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Young Officer

I shall, of course, sweet. Promptly1) too, no doubt. (He gazes about the room.)

See—the news spreads; the dance is paralyzed.

They are all whispering round. (The band stops.) Here comes

one more,

He's attaché from the Prussian force At our headquarters.

Enter General Müffling. He looks prepossessed a), and goes straight to Wellington and Richmond in the alcove, who by this time ») have been joined by the Duke of Brunswick.

Several Guests (at back of room)

Yes, you see, it's true! The army sets about to march at once.

Picton (to another general)

I am damn glad we are to be off. Pottering4)about herepinned to petticoat-tails5)—it does one no good, but blasted8) harm!

Another Guest

The ball cannot go on, can it? Didn't the Duke know the French were so near? If he did, how could he let us run risks so coolly?

1. promptly: at once, very soon.

2. prepossessed: occupied by other thoughts than those suggested by his surroundings.

3. by this time: after all that precedes had happened.

4. to potter about: to go about without doing any solid work.

5. pinned to petticoat-tails: in the company of women.

6. damm and blasted: are swear-words, used as intensifying words here.