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Hall-Marked: A Satiric Trifle
by [?]




[The scene is the sitting-room and verandah of HER bungalow.

The room is pleasant, and along the back, where the verandah runs, it seems all window, both French and casement. There is a door right and a door left. The day is bright; the time morning.]

[HERSELF, dripping wet, comes running along the verandah, through the French window, with a wet Scotch terrier in her arms. She vanishes through the door left. A little pause, and LADY ELLA comes running, dry, thin, refined, and agitated. She halts where the tracks of water cease at the door left. A little pause, and MAUD comes running, fairly dry, stolid, breathless, and dragging a bull-dog, wet, breathless, and stout, by the crutch end of her ‘en-tout-cas’]

LADY ELLA.Don’t bring Hannibal in till I know where she’s put Edward!

MAUD.[Brutally, to HANNIBAL] Bad dog! Bad dog!

[HANNIBAL snuffles.]

LADY ELLA.Maud, do take him out! Tie him up. Here! [She takes out a lace handkerchief ] No–something stronger! Poor darling Edward! [To HANNIBAL] You are a bad dog!

[HANNIBAL snuffles.]

MAUD.Edward began it, Ella. [To HANNIBAL] Bad dog! Bad dog!

[HANNIBAL snuffles.]

LADY ELLA.Tie him up outside. Here, take my scarf. Where is my poor treasure? [She removes her scarf] Catch! His ear’s torn; I saw it.

MAUD.[Taking the scarf, to HANNIBAL] Now!

[HANNIBAL snuffles.]

[She ties the scarf to his collar]

He smells horrible. Bad dog–getting into ponds to fight!

LADY ELLA.Tie him up, Maud. I must try in here.

[Their husbands, THE SQUIRE and THE RECTOR, come hastening along the verandah.]

MAUD.[To THE RECTOR] Smell him, Bertie! [To THE SQUIRE] You might have that pond drained, Squire!

[She takes HANNIBAL out, and ties him to the verandah. THE SQUIRE and RECTOR Come in. LADY ELLA is knocking on the door left.]

HER VOICE.All right! I’ve bound him up!

LADY ELLA.May I come in?

HER VOICE.Just a second! I’ve got nothing on.

[LADY ELLA recoils. THE SQUIRE and RECTOR make an involuntary movement of approach.]

LADY ELLA.Oh! There you are!

THE RECTOR.[Doubtfully] I was just going to wade in—-

LADY ELLA.Hannibal would have killed him, if she hadn’t rushed in!

THE SQUIRE.Done him good, little beast!

LADY ELLA.Why didn’t you go in, Tommy?

THE SQUIRE.Well, I would–only she—-

LADY ELLA.I can’t think how she got Edward out of Hannibal’s awful mouth!

MAUD.[Without–to HANNIBAL, who is snuffling on the verandah and straining at the scarf] Bad dog!

LADY ELLA.We must simply thank her tremendously! I shall never forget the way she ran in, with her skirts up to her waist!

THE SQUIRE.By Jove! No. It was topping.

LADY ELLA.Her clothes must be ruined. That pond–ugh! [She wrinkles her nose] Tommy, do have it drained.

THE RECTOR.[Dreamily] I don’t remember her face in church.

THE SQUIRE.Ah! Yes. Who is she? Pretty woman!

LADY ELLA.I must get the Vet. to Edward. [To THE SQUIRE] Tommy, do exert yourself!

[MAUD re-enters.]

THE SQUIRE.All right! [Exerting himself] Here’s a bell!

HER VOICE.[Through the door] The bleeding’s stopped. Shall I send him in to you?