A Very British Love Scene
Jenn Le Blanc
A woman sits at a table primly writing in her
diary. A man enters.
Good heavens, I do
apologize, I did not
mean to interrupt
Oh, that’s quite
Please know I would never for one instant-
Oh, really, I’m only too glad to have a visit from you,
won’t you please sit down, Mr. Fielding?
Ms. Primgrass, I beg you to call me Cedric.
Do you think it quite right?
We have known one another since infancy, after all, and
there are few I consider nearer, and if I may say,
dearer to my heart.
Really, Cedric, your effusiveness overwhelms me.
Capital weather, eh?
Cedric, might I take leave to observe, if it’s not too
terribly impertinent, that your entrance onto the
balcony seemed to indicate some, well, shall we sayurgency
with regards to a possible, and I’m merely
speculating, of course, topic of- if I mayconversation?
Quite right. Quite right, of course. You’re so
delightfully and arrestingly observant, Ms.
Primgrass. Right. Erm. Look, I’m crap at this, will
you marry me or what?
Good heavens, Cedric!
Oh, don’t good-heavens-Cedric me, Celia, dammnit our
parents have been plotting this for ages, and we might
as well get it over with.
Well be still my beating heart, Cedric, that was so
romantic. However could I resist you?
Don’t tell me you want to be wooed!
Bollocks. Fine. “Dearest Celia, please allow me to
tell you how ardently I admire and love-”
Bovine Scatology! Beyond the raging plagiarism, I am
forced to object on the grounds of grotesque
megalomania. Your fortune may be grand, Cedric, but
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy you are not.
Well what do you want? Romeo and bloody
Juliet? Stupid git Tristan and his dumb as dirt
Isolde? Pelleas and Flippin’ Melesande? Daft Dido-
I confess, I never would have suspected you were
capable of literary allusion. Though the rampant
profanity seems right up your proverbial alley.
Celia, allow me to invite you to shove it up your
Oh that’s just grand. Leave it to you raise the level
of discourse to crude euphemism and uncouth wordplay.
Really, Cedric, how droll. Is there anything so
insufferable as the bandying of pithy witticisms
culminating in a quaint turn of phrase that, by its
very brevity and dependence on the stereotypes of
particular societal mores, provides humor while
reinforcing outdated gender norms and ignorant
preconceived notions about other cultures and eras that
we find comically stuffy?
She rings the bell and a butler silently brings in
a tea service. Butler begins to pour.
Dear Ms. Primgrass, please permit me the honor of
observing how charmingly well you look. That color
suits you admirably.
Thank you, Mr. Fielding, you flatter me.
The Butler leaves.
Yes, I bloody well do flatter you, you look like an
overstuffed arm chair whose seams burst exposing an
indecent ejaculation of lace!
Speaking of indecent and ejaculation, how is your dear
If you begin with my mother, you vitriolic harpy, I
shall leave at once!
He crosses to a door.
Do spare me your flaccid histrionics, you know as well
as I do that door doesn’t work. It’s nailed shut from
the other side. Purely aesthetic.
A false exit?!
One of papa’s eccentric theatrical devices.
You should see what he did with the fourth wall.
Cedric looks at audience.
And functional. It prevents one from shuffling off
this mortal coil by leaping off the balcony. The
knowledge that paying audience members would only chuck
you back up on stage to make you finish out the scene.
Vermin. For God’s sake, don’t you have your own lives?
Peeping Toms’ is what they are. Tawdry voyeurs-
Oh ho! Glass houses, Celia.
What do you mean by that, pray tell?
Oh, come now. If the scribbles on the wainscoting of
the gents’ room is to be believed…
You cad! Don’t you dare-
Can’t stop now, Celia! Good gravy, it is true! Your
blush belies your practiced shock!
I warn you, Cedric, turnabout is fair play. I’m sure I
have no idea of the origins of your filthy
insinuations, but you are fortunate that I am too
delicate a lady to elaborate on the details of the
pictorial diagram of you in the ladies’ lavatory.
Please do. I’m honored to know the ladies are so
obsessed with my amorous abilities they are driven to
immortalize them in privacy!
On privy, dear, hardly in privacy. And I will give you
the benefit of the doubt, before our dear audience,
based on the artist’s rendering, that England was
suffering a particularly nasty cold snap that year and
the figure may not have been drawn to scale.
Ha! The forgeries of jealousy, my dear Celia, and all
that rot. But I am flattered by the particular interest
you have taken in my “doodle.” Allow me to infer that
it is not the size of the rapier that makes the soldier
but the skill of his swordsmanship.
Generally true. Though, you must own, it is prodigious
difficult to conquer Agincourt with a paring knife.
My dearest Celia, with your sparkling wit and
devastating looks it is remarkable that you should have
reached this very advanced age without attracting a
husband. How is it possible that I should have the
luck to find you single?
Oh yes, dear me, whatever would I do without a
husband? Who would take credit for all my
success? Who would occupy my time with critical
matters of procreation? And where would I find an
outlet for my overwhelming urge to coddle an infantile
Please give leave that I may rescind my proposal of
Leave most freely given. Thank you. I confess that
swallowing lemon-soaked razor blades sounds
considerably more appealing than wedded bliss with you.
It would be unconscionable to prevent you from pursuing
your predestined path of bitter lonely spinsterhood
surrounded by mountains of romance novels, piles of
bon-bon boxes and the choking stench of self-pity,
knee-deep in cat hair.
They’ve already announced the banns, haven’t they?
Quite. See you on Sunday, then?
I’ll be the one in white.
He begins to leave.
Thank God it’s you, though. You should have seen the
other poor bastards they thrust at me. “It felt
ungentlemanly to engage in a battle of wits with
opponents so clearly unarmed.”
My lady, it is an honor to meet a worthy adversary on
the field of love.
He kisses her hand. And as a parting shot-
Particularly when she swings such tantalizing bustle.
She looks furious, until he exits through the
working door. Then she smiles glowingly.
Jennifer LeBlanc, ShotzSF: West Shotz Story Feb '13
A Very British Love Scene by Jennifer LeBlanc
A Very British Love Scene