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Cox. Your apartment ? Ha! ha!-come, I like that! Look here, sir-(Produces a paper out of his pocket.] Mrs. Bouncer's receipt for the last week's rent, sir
Box. [Produces a paper, and holds it close to Cox's face.] Ditto, sir!
Cox. (Suddenly shouting.) Thieves !
Mrs. BOUNCER runs in at door, L.C.
Box. Instantly remove that hatter !
(Pulling her round to him. Bor. Explain! [Pulling her round to him. Whose room is this?
Cox. Yes, woman-whose room is this?
Mrs. B. Oh, dear, gentlemen, don't be angry_but you see, this gentleman-Pointing to Box,]-only being at home in the day time, and that gentleman-Pointing to Cox,]-at night, I thought I might venture, until my little back second floor room was ready
Cox & Box. (Eagerly.) When will your little back second floor room be ready ?
Mrs. B. Why, to-morrow-
Mrs. B. Excuse me—but if you both take it, you may just as well stop where you are.
Cox & Box. True.
Box. With all my heart, sir. The little baek second floor room is yours, sirs-now, go
Cox. Go? Pooh-pooh !
Mrs. B. Now don't quarrel, gentlemen. You see, there used to be a partition here
Cox & Box. Then put it up!
Mrs. B. Nay, I'll see if I can't get the other room ready this very day. Now do keep your tempers. (Exit, L. Cox. What a disgusting position !
(Walking rapidly round stage. Box. [Sitting down on chair, at one side of table, and following Cox's movements.] Will you allow me to observe, if you have not had any exercise to-day, you'd better go out and take it. Cox. I shall not do anything of the sort, sir.
(Seating himself at the table opposite Box. Box. Very well, sir.
Cox. Very well, sir! However, don't let me prevent you from going out.
Cor. Don't flatter yourself, sir. [Cox is about to break a piece of the roll off.] Holloa ! that's my roll, sir— (Snatches it away-puts a pipe in his mouth, lights it with a piece of tinder- and puff's smoke across to Cox.
Cox. Holloa ! What are you about, sir ?
[Puts pipe on table. Cox. There ! [Slams down window, and re-seats himself.
Box. I shall retire to my pillow. [Goes up, takes off his jacket, then goes towards bed, and sits upon it, L. C.
Cox. [Jumps up, goes to bed, and sits down on R. of Box.] I beg your pardon, sir-I cannot allow any one to rumple my bed. (Both rising.] Box. Your bed ? Hark ye, sir
r-can you fight? Cox. No, sir. Box. No? Then come on- [Sparring at Cox. Cox. Sit down, sir-or I'll instantly vociferate “Police !" Box. (Seats himself-Cox does the same.] I say, sirCox, Well, sir ?
Box. Although we are doomed to occupy the same room for a few hours longer, I don't see any necessity for our cutting each other's throats, sir.
Cox. Not at all. It's an operation that I should decidedly object to.
Box. And, after all, I've no violent animosity to you, sir. Cox. Nor have I ary rooted antipathy to you, sir.
Box. Besides, it was all Mrs. Bouncer's fault, sir.
Box. Then give us a chorus. [Pause.] Have you seen the Bosjemans, sir ?
Cox. No, sir-my wife wouldn't let me.
Box. Well, that's the same thing! I congratulate you! [Shaking hands.]
Cox. [With a deep sigh.] Thank ye. (Seeing Box about to get up. You needn't disturb yourself, sir. She won't come here.
Box. Oh! I understand. You've got a snug tablishment of your own here-on the sly-cunning dog - [Nudging Cox.]
Cox. (Drawing himself up.] No such thing, sir--I repeat, sir-no such thing, sir, but my wife-I mean, my intended wife-happens to be the proprietor of a consid. erable number of bathing machines -
Box. [Suddenly.) Ha! Where? [Grasping Cox's arm.] Cox. At a favorite watering-place. How curious you are ! Box. Not at all. Well ?
Cox. Consequently, in the bathing season-which luckily is rather a long one-we see but little of each other ; but as that is now over, I am daily indulging in the expectation of being blessed with the sight of my beloved. Very seriously.) Are you married ?
Box. Me ? Why-not exactly !
Cox. You'll excuse me, sir-but, at present, I don't exactly understand how you can help being one of the three.
Box. Not help it ?
Box. Ah, that may be—but I'm not alive!
Cox. [Pushing back his chair.] You'll excuse me, sirbut I don't like joking upon such subjects.
Box. I'm perfectly serious, sir. I've been defunct for the last three years !
Cox. (Shouting.] Will you be quiet, sir ?
Box, If you won't believe me, I'll refer you to a very large, numerous, and respectable circle of disconsolate friends.
Cor. My dear sir—my very dear sir—if there does exist any ingenious contrivance whereby a man on the eve of committing matrimony can leave this world, and yet stop in it, I shouldn't be sorry to know it.
Box. Oh! then I presume I'm not to set you down as being frantically attached to your intended ?
Cox. Why, not exactly; and yet, at present, I'm only aware of one obstacle to my doating upon her, and that is, that I can't abide her !
Box. Then there's nothing more easy. Do as I did.
Box. Listen to me. Three years ago it was my misfortune to captivate the affections of a still blooming, though somewhat middle-aged widow, at Ramsgate.
Cox. [Aside.] Singular enough! Just my case three months ago at Margate.
Box. Well, sir, to escape her'importunities, I came to the determination of enlisting into the Blues, or Life Guards. Cox. (Aside.) So did I. How
odd ! Box. But they wouldn't have me—they actually had the effrontery to say that I was too short
Cox. (Aside.] And I wasn't tall enough!
Box. So I was obliged to content myself with a marching regiment-I enlisted !
Cox. (Aside. So did I. Singular coincidence !
discharge, on condition that I'd lead her to the altar.
Cox. (Aside.] Just my case !
scious of the absurdity of my personal appearance already. (Puts on his coat.] Now for my hat. (Puts on his hat, which comes over his eyes.] That's the effect of having one's hair cut. This hat fitted me quite tight before. Luckily I've got two or three more. (Gocs in at L., and returns, with three hats of different shapes, and puts them on, one after the other-all of which are too big for him.] This is pleasant! Never mind. This one appears to me to wabble about rather less than the others—[Puts on hat,]—and now I'm off! By the bye, Mrs. Bouncer, I wish to call your attention to a fact that has been evident to me for some time past—and that is, that my coals go remarkably fast
Mrs. B. Lor, Mr. Cox!
Cox. It is not only the case with the coals, Mrs. Bouncer, but I've lately observed a gradual and steady increase of evaporation among my candles, wood, sugar, and luci. fer matches.
Mrs. B. Lor, Mr. Cox! you surely don't suspect me ?
Cox. I don't say I do, Mrs. B.; only I wish you distinctly to understand, that I don't believe it's the cat.
Mrs. B. Is there anything else you've got to grumble about, sir?
Cox. Grumble! Mrs. Bouncer, do you possess such a thing as a dictionary?
Mrs. B. No, sir.
Cox. Then I'll lend you one—and if you turn to the letter G, you'll find “Grumble, verb neuter—to complain without a cause.” Now that's not my case, Mrs. B., and now that we are upon the subject, I wish to know how it is that I frequently find my apartment full of smoke ?
Mrs. B. Why-I suppose the chimney
Cox. The chimney doesn't smoke tobacco. I'm speaking of tobacco smoke, Mrs. B. I hope, Mrs. Bouncer, you're not guilty of cheroots or Cubas ?
Mrs. B. Not I, indeed, Mr. Cox.
Cox. At present I am entirely of your opinion-be. cause I haven't the most distant particle of an idea what you mean.