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WEB OPERA

Dialogue preceding No. 1

SCENE.  MRS. NANKEEN WORCESTER'S MORNING ROOMTime, 7 o-clock.  Piano L.  Fashionable low tea table centre, with chairs on each side.   MRS. EMILY NANKEEN WORCESTER heard calling without: —

Jane!  Jane!  Fetch me from the third delf shelf "Crackwell on old China;" and Jane, if General Deelah calls this evening show him in; and Jane, covers for two, (Enter MRS. WORCESTER R, with tea cup and saucer and a blue book.  She is a fashionably dressed widow), and Jane (runs back to door), Jane — that will be all.  (She sits L. of the tea table, puts down cup and saucer after sipping tea, and becomes absorbed in book.)  Now let me read this most interesting and curious statement once more.  "All the remains of Julius Caesar’s favourite tea service is one little blue and white saucer.  The remainder of these celebrated cups and saucers came to a melancholy end in consequence of a little dispute between Julius Caesar and his mother-in-law, who, self-invited, had been spending three months with him and showed no disposition to terminate her visit."  How inconsiderate of her.  "Hence the origin of the term 'Break a brick,' now called 'bric à brac.'"  How intensely interesting, digging up the meaning of old words like this.  "The saucer in question was found on a portion of waste land situated where Warder Street now stands, it having missed the head of Caesar in consequence of the Emperor dodging, and flown through the window of the Imperial residence near Cheyne or China walk,."  How curious!  "Mr. Caesar’s mother was a lady of great hurling power, and is said to have distinguished herself at the Hurlingham matches of that period."  Fancy Hurlingham matches in those early ages.  I thought the Prince of Wales invented them.  I would not part with this little book for worlds (kisses it).  "The saucer was picked up some years after by William Rufus, from whose hands it passed, in course of a century or two, to George the IV, from whose treasury it was stolen by a Sorceress who had access to the court."  Wonderful!  "Since then the saucer has never been found."  Oh! yes it has though!  "But it is still in existence."  Yes, in my dress (points to her side pocket).  "It is marked underneath with an extended hand, the thumb of which is in contact with a rather indistinct monograph, somewhat resembling a nasal organ."  How extremely remarkable!  (reads the sentence over again carefully).  Marvellous!  It is the same, without doubt (takes blue and white saucer carefully from her pocket).  La Duchess de Sèvrca says so Lady T. Pottery has offered to stake her valuable collection of Dresden Pugs on the genuineness of my treasure.  If such is the case, it is worth £10,000!  What a surprise this will be for the dear General — General Deelah!  I shall not tell him of its value until he — he proposes to me.  He must marry me for myself (sighs).  He ought to have declared himself before now.  The late Mr. Nankeen Worcester was not ten-days before he laid his hand and fortune at my feet.  His hand was very large and his fortune was very small — had it been otherwise — but why revert to the painful past (rises and puts down book).  I am sure it is not my fault that General Deelah has failed to speak.  I have given him every opportunity and encouragement.  I wish I knew for certain if he is in possession of the valuable collection of old china with which society credits him.  I must ascertain that!  General Deelah is certainly most fascinating, even without china, but he would be so more so with it.  I need scarcely say that when we are married I shall make him sell the lot.  He must give up his old Derby and stick to his Joan.  But it is certainly strange that he never refers to his china, stranger still that he does not refer to my decision on a still more delicate matter.  Ah! well.  Perhaps he finds courtship so fascinating, he has not the courage to terminate it.  I will beguile the moments till he comes with singing my little china love song for the fourth time this week.

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