Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/239

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tleman; and I know, if you want "The Bells" read (starts up, and throws book at him;;), read it yourself.

Festus. Madam, what am I to understand by this?

Stella. That your presence is no longer agreeable to me.

Festus. Oh, very well, very well! I understand you wish me to go. (Stella stands, r., with her back to him.) You wish me to go. I will intrude no longer. (Very loud.) Since you—wish—me—to—go— (Aside.) Confound it, I believe she does! (Aloud.) Very well, madam, very well. Good-evening. (Exit, l.)

Stella. He'll be back in three minutes. (Enter Festus, L.)

Festus. I forgot my hat. You'll excuse me if I take my— (Aside.) Confound it, she won't speak! (Stands irresolute a moment, and then approaches her.) Madam,—Stella,—I was wrong. You can read "The Bells" divinely. I hear them ringing in my ears now. I beg your pardon. Read "The Bells" in any manner you please: I shall be delighted to listen.

Stella. Oh, very well! Since you have returned, I will read.

Reading."The Bells," Poe.Stella.

Festus. Splendid, splendid!

Stella. Now, sir, I shall be happy to listen to you once more.

Festus. Your "Bells" have stirred the fires of patriotism within my heart; and I will give you, as my selection, "Sheridan's Ride."

Reading. "Sheridan's Ride," Reid. Festus.

Stella. Excellent! Mr. Festus, you are a very spirited rider,—I mean reader. Now, suppose, for variety, we have another scene.

Festus. With all my heart. What shall it be?

Stella. Oh! you select. Pray, Mr. Festus, did you have any design in selecting the scene from "The Marble Heart"?

Festus. Well, I like that. You selected it yourself.

Stella. But the play was your selection; and you were very perfect in the part of "Raphael."

Festus. Well, I selected what I thought I should most excel in.