THE DEVIL. Salome! You do not know what you ask. Mr. Redford is a kind of religion. He represents the Lord Chamberlain. You know the dear Lord Chamberlain. You would not harm one of his servants, especially when they are not insured. It would be cruel. It would be irreligious. It would be in bad taste. It would not be respectable. Listen to me; I will give you all Herod’s Stores . . . Salome. Shannon was right. You HAVE taken too much, or you would not ask this thing. See, I will give you Mr. Redford’s body, but not his head. Not that, not that, my child.
SALOME. I want Mr. Redford’s head on a four-wheel cab.
THE DEVIL. Salome, I must tell you a secret. It is terrible for me to have to tell the truth. The Commander said that I would have to tell the truth. MR. REDFORD HAS NO HEAD!
[The audience long before this have begun to put on their cloaks, and the dramatic critics have gone away to describe the cold reception with which the play has been greeted. All the people on the stage cover their heads except the STATUE, who has become during the action of the piece more and more like Mr. Bernard Shaw. Curtain descends slowly.
To ARTHUR CLIFTON, ESQ.
SOME DOCTORED DILEMMA.
A NEW EPILOGUE FOR THE LAST PERFORMANCE OF MR. SHAW’S PLAY.
Though Mr. Bernard Shaw has set the fashion in prologues for modern plays, his admirers were not altogether satisfied with the epilogue to The Doctor’s Dilemma. It is far too short; and leaves us in the dark as to whom ‘Jennifer Dubedat’ married. Epilogues, as students of English drama remember, were often composed by other authors. The following experiment ought to have come from the hand of Mr. St. John Hankin, that master of Dramatic Sequels, but his work on the ‘Cassilis Engagement’ deprived Mr. Shaw of the only possible collaborator.
[SCENE: A Bury Street Picture Gallery—MESSRS. GERSAINT & CO. The clock strikes ten, and SIR COLENSO RIDGEON is seen going out rather crestfallen by centre door. MR. GERSAINT, the manager, is nailing up a notice (’All works of art, for art’s sake or sale; prices on application. Catalogue 1_s_.). MR. JACK STEPNEY, the secretary, is receiving the private view cards from the visitors who are trooping in; some sneak catalogues as they enter, and on being asked for payment protest and produce visiting cards and press vouchers instead of shillings. Artists, Royal Academicians, MR. EDMUND GOSSE, and other members of the House of Lords discovered; men of letters, art critics, connoisseurs, journalists, collectors, dealers, private viewers, impostors, dramatic critics, poets, pickpockets, politicians crowd the stage. From time to time JACK STEPNEY places a red star on the picture frames in the course of the action.]