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A Mad Breakfast A Farce in One Act

by Isabel McReynolds Gray


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A MAD BREAKFAST CAST OF CHARACTERS MRS. SIMPKINS, the landlady; of o :inspecting disposi tion and inclined to look on the dork side. LIZZIE., the mad-of-aH-work; of a mefancholy and' ro mantic frame of mind. Miss Bkowx, young lady boarder, kind-hearted and' a genera! favorite. Miss SMITH, another boarder, who, though. a .stemg rapher, feels that ske would succeed on the stage. MISS GREEN, also a board" and an artist, who .fees fen-fs in :mexpecfcd places. Mns, HILL, a boarder 'who has "newexf' MR. HILL, who goes in for MR. ROBERTS, o'hnafdcr whose appetite is always good. MR. JONES, a haarden' given to practical joking. MR. LONG, who is nf an enqurng tum of mind'. Semen-The breakfast room of a modest hoarding house. Two tables, Set for four each, Door from hall. Door to kitchen. Window. PLACE :_The dining-room in Mrs. Simpkins boarding house.

A MAD BREAKFAST (A: the curtain rises: Mns. SIMPKINS i: discovered laying forks and knwes on one table. Enter LIzzxE with a tray of cups and saucers.) MRS, SIMPKINS. About time to ring the bell, isnt it? LIZzIE. Not for minutes yet. MRS. SIMPKINS. Youd better ring it. T heyre always late, anyway, and the biscuits is about done. [Exit MRS. SIMPKINS to the kitchen. sighs and arranges the cups and takes up a huge bell. Exit LIZZIE to the hall, ringing the bell. In the pauses MR, JONES laughs. Enter from the hall, Mlss BRowN and MR. JONES. The bell stops.) Miss BROWN. (Looks over the table, .sees that breakfast is not served, takes` up a newspaper and glances at it. JONES continues to read letter, laughing) Well, what is so amusing? JONES. (Starts to speak, 'is interrupted by the bell. H e continues to laugh. The bell stops) Its too good to keep. Ill have to share it! MISS BROWN. What? JONES. (Waving the letter) This! Miss BROWN. Has someone left you a fortune? JONES. Read it! (He gives her >the lettr.) Miss BROWN. (Taking and reading the letter) Mr. -Tones: Dear sir: Shall arrive at the institution as soon after six-thirty as possible. Thankng you for providing me with this opportunity for observation and study, I am yours most sincerely, Robert T. Long. (To JONES.) What does it mean? JONES, Its the` richest joke since the flood! It mean that were going to have the time of our young lives

4 Amman (Bell rings and droums hs voice. He motions wildly and takes a newspager clipping from his pocket, handing it to Miss BROWN. The bell stops.) Miss Blown. (Reading th clipping) A middleaged, gentleman of excellent social position would like to visit a s mall, select private home for the insane, for the purpose of investigation and study; Any information will be gratefully appreciated and well paid for. Address communications to Robert T. Long, Box 2, Morning Star." JONES. Isnt it rich? Mrss BxowN. You dont mean to say-_ JoNEs. I do. I answered his ad. and he answered my answer. (The bell fing: furiously. JONES tries to plain to Mxss BmwN an win.) Confound that Lizzie, she11 wake the whole city! (They gaze at the ad. and the letter until the bell stops.) Mxss BxowN. But where did you send him? His letter- says- shall arrive at the institution as soon after six-thirty as possible JONES. Aha, theres where your Uncle Hennerl); X. Jones shows what a head hes got coming ere, young lady-bds coming here! Miss Blown. What for? JQNES. What for? Suiering cats, the lady asks what fer! She has read the ad. and the letter is in her hands. -I would advise a rest cure. Mlss BROWN. I suppose I am dumb, but I dont understand. He wants to see a lunatic asylum, and you invite him here JONES. Exactly! Miss BROWN. YBut we arent lunatics! JONES. Pretty batty bunch, if you ask me. MISS BROWN.' Ohfseveral of hs are a little-queer, I know. But youll never get him to believe that were actually insane, you know. JoNs. Not y'ou, dear ycung lady. I have decided that you shall be my assistant-_head nurse of the asylum. Miss Blown. And you?

A MAD BREAKFAST 5 JONES. I am the keeper. (There is a last furious pea! of the bell. Enter LlzzxE from the hall. She crosses toward the kitchen door.) Good-morning, Lizzie! Lxzzm. (Mournfully) Good-morning. JoNEs. Have you finished the novel yet? LIzzIE. No. Im just on the last chapter. Its awful sad. Mrss BROWN. What is the title of the novel? LlzzlE. United in Death. Its awful sad. Miss BRowN. Ill lend you a good story. Its called All for Love. It ends happily. LIzzIB. I like the sad ones best, thank you. They seem more natural. JONES. Youll be glad to meet the Prince, Lizzie. (Mxss BROWN gasps. So does Llzzm.) LxzzxE. Huh? JONES. I dont want it to get around, Lizzie! I dont want a soul but you and Miss Brown to know Prince james Albert Alfred Edward Henry George, of England, you know, who had such a sad love about twenty years ago, when he was just a young (Tums to MIss BROWN.) He fell in love with a pretty girl who waited on the table at the palace, you remember, Miss Brown. She was dismissed, of course, and went to Work in a boarding-house. Then the Prince went to live at that boarding-house, incog.! (LlzzlE gurgles appreciation.) And when they found that he simply refused to live without this pretty waitress-why you knoW--she disappeared! Very sad. He spent years searching for her but at last he gave up. Said he knew she was dead or he would have found her. He refused to marry the Princess Patricia Victoria Mary Louise, who broke her heart over him and died in a convent. Now he simply wanders over the world, seeking solace. I can cheer him up, once in a while, but Im too cheerful to do him any good, really. What he needs is the sympathy of some true womanly heart. Its very sad! Lizzm. (Wha has been Staring and gurglng with romantic sympathy) And-hes coming here?

6 A mm BREAKFAST JONES. This morning, to breakfast, Lizzie. But he comes simply as Mr. Long. He does not wish to be known. I trust you not to betray him, especially to Mrs. Simpkins, who, I regret to say, is not sympathetic. Llzzm. Oh, no, sir! I can keep a secret, I can! JONES. Remember, he has enemies, Lizzie, who would stoop to any dastardly deed to do him harm! (Shudden'ng happily) Trust me, Mr. ~Tones! [Exit Llzzm to the kitchen. mes. (To Miss BROWN) Do you get the idea? Iss BROWN. You may deceive poor Lizzie, but the rest wont believe that nonsense, JONES. Each to his Own folly. Everybody here is batty about something-_except us, of course! I shall tell our excellent landlady that our inquisitive friend Long is a Secret Service Government Inspector of Boarding Houses, bent on investigating her table. Miss BROWN. Good heavens! Shell poison him! (Enter MIss SMITH, MR. ROBERTS, MRS. and Mm HILL. General Good-mornings and a search for mail at the side table. The HILLS take places at the table furthest from the hall door. ROBERTS is seated at the other table. HILL reads the morning paper and ROBERTS gases morosely at the bare table~cloth in franz* of him. Mrss BROWN sits at the table with the HILLS. Lzzzm enters with cofee. Enter MRS. SIMPKINS, going to the table at which ROBERTS is seated. JoNEs detains Miss SMITH near the hall door.) JONES. Good-morning, Miss Smith! Miss SMITH. Perhaps it is a good morning, Mr. Jones, but to one of my temperament, mornings is a simply inhuman part of the day. To me day dont begin till one P. M.! JONES. You should be an actress, Miss Smith. MIss SMITH. Dont I know it? Irn acting all the time. Ive got so much temperament that sometimes the very sight of a typewriter makes me want to scream!

L um BREAKFAST 7 JONES. I wonder you dont leave the Go on the I'm sure youve got talent. Mxss SMITH. Jones, Ive got genius-though perhaps youll think I shouldnt say it about myself-_I know it! Why, sometimes when I recite Asleep at the Switch for the Good Times Club, I make myself cry, my emotions is so real! JONES. Youd better look out. Some of these managers will snap you up one of these days. Miss SMITH. Mr. Jones, I never met one. JONES. You cant say that after to-day. Miss SMITH. Hows that? JONES. Oh-nothing.-But I may as Well tell you in case anything happens. You ought to be prepared in case he does offer you a contract-Mr. Robert T, Long, Belascos right-hand man, you know, is coming here to breakfast this morning. Ought to be here now. He goes around like this, you know, looking for new talent.Y It as easy to as you might think, Miss Smith. But its hard to fool Long. He claims he can tell a lot, just from the tone of a gir1s voice, about her temperament, and all that. Miss SMITH. (Throwing much dramatic fervor into her voice) Believe me, he can, Mr. Jones! My friends all claim that my voice has the same timbre and a much more sympathetic quality than Ethel Barrymores! JONES. I dont know that Ive done just the right thing in telling you, Miss Smith. Long is kind of touchy. He likes to do these things on the quiet. Mlss SMITH. You may trust my discretion, Mr. Jones. Introduce him as a bond salesman. I can act a part! JONES. Ill do that. (MISS SMITH takes her place at the table 'with the HILLS and Mxss BROWN, who enjoys Miss SMrrHs dramatic mood.) Mns. SmrxINs. (Who has been serving breakfast) Arent you coming to breakfast, Mr. Jones, or doesnt