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Dialogue following No. 8.


Cox. Dear me! I think I begin to have some slight perception of your meaning. Ingenious creature! You disappeared - the suit of clothes was found -

Box. Exactly - and in one of the pockets of the coat, or the waistcoat, or the pantaloons - I forget which - there was also found a piece of paper, with these affecting farewell words:- ďThis is thy work, oh, Penelope Ann!Ē

Cox. Penelope Ann! (starts up, takes BOX by the arm and leads him slowly to front of stage) Penelope Ann?

Box. Penelope Ann!

Cox. Originally widow of William Wiggins?

Box. Widow of William Wiggins!

Cox. Proprietor of bathing machines?

Box. Proprietor of bathing machines!

Cox. At Margate?

Box. Ramsgate!

Cox. It must be she! And you, sir - you are Box - the lamented, long lost Box?

Box. I am!

Cox. And I was about to marry the interesting creature you so cruelly deceived.

Box. Ah! then you are Cox!

Cox. I am!

Box. I heard of it. I congratulate you - I give you joy! and now I think Iíll go and take a stroll. (going)

Cox. No you donít! (stopping him) Iíll not lose sight of you till Iíve restored you to the arms of your intended.

Box. My intended? You mean your intended.

Cox. No, sir - yours!

Box. How can she be my intended, now that I am drowned?

Cox. Youíre no such thing, sir! and I prefer presenting you to Penelope Ann. Permit me, then, to follow the generous impulse of my nature - I give her up to you.

Box. Benevolent being! I wouldnít rob you for the world. (going) Good morning, sir!

Cox. (seizing him) Stop!

Box. Unhand me, hatter! or I shall cast off the lamb and assume the lion!

Cox. Pooh! (snapping his fingers in BOXíS face)

Box. An insult! to my very face - under my very nose! (rubbing it) You know the consequences, sir - instant satisfaction, sir!

Cox. With all my heart, sir! (they go to fireplace R., and begin ringing bells violently, and pull down bell pulls)

Both. Bouncer! Bouncer!

BOUN. runs in, D.L.C., all three sing ďRataplanĒ and stop in the middle.

Bouncer. What is it. gentlemen?

Box. Pistols for two!

Bouncer. Yes, sir. (going)

Cox. Stop! You donít mean to say, thoughtless and misguided militiaman, that you keep loaded firearms in the house.

Bouncer. Oh, no - theyíre not loaded.

Cox. Then produce the murderous weapons instantly. (Exit BOUN. L.C.)

Box. I say, sir!

Cox. Well, sir!

Box. Whatís your opinion of duelling, sir?

Cox. I think itís a barbarous practice, sir.

Box. So do I, sir. To be sure, I donít so much object to it when the pistols are not loaded.

Cox. No; I dare say that does make some difference.

Box. And yet, sir - on the other hand - doesnít it strike you as rather a waste of time, for two people to keep firing pistols at one another, with nothing in íem.

Cox. No, sir - no more than any other harmless recreation.

Box. Hark ye! Why do you object to marry Penelope Ann?

Cox. Because, as Iíve already observed, I canít abide her. Youíll be happy with her.

Box. Happy? me? With the consciousness that I have deprived you of such a treasure? No, no, Cox!

Cox. Donít think of me, Box - I shall be sufficiently rewarded by the knowledge of my Boxís happiness.

Box. Donít be absurd, sir.

Cox. Then donít you be ridiculous, sir.

Box. I wonít have her!

Cox. No more will I!

Box. I have it! Suppose we draw lots for the lady - eh, Mr. Cox?

Cox. Thatís fair enough, Mr. Box.

Box. Or, what say you to dice?

Cox. With all my heart! Dice by all means. (eagerly)

Box. (aside) Thatís lucky! Bouncerís nephew left a pair here yesterday. He sometimes persuades me to have a throw for a trifle, and as he always throws sixes, I suspect they are good ones. (goes to cupboard at R., and brings out dice-box)

Cox. (aside) Iíve no objection at all to dice. I lost one pound seventeen and sixpence at last Barnet Races, to a very gentlemanly looking man, who had a most peculiar knack of throwing sixes. I suspected they were loaded, so I gave him another half-crown and he gave me the dice. (takes dice out of his pocket - uses lucifer box as substitute for dice-box, which is on the table)

Box. Now then, sir!

Cox. Iím ready, sir! (they seat themselves at opposite sides of the table) Will you lead off, sir?

Box. As you please, sir. The lowest throw, of course, wins Penelope Ann?

Cox. Of course, sir!

Box. Very well, sir!

Cox. Very well, sir! (BOX rattling dice and throwing.)

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