Dion Boucicault's “Dot, A Drama in Three Acts” (1859, 1862): Act Three

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 3rd

Same as Act 1st Scene 2nd [47/48]

John is discovered -- Enter Tackleton


Tackleton: John, my good fellow, how goes it this morning? You look a little streaky--don't ye?

John: I have had a poor night, Mr. Tackleton, but it's over now, and I want to say a word to you.

Tack.: I'm all attention.

John: Last night you showed me my wife alone with that man.

Tackleton: I saw it--so did you.

John: I did, and the live-long night through I've thought of nothing else, and I've thought it out.

Tackleton: Enter Dot [She listens.] You will act as an outraged husband should.

John: [48/49] I'll act as a man ought; listen, I mar- ried my wife because I had seen her grow up from a child in her father's house. I loved her, and love blinded me. I did not consider what she was.

Tackleton: Young, giddy, frivolous; I understand.

John: No, you don't, and you'd best not under stand inter[r]upt me till you do. If yesterday I'd a struck down the man who dared to breathe a word against her, to-day I'd set my foot in his face if he were my own brother. Did I consider I took her a child from her home? Noa, I married her because I loved her, not because she loved me.

Tackleton: But she has deceived you, hasn't she?

John: She has, for when she found she could not love me as she thought she might, why she kept that knowledge from me, and now, I begin to feel, how hard she has tried to be a [49/50] good and dutiful wife.

Tackleton: Hollo! What d'ye mean?

John: I mean, that I sat upon that hearth last night, where she has often sat beside me; it was on that spot I knelt and prayed and it has given me strength of heart to know what to do. I'll make her all the reparation in my power.

Tackleton: Make her reparation. I don't hear you right.

John: Don't ye? Then listen to me. I acquit her of all blame. All. This day one year ago she became my wife, and this day I will take her back to Pher father's house, and if any man wants to say a word agin her he's got to strip and stand up afore John Peerybingle, d'ye hear?

Tackleton: Distinctly. I'm uncommonly sorry for this affair, but you'll excuse me, I'm going to be married to-day May. Fielding makes no show of her affection for me--that's why I have no suspicion of her sincerity, ha! ha! This is altogether the happiest day of my life. [50/51]

John: Farewell, Dot; farewell, my little wife. If I can't make you love me, you shan't despise me anyway. No, it's a tough fight, but I'll act like a man.


Dot: [advancing] I don't know what I've done, but I feel as--as if something I oughtn’t to a done. Oh! aint I a bad 'un? Oh, where shall I die? When I--go to--

Enter Tilly with the baby.

Tilly: Ow! Ow! Don't, Mums, it's enough to dead and bury the babies, so it is.

Enter Caleb: How d'ye do, Mum? I'm in a peck of trouble.

Dot: [an error; should be Caleb] All last night, Bertha walked about her room, stopping now and again, and giving such a sigh. [51/52]

Dot: Like John.

Caleb: At daylight she crept out. I followed her. She went to the church, and felt her way until she came to her Mother's biding place. There she lay, clasping the ridge of grass, and far off I stood, and I dussent ask her why she left me to seek her dead Mother. I've done something bad, Mum.

Dot: So have I.

Caleb: Perhaps she has found me out.

Tilly: Oh, Mums, here's Bertha feeling her way along the road.

Caleb: Bertha!--

Dot: Let her come. Don't ye move. Don't say a word.

Enter Bertha. Dot, dear, I have come to you.

Dot: What ails ye, dear? [52/53]

Bertha: Dot, we have had a good genius in our house-- one who has been so kind and good to us, so rough in manner, but so gentle in deed.

Caleb: She means Tackleton.

Bertha: The portrait my father drew of him made me love him.

Dot: You love him, him!

Bertha: Could I help it, and when this morning the village bells peeled for his union with another -- to one who does not love him, because she does not know him as I do.

Caleb: Gracious powers, have I deceived her from her cradle, to break her heart at last.

Bertha: Who's that, my father?

Caleb: [53/54] Bertha, I have heard your confession, and now you must hear mine; hear me, and forgive me. Your road in life was rough, I wanted to smooth it for you. So as I wandered from the truth, I have altered objects around you [and] changed the characters of people.

Bertha: Changed their characters?

Caleb: I must tear the veil from your eyes. I have deceived you. Mr. Tackleton is a stern, sordid, grinding man, a hard master to me for many a year, ugly in look, cold and callous in nature.

Bertha: He! he!

Caleb: He is a demon that I have made your idol.

Bertha: Oh, father, father, what have you done?

Caleb: Don't cry, Bertha, dear. Oh, what shall I do? Shall I go away and never see you any more. Oh dear! Oh dear!

Bertha: [54/55] Dot, you will not deceive me. Tell me, what is my home?

Dot: It is a poor place; the house will scarce keep out the wind and rain.

Caleb: Oh dear, oh dear.

Dot: The roof is in lays, and the walls are patched like the sackcloth of Caleb's only coat.

Caleb: Do leave me my blue coat.

Bertha: Look where my father is and tell me what you see.

Dot: I see an old man, lean and haggard.

Caleb: Oh dear. She'll hate me now.

Dot: Wore to the bone with care and work. Hunger and misery have been around you, but he only knew it. So his love has turned your blindness into a blessing.

Bertha: [55/56] And I might have died, and never knew I had such a father; father, at last I know you.

Caleb: And you don't miss the blue coat?

Bertha: No, no.

Caleb: And the brass buttons, dear?

Bertha: No, peace has returned, and I have now an idol for my love no one can take from me. I could not feel happier.

Dot: Yes, you could, and ye will, too. Hark! those bells. What d'ye hear? Listen.

Bertha: I hear shouts, and the sound of wheels; they stop at this door.

Tilly: They're a coming, Mums; everybody's got Married. Here comes the crush--here he be.

Dot: [To Caleb] You should look at him.

Enter Edward: [56/57] 'Tis all over, Dot. She's mine, fast as the parson can make her.

Dot: D'ye here that voice, Caleb?

Caleb: Oh dear, it can't be.

Edward: My Son! My son.

Edward: Father! [Embrace.]

Caleb: It is, it is. My boy, my son.

Bertha: My brother, my little Brother.

Caleb: Her little brother, ho! ho! ho!

Bertha: Ah! I had forgotten [embraces him].

Caleb: There he is, and here's the real blue coat and brass buttons at last--hurrah!

Dot: [57/58] Ain't he splendid?

Edward: Dot, dear, how much don't I love you? [Embraces her]

Enter John: Dot!

Dot: Here I am; d'ye see 'who this is?

Caleb: Look a long look: 'tis my boy.

John: Ned, Ned Plummer!

Caleb: From the Golden South Americas.

Dot: Now tell him all, Edward, and don't spare me a bit.

Edward: I was the deaf, old man. John, forgive me for deceiving you for awhile, but I wanted to see if May Fielding was still constant and true.

Dot: And when I asked him to let his old friend John into the Secret, he said John was too open-hearted to keep the Secret. And I promised to keep the Secret if he wouldn't run off to Sea again, and I did it, John, and they were Married an hour ago, and here's the bride [Enter [58/59]

May: ] And Old Tackleton may hang himself or die a bachelor.

John: Dot, my own darling Dot.

Dot: You doubted me, John. I overheard it, and you thought to send me away. Oh, how could you do it?

John: Because I was a fool.

Dot: If I could have loved you better than I do, the noble words you spoke this morning to old Tackleton would have made me, but I can't, and now, my dear husband, take me to your heart and-- and never think of sending me away to any other. [Embrace]

Enter Tackleton and Mrs. Fielding

Tackleton: Hello, I say, what's this? There's some mistake here.

Mrs. Fielding: My daughter in the arms of a blue stranger.

Caleb: In the arms of my son. [59/60]

Tackleton: I beg your pardon, Sir, but that young lady has made rather a particular engagement with me this morning.

Edward: She has also made a particular engagememt with me this morning.

Tackleton: What! My parson ready. My beadle ready. My boys ready to shout, all at the church! Nothing wanting but the bride.

Edward: The bride has been to church once this morning. And I found everything as you stated. Much obliged for your attention.

Mrs. Fielding: Married, oh that I should ever live to see this day!

Tackleton: Don't be an old fool. Allow me to understand all this; this is Mrs. Plummer then I infer.

Dot: That's the Name.

Tackleton: [60/61] Oh, certainly; it's all right. Quite correct. Miss Slowboy, will you have the kindness to throw this wedding [ring] into the fire? Good morning, Ladies and gentlemen--it's quite satisfactory--good morning.


Tilly: If it ain't. I'll marry him.


John: Here come all the villagers; they come to wish Caleb joy of Ned's return. Come in, lads and lasses [all enter]. There he is, and there's my little wife, and there's the bride. Hurrah, boys, a cheer for us all together [all shout].

Enter Tilly with Cake.

Please, Mums, here's Mr. Tackleton come back and says if you please, as he hasn't got no use for this cake himself, perhaps you'll all eat it. And ple[a]se, he's got a few toys for babies, and they ain't ugly no ways.

Dot: What does he mean? Come in, Man.

Tackleton: It means that the village is empty, and all the folks are flocking here. My house is very lonely [61/62] today. I have not as much as a cricket on my hearth; don't be hard upon me, Neighbours, but let me join your happy party.

Dot: >Aye shall ye, for if we can make you happy you will become good and kind.

Caleb: Come, clear the room for a dance. I'm 20 years old again. I'm dressed in blue and pink and brass buttons allover. Horrow! places, boys and girls.

John: Tap the ale, Tilly; bless you all everyone, and bless my darling little wife Dot.

Tilly: And the babies. [Cricket chirps]

Dot: And don't forget the cricket on the hearth.

All shout.

All join in a dance; at the last figure the back of scene opens and discovers the group of fairies. Chorus as curtain descends.

Created 27 February 2003

Last modified 16 January 2020