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Dialogue following No. 24


Enter Adam.

Adam. (guiltily) Master – the deed is done!

Robin. What deed?

Adam. She is here – alone, unprotected.

Robin. Who?

Adam. The maiden. I've carried her off – I had a hard task, for she fought like a tiger-cat!

Robin. Great heaven, I had forgotten her! I had hoped to have died unspotted by crime, but I am foiled again – and by a tiger-cat! Produce her – and leave us!

Adam introduces Dame Hannah, very much excited, and exit.

MIDI File [11 KB, 0' 52"]

Dialogue continues through music.

Robin. Dame Hannah! This is – this is not what I expected.

Hannah. Well, sir, and what would you with me? Oh, you have begun bravely – bravely indeed! Unappalled by the calm dignity of blameless womanhood, your minion has torn me from my spotless home, and dragged me, blindfold and shrieking, through hedges, over stiles, and across a very difficult country, and left me, helpless and trembling, at your mercy! Yet not helpless, coward sir, for approach one step – nay, but the twentieth part of one poor inch – and this poniard (produces a very small dagger) shall teach ye what it is to lay unholy hands on old Stephen Trusty's daughter!

Robin. Madam, I am extremely sorry for this. It is not at all what I intended – anything more correct – more deeply respectful than my intentions towards you, it would be impossible for any one – however particular – to desire.

Hannah. Bah, I am not to be tricked by smooth words, hypocrite! But be warned in time, for there are, without, a hundred gallant hearts whose trusty blades would hack him limb from limb who dared to lay unholy hands on old Stephen Trusty's daughter!

Robin. And this is what it is to embark upon a career of unlicensed pleasure!

Dame Hannah, who has taken a formidable dagger from one of the armed figures, throws her small dagger to Robin.

Hannah. Harkye, miscreant, you have secured me, and I am your poor prisoner; but if you think I cannot take care of myself you are very much mistaken. Now then, it's one to one, and let the best man win! (making for him)

Robin. (in an agony of terror) Don't! don't look at me like that! I can't bear it! Roderic! Uncle! Save me!

Sir Roderic enters, from his picture. He comes down the stage.

Roderic. What is the matter? Have you carried her off?

Robin. I have – she is there – look at her – she terrifies me!

Roderic. (looking at Hannah) Little Nannikin!

Hannah. (amazed) Roddy-doddy!

Roderic. My own old love! Why, how came you here?

Hannah. This brute – he carried me off! Bodily! But I'll show him! (about to rush at Robin)

Roderic. Stop! (to Robin) What do you mean by carrying off this lady? Are you aware that once upon a time she was engaged to be married to me? I'm very angry – very angry indeed.

Robin. Now I hope this will be a lesson to you in future not to–

Roderic. Hold your tongue, sir.

Robin. Yes, uncle.

Roderic. Have you given him any encouragement?

Hannah. (to Robin) Have I given you any encouragement? Frankly now, have I?

Robin. No. Frankly, you have not. Anything more scrupulously correct than your conduct, it would be impossible to desire.

Roderic. You go away.

Robin. Yes, uncle. (Exit Robin)

Roderic. This is a strange meeting after so many years!

Hannah. Very. I thought you were dead.

Roderic. I am. I died ten years ago.

Hannah. And are you pretty comfortable?

Roderic. Pretty well – that is – yes, pretty well.

Hannah. You don't deserve to be, for I loved you all the while, dear; and it made me dreadfully unhappy to hear of all your goings-on, you bad, bad boy!

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