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KITTY. The nephew, you know. Perhaps you're referring to the uncle? No, he never giggled very much; he had a rather sad face when he was not animated-all elderly people have sad faces at times. I adore sad faces, don't you ? (Crashes on the piano, and comes forward.) Aunty, aunty, tempus is fugiting. Do dress to receive the Captain.
Miss T. Dress! I am an old woman, out of society; why should I dress to receive an elderly man?
Kitty. Suppose the elderly man knew you in your early days, has not seen you in many years, and has carried around the world with him some remembrance of your youthful appearance ?
Miss T. (rising and gathering up her letter.) But
Kitty. But me no buts. You are about to accuse yourself of age again. Old! Why, dearie, you are still young; positively in a proper toilette you are newer than I am. Do put on that lovely robe in which you look so well; there's a dear good aunty. I want Captain May to see you sweet
Miss T. Wherefore ?
KITTY. Yes, yes, then to please me. Mercy! didn't you hear the music I have just played ?—it was “You'll Remember me”-I played it for you.
Miss T. For me?
Kitty. For the old time's sake, your old time. There! do go and put on the lovely robe; be foolish to please me.
Miss T. (in reverie.) If it should be! If the old times are to him what they are to me!
Kitty. What are you saying, aunty?
Miss T. Yes, yes, the youthful robe. But I put it on to please you, Kitty, I put it on to please you. [Erit Miss T.
Kitty (looking after her). You couldn't be foolish for your own sake, couldn't you? O aunty, aunty, just as though I did not know your story. His nephew Jack told me all
about it, silly old Jack! But I cannot stay here alone; I'm too nervous. I'll run about the garden till the Captain
Dear! how I dread, yet welcome, this visit! I know the business that brings him. And how will Aunt Agatha take it? She thinks, like all people of her age, that nineteen is too young to marry, but it isn't, and--and(Exit, singing “When other lips and other hearts,” elc.) Enter at folding-doors, Captain May. His hair is slightly griz
zled; a rosebud is in his button-hole. Captain May. No one here? Surely I am expected ?Agatha has received my note? Does she forget her old friends? (Looking about him.) Ah, this old room! I have not been in it for twenty years, and yet, despite the new appointments, how familiar it is. Here, day after day, I used to come. How we watched the moon arise over the trees in the garden! The old trees are the same that I knew twenty years ago,-trees are life-long friends of men. And then of winter evenings how we loved the firelight and the soft sigh of the wind in the chimney. And how sweet Agatha was. It was the fancied likeness to her aunt that first attracted me to little Kitty. Dear little Kitty! Ah me! how sentimental we old stagers grow when we get the chance. I feel almost shaky about meeting Agatha. An order to go into immediate battle is not so terrible as the going to meet a friend after twenty years of absence. (Feeling his pulse.) Why it's ninety! pshaw! (Walks about, goes to piano and turns over the music on the rack.) “When other lips and other hearts their tales of love shall tell.” Kitty's been singing, I suppose. What sentimental trash young people admire. ( Whistles the tune, coughs, dushes a tear from his eye.) There (grutfly)! I'm an old fool--no fool is like an old one. Maybe they're in the garden; let me go and see. I was never floored by a confounded tune before. (Angrily throws open the folding-doors and rushes out, jamming his hat on his head, whistling the tune. Enter Miss T. in an elegant robe, without cap, and looking young,
Miss T. To think that I sbould act so unwomanly. Why am I dressed out in this peacock raiment? Let me ac, knowledge the truth, that I do it to make myself attractivo in the eyes of a man. Horror! how indelicate! And yet I have known him so long, I knew him when I was young; and shall he note the ravages of time if I can veil them? But why does he come?—could he not let me rest in peace ? His letter merely says that he has something of importance to say to me, to impart which he travels three thousand miles. Something of importance! (Takes letter from her bosom and reads it.) Twenty years ago such a letter would have made my heart flutter horribly. (Feeling above her heart.) Not more than it flutters now. (Pras letter in her bosom again.) And I old enough to be sensible! Kitty says he looks young, has no wrinkles, and—(snatches hand-glass from table and regards herself in it.) I am not so old, not so very old;
without my cap my hair is not ugly. (Kitty laughs outside. Miss T. throu's down the glass agitatedly.) Oh, he is here, he is in the garden with Kitty! I cannot meet him yet, I require more preparation than I thought I should. (Kitty and Captain May both laugh.) They are merry! Kitty and he together-and he comes to see me-something of importance to communicate - and all the girls were in love with him-Kitty is a girl! she played a silly love-song while she talked about him; she considers him young looking, even noticed that he always wore a rosebud; he has a sad face, and she adores sad faces; he went everywhere, she often met him; she became intimate with him; she-oh, what a fool does memory make of a woman! I refused to see the truth,-he comes to America to ask for Kitty's hand ! 1--1-I cannot meet him thus. (Kitly laughs.) They are here! (Looks about for hiding place. Goes behind screen, where she faces the audience.)
Enter at folding-doors Captain May and Kitty, laughing. Kitty. It is a most amusing story, Captain. And so the lady, after all those years, still clung to the man and would not hear a word in his disfavor, although his flirtations were public comment.
Capt. M. Such is woman's devotion. I was not laughing at her devotion, but at the man's perpetual youth. Ah, yes, a woman's devotion. Now a man's devotion
Kirty. That is an entirely different matter. We all know what man's devotion is,-true to one woman all day, in the evening true to another; Anna Maria in May, Susan Jane in June; by October all the names in the American category of feminine loveliness exhausted, and then hey! for Europe and Victorias and Maries.
Capt. M. You speak as one who has been coached according to the morbidity of some female Byron. Has your aunt
Kirty. My aunt never coaches any one; she is younger than I am quite a baby. I continually shock her with my superior knowledge of the world. She is
CAPT. M. But let us not speak of her. (Placing seat for Kitty.) She will be here presently to speak for herself.
Kitty. I don't know why she stays away so long. I-I(seating herself) am growing nervous again.
Capr. M. (sitting down.) Over what I am about to say to you? Kitty. Th-at depends upon what you are going to say. Capt. M. You know why I am here?
Kitty. I cannot say that I do not. I have not told aunty though, I dared not. She has old-fashioned notions about youthful brides.
Capt. M. Once more permit me to suggest that your aunt be left out of the question. You know why I come to America ?
Kitty. Oh, I am so nervous. Yes!
Capt. M. You know that I come to tell your aunt that a man offers you his heart and fortune?
Kitty (lowering her head). Yes.
Capt. M. I come for more than that; I come to beg you to consider carefully what you are doing. You are plighting yourself for life to one man.
Kitty. How horribly serious you are; just like Aunt Agatha
Capr. M. I see you will not leave your aunt out.
Kirry. She is leaving herself out at present. I wish she'd come; she'd take it serious enough.
Capt. M. True, your aunt and I belong to a generation that regards youth with more careful eyes than we did twenty years ago. But as I say, I would, dear Kitty, have you view this avowal of love with all due reverence. It is a holy thing
Kitty (crying). And not to be lightly entered into. 1 know, I know it all; I've read the marriage service ever since I was sixteen. And I know all about the solemnity and “I, M, take thee, N,” and all the rest of it. Oh! oh! oh!
Capt. M. What have I done! Made you miserable? Forgive me! I came on the most blissful of errands,—to speak to you of love and marriage; and see how clumsily I have gone about it. There! there (trying to pacify her)!
Miss T. (behind the screen, takes the letter from her bosom and teurs il to pieces, speaking sadly :) I am old-an old, old wo
Let me take off this frivolous garb. How thankful I am that I have heard him before I met him.
The Captain still pacifying Kitty; Miss T. unperceived slips past
the screen, crosses the stage and exits. Capt. M. Ah! Now you smile again, and I am forgiven?
KITTY (knotting her handkerchief). There isn't anything to forgive, but I forgive you all the same.
CaPr. M. I dare say I made a sad bungle of it.
Kitty. So many elderly people make bungles. They beem to think that we young people haven't a grain of sense, because we don't use it as we use pepper and salt to season everything we are regaled upon.
Capt. M. I dare say I am elderly.
Kitty. You said my aunt should not be brought in. (Aside.) 1'U bring her in, though.
Capt. M. I merely remarked
KITTY. Quite a relic. That while you are a second Me. thusaleh, aunty is in the enjoyment of incessant youthfulness. I will not deceive you, Captain May, my Aunt Agatha has discovered the philosopher's stone, and has turned Averything into gold, and herself into a being who will never arrive at maturity-I just now told you that she is a baby.
Capt. M. (in reverie.) She used to be very sweet.