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Dialogue following No. 8
Grosvenor. Patience! Can it be that you don't recognize me?
Patience. Recognize you? No, indeed I don't!
Grosvenor. Have fifteen years so greatly changed me?
Patience. Fifteen years? What do you mean?
Grosvenor. Have you forgotten the friend of your youth, your Archibald? — your little playfellow? Oh, Chronos, Chronos, this is too bad of you!
Patience. Archibald! Is it possible? Why, let me look! It is! It is! It must be! Oh, how happy I am! I thought we should never meet again! And how you've grown!
Grosvenor. Yes, Patience, I am much taller and much stouter than I was.
Patience. And how you've improved!
Grosvenor. Yes, Patience, I am very beautiful! (Sighs.)
Patience. But surely that doesn't make you unhappy?
Grosvenor. Yes, Patience. Gifted as I am with a beauty which probably has not its rival on earth, I am, nevertheless, utterly and completely miserable.
Patience. Oh — but why?
Grosvenor. My child-love for you has never faded. Conceive, then, the horror of my situation when I tell you that it is my hideous destiny to be madly loved at first sight by every woman I come across!
Patience. But why do you make yourself so picturesque? Why not disguise yourself, disfigure yourself, anything to escape this persecution?
Grosvenor. No, Patience, that may not be. These gifts — irksome as they are — were given to me for the enjoyment and delectation of my fellow-creatures. I am a trustee for Beauty, and it is my duty to see that the conditions of my trust are faithfully discharged.
Patience. And you, too, are a Poet?
Grosvenor. Yes, I am the Apostle of Simplicity. I am called "Archibald the All-Right" — for I am infallible!
Patience. And is it possible that you condescend to love such a girl as I?
Grosvenor. Yes, Patience, is it not strange? I have loved you with a Florentine fourteenth-century frenzy for full fifteen years!
Patience. Oh, marvelous! I have hitherto been deaf to the voice of love. I seem now to know what love is! It has been revealed to me — it is Archibald Grosvenor!
Grosvenor. Yes, Patience, it is!
Patience. (as in a trance) We will never, never part!
Grosvenor. We will live and die together!
Patience. I swear it!
Grosvenor. We both swear it!
Patience. (recoiling from him) But — oh, horror!
Grosvenor. What's the matter?
Patience. Why, you are perfection! A source of endless ecstasy to all who know you!
Grosvenor. I know I am. Well?
Patience. Then, bless my heart, there can be nothing unselfish in loving you!
Grosvenor. Merciful powers! I never thought of that!
Patience. To monopolize those features on which all women love to linger! It would be unpardonable!
Grosvenor. Why, so it would! Oh, fatal perfection, again you interpose between me and my happiness!
Patience. Oh, if you were but a thought less beautiful than you are!
Grosvenor. Would that I were; but candour compels me to admit that I'm not!
Patience. Our duty is clear; we must part, and for ever!
Grosvenor. Oh, misery! And yet I cannot question the propriety of your decision. Farewell, Patience!
Patience. Farewell, Archibald! But stay!
Grosvenor. Yes, Patience?
Patience. Although I may not love you — for you are perfection — there is nothing to prevent your loving me. I am plain, homely, unattractive!
Grosvenor. Why, that's true!
Grosvenor. Unselfishness itself!
No. 8a: Duet (Patience and Grosvenor)
"Though to marry you would very selfish be"
At the end, exeunt despairingly, in opposite directions.
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Page Created 25 January, 2005