|Heinrich Gerhardt Graf von Madchenlieb-Wildenlowe|
|Mr. Samuel Willow|
|Miss Emma Child|
SCENE. A Room in Miss Child’s House
(Phoebe discovered reading a letter.) (Enter Bertie.)
Bertie. Oh, Good morning, Miss Willow.
Phoebe. Good morning, Mr. Trueman.
Bertie. I’ve been looking for you.
Phoebe. How nice of you.
Bertie. I want to ask you a very important question. (Sits by her.) Is my Aunt in?
Phoebe. Now why is that such a very important question?
Bertie. It isn’t; the important one’s coming later.
Phoebe. I see.
Bertie. But is my Aunt in?
Phoebe. I think so. Would you like to see her?
Bertie. Not in the least, thanks. I want to be alone. (Gets up.)
Phoebe. Oh. I beg your pardon, Mr. Trueman. (Going.)
Bertie. Where are you going, Miss Willow?
Phoebe. I’ve not considered that point yet.
Bertie. But why are you going?
Phoebe. Because you say you want to be alone.
Bertie. I meant alone with you, of course.
Phoebe. Well, that’s more polite. By the way, what is this very important question?
Bertie. You really mustn’t ask me like that, Miss Willow, as if my question were about someone’s address or about Air Raid Precautions or something of that kind.
Phoebe. However should I know what your question was to be?
Bertie. Can’t you guess?
Phoebe. A young lady can never guess what questions a young gentleman is going to ask her. It would be considered so forward. (Pause.) Are you fond of dogs.
Bertie. Very; why?
Phoebe. I thought the silence was becoming a little embarrassing, that’s all.
Bertie. Talking of dogs, are you fond of them?
Phoebe. Oh, yes.
Bertie. Good. Then that won’t be an obstacle.
Phoebe. You are very mysterious this morning, Mr. Trueman.
Bertie. I’m trying to be quite plain.
Phoebe. Oh, you’ll never be that, however hard you try.
Bertie. Thank you, Miss Willow. I wish I could make remarks like that.
Phoebe. You mean that as I am plain you can’t truthfully say I’m not.
Bertie. Now you’re fishing for compliments, and I will rise. Phoebe, you are the most beautiful and most charming girl I have ever met.
Phoebe. That’s your most important question, is it?
Bertie. To all intents and purposes it is. When I say you are the most beautiful and charming girl in the world, what is your answer.
Phoebe. Yes, of course.
Bertie. Will you promise to give me the same answer to my next question?
Bertie. Then you will really wait until I’m rich enough to make you my wife.
Phoebe. Oh, that’s not playing fair. I expected the next question to be “Will you be mine?”
Bertie. But you promised.
Bertie. And you will keep your promise?
Phoebe. Yes, Bertie, of course I will. Will you tell Miss Child of our engagement, Bertie dear, or shall I?
(Goes over to other side.)
Bertie. Good gracious, we mustn’t tell Aunt Emma. She would never consent to part with you; you are much too useful to her.
(Enter Miss Child.)
Miss C. And how are my dear orphans this morning? Phoebe dear, I have just had a letter from – who do you think? – that nice German Count whom we met in Switzerland last month. He is in London and proposes to motor down and see us today.
Phoebe. I am sure I do not want to see him, Miss Child. He annoys me exceedingly.
Miss C. Oh, Phoebe, How can you say such things? He was so attentive to you, and I am sure he must be an orphan: he has the face of an orphan.
Bertie. Have all orphans the same face? I should not have thought that mine was much like Miss Willow’s.
Miss C. Oh, Bertie dear, how flippant you are. I refer of course to the expression not to the features. I am positive that all orphans have more refined faces than others. That is why I take such a great interest in them: that is why I have adopted you and brought you up as my own son: that is why I gave Phoebe the position of trust which she occupies as my companion and amanuensis. I could never have any intimate friend who had parents.
Bertie. Yet parents are a necessity.
Miss C. I regard them as a necessary evil. No one can show his true character, until he is an orphan.
Phoebe. But is the Count really coming here to see you?
Miss C. He says we may expect him any time today, but I am not altogether certain that he is coming to see me. I think that his inclinations lie in a different direction, although he knows that I regard him as a mother.
Bertie. Do you think he regards you as that necessary evil?
Miss C. Bertie, I deplore your flippancy. I am a mother to all orphans. I have founded three separate institutes for their benefit, I am the Secretary of seventeen Orphanage Societies and I shall leave all my money to orphans at my death.
Bertie. There will be an epidemic of parricide in the country if you carry on your charities too extensively.
Miss C. Bertie, you are incorrigible. I must leave you for a few moments, however. I have just recollected that I have a letter to write to the Matron of the Home for Octogenarian Orphans. (Exit.)
Bertie. Who is this Count, Phoebe dear?
Phoebe. An insufferable creature, who bothered me with his attentions when we were in Switzerland last month.
Bertie. If I catch him paying attentions to you now, I’ll horsewhip him.
Phoebe. You must be decently polite, dear.
Bertie. Why should I be polite? He’s only a German.
Phoebe. He will be your Aunt’s guest.
Bertie. And your admirer.
Phoebe. Oh, I am quite capable of taking care of myself. Remember, he’s a German Count.
Bertie. I hate all Counts and I detest all Germans.
Phoebe. Will you promise me to be civil?
Bertie. I’ll try.
Phoebe. Well, I suppose I shan’t get anything better in the way of a promise. You can trust me to give him no encouragement; I have had plenty of practice in refusing his proposals of marriage.
Bertie. He proposed then?
Phoebe. Twenty times at least.
Bertie. Well, don’t let me set eyes on him or I shall do him some serious injury.
Graf. Ach, guten morgen, liebes Fraulein.
Phoebe. How are you, Count?
Graf. Thanks, I am in the best of healths.
Phoebe. Let me introduce Mr. Trueman – the Count von Madchenlieb-Wildenlowe.
Bertie. (Sulkily.) How do you do?
Graf. Very good, I thank you. The charming Fraulein’s brother, I expect.
Phoebe. Oh, no, Count, not my brother.
Graf. So – that is a pity – cousin?
Phoebe. No – no relation at all. Merely a friend.
Graf. Your friends are not my friends, if they gentlemen are.
(Enter Miss Child.)
Miss C. Good morning, Count – so you’ve arrived.
Graf. I think so, yes.
Miss C. And what has brought you to England?
Graf. The steamship.
Miss C. But I mean, why have you come?
Graf. In order your beautiful and accomplished daughter to behold.
Miss C. My daughter, Count!
Graf. Jawohl, the lovely Fraulein.
Miss C. Sir, I am a spinster.
Graf. So, a very useful occupation – to spin.
Miss C. No, you misunderstand me. I mean that I am unmarried.
Graf. Ach, eine alte jungfer – what you say? An old virgin, eh?
Miss C. An old maid, perhaps you mean. That is not very complimentary, Count.
Graf. Who then is the beautiful Fraulein? Your niece, perhaps?
Miss C. No relation – only a friend.
Graf. So. I do not mind her having you for a friend.
Phoebe. Perhaps you would like to make a list of people whom I may have for friends.
Graf. Thanks, I will. Ladies yes, Gentlemen No.
Bertie. Oh, do come for a walk in the garden, Miss Willow.
Phoebe. Certainly, Bertie. Goodbye for the present, Count. (Exit with Bertie.)
Graf. Who is that so uncivil young gentleman?
Miss C. He’s my nephew – a very nice boy. He’s an orphan. Are you an orphan, Count?
Graf. Unfortunately no – I am an Officer.
Miss C. Oh dear, I felt certain that you must be an orphan. Then you have a father?
Graf. No. I have had a father, but he is last year dead. It is very nasty.
Miss C. A mother then?
Graf. No, my poor mother is also no longer.
Miss C. Then you are an orphan!
Graf. Not very often.
Miss C. I don’t quite understand.
Graf. And I do not at all understand. But that is neither there nor here. I am out of the Fatherland come, in order to beautiful Fraulein as my wife to entreat.
Miss C. I fancied that that must be the reason of your visit. Have you spoken to her about it?
Graf. Only four and twenty times yet.
Miss C. So often?
Graf. Is that your favourite word?
Miss C. What word?
Graf. Often. You have it already many times said.
Miss C. Well, what answer has Miss Willow given you?
Miss C. Nine answers.
Graf. “Nein” is the German for “No.”
Miss C. And you still continue to hope?
Graf. Certainly I hope, but unhappily I do not much expect.
Miss C. Dear me, what a constant attachment. That comes, I suppose, of being an orphan.
Graf. Is it to me allowed with her to speak?
Miss C. Oh, yes, I will ask her to come in at once. I only make one condition.
Graf. What is that?
Miss C. That you will take this as her final answer. If she refuses you, you must go straight back to Germany.
Graf. As the rook flies, nicht wahr?
Miss C. Will you promise me this?
Graf. I will to the Fatherland return, if the charming Fraulein not is willing to marry me.
Miss C. then I will send her to you at once.
Graf. Will you be so obliging as to tell her that I have 20,000 Mark by the year.
Miss C. I will do everything in my power to persuade her to be your wife. I am ready to do anything for an orphan. (Exit.)
(A moment’s pause. Then enter Mr. Samuel Willow.)
Mr. W. I beg your pardon, but is Miss Willow at home?
Graf. Fraulein Willow is at home, my Sir, but she cannot just now see you.
Mr. W. You are the German footman, I suppose?
Graf. No, certainly, I am in the cavalry.
Mr. W. Indeed – a retired soldier?
Graf. The German soldiers never retire. We advance always – good.
Mr. W. What I mean is, that you have left the Army.
Graf. Of course. You did not think that I would bring it with me?
Mr. W. I wish I could make you understand me.
Graf. I do not much mind if I do not.
Mr. W. Unfortunately I am not able to speak German.
Graf. Gut. Then we need not to talk together. (Takes out a paper and reads.)
Mr. W. Will you kindly tell Miss Willow that I am here, young man?
Graf. Who are you?
Mr. W. A friend of her’s.
Graf. Another friend. The Fraulein has too much friends.
Mr. W. Will you please tell her that I am here?
Graf. No, I will tell her that you are not there.
Mr. W. You are a very rude young man.
Graf. Potztausend! You say that to me?
Mr. W. I could not well have addressed by remark to another person
Graf. Then you are a nasty old man and I pull your nose. (Does so.)
Mr. W. Excuse me, that nose is mine.
Graf. That is why I have pulled him.
Mr. W. I have only once before had my nose pulled, and that was by my dear Phoebe.
Graf. Your dear Phoebe?
Mr. W. Yes, sir, my dear wife.
Graf. That is one great lie.
Mr. W. No, I assure you, Sir, she did pull it.
Graf. But Phoebe is not your wife.
Mr. W. Not now, certainly, poor dear. (Weeps.)
Graf. That is goot. Then she can be my wife.
Mr. W. I wish you could have seen my Phoebe.
Graf. That is for what I wait.
Mr. W. I fear you will have to wait a long time.
Graf. Why? Where is she? (Mr. W. points upwards with his umbrella, weeping.) Upstairs? I will find her. (Exit.) (Mr. W. continues to weep. Enter Phoebe.)
Phoebe. My dear Father.
Mr. W. My sweet child; you grow daily more like your poor mother. My poor Phoebe!
Phoebe. Whatever has brought you here?
Mr. W. I have come to see that you are happy in your situation.
Phoebe. Perfectly happy, thank you, father. I have always written to tell you so.
Mr. W. Yes, but I wished to see for myself. Is your employer at home?
Phoebe. Yes, but you mustn’t see her on any account.
Mr. W. Why, my dear?
Phoebe. She thinks I’m an orphan and if she discovers that I have a father, she will dismiss me on the spot. She only engaged me because she believed me to have no parents.
Mr. W. How very eccentric.
Phoebe. Yes, she will have nothing to do with anyone who is not an orphan.
Mr. W. How unlike my poor Phoebe; when she was alive she never wished you to be an orphan. Poor Phoebe! (Weeps.)
Phoebe. Don’t cry, father.
Mr. W. My dear, the Willows were always a weeping race.
Phoebe. Now that you are here, father, I have some good news for you. I am engaged to be married.
Mr. W. Not to the German footman, I hope.
Phoebe. Footman! He’s a Count.
Mr. W. That accounts for his behaviour. But, my dear, I do not think that your poor mother would have cared about your marrying a foreigner.
Phoebe. Oh, I am not engaged to him. It is Miss Child’s nephew: I wish you could meet him.
Mr. W. My dear, you have chosen him and that is enough. A woman’s instinct always leads her to choose the best husband, as I used to say to your poor mother. (Enter Graf..) My dear Phoebe! (Weeps.)
Graf. Sir, what for do you call this lady “My dear Phoebe?” Have you not to me said that she not now your wife is?
Mr. W. My dear Sir, you are altogether unintelligible – you make my head go round and round.
Graf. Yes, I will make you head to go round and round until it falls off.
Phoebe. Please don’t quarrel, Count.
Graf. Who is that old man?
Phoebe. He’s my –
Graf. Husband, nicht wahr?
Phoebe. No, certainly not.
Graf. But he was.
Graf. Yes. He has himself said that dear Phoebe his wife was. Are you not Phoebe?
Phoebe. Yes, but –
Graf. Goot, then you were his wife.
Phoebe. I’m not, I’m his daughter.
Graf. That is not so. A man marries not his own daughter.
Mr. W. Will you allow me to explain? Dear Phoebe was certainly my wife –
Graf. What have I said?
Mr. W. But she is my wife no longer because she is no more. (Weeps.)
Graf. That is to say the same thing two times.
Mr. W. My Phoebe is dead.
Graf. Sir, you are one colossal liar; does not Phoebe stand here as great as the life?
Mr. W. That is Phoebe, certainly, but –
Graf. What for then said you that she is dead? I go to inform the old lady that the Fraulein’s former husband is there. She will have you out of the house thrown. Auf Wiedersehen; I come with her at once back. (Exit.)
Mr. W. I consider that young man a very undesirable alien. Foreigners are so impetuous.
Phoebe. But do consider, father. He is coming back with Miss Child; and if she finds you here we shall have to explain everything and I shall lose my situation. I must hide you somewhere; quick, get into this chest. I will let you out as soon as they are out of the way. (He gets in.)
Mr. W. Oh, Phoebe, I wonder if you can see me now? (She shuts lid and slips behind the screen. Enter the Graf, followed by Miss Child.)
Graf. Donnerwetter! They are gone.
Miss C. But, my dear Count, I don’t understand you at all! You say that Miss Willow has a husband and that he is here.
Graf. I have said that she had a husband and he was two minutes ago here.
Miss C. How incomprehensible! I had no idea that she was married.
Graf. She is not.
Miss C. But you have just said that she was.
Graf. That is quite right – she was.
Miss C. A widow?
Graf. No, her husband is here.
Miss C. Now you are confusing me altogether. But one thing is quite clear, that you cannot become her husband if she has one already.
Graf. That is not so; he is not now her husband and therefore I can her husband become.
(Phoebe escapes by the door.)
Miss C. Where is this man now?
Graf. I do not at all know. (Sits on chest.) He can be not far: he was here directly ago.
Miss C. Very strange. Is he an orphan?
Graf. I have not enquired. I should think that he was – how say you? a taker-under.
Miss C. An undertaker, you mean, perhaps?
Graf. That is it. A man which makes the coffins – I wish that he in a coffin himself was. (A slight knock in the chest.)
Miss C. Come in. (The lid opens and the Count is precipitated backwards on the floor.)
Mr. W. (Emerging.) My dear, I can endure this imprisonment no longer. (Sees Miss C..) Oh! (Disappears again.)
Miss C. Good heavens! A man! (Calls.) Bertie! Bertie!
Graf. Potztanden! Donnerwetter! Teufel!
Bertie. (Without.) Coming, Aunt. (Enter Bertie.) What’s up, Aunt?
Miss C. My dear, there’s a strange man concealed in the chest. Please deal with him as you think best. I don’t think he can be an orphan. (Exit.)
Bertie. (Seizing Count’s legs.) Now then, up you come.
Graf. Sir, you insult an officer.
Bertie. Oh, it’s you, you beast of a German.
Graf. No. Sir, I am a German – I am not the beast of a German.
Bertie. What were you doing in that chest?
Graf. I am not in the chest been. There is a man in the chest.
Graf. No, not a mother – a husband.
Mr. W. (Coming out.) Excuse me, gentlemen. I can endure the confinement no longer.
Bertie. Who are you, Sir?
Mr. W. Give me one moment, young gentleman, I beg. I wonder what my poor dear Phoebe would say.
Bertie. Your poor dear Phoebe! Who the deuce are you?
Graf. Her husband.
Bertie. Phoebe’s husband! Is this true?
Mr. W. To be sure, dear Phoebe was my wife, but –
Bertie. Then, Sir, I say you are a blackguard.
Mr. W. I cannot quite follow the drift of your remarks. And I have not yet discovered the name of this German gentleman.
Graf. Heinrich Gerhardt, Graf von Madchenlieb-Wildenlowe.
Mr. W. Dear, dear. What a large visiting card you must have.
Bertie. What were you doing in that chest?
Mr. W. Well, there is not enough space to do anything in particular.
Bertie.. Why were you there?
Mr. W. Phoebe put me there
Bertie. Oh, deceitful girl! She promised this morning to be my wife.
Graf. And she would also have promised to be my wife. So – I have in my automobile a case of three revolver-pistols. We will for the Fraulein fight. (Exit.)
Bertie. Now, Sir, explain who you are. Married or single?
Mr. W. Married.
Bertie. Wife’s name.
Mr. W. Phoebe Susan.
Bertie. Phoebe Susan what?
Mr. W. Phoebe Susan Willow.
Bertie. That settles it. My Phoebe is already married.
Mr. W. I do not think that you quite understand the facts of the case. I have no wife now.
Bertie. What the deuce do you mean?
Mr. W. Well, the facts are these –
(Enter Graf with three revolvers.)
Graf. Take one, please.
Mr. W. No thank you.
Graf. (Very fiercely.) Please.
Mr. W. Oh thank you.
Graf. Do not mention it. (To Bertie.) Which will you have, Sir.
Bertie. Oh, don’t be such an ass.
Graf. (Pointing revolver at him.) Take one, please. (He takes the one pointed at him.) Will you please in this place stand! (To Mr. W.) You here – and I here.
Bertie. But we have no seconds.
Graf. (Taking out watch.) Pardon me, we have thirty seconds. We then shoot.
Mr. W. What at?
Graf. You will please shoot at me – I shoot at the young gentleman – and he shoots you.
Mr. W. I hope not. (Puts up his umbrella.)
Graf. Are we now ready? When I say “los” we must all together shoot. I will count to ten and then I will “los” say. Eins, zwei, drei, vier, funf, sechs, – pardon me, Sir, you point your pistol at yourself – you must shoot at me.
Mr. W. Oh, I beg your pardon; it was quite unintentional.
Graf. You are quite welcome.
Mr. W. If only my poor Phoebe could see me now.
Bertie. Oh, shut up, or I shall fire too soon.
Mr. W. I am afraid I shall be with her in a few minutes.
Graf. Are we now all ready? Eins, zwei, drei, vier, funf, sechs, sieben, –
Mr. W. Where have you got to, please?
Graf. Silence, please. I will again commence. Eins, zwei, drei, vier, funf, sechs, sieben, acht, neun, zehn. (Mr. W. counts with him in English.) Los! (Three clicks.) Teufel! I have the cartridges forgetted! I shall them in one eyeblink fetch. (Exit.)
Mr. W. What an appalling experience! I beg your pardon, Sir, but is not duelling illegal in this enlightened age?
Bertie. Of course it is, you old idiot, but how can we get out of it?
Mr. W. Shall I fetch a policeman and give the murderous German into custody?
Bertie. There’s only one policeman in the village and he is never to be found at lunch time.
Mr. W. The curious thing is that I am unable to discover the cause of this disturbance.
Bertie. The cause is that you are Phoebe Willow’s husband and that you are therefore in the way of Count What’s-his-name and myself.
Mr. W. Why?
Bertie. Because we both want to marry her.
Mr. W. If that were possible, it would be illegal for you both to marry her.
Bertie. I mean one of us wants to.
Mr. W. Which one?
Bertie. Both want to, and I’m going to,
Mr. W. But it is impossible for you to marry my Phoebe. Poor dear, departed one.
(Miss C. looks round door.)
Miss C. Bertie, dear, is it safe to enter?
Bertie. There is no danger at all, Aunt. (Miss C. behind screen.)
Miss C. Oh, that dreadful man is still here. Firearms. Oh!
Bertie. It’s all right, don’t be alarmed; they are not loaded.
Miss C. But why is this person still in the house?
Mr. W. Perhaps I can explain, Madam. I came here to see Miss Willow –
Miss C. Then you are her husband?
Mr. W. Her husband? Dear me!
Miss C. Do not attempt to deceive me, Sir. I know that you are Phoebe Willow’s husband.
Mr. W. Phoebe Willow was my wife undoubtedly, but – (Enter Graf)
Graf. The cartridges are in my automobile nowhere to be found. It is very distressing –
Mr. W. Don’t let that worry you, my dear Sir. I assure you that I can bear the disappointment.
Miss C. Did you say cartridges, Count?
Graf. (Who has not seen her before.) Potzblitz! Die alte jungfer! I must dissemble. I said the cartridges, yes, madam. I was with these agreeable gentlemen some birds to shoot. “We wish some cartridges, to kill some partridges.” You see that I am an English Poet.
Miss C. Is that what the pistols are for?
Bertie. Yes, of course, Aunt.
Miss C. Dear me! I had no idea that one shot partridges with revolvers.
Graf. It is the German sport, gradiges Fraulein.
Mr. W. Madam, I do not know whether I look like a partridge, but these revolvers and pistols were intended for my murder. Cold-blooded murder and in your house.
Miss C. Bertie, do please explain. Are you bereft of your senses? And you an orphan!
Graf. It is not the murder, old man. It is the gentleman’s quarrel. We must decide her.
Miss C. I shall on no account allow my nephew to be mixed up in such an affair. Consider that he is an orphan. You and this gentleman, Count, may of course do as you like, but not in my house, please; consider my furniture.
Mr. W. Thank you, Madam, I think that I prefer to settle quarrels by more peaceable means. But I confess that I am at a loss to understand in what way I have incurred the displeasure of these gentlemen.
Graf. You are Phoebe’s husband. (Enter Phoebe.)
Phoebe. Whatever is all this commotion about?
Mr. W. These two gentlemen both appear to wish to marry your poor dear mother.
Bertie. We want to marry her, not her mother.
Graf. Exactly. We have not the honour of the acquaintance of her worthy mother.
Mr. W. Then, gentlemen, allow me to explain that her other was my Phoebe. This is my daughter. I am not her husband but her father.
Graf. Indeed, my dear Sir, may I to you a cigar offer?
Mr. W. Thank you, I am not a smoker.
Bertie. Can’t I get you a whisky and soda?
Mr. W. No, thank you, I am a teetotaller.
Miss C. Phoebe, is this your father?
Phoebe. I must confess that he is.
Miss C. Then you are not an orphan?
Miss C. Deceitful girl! Leave my house immediately.
Graf. Liebes Fraulein, my automobile is at your disposal. We will together away drive with your worthy Herr father – in London will be married become and then come you with me to the Fatherland as my wife.
Bertie. Hold hard there, Miss Willow is engaged to me.
Graf. That is one great lie.
Bertie. I say she is.
Graf. I have in my automobile a pair of swords. I will down run them to fetch. (Exit.)
Miss C. Bertie, you shall not fight. You are the only orphan left to me in the house.
Bertie. How can I get out of it? I don’t mean this German to think I daren’t face him.
Phoebe. Don’t talk nonsense, Bertie. What does it matter what a lunatic thinks. You certainly shall not fight.
Mr. W. I should really counsel you not to do so, Sir.
(Enter Graf with swords.)
Graf. Take one, please.
Miss C. (Takes sword.) You shall not harm a hair of my orphan nephew’s head. If you wish to fight anyone, fight me. I am the orphan’s champion, ready for sacrifice.
Graf. (Bowing low.) Gradiges Fraulein, the honour of an officer forbids that I should a sword against a lady use. But if this gentleman and I not fight, how can we decide who shall the beautiful Fraulein’s husband become?
Phoebe. Perhaps I might be allowed a say in the matter.
Mr. W. That seems to me a very rational suggestion. As I used to say to my poor Phoebe, a woman’s instinct –
Graf. I fear that the lady may not me choose.
Bertie. I am ready to abide by her decision.
Phoebe. Then I choose –
Graf. Allow me to say that I have 20,000 mark by the year and a Panhard automobile.
Phoebe. In spite of these attractions, Count, I choose Mr. Bertie Trueman.
Graf. Donnerwetter! You refuse 20,000 marks by the year and me.
Phoebe. I wish you every happiness, Count, but this gentleman is to be my husband.
Graf. So. That is very nasty.
Mr. W. I feel that the time has now arrived for me to say what for a long time – for five minutes, that is – I have been desirous of saying. Madam, I have seen your heroic action in defending your nephew: it filled me with an ardent enthusiasm such as I have not experienced since the decease of my poor dear Phoebe. Miss Child, may I be allowed to hope that you will honour me by accepting my hand in marriage and becoming my second Phoebe?
Miss C. Are you an orphan, Sir?
Mr. W. I am.
Miss C. Then I am yours.
Mr. W. My Phoebe!
Miss C. My name is Emma.
Mr. W. To me you will always be Phoebe.
Graf. So, The beautiful Fraulein will be this young gentleman’s Phoebe and the alte jungfer will be the old gentleman’s Phoebe, but I have no Phoebe. (To the audience.) Perhaps is there some beautiful Fraulein in who has into the love with me fallen – if that is so, let her to me at once say so, and she shall be my Phoebe.