The Dear Departed Essay

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1 1. THE DEAR DEPARTED (By Stanley Houghton) Summary The story of the play begins with Mrs. Slater telling her ten years old daughter, Victoria, to go upstairs and put on her white frock with a black sash. Her husband Henry Slater comes home after sending a telegram to his sister-in-law, Elizabeth, and her husband Jordan to come to talk over Grandpa’s affairs who is presumably dead. Henry wonders if they would come because Elizabeth has said she would never set foot in their house again. But Mrs. Slater says she will come her husband to wear Grandpa’s new slippers and proposes Henry to replace their shabby chest of drawers with the valuable bureaus of Grandpa. After some hesitation he agrees. Mrs. Slater fastens the front door and they carry the old chest of drawers upstairs. Mrs. Slater tells her daughter not to open the door till they come down. There is a bureau down. Mrs. Jordan throws her husband Tit-Bits, and tells him to try to look as if they had been waiting for them. Victoria ushers in Ben and Mrs. Jordan. Sisters kiss each other and men shake hands. Mrs. Jordan says that he has gone at last and asks he sister whether she had sent for the doctor. Mrs. Slater says that she sent Henry at once for Dr. Pingle but he was out. Mrs. Jordan says that she should have sent for another doctor because many persons have been resorted to life after they were thought to be gone. Then they talk about his paying the premium. Mrs. Jordan says he did Mrs. Slater gets tea ready. They consider the announcement in the papers and think of some appropriate verses. Then they say that they will look through his things and make a list of them. Mrs. Slater tells Victoria to run upstairs and fetch the bunch of keys on her Grandpa’s dressing table. She is afraid to go but goes. Victoria returns very scared and tells that Grandpa is getting up. They are transfixed with amazement.

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