THE WOMAN. I do not understand. You say you have come here on a pious pilgrimage. Is that some new means of transport?
THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN [again shewing signs of distress] I find it very difficult to make myself understood here. I was not referring to a machine, but to a—a—a sentimental journey.
THE WOMAN. I am afraid I am as much in the dark as before. You said also that blood is thicker than water. No doubt it is; but what of it?
THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN. Its meaning is obvious.
THE WOMAN. Perfectly. But I assure you I am quite aware that blood is thicker than water.
THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN [sniffing: almost in tears again] We will leave it at that, madam.
THE WOMAN [going nearer to him and scrutinizing him with some concern] I am afraid you are not well. Were you not warned that it is dangerous for shortlived people to come to this country? There is a deadly disease called discouragement, against which shortlived people have to take very strict precautions. Intercourse with us puts too great a strain on them.
THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN [pulling himself together huffily] It has no effect on me, madam. I fear my conversation does not interest you. If not, the remedy is in your own hands.
THE WOMAN [looking at her hands, and then looking inquiringly at him] Where?
THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN [breaking down] Oh, this is dreadful. No understanding, no intelligence, no sympathy—[his sobs choke him].
THE WOMAN. You see, you are ill.
THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN [nerved by indignation] I am not ill. I have never had a day’s illness in my life.
THE WOMAN. May I advise you?
THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN. I have no need of a lady doctor, thank you, madam.
THE WOMAN [shaking her head] I am afraid I do not understand. I said nothing about a butterfly.
THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN. Well, I said nothing about a butterfly.
THE WOMAN. You spoke of a lady doctor. The word is known here only as the name of a butterfly.
THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN [insanely] I give up. I can bear this no longer. It is easier to go out of my mind at once. [He rises and dances about, singing]
I’d be a butterfly,
born in a bower,
Making apple dumplings without any flour.
THE WOMAN [smiling gravely] It must be at least a hundred and fifty years since I last laughed. But if you do that any more I shall certainly break out like a primary of sixty. Your dress is so extraordinarily ridiculous.
THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN [halting abruptly in his antics] My dress ridiculous! I may not be dressed like a Foreign Office clerk; but my clothes are perfectly in fashion in my native metropolis, where yours—pardon my saying so—would be considered extremely unusual and hardly decent.