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Dialogue following No. 3.



Bouncer. He's gone at last! I declare I was all of a tremble for fear Mr. Box should come in before Mr. Cox went out. Luckily they've never met yet - and whatís more, theyíre not very likely to do so; for Mr. Box is hard at work at a newspaper office all night, and doesn't come home till morning, and Mr. Cox is busy making hats all day long, and doesn't come home till night; so that I'm getting double rent for my room, and neither of my lodgers are any the wiser for it. It was a happy thought of mine - that it was! But I havenít an instant to lose. First of all, let me put Mr. Cox's things out of Mr. Box's way. (He takes the three hats, COXís dressing gown and slippers, opens door at L. and puts them in, then shuts the door and locks it.) Now then, to put the key where Mr. Cox always finds it. (Puts the key on the ledge of the door, L.) Now then, to make the bed - and donít let me forget that whatís the head of the bed for Colonel Cox, becomes the foot of the bed for Private Box - peopleís tastes do differ so. (Goes behind the curtains of the bed and seems to be making it - then appears with a very thin bolster in his hand.) The idea of Colonel Cox presuming to complain of such a bolster as this.

He disappears again behind curtain.

Box. (without) Pooh - pooh! Why don't you keep your own side of the staircase, sir? (Enters at the back dressed as a printer - puts his head out of door again, shouting.) It was as much your fault as mine, sir? I say, sir - It was as much your fault as mine, sir!

Bouncer. (Emerging from behind the curtain of the bed.) Lor, Mr. Box! what is the matter?

Box. Mind your own business, Bouncer!

Bouncer. Dear, dear, Mr. Box! What a temper you are in, to be sure! I declare, you are quite pale in the face!

Box. What colour would you have a man to be, who has been setting up long leaders for a daily paper all night?

Bouncer. But then, youíve all the day to yourself.

Box. (looking significantly at BOUNCER.) So it seems! far be it from me, Bouncer, to hurry your movements, but I think it right to acquaint you with my immediate intention of divesting myself of my garments and going to bed.

Bouncer. Oh, certainly, Mr. Box! (going)

Box. Stop! Can you inform me who the individual is that I invariably encounter going down stairs when I'm coming up, and coming up stairs when I'm going down?

Bouncer. (confused) Oh - yes - the gentleman in the attic, sir.

Box. Oh! There's nothing particularly remarkable about him, except his hats. I meet him in all sorts of hats - white hats and black hats - hats with broad brims, and hats with narrow brims, hats with naps, and hats without naps - in short, I have come to the conclusion that he must be individually and professionally associated with the hatting interest.

Bouncer. Yes, sir. And they tell me that's why he took the hattics! And, by-the-bye, Mr. Box, he has begged me to request of you, as a particular favour, that you would not smoke quite so much.

Box. Did he? Then you may tell the gentle hatter with my compliments, that if he objects to the effluvia of tobacco, he had better domesticate himself in some adjoining parish.

Bouncer. (pathetically) You surely wouldnít deprive me of a lodger?

Box. It would come to precisely the same thing, Bouncer, because if I detect the slightest attempt to put my pipe out, I at once give you warning - that I shall give you warning at once.

Bouncer. Well, Mr. Box - do you want anything more of me?

Box. On the contrary - Iíve had quite enough of you!

Bouncer. Well, if ever!

Box. But thereís one evolution I should much like to see you perform.

Bouncer. Whatís that?

Box. Right about face, quick march!

Exit BOUNCER, L. C. D., slamming the door after him.

Box. Itís quite extraordinary, the trouble I always have to get rid of that venerable warrior. He knows Iím up all night, and yet he seems to set his face against my indulging in a horizontal position by day. Now, let me see - shall I take my nap before I swallow my breakfast, or shall I take my breakfast before I swallow my nap - I mean shall I swallow my nap before - no - never mind! I've got a rasher of bacon somewhere - (feeling in his pockets) - Iíve the most vivid and distinct recollection of having purchased a rasher of bacon - Oh, here it is - (produces it, wrapped in paper, and places it on the table) - and a penny roll. The next thing is to light the fire. Where are my lucifers? (looking on mantel-piece R. and taking box, opens it) Now, 'pon my life, this is too bad of Bouncer - this is by several degrees too bad! I had a whole box full, three days ago, and now there's only one! Iím perfectly aware that he purloins my coals and my candles, and my sugar - but I did think - Oh yes, I did think that my lucifers would be sacred. (lights the fire - then takes down gridiron, which is hanging over the fireplace, R.) Bouncer has been using my gridiron! The last article of consumption that I cooked upon it was a pork chop, and now it is powerfully impregnated with the odour of red herrings! (places gridiron on fire, and then, with a fork, lays rasher of bacon on the gridiron) How sleepy I am, to be sure! Iíd indulge myself with a nap, if there was anybody her to superintend the turning of my bacon. (yawning again) Perhaps it will turn itself.

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