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A Story by Poe, Done Word for Word Into a Play
Bon^Bon, host of the Cafe de BotuBo?* The short stories of Edgar Allan Poe have been, with only slight changea, adapted to play form, and soon will be presented from the stage of the Prb cess Theater by Mr. William Barstow./ The first offering is to bo "Bon-Bon," which ie herewith reproduced in its dramatic form. The spoken lines are, without exception, the exact conversation utritten by the author in short story form. The description of tiie efiaractcrs and setting are oe Poe pictured them. While the exact date has not been set, there will be performances Sunday evening a>id matinees Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. These otner Poe stories are to be presented later in dramatic form: "Lenore," "The Teil Tale Heart," "The Gold. Bug" and "Lionizing." One thinq tluit these flays are said particularly to bring out is the fact that Edgar Allan Poe was possessed of a very distinct and even wll developed sense of humor. TIME-?ONE MIDNIGHT IN 1810 Caf? in Cul-de-Sac Febvre * * SEVERE ??inter storm without, /m A long, low-pitched room of 4 P antique coyisti-uction. In the j cor?ier of the room $tands I the bed of the metaphysician. An array of curtains a la Ore que. In thj corner, diagonally opposite, appears in direct family communion the properties of the kitchen and biblioth?que. A'large. lamp suspended from ceiling on iron chains suing* cfifvlsively. Large vol? umes, u-ith pronounced German bindings, are retting upon gridiron. A small bust cf Flato is in frying pan. A spit ex? tends in front of fireplace, upon which , ancient parchment is filed. Oihertoise, '< the Cafe de Bon-Don differs very little ,' from the usual restaurants of that period. A large fireplace at right of ?tage. An open cupboard displays a for? midable array of labelled bottles. PIERRE BOX-COS. having listened to the comrnen's of his neighbor?, tui~ne them all out of doors and locks the door with an oath and lakes himself to a leather-bottomed chair, grumbling, fac? ing fire of blazing fagots. The houee ?hakes fearfully with wind rushing through crannies of the wall and pour? ing down chimney, shaking curtains of philosopher's bed, and disorganizes the economy of his pate pans and papers. The folio sign creaks ominously without. After completing a scrutiny, whose exact purpose was unintelligible to him ?elf, he draws close to himself a email table covered with books and papers, and soon becomes absorbed in the task of retouching a voluminous manuscript in? tended for publication on the morrow. He is occupied for some moments, when a whining voice is heard in the apart? ment. BON-BON?Out of the fcouset Corse you a!!! You shall not talk about my propensity. (Locks the door, and, walking to the fireplace, sits in leather-bottomed chwir before the blazing fagots. It enow? fiercely without and the wind shakes the curtains of the philosopher's bed. A kuge folio sign swings without. Bon Bon, attempts to make a des ?ufs a la Princesse. Unfortunately, perpetrates an omelet a la Reine. Overturns the stew, whistles to the dog, and settling uneasily in chair, draws close to his seat a small table covered with booki and becomes absorbed in manuscript.) HIS MAJESTY (in a whining voice) ?I am In no hurry, Bon-Bon. BON-BON (starting to his feet anu overturning table)?The Devil! HIS MAJESTY?Very true. BON-bOi^ (eyes falling upon some thing stretched upon the bed)?Ver? true! . . . What Is very true? . . How came you here 7 HIS MAJESTY?I was saying . . I waa saying that I am not at al , pushed for time . . . that the bus! I nesa I took the liberty of (-ailing for i ? of no pressing Important ... In abort, I can very wall wait until yea have finished your exposition. BON-BON?My ??position! Trum now I How do you know? How ?earns you to understand that I waa writing an exposition? Good Godl HIS MAJESTY (?in ?hr?l t*n*h Hush! (Rises quickly from bed ama motte? singla step toward Bon-Ben, while iron lamp swinge convulsively baek from hi? approach,) BON-BON (considerable embarrassed) ?Why, sir . . . why, air ... to speak sincerely, I believe you are . ? . npon my word . . . the d?ndert ... j that is to say, I think ... I can imag? ! ine ... I have some faint . . . some | very faint idea ... of the remarkable ! honor ? HIS MAJESTY?Say no more ... I j see how it is . . , BON-BON (interrupting His Majesty) j ?Oh, ah, yes . . . very welL (His Mafvety takes off hi? green ! spectacles, wipes the glasee? carefully > on sleeve of his coat and deposit? them i in his pocket. Pierre Bon-Bon perceive? ' plainly that Bis Majesty hoe no eye?J BON-BON?Ah, bum ... I peredve ' that your Majesty1? ?y? are neither . black, as I anticipated . . . nor gray, j as might have been Imagined . . . nor I hazel, nor blue, nor indeed yellow . . . J red, nor purple . . . nor whit? . . . 1 nor gTeen, nor any other color in the ! heavens above, nor the earth beneath, j nor in the waters under the earth! j HIS MAJESTY?Eyes! My dear Boa l Bon . . . eye?, did you say ? . . , Oh! . . Ah, I perceive! Eye? are very well in their proper place . . . thai you would say la In the head . . . right . . . the head of a worm. I will con? vince you that my vision ia more pene* j trating than your ewn . . . There is a ' cat, as you see, In the corner . . . e pretty <iat . . . look at her . . . ob? serve her well. Now, Bon-Bon, do yoti behold the thoughts . ? . the reflec? tions which are being engendered in bei pericranium? There It is now . . . yot do not! She is thinking we admire U? length of her tail and the profunditj of her mind. She has Just conclude?: that I am ths most distinguish?^ o ecclesiastics and that you are the mos' ? superficial of metaphysician?! Thui j you may see 1 am not altogether blind ? Endeavor, Bon-Bon, to nso them w?sU i My vision is the souL I (Hit Majesty helps himself to win. : on the table, and pouring out ?a bumpe: for Bon-Bon, requests him to drink i ; nnd make himself perfectly at home.) MIS MAJESTY (tapping Bon-Boi j knowingly upon the shoulder)?A clever ! book that of yours, ?apon my honorl I ! is a work after my own heart. Yourar I ; rangement of the matter, I think, how j ever, might be Improved . . . and man; ', of your notions remind me of Aristotle I That philosopher was one of my mos I intimate acquaintances. I liked him a j much for his terrible ill-temper as fo ? his happy knack for making a blundei j There is only one solid truth in a! ! that he haB written, and for that I gav j him the hint out of pure compassio . for his absurdity. I suppose, Pierr Bon-Bon, you very well know to wha divine moral truth I am alluding? BON-BON?Cannot say that I d HIS MAJESTY?Indeed; Why, i , was I that told Aristotle that . . . b The Devil, unicclcome guest of Bor^Bon sneering, men ?expelled superfluous ideas through the proboscis I BON-BON?Which is?/ hiccup)? un? doubtedly tho easel (Bon-Bon pour? out another bumper of Mouteeaux and offer? snuffbox to Hi? Majesty. His Majesty declines tk? snuffbox.) HIS MAJESTY?There was Plato, too, for whom T hold all the affection of a friend. You knew Plato, Bon-Bon 1 Ahl no. I beg a thousand pardons. He met me at Athens one day in the Par? thenon and told me he was distressed for an Idea, I bade him write down ... He said he would do so and went home, while 1 stopped over to the Pyramids, but my conscience smote m? for having uttered a truth, even to aid s , friend, and hastening back to Athens, I : arrived behind the philosopher's chair ! a a he ?-as inditing . . . Giving the I lamina the fillip with my finger, I turned it upside down, so the sentence now rends: "and is, you perceive, the funda? mental doctrine in his metaphysics." BON-BON (finishes a second bottle ! of Mousseaux end dmws from closet I Chambertin I HIS MAJESTY?But once, Monsieur ; Bon-Bon, there was a time (as if recit? ing passages from book) . . . There was i a time when there occurred an anarchy i of five years, during which the republic, | bereft of all its officers and with no ? magistracy besides the tribunes of the j people, and these were not legally vested j with any degree of executive power . . . at that time. Monsieur Bon-Bon . . . ' at that time only I was in Rome, and 11 have no earthly acquaintance, conse? quently, with any of its philosophy. BON-BON?What do you think of . . . (hiccup) . . . Epicurus? HIS MAJESTY (in astonishment)? What do I think of whom? You surely cannot find any fault with Epicurusl What do I think of Epicurus? Do you mean mo, sir, / am Epicurus? I am the name philosopher who wrote each of the three hundred treatises commemo? rated by Diogenes Laertes! BON-BON (exclaiming excitedly, for the win? has gone to hi? head)?Thut's a liet HIS MAJESTY (with an air of being very much flattered)?Very well, very j well, sir , . . very well, indeed, sir! BON-BON?That's a Ho . . . that's a !. . . (hiccup) ... a lie! HIS MAJESTY?Well, well, have it : your own way. (Opens another bottle of Chambertin.) Aa I was saying ... as I was observing a little while ago, there are some very oufre notions in that book of yours, Monsieur Bon-Bon. What, for j instance, do you mean about all this 1 humbug about tho bouI ? BON-BON?The . . . (hiccup) . . . soul is undoubtedly . . . HIS MAJESTY?No, sir! . . , BON-BON?Indubitably! . . . HIS MAJESTY?No, sir! . . BON-BON?Evidently! , , . HIS MAJESTY?No. sir! . . . BON-BON?Incontrovertiblyl ? . . HIS MAJESTY?No, sir! . . . ; BON-BON?(hvsoup) ; HIS MAJESTY?No, sir! . . . BON-BON?And beyond all question a . . . HIS MAJESTY?No, sir; the soul la no such thing! (Philosopher look? dagger? and takes occasion to make an end upon the ?pot i of his third bottle of Chambertin.) '. BON-BON?Then , . . (hiccup) . . . ! pray, what is it? HIS MAJESTY?That is neither here i nor there, Monsieur Bon-Bon, (Amused? ly) ? have tasted aorno very bad souls ?... I have known so m ?s very bad souls ' and some, too, pretty pood ones. (Smackt ! his lip?.) There was the soul of Grati I anus , . . passable! Aristophanes, racy; Plato , . . exquisite . . . not your Plato, i but Plato, the comic poet? Your Plato ? would have turned the stomach of Cere ?bus! Faugh! . . , Then, let me eee . j there was Nceviua, A.ndronicus, Pia?jtuf ; and Terentius. Then there were Lucillus j and Catullus?and Naso and Quinta; ; Placeas . . . dear ?juinty, as I called him, when he sung a secular? for mj j amusement, while I toasted him in pure j good humor on a fork?but they wani | flavor, these Romano. One fat Greet ! is worth a dozen of them, and, besides I will keep, which cannot be said of a ! Quirite. Let us taste your Sauferne. (Bon-Bon?conscious of a etrangt sound like the wagging of a. tail?kick: the dog nod- request? him to be quict.j HIS MAJESTY?I found that Horace j tasted very like Aristotle. You know, ] i am fond of variety. Terentius I coulc | not have told from Menander, Naso to Tuy astonishment, waa Nicander Ir i disguiso. Virgelius had a strong t?ving< j of Theocritus. Martial put ma mucl I in mind of Archilochua and Titui Livius was positively Polybius and non? I ether. BON-BON?(Hiccup.) HIS MAJESTY?But if I have a pen chant, Monsieur Bon-Bon ... If I have a penchant it is for a philosopher. Let me tell you, it is not every dev? ... I mean, it is not every gentleman who knowa how to choose a philosopher. Long ones are not good, and the test, if not carefully shelled, are apt to be a little rancid on account of gall. BON-BON?Shelled? HIS MAJESTY?I mean, taken out of the carcass. BON-BON?'Hiccup)?What do you think of a physician ? HIS MAJESTY?Don't mention them! Ugh! Ugh! (Retches violently.) I never tasted but one . . . that rascal Hippo? crates . . . smelt of asafcetida . . . Ugh! Ugh!! Ugh!!! . . . caught a cold .', . a wretched cold, washing him in the Styx, and after all, ho gave me the cholera morbus. BON-BON?The . . . (hiccup) . . . wretch! The . . . (hiccup) . . . abortion of a pill box . . . And the philos? opher dropped a tear! HIS MAJESTY?After all . . . after ail! If a dev-... if a gentleman wishes to live, he must have more tal? ents than one or two, and with as a fat face is an evidence of diplomacy. BON-BON?How so 7 HIS MAJESTY?Why, we are some? times exceedingly pushed for provi? sions. You must know that in a cli? mate so sultry aa mine it is fre? quently impossible to keep a spirit alive for more than two or three hours --and after death, unless pickled im? mediately . . ..and a pickled epirit ia not good! . . . they will smell . . . you understand, eh? Putrefaction is always to be apprehended when the souis are consigned to us in the usual way. BON-BON?(Hiccupj . . . Good God! how do you manage? (The iron lamp swings with redoubled violence and the Devi) half started from his seat. However, with a slight sign, ho recovered his composure, merely saying in a low tone.') HIS MAJESTY?I tell you what. Pierre Bon-Bon, we must have no swear? ing.' (Bon-Bon ewallous another bumper.) HIS MAJESTY?Why, there are sev? eral ways of managing. Most of us starve. Some put up with the pickle. For my part, I purchase my spirits vi vent? corpore, in which case I und thsy keep very well. BON-BON?But the body , ? . ,0U?> cup) . . , the body! HIS MAJESTY?The body . . . the body . . . well, what of the body ? Oh, I perceive. Why the body is not at all affected by the transaction. I have made innumerable purchases of the kind in my day and the parties never expe? rienced any inconvenience. There were Cain and Nirnrod, and Nero ar.d Calij. u!a, and Dionysius and Pisistratu* and . . . and a thousand others who never knew what !t was to have a son. during the latter part of their lives. Yet these men adorned society. Why, isn't there A- now, whom you know os well as I do? Is he not in posset? s'.on of all his faculties, mental and corporeal? Who writes a keener epi f-ram? Who reasons more vittily? Who . . . but stay ... I have his agre?? ment in my pocket. (Produce a a red leatiier wallet and takes a number of papers from it. Bon* Eov catches a glimpse of the letters.) HIS MAJESTY?In consideration of certain mental endowments, which it is unnecessary to specify, and ir fur? ther consideration of one thousand iouto* d'or, I, being aged one year ar.d one month, do hereby make over to the bearer of this agreement al! my right, title 3nd appurtenances in the shadov called my soul . . . (Signed A--. . .. Clever that, but, like you, Monsieur Bon-Bon, he ?vas mistaken about thq soul. The soul a shadow truiy. The soul a ehadow! Ha! HA! HA! He! HE! HE!! Hu! HU! HUIJ Only think of a fricasseed shadow! BON-BON?Only think of . , . of . . ? a . . . (hiccup) . . . fricasseed shadow! Now damme! . . . (hiccup) . . . Humph! li I would have been such a . . (hiccup) nincompoop. My soul, Mr.-. . . , Humph! HIS MAJESTY?Your boqI, Mon? sieur Bon-Bon . . . BON-BON?-Yes, sir ... (hiccup) ,#< my soul is . . . HIS MAJESTY?What, sir? BON-BON?No shadow, damme! I??S MAJESTY?Did you mean t? say? . . . BON-BON?Yes, sir, my soul ia . . e (hiccup . . . hiccup) . . . Humph! *Yei? sir. . . . HIS MAJESTY?Did you intend to aa 8ort . . . BON-BON?My soul is . . . (hieeupj . peculiarly qualified for . . . 'hiccup}* HIS MAJESTY?What . . . sir? BON-BON?Stew! HIS MAJESTY?Ha! Ha!! BON-BON?Souffl?! HIS MAJESTY?Eh? One Hundred Years Ago Yesterday?George Eliot's Birthday ALTHOUGH her centenary, observed yesterday, re- j minds the present genera? tion of a great name in Vic? torian fiction, passionate seekers af? ter self-expression and scorners of everything Victorian probably re? member George Eliot less for her pictures of English country life than for her unconventional union with George II. Lewes and her mar? riage at sixty with J. W. Cross. Rural Life Mary Ann Evans?she called her? self Marian?was born on November 22, 1819, in Derbyshire, where her father* ; a land agent for the Newui 'amily. For twenty-one years her ambitious nature and strong imagination was smothered with the details of rural life. Yet, ail this time she was studying types and memorizing impressions, later ?to be mirrored in her novels. "The Mill on the Floss," for instance, is autobiographical, while "Scenes of Clerical Life," "Silas Marner" and "Adam Bede" are among the most ?isdd nktnrM ?ai mancara and ?cua toms In the Midlands now extant. "My mind," she says, "was an as? semblage of disjointed specimens of beauty, ancient and modern ; scraps of poetry picked up from Shake? speare, Cowper, Wordsworth and Miiton; newspaper topics; morsels of Addison and Bacon, Latin verbs, geometry, entomology and chemis? try; reviews and metaphysics?all arrested and petrified and smoth? ered by the fast-thickening everyday accession of actual events, relative anxieties and household cares and ? vexations.1* When she was twenty-one her j father moved to Coventry, where she j welcomed new opportunities for in? tellectual development and made many friends. Chief among these were tfie Brays. Brought up in a strictly religious family, George | Eiot soon became a freethinker. Emerson, whom she met at the Brsys's, she called "the first man I have ever seen." Offered the post of assistant editor on "The West? minster Review," Miss Evans went to live in London. She filled this laborious position for many years, contributing articles and elaborate reviews. |n her spare moments she found tun* to translate Feuerbach'? George Eliot 1 ._. i ?-. "Essence of Christianity,w the only book which ever appeared under her own name. No Regrets Soon afterward she met George Lewes, author of "The Biographical History of Philosophy" and "The Life of Goethe," who was then sepa? rated from his wife. A year later, although a divorce was impossible, he and Miss Evans decided upon a union. Neither ever regretted the step. Writing to a friend in justi? fication of her action. George Eliot, who believed tolaranet to fet Urn greatest lesson in life, said : "Light and easily broken ties are what I neither desire theoretically nor could live for practically. Women who are satisfied with such ties do not act as I have done. That any un? worldly, unsuperstltious person who is sufficiently acquainted with the realities of life can pronounce my relation to Mr. Lewes immoral, I can only understand by remembering I how subtle and complex are the in | fiuence3 that mold opinion." j It was? then, at thirty-six, that ? George Eliot began her career as a | novelist with "Scenes of Clerical i Life," which attracted the attention ; of Dickens, Carlyle, Thackeray, | Tennyson, Ruskin, Froude and other ! eminent Victorians. Lewes read her ; books with her as they were written and. encouraged her with helpful Drawing Room at the Priory ; criticism and praise. The 1ns;crip- : tions on the manuscripts she gave ; him record her feelings. "To the husband, whose perfect love has been ? the best source of her insight and strength, this manuscript is given by . his devoted wife, the writer," reads the inscription on the manuscript of ! "Pvomola." Seven editions and 16,000 copies of "Adam Bede," her second novel, were printed during its first year. Black wood offered i'2,000 for 4,000 copies of her next novel. Her financial success was permanently assured. Ferdinand Bruneti?re, in 1rs study of "Le roman naturalists," declared her the founder of Ei*gi?3h "nat , uralism." 1 Her Salon In November, 1863, the Leweses settled at the Priory, 21 North Re? gents Park, a house especially asso? ciated with George Eliot's memory. In his "Life of George Eliot" Mr I Cross speaks of the Sunday after? noon receptions held by the Leweses which attracted a great variety of i interesting people. It seem3 thai ? "her salon was important as a meet Iing place for many friends whon she cared ?greatly to see, but it wai not ottarwia? important in her owi life, for she was eminently not a typical mistress of a ealon. It was difficult for her, mentally, to move from one person to another. Play? ing around many disconnected sub? jects, in talk, neither interested her nor amused her much. She took things too seriously, and seldom found the effort of entertaining compensated by the gain. Fortu? nately Mr. Lewes supplied any quali? ties lacking in the hostess. A bril? liant talker, a delightful reconteur, versatile, full of resource in the social difficulties of amalgamating diverse groups, and bridging over awkward pauses, he managed to j3cure for these gatherings most of the social success they ob? tained. "When the drawing-room dooi of the priory opened a first glance i revealed Ceorge Eliot always in the same low armchair on the left hanc side of the fire. On entering the visitor's eye was at once arrestee by the massive head. The abundan1 hair, streaked with gray now, wai | draped with lace, arranged man ! tilla-fashion, coming to a point a the top of her forehead, if she wer? [engaged in conversation her bod; |wm oauaUy bent forward witl eager, anxious desire to get as close as possible to the person with whom she talked. She had a great dis? like to raising her voice and often became so wholly absorbed in con j versation that the announcement of an incoming visitor sometimes failed to attract her attention, but th*f moment the eyes were lifted up and recognizied a friend they smiled a rare welcome ? sincere, cordial, grave ? a welcome that was felt to come straight from the heart, not graduated according to social dis? tinction." Her Grief George Lewes died at the priory toward the end of 1878 and George Eliot was prostrated by the blow. Her grief found expression in de? voting herself to the arrangement! of Lewes's unfinished work and in. the establishing of a George Henry Lewes scholarship in physiological research. By degrees she revived. In 1880 she married John Walta? Cross, a banker of New York, for some time a member of the Lewea circle and with whom her friendship began when she helped him in his studies of Dante, She died 3the fol? lowing December, and it is to Mr. Cross that posterity is indebted lev ?an interesting biographe .