Crawford’s Claim or Nugget Nell, the Pet of Poker Flat. A Drama in Prologue and Three Acts.
“Begorra, here’s a transformation for ye!”
Very pleasing example of one of Dick & Fitzgerald’s 25¢ “Western Plays.” Crawford’s Claim is the tale of heroine Nugget Nell, a Western mining claim, a sheriff, a Chinaman named Ling-Ling, and a couple of rounds of poker.
A sample of the play’s dialogue shows the use of some of the play’s exaggerated racial stereotypes:
Mike. Here, hould on. You foreigners are gettin too forward—wait till gentlemin drink. Haythen, join me in this toast: “Here’s that the angels above may send down a dove…and cut the throat of every haythen Chinee that tries to cut down the laboring man’s wages.” ... And now, haythen, I’m ready to down you at a game of forty-fives.
Ling. No likee 45—me play pokee.
Mike. Divil a poker. I played poker with you last night, and you kept poking nothing but deuces and trays at me every time you dealt. I’ll play you 45s or nothing.
Ling. All light Ilish. Me play you 45. (crossing)
Mike. (pulls him back) But, mind you, if I find you renaging I’ll pop you, sure as my name’s Mike Moore. And don’t ye hold out the ace of hearts or the five fingers on me either. (Act I., p23)
A contemporary advertisement from publishers Dick & Fitzgerald assigns a number of theatrical tropes to the three-act play:
Nine male, three female characters: Heroic leading man, dialect heavy, Irish comedy, eccentric old man, character juvenile, Chinese comedy, light comedy, character old man, responsible utility, soubrette, walking lady, and character lady. Time of playing, two hours and a quarter. The action is brisk, the language terse, the climaxes thrilling. Humor, pathos, sentiment, and wit are most ingeniously interwoven, while the surprising development of the plot rivets the interest of the spectators from beginning to end.¹
The title page of the drama describes the complete contents of the play book:
Author’s edition printed from the prompt-copy, with the original cast of characters, synopsis of incidents, time of representation, description of the costumes, scene and property plots, diagrams of the stage-settings, sides of entrance and exits, relative positions of the performers, explanation of the stage directions, etc., and all of the stage business.
In short, all the information needed to mount a production of Crawford’s Claim.
Description: Crawford’s Claim or Nugget Nell, the Pet of Poker Flat. A Drama in Prologue and Three Acts.
New York: Dick & Fitzgerald (1890). 46, [2 (adverts)]pp. Pamphlet. 7¼ x 4¾ inches. Printed yellow wraps with spine title. Upper cover with rubber stamp of “The Pettibone Bros. Mfg. Co., Military & Secret Society Publications and Supplies, Cincinnati, O.” Light wear to spine; otherwise, very good.
OCLC, 10cc. Note. 1. Tees, She Would be a Widow or Butternut’s Bride (New York, Dick & Fitzgerald, 1897), see rear endpaper.