Shows P

archaic instruments. The spectacle puzzles the Dragoons, who now return. Bunthorne discloses that, since Patience has refused him, he has put himself up to be raffled for — advised by his solicitor (who now comes forward but flees when the Dragoons utter a melodramatic curse on him). Led by the Duke, the Dragoons make a last pathetic appeal; the Maidens ignore it. Bunthorne urges the Maidens to buy tickets for the raffle but is a little disturbed when Jane (like all the others) does so. Suddenly Patience rushes in and declares that she will marry Bunthorne—since love must be unselfish, and since she would indeed be sacrificing her own feelings by marrying him. The Maidens are outraged but accept the consolations of the officers to whom they were formerly betrothed. Enter Grosvenor. Angela, then the other Maidens, are fascinated by him. They withdraw from the Dragoons and kneel to Grosvenor, as they once had to Bunthorne. Grosvenor affects annoyance; the Dragoons are furious; so is Bunthorne at the success of a rival poet; Patience continues to declare her love for Bunthorne and the Maidens theirs for Grosvenor. In a glade, Jane is alone, leaning on a cello. The love-sick Maidens (lovesick now for Grosvenor) voice their predicament to a new tune, a little like their old one. Jane declares that she, at least, will remain faithful to Bunthorne. But signs of her advancing age make it advisable for Bunthorne not to delay much longer. Grosvenor enters, the Maidens following him with the tune they sang before. Grosvenor loves only Patience but entertains the Maidens by reciting some of his verses—which turn out to be like nursery rhymes, in contrast to Bunthorne's flowing rhapsodies. But, bored with the Maidens' adoration, and loving Patience in vain, he decides to sing to them the fable of the Magnet and the Churn. Pity the poor Magnet who attracted things of mere iron and steel (which he did not want) but could never attract the Silver Churn he loved! The Maidens leave. Patience enters and alternates between tender words to Grosvenor (asking him to think of her, as she is so unhappy with Bunthorne) and stern admonitions to him because she is Bunthorne's ('Advance one step, and as I am a good and pure woman, I scream !') Grosvenor leaves. Bunthorne enters, dogged by Jane. He reproaches Patience for her tenderness to Grosvenor, then leaves (still pursued by Jane). Alone, Patience sings paradoxically of the unhappiness of what she has been told is love. Patience, weeping, leaves. Re-enter Bunthorne, now determined to drive away Grosvenor. Jane will help him. Bunthorne will pooh-pooh Grosvenor off his own aesthetic preserves. Jane and he leave in confident anticipation. Enter the Duke, Major and Colonel; they have abandoned their uniforms and donned 'aesthetic' dress to try to supplant Bunthorne. They do their best (which is not very good) to strike the right 'aesthetic' poses. The officers strike an attitude which captivates Angela and Saphir as they enter. (They are indeed jolly utter!' says Saphir in admiration.) But if the two Maidens are now willing to marry, which two of the three officers shall have them? The Duke, as the most 'desirable' match, must take first pick. The two-into-three problem is worked out in the form of dance and song. The officers and the girls leave. Enter Bunthorne and Grosvenor: they confront one another. Bunthorne demands a monopoly of aestheticism for himself and at length Grosvenor (having longed for a pretext to become a 'matter-of-fact man again) yields. Both rejoice: Bunthorne that the Maidens will languish for him again, Grosvenor that he will be 'a steady and stolidly, jolly Bank Holiday, everyday young man'. Bunthorne assures Patience who enters, that he will now be mild and aesthetic. But in that case, Patience reflects, she could not love him, since it would be a pleasure—and not at all unselfish—to do so. Suddenly a very ordinary-looking young man enters in everyday clothes. It is Grosvenor, transformed. The Maidens, similarly transformed, follow him. They rejoice in being ordinary, everyday young people. Patience, having ascertained that Grosvenor will always be commonplace, can now truly love him. Bunthorne proposes to the joyful Jane. But the Colonel, Major, and Duke return and the Duke picks a bride—nobly choosing the least forward of the Maidens, Jane. She accepts with rapture, and deserts Bunthorne. The Maidens pair off with the Dragoons. Led by the Duke, all express their joy—except for Bunthorne, who