Maj.: (anxiously): Is that too many?
Em.: Its rather a number. The worst of it is, Ive some myself.
Maj.: Eight in six years! Oh, Emily!
Em.: Only four were my own. The other four were by my husbands first marriage. Still, that practically makes eight.
Maj.: And eight and five make thirteen. We cant start our married life with thirteen children; it would be most unlucky. (Walks up and down in agitation.) Some way must be found out of this. If we could only bring them down to twelve. Thirteen is so horribly unlucky.
Em.: Isnt there some way by which we could part with one or two? Dont the French want more children? Ive often seen articles about it in the Figaro.
Maj.: I fancy they want French children. Mine dont even speak French.
Em.: Theres always a chance that one of them might turn out depraved and vicious, and then you could disown him. Ive heard of that being done.
Maj.: But, good gracious, youve got to educate him first. You cant expect a boy to be vicious till hes been to a good school.
Em.: Why couldnt he be naturally depraved? Lots of boys are.
Maj.: Only when they inherit it from depraved parents. You dont suppose theres any depravity in me, do you?
Em.: It sometimes skips a generation, you know. Werent any of your family bad?
Maj.: There was an aunt who was never spoken of.
Em.: There you are!
Maj.: But one cant build too much on that. In mid-Victorian days they labelled all sorts of things as unspeakable that we should speak about quite tolerantly. I daresay this particular aunt had only married a Unitarian, or rode to hounds on both sides of her horse, or something of that sort. Anyhow, we cant wait indefinitely for one of the children to take after a doubtfully depraved great aunt. Something else must be thought of.
Em.: Dont people ever adopt children from other families?
Maj.: Ive heard of it being done by childless couples, and those sort of people
Em.: Hush! Some ones coming. Who is it?
Maj.: Mrs Paly-Paget.
Em.: The very person!
Maj.: What, to adopt a child? Hasnt she got any?
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