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Hugh MacDougall, Corresponding Secretary, James Fenimore Cooper Society
Placed on line July 2009
Originally issued as Cooper Society Miscellaneous Papers, No. 19, August 2004
James Fenimore Cooper's novel, The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish, published in 1829, was his first attempt to describe Native American Indians outside the framework of Natty Bumppo and the Leatherstocking Tales. It was, moreover, the second in an abortive project of writing a novel set in the early days of each of the 13 American colonies; the first had been Lionel Lincoln; or, The Leaguer of Boston in 1825. Wept is set in Connecticut, during and after the famous King Philip's War of 1675. Revolving about White/Indian relations in those troubled times, it introduces the characters of Conanchet, rebel warrior son and successor of the murdered Narragansett chieftain Miantanamoh, and of Uncas, chief of the Mohegans (not to be confused with Cooper's Uncas of the Mohicans), who is allied with the white settlers. It also includes one the "regicides"—the English judges who signed King Charles I's death warrant in 1649—three of whom fled to Puritan protection in New England after the Monarchy was restored in England in 1660.
As it relates to William Bayle Bernard's play, the story revolves about a remote frontier settlement in Western Connecticut called "Wish-ton-Wish" after the whippoorwill bird that lives in the vicinity. Its founder, Mark Heathcote, gives shelter to one of the fleeing regicides (called "Submission" in the novel). Ruth Heathcote, his granddaughter, is carried away during an Indian raid and brought to become the Indian Chief Conanchet's bride "Narramattah," whose mixed-race daughter she bears. In Bernard's play version, "Narramattah" is converted from Ruth Heathcote, granddaughter of Mark Heathcote, into Hope Gough, daughter of Major Gough (real name William Goffe), the regicide hiding on the outskirts of the settlement. Conanchet is killed by Uncas the Mohegan (called "Mohican" in Bernard's play), and the grief-stricken Narramattah rejoins the Wish-ton-Wish settlement only to die of a broken heart.
Cooper's early novels were generally followed rapidly by stage adaptations, both in England and in the United States. Bernard's version of Wept was not the first; it was preceded in America by Miantonimoh, and by Narramattah; or, The Lost Found (both New York, 1830). The degree to which such adaptations followed the original novel varied considerably.
This dramatic version of The Wept of the Wish-ton-Wish, is by the prolific Anglo-American playwright (114 known plays) William Bayle Bernard (1807-1875), whose principal claim to fame these days is that his 1854 farce, A Storm in a Teacup, contributed its title to the English language. His dramatic adaptation of Cooper's novel was intended primarily as a vehicle for the French ballet dancer Celine Celeste (1814-1882), commonly known as "Madame Celeste," whose English-language capability was limited. The play is in the form of a "burletta," with music preceding every significant speech, and with dancing interludes.
The English edition of The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish was titled The Borderers, and thus stage directions in the play refer to the settler community as "borderers."
Indeed, most of the play's half-century career revolved about Mme. Celeste, who opened the play in 1831 at London's Adelphi Theatre Royal, toured with it in America (1834-1843, 1851-52), and revived it at the Adelphi (of which she eventually became the manager) in 1850 (35 performances) and 1857 (7 performances). Although Mme. Celeste has an active acting part, she has very few lines (since her English was evidently minimal)—occasional short remarks in "Indian" idiom, and the repeated "Indian" interjection "hugh!" (these days usually spelled "ugh!"). The London Literary Gazette reviewer said of the opening that: "Celeste is a fine-looking creature, with magnificent eyes and teeth. Her acting was very effective throughout…. We do not remember to have seen a finer piece of acting (in dumb show) than the deaths of the Chief and Hope in the last scene." The New-York Mirror's reviewer, in 1834, said of Mme. Celeste, "We have never seen any thing upon the New-York stage to equal Celeste…. Her profits will not fall short of ten thousand dollars for a month's performance."
Much of the play is devoted to comic interludes involving a settler named Satisfaction Skunk, who has absconded to the Indians to escape his wife Abundance Skunk. The original 1830 version of Bernard's play was both longer and more complicated than later productions, including the version we reprint here—and involved a large group of comic Puritans besides Mr. and Mrs. Skunk. [I cannot resist reciting their names from the original 1830 playbill: Comprehension Hoskins; Perseverence Pepperel; Struggle-still Huggins; Tarry-long-and-have-at-last Brown; Effectually Stout Stand Jones; Ejaculation Tibbs; Determination Dykes; and Consideration Sympson.] Alas, all but Satisfaction and Abundance Skunk (and their numerous offspring) vanished from later versions, including this one.
More serious drama is provided by the sneaky characters of Fearnought Langton and Ezekiel Davies, spies sent out by the English government to recapture the regicide Major Gough, but who are -- to no one's surprise -- foiled by Narramattah.
Described as a "burletta" (a light comic opera or musical farce), and shown in combination with two other short, comic plays. The music was composed by the Adelphi's resident composer, George H. Rodwell (1800-1852). The original, and longer version, was preceded by an overture by the prolific Italian composer Ferdinando Paer (1771-1839).
Though Mme. Celeste's ties to the play ended in 1858, it continued to be produced, both in England and America, until at least 1878. It was published in several play series, including "Dick's Standard Plays" in London (from which we take our text), and French's Standard Drama in New York.
Finally, I should like to express our very special thanks to Len Hayter, of Liverpool, England, who sent us the photocopy of the The Wept of the Wish-Ton-Wish from which this text was prepared. Mr. Hayter stumbled on the play a few years ago in a small bookstore near his home city of Liverpool, and was kind enough to think of our Society. Thanks to him, it is again available to students of Cooper's novels and their many adaptations to stage and screen.
James Fenimore Cooper Society
First performed at the Adelphi Theatre, November 21st, 1831
No. 546, Dicks' Standard Plays
Cover of Play Pamphlet
TIME OF REPRESENTATION.—Two Hours and Five Minutes
EXITS AND ENTRANCES.—R. means Right; L. Left; D.F. Door in Flat; R.D. Right Door; L.D. Left Door; S.E. Second Entrance; U.E. Upper Entrance; M.D. Middle Door; L.U.E. Left Upper Entrance; R.U.E. Right Upper Entrance; L.S.E. Left Second Entrance; P.S. Prompt Side; O.P. Opposite Prompt.
R. means Right; L. Left; C. Centre; L.C. Left of Centre
R. R.C. C. LC. L.
*** The Reader is supposed to be on the Stage, facing the Audience.
SCENE I—A chamber in Captain Heathcote's house.—A secret panel in R. F.—A couch on L.
Music.—Enter HEATHCOTE and FAITH, R. l E.
Heath. Your father has not left his chamber.
Faith. And yet, sir, sleep is a stranger to his lids; or, when nature sinks under his daily weight of grief, repose, which blesses others, brings no forgetfulness to him! His dreams prolong his misery; at night, he hears the cry of pursuers, or sees his child torn from his arms by yelling savages, and carried off amidst the crackling beams of the stockade. Oh, sir, do you forget that hideous night?
Heath. Forget it, girl! 'tis burnt upon my brain; can I forget our previous thankful days and tranquil nights, which made us think this valley the Canaan promised to the faithful? Can I forget your father's first look and word as he stepped across my threshold, with his children in his hands, the exiled judge of a despotic king, and begged the shelter of my roof from his pursuers?
Faith. Nor should you, sir, forget that, by your unfailing friendship, he hath been ever since preserved from foe and want, and all things but regret.
Heath. And yet, girl, how visibly the mercy of our Ruler is apparent in our deepest visitations. That day the hireling servants of the crown pursued your father to the valley of the Wish-ton-Wish. They were cut off to a man, by the savages, who fired our stockade, whilst all of us found a safe retreat beneath the block-house, in a well that, but the day before grew dry.
Faith. All of us? you think not of my unhappy sister.
Heath. Yet even she may have escaped the fate you dread. Why limit the arm of Providence in one particular, when we have seen its might in others? But soft! here comes your father.
(Music.—The secret panel, R. opens and GOUGH enters, in antique mourning, of black velvet—his appearance exhibiting premature old age from grief—he advances in a reverie, C., not taking notice of Heathcote or Faith.)
Faith. And, as is his wont, he walks in a waking dream, conversing with sad shadows.
Gough. (C.) I see you still before me, Charles Stuart, with your fixed burning eye, and clouded brow, as when arraigned and doomed by my voice among others, you summoned your judges to a higher bar, and in that summons cursed them. What said I, in the judgment I pronounced; but that you were an enemy to England's liberty, and peace, and so should die the death. Heaven knows I spoke but for my country, not myself. Yet, has thy curse cloven to me day and night, in heart and in possessions, a crushed and writhing worm. Groan by groan, and sigh by sigh, my tortures have been lengthened out, that your hovering spirit might have its glut of recompense. Proscribed, shunned as an outcast, a second Cain, with the brand upon my brow, hunted in the woods, where even wolves are safe,—all this was not enough; my child, my pure, my infant one, must be torn from me by the savages, to bleed in expiation!
Faith. (Kneeling and taking Gough's hand.) My father!
Gough. (Falling on her neck.) Forgive me, my dear child, that I sometimes slight thee; but I see thee not when this shade is on my soul; yet, let this pressure tell thee, if not always in my sight, thou art ever in my heart!
Heath. Come, brother, the day looks kindly on us—these [sic] is a peace whispering from the woods and smiling in the sky. Let us walk abroad and give our hearts to its enjoyment.
Gough. Nay, Isaac, there is a film before my eyes that shuts out the light of heaven; a weight is hanging o'er my soul portending some disaster which I know is near; for my dreams, my daily thoughts, my inward whisperings, have all proclaimed it.
Heath. If the evil that you fear is from our old enemies that fired the stockade, war has removed them to a safe remoteness; or, did they come to attack us now, our settlement has grown too strong to fear the consequences.
Gough. I cannot see into the future, but the mist that veils it from me is dark and threatening.
Faith. (R.) Nay, my father, is it right that a soldier who has conquered real dangers should waste his strength on fancied ones! Let thy daughter's voice, if thou indeed dost love her, lead thee to consent. This home becomes a dungeon if it is never quitted. -- let us go into the fields!
Gough. My child, I strain a heart-string when I deny thee ought, but with every word the weight upon my mind increases, it is a warning voice, I cannot disobey. I will not walk to-day.
Enter CONTENT, L. 1 E.
Con. Father, Uncas, the chief of the Mohicans, our allies, has this instant reached the settlement, and would speak with you.
(Music.—Content beckons and UNCAS enters L, Gough retires to couch and sits, Faith with him.)
Heath. (Extending his hand which Uncas grasps.) My brother is welcome! 'tis many moons since I have looked upon his face.
Uncas. The pale-face is a good man.
Heath. What can the white man do for his brother? Is he poor? there are blankets and a rifle in his house;—is he sick? there is a skilful leech at hand.
Uncas. The white chief does not know his errand. Uncas is neither sick nor poor,—Uncas is strong, and so must be his brothers,—Uncas brings news of war.
Uncas. The Narragansetts, who many years ago brought the brand and knife among you to your dwelling, are in the valley, they have once more returned to their old hunting grounds.
Heath. (R.) Has my brother seen these red skins?
Uncas. With his own eyes.
Heath. Who leads them hither?
Uncas. Conanchet, the son of Mian-to-ni-moh.
Heath. Conanchet, the son of our oldest enemy, and the inheritor of all his father's hate.
Uncas. Uncas was hunting—he came upon their wigwams—a bush concealed him, and he overheard their council; let but the night drop its shadows on your huts, and again the knife and brand will come among them.
Heath. Uncas is our friend?
Uncas. The pale-face speaks the truth. Uncas hates the Narragansetts, and will hunt them like a dog! let my brothers load their rifles, he will lead them where their enemies are sleeping; the sun shall not rise again upon a Narragansett. (Going, L.)
Heath. Stay; Conanchet must be spared and brought before our council; he hath committed crimes against the settlement, and by its voice must die.
Uncas. Then, Uncas claims to strike his death blow.
Heath. Be it so; we would show our foe, the red-skin, that our vengeance is but another word for justice—not a thirst for blood.
Uncas. Uncas' blood grows cool, come white man to the war-path. (Gough advances C.)
Gough. A father's voice must now be heard! Chief, hast thou a wife?
Uncas. Wacontah, the bounding fawn.
Gough. Hast thou a child?
Uncas. The son of Uncas will one day be the Eagle of his tribe. (Faith is on R. C.)
Gough. Then my appeal will not be in vain; I had a child, a daughter, the twin of her you see before you, in beauty and in goodness; I loved her as I love my life—nay, more, I would give my life to know she was alive, and well, and pure. On the night the Narragansetts broke into our dwelling, she was but six years old, a tender flower, that had but lately lost its parent stem, a mother, whose image she reflected. She was, perhaps, the dearest treasure I had left, for I was an exiled man, who had been driven from my native land, across the great salt lake; when on that treasure an Indian fixed his eye, and amidst the wreathing flames and hissing blood he bore her off. Ten years have I mourned her as dead. Yet she may live, though it must be in bondage; fetters, perhaps, upon her gentle limbs, or oh! far worse, the chains of ignorance and guilt around her soul. Chief! Thou wilt go among her capturers, thou may'st seize or see some one that has heard of her, learn if she lives, is well, is near, or far, if only that! if all hope of our future meeting is denied me, learn that my child is still alive, and thou wilt fill a father's heart, with the first gleam of joy that it has known for ten long, dreary, desolate years.
Uncas. (Grasping Gough's hand.) Uncas will do the grey-head's bidding.
(Gough turns away.)
Heath. Now, chief, I will summon the settlement,—(crosses to L.)—and arm the expedition. Content, to your hands its command will be entrusted.
[Music. Heathcote and Uncas go out L., followed by Content and Faith.
Gough. Yes, perhaps the hope is not too sanguine, that she may live! I dare not think that we shall ever meet again, that the spoilers will bring her back to me. No, no!—that joy would make me mad. Oh, when I think of my deserted home in England, and those sweet times past, never to return, when we would gather around our door at eventide, and she, my lost one, climbed her mother's knee, or lifted her tiny hands in prayer, her golden hair all flowing, and her eyes, so radiant with the hopes of youth, such she was then! What is she now? the thought tortures, bewilders me; I'll sleep awhile and chase it from my brain.
(Stage dark.—Music.—He lies down on couch—the stage has become gradually darkened—the scene opens and discovers, through a gauze, the figure of a young female, in an antique English dress, sitting at a table and a child kneeling by her side.)
Alice! my wife! my child! (Spoken in sleep.)
(He then rises and gazes around—the flats are closed and the lights put up.)
Why, I could have sworn they were again before me—within hearing of my voice. It was a dream; well, will not that content ye, craving heart? be thankful for the past. Does my child life? where is she now?
(Music.—He sleeps again—stage dark—the scene opens and discovers, through the gauze, an Indian village. Narramattah appears with a bandage round her eyes feeling her way as if in search of some one—Gough becomes restless on his couch and stretches out his hand as if to clutch—Narramattah, and at length exhibiting equal emotion, tears the bandage from her eyes, and extending her hands towards her father in an attitude of recognition—Gough starts up—the scene closes—stage light.)
Gough. She lives! she lives! I gazed upon her then, my heart, my beating heart, nature's great minister, her sacred oracle cannot be wrong, a thousand voices whisper through my veins she lives! Faith, my child! my child! my friends partake my joy ere it has burst my swelling bosom, my lost one lives! I shall again behold her.
[Gough rushes out L. -- Music.
SCENE II.—The village of the Narragansetts, on the banks of the Connecticut.
Music. -- Indians discovered mending their nets, making spears and arrows at the doors of their wigwams -- CONANCHET in the dress of an Indian chief enters, U. E L. Indians spring up and welcome him with a yell.)
Conan. The Narragansett, after many years, comes back to his native woods. Look, brothers, on that valley—it is the Wish-ton-Wish! Ten years ago it was our hunting ground. When the pale-face came and built a hut there, we burnt it into ashes; yet from its ashes he has raised a mighty village. Soon his huts will overspread our woods and leave us not a blade of grass to rest upon—shall we lie down like beaten dogs and look at them, or shall we up and carry the brand to them once more.
Conan. The shade of Mian-to-ni-moh shall be appeased, Death to the pale-faces and the treacherous Mohican. Death, instant death to the cheating musk-rat.
(Music.—Two Indians bring in SKUNK, R. U. E. in a half Indian dress, his face painted extravagantly, his head shaved to a scalp-lock, and his face and arms tattooed, on one leg a boat, on the other a shoe, and his whole appearance half Indian, half European.)
Skunk. (R.) Hulloa, Chief! Is this abiding by your agreement? didn't you consent, as soon as I had given you information about the settlement, to do business with me in a liberal manner.
Conan. The pale-face shall die.
Skunk. Yes, but that's doing business in a very illiberal manner.
Conan. The pale-face hates the Narragansett.
Skunk. But I am not a pale-face. I will submit it to the most prejudiced person, whether I am not a genuine red-skin.
Conan. We found you in the wigwams of our enemies. Are you not a cunning musk-rat?
Skunk. No, I'm a great Mud Turtle. Ten years ago I was a deacon and a select man at New London, but I had no opportunity of exercising a talent inherited from my cradle, that of swapping, so at last I swapped colours and countries, I emigrated, I went like a lion into the backwoods, and there became Chief of the Mud Turtles.
Conan. (C.) Hear brothers! hear the cunning pale-face. He had no gun to drive the warrior from his path, but he must change the colour of his skin; does that change the colour of his heart? Who has filled the air with the smoke of our huts, and whitened the woods with the bones of our fathers? The lying, cheating, plundering pale-face!
Skunk. Chief, I beg to say that is very strong language.
Conan. Go! the Narragansett is a man—the pale-face is a woman.
Skunk. It is the first time I was ever told of the resemblance.
Conan. (L.) Conanchet cannot waste his words, prepare! (Prepares his gun.)
Skunk. Hulloa! Chief, what are you about?
(Music.—Conanchet raises his gun, when NARRAMATTAH runs in, U. E. L., and arrests it—she points to heaven and then to Skunk, with an expression of contempt.)
The Wept! Maneto would despise the offering, let the coward pale-face go, the red warrior despises him—begone!
(Music.—Indians take Skunk off, R. S. E., and Conanchet prepares his rifle—Narramattah commands him again to despise so mean a victim—he surveys her with admiration and is subdued—she now bids them all invoke the blessings of heaven.)
Brothers! we must ask Maneto's blessing.
(Music.—They kneel to heaven—Content heard without, L. S. E.)
Content. Hilloa! Reuben!
Conan. The white-skins!
(They drop to the ground and listen—Music.—They collect their guns and silently creep out R. on their hands and knees, carrying their other weapons in their mouths. SKUNK reenters, L. 3 E. bound.)
Skunk. Why, swap my stockings, if that wild woman, the chief's wife isn't Major Gough's daughter that was stolen at the burning of the stockade. The fright it seems unseated her reason, and took away her speech; now, if I could get her down to the settlement, I'd swap her. (Guns fired without.—Music.) Oh, lord, they are at it! the first shot that misses will hit me, that's always my luck—I'm undone—no, I wish I was—I'm done up. Ha! some one's coming. Hullou! help! murder!
CONTENT rushes in 2 E. R. -- presents gun at Skunk.
Skunk. (R.) Brother Content!
Con. Who speaks?
Skunk. Don't you know me?
Con. (Approaching him.) Deacon Skunk.
Skunk. My dear friend, I'm rejoiced to see you!
Con. We were in hopes, for the credit of the settlement, that you were dead.
Skunk. How very charitable!
Con. What, sir! not satisfied with robbing our poor community, and turning Indian to escape the punishment, you are here actually leading our old enemies to lay the settlement once more in ashes.
Skunk. (Displaying himself.) You are not aware young man, that you are addressing Tamming Tamaboo, prime minister of the Mud Turtles.
Con. Can you remember what you have done, sir, and not blush to look a white man in the face?
Skunk. I have blushed so much that the hue of modesty has become permanent; answer me one question, is Major Gough still alive?
Con. I must know the nature of that question before I answer it.
Skunk. Then, perhaps, it won't answer for me to tell you!
Con. Come, sir, no mysteries; you are in my power, tell me if the hirelings of the king are again [p. 6] in pursuit of him? is his retreat discovered? is any one at hand?
Skunk. There is.
Skunk. His daughter!
Con. What, the long-lost girl! the Wept, as we have called her, of the Wish-ton-Wish?
Skunk. The Wept!
Con. Where is she? how is she?
Skunk. Oh, that's my secret! what will you swap for it?
Con. Rascal! I could drive a bullet through your heart. (Lifting gun.) But, I forgot, you are a wonder. But I see your object! This is a subterfuge, by which you hope to elude the anger of our council. You shall tell your story to my father. Had the devil a cleverer head than yours in framing devices, you could live without one.
Skunk. I'd want to swap.
(Content drives Skunk off R., and follows him.
(Music. UNCAS enters U. E. R. struggling with CONANCHET.—Conanchet is overthrown, and CONTENT re-entering, R. S. E., levels at Conanchet—is about to fire when NARRAMATTAH rushes in and strikes up his rifle.)
Con. (Recognizing her.) Ah! As I live it is the Wept!
(Music. Content drops his gun and rushes off R. 1 E.—Conanchet has now mastered Uncas—Narramattah picks up Content's rifle—Conanchet holds Uncas on ground.)
Conan. Fire, Narramattah, the Mohican dog may growl but he cannot bite.
(Music.—Narramattah having no ammunition, reaches powder-flask from side of Conanchet and loads gun.)
Uncas. Content, hither! hither!
Conan. Fire! White Bird, fire!
Uncas. Save me!
Con. (Speaks R.) This way, brothers!
Conan. Fire! Narramattah, fire!
(Music.—Narramattah raises rifle when CONTENT rushes in, R. U. E., with her child, and holds it before Uncas.)
Con. Her child! her child!
(Music.—Narramattah in R. corner shrieks, drops gun, and advances to Content, who repels her—LANGTON and DAVIS enter R. U. E., seize and forch [sic] Conanchet off, L. 1 E. Uncas following Content, holding up the child—Narramattah crouches to him and extends her arms to receive it, but Content refuses to part with it and she follows him out submissively, L. 1 E.)
SCENE III.—A chamber at Heathcote's—a glass window practicable in L. flat, backed by landscape—loud shouts L. 1. E., as scene opens.
Enter HEATHCOTE and FAITH, R. 1. E., as scene opens.
Heath. Now, girl, where are you doubts of that protecting wing beneath whose shadow we have so long inhabited these wilds in safety. The expedition has returned victorious, and our enemies have been destroyed, dispersed, or taken.
Faith. And my husband, sir, your son?
Heath. Is safe, though lingering behind with prisoners.
Faith. Then, I am indeed thankful. Oh, sir, forgive me, if, in the feelings of a wife I momentarily forgot the gratitude and duty of a woman.
Enter LANGTON and DAVIS, with SKUNK, bound, 1 E. L.
Heath. Who is your prisoner, sir, a sagamore?
Skunk. (Displaying himself.) Ahem!
Lang. Your son placed him under my charge. I understand he was formerly deacon of New London, and absconded ten years since, with the money of your community.
Skunk. Emigrated, sir, not absconded.
Heath. Skunk! 'Tis he indeed, this is a goodly fashion, 'tis but right that he who cherishes the feelings of a savage should put on his raiment. Speak! unhappy man, can you say aught in your defence?
Skunk. I can say a good deal if I'm not confined.
Heath. Release him. (Langton does so.) Now, sir, I am your hearer. (Skunk crosses to C.)
Skunk. Well, then, Governor, in the first place, you may perhaps remember what was the first determination of my tastes.
Heath. To wickedness.
Skunk. No! to swapping. 'tis easily accounted for, it's run in our family from generation to generation. My great grand-daddy was a swapper, he swapped horses in Yorkshire; his son was a celebrated swapper, he swapped a tradesman's insignificance for a ride to Tyburn. My own father swapped a cavalier's dress for a clear conscience, and I was always willing to swap----
Heath. What sir?
Skunk. Empty pockets for full ones.
Heath. To the point, sir, what does this explain?
Skunk. It explains my turning Indian, that's all; I made something by the change. When I went among the Mud Turtles they made me their prime minister at once, and a prime minister I became. I had all the government on my shoulders. I had to get up the cabinet council in the open fields, fill the pipes and rum bottles, and take care, when the chiefs began to argue, that they didn't make use of any pointed arguments. I was chancellor of the exchequer, but that was a sinecure. I was attorney-general to the men, and solicitor in general to the women, that was the sinecure.
Heath. And at length remorse for your offences brings you back to us to expiate them.
Skunk. Remorse! oh, you mean the old money accounts, I have nothing to do with that now; that was a civil transaction, and now you know I'm a savage; you would not punish a savage for the acts of a civilised being.
Heath. We shall teach you differently.
Skunk. Then you mean to civilise me against my will—European philanthropy! I tell you what, if you intend to make me give you public satisfaction, you must be content to go without a private one.
Heath. What mean you?
Enter GOUGH, 2 E. R.
Skunk. I mean to say that I have got news upon my tongue of the long lamented daughter of Major Gough. Heath and Faith. The Wept!
Gough. (Rushing forward.) Of Hope? my child! my lost one! where is she? speak! though they be your last words. (Seizing Skunk.)
Skunk. They will be my last words if you don't take away your hands from my throat.
Gough. Pattering fool! you have given an old man the strength of lions,—if thy breast hides aught of knowledge of my child, I'll tear it open; but, no, no, you have brought me blessed news, and I am thankful! but do not trifle with the broken hearted,—you say my daughter lives?
Skunk. Yes, but not as a Christian is accustomed to live. The fright of her capture and, I suppose, her bad usage in the woods, has robbed her both of speech and reason.
Faith. (Turning away with a burst of tears.) Merciful powers!
Gough. (Pausing.) Well, 'tis sad tidings, but she lives, she lives! I bless heaven for that. I shall again see her; mad, speechless, though she be, she will have enough of knowledge in her heart to know her father,—enough of language in her eyes to welcome him. (Retires with Faith.)
Heath. And where is she to be found?
Skunk. Oh, now Governor, you come to business. What will you swap for the information?
Heath. Friends, take him hence (Retires.)
(Langton, advancing, seizes Skunk by the collar, who throws him off.)
Skunk. Remember, sir, I am Tamming Tamaboo, prime minister of the Mud Turtles.
[Swaggers off L., followed by Langton and Davis.
CONTENT enters hastily, L., with the child in his arms.
Con. Major Gough, the Wept!
Gough. Oh, my daughter!
(Music.—Gough rushes to meet her as NARRAMATTAH enters L., he stands appalled by the change.)
Gough. Horror! horror!
Con. Chance threw her in my path in the middle of the conflict, and fortunately, having obtained possession of her child———
Gough and Faith. Her child!
(Music.—Narramattah takes child from Content, presses it to her bosom—Content gets to R.—Gough approaches Narramattah.)
Gough. Hope! my loved, my wept, and my recovered!—do you not know me? will you not speak, to your poor father? (She repels him and caresses child.) It is too true—her very heart is speechless.
Faith. (Approaching Narramattah.) Hope! do you not know me—your sister? (Narramattah repels her.) Merciful powers! to see you thus, living, yet dead, the form without the spirit! You, that once shed such light and gladness around our hearth; but droop not, cheer thee, my father! think you she will not regain her recollection when alone with us?
Heath. (M.) Doubtless, dear Faith; heaven waits but for the trial. Come, Content, let not our presence stay it.
[Exit Heathcote, Content and child, R. 1 E.
Gough. Still no recollection breaks upon her darkness. Memory is a closed door and the vista of the past is shrouded.
Faith. Hope, my sister! do you not know me! Answer me by some look, or motion, or my heart will break.
(Music.—Narramattah surveys her with indifference and turning to window utters a low moan.)
Gough. She yearns to be again in the wild woods:—we cannot change her heart.
Faith. My father! a thought, a happy thought! Perhaps I may kindle her remembrance, by some token of our early years: do not let her go, I'll fly like the feathered arrow; be sure you hold her fast, my father.
[Music. Faith hurries off R., Narra-mattah goes to window, stretches out her hands, goes to her father's feet and implores him to release her.
Gough. (L.) She pines to join the heathen, and prays to her own father to release her. 'Tis plain she is past all human aid, and if I keep her here, will it not be to see her pine away and die? Could I live and see her miserable? since it is so, in heaven's name, I give you liberty.
(Music.—Narramattah trembles—Re-enter FAITH, R., with basket of trinkets.)
Faith. Here, here Hope, look at these; do you not remember when you and I worked this pattern, at our dear mother's knee. (Narra-mattah throws it down.) This book, dear Hope! it was given you by your aunt, your own hand-writing in it, don't you recollect your own hand, Hope? (Narramattah throws away book.) This ring, these beads, this chain that we used to hang about our dolls. (Narramattah seizes them, plays like a child with them.)
Faith. (With a burst of grief.) Oh, no, my father, she is past recovery.
Gough. Shed no more tears, you have done your duty to the utmost and may not repine.
Faith. I have heard, my father, that music hath strange influence on bewildered minds; perhaps she might remember one of our dear mother's songs.
Gough. Nay, nay!
Faith. Yes, my father! every thing is worth the trial.
SONG. -- FAITH.
A mother's love, a mother's love.
The dew that falls on opening life,
When life is most like Eden's grove;
Faith, purity, and pleasure rife.
Our earliest joy, our latest thought,
Howe'er we rise, howe'er we rove;
Thou only good of earth unbought,
We think of thee, a mother's live.
(Narramattah's face brightens with a new intelligence -- memory kindles -- she clasps her father's hand -- looks around wildly, becoming affected to tears as the song concludes.)
Gough. Oh, her memory kindles! My child! my child!
Nar. (With a full shriek.) Father!
(Music. -- Narramattah rushes towards him -- becomes exhausted and falls in his arms -- Faith kneels to heaven in prayer -- Gough bending over Narra-mattah. Act drop descends quick.)
END OF ACT I.
SCENE I.—The Village of the Wish-ton-Wish—Court House, U. E. L.
Music.—BORDERERS discovered, leaning on their rifles, in groups, talking to LANGTON and DAVIS—CONTENT advances with Langton.
Con. (L.) Truly friend, our wives may note this day in their calendars, for the favours it has rained upon the settlement. Hope, the wept, the long estranged, restored, not only to her father's arms, but reason, and Conanchet, our oldest and direst foe, brought prisoner to our council.
Lang. (R.) Thanks to Uncas, the Mohican. But for him the Narragansett had made good his retreat and lived to spring upon you at some future day.
Con. Thanks also to those other friends, (Davis advances)—who aiding the Mohicans, tries [sic] to do us service, desired our general good and joined in the pursuit.
Lang. Truly, friend, the little aid I and my brother yielded we trust we would have offered any men bound by the ties of Christian brethren.
Con. The Court will soon pronounce its judgment on Conanchet, then sirs, my father will be swift to offer you, in every form that gratitude can take, the thanks of our community.
(Turns up stage to borderers.)
Dav. Well, brother Fearnought Langton, sojourner in the colonies, otherwise Captain Hugh Grimsby, courtier in King Charles' favour and service, and agent to the discovery of the murderers.
Lang. (L.) And well Ezekiel Davis, friend of the sojourner, or otherwise Jack Humbleton, solider in the service of the said king; I know what thou wouldst say. This is a fair beginning of our enterprise in this settlement. I have received sure intelligence that Gough, if not Dixwell and Nalley are secreted here; therefore, under favour of this service I have done them, I rest until my suspicions are confirmed.
Dav. Our companions meanwhile remain ambushed in the woods. If all goes well, Captain, our thousand pounds will be touched easily.
Lang. But that will not content me; I must snare all the traitors and bring them bodily to England. The money's much, but the fame is more, for nothing short of this will restore my fallen fortunes with the king.
Dav. The Court breaks up.
Music.—HEATHCOTE and four councilmen, followed by UNCAS and CONANCHET, enter from Court House, L. U. E. Conanchet advances to the front, folds his arms and surveys his enemies with disdain.
Heath. (L.) Conanchet, Chief of the Narragansetts, have you aught to reply against the sentence of the Court?
Conan. (C.) Conanchet scorns to talk—he can fight or die. The pale-face has the strong arm, let him kill.
Heath. Is it not just that we should kill them who will not let us live upon our land in peace?
Conan. Your land! White man, Manito gave the western shores to the children of the setting sun; here lived the Red Chief amidst his tribe, in wealth and honour: here sat he around his council fire and grasped his brother's hands, and saw his hunting grounds alive with the brown deer. Why comes the white man to drive him from his home?
Heath. Why! but to shed upon him the light of reason and humanity.
Conan. Hear! hear the white skin; the knife, the rifle, and the fire-water, these were the means to make us happier and wiser.
Heath. We offered to live in peace and share our substance with you—you chose war—by heaven's favour we have survived your persecution, and you, as the strong arm of our foes, must suffer.
Conan. Conanchet is content.
Heath. Having thus pursued the path demanded by the interests of the settlement, Uncas, I fulfil my words to you:—— to your hands I commit the execution.
Heath. But mind, 'tis instant death—no savage torturing.
(Uncas advances with rifle.)
Conan. Must the red chief die by the hand of the treacherous Mohican?
Heath. To us he hath been faithful.
Conan. Shall the scalp of the Narragansett blacken in the hut of the Mohican, and the cowards of his tribe sing songs and tell how like a woman's it was won. No, no! The white man is more merciful! Conanchet asks for death, but let not Uncas have to boast that by his hand fell the last of the Narragansetts.
Heath. (L.C.) Our word is passed. (Retires.)
Uncas. (R.C. Taking his ground.) Prepare!
Conan. Uncas, thou dog! (Crosses to Uncas.) Thou snake! In death I spit at thee! Think not to dismay my soul, but hear the last words Manito puts upon my lips : Thou servant of the white man, in slaying thy red brethren of the woods, thou shalt the whiteskins next destroy, and trample on thy bones!
Uncas. Conanchet murmurs, for he fears to die.
(Music.—Conanchet extends his arms and bids Uncas "Fire."—Uncas takes his position at R., and, as he levels, shriek is heard, and NARRA-MATTAH, L. U. E., rushes down and springs before her husband.
Conan. (L.) Narramattah!
Heath. (R. C. Putting up Uncas' rifle and advancing.) Hold! Hope! Is this possible? Safe once more, and in the arms of love and light of reason, can you look but with loathing on that savage man?
Nar. What false words has the pale-face to say to the wife of Conanchet?
Heath. He is your father's enemy. Why came he to steal the child from its father's bosom? Are we not friends?
Nar. When has the white chief been a friend to the red man?
Heath. He must die.
Nar. So must Narramattah.
Heath. Justice must have its victim.
Uncas. White Bird, take wing;—Uncas will fire.
Nar. (Standing before Conanchet.) The treacherous Mohican quitted the wigwam of his tribe to dwell in the lodges of the pale-face and betray his red brother of the woods.
Enter GOUGH, FAITH and CHILD, R.U.E., hastily.
Gough. Do I dream? Her reason is again unsettled. She has flown to her destroyer.
Faith. His presence is the rivet of her bondage. Take her from him!
(Gough approaches to do so—Narra-mattah clings desperately to Conanchet and repels all their efforts—Heathcote advances, R.C.)
Heath. (R.C.) 'Tis useless—they are inseparable—a gentler course must be pursued. Appeal to the Narragansett—some kindly feelings may be dormant in his heart, one drop of water 'neath a bed of rock.
Gough. (C.L. Approaching Conanchet.) Warrior! 'tis ten years since you bereaved a doting father of his child, would you rob him of her now?
Conan. (L.C.) Conanchet loved the White Bird, and took her to sing on the broad waters.
Gough. Monster! you tore a pure and happy child from those she loved, to bow her gentle spirit with your savage honours. But I will not curse you,—restore her to me now, and all shall be forgiven.
Conan. Why should I cage the White Bird if she is happy? No! let her fly to the free woods and sing my war song when Conanchet sleeps.
Gough. Art thou the son of Mian-to-ni-moh?
Conan. Who, but the pale-face doubts it?
Gough. (C.L.) Because he was a noble chief, and they tell the white man that his son is like him—they say that Conanchet is as kind in peace as he is brave in battle, that he loves to defend the young, and reverence the grey hairs of the drooping father; art thou that man?
Conan. (L.C.) My father speaks the words of truth; Conanchet loves to honour the grey head though a white skin be under it. Narramattah! I am going to the happy hunting grounds, but the old man grieves for you and his hut is empty.
(Conanchet offers to put her away -- Gough holds out his hands to receive her, but she clings to her husband.)
Faith. (R.) She will not leave him.
Conan. Yet Narramattah knows Manito's will. (She bows her head.)
Gough. He wavers.
Conan. (Suddenly seizing Gough's arm.) Let the grey head listen! Will he promise that Conanchet shall sleep under the red oak, upon the river's bank, where his fathers worshipped?
Gough. He will.
Conan. Will he let the White Bird, when she has flown back to her nest, come in the spring time and strew green leaves upon his grave?
Gough. He will.
Conan. Conanchet is content, the grey head shall be honoured.
(Music.—Conanchet grasps his hands and gives him Narramattah—she turns and, seeing her child in Faith's arms, snatches it and returns with it to Conanchet's feet—he waves her away but she clings to him—he stamps furiously, she shrinks—relinquishes her hold and the child and suffers Gough and Faith to lead her off U. E. R., her eyes riveted on Conanchet.)
Heath. To the strong room.
[Music.—Conanchet smiles contemptu-ously at Heathcote and Uncas and stalks out, L.
Heath. Uncas, at the setting of the sun, upon the river's bank, the Narragansett will await you.
[Music. Uncas grasps his rifle with a gesticulation of triumph and follows Conanchet out, L.
Heath. Now, bring forth another enemy to the welfare of our valley. (Borderers lead in SKUNK, CONTENT following, U. E. L.) Unhappy man!
Skunk. You may say that—I am unhappy.
Heath. I can hear nothing but the appeal of the innocent. (Davis and Langton advance.) My friends—to whose courage and activity we are indebted for the capture of our great enemy, accept, I pray you, till the morning, the humble shelter of my roof.
Lan. [sic] We thank you, brother, for the offer, and do, in the spirit that it is tendered, take it.
[Music.—Exit Heathcote, Langton, Davis and Councilmen, 1 E. R.
Skunk. (L.) Walk in a white sheet, I see the aim of that! that's to give the people an emblem of my innocence; but, to have a log to my leg, what's that for? Do they take me for Nebuchadnezzar! What, do they think I shall go a grazing?
Con. (R.) Well, deacon, in the depth of your troubles, I have some comfort to offer you -- your wife Abundance, is still in the settlement.
Skunk. Do you call that a comfort? I shall have enough to drag without her.
Con. And your sons and daughters, they are much attached to you—they will give you their sympathy.
Skunk. Will they lend me a leg?—will they drag that infernal log for me? How many are there alive?
Skunk. Fifteen young Skunks—they are not all mine.
Con. What say you?
Skunk. I say, they are not all mine. When Mrs. Skunk and I dissolved partnership, our stock in trade was twelve.
Con. Who then do you suppose claims the rest?
Skunk. That I can't tell, you may have them if you like; but all I say is as the old proverb says, "Let the devil take care of his own."
Con. (R.) Deacon, deacon! this is a fall.
Skunk. Perhaps so, but ten years ago it was a rise.
Con. And all this sacrifice of character for a little filthy lucre.
Skunk. Really, you are very fond of dirty expressions.
Con. Accompanied perhaps by some devotion to the rum-keg.
Skunk. Why, I don't deny, whenever I found a keg in a dropsy, I made a point to tap it. But will no one indulge me in a little trade to-day—will no one swap a doublet, or a buckle, for Indian nick-nacks -- moccasins, or spear-heads. Would any one like to swap situations?
Con. No, no.
Skunk. D———n it, gentlemen————
Con. Deacon, deacon, swearing!
Skunk. Well, I'm not a select man now, and needn't mind my phrases.
Con. I must now fulfil my office, and remove you. (Crosses to R.)
Skunk. But you are not going to confine me. I'm in a weak state of health.
Con. You must come to the strong room.
Skunk. Do you think that will restore me?
Skunk. Stay, one moment, how many children have you, my friend?
Skunk. And I have fifteen?
Skunk. (Pausing and considering.) Will you swap?
Skunk. The great Mud Turtle's dished.
[Exit Skunk, Content, all R. 1 E.
SCENE II. A chamber at Heathcote's—2nd G.—practical window, in flat, L., backed by landscape—a portrait on one side.
Music. -- Enter HEATHCOTE, LANGTON, and DAVIS, L. 1. E.
Heath. 'Tis well my friends, as sojourners in the wilderness, we are bound together by a common tie. Rest beneath this roof till you regain your strength and determine on the path by which you will again set forward. I must now make known to you the inmates of my house, a son and daughter, whose love and duty are my shields from sorrow; and one whom you and I and every man that has been driven away from dear England to these woods, for liberty of conscience, must hold as sacred as the life-blood of his heart.
Heath. One of those upright men who sat in judgment on the tyrant Charles—whom England, that once honoured, now rewards by seeking to destroy. Here hath he lived these past years happily and safely, though so secluded. He hath looked upon the cheerful sunbeam as a spy, and each soothing wind that sighed around his temple as a tell-tale of his secret.
Lan. And the King has never been able to unravel his secret?
Heath. Thanks be to heaven, he has not. The expedition that pursued him here, perished in a conflict with the Indians; whilst we found shelter in a well, beneath the very boards I stand upon, from which a secret passage leads into the woods.
Lang. [sic] (To Davis, apart.) Do you note?
Heath. Heaven hath been pleased to lay a heavy hand upon our brother exile; and danger, hunger, thirst and shame, were not his only sorrows; that girl you saw clinging to the Narragansett, is his daughter.
Lang. May we not see and offer to this afflicted man, our mite of sympathy?
Heath. He comes.
Music.—Enter GOUGH, L. 1 E. leading NARRAMATTAH, who appears abstracted.
Gough. My friend, in this world it is not to be. Her reason glimmering into dawn at nature's prompting might have strengthened into day, but this meeting with the savage has plunged her into darkness deeper than before. Look at her, 'tis a sight to make your heart sick. See how she moves and gazes, like one that walks whilst sleeping.
Heath. Yet, years and her sister's daily presence, may once more wake her to a thankful consciousness.
Gough. I must trust to the Orderer of all things; but I will not hope again to be again repaid with torture.
Lang. (R.) My friends, if the offer will not offend, perhaps I can be of service in this case. I have had some knowledge of minds diseased during many years of travel in my native land; since then I have materially studied Indian character. Leave me for a few minutes with the maiden and I'll use my little skill to rouse her from this lethargy.
Gough. My friend, who is this man?
Heath. A brother in the faith, and suffer in the same cause as ourselves; be known to him, for he is one whose deeds, perhaps, may equal his good wishes.
Gough. (Crosses to Langton, R.) Friend, I take your hand! I grasp it with these words; if you can restore that girl but to the feeblest glimmering of sense, a father's blessing shall reward that gift in this world and the next.
(Music. -- Gough and Heathcote go out, S. E. R. -- Narramattah goes to window, L. flat. Langton leads Davis forward.)
Lang. Jack, you look astonished.
Davis. Truly, Captain! I may, at such conjuror's words as you have been uttering.
Lang. Hear, then, the trick explained. You heard the crop-ear say there was a dry well beneath this floor from which a secret passage leads into the woods. Now that our prey is found, to give notice to our party and yet avoid suspicion! The secret passage is our only path; yet, as we might be bewildered in the woods, listen! I mean to offer this mad girl her liberty if she will guide us to them.
Lang. And well I know her Indian nature will insure compliance. Now then, to find the entrance to this passage—it must be somewhere in the floor—search around.
Dav. Here runs a line along the wainscot,—look, Captain!
(They go out examining the floor and wainscot, 2 E. L. Narramattah turns from the window moaning, and at that (after music) Faith is heard without repeating the song (1st Act) -- Narramattah listens and her reason again returns.)
Nar. Mother, dear mother! Father, where are you? When you called upon your child—where am I? stay—here—in my father's home—and now I remember—this instant by his side, and by the side of my dear sister, Faith. Ah! I have been dreaming, I suppose; again dreaming that I was an Indian girl, and married to a chief—yes, I have just dreamed that he was going to be killed and that I leaped quickly to his side and saved him,—I dreamed too that I had a child—'tis very strange, 'twas but a dream.
Re-enter LANGTON and DAVIS, U. E. L.
Lang. A thousand curses for his cunning, who devised the door—I see it nowhere.
Dav. Think you this mad girl knows it?
Lang. Not she. We can pause no longer, Jack—you must take the public path. Gough may suspect my mission if I remain here past to-morrow; for such has been his life of watchfulness—his daily apprehension of pursuit—that I should not wonder, though the King's warrant is in my hand (producing it from his bosom), and a score of Cavaliers but six miles distant, he would find some ferret-hole to creep into.
Nar. (Apart listening.) Cavaliers to seize my father!
Lang. So, now, to make brief work of it. (Leading her R.) The red-skin's wife is a prisoner among the pale-faces.
Lang. Does she yearn to be at liberty and with her tribe?
Lang. Will she faithfully guide the white man to the river, if he givers her freedom?
Lang. Not a moment is to be lost; now, Jack, up and away—'sdeath man, why do you keep fumbling on the floor?
Dav. Stay, stay, Captain, victory! I have found it. (Pulling up trap door.)
Lang. The door, by St. George—thou has a keener eye than I supposed—steps to descend, and yonder yawns the well. (Looking down.) I cannot see the bottom. Does the red man's wife know how to guide us to the woods beneath this floor?
Lang. By my good sword, the scheme fares bravely. Away, Jack, to thy comrades, and by midnight, when the settlement is hushed and the traitor lies in fancied safety on his pallet, be back to seize and bind him. I hold the warrant, thou the arms. Away, Jack, a thousand pounds and honours endless, wait the enterprise.
Dav. But the wild woman?
Lang. She will lead the way. (To Narramattah.) Descend! Thy husband waits for thee. Leave me to answer for her absence.
(Music.—Davis descends—Narra-mattah follows.)
Lang. Now, have you reached the passage? Speak, I hear footsteps.
Dav. (Below.) Help, Captain! the mad devil has plunged me into the well.
Dav. The stagnant water suffocates me—save me, or I die. Help, help, h-e-l-p.
Lang. Fiends of hell! Minion, thou shalt pay for this.
(Music.—Narramattah re-ascending. Langton seizes and is about to throw her down when she plucks the warrant from his breast.)
Lang. The warrant! give it me.
(Music.—He relinquishes his hold to regain paper—she obtains a footing on floor and reaches a pistol—retreats a few steps and fires—Langton falls.)
Music.—Enter HEATHCOTE, GOUGH, and two Borderers, R.—CONTENT and FAITH, L.
Heath. What is this! Hope, a murderess.
Gough. It cannot be, she hath been assailed!
Heath. Assailed! by worthy brothers in our faith?
Lang. Dogs! Crop-ear'd traitors! I die a faithful servant of King Charles, whom Heaven bless, long keep and prosper.
[Sinks into the arms of borderers, who bear him off, R. 1 E.
Heath. Treachery! (Takes paper from Narramattah.) 'Tis a warrant for thy apprehension!
Gough. My child has saved my life!
Heath. Then her reason must have returned—speak to her!
Gough. Hope, my beloved girl, what means the scene we've witnessed? dispel its mystery, 'tis thy father speaks to thee.
(Music.—Narramattah's emotion gradually subsides with her con-sciousness—she drops the pistol and gazes in their faces with her former vacuity.)
Heath. The appeal is vain—her glassy eye betokens that the shroud has again descended on her senses.
(Conanchet speaks as from behind at a distance.)
Con. [sic] Narramattah!
(Music.—Narramattah starts and trembles.)
Faith. (Looking through window.) Ha! 'tis the voice of the Narragansett chief—they lead him to execution.
Con. (Without.) Narramattah!
Gough. She hears that voice when she is deaf to mine.
Faith. He is her husband!
Gough. Her destroyer!
Con. (Nearer.) Narramattah!
(Music.—Narramattah shrieks and springs through window.—Scene closes rapidly.)
SCENE III.—Open View of the valley, 1st G.
Enter SKUNK, L., in a white sheet, and dragging a large log secured by a chain.
Skunk. Let the procession halt. I'm to be a standing example, not a walking one. Let me reflect! is there any similar fate to mine in the history of nobility? There was the Roman general, "Billy Lenius." Eh! who's coming here? Yes, no—yes, it is my wife. Oh! this is a sweet drop in my cup of bitters.
Enter ABUNDANCE, with Hope's child, L. -- she folds her arms, turns up her eyes and shakes her head.
Skunk. Abundance! Abundance! I have but one leg to welcome you, but here are two arms.
Abun. Verily, Satisfaction————
Skunk. Satisfaction! How can I be satisfaction with a log to my leg? Won't you embrace me? Oh, you cold-blooded woman!
Abun. The blue book forbids me to approach the sheet.
Skunk. Here's tyranny! Deprive a man of his constitutional resources.
Abun. Bethinking you were dead, I took unto me another helpmate.
Abun. I espoused another man.
Skunk. Then you are a vile old sinner.
Abun. The blue book doth set free the woman whose husband has been absent seven years.
Skunk. That infernal blue book. Oh, Abundance, Abundance! (With tenderness deepening into tears.) After our many hours of matrimonial recreations, can you so easily forget? Where are my children, madam? Where are my pledges of affection, I left in pawn? where are my little ones?
Abun. Verily, they stand abashed at their condition. Little ones, approach.
(Enter Fifteen Men, Women, and Children, some very tall and decreasing to four years of age—they form a sort of half moon, the tallest R., and gradually decrease in size to L.,—Skunk marches along the line, receiving them.)
Skunk. Are these my little ones? Why don't you kneel down to ask my blessing? (Tallest kneels to Skunk.)
Abun. Thy eldest craves thy blessing. (Skunk embraces him.)
Skunk. My dear child—my sweet infant—my baby. You are my son!—I acknowledge you,—all the rest belong to the settlement. What have you got there, madam? (Pointing to the child.) Is that another proof of the ruin of my character?
Abun. It belongeth to the Wept, and hath been given me to nurse.
Skunk. What! a dry nurse? (With uncontrollable grief.) You abandoned woman! it is your own. (Goes towards it and stumbles over log on ground.) Here's a fallen aristocracy!—Nobility in the dust! Abundance, Abundance! (With a look of great tenderness.) Is your heart still obstinate? Can you see your doting husband at your feet and not smother him with love?
(She kneels, opens her arms and hugs him strenuously—the example is followed by the children till they form a circle around him.)
Skunk. Oh, what a deluge of delight! What an earthquake of ecstacy! Let us take a walk and reflect upon the events of our sad separation. (Rises.) Abundance, come under the sheet. My little ones, carry my baggage. (Pointing to his log, which the boys take up, he wraps his wife up in the sheet, and they go off affectionately, M., bell-ringer following.)
SCENE IV.—The red oak on the river's bank—Rocks run up R.—Dwarf pile bridge across from R. to S. and returned to stage.—River seen at back.—The red oak, with a box of mould behind it to bury hatchet in, 2 E. R.—The sun is setting—Red medium bottle, R. S. E., to throw sun-set shade on Conanchet.
Music.—CONTENT, heading, descends the rocks and range on S., then CONANCHET followed by UNCAS—Conanchet comes forward R. S., and Uncas remains on rocks—Conanchet now advances to oak, strikes earth at root of it with his hatchet—kneels, offers it to the shade of his father, then returns and casts it into the hole.
Conan. My father! take back thy gift without a stain, no enemy shall wave it over my head and cry "there lies the conquered Narragansett!" And then my father's oak, beneath whose branch I've slept and gathered the grey-hairs of the western shores -- Conanchet sleeps beneath your branch for ever. Farewell, bright sun! Like you I rose in glory and in strength, like you I set without a cloud to dim me.
Uncas. Conanchet is prepared?
Conan. He is.
Uncas. Let him look, then, on "The lamp of the Good Spirit," for they sink together.
Conan. Conanchet will die.
(Music.—He places himself against oak,—Uncas takes his position—NARRAMATTAH shrieks without and rushes in and embraces Conanchet.)
Conan. Narramattah, the Red Chief's wife, has come to sing upon his grave. Be happy, White Bird, for he dies beneath his father's oak. Now, away, away, see'st though not the treacherous Mohican's gun—his ball may pierce thy heart with mine.
(Narramattah throws herself before him.)
Uncas. Conanchet fears to die, and calls his wife to shield him.
Conan. (Rousing with indignation.) Dog! thou liest. Narramattah leave me! (He struggles with and at length throws her from him—he then waves and Uncas fires.) Dog of a Mohican! see how the last of the Narragansetts dies!
(Music. He springs forward and falls dead instantly—Narramattah shrieks and falls upon him.—GOUGH, HEATHCOTE, FAITH, with the child and others, enter, U. E. L.)
Gough. My child!
(Music.—Narramattah repels him—she brings the child and kneels by Conanchet's body and describes the passage of his spirit to the happy hunting ground.)
Gough. At length her heart is broken!
Nar. Father! Sister! Narramattah was a shadow in your path—to-morrow the sun will rise in beauty on her grave. The Wept has set for ever. Matonah—Father—I come! I come!
(Music. She throws herself on the body of Conanchet—Content and Gough slowly raise her and bear her towards U. E. L.,—she shrieks and breaks from them and again returns to Conanchet—Faith approaches her with the child—she takes it, kisses it, and returns it to Faith, and with a convulsive struggle falls dead on the body of Conanchet.
Disposition of the Characters at the Fall of the Curtain.
SETTLERS. FAITH and NAR. and CAPT. HEATH.
CHILD. CONAN., dead.