The Baker's Dozen

Major Richard Dumbarton
Mrs Carewe
Mrs Paly-Paget

Scene—Deck of eastward-bound steamer. Major Dumbarton seated on deck-chair, another chair by his side, with the name ‘Mrs Carewe’ painted on it, a third near by.

(Enter, R., Mrs Carewe, seats herself leisurely in her deck-chair, the Major affecting to ignore her presence.)

Major (turning suddenly): Emily! After all these years! This is fate!

Em.: Fate! Nothing of the sort; it’s only me. You men are always such fatalists. I deferred my departure three whole weeks, in order to come out in the same boat that I saw you were travelling by. I bribed the steward to put our chairs side by side in an unfrequented corner, and I took enormous pains to be looking particularly attractive this morning, and then you say, ‘This is fate.’ I am looking particularly attractive, am I not?

Maj.: More than ever. Time has only added a ripeness to your charms.

Em.: I knew you’d put it exactly in those words. The phraseology of love-making is awfully limited, isn’t it? After all, the chief charm is in the fact of being made love to. You are making love to me, aren’t you?

Maj.: Emily dearest, I had already begun making advances, even before you sat down here. I also bribed the steward to put our seats together in a secluded corner. ‘You may consider it done, sir,’ was his reply. That was immediately after breakfast.

Em.: How like a man to have his breakfast first. I attended to the seat business as soon as I left my cabin.

Maj.: Don’t be unreasonable. It was only at breakfast that I discovered your blessed presence on the boat. I paid violent and unusual attention to a flapper all through the meal in order to make you jealous. She’s probably in her cabin writing reams about me to a fellow-flapper at this very moment.

Em.: You needn’t have taken all that trouble to make me jealous, Dickie. You did that years ago, when you married another woman.

Maj.: Well, you had gone and married another man—a widower, too, at that.

Em.: Well, there’s no particular harm in marrying a widower, I suppose. I’m ready to do it again, if I meet a really nice one.

Maj.: Look here, Emily, it s not fair to go at that rate. You’re a lap ahead of me the whole time. It’s my place to propose to you; all you’ve got to do is to say ‘Yes.’

Em.: Well, I’ve practically said it already, so we needn’t dawdle over that part.

Maj.: Oh, well—(They look at each other, then suddenly embrace with considerable energy.)

Maj.: We dead-heated it that time. (Suddenly jumping to his feet.) Oh, d——I’d forgotten!

Em.: Forgotten what?

Maj.: The children. I ought to have told you. Do you mind children?

Em.: Not in moderate quantities. How many have you got?

Maj.: (counting hurriedly on his fingers): Five.

Em.: Five!

  By PanEris using Melati.

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