Imatges de pàgina
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Delia. But, Edward,

SPANGLE. Time presses. We have heroic work before us. Delia, are you sensible?

DELIA. Mr. Spangle, pray remember that I have a father-

SPANGLE. Yes, that's the reason I asked the question. And let me tell you that your father is a murderer.

DELIA. Edward Spangle!
SPANGLE. He has murdered me.
DELIA. I cannot understand

SPANGLE. Inherit some of your mother's traits, Delia dear. Listen, and forgive my apparent rudeness,- ascribe it to my having so recently mixed with common clay. Listen!

DELIA. I am listening from head to foot.

Spangle, Your father must think that he has dealt me a mortal blow. Otherwise he will deal the mortal blow to our hopes. Quick !-you understand ? I see that you do. You are your mother's own daughter.

Delia. But, Edward,
SPANGLE. That means ?
Delia. Papa must think he has wofully injured you

SPANGLE. That is sufficient; leave the rest to me. And Can you weep easily, Delia ?

DELIA. If I have good cause.

SPANGLE. You will have if you do not weep without one. Be tearful, be hysterical ; let your father find me on this couch, I having dragged myself here to expire in your arms.

DELIA. But to deceive papa so ?

SPANGLE. Never mind that-we will be contrite afterwards. Let me hear you cry.

Delia (hysterically). Oh! oh! oh!

SPANGLE. Dear me! what power and originality! I see I can leave it all to your womanly gifts.

DELIA. It is our only chance, as you say; for if but see papa and hear him go on about you.

SPANGLE. I have no desire to see and hear him until I am expiring in your arms. Remember, you are doing this for me.

Delia. I am doing it for both of us—and so much is left for you to do. (Noise outside.) Hurry! hurry! mamma and papa may come at any moment! (Sounds of angry voices.) There! they are coming now! Hurry! You die to live!

you could

Throws himself on couch. He is covered with shawls and piano

covers, his head bound with handkerchief. Delia, convulsed, kneels beside him. Enter Mr. and Mrs. Bruce.

Mr. B. (brandishing iron.) What? So it was Spangle who struck me-Spangle who did it, eh ? A Spangle in this family! Never!

SPANGLE. It might brighten you all up a bit. Oh (groans) ! Mrs. B. What is that?

[Spangle groans. DELIA. Oh! oh! oh! MR. B. Eh ?

Mrs. B. Epaphroditus, clap on the iron! remember your brains! Delia, what is the meaning of this?

Delia (hysterically). Murder!
MRS. B. And this recumbent figure ?
Delia. A murdered man!
MR. B. What! what!

Mrs. B. Clap on the iron, Epaphroditus ! Delia, I once more ask the cause of this unconventional scene.

Delia (weeping). Papa did it!
Mr. B. Did what?
DELIA. This evening you overtook an inoffensive man
MR. B. Inoffensive! Look at my eye!
Delia. This man, as you assert
MR. B. Assert! Look at my eye!

Mrs. B. Epaphroditus Bruce, will you or will you not keep that iron where it belongs ?

DELIA. You said that you assaulted him first. After he had valiantly defended himself, you threw him into the road.

Mrs. B. Is it possible your bloodthirsty disposition
MR. B. Who is this man?

Delia. It is he who was coming to you with the most amicable of proposals, -it is Edward Spangle!

MR. B. Ha! Spangle!

Mrs. B. How many times must I request you to keep that iron where it belongs? Ahem! You must fy! MR. B. I am not a bird. I am not even Darius Green.

Spangle groans, Délia weeps. Mrs. B. Don't pretend that your skull is fractured. It is not. Nor are you delirious. I tell you that you must flyyou must go away before your crime is made public.

MR. B. But I positively declare that I never intended to destroy this young man. (Spangle groans.) Delia, had I known that this gentleman

[Spangle groans. Mrs. B. Had I known that you were a murderer, would I have cared for your eye? Go! while there is time, go!

MR. B. While there is time! Is time about to come to an end? Then I rush to Canada (starting of')! SPANGLE. Stay! Mrs. B. A hollow voice. DELIA. Oh, Edward !

SPANGLE (feebly). Delia, beg your father to approach me. Make him put that flat-iron where it belongs first, though.

Mrs. B. This is very affecting. Keep that iron over your eye, assassin!

MR. B. Let him keep his hands where they belong, then. Delia, hold 'em. (Goes to couch.)

SPANGLE. I forgive you.
Mrs. B. Such a noble sentiment is forgiveness.
MR. B. And I forgive you, Spangle.
Mrs. B. Don't be a dunce, Epaphroditus!
SPANGLE. Surely you will smooth this hour for me?

MR. B. (wiping his eye with the flat-iron.) I will, I will-28 many hours as you please. Shall I smooth them with this iron? My wife says that time is about to end; I suppose some old soiled hours have been washed and dried, and

Mrs. B. Epaphroditus!

Mr. B. Amanda, I promise to do all that I can to smooth this young man's hour.

DELIA. Reflect, papa, you have witnesses to that promise.
MR. B. I reflect, and I promise.
SPANGLE. Give Delia to me?
Delia. Oh, Edward, I am yours!
Mr. B. Don't give yourself away, Delia.
Mrs. B. She shall, you unfeeling man!

MR. B. Very well, Delia, you're given. And now for Canada and the bank-presidents (going)!

SPANGLE. Hold!
MR. B. Hold what?
Mrs. B. The flat-iron over your eye!

SPANGLE (raising himself on his elbow). I have witnesses that you promise Delia to me?

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MRS. B. I am a witness.
DELIA. I am a witness.
SPANGLE. And you justify me in blacking your eye?
Mr. B. I do; for you got the worst of it.
SPANGLE (aside). Delia, take that iron away from him.
Aloud.) Mr. Bruce,

Mr. B. What! you're prolonging your parting hour, are you, Spangle? Let me shorten it by informing you all that from the first I knew who had struck me,-nobody but a man who had been smitten by feminine charms could smite like that. I came home pretending anger, for I feared the consequences of spoiling your clothes, and-and-ha! ha!

SPANGLE. Why I thought
Delia. And I thought
MRS. B. And I

MR. B. That two people only were to be fooled,—that is
Spangle and Delia, when in fact there were three! ha! ha!

MRS. B. I'm not the third. This may be Mr. Spangle's parting hour, but I cannot allow the opportunity to pase without informing you, Epaphroditus, that I ordered the flat-iron for your eye to ward off your anger, to make you think of your own parting hour,--parting with your brains, you know. I did not suspect that you nearly murdered poor Mr. Spangle, but I am not the third who has been fooled. Come here! (Wipes Mr. B.'s eye with handkerchief.) There! who was the third one fooled ? It was only mud!

Mr. B. Fooled? Parting hours? Mud? It turns out

SPANGLE (jumping up and coming to front with Delia). It turns out that there was no desperate encounter after all. My parting hour has been entirely smoothed away from the calendar. Not only have three of us been fooled, but

Mr. B. The whole quartette of us! Ha! ha!
MRS. B. Ha! ha! So you've come to stay! Ha! ha!
SPANGLE. Let those laugh who for it pay
DELIA. In love that comes and comes to stay.
Mrs. B. May every desperate encounter be
MR. B. The means of like felicity.

[AU laughing as curtain falle

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