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LOVE IN TWO SUITS

A ONE-ACT PLAY FOR A DRAMA FESTIVAL

BY

BILL STANTON

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

REX DIAMOND
VICTORIA DIAMOND, his wife
JACKIE DIAMOND, their daughter
JOHNNY SPADE
QUEENIE SPADE, his mother
A JOKER, as Prologue and Epilogue

(THE PLAY OPENS TO DRAWN CUTAINS, AND THE SOUND OF ORGAN MUSIC OF A DECIDEDLY RELIGIOUS FLAVOUR. THE CURTAINS PART, ENOUGH TO REVEAL THE FIGURE OF THE JOKER AS PROLOGUE. HE STEPS FORWARD INTO THE SPOTLIGHT AND BEGINS TO READ FROM A LARGE VOLUME, IN THE LUGURIOUS TONES AFFFECTED BY TOO MANY OF THE CLERGY).

JOKER: Dearly beloved, here beginneth the first chapter of the works of the Great Hoyle; In the beginning Hoyle created the pack. And the pack was without form and void, and darkness lay upon the face of the cards. And Hoyle saw the suits that they were good; and Hoyle divided the Red suits from the Black; and the Red suits he called Diamonds and Hearts, and the Black suits clubs and spades. And Hoyle made for them a Law. And the Law is right and just, namely this: Thou shalt at all times follow suit. Thou shalt not at any time revoke, neither shall a card of one suit be covered by a card of another suit except as my Law shall allow. And this Law shalt thou uphold until the Last Trump, or verily, verily thou shalt forfeit they hand. And Hoyle saw his work that it was good. And he rested for the space of one rubber. Here endeth the Lesson.

(THE CURTAINS CLOSE, TO OPEN AGAIN AT ONCE ON A TWO-DIMENSIONAL SITTING-ROOM IN THE HOME OF THE DIAMONDS. "TWO DIMENSIONAL" IS TO SAY THAT THE VARIOUS ITEMS OF FURNITURE ARE PAINTED ON CUT-OUTS OF HARDBOARD SO AS TO GIVE THE ILLUSION OF THREE DIMENSIONS. DO NOT TROUBLE YOURSELF TO ASK HOW THE CHARACTERS WILL CONTRIVE TO TIST ON SUCH FURNITURE; THEY AREN'T GOING TO SIT. ENTER REX DIAMOND, A MAN IN HIS MIDDLE YEARS AND RUUNING TO FAT MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY. LIKE ALL THE OTHER CHARACTERS IN THE PLAY HE WEARS A STIFF TABARD BEARING HIS OWN DEVICE, AND LOOKS LIKE A PLAYING CARD).

REX: Where is my chariot? Where's my Mini-car?
Ah, what a sorry state of things is this
When that which I have purchased with my sweat
Is not mine to enjoy. What ho! I Say,
Where is my car?

(VICTORIA ENTERS AND CROSSES QUICKLY TO PACIFY HIM)

VICTORIA: My dear, my dear, be calm!
No harm has come, nor shall harm come, to it;
It will be here, and in sufficient time
To take me to the market, as though promisedst;
Our daughter, Jackie, has but even now
Ta'en present ue of it to meet her love.

REX: Her love? Her love? What is youth coming to
That love requires such means for its pursuit?
The time has been when though and I wert young
I walked three leagues to see thee!

VICTORIA: Aye, 'tis true!
How far wouldst thou walk now?

REX: What's that to th'point?
My limbs were stronger then.

VICTORIA: Aye me, in sooth!"
Indeed, indeed thou mayest say that again.

REX: Beshew thee, wife, wouldst thou put back the clock,
Relive old miseries, reopen wounds,
Give up the comforts of our present life
And live again in erstwhile poverty?

VICTORIA: Nay, that I'd not, my husband, never fear!
But how can I forget tht such times were
That thou'dst have given a kingdom for my hand?

REX: And so I did, or so it seems to me
For taxes are so sore and prices high
They cost me half a kingdom every year.
Full of romantic nonsense is they head;
Canst thou not see what any mole could see
That thou hast all that any wife could ask?

VICTORIA: All? All? Aye, all. All but the little things,
The trifles men despise and we hold dear;
Thou canst not see that which is clear as day -
They daughter's happiness weighs in the scale
Less than thy car.

REX: Oh aye, that's easily said!
Less than my car indeed! Would that we all!
Me thinks a man is but a fool to spend
His hard-won wealth to make a daughter glad,
To pay driving-master sums of gold,
And all for what? That she may take his car
And go to meet her love! Who is this man?

VICTORIA: This man?

REX: Aye, he. What is his rank and style?

VICTORIA: Nay, that I do not know.

REX: Thou dost not know?

VICTORIA: No.

REX: Can my ears deceive me? Dost not know?
My daughter in my car, and with some man,
And dost not know?

VICTORIA: Why man, beshrew theyself!
Wast thou then never in a car with me
When we were young and heedless and in love?

REX: Yea, verily, and therefor do I fear!
Think what our daughter and this man may do -
Or not do - which is worse I dare not think -

VICTORIA: Go to, she's gently reared and knows her worth!
She will not dally with a man of straw
Nor yield too easily the precious pearl
Which makes her maiden. Nay, she has more sense.

REX: I pray to Hoyle thou'rt right. Yet when I see
These children of today, in public squares,
In parks, playhouses, and the common streets,
Courting and kissing as he sparrows do,
And with no thought of shame to be thus seen,
Why then, methinks, I have good cause to fear!

VICTORIA: Nay, not for her! She loves her parents well,
And will not shame us with a sordid match;
Besides, she told me thus much ere she went,
She purposes this day to bring him here.

REX: To bring him here?

VICTORIA: Aye, here. And when he comes
I'd have thee courteous to him.

REX: Courteous?

VICTORIA: Aye!
Methinks she would not trouble to do this
Unless her heart were in it. It may be
That this man is her choice, and they will wed.

REX: Woman, thou'rt mad! My daughter? Wed? My child?
Why, she is but a child, as well thou know'st!

VICTORIA: My daughter, sir, is a full twelvemonth more
Thank I was when we wed. Go, trust in Hoyle!
And Hoyle may send thee, ere a twelvemonth hence
Another Diamond to enrich thy crown!

REX: A Diamond?

VICTORIA: Aye, a Diamond like to her
To call thee grandfather, and make thee proud
And give thee cause for bragging at thy club.

(SOUND OF A CAR SLOWING AND STOPPING IS HEARD OFF)

An I mistake not, here she comes in sooth,
And nothing done, and everything awry!

(SHE BUSIES HERSELF SETTING THE FURNITURE TO RIGHTS, WITH AN EFFECT BUT PERCEPTIBLE TO ANY BUT FEMININE EYES)

REX: Aye me. A wedding! How these women prate,
And never count the cost of anything!
A wedding! 'Twill play havoc with my gold!

(ENTER JACKIE DIAMOND AND JOHNNY SPADE. HE FOLLOWS CLOSE BEHIND HER, SO THAT HIS COSTUME IS NOT SEEN AT ONCE)

JACKIE: Mummy! Daddy! This is Johnny!

(SHE PRODUCES HIM AS FROM A HAT. HE WEARS THE TABARD OF THE KNAVE OF SPADES. THE EFFECT ON REX AND VICTORIA IS SHATTERING)

JOHNNY: How do you do, Mrs. Diamond? Good afternoon, sir!

(REX AND VICTORIA POINTEDLY IGNORE HIM)

JACKIE: Johnny's offered to give me some golf lessons. Isn't that nice of him?

JOHNNY: Sorry if we've kept you waiting, sir. For the car, I mean. I had to go up to the clubhouse, you see. To get some ladies' clubs, Or - or we'd have been back earlier …..

REX:(SPEAKING ONLY TO JACKIE)
It is no matter. My good wife and I
Have time enough before the market closes
To make our purchases, and still return
Betimes for dinner. So, wife, let's be gone.

JOHNNY: If you'll excuse me, I'll just get the clubs out of the boot. San't be a moment.

(HE GOES OUT, LOOKING PUZZLED. THE MOMENT HE IS OUT OF EARSHOT, REX OPENS FIRE)

REX: What means this daughter? Art thou then so blind,
So innocent of this world's charted ways.
To bring this man, this - Spade, into my house?

VICTORIA: It is not meet, my child, it is not meet
To mix with cards whose colour is not thine!
What will the neighbours say?

REX: What will they do
When they shall hear my daughter seeks to wed
With - ha! I cannot speak the word! With - him!

JACKIE: But daddy! -

REX: Be silent, child, and let they father speak! -
For, mark my words, I'll brook no argument -
I do forbid the match!

JACKIE: The match? Whatever are you - ?

VICTORIA: Oh, Jackie, daughter, heed they father's words!
These Spades are not as us! Their colour's black!
And 'tis well known they do not smell the same!

JACKIE: Mummy! Daddy! Will you please listen to - ?

REX: No more! I'll hear no more! No, not a word!
Prayers shall not move me, nor a daughter's tears!
I say again, I do forbid the match!

VICTORIA: Oh, heed they father's words, my daughter dear!
It is not seemly so to -

(SHE BREAKS OFF AS JOHNNY RETURNS. REX AND VICTORIA PASS HIM AS THEY GO OUT WITHOUT A SIGN OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. HE LOOKS AFTER THEM AS THEY GO AND THEN BACK TO JACKIE IN BEWILDERMENT)

JOHNNY: I say, Jackie, what gives with the old man and your Mum? Is there something my best friend wouldn't tell me? Or is it my after-shave?

(JACKIE IS AT A LOSS FOR WORDS. FROM THIS MOMENT ON SHE BEGINS TO SEE JOHNNY IN A NEW LIGHT. IT IS CLEAR TO THE AUDIENCE THAT, FOR HIS PART, HE IS HED OVER EARS IN LOVE WITH HER)

Oh, I see! The car … He's mad at us for keeping the car. Keeping him waiting. That's it isn't it?

JACKIE: No…. No, it's not that. Not the car.

JOHNNY: What then?

JACKIE: The thought you were Ace.

JOHNNY: Ace? Me? Ace Hart? But, surely they know -

JACKIE: No, they haven't met him yet. That's what's wrong, I suppose. I - I was bringing him home to meet them. Today. But he had to go to a meeting.

JOHNNY: He would. I see. No, no, I don't. That wouldn't explain it. Your Mum and Dad looking at me as if I was a bad smell from the drains. Would it?

JACKIE: Yes, it would. You know what they're like. Parents. Any boy you bring home is your boy friend.

JOHNNY: So?

JACKIE: Don't you see? They think you're him! My - boyfriend …….

JOHNNY: Oh. Oh, I see (MEANINGLY) Chance would be a fine thing.
(JACKIE LOOKS AT HIM SHARPLY. SHE IS NOT QUITE SURE HOW TO DEAL WITH THIS SITUATION)

JACKIE: When I met you in the Square, and you offered to give me some golf lessons, I never thought -

JOHNNY: I get it. Ace was coming back with you for their approval?

JACKIE: Oh, no, no!

JOHNNY: They might have thought so, though?

JACKIE: Yes, I suppose so. No, they couldn't ….. Oh, you know what parents are like.

JOHNNY: So naturally they thought ….. Hmmm, I see. They don't approve. Of me, I mean. A Spade, and all that.

JACKIE: It's all so stupid!

JOHNNY: Stupid? Depends. (WITH MEANING) Do you think so?

JACKIE: Think what?

JOHNNY: That it's stupid.

JACKIE: Yes. Yes, of course. Of course I do.

JOHNNY: Well, that's something.

(THERE IS AN AWKWARD PAUSE, THEN BOTH BEGIN TO SPEAK TOGETHER)

JACKIE: Look, Johnny, I'm sorry about this -

JOHNNY: I thought there was something -

(THEY BOTH STOP, AND LISTEN)

JACKIE: I'm sorry. (PAUSE) No, I'm not. I'm good and mad. I've a good mind to -

JOHNNY: Yes?

JACKIE: I've a good mind to teach them a lesson. Yes, that's it. I will. Johnny, I've got an idea. You'll help me, won't you?

JOHNNY: I'll hear what it is first, if you don't mind.

JACKIE: Oh, there's nothing wrong about it. I just thought we might go along with them. Let 'em think you are my boy friend …

JOHNNY: (QUIETLY) I don't dig that, Jackie. I'd do a lot for you - for a friend, that is, but -

JACKIE: Oh, come on, Johnny, be a sport. It won't hurt us.
(JOHNNY REACTS) And it might teach them a thing or two. Please, Johnny, for me ….

JOHNNY: Weell … If you're sure -

JACKIE: Oh yes. They're dears, of course, and ever so nice really. But I do get tired sometimes of their square ideas and their pompous sort of talk.

JOHNNY: It is a bit grotty, isn't it? Still, old people are like that. Always using two words where one would be plenty. You just have to go along with them.

JACKIE: Oh nonsense! You don't agree with them, do you? Or is it because I'm too repulsive?

JOHNNY:(ALMOST SPEECHLESS) You know it's not that.

JACKIE: All right, then. (SHE SENSES HIS EMBARASSMENT WITHOUT REALLY UNDERSTANDING ITS CAUSE). Now, what about that golf lesson?

JOHNNY: Right. (CROSSES TO THE BAG OF CLUBS). Let's start with a driver. Here, take the club. Right hand here. (HE TOUCHES HER HAND TO PLACE IT ON THE CLUB AND THE EFFECT ON HIM IS EVIDENT IN HIS VOICE). Left hand above the club - I mean above the right hand. Here. Feet so … (DEMONSTRATING) Now, carry the club head back. No, not up. Back. Across here like this. Feet firm. Let you left, er knee come in a little. Like this. Now the clubhead comes round. No, not up. Round. More across your -er, back sort of …. (BY NOW HE IS ALL BUT INCOHERENT)

JACKIE: (LOOKING AT HIM AS IF TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE REASON FOR HIS STRANGE MANNER). Oh, I do feel awkward. I'll never manage it. My hands feel all wrong. And my feet. Look Johnny, aren't you supposed to come behind me and sort of hold my hands steady?

(JOHNNY IS NOW QUITE UNABLE TO SPEAK, AND THE NEXT LITTLE SCENE IS PLAYED ENTIRELY IN MIME. GINGERLY HE PUTS HIS ARMS ROUND HER AND HOLDS HER HANDS. PUZZLED BY HIS SILENCE, SHE TURNS HER HEAD TO LOOK AT HIM. THEIR HEADS ARE VERY CLOSE, AND JOHNNY HASTILY KISSES HER CHEEK. SHE GRASPS THE SITUATION AT LAST AND BREAKS AWAY)

JACKIE: Oh no, Johnny, please!

JOHNNY: I'm sorry, I'm sorry. (PAUSE) No, am I hell as like. I'm glad. Glad. I mean I'm - glad you know. I've been nuts about you for ages!

JACKIE: Johnny, don't please!

JOHNNY: I know, I know. I'm a Spade. Not to be thought of for a minute!

JACKIE: It's not that! It's not!

JOHNNY: Isn't it?

JACKIE: No, it's not! You ought to know me better than that!

JOHNNY: Then it's Ace Hart. It's a good match, I know.

JACKIE: Why does everyone have to talk about a match? Honestly, it's disgusting. As if I was a - a … Oh, why can't people leave me alone? I was only bringing him to meet Mummy and Daddy! I thought Ace would get on well with Daddy …

JOHNNY: Dead right he would! Then why isn't he here? Another of his meetings, eh? Catch me giving up a chance to be with Jackie Diamond for the sake of a stuffy old meeting. Anyway, I'm glad it's out. At least I know where I stand now. And I don't have to go on with you play-acting idea. (ROUGHLY) it wasn't such a good idea, was it?

JACKIE: I'm sorry, Johnny. It was horrid of me. But I - I didn't know.

JOHNNY: Oh, that's all right. Think nothing of it. You'll have to find another teacher, that's all.

(JACKIE IS BEGINNING TO REGAIN HER COMPOSURE, AND EVEN TO ENJOY THE SITUATION A LITTLE)

JACKIE: Yes, I suppose so. Pity, really. I rather liked being a pupil.

JOHNNY: (SAVAGELY) What's that supposed to mean? Look, I'm going.

JACKIE: Oh, don't do that.

JOHNNY: What is there to stay for? Sorry, Jackie, all or nothing, that's me. Goodbye. I won't say "I'll be seeing you", because I won't.

(HE GOES OUT, IN HIS HASTE FORGETTING THE CLUBS. JACKIE IS LEFT STANDING, QUITE AT A LOSS. SHE NOTICES THE CLUBS AND MOVES AS IF TO FOLLOW HIM. THEN SHE SEEMS TO BECOME AWARE OF HER LOSS, AND RUNS WILDLY FROM THE ROOM, WEEPING.
THE LIGHTS GO DOWN, AND COME UP ON THE SAME ROOM. REX ENTERS, BREATHING FIRE AND SLAUGHTER, FOLLOWED BY VICTORIA)

REX: I tell thee, wife, thy words will not avail,
Words will not move me, no, nor sighs nor tears;
I say again, I do forbid the match!

VICTORIA: Aye me, good husband, wilt thou never learn?
Canst thou not see that this will profit naught?
Thy daughter is a Diamond, like to thee!
Oppose her, and who knows what she will do?
There is a better way to compass this
Than by thy stern commandment "Thou shalt not!"

REX: My stern commandment? Why, what have I said
Or done, that any father would not do?
Methinks I am a reasonable man
Who merely seeks his daughter's happiness!

VICTORIA: True, true, my love, I know thou'rt kind and wise,
And generous to a fault, and good, and tru -
(ASIDE) May Heaven forgive me! (TO REX) Be persuaded then
That this is not the way to work thy will.

REX: How then?

VICTORIA: By guile, by stratagem, by stealth!
She'll not be overcome by force of will;
She may be wooed and won, but not o'er-powered;
Believe me, love, I know whereof I speak,
My skill is born of practice.

REX: Oh, With whom?

VICTORIA: Nay, that's beside the point. Suffice to say
That I am one well practis'd in the art.
If we forbid, it will but seal her will,
Harden her heart, and stiffen her resolve!
Now call her in, and leave the rest to me.

(REX GOES TO THE DOOR)

REX: Jackie! What ho! What ho, daughter, I say!

(HE RETURNS, TO BE FOLLOWED BY A DISPIRITED JACKIE)

JACKIE: What is it, Daddy?

REX: This man - this …. Spade -

VICTORIA: Husband! Now, husband, please!
Jackie, my dear, we would have words with thee;
Thou know'st thy happiness is all we seek;
Thy chosen man shall be our chosen man
And shall be welcome, whomsoe'er he is.

REX: Whoe'er he is, I say!
If he do love thee, and he's honourable,
We'll welcome him and love him for thy sake;
But this we ask, and charge thee tell us straight
If he do love thee truly.

JACKIE: Yes, he does. At least he says he does.

VICTORIA: And what of thee? Dost thou too love the man?

JACKIE: Of course not! Whatever gave you such a silly idea? He's - It's not like that! He's just a - a friend! We just - like the same things, that's all. We're just - friends ….

VICTORIA: Methinks, my girl, thou dost protest o'ermuch!
They cheeks do give the lie to what thou sayest!
I fear 'tis true, and thou dost love the man -

REX: Love, dost thou say? What folderol is this?
I tell thee, wife - nay, listen! I'll not bear it!
I say again, I do forbid the match!

VICTORIA: Husband, forsooth! Go, leave this thing to me -
In love, se says! And with a damned Spade!

JACKIE: Oh, Daddy, he's not! He's not! He's - nice!

(SHE RUNS FROM THE ROOM AGAIN IN TEARS)

VICTORIA: Now, husband, pray behold what thou hast done!

REX: Nay, by my troth! I've hardly yet begun!

VICTORIA: Oh, peace! I'll go and comfort her, and say
She must not take her father seriously!

REX: Not take me seriously? No more o' that!
She needs no counsel, wife, upon that score!
I do protest that not since she was weaned
Has she e'er listened to a word of mine!
But (RAISING HIS VOICE) hear me now! I will not be gainsaid!
I say again, I do forbid the match!

(SOUND OF DOORBELL, REPEATED AFTER A SHORT PAUSE)

Hoyle's teeth! Will not one answer to the door?

(BELL RINGS AGAIN)

What ho, there! Go to the door, I say!

(BELL RINGS AGAIN, LONGER THIS TIME)

REX(CONTINUED): Aye me! All deaf! So, he who keeps a dot
Must learn to bark himself. It is the fashion.

(HE GOES OUT, TO RETURN ALMOST IMMEDIATELY WITH QUEENIE SPADE. SHE IS A VIVACIOUS AND ATTRACTIVE WIDOW IN THE PRIME OF LIFE, AND HER EFFECT ON REX IS DEVASTATING)

QUEENIE: I'm sorry to burst in like this, you understand. I do hope you'll forgive me!

(VICTORIA APPEARS AT THE DOOR, AND THERE IS IMMEDIATE HOSTILITY BETWEEN THE TWO WOMEN, THOUGH BOTH TRY TO HIDE IT)

Oh Mrs. Diamond, is it? I was just saying to your husband - what a charming man he is - ! that I do hope you'll forgive me!

(HRRMPH! AND MOUSTACHE-TWIRLING FROM REX)

Dropping in on you like this without warning - I wouldn't like you to think I made a habit of it - !

VICTORIA: Yes?

QUEENIE: Oh, dear, this is so embarrassing!

VICTORIA: Well?

QUEENIE: It's about - well, it's about your daughter!

VICTORIA: Our daughter?

QUEENIE: Yes. And my son.

(JACKIE APPEARS AT THE DOOR, UNNOTICED)

I saw them this morning. Quite by chance, of course. In the High Street.

VICTORIA: Yes?

QUEENIE: But surely you see - ?

VICTORIA: Yes?

QUEENIE: It's quite out of the question, of course. Quite out of the question.

REX: Nay, nay dear lady, do not speak in riddles!
What is't that's out o' the question?

QUEENIE: Oh, Mr. Diamond! That gorgeous old world manner!

(THIS IS THE END OF REX AS A SEIOUS CONTESTANT)

VICTORIA: Well?

QUEENIE: Now don't misunderstand me, Mrs. Diamond. I'm no snob. Not in the least. I pride myself that I'm very broad-minded. I'm quite sure she's a delightful girl. Pretty, too. But you must see -

REX: Nay, then, I must be blind, for I don't see!

VICTORIA: She means to say our daughter is below hom!

REX: Below him? Who? Why dost thou babble thus?

VICTORIA: Peace, man! And let her speak, and to the point!

(JOHNNY APPEARS UNNOTICED AT THE OTHER DOOR. CLEARLY HE PLANS TO SLIP IN AND RETRIEVE HIS CLUBS, BUT HE REMAINS STANDING AT THE DOOR AS HE CATCHES THE DRIFT OF THE ARGUMENT)

QUEENIE: I will! You must appreciate that John comes of very good stock. His father was - well, he held very high rank. And you know, I'm sure, that a Spade has always been rated higher than a Diamond.

REX: What's that?

VICTORIA: Forsooth, man, leave the thing to me!
(SARDONICALLY) Canst thou not see, she does forbid the match?
Our daughter is not good enough for her
Nor for her son, so she forbids the match!

(JACKIE TURNS SADLY AWAY, AND MOVES AS IF TO GO. THE MOVEMENT CATCHES JOHNNY'S EYE AND HE MOVES TO STOP HER. WHILE THE ENSURING ARGUMENT PROCEEDS HE TURNS HER TO FACE HIM AND THEY LOOK INTO EACH OTHER'S EYES. THEN THEY KISS, TURN TO LOOK AT THE OTHER THREE WHO ARE TOTALLY ABSORBED IN THEIR WRANGLING, SAKE THEIR HEADS, KISS AGAIN, AND GO OUT TOGETHER WITH LINKED ARMS. ALL THIS TIME THE OTHER THREE CHARATERS HAVE BEEN SPEARKING IN UNISON, ALL LOUDLY, AND NONE LISTENING TO THE OTHERS, SO THA THE RESULT IS A HIGH-PITCHED BABBLE. AS SOON AS THE LOVERS HAVE DEPARTED, THE CURTAINS CLOSE SLOWLY ON THE BATTLE, WHICH MINGLES WITH ACTUAL BATTLE-SOUNDS, WHICH IN TURN GRADUALLY DIE AWAY. THE CURTAINS OPEN A LITTLE WAY TO REVEAL THE JOKER, AGAIN WITH THE GARLE VOLUME OF THE WORKS OF HOYLE)

REX: Will someone tell me what is going on?
It seems tome a man should have some say
In his own house. But none pays heed to me!
I'm sure I know not what we're coming to!
The times were better when I was a youth;
We had respect, and discipline, and - oh
The finer things that youth today forgets
Or values not. But mark you well my words!
'Twill be a sorry world if we forsake
The values that have made us what we are,
Tolerant, Hoyle-fearing, proud, - yet humble too!
But youth today! Stuffed full of self-conceit!
Ye gods! Their hair! Their clothes! Mere popinjays!
Thank Hoyle, we were not so when we were young!
But let us pray that age will mend their ways
Or by my troth, we'll see some parlous days!

QUEENIE: It's no good, Mrs. Diamond! There is such a thing as position, you know. Status. Noblesse oblige. You may think that things ought to be different. But that's the way the world is. I'm sure your daughter has been nicely brought up. But after all, she was brought up on a very different social sphere. Yes, I know there have been cases where women - outstanding women - have managed to rise to a higher social level. But colour is something altogether different. Whoever my son marries must be prepared to take on social duties and obligations. And at that level of society culture cannot quite overcome the disadvantages of colour, you know. So I'm very sorry, but I have to say that this is an alliance which I simply cannot countenance. Not under any circumstances!

VICTORIA: Now you listen to me, Mrs. Space. If you think for one moment that I have the slightest intention, the slightest intention of allowing my daughter to associate with you son, you're very much mistaken! We may be only Diamonds, but, my goodness, we have our pride! As a matter of fact, she's as good as engaged at this very moment to one of the very best of the Hart family. She's only to say the word. He's asked her literally dozens of times to name the day. Dozens of times! So don't you think for one moment that my Jackie needed to give your son the slightest encouragement. He forced himself on her, he did, offering to give her golf lessons, and I know not what else, I ell you, she never gave him the slightest encouragement! Never!

(THE CURTAINS CLOSE AND REOPEN TO REVEAL THE JOKER)

JOKER: Dearly beloved, our closing lesson tonight is taken from the Book of Revelations of Hoyle, Chapter Seven, beginning at the first verse: And I saw a new game, and a new pack, for the former things were passed away.

(HE STOPS, PUZZLED, AND READS THE WORDS AGAIN, ALMOST TO HIMSELF)

What's that? I saw a new game, and a new pack, for the former things were passed away?

(HE LOOKS AT THE AUDIENCE, AND BACK TO THE BOOK)

A new game?

(HE LOOKS AT A PACK OF CARDS IN ONE HAND, PUTS THE BOOK DOWN, AND BEGINS TO INSPECT THE CARDS)

A new game, and a new pack? For the former things have passed away?

(HE CLOSES THE PACK, AND WITH A LOOK OF RELIEF THROWS THEM AMONG THE AUDIENCE, SHOUTING WITH DELIGHT)

Hooray! And about time too!

(HE STEPS BACK BETWEEN THE CURTAINS, THE CURTAINS CLOSE, AND WE HAVE REACHED...


THE END

OR, PLEASE HOYLE, THE BEGINNING!