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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 146, January 7, 1914   By:

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VOL. 146.

JANUARY 7, 1914.



Heavily dragged the night; the Year Was passing, and the clock's slow tick Boomed its sad message to my ear And made me pretty sick. "You have been slack," I told myself, "and weak; You have done foolishly, from wilful choice; Sloth and procrastination " Here my voice Broke in a squeak.

And deep repentance welled in me As I mused darkly on my sin; Yea, Conscience stung me, like a bee That gets her barb well in. "Next year," I swore, in this compunctious mood, "I will be energetic, virtuous, kind; Unflinching I will face the awful grind Of being good."

I paused, half troubled by a thought Were my proposals too sublime? Vowed I more deeply than I ought? I glanced to see the time. It was 12.10 A.M. At once a thrill, A wave of manful resolution, sped Through all my being. "Yes," I bravely said; " Next year I will!"


[Being Sir GEORGE ALEXANDER'S production of The Attack at the St. James's.]

SCENE Alexandre Mérital's house .


Daniel Mérital . My father is a wonderful man. Leader of the Social Party in the Chamber of Deputies, noted among his colleagues for his absolute integrity, supported by the millionaire newspaper proprietor, Frépeau, whose motives, between ourselves, are not altogether above Oh, are you there, Father? I didn't see you. I'm just off to play tennis. [ Exit .

Enter Renée de Rould.

Renée . Mr. Mérital, may I speak to you a moment?

Georges Alexandre Mérital (with, characteristic suavity ). Certainly.

Renée , I love you. Will you marry me?

Mérital (surprised ). Well, really this is I you we er, he, she, they Frankly, you embarrass me. ( Apologetically ) This is my embarrassed face.

Renée . But I thought you loved me. Don't you?

Mérital . No. That is to say, yes. Or rather

Renée (tearfully ). I w wish you could make it plainer whether you d do love me and are pretending you don't, or you d don't love me and are pretending you do. It's v very unsettling for a young girl not to know.

Sir GEORGES ALEXANDRE (surprised and a little hurt ). Can't you tell from my face?

Miss MARTHA HEDMAN . This is my first appearance in England, Sir GEORGES.

Sir GEORGES . True. I was forgetting. Well, when you have been with us a little longer, you will know that this is my face when I adore anyone very much, but, owing to an unfortunate episode in my past life, am forced to hide my love.

Renée (alarmed ). Your past wife isn't alive somewhere?

Mérital . Oh no, not that sort of thing at all. ( Embracing her carefully .) I will marry you, Renée, but run along now because my friend Frépeau is coming, and he probably wants to talk business. [ Exit Renée.

Enter Frépeau.

Frépeau (excitedly ). Mérital, you are in danger. A scandalous libel is being circulated about you.

Mérital (calmly ). Pooh! Faugh!

Frépeau . It is said that thirty years ago (Alexandre's nose twitches ), when you were in a solicitor's office (Alexandre's jaw drops ), you stole ninepence from the stamp drawer (Alexandre's eyeballs roll ). Of course it is a lie?

Mérital (with a great effort obtaining command of his features again ). Of course.



Daniel Mérital . Father's face has been very odd these last few weeks. Sometimes I wonder whether he didn't steal the money after all. But we shall know after the libel action this afternoon. It starts at two. Oh, are you there, Father? I'm just going to see a man about something. [ Exit... Continue reading book >>

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