Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/276

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The Fool's Hour

Act I

SceneThe Library In Lord Doldrummond's house at Brighton. The scene represents a richly-furnished but somewhat oppressive room. The chairs and tables are all narrow, the lamp-shades stiff, the windows have double glasses. Lord Doldrummond, a man of middle-age, handsome, but with a dejected, browbeaten air, sits with a rug over his knees, reading "The Church Times" The Butler announces "Sir Digby Soame." Sir Digby is thin and elderly; has an easy smile and a sharp eye; dresses well; has two manners—the abrupt with men, the suave with women, smiles into his beard over his own witticisms.

Lord Dol.Ah, Soame, so you are here at last?

Soame.[Looking at his watch.]I am pretty punctual, only a few minutes late.

Lord Dol.I am worried, anxious, irritable, and that has made the time seem long.

Soame.Worried, anxious? And what about? Are you not well? Have you found that regularity of life ruins the constitution?

Lord Dol.No, my dear Soame, no. But I am willing to own that the existence which my wife enjoys, and which I have learnt to endure, would not suit every one.

Soame.I am glad to find you more tolerant. You used to hold the very harshest and most crude opinions. I remember when we were boys, I could never persuade you to accept the admirable doctrine that a reformed rake makes the best husband!

Lord Dol.[Timidly.]Repentance does not require so large an income as folly! This may explain that paradox. You know, in