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"The Literary Life"
by [?]

~Smith.~ Right you are, Sir. (Exit.)

(Smith leans back in his chair and stares in front of him.)

~Smith~ (to himself). Arabella!

[Enter Boy, followed by a stylishly dressed lady of middle age.]

~Boy.~ Mrs. Robinson. (Exit.)

(Mrs. Robinson stops short in the middle of the room and stares at the Editor; then staggers and drops on to the sofa.)

~Smith~ (in wonder). Arabella!

~Mrs. Robinson.~ William!

(They fall into each other’s arms.)

~Arabella.~ I had begun to almost despair. (Smith winces.) “Almost to despair,” I mean, darling.

~Smith~ (with a great effort). No, no, dear. You were right.

~Arabella.~ How sweet of you to think so, William.

~Smith.~ Yes, yes, it’s the least I can say…. I have been very lonely without you, dear…. And now, what shall we do? Shall we get married again quietly?

~Arabella.~ Wouldn’t that be bigamy?

~Smith.~ I think not, but I will ask the printer’s reader. He knows everything. You see, there will be such a lot to explain, otherwise.

~Arabella.~ Dear, can you afford to marry?

~Smith.~ Well, my salary as editor is only twenty thousand a year, but I do a little reviewing for other papers.

~Arabella.~ And I have–nothing. How can I come to you without even a trousseau?

~Smith.~ Yes, that’s true…. (Suddenly) By Jove, though, you have got something! You have eight thousand pounds! We owe you that for your articles. (With a return to his professional manner.) Did I tell you how greatly we all appreciated them? (Goes to telephone.) Is that you, Jones? Just come here a moment. (To Arabella) Jones is my sub-editor; he is keeping your money for you.

[Enter Jones.]

~Jones~ (producing an old stocking). I’ve just been round to my rooms to get that money–(sees Arabella)–oh, I beg your pardon.

~Smith~ (waving an introduction). Mrs. Smith–my wife. This is our sub-editor, dear–Mr. Jones. (Arabella puts her hand to her heart and seems about to faint.) Why, what’s the matter?

~Arabella~ (hoarsely). Where did you get that stocking?

~Smith~ (pleasantly). It’s one he wears when he goes bicycling.

~Jones.~ No; I misled you this afternoon, chief. This stocking was all the luggage I had when I first entered the Leamington workhouse.

~Arabella~ (throwing herself into his arms). My son! This is your father! William–our boy!

~Smith~ (shaking hands with Jones). How are you? I say, Arabella, then that was one of my stockings?

~Arabella~ (to her boy.) When I saw you on the stairs you seemed to dimly remind me—-

~Jones.~ To remind you dimly, mother.

~Smith.~ No, my boy. In future, nothing but split infinitives will appear in our paper. Please remember that.

~Jones~ (with emotion). I will endeavour to always remember it, dad.