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Dialogue following No. 4

JERICHO (taking out note-book ). Can you oblige me with your father's age?

HORACE. He was sixty last May.

JERICHO. Dear me! And you say he consumes my jam regularly and appears to enjoy it?

HORACE. Yes, — he appears to.

JERICHO. I will make a note of that. (Writes in note-book.) He never feels any ill effects from the use of it?

HORACE. Well, — of course his teeth yielded to its influence, but now that I have provided him with a new set — top and bottom — out of my hard-earned wages, he is practically jam-proof.

JERICHO. If I could persuade him to give me a testimonial it might be of some value as an advertisement.

HORACE. My father is such a simple and retiring old man, that it would require a very substantial consideration to induce him to give publicity to his weakness for your preserves.

JERICHO. Your parent will find that Jericho is not the man to spare his five-pound notes.

HORACE. Let me talk it over with him for a few minutes.

Exit into cottage.

JERICHO. And now for Dulcibella! (Looking at watch.) Twenty minutes past twelve. Dulcibella is late!

Enter LADY BUSHEY.

LADY B. I am only five minutes behind time, Thomas!

JERICHO. Ah, sweetheart is it you? Do we really meet again after all these years? (Embracing her.)

LADY B. It feels very much like it. Oh, Thomas, am I wise in permitting these familiarities ? I have been a widow for three years.

JERICHO. Do not remind me that you are a widow, Dulcibella! It is a bitter, bitter thought!

LADY B. And yet you are not free from blame in the matter. Years ago when two suitors came to woo me in my little Lincolnshire home, you knew that you were the favoured one, and that I only tolerated the late Sir Burton Bushey because my father bade me.

JERICHO. Then why did you marry him?

LADY B. What was I to do? I couldn't get you to elope with me.

JERICHO. Oh, Dulcie, I had been so well brought up!

LADY B. I know you had; that was the unfortunate part of it.

JERICHO. Three years ago I saw Sir Burton Bushey's death in the Times; and as soon as a decent period had elapsed I wrote to you.

LADY B. You did — two days ago.

JERICHO. I had your reply last night with an appointment to meet you here this morning. Oh Dulcie, this is like old times! Do you find me much altered? (Takes off his hat.)

LADY B. You are sadly changed, Thomas. I used to call you my golden haired Viking.

JERICHO. I know you did. I remember thinking it an admirable description.

LADY B. To my impassioned eyes your head presented the appearance of a yellow cornfield waving in the summer sunlight! (Sadly looking at his head, which is very bald.) Where, oh! where is that yellow cornfield now?

JERICHO. Well, you know it has been a bad year for the harvest.

LADY B. Time has not dealt gently with you. I hope that he has been kinder to me.

JERICHO. I wish I could say that he has, Dulcie, but I cannot. You like me to be perfectly frank with you, don't you, dear one?

LADY B. Indeed I do , Thomas!

JERICHO. Besides, you have been excessively plain spoken with me.

LADY B. I have, dear. I thought you would prefer it.

JERICHO. Yes. It is gall and wormwood — but I distinctly prefer it.

LADY B. And I am scarcely what you expected?

JERICHO. Scarcely. I know you like me to be candid.

LADY B. Certainly. It is like tasting bitter aloes, — but I like it.

JERICHO. Cannot we arrive at a compromise? You are terribly disappointed with me — I am equally disappointed with you. Let us strike a balance and write off our mutual disappointment. The romantic girl and the fascinating youth disappear from the account, and we carry forward a buxom widow and a well preserved bachelor.

LADY B. I see your idea.

JERICHO. Then remember that I am prepared to open negotiations for the renewal of our early attachment when-ever you find it convenient.

LADY B. Oh, Thomas, these are just the wild impassioned things you used to say to me five-and-twenty years ago.


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