A Love of a Bonnet, A Play,
for Female Characters Only
, a Widow.
Kitty, her Daughter.
Aunt Jemima Hopkins, a leetle inquisitive.
Mrs. Hortensia Fastone, very genteel.
Dora, her Daughter.
Katy Doolan, Irish Help.
Scene.—Room in Mrs. Clipper's House. Lounge,
L.; Chairs, C.; Table and Rocking-chair,
Enter Mrs. Clipper and Kitty, r.
Mrs. C. But really, Kitty, I cannot afford it.
Kitty. O, yes, you can, mother; just this once.
It's such a love of a bonnet! it's so becoming! and
it only costs fifteen dollars.
Mrs. C. Fifteen dollars! Why, child, you are
crazy! We cannot afford to be so extravagant.
The income derived from the property your dear
father left will only allow us to dress in the most
Kitty. But this bonnet is not extravagant. Dora
Fastone wears a bonnet which cost twenty-five-dollars,
and her father has failed five or six times. I
don't see why I can't have a new bonnet as well as
that proud, stuck-up—
Mrs. C. Hush, my child! never speak ill of our
neighbors because they dress better than we do. If
they spend money foolishly, we should endeavor to use
ours to better purpose. I am sure I should be glad
to gratify you, but we have so many expenses. Your
music lessons cost a great deal of money; and your
brother Harry, off at school, is really suffering for a
new suit of clothes. I must send him some money
Kitty. O, he can wait; he's only a boy; and no
one cares how he looks; but young ladies must dress,
or they are thought nothing of. O, you must let me
have the bonnet, mamma!
Mrs. C. If you have this bonnet, Kitty, Harry
must go without his new suit.
Kitty. If you could just see it! It's such a love
of a bonnet! Do let me run down and ask Miss
Thompson to send it up for you to look at.
Mrs. C. I've no objection to that; and if you
think you need it more than Harry does his new
Kitty. You'll let me have it. That's a good,
dear mother. I know you wouldn't refuse. I'll run
to Miss Thompson's. I won't be gone long. I
suppose I am selfish; but then, mother, it's such a
love of a bonnet. [Exit, L.
Mrs. C. (Sits in a rocking-chair.) Dear child, it
is hard to refuse her! But one should be made of
money to keep up with the extravagant fashions of
Enter Aunt Hopkins, r.
Aunt H. Angelina, what on airth have them air
Joneses got for dinner? I've sot and sot at that air
front winder till I've got a crick in my back a tryin'
to find out whether it's lamb or mutton. It's something
Mrs. C. Aunt Hopkins, you are very inquisitive!
Aunt H. Inquisitive! Law sakes, do hear the
child talk! Neow, what harm kin there be in tryin'
to find eout what your neighbors have got for dinner?
I mean to put on my bunnet and run acrost and see.
I know they've got apple dumplin's, for I see the
hired gal throw the parin's out into the yard.
Mrs. C. Run across! Don't dream of such a
Aunt H. Well, I'm goin' up stairs to git my
specs and have another good look, anyhow; for I'm
jest dyin' to know whether it's lamb or mutton.
Land sakes! what's the use of livin', ef you can't
know how other folks live? [Exit, R.
Mrs. C. Aunt Hopkins!—She's gone! Dear
me, she does worry me terribly! What will our
neighbors think of us?
Enter Katy Doolan, l.
Katy. If you plase, mam, may I coome in?
Mrs. C. Certainly, Katy. What's the matter?
Katy. If you plase, mam, I have a letther; and
would you plase rade it for me?
Mrs. C. (Takes letter.) Certainly, Katy. From
Katy. Indeed, mam, I have no lover. It's my
Mrs. C. O, your cousin. (Opens letter.)
"Light ov my sowl!" Why, this cannot be your
Katy. Indade, indade, it be, sure! It's only the
insinivatin' way he has, mam!
Mrs. C. (Reads.)
"Bewitchin' Katy! and how
are ye's onyhow? I take my pin in hand to till ye's I
am yurs, in good hilth and sphirits; and it's hopin'
ye's the same, truly! The pulsitations uv my heart
are batin' wid the love I bears ye's, darlin' Katy!
the fairest flower—niver mind the blot—that iver
bloomed an the family tree uv Phil Doolan uv
Tipperary, dead and gone this siven years, bliss his
sowl,—and how are ye's? An' by the same token
that I loves ye's much, I sind by the ixpriss, freight
paid, a new bunnit, which my cousin Biddy Ryan, for
my dear love, have made for ye's charmin' Katy
Doolan! Wear it nixt ye's heart! And if ye git it
before this letther coomes to hand, ye's may know it
Your ever sighin',
Wid love for ye's dyin',
P.S. If ye's don't resave this letther, sind me
word uv mouth by the man who fetches the bunnit."
Mrs. C. That's a very loving epistle.
Katy. Pistol, it is? Faith, I thought it was a
Mrs. C. And so it is; and a very loving one!
Your cousin has sent you a new bonnet.
Katy. Is it in the letther, mam!
Mrs. C. It is coming by express.
Katy. Sure, he might sind it in the letther, and
save expinse. What will I do?
Mrs. C. Wait patiently until the bonnet arrives.
Katy. Will Cornalius coome wid it?
Mrs. C. I think not. The expressman will bring
Katy. Sure, I don't want the ixpressman. It's
Cornalius I want.
Mrs. C. This cousin of yours seems very affectionate.
Are you going to marry him some day?
Katy. Some day?—yis, mam. He tould me,
Would I? and I axed him, Yes. What will I do
with the letther, mam?
Mrs. C. Keep it with your treasures. It should
be precious to you.
Katy. Faith, thin I'll put it in the savings bank
with my money. I'm obliged, to ye's Mrs. Clipper,
mam. If you plase, what was that last in the
"Your ever sighin',
Wid love for ye's dyin',
Katy. O, don't, ma'am! Ye's make me blush
wid the shame I fail. Och! it's a quare darlin', wid
all his sighin', is Cornalius Ryan! Och, musha! it's
an illigant lad he is, onyhow!
Mrs. C. So we are to have another new bonnet in
the family! Well, Katy is a good girl, and I hope
will get a good husband, as well as a new bonnet.
Enter Aunt Hopkins, r., with a bandbox.
Aunt H. It's mutton! I was determined to find
eout, and I have! I saw that air Jones boy a playin'
in the street, and I asked him what his folks had got
for dinner, and he said mutton, and neow I'm
satisfied on that air p'int. I wonder what's in this
'ere bandbox! I saw that express cart stop here,
and the man said it was for Miss Kitty somebody;
of course, Angelina's darter. I do wonder what it
is! (Opens box.) Well I declare! A spic span new
bunnet! (Takes out a very large, gaudily-trimmed
bonnet.) And sich a bunnet! Ribbons and lace,
flowers and feathers! Now that's jest what I call a
tasty bunnet! I mean to try it on. It'll jest suit my
complexion. Law sakes! here comes Kitty!
'Twon't do to let her know I've been at her things!
(Puts bonnet back into box, and places it behind the
Enter Kitty, L.
Kitty. O, aunt Hopkins! Where's mother?
Aunt H. Land sakes! I don't know no more
than the child unborn!
Kitty. Dear me! Here are Mrs. Fastone and
Dora coming up the steps! What shall I do?
Aunt H. Why, let 'em in, of course!
Kitty. Has my new bonnet come yet?
Aunt H. Indeed it has! And sich a beauty!
Kitty. O, I'm so glad! But where is it?
Aunt H. Down there behind the table. I hain't
teched it; only jest took a peep.
Kitty. I'll let Miss Dora see that some people
can dress as well as some other people. Aunt
Hopkins, you must manage to draw attention to my
new bonnet while the visitors are here, to give me an
opportunity to show it.
Aunt H. Why, I'll take it right eout the fust
Kitty. No, no! that would be too abrupt.
Manage to speak of bonnets; but do not show it
until they ask to see it.
Aunt H. Well, I guess I know heow to do it
Enter Katy, l.
Katy. Two ladies to see you, miss. (Crosses
Kitty. Where's mother, Katy?
Katy. Gone to the butcher's, miss. [Exit R.
Aunt H. Butcher's? Wal, I do hope she'll git
some mutton, for the Joneses has it; and we ought
to be as genteel as our neighbours.
Enter Mrs. Fastone and Dora, l., very
Mrs. F. My dear child, how do you do?
Kitty. (Shaking hands with her, and afterwards
with Dora.) I'm delighted to see you! Hope
you are quite well, and Dora.
Mrs. F. Quite well—aren't you, Dora?
Dora. Quite, mamma.
Kitty. Pray be seated, ladies. (They sit on
lounge.) Mrs. Hopkins, Mrs. Fastone.
Aunt H. (Steps over and shakes hands.) Hope
you are pretty well, ma'am, and you, too, miss,
though you do look awful delicate! And how's your
husband? He's a broker—ain't he? (Sits in
rocking-chair, and keeps it in motion.)
Mrs. F. Yes, Mrs. Hopkins, Mr. Fastone is
a broker, engaged day after day in the busy vortex
of fluctuating enterprises.
Aunt H. Well, I never hearn tell of that business
afore; but I s'pose it's profitable, or you couldn't
afford to dress so. Is that a silk or a poplin you've
Kitty. (Brings her chair; sits, C.) Aunt Hopkins!—Mother
has stepped out to make a call.
Aunt H. No, she hain't; she's only gone to
Kitty. Aunt Hopkins!—Mrs. Fastone, what is the
Mrs. F. Well, really nothing. I am dying of
ennui, the world is so quiet; no excitement to move
the placid waters of fashionable society—is there,
Dora. Nothing, mamma.
Mrs. F. Nothing to see, nothing to hear, nothing
to wear,—is there, Dora?
Dora. Nothing, mamma.
Aunt H. Nothing to wear! Yes, there's
Kitty. Aunt Hopkins!—Mrs. Fastone, you are
Mrs. F. Mrs. Hopkins spoke of bonnets. I
have been so disappointed! Thompson had a
perfect love of a bonnet that I had quite set my
heart upon for Dora; but it is gone, and the poor
child is almost broken-hearted—ain't you, Dora?
Dora. Quite, mamma.
Kitty. I am very sorry, for bonnets are so hard
to find. I have been very much perplexed about
them myself. They are so very commonplace; no
air of refinement about them.
Mrs. F. None, whatever—is there, Dora?
Dora. None, mamma.
Kitty. I've just had a new one sent home, but it
doesn't suit me.
Aunt H. Why, Kitty, how you talk! It's a
Kitty. Aunt Hopkins!—It is not what I wanted,
but Thompson said it was the most stylish she had.
Mrs. F. Thompson! Did you get it of Thompson?
Kitty. Yes, all my bonnets come from Thompson.
Mrs. F. Do let me see it!
Aunt H. (Jumps up.) I'll show it to you right
off. It's an eligunt bunnet. (Gets bandbox.)
Kitty. Aunt Hopkins!
Aunt H. Neow don't aunt Hopkins me! for I'm
going to show 'em jest how it looks on yer; set still;
for if there's anything I pride myself on, it's showin'
off a bunnet. (Stands behind Kitty, puts the bonnet
on her head, and ties it.) There! ain't that a
Mrs. F. Why! what a hor—a handsome bonnet!
Did you ever see anything like it, Dora?
Dora. Never, mamma!
Aunt H. That's the style, marm.
Mrs. F. Really! I want to know! And this
is Thompson's most stylish bonnet! Really,
how the fashions do change! Did you ever, Dora!
Dora. Never, mamma!
Kitty. (Aside.) I do believe they are laughing!
Aunt Hopkins, I cannot get it off! You've tied
it in a hard knot!
Mrs. F. It's very becoming—isn't it, Dora?
Dora. O, very, mamma.
Mrs. F. (Aside to Dora.) —What a horrid
Dora. Frightful, mamma!
Mrs. F. I believe we must be moving, for I must
hurry to Thompson's and order just such a bonnet
for Dora. Good day. You have such a charming
taste—hasn't she, Dora?
Dora. Charming, mamma! (They bow, and
exeunt, L., with their handkerchiefs to their mouths,
endeavouring to conceal their laughter.)
Kitty. Good day. Call again.—The hateful
things! They are laughing at me. What ails this
bonnet. (Goes to glass.) Goodness gracious; what
a fright! This is not my bonnet. Aunt Hopkins,
you've ruined me! I shall be the laughing-stock
of the whole neighbourhood. (Tears off the bonnet.)
Enter Mrs. Clipper, r.
Mrs. C. Have the Fastones gone?
Kitty. I hope so. O, mother, send aunt
Hopkins home; she's made me look ridiculous!
Aunt H. Well, I declare! this comes of trying
to please folks!
Mrs. C. Is that your love of a bonnet, Kitty?
Kitty. No, indeed! Aunt Hopkins, where did
you get this hateful thing?
Aunt H. Out of that bandbox.
Kitty. (Takes up the cover.) It's marked "Miss
Katy Doolan." You've made a pretty mess of it!
Aunt H. Sakes alive! It's the hired gal's!
Well, I never!
Mrs. C. But where's the bonnet you sent from
Katy. (Outside.) O, murder! that iver I should
say this day!
Enter Katy, r., (holding in her hand an elegant
The mane, stingy blackgurd has sint me this
whisp of a bunnet, that I'll niver git on my head at
all at all!
Kitty. That's my bonnet!
Katy. Is it, indade? and perhaps ye's be afther
claiming the letther Cornalius Ryan sint wid it.
Mrs. C. No, no, Katy; there's a little mistake
here. This is your bonnet.
Katy. Faith, now, isn't that a darling, jist! I'll
wear it to church to-morrow, sure.
Kitty. Put it on now, Katy; and then take this
wisp of a bonnet, as you call it, to Miss Thompson,
with my best compliments and tell her I have
decided not to keep it.
Mrs. C. Why, Kitty, I thought your heart was
set upon having it.
Kitty. So it was, mother; but I shall never dare
to wear it, after the ridiculous appearance I have
just made. It's too fine for me. My conscience
gave me a little twinge as I was coming home.
Send Harry the money for his new suit. My
old bonnet is quite good enough for me.
Aunt H. Neow that's what I call a self-denyin'
gal. I'll fix it up for you; for if there's anything
I pride myself on doin', it's fixing up old bunnets.
Kitty. And trying on new ones! No, I thank
you, aunt Hopkins. Hereafter I'll look after my
bonnets myself. I think our acquaintance with
Mrs. Fastone will be broken off by this adventure;
and so I will make a merit of necessity, abandon
fashionable society, and be more humble in my
demeanor and in my dress.
Mrs. C. Ah, my child, you will be better satisfied
with your decision, as you grow older, and see
how frivolous are the demands of fashion, and how
little happiness can be obtained by lavish display.
And I think this little adventure, though a severe
lesson, will be far more profitable than the
possession of that "love of a bonnet."