Reginald in Russia and Other Stories
The Baker's Dozen
Major Richard Dumbarton
Scene--Deck of eastward-bound steamer. Major Dumbarton seated on deck-chair, another
chair by his side, with the name "Mrs. Carewe" painted on it, a third near by.
(Enter R. Mrs. Carewe, seats herself leisurely in her deck-chair, the Major affecting to
ignore her presence.)
Major (turning suddenly): Emily! After all these years! This is fate!
Em.: Fate! Nothing of the sort; it's only me. You men are always such fatalists. I deferred
my departure three whole weeks, in order to come out in the same boat that I saw you
were travelling by. I bribed the steward to put out chairs side by side in an unfrequented
corner, and I took enormous pains to be looking particularly attractive this morning, and
then you say "This is fate." I AM looking particularly attractive, am I not?
Maj.: More than ever. Time has only added a ripeness to your charms.
Em.: I knew you'd put it exactly in those words. The phraseology of love-making is
awfully limited, isn't it? After all, the chief charm is in the fact of being made love to.
You ARE making love to me, aren't you?
Maj.: Emily dearest, I had already begun making advances, even before you sat down
here. I also bribed the steward to put our seats together in a secluded corner. "You may
consider it done, sir," was his reply. That was immediately after breakfast.
Em.: How like a man to have his breakfast first. I attended to the seat business as soon as
I left my cabin.
Maj.: Don't be unreasonable. It was only at breakfast that I discovered your blessed
presence on the boat. I paid violent and unusual attention to a flapper all through the meal
in order to make you jealous. She's probably in her cabin writing reams about me to a
fellow-flapper at this very moment.
Em.: You needn't have taken all that trouble to make me jealous, Dickie. You did that
years ago, when you married another woman.
Maj.: Well, you had gone and married another man--a widower, too, at that.