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Dialogue following No. 3
At the conclusion of the ballad, Mrs. Partlet comes forward with Constance.
Mrs. Partlet. Good day, reverend sir.
Dr. Daly. Ah, good Mrs. Partlet, I am glad to see you. And your little daughter, Constance! Why, she is quite a little woman, I declare!
Constance. (aside) Oh, mother, I cannot speak to him!
Mrs. Partlet. Yes, reverend sir, she is nearly eighteen, and as good a girl as ever stepped. (aside to Dr. Daly) Ah, sir, I'm afraid I shall soon lose her!
Dr. Daly. (aside to Mrs. Partlet) Dear me, you pain me very much. Is she delicate?
Mrs. Partlet. Oh no, sir – I don't mean that – but young girls look to get married.
Dr. Daly. Oh, I take you. To be sure. But there's plenty of time for that. Four or five years hence, Mrs. Partlet, four or five years hence. But when the time does come, I shall have much pleasure in marrying her myself–
Constance. (aside) Oh, mother!
Dr. Daly. To some strapping young fellow in her own rank of life.
Constance. (in tears) He does not love me!
Mrs. Partlet. I have often wondered, reverend sir (if you'll excuse the liberty), that you have never married.
Dr. Daly. (aside) Be still, my fluttering heart!
Mrs. Partlet. A clergyman's wife does so much good in a village. Besides that, you are not as young as you were, and before very long you will want somebody to nurse you, and look after your little comforts.
Dr. Daly. Mrs. Partlet, there is much truth in what you say. I am indeed getting on in years, and a helpmate would cheer my declining days. Time was when it might have been; but I have left it too long – I am an old fogy, now, am I not, my dear? (to Constance) – a very old fogy, indeed. Ha! ha! No, Mrs. Partlet, my mind is quite made up. I shall live and die a solitary old bachelor.
Constance. Oh, mother, mother! (Sobs on Mrs. Partlet's bosom)
Mrs. Partlet. Come, come, dear one, don't fret. At a more fitting time we will try again – we will try again.
Exeunt Mrs. Partlet and Constance.
Dr. Daly. (looking after them) Poor little girl! I'm afraid she has something on her mind. She is rather comely. Time was when this old heart would have throbbed in double-time at the sight of such a fairy form! But tush! I am puling! Here comes the young Alexis with his proud and happy father. Let me dry this tell-tale tear!