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MASK AND DOMINO.
DAVID L. PROUDFIT.
Y Lady Irene, thou art wan tó-night,
And yet but now, beneath thy domino,
I did not think to find thee trembling so;
A man's would suit thee best! Well, I did think
A little frolic would have plagued thee naught;
At my unmasking. Tell me now thy thought.
Still pale and silent? What strange thing is this?
These are my lord's apartments, and I think Somewhere there must be wine. Ah, yes, here 'tis.
These tears of Christ will help thee. Sweetheart, drink! Is't not almost divine ? Ah, Lachrymæ Christi, thou’rt a wondrous wine ! How I did fool thee, child! Forgive my glee,
I cannot choose but laugh. 'Twas writ this way: "Irene, my sweet, one waits who worships thee,
And this the token: Love me, love, I pray!”
Nay, sweet Marchesa, I condemn thee not;
No sin is quite so sinful till found out.
Oh, I have noted how my lord of late
Hath sued thy favor-but I count it naught; 'Tis what we look for in the marriage state
Is't not, Marchesa ? Dost thou sorrow aught
I do remember—laughable it seems
How once the Duke—ha, ha!—did swear to me That my blue eyes were brighter than bright dreams;
But, faith, it was but lover's gallantry,
Art ill, dear friend? Dost feel the need of air ?
I'll throw the casement open to the night.
So! Is not yon fair planet wondrous bright?
How lovely is the moon's serene, sweet face !
No woman hath such beauty, yet, alway,
Strange, is it not? And stranger still, to-day
What wretched creatures we—that live to make
The sport of men ; and each new lover seems Too fond and true a loving heart to break;
Then comes the day that shatters all our dreams, And, at the bitter end, We learn to hate each lover and each friend.
Look out upon the hushed and breathless night;
The tranquil stars alone art always true.
What's this? A storm hath quenched their steadfast light.
That flash was fearful! See, the lights burn blue.
That wine hath hurt thee? Is it so? Alas,
With mine own hand I did prepare that glass!
I am the woman that he swore to love!
For this intrigue! Yea, by the saints above,
The treacherous schemer for a trysting gave!
And die and rot in a dishonored grave!
“Maid, altogether fair,” he cried, “be mine, my high soprano bride; Let us duet life's journey through. Enchanting singer, what
say you? Our key shall be a little flat, a finely furnished one at that; There we will live on minor scale, in style to make the major
quail.” Said she, “I sing too sharp for that, you never catch me in a flat; I choose the notes of higher pitch, the major has them—he is
STORY BY R. NETTLETON.
Written as monologue by Stanley Schell expressly for this book.
CHARACTERS: COLORED GIRL, young, full of joy, yet shy of ex
pression, speaker present; Miss ALLIE, supposed to be pres
ent. STAGE-SETTING: Sitting-room door L. of center, chairs about
room. On couch, at right, should be ugly purple gown piped
with red. COSTUME: Plain dark skirt, white shirt-waist, no collar. Hair done up in stiff little braids. Each one tied with white rag:
[She stands in doorway, face radiant, holds large box
clasped to her breast.] Miss Allie, it's done come! Does y'all want t'see it?
[Waits eagerly; face lights joyously; enters and sits on
floor, Turkish fashion; holds box on lap.] I has fer tax y pardon, Miss Allie, dat I ain't got on no collar ner no apern-done fixed m' hair fer de night, too.
[Feels head in apologetic fashion.] I'se jes' 'bout goin't bed when I heared de do'-bell. Dat yallow man what brung de box, he see I done have no apern on, an' he says, kind o’ laughin”, “Is you de lady o’ de house?' 'N' I says, “Go on, nigger, quit dat talkin', mind yer own bus'ness!" Dese yere city cullud people, dey's so impert'nent I ain't got no use fer 'em.
[While talking; works hard to get bor untied; lifts lid off box, tissue paper is disclosed; rises suddenly and holds
out box to Miss ALLIE, then quickly shuts eyes tight.] Miss Allie, won't y'all open it out ’n’ lay it onto de couch? I doesn't da’st lif'
[Trembles with excitement; stands quiet as if waiting;
suddenly opens eyes and looks with joy.] [Ejaculated.] Great day! Look a' dat tail on de skirt, an’ all dem little ruffelers, ain't dey
[Stops suddenly; veil is discovered; gives darting look full of recognition; puts both hands over face and murmurs
in rapturous whisper.] No, Lawd! dat ain't fer me!
[Goes to couch and picks up gingerly edge of veil.] Reckon dis yere veil must 'a' cost y'all right dear, Miss Allie.
[Awe-struck voice.) M’ Aunt Nettie up in de kentry ť my home-she's awful rich; she had a weddin’-veil, but 'twa'n't nuffin' like dis-yere. She got liern t de sto' up dere in de kentry, ’n’dey didn't have nuffin' but pink—dat kind dey puts in de winders ť keep de skeeters out!
Eramines each article separately and with little expres
sions of joy. Suddenly holds up purple wrapper.] Mr. Smif, he done pick dis out hissef. Ain't he got pretty taste?
[Proudly stands a short time in blissful absorption, then
gathers up veil and holds it out to Miss ALLIE.] Would y jes' kind o’ drape it over m' haid, Miss Allie? So's'n I kin see how I'se gwine look when I's treadin' up de aisle ?
[Stands up proudly as if being draped. After a while giggles with delight; shou's embarrassment. Suddenly
throws back, head; swings body jauntily from side to side.] How does I look, Miss Allie? I-is-beaut-ful-Miss Allie? [Surprised.] Aw, go 'way f’um here, Miss Allie
[Laughs; turns to survey herself in mirror.] I'se jes' a common nigger—dat’s all !