The Country School An Entertainment in Two Scenes
An Entertainment in Two Scenes.
M. R. ORNE.
COPYRIGHT, 1890, BY WALTER H. BAKER & CO.
THE characters in this little sketch should beplayed by prominent citizens of your town, if such can be prevailedupon to appear—the more elderly, staid,and incongruous in years and bearing, the better.Dignified professors, judges, doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc.,should be prevailed upon to forget their present greatness,don the costumes and revive the scenes of their youth.
The dress may be left largely to individual taste.Short pantaloons, jumpers, long-sleeved tires, caps, broad-brimmed straw hats,heavy cowhide boots, are suggested for the gentlemen;while short dresses, the historic pantalette, sun-bonnets,tires, aprons, etc., are proposed for the ladies.The latter should have their hair braided or hanging in long curls.All should be neatly dressed in “ye olden time” costumes, except one or two,who may represent the tatterdemalion fraternity.One of these may be the bright boy of the class, the other the dullard,who stumbles through his lessons, loses his place,has a passion for catching flies, throwing spit-balls, etc.One boy may have a penchant for drawing pictures on his slateor the blackboard, in which his teacher and mates play a prominent partas models. One girl a proneness for chewing gum, another for large pickles;another thinks herself smart, but generally manages to give wrong answers.A few names have been suggested in the dialogue,but they may be easily varied. Where a name is not necessary,the author has used the word “Pupil,” so that the partsmay be distributed according to the number of performers.
The by-play that goes on among the scholars who are not recitingmust be of such a nature that it will not attract the attentionof the teacher unless it is a part of the programme.
The motion song can be introduced elsewhere in the dialogue if advisable.
As a rule, pupils should raise hands (at the same time saying “Huh! huh!”or snapping thumb and finger), and obtainpermission before speaking; but where the dialogue becomesspirited, this rule may be broken.
An indefinite number can take part in this entertainment.
THE curtain should rise upon an introductory frontscene depicting the pupils on their way to school, singly,or in groups of two or three, swinging book-bags or dinner-pails;one group of girls play bean-bag; a group of boys play marbles;one boy tries to fly a kite; some skip, others walk sedately,or jump rope, drive hoop, etc.
BOY. Say, Seth, old Hickory’s coming! Got your hands all waxed, sonny?’Cause you’ll have to ketch it hot and heavy this morning.Teacher’s awful mad about your stealing Squire Green’s apples.
SETH CRANE (who has book-bag, etc.). Don’t care.I ain’t going to school to-day, anyway.I’m going to play hookey.
BOY. Did your ma say you might?
SETH. Bet your life she didn’t. I’m not tied to my ma’s apron strings,Bubby; I’m no baby!
BOY. Here he comes! Run, Seth, or he’ll ketch you.
(SETH runs off. Teacher passes along saying “Good-morning” etc., to children.)
BOY. (still whittling, to group which comes up).Say, boys, Seth Crane’s going to play hookey.Let’s pay, him back for saying we stole Squire Green’s apples,will you, and tell his mother? She’s a daisy, though, ain’t she?
SECOND BOY. Agreed! But who’ll tell the old lady?
BOY. Let Daniel. He’s teacher’s pet anyway, and if he’s late,nothing’ll be said. Will you go, Dan?
DANIEL. Yes. The old lady’ll give me some of her nice doughnuts.(Smacking lips, he runs off. Boys pass off in other direction,crying, “Save some for us, Dan,” etc.)
The above merely serves to indicate the general nature of the dialoguethat may be characteristically employed,the precise points to be made depending for their humorous valueso entirely upon the identity of the actor in each caseand their contradiction of his well-known character and dignity,that they must be left to the invention of the players.The dialogue, whatever its nature, should be accompanied by anincessant pantomimic action of characteristic boyish anticsand practical jokes, made inexpressibly ludicrous by whiskers,bass voices, and other personal anachronisms.
At the close of this introductory part,and while the curtain is rising on the school scene,a large bell should be rung vigorously.
SCENE.—The interior of the little red schoolhouseof our grandfathers. Teacher’s desk at R., stove L.,chair for committee man in front of stove, desks at back,leaving an open space in front for classes, etc.Blackboard and map at back. Blackboard down in R. corner,by teacher’s desk, facing house. Door at back, C.
As pupils enter they courtesy to the teacher,and after hanging hats and bonnets on nails, take their seats.One pupil is granted the privilege of ringing the bell at the door,whereupon the rest enter.The school is them called to order and the roll is read.Each answers “here” or “present” to his name.When the name of “James Peters” is read there is no reply.At length one of the girls explains that he “had to stay to hum tomind the baby.” Another scholar reports that “the reason Molly Jenkinsdidn’t come was because she hadn’t no shoes.”
TEACHER. I see a few new scholars here. I will now take their names.What name do you call yourself, sir?
J. C. SMITH. I don’t call myself any names! But Nappy Jones does,and ef he ever does it again (doubling up his fists and threatening the same, who returns the compliment ), I’ll lick him, see ef I don’t!My name is Julius Caesar Smith, and don’t you forget it.
TEACHER. How old are you, Julius Caesar?
J. C. S. I’m five years old next Christmas.
TEACHER. That will do. The next scholar.
J. CALL. I’m Jule Call, and my brother’s name is Bill Call.
TEACHER. Your brother can speak for himself.It is very improper to say “Jule” and “Bill;” you should say Julius.Now, what is your name?
J. C. Julius Call, sir.
B. CALL. Bilious Call, sir.
TEACHER. What, sir!
B. C. Bilious Call. (In surprise.)
TEACHER. There is no such proper name as “Bilious.”Your name is probably William.
J. C. He’s my brother Bill anyway,and ef I’m Julius he’s Bilious,ain’t we?
TEACHER. Silence I want no impudence from any of my pupils.(JULIUS, silenced but not convinced,shakes his head and gesticulates to his friends,all of whom show him their sympathy with his views.)What is your name, my dear?
Z. S. Zenobia Snellings, may it please you, sir.(Makes low courtesy.)
TEACHER. Are you a native of this place?
Z. S. Yes, sir—part of the year.
TEACHER. Part of the year! What do you mean?
Z. S. Vacations I spend with Aunt Nancy at__________ .(Supply a neighboring town.)
(Interruption in the shape of DANIEL WEBSTER TOMKINS,who rushes in out of breath and trips over the threshold,upsetting lunch basket, revealing contents.)
D. W. T. Has bell rang?
TEACHER (severely pointing to the door). Try that again, Daniel.
D. W. T. I got enough of it that time.Let some other feller try it. (Rubbing knees and elbows.)
TEACHER. Sit down, sir.
D. W. T. Wait till I pick up some of these cold wittles round here.
TEACHER (resuming). Next, what shall I call you?
V. M. W. Venus Matildy Weeks. I’m her sister. (Pointing.)
TEACHER. Her name’s Snellings and yours Weeks; how’s that?
V. M. W. Well, we didn’t used to be any relation,but we married her mother—me and my father.
TEACHER. Oh, I see a second marriage. Who are you? (Silence.)I mean the boy with red hair. (Boys nudge and girls giggle.)
C. C. F. (rising slowly.) C-C-C-ChristopherC-C-C-Colum-b-b-b-bus F-F-Fitts.I st-st-st-stutter! (Sitting.)
TEACHER. Ah! do you?
C. C. F. (rising slowly).Ye-ye-yes, sir! s-s-s-s-sometimes. (Sitting.)
B. F. S. (drawling). My father knows you.He used ter go to school with you.Says you and him played hookey one day and tumbled interthe mill-pond—and—he! he! ye both got a flogging!—My name’sBenjamin Franklin Squeers, like my father’s. (Scholars titter.)
TEACHER. That will do, Benjamin Franklin.Your father evidently had some one else in mind.The class may sing the multiplication table.(Class sing “Five times one are five,” etc.,to the tune of Yankee Doodle.)
TEACHER. You may now all take your books and slates.The infant class may pass out on the floor.You may look at the words on the board and get ready to read them.(Class forms a semicircle in front of teacher’s desk or board.Teacher writes the following on board:)
1. Herod the tetrarch.
2. This is a worm; do not tread on it.
3. This is the heir; come, let us kill him.
FIRST BOY (reads slowly). He—rode—the—Don’tknow that word.
TEACHER. Didn’t I tell you to study while I was writing?
BOY. Yes, sir. (Crying.)
TEACHER. Then go on.
BOY. Boo-hoo! I can’t read it.
TEACHER. Try it again immediately.
BOY. He (boo-hoo! ) rode—the—tater—cart!(Weeps profusely.)
TEACHER. Next scholar read it.
GIRL. Herod—the—the—the (is prompted by someone )the tetrarch.
TEACHER. Very good. Next boy, the second sentence.
BOY. This—is—a—warm—This—is—a—warm—doughnut—tread on it.
TEACHER (presenting dunce cap).Put that on and stand in the corner.(Boy scuffs to corner, where he spends his time throwing spitballsand eating doughnuts, thrown him by pupils when the teacher is not looking.)Next read. (Boy steps up to ask teacher about an example.)
GIRL (prompted by one of the boys).Thith ith a wurrum. Be—careful—not—to—tread—on—it(again prompted ), or it will bite you.
TEACHER (to boy). You have multiplied wrong.Let me see: five times nine are forty-five,put down the five and carry the four, etc.(Class push and pull, but straighten into linewhen the teacher looks up). Next read.
BOY. This—is—the—hair—comb. Let—us—kill—him!
TEACHER. I am ashamed of you. Does c-o-m-e spellcomb? (Sends boy with slate to his seat.)Hands up—those who can tell me what it does spell. Well, John?
JOHN. It spells come.
TEACHER. Right. You may read it.
JOHN. This—is—the—hair.Come—let—us—kill—him. Ow-oo-oo! (Dancing round.)
TEACHER. Well, John! What’s the matter?
JOHN. Somebody pulled my hair!
TEACHER (severely). Who pulled John’s hair?
PUPIL. I did; I couldn’t help it. (Hanging head.)
TEACHER. Couldn’t help pulling hair! That is a likely story. You may pass to the foot.
PUPIL. No, I couldn’t. I went to raise my hand and his hair wasright in the way. (Scuffs to foot.)
TEACHER. I will try you on one more sentence,and if you cannot read that properly you must take your seats and study.(Writes: “Stephen says that the girls are knitting.” ) Next read.
PUPIL. Step-hen! (Hands of class go up.)
TEACHER. Wrong! Next! (Is interrupted by boy who wants a drink.Two boys are appointed to get a bucket of water and pass itto the others in tin cups.)
NEXT PUPIL. Stephen—says—that—the—girls—are—kissing.(Boys laugh.)
GIRL (indignantly). He didn’t read that right!
TEACHER. Very well. You may read it.
GIRL (still unmollified ). Stephen says that girls are kittens.
(Teacher sends class to seats in disgrace to study their lesson.)
BOY (in seat). Teacher, how many is five less one?
TEACHER. Think that out yourself.If there were five crows in Squire Green’sfield and you should shoot one,how many would there be left?
BOY. Only one.
TEACHER. What? Think again.
BOY. The other four would fly off, wouldn’t they?
GIRL (raising hand ).How many scruples are there in a drachm?
TEACHER. Jonathan, tell Maria how many scruples there are in a drachm.
JONATHAN. Don’t know, only that ma said as how pa took his dramevery morning without any scruples.I guess some drams don’t have no scruples.
TEACHER. Both of you refer to your tables.
GIRL (raising hand ). Teacher, why does an elephant have a trunk?
BOY (raising hand ). So’s’t he’d be an elephant, of course!
TEACHER. I will now hear the class in history.(They pass out to places, the boys trying to get a drink on the way.)The first scholar may tell me something about Christopher Columbus.
FIRST GIRL. Christopher was once a little boy like me—no,I mean he was a little girl like me—no, I don’t!—well,he went to school like me anyway. His mother’s name was Geneva.
BOY. Hoh! It wasn’t either. That was his father’s name.
ANOTHER GIRL. Teacher, wasn’t Geneva where he was born?
TEACHER. Yes, Mary, go on.
MARY. Somebody bought him a yacht or a steamer,I believe, and one Friday he sailed over here to Americaand asked us if we had been discovered yet,and we told him “No.” “All right,” he said, “you have.”So he took some of our Indians home with him to tell the kingthat they had been discovered, and we named the United States after him.
TEACHER. That is right in the main.One or two points I might take exceptions to.The next may take George Washington and tell us about him.(Is interrupted by a boy in seat who raises his hand and askshow many days there are in a year.)Who can tell Julius how many days in a year?