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Dialogue following No. 21


Strephon. I suppose one ought to enjoy oneself in Parliament, when one leads both Parties, as I do! But I’m miserable, poor, broken-hearted fool that I am! Oh Phyllis, Phyllis! –

Enter Phyllis.

Phyllis. Yes.

Strephon. (surprised). Phyllis! But I suppose I should say “My Lady.” I have not yet been informed which title your ladyship has pleased to select?

Phyllis. I – I haven’t quite decided. You see, I have no mother to advise me!

Strephon. No. I have.

Phyllis. Yes; a young mother.

Strephon. Not very – a couple of centuries or so.

Phyllis. Oh! She wears well.

Strephon. She does. She’s a fairy.

Phyllis. I beg your pardon – a what?

Strephon. Oh, I’ve no longer any reason to conceal the fact – she’s a fairy.

Phyllis. A fairy! Well, but – that would account for a good many things! Then – I suppose you’re a fairy?

Strephon. I’m half a fairy.

Phyllis. Which half?

Strephon. The upper half – down to the waistcoat.

Phyllis. Dear me! (Prodding him with her fingers.) There is nothing to show it!

Strephon. Don’t do that.

Phyllis. But why didn’t you tell me this before?

Strephon. I thought you would take a dislike to me. But as it’s all off, you may as well know the truth – I’m only half a mortal!

Phyllis. (crying) But I’d rather have half a mortal I do love, than half a dozen I don’t!

Strephon. Oh, I think not – go to your half-dozen.

Phyllis. (crying) It’s only two! and I hate ’em! Please forgive me!

Strephon. I don’t think I ought to. Besides, all sorts of difficulties will arise. You know, my grandmother looks quite as young as my mother. So do all my aunts.

Phyllis. I quite understand. Whenever I see you kissing a very young lady, I shall know it’s an elderly relative.

Strephon. You will? Then, Phyllis, I think we shall be very happy! (Embracing her.)

Phyllis. We won’t wait long.

Strephon. No. We might change our minds. We’ll get married first.

Phyllis. And change our minds afterwards?

Strephon. That’s the usual course.

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