A Love of a Bonnet, A Play,

for Female Characters Only


Mrs. Clipper, 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, Looking-glass, R.

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 economical manner.

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 to-day.

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 suit, why—

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 the day.

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 roasted, anyhow.

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 thing!

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 your lover?

Katy.   Indeed, mam, I have no lover. It's my cousin, mam.

Mrs. C.   O, your cousin.   (Opens letter.)   "Light ov my sowl!" Why, this cannot be your cousin.

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 is from

Your ever sighin',

Wid love for ye's dyin',

Cornalius Ryan.

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 letther.

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 it.

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 letther?

Mrs. C.

"Your ever sighin',

Wid love for ye's dyin',

Cornalius Ryan."

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! [Exit, L.

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.

[Exit, L.

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 table.)

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 hing.

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 genteelly.

Enter Katy, l.

Katy.   Two ladies to see you, miss. (Crosses to R.)

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 elegantly attired.

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 got on?

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 the butcher's.

Kitty.   Aunt Hopkins!—Mrs. Fastone, what is the news?

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?

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 bunnets.

Kitty.   Aunt Hopkins!—Mrs. Fastone, you are quite correct.

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 regular beauty!

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 beauty?

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 fright!

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 Thompson's?

Katy.   (Outside.)   O, murder! that iver I should say this day!

Enter Katy, r.,   (holding in her hand an elegant bonnet.)

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."