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- TWO MEN OF SANDY BAR - 20/23 -

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?


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