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      IN THE NURSERY

       

      FATHER,and mother,and brothers,and sisters, were gone to the play; only little Anna and her godfather were left at home

      "We'll have a play too," he said;"and it may begin immediately"

      "But we have no theatre,"cried little Anna,"and we have no one to act for us my old doll cannot, for sh is a fright,and my new one cannot,forshe must not rumple her new clothes"

      "Onecan always get actors ifonemakes useofwhat one has," observed Godfather

      "Now we build the theatreHere we will put up a book, there another, and there a third, in a sloping rowNow three on the other side;so,now we have the side-scenesThe old box that lies yonder may be the back- ground;andwe'll turn the bottom outwardsThe stage represents a room, as every one may see Now we want theactors Letusseewhatwe can find in the playbox First the personages,and then we will get the play readyoneaftertheother,that willbecapital!Here'sapipe head, and yonder an odd glove; theywill do verywell forfather and daughter"

      "But those are only two characters,"said little Anna"Here's my brother's old waistcoatcould not that play in our piece, too?"

      "It's big enough, certainly," replied Godfather

      "It shall be the lover There' s nothing in the pockets,and that's very interesting, for that's half of an unfortunate attachment And here we have the nut- crackersboots, with spurs to them Row,dow, dow! howthey can stamp and strut! Theyshall representthe unwelcome wooer, whom the lady does not like What kind of play willyou have now? Shall itbea tragedy, or a domestic drama?"

      "A domestic drama, please,"saidlittle Anna;"for the others are so fond of thatDo you know one?

      "Iknowahundred,"saidGodfather"Thosethatare most in favourarefrom the French, but they are not good forlittlegirls In themeantime, wemay take oneofthe prettiest, for inside they're all very much alike Now Ishake the pen! Cockalorum!So now,here's the play, brinbranspan new! Now listen to the playbill"

      And Godfather took a newspaper, and readas ifhe were reading from it

      THE PIPE- HEAD AND THE GOOD HEAD

      A Family Drama in one Act

      CHARACTERS

      MR PIPEHEAD, a father

      MRWAISTCOAT,a lover

      MISS GLOVE, a daughter

      MRDE BOOTS, a suitor.

      "And now we'regoing to begin The curtain riseswe have no curtain, so it hasrisen already All the characters are there, and so we havethem at hand NowI speakas Papa Pipehead! he' s angry today One can see thathe's a coloured meerschaum

      "'Snipsnapsnurre, bassellurre! I'm master in my own house! I'm thefatherof my daughter! Will you hear what Ihave to say?Mr deBoots is a person in whom one may see one'sface;his upper partisof morocco,and he has spurs into the bargainSnipsnapsnurre! He shallhave my daughter!"

      "Now listen to what theWaistcoat says,littleAnna," saidGodfather"NowtheWaistcoat's speakingThe Waistcoat has a liedown collar, and is very modest; buthe knows hisown value, and has quite a right to saywhathe says

      "'I haven't a spot onme! Goodness of material oughtto be appreciated Iam of real silk, and have strings tome

      "'On the wedding day,but no longer; you don't keepyourcolour in the wash'This is MrPipe-head who is speaking'Mrde Boots is water-tight,ofstrong leather, and yet very delicate; he can creak, and clankwith his spurs,andhasan Italian physiognomy'"

      "Butthey ought to speak in verse,"said Anna,"for I've heard that's the most charming way ofall"

      "Theycandothat too,"repliedGodfather;"and as the public demands, so one talks Just look at little MissGlove, how she's pointing her fingers!

      Rather live and wait,

      A glove withouta mate!

      Ah!

      IfIfromhimmustpart,

      I'm sure'twill break my heart!

      'Bah!'

      That last word was spoken by Mr Pipe-head; andnowit'sMr Waistcoat's turn

      OGlove,my own dear,

      Thoughitcostthee a tear,

      Thou must be mine,

      For Holger the Dane has sworn it!

      "Mrde Boots, hearing this, kicks up, jingles hisspurs, and knocks down three of the sidescenes"

      "That'sexceedinglycharming!" cried little Anna

      "Silence!silence!said Godfather"Silentappro-bation will show that youarethe educated public in the stallsNowMiss Glove sings her great song withstartling effects

      I cannot talk, heigho!

      And thereforeI willcrow!

      Kikkeriki, in theloftyhall!

      Now comes the exciting part, little AnnaThis is themost important in all the play Mr Waistcoat undoeshimself, and addresses his speech to you, that you may applaud;but leave italone,—that's consideredmore genteel

      "'Iam driven to extremities!Take care of yourself! Now comes the plot!You arethePipe-head,andIam the good headsnap! There you go!

      "Do you notice this, littleAnna?" asked Godfather"That's amost charming scene and comedy Mr Waistcoat seized the old Pipehead,and put him in his pocket;there he lies, and the Waistcoat says

      "'You are in my pocket;youcan't come out tillyou promise to unite me toyour daughter Glove on the leftIhold out my right hand'"

      "That's awfully pretty,"said little Anna

      "And now the old Pipehead replies

      My head's in a hum,

      So confused I've become;

      Where'smy humour?Gone,Ifear,

      AndIfeelmyhollowstick'snot here

      Ah! never, my dear,

      Did Ifeel so queer

      Oh! take out my head

      From your pocket, Ipray;

      And my daughterand you

      May be married today

      "Isthe play over already?" asked little Anna

      "By nomeans," replied Godfather"It's only allover with Mr de Boots Now the lovers kneel down, andone of themsings

      Father!

      andtheother,

      Take back your head again,

      And bless your son and daughter

      Andtheyreceivehisblessing,and celebrate their

      wedding, and all the pieces of furniture sing in chorus,

      Clink! clanks!

      A thousand thands;

      And now the play is over!

      "And now we'll applaud," said Godfather"We'll

      call them all out, and the pieces of furnituretoo, for theyareof mahogany. "

      "And is our play just as good as those which the oth-ers have in the real theatre?"

      "Our play is much better," saidGodfather,"It is shorter,ithasbeen givenfree, and ithas passed sway the hour before teatime"

       


       

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