Cox. I cant say I did, Mrs. B. I should feel obliged to you, if you could accommodate me with a more protuberant bolster, Mrs. B. The one Ive got now seems to me to have about a handful and a half of feathers at each end, and nothing whatever in the middle.
Cox. Cut? It strikes me Ive had it mowed! Its very kind of you to mention it, but Im sufficiently conscious of the absurdity of my personal appearance already. (Puts on his coat.) Now for my hat. (Puts on his hat, which comes over his eyes.) Thats the effect of having ones hair cut. This hat fitted me quite tight before. Luckily Ive got two or three more. (Goes in at L., and returns with three hats of different shapes, and puts them on, one after the otherall of which are too big for him.) This is pleasant! Never mind. This one appears to me to wabble about rather less than the others(Puts on hat)and now Im off! By-the-bye, Mrs. Bouncer, I wish to call your attention to a fact that has been evident to me for some time pastand that is, that my coals go remarkably fast
Cox. Then Ill lend you one, and if you turn to the letter G youll find Grumble, verb neuterto complain without a cause. Now thats not my case, Mrs. B., and now that we are upon the subject, I wish to know how it is that I frequently find my apartment full of smoke?
Cox. Ah, then you mean to say that this gentlemans smoke, instead of emulating the example of all other sorts of smoke, and going up the chimney, thinks proper to affect a singularity by taking the contrary direction?
Cox. Yesnine oclock. You neednt light my fire in future, Mrs. B.Ill do it myself. Dont forget the bolster! A halfpenny worth of milk, Mrs. Bouncerand be good enough to let it standI wish the cream to accumulate. (Exit.)
Mrs. B. Hes gone at last! I declare I was all in a tremble for fear Mr. Box would come in before Mr. Cox went out. Luckily, theyve never met yet, and whats more, theyre not very likely to do so; for Mr. Box is hard at work at a newspaper office all night, and doesnt come home till the morning, and Mr. Cox is busy making hats all day long, and doesnt come home till night; so that Im getting double rent for my room, and neither of my lodgers are any the wiser for it. It was a capital idea of minethat it was! But I havent an instant to lose. First of all, let me put Mr. Coxs things out of Mr. Boxs way. (She takes the three hats, Coxs dressing-gown and slippers, opens door and puts them in, then shuts door and locks it.) Now, then, to put the key where Mr. Cox always finds it. (Puts the key on ledge of door.) I really must beg Mr. Box not to smoke so much. I was so dreadfully puzzled to know what to say when Mr. Cox spoke about it. Now, then, to make the bedand dont let me forget that whats the head of the bed for Mr. Cox becomes the foot of the bed for Mr. Boxpeoples tastes do differ so. (Goes behind the curtains of the bed, and seems to be making itthen appears with a very thin bolster in her hand.) The idea of Mr. Cox presuming to complain of such a bolster as this! (She disappears again behind curtains.)
Box (without). Poohpooh! Why dont you keep your own side of the staircase, sir? (Enters at back, dressed as a printer. Puts his head out at door again, shouting.) It was as much your fault as mine, sir! I say, sirit was as much your fault as mine, sir!
Box (looking significantly at MRS. BOUNCER). So it seems! Far be it from me, Bouncer, to hurry your movements, but I think it right to acquaint you with my immediate intention of divesting myself of my garments, and going to bed.
Box. Theres nothing particularly remarkable about him, except his hats. I meet him in all sorts of hatswhite hats and black hatshats with broad brims, and hats with narrow brimshats with naps, and hats without napsin short, I have come to the conclusion that he must be individually and professionally associated with the hatting interest.