Obi Melodrama: Act II, Scene 6

Transcript of the scene

SCENE VI.—A wild and rocky dell. Stage half dark.

(Music.—JACK hastily descends the rock, dragging ROSA after him, R.U.E.)

JACK. The pursuit is vain. In these wild glens,—old nature's fortresses, which they fear to penetrate, I breathe again; and now, weak girl, the last moment of your life is come.

ROSA. You know me, then?

JACK. As Orford fell, one word escaped him—'twas joy, 'twas triumph! for it told me I had within my power the only child of the detested Ormond.

ROSA. Mercy, mercy!

JACK. You whites are ever ready to enforce for one another that civilized, that Christian law of mercy which our dusky children never yet partook of.

ROSA. Yet, for pity! Wreck not an aged father's hopes by the destruction of his child.

JACK. I had a daughter once; did they spare her harmless infancy? Where is my wife? was she spared to me? No! with blood and rapine the white man swept like a hurricane o'er our native village, and blasted every hope! Can aught efface the terrible remembrance from my soul, how at their lordly feet we begged for mercy and found it not? Our women knelt, our infants shrieked in vain, as the blood-stained murderer ranged from hut to hut, dragging the husband and the father from their homes, to sell them into bondage! No more, no more! the vext spirits of my wife and child hover o'er me like a holy curse, and claim this due revenge.

(Music.—JACK raises his dagger, and is on the point of springing upon ROSA, when QUASHEE leaps from a projecting rock, and interposes.)

QUASHEE. Stand back, Massa Jack! this lady good missee, and me no see her hurt.

JACK. Slave!

QUASHEE. Me no slave! me free! me gentleman, me Mr. Quashee now, and no care a button for you or Obi either.

JACK. Fly, and leave the girl with me, or thy life—

QUASHEE. Me see you dam first, massa. Fly, Missee, to high rock, and tell Sam to come here and help cut him blackguard head off.

JACK. One step, and she dies.

(Music.—ROSA flies to the rocks, and JACK springs after her. QUASHEE rushes between them, places himself upon guard, and stays JACK.)

QUASHEE. No hurry, Jack; all fair fight, and I'll bet my five fingers to your three I send you to your friend down stairs.

(Music.—JACK and QUASHEE fight. QUASHEE is disarmed, and falls on R.H., JACK is upon the point of despatching him, when suddenly, SAM jumps from the rocks at the back, saying, "No you don't massa Jack." A desperate combat of three, and JACK is severely wounded. Ultimately they all lose their swords, and a struggle ensues, QUASHEE falls, JACK pushes SAM upon his body, and holding them both down, draws his dagger, and is about to stab, when TUCKEY (who has appeared at back with a blunderbuss, but cannot fire for fear of hurting his friends,) fires, and mortally wounds him, he falls—SAM and QUASHEE recover their swords, and despatch him.)

QUASHEE. Oh! tank ye, Tuckey! just in time my man.

Obi Melodrama: Act II, Scene 4

A transcript of the scene

JACK. Behold you future residence. (she starts.) What? You like it not? The masonry is somewhat rugged, I confess; and the tangling weeds form but a sorry tapestry—but it has one proud charm—(takes down ladder.) security! Your white man, I am told, can soar into the air, fathom the deep, ransack the mine, and enslave in every clime where his accursed arts find access. Here, here alone, no white man finds an entrance, but as Karfa's slave.

ROSA. (aside.) To what have I reduced myself! but tis for Orford, and I will not fear—could I discover where he is confined—

JACK. Come, come, no muttering. To work, to work. Trim yonder fire. (R.2 E.) Nay, pause not; obey me! the times have changed, and the white man must now labour for the black.

Obi Melodrama: Act II, Scene 3

A transcript of the scene

SCENE III.—A rocky passage, leading to Jack's cave. First Grooves. Stage dark.

(Music.—Enter ROSA, L.H., followed by JACK, at some distance.)

ROSA. I know not what impulse 'tis that leads me within this dreary cavern; yet twice methought a groan sounded faintly on my ear. Oh, Orford! should this be the abode of Karfa!

(turns suddenly round and sees JACK watching her. Screams violently and attempts to fly, but is seized by JACK.)

JACK. Why, how now, boy? Enter you my dwelling with bad intent that the presence of the owner thus alarms you?

ROSA. With no ill intent, I do assure you. I merely sought a shelter from the storm, that is over, accept this, (offering purse with her left hand.)—this trifling recompense, and let me pass. (attempting to cross to L.H.)

JACK. What, to tell the white man you have discovered the abode of Karfa? No, no—this cave you never quit with life.

ROSA. (falling on her knees.) Mercy, mercy!

JACK. Nay, fear nothing, boy; attempt not flight, and you are safe. Here you shall attend on my wants. Come, come, do not tremble so; you have doubtless heard of Karfa's cruelties; but know, it is not merely thirst of blood that fires me,—a nobler passion nerves my arm—vengeance!

ROSA. Vengeance! on whom?

JACK. On the planter, Ormond! Should he or any of his accursed race fall within my power, the most lingering torments nature can endure shall speak my hate! One blow is struck, and the nuptial song is changed to the lament of death.

ROSA. Good heavens!

JACK. Nay, fear not, I have promised you life, and Karfa's word is as his hate—unalterable! Nor wilt thou be so lonely as perchance you think. You are not the only bird this trap encloses.

ROSA. (aside.) Merciful powers! then 'tis here that Orford—

JACK. Come, the night wears on, and I must show you all the splendour of my palace. Nay, nay, by your leave, I suffer not the eye of mortal to track the haunt where, like the tiger of his native deserts, Karfa crouches till fate places the victim in his grasp.

Obi Melodrama: Act I, Scene 3

Transcript of the scene

SCENE III.—Interior of OBI WOMAN's hut. A fire—a bench before it having figure—covered with a white cloth on it. Wand for OBI WOMAN—charms, and a handful of feathers in OBI WOMAN's wallet. The fire under an iron pot, suspended by three sticks as in Guy Mannering.

OBI WOMAN discovered, sitting near fire, forming an Obi. After performing several incantations, she speaks.

Magic fire duly placed
In square within a circle traced,
Boil the mystic herbs I've brought,
Till the Obi charm be wrought;

Bones I've raked from the burial ground,
When night and the storm were black around;
Give strength to my work, till I've fixed my dart,
Like a cankerous thorn in the white man's heart—
Till I pierce him and wring him in nerve and spleen
By the arrows felt, but never seen.

Then by flame unbodied burn him,
Then on racking windlass turn him,

Till his sinews quiver and ache anew,
And the cold sweat falls like drops of dew,
Toil him and moil him again and again,
Sicken his heart and madden his brain;
Till strength, and sense, and life depart,
As I tear the last pulse from the white man's heart.

(Music.—As the OBI WOMAN completes her charm, three loud knocks are heard, she trembles, and advancing cautiously to the door, demands, "Who's there?"A voice answers, "Karfa!" She immediately unlocks the door and THREE-FINGERED JACK enters.)

JACK. Well, mother, how work our charms? do they hasten to an end! or still, tortoise-like, so creep to their completion, that the white man's breath is more like to waste with age than be stopped by my revenge?

OBI WOMAN. Son! thy impatience—

JACK. Impatience—impatience, hag! The gods of my fathers frown my delay. Years have elapsed since I sacrificed the wife of the white man, a victim to the memory of my beloved Olinda, whom they tore lifeless from these arms as they dragged me from my native land; can I forget? can I forgive? Never. And long ere this should vengeance have been satisfied, had not a mistaken faith in thy mummery restrained my arm.

OBI WOMAN. Mummery! ha! sayst thou? Rail not on Obi, lest thou feel its power.

JACK. Power? thy power is in the fear of thy votaries—and fear I know not. As Africa receded from my gaze I swore that the first white man who purchased Karfa's services should also feel his hate. Ormond was that man. The wife of his bosom was my first victim, and long ere this should his bones have been mouldering in the grave, but that you promised a sweeter, though a slower vengeance.

OBI WOMAN. And I will perform my promise; Ormond shall die. He but hovers round me for a time, as the fluttering bird struggles to avoid the fascinations of the serpent. But here have I his image made in wax, and as it is molten by a blue fire kindled with dead men's eyes, so shall he waste, waste, waste. (throws in coloured fire.)

JACK. In what time, pry' thee?

OBI WOMAN. Perchance a month.

JACK. A month! A day shall not elapse ere the blow be struck! 'Tis the anniversary of his daughter's birth—'tis the anniversary of that, when blasting their revelry, I struck my first strong blow against his peace. Now, 'tis the day on which he purposes to give his daughter's hand in marriage to her lover; and 'tis the day when, bursting like a whirlwind on him, I will sacrifice his every remaining joy to the memory of my broken-hearted wife, my helpless infants, and the wrongs of my poor country. (crosses to L.H.—distant horns heard, as of sporting party.) Hark, hark! ere night those instruments shall sound a sadder note. Quick! Quick! (giving horn.) More of your charms, which in the eye of superstition make me invisible—and let me to my work. (crosses to R.)

OBI WOMAN. Here, my son. (puts a handful of feathers into horn.) Yet be not rash, and trust that Obi—

JACK. Obi! Here is the charm I trust. (showing a dagger.—Horns recommence.) No more, no more; they come.

Obi Melodrama: Act I, Scene 2

Transcript of the scene

SCENE II.—A room in the planter's house.

(Enter KITTY, R.H., followed by TUCKEY.)

TUCKEY. Come, my pretty maid, be brisk; Mr. Ormond and the captain intend to go out shooting for a few hours, so fly and bid the servants prepare.

KITTY. Fly, indeed! Quite free and easy. Pray, where did you learn to forget the difference between black and white, my dingy spark?

TUCKEY. In England, my dear, where, truth to speak, though I saw many pretty damsels, I saw none that could in any way compare with you, fine model of perfection.

KITTY. Upon my word, the boy has some sense, and is not so dingy as I at first thought him. Exit. L. H.

TUCKEY. Ah, we poor blacks have a weary time of it, and are as much railed at as if the darkness of our skins were a sample of the colour of our hearts.

SONG.—TUCKEY. "Possum up a gum tree."

AIR,—Native Melody.

Opossum up a gum tree,
His tail his body follow,
Racoon quickly him see
Looking out o' hollow—
Pull him by the long tail,
Opossum squall—opossum squall,
Racoon stick his long nail,
Him louder squall—him louder squeak,
Opossum up, &c.

Opossum him look shy now,
Racoon grin, Racoon grin,
Opossum wink his eye now,
Move him chin, move him chin,
Opossum down him stumble
From the tree, from the tree,
And make him 'gin to tremble,
Racoon he, he, Racoon he, he,
Opossum up, &c.

Black boy him love Jill Jenkins,
Tink he'll wed—tink he'll wed,
His massa chide him thinking,
Beat him head—beat him head,
Black boy him love rum, too,
Make him groggy—make him groggy,
But massa make him come to
When him floggy—when him floggy.
Opossum up, &c.

(Exit TUCKEY, L.)

Obi Melodrama: Act I, Scene 1

Transcript of the scene

OVERSEER. Ay! they can shout loud enough now, though but a moment ago, the very name of Obi and Three-fingered jack struck them as dumb as—

ORMOND. I charge you name not that murderous villain in my presence; you awaken recollections which pain, which agonize me.

OVERSEER. Dear sir, your pardon, I knew not—

ORMOND. No, I allude to scenes long past; to scenes of joy and happiness for ever blasted by the ruffian you have named. Alas! this very day, the birth-day of my Rosa, was the one on which I saw her mother fall beneath the hands of that accursed wretch.

OVERSEER. Good Heavens! was your wife the victim of his cruelty?

ORMOND. Long had he been on the estate, and long had every art been tried to soothe his savage nature, for Heaven knows I pitied the unfortunates, and strove by kindness and humanity to mitigate their cruel lot. With Karfa, (for so was he then named,) alone, my efforts failed; each day but added to his ferocity; crime followed crime, until the villain dared to attempt the honour of my wife. The signal punishment which awaited him drove him to madness, and under shade of night he burst his bonds, broke into my chamber, and before my sight murdered my unhappy wife. Vainly I endeavoured to grapple with the monster—his giant strength dashed me to the earth, and in the confusion the wretch escaped.

OVERSEER. And has no attempt been made to secure the murderer?

ORMOND. Often. But all have failed; the negroes dread his incantations, and many of our colour believe him possessed of some supernatural power; he has neither accomplices nor associates; alone he plunders, alone he combats, and has hitherto ever destroyed his pursuers or retreated to fastnesses where none dare to follow him; still his malice seems levelled more at me than others, and I often fear my daughter's life will fall a victim to his hatred.

Obi Pantomime: Act II, Scene 8

A description of the action on stage

As the Procession comes down in the centre of the Stage, they divide in the front; and march up R. and L. wings, range themselves up the sides in the order they came on, so as to admit of the truck on which Tuckey, Quashee, and Sam are brought on to be placed in the centre of the Stage—in front of which is placed Jack's head and hand. The truck is surrounded by the Boys with lanterns, and Dancing Negroes with bells.



Wander now, to and fro,
'Cross the wide Savannah—
Now no fright negro know,
Beat big drum, wave fine flag,
Bring good news to Kingston town, O.
O no fear Jack's Obi bag,
Quashee's knock him down, O.


Wander now, to and fro, &c.


Tang a rang tang tang taro—
O through dale, and over hill
The negro now may go—
For charm he broke, and Jack he kill—
'Twas Quashee give the blow.


Wander now, to and fro, &c.


Here we see villainy brought by law to short duration-
And may all traitors fall by British proclamation.


Then let us sing God save the King!
Wander now, to and fro, &c.

Obi Pantomime: Act II, Scene 4

A description of the action on stage

Jackdrinks plentifully of rum and watergets a little merrytakes his banjo, plays, and desires her to do the same. Rosa, terrified, sings, which lulls him to sleep.


A lady in fair Seville city,
Who once fell in love very deep,
On her Spanish guitar played a ditty,
That lulled her old guardian to sleep.
With a hoo lira lira li ra li ra hoo.

Her guardian not given to dozing,
Was thought the most watchful of men-
But each strain had so sleepy a closing,
That he nodded, but soon woke again,
With a hoo lira, &c.

When Rosa observes Jack asleep, she examines the cavefinds the ladder, puts her foot up it, in order to get away. Hears a groan. Jack starts. Rosa runs down, R.H. catches up the banjo, and sings the last strain of her song, which again sets Jack to sleep. She then looks very cautiously roundfinding him fast asleep, attempts to make her escape up the ladder, when a deeper groan in heard: she returns, looks aboutat length discovers a door, L.H. covered with a matted curtain. Hears the groaning more distinctly: she draws the curtain hastily, and finds a grated dooropens it with difficultydiscovers the Captain lying, boundgives a shriek, runs from the door and falls on her face towards R.H.

Obi Pantomime: Act II, Scene 1

A description of the action on stage


My cruel love to danger go,
No think of pain he give to me
Too soon me fear like grief to know,
Has broke the heart of Ulalee,
Poor negro woman, &c.

Poor soul, to see her hang her head
All day beneath the cypress tree
And still she sing, my love be dead,
The husband of poor Ulalee,
Poor negro woman, &c.

My love be kill'd-how sweet he smiled
His smile again me neber see,
Unless me see it in the child,
That he hath left poor Eulalie.
Poor negro woman, &c.

My baby to my breast I fold,
But little warmth, poor boy, have he
His father's dead-all is so cold
About the heart of Ulalee.

Obi Pantomime: Act I, Scene 5

A description of the action on stage



Quashee he load his gun—
Me go kill Jack, dear—
Hill will no cover sun
When Quashee come back, dear.


War be no certain,
And gun be no true—
Quashee should Jack kill,
My heart break for you.
Sweet music tink a tank,
Stay here delighting,
No go to battle—
Big Death come in fighting.


Me laugh at Obi charm—
Quashee strong hearted.


Ah, me fear many harm,
When you and me parted.
No go, sweet Quashee, me pray—


Yes—go, but long me no stay—


Me drop so when you far away,
Sweet music tink, &c.

Exeunt, R.H.


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