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earnest, who could help loving her? Yes, I know what she would say. A lover's long silence causes her deep grief. Can it be that he will leave her? Can it be that money taught him to love Amy Hartwell? I will not believe it. He, too, was noble, generous, and brave. Like many other noble young men, he went to battle for the preservation of right; and to uphold his country's banner unstained. Wealth, friends and luxury surrounded him on every hand; yet he could not resist his country's call. All honor to the battle-worn heroes, who are now suffering that the nation may live. I trust that the hand which leads the armies forth to battle, which sustains the weary soldiers, will still guide him and restore him to his loved home in safety. (Exit.)
Enter JANE SANDERS and FANNIE BLANCHARD. Come to front of stage.
JANE. How well our little plot has succeeded! Little does she think that I have been receiving and reading the letters written to and by her. But I fear I shall not have the pleasure of reading any more of them, for it is now nearly two months since he has written.
FANNIE. You have been successful, truly. During my absence from the city, you gave me to understand in your letters that our plot was successful; yet you did not tell me all the particulars connected with it. I cannot understand it all. How did you manage to intercept her letters.
JANE. My cousin, you know, is assistant postmaster. I let him into the secret. I told him that any letters Amy Hartwell sent to Mr. Branton must not leave the office; and also, all letters that came to her from him must be handed to me. Wasn't it splendid? I have had the benefit of all their correspondence, free gratis. (Laughs.) I think it will prove very beneficial to me in my epistolary correspondence hereafter. Good practical hints, you know?
FANNIE. Indeed they will be! Now you must let me read them some time. I shall enjoy it very much. But Jane,
THE ORPHAN'S TRIUMPH.
have you any reason to feel encouraged in this matter. Do you really think Mr. Branton will forget her?
JANE. Oh! yes; I can see my way clear, though he wrote some very nice letters to Miss Hartwell after the news of her father's failure reached him. But you know, Fannie, he never could marry her now. Just think; a poor teacher; Mr. Branton would never stoop so low.
FANNIE. I always thought that he used to be quite partial to you. I am glad you have succeeded so well. I wonder where Miss Amy is to-day? Mrs. Ainsworth has taken an especial interest in her welfare, it seems to me.
JANE. Yes; I wonder at it; and Hattie is quite doting. I do not like it at all; shall speak with Hattie to-day. She will certainly lose the respect of her associates if she continues to show so much favor to Amy Hartwell.
Enter MRS. AINSWORTH and GRANTON, L.
MRS. GRANTON. Enjoying yourselves I suppose, girls? That's right. I don't wonder you seek a quiet place. Girls will be girls. Nor will they ever trust their love secrets with a widow. Why is it?
JANE. Cannot you answer the question, Mrs. Granton? Truly, there must be a reason, but I cannot tell it.
MRS. GRANTON. (Laughs.) Because she knows too much.. Love! nonsense! pooh! Ask Mrs. Ainsworth to define it; she will tell you 'tis but the wild dreams of foolish maidens. A mere fancy.
MRS. AINSWORTH. Your experience in life, Mrs. Granton, and mine are very different. The true woman loves her husband devotedly; words fail to describe it.
MRS. GRANTON. Well, I'll not argue; I don't like to trouble my brain enough for that. But you do remind me of some of the characters represented in the current literature of the day. A fancied idea existing in the brain of some poor author; all delusion. Why should we pretend to feel sad when we are joyous. Only the next evening after my husband's death I attended a ball. What a magnificent
time we had. I almost wished he were there to enjoy it. (Laughs.) Foolish wish, wasn't it? He is undoubtedly better off; he has now no wife to quarrel with him; and she has no husband to pester her. (Laughs)
Enter HATTIE AINSWORTH, L.
FANNIE. Has Miss Hartwell returned from her classes? HATTIE. I think not; she does not return until late, generally. Her classes keep her very busy during the week. Saturday and the Sabbath are the only days she has for rest, poor girl!
JANE. Why should you feel so badly on her account? She ought feel very grateful for what you have already done.
HATTIE. She does feel grateful; and many a little kind- ness, many a gentle word, many a sweet whisper assures me that she does not forget, nor fail to duly appreciate every kindness or look she receives from me.
MRS. GRANTON. Come, Hattie, let us go into the parlor and have some music. (Aside.) Anything to change the subject. (Aloud.) Perhaps we may have some dancing, too; yet that would be dry without some gentlemen. But when I attended boarding school, I was sent to an institution composed exclusively of young ladies, and we used to have some jolly dances, though our partners were ladies. (Exeunt all. MRS. GRANTON comes back.)
MRS. GRANTON. And I forgot my fan; just like me. Mr. Havner passed along the street, too. Had I my fan I might have displayed my diamond ring, but-well-I will not trouble my poor brain about the dear man. Husbands are a nuisance, but lovers are-are-are-I can't think what it is-Oh! yes-they're fools. (Exit.)
SCENE III. - Same cs Scene I and II. Three years interval. FANNIE and JANE standing near each other.
JANE. Yesterday the gallant regiment returned, but he
THE ORPHAN'S TRIUMPH.
did not come. Why is this? Many others have been struck down, yet his name has never entered the fatal list.
FANNIE. He may have been promoted; possibly he does not now belong to the regiment? Perhaps he has no desire to return to the city again; but has gone to seek another home?
JANE. I know not what to think. I have not questioned any of the soldiers as yet, concerning his welfare; nor do I think I shall. Oh! I hate the looks of those faded blue jackets. How different do the boys appear than they did when they went from home.
FANNIE. I do not believe, Jane, that I shall ever associate with them again. They are so tanned, some of them have received such ugly wounds, I cannot endure them at all. But we made a grand display when they returned, didn't we? JANE. I had a gay time that day.
Enter, unperceived by them, HATTIE, L.
I expected to see Mr. Branton; had a splendid bouquet made expressly for him.
FANNIE. Have you heard anything directly from him lately?
JANE. Well, no, not exactly direct. But he writes, or― that is he did write to my cousin; always sent some missive to me, you know. I have certainly gained one point if I have lost another; though he may never call me wife, I am sure that Miss Amy will never be more to him than she now is.
FANNIE. What a funny little plot we made? Who would have thought that we had such inventive brains? Couldn't we make quite a story of it, Jane? All that is now necessary to make the story read well, is, for Mr. Branton to return and marry you. We could give our story that old name, "Pride must have a fall." The letters that you intercepted would be an exhibition of true love, you know. Amy's circumstances are a little too pleasant to make the story real interesting, but we could fix that all right.
HATTIE. (Asile.) I—I know it all. The secret—the plot is now known to me. I will go, and if possible, make Amy happy yet. (Exit.)
Enter MRS. GRANTON, R.
MRS. GRANTON. Quite exciting times we had yesterday? How patriotic are the ladies of this city! Everybody says so. (Laughs.) How many covered their eyes, not to restrain the tears, for no traces of tears could be found there, but to make others think they could not be comforted. I thought they all enjoyed themselves hugely at the dance last evening. Didn't we have a grand time, girls? Widower Panson was positively charmed with me.
JANE. Would that a regiment would return every week, if such pleasant scenes would take place!
MRS. GRANTON. Then we get so many compliments for our patriotism! so many good wishes; but I must go. I have some shopping to which I must attend. (Aside.) There is such a splendid clerk in the corner store, he is just—just—well, if you knew him you would not deny it.
JANE. We will accompany you. (Exeunt all, R.)
Enter AMY, L.
AMY. Though troubled, weary and care-worn, time seems to pass with wonderful rapidity. Weeks, months, and years have rolled away since last I met him. A long silence unbroken remains. Oh! that my terrible doubts were dispelled! Can it be that he has perished? Can it be that his life was required for the establishment of freedom and union? Or has he deserted me? I know I am not worthy of him; I know he is noble, and that he will become honored. Why did he not write me and tell me to think no more of him? Why has he not come with the regiment? Who can answer these questions? Who can disperse my doubts? Where is Hattie at this time? She perhaps can-no! no! none can solve the mystery. A thought; come, I will write to the commanding officer of the regiment, and, if possible, learn