Three Plays

Zora Hurston
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Three Plays

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Title: Three Plays Lawing and Jawing; Forty Yards; Woofing
Author: Zora Neale Hurston

Release Date: November 29, 2005 [eBook #17187]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)
E-text prepared by Charlene Taylor and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team ( from page images generously provided by the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress (

Note: These plays have been transcribed from original manuscripts. There are pencilled notations possibly by Ms. Hurston herself. These pencilled notations have been transcribed as *[Handwritten:(text)], with the exception of things that were clearly corrected typing mistakes. Uncorrected typographical errors were left as in the original. Words which were underlined in the text are enclosed by underscores ("_").
Images of the original pages are available through the American Memory Collection of the Library of Congress. For "Lawing and Jawing" see[email protected](Lawing+and+Jawing)) For "Forty Yards" see[email protected](Forty+Yards)) For "Woofing" see[email protected](Woofing))

Lawing and Jawing Forty Yards Woofing
Zora Neale Hurston

by Zora *[Handwritten: (Neale)] Hurston

TIME: Present
PLACE: Way cross Georgia
SCENE: Judge Dunfumy's Court.
PERSONS: Judge Dunfumy, Officer Simpson and another, Jemima Flapcakes, Cliff Mullins, John Barnes, two lawyers, a clerk, a pretty girl and her escort.
SETTING: Usual court-room arrangement, except that there is a large red arrow pointing off-stage left, marked "To Jail."
ACTION: At rise everybody is in place except the Judge. Suddenly the CLERK looks off-stage right and motions for everybody to rise. Enter the JUDGE. He wears a black cap and gown and has his gavel in his hand. The two POLICEMEN walk behind him holding up his gown. He mounts the bench and glares all about him before he seats himself. There is a PRETTY GIRL in the front row left, and he takes a good look at her, smiles, frowns at her escort. He motions the police to leave him and take their places with the spectators and he then raps vigorously with his gavel for order.

JUDGE Hear! Hear! Court is set! My honor is on de bench. You moufy folks set up! (He glares at the boy with the pretty girl) All right, Mr. Whistle-britches, just keep up dat jawing now and see how much time I'll give you!
BOY I wasn't talking, your honor.
JUDGE Well, quit looking so moufy. (to CLERK) Call de first case. And I warn each and all dat my honor is in bad humor dis mawnin'. I'd give a canary bird twenty years for peckin' at a elephant. (to CLERK) Bring 'em on.
CLERK (Reading) Cliff Mullins, charged with assault upon his wife with a weapon and disturbing the peace. (As CLIFF is led to the bar by the officer, the JUDGE glares ferociously at the prisoner. His wife, all bandages, limps up to the bar at the same time.)
JUDGE So youse one of dese hard-boiled wife-beaters, huh? Just a mean old woman-Jessie! If I don't lay a hearing on you, God's a gopher! Now what made you cut such a caper?
CLIFF Judge, I didn't go hunt her. Saturday night I was down on Dearborn Street in a nasty ditch *[Handwritten: nasty ditch crossed out in pencil, (buffet flat)]--
JUDGE A nasty ditch? *[Handwritten: A nasty ditch crossed out in pencil, (Buffet flat)]
CLIFF Aw, at Emma Hayles' house.
JUDGE Oh, yes. Go on.
CLIFF Well, (Points thumb at wife) she come down dere and claim I took her money and she claimed I wuz spending it on Emma.
CLIFF'S WIFE And dat's just whut he was doing, too, Judge.
CLIFF AW, she's tellin' a great big ole Georgia lie, Judge. I wasn't spendin' no money of her'n.
WOMAN Yes he was, Judge. There wasn't no money for him to git but mine. He ain't hit a lick of work since God been to Macon. Know whut he 'lowed when I worry him 'bout workin'? Says he wouldn't take a job wid de Careless Love Lumber Company, puttin' out whut make you do me lak you do, do, do.
JUDGE So, you goes for a sweet-back, do you?
CLIFF Naw suh, Judge. I'd be glad to work if I could find a job.
JUDGE How long you been outa work?
CLIFF Seventeen years--
JUDGE Seventeen years? (to woman) You been takin' keer of dis man for seventeen years?
WOMAN Naw, but he been so mean to me, it seems lak seventeen years.
JUDGE Now you tell me just where he hurt you.
WOMAN Judge, tell you de truth, I'm hurt all over. (Rubs her buttocks) Fact is I'm cut.
JUDGE Did you git cut in de fracas?
WOMAN (feeling the back of her left thigh
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