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    Act IV

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    Chapter 4
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    The Villa of Alexander Morton, sen., San Francisco.

    SCENE 1.--MR. MORTON'S villa, Russian Hill, Night. OAKHURST'S bedroom. Sofa in alcove C., door in flat left of C. SANDY MORTON discovered, unconscious, lying on sofa; OAKHURST standing at his head, two policemen at his feet. Candles on table L.

    Oakhurst. That will do. You are sure he was unconscious as you brought him in?

    First Policeman. Sure, sir? He hasn't known anything since we picked him up on the sidewalk outside the bank.

    Oakhurst. Good! You have fulfilled your orders well, and your chief shall know it. Go now. Be as cautious in going out as you were on entering. Here is the private staircase. (Opens door L.) [Exit policeman.

    Oakhurst (listening). Gone! and without disturbing any one. So far, luck has befriended me. He will sleep to-night beneath his father's roof. His father! umph! would the old man recognize him here? Would he take to his heart this drunken outcast, picked from the gutters of the street, and brought here by the strong arm of the law? Hush! (A knock without.) Ah, it is the colonel: he is prompt to the hour. (Opens door cautiously, and admits COL. STARBOTTLE.)

    Starbottle (looking around, and overlooking SANDY). I presume the other--er--principal is not yet on the ground?

    Oakhurst (motioning to sofa). He IS!

    Starbottle (starting as he looks towards sofa). Ged, you don't mean to say it's all OVER, without witnesses, without my--er-- presence?

    Oakhurst. Pardon me, Col. Starbottle; but, if you look again, you will perceive that the gentleman is only drunk.

    Starbottle. Eh? Ged! not uncommon, sir, not uncommon! I remember singular incident at--er--Louisville in '47. Old Judge Tollim-- know old Judge Tolly?--Ged! he came to ground drunk, sir; couldn't stand! Demn me, sir, had to put him into position with kitchen poker down his back, and two sections of lightning-rod in his--er-- trousers, demn me! Firm, sir, firm, you understand, here (striking his breast), but--here (striking his legs)--er--er--wobbly! No, sir! Intoxication of principal not a bar, sir, to personal satisfaction! (Goes towards sofa with eyeglass.) Good Ged! why, it's Diego! (Returning stifly to OAKHURST.) Excuse me, sir, but this is a case in which I cannot act. Cannot, sir,--impossible! absurd! pre--post--or--ous! I recogmze in the--er--inebriated menial on yonder sofa a person, sir, who, having already declined my personal challenge, is--er--excluded from the consideration of gentlemen. The person who lies there, sir, is Diego,--a menial of Don Jose Castro,---alias "Sandy," the vagabond of Red Gulch.

    Oakhurst. You have omitted one title, his true one. He is Alexander Morton, the son of the master of this house.

    Starbottle (starting in bewilderment). Alexander Morton! (Aside.) Ged! my first suspicions were correct. Star, you have lost the opportunity of making your fortune as a scoundrel; but you have at a pecuniary sacrifice, preserved your honor.

    Oakhurst. Yes. Hear me, Col. Starbottle. I have summoned you here to-night, as I have already intimated, on an affair of honor. I have sought you as my father's legal counsel, as a disinterested witness, as a gentleman of honor. The man who lies before you was once my friend and partner. I have wronged him doubly. As his partner, I ran away with the woman he believed, and still believes, to be his wife; as his friend, I have for a twelvemonth kept him from the enjoyment of his home, his patrimony, by a shameful deception. I have summoned you to-night to witness my confession; as a lawyer, to arrange those details necessary to restore to him his property; as a man of honor, to receive from me whatever retribution he demands. You will be a witness to our interview. Whatever befalls me here, you will explain to Mr. Morton--to Jovita--that I accepted it as a man, and did not avoid, here or elsewhere, the penalty of my crime. (Folding his arms.)

    Slarbottle. Umph! The case is, as you say, a delicate one, but not--not--peculiar. No, sir! Ged, sir, I remember Tom Marshall-- know Tom Marshall of Kentucky?--said to me, "Star!"--always calls me Star,--"how in blank, sir, can you remember the REAL names of your clients?"--"Why," says I, "Tom," always called him Tom,-- "yesterday I was called to make will--most distinguished family of Virginia--as lawyer and gentleman, you understand: can't mention name. Waited for signature--most distinguished name: Ged, sir, man signed Bloggins,--Peter Bloggins. Fact, demme! 'Mistake,' I said,--'excitement; exaltation of fever. Non compos. Compose yourself, Bob.'--'Star,' he said,--always called me Star,--'for forty-seven years I have been an impostor!'--his very words, sir. 'I am not'--you understand: 'I AM Peter Bloggins!'"

    Oakhurst. But, my dear colonel, I--

    Starbottle (loftily). Say no more, sir! I accept the--er position. Let us see! The gentleman will, on recognition, probably make a personal attack. You are armed. Ah, no? Umph! On reflection I would not permit him to strike a single blow: I would anticipate it. It will provoke the challenge from him, leaving YOU, sir, the--er--choice of weapons.

    Oakhurst. Hush! he is moving! Take your stand here, in this alcove. Remember, as a gentleman, and a man of honor, Col. Starbottle, I trust you not to interfere between the injured man and--justice! (Pushes COL. STARBOTTLE into alcove behind couch, and approaches SANDY.)

    Sandy (waking slowly--and incoherently). Hush, Silky! hush! Eh? Oh, hush yourself! (Sings.)

    Oh, yer's yer Sandy Morton, Drink him down!

    Eh! Oh! (Half sits up on couch.) Eh! (Looking around him.) Where the devil am I?

    Oakhurst (advancing and leaning over SANDY'S couch). In the house of your father, Alexander Morton.

    Sandy (recoiling in astonishment). His voice, John Oakhurst! What--ah! (Rises, and rushes towards OAKHURST with uplifted hand.)

    Starbottle (gesticulating in whisper). A blow! a single blow would be sufficient.

    Sandy (looking at OAKHURST, who regards him calmly). I--eh! I-- eh! Ha, ha! I'm glad to see--old pard! I'm glad to see ye! (COL. STARBOTTLE lifts his hand in amazement.)

    Oakhurst (declining his hand). Do you understand me, Sandy Morton? Listen. I am John Oakhurst,--the man who has deceived your father, who has deceived you.

    Sandy (without heeding his words, but regarding him affectionately). To think of it--Jack Oakhurst! It's like him, like Jack. He was allers onsartain, the darned little cuss! Jack! Look at him, will ye, boys? look at him! Growed too, and dressed to kill, and sittin' in this yer house as natril as a jaybird! (Looking around.) Nasty, ain't it, Jack? and this yer's your house--the old man's house--eh? Why, this is--this is where she came. Jack, Jack! (Eagerly.) Tell me, pard, where is she?

    Starbottle (aside, rubbing his hands). We shall have it now!

    Oakhurst. She has gone,--gone! But hear me. She had deceived you as she has me. She has gone,--gone with her first husband, Henry Pritchard.

    Sandy (stupefied). Gone! Her first husband! Pritchard!

    Oakhurst. Ay, your wife!

    Sandy. Oh, damn my wife! I'm talking of Mary,--Miss Mary,--the little schoolma'am, Jack; the little rose of Poker Flat. Oh! I see--ye didn't know her, Jack,--the pertiest, sweetest little--

    Oakhurst (turning away coldly). Ay, ay! She is here!

    Sandy (looking after him affectionately). Look at him, boys! Allers the same,--high-toned, cold, even to his pardner! That's him,--Jack Oakhurst! But Jack, Jack, you're goin' to shake hands, ain't ye? (Extends his hand, after a pause. OAKHURST takes it gloomily.)

    Col. Starbottle (who has been regarding interview with visible scorn and disgust, advancing to OAKHURST). You will--er--pardon me if, under the--er--circumstances, I withdraw from this--er-- disgraceful proceeding. The condonation, by that man, of two of the most tremendous offences to society and to the code, without apology or satisfaction, Ged, sir, is--er--er--of itself an insult to the spectator. I go, sir--

    Oakhurst. But, Col. Starbottle--

    Starbottle. Permit me to say, sir, that I hold myself for this, sir, responsible, sir,--personally responsible.

    [Exit STARBOTTLE, glancing furiously at SANDY, who sinks on sofa laughing.

    Oakhurst (aside). He will change his mind in half an hour. But, in the mean time, time is precious. (Aloud.) Sandy, come!

    Sandy (rising with alacrity). Yes, Jack, I'm ready.

    Oakhurst. We are going (slowly and solemnly)--we are going to see your father.

    Sandy (dropping back with bashful embarrassment, and struggling to release his arm from OAKHURST). No, Jack! Not just yet, Jack; in a little while, ole boy! in about six months, or mebbe--a year, Jack! not now, not now! I ain't feelin' exactly well, Jack,--I ain't.

    Oakhurst. Nonsense, Sandy! Consider your duty and my honor.

    Sandy (regaining his seat). That's all very well, Jack; but ye see, pard, you've known the old man for nigh on a year, and it's twenty-five since I met him. No, Jack; you don't play any ole man on to me to-night, Jack. No, you and me'll just drop out for a pasear. Jack, eh? (Taking OAKHURST'S arm.) Come!

    Oakhurst. Impossible! Hush! (Listening.) It is HE passing through the corridor. (Goes to wing R., and listens.)

    Sandy (crowding hastily behind OAKHURST in alarm). But, I say, Jack! he won't come in here? He's goin' to bed, you know. Eh? It ain't right for a man o' his years--and he must be goin' on ninety, Jack--to be up like this. It ain't healthy.

    Oakhurst. You know him not. He seems to need no rest (sadly). Night after night, long after the servants are abed, and the house is still, I hear that step slowly pacing the corridor. It is the last sound as I close my eyes, the first challenge of the morning.

    Sandy. The ol' scound--(checking himself)--I mean, Jack, the ol' man has suthin' on his mind. But, Jack (in great alarm), he don't waltz in upon ye, Jack? He don't p'int them feet in yer, Jack? Ye ain't got to put up with that, Jack, along o' yer other trials?

    Oakhurst. He often seeks me here. Ah--yes--he is coming this way now.

    Sandy (in ludicrous terror). Jack, pard, quick I hide me somewhere, Jack!

    Oakhurst (opening door R.). In there, quick! Not a sound, as you value your future! [Exit SANDY hurriedly R.

    SCENE 2.--The same. Enter door R., OLD MORTON, in dressing-gown, with candle.

    Old Morton. Not abed yet, Alexander? Well, well, I don't blame you, my son it has been for you a trying, trying night. Yes, I see: like me, you are a little nervous and wakeful. (Slowly takes chair, and comfortably composes himself.)

    Oakhurst (aside). He is in for a midnight gossip. How shall I dispose of Sandy?

    Old Morton. Yes (meditatively),--yes, you have overworked lately. Never mind. In a day or two more you shall have a vacation, sir,-- a vacation!

    Oakhurst (aside). He knows not how truly he speaks. (Aloud.) Yes, sir, I was still up. I have only just now dismissed the policemen.

    Old Morton. Ay. I heard voices, and saw a light in your window. I came to tell you, Alexander, Capper has explained all about-- about the decoy! More; he has told me of your courage and your invaluable assistance. For a moment, sir,--I don't mind telling you now in confidence,--I doubted YOU--

    Oakhurst (in feigned deprecation). Oh, sir!

    Old Morton. Only for a moment. You will find, Alexander, that even that doubt shall have full apology when the year of your probation has expired. Besides, sir. I know all.

    Oakhurst (starting). All!

    Old Morton. Yes, the story about the Duchess and your child. You are surprised. Col. Starbottle told me all. I forgive you, Alexander, for the sake of your boy.

    Oakhurst. My boy, sir!

    Old Morton. Yes, your boy. And let me tell you, sir, he's a fine young fellow. Looks like you,--looks as you did when YOU were a boy. He's a Morton too, every inch of him, there's no denying that. No, sir. You may have changed; but he--he--is the living image of my little Alexander. He took to me, too,--lifted his little arms--and--and-- (Becomes affected, and leans his head in his hands.)

    Oakhurst (rising). You are not well, sir. Let me lead you to your room.

    Old Morton. No! it is nothing: a glass of water, Alexander!

    Oakhurst (aside). He is very pale. The agitation of the night has overcome him. (Goes to table R.) A little spirits will revive him. (Pours from decanter in glass, and returns to MORTON.)

    Old Morton (after drinking). There was spirits in that water, Alexander. Five years ago, I vowed at your mother's grave to abandon the use of intoxicating liquors.

    Oakhurst. Believe me, sir, my mother will forgive you.

    Old Morton. Doubtless. It has revived me. I am getting to be an old man, Aleck. (Holds out his glass half-unconsciously, and OAKHURST replenishes it from decanter.) Yes, an old man, Aleck; but the boy,--ah, I live again in him. The little rascal! He asked me, Aleck, for a "chaw tobacker!" and wanted to know if I was the "ol' duffer." Ha, ha! He did. Ha, ha! Come, come, don't be despondent. I was like you once, damn it,--ahem--it's all for the best, my boy, all for the best. I'll take the young rascal (aside)--damn it, he's already taken me--(aloud) on equal terms. There, Aleck, what do you say?

    Oakhurst. Really, sir, this forbearance,--this kindness--(aside) I see a ray of light.

    Old Morton. Nonsense! I'll take the boy, I tell you, and do well for him,--the little rascal!--as if he were the legal heir. But, I say, Aleck (laughing), ha, ha!--what about--ha, ha!--what about Dona Jovita, eh? and what about Don Jose Castro, eh? How will the lady like a ready-made family, eh? (Poking OAKHURST in the ribs.) What will the Don say to the family succession? Ha, ha!

    Oakhurst (proudly). Really, sir, I care but little.

    Old Morton (aside). Oh, ho! I'll sound him. (Aloud.) Look ye, Alexander, I have given my word to you and Don Jose Castro, and I'll keep it. But if you can do any better, eh--if--eh?--the schoolma'am's a mighty pretty girl and a bright one, eh, Aleck? And it's all in the family--eh? And she thinks well of you; and I will say, for a girl brought up as she's been, and knowin' your relations with the Duchess and the boy, to say a kind word for ye, Aleck, is a good sign,--you follow me, Aleck,--if you think--why, old Don Jose might whistle for a son-in-law, eh?

    Oakhurst (interrupting indignantly). Sir! (Aside.) Stop! (Aloud.) Do you mean to say, sir, that if I should consent to this--suggestion--that, if the lady were willing, YOU would offer no impediment?

    Old Morton. Impediment, my dear boy! you should have my blessing.

    Oakhurst. Pardon me a moment. You have in the last year, sir, taught me the importance of business formality in all the relations of life. Following that idea, the conditions of my engagement with Jovita Castro were drawn up with your hand. Are you willing to make this recantation as formal, this new contract as businesslike and valid?

    Old Morton (eagerly). I am.

    Oakhurst. Then sit here, and write at my dictation. (Pointing to table L. OLD MORTON takes seat at table.) "In view of the evident preferences of my son Alexander Morton, and of certain family interests, I hereby revoke my consent to his marriage with the Dona Jovita Castro, and accord him full permission to woo and win his cousin, Miss Mary Morris, promising him the same aid and assistance previously offered in his suit with Miss Castro."

    Old Morton (signing). Alexander Morton, sen. There, Aleck! You have forgotten one legal formality. We have no witness. Ha, ha!

    Oakhurst (significantly). I will be a sufficient witness.

    Old Morton. Ha, ha! (Fills glass from decanter, after which OAKHURST quietly removes decanter beyond his reach.) Very good! Aleck, I've been thinking of a plan,--I've been thinking of retiring from the bank. I'm getting old, and my ways are not the popular ways of business here. I've been thinking of you, you dog,--of leaving the bank to you,--to you, sir, eh--the day--the day you marry the schoolma'am--eh. I'll stay home and take care of the boy--eh--hic! The little rascal!--lifted his arms to me--did, Aleck! by God! (Incoherently.) Eh!

    Oakhurst. Hush! (Aside.) Sandy will overhear him, and appear.

    Old Morton (greatly affected by liquor.) Hush! eh!--of course-- shoo! shoo! (The actor will here endeavor to reproduce in OLD MORTON'S drunken behavior, without exactly imitating him, the general characteristics of his son's intoxication.) Eh!--I say, Aleck, old boy! what will the Don say? eh? Ha, ha, ha! And Jovita, that firebrand, how will she--hic--like it, eh? (Laughs immoderately.)

    Oakhurst. Hush! We will be overheard! The servants, sir!

    Old Morton. Damn the servants! Don't I--hic--pay them wages--eh?

    Oakhurst. Let me lead you to your own room. You are nervously excited. A little rest, sir, will do you good. (Taking his arm.)

    Old Morton. No shir, no shir, 'm nerrer goin' to bed any more. Bed's bad habit!--hic--drunken habit. Lesh stay up all ni, Aleck! You and me! Lesh nev'r--go--bed any more! Whar's whiskey--eh? (Staggers to the table for decanter as OAKHURST seizes him, struggle up stage, and then OLD MORTON, in struggle, falls helplessly on sofa, in same attitude as SANDY was discovered.)

    Enter SANDY cautiously from door L.

    Sandy (to OAKHURST). Jack! Eh, Jack--

    Oakhurst. Hush! Go! I will follow you in a moment. (Pushes him back to door L.)

    Sandy (catching sight of OLD MORTON). Hallo! What's up?

    Oakhurst. Nothing. He was overtaken with a sudden faintness. He will revive presently: go!

    Sandy (hesitating). I say, Jack, he wasn't taken sick along o' me, eh, Jack?

    Oakhurst. No! No! But go (pushing him toward door).

    Sandy. Hold on: I'm going. But, Jack, I've got a kind of faintness yer, too. (Goes to side-table, and takes up decanter.) And thar's nothing reaches that faintness like whiskey. (Fills glass.) Old Morton (drunkenly and half-consciously from couch). Whiskey--who shed--whiskey--eh? Eh--O--gimme some, Aleck--Aleck, my son,--my son!--my old prodigal--Old Proddy, my boy--gimme-- whiskey--(sings)--

    Oh, yer's yer good old whiskey, Drink it down!

    Eh? I com--mand you,--pass the whiskey!

    SANDY, at first panic-stricken, and then remorsefully conscious, throws glass down, with gesture of fear and loathing. OAKHURST advances to his side hurriedly.

    Oakhurst (in hurried whisper). Give him the whiskey, quick! It will keep him quiet. (Is about to take decanter when SANDY seizes it: struggle with OAKHURST.)

    Sandy (with feeling). No, no, Jack, no! (Suddenly with great strength and determination, breaks from him, and throws decanter from window.) No, NEVER!

    Old Morton (struggling drunkenly to his feet). Eh--who sh'd never? (OAKHURST shoves SANDY in room L., and follows him, closing door.) Eh, Aleck? (Groping.) Eh, where'sh light? All gone. (Lapses on sofa again, after an ineffectual struggle to get up, and then resumes his old attitude.)

    (Change scene quickly.)

    SCENE 3.--Ante-room in MR. MORTON'S villa. Front scene. Enter DON JOSE CASTRO and CONCHO, preceded by SERVANT, L.

    Servant. This way, gentlemen.

    Don Jose. Carry this card to Alexander Morton, sen.

    Servant. Beg pardon, sir, but there's only one name here, sir (looking at CONCHO).

    Don Jose (proudly). That is my servant, sir. [Exit SERVANT.

    Don Jose (aside). I don't half like this business. But my money locked up in his bank, and my daughter's hand bound to his son, demand it. (Aloud.) This is no child's play, Concho, you understand.

    Concho. Ah! I am wise. Believe me, if I have not proofs which shall blanch the cheek of this old man, I am a fool, Don Jose!

    Re-enter SERVANT.

    Servant. Mr. Morton, sen., passed a bad night, and has left word not to be disturbed this morning. But Mr. Morton, jun., will attend you, sir.

    Concho (aside). So the impostor will face it out. Well, let him come.

    Don Jose (to SERVANT) I wait his pleasure. [Exit SERVANT.

    Don Jose. You hear, Concho? You shall face this man. I shall repeat to him all you have told me. If you fail to make good your charge, on your head rests the consequences.

    Concho. He will of course deny. He is a desperate man: he will perhaps attack me. Eh! Ah! (Drawing revolver.)

    Don Jose. Put up your foolish weapon. The sight of the father he has deceived will be more terrible to him than the pistol of the spy.

    Enter COL. STARBOTTLE, C.

    Starbottle. Mr. Alexander Morton, Jun., will be with you in a moment. (Takes attitude by door, puts his hand in his breast, and inflates himself.)

    Concho (to DON JOSE, aside). It is the bullying lawyer. They will try to outface us, my patron; but we shall triumph. (Aloud.) He comes, eh!--Mr. Alexander Morton, gentlemen! I will show you a cheat, an impostor!

    Enter, in correct, precise morning dress, SANDY MORTON. There is in his make-up and manner a suggestion of the father.

    Concho (recoiling, aside). Diego! The real son. (Aloud, furiously.) It is a trick to defeat justice,--eh!--a miserable trick! But it shall fail, it shall fail!

    Col. Starbottle. Permit me, a moment,--a single moment. (To Concho.) You have--er--er--characterized my introduction of this-- er--gentleman as a "cheat" and an "imposture." Are you prepared to deny that this is Alexander Morton?

    Don Jose (astonished, aside). These Americanos are of the Devil! (Aloud and sternly.) Answer him, Concho, I command you.

    Concho (in half-insane rage). It is Alexander Morton; but it is a trick,--a cowardly trick! Where is the other impostor, this Mr. John Oakhurst?

    Sandy (advancing with dignity and something of his father's cold manner). He will answer for himself, when called for. (To DON JOSE.) You have asked for me, sir: may I inquire your business?

    Concho. Eh! It is a trick,--a trick!

    Don Jose (to CONCHO). Silence, sir! (To SANDY, with dignity.) I know not the meaning of this masquerade. I only know that you are NOT the gentleman hitherto known to me as the son of Alexander Morton. I am here, sir, to demand my rights as a man of property and a father. I have received this morning a check from the house of Morton & Son, for the amount of my deposit with them. So far-- in view of this complication--it is well. Who knows? Bueno! But the signature of Morton & Son to the check is not in the handwriting I have known. Look at it, sir. (To SANDY, handing check.)

    Sandy (examining check). It is my handwriting, sir, and was signed this morning. Has it been refused?

    Don Jose. Pardon me, sir. It has not been presented. With this doubt in my mind, I preferred to submit it first to you.

    Starbottle. A moment, a single moment, sir. While as a--er-- gentleman and a man of honor, I--er--appreciate your motives, permit me to say, sir, as a lawyer, that your visit is premature. On the testimony of your own witness, the identification of Mr. Alexander Morton, jun., is--er--complete; he has admitted the signature as his own; you have not yet presented the check to the bank.

    Don Jose. Pardon me, Col. Starbottle. It is not all. (To SANDY.) By a written agreement with Alexander Morton, sen., the hand of my daughter is promised to his son, who now stands before me, as my former servant, dismissed from my service for drunkenness.

    Sandy. That agreement is revoked.

    Don Jose. Revoked!

    Sandy (handing paper). Cast your eyes over that paper. At least you will recognize THAT signature.

    Don Jose (reads). "In view of the evident preferences of my son, Alexander Morton, and of certain family interests, I hereby revoke my consent to his marriage with the Dona Jovita Castro, and accord him full permission to woo and win his cousin, Miss Mary Morris; promising him the same aid and assistance previously offered in his suit with Miss Castro.--ALEXANDER MORTON, SEN."

    Concho. Ah! Carramba! Do you not see the trick,--eh, the conspiracy? It was this man, as Diego, your daughter's groom, helped his friend Mr. Oakhurst to the heiress. Ah, you comprehend! It was an old trick! You shall see, you shall see! Ah! I am wise, I am wise!

    Don Jose (aside). Could I have been deceived? But no! This paper that releases HIM gives the impostor no claim.

    Sandy (resuming his old easy manner, dropping his formality, and placing his hand on DON JOSE'S shoulder). Look yar, ole man: I didn't allow to ever see ye agin, and this yer ain't none o' MY seekin'. But, since yer here, I don't mind tellin' ye that but for me that gal of yours would have run away a year ago, and married an unknown lover. And I don't mind adding, that, hed I known that unknown lover was my friend John Oakhurst, I'd have helped her do it. (Going.) Good-morning, Don Jose.

    Don Jose. Insolent! I shall expect an account for this from your-- father, sir.

    Sandy. Adios, Don Jose. [Exit C.

    Concho. It is a trick--I told you. Ah, I am wise. (Going to DON JOSE.)

    Don Jose (throwing him off). Fool! [Exit DON JOSE.

    Concho (infuriated). Eh! Fool yourself--dotard! No matter: I will expose all--ah! I will see Jovita;--I will revenge myself on this impostor! (Is about to follow, when COL. STARBOTTLE leaves his position by the door, and touches CONCHO on the shoulder.)

    Starbottle. Excuse me.

    Concho. Eh?

    Starbottle. You have forgotten something.

    Conhho. Something?

    Starbottle. An apology, sir. You were good enough to express--er-- incredulity--when I presented Mr. Morton: you were kind enough to characterize the conduct of my er--principal by--an epithet. You have alluded to me, sir,--ME--

    Concho (wrathfully). Bully! (Aside.) I have heard that this pomposo, this braggart, is a Yankee trick too; that he has the front of a lion, the liver of the chicken. (Aloud.) Yes, I have said, you hear I have said, I, Concho (striking his breast), have said you are a--bully!

    Starbottle (coolly). Then you are prepared to give me satisfaction, sir,--personal satisfaction.

    Concho (raging). Yes, sir, now--you understand, now (taking out pistol), anywhere, here! Yes, here. Ah! you start,--yes, here and now! Face to face, you understand, without seconds,--face to face. So. (Presenting pistol.)

    Starbottle (quietly). Permit me to--er--apologize.

    Concho. Ah! It is too late!

    Starbottle (interrupting). Excuse me, but I feared you would not honor me so completely and satisfactorily. Ged, sir, I begin to respect you! I accede to all your propositions of time and position. The pistol you hold in your hand is a derringer, I presume, loaded. Ah--er--I am right. The one I now produce (showing pistol) is--er--as you will perceive the same size and pattern, and--er--unloaded. We will place them both, so, under the cloth of this table. You shall draw one pistol, I will take the other. I will put that clock at ten minutes to nine, when we will take our positions across this table; as you--er--happily express it, "face to face." As the clock strikes the hour, we will fire on the second stroke.

    Concho (aside). It is a trick, a Yankee trick! (Aloud.) I am ready. Now--at once!

    Starbottle (gravely). Permit me, sir, to thank you. Your conduct, sir, reminds me of singular incident--

    Concho (angrily interrupting). Come, come! It is no child's play. We have much of this talk, eh! It is action, eh, you comprehend,-- action.

    STARBOTTLE places pistols under the cloth, and sets clock. CONCHO draws pistol from cloth; STARBOTTLE takes remaining pistol. Both men assume position, presenting their weapons; STARBOTTLE pompously but seriously, CONCHO angrily and nervously.)

    Starbottle (after a pause). One moment, a single moment--

    Concho. Ah, a trick! Coward! you cannot destroy my aim.

    Starbottle. I overlook the--er--epithet. I wished only to ask, if you should be--er--unfortunate, if there was anything I could say to your--er--friends.

    Concho. You cannot make the fool of me, coward. No!

    Starbottle. My object was only precautionary. Owing to the position in which you--er--persist in holding your weapon, in a line with my right eye, I perceive that a ray of light enters the nipple, and--er--illuminates the barrel. I judge from this that you have been unfortunate enough to draw the--er--er--unloaded pistol.

    Concho (tremulously lowering weapon). Eh! Ah! This is murder! (Drops pistol.) Murder!--eh--help (retreating), help!

    [Exit hurriedly door C., as clock strikes. COL. STARBOTTLE lowers his pistol, and moves with great pomposity to the other side of the table, taking up pistol.

    Starbottle (examining pistol). Ah! (Lifts it, and discharges it.) It seems that I am mistaken. (Going.) The pistol WAS--er--loaded!

    [Exit.

    SCENE 4.--Front scene. Room in villa. Enter MISS MARY and JOVITA.

    Miss Mary. I tell you, you are wrong, you are not only misunderstanding your lover, which is a woman's privilege, but you are abusing my cousin, which, as his relative, I won't put up with.

    Jovita (passionately). But hear me, Miss Mary. It is a year since we were betrothed; and such a betrothal! Why, I was signed, sealed, and delivered to him, on conditions, as if I were a part of the rancho; and the very night, too, I had engaged to run away with him! And during that year I have seen the gentleman twice,--yes, twice!

    Miss Mary. But he has written?

    Jovita. Mother of God! Yes,--letters delivered by my father, sent to HIS CARE, read by him first, of course; letters hoping that I was well, and obeying my father's commands; letters assuring me of his unaltered devotion; letters that, compared with the ones he used to hide in the confessional of the ruined mission church, were as ice to fire, were as that snow-flower you value so much, Mary, to this mariposa blossom I wear in my hair. And then to think that this man--this John Oakhurst, as I knew him; this man who used to ride twenty miles for a smile from me on the church porch; this Don Juan who leaped that garden wall (fifteen feet, Mary, if it is an inch), and made old Concho his stepping-stone; this man, who daily perilled death for my sake--is changed into this formal, methodical man of business--is--is--I tell you there's a WOMAN at the bottom of it! I know it sure!

    Miss Mary (aside). How can I tell her about the Duchess? I won't! (Aloud.) But listen, my dear Jovita. You know he is under probation for you, Jovita. All this is for you. His father is cold, methodical, unsympathetic. HE looks only to his bond with this son,--this son that he treats, even in matters of the heart, as a BUSINESS partner. Remember, on his complete reformation, and subjection to his father's will, depends your hand. Remember the agreement!

    Jovita. The agreement; yes! It is the agreement, always the agreement! May the Devil fly away with the agreement! Look you, Miss Mary, I, Dona Jovita, didn't fall in love with an agreement: it was with a man! Why, I might have married a dozen agreements-- yes, of a shorter limitation than this! (Crossing.)

    Miss Mary. Yes. But what if your lover had failed to keep those promises by which he was to gain your hand? what if he were a man incapable of self-control? what if he were--a--a drunkard?

    Jovita (musing). A drunkard! (Aside.) There was Diego, he was a drunkard; but he was faithless. (Aloud.) You mean a weak, faithless drunkard?

    Miss Mary. No! (Sadly.) Faithless only to himself, but devoted-- yes, devoted to YOU.

    Jovita. Miss Mary, I have found that one big vice in a man is apt to keep out a great many smaller ones.

    Miss Mary. Yes; but if he were a slave to liquor?

    Jovita. My dear, I should try to change his mistress. Oh, give me a man that is capable of a devotion to anything, rather than a cold, calculating average of all the virtues!

    Miss Mary (aside). I, who aspire to be her teacher, am only her pupil. (Aloud.) But what if, in this very drunkenness, this recklessness, he had once loved and worshipped another woman? What if you discovered all this after--after--he had won your heart?

    Jovita. I should adore him! Ah, Miss Mary! Love differs from all the other contagious diseases: the last time a man is exposed to it, he takes it most readily, and has it the worst! But you, YOU cannot sympathize with me. You have some lover, the ideal of the virtues; some man as correct, as well regulated, as calm as-- yourself; some one who addresses you in the fixed morality and severe penmanship of the copy-books. He will never precipitate himself over a garden wall or through a window. Your Jacob will wait for you through seven years, and receive you from the hands of your cousin and guardian--as a reward of merit! No, you could not love a vagabond.

    Miss Mary (very slowly and quietly). No?

    Jovita. No! (Passionately.) No, it is impossible. Forgive me, Miss Mary: you are good; a better girl than I am. But think of me! A year ago my lover leaped a wall at midnight to fly with me: today, the day that gives me to him, he writes a few cold lines, saying that he has business, BUSINESS--you understand--business, and that he shall not see me until we meet in the presence of--of-- of--our fathers.

    Miss Mary. Yes; but you will see him at least, perhaps alone. Listen: it is no formal meeting, but one of festivity. My guardian has told me, in his quaint scriptural way, it is the killing of the fatted calf, over his long-lost prodigal. Have patience, little one. Ah! Jovita, we are of a different race, but we are of one sex; and as a woman I know how to accept another woman's abuse of her lover. Come, come! [Exeunt MISS MARY and JOVITA.

    SCENE 5.--The drawing-room of MR. MORTON'S villa. Large open arch in centre, leading to veranda, looking on distant view of San Francisco; richly furnished,--sofas, arm-chairs, and tete-a-tetes. Enter COL. STARBOTTLE, C., carrying bouquet, preceded by SERVANT, bowing.

    Starbottle. Take my kyard to Miss Morris.

    [Exit SERVANT.

    Starbottle. Star! This is the momentous epoch of your life! It is a moment for which you--are--I may say alone responsible,-- personally responsible! She will be naturally gratified by the-- er--flowers. She will at once recognize this bouquet as a delicate souvenir of Red Gulch, and will appreciate your recollection. And the fact, the crushing fact, that you have overlooked the--er-- ungentlemanly conduct of her OWN cousin Sandy, the real Alexander Morton, that you have--er--assisted to restore the ex-vaquero to his rights, will--er--er--at once open the door to--er--mutual confidence and--er--a continuance of that--er--prepossession I have already noticed. Ahem! here she is.

    Enter MISS MARY in full dress.

    Miss Mary. You are early, Col. Starbottle. This promptitude does honor to our poor occasion.

    Col. Starbottle. Ged, Miss Mary, promptness with a lady and an adversary is the first duty of--er--gentleman. I wished that--er-- the morning dew might still be--er--fresh in these flowers. I gathered them myself (presenting bouquet) at--er--er--flower-stand in the--er--California market.

    Miss Mary (aside). Flowers! I needed no such reminder of poor Sandy. (Aloud.) I thank you, colonel.

    Starbattle. Ged, ma'am, I am repaid doubly. Your conduct, Miss Mary, reminds me of little incident that occurred at Richmond, in '58. Dinner party--came early--but obliged to go--as now--on important business, before dessert--before dessert. Lady sat next to me--beautiful woman--excuse me if I don't mention names--said to me, "Star,"--always called me Star,--"Star, you remind me of the month of May."--"Ged, madam,"--I said, "delighted, proud; but why?"--"Because," she said, "you come in with the--er--oysters."-- No! Ged, pardon me--ridiculous mistake! I mean--er--"you come in with the--er--flowers, and go before the--er--fruits."

    Miss Mary. Ah, colonel! I appreciate her disappointment. Let us hope, however, that some day you may find that happy woman who will be able to keep you through the whole dinner and the whole season, until December and the ices!

    Starbottle. Ged! excellent! Capital! (seriously.) Miss Mary! (Suddenly inflating his chest, striking attitude, and gazing on MISS MARY with languishing eyes.) There is--er such a woman!

    Miss Mary (aside). What can he mean?

    Starbottle (taking seat beside her). Allow me, Miss Mary, a few moments of confidential--er--confidential disclosure. To-day is, as you are aware--the day on which, according to--er--agreement between parties, my friend and client, Mr. Morton, sen.,--formally accepts his prodigal son. It is my--er--duty to state that--er-- the gentleman who has for the past year occupied that position has behaved with great discretion, and--er--fulfilled his part of the-- er--agreement. But it would--er--appear that there has been a--er-- slight delusion regarding the identity of that prodigal,--a delusion shared by all the parties except, perhaps, myself. I have to prepare you for a shock. The gentleman whom you have recently known as Alexander Morton, jun., is not the prodigal son; is not your--er--cousin; is, in fact, no relation to you. Prepare yourself, Miss Mary, for a little disappointment,--for--er-- degradation. The genuine son has been--er--discovered in the person of--er--low menial--or--vagabond,--"Sandy," the--er--outcast of Red Gulch!

    Miss Mary (rising in astonishment). Sandy! Then he was right. (Aside.) The child is his! and that woman--

    Starbottle. Compose yourself, Miss Mary. I know the--er--effect of--er--revelation like this upon--er--proud and aristocratic nature. Ged! My own, I assure you, beats in--er--responsive indignation. You can never consent to remain beneath this roof, and--er--receive a--er--vagabond and--er--menial on equal terms. The--er--necessities of my--er--profession may--er--compel me; but you--er--never! Holding myself--er--er--responsible for having introduced you here, it is my--er--duty to provide you with-- another home! It is my--er--duty to protect--

    Miss Mary (aside). Sandy here, and beneath this roof! Why has he not sought me? Ah, I know too well: he dare not face me with his child!

    Starbottle (aside). She turns away! it is maiden coyness. (Aloud.) If, Miss Mary, the--er--devotion of a life-time; if the--er-- chivalrous and respectful adoration of a man--er--whose record is--er--not unknown in the Court of Honor (dropping on one knee with excessive gallantry); if the--er--measure--

    Miss Mary (oblivious of COL. STARBOTTLE). I WILL--I MUST see him! Ah! (looking L.) he is coming!

    Enter SANDY.

    Starbottle (rising with great readiness and tact). I have found it (presenting flower). It had fallen beneath the sofa.

    Sandy (to MISS MARY, stopping short in embarrassment). I did not know you--I--I--thought there was no one here.

    Miss Mary (to STARBOTTLE). May I ask you to excuse me for a moment? I have a few words to say to--to my COUSIN!

    STARBOTTLE bows gallantly to MISS MARY, and stiffly to SANDY, and exit R. A long pause; MISS MARY remains seated pulling flowers, SANDY remains standing by wing, foolish and embarrassed. Business.

    Miss Mary (impatiently). Well?

    Sandy (slowly). I axes your pardon, miss; but you told THAT gentleman you had a few words--to say to me.

    Miss Mary (passionately, aside). Fool! (Aloud.) I had; but I am waiting to first answer your inquiries about your--your--child. I have fulfilled my trust, sir.

    Sandy. You have, Miss Mary, and I thank you.

    Miss Mary. I might perhaps have expected that this revelation of our kinship would have come from other lips than a stranger's; but-- no matter! I wish you joy, sir, of your heritage. (Going.) You have found a home, sir, at last, for yourself and--and--your child. Good-day, sir.

    Sandy. Miss Mary!

    Miss Mary. I must make ready to receive your father's guests. It is his orders: I am only his poor relation. Good-by, sir. [Exit L.

    Sandy (watching her). She is gone!--gone! No! She has dropped on the sofa in the ante-room, and is crying. Crying! I promised Jack I wouldn't speak until the time came. I'll go back. (Hesitating, and looking toward L.) Poor girl! How she must hate me! I might just say a word, one word to thank her for her kindness to Johnny,-- only one word, and then go away. I--I--can keep from liquor. I swore I would to Jack, that night I saw the old man--drunk,--and I have. But--I can't keep--from--her! No--damn it! (Going toward L.) No!--I'll go! [Exit L.

    Enter hurriedly and excitedly JOVITA, R., followed by MANUELA.

    Jovita. Where is she? Where is HE?--the traitor!

    Manuela (entreatingly). Compose yourself, Dona Jovita, for the love of God! This is madness: believe me, there is some mistake. It is some trick of an enemy,--of that ingrate, that coyote, Concho, who hates the Don Alexandro.

    Jovita. A trick! Call you this a trick? Look at this paper, put into my hands by my father a moment ago. Read it. Ah! listen. (Reads.) "In view of the EVIDENT PREFERENCES of my son, Alexander Morton, I hereby revoke my consent to his marriage with the Dona Jovita Castro, and accord him full permission to woo and win his cousin, Miss Mary Morris!" Call you this a trick, eh? No, it is their perfidy! This is why SHE was brought here on the eve of my betrothal. This accounts for his silence, his absence. Oh, I shall go mad!

    Manuela. Compose yourself, miss. If I am not deceived, there is one here who will aid us,--who will expose this deceit. Listen: an hour ago, as I passed through the hall, I saw Diego, our old Diego,--your friend and confidant, Diego.

    Jovita. The drunkard--the faithless Diego!

    Manuela. Never, Miss Jovita; not drunken! For, as he passed before me, he was as straight, as upright, as fine as your lover. Come, miss, we will seek him.

    Jovita. Never! He, too, is a traitor.

    Manuela. Believe me, no! Come, Miss Jovita. (Looking toward L.) See, he is there. Some one is with him.

    Jovita (looking). You are right; and it is she--SHE, Miss Mary! What? he is kissing her hand! and she--SHE, the double traitress-- drops her head upon his shoulder! Oh, this is infamy!

    Manuela. Hush! Some one is coming. The guests are arriving. They must not see you thus. This way, Miss Jovita,--this way. After a little, a little, the mystery will be explained. (Taking JOVITA'S hand, and leading her R.)

    Jovita (going). And this was the correct schoolmistress, the preceptress and example of all the virtues! ha! (laughing hysterically) ha!

    [Exeunt JOVITA and MANUELA.

    SCENE 6.--The same. Enter SERVANT; opens folding doors C., revealing veranda and view of distant city beyond. Stage, fog effect from without. Enter STARBOTTLE and OAKHURST, R., in full evening dress.

    Starbottle (walking towards veranda). A foggy evening for our anniversary.

    Oakhurst. Yes. (Aside.) It was such a night as this I first stepped into Sandy's place, I first met the old man. Well, it will be soon over. (Aloud.) You have the papers and transfers all ready?

    Starbottle. In my--er--pocket. Mr. Morton, sen., should be here to receive his guests.

    Oakhurst. He will be here presently: until then the duty devolves on me. He has secluded himself even from me! (Aside.) Perhaps it is in very shame for his recent weakness.

    Enter SERVANT.

    Servant. Don Jose Castro, Miss Castro, and Miss Morris.

    Enter DON JOSE with JOVITA and MISS MARY on either arm. All formally salute MR. OAKHURST, except MISS JOVITA, who turns coldly away, taking seat remotely on sofa. COL. STARBOTTLE gallantly approaches MISS MARY, and takes seat beside her.

    Oakhurst (aside). They are here to see my punishment. There is no sympathy even in her eyes.

    Enter SERVANT.

    Servant. Mr. Concepcion Garcia and Mr. Capper.

    Concho (approaching OAKHURST, rubbing his hands). I wish you joy, Mr. Alexander Morton!

    Oakhurst (excitedly, aside). Shall I throw him from the window! The dog!--even he!

    Capper (approaching MR. OAKHURST). You have done well. Be bold. I will see you through. As for THAT man (pointing to CONCHO), leave him to ME! (Lays his hand on Concho's shoulder, and leads him to sofa R. OAKHURST takes seat in chair L. as SANDY enters quietly from door L., and stands leaning upon his chair.)

    Starbottle (rising). Ladies and gentlemen, we are waiting only for the presence of Mr. Alexander Morton, sen. I regret to say that for the last twenty-four hours--he has been--er--exceedingly preoccupied with the momentous cares of the--er--occasion. You who know the austere habits of my friend and--er--client will probably understand that he may be at this very moment engaged in prayerful and Christian meditation, invoking the Throne of Grace, previous to the solemn duties of--er--er--tonight.

    Enter SERVANT.

    Servant. Mr. Alexander Morton, sen.

    Enter OLD MORTON, drunk, in evening costume, cravat awry, coat half-buttoned up, and half-surly, half-idiotic manner. All rise in astonishment. SANDY starts forward. OAKHURST pulls him back.

    Morton (thickly). Don't rish! Don't rish! We'll all sit down! How do you do, sir? I wish ye well, miss. (Goes around and laboriously shakes hands with everybody.) Now lesh all take a drink! lesh you take a drink, and you take a drink, and you take a drink!

    Starbottle. Permit me, ladies and gentlemen, to--er--explain: our friend is--er--evidently laboring under--er--er--accident of hospitality! In a moment he will be himself.

    Old Morton. Hush up! Dry up--yourself--old turkey-cock! Eh!

    Sandy (despairingly). He will not understand us! (To STARBOTTLE.) He will not know me! What is to be done?

    Old Morton. Give me some whishkey. Lesh all take a drink! (Enter SERVANT with decanter and glasses.)

    Old Morton (starting forward). Lesh all take a drink!

    Sandy. Stop!

    Old Morton (recovering himself slightly). Who says stop? Who dares countermand my orderish?

    Concho (coming forward). Who? I will tell you: eh! eh! Diego-- dismissed from the rancho of Don Jose for drunkenness! Sandy--the vagabond of Red Gulch!

    Sandy (passionately seizing OLD MORTON'S arm). Yes, Diego--Sandy-- the outcast--but, God help me! no longer the drunkard. I forbid you to touch that glass!--I, your son, Alexander Morton! Yes, look at me, father: I, with drunkenness in my blood, planted by you, fostered by you--I whom you sought to save--I--I stand here to save you! Go! (To SERVANT.) Go! While he is thus, I--I, am master here!

    Old Morton (cowed and frightened). That voice! (Passing his hand over his forehead.) Am I dreaming Aleck, where are you? Alexander, speak, I command you: is this the truth?

    Oakhurst (slowly). It is!

    Starbottle. One moment--a single moment: permit me to--er--er-- explain. The gentleman who has just--er--dismissed the refreshment is, to the best of my legal knowledge, your son. The gentleman who for the past year has so admirably filled the functions of that office is--er--prepared to admit this. The proofs are--er-- conclusive. It is with the--er--intention of offering them, and-- er--returning your lawful heir, that we--er--are here to-night.

    Old Morton (rising to his feet). And renounce you both! Out of my house, out of my sight, out of my heart, forever! Go! liars, swindlers, confederates! Drunk--

    Oakhurst (retiring slowly with SANDY). We are going, sir!

    Old Morton. Go! open the doors there WIDE, wide enough for such a breadth of infamy! Do you hear me? I am master here!

    Stands erect, as OAKHURST and SANDY, hand in hand, slowly retreat backward to centre,--then suddenly utters a cry, and falls heavily on sofa. Both pause: OAKHURST remains quiet and motionless; SANDY, after a moment's hesitation, rushes forward, and falls at his feet.

    Sandy. Father, forgive me!

    Old Morton (putting his hand round SANDY'S neck, and motioning him to door). Go! both of you, both of you! (Resisting SANDY'S attempt to rise.) Did you hear me? Go!

    Starbottle. Permit me to--explain. Your conduct, Mr. Morton, reminds me of sing'lar incident in '47--

    Old Morton. Silence!

    Oakhurst. One word, Mr. Morton! Shamed and disgraced as I am, I leave this roof more gladly than I entered it. How I came here, you best know. How I yielded madly to the temptation, the promise of a better life; how I fell, through the hope of reformation,--no one should know better than you, sir, the reformer. I do not ask your pardon. You know that I did my duty to you as your presumed son. Your real son will bear witness, that, from the hour I knew of his existence, I did my duty equally to him. Col. Starbottle has all the legal transfers and papers necessary to make the restoration of your son--the integrity of your business name-- complete. I take nothing out of this life that I did not bring in it,--except my self-respect! I go--as I came--alone!

    Jovita (rushing towards him). No! no! You shall take ME! I have wronged you, Jack, cruelly; I have doubted you; but you shall not go alone. I care not for this contract! You are more to me, by your own right, Jack, than by any kinship with such as these!

    Oakhurst (raising her gently). I thank you, darling. But it is too late now. To be more worthy of you, to win YOU, I waived the title I had to you in my own manhood, to borrow another's more legal claim. I who would not win you as a gambler, cannot make you now the wife of a convicted impostor. No! Hear me, darling! do not make my disgrace greater than it is. In the years to come, Jovita, think of me as one who loved you well enough to go through shame to win you, but too well to ask you to share with him that shame. Farewell, darling, farewell! (Releases himself from JOVITA'S arms, who falls beside him.)

    Concho (rubbing his hands, and standing before him). Oho! Mr. John Oakhurst--eh--was it for this, eh--you leaped the garden wall, eh? was it for this you struck me down, eh? You are not wise, eh? You should have run away with the Dona when you could--ah, ah, impostor!

    Sandy (leaping to his feet). Jack, you shall not go! I will go with you!

    Oakhurst. No! Your place is there. (Pointing to old MORTON, whose head has sunk drunkenly on his breast.) Heed not this man; his tongue carries only the borrowed lash of his master.

    Concho. Eh! you are bold now--bold; but I said I would have revenge--ah, revenge!

    Sandy (rushing toward him). Coward!

    Don Jose. Hold your hand, sir! Hold! I allow no one to correct my menials but myself. Concho, order my carriage!

    Concho. It is ready, sir.

    Don Jose. Then lead the way to it, for my daughter and her husband, John Oakhurst.--Good-night, Mr. Morton, I can sympathize with you; for we have both found a son. I am willing to exchange my dismissed servant for your dismissed PARTNER.

    Starbottle (advancing). Ged, sir, I respect you! Ged, sir, permit me, sir, to grasp that honorable hand!

    Old Morton (excitedly). He is right, my partner. What have I done! The house of Morton & Son dissolved. The man known as my partner--a fugitive! No, Alexander!

    Starbottle. One moment--a single moment! As a lawyer, permit me to say, sir, that the whole complication may be settled, sir, by the--er--addition of--er--single letter! The house of Morton & Son shall hereafter read Morton & Sons. The papers for the legal adoption of Mr. Oakhurst are--er--in my pocket.

    Old Morton (more soberly). Have it your own way, sir! Morton & Sons be it. Hark ye, Don Jose! We are equal at last. But--hark ye, Aleck! How about the boy, eh?--my grandson, eh? Is this one of the sons by adoption?

    Sandy (embarrassedly). It is my own, sir.

    Capper (advancing). He can with safety claim it; for the mother is on her way to Australia with her husband.

    Old Morton. And the schoolma'am, eh?

    Miss Mary. She will claim the usual year of probation for your prodigal, and then--

    Sandy. God bless ye, Miss Mary!

    Old Morton. I am in a dream! But the world--my friends--my patrons--how can I explain?

    Starbottle. I will--er--explain. (Advancing slowly to front--to audience.) One moment--er--a single moment! If anything that has-- er--transpired this evening--might seem to you, ladies and gentlemen--er--morally or--er--legally--or honorably to require-- er--apology--or--er--explanation--permit me to say--that I--Col. Culpepper Starbottle, hold myself responsible--er--personally responsible.

    Capper. Concho.

    Old Morton. Sandy. Miss Mary. Don Jose. Jovita. Oakhurst.

    Col. Starbottle.

    Curtain.

    THE END.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *
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