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Poor Harold: A Comedy
by [?]



This play was first produced in Croton-on-Hudson, N. Y., by the Mt. Airy Players, in 1920, with the following cast:

Harold …………………. Eugene Boissevain
Isabel …………………. Doris Stevens
Mrs. Murphy ……………… B. Marie Gage
Mrs. Falcington ………….. Crystal Eastman

A room in Washington Square South. By the light of a candle, a young man in tousled hair and dressing gown is writing furiously at a little table. A clock within strikes seven.

A door at the back opens, and a young woman looks in, sleepily. She frowns. The young man looks up guiltily

What are you doing?

( innocently )


So I see. ( She comes in, and sits down. It may be remarked that a woman’s morning appearance, in dishabille, is a severe test of both looks and character; she passes that test triumphantly. She looks at the young man, and asks )–Poetry?

( hesitatingly )


( continues to look inquiry ).

( finally )

A letter….

( inflexibly )

–To whom?

( defiantly )

To my wife!

Oh! That’s all right. I thought perhaps you were writing to your father.

( bitterly )

My father! Why should I write to my father? Isn’t it enough that I have broken his heart and brought disgrace upon him in his old age–

Disgrace? Nonsense!
Anybody might be named as a co-respondent in a divorce case.

Not in Evanston, Illinois. Not when you are the local feature of a notorious Chicago scandal. Not when your letters to the lady are published in the newspapers.–Oh, those letters!

Were they such incriminating letters, Harold?

Incriminating? How can you ask that, Isabel? They were perfectly innocent letters, such as any gentleman poet might write to any lady poetess. How was I to know that a rather plain-featured woman I sat next to at a Poetry Dinner in Chicago was conducting a dozen love-affairs? How was I to know that my expressions of literary regard would look like love-letters to her long-suffering husband? That’s the irony of it: I’m perfectly blameless. God knows I couldn’t have been anything else, with her. But I’ve always been blameless–in all the seven years of my marriage, I never even kissed another woman. And then to have this happen! Scandal, disgrace, the talk of all Evanston! Disowned by my father, repudiated by my wife, ostracized by my friends, cast forth into outer darkness, and dropped naked and penniless into Greenwich Village!

( laughing )

Oh, not exactly naked, Harold!

One suit! And that–( he throws off his dressing gown ) evening clothes! I might as well be naked–I can’t go anywhere in the daytime. I tell you I’m not used to this. One week ago I had a house, a motor car, a wife, a position in my father’s law-office, a place in society–

That’s just it–that’s why I was afraid you were writing to your father. He’d send you money, of course. But if you ask him for it, I’ll never speak to you again. And as for clothes, you know there’s a suit of clothes in there,–a perfectly good suit, too, and I think you’re an idiot not to put it on.