At the close of Act I, James Blackburn was gleefully twirling his black moustache and rubbing his hand together as he plotted the ruin of beautiful young France Lee and her aristocratic southern family.
Act II, Scene 1 – Colonel Lee’s drawing room.
Jack Worthington announces that he has resigned from his firm so that he will not have to relocate to Paris with his bride, France, thus taking her away from her parents. He plans to live off the profits from his investment in the Silver Bar Mines. Worthington departs as another guest arrives; it is Jerry the Tramp now cleaned up and presenting himself as Robert Graham, the true father of France. His documents convince the Colonel who reveals all to France and Mrs. Lee. In asides to the audience, Jerry admits his moral difficulty with the ruse; Mrs. Lee exclaims, “In spite of your rough manner you have a noble heart.” Jack returns and after meeting “Mr. Graham” promptly asks for and receives permission to marry France. The family moves to the dining room for luncheon and a humorous exchange occurs between the maid, Sadie, and Jerry. The happy scene is broken by Blackburn’s arrival. When he learns that Jerry has promised France to Worthington he points out that it is illegal for the false Graham to take such action, and insists that Jerry take France away from her home. Jack seizes France and cries, “she remains here! The law alone shall take her from me” as the curtain falls.
Act II, Scene 2 – Jerry’s hut.
France is now living with her “father” and sending letters to Jack and her parents through cousin Blackburn. She thinks they have all forgotten her, now that her status is reduced, but obviously the letters are never delivered. Instead, Blackburn prevails upon France, now the “daughter of an outcast” to marry him. He threatens to turn Jerry in to the law if France continues to refuse him. Blackburn leaves France to consider his offer and she picks up Jerry’s Bible to read. A letter drifts to the floor, “To my dear daughter Lillian” It confirms that her father has gone to prison — to shield his brother who committed a crime. Their child will be raised by the Lees, who are told that the family name is Graham to “hide our disgrace.” Her true name is Weston, like that of Jerry Weston the Tramp. Jerry realizes that France is indeed his daughter and that he has destroyed the happiness of his own child. Blackburn returns to claim France, but before he can take her Jack and a lawman arrive to arrest Jerry Weston. As he is taken away in handcuffs, Jerry begs France to marry the man she loves and rails against Blackburn’s vilany.