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Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, April 26 1890   By:

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VOLUME 98, April 26TH 1890

edited by Sir Francis Burnand




A Conventional Comedy Melodrama, in Two Acts.

ACT. II. SCENE Same as in Act I.; viz., the Morning room at Natterjack Hall. Evening of same day. Enter BLETHERS.

Blethers. Another of Sir POSHBURY'S birthdays almost gone and my secret still untold! ( Dodders. ) I can't keep it up much longer ... Ha, here comes his Lordship he does look mortal bad, that he do! Miss VERBENA ain't treated him too well, from all I can hear, poor young feller!

Enter Lord BLESHUGH.

Lord Bleshugh. BLETHERS, by the memory of the innumerable half crowns that have passed between us, be my friend now! I have no others left. Persuade your young Mistress to come hither you need not tell her I am here, you understand. Be discreet, and this florin shall be yours!

Blethers. Leave it to me, my Lord. I'd tell a lie for less than that, any day, old as I am! [ Exit.

Lord Bl. I cannot rest till I have heard from her own lips that the past few hours have been nothing but a horrible dream ... She is coming! Now for the truth! [ Enter VERBENA.

Verbena. Papa, did you want me? ( Recognises Lord B. controls herself to a cold formality. ) My Lord, to what do I owe this this unexpected intrusion? [ Pants violently.

Lord Bl. VERBENA, tell me, you cannot really prefer that seedy snob in the burst boots to me?

Verb. (aside). How can I tell him the truth without betraying dear Papa? No, I must lie, though it kills me. ( To Lord B.) Lord BLESHUGH, I have been trifling with you. I I never loved you.

Lord B. I see, and all the while your heart was given to a howling cad?

Verb. And if it was, who can account for the vagaries of a girlish fancy! We women are capricious beings, you know. ( With hysterical gaiety. ) But you are unjust to Mr. SPIKER he has not yet howled in my presence (aside) though I very nearly did in his !

Lord B. And you really love him?

Verb. I I love him. ( Aside. ) My heart will break!

Lord B. Then I have no more to say. Farewell, VERBENA! Be as happy as the knowledge that you have wrecked one of the brightest careers, and soured one of the sweetest natures in the county, will permit. ( Goes up stage, and returns. ) A few days since you presented me with a cloth pen wiper, in the shape of a dog of unknown breed. If you will kindly wait here for half an hour, I shall have much pleasure in returning a memento which I have no longer the right to retain, and there are several little things I gave you which I can take back with me at the same time, if you will have them put up in readiness. [ Exit.

Verbena. Oh, he is cruel, cruel! but I shall keep the little bone yard measure, and the diamond pig they are all I have to remind me of him! [ Enter SPIKER, slightly intoxicated .

Spiker (throwing himself on sofa without seeing VERB.) I don' know how it is, but I feel precioush shleepy, somehow. P'raps I did partake lil' too freely of Sir POSHBURY'S gen'rous Burgundy. Wunner why they call it "gen'rous" it didn't give me anything 'cept a bloomin' headache! However, I punished it, and old POSHBURY had to look on and let me. He he! ( Examining his hand. ) Who'd think, to look at thish thumb, that there was a real live Baronet squirmin' under it. But there ish! [ Snores.

Verb. (bitterly). And that thing is my affianced husband! Ah, no, I cannot go through with it, he is too repulsive! If I could but find a way to free myself without compromising poor Papa. The sofa cushion! Dare I? It would be quite painless ... Surely the removal of such an odious wretch cannot be Murder ... I will! ( Slow music. She gets a cushion, and presses it tightly over SPIKER'S head .) Oh, I wish he wouldn't gurgle like that, and how he does kick! he cannot even die like a gentleman! (SPIKER'S kicks become more and more feeble, and eventually cease ... Continue reading book >>

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