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Dialogue following No. 7.

Box. Have you read this month's Bradshaw, sir?

Cox. No, sir - my wife wouldn't let me.

Box. Your wife!

Cox. That is - my intended wife.

Box. Well, that's the same thing! I congratulate you. (shaking hands)

Cox. (with a deep sigh) Thank ye. (seeing BOX about to get up) You needn't disturb yourself, sir, she won't come here.

Box. Oh! I understand. You've got a snug little establishment of your own here - on the sly - cunning dog - (nudging COX)

Cox. (drawing himself up) No such thing, sir - I repeat, sir, no such thing, sir; but my wife - I mean my intended wife happens to be the proprietor of a considerable number of bathing machines -

Box. (suddenly) Ha! Where? (grasping COX's arm)

Cox. At a favourite watering place. How curious you are!

Box. Not at all. Well?

Cox. Consequently, in the bathing season - which luckily, is rather a long one - we see but little of each other; but as that is now over, I am daily indulging in the expectation of being blessed with the sight of my beloved. (very seriously) Are you married?

Box. Me? Why - not exactly!

Cox. Ah - a happy bachelor?

Box. Why - not precisely!

Cox. Oh! a - widower?

Box. No - not absolutely!

Cox. You'll excuse me, sir - but, at present, I don't exactly understand how you can help being one of the three.

Box. Not help it?

Cox. No, sir - not you, nor any other man alive!

Box. Ah, that may be - but I'm not alive!

Cox. (pushing back his chair) You'll excuse me, sir - but I don't like joking upon such subjects.

Box. But I am perfectly serious, sir, I've been defunct for the last three years!

Cox. (shouting) Will you be quiet, sir!

Box. If you won't believe me, I'll refer you to a very large, numerous, and respectable circle of disconsolate friends.

Cox. My very dear sir - my very dear sir - if there does exist any ingenious contrivance whereby a man on the eve of committing matrimony can leave this world, and yet stop in it, I shouldn't be sorry to know it.

Box. Oh! then I presume I'm not to set you down as being frantically attached to your intended.

Cox. Why not exactly; and yet, at present, I'm only aware of one obstacle to my doating upon her, and that is, that I can't abide her.

Box. Then there's nothing more easy. Do as I did.

Cox. (eagerly) I will! What is it?

Box. Drown yourself!

Cox. (shouting again) Will you be quiet, sir?

Box. Listen: -

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