Jane Annie Comic Opera by James Matthew Barrie and Arthur Conan Doyle

Jane Annie Comic Opera by James Matthew Barrie and Arthur Conan Doyle

Jane Annie Comic Opera

Jane Annie, or The Good Conduct Prize (1893)

By J.M. Barrie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Comic Opera in Two Acts with music composed by Ernest Ford

Jane Annie Comic Opera Dramatis Personae

A Proctor
Sim (Bulldog)
Greg (Bulldog)
Tom (a Press Student)
Jack (a Warrior)
Caddie (a Page)
Miss Sims (a Schoolmistress)
Jane Annie (a Good Girl)
Bab (a Bad Girl)
Milly (an Average Girl)
Rose (an Average Girl)
Meg (an Average Girl)
Maud (an Average Girl)

Schoolgirls, Press Students, and Lancers. The Scene is obviously laid round the corner from a certain English University Town.

Jane Annie Comic Opera Act I.
First Floor of a Seminary for the Little Things that grow into Women.

Jane Annie Comic Opera Act II.
A Ladies’ Golf Green near the Seminary.

TIME. The Present.

One Night elapses between the Acts.

The Opera produced under the Stage Direction of Mr. Charles Harris and the Musical Direction of Mr. Francois Cellier.

Jane Annie Comic Opera Act I

SCENE. – First floor of the Ladies’ Seminary. The GIRLS are exchanging their last confidences for the night. Enter CADDIE [1] with their candles.

Good-night! Good-night!
The hour is late;
Though eyes are bright,
No longer wait!
Though clear the head,
Though wit may shine,
To bed! To bed!
It’s nearly nine!

Dining-room clock strikes.

MILLY : Now the last faint tint has faded.

ALL : Good-night! Good-night!

MILLY : And the west in gloom is shaded.

ALL : Good-night! Good-night!

MILLY : See the moon her vigil keeping.

ALL : Good-night! Good-night!

MILLY : Torpor o’er the earth is creeping

ALL : Good-night! Good-night!

Drawing-room clock strikes.

Good-night! Good-night!
A-talking thus,
Though eyes are bright,
Is not for us.
The eve is past,
The shadows fall,
And so at last
Good-night to all.

All retire except CADDIE, who is roused from a profound reverie by the misbehaviour of the clock. He makes short work of it. Exit CADDIE : [2] There is a knock at the door, and the GIRLS reappear.

MEG : It was the front door!

MILLY : Who can be calling at such a fearsomely late hour as nine o’clock?

ROSE : Why doesn’t some one peep down the stairs.

BAB runs downstairs.

MAUD : That bold Bab has gone. Miss Sims will catch her.

MILLY : Oh! I can see. (Looks over staircase.)

ALL : Well?

MILLY : A man!

ROSE : At last!

MILLY : Bald!

ROSE : The wretch!

MILLY : He has two other men with him.

MEG : Two! Girls, let us go and do our hair this instant.

MILLY : They are shewn into Miss Sims’s private room. Ah!

MAUD : What?

MILLY : The door is shut.

ROSE : What a shame!

MEG : What is Bab doing all this time?

MILLY : She has her ear at the keyhole.

MAUD : Dear girl!

MILLY : She shakes her fist at the keyhole.

ALL : Why?

MILLY : I don’t know.

BAB comes upstairs.

ROSE : Bab, why did you shake your fist at the keyhole?

BAB : Because it is stuffed with paper. [3]

ALL : Oh!

BAB : Yes, stuffed. How mean of Miss Sims. She might surely have trusted to our honour not to look.

MILLY : Thank goodness, the holidays begin the day after to-morrow.

BAB : But a great deal may happen before to-morrow. Girls, can you keep a secret – a secret that will freeze your blood and curl you up and make you die of envy?

ALL : Yes, yes!

BAB : That little sneak Jane Annie is not here? [4]

MILLY : She has gone upstairs to bed.

BAB : You are sure?

ROSE : I’ll make sure. (Runs upstairs and looks through keyhole.) It’s all right, girls! I can see her curling her eyelashes with a hairpin.

GIRLS surround BAB :

BAB : Then, girls, what do you value most in the world?

MILLY : My curls.

MEG : My complexion.

ROSE : My diamond ring.

MAUD : My cousin Dick.

Well, Meg would be delighted her complexion fair to doff,
And Milly take her scissors and cut her tresses off,
And Rose with a careless “Take it” give up her diamond quick,
And Maud would soon surrender her rights in Cousin Dick,
To be me to-night!

MILLY : What is his name?

BAB : Jack.

MAUD : A lovely name! What are you and Jack to do?

JANE ANNIE steals downstairs.

BAB : This very night we have-

ALL : You have- ?

BAB : Arranged to el-

ALL : To el- (seeing JANE ANNIE.) Oh!

JANE ANNIE comes forward. All turn their backs on her.

JANE ANNIE : What have you arranged to do to-night, Bab? What is it, Maud? tell me, Milly.

ROSE : You used to be the worst girl in the school, Jane Annie, and I believe you have become a sneak to win the good-conduct prize. [5]

MILLY : When it is presented to her to-morrow, I shall hiss.

JANE ANNIE : What is your secret, Bab?

BAB : Oh, I should like to pinch you!

JANE ANNIE : Just because I am a good girl.


I’m not a sneak for praise or pelf,
But when they’re acting badly,
I want to make them like myself,
And so I tell tales gladly.
Just because I am a good girl.

She gives her reasons thus,
But it’s rather hard on us,
To suffer just because she is a good girl.

I told Miss Sims they read in bed,
Although with guile they cloaked it,
And when her cane chair vanished,
I told her they had smoked it,
And all because I am a good girl.

ALL : And all because she is a good girl.

Although misunderstood, I’m meek-
Bab, pinch me, pinch me well!
(BAB pinches her.)
Thanks! Next I offer you my cheek.
(BAB slaps her.)
Now, dear, I’ll go and tell.
And just because I am a good girl.

She gives her reasons thus,
But it’s rather hard on us,
To suffer just because she is a good girl.

JANE ANNIE : If I liked I could make Bab tell me her secret. Beware! I have a power by which, if I chose to use it, I can make any one do anything I like.

MILLY (scoffing) : Then why don’t you use it?

JANE ANNIE : Because I am a good girl.

Exit JANE ANNIE downstairs.

ROSE : Do you think she has such a power?

MILLY : Of course not.

MEG : Still, Jane Annie could not tell a lie.

MILLY : You mistake. It was George Washington who could not tell a lie.

MEG : So it was. How stupid of me.

MAUD : Quick, Bab, your secret?

ALL : Yes – the secret!

BAB : Girls, this is my secret. Meg, watch! Jack is a soldier, and he loves me.

ALL : Oh!

BAB : But better still – I have two lovers.

MILLY : Do they hate each other?

BAB : Yes. [6]

MILLY : Scrumptious!

BAB : And, oh girls! I have promised to elope with Jack to-night.

ALL : Oh! (BAB sighs.)

ROSE : But why do you sigh?

BAB : Ah, there is Tom, dear Tom! What is poor Tom to do?

ROSE : Then it is Tom you love?

BAB : Oh, I do not know which I love. Tom is so poor, and Jack is ready to take me now. Besides, I have promised.

MAUD : Then Jack has money?

BAB : He says he has a little.

MILLY : Only a little? Then what are you to live on?

BAB : Oh, we have worked that out very carefully. First of all he is to sell out. Then he has a friend who wrote a novel in six weeks and got £1,000 for it. Well, Jack has much more ability than his friend, so he is to adopt novel writing as a profession, and, as £1,000 in six weeks comes to £8,666 13s. 14d. a year, we shall be quite comfortable.

MILLY : I see you have left nothing to chance.

BAB : No.

ROSE : Where are you and Jack to meet?

BAB : All day I have been expecting a note to say if I am to meet him in the garden or on the tow path.

MISS SIMS [7] and JANE ANNIE come up the stairs listening.

MEG : H’st!

BAB (softly) : Girls, we are watched! I must deceive the eavesdroppers. (Aloud.) Girls, this is my secret about which you have asked me.

ALL : Ahem! Ahem!


Bright-eyed Bab I used to be,
Now these eyes are lead;
Languor has come over me,
Hangs my little head.
Now my figure – once like this –
Droops like autumn berry;
Pity me, my secret is,
Me is sleepy very!


See her little drowsy head,
Droops like autumn berry;
Says she wants to go to bed,
She is sleepy, very!

Does her naughty little head
Droop like autumn berry?
Says she wants to go to bed,
But I add a query?

BAB : Simple Bab is charged with art,
Watched by cruel parties;
Palpitates her ‘ittle heart,
‘Is where ‘ittle heart is!
Something Bab has planned to do,
Something will not keep;
Bab’s a drowsy girlie who
Has planned to – go to sleep.


Such a guileless little head
Secret could not keep;
Tuck her in her cosy bed,
And she’ll go to sleep.

Though she be a drowsy head,
That is rather steep;
Would she go to sleep?

Exeunt GIRLS slowly to refrain of “Good-night, Good-night!” [8]

MISS SIMS (to JANE ANNIE) : This explanation of Bab’s seems quite satisfactory.


MISS SIMS : Bab, to bed.

BAB : Can’t I stay up for a little, Miss Sims, to entertain your guests?

MISS SIMS : Insolence! I shall see you to your room.

BAB : I can hear them coming upstairs.

JANE ANNIE : Do tell me who they are. I am not curious. I only want to know.

MISS SIMS : They are the Proctor and his Bulldogs.



There was a time when we were not,
The name that this dark period got
Was Chaos.
It lay as ‘neath a ban,
Merely containing animals, vegetables, minerals,
Woman and the like, and man.
Said Nature, “I’ve no Proctor,”
This strange omission shocked her.
Too long she felt she’d waited;
She now enlarged her plan.
We Proctors were created,
And then the world began.

I’ll tell to you what ’tis we do,
We stalk the undergrad.
When he perceives our velvet sleeves,
He runs away like mad.
Then follow we by deputy,
These men I now describe;
My bulldogs sound pull him to ground,
They never take a bribe.
In vain he tries to dodge their eyes,
Of all his haunts they’ve knowledge;
And soon I make our quarry quake
By crying, “Name and college!”

ALL : Name and college! Name and college!

Caged lions may forget they’re tame,
The wife forget her baby’s name,
The trampled worm forget to turn,
The Scot to think of Bannockburn,
One poet in a score forget
The laureateship is open yet,
But none who of its gist have knowledge
Can e’er forget my “Name and college.”
In after years I fill with fears
All who’ve been undergrads;
The Cabinet, the Laureate,
Still run from me like lads.
To Parliament I one time went
The front bench to enlighten,
I thought I’d try to prove that I
Could still the members frighten.
So up I rose, and struck the pose,
And shouted, “Name and college!”
Oh, run did they from me that day,
When I cried “Name and college!”

ALL : Name and college! Name and college!

Comedians may forget their part,
Librettists that it rhymes with heart;
Composers may themselves forget
When ragged rhymes they’re asked to set;
The Savoy opera singer e’en
Forget that on his head he’s been;
But none who of its gist have knowledge,
Can e’er forget my “Name and college.”

[Re-enter MISS SIMS.] JANE ANNIE listens from balcony.

MISS SIMS : Dear friend, you have not yet told me the reason for this visit, and I cannot hope that you have called merely because of our old friendship.

PROCTOR : Our more than friendship.

They sigh. BULLDOGS sigh, and PROCTOR glares at them.

GREG (rebelliously) : We have our feelings.

PROCTOR : But I object to your having feelings.

SIM (signing to GREG to control himself) : Then we haven’t.

PROCTOR : Are they still following me?

GREG and SIM (going to window) : They are gone!


MISS SIMS : What is it, dear friend?

PROCTOR : It is the penalty of greatness. You have heard that a Chair of New Journalism has been established at the University. There has been no peace for me since. The Press Students follow me, interview me, describe me. You see, honours can now be got in this department, and they are all anxious to take the first “first class” in journalism.

GREG : Besides, they feel that if they don’t hurry up, some lady student will take it before them.

MISS SIMS : It is a way that lady students have.

PROCTOR : But it was duty brought me here. I have private information that an undergraduate named Findlater – popularly known as Tom, is carrying on a – a – a –

GREG. : A flirtation.

PROCTOR : A – a flirtation – (He is reluctant to take the word from GREG, but can think of no other. GREG is triumphant.) – with a certain – certain – one of these – ah! what do you call those little things that grow into women?

GREG : A girl.

PROCTOR (annoyed) : A – a – girl – in this seminary.

MISS SIMS : Impossible! Could it be Bab?

GREG : Bab was the name.

PROCTOR glares at GREG, with whom SIM expostulates in dumb show.

JANE ANNIE : (aside). Tom! Tom! But I am sure the naughty word I heard her say was Jack! (Exit JANE ANNIE.)

PROCTOR : Tom is coming to serenade her from this hall window. Now I have come here to watch, and if he is guilty, to have him sent down. Ha! ha! conceive his discomfiture when he climbs up to this window and is met – not by his sweetheart – but my cry of –

GREG : Name and college.

SIM (quaking) : I don’t know what is to become of him! (To GREG.) Don’t be so dashed independent!

PROCTOR (fiercely) : Watch at the windows!

BULLDOGS go to windows.

MISS SIMS : Dear friend, you must be mistaken.

PROCTOR : Mistaken? I am a Proctor. Besides, if you are so confident, you cannot complain of my putting the matter to the proof, and I propose watching here. Where can I hide?

MISS SIMS (pointing to clock) [9]  : Do you think you could get into this?

PROCTOR : The clock! Why not? I can just do it.

MISS SIMS : Good. And I shall watch downstairs, for I know that my school can triumphantly stand the test.


Strictly tended plants are mine,
Breakfast early, bed at nine –

PROCTOR : Plants that need some watching.

Their regard for beauty slight is,
Mental charm their chief delight is –

PROCTOR : Mischief ever hatching.

Flirt’s a word at which they frown,
Man they know is but a noun –

PROCTOR : A noun they can’t decline.

Eyes they never use amiss,
When they take the air like this,
In a maiden line. (Business.)

Yet I take this information
With some mental reservation,
And I think it most imprudent,
Thus to fire the callow student,
Or the young divine.

Helpful books they read – not Gyp,
But the courting scenes they skip –

PROCTOR : Or at least they say so.

If the heroine who charms
Sinks into her lover’s arms –

PROCTOR : They hope to be some day so.

No, their comment prim and terse is,
Namely “What a hard plight hers is!”

PROCTOR : Oh, this is quite too fine!

And mankind with scorn they view,
As they walk out two and two,
In a maiden line. (Business.)

Yet he takes my wise instructions
With considerable deductions;
For such sights are bad, I know
For the budding medico,
Or the young divine.

PROCTOR : Yet I take Miss Sims’ instructions
With considerable deductions;
For such sights are bad, I know
For the budding medico,
Or the young divine.

GREG : Thank you so much. What is that called?

MISS SIMS : It is a little thing of my own.

GREG : How delightful!

MISS SIMS : I am so glad you like it.

GREG : You sing with so much expression.

MISS SIMS : Do you really think so?

GREG : Won’t you favour us with another?

MISS SIMS : That is the only one I know.

GREG : How very charming! (PROCTOR orders him back to window.)

PROCTOR : Ah me! Neither of us has forgotten the days when we were lovers. What a pity we quarrelled!

MISS SIMS (questioningly) : I suppose we have quite outgrown that affection?

PROCTOR : Oh, quite. (BULLDOGS at the window make signs as if they saw someone. Soft flute is heard outside.) Ah! he comes! It is Tom! (PROCTOR gets into the clock, MISS SIMS assisting him. PROCTOR looking out.) How’s that?

MISS SIMS : Wonderful! If the face had hands you could pass for the clock any day. And here they are. (Puts her spectacles on PROCTOR.) There! and now I shall watch downstairs.

PROCTOR : Hi! a moment. What have you set me at?

MISS SIMS : Ten past nine. (Exit.)

PROCTOR : Now the minute hand is in my left eye and I can see nothing. I wish she had put me on half an hour.

GREG (coming down) : I beg to inform you, sir – he’s gone! Sim, where can the Proctor have vanished to?

SIM (coming down) : I am glad he isn’t here. What is to be done? We didn’t see what the Proctor expected us to see.

GREG : Is that our fault?

SIM : Hush! Of course it is, Greg. You will say we saw the undergraduate, eh, Greg?

PROCTOR (aside) : What?

GREG : But we didn’t. It was a soldier we saw.

PROCTOR (aside) : Eh?

SIM : Oh, what is to be done?

GREG : Tell him the truth.

SIM : Oh, Greg, don’t be so independent! Think of the time when you were a little child on your mother’s knee.

(GREG is much affected.)


SIM : When a bulldog I became,
Independence was my game,
But since my course I’m steering
By a rule that is more wise,
For I hear with other’s hearing,
And I see with other’s eyes.

GREG (derisively) : Tooral, looral-ly!

SIM : That’s a risky think to say.

GREG : It’s my platform, I reply.

SIM : Platforms, Greg, are cheap to-day.

GREG : Which nobody can deny. Man’s a man for a’ that, Sim.

SIM : For a what? say I, [10]

GREG : For a that.

SIM : A that? what’s that?

GREG (after reflecting) : Tooral, looral-ly!

Up with caps and freedom hail!
Here’s the new election cry;
Man’s a man if born a male,
Tooral, looral, looral-ly!

Proc’s are spry, but I see through them!
I’m the man that will undo them!
With a wit like razors’ edges,
Twit them in the ‘Varsitee;
This the thin edge of the wedge is,
Spell them with a little p.

SIM (derisively) : Tooral, looral-ly!

GREG : Culture’s fudge – see how I flout it,

SIM : Culture doesn’t pay, that’s why;

GREG : We reformers do without it,

SIM : Which nobody can deny.

GREG : Mad you are, my friend, go to!

SIM : Go to where? say I,

GREG : The missing word I leave to you.

SIM (after reflecting) : Tooral, looral-ly!

BOTH : Up with caps and freedom hail!
Here’s the new election cry;
Man’s a man if born a male,
Tooral, looral, looral-ly!


Boots are placed outside the doors at this point. The BULLDOGS look scared, and exeunt downstairs.

Enter CADDIE : He collects boots in a laundress’s basket. [11] The boots he loves are not among them. He is distressed. JANE ANNIE’s door opens and she puts out her boots. He is elated and goes for them. While he is getting them BAB’s arm appears outside her door, groping for her boots. As she doesn’t find then she comes out and looks for them. She sees basket, glides to it unseen by CADDIE, picks out her boots and exit with them. CADDIE returns with JANE ANNIE’s boots, fondling them. He sits down on basket and kisses them. Then he rises and tries to drop them among the others. This strikes him as sacrilege. He shakes his head, then ties the laces of JANE ANNIE’s boots together, slings them over his head, and exit, carrying basket.

PROCTOR : What is he up to? If I had only being going, I should be at the half-hour by this time, and then I could see with the left eye. Ten past nine! I little thought that the time would come when the grand ambition of my life would be to be nine-thirty. What is he doing upstairs? Hallo! a girl, and after some mischief. I wonder if I dare ask her to put me on twenty minutes. I feel very queer, as if I was turning into a real clock. I hope I sha’n’t strike.

ROSE and MILLY come softly out of their rooms.

MILLY : I have been thinking so much of what Bab told us that I can’t go to bed.

ROSE : Nor I – Oh, Milly!

MILLY : What time is it, Rose?

ROSE (holding candle to clock) : Half-past nine.

PROCTOR (aside) : I wish it was!

ROSE (to MILLY) : What?

MILLY : I didn’t speak.

Flute heard outside.

ROSE : Listen!

MILLY : Oh, Rose! I am all of a tremble; turn up the gas.

BAB enters. Flute playing continues.

ROSE : It is he – Jack!

BAB (trembling) : No, that is Tom!

MILLY : The other one!

BAB : Milly, he must have heard that I am to elope with Jack and doubtless he has come here to shoot me.

MILLY : How romantic!

ROSE : How delightful!

PROCTOR : How out of tune!

MILLY : Perhaps he has only come to ask you to give him back his presents.

ROSE : How horrid of him to bother you when you don’t care for him.

BAB : I never said I didn’t care for him.


ROSE : I hear him climbing up the ivy.

MILLY : He is coming to the window.

BAB : If he and Jack meet they will fight. (To GIRLS.) Leave us.

ROSE and MILLY exeunt. BAB hides. TOM enters from the window. He is very sad.

It was the time of thistledown,
The corn we wandered through;
She plucked the lover’s thistledown,
As maids are wont to do.
She blew upon the thistledown,
“He loves, he loves me not!”
And from the loyal thistledown,
“He loves” the answer got.
She did not ask the thistledown
If her own love were true;
No need to ask the thistledown,
She thought – as maidens do.
But had she asked the thistledown,
This answer she’d have got,
“Your false breath stains the thistledown,
He loves, but you love not.”

BAB (coming down) : Tom! (They embrace.)

TOM : Then you do love me?

BAB (kissing him) : Oh no, this is only saying good-bye.

TOM : You fling me over?

BAB : Jack insists on it.

TOM : Have you forgotten that day on the river, when –

BAB : When you kissed my hand? Oh, Tom, but I have been on the river since then with Jack, and he-

TOM : Kissed your hand also?

BAB : No, he did not kiss my – hand. (TOM takes something wrapped in paper from his pocket.) What is that?

TOM : The glove you gave me. (Gives it to her.) Give it to Jack. (Hands her something else.)

BAB : And what is this?

TOM : A hairpin. Give it to Jack. Good-bye!

BAB : Ah, Tom, you will soon forget me.

TOM : I am a man who loves but once, and then for aye.

BAB : You will be heart-broken about me all your life?

TOM : Till the grave close on me.

BAB : Dear Tom, you make me so happy. Now, kiss me passionately for the last time. You must see that it is not my fault. (He is about to kiss her, then sadly lets her go.)

DUET. – TOM and BAB.

O eyes that spoke to me of truth,
Farewell, deceptive mirror!

Thus you describe them, yet forsooth,
You look into the mirror!

Sweet mouth that pouted for my kiss,
Farewell, sweet lying mouth!

The words you’re using are amiss,
Yet sweet you call my mouth!

O heart that throbbed a tale untrue,
Farewell, you falsely beat!

Although it may not beat for you,
The words you say are sweet.

False one, farewell, I harm you not;
To him depart, and scathless;
Be mine to bear my dreary lot,
Struck down by woman faithless.
For you, a jilt, my heart has bled,
My cup with grief you fill.
Ah, tell me, empty little head,
Why ’tis I love you still?
BAB : He loves me still, he loves me true,
He worships at my feet.
My heart may never beat for you,
And yet your words are sweet.

TOM – BAB : ‘Tis so; yet joy be thine, Ah, how can joy be mine,
Though hopeless future mine, If hopeless fate is thine?
Farewell! Farewell!

BAB (aside) : Ah! am I sure that it is Jack whom I love best? And yet, my promise!

JANE ANNIE steals downstairs.

BAB : Fly, Tom! It is Jane Annie, the sneak!

TOM hurries to window where JANE ANNIE meets him. The PROCTOR comes stealthily out of clock.

PROCTOR : Name and college!

TOM jumps through the window [12] , PROCTOR seizes JANE ANNIE. BAB listens unseen.

JANE ANNIE : Unhand me! I am Jane Annie, the model girl od the school.

PROCTOR : You are Bab, the flirting-girl!

JANE ANNIE : You are mistaken, I-

PROCTOR : Mistaken! – I! Have I not told you that I am a Proctor?

JANE ANNIE : It was Bab who was flirting, and I came to warn you.

PROCTOR : Yes, it was Bab, and you are Bab. (Seeing BAB) Girl, what is the name of this chit?

BAB : That is Bab, sir, and my name is Jane Annie.


PROCTOR : Exactly! She has assumed your name.

BAB : Oh, Bab, how could you!

PROCTOR : I caught her in the act of eloping with an undergraduate through this window.

BAB : Naughty!

JANE ANNIE : You wicked little wretch! Sir, I am-

PROCTOR : You are about to be shut up in your bedroom for the night. Which is her room, Jane Annie?


BAB : In the attic there.


PROCTOR drags JANE ANNIE upstairs, and pushes her into her room.

BAB : I hope poor Tom didn’t hurt himself, though I believe he went away blaming me. Men are so unreasonable!

PROCTOR (coming down) : Well, Jane Annie, why don’t you go to bed?

A letter is thrown through the window.

PROCTOR : A letter! and through the window!

BAB (aside) : Oh, it is from Jack! We are ruined!

PROCTOR : It has no address. For whom can it be meant?

BAB : Oh, give it to me, sir?

PROCTOR : To you, child? Never! It is my duty to open it myself. (Opens and reads.) “Ten past nine. Ten past nine! I am waiting for you in the garden.” Ha! what plot is this that I have unearthed? Who is waiting in the garden, and for whom?

BAB (aside) : Oh, what shall I do? Ha! Have I not heard that Miss Sims and he were sweethearts? (To PROCTOR.) Can you not see?

PROCTOR : No, I can’t; and if I can’t, it’s perfectly certain that no one else can.

BAB : I know whom the letter is from.

PROCTOR : From whom, child?

BAB : It is from Miss Sims.

PROCTOR : From Dinah?

BAB : Precisely.

PROCTOR : And for whom is she waiting?

BAB : Why, for you, of course. Oh, sir, have pity upon this poor lady’s heart.

PROCTOR : Ha! “Ten past nine!” [13] She means me! Of course it is addressed to me. “Ten past nine, I am waiting for you in the garden.” Excuse me, child! (Exit.)

BAB : Oh, Jack is outside, and I do trust they will not meet. It was my only chance. Now I must put on my hat and coat and slip out to join him.

Exit into bedroom. JANE ANNIE comes downstairs.

JANE ANNIE : That little wretch Bab will find that ia m not so easily foiled. Let me see, I need darkness, because I am such a good girl. (Turns down the lights.) Oh! who is this?

Enter JACK in a cloak.

JACK : Bab, come! (Sees JANE ANNIE and runs forward.)

JANE ANNIE : I am not Bab!

JACK : Oh, Lord! the wrong one. (Takes to his heels, dropping the cloak in his haste.)

JANE ANNIE : What a superior young man! His cloak! (Puts it on.) In this light she might mistake me for him! (Swaggers about in military fashion.) Oh, I will lay such a beautiful trap for her! (Retires to back of stage, and conceals herself by the curtain.)

Enter BAB, dressed for travelling, and with several packages.

BAB : Farewell, dear old school – the nicest school in the world to get away from! If I were only sure that I am not making a mistake! They say that there was a girl who eloped from here once, and that she was unhappy, and that her spirit still haunts these rooms. Tom, Tom! shall I take this final step which is to divide us? Oh! what is that?

Little maiden, pause and ponder,
Life is cruel, life is dreary.
Little feet, why should you wander
On to paths so rough and weary?
Ere you snap the final link,
Little maiden, pause and think!

BAB : Oh, I am so frightened. What shall I do?

JANE ANNIE comes forward, enveloped in JACK’s cloak.


BAB : Jack, I cannot!


BAB : Oh, Jack, be good to me! Do be careful of this packet. It is awfully, awfully important. It is my curling tongs. (Gives packet.) The carriage is awaiting us, of course. That contains your letters Jack, and these are some little things – and take this bag. And now, darling, carry me down, for I am going to faint!

She falls into JANE ANNIE’s arms, who lets the things fall, seizes her and screams. Ringing of bells, and general alarm. PRESS STUDENTS come rushing upstairs. [14] MISS SIMS enters, all stare at JANE ANNIE holding BAB, who seems to have fainted from fright.

Madam, do no think us rude in
On your privacy intrudin’;
We are Students Journalistic,
Keen on copy, plain or mystic,
Commonplace or transcendental,
Psychic, physical, or mental,
News we’ll have, and through you, madam,
For we’ll interview you, madam.
That’s so flat, nought could be flatter,
Tell us quickly, what’s the matter?
What’s the matter? What’s the matter?

GIRLS run out of their rooms in various stages of deshabille. [15]

Madam, when we heard this screaming,
Scarcely sure if we were dreaming,
Curiosity controlled us,
And we came as you behold us,
Trim or ruffled, tossed or dapper,
Clad in dressing gown or wrapper,
We are kneeling to you, madam,
News to get, and through you, madam.
Think not this is idle chatter,
But inform us what’s the matter?
What’s the matter? What’s the matter?

News we’ll have, and We are kneeling to you,
through you, madam, etc. madam, etc.

MISS SIMS : Jane Annie, what is this? Bab, what were you doing in her arms?

BAB : Miss Sims, forgive me! I thought she was a gentleman.

MISS SIMS : Oh, infamous! To your rooms, all, this instant!


PRESS STUDENTS (taking notes eagerly) :
School aristocratic,
The scene most dramatic,
Plot unsystematic,
And very erratic, [16]
Jane Annie ecstatic,
Her victory emphatic,
She won it by stealing
Down from the attic.

Enter PROCTOR furiously.

We’re glad to interview you,
To get a column through you,
And note what you may say.
See now how we will do him,
While we seem to interview him,
In our frank, new-fashioned way.
Are Proctors men of learning?
Do you spend more than you’re earning?
And how much do you owe?
Of women do you think much?
On occasion do you drink much?

PROCTOR : Emphatically, no!

PRESS STUDENTS (writing) :
Proctors have no acumen,
And no respect for women.

PROCTOR : Yes, yes! I meant to say!

PRESS STUDENTS (writing) :
In debt and boasts about it.
Love’s grog – can’t do without it.
Must have it night and day.

My words you’re misconstruing,
That is not interviewing.

Yes, this is interviewing,
In the frank, new-fashioned way.

If you’ll suppress this fable,
I’ll tell you, if I’m able,
A recent incident.
(Aside). Diverting their attention,
I’ll draw from my invention
Some singular event.

There was once a man in a seaside town,
And his name it was – what was it?
I know it wasn’t Smith, and I’m sure it wasn’t Brown,
But it was – oh, Lor’, what was it?
I very much want to tell you all,
You’d love to know about it;
But just this point I can’t recall,
And as it’s immaterial,
We’d best go on without it.
A widow lived in the same hotel,
Her name it was – you know it!
He stole to her and whispered – well,
He whispered, well – Oh, blow it!
I very much want to tell you all,
You’d love to know about it;
But just this point I can’t recall,
And as it’s immaterial,
I’d best go on without it.
But when the lady heard this speech,
Down to the pier she flew then,
Threw up her arms, and with a screech,
She – she – Oh, dear! what did she do then?
I very much want to tell you all,
You’d love to know about it;
But just this point I don’t recall,
And as it’s most material,
I can’t go on without it. [17]

Enter SIM and GREG.

SIM : At last we’ve got him, sir.

PROCTOR (not heeding) : Away!

SIM : Him that dangled after her!

PROCTOR : Hurray! (addressing PRESS STUDENTS). To catch an undergraduate I came.

SIM and GREG (perplexed) :
Of this there’s question none,
He is an undergraduate,
In all respects but one.
That one to mention we forgot,
It’s odd to me and mate,
It’s this, that somehow he is not
An undergraduate!

JACK steps forward, CADDIE holding him.

Why, evidently he is not
An undergraduate!

MILLY (from balcony) :
Oh, sir, take care
Of one so fair
Let his complexion
Plead with you for him!

An officer I,
Strolling by,
Smoking a Henry Clay, [18]
These men I met,
They me beset
In a most unseemly way.
Of girls they spoke,
Which spoilt my smoke,
For the sex I do not care about.
I’ve not address’t
Them e’en in jest
Since ’85 – or there about.
They dragged me here,
By brute force sheer,
But this doth chiefly jar.
Your page, I find,
We left behind
Smoking my big cigar.
And therefore I
Your school defy,
Oh, I do not stand in awe of you;
For spoilt have they
My Henry Clay,
And I mean to have the law of you.

Exit JACK :

Re-enter GIRLS.

PROCTOR : No I am trepanned and done brown.

PRESS STUDENTS : We hear you, and we’ve got it down.


MISS SIMS (to JANE ANNIE) : We owe all too you, it appears! So what can I do?

GIRLS. Box her ears!

JANE ANNIE : To be good I try hard,

GIRLS : Ain’t she meek?

JANE ANNIE : And I ask no reward,

GIRLS : Oh, the sneak!

Yet if I should take
Something nice,
They may learn to forsake
Ways of vice.

Stop a moment – “Forsake!”
“Ways of vice!”

JANE ANNIE : Now the good-conduct prize,

GIRLS : Oh, how mean!

JANE ANNIE : Seems good to my eyes,

GIRLS : Which are green!

So if you agree
That I’m right,
Why not give it me
Well – to-night?

Stop a moment – “Agree”
“To to-night.”

Dear pupils, see, to my bosom I fold her,
The prize shall be hers ere she’s five minutes older.


The girl who’s good, demure, correct,
Cannot preserve her self-respect,
And mine I would regain.
So having got the prize to-night,
To-morrow I, with all my might,
Will be an imp again!
Girls, I am naughty from this hour,
And six long months of wickedness,
By virtue of my magic power,
Into one day I will compress!

Jane Annie’s naughty from this hour,
But oh! what is this magic power?

CADDIE sends PRESS STUDENTS away. [19]

When I was a little piccaninny,
Only about so high,
I’d a baby’s bib and a baby’s pinny
And a queer little gimlet eye.
They couldn’t tell why that tiny eye
Would make them writhe and twist,
They found it so, but how could they know
That the babe was a hypnotist?

Now think of that! this tiny brat
Was a bit of a hypnotist!

And as I grew my power grew too,
For we were one, you see,
And what I willed the folk would do
At a wave or a glance from me.
I could “suggest” what pleased me best,
And still can, when I list,
And Madam Card will find it hard
To beat this hypnotist!

Oh, think of it! This little chit
Is a mighty mesmerist!


Enter MISS SIMS, BULLDOGS, PRESS STUDENTS, and CADDIE in procession. PAGE bearing prize. GIRLS become demure. [20]

To Jane Annie this prize I present,
And in it I’ve writ this inscription-
“Awarded a hundred per cent.
For goodness of every description.”
(Presents prize.)

Hail, oh hail to the modest maiden!
Hail, oh hail to the downcast eyes!
Now with all our plaudits laden,
See, she takes the well-earned prize.
Hail, Jane Annie, hail!

Hail, oh hail to the scheming maiden,
Hail, oh hail to the roguish eye!
Now she stands with honours laden,
They will know her by-and-bye.
Hail, Jane Annie, hail!

Hail, oh hail to her we honour!
Hail, oh hail to the blushing cheek!
Place the laurel wreath upon her,
See her crowned, and good, and meek!
Hail, Jane Annie, hail!

Hail, oh hail to her they honour!
Hail to her unblushing cheek!
Place the laurel wreath upon her,
See her trying to look meek.
Hail, Jane Annie, hail!


Jane Annie Comic Opera Act II

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