Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > German
The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vol. XII: German
An Exacting Uncle
By Gustav von Moser (1825–1903)
From “The Private Secretary”


Mac.  (an old gentleman, loud-voiced, brush, self-opinionated).  Good morning!  (He looks about.)
  Mrs. Dick.  What can I do for you, sir?  2
  Mac.  Does young Mr. Macdonald live here, eh?  3
  Mrs. Dick.  Certainly; but he has just gone out.  4
  Mac.  Aha, so much the better. You, I presume, are the elderly landlady, eh?  5
  Mrs. Dick.  (Aside.)  What an extraordinary person!  6
  Mac.  My name, madam, is Macdonald. I am that young man’s uncle.  7
  Mrs. Dick.  Heaven have mercy on us!  8
  Mac.  Aha! You seem to be frightened! That doesn’t show a quiet conscience, eh? That nephew of mine is a good-for-nothing, no doubt?  9
  Mrs. Dick.  Oh——  10
  Mac.  Answer, woman!  11
  Mrs. Dick.  Heaven forbid! What makes you imagine such things? Your nephew is a most proper young man.  12
  Mac.  Pah! Proper! I’m sorry to hear it—mighty sorry!  (He looks about.)  13
  Mrs. Dick.  (Aside.)  This person is not in his right mind.  14
  Mac.  (smiling).  Cards on the table! Ha-ha-ha! So the boy gambles!  15
  Mrs. Dick.  Bless me, no! I was just playing a little game of solitaire.  16
  Mac.  Pooh! You might have been better employed! Well, what does he do? Does not play, you say? Does he drink?  17
  Mrs. Dick.  Oh, bless me, no! He’s the properest young man imaginable—home-loving, industrious, studying is his dearest pleasure.  18
  Mac.  Indeed! Has he any debts?  19
  Mrs. Dick.  Oh, bless me, no!  (Aside.)  God forgive me that fib!  20
  Mac.  According to your description he must be an unmitigated ass!  21
  Mrs. Dick.  He deserves your doing something for him.  22
  Mac.  D’you think I’m crazy, eh?  23
  Mrs. Dick.  (Aside.)  Well, I should say so!  24
  Mac.  I’ve been in India for twenty years. How does the boy look?  25
  Mrs. Dick.  He’s a very handsome young fellow.  26
  Mac.  Old women have curious tastes.  27
  Mrs. Dick.  So gentle and modest.  28
  Mac.  In other words, a milksop.  (Strides up and down the room.)  I don’t change my principles. A young man must sow his wild oats. He won’t be a man until I’ve pulled that soft skin over his ears.  29
  Mrs. Dick.  Won’t you take a seat?  30
  Mac.  Thank you. Don’t want to see the boy at all, as things are. Ink—paper! I’ll write.  31
  Mrs. Dick.  Here’s everything.  32
  Mac.  Tell him I’ll come back when he has improved.  33
  Mrs. Dick.  But, Mr. Macdonald——  34
  Mac.  Stop your howling, old woman! Go!  35
  Mrs. Dick.  Oh, I’m going, I’m going!  (Exit.)  36
  Mac.  Go to the— Yes, I mean well by the boy. If the old frump had told me that he drinks a bit, has jolly friends, debts, and so on, I could have hugged the old thing. But a milksop! Pah! Pooh!  37

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