Friday, 28 May 2010

bourgeoisly devoted to you

[curtains open to reveal a grand ball, where everyone but two persons are standing still, eternally disposed by a soft and subtle dance. as the curtains retract, slowly crescendoes a classical piece, which soothes and waxes as the two characters, etcetera and fuchsia detach from their dancing partners, and engage in conversation.]

e: society is such a wonderful thing, do you think not?
f: indeed, everything so dreary and malicious must be wonderful. that is the great contribution our species has offered this world.
e: au contraire, my dear. if anything, i think that is a social cliche the british could learn to live without. why, society can be moral and philantropic just as much as animals can. surely you have had the pleasure of meeting our young american guest? how could anyone be so disdainful after meeting such couture of manners!
f: you speak much truth, but i must differ! if anything, it is merely a facade us women put up for men. and not all men are so deserving of the finest falsities, only those so puritan and naive. why, i think i should compliment you on garnering such esteemed coities from said cleopatra - i was just with her and the young lord huntington, and they were in much delightful chatter over how corrupt and decrepit london society is become.
e: indeed! why, i am surprised to hear such a thing. if i did not know you better, i would call you a liar as you stand. and knowing how you are so well brought up, i fear it is the dernier cri of this age to be so contemptuous.
f: verily! nothing is as good as a wild passing, and nothing is as enticing as a good slander.
e: then you are the very best amongst us all.
f: but of course. it cannot fit a young woman these days to be out of quick wits and contrite gossips. why, i would imagine that lacking such things, a woman is a wonder to pick up any attention in a crowd.
e: i can assure you, you will pick up the best of attention in the biggest of crowds.
f: ah, then it is tragedy for me, as you duly point out that i am neither as atrocious as the most beautiful of us, nor am i as saintly as the most intelligent. i think, such contrast is life's greatest comedy.
e: and it's greatest romance, i should think!
f: [laughs a coy laugh] my dear etcetera, what would you know of romance? one so innocent as yourself. i think it is your greatest attraction that you are so devoid of such things!
e: oh, do not continue mocking me such! i find that your greatest attraction is how sincerely you make one's shortcomings his exceptional value. if i were to meet you for the first time, i would surely be smitten and taken aback at the same time.
f: then it is fortunate that we have known each other forever, is it not?
e: quite. [picks up a glass of wine and slowly swirls it in his hand, a look of great surprise upon his face].

[enter fermina, who proceeds to dance with fuchsia's previous partner for a while, as etcetera and fuchsia are unmoving in place. as the dance ends, everyone is silent again, except for the two protagonists].

e: such remarkable association you have here tonight. i expected no less from such an extravagant hostess.
f: then you are at the wrong party, my dear. i cannot think of how horrid the persons are, here, and how severely egotistical the hostess must be to keep such company. unless. unless, of course, you are referring to someone in specific [glances at fermina].
e: you sell yourself short, as always [sips his wine slowly, as he chooses his words with care]. but i cannot imagine a more distinguished line up of people.
f: and that is a social commentary on how society is nowadays. one cannot fathom any better, when one knows none.
e: oh, but i assure you, lady red, i have been brought up in the most derelict of countrysides, by the most banal of people. surely i have known better?
f: i suppose you do. it is god's greatest joke that we are more civil, the less fortunate we are, and more fortunate the less ethical. surely he laughs at his own mockery and rejoices in the unfortunates' pains.
e: you should not speak so lightly of such spiritual affairs! it does you no justice.
f: just as your cowardice [glances at fermina] does you none, too?
e: ah, you stab so wildly in the dark, yet you cut me every time. i bargain you either are enjoying yourself in my folly, or are proceeding to offer assistance.
f: oh, neither. i am not known for being much of a meddler. i am more of an observer. a connoisseur of sorts.
e: then my pain is the sweetest honey, and my tears are of ambrosia?
f: of course not! but the joy that births from such tragedy, is this not the most savory of tastes? what more can a man ask for than his mistreatment by women?
e: if being evil is the greatest of us all, and being nonchalant is the greatest of women, then verily so, i guess.
f: of course it is. you cannot see it now, only because you are such a puritan. such an ignorant. so unenlightened. so unspoiled. why, you really are a phirristine!

[close curtains. end of act i]

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