September 14, 1880, 10:15 a.m., Coney Island. ANGELINE, a.k.a. WHIPPET, is making her way down the avenue looking at all of the amusements. MR. SMITHERS, 56, catches sight of her.
MR. SMITHERS: How do you do?
WHIPPET: Well, thanks.
MR. SMITHERS: September is better for the shore than June. It is still clear skies but the Strand is not as crowded.
WHIPPET: I couldn’t agree more.
MR. SMITHERS: May I be so bold as to stroll along with you?
WHIPPET: I would not ordinarily indulge, but it is a beautiful day for a whim.
MR. SMITHERS: That it is. I am not often at the Shore of a Tuesday morning. My labors are almost incessant, but, seeing a break in the monotony, I made for it. And so fortuitously.
WHIPPET: I am a nurse at the local infirmary and could not sleep after a long night with such a day beckoning.
MR. SMITHERS: The midnight watch with the sick.
WHIPPET: That is my work.
MR. SMITHERS: A taxing work, but a good one.
WHIPPET: I love my profession.
MR. SMITHERS: I don’t see a ring on your finger.
WHIPPET: I am a widow.
MR. SMITHERS: I am sorry. I am called Smithers, by the way. Samuel is my Christian name.
WHIPPET: Angeline, but I am usually called Whippet.
MR. SMITHERS: Whippet? Like the dog?
MR. SMITHERS: Do you have any children, Angeline?
WHIPPET: Alas, my dear Charlie fell in the war.
MR. SMITHERS: Like many. My regrets.
WHIPPET: It has been many years. I am accustomed to being alone.
MR. SMITHERS: Life takes a curious turn when Providence intervenes.
WHIPPET: That it does.
MR. SMITHERS: And how did you come by the moniker Whippet?
WHIPPET: My boy gave me a little dog when he left for the war. I took the animal with me everywhere. He was so fine and quite popular. Wherever we went, people would call out, Look, it’s Whippet. Before long, that became my name as well.
MR. SMITHERS: And the dog?
WHIPPET: Gone the way of all flesh, but he left his imprint behind in the name.
MR. SMITHERS: Let’s stop and have some tea and cakes, shall we?
WHIPPET: I would be delighted.