Woodcock's Little Game A Comedy Farce, In Two Acts
WOODCOCK’S LITTLE GAME:
IN TWO ACTS.
Lend me Five Shillings, Three Cuckoos, Catch a Weazel, Wherethere’s a Will there’s a Way, John Dobbs, A Most Unwarrantable Intrusion, Going to theDerby, Your Life’s in Danger, Midnight Watch, Box and Cox, Trumpeter’s Wedding, Done onBoth Sides, Poor Pillicoddy, Old Honesty, Young England, King and I, My Wife’s SecondFloor, Who do they take me for? The Thumping Legacy, Milliners’ Holiday, WeddingBreakfast, Irish Tiger, Attic Story, Who’s the Composer? Who’s my Husband? Slasher andCrasher, Prince for an Hour, Away with Melancholy, Waiting for an Omnibus, Betsy Baker,Who Stole the Pocket-Book? Two Bonnycastles, From Village to Court, Grimshaw, Bagshaw, andBradshaw, Rights and Wrongs of Women, Sent to the Tower, Our Wife, Brother Ben, Take Careof Dowb—, Wooing One’s Wife, Margery Daw, The Double-Bedded Room, the “Alabama,” DrawingRooms, Second Floors, and Attics, &c. &c.
| NEW YORK:|
SAMUEL FRENCH & SON,
38, EAST 14TH STREET.
WOODCOCK’S LITTLE GAME.
First performed at the Royal St. James Theatre
(Under the management of Mr. Benjamin Webster)
On Thursday, 6th October, 1864.
|MR. WOODCOCK||Mr. CHARLES MATTHEWS.|
|MR. CHRISTOPHER LARKINGS||Mr. H. J. MONTAGUE.|
|MR. ADOLPHUS SWANSDOWN||Mr. J. JOHNSTONE.|
|DAVID||Mr. W. CHAMBERLAINE.|
|MRS. COLONEL CARVER||Mrs. FRANKMATTHEWS.|
|MRS. WOODCOCK||Miss FANNY HUGHES.|
|MRS. LARKINGS||Miss WENTWORTH.|
Time in Performance—One Hour.
WOODCOCK’S LITTLE GAME.
SCENE.—An Apartment in the house of Mrs. ColonelCarver at Stow-on-the-Wold, fire-place in C., doors,R. and L. of it; another doorR. 2. E.; a sofa, L.; atL. a window; table, C., with writingmaterials; chairs, &c., &c.
DAVID in livery and wearing a large weddingfavour, is seated at little table, writing.
DAVID. Let me see what I ha’ written! (reading letter) “DearCousin Jane, I write this from the little town of Stow-on-the-Wold, inGloucestershire—last week the population amounted to 2719, but as soon as master and mearrived, it suddenly shot up to 2721—the church bells have been ringing all the morning inhonour of my master’s marriage with Miss Caroline Anastasia Sophia Elizabeth Carver, whichis now being solemnized”—(noise of shouting and hurrahing heard) hey-day!(jumps up and looks out of window) it be all over, and here comes the bride andbridegroom! (shouts repeated—DAVID, in his enthusiasm waving hisarm out of the window and hurrahing with all his might, then coming down) Poor master!he’s gone and done it now, and no mistake! (listening) Here comes the weddingparty—I must finish my letter to Cousin Jane by-and-bye! (putting letter in hispocket)
MRS. WOODCOCK, MRS.COLONEL CARVER in bridal attire, and twoBRIDESMAIDS enter at door R. C.
MRS. C. Don’t agitate yourself, my darling child, it is rather a nervousaffair, I know, but it’s all over now—nothing could be better, you got through itcharmingly.
BRIDESMAIDS. Oh, yes, charmingly!
MRS. C. A little repose, a mouthful of sponge cake and glass of sherrywill soon compose you. Ladies, support your precious charge—come.
Exeunt, door R. 2 E.
WOOD. (without) This way, my dear friends.
Enter WOODCOCK, doorR. C., in his bridegroom’s costume, followed by two orthree MALE FRIENDS, with whom he is shaking hands insuccession.
I’m obliged to you—very much obliged to you, indeed, for seeing methrough the awful—I mean the interesting ceremony! You’ll excuse my following you to thedining room; you’ll find my respectable bride and her blushing mother there—no—Imean—really, what with the excitement, the agitation, the—the——
FRIENDS. (laughing) Ha, ha! of course!—all right, old fellow—ha,ha, ha!
Exeunt, R. 2 E.
WOOD. (coming slowly down—after a short pause) It’s all over!there’s not the slightest doubt about its being all over! the knot is tied, and I amfairly launched on the sea of matrimony! I felt uncommonly nervous at first, and then, tomake matters worse, I thought I never should have got my white kid gloves off; and yetthey were quite loose when I put them on. I can’t imagine what made them shrink so, unlessit was the state of nervous excitement they were in—I mean, I was in! ’Pon my life, afterall, a wedding in a country town is a very jolly affair! In London, a couple walk intochurch and out again, and it makes no more sensation than if they went into a pastrycook’sand bought a bun a piece! but in the country it creates a general excitement—the bride andbridegroom become objects of universal sympathy—I mean, curiosity—everybody wishes themjoy, at least they say they do! In short, as I said before, it’s a very jolly affair! Ishouldn’t mind being married two or three times a week for a considerable time to come.(seeing DAVID) Ah, David!
DAVID. (sighing, and very seriously) So, you be really married,sir?
WOOD. (assuming a very hilarious manner) Yes, David! quitemarried! You may look at me with the perfect[Pg 5] conviction that you are contemplating the portrait of agentleman thoroughly, totally, and completely married. (DAVID turns awayto hide his laughter) You needn’t turn your head away, David. I don’t mind yourlaughing. I’m laughing myself, ha, ha, ha. (forcing a very loud laugh—then aftera short pause) It does seem funny though, doesn’t it, David?
DAVID. (L. C.) Yes, sir! it is arum go and no mistake!
WOOD. I said nothing about a “rum go,” David,—I limited myself tothe expression “funny!”
DAVID. Only to think of your settling down into a respectablemember of society! Dear, dear, when I think of your desperate, wild, audaciouscapers——
WOOD. Hush, David! not so loud? my respected mother-in-law might hearyou; and between you and me Mrs. Colonel Carver is rather a formidable sort of person!
DAVID. Ees, sir! she has a stiffish, frumpish look with her!
WOOD. I said nothing about “stiffish and frumpish,” David,—I limitedmyself to the expression “formidable.” As you say, David, I have been a sad scapegrace—adesperate rascal—but when a man has been cutting capers and nothing but capers for twentyyears, it’s high time he cut them altogether—in plain English, I felt I had had mywhack, and that’s why I’ve just married Miss Caroline Anastasia Sophia ElizabethCarver!
DAVID. Well, sir, they do say a reformed rake makes the best husband,and you certainly had a regular good “innings” at it.
WOOD. I said nothing about “innings,” David,—I limited myself to theexpression “whack!” Has anything been sent from the railway station?
DAVID. Yes—sir, three parcels—here they be, sir! (three brown paperparcels are on the table)
WOOD. (taking one parcel and opening letter, which is fastened toit) “Two morning gowns in merino—best quality, quilted and lined,—cords and tassels asto order,” that’s all right; now the other parcels, David—(opening the papers attachedto them) “Three woollen smoking caps, three cloth ditto, three silk ditto, threevelvet ditto”—all right. (opening third paper) “Twelve pairs of slippers
DAVID. Morning gowns, caps, and slippers! Why, I never seed you with oneor the other in all my life, never!
WOOD. Exactly; because, hitherto, my existence has been passed in coatsthat cramped my body, hats that pinched my head, and boots that crippled my feet! Butthat’s all over, David; to-morrow I insert my body into a morning gown, my head into acap, my feet into a pair of slippers, and in that easy and unencumbered state I sink intoa comfortable arm chair for the remainder of my existence. Not a bad notion, eh,David?
DAVID. I call it a first-rate dodge, sir!
WOOD. I said nothing about a “dodge,” David; I limited myself to theexpression “notion.” That being the case, David, I hereby convey, transfer, and make overto you from the time being my entire stock of dress coats, ditto trousers, dittowaistcoats, white neckcloths, black hats, and patent leather boots.
DAVID. Oh, thank’ee, sir, thankee!
MRS. LARKINGS. (without) Don’t trouble yourself! Idare say you’ve plenty to do on such a day as this.
WOOD. Heyday! see who it is, David.
DAVID. (looking off at R. C.) It bea lady, sir. Lor! how I should laugh if it was one o’ your old London sweethearts comedown to forbid the banns—ha, ha, ha!
WOOD. Hold your tongue, sir, and shew the lady in!
As DAVID goes up, enterMRS. LARKINGS, at door R.C., in travelling costume.
DAVID. (running back to WOODCOCK, and aside tohim) All right, sir—I never seed her afore!
WOOD. Leave the room! (DAVID runsout—WOODCOCK advances to MRS.LARKINGS) Madam, may I—eh? yes—Mrs. Larkings!
MRS. L. Yes! in propria persona. Well, am I too late? Isee I am. You’re married? I see you are. (looking at WOODCOCK andthen bursting into a laugh) Ha, ha, ha! I can’t help laughing!
WOOD. So it seems. Yes, fair lady, I entered the holy
MRS. L. I should so like to have seen you! what fun it must havebeen—ha, ha, ha!
WOOD. (aside) What does she mean by “fun?” and what canshe be laughing at? (aloud and assuming a very solemn manner) Mrs. Larkings, if youallude to the solemnization of the nuptial rites, I saw no fun in it.
MRS. L. No, of course you didn’t! ha, ha, ha! but tell me howis—how is Mrs. Woodcock? Ha, ha, ha!
WOOD. (aside) Mrs. Larkings is gradually becoming unpleasant.
MRS. L. Of course I couldn’t allow the dear girl to be married withoutwishing her joy, poor thing.
WOOD. (aside) What does she mean by “poor thing?”
MRS. L. So I took the express train, and here I am! I suppose she wasdreadfully agitated, poor thing?
WOOD. (aside) That’s two poor things! (aloud)Agitated! not she; she was all animation—all joy—all——
MRS. L. Yes, yes! she naturally would be at first, poorthing.
WOOD. (aside) Another “poor thing,” and Mrs. Larkings and I shallhave a row.
MRS. L. Well, as I have unluckily arrived too late to witness theceremony—I’d have given anything to have seen you—ha, ha! (laughing immoderately)You don’t mind my laughing, do you?
WOOD. Not at all; it’s rather pleasant than otherwise!
MRS. L. All I can do is to give the bride and bridegroom my blessing,and go back by the next train to London!
WOOD. And to Larkings! By-the-bye, how is your Christopher? I hope yourChristopher is still the same fond, indulgent Christopher you’ve always found yourChristopher.
MRS. L. (enthusiastically) He’s a darling! we are happy as theday is long! and no wonder—we married for love; our tastes, our opinions are the same, andwhat is still more important, we are nearly the same age—Christopher is twenty-four; I amtwenty-two! now between you and Caroline the gap is much wider.
WOOD. The what?
MRS. L. The gap! she is under twenty, while you are—how old shallwe say? (smiling)
WOOD. (very quietly) Thirty-nine!
MRS. L. Oh, that’s the age you’ve decided on, eh? well, if you wish it,we’ll say thirty-nine! (smiling again) I’d better tell Christopher in case he mightlet the cat out of the bag! (smiling)
WOOD. (aside) Pleasant creature! very! (aloud) Yes, Mrs.Larkings—and at thirty-nine I think it time for a man to marry.
MRS. L. Then why didn’t you? (smiling)
WOOD. I am, married! at least, such is my impression.
MRS. L. Yes, yes! but I don’t mean this thirty-nine! your otherthirty-nine! your first thirty-nine! (smiling)
WOOD. (aside) Her sex protects her. (aloud) I repeat thathaving reached the age of thirty-nine, and having moreover, sufficiently enjoyed what iscalled “life”——
MRS. L. You determined to marry and settle down quietly, and all thatsort of thing—exactly! that’s intelligible enough, as far as you are concerned; but—yourwife?
WOOD. My wife? Well? what?
MRS. L. She hasn’t enjoyed what is called “life.”
WOOD. Eh? no—of course not; but——
MRS. L. You intend that she shall! of course! indeed, Mrs.Colonel Carver writes me word that she has arranged a delightful wedding trip for you.
WOOD. Has she? (aside) That’s kind of Carver! very!
MRS. L. Yes! Brussels, Switzerland, Italy, &c., &c., &c.;she hasn’t quite settled which.