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Dialogue following No. 18


Bunthorne. It is all right! I have committed my last act of ill- nature, and henceforth I'm a changed character.

Dances about stage, humming refrain of last air.
Enter Patience. She gazes in astonishment at him.

Patience. Reginald! Dancing! And — what in the world is the matter with you?

Bunthorne. Patience, I'm a changed man. Hitherto I've been gloomy, moody, fitful — uncertain in temper and selfish in disposition —

Patience. You have, indeed! (sighing)

Bunthorne. All that is changed. I have reformed. I have modelled myself upon Mr. Grosvenor. Henceforth I am mildly cheerful. My conversation will blend amusement with instruction. I shall still be aesthetic; but my aestheticism will be of the most pastoral kind.

Patience. Oh, Reginald! Is all this true?

Bunthorne. Quite true. Observe how amiable I am. (Assuming a fixed smile.)

Patience. But, Reginald, how long will this last?

Bunthorne. With occasional intervals for rest and refreshment, as long as I do.

Patience. Oh, Reginald, I'm so happy! Oh, dear, dear Reginald, I cannot express the joy I feel at this change. It will no longer be a duty to love you, but a pleasure — a rapture — an ecstasy!

Bunthorne. My darling!

Patience. But — oh, horror! (Recoiling from him.)

Bunthorne. What's the matter?

Patience. Is it quite certain that you have absolutely reformed — that you are henceforth a perfect being —utterly free from defect of any kind?

Bunthorne. It is quite certain. I have sworn it.

Patience.Then I never can be yours!

Bunthorne. Why not?

Patience. Love, to be pure, must be absolutely unselfish, and there can be nothing unselfish in loving so perfect a being as you have now become!

Bunthorne. But, stop a bit. I don't want to change — I'll relapse — I'll be as I was — interrupted!

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