Four Short Plays
A Satiric Trifle
HANNIBAL and EDWARD
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!
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!
MAUD. Edward began it, Ella. [To HANNIBAL] Bad dog! Bad dog!
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!