Shows D

angrily escapes. Mary prepares to give Edward the rent money. He refused it, however, insisting that she keep it as a portion of her dowry. The two have fallen in love at first sight and offer vows, planning to wed. It appears that Mr. Cribbs' s plan is falling apart. If Edward weds young Mary, there is no way that the cottage will be sold and he (as lawyer) can reap the profits. Mr. Cribbs, however, is not giving up that easily. He will use liquor as his potion to destroy Edward; a plan that has worked for him before. Edward's foster brother, William Dowton, comes along the path. Mr. Cribbs tries speaking with him, but William has no time, proclaiming that Edward is getting married and there is much to do. Mr. Cribbs tries to get an invitation, but William refuses. William leaves and Mr. Cribbs hears the singing of Agnes, the insane sister of William. At one time she was a happy girl who was engaged to wed. Mr. Cribbs, however, turned her fiancée to drink and the young man died in a drunken fit. She has never been the same since that time. Deranged Agnes enters and speaks of the wedding preparations she has observed. She confronts Mr. Cribbs, crying that he ruined her life the moment he turned her husband to drink. The crazy woman chases him and Cribbs attempts to hit her with his cane. Just then, William returns and takes Mr. Cribbs by the collar. Williams says that were it not for the fact that Mr. Cribbs is an old man, he'd break every bone in his body. William restrains himself, however, choosing good over evil, and lets Cribbs go. Mary and William have a wonderful wedding, and everything appears to be going well for the happy couple. The village celebrates. During this, Mr. Cribbs hands a bottle of wine to the Preacher who doesn't know quite what to do with it. Edward, however, looks at the bottle and prepares to take a sip. Mary tries to stop her new husband from taking a drink, but he persists, telling her that it is only in social celebration. Unfortunately, after his first drink he appears to be quite taken with the new beverage. ACT II Some years later, Edward is discovered in a village bar, disheveled and drinking quite heavily. He has been wandering from one bar to the next, drinking his nights away. Mr. Cribbs has been along all the time helping to keep poor Edward in a drunken state. Suddenly, a great deal of commotion ensues as Carrie Nation works her way to Edward and speaks to him of redemption through complete abstinence from alcohol. Mr. Cribbs tries to argue with her about the virtues of drinking, but she has no time for this. Our villain, however, is a very powerful man, and soon everyone in the bar has joined him in celebrating his views of alcohol. Carrie tries to stop him, but to no avail. They all continue drinking and Carrie leaves in frustration. By this time, Edward is totally intoxicated, and even the bartender tries to send him home, but he refuses causing another stir. He eventually passes out on the floor. William enters, finds his wounded brother, and tries to help him home. He reprimands Edward for his behaviour and accuses the bartenders of assisting his brother's demise. It is then that Edward remembers the man he used to be and realises what he has become - a drunkard. Still in a drunken stupor, Edward passes out again. Mr. Cribbs is delighted with the way situation is playing itself out. He delivers a monologue to the audience about living life to the fullest. In a wooded glade, a trembling Edward enters more out-of-sorts than ever. He proceeds to his secret hiding place behind the tree stump, and gets his bottle of liquor which he guzzles until it is gone. He prepares to go, but is stopped by Cribbs who quickly tries to tempt him with a flask of brandy. Edward tries to resist, but he cannot. He drinks the flask while Cribbs laughs maniacally. Once Edward is completely drunk, the two join in song celebrating the joys of drinking. Inside the Wilson cottage, poor Mary is sobbing about her situation. Her husband is a drunk, there is little money left, and her mother, Mrs. Wilson, is near death. Little Julia, her daughter, tries to console her mother. William enters with more news of Edward and his drunken ways. When Mary sees her husband in his completely disheveled appearance, she completely breaks down. Hearing all the commotion, the old woman (Mrs. Wilson) runs out and screams for silence. Unfortunately, her screams bring about a sudden heart attack and she dies. Edward realises he is to blame for everyone’s hardships and decides to leave forever.