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Dialogue following No. 7


Exit Robin.

Richard. (looking after him) Ah, it's a thousand pities he's such a poor opinion of himself, for a finer fellow don't walk! Well, I'll do my best for him. "Plead for him as though it was for your own father" — that's what my heart's a-remarkin' to me just now. But here she comes! Steady! Steady it is! (Enter Rose — he is much struck by her.) By the Port Admiral, but she's a tight little craft! Come, come, she's not for you, Dick, and yet — she's fit to marry Lord Nelson! By the Flag of Old England, I can't look at her unmoved.

Rose. Sir, you are agitated —

Richard. Aye, aye, my lass, well said! I am agitated, true enough! — took flat aback, my girl; but 'tis naught — 'twill pass. (aside) This here heart of mine's a-dictatin' to me like anythink. Question is, Have I a right to disregard its promptings?

Rose.Can I do aught to relieve thine anguish, for it seemeth to me that thou art in sore trouble? This apple — (offering a damaged apple )

Richard. (looking at it and returning it) No, my lass, 'tain't that: I'm — I'm took flat aback — I never see anything like you in all my born days. Parbuckle me, if you ain't the loveliest gal I've ever set eyes on. There — I can't say fairer than that, can I?

Rose. No. (aside) The question is, Is it meet that an utter stranger should thus express himself? (refers to book) Yes — "Always speak the truth."

Richard. I'd no thoughts of sayin' this here to you on my own account, for, truth to tell, I was chartered by another; but when I see you my heart it up and it says, says it, "This is the very lass for you, Dick" — "speak up to her, Dick," it says — ( it calls me Dick acos we was at school together) — "tell her all, Dick," it says, "never sail under false colours — it's mean!" That's what my heart tells me to say, and in my rough, common-sailor fashion, I've said it, and I'm a-waiting for your reply. I'm a-tremblin', miss. Lookye here — (holding out his hand) That's narvousness!

Rose. (aside) Now, how should a maiden deal with such an one? (consults book) "Keep no one in unnecessary suspense." (aloud) Behold, I will not keep you in unnecessary suspense. (refers to book) "In accepting an offer of marriage, do so with apparent hesitation." (aloud) I take you, but with a certain show of reluctance. (refers to book) "Avoid any appearance of eagerness." (aloud) Though you will bear in mind that I am far from anxious to do so. (refers to book.) "A little show of emotion will not be misplaced!" (aloud) Pardon this tear! (wipes her eye)

Richard. Rose, you've made me the happiest blue-jacket in England! I wouldn't change places with the Admiral of the Fleet, no matter who he's a-huggin' of at this present moment! But, axin' your pardon, miss (wiping his lips with his hand), might I be permitted to salute the flag I'm a-goin' to sail under?

Rose. (referring to book) "An engaged young lady should not permit too many familiarities." (aloud) Once! (Richard kisses her)


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