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The Bicyclers and Three Other Farces   By: (1862-1922)

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Transcribed by David Price, email


Contents: The Bicyclers A Dramatic Evening The Fatal Message A Proposal Under Difficulties



MR. ROBERT YARDSLEY, an expert. MR. JACK BARLOW, another. MR. THADDEUS PERKINS, a beginner. MR. EDWARD BRADLEY, a scoffer. MRS. THADDEUS PERKINS, a resistant. MRS. EDWARD BRADLEY, an enthusiast. JENNIE, a maid.

The scene is laid in the drawing room of Mr. and Mrs. Thaddeus Perkins, at No. Gramercy Square. It is late October; the action begins at 8.30 o'clock on a moonlight evening. The curtain rising discloses Mr. and Mrs. Perkins sitting together. At right is large window facing on square. At rear is entrance to drawing room. Leaning against doorway is a safety bicycle. Perkins is clad in bicycle garb.

Perkins. Well, Bess, I'm in for it now, and no mistake. Bob and Jack are coming to night to give me my first lesson in biking.

Mrs. Perkins. I'm very glad of it, Thaddeus. I think it will do you a world of good. You've been working too hard of late, and you need relaxation.

Perkins (doubtfully). I know that but from what I can gather, learning to ride a wheel isn't the most restful thing in the world. There's a good deal of lying down about it; but it comes with too great suddenness; that is, so Charlie Cheeseborough says. He learned up at the Academy, and he told me that he spent most of his time making dents in the floor with his head.

Mrs. Perkins. Well, I heard differently. Emma Bradley learned there at the same time he did, and she said he spent most of his time making dents in the floor with other people's heads. Why, really, he drove all the ladies to wearing those odious Psyche knots. The time he ran into Emma, if she hadn't worn her back hair that way she'd have fractured her skull.

Perkins. Ha, ha! They all tell the same story. Barlow said he always wore a beaver hat while Cheeseborough was on the floor, so that if Charlie ran into him and he took a header his brain wouldn't suffer.

Mrs. Perkins. Nevertheless, Mr. Cheeseborough learned more quickly than any one else in the class.

Perkins. So Barlow said because he wasn't eternally in his own way, as he was in every one else's. (A ring is heard at the front door.) Ah! I guess that's Bob and Jack.

Enter Jennie.

Jennie. Mr. Bradley, ma'am.

Perkins. Bradley? Wonder what the deuce he's come for? He'll guy the life out of me. (Enter Bradley. He wears a dinner coat.) Ah, Brad, old chap, how are you? Glad to see you.

Bradley. Good evening, Mrs. Perkins. This your eldest? [With a nod at Perkins.

Mrs. Perkins. My eldest?

Bradley. Yes judged from his togs it was your boy. What! Can it be? You! Thaddeus?

Perkins. That's who I am.

Bradley. When did you go into short trousers?

Perkins (with a feeble laugh, glancing at his clothes). Oh, these ha, ha! I'm taking up the bicycle. Even if it weren't for the exhilaration of riding, it's a luxury to wear these clothes. Old flannel shirt, old coat, old pair of trousers shortened to the knee, and golf stockings. I've had these golf stockings two years, and never had a chance to wear 'em till now.

Bradley. You've got it bad, haven't you? How many lessons have you had?

Perkins. None yet. Fact is, just got my wheel that's it over there by the door pneumatic tires, tool chest, cyclometer, lamp all for a hun.

Bradley (with a laugh). How about life insurance? Do they throw in a policy for that? They ought to.

Perkins. No but they would if I'd insisted. Competition between makers is so great, they'll give you most anything to induce a bargain. The only thing they really gave me extra is the ki yi gun.

Mrs. Perkins. The what?

Perkins. Ki yi gun it shoots dogs. Dog comes out, catches sight of your leg

Bradley. Mistakes it for a bone and grabs eh?

Perkins. Well I fancy that's about the size of it. You can't very well get off, so you get out your ki yi gun and shoot ammonia into the beast's face... Continue reading book >>

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