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Bought and Paid For

By

George Broadhurst

Comedy dramas have been rare during the last few seasons, but Mr. George Broadhurst's
"Bought and Paid For,” which has been crowding The Playhouse for the past five months,
promises to have the longest run of any play this season. This article is published by
the courtesy of the manager, Mr. W. H. Brady, and of Mr. George Broadhurst, the author.

T

\HE scene is Robert Stafford's Jim-Four hundred a week for his rooms!

splendidly furnished bachelor I call that criminal (to Virginia), don't you? apartment about 7.30 at night. VirginiaMr. Stafford is a very rich man. The stage is empty as the curtain Jim-But four hundred dollars-just for

rises, but in answer to a ring, his rooms, while I slave a whole week from a Japanese servant enters and admits Vir- eight in the morning till six at night for a ginia Blaine, a pretty girl of twenty-two or measly fourteen! I tell you there's somethree, very simply dressed, her sister Fanny thing rotten in this country. who is several years older and not nearly so Virginia-Mr. Stafford didn't get more dainty a type, and James Gilley, a twenty- than fourteen when he was your age. He four-year-old shipping-clerk, who has a great was poor, too. deal of assurance and swagger in spite of the Fanny-(To Jim) Yes, and when they fact that he earns only fourteen dollars a raised you from twelve at Christmas, you week. Virginia, who is a telephone girl in thought you were doing great. I remember one of the big hotels, has been invited by one how chesty you were about it. of her customers, Robert Stafford, a very Jim-Only because I figured that I might wealthy broker, to dine at his apartment. be gettin' eighteen pretty soon and then we Fanny and her fiancé, Gilley, have been could get married. Do we still have to wait asked to complete the party. Stafford has till I get eighteen, Fanny? been detained downtown, but his servant Fanny—Indeed we do. A couple simply explains that he will arrive in a very few can't live on less than eighteen. moments. They all sit down.

Jim-How did you come to know him, Jim-(Looking around the room) I guess Virginia? this is bad, eh?

VirginiaDo you mean Mr. Stafford? Virginia-It's beautiful!

Jim-Sure. Fanny-When this hotel was being built, VirginiaI was at my desk in the hotel I read in the paper that Mr. Stafford was to about three months ago, and he came and pay twenty-two thousand dollars a year for wanted long distance -I think it was his rooms.

Washington. There was some trouble getJimTwenty-two thousand a year, just ting his party and, as people will, we got for his rooms!

into conversation about it. Fanny-Yes!

Fanny—Did you know who he was? JimWhy—that's over four hundred dol- Virginia-No. A girl who handles a telelars a week!

phone desk at our hotel hasn't got much Fanny-Yes.

time to bother about anything else.

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Jim-When did you find out?

Virginia-About a month later. He got into the habit of 'phoning every two or three days to some one, and finally he asked me to go to dinner with him.

Jim-And did you?

Virginia-Certainly not. Then he used to come nearly every day. One time I-I think he had been drinking.

Jim-Say, but that was foxy.
VirginiaWhat was?

Jim- Making him think that his having money made

no difference. Virginia - It didn't.

Jim-Sure it didn't. That was the way to play it.

Virginia —I don't know what you mean. I wasn't "playing" anything or

anybody.

Fanny - He was-drunk?

Virginia - Oh, no! Not at all!

Jim-Do you mean to say that if any man Jim— Just lit up a bit to

you, on the level, to be his wife, you show that he's human.

Virginia-I've seen men who are twice

wouldn't marry if they gave me half Fanny Oh! Virginia-Well, one of the clerks no

Fanny—Then what happened? ticed how often he came, and told me that Virginia-He finally asked me to dine he was Mr. Stafford. A few days later, he with him here and to bring you and Jimmie. asked me if I knew who he was and I said I had told him about your being engaged. that I did.

Jim-I'm beginning to think that he's on Fanny-Then did he ask you to go again? the level. He might even want to marry you. Virginia-Yes.

Virginia-Don't be absurd. Fanny-And you wouldn't?

Fanny-But if he did, would you marry Virginia—Of course not.

him?

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or so.

Jim-Would she! Would she! Say, Fanny-I thought he was rather distinFanny, are you crazy?

guished looking. Virginia

I don't know that I would

Stafford, a handsome man of forty-odd, Jim-Do

you mean to enters and makes them all welcome; and say that if

any man as presently Fanny and Jim wander into the rich as Staf

ford is library, leaving the other two alone. Stafwas to ask

ford brings out a picture of his yacht and you, on the

shows it to Virginia. level, to be his

Virginia-I don't know much about such wife, you wouldn't

things, but she looks very big and strong. jump at the chance?

StaffordShe is. She's an oceanVirginia - I've

going boat; I can go anywhere in seen men who are

her. Have you ever been on a trip on a private yacht?

VirginiaNever.

StaffordIt's the most enjoyable thing in the world. You can have a little private party of two, four, or as many as you like. You are absolutely and entirely away from the rest of the world, and you can go where you please and do what you please.

Virginia-It must be splendid.

StaffordBelieve me, it is. My boat will be in commission in a week

How-how would you like to make a voyage on her?

VirginiaI've had my vacation. Stafford-Perhaps you prefer the country, and fishing and hunting.

Virginia-I love the country.

Stafford-In Maine, I have a hunting lodge that is absolutely out of the world. How would you like to spend a month or so there?

VirginiaBut I've had my vacation.

Stafford-Or perhaps you'd prefer to go abroad

VirginiaI've told you that I've had my vacation, and I simply couldn't afford another one even if they would let me go.

Stafford-(With meaning) I wasn't speakas rich as Stafford is was to ask

ing of a vacation. (Virginia catches an idea wouldn't jump at the chance? as rich as Mr. Stafford that I

of Stafford's meaning. Her incredulity their money as a wedding present

changes to anger during the following speech)

A friend of mine has a villa just outside twice as rich as Mr.

Monte Carlo. I believe it is in the loveliest Stafford that I wouldn't marry if they gave spot in the world. He isn't using it this me half their money as a wedding present. year, and I know he'd be glad to let me have

Jim-And in a way I can't say that I it. Suppose I get it and send you and your blame you. I've seen pictures of a lot of

sister over.

I could join you in two or those financiers, and, on the level, they are three weeks, and meanwhile I would arthe rummiest looking bunch I ever set range a letter of credit for you for fifty thoueyes on! But I didn't think Stafford was sand dollars. (Blazing with anger and withthat kind.

out a word, Virginia starts to cross to the door, but Stafford intercepts her) Would a hundred thou

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that you don't sand be enough?

love any other Virginia-No! Nor a million! Nor any amount!

man. StaffordThat's just what I wanted you to say.

Virginia-No. Had you hesitated even for a minute, I should

Stafford have been the most disappointed man in the

Then be my world. Miss Blaine—will you marry me?

wife. I'll be a VirginiaMarry you?

loyal and faith StaffordYes.

ful husband, and Virginia-You could speak to

I'll see that you me one minute as you did

won't have a care in StaffordThat was the test.

the world. VirginiaThe test?

VirginiaI don't StaffordYes. From the

know what to say. day success first came my way, I and the men associated with me have been buying things. We have bought contracts, newspapers, legislatures, everything. Some of my friends have even bought off their old wives. After meeting you it didn't take me long to make up my mind that you were the girl I desired to marry. I could have sworn, too, that money wouldn't tempt you, but I wanted to be sure.

VirginiaAnd so you set a trap for me?

Stafford-And so I set a test for you! And I thank God that you met it as you did. I wanted you to say “no”just as much as I ever wanted anything in the world. Will you marry me?

Virginia-Do you love me?
Stafford-You wish for the truth?
VirginiaYes.

Stafford-If to want to be near you, to be tender to you, to look after and guard you; to hold you to my breast and shield

you from all trouble and harm —if that is love, then I love you.

Virginia-And if I don't consider thatlove?

Stafford StaffordThen I am afraid I shall never

Say yes. love any one.

I'm not a romantic man. (Oku enters) I never was. But I think this will prove

Oku — Exhow I regard you; I am forty-seven years cuse, please! old and you are the only woman I have ever Dinner it is asked to marry me! Will you?

served. Virginia-You don't trouble to ask if I love you.

The curtain

Fanny and Jim Stafford-I don't expect you to-yet. falls as the four sit down But I think you like me don't you? to dinner, and Stafford, ris(There is a pause) I am taking it for granted ing, announces his engagement to Virginia.

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Two years have

have a baby, and, thanks to Stafford's genpassed. The scene

erosity, they have been able to move is the boudoir

from 140th to 125th Street. Gilley of Virginia's

is now in Stafford's employ. Fanny, home. Fan

who is visiting her sister, sees that ny and Gil

Virginia is unhappy. Virginia ley are

declares Stafford to be the best married,

husband alive except when he drinks. Twice lately, she declares, he has made a beast of himself, but he has promised never to do so again.

(Stafford enters. He is evidently drunk. He is in the best of humor, but when he speaks to his wife, his looks and manner show the feeling toward her about which she has previously spoken)

Stafford - Evening, everybody! (He beams upon them all. Virginia's face shows her feelings. Stafford goes to her.) Hello, baby! (He kisses her and puts his arm about her) My, but you look pretty to-night! (To Jim) Do you wonder that I'm in love with her?

Jim-I should say not.

Stafford-She's the prettiest and sweetest girl that ever lived. (To Virginia) Kiss me, baby.

Virginia-Robert! Please! (She indicates that others are present.)

Stafford-(To Fanny) Oh, you wouldn't mind, would you? You would

n't mind if a husband Stafford-After meet

kissed his own wife? ing you, it didn't take me long to make

Fanny-No, of course not. up my mind that you were

Stafford-How's the kid? the girl I desired to marry. I could have sworn, too, that money

Fanny–Very well, thank you. wouldn't tempt you, but I wanted to be sure

Stafford-When I saw her Virginia-And so you set a trap for me?

this morning, I thought she Stafford-And so I set a test for you. And I thank God that you met it as you did

looked a little pale. Now it

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