SH: Ho Hum! He’s got no shirt on. This means a passionate scene. This is the cover.
DD: Run and play, youngsters.
SH: Well, at least he doesn’t call them brats any more.
First Charge: I hope you are not dismissing her, Papa? [Second charge
DD: Only as governess. I will offer her a position far worthier of her talents. No questions. Run along.
Charges: Oh good! We can go to being spoilt brats instead of neglected treasures. [They run off.}
[Now sounds a burst of organ music ]
DD: Eh, what’s that? Oh, it’s my late wife making her presence known. [shouts] I hope that’s OK with you, dearest? Damn, anachronism, I know. Give me the electric shock and get it over with. [refuses to wince as he takes his punishment]
SH: Whatever can Your Grace mean?
DD: [attempts to smile, but is too used to giving bitter grimaces to pull it off]
SH: Heavens! I hope you are not taken ill, Sir?
DD: My dear one: you cannot be unaware of the reason why I have changed form a morose, monosyllabic misanthrope to a man who sees a purpose in life.
SH: [twinkling] At least in the Regency era, it won’t be because he has been reading Hay House tripe. I know, anachronism: ouch!
DD: This is very hard for me; it goes against my nature, to admit what I have come to feel…
SH: [encouragingly] Whatever can Your Grace mean? You spoke of promoting me?
[Crash of lightning. Enter the footman]
Footman: [who is, of course, a demoted ex-hero] Stop! I won’t have it! She’s my heroine, not yours, you beetle browed brute!
DD: Go to the devil, you low born cur.
Footman: I cannot stand quietly by and see a delightful maiden duped. This man is a whatchacallit- you know, the name for people who murder their wives –
DD: [with a bitter smile] Murderer will do, fellow.
[Wraith of late wife, arriving with a flash of lightning] Oh no, he isn’t!
Footman: Oh yes, he is!
DD: Please, my dearest, stop! You fellow, silence! I refuse to have my Proposal Scene descend into vulgar pantomime.
Footman: [brandishes sword] I’ll kill you first!
[Wraith, gliding between them] Oh, no!
DD: You and whose army? I know, anachronism. [refuses to wince as he suffers the inevitable electric shock] Anyway, I didn’t kill my beloved Matilda, for all that we quarreled bitterly. She slipped on the stairs. And that sword’s an anachronism, how come you’re being let off?
Footman: I took it from one of the suits of armour.
SH: Oh, do go away, dear. I’ll marry you immediately you get promoted again. That’s probably only three books from now. Authors do like to use your type.
DD: There will always be a demand for the Mean and Moody emotionally challenged type as long as so many women readers have bad taste.
SH: Well, I don’t. So let’s make this a wrap. I know, anachronism! Ouch.
[Footman Ex hero goes off] Oh, very well.
DD: [shouts after him] Go and clean the closets, scrub! [Drops down on his knees] Ah, will you be mine, dearest? I count your connections with trade as a mere nothing to your charm and liveliness, my dearest, sweetest –
[Wraith of ex wife] I give you my blessing. [vanishes]
DD: She releases me. Will you marry me?
SH: I will.
[DD jumps up and they kiss]
Author: The End.
DD: What? That’s it?
SH: That’s it. This is a ‘sweet’ romance. No naughtiness beyond a chaste kiss.
DD: Well, damn me! Getting my hands on you was the only thing that kept me going.
Author: Now, what for my next? I know! A Dastardly Duke who courts a Spirited Heroine! And I’ll set it in Regency England!
[DD seizes SH’s hand and they begin to run]
SH: Not me either. I’m having a go at being a female detective for my next!
Horse [who is, of course, an ex hero of the 1970 Vintage Rapist variety, demoted as he deserves) How about me?
Author: [turning up her nose] In your dreams, Dobbin! [Footman approaches] Oh, all right, you then…