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Dialogue following No. 12
Alexis. I have sent for you to consult you on a very important matter. I believe you advertise a Patent Oxy-Hydrogen Love-at-first-sight Philtre?
Mr. Wells. Sir, it is our leading article. (Producing a phial.)
Alexis. Now I want to know if you can confidently guarantee it as possessing all the qualities you claim for it in your advertisement?
Mr. Wells. Sir, we are not in the habit of puffing our goods. Ours is an old-established house with a large family connection, and every assurance held out in the advertisement is fully realized. (hurt)
Aline. (aside) Oh, Alexis, don’t offend him! He’ll change us into something dreadful – I know he will!
Alexis. I am anxious from purely philanthropical motives to distribute this philtre, secretly, among the inhabitants of this village. I shall of course require a quantity. How do you sell it?
Mr. Wells. In buying a quantity, sir, we should strongly advise your taking it in the wood, and drawing it off as you happen to want it. We have it in four-and-a-half and nine gallon casks – also in pipes and hogsheads for laying down, and we deduct 10 per cent from prompt cash.
Alexis. I should mention that I am a Member of the Army and Navy Stores.
Mr. Wells. In that case we deduct 25 percent.
Alexis. Aline, the villagers will assemble to carouse in a few minutes. Go and fetch the tea-pot.
Aline. But, Alexis –
Alexis. My dear, you must obey me, if you please. Go and fetch the teapot.
Aline. (going). I’m sure Dr. Daly would disapprove of it! (Exit Aline.)
Alexis. And how soon does it take effect?
Mr. Wells. In twelve hours. Whoever drinks of it loses consciousness for that period, and on waking falls in love, as a matter of course, with the first lady he meets who has also tasted it, and his affection is at once returned. One trial will prove the fact.
Enter Aline with large tea-pot
Alexis. Good: then, Mr. Wells, I shall feel obliged if you will at once pour as much philtre into this teapot as will suffice to affect the whole village.
Aline. But bless me, Alexis, many of the villagers are married people!
Mr. Wells. Madam, this philtre is compounded on the strictest principles. On married people it has no effect whatever. But are you quite sure that you have nerve enough to carry you through the fearful ordeal?
Alexis. In the good cause I fear nothing.
Mr. Wells. Very good, then, we will proceed at once to the Incantation.
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