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Stephen Archer

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WATERFIELD. MATTIE throws herself on her knees beside THOMAS and lifts his head.

Mat. Father! father! Look at me! It's Mattie!--your own wicked Mattie! Look at her once, lather dear! (Lays down his head in despair, and rises.) Who struck the good old man?

Bill. He did--the swell as give me the gold sov.

Mat. Mr. Watkins!--

Wat. I haven't the honour of the gentleman's acquaintance. I'm not Mr. Watkins. Am I now? (to COL. G.). Ha! ha!--Let go, I say. I'm not the man. It's all a mistake, you see.

Col. G. In good time. I might make a worse. Watkins mayn't be your name, but Watkins is your nature.

Wat. Damn your insolence! Let rue go, I tell you! (Struggles threatening.)

Col. G. Gently, gently, young man!--If I give your neckcloth a twist now--!

Mat. Yes, there is a mistake--and a sad one for me! A wretch that would strike an old man! Indeed you are not what I took you for.

Wat. You hear the young woman! She says it's all a mistake.--My good girl, I'm sorry for the old gentleman; but he oughtn't to behave like a ruffian. Really, now, you know, a fellow can't stand that sort of thing! A downright assault! I'm sorry I struck him, though--devilish sorry! I'll pay the damage with pleasure. (Puts his hand in his pocket.)

Mat. (turning away) And not a gentleman! (Kneels by THOMAS and weeps.)

Tho. (feebly.) Dunnot greight, Mattie, mo chylt. Aw'm o' reet. Let th' mon goo. What's he to tho or mo?--By th' mass! aw'm strung enough to lick him yet (trying to rise, but falling back). Eigh! eigh! mo owd boans 'ud rayther not. It's noan blame sure to an owd mon to fo' tired o' feightin!

Mat. (taking' his head on her lap). Father! father! forgive me! I'm all yours.--I'll go home with you, and work for you till I drop. O father! how could I leave you for him? I don't care one bit for him now--I don't indeed. You'll forgive me--won't you, father? (Sobs.)

Tho. Aw wull, aw do, mo Mattie. Coom whoam--coom whoam.

Mat. Will mother forgive me, father?

Tho. Thi mother, chylt? Hoo's forgiven tho lung afoor--ivver so lung agoo, chylt! Thi mother may talk leawd, but her heart is as soft as parritch.--Thae knows it, Mattie.

Wat. All this is very interesting,--only you see it's the wrong man, and I can't say he enjoys it. Take your hand off my collar--will you? I'm not the man, I tell you!

Bill. All I says is--it's the same swell as guv me the skid to find her. I'll kiss the book on that!

Ger. (coming forward). Mr. Waterfield, on your honour, do you know this girl?

Wat. Come! you ain't goin' to put me to my catechism!

Ger. You must allow appearances are against you.

Wat. Damn your appearances! What do I care?

Ger. If you will not answer my question, I must beg you to leave the place.

Wat. My own desire! Will you oblige me by ordering this bull-dog of yours to take his paws off me? What the devil is he keeping me here for?

Col. G. I've a great mind to give you in charge.

Wat. The old codger assaulted me first.

Col. G. True; but the whole affair would come to light. That's what I would have. Miss Pearson, what am I to do with this man?

Enter SUSAN at the back door. Behind her, CONSTANCE peeps in.

Mat. Let him go.--Father! Father! (Kisses him.)

Sus. That can never be Mattie's gentleman, sure-ly! Hm! I don't think much of him. I knew he had ugly eyes! I told you so, Mattie! I wouldn't break my heart for him--no, nor for twenty of him--I wouldn't! He looks like a drowned cat.

Wat. What the devil have you got to do with it?

Sus. Nothing. You shut up.

Wat. Well, I'm damned if I know whether I'm on my head or my heels.

Sus. 'Tain't no count which.

Bill (aside to COL. G.). She's at the back door, Mr. William.

Col. G. Who is, Bill? Miss Lacordere?

Bill. Right you air!

COL. G. hastens to the door. CON. peeps in and draws lack. COL. G. follows her. WATERFIELD approaches MATTIE.

Wat. Miss Pearson, if that's--

Mat. I don't know you--don't even know your name.

Wat. (looking round). You hear her say it! She don't know me!

Mat. Could_ you try and rise, father? I want to get out of this. There's a lady here says I'm a thief!

Tho. Nea, that she connot say, Mattie! Thae cooms ov honest folk. Aw'll geet oop direckly. (Attempts to rise.) Eigh! eigh! aw connot! aw connot!

Mrs. C. If I have been unjust to you, Miss Pearson, I shall not fail to make amends.

Sus. It's time you did then, ma'am. You've murdered her, and all but murdered me. That's how your little bill stands.

Ger. (to WAT.) Leave the place, Mr. Waterfield.

Wat. You shall answer for this, Gervaise.

Ger. Leave the study at once.

Wat. Tut! tut! I'll make it up to them. A bank note's a good plaster.

Bill. Pleasir, shall I run and fetch a bobby? I likes to see a swell wanted.

Ger. You hold your tongue. (Retires to the dais and sits down. MRS. C. follows him.)

Wat. (taking out his pocket-book, and approaching MATTIE). I didn't think you'd have served me so, Mattie! Indeed I didn't! It's not kind after what's been between you and me. (MATTIE rises and stands staring at him.) You've ruined my prospects--you have! But I don't want to bear malice: take that.--Old times, you know!--Take it. You're welcome. (Forces the note on her. She steps back. It drops.)

Mat. This is a humiliation! Will nobody take him away?

Sus. (rushing at him). You be off! An' them goggle eyes o' yours, or I'll goggle 'em! I can't bear the sight on 'em. I should never ha' taken you for a gentleman. You don't look it. You slope, I say! (Hustles him.)

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