Our American Cousin

Flo Yes, by the way, do you understand anything about dairies in America?

Asa Wal, I guess I do know something about cow juice. [They turn
to smother laugh.] Why, if it ain’t all as bright and clean as a
fresh washed shirt just off the clover, and is this all your doin’s, Miss?

Mary Yes, sir, I milk the cows, set up the milk, superintend the churning
and make the cheese.

Asa Wal, darn me if you ain’t the first raal right down useful gal
I’ve seen on this side the pond.

Flo What’s that, sir? Do you want to make me jealous?

Asa Oh, no, you needn’t get your back up, you are the right sort too,
but you must own you’re small potatoes, and few in a hill compared to
a gal like that.

Flo I’m what?

Asa Small potatoes.

Flo Will you be kind enough to translate that for me,
for I don’t understand American yet.

Asa Yes, I’ll put it in French for you, “petite pommes des terres.”

Flo Ah, it’s very clear now; but, cousin, do tell me what
you mean by calling me small potatoes.

Asa Wal, you can sing and paint, and play on the pianner,
and in your own particular circle you are some pumpkins.

Flo Some pumpkins, first I am small potatoes, and now I’m some pumpkins.

Asa But she, she can milk cows, set up the butter, make cheese, and,
darn me, if them ain’t what I call raal downright feminine accomplishments.

Flo I do believe you are right cousin, so Mary do allow me
to congratulate you upon not being small potatoes.

Mary Well, I must look to my dairy or all my last week’s milk
will be spoiled. Good bye, Florence, dear. Good bye, Mr. Trenchard.
Good morning, sir. [Exit into Cottage.]

Asa [Following her to door.] Good morning, Miss. I’ll call again.

Flo Well, cousin, what do you think of her?

Asa Ain’t she a regular snorter?

Flo A what?

Asa Wal, perhaps I should make myself more intelligable, if I said,
a squeeler, and to think I’m keepin’ that everlasting angel of a gal
out of her fortune all along of this bit of paper here.

Flo What is that? [Takes paper from pocket.]

Asa Old Mark Trenchard’s will.

Flo Don’t show it to me, I don’t want to look at it, the fortune
should have come to Mary, she is the only relation in the direct line.

Asa Say, cousin, you’ve not told her that darned property was left to me,
have you?

Flo Do you think I had the heart to tell her of her misfortune?

Asa Wal, darn me, if you didn’t show your good sense at any rate.
[Goes up to dairy.]

Flo Well, what are you doing, showing _your_ good sense?

Asa Oh, you go long.

Flo Say, cousin, I guess I’ve got you on a string now,
as I heard you say this morning.

Asa Wal, what if you have, didn’t I see you casting sheep’s eyes
at that sailor man this morning? Ah, I reckon I’ve got you on a string now.
Say, has he got that ship yet?

Flo No, he hasn’t, though I’ve used all my powers of persuasion
with that Lord Dundreary, and his father has so much influence with
the admiralty.

Asa Wal, din’t he drop like a smoked possum?

Flo There you go, more American. No, he said he was very sorry,
but he couldn’t.

Asa [Taking bottle out.] Oh, he did, did he? Wal, I guess he’ll do
his best all the same.

Flo I shall be missed at the archery grounds. Will you take me back?

Asa Like a streak of lightning. [Offers arm and takes her to dairy.]

Flo That’s not the way.

Asa No, of course not. [Takes her round stage back to dairy.]

Flo Well, but where are you going now?

Asa I was just going round. I say, cousin, don’t you think you
could find your way back alone.

Flo Why, what do _you_ want to do?

Asa Wal, I just wanted to see how they make cheese is this darned country.
[Exits into dairy.]

Flo [Laughing.] And they call that man a savage; well,
I only wish we had a few more such savages in England.

Dun [Without, R. 2 E.] This way, lovely sufferer.

Flo Ah, here’s Dundreary.

[Dundreary enters with Georgina, places her in rustic chair, R.]

Dun There, repothe yourself.

Geo Thank you, my lord; you are so kind to me, and I am so delicate.

Flo Yes, you look delicate, dear; how is she this morning any better?

Dun When she recovers, she’ll be better

Flo I’m afraid you don’t take good care of her, you are so rough.

Dun No, I’m not wruff, either. [Sings.] I’m gentle and I’m kind,
I’m —- I forget the rest

Flo Well, good morning, dear–do take care of her–good day, Dundreary.
[Exit through gate.]

Dun Now, let me administer to your wants. How would you like a
roast chestnut?

Geo No, my lord, I’m too delicate.

Dun Well, then, a peanut; there is a great deal of nourishment in peanuts.

Geo No, thank you.

Dun Then what can I do for you?

Geo If you please, ask the dairy maid to let me have a seat in the dairy.
I am afraid of the draft, here.

Dun Oh! you want to get out of the draft, do you? Well,
you’re not the only one that wants to escape the draft.
Is that the dairy on top of that stick? [Points to pigeon house.]

Geo No, my lord, that’s the pigeon house.

Dun What do they keep in pigeon houses? Oh! pigeons, to be sure;
they couldn’t keep donkeys up there, could they? That’s the dairy,
I suppothe?

Geo Yes, my lord.

Dun What do they keep in dairies?

Geo Eggs, milk, butter and cheese.

Dun What’s the name of that animal with a head on it? No,
I don’t mean that, all animals have heads. I mean those animals
with something growing out of their heads.

Geo A cow?

Dun A cow growing out of his head?

Geo No, no, horns.

Dun A cow! well, that accounts for the milk and butter;
but I don’t see the eggs; cows don’t give eggs; then there’s the cheese–
do you like cheese?

Geo No, my lord.

Dun Does your brother like cheese?

Geo I have no brother. I’m so delicate.

Dun She’s so delicate, she hasn’t got a brother. Well,
if you had a brother do you think he’d like cheese?

Geo I don’t know; do please take me to the dairy.

Dun Well, I will see if I can get you a broiled sardine. [Exit into dairy.]

Geo [Jumps up.] Oh! I’m so glad he’s gone. I am so dreadful hungry.
I should like a plate of corn beef and cabbage, eggs and bacon,
or a slice of cold ham and pickles.

Dun [Outside] Thank you, thank you.

Geo [Running back to seat.] Here he comes. Oh! I am so delicate.

Enter Dundreary.

Dun I beg you pardon, Miss Georgina, but I find upon enquiry
that cows don’t give sardines. But I’ve arranged it with the dairy maid
so that you can have a seat by the window that overlooks the cow house
and the pig sty, and all the pretty things.

Geo I’m afraid I’m very troublesome.

Dun Yes, you’re very troublesome, you are. No, I mean you’re
a lovely sufferer, that’s the idea. [They go up to cottage door.]

Enter Asa, running against Dundreary.

Dun There’s that damned rhinoceros again. [Exit into cottage,
with Georgina.]

Asa There goes that benighted aristocrat and that little toad
of a sick gal. [Looks off.] There he’s a settling her in a chair
and covering her all over with shawls. Ah! it’s a caution,
how these women do fix our flint for us. Here he comes.
[Takes out bottle.] How are you, hair dye. [Goes behind dairy.]

Enter Dundreary.

Dun That lovely Georgina puts me in mind of that beautiful piece of poetry.
Let me see how it goes. The rose is red, the violet’s blue.
[Asa tips his hat over his eyes.]

Dun [Repeats.]

Asa [Repeats business.]

Dun [Comes down, takes off hat, looking in it.] There must be
something alive in that hat. [Goes up, and commences again.] The rose is red, the violet’s blue, sugar is sweet, and so is somebody,
and so is somebody else.

Asa puts yoke on Dundreary’s shoulders gently. Dundreary comes down
with pails.

Dun I wonder what the devil that is? [Lowers one, then the other,
they trip him up.] Oh, I see, somebody has been fishing and caught a pail.
[Goes hopping up stage, stumbling over against spinning wheel.
Looks at yarn on stick.] Why, what a little old man. [Sees Asa.] Say, Mr. Exile, what the devil is this?

Asa That is a steam engine, and will bust in about a minute.

Dun Well, I haven’t a minute to spare, so I’ll not wait till it busts.
[Crosses to R., knocks against private box, R. H., apologizes.]

Asa Say, whiskers, I want to ask a favor of you.

Dun [Attempts to sneeze.] Now I’ve got it.

Asa Wal, but say. [Dundreary’s sneezing bus.]

Asa [Takes his hand.] How are you. [Squeezes it.]

Dun There, you’ve spoiled it.

Asa Spoiled what?

Dun Spoiled what! why a magnificent sneeze.

Asa Oh! was that what you was trying to get through you?

Dun Get through me: he’s mad.

Asa Wal, now, the naked truth is–[Leans arm on Dundreary’s shoulder.
Bus. by Dundreary.] Oh, come now, don’t be putting on airs.
Say, do you know Lieut. Vernon?

Dun Slightly.

Asa Wal, what do you think of him, on an average?

Dun Think of a man on an average?

Asa Wal, I think he’s a real hoss, and he wants a ship.

Dun Well if he’s a real hoss, he must want a carriage.

Asa Darn me, if that ain’t good.

Dun That’s good.

Asa Yes, that is good.

Dun Very good.

Asa Very good, indeed, _for you_.

Dun Now I’ve got it. [Tries to sneeze.]

Asa Wal, now, I say. [Dundreary trying to sneeze.]

Asa What, are you at that again?

Dundreary business. Asa bites his finger. Dundreary goes up,
stumbles against chair and comes down again.

Dun I’ve got the influenza.

Asa Got the what?

Dun He says I’ve got a wart. I’ve got the influenza.

Asa That’s it exactly. I want your influence, sir, to get that ship.

Dun That’s good.

Asa Yes, that’s good, ain’t it.

Dun Very good.

Asa Yes, darn me, if that ain’t good.

Dun For you. Ha! ha! One on that Yankee.

Asa Well done, Britisher. Wal, now, about that ship?

Dun I want all my influence, sir, for my own w–w–welations. [Stammering.]

Asa Oh! you want it for your own w–w–welations. [Mimicing.]

Dun I say, sir. [Asa pretends deafness. This bus. is ad. lib.]

Asa Eh?

Dun He’s hard of hearing, and thinks he’s in a balloon. Mister.

Asa Eh?

Dun He thinks he can hear with his nose. I say–

Asa Eh?

Dundreary turns Asa’s nose around with his thumb. Asa puts his
two hands up to Dundreary’s.

Dun Now he thinks he’s a musical instrument. I say–

Asa What?

Dun You stutter. I’ll give you a k–k–k–

Asa No you won’t give me a kick.

Dun I’ll give you a c–c–card to a doctor and he’ll c–c–c–

Asa No he won’t kick me, either.

Dun He’s idiotic. I don’t mean that, he’ll cure you.

Asa Same one that cured you?

Dun The same.

Asa Wal, if you’re cured I want to stay sick. He must be a mighty smart man.

Dun A very clever man, he is.

Asa Wal, darn me, if there ain’t a physiological change taking place.
Your whiskers at this moment–

Dun My whiskers!

Asa Yes, about the ends they’re as black as a niggers in billing time,
and near the roots they’re all speckled and streaked.

Dun [Horror struck.] My whiskers speckled and streaked?

Asa [Showing bottle.] Now, this is a wonderful invention.

Dun My hair dye. My dear sir.

Asa [Squeezing his hand.] How are you?

Dun Dear Mr. Trenchard.

Puts arm on shoulder. Asa repeats Dundreary business,
putting on eyeglass, hopping round the stage and stroking whiskers.

Dun He’s mad, he’s deaf, he squints, stammers and he’s a hopper.

Asa Now, look here, you get the Lieut. a ship and I’ll give you the bottle.
It’s a fine swap.

Dun What the devil is a swap?

Asa Well, you give me the ship, and I’ll give you the bottle to boot.

Dun What do I want of your boots? I haven’t got a ship about me.

Asa You’d better make haste or your whiskers will be changed again.
They’ll be a pea green in about a minute.

Dun [Crosses to L.] Pea green! [Exits hastily into house.]

Asa I guess I’ve got a ring in his nose now. I wonder how that sick gal
is getting along? Wal, darn me, if the dying swallow ain’t pitching
into ham and eggs and home-made bread, wal, she’s a walking into
the fodder like a farmer arter a day’s work rail splitting.
I’ll just give her a start. How de do, Miss, allow me to congratulate
you on the return of your appetite. [Georgina scream.] Guess I’ve got a ring in her pretty nose now. [Looks off, R.] Hello! here comes the lickers and shooters, it’s about time I took
my medicine, I reckon.

Enter, from R. 2. E., Sir E., Mrs. M. Florence, Vernon, Augusta,
De Boots, Wickens, Coyle, Sharpe, Binny, Skillet, Buddicombe,
two servants in livery, carrying tray and glasses, a wine basket
containing four bottles to represent champagne, knife to cut strings,
some powerful acid in one bottle for Asa–pop sure.

Sir E Now to distribute the prizes, and drink to the health of
the winner of the golden arrow.

Flo And there must stand the hero of the day. Come, kneel down.

Asa Must I kneel down?

Flo I am going to crown you Capt. of the Archers of Trenchard Manor.

Asa [Aside to Florence.] I’ve got the ship.

Flo No; have you?

Sir E Come, ladies and gentlemen, take from me. [Takes glasses,
Starts on seeing me in livery.] Who are these strange faces?

Coyle [In his ear.] Bailiffs, Sir Edward.

Sir E Bailiffs! Florence I am lost.

[Florence supports her father. At the same moment Dundreary
enters with letter and money. Georgina appears at dairy door as
Dundreary comes down, L. Asa cuts string of bottle, cork hits Dundreary.
General commotion as drop descends.]


Scene 1–Dairy set as before in Act 2d, Scene 2.

[Asa discovered on bench, R. C., whittling stick. Mary busy with
milk pans in dairy.]

Asa Miss Mary, I wish you’d leave off those everlasting dairy fixings,
and come and take a hand of chat along with me.

Mary What, and leave my work? Why, when you first came here,
you thought I could not be too industrious.

Asa Well, I think so yet, Miss Mary, but I’ve got a heap to say to you,
and I never can talk while you’re moving about so spry among them pans,
pails and cheeses. First you raise one hand and then the other,
and well, it takes the gumption right our of me.

Mary [Brings sewing down.] Well, then, I’ll sit here–
[sits on bench with Asa, vis-a-vis.] Well now, will that do?

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