Newspaper Page Text
THE SUN, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1913.
OPENING WIDE THE DOOR OF "THE FAMILY CUPBOARD"
The Seamy Side of Life in One Fashionable
Household Revealed in a Play of
Thrills and Laughter
THE skeleton that, rattles around
In the closet of the Nelson
household Is nothing more
nor less tlmii a pretty, frail
nil young vaudeville actress. The
doings of tlic Nelson family and the
skeleton In ii Hilt skirt form the sub
ject of a play by Owen Davis called
"The Family Cupboard.'' As produced
liy William A. llrady at the l'iay.
house It lui h found many admirers.
It gives a startling insight Into con
ditions that mlKlit and iosslbly do
exist In more than one fashionable
household, where the outward Indica
tions are only those of luxury and the
tmpplncss that Is supposed to follow
In Its wake.
The play opens In the luxurious
drawing room of the Nelson family.
In spite of the expensive surround
ings, disaster is at hand. The wife
rives her whole time to bridge and Is
ikkm at home. The husband, Had
ing no companionship at home, spends
most of his time at the club and
nnlly sets up another establishment
with a vaudeville actress. Kenneth,
the son, Is n spoiled young cub, but
Alice, the daughter, Is a charming
and sensible girl. She Is about to be
tarried to Tom Harding, who Is one
r her father's business partners.
Alice points out that her father Is
jretty badly treated In that he gets
o attention or consideration at home
nd Is only regarded as a money supply.
Kelson comes home unexpectedly and
Beets Tom. to whom he confesses that
e Is In a bad way financially. !
Tom I had been afraid you were i
getting In bad. It costs a lot of money
to keep up n home like this. j
Nelson It isn't the home that costs.
When this was a home 1 used to run It
for less than my llorlst's bills are now.
Tom Why don't you get down to
cases and live the way you used to?
Nelson I don't live as well as I used
lo. 1 used to have some one to sew
n my buttons and pour out my coffee.
1 used to have two servants working
for me: now I work to support twelve
icrvnnts. That's success I'm a great
man. Tom! I read an account of my
own greatness In to-day's paper. I
am the husband of Mrs. Charles Ncl
on. Tom I know. I'd stop It!
Nelson You will be married In a few
days. Tom. I think you'll And that the
only thing you'll stop Is to stop doing
is you please.
Mrs. Nelson (entering and seeing
Nelson with surprise) Why, Charlie! .
Whnt are you doing here? '
Nelson I happened to be passing. J
Mrs. Nelson Nonsense! Aren't you
Nelson Quite. Hut for the novel!;.
I thought I should like to mee: my
family. I hear that they are extremely
Interesting persons. I shall dine at
Mis. Nelson I'm sure I don't know
what you'll get. Alice and I are dining
t the Hurgcrs.
Nelson And Kenneth?
Mrs. Nelson At his club, 1 suppose.
Nelson You'll be late to-night?
Mrs. Nelson Very dinner the
opera, and we reully must stop for an
hour at the Hortons".
Nelson Then you must give me a
Mrs. Nelson Of course,-dear.
Nelson I must have $50,000. Tilts
house Is In your name. 1 must ask
you for your signature. Johnson of my
oflice will call on you about noon to
morrow. Mrs. Nelson Itaise money on the
Nelson Don't look distressed. It
is a very fashionable habit. It Is that
or sell my stock in the construction
company, and that happens to be my
only way of making a living, and
Mrs. Nelson Charles (she speaks
with real sympathy i You me really
in trouble about money?
Nelson Naturally, or I should hard
ly have trespassed upon your time.
Mrs. Nelson I didn't know. You
never told me.
Nelson I asked you to make an
effort to be more careful In your ex
penditures. Mrs. Nelson I did try.
Nelson Look! (He smiles bitterly
and holds up n package of bills.) They
must be paid. Fortunately I can man
age. Hut It is probable that at an
other time I could not. I 'lease remem
ber that. You must try to get along
on half of your present allowance for
a while at least. I know how all this
bores you. It is even unpleasant to me
It completes the list of my failures.
Mrs. Nelson What failures'.'
Nelson As a husband nnd as a father
Mrs. Nelson That Isn't fair!
Nelson You Hatter me. Thai Is all I
think. (He stnrtH toward door.)
Mrs. Nelson Charlie! (He stops sur
prised.) Nelson Charlie?
Mrs. Nelson (.Smiles nervously, goes
front of table) That Is your name,
Nelson It was once. 1 haven't heard
It, except at the club, for a long time.
Mrs. Nelson Alice has said that of
late I have failed In my duty.
Nelson Social duty?
Mrs. Nelson As your wife. Sarah
Harding says thnt you and I are are
not whnt wo used to be to one anoiher.
Nelson Itemarkahle penetration.
Mrs. Nelson (thoughtfully) I won
der If it has all been my fault?
Nelson Why to-day? Why discuss
MrB. Nelson Now? Do you mean
that it Is too late to change?
Nelson Emily, why distress yourself?
Mrs. "Nelson You are a hard man. If
things are different, agreeing that the
fault Is mine, you, with your strength,
could have stopped me.
Nelson No. I tried, Emily.
Mrs. Nelson (brokenly) They they
used to laugh at us, Charlie, because we
loved one another so.
Mrs. Nelson Then tho babies cam?,
and you began to make money. After a
While, when I could leave the children, I
started to go out. You were too busy,
or too tired, to go with me, 1 have lieen
happy always. I thought you were.
But you are bitter, Charlie. I can hear
It In your voice. What Alice said fright
ened me-that you worked without pay,
hat wo took everything and gave you
Nelmin My dear, we live as many,
perhaps on most, persons In our position
live. Your life has been filled rather
too completely. A few years ago I re
sented It; now
Mrs. Nelson (afraid) Now!
Nelson I have grown accustomed to
Mrs. Nelson I will be careful about
money, Charlie. I am sorry and and
I am going to stay at home nnd dine
Nelson You have an engagement!
surely It Is best that you keep it.
Mrs. Nelson -After Alice's wedding
can't we begin alt over ugaln? I am
Nelson Of whnt?
Mrs. Nelson (puts her hands on his
shoulders, looks up at him) of you. I
am a foolish woman, but I did not mean
to lose you, dear. 1 don't want to do
Mrs. Nelson Is called from the room.
Kenneth returns, obviously Intoxicated.
Unaware of his father's presence he nt
tempts to kiss his mother's secretary,
Mary Hurke. Nelson upbraids the boy,
but Kenneth Is in no humor to listen
to a parental sermon.
Kenneth Why wouldn't I go out for
a gooil time? Would I get It here?
Ask Alice. She'll tell you. We've had
to go out. How much are you ever
here, er mother?
Nelson Stop that.
Kenneth Don't you dare to thluU I'm
vJfiy&j&A xaaaaaaaaMaWBalaraaaaaB to
H .V-' 9 "' your fthtr' Alice. W
1 fH are t0 11,18 bouse lo-
K K' 'B night.
J M .'Hj) ybLv make the
ll 'SfiaiB place the
II r H!V "cxt scene In the
II r XtiifK reception room apartment ho-
S T "7H Nelson has taken rooms
Dancing the turkey trot.
blaming mother. She's worth a million
like me or you.
Nelson You're drunk.
Kenneth Do you know why? He
cause I'm ashamed. It's a tine thing
to be a man's son and hear what 1
heard last night. That's why I didn't
come home. I'm no good; I know that.
If I was I'd take my mother out of
this place to-night.
Nelson What are you saying.'
Kenneth I linow now why things
are so rotten here. I wouldn't believe
it until I had to. You're keeping a
woman a chorus girl In a Mat -jn
Ninety-fifth street. (As no speal s .Mrs.
Nelson, now In evening dress, with nn
opera cloak over her arm, comes down
stairs. Attracted by her son's rila.'d
voice she looks over the banisters,
and as he finishes she Is In doorway.
She steps Into the room with a cry.)
Mrs. Nelson Kenneth! (There is
silence for a moment as they tun to
Kenneth No; I lied. It Isn't true.
Mrs. Nelson (throws clouk on sofa)
Nelson Kenneth Is
Kenneth I've been drinking, mother,
Mrs. Nelson Yes, I know. Gentle
men drink; they don't lie. (She up
peals directly to Nelson.) Is my son a
Mrs, Nelson Is he?
Mis, NcIboii Then what he said a
Nelson Yes. (He turns away. She
sits, by table then, quite suddenly be
gins to sob, hiding her face. Kenneth
goes to her. then turns angrllv on his
Kenneth That's what we've done be
tween us. We're a line pnlrl
Nelson Go, please,
Mrs. Nelson No, (She looks up.) I
do not want to be left alone with him.
Nelson That Is what I meant when
I asked you how much you could forgive.
Mrs. Nelson How long has this been
Nelson Two years.
Mrs. Nelson Two years you my
Nelson Won It quite thnt? 1 do not
defend myself, 1 have been ashamed,
always. You have elected to call me a
strong man. Is a strong man less hu
man than a wenkllng? There was no
place for me here, 1 was Just the
money getter. Well, 1 took some of my
money and bought myHelf a welcome.
Mrs. Nelson I shall not argue with
you. (She rises coldly, now unite com
posed.) Iillnd yourself with your own
sophistry If It pleases you. To me you
are a man unclean. You must go to
your mistress to henr yourself called
Nelson So there la no forgiveness?
Mrs. Nelson I cane to you 8 few
moments ago and begged you Oh,
I am ashamed All the while you were
laughing at me.
Nelson No. I suppose It la quite
hopeless to make you understand. The
woman Is less than nothing to me.
Mrs. Nelson You admitted
Nelson My unfaithfulness, not any
love for her, nor any less than I have
always had for you. Emily, I was
shut out of your life. I am not old.
You draw yourself away from me
Mrs. Nelson You uro a beast.
Nelson No, Just a man,
Mrs, Nelson (As outside door is
heard to open,) Thank God J did
draw myself away from you. Go back
to your woman! (Alice and Tom
Alice Mother! (She comes forward
after the scene with his wife. Friends try
to bring about a reconciliation, but unfor
tunately as tho scheme Is under way Mrs.
Nelson meets her husband'H mistress,
Kitty Clare, In the lobby, learns her
Identity by overhearing a telephone mes
sage and Indignantly leaves the hotel. '
Kenneth appeal h in order to have it
talk with his fathej'. Kitty looks at
The departure of Kitty May with
him on his way to the elevator and is
pleased with his good looks. She also
meets an old vaudeville acquaintance,
Dick I.e Hoy. whom she sends away un
ceremoniously when at last Nelson
comes down from his room in response
to her call. She tells him of the en
counter with Mrs. Nelson.
Nelson (anxiously) What did she do?
Kitty Gave a grand Imitation of an
ice making machine. I'm sorry, (She
says this earnestly, putting her hands
on him us she speaks.) Awful sorry;
and now we won't have to keep under
Nelson I don't understand you.
(Drops his arms.)
Kitty She'll name me, of course, I
don't pretend I like it, but what's the
use? 1 don't care If you'll only be nice
to me, Charles.
Nelson It is all over, Kitty. You're
a good girl In your way, and I'm sorry,
but It's all over!
Kitty You've got it wrong. She's
thrown you. Of course it Isn't over.
Kitty Why? Why?
Nelson Several reasons. 1 can't ex
plain. I am In trouble money matters.
Kitty I'm no grafter. I'll stick.
Kitty (goes lo him) -You mean you're
going to quit?
Kitty You can't' Not now. I can't
let you go. I love you, (I'uts her arms
Nelson (gets away) I never deceived
you, never from the first gave you the
Kitty oh, I know what I was to you,
but 1 don't care. I know you don't care
for me that way. It and to make me
mad, but I don't mind even that any
more, I know you'll go some time, but
not yet. I can't let you! I Just
Nelson I think that you exaggerate
Kitty You're sore becuuse she knows,
bul I tell you It wasn't my fault!
Nelson -I know It.
Dick LeRoy, taking Kenneth's trunk.
Kitty You needn't fool yourself. She
won't forgive you.
Kitty Then why can't we go on, Just
the same as we have for two years?
I'll Is? good. 1 won't look at any other
man. 1 won't drink, not even a cock
tall, if you say so. I can't let you go!
oh, my God, how hard you are!
Nelson It must end. Had I known
how you felt It would have ended long
ago. Here. (He takes out poeketbonk,
selecting several bills.) 1 am not able
to do what 1 would like. I can't afford
any more. (He puts the bills into her
Kitty (rises) Keep your damned
money! (She throws It on the lloor mi
that the bills scatter.) You can't treat
me like that' You can't throw me
Nelson Kitty! It's bad enough.
Don't make It worse.
Kitty You're a man' Something's
coming to you! What wrong have ou
done her' She's a lady and I'm noth
ing; but It's my heart you are hurting;
It was only her pride.
Nelson -I can't listen to you. I am
Kitty (stops him as lie starts up)
Waif If you go like this now when
ou don't have to go at all I'll get
square, I'll -
Nelson Don't make a foul of vour-
Kitty I'll make a fool of you. If you
quit me like till", like I was a dog, when
I've done nothing I'll get you! I will!
I'll get j on some way if it's the last
thing I evi l' do.
Kitty -No! No' (She I'llims to him.)
Don't get inc mad! Don't make me hate
you' Don't leave me nil alone' You
don't know' You don't know how hard
It Is' Charles! Charles! (He unclasps
her hands as gently as lie can. She falls
sobbing wildly into chair. He exits.
For a moment she is racked by wild
weeping, then she rises and her face
glows set and hard.) Damn him!
(She Marts unsteadily and, once more
siibhlug, turns back and picks up all the
money she thew away bunting about,
creeping on her hands and knees until
she has if all. She rises and again
starts, then stops, and returns to mirror
takes a powder puff from her vanity
bag, sighs, goes quickly lo door anil
draws curtains. Just at this moment
the elevator comes down. The door
opens and Kenneth steps out. They
meet face to face. She steps back as
she sees him, on her face a sudden de
termination. Kenneth eyes her with
admiration. As lie passes her she de
liberately drops her gold vanity bag at
his feet, then steps back. He stoops and
picking It up raises hat and holds the
bag out to her.)
Kitty Thank you. They stand to-
getner. .lust inside reception room.)
Kenneth--Not at nil, 1'rettv little
trick, isn't It?
Kitty Do you think so, Mr. Mr.
Kenneth (pleased ami surprised)
You know me?
Kitty How silly of me' ltm i mVt.
heard so much about you I feel like we
were old friends.
Kenneth--That's a good way to feel
Who has been talking about me?
Kilty Hilly Webb.
Kenneth-You know Hilly?
Kitty Yes, of course, (She eves him
Kenneth Then we don't need an In
troduction, do we. Miss ?
Kitty May Kitty May.
Kenneth Cuto little name, Isn't it?
Kitty HlHy boy. Well, I must be
Kenneth Anywhere special?
Kitty (turns at door) I haven't had
my lunch yet,
Kenneth How will Sheiiy's hit vou?
Kenneth Come on! (They exit to
hall and out, Kitty clinging to his nrm
and laughing up into his face,
The action shifts to a UoheinUin hotel
where Kenneth has made his home. One
month has elapsed since his luncheon
with Kitty. He Is madly In love with
her and determined to marry her.
.Meanwhile her old father, Jim Garrlty.
whom she passes off as her chauffeur
and Dick I.e I toy pluck Kenneth, ac
cording to nil the rules of the game,
much to the distress of Hotter, the old
family butler, who at Mrs. Nelson's
request has followed Kenneth to his
new abode. Kitty falls to understand
Kenneth, who is a bird of strange
feather among her Ilroadway com
panions. "I wonder what you really
iniiiK oi me," she asks.
Kenneth (ardently) You know.
KItty--No, really I don't. You see
you are only a. boy and I guess the girls
you've known are a whole lot different
Kenneth (bends over her chair)
Not one of them so pretty.
Kitty I'm serious. Those girls, they
wouldn't one of them come here to your
homo like this.
Kenneth I mnv l VtiMtlU I, tit I'm
not so foolish as not to know that the
narrow little world I lived In wasn't real
life at all. That's why I got out of it.
Kitty Are you sorry? (Looks im m
Kenneth Sorry I met vou' Vou nr..
right when you sav vou nre different.
You know the real world' That Is
why I am afraid.
Kenneth Of you. I am nobody.
I've never done anything In all my life
never even wanted to until 1 met vou.
I love you.
Kitty You're like all the rest i Sh,
rises.) I thought I could trust you!
Kenneth I Want vou to nmrrv tno
(She looks at him for a moment then
goes over to the couch and sits. In
another moment she begins to laugh
nervously.) What Is It dear?
Kitty It's It's fuiinv. I dliln'i l.-iw. li
lt would be so funny!
Kenneth (sits on cooeli lieslil,.
You knew I loved you?
Kenneth You must have known T
would ask you to marry me.
Kitty No. I didn't! I didn't'
Kenneth Hut you will?
Kitty Marry vou? iSlie turn ti,.
couch so that she faces him.) Iviitv
May marry Charles Nelson's son? I'd
like to do It, but I can't. I haven't got
Kenneth Wli ?
Kitty Iteasons enough
is we couldn't live von
, One of them
lti a week and your mother wouldn't
siunu. ior me.
Kenneth She would! She will when
die knows voll when sin. tln.u .mt .,11
Kitty I guess not, Kenneth, She
wouldn't stand for nn. .iv. .n (f i i,,.i
always been a good girl, and she'd soon
mm oni mat i naven t,
Kenneth (in horror) Willi t iirn iii
saying, Kitty? (He rises.) Whv 'did
you say that?
Kitty Hecause It's true and I'm tired
of lying. You ask me to marry vou. I
had to tell you why I couldn't. 'That's
Kenneth 1 don't believe It.
Kitty You're a dear boy. (She rises.)
I'm almost sorry now I ever knew vou.
(For a moment she Is perfectly honest.)
Kenneth (sinks onto couch) You!
oh. my God!
Kitty- Anybody but you would have
known It, Kenneth. I've known It so
long myself that I didn't ever expect to
be ashamed of it again, but somehow 1
m, right now,
Kenneth 1 knew you were different
that you went around and had a guy
time, but I 1 didn't know.
Kilty That's why I got to like vou,
I guess, because I didn't want to like
ou. You'll better keep away from me,
boy! Quick! Hlght now! You'd better
put me out'
Kenneth I can't.
Kiuy All right. (She pulls h,
together and her face hardens.)
right. I guess l needn't be a fool,
body ever did ni'.cli for me. j tri
do more for, you Just now than I
uioiigiii , tor nnvbody,
KenUcth- What can I do?
iji -.Nothing, any more than
Continued rut Fonrfi Pngr,