Act One

Scene


Office of George Washington Glibb, Los Angeles real estate agent. Chatterman and Gaswell are seated at a table.

Chatterman: I say, Gaswell, isn't it about time that Glibb was getting here from his villa?

Gaswell: Oh, those real estate agents never get down to business before noon, they have to sit up all night scheming to make a penny.

[Enter Glibb in a great bluster, slaps Gaswell on the shoulder, Gaswell acts very dignified]

Glibb: Shake hands old boy; glad to see you, never expected such a pleasure, and Mr. Chatterman, such an honor. Can I do something for you in the way of business?

Gaswell: Well, yes, we have a little matter of business of great importance, but we can wait until you look over your correspondence if you wish.

Glibb: Quite a batch, all from parties wishing to sell - or from those who have been sold. Somebody is always making a change. The ladies, you see, are never satisfied. The fact is, Mrs. Glibb is one of those. She emptied my pockets last night and took my last nickel, she was after change. Didn't even have enough for carfare, had to walk - but let's get to business.

Gaswell: Mr. Chatterman, will you be so kind as to call the boy?

Chatterman: Hey, Jimmy!

[Enter Jimmy, a big, overgrown boy in shirt sleeves with a wheelbarrow containing an immense roll of paper marked off into tracts of 1,000 acres each.]

Gaswell: This is a map of a small portion of our property. Mr. Chatterman, will you be so kind?

[Mr. Chatterman unrolls a part of the map and places it on the table]

Chatterman: Mr. Glibb, we desire to place in your hands for sale a choice tract of land in the Santa Ana Valley, hitherto little know, but needing only the bright effulgence...

Glibb: Bright effulgence is good.

Chatterman: ...of your burning genius...

Glibb: A regular electric light.

Chatterman: ...to bring this property into the full blaze of publicity.

Glibb: Well, gentlemen, you have come to the right place for the general illumination of real estate - rose being my favorite color.

Gaswell: Mr. Glibb, we have before us a map of the choicest spot in Southern California. This is the plan of the town of Richland.

Glibb: It is; hey, down here? This marks the boundary line of the garden of Eden, doesn't it?

Gaswell: Yes sir.

Glibb: The rest is the land of the Philistines, I suppose. Well, we will keep this gem of the valley right here. [Tears off a portion of the roll.] I say, Jimmy, just wheel the rest of the Santa Ana Valley and the Santiago Creek out into the back yard, will you?

[Exit Jimmy]

Gaswell: Now Mr. Glibb, let us make a few explanations. [Puts on his spectacles] This is about the center of the village. On this corner here is to be the Court House; that is the store of general merchandise, this here is to be a Post Office; and that, what is that Mr. Chatterman?

Chatterman: Lock up.

Gaswell: Oh; yes, to be sure, discipline must be maintained.

Glibb: What is this here on this back street?

Gaswell: That sir, is a church.

Glibb: And this, right alongside it?

Chatterman: A Chinese wash-house.

Gaswell: Yes, sir, a laundry.

Glibb: Well, that's not bad, cleanliness next to Godliness.

Chatterman: Now Mr. Glibb, let us draw your attention to the crowning feature.

Gaswell: Yes, to be sure. In view of the slight pecuniary benefit which we will probably derive from the sale of these few thousand acres, we have decided to donate to the town a few lots for a Plaza; right here [points], see?

Glibb: Magnanimous! Gentlemen, when this great act of generosity - unparalleled in the history of real estate in California - becomes known, consider the town as sold...

[Enter Candee, spreads himself around on a couple of chairs, reads a paper, gapes around]

Glibb: ...Looking into the future, I can see the vast multitudes of this prospective metropolis crowding into this Plaza, reclining on the velvet turf, overshadowed by the tossing arms of the giants of the forest, while the air is full of odors sweet, and the trickling of crystal waters. And when they recall the names of those whose generosity gave this spot to posterity, they will say "Bless you."

Candee: Oh give us a rest!

Gaswell: Of course, of course. Now Mr. Glibb, [they rise] we will leave this in your hands and expect to hear of some extensive sales immediately.

Glibb: Candee, I am going out to see a man, if anyone comes in, ask them to wait.

[Exit Chatterman, Gaswell and Glibb, enter Ignorance Bliss, dressed in the height of fashion, somewhat of a dandy, with a hand bag and eye glasses. He takes out a card, stares at it through his glasses, looks around the office and then reads aloud:]

Ignorance Bliss: "George Washington Glibb"?

[He discovers Candee, eyes him through his glasses as a curious specimen and says:]

Ignorance: Are you George Washington?

Candee: Huh?

Ignorance: I say, are you George?

Candee: Naw, he said how he would be back in a minute. That's him. [Points to a picture of George Washington hanging on the wall with a card saying 'Glibb' in large letters underneath. Enter Glibb in a great bluster.]

Glibb: Why, my dear Mr. Bliss, how do you do? So glad to see you. How did you leave all the folks in Philadelphia?

Ignorance: I say; how...how did you know my name was Bliss?

Glibb: Why, it's on your satchel, isn't it?

Ignorance: Of course; that's cute, but how did you know I came from Philadelphia?

Glibb: Why, my dear boy, when a man of your standing in society comes to this coast with his wife it is telegraphed thousands of miles ahead so that we can give you a proper reception. Why, my carriage is waiting at the door now to take you all around and show you all the beauties of this delightful city; and I have my cottage down at the coast all fixed up for you so you can spend a few days of rest after the fatigue of travel. You see, I come from Pennsylvania myself and want to make it pleasant for you.

Ignorance: Shake. Well now, that's clever. But I say, haven't you got some land to sell?

Glibb: Thousands of acres. But see here ow, you just go down to my cottage at the coast for a few days and get freshened up a bit and then we'll talk business. Some of those land sharks may get hold of you and rope you in.

Ignorance: We city boys will look out for that, you know. I'll tell you now, George, I'm pretty sharp if I do say it. It takes a pretty sharp man to get ahead of me. You see, I've been studyin' up the figures about California; and Amy, that's my wife, you know, we've made up our minds that what we want is an orange grove. I'll pay big.

Glibb: My dear boy, let me tell you, I've been in California some years now and as you came from Philadelphia, I don't mind telling you my candid opinion; you hit it just right. There is nothing in this country that will pay better than oranges.

Ignorance: Just what I'm telling you.

Glibb: Now see here, the oldest trees in this country bear from 1,500 to 2,000 oranges per tree. $20 for a healthy, vigorous orange tree five years from nursery is not a high valuation. Plant 100 trees to the acre and the value of that acre swells to the amount of $2,000. Now, 100 trees to the acre, bearing five boxes of the tree would be 500 boxes at $2.00 a box, which would be $1,000 per acre and 20 acres would give you the snug little income of $20,000. Expenses - a mere trifle.

Ignorance: George, that's just what I'm looking for. But you see, if I had forty acres in oranges that would give me an income almost equal to the President, and then if I had forty more to raise some cattle and fine horses...George, you must come down some day and get behind some of my colts.

Glibb: My dear boy, nothing will give me more pleasure. You just spend a few days at my cottage at the coast and then we'll take a run down to Richland where I can show you some of the finest little orange groves under the sun.

Ignorance: That suits me.

Glibb: I say, Candee?

Candee: Huh?

Glibb: How's the road to Richland?

Candee: Well, I guess I can find it.

Glibb: Better throw some feed into your bone yard, as I would like to have you take a party down next week.

Candee: I'll go if there ain't no water in the river.

Ignorance: Water in the river! I thought this was the place for water.

Glibb: You're right, my young friend; but then you see, in the East the water runs on the top of the bed; here, nature is so kind as to keep it running under the bed most of the time - wet or dry - let's go and take a drive.

[Exit Glibb and Ignorance]

Candee: You'll get there, Eli.

Curtain