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--------CARMARTHEN. ......







I NEW YEARS EVE AT HIGHMEAD. With the characteristic kindness and foresight of e Hi-i-mea family, the Lord Lieutenant of Cardiganshire had arranged a pleasant evening entertainment. at the mansion on New Year's Eve for the enjoyment of the tenants and the neighbouring country people. The spacious Organ Hall—memorable as the room where Mr Joseph Chamberlain delivered hia last much discussed political speech in the Principality— had been tastily adorned with banners, ensigns and emblems, whilst in front of the magnificent and mellow-toned organ had been erected a stage fitted up with scenery and footlights preparatory to the performance of a one-act comedietta which occupied the second half of the evening's programme. In front of the stage were placed beautiful exotic and indigenous plants and ferns, all contributing to lend the room a really festive appearance. When the hour for commencement arrived, the seats, which had been arranged in terraces at the back, were well filled. The front seats were occupied by the house party, and the body of the hall was comfortably packed with an audience comprising all the persons who could possibly attend from the country and villages around, very many coming even from Lampeter, for all know that an invitation to Dolau-bach means a veritable treat. We were truly sorry to learn that Mrs Davies-Evans could not attend owing to indis- position, and many were the expressions of regret at the kind lady's absence as she has endeared herself to all who have come in contact with her. The weather was very favourable. Shortly after 7 o'clock the appearance of the Lord Lieutenant at the organ was a signal for loud and hearty cheers and everyone prepared themselves for a pleasant evening's entertainment. The first item was an organ introduction by the Squire who is clever master of the instrument. Then followed a rich treat in the rendering of the song, "The Sailor's grave," (Sullivan) by the famous Welsh tenor, Mr Hirwen Jones. This gentleman has been patroni ed by Royalty and his rendering of the several songs on this even- ing in his effusive and melodious voice proves him to be a vocalist of vocalists. He takes the high- est notes with the greatest ease without any visible effort or strain, and hie distinct articula- tion combined with his other high qualities captured the audience, who loudly applauded until Mr Jones favoured them with an encore. The next item was a solo by Miss Jones, Penylan, who sang very sweotly that beautiful song, "Ora Pro Nobis" (Piccolomine). Miss Jones is a great favourite with audiences in this county and her appearance was greeted with welcoming cheers. She was accompanied on the organ by the Lord Lieutenant. An encore was again demanded and Miss Jones responded with The Spring Legend." Then came a little of the comical element. Mr C. Duckworth, of Orchardleigh, was announced to recite How Bill Adams won the Battle of Waterloo." The Lord Lieutenant appeared on the stage and said in a serious tone that he had a friend to introduce, who could talk to them of old times. He was a very old man and he was one of the few survivors of the Battle of Waterloo." This announcement opened the eyes of those who had no programmes and who therefore were not aware of the piece that was to follow. Taking the statement as correct they were eager for the introduction. And added the Colonel, had it not been for my friend's discretion on that occasion I am afraid the Duke of Wellington would not have been able to take much credit to himself-" This clinched the eager expectation of the unsuspect- ing, to the amusement of those who were in the "Know." Then Bill Adams in the person of Mr Duckworth, was led on to the stage and intro- duced as the veteran spoken of. He was dressed in the military style generally attributed to old army pensioners and supported himself with a stick. He recited the spicy piece in an im- mensely comical way, looking so knowing and bouncy as the imaginary Bill Adams," the very sight of whom, according to his own version, made doughty generals turn on their heels and fly. The way in which he minced the incidents of that memorable battle, made two personages of Napoleon Bonaparte, coupled the names of Nelson and Blucher with the enemy, and libelled Sir Garnet Wolseley, provoked genuine mirth and his effort was enthusiastically applauded. Mr Saunders-Davies, of Pentre, next sang the solo entitled Sweet vision of delight (Leoni), and deservedly won the plaudits of the audience. The next performance was something new, namely, a whistling solo, "Love's Dreamland," by Mr Wodehouse. This gentleman can pride himself on possessing much self-control, for all know that to whistle a song before a sea of giggling faces is a most difficult task. Yet not a smile could be seen on Mr Wodehouse's face and his whistling throughout was clear and un- broken. The audience were delighted and cheered heartily. Mrs Wodehouse accompanied on the piauo. Mr Hirwen Jones again appeared in company with Mr Saunders-Davies to sing the duett, Row us afar," (Manzochi). This was a treat. Words cannot convey the excellency of the singing, nor sufficiently praise the rich voices of the two gentlemen who sang beautifully and blended well together. The audience were not backward in noting this, and their loud calls for an encore showed how highly they appreciated the duett, which is, indeed, very pretty. An encore was given-the company would not otherwise be appeased. Miss Agnes Harford, of Falcondale, next sang Orpheus with his lute," her beautiful and bell like voice, and finished style was deservedly ap- preciated. Mr Miles then gave a piauo solo, and showed himself to be a clever mampulator of the instrument. The solo, "Zelina" (Ondin) was given by Mr Hirwen Jones in a masterly manner, and he was of course encored, when he responded with a Welsh song, suitable for the occasion, entitled Nos Calan." The latter delighted the audience, who applauded until Mr Jones re- appeared on the stage to return his thanks. Part I. concluded with a comic song, "So it was" by Mr Grismond Saunders-Davies. This was enjoyed immensely, as Mr Saunders-Davies was very funny, and his action, style and witticisms make him a good comedian. He was loudly encored. After a short interval, during which the stage was transformed to represent the interior of a farmhouse, the curtain rose on Part II. of the programme- a comedietta, in one act, entitled The Little Sentinel." The characters were Wheedleton Coaxer, an elderly lady-killer, Mr Edwin Saunders-Davies Captain CouHington, a dragoon, Mr Campbell Duckworth Sim, a young farmer, Mr Grismond Saunders-Davies Letty Hawthorne, a young widow, a proprietress of a farm, Miss Jones, Penylan May. her friend, the Little Sentinel, Mrs Wodehouse. The get-up was perfect. Mr Coaxer was dressed in a nobby costume; prided himself upon his taking manners, and with his white top hat, thought himself quite a fanciful lover, and a good catch for any marriageable young lady. Captain Courtinyton was faultlessly attired in a military suit, and made himself a splendid ornamental soldier with nothing to recommend him but his commanding appearance. He was a dude in the extreme, and his "ums" and" aha" and doddling ways drew forth screams of laughter. Sim, May's lover, acted splendidly, and bore his many trials with his seemingly flippant sweet- heart in the way generally attributed to rejected lovers. Letty, as the widow, looked very marriageable, and played havoc with the tender hearts of the three love-sick males. May acted herself as a staid young lady, anxious for the future happiness of her absent brother, and succeeded in her well-laid plans, though much to the discomfort of Sim and herseif. All five played in a manner hardly to be surpassed-in such a way as to convey clearly to the audience the nature of the plot. The audience were enraptured and were thoroughly amused through- out. We will endeavour to give a short sketch I of the comedietta, as it will give some idea of the nature of the act and the mirth it was, with the help of such good actors, bound to evoke. Mr Coaxer opened the play by entering the young widow's house to pay his attentions to her, as he was far gone in love with her. Finding the widow absent, he left on the table a handsome bouquet for her acceptance as a token of his adoration, and then went out. In a while Captain Courtington arrives at the house on a similar errand, but finding the widow absent, he also put on the table a bouquet for the same i reason, and left. May now appears, and suddenly seeing the bouquets she wonders where I they came from and for whose acceptance they are meant. She comes to the conclusion they have been left for Letty by her two dandy lovers, and as that lady is engaged to her brother. 11 cl who is away in America, she resolves to play sentinel, and conceives a plot by which the flowers shall not resell Letty"s hands, thereby hindering her, to some extent, from encouraging the advances of the two lovers, whom she was afraid were taking her brother's legitimate place in Letty's heart, which, bye-the-bye, was a very changeable one. With this intention in view, May proceeds to throw the bouquets into a soup tureen hidden in a box in the room, but as she shuts the lid she is seen by Sim who has unex- pectedly come on the scene. May is embarassed and sits on the box, fearing Sim, her lover, will open it and discover the flowers. Sim is of a suspicious temperament and crossexauiines May as to what she is concealing in the box. Thou follows a little scene between them. May persists that if Sims loved her as he wished her to believe he ought to trust her, while Sim, who has been driven almost mad with suspicion and jealousy, as persistently insist3 on seeing "the interior of that box." During this altercation the young widow comes in and wishes to know the cause of the quarrel. Sim splits about the box and leaves the room with the injunction I say, Miss Letty, keep your eye on that box, will yer and to May, Mind you, you are not going to bamboozle me." May has now to obey urders and also leaves. Letty, left to herself, forgets about Sim's words and thinks nothing of the box and its contents. The young widow muses to herself that it is about the hour she expects the Captain to call. She could not make out what had come over May after her brother had gone away. If she was engaged to her brother, Frank, there was no harm in a little flirtation with one or two admirers, in his absence. As she thus solilo- quises, in comes the masher Captain, who at once inquires in his drawling tone as to how she liked the bouquet he left her. Before she has the opportunity to state that she has not received it, May enters and interposes by stating that Mr Coaxer is outside. That gentleman is announced, and, after casting an ugly aide-look on his rival lover, pettishly asks the pretty widow how she liked the daffodils he left her. May, at this point, shows unmistakeable signs of gladness at having brought the rivals face to face, but at the same time, dreads publicity to the trick she had played on them. The blushing widow denies all knowledge of the bouquets and then a spicy bit of fun ensues The two butterflies," as May terms them, accuse each other of destroying the other's gift and both swear most positively that they left flowers on the table. A tussle takes place, but May cools their wrath by pouring water on their soft II nuts" to the evident delight of the lady love. Mr Coaxer commences a search and finds the bouquets in the box, whilst the dragoon carries on a whispered conversation with Letty. May thinks this whispering very impolite and gives the captain a crack on the ankle with the sweeping brush-acciden tally of course. He limps around the room nursing his foot, and Mr Coaxer, taking advantage of this, tries his hand at telling secrets, but he receives similar treat- ment at May's hands, who shows the state of excitement she is in by saying that for two pins I would lay both of you low." The two swains look sheepish after this threat, and take their departure, each intending to return and pay their court at the earliest opportunity. The widow is again left to herself. She thinks over what has occurred, and half concurs that May is right in trying to discourage the two men, but ultimately consoles herself by saying that there is no possible harm in a little innocent flirtation in her intended's absence. In comes the captain again, looking about like a thief, but finding Letty alone, he becomes bolder and at once drops on his knees and "pops the question." Letty secretly enjoys her quaint position and giggles and blushes encouragingly. She thinks there is no harm in at least listening to his furtive pleading, and they arrange to meet at the Old Mill in ten minutes time in order to enjoy a quiet stroll, as she wished to hear a declaration from the lisping captain." She leaves to dress and in the meantime the dragoon looks.about for his cap to go. But May, who saw and heard what had passed, had been at her games again and hid his head-gear. May, full of devilry, begins to sob and explains that widows could have plenty of suitors when a lonely young girl like herself was left in the cold. The soldier brushes up and thinks he has made another conquest and, true to his changeable nature, begins to soothe and careis May, who was trying on a little flirtation herself. She takes up the discovered bouquet brought by the captain, kisses it over and over again, and pressei it to her heart. Captain Courtington is in ecstacy, and flatteringly protests he had never before seen "such gwace and feechaws"; "princes would be pwoud to pwostwate them- selves before you." May jealously reminds him that he has promised to meet Letty, but he now says he never really thought much of Letty, and if May would but give him "the word" he would leave the former in the lurch. May gives him encouragement and arranges to meet him at the Old Mill in ten minutes time, much to his chagrin, as he had a few minutes previously made an appointment with Letty at the same time and place. He, however, feels proud of his "lady- killing powers and kisses her hand. But to make matters ten times worse, Sim, May's hitherto faithful lover, in peeping in at the window, catches him in the -act. The dragoon goes out and trips against Sim, who enters the room. p o May pouts and mutters that it is very provoking for certain young men to always turn up at the wrong moment, although in her heart of hearts she does not wish to try Sim's feelings too far. Sim gives her a sound lecture on her inconstancy, and asks peremptorily Say, be I your lawful sweetheart or not/If He had no con- fidence, as he said, in the officer with the long straw-coloured whiskers. May, in her tllrn, gives him a bit of her tongue, and says he ought to have more faith in her. Letty now arrives on the scene in a rage as she has been to the mill, and the Captain had not turned up. Sim joins in the tirade, and goes out to pull his straw-whiskers if he can find him. May also retires, and Mr Coaxer now join3 the widow, who c msoles herself with the fact that, though the Captain proved faithless, she could still have a little flirtation at this new arrival's expense. Mr Coaxer finds Letty in a fury, but he is not abashed, and after growing eloquent over his true (?) love, wins her consent to go out with him for a drive. But Miy has again unexpectedly arrived, and scents what is going on. Mr Coaxer lauds himself on having knocked out the dragoon, and Letty goes to make ready for the drive. May takes the old boy in hand, and carries on a similar game to what she had with the Captain. Mr Coaxer proves himself to be quite as flippant as his rival, and makes love to May, whom he wants to take for a drive in the carriage that was waiting at the door. The pair become seem- ingly very loving, and Sim, who has become very suspicious, is watching all that is passing from a quiet little corner. Mr Coaxer goes on his knees be- fore May, and is caught in that position by Sim and by Letty, 'who had returned disappointed of the promised drive. Sims takes hold of the deceitful Coaxer, and handles him very ronghly, and kicks him out with his heavy hob-nailed boots. Sim goes up to May and vows he will have nothing to do with her, and Letty in order to spite May for her tricks grows fond of Sim. Sim for a similar reason goes on his knees to Letty, and when May reproaches him, he bluntly tells her to "stand back, young female." May is afraid that she has carried her trickery too far, and is quite broken-hearted, while Letty rejoices at her grief, and at having found means for a third flirtation ofter the two others had dismally failed. May is in the act of explaining her conduct in the whole affair, and why she had misled the two men, when who should come in arm in arm. but Mr Coaxer and the Captain. The plot has now become knotty, andan explanation must be given. The two quondam lovers protest that May's con- duct was outrageous, in having not kept her appointment with them. Letty begins to open her eyes to the reason they had not kept their appointment with her, and as she is about de- manding an explanation in comes Sim carrying a formidable pitchfork with which he belabours, and prods the dudes unmercifully for the part they had played with the ladies. May now gives a full explanation of the whole affair. She con- fesses she had hindered Letty meeting the two as it would be improper owing to the engagement with Frank, her brother. She also prides her- self with having laid open the inconstancy, and the softheadedness of the two. Letty awakens to the folly of her actions, and thanks May for her foresight and guidance. Sim asks May's forgiveness forhis lack of confidence in her, and calls "himself a silly obstreperous fool May forgives him, and they are true lovers once more. Sim now imparts the welcome news that Frank has arrived in England, and the two dandies, who have been almost dazed with the fact that they had been so completely fooled, turn on their heels and go away never to return. May finishes the Act by cautioning young widows and engaged young ladies not to flirt, and play, and trifle with the hearts of other men, for the outcome of it may be serious, because every engaged young lady misjht not be safe-guarded by a little sentinel The curtain then dropped, but the audience kept up a hearty cheer and clap until the actors showed themselves again. The above is a rough idea of the plot which is full of life, and the audience is kept spell-bound throughout wondering what the end of the mazes the actors had wound round themselves would be. All five acted splendidy —their better could not be possibly wished for. The entertainment then terminated with the hearty singing of the National Anthem. A jollier and pleasanter New Year's Eve the people around never spent. The general public then left, and the house- party shortly afterwards commenced a dance in the magnificent dining-room. Everything passed off splendidly, and after waiting the New Year in the evening's programme was concluded. I c.,




CONWIL EL VET. ...1 r.1