He gets up to ring the bell; then resumes his crouch. Juggins answers the bell.
BOBBY. [morosely sarcastic] Sir be blowed!
JUGGINS. [cheerfully] Not at all, sir.
BOBBY. I’m a gaol-bird: youre a respectable man.
JUGGINS. That doesnt matter, sir. Your father pays me to call you sir; and as I take the money, I keep my part of the bargain.
BOBBY. Would you call me sir if you wernt paid to do it?
JUGGINS. No, sir.
BOBBY. Ive been talking to Dora about you.
JUGGINS. Indeed, sir?
BOBBY. Yes. Dora says your name cant be Juggins, and that you have the manners of a gentleman. I always thought you hadnt any manners. Anyhow, your manners are different from the manners of a gentleman in my set.
JUGGINS. They would be, sir.
BOBBY. You dont feel disposed to be communicative
on the subject of
Dora’s notion, I suppose.
JUGGINS. No, sir.
BOBBY. [throwing his paper on the floor and lifting his knees over the arm of the chair so as to turn towards the footman] It was part of your bargain that you were to valet me a bit, wasnt it?
JUGGINS. Yes, sir.
BOBBY. Well, can you tell me the proper way to get out of an engagement to a girl without getting into a row for breach of promise or behaving like a regular cad?
JUGGINS. No, sir. You cant get out of an engagement without behaving like a cad if the lady wishes to hold you to it.
BOBBY. But it wouldnt be for her happiness to marry me when I dont really care for her.
JUGGINS. Women dont always marry for happiness, sir. They often marry because they wish to be married women and not old maids.
BOBBY. Then what am I to do?
JUGGINS. Marry her, sir, or behave like a cad.
BOBBY. [Jumping up] Well, I wont marry her: thats flat. What would you do if you were in my place?
JUGGINS. I should tell the young lady that I found I couldnt fulfil my engagement.
BOBBY. But youd have to make some excuse, you know. I want to give it a gentlemanly turn: to say I’m not worthy of her, or something like that.
JUGGINS. That is not a gentlemanly turn, sir. Quite the contrary.
BOBBY. I dont see that at all. Do you mean that it’s not exactly true?
JUGGINS. Not at all, sir.
BOBBY. I can say that no other girl can ever be to me what shes been. That would be quite true, because our circumstances have been rather exceptional; and she’ll imagine I mean I’m fonder of her than I can ever be of anyone else. You see, Juggins, a gentleman has to think of a girl’s feelings.
JUGGINS. If you wish to spare her feelings, sir, you can marry her. If you hurt her feelings by refusing, you had better not try to get credit for considerateness at the same time by pretending to spare them. She wont like it. And it will start an argument, of which you will get the worse.