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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 99, August 23, 1890   By:

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PUNCH,

OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 99.

August 23, 1890.

NOVELTY UP TO DATE.

[Illustration]

The originality of the plot of The English Rose (the new play at the Adelphi) having been questioned, the following Scotch Drama is published with a view of ascertaining if it has been done before. Those of our readers who think they recognise either the situations or any part of the dialogue, will kindly remember that treatment is everything, and the imputation of plagiarism is the feeblest of all charges. The piece is called Telmah , and is written in Three Acts, sufficiently concise to be given in full:

ACT I.

The Horse Guards Parade, Elsinore, near Edinburgh.

Enter MACCLAUDIUS, MACGERTRUDE, Brilliant Staff, and Scotch Guards. The Colours are trooped.

Then enter TELMAH, who returns salute of Sentries.

MacClaudius . I am just glad you have joined us, TELMAH.

Telmah . Really! I fancied some function was going on, but thought it was a parade, in honour of my father's funeral.

MacGertrude ( with a forced laugh ). Don't be so absurd! Your poor father the very best of men died months ago.

Telmah ( bitterly ). So long!

MacClaudius ( aside ). Ma gracious! He's in one of his nasty tempers, MACGERTRUDE. Come away! ( Aloud. ) Believe me, I shall drink your health to night in Perrier Jouet of '74. Come!

[ Exeunt with Queen and Guards.

Telmah . Oh! that this too solid flesh would melt! ( Enter Ghost.) Hallo! Who are you?

Ghost ( impressively ). I am thy father's spirit! List, TELMAH, oh, list!

Telmah . Would, with pleasure, were I not already a Major in the Army, and an Hon. Colonel in the Militia.

Ghost ( severely ). None of your nonsense! ( More mildly. ) Don't be frivolous! ( Confidentially. ) I was murdered by a serpent, who now wears my crown.

Telmah ( in a tone of surprise ). O my prophetic soul! Mine uncle?

Ghost . Right you are! Swear to avenge me!

Telmah ( after an internal struggle ). I swear!

[ Solo for the big drum. Re enter troops, spectral effect, and tableau.

ACT II. INTERIOR OF THE PALACE OF ELSINORE, NEAR EDINBURGH, ARRANGED FOR PRIVATE THEATRICALS. MACCLAUDIUS, MACGERTRUDE AND COURT SEATED, WITH TELMAH ACTING AS PROMPTER.

MacClaudius ( aside to MACPOLONIUS ). Lord Chamberlain, have you heard the argument? Is there no offence in't?

MacPolonius . Well, Sire, as I understand it is not intended for public representation, I have not done more than glance at it. I am told it is very clever, and called " The Mouse trap ."

MacGertrude . Rather an idiotic title! ( Contemptuously. ) " The Mouse trap !"

[ Business. A King on the mimic stage goes to sleep, and a shrouded figure pours poison into his ear. MACCLAUDIUS rises abruptly.

Telmah ( excitedly ). He poisons him for his estate. His name's MACGONZAGO. The story is extant, and writ in choice Italian. You shall see anon how the murderer gets the love of MACGONZAGO's wife!

MacClaudius ( angrily to MACPOLONIUS ). Chamberlain, we part this day month! Ma gracious! [ Exit, followed by Queen and Court.

Telmah ( exultantly ). Now could I drink hot blood, and do such bitter business as the day would quake to look on!

Ghost ( entering abruptly ). Well, do it! What's the good of all this play acting? Cut the ranting, and come to the slaughtering! ( Seizes TELMAH by the arm. ) If you are an avenger, behave as such!

[ TELMAH greatly alarmed, sinks on his knees before Ghost, and the Curtain falls on the tableau.

ACT III. THE MILITARY TOURNAMENT AT THE AGRICULTURAL HALL, ELSINORE, NEAR EDINBURGH, TELMAH, AND MACLAERTES, DISCOVERED FENCING.

Captain MacOsric, R.A. ( Superintendent of the Circus ). A hit, a palpable hit! (TELMAH and MACLAERTES engage a second time, and MACLAERTES wounds his opponent. ) One to white! ( Points out MACLAERTES with a small flag. Another round, when TELMAH wounds MACLAERTES.) One to black!

[ Touches TELMAH with his flag... Continue reading book >>


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