The Christmas Ball at Krankenstadt Palace heats up as additional guests arrive and the string quartet finds its stride.
We find ourselves within earshot of two prominent guests. . .
Katrina Bettina von Heffelfinger -- (Holds up her lorgnette to see more clearly) Good heavens! Who is that poor young lady with two left feet, dancing with the Prince von Boffke?
Herr Heinz von dem Salat -- (Gulping down his fourth cup of doctored Christmas punch) I've no idea, though I've heard she some rich Swedish merchant-princling's daughter here to find a husband. Von Grandin's the family name I think. Word is that she and her parents have their sights on our boy ol' Irwin-Ami the eye-eye.
K.B. von H. -- (Snorting) You're joking surely!
H.H. von dem S. -- (Giggles behind his white-gloved hand) That I can assure you I am not. And in any case, the young lady and von Boffke seem smitten enough with one another.
K.B. von H. -- Rather. They have danced the last three dances together, haven't they?
H. H. von dem S. -- Indeed! Poor old Irwin-Ami though. Looks like he's missed the love boat again.
K.B. von H. -- Never mind my dear. Rest assured, another young lady will cross the Grand Duke's path before long. His choice of dress for this evening will make for an interesting piece in the society pages of the year-end edition of Die Krankenstadt Tageblat though. Crayfish is it?
H.H. von dem S. -- The same thought had occurred to me. No, lobster. (Chuckles) My posting in Berlin was never this entertaining! Oh, I say, is that von Pelznikkel by the door? Very well then, Frau von Heffelfinger, I'm off if you'll excuse me. An early day tomorrow, I fear, and I want to sample another cup of this punch before my wife and I say our farewells. Merry Christmas if we don't see each other beforehand.
K.B. von H. -- And to you Herr von dem Salat. Say hello to your wife for me. And Merry Christmas!