The Doctor's Dilemma
After dinner on the terrace at the Star and Garter, Richmond. Cloudless summer night;
nothing disturbs the stillness except from time to time the long trajectory of a distant train
and the measured clucking of oars coming up from the Thames in the valley below. The
dinner is over; and three of the eight chairs are empty. Sir Patrick, with his back to the
view, is at the head of the square table with Ridgeon. The two chairs opposite them are
empty. On their right come, first, a vacant chair, and then one very fully occupied by B.
B., who basks blissfully in the moonbeams. On their left, Schutzmacher and Walpole.
The entrance to the hotel is on their right, behind B. B. The five men are silently enjoying
their coffee and cigarets, full of food, and not altogether void of wine.
Mrs Dubedat, wrapped up for departure, comes in. They rise, except Sir Patrick; but she
takes one of the vacant places at the foot of the table, next B. B.; and they sit down again.
MRS DUBEDAT [as she enters] Louis will be here presently. He is shewing Dr
Blenkinsop how to work the telephone. [She sits.] Oh, I am so sorry we have to go. It
seems such a shame, this beautiful night. And we have enjoyed ourselves so much.
RIDGEON. I dont believe another half-hour would do Mr Dubedat a bit of harm.
SIR PATRICK. Come now, Colly, come! come! none of that. You take your man home,
Mrs Dubedat; and get him to bed before eleven.
B. B. Yes, yes. Bed before eleven. Quite right, quite right. Sorry to lose you, my dear
lady; but Sir Patrick's orders are the laws of--er--of Tyre and Sidon.
WALPOLE. Let me take you home in my motor.
SIR PATRICK. No. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Walpole. Your motor will
take Mr and Mrs Dubedat to the station, and quite far enough too for an open carriage at
MRS DUBEDAT. Oh, I am sure the train is best.
RIDGEON. Well, Mrs Dubedat, we have had a most enjoyable evening.
WALPOLE and B. B. Most enjoyable. Delightful. Charming. Unforgettable.
MRS DUBEDAT [with a touch of shy anxiety] What did you think of Louis? Or am I
wrong to ask?
RIDGEON. Wrong! Why, we are all charmed with him.