I've made up my mind at last. I'll throw convention to
the winds and show the world that I'm a new woman. I'll do it--I'll do
it to-night! I'll propose to Reginald Brady. [A little faster.]
I've considered the question from every possible stand-point and I've
come to the conclusion that a girl of to-day has just as much right to
propose marriage as a man has. For centuries the poor girl has had to
sit quietly by waiting for a man to snap his fingers before she can say,
"Thank you!" Now, I'll do the snapping! Reginald has been calling
on me three times a week for the past year--but [Sadly] never a
word about love, never a thrill or a hand-clasp, never a syllable about
matrimony. I can't stand it any longer, and I won't. To-night is my chance.
I am to escort him to the Leap Year Ball at the Country Club and I intend
to ask him right out, pointblank, to marry me. Am I right? I'll say so.
[Pause] I wonder if he'll take it as a joke. He can't; it's a tragedy.
He'll read tragedy in my voice, in my face. I'd die if he didn't take
it seriously, but of course he will. I wonder if I'm feverish. [Looks
in small pocket mirror.] I am, I know I am. My face is flushed, and
I'm hot and my heart is beating like everything. But my mind is made up.
To-night I'll make a leap year leap. I'll propose on the veranda overlooking
the lake. [Pulls a large chair forward.] He'll be sitting there
and I'll be sitting here. [Pulls small chair close to large chair.]
No, I'll be closer than that. [Puts small chair closer to large chair.]
I'll start by resting my hand on the arm of his chair, like that. No,
that isn't careless enought. That's better. Wait a minute, I'll have to
have a Reginald. [Places a pillow in large chair and puts a man's hat
on it.] Hello, Reggy! It's not a very striking likeness, but it's
the best I can do. Ah! [Sentimentally] Isn't the moon bright tonight,
Reginald? [Pause] Don't you just adore a moonlight night? [Pause]
Yes, so do I. It makes me so sentimental. [Pause] Don't you feel
sentimental, too? The moon shining on the lake, and the music, and the
perfume of the roses, and everything. [With a long, audible sigh.]
Ohhh! it's just heavenly. [Pause] Oh, no, I'm not the least bit
chilly. Chilly? Why, I'm burning up. [Sentimentally] 'Twas on such
a night as this that what-cha-call her stood on the banks and waved a
willow wand at Cypress. A night for romance, a night for love. [Matter-of-fact
tone.] That isn't very good. It doesn't seem to lead to anything.
No, it's too much introduction. I'll start right in at the critical moment.
[Deep, sepulchral voice.] Reginald! [Normal voice.] Oh,
no, that would probably scare him to death. [High, throaty voice.]
Reginald, dear! [Normal.] Too high, he'd think I'd seen a mouse
or something. Er-- [Clears throat] hum! Reginald! That's much better.
Reginald, the subject I am about to introduce will probably cause you
some surprise. [To audience.] I should think it would. [To dummy.]
But I trust it will cause you some feeling of joy. You surely must have
learned during the past year--during the past year--you must have learned--that
I--that you--that we--both of us--during the past year [Clears throat]
hem! You must have learned-- [To audience.] Oh, fudge, I can't
make it sound natural, at all. [In a confidential tone to the dummy.]
Say, Reggy, you and I seem to hit it off awfully well together. We've
seen a lot of each other during the past year and we always get on like
a house afire, you and I. I was just wondering why we couldn't always
get on that way together, all through life, I mean, until death do us
part. You know what I mean. [To audience.] That's splendid. [To
dummy.] I never cared for any other man the way I care for you, Reginald.
Don't you care a little for me, too? If you do, why don't you say so,
and make me the happiest----! [Rises suddenly in alarm, as the maid
is supposed to have entered the room.] Who's there? Mercy, is that
you, Marie? I wish you would knock before you enter my room. [Pause]
You did knock? Well, knock louder. I didn't hear you. I was
just ... rehearsing a little scene from a play. Please don't giggle. I
must say, Marie, that you giggle more than any maid we ever had in the
house. There's nothing at all to giggle at. What do you want? [Pause]
A letter--for me? A special delivery? Oh. Thank you. [Pantomimes looking
at the envelope.] Reggy's writing! Oh, he must be sick or something.
[Opens letter and reads it.] Oh! [Reads some more.] Well,
I never! [Reads some more, registering delight; reads a few lines aloud.]
--have long loved you! [Gives a long audible sigh and reads some more.]
--marry me at once. Oh, it's a proposal. Reginald has proposed. [Long
sigh of relief.] Thank goodness. [Goes toward entrance and calls.]
Marie, Marie, get my wrap. No, I can't wait. I'll have to telephone. [At
door.] Get Central for me, Marie, right away, and call up Mr. Brady.
I have something very important to tell him over the phone. [Ecstatically.]
Oh, Reginald! [Exit.]
Credits: Reprinted from Bran' New Monologues. Walter Ben Hare. Boston:
Walter H. Baker & Co., 1920.
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