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PAGE 2

The Mummery
by [?]

PICKERING:
Hooray! hooray!
A grand good shot, and Teddy Colton’s down:
It burst in thunderbolts upon his crown!
Larry O’Crocker drops his pick and flies,
And deafening odors scream along the skies!
Pelt ’em some more.

FITCH:

There’s nothing left but tar–
wish I were a Yahoo.

PICKERING:

Well, you are.
But keep the tar. How well I recollect,
When Mike was in with us–proud, strong, erect–
Mens conscia recti–flinging mud, he stood,
Austerely brave, incomparably good,
Ere yet for filthy lucre he began
To drive a cart as Stanford’s hired man,
That pitch-pot bearing in his hand, Old Nick
Appeared and tarred us all with the same stick.
(Enter Old Nick).
I hope he won’t return and use his arts
To make us part with our immortal parts.

OLD NICK:

Make yourself easy on that score my lamb;
For both your souls I wouldn’t give a damn!
I want my tar-pot–hello! where’s the stick?

FITCH:

Don’t look at me that fashion!–look at Pick.

PICKERING:

Forgive me, father–pity my remorse!
Truth is–Mike took that stick to spank his horse.
It fills my pericardium with grief
That I kept company with such a thief.

(Endeavoring to get his handkerchief, he opens his coat and
the tar-stick falls out. Nick picks it up, looks at the culprit
reproachfully and withdraws in tears.
)

FITCH (excitedly):

O Pickering, come hither to the brink–
There’s something going on down there, I think!
With many an upward smile and meaning wink
The navvies all are running from the cut
Like lunatics, to right and left–

PICKERING:
Tut, tut–
‘Tis only some poor sport or boisterous joke.
Let us sit down and have a quiet smoke.
(They sit and light cigars.)

FITCH (singing):

When first I met Miss Toughie
I smoked a fine cigyar,
An’ I was on de dummy
And she was in de cyar.

BOTH (singing):

An’ I was on de dummy
And she was in de cyar.

FITCH (singing):

I couldn’t go to her,
An’ she wouldn’t come to me;
An’ I was as oneasy
As a gander on a tree.

BOTH (singing):

An’ I was as oneasy
As a gander on a tree.

FITCH (singing):

But purty soon I weakened
An’ lef’ de dummy’s bench,
An’ frew away a ten-cent weed
To win a five-cent wench!

BOTH (singing)

An’ frew away a ten-cent weed
To win a five-cent wench!

FITCH:

Is there not now a certain substance sold
Under the name of fulminate of gold,
A high explosive, popular for blasting,
Producing an effect immense and lasting?

PICKERING:

Nay, that’s mere superstition. Rocks are rent
And excavations made by argument.
Explosives all have had their day and season;
The modern engineer relies on reason.
He’ll talk a tunnel through a mountain’s flank
And by fair speech cave down the tallest bank.

(The earth trembles, a deep subterranean explosion is heard and a section of the bank as big as El Capitan starts away and plunges thunderously into the cut. A part of it strikes De Young’s dumpcart abaft the axletree and flings him, hurtling, skyward, a thing of legs and arms, to descend on the distant mountains, where it is cold. Fitch and Pickering pull themselves out of the debris and stand ungraveling their eyes and noses.)

FITCH:

Well, since I’m down here I will help to grade,
And do dirt-throwing henceforth with a spade.

PICKERING:

God bless my soul! it gave me quit a start.
Well, fate is fate–I guess I’ll drive this cart.
(Curtain.)