OBI; or, THREE-FINGER'D JACK
A MELO-DRAMA IN TWO ACTS.
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SCENE I.—An apartment in Ormond's house.
(Enter ORMOND, KITTY, and OVERSEER, R.H.)
ORMOND. What say you? My daughter fled, and you an accessory to her flight? Speak! what could lead her to such an act?
KITTY. From the accounts Tuckey has given her, she cannot believe that Captain Orford is dead: but rather thinks he is still a prisoner in the hands of Three-fingered Jack. She has therefore fled in disguise, hoping to overtake Quashee and Sam, and join their search in discovering the place of her lover's confinement. But, indeed, and indeed, I knew not the design until it was too late to prevent its execution.
ORMOND. Rash, unthinking girl! there wanted but this blow to complete my misery! yet must she not fall without one struggle to preserve her. Give orders that the servants arm themselves and follow to the mountains; I will lead them and rescue my unhappy child, or perish with her! (Exeunt, L.H.)
(Enter QUASHEE and SAM, L.U.E. They advance, searching round R. and L., till they arrive in front, C.—there shake hands and encourage each other—separate—QUASHEE searching up stage, R.H., and SAM back, L.H. Having advanced a few steps, the stage darkens, they look upwards, and storm descends. Thunder, lightning and rain. They creep behind rock pieces, R. and L. End of storm. Lights gradually rise. They pop up their heads and chatter to each other. Rise, come forward and congratulate on the cessation of the storm. Muster courage, and proceed in their search, crossing each other in front. A black head, (TUCKEY'S) suddenly rises above one of the rocks in centre, grinning at them. Both, horribly frightened, utter an exclamation, and retreat to front, at opposite corners. Pause; TUCKEY rises. They recognise him, laugh at their fears, shake hands, and are going off, R. H. QUASHEE pretends to see something—starts.)
QUASHEE. Ah! what dat? (SAM and TUCKEY terrified.) Neber mind, Sam, is only my fun. (Exeunt, jeering at each other, R.1 E.)
(Enter JACK, L.U.E., on platform, watching them—creeps down to R.1 E., looking after them, and using threatening gestures; hears a step behind him—turns, and sees ROSA coming on, L.H.—Hastily conceals himself, L. 2 E.)
(Enter ROSA, L., disguised as a boy; and evidently overcome by fatigue.)
ROSA. Vainly I pursue their track! worn with fatigue, I cannot overtake them; nor dare I raise my voice to call for aid, lest foes, not friends, might hear my cries. Yet, Orford, will I on; for hope still lingers in my breast, and whispers that thou art not dead!
(Storm again. Thunder and lightning—stage quite dark, rain falls heavily.)
Alas! the very elements combine against me! Where shall I shelter till the storm be past? yon cave—'tis fearfully dark—yet will I venture. Kind heaven, befriend me.
(Music.—She enters with hesitation and trembling, JACK appears on the rocks behind, watching her motions, and as she enters the cave, R.3 E., he descends and follows her.)
(Music.—Enter ROSA, L.H., followed by JACK, at some distance.)
ROSA. I know not what impulse 'tis that leads me within this dreary cavern; yet twice methought a groan sounded faintly on my ear. Oh, Orford! should this be the abode of Karfa!
(turns suddenly round and sees JACK watching her. Screams violently and attempts to fly, but is seized by JACK.)
JACK. Why, how now, boy? Enter you my dwelling with bad intent that the presence of the owner thus alarms you?
ROSA. With no ill intent, I do assure you. I merely sought a shelter from the storm, that is over, accept this, (offering purse with her left hand.)—this trifling recompense, and let me pass. (attempting to cross to L.H.)
JACK. What, to tell the white man you have discovered the abode of Karfa? No, no—this cave you never quit with life.
ROSA. (falling on her knees.) Mercy, mercy!
JACK. Nay, fear nothing, boy; attempt not flight, and you are safe. Here you shall attend on my wants. Come, come, do not tremble so; you have doubtless heard of Karfa's cruelties; but know, it is not merely thirst of blood that fires me,—a nobler passion nerves my arm—vengeance!
ROSA. Vengeance! on whom?
JACK. On the planter, Ormond! Should he or any of his accursed race fall within my power, the most lingering torments nature can endure shall speak my hate! One blow is struck, and the nuptial song is changed to the lament of death.
ROSA. Good heavens!
JACK. Nay, fear not, I have promised you life, and Karfa's word is as his hate—unalterable! Nor wilt thou be so lonely as perchance you think. You are not the only bird this trap encloses.
ROSA. (aside.) Merciful powers! then 'tis here that Orford—
JACK. Come, the night wears on, and I must show you all the splendour of my palace. Nay, nay, by your leave, I suffer not the eye of mortal to track the haunt where, like the tiger of his native deserts, Karfa crouches till fate places the victim in his grasp.
(Music.—KARFA blindfolds ROSA, and leads her further into the cavern, R.H. (Wait until JACK and ROSA are on steps, then change to—)
SCENE IV.—The interior of Jack's cave: Grated door, chain, key, and padlock, L.2 E., steps, ladder on platform, &c., all fit for business. Table, stools, &c., centre. Opening to cavern, and ladder to descend, L.C. Stage still dark.
(Music.—JACK leads ROSA down the ladder; then removes ladder, and unties the handkerchief he had bound over Rosa's eyes. She looks fearfully around.)
JACK. Behold you future residence. (she starts.) What? You like it not? The masonry is somewhat rugged, I confess; and the tangling weeds form but a sorry tapestry—but it has one proud charm—(takes down ladder.) security! Your white man, I am told, can soar into the air, fathom the deep, ransack the mine, and enslave in every clime where his accursed arts find access. Here, here alone, no white man finds an entrance, but as Karfa's slave.
ROSA. (aside.) To what have I reduced myself! but tis for Orford, and I will not fear—could I discover where he is confined—
(Music.—ROSA timidly obeys the commands of JACK, and kindling the fire, places the kettle upon it. Meanwhile JACK produces a bottle of rum, and a large bowl, and directing ROSA to bring him the kettle, makes some punch, which he drinks.)
JACK. Well tended, boy; wilt taste? (ROSA declines.) well, then, thou know'st some ballad, I warrant me; so sing, and wile away the hours till dawn.
ROSA. (aside.) 'Tis fortunate! Orford may recognise my voice, and by some signal—
JACK. Heard'st thou my commands? Sing, boy! (ROSA sings the following ballad, accompanying herself on the guitar.)
A lady in fair Seville city,
Who once fell in love very deep,
On her Spanish guitar played a ditty
That lulled her old guardian to sleep.
And she played on her Spanish guitar.
Hoo tiral lar, hoo tiral lira,
Hoo tiral lar, hoo tiral lira.
On her Spanish guitar played a ditty,
The guardian, not given to dozing,
Was thought the most watchful of men;
But each strain had so sleepy a closing,
That he nodded—but soon woke again.
And she played on her Spanish guitar.
Hoo tiral lar, hoo tiral lira.
&c., &c., &c.
(during the song, JACK drinks repeatedly, until over-powered, partly by the liquor, and partly by fatigue, he falls asleep.)
ROSA. He sleeps! Now, then, to commence my search. Orford, dear Orford, if a captive in this dreary den—
(a slight noise is heard—and ORFORD, from behind a grated door, 2 E.L.H., is heard to exclaim—
ORFORD. Rosa—beloved Rosa!
ROSA. (screams.) 'Tis he—'tis he!
(JACK suddenly awakes with the noise, and ROSA immediately proceeds with her ballad. JACK looks cautiously around; but observing nothing to create suspicion, merely says—)
JACK. Oh—ay! the song! right! right!—sing away, boy—but not so loud. (sleeps again—a pause.)
ROSA. Again he sleeps. That door must lead to the dungeon of my Orford. Could I release him?
(Music.—ROSA steals cautiously across the stage, and finding the key in the lock, opens door and discovers ORFORD chained to the rocks. As ROSA opens door, ORFORD—his hands tied behind him, his face pale and bloody—falls, as if from exhaustion, on the stage. ROSA starts, and dropping the key, awakens JACK, who jumps up, and rushing towards the door closes it, and levels a pistol at ROSA.)
JACK. Rash fool! thy life shall pay the forfeit of thy daring.
ROSA. Yet, sir, hear me: indeed I meant no harm—but hearing a faint sound as if from one in pain, I—
JACK. I do misdoubt thee, boy: this is no place to make a parade of thy compassion. The shrieks of my dying victims must sound as music to thee—or thine own must swell the chorus. Yon prisoner's life is doomed. By hunger he shall perish; whilst thou, as a fit punishment for thy curiosity, shall feast thy eyes with his expiring groans!
ROSA. For mercy!
JACK. No words! Obey—or perish!
(Music.—JACK binds ROSA to a rock, R.; then puts a padlock upon Orford's prison door, and hanging the key considerably out of reach, by help of ladder, (which he then lies down upon,) retires to sleep, twisting one end of Rosa's rope round his arm. ROSA, observing him, attempts to loosen the rope with her teeth—but fails; she then draws (with her foot) the table close to her, and holding the rope over the wick burns it, and sets herself free—fastening the end of the rope to the leg of the table.)
ROSA. Kind Heaven, I thank thee! (JACK stirs and tugs at the rope, which she has fastened to the table.) No, 'twas but my fancy. Could I procure the key.
(Music.—She obtains the key by means of a long crooked stick, and carefully unlocking the padlock, opens the door. She removes Orford'schains, and he advances, evidently overpowered from the effects of his wound and want of food. She gives drink, and he says very faintly—)
ORFORD. My dearest Rosa, by what means— (JACK rolls off ladder.)
ROSA. HUSH! (whispering.) We have no time for explanation. The loss of a moment may be fatal. Aid me to raise the ladder to yon entrance.
(Music.—ORFORD takes Jack's gun. They raise the ladder and place it against the rocks. ROSA insists upon ORFORD ascending first. He reluctantly consents; but when he gains the opening the ladder slips and falls. JACK starts up at the noise, seizes ROSA, and holding her before him, prevents ORFORD from firing at him; he then fires a pistol at ORFORD, who falls.—Scene closes.)
SCENE V.—Front wood—lights up. March—drum and fife. The OVERSEER enters bearing the proclamation, offering "500 pounds for the apprehension of Jack." He is followed by a crowd of NEGROES, and a party of SOLDIERS, L.H.
(Enter ORMOND, R.H.)
ORMOND. No trace—is to be found! Alas! my child is in the villain's power, and his vengeance is satiated. Yet will I hope for the best. Various parties scour the woods, and—but see, where Tuckey comes in haste!
(Enter TUCKEY, L.H.)
Now, boy, speak! Knowest thou of my child?
TUCKEY. Alas, sir, she is in the hands of Karfa. Guided by recent foot-marks, we traced the entrance of the villain's cave, and arrived in time to save my gallant master's life, who, wounded by a pistol shot, lay weltering in his blood.
ORMOND. But speak—my daughter?
TUCKEY. Ere we could descend the cave, the villain had borne her through some private passage, and escaped. Quashee and Sam, are, however, at his heels, and he will be quick indeed if he escapes them.
ORMOND. Lead to the cave. The monster will not wander far from his accursed den; and I will double yon reward to him who restores my child to these fond arms, and drags the monster to the fate he merits.
(the NEGROES and SOLDIERS shout and follow ORMOND off, R.H.)
(Music.—JACK hastily descends the rock, dragging ROSA after him, R.U.E.)
JACK. The pursuit is vain. In these wild glens,—old nature's fortresses, which they fear to penetrate, I breathe again; and now, weak girl, the last moment of your life is come.
ROSA. You know me, then?
JACK. As Orford fell, one word escaped him—'twas joy, 'twas triumph! for it told me I had within my power the only child of the detested Ormond.
ROSA. Mercy, mercy!
JACK. You whites are ever ready to enforce for one another that civilized, that Christian law of mercy which our dusky children never yet partook of.
ROSA. Yet, for pity! Wreck not an aged father's hopes by the destruction of his child.
JACK. I had a daughter once; did they spare her harmless infancy? Where is my wife? was she spared to me? No! with blood and rapine the white man swept like a hurricane o'er our native village, and blasted every hope! Can aught efface the terrible remembrance from my soul, how at their lordly feet we begged for mercy and found it not? Our women knelt, our infants shrieked in vain, as the blood-stained murderer ranged from hut to hut, dragging the husband and the father from their homes, to sell them into bondage! No more, no more! the vext spirits of my wife and child hover o'er me like a holy curse, and claim this due revenge.
(Music.—JACK raises his dagger, and is on the point of springing upon ROSA, when QUASHEE leaps from a projecting rock, and interposes.)
QUASHEE. Stand back, Massa Jack! this lady good missee, and me no see her hurt.
QUASHEE. Me no slave! me free! me gentleman, me Mr. Quashee now, and no care a button for you or Obi either.
JACK. Fly, and leave the girl with me, or thy life—
QUASHEE. Me see you dam first, massa. Fly, Missee, to high rock, and tell Sam to come here and help cut him blackguard head off.
JACK. One step, and she dies.
(Music.—ROSA flies to the rocks, and JACK springs after her. QUASHEE rushes between them, places himself upon guard, and stays JACK.)
QUASHEE. No hurry, Jack; all fair fight, and I'll bet my five fingers to your three I send you to your friend down stairs.
(Music.—JACK and QUASHEE fight. QUASHEE is disarmed, and falls on R.H., JACK is upon the point of despatching him, when suddenly, SAM jumps from the rocks at the back, saying, "No you don't massa Jack." A desperate combat of three, and JACK is severely wounded. Ultimately they all lose their swords, and a struggle ensues, QUASHEE falls, JACK pushes SAM upon his body, and holding them both down, draws his dagger, and is about to stab, when TUCKEY (who has appeared at back with a blunderbuss, but cannot fire for fear of hurting his friends,) fires, and mortally wounds him, he falls—SAM and QUASHEE recover their swords, and despatch him.)
(Shouts. ORMOND, ORFORD, ROSA, and the other CHARACTERS now enter, drawn thither by the noise of the shot. QUASHEE and SAM shake hands. They group behind JACK, who dies amidst the shouts of the SOLDIERS, and NEGROES—Tableau and—)