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MR. D. Rather listen to me!
Bella. Inveterate enemy. He despises you. I dare not so much as tell him your name. He only knows you as
MR. D. As his
BELLA. Not quite; for if I were I should fly away from this house; and, moreover, let me tell you that I am in a terrible pickle.
MR. D. Preserve us!
BELLA. Two or three days ago, guardy discovered a longlost nephew. He insists that I shall marry the nephew. I hate the wretch, for I belong to what the novelists call Another. The long-lost, I have accused of fortune-hunting, using his uncle as a medium of assistance. I have vowed to be a thousand years old before I would accept the wretch, and—and (weeping)
MR. D. (aside.) A light strikes in upon me. Uncle has discovered me for the express purpose of keeping his ward's money in the family; the unprincipled miser! Bella can only think the long-lost is in collusion with his uncle. My newly-discovered uncle, you shall never know me. (Aloud.) Bella, cheer up! I will save you.
Bella. But if Mr. Calamus should see you here, who could save you?
MR. D. (aside.) And he might see in my face some resemblance to his sister, my mother. Ahem!
BELLA (drying her eyes). You must go. Oh! (Crying out.) Too late! He is coming! He is in the hall! Hide! hide! (Mr. Dauntless runs about seeking a hiding-place.) Not there! not there! Oh! (Tearing linen slip from a chair, and pulling a stool forward.) The only thing you can do is to become a chair until he is gone.
MR. D. Here! here!
Mr. Dauntless puts on slip and seats himself on stool in form of a
chair, Enter Mr. Calamus. Mr. C. (looking around.) Not here! I had thought the man Patty took for a book-agent might be he.
Mr. C. Don't presume to address me, miss! You have sufficiently insulted me already.
BELLA (her hand on the improvised chair). Insult you because I told you that I love a gentleman who is unknown to you? (Mr. Dauntless' hand under the slip cutches hers.)
Mr. C. Love! At nineteen, a summer dream; at forty, a nightmare! I tell you, Bella,
BELLA. And I tell you, guardy,
BELLA. So is mine! I insist that I will refuse your nephew until I am a thousand years old.
MR. C. And after that?
MR. C. Wait till I come across the anonymous individual! Do you still decline to tell me his name?
BELLA. What is the name of your fortune-hunting nephew ?
MR. C. Forbear! I take no more from you. As it stands, then, I am resigned to becoming a mummy in order to circumvent the anonymous individual. (Enter Patty, looking about her.) Yes, you have dried and spiced your helpless guardian, miss.
Party. Oh, where is the duck ?
Bella. The man who marries a woman for her fortune is a Midas and deserves long ears.
MR. C. Would you presume to infer that there are donkeys in my family? What! It's an aspersion on my manhood! That anonymous individual is responsible for this! Air! let me have air! Mr. Calamus rushes out. Patty following and calling, “Where is
the book-agent? Where is the book-agent ?" MR. D. ( jumping out of slip.) Bella, you are an angel. Don't deny it. And as for that curmudgeon of a guardian, let him be eternally obfuscated.
BELLA. In the meanwhile how am I to withstand his importunities? MR. D. Remember what a friend we have in chance.
Door bell rings. BELLA. Yes, yes. I am sure that the long-lost nephew is expected by guardy. That bell! that may announce his arrival! Become a chair again!
MR. D. (aside.) How to get clear of all this. (Aloud.) Bella, I am very low; cheer me.
BELLA. Cheer you! I'll chair you. (Makes a chair of him as before. Enter Andy Evergreen. Aside.) What a hideous wretch! It is he! The counterpart of his uncle's suppressed villainy.
ANDY. Is ühis Mr. Calamus'?
ANDY (starting; aside). Her Aunt: Amanda said she was proud, and her Uncle Jabez said I might be violent if she put on airs. (Aloud.) Miss, your uncle
BELLA. He is no uncle of mine, and never shall be !
ANDY (aside). I must be violent. (Aloud.) Very well, miss, then I —
BELLA. Oh, you!
ANDY. What I want to say is, that your photograph flatters you; don't look at all like you, you minx!
Mr. Dauntless struggles to get free. Bella (to the improvised chair). No, no, Mr. Dauntless, you shall not expose yourself to his fury.
ANDY (aside). Is she speaking to a piece of furniture?
BELLA. As for you, you misguided young man who would propose marriage to a poor girl whose photograph may have been shown to you by a nefarious old uncle, I tell you No!
Andy. Well, you are a high-flyer.
Bella (to Mr. Dauntless). I must leave the room. This nephew is a coward; I can scare him away. Don't divulge yourself. I shall send Patty here and get rid of the man before his uncle knows he is here. [E.cit, frowning at Andy.
Andy. Whispering to the furniture ! What does she
mean? (Growing angry.) If I'd known this was the way I'd be received do you think I'd have come? Andy Evergreen, you're a fool to let a woman treat you so badly. Her letter told me she'd have me. Is this the way city girls act to their intendeds ? Uncle Jabez said I might have to be violent. Now what is violence? (Thinking.)
MR. D. (peeping out at him.) What am I to make of this? Are there two long-lost nephews? He wants to know what violence is, does he? Let him wait awhile; I'll enlighten him. Hist! (Hiding.)
Enter Patty. Patty (aside). My! but he's a nice looking chap. I like his looks better than the other one's that Aunt Amanda picked out for me. And where is the other one? I do believe he's run off; he did look silly when I talked to him. But I'll look for him later. (Aloud.) Oh, sir!
Andy. Eh? Who are you?
Patty. The lady who was here a few moments ago says she hates you.
Andy. She told me so herself.
Party (aside). Oh, my gracious! but I like his looks. (Aloud.) She wanted me to tell you that it was all a mistake, and you'd better go away before she finds means of forcing you.
Andy (aside). Now this is the kind of girl I like; sensible, not proud. (Aloud.) And who are you?
PATTY. Who? I?
ANDY (aside). Humph! they court rapidly in the city. (Aloud.) You called him a duck, eh? Well, I'm no duck.
Patry. Oh, I don't know.
Andy. Don't you? Young woman, I know you as well as I know à certain other young woman whom I came here to meet, expecting to marry her. If you can find in me stronger traces of a duck than you found in him whom you met a quarter of an hour ago, say so, and I will let the other young woman go.
Patty. You came to see a young woman who (Enter Mr. Calamus.) Good gracious! (Flies to dusting furniture.)
Mr. C. My long-lost nephew! (Seizes Andy.)
MR. C. My dear boy, I have expected you; my poetic mind has gone out to you. I love you as a son. I- (Embracing him again.)
ANDY. Help! Murder! Fire! Patty is vigorouslg dusting chair formed by Mr. Dauntless and he
fights off her brush; she does not notice, as she is busily watching Mr. Calamus and Andy.
MR. C. Your bride is awaiting you. When you have met her
ANDY. I have met her.
MR. C. Yes, yes. But pride is a becoming quality in a young woman. Think nothing of her manner, my boy; the oddity of her position may have something to do with it. I am glad you apprehend me without any explanation,-you understand that I want you to marry her, eh? It is very brilliant of you. Really I must embrace you once more (embracing him). Andy. Help! Murder! Fire!
BELLA. I have already met the gentleman. He may remain your guest; I have nothing to do with that. But as my suitor (crossing to chair formed by Mr. Dauntless), never!
ANDY. If it comes to that, who cares?
MR. C. My dear nephew, leave this to me. Bella, as for you and your anonymous admirer
Andy. Has she an anonymous admirer? Then I see my way clear. I give her up. (Kisses his hand to Patty.)
Patty (aside). He's more of a duck than the other one.
MR. C. (to Bella.) You see what you have done. (To Andy.) No, it shall be as I say. You are the accepted suitor of this preposterous girl. I must embrace