A Kiss In The Dark

General Information

Dear readers,

'A Kiss In The Dark' by John Baldwin Buckstone was published in 1840, a comedy about a man kissing a woman at the wrong time -- in the dark.

This book has been digitalized and made available on Archive.org. The scanning process resulted in many strange characters, spelling errors, poor quality pictures, and other problems in the file. I have tried to correct as many errors as I could find, but you may still find other issues occasionally. I hope you'll accept the imperfections but still find value in reading this story.

The images on this website are taken from https://archive.org/stream/kissindarkfarcei00buckuoft#page/n5/mode/2up.

Because of the website design, I've split the story into 7 sections and added a title to each section.

K. C. Lee
Story Collector
November 24, 2015

Pet. Woman, look at that man -- look at his nose. Now go to your room -- to the glass, and look at your own! come, madam, come.

Cast Of Characters

First performed at the Theatre-Royal, Haymarket, on Saturday, June 13th, 1840.

Original Cast & Burton's

Mr. Selim Pettibone .......... Mr. Buckstone, Mr. Burton.

Frank Fathom ................... J. Webster , Mr. Jordan

Mrs. Pettibone .................. Mrs. Clifford, Miss Hill

Mary ................................. Miss Matley, Miss Morgan

Unknown Female ............. Miss Partridge, Miss Atkins

Time in Representation -- Forty Minutes

PETTIBONE -- Green Newmarket coat, white vest, nankeen
trowsers, boots, hat, and gloves.

FRANK -- Traveling cloak, dark surtout, white trowsers, and boots.

MRS. PETTIBONE -- White muslin dress.

MARY -- Cotton dress and cap.

UNKNOWN FEMALE -- Silk dress, shawl, bonnet, and veil.


R. means Right;
L. Left;
R. D. Right Door;
L. D. Left Door;
S. E. Second Entrance;
U. E. Upper Entrance;
C. Centre.
C. D. Centre Door.


This is one of the most laughable productions of BUCKSTONE'S comic muse. It is, every line, genuine farce and its success should have contented the author. Originality in a trifle like this, is not absolutely requisite : a laugh is all that is aimed at and this he has succeeded in raising, in a perfect storm of cachination; but, when he claims originality for "A Kiss in the Dark" in the following advertisement

" ' A Kiss in the Dark ' is original which is, perhaps, its best recommendation, and only necessary to state at this moment, in consequence of the probable International Copyright Law,"

He courts detection. The novelty of idea claimed, is, we suppose, the spot of ink placed on the lady's nose, as a tell-tale. We remember seeing a very good story in all the newspapers, twelve cr fourteen years ago, in which an incident was recorded of a newly married couple traveling in a railroad-car. The lady's under lip was adorned with what was fashionably termed, " a beauty-spot," consisting of a small piece of round black sticking-plaster, placed there, most saucily, as an ornament. The bridegroom, in passing under one of the long dark-covered bridges that span our rivers, took the opportunity of stealing a sly kiss (" A Kiss in the Dark,") from his loving and lovely partner; and, when the carriage emerged from darkness, lo! the "beauty-spot" had changed places, and adorned the mouth of the gentleman to the no small amusement of their fellow-passengers; and what gave peculiar zest to the joke was, the only parties unconscious of the mirth they were causing, were the lovers themselves, until the lady suddenly turning, looked in her husband's face, and there beheld the tell-tale patch, without daring to ask him to remove it!

Buckstone may or may not have seen this story but it robs him of the originality of the idea. Then Old Cockletop, in " Modern Antiques" talks exactly in the same manner about his antiquities and museum, as the lady in this piece commences her soliloquy; while the idea of the ink may be taken (we do not say it is) from a good old comedy, in which the modest young gentleman upsets the ink, and, to prevent detection, sops it up with his pocket-handkerchief; and in the same scene forgetting the circumstance applies this same handkerchief to wipe his face and so transferring the ink, creates a shout of laughter from the audience. Well, Mr. Buckstone has made the most of this joke, by doubling its effect; and, for the Unknown Lady, a dozen modern farces contain the name incident : for example, we call up " Jim Crow Rice's " farce of " Jumbo Jum," where Sir Solomon Sligo's " rib " returns in the same manner, although not to delight, but to torment her husband by the re-union.

These remarks may appear ill-natured, but they have been elicited by the challenge of the Author, who writes so much and so well, he has no occasion to look to any other source than his own brain for original ideas; and his present farce of the " Kiss in the Dark " will always please the audience; and, if not original, we must in justice admit, it is most excellently compiled.

F. C. W.

A Visitor

SCENE I. An Apartment in the Villa of MR. PETTIBONE at Clapham. Entrance at back, leading to Garden. In the flat, L. H., are the windows of a Conservatory. Doors R. and L. Table and chairs, sofa table, R., with writing materials and inkstand.

MRS. PETTIBONE discovered at table, R., writing.

Mrs. P. I must complete the inventory of my present collection of curiosities, this evening, as I shall gain such an addition to my museum on the. arrival of my husband's friend, Mr. Fathom, that I shall be unable to recollect all the names and uses of my little wonders, unless they are carefully written down, (writes) ' No. 22 a bit of the blarney used at Cork, 23 The ashes of the first pipe of tobacco smoked in England 24. is -- (gate bell rings without, L.) A ring at the gate bell! Can't be he! Seven o'clock is the precise moment for Mr. P. Perhaps it is Mr. Fathom.

Enter MARY. L.

Mary. The gentleman, ma'am, that jou've been expecting from foreign parts -- he has just drove up to the gate, and is putting such a quantity of queer things into the hall.

Mrs.P. My presents, no doubt I thought he'd be here to-night -- pray ask him in. (Exit MARY. L) I shall now be completely set up with all sorts of Indian articles, tomahawks, and scalps, and war-clubs, and everything wonderful!

Enter FRANK FATHOM, L., in a traveling dress, cloak, cap, etc.

Frank. Oh. my dear madam -- rejoiced to see you! (puts cap, etc on sofa, L)

Mrs. P. How do you do?! Lord, how brown you are! and how traveling alters people! you look so improved, so expanded. I may say. (Gets over to L) Pray sit down. (Places his chair, R) Pettibone will be so glad you are come; he has been talking of you, and looking for the arrival of packets every day. (Seats herself, L.) And are you quite well?

Frank. Quite well, ma'am -- rather fatigued -- just arrived from Bristol.

Mrs. P. And you've been traveling in America, and have come home in the Great Western? What a deal you must have seen! How Pettibone will devour your narratives!

Frank. He must have a good digestion, then; for the wonders I have met with have been astounding. Oh! Mrs. P., think of log-huts -- waterfalls -- mosquitoes -- canvas back ducks -- corderoy roads -- niggers -- canals -- swamps -- dollars, and mint juleps!

Mrs. P. Dear me!

Frank. I've matter enough to keep you and Pettibone wide awake every night for the next six weeks.

Mrs. P. And my promised curiosities?

Frank. They are in the hall: a beautiful buffalo skin -- a pipe of peace for you to smoke; when you've lift with Pettibone, and want to make it up, you must take a puff at it there's a pair of snow shoes and a scalping-knife I'll show you how the Indians take off the scalp when Pettibone comes borne.

Mrs. P. How charming!

Frank. You've a smart little place here, I see. You were just married, and moving into it. when I left England. A small conservatory, too, eh? -- garden before and behind -- snug distance from the road -- and everything comfortable.

[Rises, looks about, up stage, and comes down, L]

Mrs. P. We are very comfortable, indeed; Pettibone never stays out comes -- home regularly from the city at seven o'clock -- then we tea -- and talk, and play double dummy -- sometimes he sings pretty love songs, and says he's never so happy as when his boots are off, his slippers on, and he is taking his repose on the sofa.

Frank. What a sweet picture of domestic comfort! And P. makes a food husband, does he?

Mrs P. Excellent

Frank. What a gay little man he was when I first met him at the Lord Mayor's ball! what a favorite, too, with the ladies!

Mrs. P. Oh! he's left all that off now -- quite changed, bless you -- he continually tells me that, on his honor, he don't think there's such another woman in the world as I am. Hark!

[Clock strikes seven.]

Frank. At what?

Mrs. P. The clock striking seven: he won't be long now; he's never more than three or four minutes over. (Gate bell rings, L.) There! he's punctual to a minute.

[PETTIBONE sings, L., "I love her, how I love her."]

Frank. And singing, too, like a nightingale.


Pet. Ah, my boy, how d'ye do? I thought you had arrived, by the queer things I saw in the hall -- so glad to see you -- Betsey, give me a kiss. (Crossing to c.) Don't laugh at me: I never go out and never come in without going through this little ceremony; mind you always do the same when you get a wife, my boy; it keeps up the little cuddlybilities of domestic bliss, eh? -- prevents the water in the tea urn of matrimony, ever getting quite cold -- keeps it always a little on the simmer, eh?

Frank. And often saves you from getting into hot water, eh?

Pet. That's good, by jingo! give me your hand. You hav'nt brought home a wife among your curiosities, have you?

Frank. Oh! no, no. (Aside.) Because I left one behind me.

Pet. Time enough for that, eh? And now. Betsey -- boot jack! (Mrs. P. crosses, L.) Ah! stop -- I must show Frank my dahlias before it's quite dark, and take him round the garden -- such a nice garden! -- you should see me and Betsey, at seven o'clock in the morning, I'm in my morning gown, and Betsey in something with a frill round it, catching snails -- Betsey catches snails beautifully, and throws 'em over the wall into the next garden then we weed and rake -- much better than our Mansion House ball raking. What rum times they were, eh? Lord, I wonder what's become of Miss Dumpleby?

Mrs P. Selim, dear, no allusions to old flames -- I don't like it.

Pet. (Aside to FRANK.) You see what a happy fellow I am -- quite right, Betsey, dear -- quite right -- when we light up the torch of Hymen, we should always extinguish our old links, eh? Ha, ha, ha! to-be-sure.

Mrs. P. I'll just step into the hall and look at my presents; there are snow shoes and a scalping knife, dear. Mr. Fathom is going to show me how the scalp is taken off -- you'll lend him your head to exemplify, won't you, dear?

Pet. Oh! I dare say.

Mrs. P. To please me, won't you, dear?

Pet. Yes, dear. (Exit MRS. P., L) My boy, that's a dear creature such a temper -- no frowning -- no shying plates -- oh, no, none of that here, and such high notions -- devilish high -- I sometimes think she ought to be a queen of some place or other, instead of the wife of a little anxious stock broker.

Frank. She's a fine woman.

Pet. Now isn't she?

Frank. And you ought to be -- no doubt you are a happy fellow?

Pet. Yes

Frank. Completely happy?

Pet. Why, no -- urn -- as to the word completely, in its dictionary sense, I don't think I can altogether use it in my case.

Frank. Indeed!

Pet. It's all my own fault -- I can't help tormenting myself.

Frank. With what?

Pet. The metaphysics of matrimony.

Frank. What do you mean by metaphysics?

Pet. I mean by metaphysics what I can't explain, and you can't understand -- human nature, and inconsistency, and all that. Frank, you and I are old friends -- look at me -- am I handsome?

Frank. Certainly not.

Pet. Six feet high?

Frank. Quite the reverse.

Pet. Have I anything engaging in my manner?

Frank. Not that I can perceive.

Pet. Oh, you are right: I asked a plain question, and I've got a very plain answer. Now, what could a fine, handsome, intellectual, queen-like woman as Mrs P. is, see in me to marry me? Eh? Now think of the metaphysics of matrimony, and imagine what my thoughts must be when I lay awake on my pillow at two o'clock in the morning sometimes.

Frank. You don't mean to say you are jealous of her?

Pet. No, though to be sure I am in the city a!l day, and she is here alone all day.

Frank. Very true.

Pet. Ah! now you begin to enter into my feelings, a thought has struck me. You, my boy, were an old beau of my wife's, only I cut you out, how I should like -- Lord! how I should like -- (PETTIBONE is speaking in an undertone -- MRS. PETTIBONE is re-entering, L. stops on seeing them and listens.)

Frank. What?

Pet. To put my Betsey to the test, and see how she would behave to a man that would dare to make love to her, will you try?

Frank. I!

Pet. You! Make yourself agreeable to her -- touch upon your early feelings -- pity her being alone all day -- talk of your travels -- sigh -- ask her if she is really happy -- eh? What do you think? I'm sure she'd knock you down; but you wouldn't mind that to serve me.

Frank. Rather a dangerous position to place me in!

Pet. I'll give you every opportunity, upon my life I will; do. It will make me so happy; your'e a good-looking fellow -- you know -- a fine dashing manner with you -- try -- do --do.

Frank. If it will serve to make your happiness complete.

Pet. It would -- now it would.

Frank. I'll do my best.

Pet. There's a good fellow. (MRS. P. withdraws, threatening PETTIBONE.) We shall have such a laugh when it's over.

Frank. Perhaps not.

Pet. Eh!

Frank. Perhaps she might encourage me.

Pet. Oh, no, no, she wouldn't -- oh, don't mention it; I should explode -- die of self-combustion; but she won't, no, no -- you'll have such a box on the ears -- a stinger; I know you will.

Mrs. P. (Without.) Be careful of them, Mary.

Pet. There she is -- I'll give you half an hour at once, while supper is getting ready.

I'm To Put Her To The Test


Mrs. P. Well, my dear Mr. Fathom, I'm delighted with my presents, with the war-club, especially; take care P. that you never offend me; I could fell you to the ground with the slightest tap; your kind thought of me, Mr. Fathom, while you were far away, has really affected me.

Pet. Dear fellow, isn't he, Betsey?

Mrs. P. Indeed he is -- it is such thought -- such attention, that has influence over our sex.

Frank. I hope, dear madam, that your wishes will often occupy my thoughts, and command my attention.

Pet. (Aside to FRANK.) Ah, that's it -- something in that way -- be delicate, though.

Frank. It makes me so happy, placed as we were in early life, to see you thus surrounded by every comfort; yet, when I sometimes think of my disappointment, I -- I. Ah! well, I won't talk about it. (Aside to PETTIBONE.) Is that what you mean?

Pet. Yes, yes, only put in a little more ardor -- go it.

Mrs. P. (Sighing.) Ah, my dear sir, memory has its regrets as well as pleasures.

Pet. (Aside.) What? eh? -- what does she mean by that observation and that sigh? Surely she ain't sorry she's Mrs. P. -- oh, good heavens, if she was --.

Mrs. P. I hope you are going to make a long stay; P. has had a room fitted up purposely, (FRANK and MRS P. go up and change sides.)

Pet. Only calls one P.; the first time she ever uttered that letter without the word dear; she is certainly looking at him very oddly, or it may be only my fancy -- it is -- it must Betsey -- Betsey -- dear, (crosses to c.) I'm going to the nursery.

Frank. What a family man!

Pet. No. the nursery garden, where the bulbs are -- not the nursery where the babies are. I've ordered some -- some plants. I shan't stay long.

Mrs. P. Oh, pray don't hurry yourself, I have company now, you know -- when I'm alone, I am always anxious for your return: but when one has a friend here, and such an old friend, too, as Mr. Fathom, the little half hours slip by in a minute.

Pet. Oh, her little half hours slip by in a minute, ah, ha, ha! of course of course (aside to FRANK.) you needn't go very far just touch upon the topic, that's all -- she'll resent it. I know -- but -- but ---.

Frank. I'm to put her to the test at all events.

Pet. Oh, certainly; but don't be too savage, that's all -- you understand.

Mrs. P. (Aside) I'm to be put to the test, am I? -- very well sir. Are you not going, my dear?

Pet. Oh. she calls me dear at last; but sometimes loving expressions are used the more to deceive -- yes. Betsey, I'm going shall be absent about half an hour, not longer, (going) good-bye. (Aside.) I wish I could see. be an eye-witness how she'd act -- I will -- I have it -- good bye, (going) oh. my kiss! (Puts on his hat and hurries off L., after kissing MRS. P.)

Frank. Good creature that, but very odd -- though he seems affectionate, and certainly is fond of you.

Mrs. P. Yes, I've very few complaints to make; he's pretty well, as husbands go.

Frank. (Seated.) Now for my task -- well. Elizabeth, how familiar it sounds to call you by that name, and what a variety of recollections it brings to one's mind.

Mrs. P. All! when I received your first letter. (PET. appears in conservatory at back watching them)

Frank. Did'nt I write it in a beautiful hand and how I trembled when I had fairly given sixpence to a boy to deliver it (They are seated at some distance, but advance closer to each other, PET. watching.)

Mrs P. And though I didn't reply to it, there was a sincerity in its tone that always pleased me.

Frank. (Aside.) Upon ray word she seems really to speak with regret; well, I must proceed at any rate -- (they draw their chairs nearer, PET. agonized) -- how was it I made so little impression on you? how was it that Pettibone became the happy man? You can tell me now.

Mrs. P. You flirted so.

Frank. Did I?

Mrs. P. And seemed to be taken with every fresh face you met.

Frank. Consider what was my age -- nineteen -- we are all coxcombs at that age, and perhaps -- perhaps (they draw their chairs closer, PET. clasps his hands in despair,) your apparent coldness made me affect to admire another, merely to provoke you, and let you see I was not breaking my heart, and -- and -- (takes her hand,) well, I wish you every happiness. (He kisses her hand -- PET. smashes a pane of glass and disappears -- FRANK and MRS. PET. start up.)

Mrs. P. What's that?

Frank. A pane of glass broken.

Mrs P. It is those tiresome children in the next village always throwing stones. (Loud ringing of a bell. There's P. come back, how vexed he will be.)


Enter PETTIBONE, L., affecting to sing.

Pet. Tol lol de lol, &c., I'm come back. (Sings.) I'm come back -- what's the matter, Betsey? you seem confused.

Mrs. P. I've been startled.

Pet. Indeed!

Mrs. P. While talking with our friend, some one threw a stone through one of the panes of the conservatory.

Pet. Oh, was that all; never mind, Betsey.

Mrs. P. Yes, dear.

Pet. Bring me a carving-knife -- I mean a corkscrew when I say a carving-knife I always mean a corkscrew, I want to open some hock -- it's in your room -- don't stand staring at me as if you did'nt know what I meant -- do as I bid you.

Mrs. P. Well, I'm sure.

[Flounces into room, R.]

Pet. (eagerly to FRANK.) Well, have you said anything? made any advances?

Frank. (aside) I can never tell him how they were received. I'm quite astonished

Pet. Why didn't you answer me?

Frank. You were gone such a short time.

Pet. (aside) Quite long enough -- quite long enough.

Frank. I spoke of my early attachment.

Pet. Well?

Frank. She --

Pet. Yes.

Frank. Stared vacantly at me, and said --

Pet. (very eagerly.) What?

Frank. Nothing.

Pet. Oh.

Frank. Then I asked her how she came to prefer you --

Pet. What did she say?

Frank. Said that I was too fickle for her.

Pet. And what did she do then?

Frank. Nothing.

Pet. (aside.) That's a lie! -- Did you get close to her?

Frank. Yes

Pet. And did she get close to you?

Frank. (hesitating.) No.

Pet. (aside) Another lie! -- he's deceiving me, but I'll keep my feelings down, and -- and -- did you take her hand?

Frank. Yes.

Pet. And did she snatch it away again?

Frank. Yes

Pet. (aside.) Another lie -- a diabolical lie -- and told you she'd tell me? I knew she would, I was convinced she would, ha, ha, ha! -- now I'm happy -- what a miserable, devil I am -- oh. what villainy (aside.) what treachery! Well, I watched 'em -- I shall know how to act

Frank. (aside.) Mrs P. 's conduct is very strange, I can't tell him the truth -- 'tis impossible -- well, it's his own fault not mine. Excuse me for a moment, I'm going to bring in my presents, and see my box placed in my room -- don't trouble yourself, the servants will shew me -- poor P., I pity him.

[Exit L.]

Pet. He's confused he hurries from my presence -- no wonder oh what falsehood I've been told -- she stare at him vacantly -- she snatch her hand away, when I with my own eyes saw him kiss it. This accounts for his presents -- his scalping-knives and tomahawks -- I may use in a way they won't like.

Enter MARY, L., with table-cloth.

Pet. Mary.

Mary. Yes, sir.

Pet. I'm in the city all day.

Mary. Yes, sir.

Pet. How does your mistress pass her time?

Mary. Sometimes one way -- sometimes another.

Pet. Explain.

Mary. Works a bit and scolds a bit, and sits at the bedroom window a bit.

Pet. (Aside.) Of course -- to be admired to be nodded at by the young fellows passing the house on the tops of the omnibusses -- when the fellows see a fine woman sitting at her bed-room window working, they always nod to them, and kiss their hands to them -- I know their tricks -- I've done it myself. Bring candles.

Mary. Yes, sir. (Aside.) What's the matter with him tonight?

[Exit L.]

Attempts To Kiss Her

Enter MRS. PETTIBONE, R. D., with a penknife and pen.

Mrs. P. P., dear;

Pet. Yes, dear.

Mrs. P. (Going to writing-table) I wish you'd mend mo some pens before you go to town in the morning.

Pet. I will. (Aside) Going to write to him. no doubt -- and I'm to mend the pens -- I'lI split 'em all up. Betsey!

Mrs. P. Yes, dear.

Pet. Nice fellow, Fathom, isn't he?

Mrs. P. Tolerable.

Pet. Don't you think him very handsome?

Mrs. P. So, so.

Pet. Ain't you sorry you did'nt have him?

Mrs. P. What an idea.

[Goes to table and writes.]

Pet. Affects to be indifferent -- oh, what horrid duplicity -- now she's writing a note to him -- I don't care, tol de lol, &c., I don't care, tol de lol lol, &c.

[While singing he gets near her, she draws btotting paper over her writing.]

Mrs. P. Now you know I never like to be looked at while writing.

Pet. Makes you nervous, I suppose?

Mrs. P. Yes

Pet. And then you can't spell your words correctly.

[MARY enters L., with two candles and snuffers she places them on the table -- FATHOM enters, L. -- MARY exits. L. -- MRS, P., has folded note.]

Pet. It is a note she has been writing now who can it be for? Well. Frank, seen your room -- comfortable, isn't it?

Frank. Very, indeed.

Pet. You shall have supper directly -- chops! -- d'ye like chops? (Fiercely)

Frank. Very much, indeed.

Pet. I should choke if I were to try to eat

[MRS. P . is seated R. of table -- MR. PET. in c. -- FRANK L -- PETTIBONE alternately watches them, till he detects MRS. P. holding up the note, intimating to FRANK that, it is for him.]

Pet. That note is for him. (Starting up) An assignation, of course it is. Never mind, I'll find them out. I'm going out again, only for a few minutes -- supper won't be ready just yet -- I may be five minutes, perhaps ten.

Mrs. P. Don't be very long, dear.

Pet. No. dear.

Frank. Is he often so 'restless?

Mrs P. Oh! dear.no; the fact is -- come near me (They draw their chairs close -- PET. darts in -- they retreat, apparently confused.)

Oh. I was going without my hat -- that's all. (Aside.) I nearly caught them. (Looks at them suspiciously.) Now I'm off.

[Takes his hat and exits L.]

Mrs. P. (giving note.) Peruse this at your earliest opportunity. (PET again darts in just in time to see MRS. P. give FRANK the note)

Pet. The note was for him, sure enough. Very well -- go on -- there'll be murder presently.

Mrs. P. Back again, dear?

Pet. Yes, I forgot -- I felt -- I thought -- Lord! I've got it in my hand.

[Exit L.]

Frank. (reading note) "Continue your attentions." Certainly, as you request it. (Draws close to her; PETTIBONE again darts in; they retreat as before.)

Pet. Shan't go out at all I tell you I shan't go out at all -- tomorrow will do. (Sits in centre) You've done as I bid you, I see -- eh? -- ah, ah, ah! (Aside.) I think the last time I left the room he kissed her! I could almost swear I heard the squeak of a little kiss. Oh, if I could be convinced! I'll conceal my feelings till I'm quite satisfied -- quite sure; and then --; Betsey, dear, if that note you were writing just now, is for any one in the city, I'll leave it for you.

Mrs P. No, no, thank you, it is not worth the trouble, and you wouldn't be so mean as to defraud the revenue of a penny.

Pet. How they look at each other; I've a great mind to jump up and tell 'em both how they've deceived me. No, I won't. I'll set a trap for them -- show 'em what they are: ah! a good thought -- I have it.

Mrs. P. Selim, what's the matter with you, this evening?

Pet. Nothing; I've been vexed -- city business. I think, as I have a moment to spare, I'll drop a note to the wine merchant about the empty bottles, (takes inkstand to L. table,) he ought to fetch 'em away, or I shall be charged for 'em. What horrid candles! (Snuffs one out.) Why did I go to the expense of a handsome lamp, when you will burn candles. (In trying to light it he purposely extinguishes the other; stage dark.)

Mrs. P. P., dear, how clumsy you are.

Pet. Sit still -- I'll get a light; Mary's cooking -- I'll get a light. (He pours some ink on his pockethander chief, and in passing MRS. P., contrives to leavs, a large patch on her nose.)

Mrs P. P., what are you doing?

Pet. Nothing, dear, nothing; sit still. I'll fetch a light.

[Exit, L.]

Frank. Is it really your wish that I should continue my attentions? (Getting close to her.) Gad, she's a fine woman, and I never in my life could be in the dark with one, without giving her a kiss; and encouraged as I am, who could resist?

[Attempts to kiss her.]

Mrs. P. Don't, don't; I won't allow it; how can you be so foolish? (kisses her and blocks his nose.) Go away, here's P. (lights up; FRANK returns to his chair as P. enters L., stands between them moonstruck at seeing FRANK'S face, he trembles, places one candle on the table, and seizes MRS. P.'s arm.)

Pet. Woman, look at that man look at his nose. Now go to your room -- to the glass, and look at your own! come, madam, come.

[He drags her off, R. D.]

Frank. Very strange conduct; however, my poor friend is severely punished for the pains he has taken to test his wife's constancy. What am I to do? I can never truly tell him how my advances have been received; he's mad.

Your Nose, Sir!

Enter MARY, L.

Mary. You're wanted, sir.

Frank. (with his back to Mary.) Who is it?

Mary. A post-boy wishes to see you, sir.

Frank. I'll speak to him at once, (turns, MARY laughs at him.) What are you laughing at?

Mary. Your nose, sir! it's all over ink -- ha, ha, ha!

Frank. Then I'll make it marking ink. (kisses her and blacks her face; she exits indignantly.) Egad! the girl's right. How. how could this happen? and Mrs. P's face, too; now I understand P.'s rage, and he must know all. Poor P.! Let me see the post-boy, and then to confirm my poor friend's misery.

[Exit, L. D.]


Pet. Now, sir, I'm for you. He's gone -- gone to elude my vengeance. As for Mrs. P., I never could have believed her so hardened; don't shed a tear -- won't speak a word. I want to have a good row about it. Oh, Betsey! how could you? Oh! what shall I do? what shall I do? I'll set fire to the villa -- I'll do something that shall be the talk of the whole city -- nay, the West-end shall hear of it

Enter MARY, L.

Mary. where's that man?

Mary. What man, sir?

Pet. The viper.

Mary. I havn't seen any viper, sir.

Pet. (Sees MARY'S nose) He's been at the maid -- Ok! what a libertine! You know who I mean -- the man with the curiosities

Mary. Oh! yes. of course; he's gone to the inn with the post-boy.

Pet. Post-boy! with a post-boy! -- they're going to elope. I've a brace of pistols that I bought to shoot the cats, when I took a pride in my garden. I'll load 'em both to the muzzle, and fire through and through him and her too. Mary, remain you here, and watch the door of that room I'm going to look for my pistols.

Mary. (Frightened.) Oh, sir!

Pet. Aye, my pistols! if your missus comes from her room, say I'm gone out for the night I'm gone out for a week I don't think I shall ever come home any more now for vengeance.

[Exit at back.]

Mary. What can be the matter? it's very strange; master seems to have gone mad all at once, and such a quiet little gentleman as he used to be. (gate bell rings, L.) Some one at the gate, perhaps it's the viper, as master calls him, come back again. I declare the supper will be quite spoiled.

[Takes the light and exits, L.; stage dark; MRS P. looks from her room, R.]

Mrs. P. No one here? I heard P. talking of pistols; where can he be? Some one comes -- Mr. Fathom, perhaps. I'll retire to my own room again.

[Exit, L.]

Surprise And Dismay

Enter MARY, carrying box, and showing in a LADY veiled and wrapped in a shawl; she places box on the table, and hands the LADY a chair.

Mary. Pray sit down, ma'am, the wind has blown my light out; I'll soon get another; your box is on the table; I shall not be a minute.

[Exit, L.]

PETTIBONE appears at back with two large pistols.

Pet. Gracious powers! what figure is that? 'Tis Betsey wrapped in her bonnet and shawl, waiting in the dark to elope with that fellow; and what's this? her box corded up with all her little things ready! (Runs to lady, and seizes her.) Oh, you traitoress! you horrid woman! none of your nonsense, you are not going to run away from me in this manner; don't struggle; it's no use; I am as strong as a lion. There are two pistols on the table, and we'll go to destruction together.

[The lady screams at his violence -- MARY rushes in with lights -- stage, light -- followed by FRANK, L. -- MRS. P. comes from her room, R. -- PETTIBONE surveys them all in surprise and dismay.]

Lady. (unrriting.) Sir!

Mary. Master!

Mrs. P. P. Dear!

Pet. Not Betsey! -- the lady I've pulled about so -- not Betsey l Who are you, madam? Explain before I faint away -- who are you?

Frank. That lady, sir, is my wife. (FRANK and LADY embrace.)

Pet. Your wife! and really you are not going to elope? -- you are still your own Pettibone's? -- but that kiss in the dark, madam! what can remove that stain?

Mrs. P. My candid confession --

Pet. Of what I

Mrs. P. That I overheard the test by which I was to be tried, and knowing in my heart that I did not deserve such a trial. I was resolved, as you had thought proper to suspect me without a cause, for once to give you a reason for your jealousy.

Pet. (on his knees.) Oh, Betsey, forgive me.

Frank. This lady was married clandestinely to me, before I left England for America; she is here to meet me with the welcome news that our marriage may no longer be kept a secret, and tomorrow a post chaise shall take us to our happy home.

Pet. (rising) Oh, my dear boy, you shall stay for a week and witness our renewed domestic felicity, (shakes hands with LADY.) How d'ye do, madam? -- very glad to see you, madam.

[Kisses her.]

Frank. Hollo! sir!

Pet. All right, my boy; now we've balanced the book, for you'll forgive me dear; I'll never be such a noodle again. Come, Betsey, dear, kiss your P. and make him happy; I'll buy you a new satin dress, (she kisses him.) Hurra! I'm forgiven at last; and if you (to the audience) will be equally forgiving, and I think you will, for if I know human nature well, there's not one amongst you can lay your hands upon your hearts and say you do not like " A KISS IN THE DARK."