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The White Christmas and other Merry Christmas Plays
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THE WHITE CHRISTMAS

AND OTHER

MERRY CHRISTMAS PLAYS

BY

WALTER BEN HARE

AUTHOR OF THE PLAYS

"Aaron Boggs, Freshman," "Abbu San of Old Japan," "Civil Service," "A College Town," "Kicked Out of College," "Macbeth a la Mode," "Mrs. Tubbs of Shantytown," "Parlor Matches," "A Poor Married Man," "My Irish Rose," "A Rustic Romeo," "Savageland," "A Southern Cinderella," etc.

ILLUSTRATED BY

BUCKTON NENDICK

CHICAGO T.S. DENISON & COMPANY PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHT, 1917 BY EBEN H. NORRIS

MADE IN U.S.A.



THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED

WITH THE BEST WISHES OF THE AUTHOR

TO

FRANCES MAAS ULLMANN

THE ORIGINAL

"ANITA"

AND

LUDWIG BLOCK ULLMANN

THE ORIGINAL

"JOLLY JACK FROST"

* * * * *

"I have always thought of Christmas time ... as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time ... when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely ...; and I say, God bless it!"

CHARLES DICKENS.



FOREWORD

In these little plays I have tried to bring before the public the two dominant characteristics of the ideal Christmas season, kindness, expressed by "good will toward men," and the inward joy wrought by kind acts, and suggested by "peace on earth." As Yuletide draws near we like to think of the swell of Christmas feeling, kindness, peace and good will, that rises like a mighty tide over the world, filling it with the fresh, clean joys and generous impulses that produce the peace that passeth understanding.

Some of the plays are filled with the spirit of fun and jollity that is always associated with Christmas merrymaking; in others I have tried to emphasize the spiritual blessings brought to the children of men on that first white Christmas night when Christ, the Lord, was born in Bethlehem, and all the angels sang, "Gloria in excelsis, peace on earth, good will toward men."

CHILDREN IN PLAYS.

The love of mimetic representation, either as a participant or as a spectator, is an ineradicable instinct of childhood and adolescence. Most of these plays call for a somewhat large number of children. This need not daunt the producer as the chief characters are few and many of the parts have very few lines to speak. Many extra children may be introduced in several of the plays, as a chorus. At Christmas time, the children's season, it is best to allow all who so desire to take part in the entertainment. Some of the parts are rather long, but all have been played by children of the age indicated in the text. Very little children have sometimes done remarkable work in the plays. I remember one instance when a very tiny Tiny Tim, who was not four years old, spoke his part correctly, was heard in every corner of the church and acted with a naturalness that was indeed remarkable.

REHEARSALS.

First and foremost, do not over-rehearse your play. The chief charm in Christmas plays lies in their naturalness and simplicity, a part of which is almost sure to be lost if they have rehearsed the play until they have lost their wonder and excitement and enjoyment in the make-believe game of amateur theatricals.

The director's aim should be to establish a happy co-operation with the players that will make the whole production, rehearsals, dress rehearsals and final performance, a series of good times crowned by a happy, if not perfect, production. The director should always strive to be cheerful and happy, ever ready to give advice and ever ready to ask for advice, even from the youngest players. Take them into your confidence. Discuss color schemes, costuming, property making, lighting and scenic effects with your actors.

At the first rehearsal have the children listen to a reading of the play. Then read a short scene in detail, allowing each actor to read several parts. Try every child in every child's part before you make your final selection of the cast of characters. If it is possible, begin your second rehearsal on the stage where the play is to be given. Arrange chairs to represent entrances, doors, windows, etc., and have all properties on hand, in order to impress on the children's minds the necessity of learning the words and the action at the same time. At the third rehearsal the play should be given in its entirety, music, gestures, entrances, exits, groupings and crossing from one side of the stage to another at a given cue, etc. In fact, everything as in the completed production, except that the actors may use their copies of the play for reading the lines.

DELAYS.

The director should make every effort to guard against stage waits and delays of every sort. Have your stage hands, prompter, property managers, scene painters and all your assistants on hand at every rehearsal, if possible. Long waits between the acts, tardiness in beginning the performance, and all delays do much to destroy an otherwise happy impression. Every piece of scenery, every costume, every bit of make-up and every property should be in its place—all ready to make a smooth final performance. Dress rehearsals are absolutely necessary. The last two rehearsals should be complete performances of the play with lights, curtains, costumes, make-up, scenery and all incidentals exactly as they are to be on the night of the performance.

With such preparation, scarcely anything is impossible of attainment. The pleasure of the work and the pride in a production well done will amply repay an ungrudging lavishment of time and labor.

WALTER BEN HARE.

Drury College, Springfield, Mo.

* * * * *

STAGE DIRECTIONS.

Stage directions are purposely simplified and few abbreviations used. R. means right of the stage: C., center; L., left, etc. The actor is supposed to be facing the audience.

MUSIC.

Music is provided for a few of the songs in this book. The others are to be sung to old airs that are presumably familiar to everyone. If any of them should prove unfamiliar, the music of all except some of the hymns will be found in Denison's "Songs Worth While," one of the best arranged and most carefully edited collections of old favorites ever published. This book is beautifully printed on non-glossy paper, measuring 7 by 10-1/4 inches, and is well bound in a stout paper cover done in colors. It may be obtained from the publishers for the price of $1.00, postpaid.

For all the hymns not included in "Songs Worth While," see any standard church hymnal.



CONTENTS

The White Christmas (8 Male, 7 Female Adults) 13

Anita's Secret or Christmas in the Steerage (1 Male Adult, 9 Boys, 7 Girls) 49

Christmas With the Mulligan's (2 Female Adults, 5 Boys, 5 Girls) 93

The Wishing Man (4 Male Adults, 13 Boys, 7 Girls) 131

A Christmas Carol or the Miser's Yuletide Dream (10 Male, 5 Female Adults, 4 Boys, 4 Girls) 167

Her Christmas Hat (4 Male, 5 Female Adults) 203



THE WHITE CHRISTMAS



THE WHITE CHRISTMAS

A CHRISTMAS MORALITY PLAY IN ONE ACT.

Originally produced by the Quadrangle Club of the University of Missouri, Christmas Eve, 1909.

CHARACTERS.

MARY The Maiden Mother JOSEPH Of the House of David SIMEON An Old Shepherd TIMOTHY A Shepherd, the Husband of Anna ISAAC A Young Shepherd ANNA The Wife of Timothy, the Shepherd THOMAS Her Little Son RUTH Her Little Daughter DEBORAH Hostess of an Inn at Bethlehem RACHEL A Maiden of Bethlehem PRISCILLA Her Cousin MELCHOIR } GASPAR } The Wise Men from the East. BALTASAR }

A Concealed Choir. The Prologue.

For description of costumes, arrangement of the scene, etc., see "Remarks on the Production" at the end of the play.

TIME OF PLAYING—About One Hour.

* * * * *

SCENE I: Before the play begins the PROLOGUE steps in front of the curtains and addresses the congregation.

PROLOGUE.

The earth has grown old with its burden of care, But at Christmas it always is young, The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair, And its soul, full of music, bursts forth on the air, When the song of the angels is sung.

It is coming, Old Earth, it is coming tonight! On the snowflakes which cover thy sod The feet of the Christ Child fall gentle and white, And the voice of the Christ Child tells out with delight, That mankind are the children of God.

On the sad and the lonely, the wretched and poor, The voice of the Christ Child shall fall; And to every blind wanderer open the door Of hope that he dared not to dream of before, With a sunshine of welcome for all.

Phillips Brooks.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife....

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

(Exit PROLOGUE.)

(Soft chimes. As these chimes die away in the distance a concealed choir is heard singing.)

O COME, COME, AWAY.

O come, come away From labor now reposing, Let busy care a while forbear; O come, come away.

(The front curtains are drawn, showing a winter street in Bethlehem. No one appears on the stage, but the choir continues singing outside at right front.)

Come, come, our social joys renew, And thus where trust and friendship grew, Let true hearts welcome you, O come, come away.

RACHEL and PRISCILLA enter from the inn at right front, arm in arm. They go to the center, then to the rear of the stage, turn and face the inn, pause a moment or two, listening to the choir, and then go out at rear left. The choir continues:

From toils and the cares On which the day is closing, The hour of eve brings sweet reprieve, O come, come away. O come where love will smile on thee, And round its hearth will gladness be, And time fly merrily, O come, come away.

While the choir is singing the last three lines of the song, SIMEON and ISAAC enter from rear left, leaning on their shepherd's crooks. They pause at rear center and listen to the singing. When the song is finished the organ continues the same music softly.

SIMEON. Make haste, my son, the hour is waxing late, The night is cold, methinks our sheep await.

ISAAC. Nay gran'ther, I would liefer tarry here. The town is gay, the inns are full of cheer.

SIMEON (points to rear right). But there our duty lies, the wind grows cold! Come, let's away and put the sheep in fold.

(Starts off right.)

ISAAC. Nay, Simeon, wait! What means this crowd of men And women here in peaceful Bethlehem?

SIMEON (comes to him). Herod the King hath issued a decree That each and all his subjects taxed be; And every one who in this town saw light Must here return and register tonight. From all Judea, aye, from th' distant land, Each Bethlehemite must come at his command.

ISAAC (comes to the doorway of the inn and peers in). The town is full of people, great and small, Each inn is crowded to its very wall.

SIMEON (comes down center and takes his arm). But come, we're wasting time, 'tis very late. Make haste, my son, I know the flocks await!

ISAAC. Thou speakest true, though I would rather stay, Our duty calls, so to the hills, away!

(They go out at rear right.)

The concealed choir repeats the first stanza of the song softly. After a slight pause DEBORAH enters from the inn.

DEBORAH (coming down to right front). My inn is crowded to the doors. The heat Is stifling, but out here the air is sweet.

(Looks upward.)

The bright stars twinkle with mysterious light, Methinks there's something strange about the night.

She sits on the bench in front of the inn. TIMOTHY enters from rear left. DEBORAH continues her soliloquy.

The air is still, the night is very cold, The shepherds seek the hills to watch the fold.

(Sees him.)

(TIMOTHY goes out at rear R.)

DEBORAH. Some strange, unearthly voice seems calling me, Methinks this night portends great things to be.

Enter RACHEL and PRISCILLA from rear right, then come down center and address the hostess.

RACHEL. Hail, hostess of the inn, my cousin here Hath lodgings at your inn. We'd seek its cheer.

DEBORAH (rises). Enter within. My guests tonight are gay And fain would turn this winter's night to day.

RACHEL and PRISCILLA enter the inn, followed by DEBORAH. The organ music continues softly. After a slight pause enter ANNA from rear left. She leads RUTH and THOMAS by the hand.

THOMAS (at rear center). Oh, mother, hark! There's music in the inn!

ANNA. 'Tis not for us—their noise and merry din.

RUTH. Our little town is crowded, joyous, gay.

THOMAS. So many travelers came this way today.

RUTH. The night is chill and cold, I much do fear The little sheep will shiver by the mere.

ANNA. Too cold it is for thee, I fear, in truth, Return and get thy cloak, my little Ruth. We'll wait for thee upon the little hill.

(Points off R.)

But speed thy steps, the cold will work thee ill.

RUTH. I'll fly, dear mother, like an arrow home.

(Runs out at L.)

ANNA. We must not tarry. Come, my Thomas, come!

(She leads him out at rear R. There is a pause. The music changes to a mysterious plaintive air. The old German song, Holy Night, may be effectively introduced as an organ solo.)

Enter from rear right, JOSEPH, walking with a staff and supporting MARY.

MARY. Here is a place, now I must rest awhile! For many a league, for many a weary mile, We've trudged along since break of day began.

JOSEPH. 'Tis true, and I'm an old and ancient man, My joints are stiff, my bones are waxing old— And the long night is bitter, bitter cold. Here take my cloak and keep thee warm within, And wait thee here while I search out an inn.

(He wraps his cloak around her and seats her on the bench or stool in front of the manger. He goes out at rear left. The music changes to the Magnificat, to be found in all Episcopal hymnals.)

MARY (sings). My soul doth magnify the Lord: and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded: the lowliness of his handmaiden. For behold, from henceforth: all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty has magnified me: and holy is his Name. And his mercy is on them that fear him: throughout all generations. He hath showed strength with his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away. He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel: as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, forever.

Enter JOSEPH from rear L.

JOSEPH. For hours I've trudged the street in fruitless quest, Here is an inn, mayhap at last we'll rest.

Enter DEBORAH from the inn.

MARY. Husband, I'm faint; I can no farther go. Methinks I'll rest me here upon this loe.

(Sits in front of the manger.)

JOSEPH (assisting her). Have courage, Mary, here's the hostess here.

(Comes to DEBORAH at right.)

We'd lodge with thee tonight.

DEBORAH. Alas, I fear My inn is crowded to the very wall, Soldiers and scribes, the rich, the great, the small!

JOSEPH. Is there room for us? My wife is ill.

DEBORAH. My heart is sad and it is not my will To send you hence, but naught is left to do. Perhaps some other inn will shelter you.

JOSEPH. Alas, the other inns are all the same!

DEBORAH. Never was seen the like in Bethlehem.

(Laughter and noise at R.)

My guests are merry, hear their jovial din!

(Goes to R.)

I pity you, there's no room at the inn.

(Exits into the inn.)

MARY. Our last hope gone! Now, what shall we do? My strength is leaving!

(Bows head.)

JOSEPH. Would I could succor you. I'll wrap thee warm. Now rest thee here a while. We've traveled far, full many a weary mile.

Enter RUTH from rear L., hurrying along.

JOSEPH. Maiden, I fain would stop thee in thy flight— Can'st tell where we could lodge this winter night?

RUTH. That inn is crowded. There's one upon the hill.

JOSEPH. I've tried them all, my wife is very ill.

RUTH. That little stable there upon the loe,

(Points to L front.)

'Tis snug and warm. 'Twill shield thee from the snow.

MARY (rises). God's blessing on thy little head, sweet child! Come, Joseph, for the wind now waxes wild.

(Exits L. front.)

(JOSEPH leads her to exit L., then turns and looks off R.)

JOSEPH.

O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep The silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth

(Turns toward manger.)

The everlasting Light; The hopes and fears of all the years Are met in thee tonight.

(RUTH stands at rear C., watching him.)

The curtains slowly fall.

Scene II: Hymn by the congregation.

WHILE SHEPHERDS WATCHED THEIR FLOCKS.

While shepherds watched their flocks by night, All seated on the ground. The angel of the Lord came down, And glory shone around, And glory shone around.

"Fear not," said he,—for mighty dread Had seized their troubled mind, "Glad tidings of great joy I bring, To you and all mankind, To you and all mankind."

"To you in David's town this day, Is born of David's line, The Saviour, who is Christ, the Lord, And this shall be the sign, And this shall be the sign."

"The heav'nly babe you there shall find To human view displayed, All meanly wrapped in swathing bands, And in a manger laid, And in a manger laid."

Thus spake the seraph—and forthwith Appeared a shining throng Of angels, praising God, who thus Addressed their joyful song, Addressed their joyful song:—

"All glory be to God on high, And to the earth be peace; Good will henceforth, from heav'n to men, Begin and never cease, Begin and never cease."

The PROLOGUE appears before the curtains and speaks.

PROLOGUE.

There's scarlet holly on the streets, and silver mistletoe; The surging, jeweled, ragged crowds forever come and go. And here a silken woman laughs, and there a beggar asks— And, oh, the faces, tense of lip, like mad and mocking masks. Who thinks of Bethlehem today, and one lone winter night? Who knows that in a manger-bed there breathed a Child of Light?

There's fragrant scent of evergreen upon the chilling air; There's tinsel tawdriness revealed beneath the sunlight's glare; There's Want and Plenty, Greed and Pride—a hundred thousand souls, And, oh, the weary eyes of them, like dull and sullen coals. Who knows the town of Bethlehem, once gleamed beneath the star, Whose wondrous light the shepherds saw watching their flocks afar?

And yet above the city streets, above the noise and whir, There seems to come a fragrant breath of frankincense and myrrh. I saw a woman, bent and wan, and on her face a light The look that Mary might have worn that other Christmas night. And as the little children passed, and one lad turned and smiled, I saw within his wistful eyes the spirit of the Child.

Caroline Reynolds.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known to us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. (Exit PROLOGUE at L.)

(Soft chimes are heard. The SHEPHERDS, accompanied by the concealed choir, are heard singing:)

LEAD, KINDLY LIGHT

Lead, kindly Light, amid th' encircling gloom, Lead Thou me on! The night is dark and I am far from home; Lead Thou me on! Keep Thou my feet, I do not ask to see The distant scene; one step enough for me.

As the SHEPHERDS begin on the second stanza of the hymn, the curtains rise disclosing the same scene as before. SIMEON, TIMOTHY and ISAAC discovered seated in a group at rear center, singing. THOMAS stands by his father.

So long Thy pow'r hath blest me, sure it still Will lead me on O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till The night is gone, And with the morn those angel faces smile Which I have loved long since, and lost a-while.

SIMEON. Methought I heard a whir of wings on high.

TIMOTHY. I see naught save the snow and starry sky.

ISAAC. We've come a long and mighty step today, From o'er the frosty hills and far away.

THOMAS (pointing over the manger). Look, father, dost thou see that shining star That seems to stand above the town so far? 'Tis like a wondrous blossom on a stem, And see, it ever shines o'er Bethlehem!

TIMOTHY. A brighter star, I'm sure I never saw— And perfect form, without a speck or flaw.

SIMEON. A stranger star! It never shone before, It standeth still above that stable door.

Enter ANNA and RUTH from rear left. ANNA carries a little lamb.

ANNA (joining the group). Look ye, I've found a little lamb new-born.

TIMOTHY. Poor little beastie! Wrap him well and warm.

SIMEON. An ill night to be born in, frost and snow, Naught but cold skies above, cold earth below. I marvel any little creature should be born On such a night.

ANNA. I found it all forlorn, Crying beside its mother in the storm.

SIMEON (comes down a little to right front). Hark, I thought I heard a sound of mighty wings! Listen! Is it the winter sky that sings?

ISAAC (with the group at rear center). Nay, gran'ther, I heard naught. You're old and gray And weary with the miles you've walked today.

SIMEON. At noon I met a man who tarried in the shade, He led a mule, and riding it a maid— A maiden with a face I'll ne'er forget, A wondrous face, I seem to see it yet Lit with an inward shining, as if God Had set a lighted lamp within her soul. Many have passed all day, but none like these, And no face have I ever seen like hers.

TIMOTHY. Belike the man and maid were strangers here, And come to Bethlehem at the king's command.

RUTH (comes down to SIMEON and takes his hand). Methinks I met that very man and maid— A maiden with such wondrous dove-like eyes, I saw them near this place, all tired and worn, Trudging about the town, seeking an inn.

SIMEON. And did they find one?

RUTH. Nay, not so! For every inn was crowded to its doors. Hard by Deborah's inn there is a little barn, All full of cattle, oxen, cooing doves— I showed it to them, and they went therein.

THOMAS (standing at rear L. with ANNA). Mother, that star! That wondrous, wondrous light,

(Points up.)

It turns the night to day, it shines so bright I am afraid! It cannot be that any star, Only a star, can give so great a light. It frightens me.

ANNA. All things are strange tonight. The very sheep are restless in their fold, They watch the star and do not mind the cold.

SIMEON (puts hand to right ear, bends toward right and listens). Again I heard a singing in the sky!

TIMOTHY. You heard the tinkling bell of some stray sheep, The night grows late, come let us all to sleep.

SIMEON. Yea, all ye lie down and take your rest, I'll keep the watch alone, this night is blest.

(The others recline at the rear.)

ANNA (comes to SIMEON). Here, take the little sheep and keep it warm.

(Lies down.)

SIMEON. Poor little new-born beast, I'll guard from harm. Again I marvel that you should be born On such a night, poor little lamb forlorn.

(SIMEON walks toward the manger with the sheep in his arms. The others sleep.)

The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

(Soft Music.)

Hark! There's music in the wind! And that strange light There in the east, it brightens all the night! I seem to hear again the whir of wings, Awake, awake! It is an angel sings!

(He arouses the others. They listen wonderingly, standing or reclining.)

VOICE (an unseen soprano chants softly).

Glory to God in the highest! Fear not! For behold I bring you glad tidings Of great joy. For unto you is born this day In the city of David, a Saviour Which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be the sign unto you: Ye shall find the heavenly Babe Wrapped in swaddling clothes, Lying in a manger. Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, Good will toward men!

TIMOTHY. 'Twas a fine voice, even as ever I heard.

ANNA. The hills, as with lightning, shone at his word.

SIMEON. He spoke of a Babe here in Bethlehem. That betokens yon star! Full glad would I be, Might I kneel on my knee, Some word to say to that Child.

TIMOTHY. See! In the east there breaks the day.

ANNA. Let us tarry no longer; away, then, away!

(ANNA goes out at rear, behind the stable, with TIMOTHY, RUTH and THOMAS.)

ISAAC. Come, gran'ther, let us go and see this thing!

SIMEON. But first get gifts to take the new-born King! Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, Good will toward men.

(They follow the others out at rear.)

The curtains fall.

SCENE III: Hymn by the congregation:

HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING.

Hark! The herald angels sing, "Glory to the new-born King! Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled." Joyful, all ye nations, rise, Join the triumph of the skies; With th' angelic host proclaim, "Christ is born in Bethlehem."

Christ, by highest Heaven adored; Christ, the everlasting Lord; Late in time behold Him come, Offspring of the favored one. Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see; Hail th' incarnate Deity: Pleased, as man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel.

Hail! The Heav'n-born Prince of Peace! Hail! The Son of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, Risen with healing in His wings. Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die: Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth.

Enter PROLOGUE before the closed curtains.

PROLOGUE.

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

The White Christmas.

As the three wise men rode on that first Christmas night to find the manger-cradled Babe of Bethlehem, they bore gifts on their saddle-bows. Gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And so the spirit of Christmas giving crept into the world's heart. We bring our gifts to the children. Rich children, poor children! The children of the high and the children of the humble! Poor little sick children—and the ragged children of the slums of our cities. Let us remember them all.

So go ye, all of ye, into the highways and byways, and seek out the poor and the distressed, the humble and the afflicted, seek out the ragged children and the outcasts and the aged ones, and in the name of Him who was born on Christmas day, carry some sunshine into their hearts! Give unto the poor and the afflicted, and your hearts shall glow with that inward peace that passeth all understanding.

Then—and then only—will you be able to sing with all the company of Heaven, Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will toward men! And this will be your pure white Christmas. (Exit PROLOGUE at L.)

Soft chimes are heard. The curtains are drawn, disclosing the same scene as before. DEBORAH sits before her inn, deep in thought.

DEBORAH (reading a scroll).

This is the ancient prophecy. Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.

For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

Enter GASPAR from behind the inn. He comes down center.

GASPAR. I pray thee, tell me, Lady Bethlehemite, If any wonders you have seen this night?

DEBORAH (rises). I've seen a wondrous silver shaft of light Come from a star, and blinded is my sight.

GASPAR. Tell me, for thou art native of this place, What dost thou know about the King of Grace— King of the Jews?

DEBORAH. Aye, in Jerusalem He dwells, and not in Bethlehem. He sits upon his mighty judgment throne, Cruel and stern, his heart a living stone.

GASPAR. I mean a new-born King, of love and peace; His is the star—His reign shall never cease.

DEBORAH. All things tonight seem passing strange to me, I have just read an ancient prophecy That this, our Bethlehem, King David's town, Shall be the birthplace, e'er of great renown, Of one called Councillor of King David's line Whose coming is foretold in words divine. And now you come with words of mystery!

(Muses.)

Why should thy questions, which are dark to me, Cause me to think of Him?

GASPAR. The star! The star! No more it moves about the heavens afar, It standeth still. O, hostess, kneel and pray, For Jesus Christ, the Lord, is born today!

(Hurries out right.)

DEBORAH. His words are fraught with mystery; I'll within And seek protection in my humble inn.

(Exits right front.)

After a short pause, MELCHOIR, GASPAR and BALTASAR enter from rear right.

MELCHOIR.

Three kings came riding from far away, Melchoir, Gaspar and Baltasar; Three wise men out of the east were they, And they traveled by night and they slept by day, For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.

BALTASAR.

The star was so beautiful, large and clear, That all other stars of the sky Became a white mist in the atmosphere; And by this they knew that the coming was near Of the Prince foretold in prophecy.

GASPAR.

Of the child that is born, O Baltasar, I begged a woman to tell us the news; I said in the east we had seen His star, And had ridden fast and had ridden far To find and worship the King of the Jews.

Adapted from Longfellow.

MELCHOIR. Brothers, our quest is ended; see the star Is standing still over this lowly hut.

BALTASAR. Methinks it is a stable. Knock and see!

GASPAR (knocks on the door of the manger). What ho, within!

JOSEPH enters from the L. rear.

JOSEPH. Sirs, whom seek ye?

MELCHOIR. We have journeyed from afar Led by the shining of yon splendid star. We are Gaspar, Melchoir and Baltasar.

BALTASAR. We seek a new-born King, Gold, frankincense to him we bring. And many a kingly offering.

JOSEPH draws back the curtain and reveals the interior of the manger. MARY is seen bending over the crib. The SHEPHERDS are kneeling in the background. Very soft music heard in the distance, with faintly chiming bells at intervals.

GASPAR. Behold, the child is clothed in light!

MELCHOIR. Our journey ends, passed is the night.

BALTASAR. Now let us make no more delay, But worship Him right worthily.

(They enter the manger and kneel.)

SIMEON. Hail, hail, dear child Of a maiden meek and mild. See, he merries! See, he smiles, my sweeting, I give thee greeting! Have a bob of cherries.

(Places a spray of cherries on the crib.)

TIMOTHY. Hail, little One we've sought, See, a bird I've brought, See its feathers gay. Hail, little One adored, Hail, blessed King and Lord, Star of the day!

(Places a bird on the crib.)

ISAAC. Hail, little One, so dear, My heart is full of cheer, A little ball I bring, Reach forth thy fingers gay, And take the ball and play, My blessed King.

(Places a ball on the crib.)

Enter all others from the Inn. They kneel outside the manger.

ALL (sing, with concealed choir).

CHRISTMAS CAROL.

(See page 169)

Christ was born on Christmas day, Wreathe the holly, twine the bay, Light and life and joy is He— The Babe, the Son, The Holy One Of Mary.

He is born to set us free; He is born our Lord to be; Carol, Christians, joyfully; The God, the Lord, By all adored Forever.

Let the bright red berries glow, Everywhere in goodly show, Life and light and joy is He, The Babe, the Son, The Holy One Of Mary.

Christian men, rejoice and sing; 'Tis the birthday of our King, Carol, Christians, joyfully; The God, the Lord, By all adored Forever.

THE THREE KINGS. Hail, King of Kings!

GASPAR. I bring Thee a crown, O King of Kings, And here a scepter full of gems, For Thou shalt rule the hearts of men.

(Places crown and scepter on crib.)

MELCHOIR. For Thee I bring sweet frankincense!

(He swings a smoking censor.)

BALTASAR. And I bring myrrh to offer Thee!

(Places casket on the crib.)

GASPAR. The greatest gift is yet ungiven, The gift that cometh straight from Heaven. O, Heavenly King, Heart's love we bring.

MELCHOIR. Not gold nor gems from land or sea Is worth the love we offer Thee.

BALTASAR. And lowly folk who have no gold, Nor gift to offer that is meet, May bring the dearest thing of all— A loving heart and service sweet.

(All join in singing "Joy to the World.")

Curtain falls.

THE WHITE CHRISTMAS.

WHAT IT MEANS.

How to make a pleasant, helpful Christmas for the Sunday School is an annual problem. A tree with gifts, Santa Claus coming down the chimney, a treat of candy and nuts—these and many other schemes have been tried with a greater or less degree of success. But the criticism is often made that the true significance of the celebration of the birth of Christ is lost in the mere idea of bartering Christmas presents. "She didn't give me anything last year, so I'm not going to give her anything this year."

One wise superintendent determined to teach his Sunday School pupils the precious lesson of the beauty of giving. He called his teachers together a few weeks before Christmas and proposed to eliminate entirely the idea of "getting something," and in its stead to try to teach something of the true spirit of Christmas, the blessedness of giving.

The children were told that while at home they would receive all the usual presents, of course they would not get anything whatever from the Sunday School. The story of Jesus and how He gave His life, and how He liked best the gifts that cost us something, love, thought, foresight, charity, money—was told to the children and they were asked to save their pennies, instead of spending them for candy and nuts, to brighten the Christmas Day for God's poor and unfortunate.

It was put to a vote and every little hand was raised, although it may be confessed that a few went up a little reluctantly.

Teachers and young ladies met a few evenings later and made little stockings out of cheap cambric, with a cord put into the top of each in such a manner that it could be drawn together so the pennies would not be lost out. The stockings were about five inches long, and of various bright colors, and there were enough for every child. These were given out two weeks before Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, near the close of the regular program, a large tree was disclosed, but without a single present on it. The Minister made a short talk on the joys of giving to the poor and the children marched up, singing a Christmas carol, and attached their little stocking-bags to the tree.

Six little boys and girls passed among the congregation with larger stockings, collecting donations for the tree. These stockings had their tops neatly sewed around little circles of wire to keep them open.

The program consisted of Christmas hymns and carols, interspersed with recitations—all breathing the spirit of the White Christmas.

REMARKS ON THE PRODUCTION.

SCENERY.

Hang the rear and the sides of the stage with dark blue curtains, spangled with small silver bits of tinfoil, to represent very tiny stars. If the blue curtains are not available, use white sheets.

Cover the floor with white sheets. Have two or three small evergreen trees at rear, covered with white calcimine and diamond powder. Soak long rags, shaped like icicles, in a strong solution of alum, and then let them crystallize, then attach them to the trees.



Down right, near the audience, is a doorway, supposed to be the entrance to the inn. This may be simply an opening between two wooden columns, with a step or two leading in. A lantern hangs over the door. A small bench stands by the inn.

Down left, near the audience, is the manger, a building extending out from left about seven feet. It has a back and one side of scenery or dark draperies and a thatched roof, covered with twigs or evergreen branches. There may be a door leading into the manger from the stage, but this is not necessary, as the characters can go out behind the manger. A front curtain, of dark goods, conceals the interior of the manger from the audience until it is withdrawn by Joseph.

The interior of the manger is covered with hay. Rude boxes and farm implements all around. A large upturned chair with wooden legs may simulate the crib, if it is concealed by enough straw. An electric light bulb is concealed in this straw and shines on the face of Mary, bending over the crib.

If desired, the manger scene may be presented in the choir loft, the manger hidden by curtains until revealed by Joseph. In this case have the evergreen trees at the left of the stage and arrange the manger scene at the rear and elevated above the other scene. This will prove most feasible in churches where the choir loft is immediately behind and above the platform.

LIGHTS.

Dim all the lights in the audience. Have a powerful searchlight, engine headlight or two powerful auto lights shining on the stage from a concealed elevation at the left. Shade these lights with a blue isinglass shield, thus casting a blue light over the entire stage. Use a strong yellow light on the manger scene, the rest of the stage being in darkness.

PROPERTIES.

If it is possible have bits of white confetti or finely cut paper fall from above during the shepherds' scene in Act II.

The bases of the trees should be covered with cotton.

Three rough crooks for the shepherds.

Chimes to ring off the stage. A dinner gong or set of chimes will answer.

For the lamb use a white muff, being careful to shield it from the direct gaze of the audience.

A spray of cherries.

A small bird of blue feathers.

A ball.

A crown and scepter made of gilded wood.

A censor made of metallic butter dish suspended by chains.

A fancy jewel case, supposed to contain myrrh.

Bench in front of inn.

Rude box in front of manger.

COSTUMES.

MARY—A sweet-faced blonde. Long tunic of light blue, falling straight from neck to the ankles. White stockings. Sandals. Hair in two long braids either side of face. White veil draped around head and shoulders, bound about the brow with circlet. Dark red mantle, fastened to left shoulder and draped around body. This mantle may trail on the ground. The tunic may be made of cotton crepon, the mantle of dyed muslin.

JOSEPH—A virile, bearded man of about fifty. Sandals. Long black cassock, easily obtained from an Episcopal choir. Striped couch cover may serve as mantle. This should be draped about head and body. Long staff.

SIMEON—An old man with white hair and beard. Tunic of potato sacking falling in straight folds from neck to ankles. Large gray shawl serves as mantle, draped on head and body. Long crook. Sandals.

TIMOTHY—Man of forty. Costume similar to Isaac's. Striped mantle.

ISAAC—Man of twenty. Shorter tunic similar to Simeon's. Fur rug draped over left shoulder. Dark red drapery on head. Sandals. Brown stripes criss-crossed on legs. Crook.

ANNA—Long tunic of brown. Take a square white sheet and stripe it with bands of dark blue. This serves as a mantle, draped over head and body. Hair hanging. A woman of thirty-five. Sandals. If desired, a blue veil may be draped around the head and neck and the mantle draped over the body.

THOMAS—A boy of seven. Sandals. Brown strips criss-crossed on legs from sandals to hips. Short white tunic cut like a boy's nightgown, but coming only to knees. Dark blue mantle. Small crook.

RUTH—A girl of eleven. Blue tunic hanging in straight folds from neck to three or four inches above ankles. Border of figured goods, to simulate oriental embroidery, around bottom of robe and down the front. This should be about two inches wide. Sandals. White stockings. Hair hanging. White veil draped around head and shoulders. Later she enters with striped mantle.

DEBORAH—A dignified matron of about forty-five. Sandals. Long kimono of solid color. Sash of yellow. Hair in two long braids on either side of face. Yellow drapery over head and shoulders. Rich striped mantle draped over the costume.

RACHEL—Sandals. White tunic trimmed with red figured cloth to simulate oriental embroidery. Red sash. Wreath of red roses on head. Mantle made of a square white sheet with stripes of red sewed on it. Bracelets, armlets and anklets of silver paper.

PRISCILLA—Sandals. Light green tunic. Dark green mantle. Gold paper armlets, etc.

MELCHOIR—Tall, dark man with dark mustache. Long black cassock may be borrowed from an Episcopal Church. Over this is a red or yellow kimono. Sandals. Turban on head. This turban may be made from a calico covered crown of an old derby, with red and white striped rim. He wears many rich ornaments. Curtain chains around neck and on arms. This costume may sometimes be borrowed from a lodge of Shriners, Knights Templar, Royal Arch Masons or Odd Fellows.

GASPAR—Similar to Melchoir. He is a young king aged about twenty-two. Wear white drapery on head and over it a golden (paper) crown. May wear sword. Sandals.

BALTASAR—Old king with white hair. Long rich robe or kimono over a cassock. Red sash. Red head drapery. Golden crown. Sandals.

ANGELS—Invisible to the audience.

PROLOGUE—Stately lady in trailing Grecian robe of white. Hair powdered. This character should be played by a lady with distinct dramatic ability.

NOTE.—If it is desired to simplify these costumes, kimonos, cassocks and cottas from Episcopal choirs, draperies of sheets and couch covers, and sandals made of a sole bound to foot with brown cloth cords, will answer admirably in the dim blue light.

Nightgowns, dressing gowns, fur rugs, fur muffs opened, fur stoles, opera capes, spangled tunics, window cords and chains, etc., will make valuable substitutes for the oriental garments.



ANITA'S SECRET OR CHRISTMAS IN THE STEERAGE



ANITA'S SECRET OR CHRISTMAS IN THE STEERAGE

A CHRISTMAS PLAY IN ONE ACT FOR SANTA CLAUS AND SIXTEEN CHILDREN.

CHARACTERS.

SANTA CLAUS Adult JOLLY JACK FROST Little Boy ANITA, a Little Italian Immigrant Aged Eight or Nine HULDA, from Holland Aged Ten SERGIUS, from Russia Aged Nine MEENY, from Germany Aged Seven BIDDY MARY, from Ireland Aged about Eight PADDY MIKE, from Ireland Aged about Seven KLINKER } Little Dutch Twins SCHWILLIE WILLIE WINKUM} Aged Four or Five NEELDA, from Spain Aged Five AH GOO, from China Little Boy YAKOB, from Denmark Aged Six HANS, from Norway Aged Four MIEZE, from Germany Aged Six SANO SAN, from Japan Little Girl

* * * * *

TIME OF PLAYING—About One Hour and Fifteen Minutes.

COSTUMES, ETC.

For notes on costuming, scenery and properties, see "Remarks on the Production of the Play" at the end of the play.

ARGUMENT.

It is the night before Christmas and the scene is on a big ocean-going vessel many miles out at sea. Down in the lower part of the ship, in the steerage, is a group of poor little immigrant children who are leaving the trials and troubles of the old world behind them and are looking forward to the golden promises held out by our own "land of the free and the home of the brave." But the hearts of the little immigrants are sad. It is the night before Christmas, and how could Santa Claus ever hope to reach them away out in the middle of the ocean? Even the sleigh and the magical reindeers could never be expected to make such a trip.

Anita, a little Italian girl, alone has faith in the coming of the good Saint. She is wandering around the ship when all of a sudden, much to her surprise, she hears a mysterious noise in a great big barrel, and who should jump out but little Jack Frost himself. Jack assures her that Santa Claus really is coming to visit the ship, and more than that, he is going to make an especial trip in an air ship! And this is little Anita's secret. The children all fall asleep, but Anita keeps watch for the mysterious aeroplane that will bring joy to every little heart in the steerage, and, sure enough, just a little before midnight Anita and Jack Frost look through a telescope and see the lights of the approaching air ship.

Soon Santa Claus himself is on board, and such a time as he and Anita and jolly Jack Frost have in arranging a wonderful Christmas surprise for the children. As an especial favor the good Saint decides to awaken the children himself very early on Christmas morning. The clock strikes twelve and it is Christmas Day. The bells of merry Christmas are heard chiming in the distance, and Santa Claus and jolly Jack Frost hold a Christmas morning revel with the little immigrant children away down in the steerage of the big vessel.

* * * * *

SCENE: The steerage of a large ocean-going vessel. Entrances R. and L. Boxes and barrels down L. Box down R. Large barrel up L.C., with JOLLY JACK FROST concealed therein. HULDA is seated on a small stool down R., taking care of KLINKER and SCHWILLIE WILLIE WINKUM, who are standing near her. MEENY is seated down L. on a box; she is knitting a woolen stocking. SERGIUS, PADDY MIKE, TOMASSO, YAKOB and AH GOO are playing leapfrog at C. of stage. HANS, MIEZE, NEELDA and SANO SAN stand at rear. BIDDY MARY is seated near HULDA; she is peeling potatoes. All sing.

OPENING SONG.

[Music illustration:

1. The ship is sail-ing ver-y fast, We can't go out to play; But Christmas Day is com-ing soon, It is-n't far a-way.

2. We're sail-ing to A-mer-i-ca, So far a-cross the sea, We're hap-py lit-tle im-mi-grants, Our hearts are light and free.

3. We're hap-py lit-tle for-eign-ers, From far a-cross the way, But soon we will be cit-i-zens Of dear old U.S.A.

Then clap, clap, clap to-geth-er, Clap, clap, a-way; The steer-age is a hap-py place— Tomorrow's Christmas Day.]

(On the words "clap, clap, clap together," the children hold left hand horizontally in front of their chests, palm upward, raising the right hand and bringing it down on the left with a sharp clap.

Sing the first verse seated around stage. On the first four lines of the second verse nod heads and smile at audience. On the line "We're happy little immigrants," each one points to chest, nods head and smiles broadly.

For the third verse all rise and stand in couples in small groups all around stage. On the first two lines of the third verse each one faces his partner slightly, nods at him and shakes index finger of right hand at partner. On "dear, old U.S.A." all make a deep bow to audience. After third verse is completed, all form a circle and skip around in time to the music, repeating the third verse. On "clap, clap, clap together," they stand still and clap hands as before. When the song is ended all resume former positions, as at the rise of the curtain, but the boys do not play leapfrog.)

TOMASSO (seated on floor at C.). Tomorrow comes the great, grand festival of Christmas, is it not, Paddy Mike?

PADDY MIKE (seated near him, nods his head). Sure and it is. This is the holy Christmas Eve.

MEENY (seated down L., knitting stocking). The night of the day behind Christmas is always Christmas Eve, ain't it? (Nods head.) Sure it is.

SCHWILLIE. Und tomorrow we gets lots of Christmas presents always, me und Klinker; don't we, Klinker?

KLINKER. Sure we do. Leedle horses and pictures und candy und other things also; don't we, Schwillie Willie Winkum?

HULDA. That was when we were at home in Holland. It's different, maybe, out here in this great big boat. Ven we get by the city of New York next week then maybe we'll get some presents already.

KLINKER. But good Saint Nicholas always comes the night before Christmas; don't he, Schwillie Willie Winkum?

SCHWILLIE. Sure. Won't he come tonight, Hulda?

HULDA. How could he get way out here on the ocean already? Do you think he is a fish? We ain't living at home in Holland no more. We're way out on the Atlantic Ocean in a great big ship.

MEENY. Ja, und I wish I was back at home already. So much have I been seasick, mit der ship going oop und down, oop und down! Ach, it's awful. (SERGIUS, TOMASSO, YAKOB, PADDY MIKE and AH GOO play jack-stones.)

KLINKER. But Saint Nicholas ought to come tonight, Hulda. I been a awfully good boy, isn't I, Schwillie Willie Winkum?

SCHWILLIE. Sure you is. Und I've been a awfully good boy, too. Isn't I, Klinker?

KLINKER. Sure. We've been awfully good boys.

HULDA. Maybe even if Saint Nicholas don't come tonight, you can see the great, big whale tomorrow. If he's a good whale he'll surely let the leedle Dutch twins see him on Christmas Day.

MEENY. Oh, I vant to see der whale. I've looked und I've looked und I've looked, but I ain't even so much as seen his leedle tail yet already. Und it makes me seasick to look so much, too.

BIDDY MARY. Are ye sure it was a whale ye saw that day, Sergius boy?

SERGIUS. Of course I'm sure. It was awful big. The biggest fish I ever saw. Even in Russia we do not have such big fish as whales. Paddy Mike saw it, too.

PADDY MIKE. Sure and I did. And me two eyes nearly fell out of me head with lookin' at it, it was that wonderful. He shot a big stream of water right up out of his head, he did, and then he dived down in the ocean again, and we didn't see him any more at all, at all. (MIEZE and SANO SAN turn backs to audience and look over the railing into the water.)

HULDA (to the twins). There! Now if you get to see the great big whale, that's almost as good as having old Saint Nicholas come, ain't it?

SCHWILLIE. Whales can't bring you no Christmas presents, can they, Klinker?

KLINKER. Und whales you can see any time. I'd rather have Saint Nicholas, wouldn't I, Schwillie Willie Winkum?

SERGIUS. Who is this Saint Nicholas they are looking for, Hulda?

HULDA (astonished). Why, don't you know who he is yet? He's the best old man that ever was. Und he comes the night before Christmas und visits all the little children in Holland.

MEENY (proudly). Und in Germany, too. (SERGIUS goes to HULDA.)

KLINKER. Und if they're good they get candy und oranges und toys und things, don't they, Schwillie Willie Winkum?

SCHWILLIE. Und if they're bad, they get a good big birch stick. But I ain't been bad. I've been awfully good, isn't I, Klinker?

KLINKER. Sure. Und me also.

HULDA (to SERGIUS). On Christmas Eve in Holland all the children march around the streets, following one who carries a big silver star. And the people who meet us give us money and gifts to help the poor. Oh, Christmas time is just grand in Holland!

KLINKER. Und we set out our leedle wooden shoes und old Saint Nicholas fills 'em with candy.

SCHWILLIE. Und we put a leedle bit of hay in our shoes for his good old horsie, Sleipner. Dot makes him happy.

MEENY. In Germany we call him Santa Claus, und he comes riding in a sleigh drawn through the sky mit reindeers. Und we have Christmas trees all lighted mit candles und things, und full of toys und paper stars und angels und apples. But Santa Claus could never get out here in der middle of der ocean. If he did maybe he'd get seasick already, und all der reindeers would get drownded in der water.

SERGIUS (standing R.C.). In Russia there is an old woman named Babouska who visits all the children on the night before Christmas. She carries a big basket full of good things.

TOMASSO (seated on floor at C.). In sunny Italy the children all go to midnight church on Christmas Eve, and when we make ourselves awake on Christmas morning, our shoes are all full of candy and chestnuts and figs and oranges. But of course on a big ship like-a this we'll not get-a nothing at all.

KLINKER (crying). But I want some presents already.

SCHWILLIE (crying). Und me also. I want some presents, too.

KLINKER. Und Saint Nicholas can't come. Oh, oh! He can't get out on the big ocean.

SCHWILLIE. Maybe he could float out on a piece of ice yet. Could he, Hulda?

HULDA. No. I don't think he's much of a floater.

MEENY. If he did it would make him awful seasick.

KLINKER. I wish we was landed in New York yet, so I do.

SCHWILLIE. Where is Anita? She'll know.

HULDA. Yes, Anita will know whether he is coming or not. She knows almost everything.

PADDY MIKE (standing at rear L.). Here comes Anita now, and sure she's having a grand time, so she is.

ALL (rising and going to rear, looking off L.). Here she comes. Hurrah for Anita. (Music: The same as for the Opening Song.)

TOMASSO (calling). Anita, Anita, come here quick. We want you.

ANITA (outside L.). I'm coming. Wait a minute. I'm coming.

Music swells louder. ANITA dances in from L., all sing as she dances around, waving her tambourine.

ALL (singing to tune of the "Opening Song").

We're sailing to America, Away across the sea, We're happy little immigrants, Our hearts are light and free. Then clap, clap, clap together,

(All skip around.)

Clap, clap away; The steerage is a happy place— Tomorrow's Christmas Day.

ANITA (comes forward to C. surrounded by the others). Oh, I've just had the grandest time. It was so superb, magnificent, sublime! (Extends arms in ecstasy.) I have-a been at the leetla window watching the great, grand, magnificent ocean. It was all so blue and so green and so purple—and the sinking sun is all shining on the great-a, beeg waves, like-a sparkling diamonds. (Use elaborate gestures at all times.) And me, the poor, leetla Italian girl, gets to see all this great-a, grand-a ocean. It is superb, magnificent, sublime! Ah, I am so happy, I could sing and dance and kees everybody on the great-a, grand-a earth!

MEENY (at L.). Vot makes you so happy, Anita? Maybe I'd be happy yet also, if I didn't get seasick once in a while.

ANITA. What makes me so happy, Meeny? It's the sun and the waves, and the sunlight shining like diamonds on the great-a, grand-a ocean. Are you not also happy, Biddy Mary?

BIDDY MARY (standing by ANITA). I am not. Sure, I niver do be having time to be seeing diamonds on the great big waves. I have to be hard at work, so I do, peeling the praties for our Christmas breakfast.

ANITA. I watched the great-a red sun as he began to sink, sink, sink way down in the ocean. And the beeg-a waves got more beeg and more beeg and on top of them I saw long white lace fringe. The green silk waves were all-a trimmed with white lace fringe. And sometimes I think I see the leetla mermaid fairies dancing in the foam. Leetla green and white mermaids with the long long-a hair.

TOMASSO (at R.). You make-a me seek, Anita. There is-a no such things as fairies.

ANITA. But I love to think there is. It is a great, grand-a pleasure just to think there is. Is it not, Meeny?

MEENY (stolidly). Oh, sure.

ANITA. And that is why we should all be so verra, verra happy. We can think such-a lovely things. The poor leetla children at-a home, pouf! They cannot think such things, because they have never seen such a great, beeg-a ship, or such a great, beeg-a ocean—

SERGIUS. Or a whale.

PADDY MIKE. Or a sailor man.

HULDA. Or a nice little steerage bed built just like a shelf in the wall.

TOMASSO. Or the great beeg-a engine that makes the ship go.

MEENY. Or the tons and tons of coal vay down deep by the cellar.

SERGIUS (mocking her). Way down deep by the cellar! Whoever heard of a cellar on board of a ship? You mean—down in the hatch.

MEENY. Hatch? Vot is dot hatch? Dis ain't a chicken, it's a boat. (All laugh.)

KLINKER (takes SCHWILLIE by the hand and goes to ANITA). Anita, we want to ask you a question.

ANITA. Well, and what is the question of the leetla Dutch twins?

SCHWILLIE. Tonight is the night before Christmas.

KLINKER. Und we want to know if the good Saint Nicholas is coming tonight.

ANITA. I don't know. You see it would be a great beeg-a, long-a trip way out here on the ocean.

KLINKER (half crying). But I want him to come. I've been a awful good boy, isn't I, Schwillie Willie Winkum?

SCHWILLIE. Sure, you is. Und me also, ain't I, Klinker?

ANITA. If you have both been verra, verra good I think that maybe the good Saint will come. (Looks around.) Have you all been verra, verra good?

OTHERS. Yes, all of us.

HANS. We're always very, very good at Christmas time.

AH GOO. Me velly, velly good.

ANITA (points off R.). See, way up there on the upper deck, are the rich, grand-a ladies and gentlemen coming out from the great, beeg-a dining-room. If you go and stand under the hole maybe they'll throw you some oranges or candy. They're awful nice peoples on the upper deck.

MEENY. Let's all go right away quick. Maybe we'll get some oranges und candy.

KLINKER. Oh, how I do love oranges und candy, don't I, Schwillie Willie Winkum?

SCHWILLIE. Sure, und me also, don't I, Klinker?

SERGIUS. Let us all go together. (All come forward and sing to tune of the Opening Song.)

We're happy little immigrants, We'll sing our happy song, Our hearts are light, our faces bright— The good ship speeds along. Then clap, clap, clap together, Clap, clap away; The steerage is a happy place— Tomorrow's Christmas Day.

(All the children except ANITA go out at R., repeating the chorus of their song.)

ANITA. Surely the good-a Saint Nicholas will come tonight, because there are so many, many verra good children on board this-a ship. (Counting on fingers.) There's Hulda from Holland and her two leetla brothers, the Dutch twins, Klinker and Schwillie Willie Winkum. They must have a great-a beeg-a Christmas present. And there's Sergius from Russia, and Meeny and Paddy Mike and Biddy Mary, and Neelda from Spain, and Yakob and Hans and Ah Goo and Mieze and leetla Sano San from afar away Japan. They must all have the great-a, grand-a presents. Maybe I could write old Santa Claus a leetla letter and tell how good the poor children way down in the steerage have been. And there's my cousin Tomasso from Italy. Oh, Santa Claus must bring him a new violin. Then he can make-a the beautiful music on the golden streets of New York. If there is anybody at all in the whole beeg world who should have a nice-a, beeg-a Christmas, it is the verra poor leetla children whose mammas and papas haven't got very much money. But sometimes the good Santa Claus forgets all about the verra poor leetla children—and that's the mostest saddest thing of all, for they are the verra ones he should remember. When I get to be a great-a, beeg, grand-a, reech lady in the golden streets of New York, ah! then I will buy presents and presents and presents, and I will-a give them to all the verra poor leetla children in the world. I wonder why it is that the verra good Santa Claus sometimes forgets the poor leetla children on-a Christmas Day. He never forgets the reech leetla children, only those who are verra, verra poor. And that is a sad misfortune. If I had-a nice-a Christmas present, with many candies and figs and oranges, I could never rest until I had given something nice to all the poor leetla children in the city—for that is what makes the mostest happy Christmas of all.

Enter SERGIUS from R. quietly. He comes down behind ANITA and places his hands over her eyes.

SERGIUS. Guess who it is.

ANITA. Sergius!

SERGIUS (disappointed). Why, I thought that you would think it was a goblin.

ANITA. Goblin? What is a goblin, Sergius?

SERGIUS. It's a little, wee bit of a man with a long beard. And they go around having a good time at night. They are always very active on the night before Christmas. (Looks cautiously around.) I shouldn't be at all surprised if we should see some tonight.

ANITA (frightened). Oh, Sergius, will they harm us?

SERGIUS. Not very much. They just like to have a little fun, that's all. We have lots of them in Russia. And I believe there are some down here in the steerage.

ANITA (grasps his arm). Oh, Sergius! Where are they?

SERGIUS. Well, last night I could not sleep, so I got up and came in here, and just as I was passing by that barrel (points to barrel up L.C. where JACK FROST is concealed), I thought I heard a noise. It was like some one rapping on the barrel. Like this. (Raps on another barrel.) I thought it was a goblin and I never stopped running until I was safe in my bunk with the bedclothes around my head.

ANITA. Pooh! I'm not afraid. No leetla goblin man can make-a me afraid.

SERGIUS. They do wonderful things on Christmas Eve. But come; let us go to the bottom of the stairs. The ladies and gentlemen are looking down and Tomasso is playing his violin. Soon they will throw apples and oranges down to us, and perhaps money. Come and see.

ANITA. No, I'd rather wait here.

SERGIUS (crossing to door at R.). All right, but don't let the goblin man catch you. (Exits at R.)

ANITA. The goblin man! Poof! There is no such thing as a goblin man. In-a Italy we do not have such goblin mans. He said he heard something rap, rap on the inside of the barrel. Poof! Sergius must have been having one beeg, grand-a dream. Never in all my life did I ever hear anything go rap, rap on the inside of a barrel. (Stands close to JACK FROST'S barrel.) And if I did, I'd think it was a leetla, weeny-teeny mouse. But a leetla, weeny-teeny mouse never could go rap, rap on the inside of a barrel, try as hard as he could. It must have been a dream.

JACK FROST (raps sharply on the inside of the barrel).

ANITA. Oh, what was that? I thought I heard something. (Goes toward barrel cautiously.) Maybe it is the leetla, teeny-weeny baby mouse. (Rises on tiptoes to peer into the barrel.) I'll just peek in and see. (Just as she looks into the barrel, JACK FROST pops up his head almost in her very face.)

JACK FROST. Hello!

ANITA (starting back, very much frightened). Oh!

JACK FROST. Did you say oh, or hello?

ANITA. I just said, oh.

JACK FROST. Well, then, hello. (Climbs out of the barrel.)

ANITA. Hello.

JACK FROST (goes to her). You aren't frightened, are you?

ANITA (at R.). Well, I'm a leetla frightened, but not verra much.

JACK FROST. Why? I won't hurt you.

ANITA. You came up so sudden. I never expected to find a boy in that barrel. And you are such a queer looking boy.

JACK FROST. Boy? I'm not a boy.

ANITA. You're not? You look like a boy. You're not a girl, are you?

JACK FROST (indignantly). Well, I should say not! I'm just a kind of a sort of a kind of an idea, that's all. I'm your imagination.

ANITA. I hope you're not a goblin.

JACK FROST. Oh, no. I'm not a goblin. They're old and have long beards. I'm not old at all. (Twirls around on toes.) See, I'm even younger than you are. (Makes low bow.) I'm a pixie.

ANITA. And what is a pixie?

JACK FROST. I told you before, it's just your imagination.

ANITA. You look like a boy. What is your name?

JACK FROST. My name is Claus.

ANITA. Claus! Why, what a funny leetla name. I never heard a name like that in Italy. Claus what?

JACK FROST. Santa Claus. Haven't you ever heard of Santa Claus?

ANITA. Oh, yes; many, many times. But you can't be Santa Claus.

JACK FROST (indignantly). I'd like to know why I can't! It's my name, isn't it?

ANITA. But you are not the real, real truly Santa Claus. He is an old, old man. A leetla fat old man with white-a hair just like-a the snow, and a long, white-a beard.

JACK FROST. Ho, you must be thinking of my daddy.

ANITA. Your daddy? Is Santa Claus your daddy?

JACK FROST. Sure, he is. I'm Jack Frost Santa Claus, Jr. Most folks call me Jolly Jack Frost. The little fat man with the white beard is my father.

ANITA (astonished). Why, I didn't know Santa Claus had any leetla boys.

JACK FROST. Sure, he has. Who do you think takes care of the reindeer, and who waters the doll-tree and picks the dolls?

ANITA. Picks the dolls? Do the dolls grow on trees?

JACK FROST. Yes, indeed, right next door to the taffy cottage, down Chocolate Lane. I take care of the marble bushes and the popgun trees. You just ought to see our wonderful gardens.

ANITA. Oh, I'd love to see them.

JACK FROST. We've got a Teddy-bear garden, and a tool garden, and a furniture garden, and a game garden, and a candy garden, though most of the candy comes from mines.

ANITA. The mines?

JACK FROST. Sure. We dig out just the kind we want. We have caramel mines, and vanilla mines and mines full of chocolate almonds, and rivers of fig paste and strawberry ice cream soda. They flow right through the picture-book garden.

ANITA. Oh, it must be the most wonderful place in the whole world.

JACK FROST. And I help take care of it. I have fourteen little brothers, and we're all twins.

ANITA. And have you a mother, too? Has Santa Claus a nice-a, fine-a wife?

JACK FROST (laughs). Of course he's got a wife. Haven't you ever heard of my mother. Her name is Mary.

ANITA. Mary? Mary what?

JACK FROST. Why, Merry Mary Christmas, of course. I thought everyone knew that.

ANITA. And does she go round the world with Santa Claus on the night before Christmas?

JACK FROST. Oh, no, she's too busy for that. She stays at home and takes care of the gardens.

ANITA. But what are you doing here on the ship? I should think you'd be with your father.

JACK FROST. Ah, that is a secret. You mustn't tell anyone.

ANITA. How can I tell anyone when I don't know myself.

JACK FROST. Well, maybe I'll tell you.

ANITA. Oh, if you only would. I'd just love to have a great-a, beeg, grand-a secret.

JACK FROST. You can keep a secret, can't you?

ANITA. Of course I can. Girls can always keep secrets.

JACK FROST. Some girls can't. But I believe you really can. Your name's Anita, isn't it?

ANITA. Yes. But how did you know?

JACK FROST. Oh, we know everything. How old are you?

ANITA. If you tell me how you knew my name, I'll tell you how old I am.

JACK FROST. Well, I just guessed it.

ANITA. Then why don't you guess how old I am?

JACK FROST. Cute, ain't you?

ANITA. Not so verra cute. I'm going on nine.

JACK FROST. Then you're old enough to keep the secret. Now, first you must promise you won't tell until tomorrow morning.

ANITA. Cross my heart. (She does so.)

JACK FROST (crosses to her). Listen, then; here's the secret. (He whispers in her ear.)

ANITA (after a pause, while he is whispering). He is? He is? Oh!!

JACK FROST (nods his head wisely). Yes, he is.

ANITA. Honest?

JACK FROST. Honest injun!

ANITA. With his pack and presents and a Christmas tree and everything?

JACK FROST (nods head emphatically). Yes, ma'am, every single thing.

ANITA. Tonight?

JACK FROST. Just before the clock strikes twelve, when all the little children in the steerage are asleep.

ANITA. But how will he get out here in the middle of the ocean?

JACK FROST. Fly.

ANITA. Fly? But he hasn't any wings. (JACK nods.) He has? (JACK nods.) Really and truly wings?

JACK FROST (nods). Really and truly wings.

ANITA. I never knew Santa Claus had wings before.

JACK FROST. He only bought them this year.

ANITA. Bought them? (JACK nods.) Then they didn't grow on him?

JACK FROST (laughs). Of course not. He's coming in an air ship.

ANITA. Why, I never knew Santa Claus had an air ship.

JACK FROST. He's got the very latest twentieth century model. He only uses the reindeer once in a while now. He can go much faster on an air ship. (Sits down.) Oh, I'm tired.

ANITA. I didn't know pixies ever got tired.

JACK FROST. You ought to see the work I've done today.

ANITA. Here on the boat?

JACK FROST. Yes, ma'am, right here on the boat.

ANITA. Oh, show me.

JACK FROST. I will. But it's part of the secret. (Goes to rear L.) Come here and I'll show you what I've been doing.

ANITA (goes to him). It isn't anything scary, is it?

JACK FROST. Of course not. (Lets her peep through the curtain that conceals the Christmas tree from the audience.) There; what do you think of that?

ANITA. Oh, oh! oh!! It's too great and grand and wonderful for words. Oh, what a wonderful, wonderful secret! I'm so glad you've told me. It is so much nicer to know all about it beforehand. I wish I could tell Tomasso.

JACK FROST. Well, you can't. It's a secret and you mustn't tell anybody.

ANITA. But are you really, truly sure he's coming?

JACK FROST. Of course he is. That is our secret.

ANITA. Oh, it's the grandest secret I ever had in all-a my life. I will not tell a soul that he is-a coming. It will be a Christmas surprise, and when I get to the beeg city of New York in America, I'll always remember this great-a beeg, nice-a secret about old Santa Claus and his nice leetla boy, Jack Frost.

JACK FROST. What are you going to do when you get to America?

ANITA. I am going to dance. My uncle, Pedro Spanilli, he haba de grind-organ. Until last-a month he had-a de nice-a monkey, named Mr. Jocko, but last-a month Mr. Jocko he die, and my uncle, Pedro Spanilli, he send for me to take-a his place.

JACK FROST. Take the monkey's place?

ANITA. Yes, sir. I'm going to go round with my uncle and hold out my tambourine, so! (Poses and holds out tambourine.) And then I will-a collect the pennies, just like-a Mr. Jocko used to do.

JACK FROST (mocking her). I suppose you are going to wear a leetla red cap and jump up and down this way (imitates a monkey), and say, "Give-a de monk de cent!"

ANITA (laughing). Oh, no. I'm going to sing the leetla song, and dance the leetla dance, so! (Hums and dances, or a song may be introduced at this point by ANITA.) Then, when I'm finished, I go to the kind leetla boy, Jack Frost, and hold out my tambourine, so! (Does so.) And maybe he drops a nickel in my tambourine. Eh? Does he?

JACK FROST (sighs, then drops a nickel in tambourine). Yes, I guess he does. And you just wait till tomorrow morning, Anita, and I'll give you the finest Christmas present on the Atlantic Ocean.

ANITA. And you must not forget the leetla Dutch twins, and my cousin Tomasso, and Hulda and Meeny and Sergius and Ah Goo and Sano San and Needla and Biddy Mary and Paddy Mike and all the rest.

JACK FROST. Whew! That's a big order. But we won't forget a single soul on Christmas Day. And now I've got to go and put the finishing touches on—you know what! (Goes behind curtains that conceal the Christmas tree.)

ANITA (looks around). Why, he's gone.

JACK FROST (sticking his head out of the curtains). The sun has set, it's out of sight, so little Jack Frost will say good-night! (Disappears back of curtains.)

ANITA. Good-night, Jolly Jack Frost, good-night. Oh, it's the most wonderful secret in all the world. And won't the leetla children be glad to know that old Santa Claus has not forgotten them. He said that Santa Claus was coming tonight in the air ship, and it's got to be true, it's just got to be true.

Enter TOMASSO from R., carrying violin.

TOMASSO. Anita, if you don't hurry you'll not get any supper at all. It's most eight o'clock.

ANITA. Oh, I don't care for supper, Tomasso. I could-a not eat. I'm too much excited to eat.

TOMASSO. What make-a you so excited, Anita?

ANITA. Why, tonight—(pauses as she remembers her promise) Oh, that I cannot tell; it's a secret.

TOMASSO. What is the secret?

ANITA. If I told-a you, Tomasso, then it would no longer be a secret.

TOMASSO. You should-a not have the secrets from me, Anita. I am your cousin, also—I am the head of the family.

ANITA. But I made the promise not to tell.

TOMASSO. Who you make-a the promise to?

ANITA. I promised Jack—(hesitates) I mean, I make-a de promise to someone.

TOMASSO. To Jack! Who is this-a Jack, Anita?

ANITA. That is part of the secret. Listen, Tomasso, tomorrow morning you shall know everything. Early in the morning shall I tell-a you my secret. That will be my Christmas present to you.

TOMASSO. All right. I'll wait. Oh, see, Anita, the moon is coming up. (Points to L.) Just like-a big, round-a silver ball.

ANITA. Let us stay here and watch the moon, Tomasso.

TOMASSO. You'd better go and get your supper. Those leetla Dutch twins are eating everything on the table. I think they'd eat the table itself if it was-a not nailed to the deck. Hurry, Anita!

ANITA. I go. (Crosses to door at R., then turns toward him). It's a awful good-a secret, Tomasso. (Laughs and runs out at R.)

TOMASSO (looks off L.). Ah, the great, grand-a lady moon. She looks at me, I look at her. Maybe she'll like a leetla serenade.

(Simple violin solo by TOMASSO, accompanied by hidden organ or piano. After he has been playing sometime, the other children come softly in from the R. and group around the stage. Note: If possible, get a boy for TOMASSO'S part who can play the violin; if not, introduce a song at this point. "Santa Lucia," found in most school collections, would prove effective either as a vocal solo or as a violin solo.)

BIDDY MARY. Sure, that's beautiful. It takes me back again to dear ould Ireland where the River Shannon flows.

HULDA. What do you do in Ireland the night before Christmas, Biddy Mary?

MEENY. Do you have a Christmas tree like we do in Germany?

BIDDY MARY. We do not. We don't have any tree at all, at all.

PADDY MIKE. And we don't get many presents. But it's a fine time we have for all that. Instead of getting presents, we have the fun of giving presents—and that's the finest thing in all the world, so it is, to make the other fellow happy. Sure, I just love to give presents.

KLINKER. You can give me some if you want to.

SCHWILLIE. Und me also some.

BIDDY MARY. But where would we be getting presents out here in the middle of the ocean? In dear ould Ireland sure it's a fine time we're after having on Christmas Day.

PADDY MIKE. It is that. With the fiddles playing and the dancers dancing and the fine suppers upon the table.

SERGIUS. In Russia we always set a table in front of the window and put a fine linen cloth on it. (Produces white lace-edged cloth.) Here is the cloth, but we have no window.

HULDA. Here, use this box as a table. (Indicates a large box at rear C.) Now, let us put the cloth on, so! (HULDA and SERGIUS put cloth on the box.)

BIDDY MARY. The night before Christmas we always put a big candle, all gay with ribbons, in the window to welcome the Christ child.

PADDY MIKE. Here is the candle. (Places it on box at rear C.) Now I'll light it. (Lights candle.)

TOMASSO. We do that also in Italy. And we put a leetla picture of the Christ child on the table. (Puts colored picture of Madonna and Child back of the candle.)

BIDDY MARY. On Christmas Day it's the fine old tales we're after hearing in Ireland, all about the wonderful star that shone so bright that it turned night into day, and led the Wise Men all the way to where a little Babe in the manger lay.

PADDY MIKE. And all the angels sang above of peace on earth, good will and love.

BIDDY MARY.

The shepherds wandering on the hill, Beheld the star and followed till They saw the Child and heard the song, The angels sang the whole night long.

SERGIUS. May the spirit of Christmas enter every heart tonight, making all the world one big, happy family, no rich, no poor, no high, no low, all brothers and sisters, all children of the Lord on high!

MEENY. Maybe good old Santa Claus will come after all. Vell, if he does I want to be ready for him. (Produces two very large red stockings, made for the occasion.) Come, Yakob and Hans and Mieze, let us hang up our stockings here under the burning candle. (They hang up the four pair of stockings.)

NEELDA (places a wreath of holly on the table). Christ was born on the Christmas Day, wreathe the holly, twine the bay! Light and Life and Joy is He, the Babe, the Son, the Holy One of Mary!

TOMASSO. Meeny and Yakob and Hans and leetla Mieze have hung up their stockings for the good-a Saint Nicholas, but in Italy we set out our shoes, so! And we always get them full of presents. (Places small pair of wooden shoes on table.)

MEENY. I like stockings much better than shoes already, because the stockings can stretch yet, und if they stretch real, real wide out maybe we can get a baby piano or a automobile in our stockings. Jah, stockings is mooch better als shoes.

HULDA. Here is my beautiful star. (Produces tinsel star.) That will remind us of the Star of Bethlehem that led the three Wise Men across the hills and plains of Judea unto the little manger where, surrounded by cattle and oxen, amid the straw, the Lord of Heaven was born on Christmas Eve.

SCHWILLIE. Und all the angels sang, "Peace on earth, good will to men," didn't they, Klinker?

KLINKER. Und all the shepherds heard them, and they followed the star and came to the manger to see the little Baby.

MEENY. Let us all sit down here in front of the candle and the star, and see if old Santa Claus has forgotten us already. It's almost time for him to be coming. (All sit down.)

ALL (sing).

THE TIME IS NEAR.

[Music illustration:

1. The time is near, the time is near, San-ta Claus will soon be here! All the world is sweet-ly sleep-ing, An-gels now their watch are keep-ing, And the moon shines clear, And the moon shines clear.

2. Be-fore the dawn, be-fore the dawn, Saint Nick will have come and gone! Now with pa-tience we'll a-wait him, Hop-ing noth-ing may be-late him, On his jour-ney long, On his jour-ney long.]

HULDA. Oh, I do hope Santa Claus will come and visit us tonight. But of course he cannot go every place. Some children have to be left out.

KLINKER. Yes, that's so; but I hope it ain't us. Don't you, Schwillie Willie Winkum?

SCHWILLIE. Sure, I do. I wish old Santa would hurry up and come, 'cause the old Sandman is here already. I'm getting awful sleepy.

KLINKER. Me—I'm getting awful sleepy, too. (Stretches and yawns.)

TOMASSO. I wonder what has become of Anita? She said she had a wonderful secret that was-a verra, verra grand.

MEENY. A secret, Tomasso? (Goes to him.)

TOMASSO (standing at C.). Yes, a great, beeg, grand-a secret.

BIDDY MARY (goes to him and takes his L. arm). Oh, what is it, Tomasso?

MEENY (taking his R. arm). Yes, Tomasso, tell us vot it is already.

BIDDY MARY (turning TOMASSO around to face her). Sure, if there's anything on earth I do love, it's a secret.

HULDA (and the other girls, surrounding TOMASSO). Yes, Tomasso, tell us the secret; we'll never tell anyone.

MEENY (pulling him around to face her). Sure we won't. Nice Tomasso, tell us vot it is yet.

TOMASSO (hesitates). Well, I——

BIDDY MARY (pulling him around to face her). Now, you tell me, Tomasso. I never tell any secrets at all, at all.

TOMASSO. Well, I——

MEENY (pulls him around again). If you're going to tell it, I want to hear every word. I never want to miss noddings no times.

BIDDY MARY (pulls him back). Neither do I.

HULDA. Neither do I.

MEENY. Neither do any of us.

KLINKER. I don't want to miss nothing neither.

SCHWILLIE. No, und I don't neither.

ALL. Now, what is the secret, Tomasso?

TOMASSO (loudly). It is not my secret. It is Anita's secret.

ALL. Well, what is Anita's secret.

TOMASSO. She wouldn't tell me.

ALL (turn away very much disappointed). Oh!

TOMASSO. She's promised to tell us all in the morning. She said that would be her Christmas present to us—to tell us the secret. (All sit or recline around the stage. Lower the lights.)

SERGIUS. It seems so strange to spend Christmas Eve away out here in the middle of the ocean.

KLINKER (almost asleep). Wake me up, Hulda, just as soon as Santa Claus comes.

BIDDY MARY (at R.). Sure I think the Sandman has been after spillin' sand in all of our eyes. I'm that sleepy I can't say a word at all, at all.

SANO SAN. They're putting out all the lights. Here, Sergius, hang my little lantern in front of the candle.

AH GOO. Allee samee hang mine. (SANO SAN and AH GOO each give their lanterns to SERGIUS, who lights them and hangs them on the table. Note: Nails must be put in the table at R. and L. corners facing front for these lanterns.)

SERGIUS. I'm going to stretch out here and take a little nap. (Reclines on floor.) Be sure and wake me up, Hulda, just as soon as you hear the bells on his reindeer.

TOMASSO (yawns). I wonder what has become of Anita?

HULDA (stretches). I believe I'm getting sleepy, too.

OTHERS. So are all of us.

BIDDY MARY. We're all noddin', nid, nid noddin', sure I think it's time we were all of us fast asleep.

ALL (sing sleepily).

"WE'RE ALL NODDIN'."

[Music illustration:

1. We are all nod-din', nid, nid nod-din', We are all nod-din', and drop-ping off to sleep. So see San-ta Claus we've all done our best, [Transcriber's Note: probably should be "To see"] But we're aw-ful-ly sleep-y, so we'll take a rest.

2. We are all nod-din', nid, nid nod-din', We are all nod-din', and drop-ping off to sleep. It's aw-ful-ly late, we'll no lon-ger de-lay, But ride with the Sand-man, a-way and a-way.]

(ALL are sound asleep. Stage is dark.)

KLINKER (talking in his sleep). Noddin', nid, nid noddin'.

SCHWILLIE (talking in his sleep). Dropping off to sleep, ain't we, Klinker?

Soft, mysterious music. ANITA dances in from R. She dances around the stage, keeping time to the music and bending over the little sleepers.

ANITA. Asleep! Every last one of them is verra sound asleep. Meeny and Biddy Mary, and Sergius and Tomasso and the leetla Dutch twins and all! (Goes to curtain at rear.) Jack Frost! Jolly Jack Frost! Come-a quick, come-a quick! They're all asleep.

JACK FROST (sticks his head out of the curtains). Hello, what is it?

ANITA. It is Anita. The leetla children are all here and sound asleep.

JACK FROST (coming down to her). And so was I. They sang a song about noddin', nid, nid noddin', and I just went to sleep myself. I dreamed I was hunting a polar bear way up by the North Pole. (Yawns.) I'm still awfully sleepy.

ANITA. I didn't know that you ever went to sleep.

JACK FROST. You bet I do. That's the one thing I've got against my daddy's Christmas trip every year. It wakes us all up right in the middle of the night.

ANITA. The middle of the night? What do you mean?

JACK FROST. Middle of the north pole night. If it wasn't for Christmas we could go to bed about half past October and sleep until a quarter of May, but ma thinks we ought to help pa and then wait up until he comes home. My, I'm sleepy! Aren't you?

ANITA. Oh, no, no! I'm verra too much excited to sleep. It's all about my secret. Are you really sure he is coming?

JACK FROST. Of course he is, and it's almost time he was here now. It's nearly Christmas Day. Look way up there in the sky. You don't see anything that looks like an air ship, do you?

ANITA (looking up and off at R.). No, I cannot see a single thing.

JACK FROST (sees table at rear). Oh, look here! The children have lighted a candle for him. That's just fine. It always pleases him. And see; here's a picture and a wreath of holly and the star of Bethlehem. And stockings and shoes all in a row.

ANITA (looking up and off R.). I can't see a thing.

JACK FROST. Here's a telescope. Look through that. (Takes home-made telescope from his barrel.) Now do you see anything?

ANITA. Oh, no; now I cannot even see the stars or the moon.

JACK FROST. Of course you can't. You are looking through the wrong end. Turn it around.

ANITA (looks up and off R. through telescope). Oh, now I can see the stars. And, oh, look! I see a leetla, teeny-weeny thing way, way off—far up in the sky. Look, Jack Frost, is that the air ship?

(Fast music, played softly.)

JACK FROST (looks through the telescope). Yes, I believe it is.

ANITA (dances wildly about the stage). Oh, he's coming, he's coming. I'm going to get to see Santa Claus! Is it not wonderful? I'm going to see him. Let me look. (Takes telescope.) Oh, it's getting bigger and bigger and BIGGER!

Sleigh bells heard outside at R., far away in the distance.

JACK FROST (capering around). Hurray! daddy's coming! daddy's coming!

ANITA. Now I can hear the bells. Oh, it's coming closer and closer and CLOSER. Look out, it's going to hit the boat! (Small toy air ship flies across the stage at rear, with tiny lights twinkling in it. Stretch a wire across rear of stage and high up, for the toy to run on.)

JACK FROST. He flew right by us.

ANITA. Maybe he didn't see the boat. Oh, now he isn't coming at all.

JACK FROST (looking out at L.). Yes, he is. He's landed right over there. Here he comes; here he comes! (Music and bells louder and louder.)

ANITA (runs to L.). Here we are, Santa Claus. This is the place. Come in. Merry Christmas, Santa Claus, merry Christmas!

Loud fast music. Enter SANTA CLAUS from L.

SANTA CLAUS. Hello, there—where are you? It's so dark I can't see a single thing.

JACK FROST. Hello, daddy; merry Christmas.

SANTA CLAUS (shaking hands with him). Hello yourself. Merry Christmas to you, too. Are you all ready for me?

JACK FROST. Yes, it's all ready. The magical tree is just waiting for your touch to turn into a real Christmas tree.

ANITA. Oh, we're going to have a real Christmas tree.

SANTA CLAUS. Hello, who's this young person?

JACK FROST. This is Anita.

SANTA CLAUS. And why isn't she sound asleep like the rest of the children?

JACK FROST. She's such a good little girl that I told her she could stay up with me and wait until you came.

SANTA CLAUS (laughs). Oh, ho; so you've made a hit with my boy, Jack Frost, have you? Well, if that's the case, I guess you can stay.

ANITA. But all of the children would like to see you, Santa Claus. See, they've prepared the candle and the wreath of holly and the star of Bethlehem all for you. There's Sergius and Tomasso and Hulda and Meeny and Hans and Yakob and Neelda and Ah Goo and Sano San and Mieze and the leetla Dutch twins, Klinker and Schwillie Willie Winkum. They've all been awfully good children. And Biddy Mary and Paddy Mike they brought the candle. They're good, too.

SANTA CLAUS. Hurry, Jack, and fill up the shoes and stockings.

JACK FROST (filling them from the sack). Yes, daddy, I'm hurrying.

SANTA CLAUS. It's just two minutes till Christmas morning. I've had a hard night's work and I think I'll just take a little vacation here in the steerage.

ANITA. Oh, Santa Claus, may I wake up all the leetla children and let them see you?

SANTA CLAUS. Yes, just as soon as you hear the chimes announcing the birth of Christmas Day.

ANITA. And don't you have any other place to go this year?

SANTA CLAUS. I hope not. Here I am in the middle of the ocean and my air ship is just about played out. Jack, dump everything out of the sack and we'll give the little immigrants the jolliest kind of a Christmas. I'm not going to lug all of those toys and candy and things back to the North Pole again.

JACK FROST (empties sack on floor). Here they are, daddy.

SANTA CLAUS. Now, where's the tree?

JACK FROST (goes to rear of the stage and removes the curtains that have been concealing the dazzling Christmas tree.). There she is. Isn't she a beauty?

ANITA. Oh, it's the greatest, most grand-a tree in all the world.

(Faint chimes are heard in the distance.)

JACK FROST. There are the chimes. It is Christmas Day. Merry Christmas, daddy; merry Christmas, Anita. Christmas Day is here.

ANITA (dancing around). Merry Christmas, Jack Frost! Merry Christmas, Santa Claus! Merry Christmas, everybody! Merry Christmas to all the world. Wake up, Hulda! Wake up! (Shakes her.)

JACK FROST. Wake up, Paddy Mike and Sergius! Wake up! Merry Christmas!

SANTA CLAUS. Wake up, Meeny and Biddy. It's Christmas morning. And you two little shavers, Klinker and Schwillie Willie Winkum, wake up and give Santa Claus a good, old hug!

(The children all awaken. Rub eyes, stretch, etc.)

HULDA. Oh, he's come, he's come, he's come! (Runs and hugs SANTA CLAUS.)

SCHWILLIE. Me, too. (Hugs him.) I said he'd come, didn't I, Klinker?

(Lights all on full.)

KLINKER (hugging SANTA CLAUS). Sure you did. And me, too, didn't I, Schwillie Willie Winkum?

MEENY. Oh, see the tree! The beautiful, beautiful Christmas tree.

TOMASSO. And my leetla shoes are full of candy and toys.

PADDY MIKE. Now, let's be all after giving three cheers for old Santa Claus. (The cheers are given.)

ANITA (bringing JACK FROST forward). And this is the leetla Jolly Jack Frost.

PADDY MIKE. Then three cheers for the leetla Jolly Jack Frost. (The cheers are given.)

ANITA (at C. with JACK FROST). This was my Christmas secret. Santa Claus and the air ship and the Christmas tree and jolly Jack Frost and everything. This was the secret.

PADDY MIKE. Now all of yeez give three cheers for Anita's secret. (The cheers are given. Folk dance may be introduced. All sing Christmas carol as the curtain falls.)

CURTAIN.

REMARKS ON THE PRODUCTION OF THE PLAY.

THE SCENERY.

The stage should be set to represent the steerage of a large ocean-going vessel. A good elaborate set may be arranged with very little expense by following the diagram. The back drop should be of light blue with a few cumulus clouds in white. The water line should be about one-fourth from the bottom, and from this line downward the scene should be darker blue, with white waves.

The background may be made from canvas or paper, as desired. A good effect has been produced by covering frames with tissue paper of the desired shades, the clouds and the water lines being cut from white paper and pasted on.

A railing runs across rear of stage. This railing is made of wood, with a tennis net serving for the wiring. Round life-savers are cut from paper, painted and attached to the railing. The ventilator and hatchways may be made from brown bristol board.

A large Christmas tree, lighted and decorated, stands at rear L. This is concealed by curtains.

A square box or table stands at rear C. Several barrels and boxes are at left front, and a box is at right front. A large barrel stands at left of center near the rear.



PROPERTIES.

Woolen stocking and knitting needles for Meeny. Potatoes, knife, bowl for Biddy Mary. Jack-stones for Sergius. Tambourine for Anita. Nickel (coin) for Jack Frost. Violin for Tomasso. White, lace-edged table cloth for Sergius. Large candle decorated with red ribbons for Paddy Mike. Bright picture of Virgin and Child for Tomasso. Two large red stockings for Meeny. Extra stockings for Yakob, Hans and Mieze. Wreath of holly for Neelda. Small wooden shoes for Tomasso. Tinsel star for Hulda. Telescope for Jack Frost. Made from a pasteboard roll covered with black cloth. Toy air ship on a wire, to sail across stage at rear. Pack of toys for Santa Claus. Sleigh bells for Santa. Chimes heard outside.

COSTUMES AND SUGGESTIONS.

SANTA CLAUS—High boots. Red or brown coat or mackinaw, trimmed with fur (or cotton, dotted to imitate ermine fur). Cap to match coat. String of bells around neck. Pack of toys. White hair, mustache and long, white beard. Rosy cheeks. Do not wear a false-face, as this often frightens little children and makes the character seem unreal. When there are little children in the cast, their belief in Santa Claus must not be disturbed and the adult portraying the character need not attend the general rehearsals. The high boots may be shaped from black oil-cloth and drawn on over black shoes. Use a pillow or two to give an ample girth.

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