Our American Cousin
Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook, or read online
Pages (PDF): 72
Publication Date: 1858
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This 3 Act play is a classic Victorian farce, filled with stereotyped characters. Originally intended for British audiences, the characters included a boorish American. However, when the play made it over to America, it was recast to include English figures of mockery, like the pompous Lord Dundreary. This figure gave rise to what became known as Dundrearyisms, which came from the character uttering phrases such as "birds of a feather gather no moss". Of particular interest is that U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was watching this play on April 14, 1865 when he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.
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Scene 1—Drawing room in 3. Trenchard Manor, C. D., backed by interior, discovering table with luncheon spread. Large French window, R. 3 E., through which a fine English park is seen. Open archway, L. 3 E. Set balcony behind. Table, R., books and papers on it. Work basket containing wools and embroidery frame. A fashionable arm chair and sofa, L. 2 E., small table near C. D. Stage handsomely set, costly furniture, carpet down, chairs, etc.
Buddicombe discovered on sofa reading newspaper. Skillet and Sharpe busily arranging furniture as curtain rises.
Sharpe: I don't know how you may feel as a visitor, Mr. Buddicombe, but I think this is a most uncomfortable family.
Bud: Very uncomfortable. I have no curtain to my bed.
Skil: And no wine at the second table.
Sharpe: And meaner servants I never seed.
Bud: I'm afraid Sir Edward is in a queer strait.
Skil: Yes, for only this morning, Mr. Binny, Mrs. Skillet says he—
Enter Binny, L. 3 E.
Binny: Mind your hown business instead hof your betters. I'm disgusted with you lower servants. When the wine merchant presents his bills, you men, hear me, say he's been pressing for the last six months, do you?
Skil: Nor I, that the last year's milliner's bills have not been paid.
Sharpe: Nor I, that Miss Florence has not had no new dresses from London all winter.
Bud: And I can solemnly swear that his lordship's hair has been faithfully bound in this bosom.
Binny: That'll do, that'll do; but to remember to check hidle curiosity is the first duty of men hin livery. Ha, 'ere hare the letters.
Enter John Wickens, L. 3 E., with green baize bag. Binny takes bag, takes out letters and reads addresses.
Binny: Hah! bill, of course, Miss Augusta, Mrs. Mountchessington, Lord Dundreary, Capt. De Boots, Miss Georgina Mountchessington, Lieut. Vernon, ah! that's from the admiralty. What's this? Miss Florence Trenchard, via Brattleboro', Vermont.
Bud: Where's that, Mr. Binny.
John: Why that be hin the United States of North Hamerica, and a main good place for poor folks.
Binny: John Wickens, you forget yourself.
John: Beg pardon, Mr. Binny.
Binny: John Wickens, leave the room.
John: But I know where Vermont be tho'.
Binny; John Wickens, get hout. [Exit John, L. 3 E.]
Bud: Dreadful low fellow, that.
Binny; Halways himpudent.
Bud; [Looking at letter in Binny's hand.] Why, that is Sir Edward's hand, Mr. Binny, he must have been sporting.
Binny: Yes, shooting the wild helephants and buffalos what abound there.
Bud: The nasty beasts. [Looking off, R. 2 E.] Hello, there comes Miss Florence tearing across the lane like a three year old colt.
Sharp & Skil: Oh, Gemini. [Run off, R. 2 E. Bud. runs off, L. 2 E.]
Enter Florence, R. 2 E.
Flo: [As if after running.] Oh! I'm fairly out of breath. Good morning, Binny, the letter bag I saw coming, Wickens coming with it. I thought I could catch him before I reached the house. [Sits R.] So off I started, I forgot the pond, it was in or over. I got over, but my hat got in. I wish you'd fish it out for me, you won't find the pond very deep.
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