees in a bowery" would not. Don't understand that I am telling you things. I'm only illustrating—to let you know what especial things in language I hope you will keep your eye on. Of course Anneke couldn't be "electrified"—but you may find many less evident blunders than that would be. She might be shocked, but couldn't "receive a shock." We need free colloquial slang and common expressions; but while "get out" seems all right from Stuyvesant to Bogardus, for Barry to say "Skedadle" would put him in the 87th New York Vols., 1861-64. Yet I doubt whether we have any more classic and revered slang than that word.

The evident ease, yet thoroughness, with which Mr. Howard prepared for his many tasks, is seen in his extended reading among Civil War records, before writing "Shenandoah." The same "knowledge" sense must have been a constant incentive to Professor Matthews, in the preparation of "Peter Stuyvesant."

"The manual of arms," Howard declares, "is simply great. I think we can get the muskets pointed at Barket in about 4 or 5 orders, however; taking the more picturesque ones, so far as may be possible. I went over the [State] librarian's letter with a nephew with the most modern of military training: and as I was at a military school in 1860—just two centuries after our period—we had fun together. Even with an old muzzle loader—Scott's Tactics—it was "Load and fire in ten motions," now antiquated with the breech-loaders of to-day. The same operation, in 1662, required 28 motions, as we counted. By the bye, did I tell you that I found the flint-lock invented (in Spain) in 1625—and it "soon" spread over Europe? I felt, however, that the intervening 37 years would hardly have carried it to New Amsterdam; especially as the colony was neglected in such matters."

From these excerpts it is apparent that Howard had no delusions regarding the "work" side of the theatre; he was continually insisting that dramatic art was dependent upon the artisan aspects which underlay it. This he maintained, especially in contradiction to fictional theories upheld by the adherents of W.D. Howells.

One often asks why a man, thus so serious and thorough in his approach toward life, should have been so transitorily mannered in his plays, and the reason may be in the very artisan character of his work. Mr. Howard delivered a lecture before the Shakespeare Society of Harvard University, at Sanders Theatre, in 1886 (later given, 1889, before the Nineteenth Century Club, in New York), and he called it "The Autobiography of a Play." In the course of it, he illustrated how, in his own play, called "Lillian's Last Love," in 1873, which one year later became "The Banker's Daughter," he had to obey certain unfailing laws of dramatic construction during the alterations and re-writing. He never stated a requirement he was not himself willing to abide by. When he instructed the Harvard students, he was merely elucidating his own theatre education. "Submit yourselves truly and unconditionally," he admonished, "to the laws of dramatic truth, so far as you can discover them by honest mental exertion and observation. Do not mistake any mere defiance of these laws for originality. You might as well show your originality by defying the law of gravitation." Mr. Howard was not one to pose as the oracle of a new technique; in this essay he merely stated sincerely his experience in a craft, as a clinical lecturer demonstrates certain established methods of treatment.

In his plays, vivacity and quick humour are the distinguishing characteristics. Like his contemporary workers, he was alive to topics of the hour, but, unlike them, he looked ahead, and so, as I have stated in my "The American Dramatist," one can find profit in contrasting his "Baron Rudolph" with Charles Klein's "Daughters of Men," his "The Henrietta" with Klein's "The Lion and Mouse," and his "The Young Mrs. Winthrop" with Alfred Sutro's "The Walls of Jericho." He was an ardent reader of plays, as his library—bequeathed to the American Dramatists Club, which he founded—bears witness. The fact is, he studied Restoration drama as closely as he did the modern French stage. How often he had to defend himself in the press from the accusation of plagiarism, merely because he was complying with the stage conventions of the moment!

It is unfortunate that his note-books are not available. But luckily he wrote an article at one time which shows his method of thrashing out the moral matrix of a scenario himself. It is called "Old Dry Ink." Howard's irony slayed the vulgar, but, because in some quarters his irony was not liked, he was criticized for his vulgarities. Archer, for example, early laid this defect to the influence of the Wyndham policy, in London, of courting blatant immorality in plays for the stage.

Howard's femininity, in comparison with Fitch's, was equally as observant; it was not as literarily brilliant in its "small talk." But though the effervescent chatter, handled with increasing dexterity by him, is now old-fashioned, "Old Dry Ink" shows that the scenes in his plays were not merely cleverly arrived at, but were philosophically digested. How different the dialogue from the notes!

This article was written in 1906; it conveys many impressions of early feminine struggles for political independence. The fact is, Mr. Howard often expressed his disappointment over the showing women made in the creative arts, and that he was not willing to let the bars down in his own profession is indicated by the fact that, during his life-time, women dramatists were not admitted as members into the club he founded.

The reader is referred to two other articles by Mr. Howard—one, "Trash on the Stage," included in the "Memorial" volume; the other, on "The American Drama," which is reproduced here, because, written in 1906, and published in a now obsolete newspaper magazine, it is difficult of procuring, and stands, possibly, for Mr. Howard's final perspective of a native drama he did so much to make known as native.

The most national of Howard's plays is "Shenandoah;" it is chosen for the present volume as representative of the military drama, of which there are not many examples, considering the Civil War possibilities for stage effect. Clyde Fitch's "Barbara Frietchie," James A. Herne's "Griffith Davenport," Fyles and Belasco's "The Girl I Left Behind Me," Gillette's "Secret Service," and William DeMille's "The Warrens of Virginia"—a mere sheaf beside the Revolutionary list which might be compiled.

According to one authority, "Shenandoah" was built upon the foundations of a play by Howard, produced at Macauley's Theatre, Louisville, Kentucky. As stated by Professor Matthews, the facts are that Howard took a piece, "Drum Taps," to Lester Wallack; who, true to his English tradition, said that if it was changed in time from the Civil War to the Crimean, he might consider it. It is certain, however, that if the cast of characters, as first given under the management of Montgomery Field, at the old Boston Museum, November 19, 1888, be compared with the program of the New York Star Theatre, September 13, 1889, it will be found that the manuscript must have been considerably altered and shifted, before it reached the shape now offered here as the authentic text. The fact of the matter is, it was not considered a "go" in Boston; we are informed that such managers as Palmer and Henry E. Abbey prophesied dire end for the piece. But Charles Frohman hastened to Boston, on the advice of his brother, Daniel, and, giving half-interest in the piece to Al Hayman, he arranged with Field for rights, procured "time" at the Star Theatre with Burnham, and, as is told in "C.F.'s" biography, hastened to Stamford, Connecticut, to talk with Howard. According to this source, he said to the playwright:

"You are a very great dramatist, Mr. Howard, and I am only a theatrical manager, but I think I can see where a possible improvement might be made in the play. For one thing, I think two acts should be merged into one, and I don't think you have made enough out of Sheridan's ride."

The opening night, with General Sherman in the audience, was a memorable occasion. It was the beginning of "C.F.'s" rapid rise to managerial importance, it ushered in the era of numberless road companies playing the same piece, it met with long "runs," and the royalty statements mounted steadily in bulk for Howard. It was the success of the hour.

But "Shenandoah" is undoubtedly conventional; its melodramatic effects are dependent on stage presentment rather than on the printed page. In fact, so much an artisan of the theatre was Mr. Howard that he was always somewhat skeptical of the modern drama in print. When he was persuaded to issue his last piece, "Kate," in book form, he consented to the publisher's masking it as a novel in dialogue, hoping thus, as his prefatory note states, "to carry the imagination directly to scenes of real life and not to the stage." To the last there was a distinction in his mind between literature and the drama. It is since this was written that the play form, nervous and quick, even in its printed shape, has become widely accepted.

"Shenandoah" is a play of pictorial effects and swiftly changing sentiment. Were there a national repertory, this would be included among the plays, not because of its literary quality, but because of the spirit to be drawn from its situations, framed expressly for the stage, and because of its pictures, dependent wholly upon stage accessory. It is an actable play, and most of our prominent actors, coming out of the period of the late 80's, had training in it.




In considering the present standing of the American drama, compared with the time when there was little or nothing worthy of the name, the one significant fact has been the gradual growth of a body of men engaged in writing plays. Up to the time I started in 1870, American plays had been written only sporadically here and there by men and women who never met each other, who had no personal acquaintance of any kind, no sympathies, no exchange of views; in fact, no means of building up such a body of thought in connection with their art as is necessary to form what is called a school.

In what we now style Broadway productions the late Augustin Daly stood absolutely alone, seeing no other future for his own dramatic works except by his own presentation of them. Except for Daly, I was practically alone; but he offered me the same opportunity and promise for the future that he had given to himself. From him developed a school of managers willing and eager to produce American plays on American subjects. Other writers began to drop into the profession; but still they seldom met, and it was not until about 1890 that they suddenly discovered themselves as a body of dramatists. This was at a private supper given at the Lotos Club to the veteran playwright Charles Gaylor, who far antedated Daly himself. To the astonishment of those making the list of guests for that supper, upward of fifty men writing in America who produced plays were professionally entitled to invitations, and thirty-five were actually present at the supper. A toast to seven women writers not present was also honoured.

This was the origin of the American Dramatists Club. The moment these men began to know each other personally, the process of intellectual attrition began, which will probably result eventually in a strong school. That supper took place only sixteen years ago; so we are yet only in the beginning of the great movement. Incidentally, it is also necessarily the beginning of a school of dramatic criticism of that art. It is difficult to suppose that a body of critics, merely learned in the dramatic art of Europe, can be regarded as forming a school of America.

To go to Paris to finish your education in dramatic art, and return to New York and make comments on what you see in the theatre, is not to be an American dramatic critic, nor does it tend in any way to found a school of American dramatic criticism. The same is true of the man who remains in New York and gets his knowledge of the drama from reading foreign newspapers and books.

I stated in a former article in this magazine, "First Nights in London and New York," that is was only within the last twenty-five or thirty years that a comparison between the cities and the conditions had become possible, for the reason that prior to that time there was really no American drama. There were a few American plays, and their first productions did not assume the least importance as social events. As far as any comparison is possible between the early American dramatists (I mean the first of the dramatists who were the starting point in the later '60's and early '70's) and those of the present day, I think of only two important points. There was one advantage in each case. The earlier dramatists had their choice of many great typical American characters, such as represented in Solon Shingle, Colonel Sellers, Joshua Whitcomb, Bardwell Slote, Mose, Davy Crockett, Pudd'nhead Wilson, and many others.

This advantage was similar in a small way to the tremendous advantage that the earliest Greek dramatists had in treating the elemental emotions; on the other hand, we earlier writers in America were liable to many errors, some of them actually childish, which the young dramatist of to-day, in constant association with his fellow playwrights, and placing his work almost in daily comparison with theirs, could not commit. To do so a man would have to be a much greater fool than were any of us; and the general improvement in the technical work of plays by young dramatists now, even plays that are essentially weak and which fail, is decided encouragement and satisfaction to one of my age who can look back over the whole movement.

The American dramatist of to-day, without those great and specially prominent American characters who stood, as it were, ready to go on the stage, has come to make a closer study of American society than his predecessors did. They are keen also in seizing strikingly marked new types in American life as they developed before the public from decade to decade.

A notable instance is the exploitation by Charles Klein of the present-day captain of industry in "The Lion and the Mouse." The leading character in the play is differentiated on the stage, as in life, from the Wall Street giant of about 1890, as illustrated in one of my own plays, "The Henrietta." Mr. Klein's character of the financial magnate has developed in this country since my active days of playwriting, and the younger dramatist was lying in wait, ready for him, and ready to seize his peculiarities for stage purposes.

Another thing is the fact that our dramatists are doing what our literary men have done, namely, availing themselves of the striking local peculiarities in various parts of the country. A marked illustration of this now before the public is Edward Milton Royle's "Squawman," recently at Wallack's Theatre. The dramatist has caught his picture just in the nick of time, just before the facts of life in the Indian Territory are passing away. He has preserved the picture for us as George W. Cable, the novelist, preserved pictures of Creole life of old New Orleans, made at the last possible moment.

I could go on mentioning many other plays illustrating phases of life and society in America, and there could be no better or more positive proof that a school of American dramatists already exists. This school will undoubtedly continue to improve in the technical quality of its work, exactly as it has done in the past, and probably with more rapidity.

The question has been discussed as to whether we are ever likely to produce an Ibsen or a Shaw, and under what conditions he would be received. As far as concerns what may happen in the future in the way of producing absolutely great dramatists and great plays, using the word 'great' in the international and historical sense, the opinion of anyone on that subject is mere guesswork and absolutely valueless.

The greatest drama in history was produced by Greece about four or five centuries before Christ, and for a few generations afterward. Since AEschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, Greece has scarcely given us anything. Aristophanes and Menander are of course remembered, but the writers who endeavoured to follow in the footsteps of the masters were of far inferior merit. The Roman Empire existed for nearly two thousand years without producing any drama of its own worthy of the name. The Romans were not a dramatic people. The works of the so-called Latin dramatists, such as those of Plautus and Terence, were mere imitations of the Greek.

France and England had sudden bursts of greatness followed by general mediocrity, with occasional great writers whose advent could not possibly have been predicted by anything in art preceding them. Even the exception to this in France, in the middle of the nineteenth century, was apparently a flash of light that disappeared almost as suddenly as it came. What is the use of posing as a prophet with such a record of the past? Anyone else is at liberty to do so. I would as soon act as harlequin. Was there any wise man in England who, twenty-four hours before that momentous event in April, 1564, could predict that a baby named William Shakespeare would be born the next day? To say that an American dramatist is to appear this year or in a thousand years who will make an epoch is simply ridiculous.

That Ibsen exercised and will exercise great influence on American dramatists there can be little doubt. His skill was no mere accident. He was the most finished development of the French school of the nineteenth century, as well as the most highly artificial individual dramatist of that school. I call it the strictly logical school of dramatic construction. I use the word 'artificial' in its more artistic sense, as opposed to the so-called natural school. His subjects of course were national, and not French. Whether his pessimism was national or personal, I have not been able to discover. It seemed to me that he was a pessimistic man dealing with a nation inclined to pessimism, but that had nothing to do with the technical qualities of the man any more than the national peculiarities of Denmark had to do with Thorvaldsen as a follower of Greek sculpture.

As to the policy of our theatre managers, I confess that they do follow each other; but it is simply because they think the leader they happen to be following has discovered a current of temporary popular taste. The authors have the same interest as the managers, and you will always find them watching the public taste in the same manner.

Occasionally an individual dramatist, and not always the best from a technical point of view, will develop such a strong personal bias as to write on subjects suggested by his own tastes, without any regard to the current of popular wishes. If he is a strong enough man he will become a leader of the public in his dramatic tastes. Sometimes in rare instances he will influence the public so decidedly that he compels the contemporary school of writers to follow him. This has been the case in all periods. I need not mention Shakespeare, as everything said about him is a matter of course.

Take the vile dramatic era of Charles II. Wycherley led the brutes, but Congreve came up and combatted with his brilliant comedies the vileness of the Restoration school, and Hallam says of him that he introduced decency to the stage that afterward drove his own comedies off it. A little after Congreve, the school, so to speak, for we have nothing but the school, was so stupid that it brought forth no great writers, and produced weak, sentimental plays. Then came Goldsmith, who wrote "She Stoops to Conquer" actually as a protest against the feeble sentimentality I have referred to. Richard Brinsley Sheridan was made possible by Goldsmith. We went on after that with a school of old comedies. When we speak of the "old comedies," I am not talking about Beaumont and Fletcher, nor Wycherley, nor Vanbrugh, nor even Congreve, but of the comedy of Goldsmith in the third quarter of the eighteenth century down to Bulwer Lytton's "Money" and Boucicault's "London Assurance," bringing us to about 1840. Then there swung a school of what we call the palmy days of old comedy, and in the '40's it dwindled to nothing, and England and America waited until the early '60's. Then came Tom Robertson with his so-called "tea-cup and saucer" school, which consisted of sententious dialogue, simple situations, conventional characterizations, and threads of plots, until Pinero and Jones put a stop to the Robertson fad.

This proves in my judgment that the school always starts by being shown what the popular taste is, and follows that, until some individual discovery that the popular taste is changed. The tendency of the school is always to become academic and fixed in its ideas—it is the individual who points to the necessary changes. Schools and these special individuals are interdependent.

As to the present comedies in America: in the first place, it is impossible as a rule to decide fully what are the tendencies of a school when one is living in the midst of its activities. There is no marked tendency now; and as far as I can see it is only the occasional man who discovers the tendency of the times. Pinero undoubtedly saw that the public was tired of the "tea-cup and saucer." Probably had he not thought so, he would have gone on in that school.

Undoubtedly more plays are written to order than are written on the mere impulse of authors, independently of popular demand. The "order" play simply represents the popular demand as understood by managers, and the meeting of that demand in each age produces the great mass of any nation's drama. So far from lowering the standard of dramatic writing, it is a necessary impulse in the development of any drama. It is only when the school goes on blindly without seeing a change in the popular taste that the occasional man I have spoken of comes on. When the work of the school is legitimately in line with the public taste, the merely eccentric dramatist is like Lord Dundreary's bird with a single feather that goes in a corner and flocks all by itself. He may be a strong enough man to attract attention to his individuality, and his plays may be really great in themselves, but his work has little influence on the development of the art. In fact, there is no development of the art except in the line of popular taste. The specially great men mentioned have simply discovered the changes in the popular taste, and to a certain extent perhaps guided it.[A]

[Footnote A: Originally published in "The Sunday Magazine" (New York) for October 7, 1906.]







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Evenings at 7:45 and Wednesday and Saturday Afternoon at 2.

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Written Expressly for the Boston Museum by BRONSON HOWARD, ESQ.







There will be no intermission between Acts THIRD and FOURTH

[Transcriber's note: Unreadable text.]


Charleston Harbor in 1861

After the ball. Residence of the Ellinghams.

The citizens of Charleston knew almost the exact hour at which the attack on Fort Sumter would begin, and they gathered in the gray twilight of the morning to view the bombardment as a spectacle.—NICOLAY, Campaigns of the Civil War, Vol. I.

"I shall open fire in one hour."—BEAUREGARD'S last message to MAJOR ANDERSON. Sent at 3:20 A.M., April 12, 1861.


The Ellingham Homestead in Virginia

When the Union Army under Gen. Sheridan and the Confederate Army under Gen. Early were encamped at Cedar Creek, almost twenty miles south of Winchester, there was a Confederate signal station on Three Top Mountain, overlooking both camps; [Transcriber's note: Unreadable] another, near the summit of North Mountain, on the opposite side of the valley.—Official Records and Maps.


No Intermission between these Acts.

The Shenandoah Valley. Night and Morning. Three Top mountain.

[Transcriber's note: Unreadable text.]

While the two armies lay opposite each other, General Sheridan was called to Washington. Soon after he left, a startling despatch was taken by our own Signal Officers from the Confederate Signal Station on Three Top Mountain.—POND, Camp. Civ. War, Vol. XI.

On the morning of October 19th, the Union Army was taken completely by surprise. Thoburn's position was swept in an instant. The men who escaped capture fled to the river. Gordon burst suddenly upon the left flank.—POND, supra.


Washington, 1826. Residence of Gen. Buckthorn.

From Gen. Grant's Memoirs.

"I feel that we are on the eve of a great era when there is to be great harmony between the Federal and Confederate."

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The Orchestra, under the direction of MR. GEORGE PURDY, will perform the following selections:—

1. Overture—Le Caid Ambroise Thomas 2. Waltz—Ruby Royal Louis Gregh 3. Selection—War Songs Arr. by George Purdy Introducing the following selections: Kingdom Coming, When This Cruel War Is Over, Babylon Is Fallen, [Transcriber's note: Unreadable text], The Vacant Chair, Tramp, Tramp, Johnny Comes Marching, Who Will Care For Mother Now? Tenting on the Old Camp Ground, Rally Round the Flag. 4. [Transcriber's note: Unreadable text] 5. March—[Transcriber's note: Unreadable text]

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Reprinted from a privately printed edition, by permission of the Society of American Dramatists and Composers, from a copy furnished by Samuel French. It is here to be noted that the Society of American Dramatists and Composers reserves all rights in "Shenandoah."


First produced at the Star Theatre, New York City, September 9, 1889.

GENERAL HAVERILL }Officers of{ Wilton Lackaye. COLONEL KERCHIVAL WEST }Sheridan's { Henry Miller. CAPTAIN HEARTSEASE }Cavalry { Morton Selton. LIEUTENANT FRANK BEDLOE } { G.W. Bailey.

MAJOR-GENERAL FRANCIS BUCKTHORN, Commander of the 19th Army Corps Harry Harwood.


COLONEL ROBERT ELLINGHAM, 10th Virginia Lucius Henderson.

CAPTAIN THORNTON, Secret Service, C.S.A. John E. Kellard.





MADELINE WEST Nanette Comstock.

JENNY BUCKTHORN, U.S.A. Effie Shannon.



CAPTAIN LOCKWOOD, U.S. Signal Corps C.C. Brandt.


BENSON Wm. Barnes.

OLD MARGERY Mrs. Haslam.

JANNETTE Esther Drew.


HAVERILL.—Act I. Full Evening Dress.—Acts 2 and 3. Uniform of Brigadier-General, U.S. Vol., 1864. Active Service, rough and war-worn.—Act 4. Civil Costume, Prince Albert, &c.

KERCHIVAL WEST.—Act I. Full Evening Dress.—Acts 2 and 3. Uniform of Colonel of Cavalry, U.S. Vol., 1864 (with cloak in Act 3). Active Service, rough and war-worn.—Act 4. Travelling.

CAPTAIN HEARTSEASE.—Act 2. Uniform of Captain of Cavalry, 1864; as neat and precise as is consistent with Active Service.—Act 4. Afternoon; Civil.

LIEUTENANT FRANK BEDLOE.—Act 2. Lieutenant of Cavalry, 1864; Active Service. He must have a full beard.—Act 3. Same, disarranged for wounded man on stretcher.

GENERAL BUCKTHORN.—Acts 2 and 3. Major-General, 1864. Active Service.—Act 3. Same.—Act 4. Civil. Afternoon.

SERGEANT BARKET.—Acts 2 and 3. Sergeant of Cavalry, U.S. Vol., 1864. Active Service.—Act 4. Plain undress uniform, sacque or jacket.

ROBERT ELLINGHAM.—Act I. Full Evening Dress.—Act 2. Confederate Colonel: Infantry, 1864. Active Service.—Act 4. Citizen; afternoon. Prince Albert (Gray).

EDWARD THORNTON.—Act I. Riding, but not present English Cut.—Act 2. First, Confederate Captain of Cavalry. Active Service. Second costume, same, in shirt sleeves and without hat or cap.

HARDWICK.—Uniform of Confederate Surgeon, 1864. Active Service.

CORPORAL DUNN.—Uniform of rank, Cavalry, U.S. Vol., 1864. Active Service.

BENSON.—Uniform of 2nd Corporal, Cavalry, U.S. Vol., 1864. Active Service.

LIEUTENANT OF INFANTRY.—Uniform of rank, U.S. Vol., 1864. Active Service.

MRS. HAVERILL.—Act I. Full evening ball dress.—Act 4. Mourning, but not too deep.

GERTRUDE ELLINGHAM.—Act I. Riding habit.—Act 2. First costume, afternoon at home; simple enough for the South during war. Second costume, picturesque and not conventional dress and hat for riding.—Act 3. First costume of Act 2, or similar.—Act 4. Neat travelling costume.

MADELINE WEST.—Act I. Full evening ball dress.—Act 2. Pretty afternoon costume.—Act 3. Same or walking.—Act 4. Afternoon costume at home.

JENNY BUCKTHORN.—Act 2. Pretty afternoon costume, with military cut, trimmings and general air.—Act 3. Same.—Act 4. Afternoon costume at home.

MRS. EDITH HAVERILL.—Young widow's costume.

OLD MARGERY.—Neat old family servant.

JANNETTE.—Young servant.


In ACT I, just before the opening of the war, HAVERILL is a Colonel in the Regular Army. KERCHIVAL WEST and ROBERT ELLINGHAM are Lieutenants in his regiment, having been classmates at West Point.



The citizens of Charleston knew almost the exact hour at which the attack on Fort Sumter would begin, and they gathered in the gray twilight of the morning to view the bombardment as a spectacle.—NICOLAY, Campaigns of the Civil War, Vol. I.

"I shall open fire in one hour."—BEAUREGARD'S last message to MAJOR ANDERSON. Sent at 3:20 A.M., April 12, 1861.


The Union Army, under General Sheridan, and the Confederate Army, under General Early, were encamped facing each other about twenty miles south of Winchester, on Cedar Creek. * * * General Sheridan was called to Washington. Soon after he left, a startling despatch was taken by our own Signal Officers from the Confederate Signal Station on Three Top Mountain.—POND, Camp. Civ. War, Vol. XI.

On the morning of October 19th, the Union Army was taken completely by surprise. Thoburn's position was swept in an instant. Gordon burst suddenly upon the left flank. The men who escaped capture streamed through the camps along the road to Winchester.—POND, supra.

Far away in the rear was heard cheer after cheer.—Three Years in the Sixth Corps.



I feel that we are on the eve of a new era, when there is to be great harmony between the Federal and Confederate.—GEN. GRANT'S Memoirs.




SCENE. A Southern Residence on the shore of Charleston Harbour. Interior.—Large double doors up centre, open. Large, wide window, with low sill. Veranda beyond the doors, and extending beyond window. A wide opening with corridor beyond. Furniture and appointments quaint and old-fashioned, but an air of brightness and of light; the general tone of the walls and upholstery that of the old Colonial period in its more ornamental and decorative phase, as shown in the early days of Charleston. Old candlesticks and candelabra, with lighted candles nearly burned down. Beyond the central doors and the window, there is a lawn with Southern foliage, extending down to the shores of the harbour; a part of the bay lies in the distance, with low-lying land beyond. The lights of Charleston are seen over the water along the shore. Moonlight. The gray twilight of early morning gradually steals over the scene as the Act progresses.

DISCOVERED, As the curtain rises KERCHIVAL WEST is sitting in a chair, his feet extended and his head thrown back, a handkerchief over his face. ROBERT ELLINGHAM strolls in on veranda, beyond window, smoking. He looks right, starts and moves to window; leans against the upper side of the window and looks across.

ELLINGHAM. Kerchival!

KERCHIVAL. [Under handkerchief.] Eh? H'm!

ELLINGHAM. Can you sleep at a time like this? My own nerves are on fire.

KERCHIVAL. Fire? Oh—yes—I remember. Any more fire-works, Bob?

ELLINGHAM. A signal rocket from one of the batteries, now and then. [Goes up beyond window. KERCHIVAL arouses himself, taking handkerchief from his eyes.

KERCHIVAL. What a preposterous hour to be up. The ball was over an hour ago, all the guests are gone, and it's nearly four o'clock. [Looks at his watch.] Exactly ten minutes of four. [Takes out a cigar..] Our Southern friends assure us that General Beauregard is to open fire on Fort Sumter this morning. I don't believe it. [Lighting cigar and rising, crosses and looks out through window.] There lies the old fort—solemn and grim as ever, and the flagstaff stands above it, like a warning finger. If they do fire upon it—[Shutting his teeth for a moment and looking down at the cigar in his hand.]—the echo of that first shot will be heard above their graves, and heaven knows how many of our own, also; but the flag will still float!—over the graves of both sides.

[ELLINGHAM enters up centre and comes down.]

Are you Southerners all mad, Robert?

ELLINGHAM. Are you Northerners all blind? [KERCHIVAL sits.] We Virginians would prevent a war if we could. But your people in the North do not believe that one is coming. You do not understand the determined frenzy of my fellow-Southerners. Look! [Pointing.] Do you see the lights of the city, over the water? The inhabitants of Charleston are gathering, even now, in the gray, morning twilight, to witness the long-promised bombardment of Fort Sumter. It is to be a gala day for them. They have talked and dreamed of nothing else for weeks. The preparations have become a part of their social life—of their amusement—their gayeties. This very night at the ball—here—in the house of my own relatives—what was their talk? What were the jests they laughed at? Sumter! War! Ladies were betting bonbons that the United States would not dare to fire a shot in return, and pinning ribbons on the breasts of their "heroes." There was a signal rocket from one of the forts, and the young men who were dancing here left their partners standing on the floor to return to the batteries—as if it were the night before another Waterloo. The ladies themselves hurried away to watch the "spectacle" from their own verandas. You won't see the truth! I tell you, Kerchival, a war between the North and South is inevitable!

KERCHIVAL. And if it does come, you Virginians will join the rest.

ELLINGHAM. Our State will be the battle-ground, I fear. But every loyal son of Virginia will follow her flag. It is our religion!

KERCHIVAL. My State is New York. If New York should go against the old flag, New York might go to the devil. That is my religion.

ELLINGHAM. So differently have we been taught what the word "patriotism" means!

KERCHIVAL. You and I are officers in the same regiment of the United States Regular Army, Robert; we were classmates at West Point, and we have fought side by side on the plains. You saved my scalp once; I'd have to wear a wig, now, if you hadn't. I say, old boy, are we to be enemies?

ELLINGHAM. [Laying his hand over his shoulder.] My dear old comrade, whatever else comes, our friendship shall be unbroken!

KERCHIVAL. Bob! [Looking up at him.] I only hope that we shall never meet in battle!

ELLINGHAM. In battle? [Stepping down front.] The idea is horrible!

KERCHIVAL. [Rising and crossing to him.] My dear old comrade, one of us will be wrong in this great fight, but we shall both be honest in it. [Gives hand, ELLINGHAM grasps it warmly, then turns away.

ELLINGHAM. Colonel Haverill is watching the forts, also; he has been as sad to-night as we have. Next to leaving you, my greatest regret is that I must resign from his regiment.

KERCHIVAL. You are his favourite officer.

ELLINGHAM. Naturally, perhaps; he was my guardian.

Enter HAVERILL. He walks down, stopping centre.

HAVERILL. Kerchival! I secured the necessary passports? to the North yesterday afternoon; this one is yours; I brought it down for you early in the evening. [KERCHIVAL takes paper. Goes to window.] I am ordered direct to Washington at once, and shall start with Mrs. Haverill this forenoon. You will report to Captain Lyon, of the 2d Regiment, in St. Louis. Robert! I have hoped for peace to the last, but it is hoping against hope. I feel certain, now, that the fatal blow will be struck this morning. Our old regiment is already broken up, and you, also, will now resign, I suppose, like nearly all your fellow-Southerners in the service.

ELLINGHAM. You know how sorry I am to leave your command, Colonel!

HAVERILL. I served under your father in Mexico; he left me, at his death, the guardian of you and your sister, Gertrude. Even since you became of age, I have felt that I stood in his place. But you must be your sister's only guardian now. Your father fell in battle, fighting for our common country, but you—

ELLINGHAM. He would have done as I shall do, had he lived. He was a Virginian!

HAVERILL. I am glad, Robert, that he was never called upon to decide between two flags. He never knew but one, and we fought under it together. [Exit.

ELLINGHAM. Kerchival! Something occurred in this house to-night which—which I shouldn't mention under ordinary circumstances, but I—I feel that it may require my further attention, and you, perhaps, can be of service to me. Mrs. Haverill, the wife of the Colonel—

KERCHIVAL. Fainted away in her room.

ELLINGHAM. You know?

KERCHIVAL. I was one of the actors in the little drama.


KERCHIVAL. About half-past nine this evening, while the ladies were dressing for the ball, I was going up-stairs; I heard a quick, sharp cry, sprang forward, found myself at an open door. Mrs. Haverill lay on the floor inside, as if she had just reached the door to cry for help, when she fell. After doing all the unnecessary and useless things I could think of, I rushed out of the room to tell your sister, Gertrude, and my own sister, Madeline, to go and take care of the lady. Within less than twenty minutes afterwards, I saw Mrs. Haverill sail into the drawing-room, a thing of beauty, and with the glow of perfect health on her cheek. It was an immense relief to me when I saw her. Up to that time I had a vague idea that I had committed a murder.


KERCHIVAL. M—m. A guilty conscience. Every man, of course, does exactly the wrong thing when a woman faints. When I rushed out of Mrs. Haverill's room, I left my handkerchief soaked with water upon her face. I must ask her for it; it's a silk one. Luckily, the girls got there in time to take it off; she wouldn't have come to if they hadn't. It never occurred to me that she'd need to breathe in my absence. That's all I know about the matter. What troubles you? I suppose every woman has a right to faint whenever she chooses. The scream that I heard was so sharp, quick and intense that—

ELLINGHAM. That the cause must have been a serious one.

KERCHIVAL. Yes! So I thought. It must have been a mouse.

ELLINGHAM. Mr. Edward Thornton has occupied the next room to that of Mrs. Haverill to-night.

KERCHIVAL. [Crosses quickly.] What do you mean?

ELLINGHAM. During the past month or more he has been pressing, not to say insolent, in his attentions to Mrs. Haverill.

KERCHIVAL. I've noticed that myself.

ELLINGHAM. And he is an utterly unscrupulous man; it is no fault of mine that he was asked to be a guest at this house to-night. He came to Charleston, some years ago, from the North, but if there are any vices and passions peculiarly strong in the South, he has carried them all to the extreme. In one of the many scandals connected with Edward Thornton's name, it was more than whispered that he entered a lady's room unexpectedly at night. But, as he killed the lady's husband in a duel a few days afterwards, the scandal dropped.

KERCHIVAL. Of course; the gentleman received ample satisfaction as an outraged husband, and Mr. Thornton apologized, I suppose, to his widow.

ELLINGHAM. He has repeated the adventure.

KERCHIVAL. Do—you—think—that?

ELLINGHAM. I was smoking on the lawn, and glanced up at the window; my eyes may have deceived me, and I must move cautiously in the matter; but it couldn't have been imagination; the shadow of Edward Thornton's face and head appeared upon the curtain.

KERCHIVAL. Whew! The devil!

ELLINGHAM. Just at that moment I, too, heard the stifled scream.


THORNTON. Gentlemen!

ELLINGHAM. Your name was just on my tongue, Mr. Thornton.

THORNTON. I thought I heard it, but you are welcome to it. Miss Gertrude has asked me to ride over to Mrs. Pinckney's with her, to learn if there is any further news from the batteries. I am very glad the time to attack Fort Sumter has come at last!

ELLINGHAM. I do not share your pleasure.

THORNTON. You are a Southern gentleman.

ELLINGHAM. And you are a Northern "gentleman."

THORNTON. A Southerner by choice; I shall join the cause.

ELLINGHAM. We native Southerners will defend our own rights, sir; you may leave them in our keeping. It is my wish, Mr. Thornton, that you do not accompany my sister.


ELLINGHAM. Her groom, alone, will be sufficient.

THORNTON. As you please, sir. Kindly offer my excuses to Miss Gertrude. You and I can chat over the subject later in the day, when we are alone. [Moving up stage.

ELLINGHAM. By all means, and another subject, also, perhaps.

THORNTON. I shall be entirely at your service.

[Exit and down on veranda.

ELLINGHAM. Kerchival, I shall learn the whole truth, if possible, to-day. If it is what I suspect—what I almost know—I will settle with him myself. He has insulted our Colonel's wife and outraged the hospitality of my friends. [Walking right.

KERCHIVAL. [Walking left.] I think it ought to be my quarrel. I'm sure I'm mixed up in it enough.

MADELINE. [Without, calling.] Kerchival!

ELLINGHAM. Madeline. [Aside, starting, KERCHIVAL looks across at him sharply.

KERCHIVAL. [Aside.] I distinctly saw Bob give a start when he heard Madeline. Now, what can there be about my sister's voice to make a man jump like that?

GERTRUDE. [Without.] Brother Robert!

KERCHIVAL. Gertrude! [Aside, starting, ELLINGHAM looks at him sharply.] How the tones of a woman's voice thrill through a man's soul!


MADELINE. Oh, Kerchival—here you are.

Enter GERTRUDE from apartment, in a riding habit, with whip, etc.

GERTRUDE. Robert, dear! [Coming down to ROBERT, they converse in dumb show.

MADELINE. Where are your field-glasses? I've been rummaging all through your clothes, and swords, and sashes, and things. I've turned everything in your room upside down.

KERCHIVAL. Have you?

MADELINE. I can't find your glasses anywhere. I want to look at the forts. Another rocket went up just now. [Runs and stands on piazza, looking off right.

KERCHIVAL. A sister has all the privileges of a wife to upset a man's things, without her legal obligation to put them straight again. [Glances at GERTRUDE.] I wish Bob's sister had the same privileges in my room that my own has.

GERTRUDE. Mr. Thornton isn't going with me, you say?

ELLINGHAM. He requested me to offer you his apologies.

KERCHIVAL. May I accompany you? [ELLINGHAM turns to window.

GERTRUDE. My groom, old Pete, will be with me, of course; there's no particular need of anyone else. But you may go along, if you like. I've got my hands full of sugar-plums for Jack. Dear old Jack—he always has his share when we have company. I'm going over to Mrs. Pinckney's to see if she's had any more news from General Beauregard; her son is on the General's staff.

MADELINE. [Looking off right.] There's another rocket from Fort Johnson; and it is answered from Fort Moultrie. Ah! [Angrily.] General Beauregard is a bad, wicked man! [Coming down.

GERTRUDE. Oh! Madeline! You are a bad, wicked Northern girl to say such a thing.

MADELINE. I am a Northern girl.

GERTRUDE. And I am a Southern girl. [They face each other.

KERCHIVAL. The war has begun. [Dropping into chair.

ELLINGHAM has turned from window; he strolls across, watching the girls.

GERTRUDE. General Beauregard is a patriot.

MADELINE. He is a Rebel.


MADELINE. Gertrude!—You—you—

GERTRUDE. Madeline!—You—



BOTH. O—O-h! [Bursting into tears and rushing into each other's arms, sobbing, then suddenly kissing each other vigorously.

KERCHIVAL. I say, Bob, if the North and South do fight, that will be the end of it.

GERTRUDE. I've got something to say to you, Madeline, dear. [Confidentially and turning with her arms about her waist. The girls sit, talking earnestly.

ELLINGHAM. Kerchival, old boy! There's—there's something I'd like to say to you before we part to-day.

KERCHIVAL. I'd like a word with you, also!

MADELINE. You don't really mean that, Gertrude—with me?

ELLINGHAM. I'm in love with your sister Madeline.

KERCHIVAL. The devil you are!

ELLINGHAM. I never suspected such a thing until last night.

GERTRUDE. Robert was in love with you six weeks ago.

[MADELINE kisses her.

KERCHIVAL. I've made a discovery, too, Bob.

MADELINE. I've got something to say to you, Gertrude.

KERCHIVAL. I'm in love with your sister.

ELLINGHAM. [Astonished.] You are?

MADELINE. Kerchival has been in love with you for the last three months. [GERTRUDE offers her lips—they kiss.

KERCHIVAL. I fell in love with her the day before yesterday. [The two gentlemen grasp each other's hand warmly.

ELLINGHAM. We understand each other, Kerchival. [He turns up centre, and stops at door.] Miss Madeline, you said just now that you wished to watch the forts. Would you like to walk down to the shore?

MADELINE. Yes! [Rising and going up to him. He takes one of her hands in his own and looks at her earnestly.

ELLINGHAM. This will be the last day that we shall be together for the present. But we shall meet again—sometime—if we both live.

MADELINE. If we both live! You mean—if you live: You must go into this dreadful war, if it comes.

ELLINGHAM. Yes, Madeline, I must. Come, let us watch for our fate.

[Exeunt on veranda.

KERCHIVAL. [Aside.] I must leave Charleston to-day. [Sighs.] Does she love me?

GERTRUDE. I am ready to start, Mr. West, when you are.

KERCHIVAL. Oh! Of course, I forgot. [Rising.] I shall be delighted to ride at your side.

GERTRUDE. At my side! [Rising.] There isn't a horse in America that can keep by the side of my Jack, when I give him his head, and I'm sure to do it. You may follow us. But you can hardly ride in that costume; while you are changing it, I'll give Jack his bonbons. [Turning to window.] There he is, bless him! Pawing the ground, and impatient for me to be on his back. Let him come, Pete. [Holding up bonbons at window]. I love you.

KERCHIVAL. Eh? [Turning suddenly.

GERTRUDE. [Looking at him.] What?

KERCHIVAL. You were saying—

GERTRUDE. Jack! [looking out. The head of a large black horse appears through the window.] You dear old fellow! [Feeds with bonbons.] Jack has been my boy ever since he was a little colt. I brought you up, didn't I, Jack? He's the truest, and kindest, and best of friends; I wouldn't be parted from him for the world, and I'm the only woman he'll allow to be near him.

KERCHIVAL. [Earnestly.] You are the only woman, Miss Gertrude, that I—

GERTRUDE. Dear Jack!

KERCHIVAL. [Aside.] Jack embarrasses me. He's a third party.

GERTRUDE. There! That will do for the present, Jack. Now go along with Pete! If you are a very good boy, and don't let Lieutenant Kerchival West come within a quarter of a mile of me, after the first three minutes, you shall have some more sugar-plums when we get to Mrs. Pinckney's. [An old negro leads the horse away. GERTRUDE looks around at KERCHIVAL.] You haven't gone to dress yet; we shall be late. Mrs. Pinckney asked a party of friends to witness the bombardment this morning, and breakfast together on the piazza while they are looking at it. We can remain and join them, if you like.

KERCHIVAL. I hope they won't wait for breakfast until the bombardment begins.

GERTRUDE. I'll bet you an embroidered cigar-case, Lieutenant, against a box of gloves, that it will begin in less than an hour.

KERCHIVAL. Done! You will lose the bet. But you shall have the gloves; and one of the hands that go inside them shall be—[Taking one of her hands; she withdraws it.

GERTRUDE. My own—until some one wins it. You don't believe that General Beauregard will open fire on Fort Sumter this morning?

KERCHIVAL. No; I don't.

GERTRUDE. Everything is ready.

KERCHIVAL. It's so much easier to get everything ready to do a thing than it is to do it. I have been ready a dozen times, this very night, to say to you, Miss Gertrude, that I—that I—[Pauses.

GERTRUDE. [Looking down and tapping skirt with her whip.] Well?

KERCHIVAL. But I didn't.

GERTRUDE. [Glancing up at him suddenly.] I dare say, General Beauregard has more nerve than you have.

KERCHIVAL. It is easy enough to set the batteries around Charleston Harbour, but the man who fires the first shot at a woman—


KERCHIVAL. At the American flag—must have nerves of steel.

GERTRUDE. You Northern men are so slow to—

KERCHIVAL. I have been slow; but I assure you, Miss Gertrude, that my heart—

GERTRUDE. What subject are we on now?

KERCHIVAL. You were complaining because I was too slow.

GERTRUDE. I was doing nothing of the kind, sir!—let me finish, please. You Northern men are so slow to believe that our Southern heroes—Northern men and Southern heroes—you recognize the distinction I make—you won't believe that they will keep their promises. They have sworn to attack Fort Sumter this morning, and—they—will do it. This "American Flag" you talk of is no longer our flag: it is foreign to us!—It is the flag of an enemy!

KERCHIVAL. [Tenderly and earnestly.] Am I your enemy?

GERTRUDE. You have told me that you will return to the North, and take the field.

KERCHIVAL. Yes, I will. [Decisively.

GERTRUDE. You will be fighting against my friends, against my own brother, against me. We shall be enemies.

KERCHIVAL. [Firmly.] Even that, Gertrude—[She looks around at him; he looks squarely into her eyes as he proceeds.]—if you will have it so. If my country needs my services, I shall not refuse them, though it makes us enemies! [She wavers a moment, under strong emotion, and turns away; sinks upon the seat, her elbow on the back of it, and her tightly-clenched fist against her cheek, looking away from him.

GERTRUDE. I will have it so! I am a Southern woman!

KERCHIVAL. We have more at stake between us, this morning, than a cigar-case and a box of gloves. [Turning up stage.

Enter MRS. HAVERILL from apartment.

MRS. HAVERILL. Mr. West! I've been looking for you. I have a favour to ask.

KERCHIVAL. Of me?—with pleasure.

MRS. HAVERILL. But I am sorry to have interrupted you and Gertrude. [Apart.] There are tears in your eyes, Gertrude, dear!

GERTRUDE. [Apart.] They have no right there.

MRS. HAVERILL. [Apart.] I'm afraid I know what has happened. A quarrel! and you are to part with each other so soon. Do not let a girl's coquetry trifle with her heart until it is too late. You remember the confession you made to me last night?

GERTRUDE. [Apart.] Constance! [Starting.] That is my secret; more a secret now than ever.

MRS. HAVERILL. [Apart.] Yes, dear; but you do love him. [GERTRUDE moves away.

GERTRUDE. You need not ride over with me, Mr. West.

KERCHIVAL. I can be ready in one moment.

GERTRUDE. I choose to go alone! Old Pete will be with me; and Jack, himself, is a charming companion.

KERCHIVAL. If you prefer Jack's company to mine—

GERTRUDE. I do. [Exit on veranda and down right.

KERCHIVAL. Damn Jack! But you will let me assist you to mount. [Exit after her.

MRS. HAVERILL. We leave for the North before noon, but every hour seems a month. If my husband should learn what happened in my room to-night, he would kill that man. What encouragement could I have given him? Innocence is never on its guard—but, [Drawing up.] the last I remember before I fell unconscious, he was crouching before me like a whipped cur! [Starts as she looks out of the window.] There is Mr. Thornton now—Ah! [Angrily.] No,—I must control my own indignation. I must keep him and Colonel Haverill from meeting before we leave Charleston. Edward Thornton would shoot my husband down without remorse. But poor Frank! I must not forget him, in my own trouble. I have but little time left to care for his welfare.


KERCHIVAL. You said I could do you a favour, Mrs. Haverill?

MRS. HAVERILL. Yes, I wanted to speak with you about General Haverill's son, Frank. I should like you to carry a message to Charleston for me, as soon as it is light. It is a sad errand. You know too well the great misfortune that has fallen upon my husband in New York.

KERCHIVAL. His only son has brought disgrace upon his family name, and tarnished the reputation of a proud soldier. Colonel Haverill's fellow-officers sympathize with him most deeply.

MRS. HAVERILL. And poor young Frank! I could hardly have loved the boy more if he had been my own son. If he had not himself confessed the crime against the bank, I could not have believed him guilty. He has escaped from arrest. He is in the city of Charleston. I am the only one in all the world he could turn to. He was only a lad of fourteen when his father and I were married, six years ago; and the boy has loved me from the first. His father is stern and bitter now in his humiliation. This note from Frank was handed to me while the company were here last evening. I want you to find him and arrange for me to meet him, if you can do it with safety. I shall give you a letter for him.

KERCHIVAL. I'll get ready at once; and I will do all I can for the boy. [Turning.

MRS. HAVERILL. And—Mr. West! Gertrude and Madeline have told me that—that—I was under obligations to you last evening.

KERCHIVAL. Don't mention it. I merely ran for them, and I—I'm very glad you didn't choke—before they reached you. I trust you are quite well now?

MRS. HAVERILL. I am entirely recovered, thank you. And I will ask another favour of you, for we are old friends. I desire very much that General Haverill should not know that—that any accident occurred to me to-night—or that my health has not been perfect.

KERCHIVAL. Certainly, madam!

MRS. HAVERILL. It would render him anxious without cause.

KERCHIVAL [Aside.] It looks as if Robert was right; she doesn't want the two men to meet.

Enter HAVERILL. A white silk handkerchief is in his hand.

HAVERILL. Constance, my dear, I've been all over the place looking for you. I thought you were in your room. But—by the way, Kerchival, this is your handkerchief; your initials are on it. [KERCHIVAL turns and stares at him a second. MRS. HAVERILL starts slightly and turns front. HAVERILL glances quickly from one to the other, then extends his hands toward KERCHIVAL, with the handkerchief. KERCHIVAL takes it. MRS. HAVERILL drops into chair.

KERCHIVAL. Thank you. [He exits with a quick glance back. HAVERILL looks at MRS. HAVERILL, who sits nervously looking away. He then glances after KERCHIVAL. A cloud comes over his face, and he stands a second in thought. Then, with a movement as if brushing away a passing suspicion, he smiles pleasantly and approaches MRS. HAVERILL; leans over her.

HAVERILL. My fair Desdemona! [Smiling.] I found Cassio's handkerchief in your room. Have you a kiss for me? [She looks up; he raises her chin with a finger and kisses her.] That's the way I shall smother you.

MRS. HAVERILL. [Rising and dropping her head upon his breast.] Husband!

HAVERILL. But what is this they have been telling me?

MRS. HAVERILL. What have they said to you?

HAVERILL. There was something wrong with you in the early part of the evening; you are trembling and excited, my girl!

MRS. HAVERILL. It was nothing, John; I—I—was ill, for a few moments, but I am well now.

HAVERILL. You said nothing about it to me.

MRS. HAVERILL. Do not give it another thought.

HAVERILL. Was there anything besides your health involved in the affair? There was. [Aside.] How came this handkerchief in her room?

MRS. HAVERILL. My husband! I do not want to say anything more—at—at present—about what happened to-night. There has never been a shadow between us—will you not trust me?

HAVERILL. Shadow! You stand in a bright light of your own, my wife; it shines upon my whole life—there can be no shadow there. Tell me as much or as little as you like, and in your own time. I am sure you will conceal nothing from me that I ought to know. I trust my honour and my happiness to you, absolutely.

MRS. HAVERILL. They will both be safe, John, in my keeping. But there is something else that I wish to speak with you about; something very near to your heart—your son!


MRS. HAVERILL. He is in Charleston.

HAVERILL. And not—in prison? To me he is nowhere. I am childless.

MRS. HAVERILL. I hope to see him to-day; may I not take him some kind word from you?

HAVERILL. My lawyers in New York had instructions to provide him with whatever he needed.

MRS. HAVERILL. They have done so, and he wants for nothing; he asks for nothing, except that I will seek out the poor young wife—only a girl herself—whom he is obliged to desert, in New York.

HAVERILL. His marriage was a piece of reckless folly, but I forgave him that.

MRS. HAVERILL. I am sure that it was only after another was dependent on him that the debts of a mere spendthrift were changed to fraud—and crime.

HAVERILL. You may tell him that I will provide for her.

MRS. HAVERILL. And may I take him no warmer message from his father?

HAVERILL. I am an officer of the United States Army. The name which my son bears came to me from men who had borne it with honour, and I transmitted it to him without a blot. He has disgraced it, by his own confession.

MRS. HAVERILL. I cannot forget the poor mother who died when he was born; her whose place I have tried to fill, to both Frank and to you. I never saw her, and she is sleeping in the old graveyard at home. But I am doing what she would do to-day, if she were living. No pride—no disgrace—could have turned her face from him. The care and the love of her son has been to me the most sacred duty which one woman can assume for another.

HAVERILL. You have fulfilled that duty, Constance. Go to my son! I would go with you, but he is a man now; he could not look into my eyes, and I could not trust myself. But I will send him something which a man will understand. Frank loves you as if you were his own mother; and I—I would like him to—to think tenderly of me, also. He will do it when he looks at this picture. [Taking a miniature from his pocket.


HAVERILL. I have never been without it one hour, before, since we were married. He will recognize it as the one that I have carried through every campaign, in every scene of danger on the Plains; the one that has always been with me. He is a fugitive from justice. At times, when despair might overcome him, this may give him nerve to meet his future life manfully. It has often nerved me, when I might have failed without it. Give it to him, and tell him that I send it. [Giving her the miniature.] I could not send a kinder message, and he will understand it. [Turning, stands a moment in thought. THORNTON appears at window, looking at them quietly over his shoulder, a cigar in his hand. MRS. HAVERILL sees him and starts with a suppressed breath, then looks at HAVERILL, who moves left. Aside.] My son! My son! We shall never meet again! [Exit in thought.

MRS. HAVERILL looks after him earnestly, then turns and looks at THORNTON, drawing up to her full height. THORNTON moves up stage, beyond window.

MRS. HAVERILL. Will he dare to speak to me again? [Enter THORNTON; he comes down quietly. He has thrown away cigar.

THORNTON. Mrs. Haverill! I wish to offer you an apology.

MRS. HAVERILL. I have not asked for one, sir!

THORNTON. Do you mean by that, that you will not accept one?

MRS. THORNTON. [Aside] What can I say? [Aloud.] Oh, Mr. Thornton!—for my husband's sake, I—

THORNTON. Ah! You are afraid that your husband may become involved in an unpleasant affair. Your solicitude for his safety, madame, makes me feel that my offense to-night was indeed unpardonable. No gentleman can excuse himself for making such a mistake as I have made. I had supposed that it was Lieutenant Kerchival West, who—

MRS. HAVERILL. What do you mean, sir?

THORNTON. But if it is your husband that stands between us—

MRS. HAVERILL. Let me say this, sir: whatever I may fear for my husband, he fears nothing for himself.

THORNTON. He knows? [Looking at her, keenly.] [Enter KERCHIVAL WEST, now in riding suit.] [He stops, looking at them.] You are silent. Your husband does know what occurred to-night; that relieves my conscience. [Lightly.] Colonel Haverill and I can now settle it between us.

MRS. HAVERILL. No, Mr. Thornton! My husband knows nothing, and, I beg of you, do not let this horrible affair go further. [Sees KERCHIVAL.

KERCHIVAL. Pardon me. [Stepping forward.] I hope I am not interrupting you. [Aside.] It was Thornton. [Aloud.] You said you would have a letter for me to carry, Mrs. Haverill.

MRS. HAVERILL. Yes, I—I will go up and write it at once. [Crosses; stops and looks back. Aside.] I wonder how much he overheard.

KERCHIVAL. [Quietly.] I suppose eight o'clock will be time enough for me to go?

MRS. HAVERILL. Oh, yes! [Glancing at him a moment.]—quite.

[Exit, through apartment.

KERCHIVAL. [Quietly.] Mr. Thornton! you are a scoundrel! Do I make myself plain?

THORNTON. You make the fact that you desire to pick a quarrel with me quite plain, sir; but I choose my own quarrels and my own enemies.

KERCHIVAL. Colonel Haverill is my commander, and he is beloved by every officer in the regiment.

THORNTON. On what authority, may I ask, do you—

KERCHIVAL. The honour of Colonel Haverill's wife is under our protection.

THORNTON. Under your protection? You have a better claim than that, perhaps, to act as her champion. Lieutenant Kerchival West is Mrs. Haverill's favourite officer in the regiment.

KERCHIVAL. [Approaching him.] You dare to suggest that I—

THORNTON. If I accept your challenge, I shall do so not because you are her protector, but my rival.

KERCHIVAL. Bah! [Striking him sharply on the cheek with glove. The two men stand facing each other a moment.] Is it my quarrel now?

THORNTON. I think you are entitled to my attention, sir.

KERCHIVAL. My time here is limited.

THORNTON. We need not delay. The Bayou La Forge is convenient to this place.

KERCHIVAL. I'll meet you there, with a friend, at once.

THORNTON. It will be light enough to see the sights of our weapons in about one hour. [They bow to each other, and THORNTON goes out.

KERCHIVAL. I've got ahead of Bob.

GERTRUDE. [Without.] Whoa! Jack! Old boy! Steady, now—that's a good fellow.

KERCHIVAL. She has returned. I must know whether Gertrude Ellingham loves me—before Thornton and I meet. He is a good shot.

GERTRUDE. [Without, calling.] O-h! Pete! You may take Jack to the stable. Ha—ha—ha! [Appears at window. To KERCHIVAL.] Old Pete, on the bay horse, has been doing his best to keep up with us; but Jack and I have led him such a race! Ha—ha—ha—ha! [Disappearing beyond the window.

KERCHIVAL. Does she love me?

GERTRUDE. [Entering and coming down.] I have the very latest news from the headquarters of the Confederate Army in South Carolina. At twenty minutes after three this morning General Beauregard sent this message to Major Anderson in Fort Sumter: "I shall open fire in one hour!" The time is up!—and he will keep his word! [Turning and looking out of the window. KERCHIVAL moves across to her.

KERCHIVAL. Gertrude! I must speak to you; we may never meet again; but I must know the truth. I love you. [Seizing her hand.] Do you love me? [She looks around at him as if about to speak; hesitates.] Answer me! [She looks down with a coquettish smile, tapping her skirt with her riding whip.] Well? [A distant report of a cannon, and low rumbling reverberations over the harbour. GERTRUDE turns suddenly, looking out. KERCHIVAL draws up, also looking off.

GERTRUDE. A low—bright—line of fire—in the sky! It is a shell. [A second's pause; she starts slightly.] It has burst upon the fort. [Looks over her shoulder at KERCHIVAL, drawing up to her full height.] Now!—do you believe that we Southerners are in deadly earnest?

KERCHIVAL. We Northerners are in deadly earnest, too. I have received my answer. We are—enemies! [They look at each other for a moment. [Exit KERCHIVAL.

GERTRUDE. Kerchival! [Moving quickly half across stage, looking after him eagerly; stops.] Enemies! [She drops into chair, sobbing bitterly. Another distant report, and low, long reverberations as the curtain descends.



SCENE. The Ellingham Homestead in the Shenandoah Valley. Exterior. Three Top Mountain in the distance. A corner of the house, with projecting end of veranda. Low wall extending up from veranda. A wide opening in the wall, with a low, heavy stone post, with flat top, on each side. Beyond the wall and opening, a road runs across stage. At the back of this road, elevation of rock and turf. This slopes up behind wood wing. It is level on the top about twelve feet; slopes down to road, and also out behind wood wings. The level part in the centre rises to about four feet above the stage. Beyond this elevation the distance is a broad valley, with Three Top Mountain rising on the right. Foliage appropriate to northern Virginia—walnut, cottonwood, &c. Rustic seats and table. Seat near veranda. A low rock near the stone post. Sunset when curtain rises. As the act proceeds this fades into twilight and then bright moonlight. The number references for the trumpet signals, in this and the next act, are to the official book, entitled "Cavalry Tactics, United States Army," published by D. Appleton & Co., N.Y., 1887. The number references for the Torch Signals, in this act, are to the General Service Code. This code may be found, with illustrations and instructions, in a book entitled "Signal Tactics," by Lieutenant Hugh T. Reed, U.S. Army, published by John Riley & Sons, N.Y., 1880. At rise of curtain, Trumpet Signal No. 34 or No. 35 is heard very distant. GERTRUDE and MADELINE discovered on elevation up center. GERTRUDE is shading her eyes with her hand and looking off. MADELINE stands a little below her, on the incline, resting her arm about GERTRUDE'S waist, also looking off.

GERTRUDE. It is a regiment of Union Cavalry. The Federal troops now have their lines three miles beyond us, and only a month ago the Confederate Army was north of Winchester. One army or the other has been marching up and down the Shenandoah Valley for three years. I wonder what the next change will be. We in Virginia have had more than our share of the war. [Looking off.

MADELINE. You have, indeed, Gertrude. [Walking down to seat.] And we at home in Washington have pitied you so much. But everybody says that there will be peace in the Valley after this. [Dropping into seat.

GERTRUDE. Peace! [Coming down.] That word means something very different to us poor Southerners from what it means to you.

MADELINE. I know, dear; and we in the North know how you have suffered, too. We were very glad when General Buckthorn was appointed to the command of the Nineteenth Army Corps, so that Jenny could get permission for herself and me to come and visit you.

GERTRUDE. The old General will do anything for Jenny, I suppose.

MADELINE. Yes. [Laughing.] We say in Washington that Jenny is in command of the Nineteenth Army Corps herself.

GERTRUDE. I was never more astonished or delighted in my life than when you and Jenny Buckthorn rode up, this morning, with a guard from Winchester; and Madeline, dear, I—I only wish that my brother Robert could be here, too. Do you remember in Charleston, darling—that morning—when I told you that—that Robert loved you?

MADELINE. He—[Looking down.]—he told me so himself only a little while afterwards, and while we were standing there, on the shore of the bay—the—the shot was fired which compelled him to enter this awful war—and me to return to my home in the North.

GERTRUDE. I was watching for that shot, too. [Turning.

MADELINE. Yes—[Rising.]—you and brother Kerchival—

GERTRUDE. We won't talk about that, my dear. We were speaking of Robert. As I told you this morning, I have not heard from him since the battle of Winchester, a month ago. Oh, Madeline! the many, many long weeks, like these, we have suffered, after some terrible battle in which he has been engaged. I do not know, now, whether he is living or dead.

MADELINE. The whole war has been one long suspense to me. [Dropping her face into her hands.

GERTRUDE. My dear sister! [Placing her arm about her waist and moving left.] You are a Northern girl, and I am a Rebel—but we are sisters. [They go up veranda and out. An OLD COUNTRYMAN comes in on a cane. He stops and glances back, raises a broken portion of the capstone of post, and places a letter under it. GERTRUDE has stepped back on veranda and is watching him. He raises his head sharply, looking at her and bringing his finger to his lips. He drops his head again, as with age, and goes out.

GERTRUDE moves down to stage and up to road, looks right and left, raises the broken stone, glancing back as she does so; takes letter and moves down.] Robert is alive! It is his handwriting! [Tears open the wrapper.] Only a line from him! and this—a despatch—and also a letter to me! Why, it is from Mrs. Haverill—from Washington—with a United States postmark. [Reads from a scrap of paper.]

"The enclosed despatch must be in the hands of Captain Edward Thornton before eight o'clock to-night. We have signaled to him from Three Top Mountain, and he is waiting for it at the bend in Oak Run. Our trusty scout at the Old Forge will carry it if you will put it in his hands."

The scout is not there, now; I will carry it to Captain Thornton myself. I—I haven't my own dear horse to depend on now; Jack knew every foot of the way through the woods about here; he could have carried a despatch himself. I can't bear to think of Jack; it's two years since he was captured by the enemy—and if he is still living—I—I suppose he is carrying one of their officers. No! Jack wouldn't fight on that side. He was a Rebel—as I am. He was one of the Black Horse Cavalry—his eyes always flashed towards the North. Poor Jack! my pet. [Brushing her eyes.] But this is no time for tears. I must do the best I can with the gray horse. Captain Thornton shall have the despatch. [Reads from note.]

"I also enclose a letter for you. I found it in a United States mail-bag which we captured from the enemy."

Oh—that's the way Mrs. Haverill's letter came—ha—ha—ha—by way of the Rebel Army! [Opens it; reads.]

"My Darling Gertrude: When Colonel Kerchival West was in Washington last week, on his way from Chattanooga, to serve under Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley, he called upon me. It was the first time I had seen him since the opening of the war. I am certain that he still loves you, dear." [She kisses the letter eagerly, then draws up.

It is quite immaterial to me whether Kerchival West still loves me or not. [Reads.

"I have kept your secret, my darling."—Ah! my secret!—"but I was sorely tempted to betray the confidence you reposed in me at Charleston. If Kerchival West had heard you say, as I did, when your face was hidden in my bosom, that night, that you loved him with your whole heart—"—Oh! I could bite my tongue out now for making that confession—[Looks down at letter with a smile.] "I am certain that he still loves you." [Trumpet Signal No. 41. Kisses the letter repeatedly. Trumpet Signal No. 41, louder than at first. She starts, listening.

JENNY BUCKTHORN runs in on the veranda.

JENNY. Do you hear, Gertrude, they are going to pass this very house. [Military band. "John Brown" playing in the distance. Chorus of Soldiers.] I've been watching them through my glass; it is Colonel Kerchival West's regiment.

GERTRUDE. [Eagerly, then coldly.] Colonel West's! It is perfectly indifferent to me whose regiment it is.

JENNY. Oh! Of course. [Coming down.] It is equally indifferent to me; Captain Heartsease is in command of the first troop. [Trumpet Signal No. 52.] Column right! [She runs up to road. Looks.] They are coming up the hill.

GERTRUDE. At my very door! And Kerchival West in command! I will not stand here and see them pass. The despatch for Captain Thornton! I will carry it to him as soon as they are gone. [Exit up veranda, the band and chorus increasing in volume.

JENNY. Cavalry! That's the branch of the service I was born in; I was in a fort at the time—on the Plains. Sergeant Barket always said that my first baby squall was a command to the garrison; if any officer or soldier, from my father down, failed to obey my orders, I court-martialed him on the spot. I'll make 'em pass in review. [Jumping up on the rustic seat.] Yes! [Looking off.] There's Captain Heartsease himself, at the head of the first troop. Draw sabre! [With parasol.] Present! [Imitating the action. Music. The band and chorus now full and loud; she swings parasol in time. Trumpet Signal No. 40. Band and chorus suddenly cease.] Halt! Why, they are stopping here. [Trumpet Signal No. 38.] Dismount! I—I wonder if they are going to—I do believe—[Looking left eagerly. Trumpet Signal No. 17.] Assembly of Guard Details! As sure as fate, they are going into camp here. We girls will have a jolly time. [Jumping down.] Ha—ha—ha—ha! Let me see. How shall I receive Captain Heartsease? He deserves a court-martial, for he stole my lace handkerchief—at Mrs. Grayson's reception—in Washington. He was called away by orders to the West that very night, and we haven't met since. [Sighs.] He's been in lots of battles since then; I suppose he's forgotten all about the handkerchief. We girls, at home, don't forget such things. We aren't in battles. All we do is to—to scrape lint and flirt with other officers.


HEARTSEASE. This way, Colonel Ellingham. [They enter. As they come down, HEARTSEASE stops suddenly, looking at JENNY; puts up his glasses.] Miss Buckthorn!

JENNY. Captain Heartsease!

HEARTSEASE. [Very quietly and with perfect composure.] I am thunderstruck. The unexpected sight of you has thrown me into a fever of excitement.

JENNY. Has it? [Aside.] If he gets so excited as that in battle, it must be awful. [Aloud.] Colonel Ellingham! [Crossing to him.

ELLINGHAM. Miss Buckthorn! You are visiting my sister? I am what may be called a visitor—by force—myself.

JENNY. Oh! You're a prisoner!

ELLINGHAM. I ventured too far within the Union lines to-night, and they have picked me up. But Major Wilson has kindly accepted my parole, and I shall make the best of it.

JENNY. Is Major Wilson in command of the regiment?

HEARTSEASE. Yes. Colonel West is to join us at this point, during the evening.

ELLINGHAM. I am very glad you are here, Miss Buckthorn, with Gertrude.

JENNY. Somebody here will be delighted to see you, Colonel.

ELLINGHAM. My sister can hardly be pleased to see me as a prisoner.

JENNY. Not your sister. [Passing him and crossing to veranda, turns and beckons to him. She motions with her thumb over her shoulder. He goes up the steps of the veranda and turns.

ELLINGHAM. What do you mean?

JENNY. I mean this—[Reaching up her face, he leans down, placing his ear near her lips.]—somebody else's sister! When she first sees you, be near enough to catch her.

ELLINGHAM. I understand you! Madeline! [Exit on veranda. JENNY runs up steps after him, stops and looks back at HEARTSEASE over the railing. HEARTSEASE takes a lace handkerchief from his pocket.

JENNY. I do believe that's my handkerchief. [A GUARD OF SENTRIES marches in and across stage in road. The CORPORAL in command orders halt and a SENTRY to post, then marches GUARD out. The SENTRY stands with his back to audience, afterwards moving out, appearing and disappearing during Act.

HEARTSEASE. Miss Buckthorn! I owe you an apology. After I left your side, the last time we met, I found your handkerchief in my possession. I assure you, it was an accident.

JENNY. [Aside, pouting.] I thought he intended to steal it. [Aloud.] That was more than a year ago. [Then brightly.] Do you always carry it with you?

HEARTSEASE. Always; there. [Indicating his left breast pocket.

JENNY. Next to his heart!

HEARTSEASE. Shall I return it to you?

JENNY. Oh, if a lace handkerchief can be of any use to you, Captain, during the hardships of a campaign—you—you may keep that one. You soldiers have so few comforts—and it's real lace.

HEARTSEASE. Thank you. [Returning handkerchief to his pocket.] Miss Buckthorn, your papa is in command of the Nineteenth Army Corps. He doesn't like me.

JENNY. I know it.

HEARTSEASE. But you are in command of him,

JENNY. Yes; I always have been.

HEARTSEASE. If ever you decide to assume command of any other man, I—I trust you will give me your orders.

JENNY. [Aside, starting back.] If that was intended for a proposal, it's the queerest-shaped one I ever heard of. [Aloud.] Do you mean, Captain, that—that you—I must command myself now. [Shouldering her parasol.] 'Bout—face! March! [Turning squarely around, marches up and out on veranda.

HEARTSEASE. I have been placed on waiting orders. [Stepping up and looking after her; then very quietly and without emotion.] I am in an agony of suspense. The sight of that girl always arouses the strongest emotions of my nature.

[Enter COLONEL KERCHIVAL WEST, looking at paper in his hand. The SENTINEL, in road, comes to a salute.]

Colonel West!


HEARTSEASE. You have rejoined the regiment sooner than we expected.

KERCHIVAL. [Looking at paper.] Yes; General Haverill is to meet me here at seven o'clock. Major Wilson tells me that some of your company captured Colonel Robert Ellingham, of the Tenth Virginia.

HEARTSEASE. He is here under parole.

KERCHIVAL. And this is the old Ellingham homestead. [Aside.] Gertrude herself is here, I suppose; almost a prisoner to me, like her brother; and my troops surround their home. She must, indeed, feel that I am her enemy now. Ah, well, war is war. [Aloud.] By the bye, Heartsease, a young Lieutenant, Frank Bedloe, has joined our troop?

HEARTSEASE. Yes; an excellent young officer.

KERCHIVAL. I sent for him as I came through the camp. Lieutenant Frank "Bedloe" is the son of General Haverill.

HEARTSEASE. Indeed! Under an assumed name!

KERCHIVAL. He was supposed to have been killed in New Orleans more than a year ago; but he was taken prisoner instead. [Looking left.

HEARTSEASE. He is here.

KERCHIVAL. I should never have known him—with his full beard and bronzed face. His face was as smooth as a boy's when I last met him in Charleston.

Enter LIEUTENANT FRANK BEDLOE; he stops, saluting.

FRANK. You wished me to report to you, Colonel?

KERCHIVAL. You have been assigned to the regiment during my absence.

FRANK. Yes, sir. [KERCHIVAL moves to him and grasps his hand; looks into his eyes a moment before speaking.

KERCHIVAL. Frank Haverill.

FRANK. You—you know me, sir?

KERCHIVAL. I saw Mrs. Haverill while I was passing through Washington on Saturday. She told me that you had escaped from prison in Richmond, and had re-entered the service. She did not know then that you had been assigned to my regiment. I received a letter from her, in Winchester, this morning, informing me of the fact, and asking for my good offices in your behalf. But here is the letter. [Taking letter from wallet and giving it to him.] It is for you rather than for me. I shall do everything I can for you, my dear fellow.

FRANK. Thank you, sir. [Opens letter, dropping the envelope upon the table.] Kind, thoughtful and gentle to my faults, as ever—[Looking at the letter.]—and always thinking of my welfare. My poor little wife, too, is under her protection. Gentlemen, I beg of you not to reveal my secret to my father.

KERCHIVAL. General Haverill shall know nothing from us, my boy; you have my word for that.


KERCHIVAL. And he cannot possibly recognize you. What with your full beard, and thinking as he does, that you are—

FRANK. That I am dead. I am dead to him. It would have been better if I had died. Nothing but my death—not even that—can wipe out the disgrace which I brought upon his name.

HEARTSEASE. [Looking right.] General Haverill has arrived.


FRANK. My father!

HAVERILL. [Exchanging salutes with the three officers. He turns to the STAFF OFFICER, giving him a paper and brief instructions in dumb show. The OFFICER goes out over the incline. Another STAFF OFFICER enters, salutes and hands him a paper, then stands up stage.] Ah! The men are ready. [Looking at the paper. Then to KERCHIVAL.] Colonel! I have a very important matter to arrange with you; there is not a moment to be lost. I will ask Captain Heartsease to remain. [FRANK salutes and starts up stage; HAVERILL looks at him, starting slightly; raises his hand to detain him.] One moment; your name!

HEARTSEASE. Lieutenant Bedloe, General, of my own troop, and one of our best officers. [HAVERILL steps to FRANK, looking into his face a moment.

HAVERILL. Pardon me! [Stepping down stage. FRANK moves up, stops and looks back at him. HAVERILL stands a moment in thought, covers his face with one hand, then draws up.] Colonel West! We have a most dangerous piece of work for a young officer—[FRANK starts joyfully.]—to lead a party of men, whom I have already selected. I cannot order an officer to undertake anything so nearly hopeless; he must be a volunteer.

FRANK. Oh, sir, General! Let me be their leader.

HAVERILL. I thought you had passed on.

FRANK. Do not refuse me, sir. [HAVERILL looks at him a moment. HEARTSEASE and KERCHIVAL exchange glances.

HAVERILL. You are the man we need, my young friend. You shall go. Listen! We wish to secure a key to the cipher despatches, which the enemy are now sending from their signal station on Three Top Mountain. There is another Confederate Signal Station in the Valley, just beyond Buckton's Ford. [Pointing.] Your duty will be this: First, to get inside the enemy's line; then to follow a path through the woods, with one of our scouts as your guide; attack the Station suddenly, and secure their code, if possible. I have this moment received word that the scout and the men are at the fort, now, awaiting their leader. Major McCandless, of my staff, will take you to the place. [Indicating the STAFF OFFICER. FRANK exchanges salutes with him.] My young friend! I do not conceal from you the dangerous nature of the work on which I am sending you. If—if you do not return, I—I will write, myself, to your friends. [Taking out note-book.] Have you a father living?

FRANK. My—father—is—is—he is—

HAVERILL. I understand you. A mother? Or—

KERCHIVAL. I have the address of Lieutenant Bedloe's friends, General.

HAVERILL. I will ask you to give it to me, if necessary. [Extends his hand.] Good-bye, my lad. [FRANK moves to him. HAVERILL grasps his hand, warmly.] Keep a brave heart and come back to us. [FRANK moves up stage. Exit STAFF OFFICER.

FRANK. He is my father still. [Exit.

HAVERILL. My dead boy's face! [Dropping his face into both hands.

HEARTSEASE. [Apart to KERCHIVAL.] He shall not go alone. [Aloud.] General! Will you kindly give me leave of absence from the command?

HAVERILL. Leave of absence! To an officer in active service—and in the presence of the enemy?

KERCHIVAL. [Taking hand of HEARTSEASE. Apart.] God bless you, old fellow! Look after the boy.

HAVERILL. A—h—[With a sudden thought, turns.] I think I understand you, Captain Heartsease. Yes; you may have leave of absence.

HEARTSEASE. Thank you. [Salutes. HAVERILL and KERCHIVAL salute. Exit HEARTSEASE.

KERCHIVAL. Have you any further orders for me, General?

HAVERILL. I wish you to understand the great importance of the duty to which I have just assigned this young officer. General Sheridan started for Washington this noon, by way of Front Royal. Since his departure, we have had reason to believe that the enemy are about to move, and we must be able to read their signal despatches, if possible. [Sitting.] I have ordered Captain Lockwood, of our own Signal Corps, to report to you here, with officers and men. [Takes up the empty envelope on table, unconsciously, as he speaks, tapping it on the table.] If Lieutenant Bedloe succeeds in getting the key to the enemy's cipher, we can signal from this point—[Pointing to elevation.]—to our station at Front Royal. Men and horses are waiting there now, to carry forward a message, if necessary, to General Sheridan himself. [He starts suddenly, looking at the envelope in his hand; reads address. Aside.] "Colonel Kerchival West"—in my wife's handwriting.

KERCHIVAL. I'll attend to your orders.

HAVERILL. Postmarked at Washington, yesterday. [Reads.] "Private and confidential." [Aloud.] Colonel West! I found a paragraph, to-day, in a paper published in Richmond, taken from a prisoner. I will read it to you. [Takes newspaper slip from his wallet and reads.]

"From the Charleston Mercury. Captain Edward Thornton, of the Confederate Secret Service, has been assigned to duty in the Shenandoah Valley. Our gallant Captain still bears upon his face the mark of his meeting, in 1861, with Lieutenant, now Colonel Kerchival West, who is also to serve in the Valley, with Sheridan's Army. Another meeting between these two men would be one of the strange coincidences of the war, as they were at one time, if not indeed at present, interested in the same beautiful woman." [Rises.]

I will ask you to read the last few lines, yourself. [Hands KERCHIVAL the slip.

KERCHIVAL. [Reading.] "The scandal connected with the lovely wife of a Northern officer, at the opening of the war, was overshadowed, of course, by the attack on Fort Sumter; but many Charlestonians will remember it. The lady in defense of whose good name Captain Thornton fought the duel"—he defending her good name!—"is the wife of General Haverill, who will be Colonel West's immediate commander." [He pauses a moment, then hands back the slip.] General! I struck Mr. Thornton, after a personal quarrel.

HAVERILL. And the cause of the blow? There is much more in this than I have ever known of. I need hardly say that I do not accept the statement of this scandalous paragraph as correct. I will ask you to tell me the whole story, frankly, as man to man.

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