You are here: Archive Home > Ages Ago > Web Opera > Dialogue following No. 4

Ages Ago

Dialogue following No. 4


Scene: A Picture Gallery. Oriel window R. The walls a covered with pictures, but five full-length portraits are veiled. Mrs. Mac Mortherly (an old housekeeper) and Rosa, Mr. Alderman Tare's pretty niece, discovered.

Rosa:
Mrs. Mac Motherly, I'm a dreadful little goose, I know, but it's a great many years since I believed a ghost story - Haunted! Why, if the place had the ghost of a ghost in it, Uncle Tare would have ferreted it out long ago. He has already been three weeks in uninterrupted possession, and I should like to see the ghost that would escape Uncle Tare's vigilance for that space of time.
Mrs. Mac.:
Eh weel - it may be sae, I hae naething to say anent it - either the tae way or the tother. But this I ken weel. Your true hieland ghostie is just a pairfect gentleman, and wadna dream of intrudin' himself upon ye until ye'd settled down comfortably in your new habitation.
Rosa:
But why should these goblins choose our castle of all others ?
Mrs. Mac.:
Yours? Why it's nae more yours than ilka ither body's, the auld castle has been uninhabited for the last four score and seven years (save by ghosties and sic like) since the death of Dame Cherry Maybud, whose portrait hangs there.
Rosa:
I know - the last on the left.
Mrs. Mac.:
Like ilka ither possessor of the auld castle, when she died there was ne'er a will or a title deed to be found, and the ghosties stepped in and folk wadna hae anything to do wi' sic an uncanny place. So it remained uninhabited until your Uncle, Sir Ebenezer Tare, of the firm or Tare and Tret, Alderman and tallow-chandler, tuk it into his head to try the value of the auld maxim that possession is nine points of the law, and walked in one braw morning three weeks since, wi' ne'er a 'wi' yer leave,' or 'by yer leave,' wi' nae mair right to the place than the Sultan o' Morocco himself.
Rosa:
But nobody is likely to disturb him.
Mrs. Mac.:
Eh! but I'm nae sa sure about that, if there's any truth in the auld legend about the wicked Sir Roger Bohun, how he sold himself to an awful uncanny apparition on the 13th day of July, 1369, for right and title to the castle for a hundred years. Sir Roger de Bohun was a prodigal knight who had just a life interest in this castle, and nae mair than a life interest. Being sairly pressed for siller and wishing to mortgage the castle, he entered into a compact with the fiend on the 13th July, 1369, that on Sir Roger's death nae heir should be found to the auld castle until a century had slippet by. Well, Sir Roger mortgaged the castle and spent the siller like a graceless loon as he was, and then he died and left ne'er an heir or a title deed, and ne'er a title deed was found, and the castle remained empty until the 13th July, 1469, when the Lady Maud de Bohun, whose portrait hangs there, found them quite unexpectedly in the drawer of her work-table. Well, she took possession, died and left ne'er an heir or a title deed, and ne'er a title deed was found till Sir Cecil Blount - who hangs there - a collateral descendant of the auld Barons, found them in a disused portmanteau on the 13th of July, 1569. Well, he died and left ne'er an heir or a title deed, and ne'er a title deed was found until Lord Carnaby Poppytop - there he hangs - hit upon them, wrapped up in an old disused periwig, on the 13th July, 1669. Well he died and left ne'er an heir or a title deed, and ne'er a title deed was found until Dame Cherry Maybud came upon them in the stuffing of an auld farthingale on the 13th July, 1769. Well she died in 1782, and from that moment till three weeks sin, the castle has just been handed over the machinations of the de'il and his evil hobgoblins.
Rosa:
Then the next century will expire to-morrow!
Mrs. Mac.:
If there's any truth in legends, the weird maun be fulfilled, and the legal descendant of Dame Cherry Maybud will come tomorrow morn and cockcrae wi' the title deeds in his grif, and just turn ye a' out bag and baggage, neck and crop. I've just a notion that I can speer some awfu' misfortune hanging over the House o' Tare, and I've nae manner o' doubt that it's associated wi' the dreadful legend of the wicked Sir Roger de Bohun.

Enter Sir Ebenezer Tare.

Tare.:
I am only acquainted with one misfortune with which the House of Tare is threatened - the probable loss of it's housekeeper, Mistress Mac Motherly, if she continues to fill my niece's ears with her abominable superstitions. It's a misfortune, ma'am, which the House of Tare will bear with Christian fortitude. Now, go - I mean, 'gang awa' wi' ye.'
Mrs. Mac.:
Eh, Sir! but ye ken weel I'm just telling her naught but what ye ken yoursel' to be true. Wha was it prophesied ye'd lose two braw ships by fire and tempest this year? Why, Mistress Mac Motherly! Wha was it prophesied ye'd be down wi' the measles last fall? Why, Mistress Mac Motherly! Wha was it prophesied that a bonny young callant wad come a-courting Miss Rosa this week? Why, Mistress Mac Motherly! And, mark me! Sir Ebenezer; if I'm to be burnt alive for a warlock, I'll say it: there's just an unco' bad misfortune hangin' over ye; and it's no associated wi' the dismissal of your auld housekeeper, Maggie Mac Motherly. (Exit.)
Tare.:
My dear Rosa, if ever you go into housekeeping -
Rosa:
If!
Tare.:
Well, when you go into housekeeping, take care to ascertain that none of your domestics are gifted with the curse of second sight. That women has been in my service for thirty years, and she has done nothing but prophesy misfortune from the day she entered it until now. And what is worse, her predictions all come true. What was she said about 'a bonnie young callant coming a-courting Miss Rosa'?
Rosa:
(frightened). Oh, I can't imagine what she could have referred to.
Tare.:
No one has been here except Mr. Columbus Hebblethwaite. (Rosa starts.) Eh? It's my belief, Miss, she referred to him.
Rosa:
I'm sure I don't know why, Uncle. He's always very agreeable, but nothing more.
Tare.:
Now, Rosa, it's as well we should have a distinct understanding on this point - I've noticed that that impoverished young man is unpleasantly marked in his attentions to you, and I've noticed that, far from discouraging his penniless addresses, you have afforded him fifty means of persecuting them during his week's residence with us in this castle. He quartered himself upon us without invitation - but, thank goodness, I've got rid of him at last.
Rosa:
Uncle, how can you be so unkind!
Tare.:
Cry away, my dear, it's satisfaction enough to know that at this moment he's careering away at the rate of 60 miles an hour on his road to his native London. Let's see the express started at 10.15, and it's now half past eleven, so he's exactly 75 miles away from his beloved Rosa. And by a remarkable coincidence his beloved Rosa is precisely the same distance from him. Ha! ha! ha!

(Loud knocking at outer gate.)

Next Page Next Song Top of page Opera Home Previous Page Previous Song

Archive Home  |  Ages Ago

Page Modified August 23, 2011