Dion Boucicault's Dot, an adaptation of Charles Dickens's second Christmas Book, The Cricket on the Hearth (December 1845), was first produced in New York City at the Winter Garden Theatre on 14 September 1859, a production in which Agnes Robertson, Boucicault's young wife, played the eponymous role. The first British performance appears to have been on 14 April 1862 at London's Adelphi Theatre, a production in which Louise Keeley had the leading role. Although the holographic manuscript is still available in the Lord Chamberlain's Collection [Reference: British Library MSS Add. 53013E], it has yet to be published.

In the following transcription, the names of speakers have been bolded. Minor punctuation such as the colon in "Speaker:" has been added; anything else is given with the notation [ ...]. Page breaks in original manuscript are indicated in the following form: [1/2].

Act 2nd A Landscape

[26/27]

Enter Tackleton and Mrs. Fielding.

Tack.:

Your observations like yourself, Ma'am, are admirable.

Mrs. F.:

Mr. Tackleton, you are about to enter a family which has always looked back to the time when we had liveries of our own, and when we rode in a carriage. I might say that if a certain Calamity Not Unconnected with the Indigo trade-- But, no, these are subjects to[o] painful to contemplate.

Tackleton:

Much, don't let us talk of 'em.

Mrs. F.:

I cannot give you a fortune with my daughter.

Tackleton:

Quite the contrary, Ma'am. I hold a little Note of yours, which when I receive your daughter's hand, I propose to hand you over.

Mrs. F.:

Here comes my child. [27/28]

Tack.

She does not look as if tomorrow was going to be the happiest days of her life. I hope that kind of thing ain't going to last.

Mrs. F.:

Mr. Tackleton, women who like my daughter can look back___

Tack.:

That's what I object to, Ma'am, for when your daughter looks back, she sees an infernal Sailor chap, that I don't want her to see.

Mrs. F.:

My dear child, why are you so sad?

May:

I am on a sad errand, Mother. I am going to Caleb's to tell them I have given up all hope of Ned's return.

Tack.:

What pleasure can you find in the society of that old fool and his blind daughter?

May:

Oh! could you hear the enthusiasm with which Bertha speaks of you. She attributes to you the comforts of their home. [28/29]

Tack.:

Comforts, it's a worthless shed, I rented to Caleb to save him from the workhouse.

May:

She does not know how poor they are. When she lost her sight, Caleb was still well off, and she remains ignorant of their ruin. And he makes her believe, that their miserable abode is a neat cottage, and their life is what it was.

Tack.:

He could have a decent living if he had only himself to support. Why don't he put the girl in the Asylum?

John [outside]:

Down, Boxer! Down.

Tack.:

'Tis John Peerybingle and his family, they are going to Caleb's. I must get there first. Good day, Malam. [Aside] Not a look, obstinate as the very devil. Wait till we're married.

Exit.

May:

Oh! Mother, must I be that Man's wife, is there no alternative?

Mrs. F.: [29/30]

Think of your family, look back.

May:

No. No, to look back breaks my heart, and to look forward fills me with horror.

Enter John and Dot.

John:

What, May, and old Mrs. Indigo.

Dot:

Oh! Look at Tilly. She can't get down out of the cart.

John:

Hello, Tilly, whyD don't ye get down?

Tilly [outside]:

The cart's too high, and my legs are too short.

Dot:

Go and help her, John. [Exit John.] Let John and the old lady go first. I want ye; d'ye see yon old man?

May:

Just got out of your cart.

Dot:

He has just come from furrin parts; he knew Ned.

Enter Tilly running. [30/31]

Oh, if you please, Mums, that old gentleman's after this precious baby.

Dot:

Nonsense!--

Tilly:

Well, Mums, it's either me or the baby, for he's been a pinchin both on us, all the ways along[--] here he comes.

Re-Enter John with Edward disguised John.

Come, let's joy on Mrs. Indi -- I would say Mrs. Fielding -- take my arm, we're not far off a pair, are we?

Mrs. F.:

You are just the height of my poor husband who died shortly after that calamity in the Indigo trade.

John:

Exactly, Ma'am. I was there at the time.

Arms her off.

Dot:

May, what d'ye think, yon old man's brought ye a letter.

May:

From Edward?

Dot:

[31/32]

Bear up, May. Writ many years ago, the last he writ before his death, if indeed he be dead.

May:

Give it me, quick. [May reads.] "My own Sweet May. I write the[se] lines to let you know that I am well, and that my love for you is as deep as ever, whatever betide. Never despair, but if death overhaul me, why then, May, when you come to love another, and why should you not, then give to Dot my letters and the lock of my hair, I gave you at parting. God bless you. Your lover, Ned."--

Dot:

My dear, is your mind made up? Shall I ask you for that letter and the lock of poor Ned's hair?

May:

No! No! My own dear Ned.

Edward [aside]:

She can't, huzza, it's all right.

Dot:

Come, May, let's get on to Caleb's.

May:

Oh, Dot, what can I do, have I any alternative?

Dot:

You can do what's right, and what's wrong, take your choice. And I'll help you. [32/33]

Exit followed by Tilly and Edward.

Scene 2nd

Caleb's Cottage

Caleb discovered at work:

Here we are, as near the real thing as I can get it. I must hurry, or John and Dot will arrive before my work is done.

Enter Bertha:

Father, I have dressed myself in my best to welcome John and Dot. How do I look? Is our room tidy?

Caleb:

Oh, beautiful; homely, but snug.

Bertha:

The walls are hung with blue, ain't they?

Caleb:

Yes. You can scarce see them for the pictures.

Bertha:

I remember; the portrait of dear brother Ned is over the fireplace.

Caleb: [33/34]

Yes, yes.

Bertha:

I hope the rain last night did not hurt your new blue coat.

Caleb:

Not a bit.

Bertha:

A blue coat is it not?

Caleb:

Yes. Bright blue.

Bertha:

The color I can just remember in the blessed sky.

Caleb:

And brass buttons.

Bertha:

I forget, I am idling. I must get to my work.

Caleb [aside]:

Poor child. She lives in a world that I have made for her. She little dreams of the ¼wretchedness around her.

Bertha:

You are speaking softly. Are you tired?

Caleb:

Tired! What could tire me, hearty and strong as I am?

Tackleton [without]:

Hollo! You, Caleb.

Bertha: [34/35]

'Tis Mr. Tackleton's voice, our dear, kind Master.

Caleb:

With so rough a manner, a rough diamond, Bertha, eh?--

Bertha:

Yes, I know, but why does he conceal his generous, kind nature under so rude a manner?

Caleb:

It's his joke; while he speaks so harsh he is winking at me all the time. [aside] Ah! if she only knew the brute he is. [Sings]

Enter Tackleton:

What, you are singing, are you? Go it. I can't sing-- I wouldn't if I had the voice.

Caleb [to Bertha]:

If you could only see how he's winking at me. Such a man to joke. [aside] Heaven forgive me.

Bertha:

Always Merry and light-hearted with us, Mr. Tackleton.

Tack.:

Oh, you are there, are you? Well, being there, how are you?

Bertha:

Quite well, and as happy as your kind heart can wish me.

Tack [aside]: [35/36]

She's a lunatic, a confirmed lunatic.

Bertha:

You sent me a little rose tree yesterday.

Tack.:

The devil I did!

Caleb [aside]:

Oh, dear! I shall be found out.

Bertha:

I placed it in the window that it might see the Sun. [Kisses his hand]

Tack.:

Hello! What's the matter now?

Bertha:

May all the blessings you bestow upon others be repaid you hereafter.

Tack.:

Not a gleam of reason left. Mad as a March Hare. This is the evening, isn't it, that Dot and her husband spend the evening here?--

Bertha:

Yes.

Tack.:

Well, I want to join your party.

Bertha:

Do you hear that, father?

Caleb: [36/37]

Oh, yes! [aside] I wish I didn't.

Tack.:

You see, next Thursday I'm going to be Married.

Bertha: Married!

Tack.:

I do believe she don't know what Marriage means; d'ye understand, a wed - ding.

Bertha:

Yes--I--understand.

Tack.:

Oh, you do, do you? 'Tis more than I expected. " You've got a lucid interval, I suppose. Well, I shall come and bring my bride.

Bertha:

Your Bride?

Tackleton:

Yes, d'ye think a man can get Married without a bride? My bride, May Fielding. I shall be back again as soon as I can. So you'll expect me. [To Caleb] Take care she don't forget what I've been saying to her.

Caleb: [37/38]

She never forgets.

Tackleton:

Ah, well. What should I do with such a daughter?

Exit.

Caleb:

You'd kill her in a week. [aside] Im always nervous when he's here. IÕm afraid she'll find me out.

Bertha:

I'm lonely in the dark. I want my eyes. Look at May--tell me, is she very beautiful?

Caleb:

Yes, very beautiful. And such eyes--oh, such eyes.

Bertha:

Such eyes!

Caleb:

No, no. I don't mean that. Bertha, I -- I --

Bertha:

Go on, dear father, tell me more: is Mr. Tackleton older or younger than she?--

Caleb:

Well, a little older--not to signify.

Bertha:

I hear a footstep, hush, 'tis hers; 'tis Dot and Another is with her.

Enter Dot and May. [38/39]

Dot:

Here we be. I've brought Tilly and our baby and Boxer.

May:

Bertha [She starts.] You . . . tremble; will you not kiss me?

Bertha:

Yes. May, I wish you all the happiness that, that--

Dot:

D'ye see? She turns from you. She remembers that you were her brother's Sweetheart.

Enter Edward.

Bertha:

Who is that?

Dot:

It is an oldman, dear.

Bertha:

No.

Edward [aside]:

My Sister, my poor, blind Sister.

Bertha:

It is not the fool of an old man, and a stranger would have paused at the door.

Caleb:

You are wrong this time, Bertha.

Dot: [39/40]

He is our guest at home, and we beg for him a seat at your table; he's as deaf as a post. [To him] Sit thee down. [Enter Tilly] Why, Tilly, where have you been?

Tilly:

I've been running, Mums. I thought the old gentleman was after me.

Enter John and Mrs. Fielding.

[John:] Caleb, Man, how d'ye do? Come, let's help Caleb to set the table. Here's a chicken I've brought to add to our sociability.

Mrs F.:

And here's a bottle of wine.

Dot:

And here's a pinch of tea. I thought it might be useful. And: Tilly, where's the sugar and the cake?

Tllly:

Here, Mums. [produces parcel]

John:

Come, let's all help--lead the way, Caleb.

Exit Caleb, Dot, John and Tilly.

May:

Mother, do not ask me to marry Tackleton.

Mrs. F.:

Not Marry him! -- What a sentiment.

Bertha [aside]:

Ah! What do I hear? [40/41]

May:

I still love Edward. I love him with all my heart.

Edward [aside]:

I shall hug her directly.

Mrs. F.:

May, I am astonished at you; have you not given your word?

May:

As the traveller gives his purse, he said to me, "Your love or your life."

Bertha [aside]:

She does not love him. Oh, why does my heart rejoice?

Re-Enter Caleb, Dot, John, and Tilly with supper.

Caleb:

Here we are. Now, then, for supper.

Enter Tackleton.

Ah? here we are, bravo! Let us make a night of it. I've brought a tart [produces a small one].

Dot:

Tilly, put that where the flies won't get at it.

Tilly:

Yes, Mums. [Eats it quickly] all sit at table /

Tackleton: [41/42]

Now, this is sociable, ain't it?

Caleb:

How comfortable we do look--if ømy poor boy was only amongst us. [Rises.] Ladies and gentlemen all, here's the bride and bridegroom, which tomorrow's wedding will join.

Tackleton:

Hear! Hear!

Caleb:

Especially the bride, and I wish her many happy returns of the day.

Dot:

Hear! hear!

Caleb:

And the old lady too. You good health, Mum.

Mrs. F.:

My friends, Heaven has given me a good and dutiful child, although the husband I have chosen for my child has been rejected many times by my daughter.

Dot:

Hear! hear!

Mrs. F.:

He enters a family which, but for circumstances not wholly unconnected with a crisis in the indigo trade, might have been wealthy. I beg to conclude by stating that tomorrow is the only day I desire to behold. After that I wish to retire to an early but respectable grave in a genteel place of burial. [sits]

John: [42/43]

Now, Doþt, it's your turn; give us a song to fit the occasion.

Dot:

What, May's Marriage? I've got one will suit.

Caleb:

Sing it, Dot; if it could only bring back my boy.

Song Auld Robin Gray .

Tackleton:

She has made May weep. Confound her chirping.

John:

I'm getting sociable. Dot, give me my pipe. Caleb, give us a stave.

Exit Edward.

Tackleton:

Hello, the old gentleman's telegraphing Dot.

Dot [aside]:

He beckons me.

Caleb sings.

John:

Bravo! What a voice. [Exit Tackleton.] Where's my bacca box? I'll have a pipe.

Re-Enter Tackleton:

Oh, I've caught 'em, I've caught 'em.

Caleb:

What shall we do, play a round game or tell fortuns.

Tilly: [43/44]

Tell fortuns;it frightens a body so nice.

John:

My fortun don't need no wizard to tell it. The best wife alive.

Tack.:

Oh! Oh!

John:

A happy home over my head, a blessed baby and a cricket on my hearth. What are you squirming at there like lobworms on a fish hook?

Caleb:

Now, cut, Ma'am, three times.

Tack.:

Look round ye. Where's Dot, where's the old, deaf gent, eh? They're gone, ain't they?

John:

Gone, where?

Tack.:

I'll shew you where. Come; hush.

John and Tack. exit.

Caleb:

What's here? There's the King of diamonds, that's John. There's a black Knave--

Tilly: [44/45]

That's Tackleton.

Caleb:

He stands between John and the Queen of hearts.

Bertha:

Dot is the Queen.

Caleb:

There she is, along with a light man, who comes across the water. I wish it could be my boy. What's this? A bundle.

Tilly:

A bundle, that's baby's.

<P>Caleb:

I can't make it out.

Re-Enter John and Tackleton at back of Cottage.

Tackleton:

Come here.

Caleb:

There's that Knave again. What is he about?

John:

Why have you brought that gun?

Tackleton:

To keep it from you, because it is loaded, and you might be rash.

John: [45/46]

What are ye driving at?

Tackleton:

John, be cool. The old man, your guest that your wife was so urgent should stop under your roof, is no old man at all, but a strapping, young fellow in disguise.

John:

Ye lie, varmin, ye lie.

Tackleton:

I tell ye, they are together, in yonder barn. I saw 'em through the key hole: look, look.

John:

My wife. She there?

Tackleton:

Hush! look there [goes to stable door].

Caleb:

I don't like that Knave.

Tilly:

He do stick out bad, don't he?

Tackleton opens door of stable and discovers Edward & Dot.

John:

My wife! And he! [seizes gun from Tack.]

Tackleton: [46/47]

Take care.

John:

In his arms. [Raises gun then drops it.] I cannot. See. My brain, my bra[in.] [falls in the snow]

Caleb:

Look, there: the little Queen seems in more trouble still.

Tilly:

She don't stand well, do she?

Tableau

Curtain.

End of Act 2nd.


Last modified 27 February 2003