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SOCIALISM. A SCENE FROM A COMEDY.
BY J. FENIMORE COOPER. 1849. SCENE-A Parlor. Lovel and Frank at Breakfast. LOVEL. That's true, by George. I did not
LOVEL. I am an individual, I tell you, and not think of that. I dare say they have their progress; a community.
their being up to the time, and all the other nonFRANK. The besetting vice of the old opinions, senses of the day. You are what is called a my dear uncle. Serious doubts are raised whether communist, Frank. there are, properly speaking, any individuals; the FRANK. I reject the appellation, sir. It is true great human family being composed of communities. we recognise the great community principle, as
LOVEL. Aye, aye, just as the Menai Bridge is opposed to a narrow, selfish, unnatural individualformed of arches.
ism; but we admit the rights of property, the relaFRANK. This is an age of movement.
tions of society, the—the--a-a-in short, all that, LOVEL. You never said truer words, boy. New in justice and reason ought to be admitted. This names for old ideas. Every thing in progress. Even it is which distinguishes the new principles from old age keeps in motion; and I, who was sixty- the old. six last summer, am quite liable to be sixty-seven this. LOVEL. Ah! I begin to comprehend—you are
FRANK. 'Tis the spirit of the times, sir. Pro- only an uncommon-ist! gress is all in all just now.
FRANK. Well, sir, as you have promised to LOVEL. Were it not for my gout
attend the school, I shall soon see you added to our FRANK. Neuralgia, or inflammatory rheuma- number, let me be what I may. tism, if you please. There is no longer any gout. Lovel. It is useless talking, boy. If I cannot
LOVEL. I would be off for some other planet, quit the earth altogether, I have discovered and get rid of all these innovations. I hate change. FRANK Discovered !-what, my dear sir?—I There is Venus now-a very good-looking, quiet so doat on discoveries ! star; I think I might fancy a peaceable home under LOVEL. I wonder you never discovered that her auspices for the rest of my days.
you are a confounded blockhead. You doat on my FRANK. I am afraid, sir, it is rather late in life ; Ward, too; but it's of no use; she'll never have and you might find the door shut in your face on you. She has told me as much. your arrival, after a very fatiguing journey. Besides, FRANK. You must excuse my saying, sir, that the planets have their revolutions as well as I think your imagination has a hand in this. opinions.
LOVEL. No such thing, sir. It appears to her to be too selfish and narrow-minded to bestow her Frank. May I ask why not, sir? affections on an individual, when there is a whole LOVEL. She's converted, at last, to your community to love. She has made a discovery, too. opinions ; regards all mankind as brothers, your.
FRANK. of what, sir? I beg you'll not keep me self included, and can't think of marrying so near a in suspense. Discoveries are my delight.
relative. LOVEL. Suspense !—you deserve to be sus- FRANK. There is no community on this subpended by the neck for your foolish manner of ject, sir. I shall continue to hope. trifiing with your own happiness. Here has Emily LOVEL. You needn't. She has found out found out that she is a social being, and she is not what a narrow sentiment it is to love an individual, disposed to throw herself away on the best indi. I tell you, and opens her heart to the whole of the vidual that ever lived, that's all.
great human family. FRANK. I have unlimited confidence in the FRANK. Love is a passion and not a principle, principles of Emily
and I shall trust to nature. My time has come, and Lovel. Her principles !—why, it is on this very I must really go. I shall expect you in half an community principle, as you call it, that she is for hour—six, at the latest. (Exit.) dividing up her heart into homeopathic doses, giv- LOVEL. This is what he calls keeping pace with ing a little here, and a little there, in grains and the times, I suppose, and progress, and not being drachms, eh?
behind the age. Since his mind has got filled with Frank. We will not talk of Emily, sir; I would this nonsense, I find it hard to give him any sound prefer to learn this discovery of yours.
advice. Poor Emily is taking bis folly to heart, Lovel. Yes; it is a great thought in its way. besides being a little jealous, I fear, of this unknown I call it Perpetual Still-ism. As every thing is in sister of Mošocial's, whom she hears so much exmotion, looking anxiously after truth, and opinions tolled. Here she comes, poor girl, looking quite are vibrating, I have taken a central position, as serious and sad. (Enter Emily.) respects all the great questions of the day; the Emily. What has become of Mr. Frank Lovel, sir? human family necessarily passing me once on each LOVEL. Off, like a new idea. oscillation. Truth is a point, and at that point I Emily. It's very early to leave the housetake my stand. Finding it is a wild goose chase to where can he have gone at this hour? run after demonstration, I have become a fixture. LOVEL. I heard him say he had some morning I'm truth, and don't mean to budge. As you are call to make. my nephew and a favorite, I'll give you a friendly EMILY. On whom can he call at nine o'clock? word now and then, as you swing past on the great LOVEL. The great human family. They are moral pendulum of movement, coming and going. always in, my dear. He'll be admitted.
Frank. Thank'ee, sir; and as movement is EMILY. Few persons would deny themselves the order of the day, I am off for McSocial's. to Frank Lovel.
LOVEL. Who is a very great scoundrel in my judgment.
FRANK. This of one of the luminaries of the times! He and his sister are blessings to all who listen to their wisdom. But I must quit you, sir. (Going.)
LOVEL. Harkee, Frank.
He's a very
LOVEL. If they did, he would enter by the Evily. My dear guardian !—but I would not key-bole. No such thing as excluding the light. have him.
Emily. Why allude to him with such severity, LOVEL. Thank you, Miss Warrington. In my dear guardian ?
these unsettled times one never knows what will LOVEL. Because he is a blockhead; and be- happen. I was born an individual, have lived an cause he makes you sad.
individual, and did hope to die an individual; but Emily. Sometimes he makes me very much Frank denies my identity. He says, that all indithe reverse. He is generally thought quite clever. viduals are exploded. Yes, Emmy, dear, I may be
LOVEL. He's new fangled, and that passes for forced, by statute, to offer myself to you, for what cleverness with most persons.
can I know. marry him, Emily.
Emily. Thank you, my dearest guardian; but Emily. Quite likely, sir, as I mean never to set your mind at rest—1'1 promise not to accept marry any one-still, I should like to know the you. How can they make us marry unless we see reason why?
fit? By what they call the right of eminent LOVEL. He is your brother by the great human domain,' I suppose. They are doing all sorts of family; and you can't marry so near a relative. things up at Albany by means of this right. The church would not perform the ceremony over LOVEL. That foolish fellow, Frank, is for ever you; you come within the fifth degree. I suppose chasing novelties, when Solomon himself tells us you can foresee the consequences were you to marry there is nothing new under the sun. this vol-au-vent, Emily.
great dunce. EMILY, Not exactly, sir ; I suppose, should EMILY.
In my opinion, sir, Frank knows a such a thing ever happen, that he would love me great deal that Solomon never dreamt of, if the dearly, dearly; and that I'might return the feeling truth were proclaimed. What did Solomon know as far as was proper.
of the steam engine, the magnetic telegraph, or LOVEL. You know that Frank is an uncom- animal magnetism? monist?
LOVEL. And what does Frank know of the Emily. Oh, Lord !—you quite frighten me, Temple, the Hebrew melodies, and the Queen of sir—what is that?
Sheba ?-An ill-mannered, ill-tempered fellow, to LOVEL. An improvement on the communist. wish to disturb elderly gentlemen in their indiEMILY. I like the idea of improvement; but viduality! what is a communist ?
Emily. Would it not be better than abusing LOVEL. A great social division, by means of him, sir, for you and me to pursue our scheme, by which the goods and chattels of our neighbors, means of which Frank can be made to see the true wives and children included, are to go share and character of these McSocials, and be brought back share alike, as the lawyers say.
into his old train of opinion and feeling? As Emily. All this is algebra to me.
long as he thinks and acts as he does at present I LOVEL. It is only arithmetic, my dear; am seriously resolved not to marry him—and—and nothing but compound division. Here am I, a -andbachelor, in my sixty-sixth year, happy and free. LOVEL. Go on, my dear; I am all ears when If this project succeeds, I may wake up some morn- a young woman is seriously resolved not to marry ing, and find a beloved consort sharing my pillow, a handsome young fellow, whom she loves as the and six or eight turbulent members of the great apple of her eye. human family squalling in the nursery; children Emily. I acknowledge the weakness, sir, if it whose names I never even heard—Billies, and Tom- be one; but am not weak enough to link my fortunes mies, and Katies. I devoutly hope there won't be to those of a social madman, though I believe this any twins. They would be the death of me. I Dr. McSocial has a notion to the contrary. detest twins.
LOVEL. Whew !—the impudent rascal!—and Emily. But you need not marry unless you he Frank's bosom friend all this time! But come please, sir.
this way, Emmy; I mean to go out myself this fine LOVEL. It used to be so, child; but every morning, and take a look at the great human thing is upside down now-a-days. They may make family, with my own eyes; maybe we can concoct a code to say I shall marry. You, yourself, may be something to set community in motion in our own enacted to marry some old fogram, just like me. way.