A monologue by Walter Ben Hare

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Bran’ New Monologues. Walter Ben Hare. Boston: Walter H. Baker & Co., 1920.

SIS HOPKINS: [Sticks her head in the door; the head only is visible to the audience.] Say, ain’t it my turn next? All right, I’m comin’. [Enters.] Here I be, sassy as a woodchuck and twicet as handsome. You know who I be, don’t you? I’m little Sis Hopkins from Skinny-marink Crossroads down in Toadhunter Holler. [Leans over and speaks confidentially to the audience.] You know I’m the only one in this here show who’s a real actress. The others is only ham-chewers, but I’ve had experience with a real show troupe. I led one of the bloodhounds in Uncle Tom’s Cabin street pee-rade last time it played down in the Skinny-marink opery house. Them other gals out there is all jellix of me. You know why they’re jellix? ‘Cause I’m better lookin’ than what they is, and I got a beau. [Giggles.] You orter see my beau. His name’s Bilious Buttonbuster, and he’s a great big fat boy, weighs purt’ nigh two hundred and fifty pounds, an’ only four foot high. Took me in to see the side-show last summer when the cirkis come to town, an’ I snum! ef they didn’t try to keep him there to be the fat boy. You’d hardly expect sech a fat feller to be so cute, but he is. And every inch of him is love. [Pause.] The folks that got up this show said that I was to sing you-uns a song. I’m goin’ to do it. It’s a real pathetic song; folks allers cries, er sump’m, ivery time I sing it. Sometimes they git so wrought up they git up and go out to relieve their emotions. The song I’m going to render fer you is a love song [Giggles.] It’s Bilious’ favorite. He gits so sentimental when I sing it, and do you know–a fat man when he gits sentimental is sump’m awful–and Bilious is a great big feller. He ain’t so big up and down, but I tell you he’s a whopper round the middle. I don’t reckon any of you-uns iver heerd this song, as it was especially wrote fer me by ________ [Insert local name], and no one else has ever had the nerve to sing it. My execution is sump’m wonderful–you’ll all be in favor of it when you hear me. I sing this song real pathetic in parts–and then in other parts I’m jest as playful as a kitten. When I come to the pathetic parts, you’ll know it, ’cause I make gestures there. The name of the song is “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,” and sometimes when I git to singin’ it real good, I actually git sea-sick, ’cause the way I sing you kin jist see the ocean and bonnie and iverything. Jist imagine the bonnie’s name is Bilious and he weighs purt’ nigh three hundred pounds. Now the piano will jest gimme a chord in B flat minor and I’ll make my bow. [Chord–bows awkwardly.] Ain’t that graceful? [Sings nasally and somewhat off key, but not too much.]

My bonnie lies over the ocean, [Gestures with right hand.]
My bonnie lies over the sea, [With left hand.]
My bonnie lies over the ocean, [Both hands.]
Oh, bring back my bonnie to me. [Entreaty.]

[Speaks.] Ain’t that sad? I’m expressing the lacerated feelings of a gal whose tender heart has been deserted by her bonnie. You kin read the emotions in my face. [Sings rapidly.]

Bring back, bring back,
Oh, bring back my bonnie to me, to me;
Bring back, bring back,
Oh-ooo, bring back my bonnie to me!

[Speaks.] The second spasm is even more emotional than the first. Ain’t none of the big emotional singers kin get ahead of me. I kin emosh jist as good as ary one of ’em. This second part is the one that Bilious likes the best. Sometime stears come in his eyes when I sing it, and he feels the pathos of it a-throbbin’ all through his three hundred and fifty pounds. [Sings.]

O, blow, ye winds, over the ocean, [Gestures front.]

O, blow, ye winds, over the sea, [Gestures to left.]
O, blow, ye winds, over the ocean, [Upward sweep.]
And bring back my bonnie to me. [Downward sweep.]

[Fast.] Bring back, bring back,
Oh, bring back my bonnie to me, to me;
Bring back, bring back,
[Drawl.] Oh-o-o-o, bring back my bonnie to me.

[Speaks.] Wait till you hear the third verse, and git out your handkerchief if you’ve got a tear left in your body. [Sings.]

Last night as I lay on my pillow, [Pantomimes sleep.]
Last night as I lay on my bed, [Gesture.]
Last night as I lay on my pillow, [Weeps.]

[Speaks.] Oh, oh! I dunno whether I kin go on er not. I git so emotional. [Sings.] I dreamed that my bonnie was dead.

Sings chorus rapidly and makes an awkward bow. Pause.] That’s where they generally applause me. [Silence.]

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