Noakes: I do not know what to suggest, my lady. Septimus: Is there room for a piano? Noakes: (Baffled) A piano? Lady Croom: We are intruding here - this will not do, Mr Hodge. Evidently, nothing is being learned. (To Noakes)Come along, sir! Thomasina: Mr Noakes - bad news from Paris! Noakes: Is it the Emperor Napoleon? Thomasina: No. (She tears the page off her drawing block with her 'diagram' on it.) It concerns your heat engine. Improve it as you will, you can never get out of it what you put in. It repays eleven pence in the shilling at most. The penny is for this author's thoughts. (She gives the diagram to Septimus who looks at it.)Noakes: (Baffled again) Thank you, my lady. (Noakes goes out into the garden.)Lady Croom: (To Septimus)Do you understand her? Septimus: No. Lady Croom: Then this business is over. I was married at 86
seventeen. Ce soir il faut qu'on parle francais,je te demande, Thomasina, as a courtesy to the Count. Wear your green velvet, please, I will send Briggs to do your hair. Sixteen and eleven months . . .! (She follows Noakes out of view.)Thomasina: Lord Byron was with a lady? Septimus: Yes. Thomasina: Huh! (Now Septimus retrieves his book from Thomasina. He turns the pages, and also continues to study Thomasina's diagram. He strokes the tortoise absently as he reads, Thomasina takes up pencil and paper and starts to draw Septimus with Plautus.)Septimus: Why does it mean Mr Noakes's engine pays eleven pence in the shilling? Where does he say it? Thomasina: Nowhere. I noticed it by the way. I cannot remember now. Septimus: Nor is he interested by determinism - Thomasina: Oh . .. yes. Newton's equations go forwards and backwards, they do not care which way. But the heat equation cares very much, it goes only one way. That is the reason Mr Noakes's engine cannot give the power to drive Mr Noakes's engine. Septimus: Everybody knows that. Thomasina: Yes, Septimus, they know it about engines! Septimus: (Pause. He looks at his watch.) A quarter to twelve. For your essay this week, explicate your diagram. Thomasina: I cannot. I do not know the mathematics. Septimus: Without mathematics, then. (Thomasina has continued to draw. She tears the top page from her drawing pad and gives it to Septimus.)Thomasina: There. I have made a drawing of you and Plautus. Septimus: (Looking at it) Excellent likeness. Not so good of me. (Thomasina laughs, and leaves the room. Augustus appears at the garden door. His manner
cautious and diffident. Septimus does not notice him for a moment. Septimus gathers his papers together.)Augustus: Sir .. . Septimus: My lord . . . ? 87 Augustus: I gave you offence, sir, and I am sorry for it. Septimus: I took none, my lord, but you are kind to mention it. Augustus: I would like to ask you a question, Mr Hodge. (Pause.) You have an elder brother, I dare say, being a Septimus? Septimus: Yes, my lord. He lives in London. He is the editor of a newspaper, the Piccadilly Recreation. (Pause.) Was that your question?