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Title: Oh! Susannah! - A Farcical Comedy in Three Acts
Author: Ambient, Mark
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Oh! Susannah! - A Farcical Comedy in Three Acts" ***

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OH! SUSANNAH!

By Mark Ambient


Produced at the Eden Theatre, Brighton, on September 6th, 1897,
afterwards played at the Royalty Theatre, London.


Scene:-Doctor's Consulting Room, 13 Marmalade St., Pimlico.

Time:-Lady Day, 4 p. m. to 6 p. m. The action is continuous
throughout the 3 Acts.

Time of representation.

Act I. 53 minutes.

Act II. 32 minutes. (One hour and three quarters.)

Act III. 20 minutes.


PROPERTIES.

On bureau. Whiskey decanter, water, glasses.

Below bureau. Pail with water and house flannel.

In med. chest. Small bottles of coloured water, medicine-glass
and roll of lint.

On steps Feather brush.

On ped. cupboard. Case of surgical knives.

On doctor's table. Microscope, test tubes, phials, double
stethoscope, eye-glass, stationery cabinet with note-paper, pen,
pencil, calendar, Bradshaw, blotter, scribbling block, hand bell,
ash-tray with cigarette ends and matches.

In mirror. Invitation cards (Sir Peter-Mrs. O'Hara).

On sofa. Cushions.

Off stage. Front door bell.


HAND PROPERTIES.

Doctor. Act 1. Gladstone bag packed with books, papers and one
collar. Photo of Flo in pocket.

Act 2. Aunt's letter, also Flo's photo and coppers.

Andrew. Act 3. Pipe and baccy.

Waverly. Act 1. Detective camera in form of turnip watch.

Act 2. Walking stick (for Pearl's Bus.)

Plant. Act 1. Pocket hair brush-mirror at back.

Act 3. Small black bag-deed inside.

Tupper. Act 1. Crumpled telegram in pocket. Landlady's account
book.

Flo. Act 2. Two bags and two parcels.

Act 3. Bundle of aunt's clothes (wet).

Ruby. Act 1. Andrew's letter.

Act 2. Visiting card.

Pearl. Act 2. Sporting Times.

Act 3. Pearl necklace in case.

Aurora. Act 1. Six letters in blue envelopes, pair of paste hair
combs (in pocket), duster, tea-things, grotesquely big brown
earthenware tea-pot, milk, sugar, cups and saucers, stale
quartern loaf, knife and butter.

Act 2. Lady's letter-thick paper, gold crest.

Act 3. Telegram.


CUSTOMS.

Doctor. Act 1. Frock coat and high hat.

Act 2. Changes to pyjamas and Turkish dressing-gown.

Andrew. Act 1. Blue serge yachting suit and cap.

Act. 2. As aunt, in picture.

Waverly. Very smart.

Plant. White hat, loud waistcoat, outré.

Tupper. In buttons.

Aunt. Quiet, old-fashioned, almost Quakerish.

Flo. Modern tailor-made costume and smart hat.

Ruby & Pearl. Dressed alike, in sailor hats and serge costumes,
with sailor collars.

Mrs. O'Hara. Eccentric Irish landlady.

Aurora. Slatternly slavey frock, soiled white apron, cap awry,
large slippers tied on with string. (During Act 3: changes to
grotesque colored dress: orange blossoms in hair.)


Scene plot.

The scene is a Doctor's consulting room on the ground floor of a
lodging-house in Pimlico.

(1) Door R. at back to bathroom (not opened till middle of Act II,
showing about half of bath, taps, etc).

(2) L. at back, to passage, showing hat stand.

(3) Down R.

(4) Window C, commanding view of similar houses across street.


FURNITURE.

(B) Bureau with practicable drawers.

(M) Medicine chest (hung between door r. and window).

(C) Operating couch in front of window.

(L) Step ladder, between couch and window at rise of curtain.

(P) Pedestal cupboard.

(H) Hatstand.

(A) Picture of Aunt, over door L.

(5) Sofa for three-half facing Are.

(T) Doctor's table, (t) Tea table.

(R) Revolving chair behind Doctor's table.

(G) Grandfather's chair at fireplace.

(C) Ordinary chairs.

Mirror and clock over fire, fender and fire-irons. Poker used.



OH! SUSANNAH!



ACT I.

_Scene. The Doctor's consulting room. Ground floor, 13 Marmalade
Street, Pimlico. (See Scene Plot.)_

_(Aurora. the slavey, discovered laying out Doctor's letters
lovingly on his writing table; she kisses each one as she lays it
down--all are in blue envelopes.)_

Aurora. They're all for 'im--the dear doctor. Won't 'e be pleased
when 'e comes back and finds all this little lot! 'E went off
quite sudden two days ago. Gone to see a patient, I expect, none
ever comes 'ere, so 'e must go to them, _(crosses L., looks in
mirror)_ Oh, why was I born so rudely 'ealthy? _(on sofa)_ I
would like to be 'is patient. I'd a-bear anythin' with the dear
doctor to see to me, 'e's got sich a sorft 'and. _(jumps off sofa
and stands C. looking at aunt's picture, curtseys)_ I wonder if
she's 'is fancy? 'Er with the diamond combs. You ain't the
only one, my lady, with diamond combs! I'll struggle with yer.
_(produces combs from her pocket)_ Tenpence a pair--in the
Strand, _(going to put them on, stops)_ No, I'll wait till 'e
comes 'ome. They're all for 'im, the dear doctor--all for 'im!
_(end of sofa)_

_(Enter Tupper, a fat little page.)_

Tupper. I say, Aurora. the missus is a'goin' to do the thing in
style this afternoon, two fiddler blokes--an' a planner an' a
programme o' the dances pinned up over the mantelpiece over 'ead.
_(picks up cigarette end off ash tray and smokes it)_

Aurora _(down C.)_ Lor, you don't say! An' printed invitations
an' all. _(takes card from mirror)_ 'Ark at this! "Mrs. O'Hara
requests the honor of Doctor Sheppard'ss company--"

Tupper. 'E won't come back for that. I wish 'e would.

Aurora. Why not, Tupper? Where's 'e gone? _(comes C.)_

Tupper. Gie us a kiss, an' I'll tell yer.

Aurora. _(moving away)_ A kiss! There's bloomin' cheek! I never
did!

Tupper. _(coming to her)_ Oh yes, you did--only larst Friday, an'
it's Friday agin, an' what's more, it's _Lady_ Day.

Aurora. _(innocently)_ Is it, Tupper? Well, as it's _Lady Day_.
_(puts her cheek up, aside)_ It's all for 'im! _(kiss Bus.)_ Now
tell me.

Tupper. 'E's gorn to get married, _(goes down r. puffing
cigarette hard)_

Aurora. _(with concern)_ No, Tupper, don't say that! _(changes
her tone)_ I mean, 'ow do you know?

Tupper. _(turning round)_ Gie us another, an' I'll tell yer!

Aurora. Go hon!

Tupper. I will when I got summat to go hon with. _(comes to her)_

Aurora. _(impatiently)_ Oh, there, then! _(kissed him--aside)_
They're all for 'im!

Tupper. Well, as you know, _(gets on table)_ Aurora. the doctor's
a wonderful gentle gentleman, as gentle as--well, there 'e is
gentle!

Aurora. _(more impatiently)_ I know that. I give you them kisses
to tell me summat I don't know.

Tupper. Well, I'm goin' to. When 'e was packing to go away, 'e
was that excited 'e couldn't 'ardly strap the bag.

Aurora. Well, what o' that? A gentleman can get excited without
gettin' married, yer silly kid! _(goes to steps)_

Tupper. Ah, but 'e put on a new frock coat, an' a bran noo pair
o' trarsers----

Aurora. The dear doctor! I'll bet 'e looked a toff! _(start on
steps)_

Tupper. An' then 'e 'ad a brandy and soda--wot for? _(up to
couch)_

Aurora. 'Cos 'e was thirsty, o' course, yer silly kite.

Tupper. Thirsty! It was to bring 'im up to the scratch!

Aurora. _(aside)_ The scratch! My 'eart! My 'eart! _(top of
ladder)_

Tupper. I bet my buttons 'e's enj'ying 'is 'oneymoon in 'is noo
clothes, an' forgotten all abart me an' mine. _(up stage R.)_

Aurora. _(curiously)_ _Your_ noo clothes?

Tupper. Yes, I was loored into these under false pretences. When
Mrs. O'Hara engaged me, she says she'd let orf 'er ground floor
to a very risin' doctor.

Aurora. So 'e is! The day _will_ come, 'e'll be the most
risin'--_(gesticulates with feather-duster, on steps, nearly
falls)_

Tupper. Do you want to 'ear abart my trarsers, or do you not?
_(sits on couch)_

Aurora. Yes, Tupper, o' course I do--get 'em orf yer chest.

Tupper. Well, Mrs. O'Hara, _she_ sez, 'e'll find yer in clothes,
she sez, an' think of all the gratooities----

Aurora. Great--who?

Tupper. Gratooities from grateful patients--shillins an'
'arf-crowns, she sez. Well, we been at it three months to-day--

Aurora. _(sadly)_ An' not a blessed patient 'as called yet.
_(comes down)_

Tupper. No, but the _tailor's_ called, lots o' times, an' larst
time 'e was very cross--said 'e'd 'ave these clothes orf me if
they wasn't paid for Lady Day. _(crosses to R. of table)_

Aurora. Oh! the person! Never mind; the day will come.

Tupper. The day 'as come! _(takes up pile of letters)_

Aurora. Well, never mind, look at all these--all from lady
patients, _(sits in Doctor's chair, puts on his eye-glasses)_

Tupper. _(laughing)_ Lady patients! Why, they're bills. That's
the butcher, _(puts it down)_ An' that's the chemist.

Aurora. Oh! 'e can read!

Tupper. _(puts it down)_ I know 'em all! _(reads)_ "Cummerbund
and Co., Tailors." Oh lor! That's me! _(drops the pack suddenly)_
I call it downright selfish of the doctor to go away and never
think of me. _(produces crumpled telegram from pocket)_ Oh, I
forgot, this is for you! _(hands it to her)_

Aurora. Silly kid!

Tupper. Who's it from? Your young man? _(reads wire over Aurora's
shoulder)_

Aurora. _(opening it)_ 'Arf a mo'! It's from the dear Doctor.
_(aside)_ I'd know 'is 'and writing anywheres, it's sich a sorft
'and. _(reads word for word)_ "Expect -- me -- back -- at -- half
-- past -- four -- and --: please -- have -- my -- tea -- ready."

Tupper. _(counts words on his fingers--sadly)_ There's
extravagance. Blues a tenpence on a telegram, an' my clothes
owin' for.

Aurora _(aside)_ 'Ave 'is tea ready! That I will! As if I
wouldn't 'ave it ready whenever 'e comes, bless 'im! _(stuffs
telegram in bosom, then fusses about room, putting things
straight, starts scouring bureau)_

Tupper. _(watching her)_ I believe you're in love with the "Dear
Doctor." _(picks another fag end off ash-tray and lies on couch
smoking it)_

Aubora. Oh, go smoke! Little boys should be seen and not heard!

Tupper. Well, any'ow yer always tidyin' up 'is things an'
neglectin' the missus, an' yer only 'arf 'is, yer know.

_(Front door bell rings.)_

Aurora. _(snatches ladder quickly and goes to the door, saying to
herself)_ 'Arf 'is, indeed! No! It's all for 'im--all for 'im!

_(Exit Aurora. L. U. E.)_

Tupper. _(laughs)_ That's _sure_ to be for the missus. She 'as
lots o' callers. She's a widder. If I was a woman, I'd be a
widder. _(jumps off couch)_ Oh lor, if it's the tailor, _(crosses
to fire, stands back to it, legs apart)_ I wouldn't mind so much,
only I sold my old clothes to 'ave a bit on a dead cert, wot
didn't come orf--dead certs never do--I wish my clothes was a
dead cert.

_(Enter Aurora. followed by Pearl. then Ruby. then Plant. in
single file. Tupper works behind arm-chair and gets up stage and
puts out cigarette)_

Aurora. _(aside)_ Our fust! _(fussily shaking sofa cushions,
standing behind sofa)_ Take your seats, please! _(motions girls
to sit)_

_(Ruby sits r. of Pearl.)_

Make yourselves quite at home--and don't be frightened.

_(Girls turn round and stare at her.)_

'E'll treat yer kindly--'e's got sich a sorft 'and! _(soothingly
to Ruby)_ Would yer like a cup o' tea, miss, to buck yer up?
Ruby. No, thank you.

Aurora. _(to Ruby)_ Oh, the doctor allus gives 'is ladies tea.

_(Tupper, sitting on couch, bursts out laughing and shoves his
handkerchief in his mouth.)_

Pearl. No, thank you.

Plant. _(looking round)_ Is the doctor out?

Aubora. _(bustling about dusting)_ Yes, sir.

_(Girls rise.)_

--But 'e'll be back at 'arf past, if the ladies'll kindly wait.

_(Girls sit.)_

'E's been called orf to see a lady who couldn't wait.

_(Tupper same Bus.--Aurora goes to him.)_

Plant. _(coughs.)_ Ahem! That will do. _(aside)_ Fancy setting up
for a ladies' doctor in Pimlico! How can he earn bread and butter
in Marmalade Street. No. 13, too!

Aurora. _(to Tupper)_ 'Old yer row! They're lady patients. 'Appy
girls! I wonder what they've got?

Tupper. Nuffiin'. They're a bit off _all_ right! _(laughs)_

Aurora. _(sadly)_ Are they, Tupper? Then why do they come 'ere?

Plant. _(aside)_ What has _he_ done to deserve a rich aunt who
has instructed me to draw up a deed settling a thousand a year on
him? It's disgusting! _(sits, head on hand)_

Tupper. _(sees Plant. head on hand--aside to Aurora)_ Oh,
p'raps it's 'im! _(comes to him)_ Anythin' wrong with yer 'ead?
_(touches his hair)_

_(Girls laugh--Plant looks dumbfounded.)_

Aurora. The doctor's wonderful clever for 'eads. _(same Bus.)_

Plant. Don't do that!

Tupper. Yus, 'e cured mine in a jiffy. I rekkemmend 'im to all
_my_ friends.

Plant. Ah, then I presume Doctor Sheppard has a large practice.

Aurora. _(cheerily)_ Oh yes, sir, 'e's allus practisin'--'e
practised all larst week on the milkman's baby. It 'ad the
direfearier, sir, in its throat, and the doctor was afraid the
cows'd catch it and spile the milk. 'E stopped up all night for a
week nussin' that baby. _(goes on scouring bureau)_

Tupper. Oh, he's a wonderful gentle gentleman, is the doctor.

Plant. _(aside)_ A "Gentle Sheppard?" Just what his rich aunt
hopes to find him. I must get a word with Ruby.

Ruby. _(to Tupper)_ Ah, you hear what his grateful patients think
of him.

Tupper. _(comes down)_ Grateful patients? _(shakes head sadly)_
No, miss, not yet.

Plant. You carry the medicine round, don't you?

Tupper. No, sir, not yet.

Pearl. But you're the doctor's boy, aren't you?

Tupper. No, miss, not yet--only 'arf of me, the other 'arf
belongs upstairs. You see, the doctor ends orf where the
stair-carpets begin; 'e shares me with the missus--an' 'e shares
the gal too.

Plant. _(rises, coughs)_ Ahem! That will do! Is the room always
so full of smoke?

Aurora. _(coming to him quickly)_ Oh yes, sir, wuss generally,
_(flaps wet flannel in his face)_ The doctor's a wonderful
gentleman for smoke, 'e lies on that couch smokin' all day long,
an' read in' this 'ere book, _(fetches it)_ You look at it.
_(comes down C.)_

_(Girls go up to her,)_

You can't make 'ead nor tail of it, 'cep' the pictures, an' they
is--well, there!

Plant. Ahem! That will do! _(takes it from her before his
daughters see it)_ What are the doctor's hours?

Aurora. I dunno, sir--all hours. Sometimes out all day. Sometimes
don't come home all night----

Plant. Ahem! That will do!

Tupper. Wednesday 'e went out, an' ain't back yet

Ruby. Two days ago? That lady's case must be serious! _(comes to
back of sofa and sits L. end)_

Aurora. It is serious, miss, I tell yer. _(confidentially)_ It's
a case of----

Plant.. _(yells in her ear)_ Ahem! _That_ will do!

Aurora. Sorry I spoke!

Plant. Very unusual for smoke to hang about for forty-eight
hours.

Tupper. Oh,that's nothin', sir. 'E's wonderful unusual in 'is
'abits.

Aurora. 'As a biled egg for 'is dinner orfen. _(to Ruby)_

Ruby. _(to Pearl)_ Poor fellow! He must be starving!

_(Tupper looks admiringly at Ruby. and goes to fire, stands back
to it, legs apart.)_

Plant., _(aside)_ "Poor fellow!" He'll be rich enough before
the day's out. It's hard not to tell one's own daughter--but I
mustn't betray a professional confidence.

Tupper. _(aside)_ Fine gels! _(to Ruby)_ 'E'll be wonderful glad
to see you, Miss.

Ruby. How do you know?

Tupper. 'Cos 'e's settin' up as a ladies' Doctor. miss, an'
you're the fust callers we've ever 'ad. _(aside)_ Bar the tailor.

Ruby. The first? _(to Pearl)_ He _is_ starving!

Aurora. Oh, 'e'll cure yer, whatever yer got. _(crosses to
Plant)_ He's wonderful clever. 'E'd see through you, sir, weskit
an' all. 'E don't hax no hex rays to tell 'im. _(to Ruby)_ 'E
knows all what's goin' on in yer innards----

Plant. Ahem! That will do. Er--no doubt, no doubt.

Tupper. No bloomin' doubt, sir. _(going to him)_ But I do 'ope
you'll pay afore leavin'--'cos it's Lady Day, an these 'ere
clothes ain't paid for yet--an' if they ain't--they're a-comin'
orf.

Plant. That'll _do!_ We don't want to hear any fairy tales.

Tupper. _(sadly)_ There ain't no tails about these 'ere.
_(looking at his jacket)_ It's a norrible fac'!

Plant. You can go--_(to Tupper)_ both of you. _(to Aurora)_

Aurora. _(having fetched pail--to Tupper)_ Come aw'y, you talk
too much. _I'm_ the doctor's local demon when 'e's aw'y.

_(Exeunt Tupper and Aurora.)_

Plant. Nice sort of servants for a doctor to have. _(puts book on
couch)_

Pearl. _(to Ruby. who is reading a letter)_ Who's that from?

Ruby. Lieutenant Merry!

Pearl. Oh, let me read it!

_(They read it together.)_

Plant. _(aside)_ A thousand a year for an unbusinesslike young
fool, and here am I, her own cousin's husband, and she's never
given me a penny, except what I've borrowed. _(Bus. with pocket
hairbrush, mirror at back)_ I did think my chance had come when
she sent for me to Cumberland. I got the hair-dresser to touch
out all the grey ones, thinking I might fetch the old girl, but
as soon as she saw me she was very rude, called me a fright, and
began asking some damned awkward questions about my late wife's
trust money. Just my luck! _(sits at writing table)_

Pearl. _(reading from letter which Ruby holds)_ "And, my darling
Ruby--if your father dies"--there's not much "if" about it. He
does. _(taps her hair)_ I've seen the bottle.

_(Both giggle.)_

Plant. _(aside, looking in pocket mirror)_ So I took the next
train back to Southsea, and romped my daughters up to town.
If Ruby can only hook the doctor before the aunt arrives, I'm
saved--if she can't--I'm--ahem!

Ruby. _(aside to Pearl)_ And only think, Pearl. when he's an
Admiral, I shall be Lady Merry--perhaps a Duchess!

Pearl. But, father----

Ruby. Oh, he'll be delighted. We're keeping it as a surprise for
his birthday.

Pearl. He'll be 63 next birthday--he looks more like 36.

_(Both laugh.)_

Plant. _(to them)_ Stop that silly giggling! _(crosses over to
the two, sends Pearl across to table)_ Go and sit over there.
Ruby. my precious jewel, I have something very solemn to say
while we are waiting to see the doctor.

Ruby. _(jumping up, excitedly)_ Pa, don't say you've brought us
for the doctor to sound us.

Pearl. _(quietly, sitting still)_ He shan't sound _me!_

Plant. On the contrary, I've brought you to sound the _doctor_,
_(pulls Ruby down again and sits r. of her on couch)_

Ruby. _(excitedly)_ What about?

Plant. You are aware that although we are strangers to Doctor
Sheppard, he is our cousin.

Ruby. Second cousin, pa!

Pearl. On mother's side.

Ruby. Three times removed.

Plant. Well, well, let us hope he won't be so far removed in the
future. I regret very deeply that we have never yet enjoyed the
friendship of--er--_dear_ cousin Jack.

Pearl. You have frequently remarked, it was not worth while to
cultivate _any_ of our poor relations.

Plant. _(hotly)_ Do you want your pocket money stopped? The fact
is. Pearl. you're bringing my grey hairs----_(stroking his black
locks)_

Pearl. _(quietly)_ Your what?

Plant. _(jumping up)_ I stop your pocket money for a month! Ooh!
_(puts his hand to his back)_ This lumbago is unbearable. When a
man gets to my time of life----

Pearl. _(quietly)_ What time is it now?

Plant. _(hotly)_ I stop your pocket money for _three_ months!

Pearl. _(rises)_ Really, father, a solicitor should be more
cautious. I meant to say the time is getting on, _(points to
clock and crosses to couch--stands behind Ruby)_ and you have not
yet informed us of the "very solemn" something you have to say.

Plant. I accept your explanation--without prejudice. _(stands R.
of couch)_ I say when a man gets to my time of life--the future
happiness of his offspring becomes an all-engrossing theme. You
are aware that when exalted personages contemplate a matrimonial
alliance, they neyer look outside the family. Living as we do,
in so fashionable a resort as Southsea, we cannot be too
--er--"tony" in such important matters. Now you are both--as I
know, being your father--heart-free.

_(Pearl digs Ruby hard in the ribs.)_

Ruby. _(crying out)_ Oh!

Plant. How dare you interrupt me!

Ruby. I didn't, pa, it was----

Pearl. Sneak! _(pinching her arm)_ Ruby. It was nothing!

_(Pearl sits in big armchair.)_

_(aside to Pearl)_ Little cat!

Plant. I accept your explanation, without prejudice. You have
heard from that stupid Buttons what a noble character the doctor
bears, and no man is a hero to his--his Buttons. The _one_ thing
the doctor wants is a _wife._

Pearl. To look after his buttons?

Plant. Silence, miss! And you, my dear Ruby, my favourite, I mean
my first-born, have all the qualifications for a doctor's wife.

Ruby. A doctor's wife? _(looks at Pearl)_

Plant. It has always been the dream of my life to see you united
in matrimony to _dear_ Jack.

Ruby. _Cheap_ Jack! He hasn't a penny!

Plant. Oh hasn't he?--er--_(aside)_ Nearly let it out that time,
_(to her)_ I mean should he be clever enough to win my Ruby. my
Ruby mine--er--this afternoon, he will be rich beyond the dreams
of avarice. Alas, I have no dowry to give you, save the blessing
of your dear old--your dear fond, _fond_ father, _(kisses her
forehead)_ But only obey me in this, and Lady Fortune will smile
on us all--smile--_smile_.

Ruby. _(bursts into tears)_ I can't smile--I won't! _(turns to
Pearl)_

Pearl. _(comes to meet her--aside to her)_ Of course you
won't--I'll get you out of it.

Plant. _(angrily)_ Stop that silly crying. He'll be in soon, and
you look a perfect fright with your eyes all red. You've never
obeyed me in your life--either of you--but I've made up my mind
this time, and damme--I'll make you obey me. I swear _that dear
cousin Jack shall be my son-in-law._ _(crosses C.)_

Pearl. _(going quietly to him, standing between him and Ruby)_ If
such is your determination, I will sacrifice myself.

Plant. _(contemptuously)_ You!

Ruby. _(rushing to Pearl)_ You shan't!

Pearl. I will--what is it after all? Marriages aren't made in
heaven now-a-days.

Ruby. No, no, Pearl. you're too good. I'd rather marry him
myself.

Pearl. You can't--you know you can't--you're engaged.

Ruby. Sneak! _(pinches her arm)_

_(Pearl howls.)_

Plant. _(shouts)_ Stop quarrelling! Such rivalry between sisters
is most unseemly. What do I dress you alike for?

Pearl. To save expense.

Plant. No, miss, to save _jealousy_, and I'll have no Jealousy
about this. Settle it amicably between you, _(aside, crosses to
R.)_ Good idea! They'll go it faster without me. I'll leave 'em
alone with him. _(aloud)_ Dear, dear, I've forgotten something
I particularly want to show Jack. I'll step over to our
apartments----

Ruby. Pa, you can't leave us alone in a bachelor's room!

Plant. Hang it, you're cousins, and you're two to one. Now,
remember, _one of you two must marry Jack_--that's my last word,
and you know my word, like my profession, is law!

_(Exit Plant.)_

Pearl. We've got a nice thing in fathers, _(looking out of
window)_ He's brought us up to London to put us on the market

Ruby. Yes, and by a cheap excursion. _(goes L.)_

Pearl. Now we know why we've come to encamp just across the
street--it's to lay siege to a penniless cousin. _(picks up
"Quayle on Muscles" off couch, takes it to table)_

Ruby. _(at small table up stage L., opens case, shrieks)_ Ach!
knives!

Pearl. _(looks up from book)_ _You_ wouldn't do for a doctor's
wife, whatever Pa says, _(looks at picture)_ Besides, you're not
free, but I am. _(sadly)_

Ruby. Pearl. there's Waverly! _(coming to her, looking over her
shoulder at picture)_

Pearl. Yes, there's Waverly, but he's _(turns to next picture)_
most disappointing. He's been staying at Southsea with Lieutenant
Merry for a whole week, _(turns page)_ and father's been away
the whole time. _(turns page)_ And I've given him every possible
encouragement. _(looks at picture)_ At least, of course I
didn't go so far as _you_ did with Lieutenant Merry. You
were--simply--_(turns page)_

Ruby. _(looking at picture)_ Shocking! _(shuts book and puts it
back on couch)_

Pearl. Yes, you were! _(laughs)_

Ruby. How dare you! I never gave Andrew the slightest
encouragement, _(sits on sofa)_

Pearl. My dear Ruby. I judge by results. He proposed to you the
second day. _(comes and sits by her on sofa)_

Ruby. What about you? You let Waverly kiss you.

Pearl. Only once--just there; _(touches her cheek)_ and that was
after a dance, which doesn't count. No, I've gone as far with Mr.
Vane as any girl, who isn't a born flirt, _(pointedly looking
at Ruby)_ can go, and he's said nothing--yet So I'm going to get
father to invite Doctor Sheppard down to Southsea, and I'll flirt
_desperately_ with him.

_(Ruby crosses C.)_You see, I shall be obeying father--I shall
get you out of your difficulty, and it will force _Waverly_ to
say something--definite, _(sits on the word)_

Ruby. Oh, Pearl! What a clever idea! _(thinks)_ _Andrew_ hasn't
been _quite_ so attentive since I accepted him. And, as you say,
dear papa must be obeyed, so I'll flirt with Doctor Sheppard too,
before Andrew--it'll do him a _world_ of good.

Pearl. Doctor Sheppard!

Ruby. No, _Andrew_, of course. Oh, Pearl. I wonder how they're
getting on without us? Do they ever talk about us, do you think?

Pearl. Of course they do--_everybody_ talks about us--in
Southsea.

Andrew. _(heard off)_ Not in? P'raps he's got a patient.
_(laughs)_

Ruby. It's Andrew! How do I look? _(jumps up and looks in
mirror)_

_(Pearl tries to pull her away from it--Enter Andrew. followed by
Waverly.)_

Waverly. _(looking at girls' backs and nudges Andrew)_ P'raps
he's got two patients.

Andrew. Oh, Susannah! _(takes double stethoscope off table, aside
to Waverly)_ Let's have a lark. I'll pretend to be the doctor.

Waver. No, no, never joke about business, _(scuffles to get
stethoscope)_

_(Ruby looks round.)_

Andrew. Ruby! _(goes to her with outstretched arms)_

_(Pearl looks round.)_

Waver. _(aside)_ Pearl! Oh, lor! _(goes down r.)_ Pearl.
_(coyly)_ Mr. Vane! What attraction has brought you all the way
from Southsea? _(follows him)_

_(Waverly looks confused.)_

Andrew. _(to Ruby)_ What's brought you? We called at Clarence
Parade this morning and found that you'd flown up to London by
the excurs--the early train, so we thought what a lark it'd be to
run up on the chance of meeting you.

Waver. We didn't expect to find you at the doctor's.

Andrew. No. _(to Ruby. anxiously)_ Are you ill?

Ruby. _(laughing)_ No.

Waver, _(to Pearl. wearily)_ Don't say it's _you_.

Pearl. I'm _never_ ill. What's the matter with you?

Waver. _I've_ only come with _Andrew_, _(tries to cross to
Andrew)_

_(Pearl pulls him back.)_

Ruby. _(screams)_ Oh Andrew. then it's _you!!!_ What's the matter
with you?

Andrew. _(laughing)_ Nothing! Sound me if you like. _(offers
stethoscope)_

Ruby. But _why_ have you come to see a _doctor_?

Andrew. _(laughs)_ I haven't--I've brought Vane to introduce
him to my old school-fellow, dear old, serious, studious,
short-sighted, absent-minded Jack Sheppard.

Ruby and Pearl. _(together)_ You know _Jack_?

Waver, and Andrew. _(surprised)_ Jack?

Ruby. Cousin Jack! Didn't you know?

Andrew. No, you never told us you _had_ any cousins. What a
lark! Jack's my greatest friend--because we're such opposites, I
suppose. I call him Dull Boy, because "all work and no play makes
Jack------" see? Rather smart for me, and he calls me "Merry
Andrew"--Andrew Merry--Merry Andrew--see? Oh, that was Jolly
smart for Jack--only joke he ever made.

_(Ruby sits on couch--Andrew behind couch.)_

Waver. Why have you never mentioned his name?

Ruby. We haven't seen him since he was a little boy in kilts.

Pearl. We saw lots of him then, we were both of us _awfully_ in
love with him.

Ruby. And we're longing to see him again! _(pointedly)_

Andrew. _(laughing)_ Oh, are you? Well, I shan't be jealous of
_serious_ old Jack.

Ruby. _(aside)_ Oh, won't you?

_(Ruby and Pearl exchange looks, smiling.)_

Waver. Where is he?

Ruby. _(quickly)_ He won't be back till half-past--_(coyly)_ How
shall we kill time?

Andrew. I know, come and shoot tin dickie-birds at the
Aquarium--I must have exercise.

Ruby. Oh, what fun! Come along!

_(Exeunt Ruby and Andrew.)_

Waver. _(breaking away--aside)_ I shall never have the pluck to
break it to her that I've got engaged to another girl.

Pearl. _(looking at door, then at Waverly, drops Tier eyes)_
Well!

Waver. _(stands facing audience, back to writing table--to
her)_ Miss Plant. there's something I want to say to
you--something--I--I--I don't know how to _say_ it.

Pearl. _(coquettishly)_ Then don't say it. Write me a little
note, _(taps his arm, goes to table, holds up note-paper and
pen)_

Waver. Thanks awfully! _(sits and writes)_

_(Pearl walks away.)_

_(Pauses, aside, alarmed)_ Does she mean business? She's not a
lawyer's child for nothing. She might make a Breach of Promise
out of this, _(tears up letter and pockets the pieces)_ I'd
better blurt it out. _(goes to her)_ I say, it's not--er--it's
not that.

Pearl. Not what?

Waver. I mean--er--_(absently takes from his pocket a kodak made
like a large turnip watch, and fumbling nervously with it)_ I
mean I've been and got--er--I've been and got----

Pearl. A watch?

Waver. No. _(aside)_ But it'll gain time, thank goodness.

Pearl. What is it? _Do_ tell me.

Waver. A detective camera that _defies_ detection.

Pearl. _(rises)_ Oh, what fun! _(takes it from him)_ Let's go and
take snap-shots at Andrew and Ruby when they're not looking, then
they shall take us--when we're not looking, _(takes his arm)_

_(Enter Tupper.)_

Waver. _(aside)_ She does mean business.

_(Exeunt Waverly and Pearl.)_

Tupper. _(looking after them)_ I don't like the look of those two
gents, _(takes cigarette end off ash-tray, lights it)_ They've
gorn and eloped with the fust two customers we've 'ad. _(lies on
operating couch)_ Oh, well, I don't interfere with other people's
business. I got enough to do to look after my own.

_(Enter Doctor in high hat, frock coat, overcoat, carrying a
Gladstone bag, looks as if he had something on his mind.)_

_(Jumping off couch)_ I _am_ glad to see you back, sir.

Doctor. Thank you, Tupper--a kind boy--unpack these, _(hands him
bag)_

Tupper. _(finds bag very heavy, drops it down by bureau, opens
bottom drawer, looks in, aside)_ Empty--must 'ave pawned the lot
to buy the noo ones, _(takes out pile of books and papers and one
collar)_ I wonder if 'e's spliced, 'e looks un'appy enough.
I'll arsk 'im. _(chucks books, MSS., collar, etc., into drawer,
anyhow, crosses on tiptoe to Doctor)_ 'Ave yer brought 'er with
yer, sir?

Doctor. _(swinging round on revolving chair facing Tupper, who
has backed to bureau alarmed)_ Don't talk, I'm busy! _(opening
his letters--aside)_ Can that boy have guessed? No, how could he?
_(picks up Cummerbund's letter)_

Tupper. _(aside)_ 'E's got the letter! _(closes drawer)_

Doctor. _(throwing down letters savagely)_ Bills, bills,
bills--nothing but bills! _(walks up and down shying things
about)_

Tupper. _(aside, stealing out on tiptoe)_ It's my last day out o'
bed, I know it is.

_(Exit Tupper.)_

Doctor. _(takes card out of mirror)_ "Sir Peter and Lady Quayle
request the pleasure----" That's what did it, that dinner of
Quayle's. Sir Peter told me over dessert, that for the first six
months after he started in practice, he was starving. Then he
met a young governess who was starving too, and with what their
friends called "sublime imprudence" they got married. _And he
never looked behind him after_. Then he said if I meant to get on
as a gynaecologist, I must get married. "Your wife will prove
a mascotte like mine did," he said, "and patients will flow
in--simply flow in." Well, I believe in Quayle. That was Tuesday
night; on Wednesday I ran down to Lowesloft, proposed to Flo on
Thursday, we were secretly married this morning at the Registry
Office, she's gone back to her people, and I've come back to
town; and what do I find? Nothing but bills, and I can't pay one
of them. After settling for the special license, my fare back to
town, and that telegram to Aurora. _(feels in pocket, produces
coppers)_ I've got sevenpence half-penny in the wide world and a
wife! It's all Quayle's fault! Damn Quayle! I'll never believe in
him again. I don't even know where my next meal is coming from,
_(walks up and down)_

_(Enter Aurora with the tea--goes to small tea-table.)_

Aurora. 'Ere's yer tea, sir. I was glad to get your telegram.
Mrs. O'Hara was getting quite anxious about you.

Doctor. _(aside)_ About her rent, more likely.

Aurora. She wondered where you'd got to, but I knew, sir. 'Ow is
the pore lady? Do you think she'll get over it, Doctor?

Doctor. Don't talk, my good girl, I'm busy, _(cuts bread)_

Aurora _(getting behind couch--aside)_ "'Is good girl," that
I am, it's all for 'im. I know 'e's starving. 'E goes for that
stale quartern like the pore prodigal gentleman with the 'usks,
but I've got a treat for 'im, that there card put it in my 'ead.
_(points to Quayle's card in mirror)_ I've bought 'im a beautiful
bird, that'll give 'im a relish, _(to Doctor)_ Couldn't you fancy
something light with yer tea, sir? _(back of couch)_

Doctor. Yes, I think I could--I'll finish that tin of potted pig
I left, _(rises, gets cC)_

Aurora. _(aside)_ My stars! An' Tupper's ate it!

Doctor. _(opens drawer of bureau)_ Hullo! It's gone!

Aurora. _(to him)_ G-gone bad, sir.

Doctor. _(suspiciously)_ Gone bad?

Aurora. Yes, sir, an' I've fr--fr--

Doctor. Fried it?

Aurora. No, sir, frowed it away!

Doctor. All of it? _(goes to medicine chest)_

Aurora. Yes, sir, all of it. _(one step back, nods hard)_

Doctor. _(aside)_ She's eaten it. _(to her)_ Aurora. show me your
tongue. H'm! you'd better take this. _(pours out a draught)_

Aurora. _(aside, rapturously)_ 'Is patient at larst! _(takes it)_
Thank you, sir. _(gasps)_ I've touched 'is 'and.

Doctor. You won't like it.

Aurora. I will, sir, if I die arter it. _(aside)_ I'm in seven
'eavens already! _(drinks, pulls an awful face)_ It's all for
'im!

_(Doctor puts glass back, Aurora takes big lump of sugar from
tea-table.)_

Doctor. _(seriously)_ You might have died of ptomaine poisoning,
eating that decayed tinned stuff, _(crosses to sofa, sits again)_

Aurora. Oh, sir, I never touched a mossel. _(big lump in her
cheek)_

Doctor. _(surprised)_ You didn't eat it?

Aurora. Not me, sir! I ain't no thief! _(takes another lump)_

Doctor. _(smiles)_ Well, never mind. That won't hurt you.

Aurora. Please, sir, _(looking at him fondly--hesitatingly)_
Mrs. O'Hara, she arsked me to say--as it's Lady day, would you
allow 'er----

Doctor. I know--something on account.

Aurora. Oh, no, sir--would you allow her to send up a beautiful
bird for yer tea?

Doctor. No, thanks, I--I've just dined, _(eats ravenously)_

Aurora. _(aside)_ Lord forgive 'im. _(watches him eating)_

Doctor. _(aside)_ Mrs. O'Hara has tried that dodge before, but
I'm not taking any.

Aurora. I'm sure you'd like it, sir, it's a quail on toast.

Doctor. _(aside, jumping up)_ Quail on toast!' Damn it! Do you
want to drive me mad? _(shouts to her)_ No! Go! _(sits and pours
out another cup)_

Aurora. _(aside)_ No go. 'E don't love me, or 'e wouldn't say
that?

_(Bell rings.)_

Oh, that bell! _(comes back and quickly removes the things)_

Doctor. _(still holding teapot in left hand)_ What are you doing
now?

Aurora. Clearing away, sir, in case it's for you.

_(Exit Aurora with tea-tray.)_

Doctor. What's she done that for? I wish Flo was here to look
after me. It was hard to leave her at Lowestoft, _(takes photo
from pocket, stands it up before him on table)_ Dear little Flo!
The one girl I've loved all my life! _(arm outstretched, teapot
in L. hand)_ To think that you're my wife at last! _(slowly
closing his arms)_ My wife! _(hugging teapot, yowls)_ It seems
too good to be true. And where are the patients Quayle said would
flow In? Simply flow In! _(waves teapot, tea, goes all over the
stage)_ Hello! its flowing out.

_(Enter Plant.)_

_(loudly)_ I say, where are my patients? _(loudly, coming down
stage, not seeing Plant)_

Plant. _(more loudly)_ And I say _where_ are my daughters?

Doctor. _(seeing him)_ My first! Quayle's right, after all.
_(comes to Plant teapot in hand, assumes professional air)_ Good
afternoon, won't you sit down? _(seats himself and writing table,
puts teapot on blotter. He is always absent-minded when absorbed
in his science)_

Now! _(earnestly)_ What can I do for you? What's the trouble, eh?

Plant. _(aside)_ Well, upon my word, he's a cool customer.
_(stands R. of table)_

Doctor. Come, come, let's hear what it is, or how I can help you;
you know I'm in the habit of hearing confidences, _(sees teapot,
puts it under table)_

Plant. _(indignantly)_ Sir, I'm a father!

Doctor. _(bowing)_ Sir, I congratulate you. _(writes "Father"
on note pad--to Plant cheerfully)_ Is it a boy or a girl?

Plant. _(hotly)_ Two girls, sir.

Doctor. Dear, dear, I sympathize with you. _(makes a note "two
girls")_ Mother doing well?

Plant. _(gesticulating wildly)_ The mother's dead, sir!

Doctor. _(with sympathy)_ Ah, now I understand your agitation,
_(makes note)_ And the twins--are _they_ well?

Plant. _(wildly)_ Damn it, Sir, they're not twins, and I've lost
'em.

Doctor. Dear, dear! _(aside)_ Lost his wife and both the poor
little babies, _(writing on note pad)_

Plant. _(chokingly)_ Only half an hour ago, and I've come to
you----

Doctor. _(putting up his hand)_ No, no, if your own Doctor won't
grant a certificate, it's no use coming to me. _(tears up notes)_

Plant. I tell you I left 'em here, on this sofa.

Doctor. _(rises indignantly)_ Oh _my_ sofa! Then you'd no
business to. How dare you leave the poor things lying on my sofa?
Where are they? _(looking under sofa cushions)_

Plant. Hang it, sir, that's what I've come to ask _you_. What
have you done with them?

_(Enter Tupper.)_

Tupper. _(to Doctor)_ Please, sir, Mrs. O'Hara says--_(hands him
her account book)_

Plant. _(seizing Tupper)_ Where are my daughters? _(crosses C,
shaking Tupper--threatening him with big stick)_

Tupper. I dunno, sir--give it up.

Plant. No prevarications! You saw the two young ladies.

Doctor. _(surprised)_ Two young ladies! I see now!

Tupper. Are you their _father_, sir? I didn't think you was old
enough.

Plant. _(pleased, releases him, pats his head)_ Good lad!
_(crosses down L.)_

Doctor. Where have they gone, Tupper?

Tupper, I dunno, sir--they was fetched.

Plant. Fetched? Who by? _(rushing at Tupper furiously)_

Tupper. I dunno, sir, two gentlemen--they didn't leave no name,
they simply come, saw the ladies---and carried 'em off.

_(Bus.--Plant threatening Tupper--Tupper arm up.)_

_(Exit Tupper quickly.)_

Doctor. _(aside)_ Just my luck--lost two cases!

Plant. A plot, sir--a vile plot--whoever the scoundrels are, they
shall pay heavily for this wounded heart.

Doctor. _(seriously)_ Heart? Cardiac? _(hand on Plant's heart,
listens)_

Plant. _(half crying, on Doctor's arm)_ My precious jewels!
Two dear girls, Doctor. who have never caused me a moment's
uneasiness all their blessed lives.

Doctor. Apparently not. Hadn't you better go and look for them?

Plant. _(excitedly walks up and down)_ Ah, you are not a
father--

Doctor. _(aside, looking through microscope)_ Hope not--only
married this morning.

Plant. --or you couldn't stand there unmoved. I am struck down in
the flower of my days; this is a stroke, sir, a fatal stroke.
Ach! _(cries out with pain--puts hands to his back)_

Doctor. That's not a _stroke_--that's _lumbago_.

Plant. _(hotly)_ Hang it, sir, I speak in parables--I'm not a
patient!

Doctor. Not a patient! Then what do you come here for? Parables
are no good to me. I've got my living to earn! _(rings bell)_
Good afternoon!

_(Enter Aurora.)_

Aurora. 'Ere's a letter for you, sir.

Doctor. _(taking it)_ Thanks, and show this gentleman out.

Aurora. Very good, sir, we _are_ busy to-day, sir. _(to Plant)_
This way out. _(at door)_

Plant. _(to Doctor)_ You little know whom you are insulting. Some
day, sir, your eyes will be opened--and you will discover that
the country cousin--

_(Aurora listens and mimics him.)_

--whom you spurned from your door, was none other than a fairy
prince, who will this very day lift you from the slough of
grovelling poverty to the realms of affluence and prosperity.
Good day, sir!

_(Aurora crosses and exits behind Plant.)_

Doctor. _(alone)_ "This very day"--"Affluence and
prosperity"--"fairy prince"--oh, he's off his dot! _(looks at
postmark)_ "Ambleside." Why, it's from _(rises and crosses L.)_
Aunt Susannah! "My dear Nephew: I have heard glowing accounts of
your success." My success! "I long to see my brilliant nephew
--I'm coming up to London to-morrow." To-morrow--to-morrow,
_(looks at calander)_ that's Saturday, good job it's not to-day.
Mrs. O'Hara's got an Irish party on upstairs and Aunt Susie's so
awfully quiet she can't stand the slightest noise, _(reads)_ "It
is my constant joy to know that you are devoting your days--and
I daresay many of your nights--to the noble work of alleviating
human suffering." _(looks at her picture--reads)_ "I mean to
do all that my money can do to help you to pursue your glorious
profession with everything in your favor." Its too good to be
true! _(rises)_ No, it isn't Quayle's right again! Flo _has_
brought me luck, and on our wedding day! _(pause)_ The very day!
That's what that silly old man with the dyed hair meant. By Jove!
he is a fairy prince! Oh, Flo, Flo, what a honeymoon we'll have!
_(dances all over the room with delight, seizing a sofa cushion
to dance with)_

_(Enter Aurora. followed by Ruby. Pearl. Waverly and Andrew in
single file.)_

Aurora. The Doctor'll see you directly. Take your seats, please.

_(Ruby and Pearl sit on couch, Ruby L. of Pearl; Andrew and
Waverly R. C, laughing.)_


TABLEAU.

Doctor. _(stops dancing suddenly--aside)_ Quayle's right again!
They're flowing in, simply flowing in! _(sits at table--to
Waverly down r.)_ Good afternoon. Won't you sit down?

_(Waverly sits O. P. corner.)_

Now what can I do for you? What's the trouble, eh?

Andrew. _(behind Doctor. slaps him on back, laughing)_ What do
you take us for, Dull Boy?

Doctor. _(turning round)_ Why, it's Merry Andrew!

Andrew. Of course it is! How are you? This is Mr. Vane, old
friend of mine.

Waver. _(other side of Doctor)_ How are you? _(shakes hands)_

Doctor. _(between them)_ Not a patient? _(to Andrew)_ Who are the
ladies?

Waver. Don't you know your own cousins?

Doctor. _(mystified)_ Cousins, what cousins?

Ruby. _(coming down L. of him--Andrew gives way)_ Second cousins.

Pearl. _(coming down r. of him--Waver, gives way)_ On mother's
side.

Doctor. I know, you're the Plants from Southsea? But how could I
recognise you? I haven't seen you for so long.

Pearl. _(making eyes at Doctor)_ We hope to see you every day
now; we're in town for a week.

Doctor. _(aside)_ What does she make eyes at me like that for?

Ruby. Yes, just across the road--_dear_ Jack!

Doctor. _(aside)_ "Dear Jack?" This is very sudden! _(to them)_
Er--have some tea? _(rings bell on table)_

Pearl. Oh, thank you. I love tea.

_(Girls go to sofa--Boys follow.)_

_(Enter Aurora.)_

Doctor. Some more tea, please, Aurora--hot, strong and quick!

Aurora. Yes, sir--hot, strong and quick, _(dives under knee-hole
of table)_

Doctor. What are you doing there?

Aurora. _(coming through)_ Getting out the teapot, sir.


TABLEAU. _(Exit Aurora.)_

Doctor. _(back of sofa, to Ruby)_ And have you come up from
Portsmouth with Merry Andrew?

Ruby. _(confused)_ No--of course not, my _dear_ Jack!

Doctor. But aren't you--eh?

Andrew. _(laughs)_ You've guessed it in once, Dull Boy! But it's
a secret.

Doctor. _(pleased)_ I'm never wrong in a diagnosis. _(shakes
hands with Andrew)_ I congratulate you. _(looks at Pearl)_
And you and Mr. Vane are---- _(shaking hands with Waverly)_ I
congratulate you----

_(Pearl shakes her head.)_

--Er--I mean I beg your pardon.

Waver. Don't mention it.

Andrew. You were having a jolly good caper when we came in;
what's up?

Doctor. She's coming! _(waves hand vaguely towards picture and
sits on sofa between girls)_

_(Enter Aurora with tea.)_

Andrew. _(laughing)_ Oh, _you've_ got a "she," have you? You dog!
_(back at sofa)_

Aurora. _(aside)_ 'E's got a she! _(gasps audibly)_

Ruby. Dear Jack!

Andrew. _(to her)_ Here, not so much of your "dear Jack!"

Ruby. Don't be absurd, Andrew. he's my cousin.

_(Andrew goes C.)_

I congratulate you with all my heart, dear Jack! _(kisses him)_

_(Aurora gasps again, louder.)_

Pearl. And I congratulate you too! _(kisses him)_

_( Aurora gasps a third time, loudest, and puts tray on
tea-table, upsetting milk jug onto tray. Takes everything off
tray quickly, pours spilt milk back into jug, wipes tray and mops
milk off floor with apron, goes to fire and wrings out apron in
fireplace.)_

Doctor. _(rises, goes up)_ You've got something on your chest,
Aurora----

Aurora. Yes, sir. _(takes out loaf of bread and puts it on the
table)_

Doctor. I must give you a tonic.

Aurora. _(with fervour)_ Oh, do, sir. _(goes C., aside)_ 'Is
patient again! I wonder what colour it'll he this time? _(to
Doctor as he hands her the draught)_ Will this 'ere mix with that
there, sir? _(pointing at it)_

Doctor. _(snatching it back)_ No, I'm hanged if it will!1 _(puts
it down)_

Aurora _(aside)_ I was a little silly to speak. I did want to
touch 'is 'and again. 'E's got sich a sorft 'and!

_(Exit Aurora. sadly.)_

Ruby. And what is your lady-love like?

Doctor. _(pointing to Aunt's picture)_ That!

Pearl. Oh, isn't she pretty! _(looks at Ruby grimacing)_ Who is
she?

Doctor. My maiden aunt Susannah!

Andrew. Oh, Susannah! Now you're having a lark with us.

Doctor. No, I'm not--I leave larking to you. She's coming
to-morrow.

Waver. To-morrow? We've got a box at the Hippodrome; you must
come and bring your aunt.

Andrew. Yes, we'll trot her round.

_(Doctor handing cigarettes to Andrew. who hands them to Waverly,
and Waverly to girls.)_

Doctor. No, no, she's not a trotter. She lives at Ambleside, and
she's awfully quiet.

_(Pearl takes a cigarette from Waverly, strikes match on her
shoe, lights it.)_

She'd think a visit to the Ballad Concerts was reckless
dissipation, and if she saw a girl riding a bicycle or smoking
a cigarette she'd say--_(sees Ruby and Pearl--stops confused)_
I--I--don't know what she'd say.

Andrew. _(roars and slaps him on the back)_ Just the same serious
old Jack. You must come out with Vane and me to-night.

_(Doctor writhes when Andrew slaps him.)_

Waver. Yes, we'll paint London red for you--it's the season for
spring-cleaning.

Doctor. With pleasure, but mind you, no larks after to-night. I
know what a fellow you are for practical jokes, but if you played
any joke on auntie, I'd never forgive you. She's one of the best,
and I want her to enjoy her visit in her own quiet way. _(looks
through microscope)_

Andrew. So she shall, old fellow! We'll take her to the Zoo to
see the lions fed.

Pearl. That _will_ be quiet!

_(All laugh.)_

Doctor. _(aside)_ Where's that specimen? _(rings bell)_ Oh, I
remember, in there--_(points to door R. I. E., to them)_ Will you
excuse me for a moment?

_(Exit R. U. E.)_

_(Andrew crosses to sofa, Pearl pulls Waverly on to sofa. The
Quartette sit around tea-table, talking and laughing.)_

_(Enter Aurora.)_

Aurora. _(aside)_ Where's the dear doctor? What have they done
with him?

Andrew. _(who has his arm round Ruby. aside to Waverly)_ Lend me
your detective camera?

Aurora. _(aside)_ Detective? I'm in this--it's all for 'im!
_(hides behind operating couch)_

Waver. Here, no larks, Merry Andrew. what do you want it for?
_(nervously indicating that Pearl's taken his arm and put it
round her waist)_

Andrew. _(with smothered laughter)_ I'll show you! _(takes it
from him)_

_(Waverly nervous tries to get his arm away--Andrew takes
snap-shot at Aunt's picture, Aurora watching, her eyes just above
couch.)_

All over!

_(Aurora bobs down.)_

Ruby. What's the joke?

Andrew. I'm going to that wig-maker fellow to get him to make me
up just like this snap-shot of that picture, he'll do it in half
an hour, dress and all. I'll come back before you're gone, and
Jack'll think I'm his "she."

Aurora. _(aside)_ _Will_ he? Not if I can help it! _(bobs down)_

Andrew. And you'll all be larking and smoking and kicking up no
end of a row, and poor old Jack's serious face'll be a study.

Aurora. _(aside)_ Will he? I'll learn you to make fun of the dear
Doctor. see if I don't! _(creeps to door)_

_(Exit Aurora. unobserved.)_

_(Re-enter Doctor--Waverly withdraws his arm suddenly, Pearl puts
it back.)_

Pearl. _(to Doctor)_ Jack?

_(Doctor doesn't hear, absorbed in microscope.)_

Jack, dear, has any one been here while we were away? _(toying
with Waverly's hand)_

Doctor. _(still looking through microscope)_ Only a Billy old
lunatic with dyed hair and a touch of lumbago.

Ruby and Pearl. _(jumping up suddenly)_ Father!

_(Andrew sits on couch with Waverly.)_

Doctor. _(aside)_ Oh, lor! _(aloud)_ I'm awfully sorry I didn't
know he was your father, he said he was a fairy prince.

Pearl. How like him! _(laughs)_

Ruby. Where's he gone?

Doctor. To look for someone--I think it was you. _(points to
Waverly and Andrew)_

Pearl. Had he his big walking stick? _(seriously)_

Doctor. _(nods)_ He had! He practised with it on Tupper.

Andrew and Waveb. _(together, rising)_ I think we had better be
going now.

Ruby. _(to Andrew)_ Yes, do, you don't know papa when he's
roused.

_(Waverly looks around nervously and goes up.)_

Andrew. Oh, I'm not afraid, but I've an appointment. _(winking
and smiling)_

Ruby. _(smiling)_ With a lady? _(pointing at picture)_

Andrew. _(smiling)_ Yes!

Waver. I'll come with you, I'd like to see her.

Andrew. Right! Shan't be long, Jack, and when we come back we're
going to take you out to have one jolly good caper for the last,
_(slaps him hard on back.)_

Doctor. _(absently)_ The last before auntie comes.

Andrew. _(laughing and nudging Waver.)_ As you say, _before
auntie comes_.

_(Exit Andrew and Waverly.)_

Pearl. _(to Ruby)_ He's looking at us! Suppose he's fallen in
love with us!

Ruby. He mustn't for worlds--father would accept him at once!

Pearl. _(to Ruby)_ We must be very _distant_ cousins now.

_(Girls sit on sofa.)_

Doctor. _(aside)_ I'm no match for the two of 'em. _(sits on
couch between girls--cheerily)_ Now make yourselves quite at
home, let me give you some more tea? _(to Ruby.)_

Ruby. _(freezingly)_ No, thank you. _(moves to armchair)_

_(Pearl goes to window and looks out.)_

Doctor. _(C. aside)_ Very sudden change! What have I done?

Pearl. _(looking out of window)_ Father's back!

_(Bell rings. Ruby and Pearl rush back and sit one on each
side of Doctor. cuddling close to him, each holding one of his
hands.)_

Doctor. _(to them)_ Father's back? Oh, yes, I know, _lumbago!_
I'll cure it.

_(Enter Plant.)_

Plant. Ah, here you are, my precious jewels!

_(Doctor rises, girls rise with him, still holding his hands.)_

Sir, accept a father's thanks!

_(Holds out his hand, which Doctor cannot take--Bus. then girls
release him--shaking Doctor's hand.)_

Forgive my harshness this afternoon--a father's feelings, you
know.

Doctor. On the contrary, you ought to forgive _me_--I know now
how much I owe you--my fairy prince!

_(Girls laugh and sit on sofa.)_

Plant. _(quickly)_ Hush! Not before the girls! _(goes to them,
stands back of sofa)_ My precious jewels, how thankful I am to
find you safe and well, _(aside)_ I'll give it you when I get
you home. I know _all!_ _(to Doctor)_ Two dear girls, Doctor.
who have never given me a moment's uneasiness all their blameless
lives, _(aside to Ruby)_ Have you settled? Which is it to be?

Ruby. _(aside to him)_ Me.

Pearl. _(aside to him)_ And me too!

Plant. _(savagely to Pearl)_ I shall lock you up in our room,
miss, for the rest of the day.

Ruby. _(ruefully)_ Oh, papa, how unkind!

Plant. _(aside to Ruby)_ And you too! _(aside)_ I can get on
better without you. _(to Doctor. stroking their hair)_ Ah,
Doctor. the man who would dare to rob me of my precious jewels,
Ruby and Pearl. will have much to answer for.

Doctor. Don't distress yourself, no man would be so heartless,
_(looking through microscope)_

Plant. Ahem! Not such a fool as he looks! These girls are no
match for him. I must get him alone. _(aloud)_ Well, Doctor. we
mustn't waste your precious time; I see you're busy.

Doctor. No, no, not on a Friday, to-morrow's my day. _(nearly
dances, checks himself, aside--to Plant)_ Besides I'm expecting
an old school fellow directly, he's a lieutenant in the navy, and
my greatest friend.

_(Consternation of Ruby and Pearl.)_

You _must_ stop.

Plant. My dear Jack, we should be charmed to meet any friend of
yours, but really during our short stay in town we have so many
engagements, _(to Ruby)_ Say good-bye and kiss him!

Ruby. I have kissed him once. _(rises)_

Plant. Good! Do it again for luck!

_(Pearl crosses towards Doctor)_

Not you! _(stops her)_

Pearl. _(to Plant)_ I wasn't going to.

Plant. I wouldn't trust you.

Pearl. Good-bye, Doctor. I wish you every success. _(shakes hands
and goes up stage)_

Ruby. Good-bye! _(pause)_ Dear Jack! _(pause)_ I _(going to kiss
him, catches her father's eye, aside to Plant)_ I can't when
you're looking.

Plant. _(aside to her)_ Idiot! _(aloud)_ Come, my precious
jewels!

_(Puts his arms round them; swing Bus.)_

The sunshine of my widowed home, Jack, a humble place, but when
you come to visit us at Southsea, you will echo the words of the
immortal bard, and join with us in singing, _(sings)_ "Ours is a
happy little home!"

_(Exit Plant. Ruby and Pearl. _all quarrelling loudly_.)_

Doctor. _(alone)_ What a strange man! I wonder why he's pleaded
my cause with Aunt Susannah? _(looks at aunt's picture, sitting
end of sofa)_ Poor Aunt Susie, when she was quite a girl she fell
in love with a man who turned out all wrong; that's why she's
lived such a lonely life all these years. Dear Aunt Susie! I'll
do all I can to give you a good time, _(goes back to microscope)_

_(Enter Aurora.)_

Aurora. _(excitedly)_ If you please, doctor----

Doctor. Don't bother me now, Aurora. I'm busy.

Aurora. _(sadly)_ I don't want to bother you, sir, I've come to
give you _warning_.

Doctor. You want to leave me?

Aurora. _Never_, sir, not till I'm took feet front. I want to
warn you about that detective, sir, as the gent brought in his
pocket. His friend let it off at that picture, sir.

Doctor. _(mystified)_ Let _what_ off?

Aurora. Detective camera, sir, an' 'e's comin' back dressed up
like 'er.

Doctor. _(smiling)_ Who is?

Aurora. 'Im as 'is friend calls "Merry Andrew." sir.

Doctor. _(rubbing his hands)_ Oh, is he? It's my profession to
cure people, and I'll cure _you_, Master Merry Andrew. of this
insane love of practical joking, _(thumps on table)_

Aurora. _Do_, sir, I _don't believe_ there's no ailment, male nor
female, what you couldn't not cure, sir.

Doctor. Thank you, Aurora. _(crosses to fire)_

Aurora. Excuse the liberty I've took, sir, but I thought I'd best
warn you, sir, lest when 'e come dressed up, you might think it
was--it was _she_--and--and be disappointed, _(half crying)_

Doctor. So I should have been--_very_ disappointed. _(looking at
picture)_ Thank you very much.

Aurora. Still gazin' at 'is fancy! The time 'as come. It's now or
never--I'll struggle with yer! _(gets on chair, looks over into
mirror, takes combs from pocket, puts them on, pauses)_ I do
'ope Tupper was wrong; if 'e's gorn and married 'er, I'm the
miserablest girl in all Pimlico--South Belgraviar, I mean,
_(jumps down)_

Doctor. _(turning round and seeing her)_ What on earth are you
doing? Do you want to bring the house down?

Aurora. I can't 'elp my weight, sir.

Doctor. _(smiling)_ What a swell you look, Aurora!

Aurora. _(effusively)_ 'E's seen my combs--my diamond combs,
_(shakes head to make them sparkle)_

Doctor. _(laughing)_ Did Mrs. O'Hara give you those paste things
to wear for her party?

Aurora. _(disappointed)_ No, sir, they _ain't_ for Mrs. O'Ara,
and they _ain't_ pastry things, _(aside)_ 'E don't know diamonds
when 'e sees 'em!

Doctor. They're like those in my aunt's picture.

Aurora. _(joyfully)_ Is that your h'aunt, sir?

Doctor. Yes.

Aurora. Ho! I h'am glad! _(aside)_ There's 'ope, there's 'ope!

Doctor. But those combs have gone out since that picture was
painted; you're a long way behind the times--a long way.
_(bursts out laughing and rushes out)_ Ha! ha! ha!

_(Exit Doctor. R. I.E.)_

Aurora. _(alone, sobbing)_ I'm "gorn out"--"be'ind the times,"
there's no 'ope, I shall never wear 'em again--_(takes them off)_
But I'll 'ave 'em buried with me. _(pockets them)_ I shall die an
old maid now--I can't wait till Tupper's growed up. Oh, it's an
'ard world for us maids, a very 'ard world!

_(Exit Aurora. sobbing, L.U.E.)_

Aunt. _(heard off)_ Is Doctor Sheppard in?

Aurora. _(heard off, sobbing)_ I'll see, mam, I'll s-ee!

_(Enter Aurora. followed by Aunt Susannah.)_

Aunt. _(to her)_ What's the matter with you, my good girl? _(c.
up stage)_

Aurora. _(sobbing)_ N-othin', mum. We're a b-bit b-busier to-day
than usual, that's all.

Aunt. Is this the doctor's consulting room? _(looks round with
affectionate interest--sits at his table)_ Aurora. One of 'em,
mum--I expect 'e's in one of the h'inner rooms, engaged with some
patients, 'e's always very busy on a Friday--you couldn't 'ave
picked a worse day to come and see the great Doctor. 'Ave you got
an appointment?

Aunt. I wrote to him. He expects me about this time.

Aurora. Oh! _(Bus.--mimicking her intonation)_ Then I'll tell
him. _(knocks at door R.I.E.)_ A lady to see you, sir.

Doctor. _(heard off)_ All right! Tell him to take a chair.

Aurora. _(at door)_ It ain't an 'im, it's an 'er!

Doctor. _(heard off, laughing)_ Oh, then tell _her_ to take the
couch.

_(Aunt crosses L.C., looks at tea-table.)_

Aurora. _(aside)_ The h'operating couch! Pore thing! If it ain't
a h'arm, it's a leg! _(looks at her sympathetically)_

Aunt. _(looking at picture over door)_ My picture! How sweet of
the dear boy! Oh, Jack, what a happy time we shall have together.

Aurora. _(coaxingly)_ If you please mum, the doctor says as
you're to take the couch, and he'll take your case next, mum.
_(puts her arm round her waist and walks her up to couch)_


TABLEAU.

Aunt. _(smiling)_ My case! _(sits on sofa)_ Aurora. Yes, buck up,
mum! _(slaps her on back)_

Aunt. _(amused, aside)_ Am I _very pale_, I wonder? If I am, it's
with the joy of looking forward to clasping my dear brother's
child in my arms.

Aurora. _(kindly)_ It'll soon be over. He'll be very gentle with
yer, he's got sich a sorft 'and. _(puts her legs up)_

_(Enter Doctor.)_

Doctor. _(sotto voce)_ Damn good get-up. _(loudly)_ Damn good!

Aurora. _(shocked)_ Oh, doctor!

Doctor. _(to Aurora)_ Don't you see? It's the picture--my Aunt
Susie! _(points to picture, then to her)_

Aurora. _(comes to join him, they stand c, backs to audience,
roars)_ So it is, an' I said, "If it ain't a h'arm, it's a leg."
_(roars)_

Doctor. It's _both_ arms and _both_ legs, Aurora. and we'll
have 'em off in a twinkling, _(takes coat off, rolls up shirt
sleeves)_

Aunt. _(flabbergasted)_ Both arms! Both legs!

Aurora. Right you are, sir, you fetch the larfin' gas, while I
sharpen the knives, _(sharpens two long knives from case against
each other)_

Aunt. _(screams)_ Knives! Murder! Murder! Let me out!

_(Exit quickly.)_

Doctor. _(calls after her)_ Don't go--Old Soosie-Toosie!

Aurora. _(laughing)_ We've cured him, sir, we've cured him!

CURTAIN.



ACT II.

Scene.--Same as Act I. No time elapses.

Doctor. _(alone)_ Good old Merry Andrew! What a sight he looked!
Fancy expecting me to take his lumbering carcase for my gentle
aunt. Why, I could see his trousers, _(laughs, picks up bills,
suddenly stops laughing)_ I must sober down now and remember I'm
a married man with a lot of responsibilities--and no money, not
_yet!_ But auntie's coming to-morrow--the _real_ aunt--coming
like a good fairy to make everything rosy! _(looks at photo)_
Flo, dear little Flo!

_(Bell.)_

_(not hearing bell, engrossed in photo)_ I'm longing to tell
you the good news! I'll write to you. _(sits and writes)_ "Dear
Madam." _(tears it up)_ I mean "Darling Flo." _(writes)_

_(Enter Flora. shown in by Aurora. She carries a bag in each
hand, and parcels under each arm.)_

Aurora. This way, miss. The doctor's very busy, but----

Doctor. _(not hearing, writes)_ "What wouldn't I give to have you
here now." _(takes out coppers)_ Sevenpence ha-penny!

Flora. _(slyly behind him C.)_ Is Doctor Sheppard in?

Doctor. _(absently)_ Good afternoon. Won't you sit down? Now,
what can I do for you? What's the trouble, eh?

Flora. The trouble?

Doctor. Oh, it's my wife! _(rushes into her arms)_ Flo!

Flora. Jack! _(kisses him)_

Aurora. _(gasps, aside)_ 'Appy patient!

_(Exit Aurora.)_

Doctor. Delighted to see you, my dear Flo--most unexpected
pleasure--only sorry you can't stop the night.

Flora. _(surprised)_ Jack! I've come to stop for ever.

Doctor. _(releasing her suddenly)_ You can't--you mustn't!

Flora. But I can and I must! I can't live apart from you, Jack.
I've tried it all the morning, and I can't. _(falls in his arms)_

Doctor. But you must live apart from me--for--for a day or two.
There's a lady coming to-morrow who mustn't see you here for
anything.

Flora. _(by sofa C.)_ A lady! The first day of our honeymoon! Who
is she? _(pauses)_ A patient?

Doctor. _(smiling and shaking his head)_ Better than a hundred
patients.

Flora. What's she coming for? Tell me--tell me at once.

Doctor. _(putting his arm round her assuredly)_ My dear little
wifie, she's only my maiden aunt.

Flora. Oh, Jack, are you _sure_ she's a maiden aunt?

Doctor. Quite! Here's her letter, _(crosses to sofa, takes it
from his pocket and gives it to her)_ Now are you satisfied,
jealous little woman?

Flora. Forgive me, Jack. I can't help being jealous of everybody
and everything--I love you so much!

Doctor. _(round on to sofa)_ I know you do--and see what luck
you've brought me. _(pointing to letter which she is reading)_
I told you we shouldn't go wrong if we followed Quayle's advice.
Auntie's coming to-morrow, and she's going to do all that money
can----

Flora. _(reading letter)_ To-day, Jack--she's coming _to-day_.
This letter was written yesterday.

Doctor. _(suddenly)_ What a fool I am! Where's the Bradshaw?
_(crosses to table, turns over leaves of Bradshaw, hurriedly)_
Ambleside! A! Where's A! Acton, Aldersgate, Ambleside, here we
are! Good gracious! She's nearly here! _(crosses to Flo)_
Flo, it will never do to greet her with a story of a secret
marriage--she'd be simply horrified! It's very hard to part--it's
been a short and unsatisfactory honeymoon, _(kisses her)_ But--
Where's that Bradshaw? _(crosses to table, fumbles to find the
place)_ Lowestoft? L! L! Where the devil is L?

_(Enter Aurora with letter.)_

Aurora. 'Ere, sir--a letter for you, sir--and the boy's waiting,
_(R. C.)_

Doctor. _(takes letter)_ Look out the next train, you _must_
catch it! _(throws Bradshaw to Flo)_

_(Doctor reading letter--Flo reluctantly looking out train, in
Bradshaw, half crying.)_

Aurora. _(aside)_ You shall catch it, impudent 'ussy! I see yer
kiss 'im! They all kiss their dear Doctor. excep' me. _(turns up
her nose at Flo, crosses R. of table c.)_

Flora. _(glancing at Aurora)_ I don't like the look of that girl,
_(starts)_ She's reading his letter, and _I_ haven't seen it!

Aurora. _(to Doctor)_ Any answer, sir?

Doctor. Yes, I'll write a note to this lady.

Flora. _(jealously)_ A lady!

Aurora. _(aside, reading the letter)_ I'll learn 'er bloomin'
symptoms--I must be 'is patient.

Flora. _(watching her)_ The forward minx! _(shuts Bradshaw with
a bang)_ I won't go back to Lowestoft. A wife's place is by her
husband's side, _(takes her hat off and sits twisting Bradshaw,
viciously)_

Doctor. Give the boy this.

Aurora. Yes, sir. _(takes note, crosses to Flo)_ Can I show you
your place--

_(Flo indignant.)_

--in the Bradshaw, miss? P'raps you ain't beyond the A. B. C.

Flora. _(haughtily, snatching it back)_ No, thank you--I can
manage myself.

Aurora. _(aside)_ Can yer? I'll struggle with yer--I've learnt
'er symptoms, _(as she goes out)_ Impudent 'ussy!--kissing the
dear doctor. I'll struggle with yer, my gal!

_(Exit Aurora.)_

Flora. _(looking at Doctor. who is absorbed reading letter)_ He's
forgotten me already, _(pause)_

Doctor. _(rubbing his hands)_ Good business! Call on you this
evening, my dear lady--of course I will! I wish it was time now.
_(looks at watch)_

Flora. _(jealously)_ Who's that letter from, Jack? _(kneels on
sofa)_

Doctor. A lady in Grosvenor Road.

Flora. How long have you known her?

Doctor. I've never _seen_ her yet.

Flora. Who is she? _(stands)_

Doctor. A patient, Flo--my first--at last!

Flora. _(with a sigh of relief)_ Oh, only that!

Doctor. "Only that!" My dear Flo, a doctor's wife can't afford to
be jealous. You'll frighten away all my most paying patients.

Flora. Oh, no, Jack, I won't, _(runs and kneels by him)_ I'll try
and look as if I liked them, but I can't help being jealous. My
jealousy's only love the wrong side up--that's all.

Doctor. I know it is, and I'm so glad that my first case has
come when you were here. You are a mascotte indeed! _(stoops and
kisses her)_

Flora. If I stop, I'm sure lots and lots and lots will come.

Doctor. _(not noticing, absorbed in letter)_ This is the very
case I've always been hoping for, and I've got if at last! Just
look at the gold crest, and the thick paper. No, don't read it.
Oh, it's worth three guineas a week, if it's worth a penny, and
it's a three years' job--bar accidents.

Flora. What's she got?

Doctor. Hysterical paraplegia--she's afflicted with all sorts of
abnormal fancies and longings.

_(Front door bell rings.)_

Flora. _(jumping up suddenly from her knees)_ Who's that? Another
lady afflicted with all sorts of longings?

Doctor. _(seriously, rubbing his hands)_ I hope so--devoutly,
_(rises suddenly)_ By George! If it's auntie!1 She mustn't find
you here.

Flora. _(running about aimlessly)_ Where shall I go? _(crosses
L., runs towards bathroom R. U. E)_

Doctor. _(stopping her)_ Not in my _bedroom!_

Flora. Why not? I'm your wife!

Doctor. Oh, yes, I forgot. But aunt may want to take her things
off, and if she found _you_ there, the whole story'd have to come
out, and she might think it was a fairy tale, and that would be
awful! I know--on my operating couch.

Flora. _(shrieks)_ Ach! Operating!

_(Runs down O. P.., crosses R. corner and then round table C.,
followed by Doctor.)_

Doctor. It's all right! It won't bite you! _(takes up rug)_ I'll
chuck this rug over you. She'll think it's something anatomical.
She'll never suspect it's my blushing bride.

Flora. Oh, Jack, why should you hide your blushing bride? She's
sure to find me _here_.

Doctor. No, no, she won't!

Flora. She _will! I'm so conspicuous!_ _(sits on sofa)_

Doctor. The _more_ conspicuous the better, when you want to hide
anything. It disarms suspicion, _(down stage)_

Flora. _(jumps off couch, and stalks down to him in a towering
rage)_ Jack! You've done this _before!!_

Doctor. Never! I swear! Do help me now, and all will come right,
_(drags her back and covers her up)_

Flora. _(popping her head out)_ Oh, hubby, are you _sure_ we're
_properly_ married?

Doctor. Quite. Lie still, _(same Bus.)_

Flora. _(same Bus.)_ It doesn't feel like it a bit. Oh, it's a
horrid, horrid wedding day! _(kicks and disarranges rug)_

Doctor. _(putting it back)_ She's coming! Lie still, do lie
still! Flo, please--for my sake! Do lie _quite_ still--

_(Flo kicks.)_

and don't kick.

_(Enter Plant.)_

Plant. My dear cousin Jack! _(putting out his hand)_ I'm so glad
to find you alone. My mission is of rather a delicate nature.

Doctor. _(aside)_ Oh, Lord! _(looks at couch nervously to Plant)_
I'm rather busy to-day. You couldn't call some other time, could
you? _(feels his pulse)_

Plant. My dear Jack, you misunderstand me--it's not me--it's my
precious jewels. I've left them lying in their room, their sobs
were distressing to hear, they are suffering terribly.

Doctor. _(aside)_ Another case! Quayle's right again! They're
flowing in.

Plant. _(aside)_ Locked up, and serve 'em right. I'll get
on better without 'em. _(aloud)_ They are both--_( sobs )_
--both----

Doctor. Two of 'em! The more the merrier! I'll come at once,
_(putting on his hat)_

Plant. No, you misunderstand me--they are simply overcome with
the way--to use their own phrase--the "affectionate" way in which
you received them this afternoon.

Doctor. _(aside)_ And Flo can hear every word. It's all up!

Plant. They can talk of nothing else.

_(Doctor pulls Plant's coat.)_

It's Jack, dear Jack, darling Jack, _(same Bus.)_ Ah, you have
robbed me of my precious jewels.

Doctor. _(glancing nervously at couch, with assumed levity)_
Nonsense!

Plant. _(indignant)_ It's not nonsense at all, it's very
_serious._ Heaven forbid that I should speak, harshly to a young
man with a rich--ahem!--future--but as their father--from
whom they have never had a secret all their blameless
lives----_(crosses R.)_ I tell you, sir, you have broken _two_
hearts in one afternoon.

Doctor. _(gloomily)_ Oh, good afternoon! _(sits at table)_

Flora. _(aside)_ I shall go home by the next train.

Plant. They're wasting the best years of their lives, and all for
you, sir--all for you! _(cross L., waves his stick excitedly)_

Doctor. _(half to himself)_ I can't commit bigamy.

Plant. I don't ask you to marry both--_(whacks)_--of them, but
one or the other you must--_(whacks)_--and _shall_--_(whacks on
table)_--after all you have said and done, _(up)_ Now, my dear
sir, _(walking about waving his stick C.)_ I speak to you as
a bachelor--_(whacks rug with walking stick)_--without
encumbrances, _(whacks)_ What have you got there? _(whacks)_

Doctor. _(gets up)_ My encumbr------er--my model! _(R. of chair)_

Plant. Your model?

Doctor. _(intercepting him)_ Yes, my ana----

Plant. Anna?

Doctor. Anatomical model. Look out, you'll break it--and these
things cost money, you know.

Plant. I accept your explanation--without prejudice, Well, to
return to our muttons--I mean my poor lambs--

Doctor. _(aside)_ Oh. damn your lambs! _(crosses L.)_

Plant. I ask you, as a father, what are your intentions?

Doctor. _(aside)_ Can't tell him I'm married--he'd tell auntie.

Plant. _(severely)_ Answer me, sir--what are your intentions with
regard to my two daughters? _(Bus. Flo.)_

Doctor. _(sofa, aside)_ If he wasn't my fairy prince, I'd brain
him! _(spots Flo's hat and collars it, confused)_ Flo's hat! Oh
--er--honourable, you know--strictly honourable, _(tries to
hide Flo's hat)_

Plant. _(pointing to Flo's hat)_ What is _that_, sir? _(works
right round sofa)_

Doctor. _(following)_ A lady's _hat_, sir.

Plant. Don't be flippant, sir. _(seizes hat and waves it)_ You're
deceiving my girls, two girls with but one Single thought, two
hats--hearts that beat for Jack.

Doctor. _(to Plant)_ I'm deceiving no one--that hat belongs to
one of my patients.

Plant. _(aside)_ A patient, indeed! He's got none. _(goes for
hat)_

Doctor. A lady in whose case I take the deepest interest. Can't
tell you--it would be a breach of professional etiquette.

Plant. _(goes to Doctor over R., throws his hat and stick on
sofa)_ Ah, now you're talking business. The legal and medical
professions are sisters, and should have no secrets.

Doctor. _(shakes his head)_ No, no, it's a delicate case.
_(Bus.)_

Plant. Delicate cases are my speciality, and if I can be of any
assistance to you--_(aside)_--or you to me--. _(aloud)_ I'm at
your service. Proceed.

Doctor. _(aside)_ I'll break it to him gently why I can't marry
his daughters, _(to Plant)_ Well, to begin with, she's a married
woman----

Plant. Is she? She'll cost her husband a pretty penny in hats.

Doctor. _(airily)_ Oh, he can afford it. _(speaks low so that Flo
can't hear)_ He's a great friend of mine--in fact, the greatest
friend I have in all the world.

Plant. _(loudly)_ Then what's his wife's hat doing here?

Doctor. _(aside)_ That's just like a d------d lawyer!

_(softly)_ Don't you see, they married secretly, without her
parents' consent, and she went back to her people, and--and
time went on--and at last she could bear it no longer, so this
afternoon she came up to town to find her husband----

Plant. Your greatest friend?

Doctor. Er--precisely!

Plant. _(aside)_ It's that lieutenant in the navy. I must
remember that.

Doctor. And she came straight to me, and she had a fit of
hysteria and she fell----

Plant. Fell?

Doctor. Yes--in my arms.

Plant. Sir!

Doctor. Fainted--fainted! And now she's lying down, and the
question is, when she recovers, where is she to go?

Plant. Go? To her husband, of course! Where is he?

Doctor. Ah, that's the question!

Flora. _(aside, popping her head out)_ I've got the cramp! I
shall shriek in a minute.

Plant. _(aside)_ I'll put him under an obligation, _(to
Doctor--effusively, loudly)_ My dear cousin, my door is
ever open to the weary wanderer, and if the fair owner of that
hat----

Doctor. No, no! It's very kind of you, but I won't hear of it.
The fair owner of that hat is perfectly comfortable where she is.

_(Doctor and Plant up.)_

Flora. Ooh! _(sits up)_


TABLEAU.

She's not a bit comfortable where she is, Doctor Sheppard!

Plant. _(aside)_ Ah, the old story! _(crosses R. of table)_

Flora. I've got pins and needles.

Doctor. My poor child, let me----_(goes to her O. P. side of
table)_

Flora. Go away--don't touch me. _(lies on couch, rubbing her leg,
aside to Doctor)_ I'm not your poor child any longer. I shall get
the registrar to cancel our certificate.

Plant. _(to Doctor. who comes down C., looking miserable)_ So
that's your anatomical model, eh? Your friend's wife? You Don
Juan! _(digs him in ribs. In his ear)_ "These things cost money,
you know." _(laughs--to Doctor)_ If it comes to a divorce, look
me up. I'll pull you through on reduced terms.

Doctor. No, no, you don't understand.

_(To Flo, who comes down between them)_

Are you all right now?

Flora. _(coldly, crossing from him to Plant)_ Yes, thank you,
Doctor Sheppard. _(aside)_ Now I'll find out all about Jack and
these precious jewels! _(crosses r. to Plant)_ I accept your kind
offer of hospitality, sir.

_(Doctor pulls Flo to him, she gets away, and sits down r.)_

Plant. _(aside)_ He'll have to marry my daughter after this,
_(goes to Flo)_

Doctor. _(aside)_ I hate letting her go with Plant. but P'raps
it's the best way out. Anyway she'll not see auntie, I must get
'em oft before she comes, _(to Plant)_ My fairy prince, how can I
thank you for this double act of kindness?

_(Slaps him hard on the back--Plant doubles up with lumbago.)_

Don't double up like that--you might be struck so. I'm more
grateful to you _(same Bus.)_ than I can express. _(same Bus
again)_ I've moved him at last! Good!

_(Doctor goes to Flo, who crosses L. to sofa at once.)_

Plant. I must get out of this. Ah, my dear young lady, allow
me. Your hat. _(hands Flo hat from off sofa, watching Doctor--to
Flo)_ Ah, he's a sad dog, always full of fun! That's why all the
girls are so madly in love with him.

Flora. _(severely)_ They must be mad to be in love with him! _(at
sofa back, putting her hat on, looking in mirror)_

Plant. _(aside)_ Tired of him already. She'll be wanting to go
back to her husband--good business for the lawyer--_(rubs his
hands)_--and especially for yours truly, _(goes up in front of
mirror--crosses round sofa)_ I must find out what her husband's
name is. I'm quite ready when you are, my dear Mrs.--er--Mrs.----

Doctor. _(crosses C. quickly, aside to Plant)_ Garden--. better
call her Miss Garden for the present.

Plant. _(aside to Doctor)_ I say, this mustn't be used against me
in evidence. It's only for your sake, you gay dog! _(offers his
arm to Flo)_ Come, my dear Miss Garden--you must confide in me as
in a second father.

_(She takes his arm.)_

Doctor. _(aside)_ I hope she won't!

Plant. _(at door)_ I say, Jack--"a lady in whose case I take the
deepest interest!" _(nods towards her)_

Doctor. _(to Flora. as they go out)_ Flo! Speak to me.

Flora. _(going--angry)_ No, I won't speak to you.

Plant. _(as they go out arm in arm, winks at Doctor)_ No, sir, we
won't speak to you.

_(Exit with Flora.)_

_(Bell rings.)_

Doctor. _(alone)_ I should like to have that gentleman for a
surgical patient! I half wish I hadn't let her go. Those girls
are sure to talk about me, and Heaven only knows what they'll
say! I wonder if they're really in love with me? No! not likely.
I'm not the sort of fellow girls fall in love with. No girl ever
fell in love with me except Flo--dear jealous little Flo! Ah,
well, I love her all the more for being so jealous, and I know
she loves me. Thank Heaven one woman loves me, and only one.

_(Exit R. I. E..)_

_(Enter Aurora. followed by Aunt.)_

Aurora. This way, mum. The doctor's very busy.

Aunt. _(aside)_ I'm calmer now! _(her lips are set, and she looks
anything but calm)_ And I'll make him explain his outrageous
conduct, _(crosses right round writing table)_

Aurora. Will you take a chair, mum--and I'll tell the doctor----

Aunt. _(with suppressed indignation)_ Engaged with some poor
suffering patient, I presume? _(sits)_

Aurora. _(aside)_ I don't like her tone of voice, _(comes down
and looks in her face--aside)_ It's 'im! _(aloud)_ Is the
doctor expectin' of you back, or was you took wuss? What's your
complaint, eh? _(taps her on the shoulder)_

Aunt. _(indignantly)_ My complaint? _You!_ _(shoves her away)_ Go
and tell the doctor that I am here, at once.

Aurora. _(not moving)_ Oh, yuss, if not sooner. What name, eh?
_(same Bus.)_

Aunt. _(loudly)_ No name.

Aurora. _(not moving)_ Oh, the doctor won't see no lady without
no name. 'E's very particular.

Aunt. _(with suppressed rage)_ Then tell him Susie-Toosie wants
to see him. _(crosses sofa and sits)_

Aurora. Oh! what ho! _(laughing)_ Susie-Toosie--oh, if it's that
you needn't wait. Come along, outside. _(tries to pull her out of
her chair)_ 'Op it!

_(Enter Doctor. Aurora stops suddenly.)_

Doctor. _(surprised)_ Aurora!

Aurora. _(to him)_ It's Susie-Toosie, sir. _(laughs)_ Come back
again.

Doctor. _(laughing)_ So it is. Go on, Aurora. turn it out, that
thing's my aunt, _(sings)_ "For she's a jolly good fellow."

_(Bell rings.)_

Aurora. _(leaving go of Aunt)_ Drat that bell, it's spoilt my
day.

_(Exit Aurora.)_

Doctor. _(quietly)_ Look here, you merry Andrews take your hair
off. _(pulls it)_ Oh, by George!, he has stuck it on tight!
_(pulls it harder)_

Aunt, _(indignantly)_ Sir!

Doctor. Don't put on that silly voice, I know all about you. I'll
make him jealous, _(sings)_ "There were two jolly sailor girls
from Portsmouth town"--the little one makes eyes at me. But it's
the tall one I like, she calls me "dear Jack." Oh, she's _dead
gone_ on me. _Her father wants me to marry her._ _(aside)_ That's
shut him up! _(aloud)_ And look here, you've got to take your
hook. I'm fagged out after my railway journey--I'm going to have
a bath before _she_ comes--you know I'm a great believer in the
water cure.

_(Takes off his frock coat and throws it down, goes to bath room,
turns on hot and cold taps in sight of audience, noise of water
flowing into bath.)_

Now, don't sit there looking a silly ass. _(shies something
at her at the last word)_

_(Aunt sits facing audience, speechless with indignation.)_

You know you're not a bit like a lady, and nobody but a lunatic
would take you for one. Hurry up and get some decent togs on, and
come back for me at 7:30. Do you hear, you old joker, it's no use
keeping it up--

_(Aunt sits motionless.)_

Oh, well, I can't wait, _(undoes his braces)_ But look here, if
you don't clear out before _she_ comes I'll break every bone in
your body. Au reservoir!

_(Doctor exits into bath-room.)_

 Aunt. _(crosses to table)_ And _that_ is my brother's
only child! A shameless monster, lost to all sense of decency,
and carrying on with _two_ sailor girls! Horrible! But after all,
he's my nephew and I must do my duty by him. What is my duty,
I wonder? _(comes back and sits on sofa)_ His father was such a
gentle soul, and to think that this brutal ruffian is his son.

_(Enter Tupper.)_

Tupper. _(looks round, sees no one, hears splashing in next
room)_ 'E's 'avin' a bath, now's my time for a quiet smoke,
_(picks cigarette end oft ash tray)_

Aunt. _(to herself)_ Oh, my poor head!

Tupper. _(starts and comes to her, cigarette in mouth)_ Summat
wrong with yer 'ead?

Aunt. Go away, you horrid boy!

Tupper. The doctor'll cure it in a jiffy, take my tip, but 'e's
'avin' a bath just now. You know he's a great believer in the
water cure. He says if we 'ad cleaner bodies we'd 'ave cleaner
minds--do _you_ 'old with that? I spec he'll give _you_ the water
cure. I say--you must pay for it afore you go, 'cos 'e's stoney.
Goes on tick for every think. 'Ave you got a light?

Aunt. Go away!

Tupper. All right, no offence, _(gets match from mantelpiece)_
The doctor could make lots of money if he'd only try, but 'e
don't. 'E just lies on that couch all day reading books with
'orrible pictures of people 'aving their arms and legs chopped
orf, and such like. _(coming round)_ This is the wust--ain't it
blood-curdling? But the lady don't seem to mind--she looks quite
calm and peaceful-like, don't she? _(shows Aunt the book)_

Aunt. Take it away, you dreadful boy!

Tupper. All right--keep your 'air on. _(goes up stage)_ 'E's
wonderful clever; you should see 'im with these 'ere knives,
golly! ain't they sharp! _(trying one)_ 'E'd slice yer up as soon
as look at yer, _and yet_ no patients don't come. Why's that? Do
you think 'e's too expensive--it's a pound a time.

_(Bell rings.)_

I say, the proper way is to leave it in a h'envelope on this 'ere
table. Don't forget, 'cos there 'ere clothes ain't paid for yet,
and if they ain't to-day, they're a-comin' orf.

Aunt. You rude boy! Go! _(sits in grandfather's chair)_

Tupper. _(aside)_ Well, it ain't _my_ fault if 'e don't get on! I
says all I can!

_(Exit Tupper R. I. E. above table.)_

_(Enter Ruby and Pearl. shown in by Aurora--they don't see
Aunt.)_

Aurora. I'll tell the Doctor. _(goes towards bath-room door)_

_(Splashing heard.)_

He's very busy--but----

_(Louder splashing.)_

Ruby. Pray don't disturb him.

_(Bell rings.)_

Pearl. We don't want to see him _just_ yet. We'll wait

_(Exit Aurora.)_

That stupid cabman never suspected anything. He called him "Mum."

_(Both laugh.)_

Ruby. Let's bring her in now, before Jack comes in.

_(Enter Aurora. followed by Flo.)_

Aurora. I'll tell the Doctor. _(goes to bath room)_ E's _very_
busy now--but----

_(Splashing heard.)_

Flora. _(to Aurora)_ Not yet--I want to speak to these ladies
first.

Ruby. _(backing down stage astonished, to Pearl)_ Miss Garden!
What does she want to come for--and spoil our fun?

Pearl. _(to Flo)_ You said you had a headache, and were going to
lie down.

Ruby. _(to Flo)_ Yes, that was only an excuse for coming to see
Jack.

Aunt. _(aside)_ She calls him Jack!

Aurora. _(aside)_ I must 'ear this--it's all for 'im. _(stays at
back, pretending to tidy)_

Flora. It was no excuse at all. I was pulling the blind down to
darken the room, when I saw you two horrid things crossing the
road to this house--when you _said_ you were going shopping. That
was only an excuse to come and flirt with _my_ Jack!

Aunt. _(aside)_ Oh, he's _her_ Jack, is he?

Flora. And I followed you, though my head's splitting, for I love
him with all my heart, and I won't let _anyone_ come between us.

_(Aurora gasps.)_

Ruby. You brazen girl, and you're married to his greatest friend!

Flora. I'm not! _(descends on Ruby)_

Ruby. You know you are! Pa said so!

Flora. Did he? Then he basely betrayed my husband's sacred
confidence, _(crosses back again)_

Pearl. _(with sarcasm)_ Your husband's sacred confidence! If
you're really a respectable married woman, my dear Miss Garden,
instead of coming here to slander my father, you'd better go
back and lie down.

Flora. And leave you alone with my Jack? No, thank you! What are
_you_, I'd like to know? Two horrid fast girls who ran away with
two young men only this morning, and had to be locked up.

Aunt. _(aside)_ And _these_ are my nephew's _friends!_

Flora. And you picked the lock with a hairpin, and came here all
alone to flirt with my Jack!

Ruby. _Your_ Jack? How dare you! _(crosses to Flo and comes
back)_ He's my Jack!

_(Aurora gasps again.)_

Aunt. _(aside)_ Oh, he's her Jack now! It gets worse and worse!

Pearl. To be strictly accurate, Doctor Sheppard is our Jack!

Aunt. _(aside)_ Our Jack! This is too much!

_(Aurora gasps louder.)_

Flora. What do you mean?

Pearl. It is my father's wish that one of us should marry him.

Aurora. _(screams)_ Oh, 'Evvings! They're going to marry my Jack!
_(coming down--falls on her knees facing audience C.)_

Aunt. _(aside)_ Her Jack! That's four of them! They all love
Jack!

Flora. _(to Aurora)_ Your Jack!

Aurora. _(kneeling)_ Yuss! I love Mm with a secret passion and I
don't care who knows it! _(rises)_

Aunt. It's a perfect harem! _(makes her escape towards door and
Exits still unobserved.)_

Aurora. _(C.)_ Don't you think because I'm only a servant, a
common slavey with £5 a year and a 'alf a pound o' sugar a week,
that I'm a-goin' to 'ave the _dear doctor_ took from me!

Flora. How dare you love him!

Aurora. And why not? 'Cos I wears a cap? Look 'ere! you three
girls is all settin' your caps at 'im. I'm in it too. _(throws
down cap)_--and I chucks darn the gimlet.

Pearl. You little stupid!

Aurora. _(crying)_ Yuss! I know I'm a little stupid, but which o'
you would put yer 'ole soul into cleanin' 'is boots, as I does?
Which o' you would buy 'im wittles out o' yer perks as _I_ does?
I may be a little stoopid, but I loves 'im more than all of yer
put together, and I'll struggle with yer, see if I don't!

_(Exit Aurora.)_

Ruby. _(to Flo)_ Are you going, Miss Garden, or are you not?

Pearl. It'll make your headache much worse if you stay here.

Flora. I shall ask the doctor to give me something to send it
away, _(makes herself comfortable on sofa, back to Pearl)_

Pearl. _(to Ruby)_ Isn't she a spiteful little cat!

Ruby. _(to Pearl)_ Never mind, she shan't interfere with our fun;
we can't leave those two sitting in that four-wheeler all day.
_(rises, comes to Pearl)_

Pearl. No, come along, We'll go and tell "auntie" to come in.

_(Exeunt Ruby and Pearl.)_

Flora. _(aside)_ I'll make Jack explain about those girls, or
I'll break off our--our honeymoon; they talk as if he was engaged
to both of them. Now I know why he was so desperately anxious to
hide me when their father called.

_(Enter Doctor. in pyjamas and eccentric Turkish dressing gown,
rubbing his head with a towel--Flo doesn't see him.)_

Oh, Jack, jack, I never thought you'd turn out such a monster as
this!

Doctor. _(surprised to see her)_ Good afternoon, _(fumbles for
his eye-glass which is hanging down his back)_

What can I do for------_(recognizes her)_ My darling wife! This
is a pleasant surprise.

Flora. _(starting up)_ Go away, you object! _(crosses R. )_ It's
not a _pleasant_ surprise, and I'm _not_ your wife any longer! I
know all--oh, Jack!

Doctor. _(aside)_ Those precious jewels have said something.
Confound them! _(advancing to her, timidly)_ My dear Flo, if you
will only give me time, I can explain everything!

Flora. _(eagerly)_ Oh, do, Jack, do! _(rushes into his arms)_

_(Enter Ruby and Pearl.)_

Ruby. _(seeing Doctor and Flo together)_ Oh, we didn't know you
were engaged.

Pearl. There's another lady wants to see you.

Flora. _(jealously)_ _Another_ lady? _(turns away)_

Doctor. _(eagerly)_ In hysterics?

Pearl. No--in a four-wheeler.

Ruby. She said she'd rung twice, but couldn't make anyone hear.

Doctor. Tupper's never awake when the bell rings. I'll discharge
that boy--at least my _half_ of him!

Ruby. I told her I'd see if you were disengaged, and she
scribbled her name on her card; here it is. _(reads)_ Miss
Susannah Sheppard!

Doctor and Flora. Auntie!

Doctor. _(to Flo)_ She mustn't see me like this--_(looks at the
dressing gown)_--and she mustn't see you _at all_, you must fly!

Flora. _(clinging to Jack, who is pale and agitated)_ Oh, Jack!
I can't go and leave you with them, _(looking at Ruby and Pearl)_
Can't you say that I'm one of your patients?

Doctor. Good idea, how clever of you. Get back there, _(on
operating couch)_

Ruby. Oh, what fun! Let's all be patients! _(nudges Pearl)_

_(Ruby and Pearl sit down and pretend to be suffering.)_

Doctor. _(to girls)_ All right! All be patients. It'll impress
auntie, _(takes off dressing-gown and flings it into bathroom,
is just going in--stops)_ No! No time to change, _(snatches his
frock coat off chair, and buttons it over his pyjamas)_ Remember!
This is the supreme moment of my life. Whatever I say to
you--whatever I _do_ to you--you mustn't mind.

Ruby and Pearl. We won't, _(stifling a laugh)_

Doctor. Hush!

_(Enter Andrew dressed as Aunt, followed by Waverly.)_

_(to Andrew)_ My dear aunt, I'm so glad to see you. Won't you sit
down? _(leads him down to sofa)_

_(Pearl runs to Waverly, and drags him down O. P. corner.)_

Pearl. Come and sit here! Pretend to be a patient! Waver. Why?

_(Pearl explains in dumb show.)_

Doctor. _(at settee to Andrew)_ I must apologize for this
worn-out attire--I'm always worn out on Friday, my worst day. I
wish you'd come _any other day_. No! I don't mean that! I mean
I'm awfully glad you've come to-day, but I'm awfully sorry I'm so
busy I can't talk to you. No, no! I don't mean that! I mean I'm
awfully glad, of course, that I'm so busy I can't talk to you!
No, no, of course I don't mean that--I mean--I don't quite know
what I do mean. You see it's Friday--oh! what a fool she must
think me! Will you excuse me just two minutes while I settle off
a few patients?

_(Trio 1st laugh--Doctor crosses quickly to them.)_

_(aside to them, softly)_ Don't laugh at her! and don't look so
beastly healthy! Look pale! Faint! Do _something!_

_(Bus.--Ruby makes a sling for her arm out of her handkerchief.)_

_(crosses quickly back to Aunt)_ I'm so sorry to keep you
waiting, my dear aunt; won't you amuse yourself with a book or
something? _(goes to couch at back, fetches "Quayle on Muscles,"
comes back quickly to Aunt, opens it)_ Here you are. _(shuts it
quickly and shies it down, aside)_ What _do_ ladies read?

_(Crosses quickly to Pearl. who is reading "Pink 'Un," snatches
it from her.)_

Thank you very much, _(crosses quickly to Aunt)_ Here you are,
aunt, this is a lady's paper! _(gives it to her and runs to Flo
at back--aside anxiously)_ I'll explain everything when they've
gone! _(loudly, holding her hand)_ Ah! your nerves are run down a
little, _(goes to medicine chest)_

_(Trio 2nd laugh.)_

Confound those Plant girls--I'll pay them out! _(flings roll of
lint at Pearl. then pours sal volatile from bottle into measuring
glass, then into tumbler, adds a little water--to Flo)_ There!
drink that! You'll soon be better.

_(During this Bus. Pearl picks up roll of lint, puts a bandage
round Waverly's face--Ruby steals across stage and kisses
Andrew--Doctor turns round just after.)_

Ruby. _(C., confused, comes to table)_ Could you take my case
next, doctor? I'm so bad!

Doctor. You are. _(Bus.--with stethoscope)_ I mean--with
pleasure! I'll write you a prescription, _(writes)_ I should
advise a long voyage with a merry companion.

_(Andrew shakes his fist at Doctor unobserved by him.)_

Better start at once, _(hands her prescription, saying aside)_
Go! _(rings bell on table)_

_(Enter Tupper.)_

Show this lady to her carriage, Tupper.

_(Ruby doesn't move from table.)_

_(aside)_ Go! Go! What are you waiting for?

Ruby. _(aside to him, stifling a laugh)_ My sister, of course.
I'm not going to leave her here, _(crosses C., then on to
Andrew)_

Doctor. Pray don't.

_(Doctor rushes at Pearl. who is hobbling across stage on
Waverly's walking stick and takes stick from her.)_

_(aside)_ Do you want to give me away to my aunt?

_(then loudly)_ I'll write to your school mistress about you. I
think a little physical treatment _locally applied_ _(brandishing
stick)_ will put you right very soon. Good afternoon, _(aside)_
Go! Go! _both_ of you! _(rings bell)_

_(Re-enter Tupper.)_

More carriages for this lady, Tupper. _(to Pearl)_ You needn't
wait, little girl.

Pearl. I shall wait for Mr. Vane; and I won't be called a little
girl! _(goes to Ruby)_

_(Bell rings.)_

Doctor. _(getting desperate)_ Shall I never get rid of 'em!
_(rushes at Vane and grips him by the arm)_ I'll take you next,
sir. _(loudly)_

_(Waverly laughs.)_

Stop that infernal laughing. I know my aunt will see through it
soon, _(punches him on back)_

_(Waverly cries out.)_

Ah, it's still there! _(loudly)_ That'll have to come out!
_(punches him harder)_

_(Waverly cries louder.)_

Yes! _(severely)_ We must remove that at once. Step into my
operating room.

_(Drags him oft to bath-room--opens door, turns on taps and
leaves them running. Waverly runs back to his chair, Doctor runs
back after him.)_

Come along, now--be a man! Waver. Not to-day, thank you all the
same.

_(Enter Aunt, shown in by Tupper.)_

Aunt. _(C.)_ I'll give him _one last chance_.

Doctor. _(seeing her--rushes at her--aside to her)_ Take 'em off,
you fool! She's come! Take 'em off, I say, or I'll take 'em off
for you!

_(Andrew starts up and takes his bonnet and wig off.)_

Andrew. _(calls loudly)_ Jack! Jack!

_(Doctor far too preoccupied to hear him, pushes Aunt into
bath-room--she falls head foremost into bath, her heels go
up--loud splash. Doctor bangs door, turns round, sees Andrew.)_

Doctor. _(aghast)_ Merry Andrew!!!

Andrew. Yes, Dull Boy!

Doctor. Then who's in here? _(opens door)_


TABLEAU.

_(Flo rushes into bath-room and shuts door quickly.)_

CURTAIN.



ACT III.

Scene.--The same as Acts I and II.

_(Doctor discovered alone, in frock coat and pyjama trousers, and
just going to knock at bath-room door.)_

Doctor. _(hand up, listening)_ I must apologize to her! No, I
simply daren't, _(comes down C.)_ It was such an awful thing to
do, I'll--I'll wait till Flo comes out to--to tell me how
she is. _(listens)_ No, I can't. I know! I'll go to her in my
professional capacity! _(puts on high hat, and does to door, just
going to knock, looks at pyjamas)_ I can't go in these. Where
are my trousers? _(looks round)_ Of course, in there! _(points
to bathroom)_ I know! I'll go to ask for my trousers! _(same
Bus.--about to knock)_ No that's a silly idea! I'm losing
my wits, _(comes down C. and sits at writing table)_ Suppose
something happens to her? There'll be an inquest, and it'll be
all in the papers: "Brutal Conduct of a West End Doctor.." Oh, my
cup of misery is full!

_(Enter Aurora with telegram.)_

Aurora. _(to Doctor)_ Here you are, doctor--a telegram for you,
sir. We are busy to-day!

Doctor. _(opens telegram, starts, aside)_ From my father-in-law.
_(reads to himself)_ "Have learnt from local registrar your
cowardly conduct in eloping with my daughter--am on my way to
London to horsewhip you."

Aurora. _(cheerily)_ Any answer, sir? _(C.)_

Doctor. _(gloomily)_ No! It's nothing--only an appointment--I
shan't keep it.

Aurora. Don't look so sad, sir.

_(Music upstairs heard off, some appropriate music-hall tune.)_

You go h'upstairs to the tea-fight. 'Ere's yer invite. _(takes
card off mantel)_ There's plenty to eat and drink and nothin' to
pay; you done quite enough work for one day, sir.

Doctor. Quite!

_(Bath-room bell rings.)_

Aurora. _(mystified)_ That's your bath-room bell a-ringing, sir.

Doctor. _(funereally)_ Yes! Answer it.

Aurora. _(hesitating)_ Who's inside, sir?

Doctor. Two ladies.

Aurora. Two of 'em--oh, doctor!

_(Enter Flo, from bath-room, with bundle of Aunt's clothes,
dripping wet.)_

Doctor. _(penitently)_ My dear Flo, let me help you!

Flora. _(indignantly to Doctor)_ Don't touch me! I wonder
you aren't ashamed to. This is your work! _(crosses to Aurora
quietly)_ Take these, and dry them as quickly as possible!

Doctor. Flo! My darling, won't you give me one word?

Flora. Brute!

_(Exit Flo. into bathroom, banging door after her.)_

Doctor. Got it!

Aurora. Oh, sir, what 'ave you been a-doin' of?

Doctor. Don't ask silly questions. Do as you're told. I don't
know what it is, but do it!

Aurora. _(aside)_ If the missus sees these she'll turn the dear
doctor into the street. I know she will! But she shan't see 'em,
if I can 'elp it. _(hugs them closely)_ It's all for 'im! Oh,
ain't they wet, but they can't squelch the flame that's burnin'
'ere for the dear doctor. _(coming down)_ I must tell him, I
must! _(throws wet clothes down on stage)_

Mrs. O'H. _(heard off)_ H'Aurora!

Aurora. Yus, mum! _(hides clothes behind her)_

_(Enter Mrs. O'Hara.)_

Mrs. O'H. 'Ow dare you wait on lodgers as can't pay their rint?
_(by sofa)_ Go h'upstairs and wait on my lady friends.

_(Exit Aurora.)_

_(leans on back of sofa, to Doctor)_ Pardon me for callin' when
you're so busy, _(with sarcasm)_

Doctor. _(absent-minded)_ Don't mention it. Won't you sit down?
Now, what can I--oh, it's the landlady!

Mrs. O'H. Quite a _stream_ of patients!

Doctor. _(absently)_ Oh, yes! Flowing in--simply flowing in!

Mrs. O'H. I'm glad to 'ear it. If a man can't h'earn a honest
livin' at your time of life, 'e may as lief--_(hiccough)_--drown
'isself.

Doctor. _(aside)_ "Drown"--the water-cure--_my_ cure!

Mrs. O'H. I needn't remind you as it's Lady Day.

Doctor. _(picking up pile of bills)_ No, I've been reminded, but
I'm afraid I must trouble you to wait.

Mrs. O'H. _Ho, of course!_ The pore lone widder must always wait.

Doctor. I wish the lone widder would go to the devil!

Mrs. O'H. As I was just remargin' to Widder Smith, as is
honnering my party h'upstairs--

Doctor. _(rising)_ Don't let me keep you from your friends,
_(half rising)_ They'll be getting impatient.

Mrs. O'H. _(rising)_ H'impatient indeed. _(crosses C.)_ Their
company manners is just as good as _your_ friends, _I'll_
warrant. Which reminds me that Widder Smith 'as met you in
_(hiccough)_ in sassiety.

Doctor. _(absently)_ Widow Smith? _(shakes his head)_ Never heard
her name.

Mrs. O'H. Ho! of course not! _(comes to him)_ You'll say next you
never gave her a bath--_(hiccoughs)_

Doctor _(rises, astonished)_ Gave her a bath?

Mrs. O'H. _(very indignant)_ A bath bun--I was a-goin' to say,
and a cup o' coffee, at the Penny Reading--_(crosses C. again)_

Doctor. _(smiling grimly)_ Oh, I remember that Penny Reading--I
gave a comic recitation--it _was_ funny! _(sits again)_

Mrs. O'H. Fairly so, she says, 'for a hamatoor. Somethin' about
the water-cure, wasn't it?

Doctor. _(writhing)_ I believe it was. _(aside)_ The water-cure!
It's fate!

Mrs. O'H. Well, out o' charity to a pore lodger as can't pay
'is rent, I'm goin' to take yer h'upstairs to to say that there
recitltation to my lady friends. Come along!

Doctor. _(rising)_ No, no, I'm not in a funny humour!

Mrs. O'H. Ho! but I'm going to take 'arf a crown off the
rint-book for yer doin' of it--ap come along! _(drags him)_

Doctor. No, no--I really can't--I've had a terribly busy day and
I'm too--tired!

Mrs. O'H. Too proud, you mean. But, mark my word, if you don't
come h'up--

Doctor. _(aside, absently)_ I _shall_ come _h'up_ three times.

Mrs. O'H. Your pride'll 'ave a fall, and a very 'umblin' fall!

_(Exit Mrs. O'Hara, with dignity.)_

Doctor. _(alone)_ I wonder if the fall from the Albert Suspension
is worse than Waterloo Bridge? _(sits looking miserable)_

_(Enter Aurora. looking more miserable.)_

Aurora. _(aside)_ It's now or never. I must tell 'im, I must.

Doctor _(aside)_ I wonder if I ought to keep that appointment
with my father-in-law first. No! I'll spare him the trouble.

Aurora. _(aside)_ Now, when I come to think of it, there's not
only them three girls settin' their frills at 'im, but there's
the lady without any clothes in there, _(points to bathroom)_
That's four of 'em, but I'll struggle with the lot.

Doctor. _(aside)_ I'll go now. _(rises)_ Oh, I do feel so
nervous, _(pours out whiskey, going to add water)_ N--no! I shall
get enough water afterwards, _(drinks)_

Aurora. _(aside)_ I'll be 'is patient! They all do it that way.
I've learnt the symptoms off the letter, I'll see if I know 'em.
_(repeats them to herself with action)_

Doctor. _(aside)_ Courage, courage! _(strikes his chest, going)_
No, I can't go in these! _(looks at pyjamas)_ I can't drown
myself in pyjamas, and I've left my only trousers in there, and
I can't get 'em--how--how very annoying, _(sits again, much
relieved)_ I can't drown myself.

Aurora. _(standing C. end of sofa, leaning head on cushion)_ Ho,
sir, I do feel queer.

Doctor. _(looking round)_ What's the matter?

Aurora. I'ye got all sorts of normal fancies, an'--
longin's--hawful longin's, sir--I think I'm longin' to drown
myself.

Doctor. _(suddenly)_ Don't say that! I'm surprised at you--don't
you know it's only cowards who want to drown themselves. Come
now, sit down! What's the trouble, eh?

Aurora. _(vacantly)_ The trouble, sir?

Doctor. What can I _do_ for you?

Aurora. I dunno, sir, what _can_ you do for me?

Doctor. No, you don't understand. What are your symptoms?

Aurora. _(effusively)_ Oh!! My symptoms, sir? _(aside)_ I know
'em all by 'eart! _(whispers in his ear)_

Doctor. Most extraordinary! I've heard of a case exactly like
that. Whose was it? _(sees letter on table)_ Of course! The lady
in Grosvenor Road. My only patient, and I'd forgotten her! I must
pull myself together. I've got my work to do--my work, _(picks up
aunt's letter)_ "The noble work of alleviating human suffering!"
Ah, that's what she said--before she had a bath--_(looks
at bathroom, sighs. To Aurora)_ Aurora. your case is deeply
interesting.

Aurora. Oh, thank you, sir.

Doctor. It's complicated.

Aurora. It's 'oo, sir? _(crosses C.)_

Doctor. It's complicated!

Aurora. Oh, it is _that_, sir.

Doctor. Now tell me. _(Bus. with scribbling block)_ Do you suffer
from your heart?

Aurora. Oh, don't sir. _(simpers)_ My 'eart, oh, don't I just!
You 'ark at it, sir! _(rushes at him, jumps on his knee, and
presses his head to her heart)_ It goes bumpity-bump, and it's
all for you, sir, all for you.

_(Enter Flo. from bathroom.)_

I loves yer! _(wildly)_

_(Flo. shrieks, and enter Aunt quickly from bathroom in Doctor's
Turkish bath-towel dressing gown, and wearing his Turkish
smoking-cap and bedroom slippers.)_

Aunt. _(severely)_ What does this mean?

Aurora. _(looking at Aunt)_ What is it? I shall go off into
highstrikes in a minute, I know I shall.

Aunt. _(more severely)_ Answer me, sir, what does this mean?
_(crosses to sofa)_

_(Aurora goes off into hysterics lying on sofa.)_

Doctor. _(looking at Aurora)_ I--I don't quite know. I think it's
some form of hysteria, _(bending over her)_

Aurora. _(suddenly recovering and sitting up)_ It's a complicated
case, mum. _(laughs and falls back)_

Aunt. _(to Aurora)_ Hold your tongue! _(to Doctor)_ coward! to
try to sneak out of it like that! I've done with you.

Flora. _(bursting into tears)_ So have I! _(crosses C. to meet
Aunt)_

Aunt. Don't cry, dear--he's not worth it.

Flora. _(quickly)_ Oh, but he is--that's the worst of it.

Aunt. _(aside)_ I'll save this sweet girl from him, my way. _(to
Flo.)_ Go in there, dear, while I talk to him.

_(Exit Flo. into bathroom.)_

Aurora. _(behind Doctor)_ Buck up, sir--I'll stand by yer.

_(Aunt descends upon him, he backs into Aurora. Bus. [ad lib.])_

Aunt. So, sir, you're not satisfied with your outrageous
treatment of me--your loving aunt, who came to London to be your
best friend--_(C.)_

Doctor. If you'll only give me----

Aunt. Hold your tongue sir, I won't give you anything _(L. C.)_

Aurora. Give 'im a chance, mum, that don't cost nothin'--_(end of
sofa)_

Aunt. Silence, the pair of you!

Aurora. _(taking Doctor's arm--looks up at him lovingly)_ "The
pair of us!"

Aunt. You shameless Don Juan; you've bragged to me about your
goings on with two sailor girls----

Aurora. 'Tain't 'is fault, mum, they will kiss 'im! _(c.)_

Aunt. Silence! You're breaking the heart of that dear girl
in there, _(pointing to bathroom)_ Who's worth a hundred such
creatures as _you_--a murderer who tried to drown his own aunt!

Aurora. Drown yer! Why, the dear doctor wouldn't drown a kitten,
and you ain't no kitten, 'Amlet!

Aunt. _(furious)_ And to crown all--I find you in the arms of
this----

Aurora. This! Who are you callin' "this?"

Aunt. A disreputable Pimlico lodging-house kitchen girl!
_(crosses R. and back again)_

Aurora. 'Ere! Cheese it! I may be a kitchen girl, but I ain't
disreputable!

Aunt. _(very furious)_ There's only one thing left for you to do,
sir.

Doctor. _I_ know--the water cure!

Aunt. You shall marry this girl, sir.

Aurora. _(in a dream)_ Marry the dear doctor!

Doctor. _(aghast)_ Marry--Aurora!

_(Aurora turns away delighted.)_

_(aside)_ I'd rather drown myself! _(crosses R. corner)_ Aunt.
Yes, and I'll make you do it. _(with scorn)_

She's a fit---

Aurora _(surprised--kneels)_ Oh, thank you for those blessed
words, mum! You darlin' lady! I'll go and see to your clothes
now, auntie! _(going, comes back)_ Kiss me, Jack! Kiss your
Financy!

_(Doctor leans with his back to table--Aurora climbs up on table
and kisses him.)_

_(aside)_ I'm a lady at larst!'

_(Exit Aurora.)_

Aunt. Who's that poor girl in there? _(pointing to bathroom)_

Doctor. _(absently)_ Oh, that is Miss Garden.

Aunt. _(seating herself end of sofa, and putting rug over her,
aside)_ She shall come and live with me! I know what it is to
have loved a worthless man! _(looks severely at Doctor)_ I pity
her!

Doctor. _(very timidly)_ Aunt, may I explain? I'm
not----_(crosses to sofa)_

Aunt. _(loudly)_ Silence, sir!

_(Enter Plant with bag, hurriedly, shown in by Tupper.)_

Plant. _(not seeing Aunt, meets Doctor going towards door)_ Bear
up, Jack, I've bad news for you--Miss Garden's bolted--gone back
to her husband, I'm afraid.

Aunt. Her husband?

Plant. _(staggered, recovers himself)_ My dear Miss Sheppard!
_(aside to Doctor)_ What's the matter with her?

Doctor. I don't know--complicated case.

Plant. Ahem! So this joyful meeting between aunt and nephew
has taken place--how I wish I'd been here to witness it--and my
daughters, too. _(to Aunt)_ They're devoted to dear Jack. Ah, I'm
afraid the rascal means to rob me of one of my precious jewels.
He's a gray dog!

_(Doctor looks anything out gay.)_

Aunt. _(aside)_ The sailor girls. They're his daughters! _(cross
to fireplace)_ Ugh!

Plant. _(aside to Doctor)_ Is the old girl ill? What's up?

_(Doctor is silent.)_

Ah, but he'll be a great physician--ahem--some day. _(aside to
Doctor)_ When the daisies are growing over auntie, eh? _(end of
sofa)_ Aunt. _(severely)_ John!

_(Doctor doesn't move.)_

Plant. _(same tone)_ John!

_(Doctor turns.)_

Aunt. John, leave us!

_(Doctor rises as if in a dream, shakes hands with Plant at end
of sofa, and goes towards bathroom where Flo. went out.)_

John!

_(He turns.)_

Not _that_ way, sir! _(points door R. I. E.)_

_(Doctor exits below R. I. E.)_

Plant. _(aside)_ He's upset her, somehow--I wonder how? Ah, well,
I must pour oil on the troubled waters. _(to Aunt)_ A Wonderful
character--er--John. I congratulate you on having such a
nephew--he combines all the tenderness of a woman with the more
muscular qualities of a man. Did I tell you the story of his
kindness to the milkman's baby?

Aunt. _(loudly)_ Bother the milkman's baby! _(sits sofa)_

Plant. Certainly--er--bother the milkman's baby. _(aside)_ She's
strangely cross to-day.

Aunt. I told you to draw up a deed settling a thousand a year on
my nephew.

Plant. _(producing it blandly--Bus.--bag C. table)_ And I have
consumed the midnight oil to complete it.

_(He hands it to her, over back of sofa, she pitches it into the
fire--he tries to snatch it out.)_

My dear lady, that document's worth a lot of money! _(rushes
round sofa)_

Aunt. Let it alone!

Plant. _(aside)_ It's all off!

_(Aunt is poking vigorously, she hits Plant on purpose----)_

_(hops away, rubbing his leg)_ I'm in a damned awkward corner.
My dear Miss Sheppard, I fail to comprehend the meaning of your
action. If ever there was a gentleman Sheppard it's your dear
nephew.

Aunt. Tell that to the--the--milkman's baby. I could tell you a
story of my nephew that would freeze your blood, _(gesticulates
with poker)_

Plant. You astound me--any insanity in the family?

Aunt. _(L. C, rising indignantly)_ Mr. Plant!

Plant. No, no, of course not--I beg pardon--_(sees she is wearing
Doctor's bath-towel dressing gown---aside)_ By George! it looks
like it, though! What has happened?

Aunt. Who's Miss Garden's husband? _(back to fireplace)_

Plant. _(R. C, aside)_ Ahem! I must make a bit out of this,
anyway. My dear lady, I mustn't betray a professional confidence,
by mentioning his name, _(aside)_ Even if I knew it, which I
don't, _(to her)_ But, strictly between ourselves, he's Jack's
greatest friend.

Aunt. She's married to Jack's greatest friend?

Plant. Yes--a lieutenant in the navy.

Aunt. Disgraceful! _(crosses to table)_

Plant. Yes, _(at sofa)_ I mustn't say more, _(aside)_ Don't know
any more, _(to her)_ You see, she's a client of mine--of course
I shall try and save Jack from the Divorce Court, but it's gone
rather far, and these things cost money, you know.

Aunt. What do you mean? _(end of sofa)_

Plant. Only this afternoon I found her concealed on that
couch--beneath that very rug you're now wearing--

_(Bus.--Aunt flings it off.)_

--and; when I remonstrated with Jack--as a father--_(end of
sofa)_ he actually tried to pass her off as an Anatomical model.

Aunt. _(at table, back to fire)_ Then, why do you call him a
'Gentle Sheppard?' Every word you say only makes it worse.

Plant. _(aside)_ Ahem! I've gone too far! _(crosses to R.)_

Aunt. Bad as he is, I shall do my duty by him--I'm going to find
him a wife.

Plant. I'm afraid he can't support a wife--yet.

Aunt. I shall settle an income on her--she'll take better care of
it. _(crosses to sofa)_

Plant _(aside)_ It's all on again, _(to her, crosses to table
C.)_ A noble resolve, _(gets out pocket-book)_ Shall I take your
instructions now? How much shall I say?

Aunt. Not yet. _(crosses C.)_ I want you to send your daughters
to me. _(crosses to sofa, puts sofa cushions behind her head.
Only the Doctor's cap is visible to anyone entering room)_

Plant. With pleasure! _(aside, putting up pocketbook)_ I've done
the trick, _(to her)_ Two dear girls, who have never caused me a
moment's uneasiness all their blameless lives.

_(Enter Mrs. O'Hara, sees fez, and naturally takes Aunt for
Doctor.)_

Mrs. O'H. Now, then, Doctor. me an' my friends are all waitin'
upstairs to 'ear the funny story.

Plant. What funny story?

Mrs. O'H. About the Lady and the Water Cure.

Aunt. _(aside)_ The Lady and the Water Cure? That's me. _(jumping
up)_ I forbid Doctor Sheppard to tell that story!

Mrs. O'H. _(seeing her for the first time)_ And who are you when
you're at home? I took you for the doctor. 'Ow dare you come
to my 'ouse, dressed in that indecent way? _(crosses C.)_ We're
respectable in Marmalade Street--I'm ashamed of my lodger for
lettin' you in--'e just shall tell that story now, or pay 'is
rint.

Aunt. There is my lawyer--he'll pay your rent.

Plant. Certainly. Come with me, old fireworks!

Mrs. O'H. Thank you, sir--you're a gentleman!

_(Exeunt Plant and Mrs. O'Hara.)_

Aunt. _(alone C.)_ Actually going to make fun of me before a
lot of vulgar people to get out of paying his, rent, is there
anything he won't do? _(sits in grand-father's chair)_

_(Enter Andrew.)_

Andrew. _(seeing Aunt's cap, mistakes her for the Doctor)_ I say,
Dull Boy, where is she? Still in the bath? _(roars)_

_(Aunt does not move.)_

_(aside, Bus. fills pipe, etc.)_ He's got the hump! Poor Jack!
I say, I'm awfully sorry I've got you into such a deuce of a
scrape, but you know you distinctly said the old lady wasn't
coming till to-morrow.

Aunt. _(aside)_ Old lady!

Andrew. And to-night we said we'd have one jolly good caper for
the last. Now, did we say so, or did we not? _(pause)_ You won't
speak to me? Well, I dare-say I deserve it, and I'm awfully
sorry, but you know if I'd had the slightest notion she'd turn up
to-day, I'd never have dressed up like that picture.

Aunt. _(aside)_ Like what picture?

Andrew. But, by George, it was a lark when the old girl came, and
you thought she was me dressed up--and you--oh, lor! _(laughs)_

Aunt. _(aside)_ I begin to understand! _(smiles at audience)_

Andrew. _(up stage)_ Oh, don't be so beastly serious, there's no
harm done. I'll put matters right with your aunt--you say she's
an awfully good sort, and a sailor can always get the soft side
of a lady--so come! Give us your hand and say you forgive.

_(Pause--Aunt doesn't move.)_

Oh, come on! _(digs her in the ribs)_

Aunt. _(jumping up)_ Sir!

Andrew. _(staggered)_ Oh, Susannah! _(R. C.)_

Aunt. Sir!

Andrew. I didn't mean you--I always say that--I mean--I'm most
awfully sorry--can you forgive me? _(end of sofa)_

Aunt. I can and do, because I'm so delighted to find that I've
misjudged Jack, and that you were the real culprit. Pray tell me
to whom I am indebted for the unexpected pleasure of my bath?

Andrew. My name's Andrew Merry, I'm Jack's greatest friend.

Aunt. His greatest friend? Are you a lieutenant in the navy?

Andrew. I have that honor.

Aunt. What shall I do? I have it. _(crosses to bathroom)_ I've a
great surprise for you--but you must not think any the worse of
her--she's here with me--_(opens bathroom door)_ Come in, my
dear.

_(Enter Flo.)_

There! _(points to Andrew)_ Kiss him and make it up!

Andrew. Oh, Susannah!

Flora. _(C. aghast)_ Kiss him? I've never seen this gentleman
before.

Aunt. Mr. Plant told me you were man and wife.

Flora. Mr. Plant would say anything horrid!

Andrew. Oh, thanks!

Flora. He wants one of his daughters to marry Jack.

Andrew. Does he? Well, Ruby's engaged to me, and Pearl--well,
don't worry about her, and as for dear old Jack, he's only cared
for one girl all his life. I've never seen her yet--but he's told
me more than once that her name was Flora Garden.

Flora. I'll never be jealous again!

Aunt. _(aside)_ Jack's not so bad after all!

_(Andrew crosses r. of table. Enter Aurora dressed very grandly
and eccentrically, orange blossoms in her hair and wearing her
diamond paste combs--she carries a bundle of clothes.)_

Aurora. _(to Aunt, affectionately)_ 'Ere you are, mum, 'ere's
your clothes--auntie! _(hands clothes to Aunt)_

_(Flo. takes them and exits into bathroom.)_

_(calls after her)_ 'Ere, they won't fit you! 'Ow can I thank
you? You done it all, mum. The dear doctor's never give me the
slightest encouragement of a word or a look.

Aunt. _(with blank astonishment)_ He never has?

Aurora. No, mum. It was all a one side, and I should never 'ave
'ooked him if you 'adn't said the word.

Aunt. I breathe again, _(aside)_ Jack's a perfect angel, _(to
Aurora)_ I'll see you again, my good girl, before I go.

_(Exit Aunt into bathroom.)_

Aurora. I 'ope we shall see you h'often when were married. You'll
always be welcome. She don't know what she's done for 'im. _(at
sofa side)_

Andrew. I think it's about time I met my future father-in-law--I
shall have two or three things to say to him.

_(Aurora sits on couch and puts her feet up. Andrew sits in
Doctor's chair. Enter Waverly, shown in by Tupper.)_

Waverly. Where's Doctor Sheppard? _(L. C.)_ Andrew. Out. I'm
waiting to tell him the good news--I say, such a lark!

_(Waverly sits on table.)_

I've told auntie all about the bath business by mistake.

Waverly. By mistake?

Andrew. Yes, I took her for Jack.

Waverly. How could you?

Andrew. She'd got his things on.

Waverly. _(putting his hand over his face)_ Oh, Susannah!

_(Enter Doctor R. I. E., sees Aurora on sofa, and rushes off
again, yowling.)_

Andrew. _(to Waverly, neither having seen Aurora on sofa)_ Has he
got 'em? Come on, we must tell him the good news.

_(Exeunt Andrew and Waverly after Doctor R. I. E.)_

Aurora. _(alone, fondly)_ My love! Ain't he coy? I like a bashful
lover. It's so gentlemanly, _(sits at writing-table)_

_(Enter Tupper excitedly.)_

Tupper. Please, sir--_(sees Aurora. laughs)_ Well, you do look a
guy! 'Oiler, boys, 'oiler, 'ere's another guy!

Aurora. You don't know who you're talking to. I shall be your
missus soon--I'm going to marry the dear doctor!

Tupper. Oh, don't say that, Aurora! _(cries)_

Aurora. Ah, you ain't the only one as'll cry when they 'ear the
news. There's the butcher and the baker and my cousin, in the h'E
division, he'll bust! Poor little Tupper, don't cry. Look
'ere, you shall come and kiss me in the vestry, after it's all
over--that's more than I'll let the butcher do. Buck up, it'll
soon be over--

Tupper _(drying eyes)_ Oh, I forgot, there's a servant come from
Grosvenor Road.

Aurora. Tell 'er to wait.

Tupper. But she says the lady's going to have a fit!

Aurora. Tell 'er to wait, we are not to be disturbed.

Tupper. All right! _(aside)_ Oh, ain't she lovely! She looks like
an 'eavenly h'angel, now I've lorst 'er for h'ever!

_(Exit Tupper.)_

Aurora. _(picks up letter)_ I'll see to her case myself. It wants
a woman in the case. _(Bus.)_ I'll work this business different
when I'm boss. I'll get 'im a lot of patients.

_(Enter Plant. Ruby and Pearl.)_

What! Back again! These visits'll 'ave to be paid for. We don't
give nothing away heah! _(writes on scribbling block)_ To three
consul'ations in one day at a pound a time--and there's three of
yer, three three's--that's eleven--kindly part up! _(knocks on
table)_

Plant. My good girl, this is not a professional visit We've come
to see Miss Sheppard.

Aurora. _(with dignity, sitting at writing table)_ Well, you
can't. Auntie's changing 'er clothes--'as she told yer the news?

Plant. What news?

_(Ruby signals to Pearl behind Plant's back.)_

Aurora. _(haughtily)_ A mere trifle! There's goin' to be a
weddin' from 'ere very soon.

Pearl. A wedding?

Plant. _(to Ruby and Pearl. rubbing his hands, ready to take Ruby
and Pearl over R.)_ What did I tell you?

Aurora. The dear doctor's the 'appy man!

Ruby. And who is--the lady?

Aurora. Ah, how embarrassing! No, you must ask auntie, she'll
tell yer.

Plant. _(to girls)_ I told you Miss Sheppard wanted to see you
both, _(takes girls R. corner)_ She's going to choose between
you.

Pearl. Hadn't Jack better do that? _(nudging Ruby)_

Plant. There's not time!

_(Mrs. O'Hara calling off,)_

Mrs. O'H. _(off)_ H'Aurora!

Aurora. _(putting her hair back)_ Thank goodness, I shan't be at
this low game much longer!

_(Enter Mrs. O'Hara.)_

Mrs. O'H. 'Ow dare you dress grander than your missus? Take 'em
off, at once, and put on yer cap, then get along h'upstairs and
wait on my lady friends. _(slaps her shoulder)_

Aurora. _(aside)_ Oh, when I 'ave servants of my own, won't I
give 'em O'Hara!

_(Exeunt Aurora and Mrs. O'Hara L. U. E.)_

_(Enter Doctor. Andrew and Waverly R. I. E.)_

Plant. Yes, there is time, just time. My dear Jack, there's not
a moment to lose, _(takes him to fireplace)_ The Old girl has cut
you off without a penny.

_(Doctor falls into his arms.)_

Don't give way! _(holds him up)_ There's still hope. My daughters
love you--

_(Doctor falls in a heap on the stage.)_

--and will marry you without a penny.

Doctor. _(sitting on stage)_ Both of 'em!

Plant. No, sir, either of 'em. You've only to choose and your
aunt will forgive you everything--I've arranged it all! Which is
it to be? Quick--your answer!

Doctor. _(pointing to the two couples)_ There's your answer.


TABLEAU.

Plant. _(seeing Waverly and Andrew for the first time)_ What the
devil's up now? Those dear girls have never given me a moment's
peace in all their blessed lives!

_(Doctor at table C.)_

Pearl. _(comes down)_ Papa, see what Mr. Vane's given me. _(shows
him pearl necklace)_ Precious pearls! Isn't that appropriate?
I think Mr. Vane has something to say to you. _(pushes him
forward)_

_(Waverly is silent.)_

Plant. Don't speak, sir--I know what you're going to say.

Waverly. I'm hanged if he does!

Plant. _(pockets necklace)_ No man shall rob me of my precious
jewel, _(hugs Pearl)_ whoever he is. _(aside to Pearl)_ who is
he? _(passes her over to R.)_

Pearl. _(aside to Plant)_ His father's an earl----

Plant. _(aside)_ An earl! _(to Waverly, putting out his hand)_
My dear sir, forgive me--a father's feelings--_(sobs)_ You must
give me time----

Waverly. Certainly! There's--there's no hurry! _(crosses L. to
Ruby)_

Ruby. _(bringing Andrew down)_ Pa, this is--Andrew!

Andrew. Mr. Plant--I----

Plant. Don't speak, sir--I know what you're going to say!

Andrew. Does he?

Plant. _(taking Ruby in his other arm, and hugging the two girls
closely)_ Another thief--after my precious Jewels! _(aside to
Ruby)_ Has he got any money?

Ruby. _(aside to Plant)_ Lots!

Plant. _(aside)_ Good! _(aloud)_ You're breaking my heart,
gentlemen, but I mustn't be selfish. Take my precious jewels--and
wear them! I wonder if it would run to a dinner? _(counts his
money)_ No! a lunch! Come to lunch to-morrow, both of you.

Aurora. _(off)_ Jack!

_(Enter Aurora. Doctor sees her, and ducks behind curtains
C. hiding from her; she crosses to door R. I. E., and taps
gently--no answer.)_

Jack! Where's my Jack?

Plant. _(looking at Ruby and Pearl)_ Ah, two dear girls who have
never caused me a moment's uneasiness all their blameless lives.

Aurora. Ho! then it's all to come, for they told me as their pa
'ad set 'is 'eart on their marrying the dear doctor.

Plant. How dare you! My daughters are Doctor Sheppard's cousins,
and nothing would induce me to sanction a marriage between
cousins, _(going to her)_ You're a very naughty little girl.

Aurora. _(haughtily, seating herself and spreading her frock
out)_ Little girl! Pardon me, my good man--do you know who
you're talking to? You don't know: my position in this 'ouse. I'm
auntie's choice.

Plant. Are you? You're not _mine!_

Aurora. Yes! She's chosen me to marry the dear doctor!

_(Ruby and Pearl laugh.)_

Let them laugh as wins. You tried your best, but I don't bear no
h'ill-will. I said I'd struggle with yer, and I've done it. If
you're good girls, I may ask you to be bridesmaids--it's better
than nothing, _(crosses L. C.)_

Plant. _(to Doctor under table)_ I say, Jack, is this true? You
have my deepest sympathy--and if it should come to a breach of
promise--look me up!

Doctor. _(coming out)_ If ever I do look you and your precious
jewels up, I'll bring a stick twice as big as yours.

Plant. And that is gratitude!

_(Enter Flo. and Aunt--they listen.)_

Ruby. _(hotly)_ I don't care _who_ marries Jack!

Pearl. Nor I--he's not _my_ style!

Aunt. _(to Doctor)_ This dear girl has told me all about
you--forgive me for my mistakes, but they weren't all my
fault--_(shaking her finger at Andrew)_ I hope you'll have a very
happy married life.

Aurora. _(crossing)_ I'm sure 'e will.

Aunt. _(to Doctor)_ I shall do all I can to make it so.

Aurora. _(coming to her)_ Oh, thank you, mum, and would you
please name the day?

Doctor. _(absently)_ My wife! _(sees Aurora. shakes her off)_ Oh,
go to! go to--_(goes to Flora)_ _This_ lady is my wife--we were
married this morning.

Aurora. _My Jack married!_ Then I'm a widder!

_(She falls flat on the stage.)_

CURTAIN.





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