The Song and the Sergeant (Henry)

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The Song and the Sergeant
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A group of actors were arrested for causing a disturbance in a restaurant while arguing about a scene in their play. At the police station, they performed the scene, revealing the true feelings between two of the actors.

A group of six people, including four actors, a playwright, and a friend, were having a heated argument in a restaurant. They were discussing the recent decline in the success of their play, "A Gay Coquette," and blaming the lead actress, Clarice Carroll, for the failure of a particular scene.

Clarice Carroll — actress; passionate, vivacious, and emotional; plays the title role in 'A Gay Coquette'.

The argument escalated, resulting in broken dishes and the group being taken to a police station.

It is your fault, Clarice—it is you alone who spoilt the scene. It is only of late that you have acted this way. At this rate the sketch will have to be taken off.

At the station, the playwright explained the situation to the sergeant, who then questioned the other members of the group.

The Playwright — author of 'A Gay Coquette'; well-dressed, articulate, and frustrated with the play's decline.

Most of them agreed that Clarice was responsible for the scene's failure. However, one of the actors, Jimmy, defended her, saying that she had once performed the scene brilliantly and could do so again.

It is not my fault, sergeant. How dare they say such a thing! I’ve played the title rôle ever since it was staged, and if you want to know who made it a success, ask the public—that’s all.

Clarice, determined to prove her ability, asked the sergeant if she could perform the scene in question. The scene involved her character, a wood nymph, being wooed by a gorilla, played by the comedian Delmars.

Delmars — comedian; melancholic, talented singer; plays the gorilla in 'A Gay Coquette'.

The two danced and sang a song called "I'll Woo Thee to My Sylvan Home." During the performance, Clarice suddenly stopped and began to cry, accusing Delmars of changing the way he sang the song and causing her emotional reaction.

The matron of the police station, who had been watching the performance, stepped forward and told Clarice that Delmars was in love with her, which was why he had changed the way he sang the song.

The man’s wearing his heart out for you, my dear. Couldn’t you tell it the first note you heard him sing? All of his monkey flip-flops wouldn’t have kept it from me.

She asked Clarice if she loved him in return. Clarice admitted that she did, and the two embraced.

The desk sergeant, realizing that the situation had been resolved, dismissed the group and sent the waiter from the restaurant away, saying there was nothing for him to do there.