A.A. Milne

Belinda, by A. A. Milne

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Title: Belinda
Author: A. A. Milne
Release Date: November, 2004 [EBook #6992] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on February 20, 2003]
Edition: 10
Language: English
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An April Folly in Three Acts


Produced by Mr. Dion Boucioault at the New Theatre, London, on April 8, 1918, with the following cast:--
BELINDA TREMAYNE .......... Irene Vanbrugh. DELIA (her Daughter) ...... Isabel Elsom. HAROLD BAXTER ............. Dion Boucicault. CLAUDE DEVENISH ........... Dennis Neilson-Terry. JOHN TREMAYNE ............. Ben Webster. BETTY ..................... Anne Walden.
The action takes place in Belinda's country-house in Devonshire at the end of April, the first act in the garden and the second and last acts in the hall



It is a lovely April afternoon--a foretaste of summer--in BELINDA'S garden.
BETTY, a middle-aged servant, is fastening a hammock--its first appearance this year--to a tree down L. In front there is a garden-table, with a deck-chair on the right of it and a straight-backed one to the left. There are books, papers, and magazines on the table. BELINDA, of whom we shall know more presently, is on the other side of the open windows which look on to the garden, talking to BETTY, who crosses to R. of hammock, securing it to tree C.
BELINDA (from inside the house). Are you sure you're tying it up tightly enough, Betty?
BETTY (coming to front of hammock). Yes, ma'am; I think it's firm.
BELINDA. Because I'm not the fairy I used to be.
BETTY (testing hammock). Yes, ma'am; it's quite firm this end too.
BELINDA (entering from portico with sunshade open). It's not the ends I'm frightened of; it's the middle where the weight's coming. (Comes down R. and admiring.) It looks very nice. (She crosses at back of wicker table, hanging her hand-bag on hammock. Closes and places her sunshade at back of tree C.)
BETTY. Yes, ma'am.
BELINDA (trying the middle of it with her hand). I asked them at the Stores if they were quite sure it would bear me, and they said it would take anything up to--I forget how many tons. I know I thought it was rather rude of them. (Looking at it anxiously, and trying to get in, first with her right leg and then her left.) How does one get in! So trying to be a sailor!
BETTY. I think you sit in it, ma'am, and then (explaining with her hands) throw your legs over.
BELINDA. I see. (She sits gingerly in the hammock, and then, with a sudden flutter of white, does what BETTY suggests.) Yes. (Regretfully.) I'm afraid that was rather wasted on you, Betty. We must have some spectators next time.
BETTY. Yea, ma'am
BELINDA. Cushions.
(BETTY moves to and takes a cushion from deck-chair. BELINDA assists her to place it at back of her head. BETTY then goes to back of hammock and arranges BELINDA'S dress.)
There! Now then, Betty, about callers.
BETTY. Yes, ma'am.
BELINDA. If Mr. Baxter calls--he is the rather prim gentleman--
BETTY. Yea, ma'am; the one who's been here several times before. (Moves to below and L. of hammock.)
BELINDA (giving BETTY a quick look). Yes. Well, if he calls, you'll say, "Not at home."
BETTY. Yes, ma'am.
BELINDA. He will say (imitating MR. BAXTER), "Oh--er--oh--er-- really." Then you'll smile very sweetly and say, "I beg your pardon, was it Mr. BAXTER?" And he'll say, "Yes!" and you'll say, "Oh, I beg your pardon, sir; this way, please."
BETTY. Yes, ma'am.
BELINDA. That's right, Betty. Well now, if Mr. Devenish calls--he is the rather poetical gentleman--
BETTY. Yes, ma'am; the one who's always coming here.
BELINDA (with a pleased smile). Yes. Well, if he calls you'll say, "Not at home."
BETTY. Yes, ma'am.
BELINDA. He'll immediately (extending her arms descriptively) throw down his bunch of flowers and dive despairingly into the moat. You'll stop
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