A LEAP YEAR LEAP

MARTHA: I've made up my mind at last. I'll throw convention to the winds and show the world that I'm a new woman. I'll do it--I'll do it to-night! I'll propose to Reginald Brady. [A little faster.] I've considered the question from every possible stand-point and I've come to the conclusion that a girl of to-day has just as much right to propose marriage as a man has. For centuries the poor girl has had to sit quietly by waiting for a man to snap his fingers before she can say, "Thank you!" Now, I'll do the snapping! Reginald has been calling on me three times a week for the past year--but [Sadly] never a word about love, never a thrill or a hand-clasp, never a syllable about matrimony. I can't stand it any longer, and I won't. To-night is my chance. I am to escort him to the Leap Year Ball at the Country Club and I intend to ask him right out, pointblank, to marry me. Am I right? I'll say so. [Pause] I wonder if he'll take it as a joke. He can't; it's a tragedy. He'll read tragedy in my voice, in my face. I'd die if he didn't take it seriously, but of course he will. I wonder if I'm feverish. [Looks in small pocket mirror.] I am, I know I am. My face is flushed, and I'm hot and my heart is beating like everything. But my mind is made up. To-night I'll make a leap year leap. I'll propose on the veranda overlooking the lake. [Pulls a large chair forward.] He'll be sitting there and I'll be sitting here. [Pulls small chair close to large chair.] No, I'll be closer than that. [Puts small chair closer to large chair.] I'll start by resting my hand on the arm of his chair, like that. No, that isn't careless enough. That's better. Wait a minute, I'll have to have a Reginald. [Places a pillow in large chair and puts a man's hat on it.] Hello, Reggy! It's not a very striking likeness, but it's the best I can do. Ah! [Sentimentally] Isn't the moon bright tonight, Reginald? [Pause] Don't you just adore a moonlight night? [Pause] Yes, so do I. It makes me so sentimental. [Pause] Don't you feel sentimental, too? The moon shining on the lake, and the music, and the perfume of the roses, and everything. [With a long, audible sigh.] Ohhh! it's just heavenly. [Pause] Oh, no, I'm not the least bit chilly. Chilly? Why, I'm burning up. [Sentimentally] 'Twas on such a night as this that what-cha-call her stood on the banks and waved a willow wand at Cypress. A night for romance, a night for love. [Matter-of-fact tone.] That isn't very good. It doesn't seem to lead to anything. No, it's too much introduction. I'll start right in at the critical moment. [Deep, sepulchral voice.] Reginald! [Normal voice.] Oh, no, that would probably scare him to death. [High, throaty voice.] Reginald, dear! [Normal.] Too high, he'd think I'd seen a mouse or something. Er-- [Clears throat] hum! Reginald! That's much better. Reginald, the subject I am about to introduce will probably cause you some surprise. [To audience.] I should think it would. [To dummy.] But I trust it will cause you some feeling of joy. You surely must have learned during the past year--during the past year--you must have learned--that I--that you--that we--both of us--during the past year [Clears throat] hem! You must have learned-- [To audience.] Oh, fudge, I can't make it sound natural, at all. [In a confidential tone to the dummy.] Say, Reggy, you and I seem to hit it off awfully well together. We've seen a lot of each other during the past year and we always get on like a house afire, you and I. I was just wondering why we couldn't always get on that way together, all through life, I mean, until death do us part. You know what I mean. [To audience.] That's splendid. [To dummy.] I never cared for any other man the way I care for you, Reginald. Don't you care a little for me, too? If you do, why don't you say so, and make me the happiest----! [Rises suddenly in alarm, as the maid is supposed to have entered the room.] Who's there? Mercy, is that you, Marie? I wish you would knock before you enter my room. [Pause] You did knock? Well, knock louder. I didn't hear you. I was just ... rehearsing a little scene from a play. Please don't giggle. I must say, Marie, that you giggle more than any maid we ever had in the house. There's nothing at all to giggle at. What do you want? [Pause] A letter--for me? A special delivery? Oh. Thank you. [Pantomimes looking at the envelope.] Reggy's writing! Oh, he must be sick or something. [Opens letter and reads it.] Oh! [Reads some more.] Well, I never! [Reads some more, registering delight; reads a few lines aloud.] --have long loved you! [Gives a long audible sigh and reads some more.] --marry me at once. Oh, it's a proposal. Reginald has proposed. [Long sigh of relief.] Thank goodness. [Goes toward entrance and calls.] Marie, Marie, get my wrap. No, I can't wait. I'll have to telephone. [At door.] Get Central for me, Marie, right away, and call up Mr. Brady. I have something very important to tell him over the phone. [Ecstatically.] Oh, Reginald! [Exit.]
Notes: NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Bran' New Monologues. Walter Ben Hare. Boston: Walter H. Baker & Co., 1920. Read more at http://www.monologuearchive.com/h/hare_006.html#bqZmcxwhYPVpQJd7.99
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Word count: 915

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