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The Rivals

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Scene I—Jool’s room. [JOOL alone.]

JOOL I’m worried sick! Has there been some kind of accident? Why is it so important that she speaks to me alone?—Oh Faulkland!—always so much drama, just when I could really do without it. [Enter FAULKLAND.]

JOOL Faulkland, what’s happened? Why all this mystery?

FAULKLAND It’s bad news — I’m sorry! — I’m going to have to go away for a while.

JOOL Oh no! Why?

FAULKLAND I’m in trouble — big trouble. No no, don’t worry. It’s my own fault. I was so upset when I left you, I got into a fight and — now I have to get out of Wellspring, get far away. Oh Jool, to go on the run and without you —

JOOL Oh, this is awful: if the circumstances weren’t so dreadful, I would welcome the chance to prove — but of course I’ll come with you! As soon as we're safe, we'll find a priest and be paired at last, never again to part. Then you will have a loving husband to take care of you and help you regain your peace of mind.

FAULKLAND Oh Jool! How can I ever thank you? But we don't have much time — you must decide now or it'll be too late. If only you had a few hours to think it over — to consider what you would lose and how little you would gain —

JOOL I don't need time. No, Faulkland, I want to be with you — besides, we’ve been betrothed for so long that our disappearing together will surprise no one. But we should go — what if someone comes for you?

FAULKLAND Oh, no, I shouldn’t go out til after dark — but I can’t help feeling dreadful about putting you through all this!

JOOL I don’t know the law — maybe your sheep and land will be forfeit? But that doesn’t matter. I have what mother left me, and I can teach some more, maybe get a few gigs — it’ll be okay!

FAULKLAND Yes but under pressure — pushing down on me, pressing down on you — I may become so morose and moody that there will be no living with me! — Perhaps the guilt of my crime will make me resent your attention and care!

JOOL That’s all the more reason why you’ll need someone to take care of you. I couldn’t bear the thought of you feeling like that, all alone!

FAULKLAND Oh Jool, finally! — now I see and understand! This stupid necessary trick — I’ve been such a fool, but never again, I promise you!

JOOL What do you mean? — there’s been no disaster?

FAULKLAND I admit — I made it up; but please understand — I can never do it again, you know — if you can pity and forgive your Faulkland, we can get a fresh license and pair as soon as the registrar can take us —

JOOL Wait, Faulkland!—gods know that I’m glad you aren’t a criminal! But that you could doubt me enough to do this? It’s hurt me more than I can ever express —


JOOL Let me finish — my mother thought the world of you, Faulkland! — and you saved my life, her only child; by her sickbed I promised myself and everything I had to you—joyfully, because you already had my love. When she died, I still had you. You became my everything. That’s why I’ve put up with so much from you. I won’t list the ways that you’ve hurt me, but —

FAULKLAND I know!! But Jool —

JOOL After a year of separation and patience, I might have hoped that I had been tested enough — this, so cruel, so unnecessary! But I see now that you’re incapable of feeling contentment or confidence in my love. And that’s why we must end this now. I had hoped that patience and love would win you round, but I see that it does nothing. And I can’t be harsh with you — that might work, but it’s not my way —

FAULKLAND No, but, Jool, I swear – if I ever do anything like this again —

JOOL Just one more thing. I love you and I always will, although we can never be together. I only hope you will be happy someday, really I do. For my sake, if not your own, you’ve got to change this behaviour! We could have been so happy but for this — — [Exit.]

FAULKLAND He’s gone—this is it!—He really means it! I’m paralysed — Oh fool!—idiot!—monster! The dregs of humanity — but blessed to have an angel by my side. And I’ve driven him away! Oh, I need to go! It should be my duel, not Jak’s! It would be only justice. Love has tested me — shown me for what I am — and I’ve failed. I guess I’m just too sensitive for this — [Exit.] [Enter LYD and SERVANT.]

SERVANT Oh! Mr Melville was here just now — I’ll go see if I can find him. [Exit.]

LYD It’s simply ridiculous! I just can’t get Jak out of my head. I’ve got a dreadful feeling that I still love her. I’m still furious though —Where’s Jool? I need him to talk me into forgiving her — [Re-enter JOOL.] Oh Jool, I’ve had such a shitty day — Hey, what's up with you? You look like terrible!—Has Faulkland been tormenting you again?

JOOL No no, it’s not that!—It’s something or nothing. I’m probably just tired — [Aside.] It’s nobody else’s business, not even family.

LYD Hmph well, I bet this will be worse! Wait til you hear this. You know who Beverley has turned out to be?

JOOL I’ll stop you there, Lyd — Faulkland told me all about it some weeks back. That’s the only reason I didn’t try to talk you out seeing her in the first place. If Captain Absolute had really been a penniless mercenary, I couldn’t have stood by and watched you get into trouble.

LYD Oh, great, so everyone’s been lying to me? Well, it doesn’t matter — it’s all ruined now.

JOOL Come on, Lyd—

LYD Well, isn’t it unfair? Just when I thought I could finally tell The Man where to stick it, I end up being just another lawful acquisition! It was going to be such a dramatic elopement too! — stylish disguise!— rope ladder !— roar of engine! —smell of leather!— imagining Uncle Malaprop’s face when he found out!—the scandal in the newspapers!—Oh, I shall die with disappointment!

JOOL Poor Lyd —

LYD Now—quite the opposite!—what have I to expect now but a designer suit and four pages in Hello! Magazine — Lyd Languish’s society wedding to Captain Absolute! Oh to think I’d ever be such a square!

JOOL Tragic!

LYD It IS tragic! Especially when I think of the exciting dramatic dates we used to have. How she would climb up to my balcony on moonlit nights like a ninja. I would wake in the morning to a lingering scent of Poison on the pillow and a box of chocolate-covered crickets by the window. Ah, Jool, that was something like love.

JOOL Oh Lyd, I would normally just laugh at you. But after today, I ask you — beg you – if you’re fortunate enough to have someone who truly loves you, don’t play around with their feelings. Trust me, I know how much that hurts.

LYD Oh no, what’s Uncle doing here? [Enter Mr. MALAPROP, FANG, and DOLORES.]

MALAPROP So! so! here's fine mess!—a Klingazon bloodbath and Boss Anthoni nowhere to be found!

JOOL For Heaven's sake, sir, what's going on?

MALAPROP That lady can tell you—it was her that told me.

LYD [To FANG.] What’s the news, ma’am?

FANG Sir, I would consider myself no lady at all if I wasted any time in conveying such important news to a young gentleman as deeply and personally involved in the business as you are.

LYD What is it? Tell me quick!

FANG True, sir, as you say, one should be concise in breaking news of this kind; for should we string it out, perhaps before we reach the end of the sentence, two or three lives may be lost!

LYD Grant me patience!—Uncle, for Heaven's sake! — tell us what is the matter!

MALAPROP Why, battle’s the matter! slaughter's the matter! killing's the matter!—but she’s got the technical details.

LYD Then please ma’am, keep it brief.

FANG Why, then, sir, as to battle — it don’t qualify unless there are more than two combatants —and as to slaughter, or manslaughter, that will depend on the jury.

LYD But who — who are the combatants?

FANG I’m sorry to say, one is a young lady whom I should be very sorry anything was to happen to — a very fine and gallant young lady — we have been good friends for many years.

LYD But who is this? Who? Who? Who?!

FANG My boss, sir—my boss — I speak of my boss.

LYD What, Captain Absolute?

MALAPROP Oh so, NOW he cares!

JOOL But who else are with her, ma’am?

FANG As to the rest, sir, this girl will tell you better than I can.

JOOL [To DOLORES.] Please tell us, miss!

DOLORES Oh sir—there's trouble, sir. Back in the country, folks would settle their differences with a good punch-up or maybe a welly throwing contest. I’m not used to this kind of trouble, with the blades and the Thunderdomes — this doesn’t look good to me, sir!

JOOL But who is there beside Captain Absolute, miss?

DOLORES My poor boss — forgive me for mentioning her first — you know me, sir — I’m Dolores — and my boss of course is, or was, Foodlander Acres. And then there’s Foodlander Faulkland —

JOOL Uncle, we’ve got to do something!

MALAPROP Oh no, we shouldn’t interfere in Klingazon disputes! It would be culturally insensitive!

DOLORES Oh do interfere, Mr. Uncle, save a few lives — they don’t know what they’re doing, believe me. Above all, there is that crazed troublemaker Lucky O'Trigger —

MALAPROP Miss Lucky O'Trigger? Oh charity! Have they drawn poor little dear Miss Lucky into the business? Why are you just standing there, boy? Have you no feelings?

LYD What should we do, Uncle?

MALAPROP Well, run! Run as fast as we can to stop this! Here, madam, the Thunderdome you say?

FANG Yes sir, I believe so — Dolores, you go and look for Boss Anthoni. [Exit DOLORES.]

MALAPROP Come on, you boys!

FANG One good thing is, we shall hear the sounds of fighting as we get near, so we can't well miss them — never fear, sirs, never fear. [Exeunt, she talking.]

* * * * * * *

Scene II—The South Parade. [Enter CAPTAIN ABSOLUTE, concealing her bat’leth under her coat.]

ABSOLUTE A Klingazon blade in the streets of Wellspring would cause as much panic as a two headed goanna — Dammit Faulkland!—always late! I’ll have to go without her at last — Oh, gods! here's Boss Anthoni! How can I dodge her? [Muffles up her face, and takes a circle to go off.] [Enter Boss ANTHONI ABSOLUTE.]

Boss ANTHONI That’s strange! I could have sworn that was Jak!—Hey! Dammit! it is.—Why, Jak, what are you hiding for? Hey! It is her! Hey Jak, Jak Absolute! [Goes up to her.]

ABSOLUTE Really, ma’am, you must’ve mistaken me — my name’s not Jak—I’m— I’m — Betsy-Ann.

Boss ANTHONI Oh, I beg your pardon—I thought you were my —hey?—what! it is—Wait a minute —[Looks up to her face.] Happy to make your acquaintance, Miss Betsy-Ann! You scheming madam, what frauds are you embroiled in now?

ABSOLUTE Oh, a joke, ma’am, just a joke! I came here to look for you, ma’am.

Boss ANTHONI You did? Well, I am glad you were so lucky. But what are you wrapped up so for?—what's this for, hey?

ABSOLUTE it’s chilly, ma’am, isn't it?—rather cold today — but I’ll be late—I have an appointment.

Boss ANTHONI Hang on, I thought you were looking for me?— where is it you’re going?

ABSOLUTE Going, ma’am?
Boss ANTHONI Yes, where are you going?

ABSOLUTE Where am I going?
Boss ANTHONI You unmannerly puppy!

ABSOLUTE I was going, ma’am, to—to—to—to Lyd—ma’am, to Lyd—to make matters up if I could;—and I was looking for you, ma’am, to—to—

Boss ANTHONI To go with you, I suppose — Well, come along.

ABSOLUTE Oh! Gods!! no, ma’am, not for the world!—I wished to meet with you, ma’am,—to—to—to—You find it chilly, I'm sure, ma’am—you'd better not stay out.

Boss ANTHONI Chilly!—not at all.—Well, Jak—and what will you say to Lyd?

ABSOLUTE Oh, ma’am, beg for forgiveness, humour him—promise and vow: but I’m keeping you out —think of the cold air on your gout.

Boss ANTHONI Oh, not at all!—Not at all! I'm in no hurry — Ah! Jak, you youngsters, one little bit of heartache — [Patting CAPTAIN ABSOLUTE's shoulder.] Hey! what the deuce have you got here?

ABSOLUTE Nothing, ma’am—nothing.

Boss ANTHONI What's this?—here's something damned hard.

ABSOLUTE Oh, shinies, ma’am! Shinies!—a gift for Lyd!

Boss ANTHONI Alright, let me see what you’ve got him.—[ Pulls her coat open, the bat’leth falls.] Shinies!—a gift for Lyd!—Dammit! girl, you are not going to run him through are you?

ABSOLUTE Ha! ha! ha!—I thought it would amuse you, ma’am, though I didn't mean to tell you till afterwards.

Boss ANTHONI You didn't?—Yes, this is a very amusing shiny, truly!

ABSOLUTE Ma’am, I'll explain to you.—You know, ma’am, Lyd is dramatic, very dramatic, and very absurd of course: now, ma’am, I intend, if he refuses to forgive me, to take this blade, and declare I'll stab myself, and die at his feet!

Boss ANTHONI Fall over your own feet more likely!—why, I suppose that might well impress him.—Get along, you fool!

ABSOLUTE Well, ma’am, you shall hear of my success—you shall hear.—Oh Lyd!— I don't know what to do anymore, except maybe die! says I.

Boss ANTHONI Oh, you clown! Die and welcome—says he.—Get along! and damn your shinies! [Exit CAPTAIN ABSOLUTE.] [Enter DOLORES, running.]

DOLORES Stop her! stop her! Murder! Thief! Fire!—Oh Boss Anthoni—call! call! make 'er stop! Murder! Fire!

Boss ANTHONI Fire! Murder!—Where?

DOLORES She’s out of sight! and I'm out of breath! Oh Boss Anthoni, why didn't you stop her? why didn't you stop her?

Boss ANTHONI Dammit! the girl’s mad!—Stop whom? stop Jak?

DOLORES Aye, the captain, ma’am!—there's battle and slaughter—

Boss ANTHONI Battle?

DOLORES Aye, truly, Boss Anthoni, there's all kinds of battle, all sorts of slaughter in the ring: there's fighting going on, ma’am—bloody slash-and-stab fighting!

Boss ANTHONI Who are going to fight, fool?

DOLORES Everybody I know of, Boss Anthoni:—everybody is going to fight, my poor boss, Miss Lucky O'Trigger, your daughter the captain—

Boss ANTHONI Oh, the little —! I see what she’s up to.—Do you know the place?

DOLORES The New Thunderdome.

Boss ANTHONI You know the way?

DOLORES Not a bit of it; but I'll call the council — constables—officials—the Grand Nagus hisself—we can't be too many to part them.

Boss ANTHONI Come along—give me your shoulder! we'll get help along the way— Oh the lying madam!—Well, I shall be in such a rage!—So—this was the truth behind her shinies! I'll gift her! [Exeunt.]

* * * * * * *
Scene III—The New Thunderdome. [Enter Miss LUCKY O'TRIGGER and Dag ACRES, each carrying bat’leth.]

ACRES Forty yards is a good distance, Lucky. I say it is a good distance.

LUCKY Pfft! A good distance for blades or for arrows? Just you leave those matters to me.—Wait a minute —I'll show you.—[ Measures paces along the stage.] There now, that is a very respectable distance—a good Klingazon distance.

ACRES Good gods! we might as well fight on a pinhead! Trust me, Lucky, the farther she is off, the surer I shall make my swing.

LUCKY Pfft! then I suppose you’d swing at her best of all if she was out of sight?

ACRES No, Lucky; but I do think forty or thirty-eight yards—

LUCKY What? nonsense! three or four feet between the edges of your blades is as good as a mile.

ACRES Good gods, no! There’s no merit in killing her so close up; do let me bring her down at a distance — a good long distance, Lucky, please.

LUCKY Well, Beverley’s second and I must settle that — But tell me now, Dag, in case of an accident, is there anything I could do for you?

ACRES That’s very nice of you Lucky —but I don't understand—

LUCKY Why, you may think there's no fighting without a little risk—and if an unlucky stab should bring a long sleep with it—I say it that would be no time to be bothering you about your funeral plans.

ACRES A long sleep!

LUCKY For instance, now—if that should be the case—would you rather be pickled and sent home?—or would it be the same to you to get composted in the Gardens? I'm told there are lovely plants and things in the Gardens.

ACRES Pickled!—Composted in the Gardens!—Good gods! Lucky, don't talk like that!

LUCKY I’m starting to think, Dag — you’ve never done this sort of thing before?

ACRES No, never.

LUCKY Ah! that's a pity!—there's nothing like being used to a thing.—Tell me, how would you receive the lady’s attack?

ACRES Oh! Yes!—I've practised that!—like this, Lucky —how’s that? [Puts herself in an attitude.] Warrior Two, hey? I'll make myself small enough: I'll stand edgeways.

LUCKY Now—you're quite wrong there —because if you stand so when I take my swing — [Backing up a few paces.]

ACRES Gods! Lucky!—careful with that thing!

LUCKY Don’t flinch —

ACRES But—but—you don't know—you may hit me!

LUCKY Oh alright then, relax!— I’ll go easy. Well, now if I hit you in the body like that, my stab has a double chance—if it misses a vital part of your right side, it’ll be very unlucky if it don't succeed on the left!

ACRES A vital part!

LUCKY But, there—stand like this—[repositioning her]—let her see your full front—there—now a blade or two may pass clean through your body, and never do any harm at all. Better! That’s why it’s called Warrior One.

ACRES Clean through me!—a blade or two clean through me!

LUCKY —and it’s the most intimidating stance too. Especially if you do a face like this.

ACRES Look, Lucky! —if I’m going to be run through, it hardly matters whether I’m the right position or not; so I’ll just stand edgeways, alright?

LUCKY [Looking at her watch.] Sure they don't mean to disappoint us?—Hah!—no—I think I see them coming.

ACRES Hey!—what? — coming? —

LUCKY Yeah. Coming through the turnstile. Is that them?

ACRES You’re right. Two of them!—well—let them come—hey, Lucky? we—we—we—we—won't run.


ACRES No—I say—we won't run!

LUCKY Hell’s the matter with you?

ACRES Nothing—nothing—my good friend—my dear Lucky —but I—I—I don't feel quite so furious, somehow, as I did.

LUCKY Oh come on now!—consider your honour.

ACRES Yeah—true—my honour. Do me a favour, Lucky, edge in a word or two every now and then about my honour.

LUCKY [Looking.] Well, here they're coming.

ACRES Lucky —if I wasn’t with you, I should almost think I was afraid.— If my fury should leave me!—Fury will come and go.

LUCKY Then keep a tight grip on it while you have it.

ACRES Lucky — I think it’s going—yes—my fury is certainly going!—it is sneaking off!—I feel it oozing out as it were at the palms of my hands!

LUCKY Your honour!—your honour! Here they are.

ACRES Oh gods! — I wish I was safe at Verdant Acres! or that I could be slaughtered quickly before I knew it was coming! [Enter FAULKLAND and CAPTAIN ABSOLUTE.]

LUCKY Ladies, your most obedient — Hah!—what, is that Captain Absolute? So, I suppose you’re here, just like myself—to do a favour for a friend—then to proceed to business on your own account?

ACRES What, Jak? my dear Jak? my dear friend!

ABSOLUTE Hi, Dag. Beverley's here.

LUCKY A civil greeting! Well, it’s better than a curse, since it saves the fighting spirit for the action.—[To FAULKLAND.] So, Beverley, if you'll choose your weapons, the captain and I will measure the ground.

FAULKLAND My weapons?

ACRES Good gods, Lucky! I'm not going to fight Foodlander Faulkland. These are my particular friends!

LUCKY What, then, did you not come here to fight Dag Acres?

FAULKLAND Not me, I promise you.

LUCKY Well, now, that’s disappointing! But come on now, Foodlander Faulkland, here’s the three of us ready for a fight. You wouldn’t be such a spoilsport as to ruin the numbers?

ABSOLUTE Oh go on, Faulkland, fight to oblige Miss Lucky.

FAULKLAND Alright, if Foodlander Acres is so set on it—

ACRES No, no — I'll bear my disappointment like a woman. Look here, Lucky, there's no need at all for me to fight; and if it’s all the same to you, I'd be just as happy to leave it.

LUCKY I don’t take my job as second lightly, Acres. You have certainly challenged somebody — and you came here to fight them. Now, if that lady is willing to represent them — I can't see, for the life of me, why it isn't just the same thing.

ACRES Wait no — Lucky — Listen, it’s Beverley I've challenged — a person that clearly doesn’t dare to show her face! — if she were here, I'd show her who’s boss!

ABSOLUTE Wait, Dag — let me set you right there — there is no such person as Beverley. I’m the one who went by that name; and as my intentions are the same in both characters, I’m ready to defend them in whatever way you ask.

LUCKY Well, that’s a stroke of luck! — Now you can—

ACRES What, fight my dear friend Jak Absolute?—no! not if she were fifty Beverleys! Good gods, Lucky, I’m not a monster!

LUCKY So you’ve lost your taste for duelling then?

ACRES Not at all! If you’re set on fighting, I'll second you with all my heart — if you should get a touch of the long sleep, I’m your woman. I'll get you composted; or pickle you and send you over to Blunderbuss Hall or anywhere you like, with the greatest pleasure.

LUCKY Pfft! You’re little better than a coward.

ACRES Hear that, friends? She called me a coward; coward was the word!

LUCKY And what do you propose to do about it?

ACRES Look here Lucky. It’s not that I mind the word coward — coward may be said in joke, friendly-like —But if you had called me mediocre, good gods—


ACRES I should have thought you very rude.

LUCKY Pfft! You’re beneath my notice.

ABSOLUTE Not at all, Miss Lucky — you couldn’t get a better second than my friend Acres — Fighting Dag, they call her back home. She generally kills one a week — don't you Dag?


LUCKY Well, then, captain, we should crack on — so out you come, my little Piecemaker — [ Draws her bat’leth] — and ask the lady to give up the young man. Because you’ll get very angry if she doesn’t, isn’t that right?

ABSOLUTE Alright Lucky, since you won't let us resolve this any other way, here's my reply [Draws]. [Enter Boss ANTHONI ABSOLUTE, DOLORES, Mr. MALAPROP, LYD, and JOOL.]

DOLORES Knock 'em all down, good Boss Anthoni; knock down my boss in particular; and clap ‘em all in irons til they put their weapons down!

Boss ANTHONI Drop ‘em, Jak, drop ‘em, or I shall be in a rage — how did you end up in a duel, miss?

ABSOLUTE Better ask her, ma’am — she challenged me and, as you know ma’am, I’m obligated to fight for my honour as a Klingazon!

Boss ANTHONI Here's a dutiful daughter; I catch her going to run a warrior through, and she tells me, she’s a Klingazon!—Dammit miss, what are you doing fighting with one of your own sisters?

ABSOLUTE Mother! I tell you, that Klingazon called me out, without explaining her reasons!

Boss ANTHONI Lucky O’Trigger! How came you to call my daughter out, without explaining your reasons?

LUCKY Ma’am, your daughter insulted me in a manner which my honour could not stand.

Boss ANTHONI Dammit Jak! How dared you insult this woman in a manner which her honour could not stand?

MALAPROP Come on now, let's have no honour before Ferengi — Captain Absolute! How could you alarm us like this?—Here's Lyd has been terrified to death for you.

ABSOLUTE For fear I should be killed, or survive, sir?

MALAPROP No, no, we must forgive and forget —Lyd is convinced; speak, lad.

LUCKY If I may, sir, I must put in a word here: I believe I understand the young gentleman —

LYD What do you mean?

LUCKY Come on now, ‘Zal’, it’s time to be serious.

LYD Quite right, ma’am; seriously, then, it’s time for me to offer Jak Absolute my hand, in hope that she returns my affection [goes down on one knee].

ABSOLUTE Oh! my Prince, do you really mean it?—Miss Lucky — there’s been some dreadful misunderstanding here. With regard to the affront which you say I’ve given you, I can only assure you it was unintentional and offer to make amends. However, where this gentlemen is concerned, I will defend my claim against any challengers.

Boss ANTHONI Well said Jak, and I'll stand by you, my girl!

ACRES Don’t forget, I give up all my claim — I make no pretensions to anything in the world; and if I can't get a husband without fighting for him, I’ll happily stay single!

LUCKY Captain, give me your hand: a gracious apology merits a gracious return; and as for the young man there, if he chooses to deny his own handwriting, here—[Takes out letters.]

MALAPROP Oh, my secret! Miss Lucky, perhaps there's some mistake—perhaps I can explain —

LUCKY Stay out of this, grandad. Mister Languish, are you my Zal, or not?

LYD Indeed, Miss Lucky, I am not. [Walks aside with CAPTAIN ABSOLUTE.]

MALAPROP Miss Lucky O'Trigger — ungrateful as you are — I admit it — pardon my blushes, I am Zal.

LUCKY What? You’re Zal?—Pfft! Piss off!

MALAPROP Why, you barbarous hellcat — those letters are mine! When you are more aware of my eligibility — perhaps I may be persuaded to encourage your attentions.

LUCKY Mr. Malaprop, I am extremely aware of your eligibility; and whether you or Luke have put this trick on me, I am equally grateful to you.—And, to prove that I’m amicable, Captain Absolute — since you’ve carried off Mr Languish, I'll give you my Zal into the bargain.

ABSOLUTE I am much obliged to you, Miss Lucky; but here's my friend Fighting Dag unprovided for. Perhaps she might consider — ?

LUCKY Hah! little Fury, will you make your fortune?

ACRES Good gods! No! But shake my hand, Lucky, lets make it up; but if ever I give you a chance of pickling me again, say Dag Acres is a fool, that's all.

Boss ANTHONI Chin up Mr. Malaprop, don't let this bring you down — you’re at your peak, man!

MALAPROP Oh Boss Anthoni—women are just — really mean. [All retreat but JOOL and FAULKLAND.]

JOOL [Aside.] She looks like a kicked puppy —not sullen or angry; and there was some truth in her fiction about the duel. Oh gods! I can’t resist those big puppy dog eyes! So much for my decision!

FAULKLAND Jool!—I can’t ask — I don’t deserve — but I can’t help but hope —

JOOL Oh Faulkland, we’re both to blame for our weakness. You for your unkind treatment of me, and I for my inability to do without you. And since I blame my weakness on love, it would be unfair not to allow you the same excuse for yours.

FAULKLAND Oh! You’re so good to me!

Boss ANTHONI [Coming forward.] What's going on here? So you two have been fighting as well, have you? Come on, Jool, I’ve never interfered before — but let me stick my beak in at last. All the faults I’ve ever seen in my friend Faulkland here seem to come from her being head over heels for you. So just marry her, lad — you'll find she'll mend surprisingly! [The rest come forward.]

LUCKY Right everyone, I hope you’re all happy! Having been a bit disappointed myself, I’d at least like to see everyone with something to celebrate!

ACRES Quite right, Lucky! So Jak, I wish you all the happiness in the world! Same to Foodlander Faulkland! And to prove that I'm not at all put out by this turn of events — drinks are on me in Ten Forward!!!

Boss ANTHONI Dammit, young Acres, I like your style! Us single ladies will drink to the paired-off ones! — and we’ll find a wife for Mr. Malaprop!

Scene IV Ten Forward [Band plays “Twistin’ the Night Away”]

FAULKLAND Well Jak, our men are over there, hopefully congratulating each other. Yours for finally getting his fill of drama and excitement. And mine for having reformed a damn fool.

ABSOLUTE True, Faulkland, we’ve both had quite a time of it; with this difference only, that you always created your own difficulties, while I—

LYD Could always rely on me to do it for you, hey? But enough of that sort of talk — all’s well that ends well.

JOOL Still, though, as the song goes “It’s gonna take patience and time, oh-ho to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it right”. We need to calmly reflect on the years to come and —

Boss ANTHONI You! You young folks! Less talking, more dancing!

[general cheering, all dance, curtain drops]