The Baker's Dozen
SceneDeck 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; its 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 youd put it exactly in those words. The phraseology of love-making is awfully limited, isnt it? After all, the chief charm is in the fact of being made love to. You are making love to me, arent 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.: Dont 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. Shes probably in her cabin writing reams about me to a fellow-flapper at this very moment.
Em.: You neednt 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 mana widower, too, at that.
Em.: Well, theres no particular harm in marrying a widower, I suppose. Im 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. Youre a lap ahead of me the whole time. Its my place to propose to you; all youve got to do is to say Yes.
Em.: Well, Ive practically said it already, so we neednt 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, dId 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.
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