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Werner's Readings No. 47,
Werner's Readings No. 47.
Readings and Recitations
Copyright, 1910, by EDGAR S. WERNER.
LION AND THE MOUSE.
[From play by Charles Klein-play novelized by Arthur Hornblow.
of G. W. Dillingham Company.)
(“The Lion and the Mouse” is a story of American life of the present day. John Burkett Ryder, a great commercial pirate, who is known as the richest man in the world, is the Lion of the story. He wishes to remove from office Judge Rossmore of the United States Circuit Court, because this Judge has sustained an injunction against him in regard to some railroad scheme. Mr. Ryder is aroused more than anything else by the idea that any one should thwart his will. Shirley Rossmore, the daughter of the Judge and a clever young college graduate, has written a book on the life of Ryder. She has given a fictitious name to the principal character, but every one recognizes the man to be Ryder. She has also signed herself under the nom de plume of “Miss Green.” Jefferson Ryder, son of the rich man, is in love with Shirley; and his father, knowing this fact, is bitterly opposed to the match. Impressed by the cleverness of the writer, Mr. Ryder asks her to become his biographer, not knowing she is the daughter of the man he hates. She consents, as she thinks by this means she will be able to obtain some letters from this man, which will prove her father innocent of charges Ryder holds against him. She begins to write his biography and in the meanwhile Jefferson takes the letters from his father's desk and Shirley sends them to Judge Stott, a family friend. The letters are received too late to help Judge Rossmore; and, as a last resort, Judge Stott brings back the letters to John Ryder and begs him to have mercy on his friend Judge Rossmore. But Ryder, beside himself with rage against his son because he loves Shirley Rossmore and because he has taken the letters, dismisses Judge Stott from his presence and sends for Jefferson. The following scene is laid in John Ryder's beautiful library. Mr. Ryder and Shirley Rossmore are present when Jefferson enters the room.]
“You sent for
father?” “Yes. Have you seen these letters before ?" “Yes. I took them out of your desk and sent them to Mr. Stott
in the hope they would help Judge Rossmore's case.”
“So! You deliberately sacrificed my interests to save this woman's father-you hear him, Miss Green? Jefferson, my boy, I think it's time you and I had a final accounting. Please don't go, Miss Green. As the writer of my biography, you are sufficiently well acquainted with my family affairs to warrant your being present at the epilogue. Besides, I want an excuse for keeping my temper. Sit down, Miss Green. For your mother's sake, my boy, I have overlooked your little eccentricities of character. But now we have arrived at the parting of the ways-you have gone too far. The one aspect of this business I cannot overlook is your willingness to sell your own father for the sake of a woman."
“My own father would not hesitate to sell me if his business and political interests warranted the sacrifice !"
Shirley attempted the role of peacemaker. Appealing to the younger man, she said:
“Please don't talk like that, Mr. Jefferson.” Then she turned to Ryder, Sr. : “I don't think your son quite understands you, Mr. Ryder; and, if you will pardon me, I don't think you quite understand him. Do you realize that there is a man's life at stake, that Judge Rossmore is almost at the point of death and that favorable news from the Senate to-morrow is perhaps the only thing that can save him ?”
“Ah, it's a complete picture!” cried Ryder mockingly. “The dying father, the sorrowing mother, and the daughter, what is she supposed to be doing?"
“She is fighting for her father's life.”
“His removal is a political necessity. If he goes back on the bench every paltry justice of the peace, every petty official will think he has a special mission to tear down the structure that hard work and capital have erected. No, this man has been especially conspicuous in his efforts to block the progress of amalgamated interests."
“And so he must be sacrificed ?” cried Shirley, indignantly.