Pictures and Illustrations
A Negro Sketch,
By GEO. L. STOUT.
By CHARLES WHITE,
"Magic Penny," "Jolly Millers," "Vilikens and Dinah," "The Coopers," "Old Dad's Cabin," "Rival Lovers," "Sham Doctor," "United States Mail," "Mazeppa," "Uncle Jeff," "Mischievous Nigger," "Portrait Painter," "Black Shoemaker," "Hop of Fashion," "The Wreck," "Mystic Spell," "Black Statue," "Quack Doctor," "Sam's Courtship," "Thieves at the Mill," "Black Chemist," "Daguerreotypes," "Stupid Servant," "Storming the Fort," "Guide to the Stage," "Going for the Cup," "Policy Player," "The Ghost," "Damon and Pythias," "Malicious Trespass," "Vegetable Man," "Fisherman's Luck," "Musical Chowder," "The Draft," "Casket of Fun," "White's Black Wit," "Burlesque Circus," "Black Menagerie," "Skating Carnival," "Trip by Rail," "Jealous Darkey," "Musician, Blower and Dancer," "Bummers' Hall," "Peep at Barnum's," "Nigger Encampment," "Black Ey'd William," "A Lucky Job," "Dr. Possum's Lecture," "Streets of New York," "The Recruiting Office," etc., etc.
A DESCRIPTION OF THE COSTUMES — CAST OF THE CHARACTERS — ENTRANCES AND EXITS — RELATIVE POSITIONS OF THE PERFORMERS ON THE STAGE, AND THE WHOLE OF THE STAGE BUSINESS.
CAST OF CHARACTERS.
Mr. Ditimis, Tenants,........................Mr. H. BLOODGOOD
Mr. Staple, Tenants,..........................Mr. JOHN WILD
Landlord,.........................................Mr. A. J. LEAVITT
Agent,........................................Mr. G. L. STOUT
TIME OF PLAYING — TWENTY MINUTES.
SCENE 1. — An old kitchen or plain chamber, with door in each flat. A practical window in centre.
Mr. DITIMUS. — Old plantation style of costume.
Mr. STAPLE. — Extravagant Negro costume, old style.
LANDLORD. — Modern costume.
AGENT. — Modern costume.
N. B. — The Landlord and Agent can appear either in white or black face.
Two blank Rent Receipts; four Bank Bills; Candle and Candlestick; Matches; Paper bottom Pan or Salver; cracked Plate; two loaded Pistols; two live Cats; thirty or forty stuffed Cats; Pitchfork; small piece of Carpet, the size of a Pocket Handkerchief; an old narrow Mattress or Bed; Every decription of old broken Furniture and used-up Kitchen Utensils.
SCENE I. — An old Kitchen or Plain Chamber with Door in each Flat and practical Window in centre.
[Enter LANDLORD L. D. F., looking about) I wonder how much longer it will be before I get a tenant. By George, I don't get enough out of this property to keep it in repair. I've had it in the hands of a couple of agents for three months; it strikes me that they don't try very hard to let it.
MR. DITIMUS (looks in the door and walks in; bows). I see a bill on dis place to let, is you de landlord?
LANDLORD. Yes, sir.
DITIMUS. How much is it?
LANDLORD. Nine dollars a month.
DITIMUS. Putty high, ain't it?
LANDLORD. No, sir; I think it very cheap.
DITIMUS. Well, it might be for the house and lot.
LANDLORD. What do you mean?
DITIMUS. I mean business; I ain't got time to fool, either.
LANDLORD. Are you looking for apartments?
DITIMUS. I've been house hunting for a week.
LANDLORD. Where are you living now?
DITIMUS. Down in Doughnut lane.
LANDLORD. Why don't you stay there?
DITIMUS. Because I can't sleep nights.
LANDLORD. Why not?
DITIMUS. It's the largest cat district in the country; they've got a musical academy with thirty thousand scholars in it, and they sing a grand chorus four nights every week, commencing at eleven, closing at four in the morning; the other three nights they have woodshed serenades; the early part of the evenings they all go out on picnics, and upset ash pans and garbage kettles; in fact, they are never quiet — garden duetts and area courtship is perpetual.
LANDLORD. Well, I'm happy to say that you won't have any annoyance round here from that tribe, because the neighbors keep shooting them and they are cunning enough to stay away.
DITIMUS. Well, I'm right glad of that, I work hard all day and feel like sleep when I go to bed. What is de lowest rent you will take?
LANDLORD. Do you want the whole room?
DITIMUS. Yes; I don't like to cut my carpet, and I can take a few boarders on dat side.
LANDLORD. Well, I'll let you have it the first month for five dollars a month in advance.
DITIMUS. That is all this room?
DITIMUS. I suppose you'll put in a nice door and vestibule (pointing), for that one looks pretty well played out; a stained glass dome light would look a little better than that shutter scuttle up there. Is dar any hot and cold water, or bath tub? I don't see any gas fixtures.
LANDLORD. Oh, my dear sir, I won't spend a cent on the premises; it don't pay.
DITIMUS. How is it about cooking? You can go a nice Beebe range.
LANDLORD. There's no place to put it.
DITIMUS. Oh, yes, put it on de roof, den dat will carry away all the smell of the victuals.
LANDLORD. Dis nigger is too high toned for me. Well, what do you say; do you want the place or not?
DITIMUS. I'll take it.
LANDLORD. Give me your money.
DITIMUS. Give me your receipt.
LANDLORD. I've got one already in my pocket. (He takes the money and gives receipt.)
DITIMUS. When can I move in?
LANDLORD. Any time you like — right away.
DITIMUS. Where will I get the keys?
LANDLORD. I don't know; never had any; good day. (Exits D. F.)
DITIMUS. Well, I'll go home, pack up and move in right away. (Exits D. F.)
Enter AGENT and Mr. STAPLE R. D. F. The AGENT is showing STAPLE the place.
AGENT. There you are, just as nice rooms as you can find anywhere. A crazy man hung himself here last winter, that is the reason why the place has not been rented sooner; we've put the rent down very low just on that account, and could have let it two or three times to Senators and Congressmen, but the owner is very particular and wants first class references.
STAPLE. I can give you de best of references from a first class house, whar I've been for five years.
AGENT. What's the name of the firm?
STAPLE. Keno & Co.
AGENT. Are they large dealers?
STAPLE. Yes, dey do a big trade, dey have to work all night sometimes.
AGENT. Indeed, what do they sell mostly?
STAPLE. Pasteboard cards and buttons.
AGENT. Well, I guess you're all right; how many have you in family?
STAPLE. Myself, my wife, two cats and a Poll parrot. Say, what you goin' to charge for de rent?
AGENT. The rent, usually, has been fifteen dollars a month, but I'll let you have it the first mouth for five dollars, payable in advance, and if I find you a good reliable man I'll give you a forty years' lease.
STAPLE. All right, I'll take it; it don't leak, does it?
AGENT. Only when it rains hard.
STAPLE. When can I move in?
AGENT. Right away if you like.
STAPLE. When will you have the papers ready?
AGENT. I've got them now; show me your money.
STAPLE. Oh, yes, the rent (hands him five). I want a receipt.
AGENT. Certainly, here it is. (Pulls out receipt; gives it.) Now, sir, the
5premises are yours, and you have got the Agent's receipt for the rent you have paid; you can move in at once and no one can stop you; good day. (Exits D. F.)
STAPLE. I'm already packed up and it's a nice day; I'll move in here right away; I only got one load and I can carry it myself. (Exits R. D. F.)
Enter DITIMUS L. D. F. with heaps of rubbish in his arms, consisting of broken chairs, pans, kettles, and destroyed household material of most every description; small piece of carpet, size of a handkerchief. He throws down the first armful R., and goes out for more. (Exit L. D.)
Enter STAPLE R. D. F. with heaps of rubbish in the way of old worn out broken furniture, piece of stovepipe, etc.; he goes to throw it down R.; stops.
STAPLE.. Hallo, what's that? I guess the last family ain't moved out yet (and throws his furniture down L).
Enter DITIMUS L. D. F. with another load of rubbish; looks at the first heap L.
DITIMUS. That don't look like my stuff; there's two loads of furniture here and I only brought one.
STAPLE. Yes, dat's so, and you better go out with the other one.
DITIMUS (throws down his load L. among STAPLE'S stuff). Say, how is this; who are you?
STAPLE.. I'll soon let you know; I am the tenant here; this place belongs to me; I hired it to-day and paid my money.
DITIMUS. Oh, no, that won't do, I hired this place myself.
DITIMUS. To-day, and paid my good money for it, and can show my receipt, too.
STAPLE. So can I.
DITIMUS. Who did you hire the house from?
STAPLE. I hired it from the agent. Who let the place to you?
DITIMUS. Why, the landlord, to be sure, and there's his receipt (showing it), and I want you to move out quick, do you hear?
STAPLE. Well, you'll have a good time to get me out of my own house.
(Goes up to the L. heap and begins to assort his stuff from the pile, and throws over wrong pieces by mistake. DITUMUS throws them back again to L. They both wrangle and come near fighting. After cooling down) —
DITIMUS. Say, I'll tell you what to do, and we can both live here snug and comfortable. You have got a receipt, so have I, and I got the best right, for I hired of the owner, the landlord himself; now, you give me five dollars and I'll be your landlord, and I'll give you my receipt for it, den no body can put us out.
STAPLE. Well, if I hire your part how much more room do I get?
DITIMUS. You get half; I wasn't going to let you have any.
STAPLE. Well, there's five dollars; give me your receipt. How is we goin' to divide the room?
DITIMUS. Why, make a line down de middle; you take one side and I'll take de other.
STAPLE (begins to make a line down C., after they each hunt up their goods from the heaps and throw them over to each other as they are recognized. Conversation during this is short, ad lib.; after the division of goods they go to bed.)
DITIMUS. Say, have you got a piece of candle? I got a candlestick.
STAPLE. Yes, but I can't sleep with a light.
DITIMUS. Well, I can't sleep without one, and I'm afraid of thieves; there ain't any locks or bolts on a door or shutter in the house. (STAPLE passes the candle, DITIMUS lights it, and lets it burn in the centre of stage, between them; they say good night to each other; good night. A live cat is let loose from either side 2d entrance, and will run across stage; this frightens them both; STAPLE throws any missile and hits the candle, which puts it out.
DITIMUS. If that wasn't a cat I hope to holler; that landlord said there wasn't any cats around here.
(Somebody in the wing imitates the singing wise of cats; DITIMUS imagines he sees one near the R. C. of stage and crawls on his hands and knees for it. STAPLE ithinks that DITIMUS is a large cat, and crawls cautiously now R. C. of stage to get him, having a cracked plate in his hand to smash him; in their creeping they both imitate cats squalling, and talk to each other.)
DITIMUS. Mary Ann, can I come over in your yard? Mew!
STAPLE. Mow, wow; I'm mad at you.
DITIMUS. Oh, ain't you ashamed?
(At this they have crawled close together, feel each other's heads, and STAPLE smashes the plate over DITIMUS' head; they instantly recognize their great mistake, say a few words ad lib., then lay down to bed again. A profile cat appears at the window — a working cat is better if it can be made — at which time the noise and sound of cats is kept up by some one in wings. DITIMUS sees it, takes aim with his pistol, so does STAPLE — they both fire at same time at the cat in window, after which thirty or forty rnore stuffed cats fall from the flies, during which time the scene closes.