MISS C., loq. - Is this Mrs. Flynn? Papa sent me about a coachman -
MRS. F. - Yes, mum, to be sure, mum. And what style?
MISS C. - Oh! he must not be too long, or too short either, so that he will fit John's uniform: - he was the last one we had, you know; - and, - let me see: - yes, I think he'd better have a beard; the Browns' coachman has a beard, - though for my part -
MRS. F. [With reminiscences of her millinery days]. - I have the very thing you wish, I am sure, - a very superior article, mum. If you'll kindly be seated for a moment, mum, I'll send him up. [Exit Mrs. F. Miss C. sits down with back to screen, and takes up a book to read.]
Enter Tom Hathaway at other side of screen, with whip, and dressed as from riding. Soliloq. - "Well, here 's a pretty go! The idea of my being sent on such a wild goose chase! - As if I knew anything about maids! They might as well have told me to hire a howling dervish. Just as I was going off for a day's sport, too! I think mother might have hit on some other time to get sick. Some people are confoundedly inconsiderate, any way. [Notices screen.] Holloa! they cage the animals, do they? [Peeks through blind.] By Jove, there's one of 'em now, I do believe. Wish the old antique downstairs would brace, so I could have the thing through with. Wonder if I had n't better begin operations at once, and have the agony over. I will, so help me Bob. [Passes to other side of screen and seats himself without looking at Miss C., who, noticing his entrance, rises.]
MISS C. [aside]. - Oh! this is the coachman, then. What a handsome fellow! Quite distinguished-looking, I declare. The Browns will be absolutely green with envy. But how ill-bred of him to sit down while I am standing! I suppose I shall have to - [reseats herself].
HE [aside, nervously]. - I'd like to know how the deuce I'm going to begin. Why, what am I thinking of? [Pulls forth a voluminous roll from his pocket.] Here are the "few essential requisites" mother spoke about. I'll fire away at once. Let me see - ah! [to Miss C., but without raising his eyes] - are you married?
SHE [aside]. - Good gracious, what can the man mean! [Aloud, stiffly.] No, sir.
HE. - You have no followers? [She does not answer, and he goes on.] Honest and capable? [Aside.] I suppose the old lady meant me to ask straight ahead.
SHE [aside, catching a glimmer of the truth]. - Oh! I see. Well, I think I'll take my revenge by not enlightening him at present. [Aloud.] I hope so, sir.
HE [with attempted dignity]. - Here are a few of the things that will be required of you. "To wait upon the table, take care of three children, help at the ironing, know how to flute [aside] (though I can't tell, for the life of me, what that is. I suppose its some musical thing for the children), dust the parlors, do the sewing. In the spare moments you will be ready to read aloud to my mother, and to wheel the perambulator. However [slyly], I don't think that will be very hard work, for the policeman on our block is very good-looking and obliging. Then you will - oh, by the way, what is your name?
SHE [after a moment's hesitation, during which he looks up at her for the first time]. - Jane, sir!
HE. - Jane: a pretty name; but 't won't do nowadays. You'll have to change it to Celinda, or some such. [Aside.] Why, what a neat figure she has. I wish she'd raise her eyes. [Aloud.] Are your eyes brown or blue?
SHE [smiling imperceptibly and glancing at him for a moment]. - Brown, so I am told.
HE. - That's lucky. You see the last girl had to go because her eyes did n't match our new china; "looked so shockingly inharmonious," the old lady used to say. [Aside.] Zounds, what glorious eyes she has; and what dimples! She'll do, she'll do.