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- Belinda - 10/17 -


pretty garden, isn't it? (_She sits on_ R. _end of Chesterfield_.)

TREMAYNE (_coming to her_). You forget that I saw the garden yesterday.

BELINDA. Oh, but the things have grown so much since then. Let me see, this is the third day you've been and we only met three days ago. (_He moves behind the Chesterfield to the left end of it_.) And then you're coming to dinner again to-night.

TREMAYNE (_eagerly and leaning over the Chesterfield_). Am I?

BELINDA. Yes. Haven't you been asked?

TREMAYNE (_going round the left end of the Chesterfield_). No, not a word.

BELINDA. Yes, that's quite right; I remember now, I only thought of it this morning, so I couldn't ask you before, could I?

TREMAYNE (_earnestly_). What made you think of it then?

BELINDA (_romantically_). It was at the butcher's.

TREMAYNE. Eh?

BELINDA. There was one little lamb cutlet left over and sitting out all by itself, and there was nobody to love it. And I said to myself, suddenly, "I know, that will do for Mr. Robinson." (_Protaically_.) I do hope you like lamb?

TREMAYNE (_sitting on her left side_). I adore it.

BELINDA. Oh, I'm so glad I When I saw it sitting there I thought you'd love it. I'm afraid I can't tell you any more about the rest of the dinner, because I wouldn't tell Mr. Devenish, and I want to be fair.

TREMAYNE (_jealously_). Who's Mr. Devenish?

BELINDA. Oh, haven't you met him? He's always coming here.

TREMAYNE Is he in love with you too?

BELINDA. Too? Oh, you mean Mr. Baxter?

TREMAYNE (_rising and moving to fireplace_). Confound it, that's three!

BELINDA (_innocently_). Three? (_She looks up at him and down again_.)

TREMAYNE. Who is Mr. Baxter?

BELINDA. Oh, haven't you met him? He's always coming here.

TREMAYNE (_turning away and looking into fireplace_). Who is Mr. Baxter?

(BAXTER _appears at cupboard doorway_. BELINDA _hears him and gives a startled look round. She signs to him to go back. BAXTER retreats immediately and closes door_.)

BELINDA. Oh, he's a sort of statistician. Isn't that a horrid word to say? So stishany.

TREMAYNE. What does he make statistics about?

BELINDA. Oh (_giving a sly look round at cupboard door_), umbrellas and things. Don't let's talk about him.

TREMAYNE. All right, then; (_going up to her jealously_) who is Mr. Devenish?

BELINDA. Oh, he's a poet. (_She throws up her eyes and sighs deeply_.) Ah me!

TREMAYNE. What does he write poetry about?

(BELINDA _looks at him, and down again, and then at him again, and then down, then raises and drops her arms, and gives a little sigh--all of which means, "Can't you guess?"_)

What does he write poetry about?

BELINDA (_obediently_). He wrote "The Lute of Love and other Poems, by Claude Devenish."

(TREMAYNE _is annoyed and turns away to the fireplace_.)

The Lute of Love--(_To herself_.) I haven't been saying that lately. (_With great expression_.) The Lute of Love--the Lute. (_She pats her mouth back_.)

TREMAYNE. And who is Mr. Devenish--!

BELINDA (_putting her hand on his sleeve_). You'll let me know when it's my turn, won't you?

TREMAYNE. Your turn?

BELINDA. Yes, to ask questions. I love this game--it's just like clumps. (_She crosses her hands on her lap and waits for the next question_.)

TREMAYNE. I beg your pardon. I--er--of course have no right to cross- examine you like this.

BELINDA. Oh, do go on, I love it. (_With childish excitement_.) I've got my question ready.

TREMAYNE (_smiling and going and sitting beside her again_). I think perhaps it _is_ your turn.

BELINDA (_eagerly_). Is it really? (_He nods_.) Well then-- (_in a loud voice_)--who is Mr. Robinson?

TREMAYNE (_alarmed_). What?

BELINDA. I think it's a fair question. I met you three days ago and you told me you were staying at Mariton. Mariton. You can say it all right now, can't you?

TREMAYNE. I think so.

BELINDA (_coaxingly_). Just say it.

TREMAYNE. Mariton.

BELINDA (_clapping her hands_). Lovely! I don't think any of the villagers do it as well as that.

TREMAYNE. Well?

BELINDA (_looking very hard at TREMAYNE--he wonders whether she has discovered his identity_). Well, that was three days ago. You came the next day to see the garden, and you came the day after to see the garden, and you've come this morning--to see the garden; and you're coming to dinner to-night, and it's so lovely, we shall simply have to go into the garden afterwards. And all I know about you is that you haven't any relations called Robinson.

TREMAYNE. What do I know about Mrs. Tremayne but that she has a relation called Robinson?

BELINDA. And two dear friends called Devenish and Baxter.

TREMAYNE (_rising--annoyed_). I was forgetting them. (_Crosses to below_ L. _end of_ C. _table_.)

BELINDA (_to herself, with a sly look round at the cupboard_), I mustn't forget Mr. Baxter.

TREMAYNE. But what does it matter? What would it matter if I knew nothing about you? (_Moving up to_ R. _end of Chesterfield and leaning over it_.) I know everything about you--everything that matters.

BELINDA (_leaning back and closing her eyes contentedly_). Tell me some of them. TREMAYNE (_bending over her earnestly_). Belinda--

BELINDA (_still with her eyes shut_). He's going to propose to me. I can feel it coming.

TREMAYNE (_starting back_). Confound it! how many men _have_ proposed to you?

BELINDA (_surprised_). Since when?

TREMAYNE. Since your first husband proposed to you.

BELINDA. Oh, I thought you meant this year. (_Sitting up_.) Well now, let me see. (_Slowly and thoughtfully_.) One. (_She pushes up her first finger_.) Two. (_She pushes up the second_.) Three. (_She pushes up the third finger, holds it there for a moment and then pushes it gently down again_.) No, I don't think that one ought to count really. (_She pushes up two more fingers and the thumb_.) Three, four, five--do you want the names or just the total?

TREMAYNE (_moving up_ L. _and then over_ R.). This is horrible.

BELINDA (_innocently_). But anybody can propose. Now if you'd asked how many I'd accepted--

(_He turns sharply to her--annoyed_.)

Let me see, where was I up to?

(_He moves down_ R.)

I shan't count yours, because I haven't really had it yet.

(BETTY _enters down_ R. _and stands behind settee_.)

Six, seven--Yes, Betty, what is it?

BETTY. If you please, ma'am, cook would like to speak to you for a minute.

(TREMAYNE _goes up_ R.C.)


Belinda - 10/17

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