By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Representative Plays by American Dramatists: 1856-1911: The New York Idea
Author: Mitchell, Langdon Elwyn, 1862-1935
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Representative Plays by American Dramatists: 1856-1911: The New York Idea" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


[Illustration: LANGDON MITCHELL]


(Born Philadelphia, Pa., February 17, 1862)

The performance of "The New York Idea" at the Lyric Theatre, New York,
on November 19, 1906, was one of the rare, distinguished events in the
American Theatre. It revealed the fact that at last an American
playwright had written a drama comparable with the very best European
models, scintillating with clear, cold brilliancy, whose dialogue
carried with it an exceptional literary style. It was a play that
showed a vitality which will serve to keep it alive for many
generations, which will make it welcome, however often it is revived;
for there is a universal import to its satire which raises it above
the local, social condition it purports to portray. And though there
is nothing of an ideal character about its situations, though it seems
to be all head, with a minimum of apparent heart, it none the less is
universal in the sense that Restoration comedy is universal. It
presents a type of vulgarity, of sporting spirit, that is common in
every generation, whether in the time of Congreve and Wycherley,
whether in the period of Sheridan or Oscar Wilde. Its wit is not
dependent on local colour, though ostensibly it is written about New
York. On its first presentment, it challenged good writing on the part
of the critics. High Comedy always does that--tickles the brain and
stimulates it, drives it at a pace not usually to be had in the
theatre. Is it comedy or is it farce, the critics queried? Is Mr.
Mitchell sincere, and does he flay the evil he so photographically
portrays? Does he treat the sacred subject of matrimony too
flippantly? And should the play, in order to be effective, have a
moral tag, or should it be, what on the surface it appears to be, a
series of realistic scenes about people whom one cannot admire and
does not want to know intimately? Some of the writers found the
picture not to their liking--that is the effect good satire sometimes
has when it strikes home. Yet when Grace George revived "The New York
Idea" in a spirit so different from Mrs. Fiske's, nine years after, on
September 28, 1915, at the Playhouse, New York, the _Times_ was bound
to make the following confession: "A vast array of American authors
have turned out plays innumerable, but not one of them has quite
matched in sparkling gayety and wit this work of Langdon Mitchell's.
And the passing years have left its satire still pointed. They have
not dimmed its polish nor so much as scratched its smart veneer."

The play was written expressly for Mrs. Fiske. Its hard, sharp
interplay of humour was knowingly cut to suit her hard, sharp method
of acting. Her interpretation was a triumph of head over heart. Grace
George tried to read into _Cynthia Karslake_ an element of romance
which is suggested in the text, but which was somewhat
over-sentimentalized by her soft portrayal. There is some element of
relationship between "The New York Idea" and Henry Arthur Jones' "Mary
Goes First;" there is the same free air of sporting life, so
graphically set forth in "Lord and Lady Algy." But the American play
is greater than these because of its impersonal strain.

In a letter to the present Editor, Mr. Mitchell has broken silence
regarding the writing of "The New York Idea." Never before has he
tried to analyze its evolution. He says:

    The play was written for Mrs. Fiske. The choice of subject
    was mine. I demanded complete freedom in the treatment, and
    my most wise manager, Mr. Harrison Grey Fiske, accorded this.
    The play was produced and played as written, with the
    exception of one or two short scenes, which were not
    acceptable to Mrs. Fiske; that is, she felt, or would have
    felt, somewhat strained or unnatural in these scenes.
    Accordingly, I cut them out, or rather rewrote them. The
    temperament of the race-horse has to be considered--much
    more, that of the 'star'.

    When I was writing the play, I had really no idea of
    satirizing divorce or a law or anything specially
    temperamental or local. What I wanted to satirize was a
    certain extreme frivolity in the American spirit and in our
    American life--frivolity in the deep sense--not just a girl's
    frivolity, but that profound, sterile, amazing frivolity
    which one observes and meets in our churches, in political
    life, in literature, in music; in short, in every department
    of American thought, feeling and action. The old-fashioned,
    high-bred family in "The New York Idea" are solemnly
    frivolous, and the fast, light-minded, highly intelligent
    hero and heroine are frivolous in their own delightful
    way--frivolity, of course, to be used for tragedy or comedy.
    Our frivolity is, I feel, on the edge of the tragic. Indeed,
    I think it entirely tragic, and there are lines, comedy
    lines, in "The New York Idea," that indicate this aspect of
    the thing.

    Of course, there is more than merely satire or frivolity in
    the play: there is the Englishman who appears to Americans to
    be stupid on account of his manner, but who is frightfully
    intelligent; and there are also the energy and life and vigor
    of the two men characters. There is, too, throughout the
    play, the conscious humour of these two characters, and of
    the third woman, _Vida_. The clergyman is really more
    frivolous often and far less conscious of his
    frivolity--enough, that I rather thought one of the strongest
    things about the play was the consciousness of their own
    humour, of the three important characters.

    The characters were selected from that especial class, or
    set, in our Society, whose ancestors and traditions go back
    to colonial times. They are not merely _society_ characters,
    for, of course, people in society may lack all traditions. I
    mention this merely because my selection of characters from
    such a set of people gives the play a certain mellowness and
    a certain air which it otherwise would not have. If _Jack_
    and _Cynthia_ were both completely self-made, or the son and
    daughter of powerful, self-made people, their tone could not
    be the same.

    The piece was played in England as a farce; and it was given
    without the permission of the author or American manager. It
    was given for a considerable number of performances in
    Berlin, after the Great War began. In the German translation
    it was called "Jonathan's Daughter."[A] Our relations with
    Germany at the time were strained on account of 'certain
    happenings', but, notwithstanding, the play was
    extraordinarily well received.

When "The New York Idea" was first published by the Walter Baker Co.,
of Boston, it carried as an introduction a notice of the play written
by William Archer, and originally published in the London _Tribune_ of
May 27, 1907. This critique follows the present foreword, as its use
in the early edition represents Mr. Mitchell's choice.

The writing of "The New York Idea" was not Mr. Mitchell's first
dramatic work for Mrs. Fiske. At the New York Fifth Avenue Theatre, on
September 12, 1899, she appeared in "Becky Sharp," his successful
version of Thackeray's "Vanity Fair," which held the stage for some
time, and was later revived with considerable renewal of its former
interest. Two years after, rival versions were presented in London,
one by David Balsillie (Theatre Royal, Croydon, June 24, 1901) and the
other by Robert Hichens and Cosmo Gordon Lennox (Prince of Wales's
Theatre, August 27, 1901)--the latter play used during the existence
of the New Theatre (New York). Most of Mr. Mitchell's attempts in
play-writing have been in dramatization, first of his father's "The
Adventures of François," and later of Thackeray's "Pendennis,"
Atlantic City, October 11, 1916. He was born February 17, 1862, at
Philadelphia, the son of Silas Weir Mitchell, and received his
education largely abroad. He studied law at Harvard and Columbia, and
was admitted to the bar in 1882. He was married, in 1892, to Marion
Lea, of London, whose name was connected with the early introduction
of Ibsen to the English public; she was in the initial cast of "The
New York Idea," and to her the play is dedicated.


    ... This play, too, I was unable to see, but I have read it
    with extraordinary interest. It is a social satire so largely
    conceived and so vigorously executed that it might take an
    honourable place in any dramatic literature. We have nothing
    quite like it on the latter-day English stage. In tone and
    treatment it reminds one of Mr. Carton; but it is far broader
    in conception and richer in detail than "Lord and Lady Algy"
    or "Lady Huntworth's Experiment." In France, it might perhaps
    be compared to "La Famille Benoiton" or "Le Monde ou l'on
    s'ennuie," or better, perhaps, to a more recent, but now
    almost forgotten satire of the 'nineties, "Paris

    I find it very hard to classify "The New York Idea" under any
    of the established rubrics. It is rather too extravagant to
    rank as a comedy; it is much too serious in its purport, too
    searching in its character-delineation and too thoughtful in
    its wit, to be treated as a mere farce. Its title--not,
    perhaps, a very happy one--is explained in this saying of one
    of the characters: "Marry for whim and leave the rest to the
    divorce court--that's the New York idea of marriage." And
    again: "The modern American marriage is like a wire
    fence--the woman's the wire--the posts are the husbands.
    One--two--three! And if you cast your eye over the future,
    you can count them, post after post, up hill, down dale, all
    the way to Dakota."

    Like all the plays, from Sardou's "Divorçons" onward, which
    deal with a too facile system of divorce, this one shows a
    discontented woman, who has broken up her home for a caprice,
    suffering agonies of jealousy when her ex-husband proposes
    to make use of the freedom she has given him, and returning
    to him at last with the admission that their divorce was at
    least "premature." In this central conception there is
    nothing particularly original. It is the wealth of humourous
    invention displayed in the details both of character and
    situation that renders the play remarkable.

    It is interesting to note, by the way, a return on Mr.
    Mitchell's part to that convenient assumption of the
    Restoration and eighteenth century comedy writers that any
    one in holy orders could solemnize a legal marriage at any
    time or place, without the slightest formality of banns,
    witnesses, registration or anything of the sort. One gathers
    that in New York the entrance to and the exit from the holy
    estate of matrimony are equally prompt and easy; or that, as
    one of the characters puts it, "the church is a regular
    quick-marriage counter."

    I presume there is some exaggeration in this, and that a
    marriage cannot actually be celebrated at midnight, over a
    champagne-and-lobster supper, by a clergyman who happened to
    drop in. But there can be no doubt that whatever the social
    merits or demerits of the system, facility of divorce and
    remarriage is an immense boon to the dramatist. It places
    within his reach an inexhaustible store of situations and
    complications which are barred to the English playwright, to
    whom divorce always means an ugly and painful scandal. The
    moralist may insist that this ought always to be the case;
    and indeed that is the implication which Mr. Mitchell, as a
    moralist, conveys to us.

    He sacrifices the system of divorce for every trivial flaw of
    temper which prevails in the society he depicts; but he no
    doubt realizes that his doctrine as a satirist is hostile to
    his interest as a dramatist. Restrict the facilities of
    divorce and you at once restrict the possibilities of
    matrimonial comedy. Marriage becomes no longer a comic, but a
    tragic institution.

    In order to keep his theme entirely on the comic plane, Mr.
    Mitchell has given no children to either of the two couples
    whom he puts through such a fantastic quadrille. Law or no
    law, the separation of its parents is always a tragedy to the
    child; which is not to say, of course, that their remaining
    together may not in some cases be the more tragic of the two
    alternatives. Be this as it may, Mr. Mitchell has eluded the

    Nor has he thereby falsified his problem, for his characters
    belong to that class of society in which, as Mr. Dooley
    points out, the multiplication of automobiles is preferred
    to that of progeny. But he has not omitted to hint at the
    problem of the children, and, as it were, confess his
    deliberate avoidance of it. He does so in a touch of
    exquisite irony. _John_ and _Cynthia Karslake_ are a couple
    devoted, not to automobiles, but to horses. Even their common
    passion for racing cannot keep them together; but their
    divorce is so "premature," and leaves _John_ so restless and
    dissatisfied, that he actually neglects the cares of the
    stable. His favourite mare, Cynthia K, falls ill, and when
    his trainer brings him the news he receives it with shocking
    callousness. Then the trainer meets _Cynthia_ and complains
    to her of her ex-husband's indifference. "Ah, ma'am," he
    says, "when husband and wife splits, it's the horses that
    suffers." I know not where to look for a speech of profounder
    ironic implication. More superficial, but still a good
    specimen of Mr. Mitchell's wit, is _William Sudley's_ remark
    as to _John Karslake_: "Oh, yes, he comes of a very
    respectable family, though I remember his father served a
    term in the Senate."

    Altogether "The New York Idea" is, from the intellectual
    point of view, the most remarkable piece of work I have
    encountered in America. It is probably too true to the
    details of American life to have much success in England; but
    the situation at the end of the third act could not fail to
    bring down the house even here. It would take too long to
    describe it in detail. Suffice it to say that just at the
    point where _Cynthia Karslake_ dismisses her second
    bridegroom, to return to her first, the choir assembled for
    the marriage ceremony, mistaking a signal, bursts forth with
    irresistibly ludicrous effect into "The Voice That Breathed
    O'er Eden."[B]


[Footnote A: At the Kammerspiel Theatre, Berlin, under the direction
of Max Reinhardt, October 7, 1916. There are translations in Danish,
Swedish and Hungarian.]

[Footnote B: _The Editor takes the occasion to express his thanks to
Mr. William Archer for his kind permission to quote this analysis of
the play._]


REGINALD DeKOVEN,                      Proprietor
SAM S. and LEE SHUBERT (Inc.),         Lessees and Managers

Matinee Saturday.

Under the Direction of HARRISON GREY FISKE




Presenting a Play in Four Acts, Entitled



Cast of Characters.

Philip Phillimore                                Charles Harbury
Mrs. Phillimore, his mother                      Ida Vernon
The Reverend Mathew Phillimore, his brother      Dudley Clinton
Grace Phillimore, his sister                     Emily Stevens
Miss Heneage, his aunt                           Blanche Weaver
William Sudley, his cousin                       Dudley Digges
Mrs. Vida Phillimore, his divorced wife          Marion Lea
Brooks, her footman                              Frederick Kerby
Benson, her maid                                 Belle Bohn
Sir Wilfrid Cates-Darby                          George Arliss
John Karslake                                    John Mason
Mrs. Cynthia Karslake, his divorced wife         Mrs. Fiske
Nogam, his valet                                 James Morley
Tim Fiddler                                      Robert V. Ferguson
Thomas, the Phillimore's family servant          Richard Clarke

ACT I--Drawing-Room in the Phillimore house. Washington Square.
          _Wednesday afternoon, at five o'clock._

ACT II--Mrs. Vida Phillimore's Boudoir. Fifth Avenue.
          _Thursday morning at eleven._

ACT III--Same as Act I.
          _Thursday evening, at ten._

ACT IV--John Karslake's House. Madison Avenue.
          _Thursday, at midnight._

Scene--New York                      Time--The Present.

The production staged by Mr. and Mrs. Fiske.





[This play, copyrighted in 1907, 1908, and published originally by
Walter H. Baker and Co., of Boston, Mass., is fully protected and the
right of representation is reserved. Application for the right of
performing this play may be made to Alice Kauser, 1402 Broadway, New
York, N. Y. The Editor takes this opportunity of thanking Mr. Langdon
Mitchell for his great interest in the compilation of this Collection,
and for his permission to have "The New York Idea" used in it. The
complete revision of the stage directions, especially for this volume,
makes it possible to regard the play, here printed, as the only
authentic version.]


PHILIP PHILLIMORE, _a Judge on the bench, age 50_.
GRACE PHILLIMORE, _his sister, age 20_.
MRS. PHILLIMORE, _his mother, age 70_.
MISS HENEAGE, _his aunt, age 60_.
MATTHEW PHILLIMORE, _his brother--a bishop, age 45_.
WILLIAM SUDLEY, _his cousin, age 50_.
MRS. VIDA PHILLIMORE, _his divorced wife, age 35_.
JOHN KARSLAKE, _lawyer, politician and racing-man, age 35_.
MRS. CYNTHIA KARSLAKE, _his divorced wife, age 25_.
NOGAM, _his valet_.
THOMAS, _the family servant of the_ PHILLIMORES, _age 45_.

The following is the Cast for the evening performance at the Lyric
Theatre, New York, Monday, November 19, 1906.

PHILIP PHILLIMORE                               Charles Harbury.
MRS. PHILLIMORE, _his mother_                   Ida Vernon.
THE REVEREND MATTHEW PHILLIMORE, _his brother_  Dudley Clinton.
GRACE PHILLIMORE, _his sister_                  Emily Stevens.
MISS HENEAGE, _his aunt_                        Blanche Weaver.
WILLIAM SUDLEY, _his cousin_                    William B. Mack.
MRS. VIDA PHILLIMORE, _his divorced wife_       Marion Lea.
BROOKS, _her footman_                           George Harcourt.
BENSON, _her maid_                              Belle Bohn.
SIR WILFRID CATES-DARBY                         George Arliss.
JOHN KARSLAKE                                   John Mason.
MRS. CYNTHIA KARSLAKE, _his divorced wife_      Mrs. Fiske.
NOGAM, _his valet_                              Dudley Digges.
TIM FIDDLER                                     Robert V. Ferguson.
THOMAS, THE PHILLIMORE'S _family servant_       Richard Clarke.

Scene--New York.                                Time--The Present.

Revived in New York at The Playhouse, Tuesday Evening, September 28,
1915, with the following Cast.

PHILIP PHILLIMORE                               Lumsden Hare.
GRACE PHILLIMORE                                Norah Lamison.
MRS. PHILLIMORE                                 Eugenie Woodward.
MISS HENEAGE                                    Josephine Lovett.
MATTHEW PHILLIMORE                              Albert Reed.
WILLIAM SUDLEY                                  John Cromwell.
MRS. VIDA PHILLIMORE                            Mary Nash.
SIR WILFRID CATES-DARBY                         Ernest Lawford.
JOHN KARSLAKE                                   Conway Tearle.
MRS. CYNTHIA KARSLAKE                           Grace George.
BROOKS                                          Selwyn Joyce.
TIM FIDDLER                                     Tracy Barrow.
NOGAM                                           G. Guthrie McClintic.
THOMAS                                          Richard Clarke.
BENSON                                          Anita Wood.

_To Marion Lea_



    SCENE. _Living-room in the house of_ PHILIP PHILLIMORE.
    _Five_ P. M. _of an afternoon of May. The general air and
    appearance of the room is that of an old-fashioned, decorous,
    comfortable interior. There are no electric lights and no
    electric bells. Two bell ropes as in old-fashioned houses.
    The room is in dark tones inclining to sombre and of
    old-fashioned elegance._

    _Seated in the room are_ MISS HENEAGE, MRS. PHILLIMORE _and_
    THOMAS. MISS HENEAGE _is a solidly built, narrow-minded woman
    in her sixties. She makes no effort to look younger than she
    is, and is expensively but quietly dressed, with heavy
    elegance. She commands her household and her family
    connection, and on the strength of a large and steady income
    feels that her opinion has its value._ MRS. PHILLIMORE _is a
    semi-professional invalid, refined and unintelligent. Her
    movements are weak and fatigued. Her voice is habitually
    plaintive and she is entirely a lady without a trace of being
    a woman of fashion._ THOMAS _is an easy-mannered, but
    respectful family servant, un-English both in style and
    appearance. He has no deportment worthy of being so called,
    and takes an evident interest in the affairs of the family he

    MISS HENEAGE _is seated at the tea-table, facing the
    footlights._ MRS. PHILLIMORE _is seated at the table on the
    right._ THOMAS _stands near by. Tea things on table. Decanter
    of sherry in coaster. Bread and butter on plate. Vase with
    flowers. Silver match-box. Large old-fashioned tea urn. Guard
    for flame. "The Evening Post" on tea-table._ MISS HENEAGE
    _and_ MRS. PHILLIMORE _both have cups of tea._ MISS HENEAGE
    _sits up very straight, and pours tea for_ GRACE, _who enters
    from door. She is a pretty and fashionably dressed girl of
    twenty. She speaks superciliously, coolly, and not too fast.
    She sits on the sofa gracefully and without lounging. She
    wears a gown suitable for spring visiting, hat, parasol, and

GRACE. [_As she moves to the sofa._] I never in my life walked so far
and found so few people at home. [_Pauses. Takes off gloves. Somewhat
querulously._] The fact is the nineteenth of May is ridiculously late
to be in town.

MISS HENEAGE. Thomas, Mr. Phillimore's sherry?

THOMAS. [_Indicating the particular table._] The sherry, ma'am.

MISS HENEAGE. Mr. Phillimore's _Post_?

THOMAS. [_Pointing to "The Evening Post" on the tea-table._] The
_Post_, ma'am.

MISS HENEAGE. [_Indicating cup._] Miss Phillimore.

THOMAS _takes cup of tea to_ GRACE. _Silence. They all sip tea._
THOMAS _goes back, fills sherry glass, remaining round and about the
tea-table. They all drink tea during their entire conversation._

GRACE. The Dudleys were at home. They wished to know when my brother
Philip was to be married, and where and how?

MISS HENEAGE. If the Dudleys were persons of breeding, they'd not
intrude their curiosity upon you.

GRACE. I like Lena Dudley.

MRS. PHILLIMORE. [_Speaking slowly and gently._] Do I know Miss

GRACE. She knows Philip. She expects an announcement of the wedding.

MRS. PHILLIMORE. I trust you told her that my son, my sister and
myself are all of the opinion that those who have been divorced should
remarry with modesty and without parade.

GRACE. I told the Dudleys Philip's wedding was here, to-morrow.

MISS HENEAGE. [_To_ MRS. PHILLIMORE, _picking up a sheet of paper from
the table._] I have spent the afternoon, Mary, in arranging and
listing the wedding gifts, and in writing out the announcements of the
wedding. I think I have attained a proper form of announcement.
[_Taking the sheet of note-paper and giving it to_ THOMAS.] Of course
the announcement Philip himself made was quite out of the question.
[GRACE _smiles._] However, there is mine. [_She points to the paper._
THOMAS _gives the list to_ MRS. PHILLIMORE _and moves away._

GRACE. I hope you'll send an announcement to the Dudleys.

MRS. PHILLIMORE. [_Prepared to make the best of things, plaintively
reads._] "Mr. Philip Phillimore and Mrs. Cynthia Dean Karslake
announce their marriage, May twentieth, at three o'clock, Nineteen A,
Washington Square, New York." [_Replacing the paper on_ THOMAS'S
_salver._] It sounds very nice.

            [THOMAS _returns the paper to_ MISS HENEAGE.

MISS HENEAGE. In my opinion it barely escapes sounding nasty. However,
it is correct. The only remaining question is--to whom the
announcement should not be sent. [THOMAS _goes out._] I consider an
announcement of the wedding of two divorced persons to be in the
nature of an intimate communication. It not only announces the
wedding--it also announces the divorce. [_Returning to her teacup._]
The person I shall ask counsel of is cousin William Sudley. He
promised to drop in this afternoon.

GRACE. Oh! We shall hear all about Cairo.

MRS. PHILLIMORE. William is judicious. [THOMAS _returns._

MISS HENEAGE. [_With finality._] Cousin William will disapprove of the
match unless a winter in Cairo has altered his moral tone.

THOMAS. [_Announcing._] Mr. Sudley.

    _He ushers in_ WILLIAM SUDLEY, _a little oldish gentleman. He
    is and appears thoroughly insignificant. But his opinion of
    the place he occupies in the world is enormous. His manners,
    voice, presence, are all those of a man of breeding and

MRS. PHILLIMORE _and_ MISS HENEAGE. [_Rising and greeting_ SUDLEY; _a
little tremulously._] My dear William!

            [THOMAS _withdraws._

SUDLEY. [_Shakes hands with_ MRS. PHILLIMORE, _soberly glad to see
them._] How d'ye do, Mary? [_Greeting_ MISS HENEAGE.] A very warm May
you're having, Sarah.

GRACE. [_Coming forward to welcome him._] Dear Cousin William!

MISS HENEAGE. Wasn't it warm in Cairo when you left?

    _She will have the strict truth, or nothing; still, on
    account of_ SUDLEY'S _impeccable respectability, she treats
    him with more than usual leniency._

SUDLEY. [_Sitting down._] We left Cairo six weeks ago, Grace, so I've
had no news since you wrote in February that Philip was engaged.
[_After a pause._] I need not to say I consider Philip's engagement
excessively regrettable. He is a judge upon the Supreme Court bench
with a divorced wife--and such a divorced wife!

GRACE. Oh, but Philip has succeeded in keeping everything as quiet as

SUDLEY. [_Acidly._] No, my dear! He has not succeeded in keeping his
former wife as quiet as possible. We had not been in Cairo a week when
who should turn up but Vida Phillimore. She went everywhere and did
everything no woman should!

GRACE. [_With unfeigned interest._] Oh, what did she do?

SUDLEY. She "did" Cleopatra at the tableaux at Lord Errington's! She
"did" Cleopatra, and she did it robed only in some diaphanous material
of a nature so transparent that--in fact she appeared to be draped in
moonshine. [MISS HENEAGE _indicates the presence of_ GRACE _and
rises._] That was only the beginning. As soon as she heard of Philip's
engagement, she gave a dinner in honour of it! Only divorcées were
asked! And she had a dummy--yes, my dear, a dummy!--at the head of the
table. He stood for Philip--that is he sat for Philip!

            [_Rising and moving to the table._

MISS HENEAGE. [_Irritated and disgusted._] Ah!

MRS. PHILLIMORE. [_With dismay and pain._] Dear me!

MISS HENEAGE. [_Confident of the value of her opinion._] I disapprove
of Mrs. Phillimore.

SUDLEY. [_Taking a cigarette._] Of course you do, but has Philip taken
to Egyptian cigarettes in order to celebrate my winter at Cairo?

GRACE. Those are Cynthia's.

SUDLEY. [_Thinking that no one is worth knowing whom he does not
know._] Who is "Cynthia?"

GRACE. Mrs. Karslake--She's staying here, Cousin William. She'll be
down in a minute.

SUDLEY. [_Shocked._] You don't mean to tell me--?--!

MISS HENEAGE. Yes, William, Cynthia is Mrs. Karslake--Mrs. Karslake
has no New York house. I disliked the publicity of a hotel in the
circumstances, and, accordingly, when she became engaged to Philip, I
invited her here.

SUDLEY. [_Suspicious and distrustful._] And may I ask _who_ Mrs.
Karslake is?

MISS HENEAGE. [_With confidence._] She was a Deane.

SUDLEY. [_Walking about the room, sorry to be obliged to concede good
birth to any but his own blood._] Oh, oh--well, the Deanes are
extremely nice people. [_Approaching the table._] Was her father J.
William Deane?

MISS HENEAGE. [_Nodding, still more secure._] Yes.

SUDLEY. [_Giving in with difficulty._] The family is an old one. J.
William Deane's daughter? Surely he left a very considerable--

MISS HENEAGE. Oh, fifteen or twenty millions.

SUDLEY. [_Determined not to be dazzled._] If I remember rightly she
was brought up abroad.

MISS HENEAGE. In France and England--and I fancy brought up with a
very gay set in very gay places. In fact she is what is called a
"sporty" woman.

SUDLEY. [_Always ready to think the worst._] We might put up with
that. But you don't mean to tell me Philip has the--the--assurance to
marry a woman who has been divorced by--

MISS HENEAGE. Not at all. Cynthia Karslake divorced her husband.

SUDLEY. [_Gloomily, since he has less fault to find than he
expected._] She divorced him! Ah!

            [_He seeks the consolation of his tea._

MISS HENEAGE. The suit went by default. And, my dear William, there
are many palliating circumstances. Cynthia was married to Karslake
only seven months. There are no-- [_Glancing at_ GRACE] no hostages to
Fortune! Ahem!

SUDLEY. [_Still unwilling to be pleased._] Ah! What sort of a young
woman is she?

GRACE. [_With the superiority of one who is not too popular._] Men
admire her.

MISS HENEAGE. She's not conventional.

MRS. PHILLIMORE. [_Showing a faint sense of justice._] I am bound to
say she has behaved discreetly ever since she arrived in this house.

MISS HENEAGE. Yes, Mary--but I sometimes suspect that she exercises a
degree of self-control--

SUDLEY. [_Glad to have something against some one._] She claps on the
lid, eh? And you think that perhaps some day she'll boil over? Well,
of course fifteen or twenty millions--but who's Karslake?

GRACE. [_Very superciliously._] He owns Cynthia K. She's the famous

MISS HENEAGE. He's Henry Karslake's son.

SUDLEY. [_Beginning to make the best of fifteen millions-in-law._]
Oh!--Henry!--Very respectable family. Although I remember his father
served a term in the Senate. And so the wedding is to be to-morrow?

MRS. PHILLIMORE. [_Assenting._] To-morrow.

SUDLEY. [_Rising, his respectability to the front when he thinks of
the ceremony._ GRACE _rises._] To-morrow. Well, my dear Sarah, a
respectable family with some means. We must accept her. But on the
whole, I think it will be best for me not to see the young woman. My
disapprobation would make itself apparent.

GRACE. [_Whispering to_ SUDLEY.] Cynthia's coming.

            [_He doesn't hear._

    CYNTHIA _comes in, absorbed in reading a newspaper. She is a
    young creature in her twenties, small and high-bred, full of
    the love of excitement and sport. Her manner is wide-awake
    and keen, and she is evidently in no fear of the opinion of
    others. Her dress is exceedingly elegant, but with the
    elegance of a woman whose chief interests lie in life out of
    doors. There is nothing hard or masculine in her style, and
    her expression is youthful and ingenuous._

SUDLEY. [_Sententious and determinately epigrammatic._] The uncouth
modern young woman, eight feet high, with a skin like a rhinoceros and
manners like a cave-dweller--an habitué of the race-track and the
divorce court--

GRACE. [_Aside to_ SUDLEY.] Cousin William!

SUDLEY. Eh, oh!

CYNTHIA. [_Reading her newspaper, advances into the room, immersed,
excited, trembling. She lowers paper to catch the light._] "Belmont
favourite--six to one--Rockaway--Rosebud, and Flying Cloud. Slow
track--raw wind--h'm, h'm, h'm--At the half, Rockaway forged ahead,
when Rosebud under the lash made a bold bid for victory--neck by
neck--for a quarter--when Flying Cloud slipped by the pair and won on
the post by a nose in one forty nine!" [_Speaking with the enthusiasm
of a sport._] Oh, I wish I'd seen the dear thing do it. Oh, it's Mr.
Sudley! You must think me very rude. How do you do, Mr. Sudley?

            [_Going over to_ SUDLEY.

SUDLEY. [_Bowing without cordiality._] Mrs. Karslake.

[CYNTHIA _pauses, feeling he should say something. As he says nothing,
she speaks again._

CYNTHIA. I hope Cairo was delightful? Did you have a smooth voyage?

SUDLEY. [_Pompously._] You must permit me, Mrs. Karslake--

CYNTHIA. [_With good temper, somewhat embarrassed, and talking herself
into ease._] Oh, please don't welcome me to the family. All that
formal part is over, if you don't mind. I'm one of the tribe now!
You're coming to our wedding to-morrow?

SUDLEY. My dear Mrs. Karslake, I think it might be wiser--

CYNTHIA. [_Still with cordial good temper._] Oh, but you must come! I
mean to be a perfect wife to Philip and all his relations! That sounds
rather miscellaneous, but you know what I mean.

SUDLEY. [_Very sententious._] I am afraid--

CYNTHIA. [_Gay and still covering her embarrassment._] If you don't
come, it'll look as if you were not standing by Philip when he's in
trouble! You'll come, won't you--but of course you will.

SUDLEY. [_After a self-important pause._] I will come, Mrs. Karslake.
[_Pausing._] Good-afternoon. [_In a tone of sorrow and light
compassion._] Good-bye, Mary. Good-afternoon, Sarah. [_Sighing._]
Grace, dear. [_To_ MISS HENEAGE.] At what hour did you say the alimony

MISS HENEAGE. [_Quickly and commandingly to cover his slip._] The
ceremony is at three P. M., William.

            [SUDLEY _walks toward the door._

MRS. PHILLIMORE. [_With fatigued voice and manner as she rises._] I am
going to my room to rest awhile.

            [_She trails slowly from the room._

MISS HENEAGE. [_To_ SUDLEY.] Oh, William, one moment--I entirely
forgot! I've a most important social question to ask you! [_She
accompanies him slowly to the door._] in regard to the announcements
of the wedding--who they shall be sent to and who not. For
instance--the Dudleys-- [_Deep in their talk_, SUDLEY _and_ MISS
HENEAGE _pass out together._

CYNTHIA. [_From the sofa._] So that's Cousin William?

GRACE. [_From the tea-table._] Don't you like him?

CYNTHIA. [_Calmly sarcastic._] Like him? I love him. He's so generous.
He couldn't have received me with more warmth if I'd been a mulatto.

    THOMAS _comes in, preceded by_ PHILLIMORE. PHILIP PHILLIMORE
    _is a self-centered, short-tempered, imperious member of the
    respectable fashionables of New York. He is well and solidly
    dressed, and in manner and speech evidently a man of family.
    He is accustomed to being listened to in his home circle and
    from the bench, and it is practically impossible for him to
    believe that he can make a mistake._

GRACE. [_Outraged._] Really you know-- [CYNTHIA _moves to the table._]

    PHILIP _nods to_ GRACE _absent-mindedly. He is in his working
    suit and looks tired. He walks into the room silently; goes
    over to the tea-table, bends over and kisses_ CYNTHIA _on the
    forehead. Goes to his chair, which_ THOMAS _has moved to suit
    him. He sits, and sighs with satisfaction._

PHILIP. [_As if exhausted by brain work._] Ah, Grace! [GRACE
_immediately sails out of the room._] Well, my dear, I thought I
should never extricate myself from the court-room. You look very

CYNTHIA. The tea's making. You'll have your glass of sherry?

PHILIP. [_The strain of the day evidently having been severe._]
Thanks! [_Taking it from_ THOMAS _and sighing._] Ah!

CYNTHIA. I can see it's been a tiring day with you.

PHILIP. [_His great tussle with the world leaving him unworsted but
utterly spent._] H'm! [_He gratefully sips his tea._

CYNTHIA. Were the lawyers very long-winded?

PHILIP. [_Almost too tired for speech._] Prolix to the point of
somnolence. It might be affirmed without inexactitude that the
prolixity of counsel is the somnolence of the judiciary. I am
fatigued, ah! [_A little suddenly, awaking to the fact that his orders
have not been carried out to the letter._] Thomas! My _Post_ is not in
its usual place!

CYNTHIA. It's here, Philip. [THOMAS _gets it._

PHILIP. Thanks, my dear. [_Opening "The Post."_] Ah! This hour with
you--is--is really the--the-- [_Absently._] the one vivid moment of the
day. [_Reading._] H'm--shocking attack by the President on vested
interests. H'm--too bad--but it's to be expected. The people insisted
on electing a desperado to the presidential office--they must take the
hold-up that follows. [_After a pause, he reads._] H'm! His English is
lacking in idiom, his spelling in conservatism, his mind in balance,
and his character in repose.

CYNTHIA. [_Amiable but not very sympathetic._] You seem more fatigued
than usual. Another glass of sherry, Philip?

PHILIP. Oh, I ought not to--

CYNTHIA. I think you seem a little more tired than usual.

PHILIP. Perhaps I am. [_She pours out sherry._ PHILIP _takes glass but
does not sip._] Ah, this hour is truly a grateful form of restful
excitement. [_After an inspired interval._] You, too, find it--eh?
[_He looks at_ CYNTHIA.

CYNTHIA. [_With veiled sarcasm._] Decidedly.

PHILIP. Decidedly what, my dear?

CYNTHIA. [_Her sarcasm still veiled._] Restful.

PHILIP. H'm! Perhaps I need the calm more than you do. Over the case
to-day I actually--eh-- [_Sipping his tea._] slumbered. I heard myself
do it. That's how I know. A dressmaker sued on seven counts. [_Reading
his newspaper._] Really, the insanity of the United States Senate--you
seem restless, my dear. Ah--um--have you seen the evening paper? I see
there has been a lightning change in the style or size of hats which

    [_Sweeping a descriptive motion with his hand, he gives the
    paper to_ CYNTHIA, _then moves his glass, reads, and sips._

CYNTHIA. The lamp, Thomas.

    THOMAS _blows out the alcohol lamp on the tea-table with
    difficulty. Blows twice. Movement of_ PHILIP _each time.
    Blows again._

PHILIP. [_Irritably._] Confound it, Thomas! What are you puffing and
blowing at--?

THOMAS. It's out, ma'am--yes, sir.

PHILIP. You're excessively noisy, Thomas!

THOMAS. [_In a fluster._] Yes, sir--I am.

CYNTHIA. [_Soothing_ THOMAS'S _wounded feelings._] We don't need you,

THOMAS. Yes, ma'am.

PHILIP. Puffing and blowing and shaking and quaking like an automobile
in an ecstasy! [THOMAS _meekly withdraws._

CYNTHIA. [_Not unsympathetically._] Too bad, Philip! I hope my
presence isn't too agitating?

PHILIP. Ah--it's just because I value this hour with you,
Cynthia--this hour of tea and toast and tranquillity. It's quite as if
we were married--happily married--already.

CYNTHIA. [_Admitting that married life is a blank, begins to look
through paper._] Yes, I feel as if we were married already.

PHILIP. [_Not recognizing her tone._] Ah! It's the calm, you see.

CYNTHIA. [_Without warmth._] The calm? Yes--yes, it's--it's the calm.

PHILIP. [_Sighs._] Yes, the calm--the Halcyon calm of--of second
choice. H'm! [_He reads and turns over the leaves of the paper._
CYNTHIA _reads. There is a silence._] After all, my dear--the feeling
which I have for you--is--is--eh--the market is in a shocking
condition of plethora! H'm--h'm--and what are you reading?

CYNTHIA. [_Embarrassed._] Oh, eh--well--I--eh--I'm just running over
the sporting news.

PHILIP. Oh! [_He looks thoughtful._

CYNTHIA. [_Beginning to forget_ PHILIP _and to remember more
interesting matters._] I fancied Hermes would come in an easy winner.
He came in nowhere. Nonpareil was ridden by Henslow--he's a rotten bad
rider. He gets nervous.

PHILIP. [_Still interested in his newspaper._] Does he? H'm! I suppose
you do retain an interest in horses and races. H'm--I trust some day
the--ah--law will attract--Oh [_Turning a page._], here's the report
of my opinion in that dressmaker's case--Haggerty _vs._ Phillimore.

CYNTHIA. [_Puzzled._] Was the case brought against you?

PHILIP. Oh--no. The suit was brought by Haggerty, Miss Haggerty, a
dressmaker, against the--in fact, my dear, against the former Mrs.
Phillimore. [_After a pause, he returns to his reading._

CYNTHIA. [_Curious about the matter._] How did you decide it?

PHILIP. I was obliged to decide in Mrs. Phillimore's favour.
Haggerty's plea was preposterous.

CYNTHIA. Did you--did you meet the--the--former--?


CYNTHIA. I often see her at afternoon teas.

PHILIP. How did you recognize--

CYNTHIA. Why-- [_Opening the paper._] because Mrs. Vida Phillimore's
picture appears in every other issue of most of the evening papers.
And I must confess I was curious. But, I'm sure you find it very
painful to meet her again.

PHILIP. [_Slowly, considering._] No,--would you find it so impossible
to meet Mr.--

CYNTHIA. [_Much excited and aroused._] Philip! Don't speak of him.
He's nothing. He's a thing of the past. I never think of him. I forget

PHILIP. [_Somewhat sarcastic._] That's extraordinarily original of you
to forget him.

CYNTHIA. [_Gently, and wishing to drop the subject._] We each of us
have something to forget, Philip--and John Karslake is to me--Well,
he's dead!

PHILIP. As a matter of fact, my dear, he _is_ dead, or the next thing
to it--for he's bankrupt.

CYNTHIA. [_After a pause._] Bankrupt? [_Excited and moved._] Let's not
speak of him. I mean never to see him or think about him or even hear
of him! [_He assents. She reads her paper. He sips his tea and reads
his paper. She turns a page, starts and cries out._

PHILIP. God bless me!

CYNTHIA. It's a picture of--of--

PHILIP. John Karslake?

CYNTHIA. Picture of him, and one of me, and in the middle between us
"Cynthia K!"

PHILIP. "Cynthia K!"

CYNTHIA. [_Excited._] My pet riding mare! The best horse he has! She's
an angel even in a photograph! Oh! [_Reading._] "John Karslake drops a
fortune at Saratoga." [_Rises and walks up and down excitedly._ PHILIP
_takes the paper and reads._

PHILIP. [_Unconcerned, as the matter hardly touches him._]
Hem--ah--Advertises country place for sale--stables, famous mare
"Cynthia K"--favourite riding-mare of former Mrs. Karslake, who is
once again to enter the arena of matrimony with the well-known and
highly respected judge of--

CYNTHIA. [_Sensitive and much disturbed._] Don't! Don't, Philip,
please don't!

PHILIP. My dear Cynthia--take another paper--here's my _Post_! You'll
find nothing disagreeable in _The Post_.

            [CYNTHIA _takes paper._

CYNTHIA. [_After reading, near the table._] It's much worse in _The
Post_. "John Karslake sells the former Mrs. Karslake's jewels--the
famous necklace now at Tiffany's, and the sporty ex-husband sells his
wife's portrait by Sargent!" Philip, I can't stand this. [_Puts paper
on the table._

PHILIP. Really, my dear, Mr. Karslake is bound to appear occasionally
in print--or even you may have to meet him.

            [Thomas _comes in._

CYNTHIA. [_Determined and distressed._] I won't meet him! I won't meet
him. Every time I hear his name or "Cynthia K's" I'm so depressed.

THOMAS. [_Announcing with something like reluctance._] Sir, Mr.
Fiddler. Mr. Karslake's trainer.

    FIDDLER _walks in. He is an English horse trainer, a
    wide-awake, stocky, well-groomed little cockney. He knows his
    own mind and sees life altogether through a stable door.
    Well-dressed for his station, and not too young._

CYNTHIA. [_Excited and disturbed._] Fiddler? Tim Fiddler? His coming
is outrageous!

FIDDLER. A note for you, sir.

CYNTHIA. [_Impulsively._] Oh, Fiddler--is that you?


CYNTHIA. [_In a half whisper, still speaking on impulse._] How is she!
Cynthia K? How's Planet II and the colt and Golden Rod? How's the
whole stable? Are they well?

FIDDLER. No'm--we're all on the bum. [_Aside._] Ever since you kicked
us over!

CYNTHIA. [_Reproving him, though pleased._] Fiddler!

FIDDLER. The horses is just simply gone to Egypt since you left, and
so's the guv'nor.

CYNTHIA. [_Putting an end to_ FIDDLER.] That will do, Fiddler.

FIDDLER. I'm waiting for an answer, sir.

CYNTHIA. What is it, Philip?

PHILIP. [_Uncomfortable._] A mere matter of business. [_Aside to_
FIDDLER.] The answer is, Mr. Karslake can come. The--the coast will be
clear. [FIDDLER _goes out._

CYNTHIA. [_Amazed; rising._] You're not going to see him?

PHILIP. But Karslake, my dear, is an old acquaintance of mine. He
argues cases before me. I will see that you do not have to meet him.

    [CYNTHIA _walks the length of the room in excited dejection._

    MATTHEW _comes in. He is a High-church clergyman to a highly
    fashionable congregation. His success is partly due to his
    social position and partly to his elegance of speech, but
    chiefly to his inherent amiability, which leaves the sinner
    in happy peace and smiles on the just and unjust alike._

MATTHEW. [_Most amiably._] Ah, my dear brother!

PHILIP. [_Greeting him._] Matthew.

MATTHEW. [_Nodding to_ PHILIP.] Good afternoon, my dear Cynthia. How
charming you look! [CYNTHIA _sits down at the tea-table. To_
CYNTHIA.] Ah, why weren't you in your pew yesterday? I preached a most
original sermon.

            [_He lays his hat and cane on the divan._

THOMAS. [_Aside to_ PHILIP.] Sir, Mrs. Vida Phillimore's maid called
you up on the telephone, and you're to expect Mrs. Phillimore on a
matter of business.

PHILIP. [_Astonished and disgusted._] Here, impossible! [_To_
CYNTHIA.] Excuse me, my dear! [PHILIP, _much embarrassed, goes out,
followed by_ THOMAS.

MATTHEW. [_Approaching_ CYNTHIA'S _chair, happily and pleasantly
self-important._] No, really, it was a wonderful sermon, my dear. My
text was from Paul--"It is better to marry than to burn." It was a
strictly logical sermon. I argued--that, as the grass withereth, and
the flower fadeth,--there is nothing final in Nature; not even Death!
And, as there is nothing final in Nature, not even Death;--so then if
Death is not final--why should marriage be final? [_Gently._] And so
the necessity of--eh--divorce! You see? It was an exquisite sermon!
All New York was there! And all New York went away happy! Even the
sinners--if there were any! I don't often meet sinners--do you?

CYNTHIA. [_Indulgently, in spite of his folly, because he is kind._]
You're such a dear, delightful Pagan! Here's your tea!

MATTHEW. [_Taking the tea._] Why, my dear--you have a very sad

CYNTHIA. [_A little bitterly._] Why not?

MATTHEW. [_With sentimental sweetness._] I feel as if I were of no use
in the world when I see sadness on a young face. Only sinners should
feel sad. You have committed no sin!

CYNTHIA. [_Impulsively._] Yes, I have!


CYNTHIA. I committed the unpardonable sin--whe--when I married for

MATTHEW. One must not marry for anything else, my dear!

CYNTHIA. Why am I marrying your brother?

MATTHEW. I often wonder why? I wonder why you didn't choose to remain
a free woman.

CYNTHIA. [_Going over the ground she has often argued with herself._]
I meant to; but a divorcée has no place in society. I felt horridly
lonely! I wanted a friend. Philip was ideal as a friend--for months.
Isn't it nice to bind a friend to you?

MATTHEW. [_Setting down his teacup._] Yes--yes!

CYNTHIA. [_Growing more and more excited and moved as she speaks._] To
marry a friend--to marry on prudent, sensible grounds--a man--like
Philip? That's what I should have done first, instead of rushing into
marriage--because I had a wild, mad, sensitive, sympathetic--passion
and pain and fury--of, I don't know what--that almost strangled me
with happiness!

MATTHEW. [_Amiable and reminiscent._] Ah--ah--in my youth--I,--I too!

CYNTHIA. [_Coming back to her manner of every day._] And besides--the
day Philip asked me I was in the dumps! And now--how about marrying
only for love? [PHILIP _comes back._

MATTHEW. Ah, my dear, love is not the only thing in the world!

PHILIP. [_Half aside._] I got there too late, she'd hung up.

CYNTHIA. Who, Philip?

PHILIP. Eh--a lady--eh--

            [THOMAS, _flurried, comes in with a card on a salver._

THOMAS. A card for you, sir. Ahem--ahem--Mrs. Phillimore--that was,


THOMAS. She's on the stairs, sir. [_He nods backward, only to find_
VIDA _at his side. He announces her as being the best way of meeting
the difficulty._] Mrs. Vida Phillimore!

    VIDA _comes in slowly, with the air of a spoiled beauty. She
    stops just inside the door and speaks in a very casual
    manner. Her voice is languorous and caressing. She is dressed
    in the excess of the French fashion and carries a daring
    parasol. She smiles and comes in, undulating, to the middle
    of the room. Tableau._ THOMAS _withdraws._

VIDA. How do you do, Philip. [_After a pause._] Don't tell me I'm a
surprise! I had you called up on the 'phone and I sent up my
card--and, besides, Philip dear, when you have the--the--habit of the
house, as unfortunately I have, you can't treat yourself like a
stranger in a strange land. At least, I can't--so here I am. My reason
for coming was to ask you about that B. & O. stock we hold in common.
[_To_ MATTHEW, _condescendingly, the clergy being a class of
unfortunates debarred by profession from the pleasures of the world._]
How do you do? [_Pause. She then goes to the real reason of her
visit._] Do be polite and present me to your wife-to-be.

PHILIP. [_Awkwardly._] Cynthia--

CYNTHIA. [_Cheerfully, with dash, putting the table between_ VIDA _and
herself._] We're delighted to see you, Mrs. Phillimore. I needn't ask
you to make yourself at home, but will you have a cup of tea? [MATTHEW
_sits near the little table._

VIDA. [_To_ PHILIP.] My dear, she's not in the least what I expected.
I heard she was a dove! She's a very dashing kind of a dove! [_To_
CYNTHIA, _who moves to the tea-table._] My dear, I'm paying you
compliments. Five lumps and quantities of cream. I find single life
very thinning. [_To_ PHILIP, _calm and ready to be agreeable to any
man._] And how well you're looking! It must be the absence of
matrimonial cares--or is it a new angel in the house?

CYNTHIA. [_Outraged at_ VIDA'S _intrusion, but polite though
delicately sarcastic._] It's most amusing to sit in your place. And
how at home you must feel here in this house where you have made so
much trouble--I mean tea. [_Rises._] Do you know it would be in much
better taste if you would take the place you're accustomed to?

VIDA. [_As calm as before._] My dear, I'm an intruder only for a
moment; I sha'n't give you a chance to score off me again! But I must
thank you, dear Philip, for rendering that decision in my favour--

PHILIP. I assure you--

Vida. [_Unable to resist a thrust._] Of course, you would like to have
rendered it against me. It was your wonderful sense of justice, and
that's why I'm so grateful--if not to you, to your Maker!

PHILIP. [_Feels that this is no place for his future wife. Rises
quickly. To_ CYNTHIA.] Cynthia, I would prefer that you left us.

            [MATTHEW _moves to the sofa and sits down._

CYNTHIA. [_Determined not to leave the field first, remains seated._]
Certainly, Philip!

PHILIP. I expect another visitor who--

VIDA. [_With flattering insistence, to_ CYNTHIA.] Oh, my dear--don't
go! The truth is--I came to see you! I feel most cordially towards
you--and really, you know, people in our position should meet on
cordial terms.

CYNTHIA. [_Taking it with apparent calm, but pointing her remarks._]
Naturally. If people in our position couldn't meet, New York society
would soon come to an end. [THOMAS _comes in._

VIDA. [_Calm, but getting her knife in too._] Precisely. Society's no
bigger than a band-box. Why, it's only a moment ago I saw Mr. Karslake


THOMAS. [_Announcing clearly. Everyone changes place, in
consternation, amusement or surprise._ CYNTHIA _moves to leave the
room, but stops for fear of attracting_ KARSLAKE'S _attention._] Mr.
John Karslake!

    _Enter_ KARSLAKE. _He is a powerful, generous personality, a
    man of affairs, breezy, gay and careless. He gives the
    impression of being game for any fate in store for him. His
    clothes indicate sporting propensities and his taste in
    waistcoats and ties is brilliant._ KARSLAKE _sees first_
    PHILIP _and then_ MATTHEW. THOMAS _goes out._

PHILIP. How do you do?

JOHN. [_Very gay and no respecter of persons._] Good-afternoon, Mr.
Phillimore. Hello--here's the church! [_Crossing to_ MATTHEW _and
shaking hands. He slaps him on the back._] I hadn't the least
idea--how are you? By George, your reverence, that was a racy sermon
of yours on Divorce! What was your text? [_Sees_ VIDA _and bows, very
politely._] Galatians 4:2, "The more the merrier," or "Who next?"
[_Smiles._] As the whale said after Jonah! [CYNTHIA _makes a sudden
movement, upsetting her tea-cup._ JOHN _faces about quickly and they
face each other._ JOHN _gives a frank start. A pause holds them._

JOHN. [_Astounded, in a low voice._] Mrs. Karslake-- [_Bowing._] I was
not aware of the pleasure in store for me. I understood you were in
the country. [_Recovering and moving to her chair._] Perhaps you'll be
good enough to make me a cup of tea?--that is if the teapot wasn't
lost in the scrimmage. [_There is another pause._ CYNTHIA, _determined
to equal him in coolness, returns to the tea-tray._] Mr. Phillimore, I
came to get your signature in that matter of Cox _vs._ Keely.

PHILIP. I shall be at your service, but pray be seated.

            [_He indicates a chair by the tea-table._

JOHN. [_Sitting beyond but not far from the tea-table._] And I also
understood you to say you wanted a saddle-horse.

PHILIP. You have a mare called--eh--"Cynthia K?"

JOHN. [_Promptly._] Yes--she's not for sale.

PHILIP. Oh, but she's just the mare I had set my mind on.

JOHN. [_With a touch of humour._] You want her for yourself?

PHILIP. [_A little flustered._] I--eh--I sometimes ride.

JOHN. [_Now sure of himself._] She's rather lively for you, Judge.
Mrs. Karslake used to ride her.

PHILIP. You don't care to sell her to me?

JOHN. She's a dangerous mare, Judge, and she's as delicate and
changeable as a girl. I'd hate to leave her in your charge!

CYNTHIA. [_Eagerly but in a low voice._] Leave her in mine, Mr.

JOHN. [_After a slight pause._] Mrs. Karslake knows all about a horse,
but-- [_Turning to_ CYNTHIA.] Cynthia K's got rather tricky of late.

CYNTHIA. [_Haughtily._] You mean to say you think she'd chuck me?

JOHN. [_With polite solicitude and still humourous. To_ PHILIP.] I'd
hate to have a mare of mine deprive you of a wife, Judge. [_Rises._
CYNTHIA _shows anger._] She goes to Saratoga next week, C. W.

VIDA. [_Who has been sitting and talking to_ MATTHEW _for lack of a
better man, comes to talk to_ KARSLAKE.] C. W.?

JOHN. [_Rising as she rises._] Creditors willing.

VIDA. [_Changing her seat for one near the tea-table._] I'm sure your
creditors are willing.

JOHN. Oh, they're a breezy lot, my creditors. They're giving me a
dinner this evening.

VIDA. [_More than usually anxious to please._] I regret I'm not a
breezy creditor, but I do think you owe it to me to let me see your
Cynthia K! Can't you lead her around to my house?

JOHN. At what hour, Mrs. Phillimore?

VIDA. Say eleven? And you, too, might have a leading in my
direction--771 Fifth Avenue.

            [JOHN _bows._ CYNTHIA _hears and notes this._

CYNTHIA. Your cup of tea, Mr. Karslake.

JOHN. Thanks. [_Taking his tea and sipping it._] I beg your
pardon--you have forgotten, Mrs. Karslake--very naturally, it has
slipped your memory, but I don't take sugar. [CYNTHIA, _furious with
him and herself. He hands the cup back. She makes a second cup._

CYNTHIA. [_Cheerfully; in a rage._] Sorry!

JOHN. [_Also apparently cheerful._] Yes, gout. It gives me a twinge
even to sit in the shadow of a sugar-maple! First you riot, and then
you diet!

VIDA. [_Calm and amused; aside to_ MATTHEW.] My dear Matthew, he's a
darling! But I feel as if we were all taking tea on the slope of a
volcano! [MATTHEW _sits down._

PHILIP. It occurred to me, Mr. Karslake, you might be glad to find a
purchaser for your portrait by Sargent?

JOHN. It's not _my_ portrait. It's a portrait of Mrs. Karslake, and to
tell you the truth--Sargent's a good fellow--I've made up my mind to
keep it--to remember the artist by.

            [CYNTHIA _is wounded by this._


            [CYNTHIA _hands a second cup to_ JOHN.

CYNTHIA. [_With careful politeness._] Your cup of tea, Mr. Karslake.

JOHN. [_Rising and taking the tea with courteous indifference._]
Thanks--sorry to trouble you.

            [_He drinks the cup of tea standing by the tea-table._

PHILIP. [_To make conversation._] You're selling your country place?

JOHN. If I was long of hair--I'd sell that.

CYNTHIA. [_Excited. Taken out of herself by the news._] You're not
really selling your stable?

JOHN. [_Finishes his tea, places the empty cup on the tea-table, and
reseats himself._] Every gelding I've got--seven foals and a donkey! I
don't mean the owner.

CYNTHIA. [_Still interested and forgetting the discomfort of the
situation._] How did you ever manage to come such a cropper?

JOHN. Streak of blue luck!

CYNTHIA. [_Quickly._] I don't see how it's possible--

JOHN. You would if you'd been there. You remember the head man?
[_Sitting down._] Bloke?

CYNTHIA. Of course!

JOHN. Well, his wife divorced him for beating her over the head with a
bottle of Fowler's Solution, and it seemed to prey on his mind. He
sold me--

CYNTHIA. [_Horrified._] Sold a race?

JOHN. About ten races, I guess.

CYNTHIA. [_Incredulous._] Just because he'd beaten his wife?

JOHN. No. Because she divorced him.

CYNTHIA. Well, I can't see why that should prey on his mind!

            [_Suddenly remembers._

JOHN. Well, I have known men that it stroked the wrong way. But he
cost me eighty thousand. And then Urbanity ran third in the
thousand-dollar stakes for two-year-olds at Belmont.

CYNTHIA. [_Throws this remark in._] I never had faith in that horse.

JOHN. And, of course, it never rains monkeys but it pours gorillas! So
when I was down at St. Louis on the fifth, I laid seven to three on

CYNTHIA. Crazy! Crazy!

JOHN. [_Ready to take the opposite view._] I don't see it. With her
record she ought to have romped it an easy winner.

CYNTHIA. [_Her sporting instinct asserting itself._] She hasn't the
stamina! Look at her barrel!

JOHN. Well, anyhow, Geranium finished me!

CYNTHIA. You didn't lay odds on Geranium!

JOHN. Why not? She's my own mare--


JOHN. Streak o' bad luck--

CYNTHIA. [_Plainly anxious to say "I told you so."_] Streak of poor
judgment! Do you remember the day you rode Billy at a six-foot stone
wall, and he stopped and you didn't, and there was a hornet's nest
[MATTHEW _rises._] on the other side, and I remember you were hot just
because I said you showed poor judgment? [_She laughs at the memory. A
general movement of disapproval. She remembers the situation._] I beg
your pardon.

MATTHEW. [_Rises to meet_ VIDA. _Hastily._] It seems to me that horses
are like the fourth gospel. Any conversation about them becomes
animated almost beyond the limits of the urbane! [VIDA, _disgusted by
such plainness of speech, rises and goes to_ PHILIP _who waves her to
a chair._

PHILIP. [_Formally._] I regret that you have endured such reverses,
Mr. Karslake. [JOHN _quietly bows._

CYNTHIA. [_Concealing her interest and speaking casually._] You
haven't mentioned your new English horse--Pantomime. What did he do at
St. Louis?

JOHN. [_Sitting down._] Fell away and ran fifth.

CYNTHIA. Too bad. Was he fully acclimated? Ah, well--

JOHN. We always differed--you remember--on the time needed--

MATTHEW. [_Coming over to_ CYNTHIA, _and speaking to carry off the
situation as well as to get a tip._] Isn't there a--eh--a race
to-morrow at Belmont Park?

JOHN. Yes. I'm going down in my auto.

CYNTHIA. [_Evidently wishing she might be going too._] Oh!

MATTHEW. And what animal shall you prefer?

            [_Covering his personal interest with amiable altruism._

JOHN. I'm backing Carmencita.

CYNTHIA. [_With a gesture of despair._] Carmencita! Carmencita!

            [MATTHEW _returns to_ VIDA'S _side._

JOHN. You may remember we always differed on Carmencita.

CYNTHIA. [_Disgusted at_ JOHN'S _dunderheadedness._] But there's no
room for difference. She's a wild, headstrong, dissatisfied, foolish
little filly. The deuce couldn't ride her--she'd shy at her own
shadow--"Carmencita." Oh, very well then, I'll wager you--and I'll
give you odds too--"Decorum" will come in first, and I'll lay three to
one he'll beat Carmencita by five lengths! How's that for fair?

JOHN. [_Never forgetting the situation._] Sorry I'm not flush enough
to take you.

CYNTHIA. [_Impetuously._] Philip, dear, you lend John enough for the

MATTHEW. [_As nearly horrified as so soft a soul can be._] Ahem!

JOHN. It's a sporty idea, Mrs. Karslake, but perhaps in the

CYNTHIA. [_Her mind on her wager._] In what circumstances?

PHILIP. [_With a nervous laugh._] It does seem to me there is a
certain impropriety--

CYNTHIA. [_Remembering the conventions, which, for a moment, had
actually escaped her._] Oh, I forgot. When horses are in the air--

MATTHEW. [_Pouring oil on troubled waters. Moving, he speaks to_ VIDA
_from the back of her armchair._] It's the fourth gospel, you see.
[THOMAS _comes in with a letter on a salver, which he hands to_

CYNTHIA. [_Meekly._] You are quite right, Philip. [PHILIP _goes up._]
The fact is, seeing Mr. Karslake again [_Laying on her indifference
with a trowel._] he seems to me as much a stranger as if I were
meeting him for the first time.

MATTHEW. [_Aside to_ VIDA.] We are indeed taking tea on the slope of a

VIDA. [_About to go, but thinking she will have a last word with_
JOHN.] I'm sorry your fortunes are so depressed, Mr. Karslake.

PHILIP. [_Looking at the card that_ THOMAS _has just brought in._] Who
in the world is Sir Wilfrid Cates-Darby?

            [_There is a general stir._

JOHN. Oh--eh--Cates-Darby? [PHILIP _opens the letter which_ THOMAS
_has brought with the card._] That's the English chap I bought
Pantomime of.

PHILIP. [_To_ THOMAS.] Show Sir Wilfrid Cates-Darby in.

    THOMAS _goes out. The prospect of an Englishman with a handle
    to his name changes_ VIDA'S _plans and, instead of leaving
    the house, she goes to sofa, and poses there._

JOHN. He's a good fellow, Judge. Place near Epsom. Breeder. Over here
to take a shy at our races.

THOMAS. [_Opening the door and announcing._] Sir Wilfrid Cates-Darby.

    _Enter_ SIR WILFRID CATES-DARBY. _He is a high-bred, sporting
    Englishman. His manner, his dress and his diction are the
    perfection of English elegance. His movements are quick and
    graceful. He talks lightly and with ease. He is full of life
    and unsmiling good temper._

PHILIP. [_To_ SIR WILFRID _and referring to the letter of introduction
in his hand._] I am Mr. Phillimore. I am grateful to Stanhope for
giving me the opportunity of knowing you, Sir Wilfrid. I fear you find
it warm?

SIR WILFRID. [_Delicately mopping his forehead._] Ah, well--ah--warm,
no--hot, yes! Deuced extraordinary climate yours, you know, Mr.

PHILIP. [_Conventionally._] Permit me to present you to-- [_The
unconventional situation pulls him up short. It takes him a moment to
decide how to meet it. He makes up his mind to pretend that everything
is as usual, and presents_ CYNTHIA _first._] Mrs. Karslake.

    [SIR WILFRID _bows, surprised and doubtful._

CYNTHIA. How do you do?

PHILIP. And to Mrs. Phillimore. [VIDA _bows nonchalantly, but with a
view to catching_ SIR WILFRID'S _attention._ SIR WILFRID _bows, and
looks from her to_ PHILIP.] My brother--and Mr. Karslake you know.

SIR WILFRID. How do, my boy. [_Half aside, to_ JOHN.] No idea you had
such a charming little wife--What?--Eh? [KARSLAKE _moves to speak to_
MATTHEW _and_ PHILIP _in the further room._

CYNTHIA. You'll have a cup of tea, Sir Wilfrid?

SIR WILFRID. [_At the table._] Thanks, awfully. [_Very cheerfully._]
I'd no idea old John had a wife! The rascal never told me!

CYNTHIA. [_Pouring tea and facing the facts._] I'm not Mr. Karslake's

SIR WILFRID. Oh!--Eh?--I see--

            [_He is evidently trying to think this out._

VIDA. [_Who has been ready for some time to speak to him._] Sir
Wilfrid, I'm sure no one has asked you how you like our country?

SIR WILFRID. [_Going to_ VIDA _and standing by her at the sofa._] Oh,
well, as to climate and horses, I say nothing. But I like your
American humour. I'm acquiring it for home purposes.

VIDA. [_Getting down to love as the basis of conversation._] Aren't
you going to acquire an American girl for home purposes?

SIR WILFRID. The more narrowly I look the agreeable project in the
face, the more I like it. Oughtn't to say that in the presence of your
husband. [_He casts a look at_ PHILIP, _who has gone into the next

VIDA. [_Cheerful and unconstrained._] He's not my husband!

SIR WILFRID. [_Completely confused._] Oh--eh?--my brain must be
boiled. You are--Mrs.--eh--ah--of course, now I see! I got the wrong
names! I thought you were Mrs. Phillimore. [_Sitting down by her._]
And that nice girl, Mrs. Karslake! You're deucedly lucky to be Mrs.
Karslake. John's a prime sort. I say, have you and he got any kids?
How many?

VIDA. [_Horrified at being suspected of maternity, but speaking very
sweetly._] He's not my husband.

SIR WILFRID. [_His good spirits all gone, but determined to clear
things up._] Phew! Awfully hot in here! Who the deuce is John's wife?

VIDA. He hasn't any.

SIR WILFRID. Who's Phillimore's wife?

VIDA. He hasn't any.

SIR WILFRID. Thanks, fearfully! [_To_ MATTHEW, _whom he approaches;
suspecting himself of having lost his wits._] Would you excuse me, my
dear and Reverend Sir--you're a churchman and all that--would you mind
straightening me out?

MATTHEW. [_Most graciously._] Certainly, Sir Wilfrid. Is it a matter
of doctrine?

SIR WILFRID. Oh, damme--beg your pardon,--no, it's not words, it's

MATTHEW. [_Ready to be outraged._] Women!

SIR WILFRID. It's divorce. Now, the lady on the sofa--

MATTHEW. _Was_ my brother's wife; he divorced
her--incompatibility--Rhode Island. The lady at the tea-table _was_
Mr. Karslake's wife; she divorced him--desertion--Sioux Falls. One
moment--she is about to marry my brother.

SIR WILFRID. [_Cheerful again._] I'm out! Thought I never would be!
Thanks! [VIDA _laughs._

VIDA. [_Not a whit discountenanced and ready to please._] Have you got
me straightened out yet?

SIR WILFRID. Straight as a die! I say, you had lots of fun, didn't
you? [_Returning to his position by the sofa._] And so _she's_ Mrs.
John Karslake?

VIDA. [_Calm, but secretly disappointed._] Do you like her?


VIDA. [_Fully expecting personal flattery._] Eh?

SIR WILFRID. She's a box o' ginger!

VIDA. You haven't seen many American women!

SIR WILFRID. Oh, haven't I?

VIDA. If you'll pay me a visit to-morrow--at twelve, you shall meet a
most charming young woman, who has seen you once, and who admires

SIR WILFRID. I'm there--what!

VIDA. Seven hundred and seventy-one Fifth Avenue.

SIR WILFRID. Seven seventy-one Fifth Avenue--at twelve.

VIDA. At twelve.

SIR WILFRID. Thanks! [_Indicating_ CYNTHIA.] She's a thoroughbred--you
can see that with one eye shut. Twelve. [_Shaking hands._] Awfully
good of you to ask me. [_He joins_ JOHN.] I say, my boy, your former's
an absolute certainty. [_To_ CYNTHIA.] I hear you're about to marry
Mr. Phillimore, Mrs. Karslake?

    KARSLAKE _crosses to_ VIDA _and together they move to the
    sofa and sit down._

CYNTHIA. To-morrow, 3 P. M., Sir Wilfrid.

SIR WILFRID. [_Much taken with_ CYNTHIA.] Afraid I've run into a sort
of family party, eh? [_Indicating_ VIDA.] The Past and the
Future--awfully chic way you Americans have of asking your divorced
husbands and wives to drop in, you know--celebrate a christenin', or
the new bride, or--

CYNTHIA. Do you like your tea strong?

SIR WILFRID. Middlin'.




SIR WILFRID. Just torture a lemon over it. [_He makes a gesture as of
twisting a lemon peel. She hands him his tea._] Thanks! So you do it
to-morrow at three?

CYNTHIA. At three, Sir Wilfrid.


CYNTHIA. Why are you sorry?

SIR WILFRID. Hate to see a pretty woman married. Might marry her

CYNTHIA. Oh, but I'm sure you don't admire American women.

SIR WILFRID. Admire you, Mrs. Karslake--

CYNTHIA. Not enough to marry me, I hope.

SIR WILFRID. Marry you in a minute! Say the word. Marry you now--here.

CYNTHIA. You don't think you ought to know me a little before--

SIR WILFRID. Know you? Do know you.

CYNTHIA. [_Covering her hair with her handkerchief._] What colour is
my hair?


CYNTHIA. You see! You don't know whether I'm a chestnut or a
strawberry roan! In the States we think a few months of friendship is
quite necessary.

SIR WILFRID. Few months of moonshine! Never was a friend to a
woman--thank God, in all my life.

CYNTHIA. Oh--oh, oh!

SIR WILFRID. Might as well talk about being a friend to a

CYNTHIA. A woman has a soul, Sir Wilfrid.

SIR WILFRID. Well, good whiskey is spirits--dozens o' souls!

CYNTHIA. You are so gross!

SIR WILFRID. [_Changing his seat for one at the tea-table._] Gross?
Not a bit! Friendship between the sexes is all fudge! I'm no friend to
a rose in my garden. I don't call it friendship--eh--eh--a warm,
starry night, moonbeams and ilex trees, "and a spirit who knows how"
and all that--eh-- [_Getting closer to her._] You make me feel awfully
poetical, you know-- [PHILIP _comes toward them, glances nervously at_
CYNTHIA _and_ SIR WILFRID, _and walks away again._] What's the matter?
But, I say--poetry aside--do you, eh---- [_Looking around to place_
PHILIP.] Does he--y'know--is he--does he go to the head?

CYNTHIA. Sir Wilfrid, Mr. Phillimore is my sober second choice.

SIR WILFRID. Did you ever kiss him? I'll bet he fined you for contempt
of court. Look here, Mrs. Karslake, if you're marryin' a man you don't
care about--

CYNTHIA. [_Amused and excusing his audacity as a foreigner's
eccentricity._] Really!

SIR WILFRID. Well, I don't offer myself--


SIR WILFRID. Not this instant--


SIR WILFRID. But let me drop in to-morrow at ten.

CYNTHIA. What country and state of affairs do you think you have
landed in?

SIR WILFRID. New York, by Jove! Been to school, too. New York is
bounded on the North, South, East and West by the state of Divorce!
Come, come, Mrs. Karslake, I like your country. You've no fear and no
respect--no cant and lots of can. Here you all are, you see--your
former husband, and your new husband's former wife--sounds like
Ollendoff! Eh? So there you are, you see! But, jokin' apart--why do
you marry him? Oh, well, marry him if you must! You can run around the
corner and get a divorce afterwards--

CYNTHIA. I believe you think they throw one in with an ice-cream soda!

SIR WILFRID. [_Rising._] Damme, my dear lady, a marriage in your
country is no more than a--eh--eh--what do you call 'em? A thank you,
ma'am. That's what an American marriage is--a thank you, ma'am.
Bump--bump--you're over it and on to the next.

CYNTHIA. You're an odd fish! What? I believe I like you!

SIR WILFRID. 'Course you do! You'll see me when I call to-morrow--at
ten? We'll run down to Belmont Park, eh?

CYNTHIA. Don't be absurd!

VIDA. [_Has finished her talk with_ JOHN, _and breaks in on_ SIR
WILFRID, _who has hung about_ CYNTHIA _too long to suit her._]
To-morrow at twelve, Sir Wilfrid!


VIDA. [_Shaking hands with_ JOHN.] Don't forget, Mr. Karslake--eleven
o'clock to-morrow.

JOHN. [_Bowing assent._] I won't!

VIDA. [_Coming over to_ CYNTHIA.] Oh, Mrs. Karslake, I've ordered
Tiffany to send you something. It's a sugar-bowl to sweeten the
matrimonial lot! I suppose nothing would induce you to call?

CYNTHIA. [_Distantly and careless of offending._] Thanks, no--that is,
is "Cynthia K" really to be there at eleven? I'd give a gold mine to
see her again.

VIDA. Do come!

CYNTHIA. If Mr. Karslake will accommodate me by his absence.

VIDA. Dear Mr. Karslake, you'll have to change your hour.

JOHN. Sorry, I'm not able to.

CYNTHIA. I can't come later for I'm to be married.

JOHN. It's not as bad as that with me, but I am to be sold
up--Sheriff, you know. Can't come later than eleven.

VIDA. [_To_ CYNTHIA.] Any hour but eleven, dear.

CYNTHIA. [_Perfectly regardless of_ VIDA, _and ready to vex_ JOHN _if
possible._] Mrs. Phillimore, I shall call on you at eleven--to see
Cynthia K. I thank you for the invitation. Good-afternoon.

VIDA. [_Aside to_ JOHN, _crossing to speak quietly to him._] It's mere
bravado; she won't come.

JOHN. You don't know her.

    _There is a pause and general embarrassment._ SIR WILFRID
    _uses his eye-glass._ JOHN _angry._ CYNTHIA _triumphant._
    MATTHEW _embarrassed._ VIDA _irritated._ PHILIP _puzzled.
    Everybody is at odds._

SIR WILFRID. [_For the first time a witness to the pretty
complications of divorce. To_ MATTHEW.] Do you have it as warm as this

MATTHEW. [_For whom these moments are more than usually painful, and
wiping his brow._] It's not so much the heat as the humidity.

JOHN. [_Looks at watch and, relieved, glad to be off._] I shall be
late for my creditors' dinner.

SIR WILFRID. [_Interested and walking toward_ JOHN.] Creditors'

JOHN. [_Reading the note._] Fifteen of my sporting creditors have
arranged to give me a blow-out at Sherry's, and I'm expected right
away or sooner. And, by the way, I was to bring my friends--if I had
any. So now's the time to stand by me! Mrs. Phillimore?

VIDA. Of course!

JOHN. [_Ready to embarrass_ CYNTHIA, _if possible, and speaking as if
he had quite forgotten their former relations._] Mrs. Karslake--I beg
your pardon. Judge? [PHILIP _declines._] No? Sir Wilfrid?

SIR WILFRID. I'm with you!

JOHN. [_To_ MATTHEW.] Your Grace?

MATTHEW. I regret--

SIR WILFRID. Is it the custom for creditors--

JOHN. Come on, Sir Wilfrid! [THOMAS _opens door._] Good-night,
Judge--Your Grace--

SIR WILFRID. Is it the custom--

JOHN. Hang the custom! Come on--I'll show you a gang of creditors
worth having!

    SIR WILFRID _and_ JOHN _go out, arm in arm, preceded by_
    VIDA. MATTHEW _crosses the room, smiling, as if pleased, in a
    Christian way, with this display of generous gaiety. He stops
    short suddenly and looks at his watch._

MATTHEW. Good gracious! I had no idea the hour was so late. I've been
asked to a meeting with Maryland and Iowa, to talk over the divorce
situation. [_He leaves the room quickly and his voice is heard in the
hall._] Good-afternoon! Good-afternoon!

    CYNTHIA _is evidently much excited. The outer door slams._
    PHILIP _comes down slowly._ CYNTHIA _stands, her eyes wide,
    her breathing visible, until_ PHILIP _speaks, when she seems
    suddenly to realize her position. There is a long pause._

PHILIP. [_With a superior air._] I have seldom witnessed a more
amazing cataclysm of jocundity! Of course, my dear, this has all been
most disagreeable for you.

CYNTHIA. [_Excitedly._] Yes, yes, yes!

PHILIP. I saw how much it shocked your delicacy.

CYNTHIA. [_Distressed and moved._] Outrageous.

            [PHILIP _sits down._

PHILIP. Do be seated, Cynthia. [_Taking up the paper. Quietly._] Very
odd sort of an Englishman--that Cates-Darby!

CYNTHIA. Sir Wilfrid?--Oh, yes! [PHILIP _settles down to the paper. To
herself._] Outrageous! I've a great mind to go at eleven--just as I
said I would!

PHILIP. Do sit down, Cynthia!

CYNTHIA. What? What?

PHILIP. You make me so nervous--

CYNTHIA. Sorry--sorry. [_She sits down and, seeing the paper, takes
it, looking at the picture of_ JOHN KARSLAKE.

PHILIP. [_Sighing with content._] Ah! now that I see him, I don't
wonder you couldn't stand him. There's a kind of--ah--spontaneous
inebriety about him. He is incomprehensible! If I might with reverence
cross-question the Creator, I would say to him: "Sir, to what end or
purpose did you create Mr. John Karslake?" I believe I should obtain
no adequate answer! However, [_Sighs._] at last we have peace--and
_The Post_! [PHILIP, _settling himself, reads his paper;_ CYNTHIA,
_glancing at her paper, occasionally looks across at_ PHILIP.] Forget
the dust of the arena--the prolixity of counsel--the involuntary
fatuity of things in general. [_After a pause, he goes on with his
reading._] Compose yourself!

    _sighs without letting her sigh be heard. She tries to
    compose herself. She glances at the paper and then, hearing_
    MISS HENEAGE, _starts slightly._ MISS HENEAGE _and_ MRS.
    PHILLIMORE _stop at the table._

MISS HENEAGE. [_Carrying a sheet of paper._] There, my dear Mary, is
the announcement as I have now reworded it. I took William's
suggestion. [MRS. PHILLIMORE _takes and casually reads it._] I also
put the case to him, and he was of the opinion that the announcement
should be sent _only_ to those people who are really _in_ society.
[_She sits near the table._ CYNTHIA _braces herself to bear the_
PHILLIMORE _conversation._

GRACE. I wish you'd make an exception of the Dudleys.

            [CYNTHIA _rises and moves to the chair by the table._

MISS HENEAGE. And, of course, that excludes the Oppenheims--the

MRS. PHILLIMORE. It's just as well to be exclusive.

GRACE. I do wish you'd make an exception of Lena Dudley.

MISS HENEAGE. We might, of course, include those new Girardos, and
possibly--possibly the Paddingtons.

GRACE. I do wish you would take in Lena Dudley.

            [_They are now sitting._

MRS. PHILLIMORE. The mother Dudley is as common as a charwoman, and
not nearly as clean.

PHILIP. [_Sighing, his own feelings, as usual, to the fore._] Ah! I
certainly am fatigued!

    CYNTHIA _begins to slowly crush the newspaper she has been
    reading with both hands, as if the effort of self-repression
    were too much for her._

MISS HENEAGE. [_Making the best of a gloomy future._] We shall have to
ask the Dudleys sooner or later to dine, Mary--because of the elder
girl's marriage to that dissolute French Marquis.

MRS. PHILLIMORE. [_Plaintively._] I don't like common people any more
than I like common cats, and of course in my time--

MISS HENEAGE. I think I shall include the Dudleys.

MRS. PHILLIMORE. You think you'll include the Dudleys?

MISS HENEAGE. Yes, I think I will include the Dudleys!

    _Here_ CYNTHIA'S _control breaks down. Driven desperate by
    their chatter, she has slowly rolled her newspaper into a
    ball, and at this point tosses it violently to the floor and
    bursts into hysterical laughter._

MRS. PHILLIMORE. Why, my dear Cynthia--Compose yourself.

PHILIP. [_Hastily._] What is the matter, Cynthia?

            [_They speak together._

MISS HENEAGE. Why, Mrs. Karslake, what is the matter?

GRACE. [_Coming quickly forward._] Mrs. Karslake!



    SCENE. MRS. VIDA PHILLIMORE'S _boudoir. The room is furnished
    to please an empty-headed, pleasure-loving and fashionable
    woman. The furniture, the ornaments, what pictures there are,
    all witness to taste up-to-date. Two French windows open on
    to a balcony, from which the trees of Central Park can be
    seen. There is a table between them; a mirror, a scent
    bottle, &c., upon it. On the right, up stage, is a door; on
    the right, down stage, another door. A lady's writing-table
    stands between the two, nearer centre of stage. There is
    another door up stage; below it, an open fireplace, filled
    with potted plants, andirons, &c., not in use. Over it is a
    tall mirror; on the mantel-piece are a French clock,
    candelabra, vases, &c. On a line with the fireplace is a
    lounge, gay with silk pillows. A florist's box, large and
    long, filled with American Beauty roses, rests on a low table
    near the head of the lounge. Small tables and light chairs
    where needed._

    BENSON, _alone in the room, is looking critically about her.
    She is a neat and pretty little English lady's maid in black
    silk and a thin apron. Still surveying the room, she moves
    here and there, and, her eyes lighting on the box of flowers,
    she goes to the door of_ VIDA'S _room and speaks to her._

BENSON. Yes, ma'am, the flowers have come.

    _She holds open the door through which_ VIDA, _in a morning
    gown, comes in slowly. She is smoking a cigarette in as
    æsthetic a manner as she can, and is evidently turned out in
    her best style for conquest._

VIDA. [_Faces the balcony as she speaks, and is, as always, even and
civil, but a bit disdainful toward her servant._] Terribly garish
light, Benson. Pull down the-- [BENSON, _obeying, partly pulls down
the shade._] Lower still--that will do. [_As she speaks she goes about
the room, giving the tables a push here and the chairs a jerk there,
and generally arranging the vases and ornaments._] Men hate a clutter
of chairs and tables. [_Stopping and taking up a hand mirror from the
table, she faces the windows._] I really think I'm too pale for this

BENSON. [_Quickly, understanding what is implied._] Yes, ma'am.
[BENSON _goes out for the rouge, and_ VIDA _seats herself at the
table. There is a knock at the door._] Come! [BROOKS _comes in._

BROOKS. [_An ultra-English footman, in plush and calves._] Any
horders, m'lady?

VIDA. [_Incapable of remembering the last man, or of considering the
new one._] Oh,--of course! You're the new--

BROOKS. Footman, m'lady.

VIDA. [_As a matter of form._] Your name?

BROOKS. Brooks, m'lady. [BENSON _returns with the rouge._

VIDA. [_Carefully giving instructions while she keeps her eyes on the
glass and is rouged by_ BENSON.] Brooks, I am at home to Mr. Karslake
at eleven; not to any one else till twelve, when I expect Sir Wilfrid

            [BROOKS, _watching_ BENSON, _is inattentive._

BROOKS. Yes, m'lady.

VIDA. [_Calm, but wearied by the ignorance of the lower classes._] And
I regret to inform you, Brooks, that in America there are no ladies,
except salesladies!

BROOKS. [_Without a trace of comprehension._] Yes, m'lady.

VIDA. I am at home to no one but the two names I have mentioned.
[BROOKS _bows and exits. She dabs on rouge while_ BENSON _holds
glass._] Is the men's club-room in order?

BENSON. Perfectly, ma'am.

VIDA. Whiskey and soda?

BENSON. Yes, ma'am, and the ticker's been mended. The British sporting
papers arrived this morning.

VIDA. [_Looking at her watch which lies on the dressing-table._] My
watch has stopped.

BENSON. [_Glancing at the French clock on the chimney-piece._] Five to
eleven, ma'am.

VIDA. [_Getting promptly to work._] H'm, h'm, I shall be caught.
[_Rising._] The box of roses, Benson! [BENSON _brings the box of
roses, uncovers the flowers and places them at_ VIDA'S _side._] My
gloves--the clippers, and the vase! [_Each of these things_ BENSON
_places in turn within_ VIDA'S _range where she sits on the sofa. She
has the long box of roses at her side on a small table, a vase of
water on the floor by her side. She cuts the stems and places the
roses in the vase. When she feels that she has reached a picturesque
position, in which any onlooker would see in her a creature filled
with the love of flowers and of her fellow man, she says:_] There!
[_The door opens and_ BROOKS _comes in;_ VIDA _nods to_ BENSON.

BROOKS. [_Announcing stolidly._] Sir John Karslake.

    JOHN, _dressed in very nobby riding togs, comes in gaily and
    forcibly._ BENSON _withdraws as he enters, and is followed
    by_ BROOKS. VIDA, _from this moment on, is busied with her

VIDA. [_Languorously, but with a faint suggestion of humour._] Is that
really you, Sir John?

JOHN. [_Lively and far from being impressed by_ VIDA.] I see now where
we Americans are going to get our titles. Good-morning! You look as
fresh as paint. [_He lays his gloves and riding crop on the table, and
takes a chair._

VIDA. [_Facing the insinuation with gentle pain._] I hope you don't
mean that? I never flattered myself for a moment you'd come. You're
riding Cynthia K?

JOHN. Fiddler's going to lead her round here in ten minutes!

VIDA. Cigars and cigarettes! Scotch?

            [_Indicating a small table._

JOHN. Scotch! [_Goes up quickly to table and helps himself to Scotch
and seltzer._

VIDA. And now _do_ tell me all about _her_! [_Putting in her last
roses; she keeps one rosebud in her hand, of a size suitable for a
man's buttonhole._

JOHN. [_As he drinks._] Oh, she's an adorable creature--delicate,
high-bred, sweet-tempered--

VIDA. [_Showing her claws for a moment._] Sweet-tempered? Oh, you're
describing the horse! By "her," I meant--

JOHN. [_Irritated by the remembrance of his wife._] Cynthia Karslake?
I'd rather talk about the last Tornado.

            [_He drops moodily into a chair._

VIDA. [_With artful soothing._] There is only one thing I want to talk
about, and that is, _you_! Why were you unhappy?

JOHN. [_Still cross._] Why does a dollar last such a short time?

VIDA. [_Curious._] Why did you part?

JOHN. Did you ever see a schooner towed by a tug? Well, I parted from
Cynthia for the same reason that the hawser parts from the tug--I
couldn't stand the tug.

VIDA. [_Sympathizing._] Ah!

JOHN. [_After a pause, and still cross._] Awful cheerful morning chat.

VIDA. [_Excusing her curiosity and coming back to love as the only
subject for serious conversation._] I must hear the story, for I'm
anxious to know why I've taken such a fancy to you!

JOHN. [_Very nonchalantly._] Why do _I_ like you?

VIDA. [_Doing her best to charm._] I won't tell you--it would flatter
you too much.

JOHN. [_Not a bit impressed by_ VIDA, _but humanly ready to flirt._]
Tell me!

VIDA. There's a rose for you.

            [_Giving him the one she has in her hand._

JOHN. [_Saying what is plainly expected of him._] I want more than a

VIDA. [_Passing over this insinuation._] You refuse to tell me--?

JOHN. [_Once more reminded of_ CYNTHIA, _speaks with sudden feeling._]
There's nothing to tell. We met, we loved, we married, we parted; or
at least we wrangled and jangled. [_Sighs._] Ha! Why weren't we happy?
Don't ask me, why! It may have been _partly_ my fault!

VIDA. [_With tenderness._] Never!

JOHN. [_His mind on_ CYNTHIA.] But I believe it's all in the way a
girl's brought up. Our girls are brought up to be ignorant of
life--they're ignorant of life. Life is a joke, and marriage is a
picnic, and a man is a shawl-strap--'Pon my soul, Cynthia Deane--no,
I can't tell you! [_In great irritation, he rises abruptly, and
strides up and down the room._

VIDA. [_Gently._] Please tell me!

JOHN. Well, she was an heiress, an American heiress--and she'd been
taught to think marriage meant burnt almonds and moonshine and a yacht
and three automobiles, and she thought--I don't know what she thought,
but I tell you, Mrs. Phillimore, marriage is three parts love and
seven parts forgiveness of sins. [_He continues restlessly to pace the
floor as he speaks of_ CYNTHIA.

VIDA. [_Flattering him as a matter of second nature._] She never loved

JOHN. [_On whom she has made no impression at all._] Yes, she did. For
six or seven months there was not a shadow between us. It was perfect,
and then one day she went off like a pistol-shot! I had a piece of law
work and couldn't take her to see Flashlight race the Maryland mare.
The case meant a big fee, big Kudos, and in sails Cynthia,
Flashlight-mad! And will I put on my hat and take her? No--and bang
she goes off like a stick o' dynamite--what did I marry her for?--and
words--pretty high words, until she got mad, when she threw over a
chair, and said, oh, well,--marriage was a failure, or it was with
me, so I said she'd better try somebody else. She said she would, and
marched out of the room.

VIDA. [_Gently sarcastic._] But she came back!

JOHN. She came back, but not as you mean. She stood at the door and
said, "Jack, I shall divorce you." Then she came over to my
study-table, dropped her wedding ring on my law papers, and went out.
The door shut, I laughed; the front door slammed, I damned. [_After a
silence, moving abruptly to the window._] She never came back. [_He
turns away and then, recovering, moves toward_ VIDA, _who catches his

VIDA. [_Hoping for a contradiction._] She's broken your heart.

JOHN. [_Taking a chair by the lounge._] Oh, no!

VIDA. [_Encouraged, begins to play the game again._] You'll never love

JOHN. [_Speaking to her from the foot of the sofa._] Try me! Try me!
Ah, no, Mrs. Phillimore, I shall laugh, live, love and make money
again! And let me tell you one thing--I'm going to rap her one over
the knuckles. She had a stick of a Connecticut lawyer, and he--well,
to cut a legal story short, since Mrs. Karslake's been in Europe, I
have been quietly testing the validity of the decree of divorce.
Perhaps you don't understand?

VIDA. [_Displaying her innate shrewdness._] Oh, about a divorce,

JOHN. I shall hear by this evening whether the divorce will stand or

VIDA. But it's to-day at three she marries--you won't let her commit

JOHN. [_Shaking his head._] I don't suppose I'd go as far as that. It
may be the divorce will hold, but anyway I hope never to see her

    [_He sits down beside her so that their faces are now
    directly opposite. Taking advantage of the close range, her
    eyes, without loss of time, open a direct fire._

VIDA. Ah, my poor boy, she has broken your heart. [_Believing that
this is her psychological moment, she lays her hand on his arm, but
draws it back as soon as he attempts to take it._] Now don't make love
to me.

JOHN. [_Bold and amused, but never taken in._] Why not?

VIDA. [_With immense gentleness._] Because I like you too much! [_More
gaily._] I might give in, and take a notion to like you still more!

JOHN. Please do!

VIDA. [_With gush, and determined to be womanly at all hazards._]
Jack, I believe you'd be a lovely lover!

JOHN. [_Immensely diverted._] Try me!

VIDA. [_Not hoping much from his tone._] You charming, tempting,
delightful fellow, I could love you without the least effort in the
world,--but, no!

JOHN. [_Playing the game._] Ah, well, now _seriously!_ Between two
people who have _suffered_ and made their own mistakes--

VIDA. [_Playing the game too, but not playing it well._] But you see,
you don't _really_ love me!

JOHN. [_Still ready to say what is expected._] Cynthia--Vida, no man
can sit beside you and look into your eyes without feeling--

VIDA. [_Speaking the truth as she sees it, seeing that her methods
don't succeed._] Oh! That's not love! That's simply--well, my dear
Jack, it's beginning at the wrong end. And the truth is you hate
Cynthia Karslake with such a whole-hearted hate, that you haven't a
moment to think of any other woman.

JOHN. [_With sudden anger._] I hate her!

VIDA. [_Very softly and most sweetly._] Jack--Jack, I could be as
foolish about you as--oh, as foolish as anything, my dear! And perhaps
some day--perhaps some day you'll come to me and say, Vida, I am
totally indifferent to Cynthia--and then--

JOHN. And then?

VIDA. [_The ideal woman in mind._] Then, perhaps, you and I may join
hands and stroll together into the Garden of Eden. It takes two to
find the Garden of Eden, you know--and once we're on the inside, we'll
lock the gate.

JOHN. [_Gaily, and seeing straight through her veneer._] And lose the
key under a rose-bush!

VIDA. [_Agreeing very softly._] Under a rose-bush! [_There is a very
soft knock at which_ JOHN _starts up quickly._] Come! [BROOKS _comes
in, with_ BENSON _close at his heels._

BROOKS. [_Stolid, announces._] My lady--Sir Wilf-- [BENSON _stops him
with a sharp movement and turns toward_ VIDA.

BENSON. [_With intention._] Your dressmaker, ma'am. [BENSON _waves_
BROOKS _to go and_ BROOKS _very haughtily complies._

VIDA. [_Wonderingly._] My dressmaker, Benson? [_With quick
intelligence._] Oh, of course, show her up. Mr. Karslake, you won't
mind for a few minutes using my men's club-room? Benson will show
you! You'll find cigars and the ticker, sporting papers, whiskey; and,
if you want anything special, just 'phone down to my "chef."

JOHN. [_Looking at his watch._] How long?

VIDA. [_Very anxious to please._] Half a cigar! Benson will call you.

JOHN. [_Practically-minded._] Don't make it too long. You see, there's
my sheriff's sale on at twelve, and those races this afternoon.
Fiddler will be here in ten minutes, remember!

            [_The door opens._

VIDA. [_To_ JOHN.] Run along! [JOHN _leaves and_ VIDA, _instantly
practical, makes a broad gesture to_ BENSON.] Everything just as it
was, Benson! [BENSON _whisks the roses out of the vase and replaces
them in the box. She gives_ VIDA _scissors and empty vases, and, when_
VIDA _finds herself in precisely the same position which preceded_
JOHN'S _entrance, she says:_] There!

            [BROOKS _comes in as_ VIDA _takes a rose from basket._

BROOKS. [_With characteristic stolidness._] Your ladyship's
dressmaker! M'lady! [_Enter_ SIR WILFRID _in morning suit,
boutonnière, &c._

VIDA. [_With tender surprise and busy with the roses._] Is that really
you, Sir Wilfrid! I never flattered myself for an instant that you'd
remember to come.

SIR WILFRID. [_Moving to the head of the sofa._] Come? 'Course I come!
Keen to come see you. By Jove, you know, you look as pink and white as
a huntin' mornin'.

VIDA. [_Ready to make any man as happy as possible._] You'll smoke?

SIR WILFRID. Thanks! [_He watches her as she trims and arranges the
flowers._] Awfully long fingers you have! Wish I was a rose, or a
ring, or a pair of shears! I say, d'you ever notice what a devil of a
fellow I am for originality, what? [_Unlike_ JOHN, _is evidently
impressed by her._] You've got a delicate little den up here! Not so
much low livin' and high thinkin', as low lights and no thinkin' at
all, I hope--eh?

    [_By this time_, VIDA _has filled a vase with roses and rises
    to sweep by him and, if possible, make another charming
    picture to his eyes._

VIDA. [_Gliding gracefully past him._] You don't mind my moving about?

SIR WILFRID. [_Impressed._] Not if you don't mind my watchin'.
[_Sitting down on the sofa._] And sayin' how wel you do it.

VIDA. It's most original of you to come here this morning. I don't
quite see why you did.

    _She places the roses here and there, as if to see their
    effect, and leaves them on a small table near the door
    through which her visitors entered._

SIR WILFRID. Admiration.

VIDA. [_Sauntering slowly toward the mirror as she speaks._] Oh, I saw
that you admired her! And of course, she did say she was coming here
at eleven! But that was only bravado! She won't come, and besides,
I've given orders to admit no one!

SIR WILFRID. [_Attempting to dam the stream of her talk which flows
gently but steadily on._] May I ask you--

VIDA. And, indeed, if she came now, Mr. Karslake has gone, and her
sole object in coming was to make him uncomfortable. [_She moves
toward the table, stopping a half minute at the mirror to see that she
looks as she wishes to look._] Very dangerous symptom, too, that
passionate desire to make one's former husband unhappy! But, I can't
believe that your admiration for Cynthia Karslake is so warm that it
led you to pay me this visit a half hour too early in the hope of

SIR WILFRID. [_Rising; most civil, but speaking his mind like a
Briton._] I say, would you mind stopping a moment! [_She smiles._] I'm
not an American, you know; I was brought up not to interrupt. But you
Americans, it's different with you! If somebody didn't interrupt you,
you'd go on forever.

VIDA. [_Passing him to tantalize._] My point is you come to see

SIR WILFRID. [_Believing she means it._] I came hopin' to see--

VIDA. [_Provokingly._] Cynthia!

SIR WILFRID. [_Perfectly single-minded and entirely taken in._] But I
would have come even if I'd known--

VIDA. [_Evading him, while he follows._] I don't believe it!

SIR WILFRID. [_Protesting whole-heartedly._] Give you my word I--

VIDA. [_Leading him on._] You're here to see _her_! And of course--

SIR WILFRID. [_Determined to be heard because, after all, he's a
man._] May I have the--eh--the floor? [VIDA _sits down in a chair._] I
was jolly well bowled over with Mrs. Karslake, I admit that, and I
hoped to see her here, but--

VIDA. [_Talking nonsense and knowing it._] You had another object in
coming. In fact, you came to see Cynthia, and you came to see me! What
I really long to know is, why you wanted to see _me_! For, of course,
Cynthia's to be married at three! And, if she wasn't she wouldn't have

SIR WILFRID. [_Not intending to wound; merely speaking the flat
truth._] Well, I mean to jolly well ask her.

VIDA. [_Indignant._] To be your wife?


VIDA. [_Still indignant._] And you came here, to my house--in order to
ask her--

SIR WILFRID. [_Truthful even on a subtle point._] Oh, but that's only
my first reason for coming, you know.

VIDA. [_Concealing her hopes._] Well, now I _am_ curious--what is the

SIR WILFRID. [_Simply._] Are you feelin' pretty robust?

VIDA. I don't know!

SIR WILFRID. [_Crosses to the buffet._] Will you have something, and
then I'll tell you!

VIDA. [_Gaily._] Can't I support the news without--

SIR WILFRID. [_Trying to explain his state of mind, a feat which he
has never been able to accomplish._] Mrs. Phillimore, you see it's
this way. Whenever you're lucky, you're too lucky. Now, Mrs. Karslake
is a nipper and no mistake, but as I told you, the very same evenin'
and house where I saw her--

            [_He attempts to take her hand._

VIDA. [_Gently rising and affecting a tender surprise._] What!

SIR WILFRID. [_Rising with her._] That's it!--You're over! [_He
suggests with his right hand the movement of a horse taking a hurdle._

VIDA. [_Very sweetly._] You don't really mean--

SIR WILFRID. [_Carried away for the moment by so much true
womanliness._] I mean, I stayed awake for an hour last night, thinkin'
about you.

VIDA. [_Speaking to be contradicted._] But, you've just told me--that

SIR WILFRID. [_Admitting the fact._] Well, she did--she did bowl my
wicket, but so did you--

VIDA. [_Taking him very gently to task._] Don't you think there's a
limit to-- [_She sits down._

SIR WILFRID. [_Roused by so much loveliness of soul._] Now, see here,
Mrs. Phillimore! You and I are not bottle babies, eh, are we? You've
been married and--I--I've knocked about, and we both know there's a
lot of stuff talked about--eh, eh, well, you know:--the one and
only--that a fellow can't be awfully well smashed by two at the same
time, don't you know! All rubbish! You know it, and the proof of the
puddin's in the eatin', I am!

VIDA. [_With gentle reproach._] May I ask where I come in?

SIR WILFRID. Well, now, Mrs. Phillimore, I'll be frank with you,
Cynthia's my favourite, but you're runnin' her a close second in the
popular esteem!

VIDA. [_Laughing, determined not to take offense._] What a delightful,
original, fantastic person you are!

SIR WILFRID. [_Frankly happy that he has explained everything so
neatly._] I knew you'd take it that way!

VIDA. And what next, pray?

SIR WILFRID. Oh, just the usual,--eh,--thing,--the--eh--the same old
question, don't you know. Will you have me if she don't?

VIDA. [_A shade piqued, but determined not to risk showing it._] And
you call that the same old usual question?

SIR WILFRID. Yes, I know, but--but will you? I sail in a week; we can
take the same boat. And--eh--eh--my dear Mrs.--mayn't I say Vida, I'd
like to see you at the head of my table.

VIDA. [_With velvet irony._] With Cynthia at the foot?

SIR WILFRID. [_Practical, as before._] Never mind Mrs. Karslake,--I
admire her--she's--but you have your own points! And you're here, and
so'm I!--damme I offer myself, and my affections, and I'm no icicle,
my dear, tell you that for a fact, and,--and in fact what's your
answer!-- [VIDA _sighs and shakes her head._] Make it, yes! I say, you
know, my dear Vida--

            [_He catches her hands._

VIDA. [_Drawing them from his._] Unhand me, dear villain! And sit
further away from your second choice! What can I say? I'd rather have
_you_ for a lover than any man I know! You must be a lovely lover!


            [_He makes a second effort to catch her fingers._

VIDA. Will you kindly go further away and be good!

SIR WILFRID. [_Quite forgetting_ CYNTHIA.] Look here, if you say yes,
we'll be married--

VIDA. In a month!

SIR WILFRID. Oh, no--this evening!

VIDA. [_Incapable of leaving a situation unadorned._] This evening!
And sail in the same boat with _you_? And shall we sail to the Garden
of Eden and stroll into it and lock the gate on the inside and then
lose the key--under a rose-bush?

SIR WILFRID. [_After a pause and some consideration._] Yes; yes, I
say--that's too clever for me! [_He draws nearer to her to bring the
understanding to a crisis._

VIDA. [_Interrupted by a soft knock._] My maid--come!

SIR WILFRID. [_Swinging out of his chair and moving to the sofa._] Eh?

BENSON. [_Coming in and approaching_ VIDA.] The new footman,
ma'am--he's made a mistake. He's told the lady you're at home.

VIDA. What lady?

BENSON. Mrs. Karslake; and she's on the stairs, ma'am.

VIDA. Show her in.

    SIR WILFRID _has been turning over the roses. On hearing
    this, he faces about with a long stemmed one in his hand. He
    subsequently uses it to point his remarks._

SIR WILFRID. [_To_ BENSON, _who stops._] One moment! [_To_ VIDA.] I
say, eh--I'd rather not see her!

VIDA. [_Very innocently._] But you came here to see her.

SIR WILFRID. [_A little flustered._] I'd rather not. Eh,--I fancied
I'd find you and her together--but her-- [_Coming a step nearer._]
findin' me with you looks so dooced intimate,--no one else, d'ye see,
I believe she'd--draw conclusions--

BENSON. Pardon me, ma'am--but I hear Brooks coming!

SIR WILFRID. [_To_ BENSON.] Hold the door!

VIDA. So you don't want her to know--?

SIR WILFRID. [_To_ VIDA.] Be a good girl now--run me off somewhere!

VIDA. [_To_ BENSON.] Show Sir Wilfrid the men's room.

            [BROOKS _comes in._

SIR WILFRID. The men's room! Ah! Oh! Eh!

VIDA. [_Beckoning him to go at once._] Sir Wil-- [_He hesitates; then
as_ BROOKS _advances, he flings off with_ BENSON.

BROOKS. Lady Karslake, milady!

VIDA. Anything more inopportune! I never dreamed she'd come-- [CYNTHIA
_comes in veiled. As she walks quickly into the room_, VIDA _greets
her languorously._] My dear Cynthia, you don't mean to say--

CYNTHIA. [_Rather short, and visibly agitated._] Yes, I've come.

VIDA. [_Polite, but not urgent._] Do take off your veil.

CYNTHIA. [_Complying._] Is no one here?

VIDA. [_As before._] Won't you sit down?

CYNTHIA. [_Agitated and suspicious._] Thanks, no--That is, yes,
thanks. Yes! You haven't answered my question?

    [CYNTHIA _waves her hand through the haze; glances
    suspiciously at the smoke, and looks about for the

VIDA. [_Playing innocence in the first degree._] My dear, what makes
you imagine that any one's here!

CYNTHIA. You've been smoking.

VIDA. Oh, puffing away! [CYNTHIA _sees the glasses._

CYNTHIA. And drinking--a pair of drinks? [_Her eyes lighting on_
JOHN'S _gloves on the table at her elbow._] Do they fit you, dear?
[VIDA _smiles;_ CYNTHIA _picks up the crop and looks at it and reads
her own name._] "Jack, from Cynthia."

VIDA. [_Without taking the trouble to double for a mere woman._] Yes,
dear; it's Mr. Karslake's crop, but I'm happy to say he left me a few
minutes ago.

CYNTHIA. He left the house? [VIDA _smiles._] I wanted to see him.

VIDA. [_With a shade of insolence._] To quarrel?

CYNTHIA. [_Frank and curt._] I wanted to see him.

VIDA. [_Determined to put_ CYNTHIA _in the wrong._] And I sent him
away because I didn't want you to repeat the scene of last night in my

CYNTHIA. [_Looks at crop and is silent._] Well, I can't stay. I'm to
be married at three, and I had to play truant to get here!

            [BENSON _comes in._

BENSON. [_To_ VIDA.] There's a person, ma'am, on the sidewalk.

VIDA. What person, Benson?

BENSON. A person, ma'am, with a horse.

CYNTHIA. [_Happily agitated._] It's Fiddler with Cynthia K!

            [_She walks rapidly to the window and looks out._

VIDA. [_To_ BENSON.] Tell the man I'll be down in five minutes.

CYNTHIA. [_Looking down from the balcony with delight._] Oh, there she

VIDA. [_Aside to_ BENSON.] Go to the club-room, Benson, and say to the
two gentlemen I can't see them at present--I'll send for them when--

BENSON. [_Listening._] I hear some one coming.

VIDA. Quick! [BENSON _leaves the door which opens and_ JOHN _comes in
slowly, carelessly._ VIDA _whispers to_ BENSON.

BENSON. [_Moving close to_ JOHN _and whispering._] Beg par--

VIDA. [_Under her breath._] Go back!

JOHN. [_Not understanding._] I beg pardon!

VIDA. [_Scarcely above a whisper._] Go back!

JOHN. [_Dense._] Can't! I've a date! With the sheriff!

VIDA. [_A little cross._] Please use your eyes.

JOHN. [_Laughing and flattering_ VIDA.] I am using my eyes.

VIDA. [_Fretted._] Don't you see there's a lovely creature in the

JOHN. [_Not knowing what it is all about, but taking a wicked delight
in seeing her customary calm ruffled._] Of course there is.

VIDA. Hush!

JOHN. [_Teasingly._] But what I want to know is--

VIDA. Hush!

JOHN. [_Enjoying his fun._] --is when we're to stroll in the Garden of

VIDA. Hush!

JOHN. --and lose the key. [_To put a stop to this, she lightly tosses
her handkerchief into his face._] By George, talk about attar of

CYNTHIA. [_At window, excited and moved at seeing her mare once
more._] Oh, she's a darling! [_Turning._] A perfect darling! [JOHN
_starts up; he sees_ CYNTHIA _at the same instant that she sees him._]
Oh! I didn't know you were here. [_After a pause, with
"take-it-or-leave-it" frankness._] I came to see _you_! [JOHN _looks
extremely dark and angry;_ VIDA _rises._

VIDA. [_To_ CYNTHIA, _most gently, and seeing there's nothing to be
gained of_ JOHN.] Oh, pray feel at home, Cynthia, dear! [_Stopping by
the door to her bedroom; to_ JOHN.] When I've a nice street frock on,
I'll ask you to present me to Cynthia K. [VIDA _opens the door and
goes out._ CYNTHIA _and_ JOHN _involuntarily exchange glances._

CYNTHIA. [_Agitated and frank._] Of course, I told you yesterday I was
coming here.

JOHN. [_Irritated._] And I was to deny myself the privilege of being

CYNTHIA. [_Curt and agitated._] Yes.

JOHN. [_Ready to fight._] And you guessed I would do that?


JOHN. What?

CYNTHIA. [_Speaks with agitation, frankness and good will._] Jack--I
mean, Mr. Karslake,--no, I mean, Jack! I came because--well, you see,
it's my wedding day!--and--and--I--I--was rude to you last evening.
I'd like to apologize and make peace with you before I go--

JOHN. [_Determined to be disagreeable._] Before you go to your last,
long home!

CYNTHIA. I came to apologize.

JOHN. But you'll remain to quarrel!

CYNTHIA. [_Still frank and kind._] I will not quarrel. No!--and I'm
only here for a moment. I'm to be married at three, and just look at
the clock! Besides, I told Philip I was going to Louise's shop, and I
did--on the way here; but, you see, if I stay too long he'll telephone
Louise and find I'm not there, and he might guess I was here. So you
see I'm risking a scandal. And now, Jack, see here, I lay my hand on
the table, I'm here on the square, and,--what I want to say is,
why--Jack, even if we have made a mess of our married life, let's put
by anger and pride. It's all over now and can't be helped. So let's be
human, let's be reasonable, and let's be kind to each other! Won't you
give me your hand? [JOHN _refuses._] I wish you every happiness!

JOHN. [_Turning away, the past rankling._] I had a client once, a
murderer; he told me he murdered the man, and he told me, too, that he
never felt so kindly to anybody as he did to that man after he'd
killed him!


JOHN. [_Unforgiving._] You murdered my happiness!

CYNTHIA. I won't recriminate!

JOHN. And now I must put by anger and pride! I do! But not
self-respect, not a just indignation--not the facts and my clear
memory of them!



CYNTHIA. [_With growing emotion, and holding out her hand._] I give
you one more chance! Yes, I'm determined to be generous. I forgive
everything you ever did to me. I'm ready to be friends. I wish you
every happiness and every--every--horse in the world! I can't do more
than that! [_She offers it again._] You refuse?

JOHN. [_Moved but surly._] I like wildcats and I like Christians, but
I don't like Christian wildcats! Now I'm close hauled, trot out your
tornado! Let the Tiger loose! It's the tamer, the man in the cage that
has to look lively and use the red hot crowbar! But, by Jove, I'm out
of the cage! I'm a mere spectator of the married circus! [_He puffs

CYNTHIA. Be a game sport then! Our marriage was a wager; you wagered
you could live with me. You lost; you paid with a divorce; and now is
the time to show your sporting blood. Come on, shake hands and part

JOHN. Not in this world! Friends with you, no! I have a proper pride.
I don't propose to put my pride in my pocket.

CYNTHIA. [_Jealous and plain spoken._] Oh, I wouldn't ask you to put
your pride in your pocket while Vida's handkerchief is there. [JOHN
_looks angered._] Pretty little bijou of a handkerchief! [_Pulling out
the handkerchief._] And she is charming, and divorced, and reasonably
well made up.

JOHN. Oh, well, Vida is a woman. [_Toying with the handkerchief._] I'm
a man, a handkerchief is a handkerchief, and, as some old Aristotle or
other said, whatever concerns a woman, concerns me!

CYNTHIA. [_Not oblivious of him, but in a low voice._] Insufferable!
Well, yes. [_She sits down. She is too much wounded to make any
further appeal._] You're perfectly right. There's no possible harmony
between divorced people! I withdraw my hand and all good feeling. No
wonder I couldn't stand you. Eh? However, that's pleasantly past! But
at least, my dear Karslake, let us have some sort of beauty behaviour!
If we cannot be decent, let us endeavour to be graceful. If we can't
be moral, at least we can avoid being vulgar.

JOHN. Well--

CYNTHIA. If there's to be no more marriage in the world--

JOHN. [_Cynically._] Oh, but that's not it; there's to be more and
more and more!

CYNTHIA. [_With a touch of bitterness._] Very well! I repeat then, if
there's to be nothing but marriage and divorce, and re-marriage, and
re-divorce, at least, at least, those who _are_ divorced can avoid the
vulgarity of meeting each other here, there, and everywhere!

JOHN. Oh, that's where you come out!

CYNTHIA. I thought so yesterday, and to-day I know it. It's an
insufferable thing to a woman of any delicacy of feeling to find her

JOHN. Ahem--former!

CYNTHIA. _Once_ a husband always--

JOHN. [_In the same cynical tone._] Oh, no! Oh, dear, no.

CYNTHIA. To find her--to find the man she has once lived with--in the
house of--making love to--to find you here! [JOHN _smiles and rises._]
You smile,--but I say, it should be a social axiom, no woman should
have to meet her former husband.

JOHN. [_Cynical and cutting._] Oh, I don't know; after I've served my
term I don't mind meeting my jailor.

CYNTHIA. [_As_ JOHN _takes chair near her._] It's indecent--at the
horse-show, the opera, at races and balls, to meet the man who
once--It's not civilized! It's fantastic! It's half baked! Oh, I never
should have come here! [_He sympathizes, and she grows irrational and
furious._] But it's entirely your fault!

JOHN. My fault?

CYNTHIA. [_Working herself into a rage._] Of course. What business
have you to be about--to be at large. To be at all!

JOHN. Gosh!

CYNTHIA. [_Her rage increasing._] To be where I am! Yes, it's just as
horrible for you to turn up in my life as it would be for a dead
person to insist on coming back to life and dinner and bridge!

JOHN. Horrid idea!

CYNTHIA. Yes, but it's _you_ who behave just as if you were not dead,
just as if I'd not spent a fortune on your funeral. You do; you
prepare to bob up at afternoon teas,--and dinners--and embarrass me to
death with your extinct personality!

JOHN. Well, of course we _were_ married, but it didn't quite kill me.

CYNTHIA. [_Angry and plain spoken._] You killed yourself for me--I
divorced you. I buried you out of my life. If any human soul was ever
dead, you are! And there's nothing I so hate as a gibbering ghost.

JOHN. Oh, I say!

CYNTHIA. [_With hot anger._] Go gibber and squeak where gibbering and
squeaking are the fashion!

JOHN. [_Laughing and pretending to a coldness he does not feel._] And
so, my dear child, I'm to abate myself as a nuisance! Well, as far as
seeing you is concerned, for my part it's just like seeing a horse
who's chucked you once. The bruises are O. K., and you see him with a
sort of easy curiosity. Of course, you know, he'll jolly well chuck
the next man!--Permit me! [JOHN _picks up her gloves, handkerchief and
parasol, and gives her these as she drops them one by one in her
agitation._] There's pleasure in the thought.


JOHN. And now, may I ask you a very simple question? Mere curiosity on
my part, but, why did you come here this morning?

CYNTHIA. I have already explained that to you.

JOHN. Not your real motive. Permit me!


JOHN. But I believe I have guessed your real--permit me--your real


JOHN. [_With mock sympathy._] Cynthia, I am sorry for you.


JOHN. Of course we had a pretty lively case of the fever--the mutual
attraction fever, and we _were_ married a very short time. And I
conclude that's what's the matter with _you_! You see, my dear, seven
months of married life is too short a time to cure a bad case of the

CYNTHIA. [_In angry surprise._] What?

JOHN. [_Calm and triumphant._] That's my diagnosis.

CYNTHIA. [_Slowly and gathering herself together._] I don't think I

JOHN. Oh, yes, you do; yes, you do.

CYNTHIA. [_With blazing eyes._] What do you mean?

JOHN. Would you mind not breaking my crop! Thank you! I mean [_With
polite impertinence._] that ours was a case of premature divorce, and,
ahem, you're in love with me still.

    _He pauses._ CYNTHIA _has one moment of fury, then she
    realizes at what a disadvantage this places her. She makes an
    immense effort, recovers her calm, thinks hard for a moment
    more, and then, has suddenly an inspiration._

CYNTHIA. Jack, some day you'll get the blind staggers from conceit.
No, I'm not in love with you, Mr. Karslake, but I shouldn't be at all
surprised if she were. She's just your sort, you know. She's a
man-eating shark, and you'll be a toothsome mouthful. Oh, come now,
Jack, what a silly you are! Oh, yes, you are, to get off a joke like
that; me--in love with--

            [_She looks at him._

JOHN. Why are you here? [_She laughs and begins to play her game._]
Why are you here?

CYNTHIA. Guess! [_She laughs._

JOHN. Why are you--

CYNTHIA. [_Quickly._] Why am I here! I'll tell you. I'm going to be
married. I had a longing, an irresistible longing to see you make an
ass of yourself just once more! It happened!

JOHN. [_Uncertain and discomfited._] I know better!

CYNTHIA. But I came for a serious purpose, too. I came, my dear
fellow, to make an experiment on myself. I've been with you thirty
minutes; and-- [_She sighs with content._] It's all right!

JOHN. What's all right?

CYNTHIA. [_Calm and apparently at peace with the world._] I'm immune.

JOHN. Immune?

CYNTHIA. You're not catching any more! Yes, you see, I said to myself,
if I fly into a temper--

JOHN. You did!

CYNTHIA. If I fly into a temper when I see him, well, that shows I'm
not yet so entirely convalescent that I can afford to have Jack
Karslake at my house. If I remain calm I shall ask him to dinner.

JOHN. [_Routed._] Ask me if you dare! [_He rises._

CYNTHIA. [_Getting the whip hand for good._] Ask you to dinner? Oh, my
dear fellow. [JOHN _rises._] I'm going to do much more than that.
[_She rises._] We must be friends, old man! We must meet, we must meet
often, we must show New York the way the thing should be done, and, to
show you I mean it--I want you to be my best man, and give me away
when I'm married this afternoon.

JOHN. [_Incredulous and impatient._] You don't mean that!

            [_He pushes back his chair._

CYNTHIA. There you are! Always suspicious!

JOHN. You don't mean that!

CYNTHIA. [_Hiding her emotion under a sportswoman's manner._] Don't I?
I ask you, come! And come as you are! And I'll lay my wedding gown to
Cynthia K that you won't be there! If you're there, you get the gown,
and if you're not, I get Cynthia K!--

JOHN. [_Determined not to be worsted._] I take it!

CYNTHIA. Done! Now, then, we'll see which of us two is the real
sporting goods! Shake! [_They shake hands on it._] Would you mind
letting me have a plain soda? [JOHN _goes to the table, and, as he is
rattled and does not regard what he is about, he fills the glass
three-fourths full with whiskey. He gives this to_ CYNTHIA _who looks
him in the eye with an air of triumph._] Thanks. [_Maliciously, as_
VIDA _enters._] Your hand is a bit shaky. I think _you_ need a little
King William. [JOHN _shrugs his shoulders, and, as_ VIDA _immediately
speaks,_ CYNTHIA _defers drinking._

VIDA. [_To_ CYNTHIA.] My dear, I'm sorry to tell you your husband--I
mean, my husband--I mean Philip--he's asking for you over the 'phone.
You must have said you were coming here. Of course, I told him you
were not here, and hung up.

BENSON. [_Entering hurriedly and at once moving to_ VIDA.] Ma'am, the
new footman's been talking with Mr. Phillimore on the wire. [VIDA,
_gesture of regret._] He told Mr. Phillimore that his lady was here,
and, if I can believe my ears, ma'am, he's got Sir Wilfrid on the
'phone now!

SIR WILFRID. [_Making his appearance, perplexed and annoyed._] I say,
y' know--extraordinary country; that old chap, Phillimore, he's been
damned impertinent over the wire! Says I've run off with Mrs.
Karslake--talks about "Louise!" Now, who the dooce is Louise? He's
comin' round here, too--I said Mrs. Karslake wasn't here-- [_Seeing_
CYNTHIA.] Hello! Good job! What a liar I am!

BENSON. [_Coming to the door. To_ VIDA.] Mr. Fiddler, ma'am, says the
mare is gettin' very restive.

    [JOHN _hears this and moves at once_. BENSON _withdraws._

JOHN. [_To_ VIDA.] If that mare's restive, she'll break out in a rash.

VIDA. [_To_ JOHN.] Will you take me?

JOHN. Of course. [_They go to the door._

CYNTHIA. [_To_ JOHN.] Tata, old man! Meet you at the altar! If I
don't, the mare's mine!

            [SIR WILFRID _looks at her amazed._

VIDA. [_To_ CYNTHIA.] Do the honours, dear, in my absence!

JOHN. Come along, come along, never mind them! A horse is a horse!

    JOHN _and_ VIDA _go out gaily and in haste. At the same
    moment_ CYNTHIA _drinks what she supposes to be her glass of
    plain soda. As it is whiskey straight, she is seized with
    astonishment and a fit of coughing._ SIR WILFRID _relieves
    her of the glass._

SIR WILFRID. [_Indicating the contents of the glass._] I say, do you
ordinarily take it as high up--as seven fingers and two thumbs.

CYNTHIA. [_Coughing._] Jack poured it out. Just shows how groggy he
was! And now, Sir Wilfrid--

            [_She gets her things to go._

SIR WILFRID. Oh, you can't go!

            [BROOKS _appears at the door._

CYNTHIA. I am to be married at three.

SIR WILFRID. Let him wait. [_Aside to_ BROOKS, _whom he meets near the
door._] If Mr. Phillimore comes, bring his card up.

BROOKS. [_Going._] Yes, Sir Wilfrid.

SIR WILFRID. To me! [_Tipping him._

BROOKS. [_Bowing._] To you, Sir Wilfrid. [BROOKS _goes._

SIR WILFRID. [_Returning to_ CYNTHIA.] I've got to have my innings, y'
know! [_Looking at her more closely._] I say, you've been crying!--

CYNTHIA. King William!

SIR WILFRID. You _are_ crying! Poor little gal!

CYNTHIA. [_Tears in her eyes._] I feel all shaken and cold.

            [BROOKS _returns with a card._

SIR WILFRID. [_Astonished and sympathetic._] Poor little gal.

CYNTHIA. [_Her eyes wet._] I didn't sleep a wink last night. [_With
disgust._] Oh, what is the matter with me?

SIR WILFRID. Why, it's as plain as a pikestaff! You-- [BROOKS _has
carried in the card to_ SIR WILFRED, _who picks it up and says aside,
to_ BROOKS:] Phillimore? [BROOKS _assents. Aloud to_ CYNTHIA, _calmly
deceitful._] Who's Waldorf Smith? [CYNTHIA _shakes her head. To_
BROOKS, _returning card to salver._] Tell the gentleman Mrs. Karslake
is not here! [BROOKS _leaves the room._

CYNTHIA. [_Aware that she has no business where she is._] I thought it
was Philip!

SIR WILFRID. [_Telling the truth as if it were a lie._] So did I!
[_With cheerful confidence._] And now, Mrs. Karslake, I'll tell you
why you're cryin'. [_Sitting down beside her._] You're marryin' the
wrong man! I'm sorry for you, but you're such a goose. Here you are,
marryin' this legal luminary. What for? You don't know! He don't know!
But I do! You pretend you're marryin' him because it's the sensible
thing; not a bit of it. You're marryin' Mr. Phillimore because of all
the other men you ever saw he's the least like Jack Karslake.

CYNTHIA. That's a very good reason.

SIR WILFRID. There's only one good reason for marrying, and that is
because you'll die if you don't!

CYNTHIA. Oh, I've tried that!

SIR WILFRID. The Scripture says: "Try! try! again!" I tell you,
there's nothing like a w'im!

CYNTHIA. What's that? W'im? Oh, you mean a _whim_! Do please try and
say W_h_im!

SIR WILFRID. [_For the first time emphasizing his H in the word._]
W_h_im. You must have a w'im--w'im for the chappie you marry.

CYNTHIA. I had--for Jack.

SIR WILFRID. Your w'im wasn't wimmy enough, my dear! If you'd had more
of it, and tougher, it would ha' stood, y'know! Now, I'm not

CYNTHIA. [_Diverted at last from her own distress._] I hope not!

SIR WILFRID. Oh, I will later! It's not time yet! As I was saying--

CYNTHIA. And pray, Sir Wilfrid, when will it be time?

SIR WILFRID. As soon as I see you have a w'im for me! [_Rising, looks
at his watch._] And now, I'll tell you what we'll do! We've got just
an hour to get there in, my motor's on the corner, and in fifty
minutes we'll be at Belmont Park.

CYNTHIA. [_Her sporting blood fired._] Belmont Park!

SIR WILFRID. We'll do the races, and dine at Martin's--

CYNTHIA. [_Tempted._] Oh, if I only could! I can't! I've got to be
married! You're awfully nice; I've almost got a "w'im" for you

SIR WILFRID. [_Delighted._] There you are! I'll send a telegram! [_She
shakes her head. He sits and writes at the table._

CYNTHIA. No, no, no!

SIR WILFRID. [_Reading what he has written._] "Off with Cates-Darby to
Races. Please postpone ceremony till seven-thirty."

CYNTHIA. Oh, no, it's impossible!

SIR WILFRID. [_Accustomed to have things go his way._] No more than
breathin'! You can't get a w'im for me, you know, unless we're
together, so together we'll be! [JOHN KARSLAKE _opens the door, and,
unnoticed, walks into the room._] And to-morrow you'll wake up with a
jolly little w'im--, [_Reading._] "Postpone ceremony till
seven-thirty." There. [_He puts on her cloak and turning, sees_ JOHN.]

JOHN. [_Surly._] Hello! Sorry to disturb you.

SIR WILFRID. [_Cheerful as possible._] Just the man! [_Giving him the
telegraph form._] Just step round and send it, my boy. Thanks! [JOHN
_reads it._

CYNTHIA. No, no, I can't go!

SIR WILFRID. Cockety-coo-coo-can't. I say, you must!

CYNTHIA. [_Positively._] _No!_

JOHN. [_Astounded._] Do you mean you're going--

SIR WILFRID. [_Very gay._] Off to the races, my boy!

JOHN. [_Angry and outraged._] Mrs. Karslake can't go with you there!

    CYNTHIA _starts, amazed at his assumption of marital
    authority, and delighted that she will have an opportunity of
    outraging his sensibilities._


JOHN. An hour before her wedding!

SIR WILFRID. [_Gay and not angry._] May I know if it's the custom--

JOHN. [_Jealous and disgusted._] It's worse than eloping--

SIR WILFRID. Custom, y' know, for the husband, that was, to dictate--

JOHN. [_Thoroughly vexed._] By George, there's a limit!

CYNTHIA. What? What? What? [_Gathering up her things._] What did I
hear you say?


JOHN. [_Angry._] I say there's a limit--

CYNTHIA. [_More and more determined to arouse and excite_ JOHN.] Oh,
there's a limit, is there?

JOHN. There is! I bar the way! It means reputation--it means--

CYNTHIA. [_Enjoying her opportunity._] We shall see what it means!


JOHN. [_To_ CYNTHIA.] I'm here to protect your reputation--

SIR WILFRID. [_To_ CYNTHIA.] We've got to make haste, you know.

CYNTHIA. Now, I'm ready--

JOHN. [_To_ CYNTHIA.] Be sensible. You're breaking off the match--

CYNTHIA. [_Excitedly._] What's that to you?

SIR WILFRID. It's boots and saddles!

JOHN. [_Taking his stand between them and the door._] No thoroughfare!

SIR WILFRID. Look here, my boy--!

CYNTHIA. [_Catching at the opportunity of putting_ JOHN _in an
impossible position._] Wait a moment, Sir Wilfrid! Give me the wire!
[_Facing him._] Thanks! [_Taking the telegraph form from him and
tearing it up._] There! Too rude to chuck him by wire! But you, Jack,
you've taken on yourself to look after my interests, so I'll just ask
you, old man, to run down to the Supreme Court and tell
Philip--nicely, you know--I'm off with Sir Wilfrid and where! Say I'll
be back by seven, if I'm not later! And make it clear, Jack, I'll
marry him by eight-thirty or nine at the latest! And mind _you're_
there, dear! And now, Sir Wilfrid, we're off.

JOHN. [_Staggered and furious, giving way as they pass him._] I'm not
the man to--to carry--

CYNTHIA. [_Quick and dashing._] Oh, yes, you are.

JOHN. --a message from you.

CYNTHIA. [_Triumphant._] Oh, yes, you are; you're just exactly the
man! [CYNTHIA _and_ SIR WILFRID _whirl out._

JOHN. Great miracles of Moses!



    SCENE. _The same as that of Act I, but the room has been
    cleared of superfluous furniture, and arranged for a wedding
    ceremony._ MRS. PHILLIMORE _is reclining on the sofa at the
    right of the table,_ MISS HENEAGE _at its left._ SUDLEY _is
    seated at the right of the table._ GRACE _is seated on the
    sofa. There is a wedding-bell of roses, an arch of orange
    blossoms, and, girdled by a ribbon of white, an altar of
    calla lilies. There are cushions of flowers, alcoves of
    flowers, vases of flowers--in short, flowers everywhere and
    in profusion and variety. Before the altar are two cushions
    for the couple to kneel on and, on pedestals, at each side of
    the arch, are twin candelabra. The hangings are pink and

    _The room, first of all, and its emblems, holds the undivided
    attention; then slowly engaging it, and in contrast to their
    gay surroundings, the occupants. About each and everyone of
    them, hangs a deadly atmosphere of suppressed irritation._

SUDLEY. [_Impatiently._] All very well, my dear Sarah. But you see the
hour. Twenty to ten! We have been here since half-past two.

MISS HENEAGE. You had dinner?

SUDLEY. I did not come here at two to have dinner at eight, and be
kept waiting until ten! And, my dear Sarah, when I ask where the bride

MISS HENEAGE. [_With forced composure._] I have told you all I know.
Mr. John Karslake came to the house at lunch time, spoke to Philip,
and they left the house together.

GRACE. Where is Philip?

MRS. PHILLIMORE. [_Feebly, irritated._] I don't wish to be censorious
or to express an actual opinion, but I must say it's a bold bride who
keeps her future mother-in-law waiting for eight hours. However, I
will not venture to-- [MRS. PHILLIMORE _reclines again and fades away
into silence._

GRACE. [_Sharply and decisively._] I do! I'm sorry I went to the
expense of a silver ice-pitcher.

    MRS. PHILLIMORE _sighs._ MISS HENEAGE _keeps her temper with
    an effort which is obvious._ THOMAS _opens the door._

SUDLEY. [_To_ MRS. PHILLIMORE.] For my part, I don't believe Mrs.
Karslake means to return here or to marry Philip at all!

THOMAS. [_Coming in, and approaching_ MISS HENEAGE.] Two telegrams for
you, ma'am! The choir boys have had their supper. [_A slight movement
ripples the ominous calm of all._ THOMAS _steps back._

SUDLEY. [_Rising._] At last we shall know!

MISS HENEAGE. From the lady! Probably!

    MISS HENEAGE _opens the first telegram and reads it at a
    glance, laying it on the salver again with a look at_ SUDLEY.
    THOMAS _passes the salver to_ SUDLEY, _who takes the

GRACE. There's a toot now.

MRS. PHILLIMORE. [_Feebly, confused._] I don't wish to intrude, but
really I cannot imagine Philip marrying at midnight. [_As_ SUDLEY
_reads_, MISS HENEAGE _opens the second telegram, but does not read

SUDLEY. [_Reading._] "Accident, auto struck"--something!
"Gasoline"--did something--illegible, ah! [_Reads._] "Home by nine
forty-five! Hold the church!"

            [_A general movement sets in._

MISS HENEAGE. [_Profoundly shocked._] "Hold the church!" William, she
still means to marry Philip! and to-night, too!

SUDLEY. It's from Belmont Park.

GRACE. [_Making a great discovery._] She went to the races!

MISS HENEAGE. This is from Philip! [_Reading the second telegram._] "I
arrive at ten o'clock. Have dinner ready." [MISS HENEAGE _motions to_
Thomas, _who, obeying, retires. Looking at her watch._] They are both
due now. [_Movement._] What's to be done? [_She rises and_ SUDLEY
_shrugs his shoulders._

SUDLEY. [_Rising._] After a young woman has spent her wedding day at
the races? Why, I consider that she has broken the engagement,--and
when she comes, tell her so.

MISS HENEAGE. I'll telephone Matthew. The choir boys can go home--her
maid can pack her belongings--and when the lady arrives--

    _Impudently, the very distant toot of an auto-horn breaks in
    upon her words, producing, in proportion to its growing
    nearness, an increasing pitch of excitement and indignation._
    GRACE _flies to the door and looks out._ MRS. PHILLIMORE,
    _helpless, does not know what to do or where to go or what to
    say._ SUDLEY _moves about excitedly._ MISS HENEAGE _stands
    ready to make herself disagreeable._

GRACE. [_Speaking rapidly and with excitement._] I hear a man's voice.
Cates-Darby and brother Matthew.

    _A loud and brazenly insistent toot outrages afresh. Laughter
    and voices outside are heard faintly._ GRACE _looks out of
    the door, and, as quickly withdraws._

MISS HENEAGE. Outrageous!

SUDLEY. Disgraceful!

MRS. PHILLIMORE. Shocking! [_Partly rising as the voices and horn are
heard._] I shall not take any part at all, in the--eh--

            [_She fades away._

MISS HENEAGE. [_Interrupting her._] Don't trouble yourself.

    _Through the growing noise of voices and laughter,_ CYNTHIA'S
    _voice is heard._ SIR WILFRID _is seen in the outer hall. He
    is burdened with wraps, not to mention a newspaper and
    parasol, which in no wise check his flow of gay remarks to_
    CYNTHIA, _who is still outside._ CYNTHIA'S _voice, and now_
    MATTHEW'S, _reach those inside, and, at last, both join_ SIR
    WILFRID, _who has turned at the door to wait for them. As she
    reaches the door_, CYNTHIA _turns and speaks to_ MATTHEW,
    _who immediately follows her. She is in automobile attire,
    wearing goggles, a veil, and an exquisite duster of latest
    Paris style. They come in with a subdued bustle and noise. As
    their eyes light on_ CYNTHIA, SUDLEY _and_ MISS HENEAGE
    _exclaim, and there is a general movement._

SUDLEY. 'Pon my word!


MISS HENEAGE. [_Bristling up to her feet, her sensibilities
outraged._] Shocking!

    GRACE _remains standing above sofa._ SUDLEY _moves toward
    her_, MISS HENEAGE _sitting down again._ MRS. PHILLIMORE
    _reclines on sofa._ CYNTHIA _begins to speak as soon as she
    appears and speaks fluently to the end._

CYNTHIA. No! I never was so surprised in my life, as when I strolled
into the paddock and they gave me a rousing reception--old Jimmy
Withers, Debt Gollup, Jack Deal, Monty Spiffles, the Governor and
Buckeye. All of my old admirers! They simply fell on my neck, and,
dear Matthew, what do you think I did? I turned on the water main!
[_There are movements and murmurs of disapprobation from the family._
MATTHEW _indicates a desire to go._] Oh, but you can't go!

MATTHEW. I'll return in no time!

CYNTHIA. I'm all ready to be married. Are they ready? [MATTHEW _waves
a pious, polite gesture of recognition to the family._] I beg
everybody's pardon! [_Taking off her wrap and putting it on the back
of a chair._] My goggles are so dusty, I can't see who's who! [_To_
SIR WILFRID.] Thanks! You _have_ carried it well! [_She takes the
parasol from_ SIR WILFRID.

SIR WILFRID. [_Aside to_ CYNTHIA.] When may I--?

CYNTHIA. See you next Goodwood!

SIR WILFRID. [_Imperturbably._] Oh, I'm coming back!

CYNTHIA. [_Advancing a bit toward the family._] Not a bit of use in
coming back! I shall be married before you get here! Ta! Ta! Goodwood!

SIR WILFRID. [_Not in the least affected._] I'm coming back. [_He goes
out quickly. There are more murmurs of disapprobation from the family.
There is a slight pause._

CYNTHIA. [_Beginning to take off her goggles, and moving nearer "the
family."_] I do awfully apologize for being so late!

MISS HENEAGE. [_Importantly._] Mrs. Karslake--

SUDLEY. [_Importantly._] Ahem! [CYNTHIA _lays down goggles, and sees
their severity._

CYNTHIA. Dear me! [_Surveying the flowers and for a moment
speechless._] Oh, good heavens! Why, it looks like a smart funeral!

    MISS HENEAGE _moves; then speaks in a perfectly ordinary
    natural tone, but her expression is severe._ CYNTHIA
    _immediately realizes the state of affairs in its fullness._

MISS HENEAGE. [_To_ CYNTHIA.] After what has occurred, Mrs. Karslake--

CYNTHIA. [_Glances quietly toward the table, and then sits down at it,
composed and good-tempered._] I see you got my wire--so you know where
I have been.

MISS HENEAGE. To the race-course!

SUDLEY. With a rowdy Englishman. [CYNTHIA _glances at_ SUDLEY,
_uncertain whether he means to be disagreeable, or whether he is only
naturally so._

MISS HENEAGE. We concluded you desired to break the engagement!

CYNTHIA. [_Indifferently._] No! No! Oh! No!

MISS HENEAGE. Do you intend, despite of our opinion of you--

CYNTHIA. The only opinion that would have any weight with me would be
Mrs. Phillimore's.

            [_She turns expectantly to_ MRS. PHILLIMORE.

MRS. PHILLIMORE. I am generally asleep at this hour, and, accordingly,
I will not venture to express any--eh--any--actual opinion. [_She
fades away._ CYNTHIA _smiles._

MISS HENEAGE. [_Coldly._] You smile. We simply inform you that as
regards _us_, the alliance is not grateful.

CYNTHIA. [_Affecting gaiety and unconcern._] And all this because the
gasoline gave out.

SUDLEY. My patience has given out!

GRACE. So has mine. I'm going.

            [_She makes good her word._

SUDLEY. [_Vexed beyond civility. To_ CYNTHIA.] My dear young lady: You
come here, to this sacred--eh--eh--spot--altar!-- [_Gesture._]
odoriferous of the paddock!--speaking of Spiffles and Buckeye,--having
practically eloped!--having created a scandal, and disgraced our

CYNTHIA. [_Affecting surprise at this attitude._] How does it disgrace
you? Because I like to see a high-bred, clean, nervy, sweet little
four-legged gee play the antelope over a hurdle!

MISS HENEAGE. Sister, it is high time that you--

            [_She turns to_ CYNTHIA _with a gesture._

CYNTHIA. [_With quiet irony._] Mrs. Phillimore is generally asleep at
this hour, and accordingly she will not venture to express--

SUDLEY. [_Spluttering with irritation._] Enough, madam--I _venture_
to--to--to--to say, you are leading a fast life.

CYNTHIA. [_With powerful intention._] Not in this house! For six heavy
weeks have I been laid away in the grave, and I've found it very slow
indeed trying to keep pace with the dead!

SUDLEY. [_Despairingly._] This comes of horses!

CYNTHIA. [_Indignant._] Of what?

SUDLEY. C-c-caring for horses!

MISS HENEAGE. [_With sublime morality._] What Mrs. Karslake cares for

CYNTHIA. [_Angry and gay._] What would you have me care for? The
Ornithorhyncus Paradoxus? or Pithacanthropus Erectus? Oh, I refuse to
take you seriously. [SUDLEY _begins to prepare to leave; he buttons
himself into respectability and his coat._

SUDLEY. My dear madam, I take myself seriously--and madam, I--I
retract what I have brought with me [_Feeling in his waistcoat
pocket._] as a graceful gift,--an Egyptian scarab--a--a--sacred
beetle, which once ornamented the person of a--eh--mummy.

CYNTHIA. [_Scoring in return._] It should never be absent from your
pocket, Mr. Sudley! [SUDLEY _walks away in a rage._

MISS HENEAGE. [_Rising, to_ SUDLEY.] I've a vast mind to withdraw my--
[CYNTHIA _moves._

CYNTHIA. [_Interrupts; maliciously._] Your wedding present? The little
bronze cat!

MISS HENEAGE. [_Moves, angrily._] Oh! [_Even_ MRS. PHILLIMORE _comes
momentarily to life, and expresses silent indignation._

SUDLEY. [_Loftily._] Sarah, I'm going.

    GRACE, _who has met_ PHILIP, _takes occasion to accompany him
    into the room._ PHILIP _looks dusty and grim. As they come
    in_, GRACE _speaks to him, and_ PHILIP _shakes his head. They
    pause near the door._

CYNTHIA. [_Emotionally._] I shall go to my room! However, all I ask is
that you repeat to Philip-- [_As she moves toward the door, she comes
suddenly upon_ PHILIP, _and speaks to him in a low voice._

SUDLEY. [_To_ MISS HENEAGE, _determined to win._] As I go out, I shall
do myself the pleasure of calling a hansom for Mrs. Karslake-- [PHILIP
_moves slightly from the door._

PHILIP. As you go out, Sudley, have a hansom called, and when it
comes, get into it.

SUDLEY. [_Furious._] Eh,--eh,--my dear sir, I leave you to your fate.
[PHILIP _angrily points him the door and_ SUDLEY _leaves in great

MISS HENEAGE. [_With weight._] Philip, you've not heard--

PHILIP. [_Interrupting._] Everything--from Grace! My sister has
repeated your words to me--and her own! I've told her what I think of
_her_. [PHILIP _looks witheringly at_ GRACE.

GRACE. I shan't wait to hear any more.

            [_She flounces out of the room._

PHILIP. Don't make it necessary for me to tell you what I think of
you. [PHILIP _moves to the right, toward his mother, to whom he gives
his arm._ MISS HENEAGE _immediately seeks the opposite side._] Mother,
with your permission, I desire to be alone. I expect both you and
Grace, Sarah, to be dressed and ready for the ceremony a half hour
from now. [_As_ PHILIP _and_ MRS. PHILLIMORE _are about to go out_,
MISS HENEAGE _speaks._

MISS HENEAGE. I shall come or not as I see fit. And let me add, my
dear brother, that a fool at forty is a fool indeed. [MISS HENEAGE,
_high and mighty, goes out, much pleased with her quotation._

MRS. PHILLIMORE. [_Stupid and weary as usual, to_ PHILIP, _as he leads
her to the door._] My dear son--I won't venture to express-- [CYNTHIA,
_in irritation, moves to the table._

PHILIP. [_Soothing a silly mother._] No, mother, don't! But I shall
expect you, of course, at the ceremony. [MRS. PHILLIMORE _languidly
retires._ PHILIP _strides to the centre of the room, taking the tone,
and assuming the attitude of, the injured husband._] It is proper for
me to tell you that I followed you to Belmont. I am aware--I know with
whom--in fact, _I know all_! [_He punctuates his words with pauses,
and indicates the whole censorious universe._] And now let me assure
you--I am the last man in the world to be jilted on the very eve
of--of--everything with you. I won't be jilted. [CYNTHIA _is silent._]
You understand? I propose to marry you. I won't be made ridiculous.

CYNTHIA. [_Glancing at_ PHILIP.] Philip, I didn't mean to make you--

PHILIP. Why, then, did you run off to Belmont Park with that fellow?

CYNTHIA. Philip, I--eh--

PHILIP. [_Sitting down at the table._] What motive? What reason? On
our wedding day? Why did you do it?

CYNTHIA. I'll tell you the truth. I was bored.

PHILIP. [_Staggered._] Bored? In my company?

CYNTHIA. I was bored, and then--and besides, Sir Wilfrid asked me to

PHILIP. Exactly, and that was why you went. Cynthia, when you promised
to marry me, you told me you had forever done with love. You agreed
that marriage was the rational coming together of two people.

CYNTHIA. I know, I know!

PHILIP. Do you believe that now?

CYNTHIA. I don't know what I believe. My brain is in a whirl! But,
Philip, I am beginning to be--I'm afraid--yes, I am afraid that one
can't just select a great and good man [_Indicating him._] and say: I
will be happy with him.

PHILIP. [_With complacent dignity._] I don't see why not. You must
assuredly do one or the other: You must either let your heart choose
or your head select.

CYNTHIA. [_Gravely._] No, there's a third scheme: Sir Wilfrid
explained the theory to me. A woman should marry whenever she has a
whim for the man, and then leave the rest to the man. Do you see?

PHILIP. [_Furious._] Do I see? Have I ever seen any thing else? Marry
for whim! That's the New York idea of marriage.

CYNTHIA. [_Observing cynically._] New York ought to know.

PHILIP. Marry for whim and leave the rest to the divorce court! Marry
for whim and leave the rest to the man. That was the former Mrs.
Phillimore's idea. Only she spelled "whim" differently; she omitted
the "w." [_He rises in his anger._] And now you--_you_ take up with
this preposterous-- [CYNTHIA _moves uneasily._] But, nonsense! It's
impossible! A woman of your mental calibre--No. Some obscure,
primitive, female _feeling_ is at work corrupting your better
judgment! What is it you _feel_?

CYNTHIA. Philip, you never felt like a fool, did you?

PHILIP. No, never.

CYNTHIA. [_Politely._] I thought not.

PHILIP. No, but whatever your feelings, I conclude you are ready to
marry me.

CYNTHIA. [_Uneasy._] Of course, I came back. I am here, am I not?

PHILIP. You are ready to marry me?

CYNTHIA. [_Twisting in the coils._] But you haven't had your dinner.

PHILIP. Do I understand you refuse?

CYNTHIA. Couldn't we defer--?

PHILIP. You refuse?

CYNTHIA. [_Desperately thinking of an escape from her promise, and
finding none._] No, I said I'd marry you. I'm a woman of my word. I

PHILIP. [_Triumphant._] Ah! Very good, then. Run to your room.
[CYNTHIA _turns to_ PHILIP.] Throw something over you. In a half hour
I'll expect you here! And Cynthia, my dear, remember! I cannot
cuculate like a wood-pigeon, but--I esteem you!

CYNTHIA. [_Hopelessly._] I think I'll go, Philip.

PHILIP. I may not be fitted to play the love-bird, but--

CYNTHIA. [_Spiritlessly._] I think I'll go, Philip.

PHILIP. I'll expect you,--in half an hour.

CYNTHIA. [_With leaden despair._] Yes.

PHILIP. And, Cynthia, don't think any more about that fellow,

CYNTHIA. [_Amazed and disgusted by his misapprehension._] No. [_As_
CYNTHIA _leaves_, THOMAS _comes in from the opposite door._

PHILIP. [_Not seeing_ THOMAS, _and clumsily defiant._] And if I had
that fellow, Cates-Darby, in the dock--!

THOMAS. Sir Wilfrid Cates-Darby.

PHILIP. Sir what--what--wh-who? [SIR WILFRID _enters in evening
dress._ PHILIP _looks_ SIR WILFRID _in the face and speaks to_
THOMAS.] Tell Sir Wilfrid Cates-Darby I am not at home to him. [THOMAS
_is embarrassed._

SIR WILFRID. [_Undaunted._] My dear Lord Eldon--

PHILIP. [_Again addressing_ THOMAS.] Show the gentleman the door.
[_There is a pause._ SIR WILFRID, _with a significant gesture, glances
at the door._

SIR WILFRID. [_Moving to the door, he examines it and returns to_
PHILIP.] Eh,--I admire the door, my boy! Fine, old carved mahogany
panel; but don't ask me to leave by it, for Mrs. Karslake made me
promise I'd come, and that's why I'm here.

            [THOMAS _does not wait for further orders._

PHILIP. Sir, you are--impudent--!

SIR WILFRID. [_Interrupting._] Ah, you put it all in a nutshell, don't

PHILIP. To show your face here, after practically eloping with my

SIR WILFRID. [_Affecting ignorance._] When were you married?

PHILIP. We are as good as married.

SIR WILFRID. Oh, pooh, pooh! You can't tell me that grace before soup
is as good as a dinner! [_He takes out his cigar-case and, in the
absence of a match, enjoys a smokeless smoke._

PHILIP. Sir--I--demand--

SIR WILFRID. [_Calmly carrying the situation._] Mrs. Karslake is _not_
married. _That's_ why I'm here. I am here for the same purpose _you_
are; to ask Mrs. Karslake to be my wife.

PHILIP. Are you in your senses?

SIR WILFRID. [_Pricking his American cousin's pet vanity._] Come,
come, Judge--you Americans have no sense of humour. [_Taking a small
jewel-case from his pocket._] There's my regards for the lady--and
[_Reasonably._], if I must go, I will. Of course, I would like to see
her, but--if it isn't your American custom--

THOMAS. [_Opens the door and announces._] Mr. Karslake.

SIR WILFRID. Oh, well, I say; if he can come, I can!

    JOHN KARSLAKE, _in evening dress, comes in quickly, carrying
    a large and very smart bride's bouquet, which he hands to_
    PHILIP, _who stands transfixed. Because it never occurs to
    him to refuse it or chuck it away_, PHILIP _accepts the
    bouquet gingerly, but frees himself of it at the first
    available moment._ JOHN _walks to the centre of the room.
    Deep down he is feeling wounded and unhappy. But, as he knows
    his coming to the ceremony on whatever pretext is a social
    outrage, he carries it off by assuming an air of its being
    the most natural thing in the world. He controls the
    expression of his deeper emotion, but the pressure of this
    keeps his face grave, and he speaks with effort._

JOHN. My compliments to the bride, Judge.

PHILIP. [_Angry._] And you, too, have the effrontery?

SIR WILFRID. There you are!

JOHN. [_Pretending ease._] Oh, call it friendship--

            [THOMAS _leaves._

PHILIP. [_Puts bouquet on table. Ironically._] I suppose Mrs.

JOHN. She wagered me I wouldn't give her away, and of course--

    _Throughout his stay_ JOHN _hides the emotions he will not
    show behind a daring irony. Under its effects_, PHILIP, _on
    his right, walks about in a fury._ SIR WILFRID, _sitting down
    on the edge of the table, is gay and undisturbed._

PHILIP. [_Taking a step toward_ JOHN.] You will oblige me--both of
you--by immediately leaving--

JOHN. [_Smiling and going to_ PHILIP.] Oh, come, come, Judge--suppose
I _am_ here? Who has a better right to attend his wife's obsequies!
Certainly, I come as a mourner--for _you_!

SIR WILFRID. I say, is it the custom?

JOHN. No, no--of course it's not the custom, no. But we'll make it the
custom. After all,--what's a divorced wife among friends?

PHILIP. Sir, your humour is strained!

JOHN. Humour,--Judge?

PHILIP. It is, sir, and I'll not be bantered! Your both being here
is--it is--gentlemen, there is a decorum which the stars in their
courses do not violate.

JOHN. Now, Judge, never you mind what the stars do in their divorces!
Get down to earth of the present day. Rufus Choate and Daniel Webster
are dead. You must be modern. You must let peroration and poetry
alone! Come along now. Why shouldn't I give the lady away?

SIR WILFRID. Hear! Hear! Oh, I beg your pardon!

JOHN. And why shouldn't we both be here? American marriage is a new
thing. We've got to strike the pace, and the only trouble is, Judge,
that the judiciary have so messed the thing up that a man can't be
sure he _is_ married until he's divorced. It's a sort of
marry-go-round, to be sure! But let it go at that! Here we all are,
and we're ready to marry my wife to you, and start her on her way to

PHILIP. [_Brought to a standstill._] Good Lord! Sir, you cannot trifle
with monogamy!

JOHN. Now, now, Judge, monogamy is just as extinct as knee-breeches.
The new woman has a new idea, and the new idea is--well, it's just the
opposite of the old Mormon one. Their idea is one man, ten wives and a
hundred children. Our idea is one woman, a hundred husbands and one

PHILIP. Sir, this is polyandry.

JOHN. Polyandry? A hundred to one it's polyandry; and that's it,
Judge! Uncle Sam has established consecutive polyandry,--but there's
got to be an interval between husbands! The fact is, Judge, the modern
American marriage is like a wire fence. The woman's the wire--the
posts are the husbands. [_He indicates himself, and then_ SIR WILFRID
_and_ PHILIP.] One--two--three! And if you cast your eye over the
future you can count them, post after post, up hill, down dale, all
the way to Dakota!

PHILIP. All very amusing, sir, but the fact remains--

JOHN. [_Going to_ PHILIP _who at once moves away._] Now, now, Judge, I
like you. But you're asleep; you're living in the dark ages. You want
to call up Central. "Hello, Central! Give me the present time, 1906,
New York!"

SIR WILFRID. Of course you do, and--there you are!

PHILIP. [_Heavily._] There I am not, sir! And-- [_To_ JOHN.] as for Mr.
Karslake's ill-timed jocosity,--sir, in the future--

SIR WILFRID. Oh, hang the future!

PHILIP. I begin to hope, Sir Wilfrid, that in the future I shall have
the pleasure of hanging you! [_To_ JOHN.] And as to you, sir, your
insensate idea of giving away your own--your former--my--your--oh!
Good Lord! This is a nightmare! [_He turns to go in despair._ MATTHEW,
_coming in, meets him, and stops him at the door._

MATTHEW. [_To_ PHILIP.] My dear brother, Aunt Sarah Heneage refuses to
give Mrs. Karslake away, unless you yourself,--eh--

PHILIP. [_As he goes out._] No more! I'll attend to the matter! [_The_
CHOIR BOYS _are heard practising in the next room._

MATTHEW. [_Mopping his brow._] How do you both do? My aunt has made me
very warm. [_Ringing the bell._] You hear our choir practising--sweet
angel boys! H'm! H'm! Some of the family will not be present. I am
very fond of you, Mr. Karslake, and I think it admirably Christian of
you to have waived your--eh--your--eh--that is, now that I look at it
more narrowly, let me say, that in the excitement of pleasurable
anticipation, I forgot, Karslake, that your presence might occasion
remark-- [THOMAS _responds to his ring._] Thomas! I left, in the hall,
a small hand-bag or satchel containing my surplice.

THOMAS. Yes, sir. Ahem!

MATTHEW. You must really find the hand-bag at once.

            [THOMAS _turns to go, when he stops startled._

THOMAS. Yes, sir. [_Announcing in consternation._] Mrs. Vida
Phillimore. [VIDA PHILLIMORE, _in full evening dress, steps gently up

MATTHEW. [_Always piously serene._] Ah, my dear child! Now this is
just as it should be! That is, eh-- [_He walks to the centre of the
room with her_, VIDA, _the while, pointedly disregarding_ SIR
WILFRID.] That is, when I come to think of it--your presence might be
deemed inauspicious.

VIDA. But, my dear Matthew,--I had to come. [_Aside to him._] I have a
reason for being here.

            [THOMAS, _who has left the room, again appears._

MATTHEW. [_With a helpless gesture._] But, my dear child--

THOMAS. [_With sympathetic intention._] Sir, Mr. Phillimore wishes to
have your assistance, sir--with Miss Heneage _immediately_!

MATTHEW. Ah! [_To_ VIDA.] One moment! I'll return. [_To_ THOMAS.] Have
you found the bag with my surplice?

    _He goes out with_ THOMAS, _speaking._ SIR WILFRID _moves at
    once to_ VIDA. JOHN, _moving to a better position, watches
    the door._

SIR WILFRID. [_To_ VIDA.] You're just the person I most want to see!

VIDA. [_With affected iciness._] Oh, no, Sir Wilfrid, Cynthia isn't
here yet! [_She moves to the table, and_ JOHN, _his eyes on the door,
coming toward her, she speaks to him with obvious sweetness._] Jack,
dear, I never was so ravished to see any one.

SIR WILFRID. [_Taken aback._] By Jove!

VIDA. [_Very sweet._] I knew I should find you here!

JOHN. [_Annoyed but civil._] Now don't do that!

VIDA. [_Sweeter than ever._] Jack! [_They sit down._

JOHN. [_Civil but plain spoken._] Don't do it!

VIDA. [_In a voice dripping with honey._] Do what, Jack?

JOHN. Touch me with your voice! I have troubles enough of my own. [_He
sits not far from her; the table between them._

VIDA. And I know who your troubles are! Cynthia!

    [_From this moment_ VIDA _abandons_ JOHN _as an object of the
    chase and works him into her other game._

JOHN. I hate her. I don't know why I came.

VIDA. You came, dear, because you couldn't stay away--you're in love
with her.

JOHN. All right, Vida, what I feel may be _love_--but all I can say
is, if I could get even with Cynthia Karslake--

VIDA. You can, dear--it's as easy as powdering one's face; all you
have to do is to be too nice to me!

JOHN. [_Looking at her inquiringly._] Eh!

VIDA. Don't you realize she's jealous of you? Why did she come to my
house this morning? She's jealous--and all you have to do--

JOHN. If I can make her wince, I'll make love to you till the Heavenly
cows come home!

VIDA. Well, you see, my dear, if you make love to me it will
[_Delicately indicating_ SIR WILFRID.] cut both ways at once!

JOHN. Eh,--what! Not Cates-Darby? [_Starting._] Is that Cynthia?

VIDA. Now don't get rattled and forget to make love to me.

JOHN. I've got the jumps. [_Trying to follow her instructions._] Vida,
I adore you.

VIDA. Oh, you must be more convincing; that won't do at all.

JOHN. [_Listening._] Is that she now?

            [MATTHEW _comes in and passes to the inner room._

VIDA. It's Matthew. And, Jack, dear, you'd best get the hang of it
before Cynthia comes. You might tell me all about your divorce. That's
a sympathetic subject. Were you able to undermine it?

JOHN. No. I've got a wire from my lawyer this morning. The divorce
holds. She's a free woman. She can marry whom she likes. [_The organ
is heard, very softly played._] Is that Cynthia? [_He rises quickly._

VIDA. It's the organ!

JOHN. [_Overwhelmingly excited._] By George! I should never have come!
I think I'll go.

            [_He makes a movement toward the door._

VIDA. [_Rises and follows him remonstratingly._] When I need you?

JOHN. I can't stand it.

VIDA. Oh, but, Jack--

JOHN. Good-night!

VIDA. I feel quite ill. [_Seeing that she must play her last card to
keep him, pretends to faintness; sways and falls into his arms._] Oh!

JOHN. [_In a rage, but beaten._] I believe you're putting up a fake.

    _The organ swells as_ CYNTHIA _enters sweepingly, dressed in
    full evening dress for the wedding ceremony._ JOHN, _not
    knowing what to do, keeps his arms about_ VIDA _as a horrid

CYNTHIA. [_Speaking as she comes in, to_ MATTHEW.] Here I am.
Ridiculous to make it a conventional thing, you know. Come in on the
swell of the music, and all that, just as if I'd never been married
before. Where's Philip? [_She looks for_ PHILIP _and sees_ JOHN _with_
VIDA _in his arms. She stops short._

JOHN. [_Uneasy and embarrassed._] A glass of water! I beg your pardon,
Mrs. Karslake-- [_The organ plays on._

CYNTHIA. [_Ironical and calm._] Vida!

JOHN. She has fainted.

CYNTHIA. [_Cynically._] Fainted? [_Without pausing._] Dear, dear,
dear, terrible! So she has. [SIR WILFRID _takes the flowers from a
vase and prepares to sprinkle_ VIDA'S _forehead with the water it
contains._] No, no, not her forehead, Sir Wilfrid, her frock! Sprinkle
her best Paquin! If it's a real faint, she will not come to!

VIDA. [_Coming quickly to her senses as her Paris importation is about
to suffer._] I almost fainted.

CYNTHIA. Almost!

VIDA. [_Using the stock phrase as a matter of course, and reviving
rapidly._] Where am I? [JOHN _glances at_ CYNTHIA _sharply._] Oh, the
bride! I beg every one's pardon. Cynthia, at a crisis like this, I
simply couldn't stay away from Philip!

CYNTHIA. Stay away from Philip? [JOHN _and_ CYNTHIA _exchange

VIDA. Your arm, Jack; and lead me where there is air.

    JOHN _and_ VIDA _go into the further room. The organ stops._
    SIR WILFRID _and_ CYNTHIA _are practically alone in the
    room._ JOHN _and_ VIDA _are barely within sight. He is first
    seen to take her fan and give her air; then to pick up a book
    and read to her._

SIR WILFRID. I've come back.

CYNTHIA. [_To_ SIR WILFRID.] Asks for air and goes to the greenhouse.
[CYNTHIA _crosses the room and_ SIR WILFRID _offers her a seat._] I
know why you are here. It's that intoxicating little whim you suppose
me to have for you. My regrets! But the whim's gone flat! Yes, yes, my
gasoline days are over. I'm going to be garaged for good. However, I'm
glad you're here; you take the edge off--

SIR WILFRID. Mr. Phillimore?

CYNTHIA. [_Sharply._] No, Karslake. I'm just waiting to say the words
[THOMAS _comes in unnoticed._] "love, honour and obey" to
Phillimore-- [_Looking back._] and _at_ Karslake! [_Seeing_ THOMAS.]
What is it? Mr. Phillimore?

THOMAS. Mr. Phillimore will be down in a few minutes, ma'am. He's very
sorry, ma'am [_Lowering his voice and coming nearer to_ CYNTHIA,
_mindful of the respectabilities_], but there's a button off his

CYNTHIA. [_Rising. With irony._] Button off his waistcoat!

            [THOMAS _goes out._

SIR WILFRID. [_Delightedly._] Ah! So much the better for me. [CYNTHIA
_looks into the other room._] Now, then, never mind those two!
[CYNTHIA _moves restlessly._] Sit down.

CYNTHIA. I can't.

SIR WILFRID. You're as nervous as--

CYNTHIA. Nervous! Of course I'm nervous! So would you be nervous if
you'd had a runaway and smash up, and you were going to try it again.
[_She is unable to take her eyes from_ VIDA _and_ JOHN, _and_ SIR
WILFRID, _noting this, grows uneasy._] And if some one doesn't do away
with those calla lilies--the odor makes me faint! [SIR WILFRID
_moves._] No, it's not the lilies! It's the orange blossoms!

SIR WILFRID. Orange blossoms.

CYNTHIA. The flowers that grow on the tree that hangs over the abyss!
[SIR WILFRID _promptly confiscates the vase of orange blossoms._] They
smell of six o'clock in the evening. When Philip's fallen asleep, and
little boys are crying the winners outside, and I'm crying inside, and
dying inside and outside and everywhere.

SIR WILFRID. [_Returning to her side._] Sorry to disappoint you.
They're artificial. [CYNTHIA _shrugs her shoulders._] That's it!
They're emblematic of artificial domesticity! And I'm here to help you
balk it. [_He sits down and_ CYNTHIA _half rises and looks toward_
JOHN _and_ VIDA.] Keep still now, I've a lot to say to you. Stop

CYNTHIA. Do you think I can listen to you make love to me when the man
who--who--whom I most despise in all the world, is reading poetry to
the woman who--who got me into the fix I'm in!

SIR WILFRID. [_Leaning over her chair._] What do you want to look at
'em for? [CYNTHIA _moves._] Let 'em be and listen to me! Sit down; for
damme, I'm determined.

CYNTHIA. [_Now at the table and half to herself._] I won't look at
them! I won't think of them. Beasts! [SIR WILFRID _interposes between
her and her view of_ JOHN. THOMAS _opens the door and walks in._

SIR WILFRID. Now, then-- [_He sits down._

CYNTHIA. Those two _here_! It's just as if Adam and Eve should invite
the snake to their golden wedding. [_Seeing_ THOMAS.] What is it,
what's the matter?

THOMAS. Mr. Phillimore's excuses, ma'am. In a very short time--
[THOMAS _goes out._

SIR WILFRID. I'm on to you! You hoped for more buttons!

CYNTHIA. I'm dying of the heat; fan me.

            [SIR WILFRID _fans_ CYNTHIA.

SIR WILFRID. Heat! No! You're dying because you're ignorin' nature.
Certainly you are! You're marryin' Phillimore! [CYNTHIA _appears
faint._] Can't ignore nature, Mrs. Karslake. Yes, you are; you're
forcin' your feelin's. [CYNTHIA _glances at him._] And what you want
to do is to let yourself go a bit--up anchor and sit tight! I'm no
seaman, but that's the idea! [CYNTHIA _moves and shakes her head._] So
just throw the reins on nature's neck, jump this fellow Phillimore and
marry me!

            [_He leans toward_ CYNTHIA.

CYNTHIA. [_Naturally, but with irritation._] You propose to me here,
at a moment like this? When I'm on the last lap--just in sight of the
goal--the gallows--the halter--the altar, I don't know what its name
is! No, I won't have you! [_Looking toward_ KARSLAKE _and_ VIDA.] And
I won't have you stand near me! I won't have you talking to me in a
low tone! [_Her eyes glued on_ JOHN _and_ VIDA.] Stand over
there--stand where you are.


CYNTHIA. I can hear you--I'm listening!

SIR WILFRID. Well, don't look so hurried and worried. You've got
buttons and buttons of time. And now my offer. You haven't yet said
you would--

CYNTHIA. Marry you? I don't even know you!

SIR WILFRID. [_Feeling sure of being accepted._] Oh,--tell you all
about myself. I'm no duke in a pickle o' debts, d'ye see? I can marry
where I like. Some o' my countrymen are rotters, ye know. They'd marry
a monkey, if poppa-up-the-tree had a corner in cocoanuts! And they do
marry some queer ones, y' know. [CYNTHIA _looks beyond him, exclaims
and turns._ SIR WILFRID _turns._

CYNTHIA. Do they?

SIR WILFRID. Oh, rather. That's what's giving your heiresses such a
bad name lately. If a fellah's in debt he can't pick and choose, and
then he swears that American gals are awfully fine lookers, but
they're no good when it comes to continuin' the race! Fair dolls in
the drawin'-room, but no good in the nursery.

CYNTHIA. [_Thinking of_ JOHN _and_ VIDA _and nothing else._] I can see
Vida in the nursery.

SIR WILFRID. You understand when you want a brood mare, you don't
choose a Kentucky mule.

CYNTHIA. I think I see one.

SIR WILFRID. Well, that's what they're saying over there. They say
your gals run to talk [_He plainly remembers_ VIDA'S _volubility._]
and I have seen gals here that would chat life into a wooden Indian!
That's what you Americans call being clever.--All brains and no
stuffin'! In fact, some of your American gals are the nicest boys I
ever met.

CYNTHIA. So that's what you think?

SIR WILFRID. Not a bit what _I_ think--what my countrymen think!

CYNTHIA. Why are you telling me?

SIR WILFRID. Oh, just explaining my character. I'm the sort that can
pick and choose--and what I want is heart.

CYNTHIA. [VIDA _and_ JOHN _ever in mind._] No more heart than a
dragon-fly! [_The organ begins to play softly._

SIR WILFRID. That's it, dragon-fly. Cold as stone and never stops
buzzing about and showin' off her colours. It's that American
dragon-fly girl that I'm afraid of, because, d'ye see, I don't know
what an American expects when he marries; yes, but you're not

CYNTHIA. I am listening. I am!

SIR WILFRID. [_Speaking directly to her._] An Englishman, ye see, when
he marries expects three things: love, obedience, and five children.

CYNTHIA. Three things! I make it seven!

SIR WILFRID. Yes, my dear, but the point is, will you be mistress of

CYNTHIA. [_Who has only half listened to him._] No, Sir Wilfrid, thank
you, I won't. [_She turns to see_ JOHN _walk across the drawing-room
with_ VIDA, _and apparently absorbed in what she is saying._] It's

SIR WILFRID. Eh? Why you're cryin'?

CYNTHIA. [_Almost sobbing._] I am not.

SIR WILFRID. You're not crying because you're in love with me?

CYNTHIA. I'm not crying--or if I am, I'm crying because I love my
country. It's a disgrace to America--cast-off husbands and wives
getting together in a parlour and playing tag under a palm-tree.
[JOHN, _with intention and determined to stab_ CYNTHIA, _kisses_
VIDA'S _hand._

SIR WILFRID. Eh! Oh! I'm damned! [_To_ CYNTHIA.] What do you think
that means?

CYNTHIA. I don't doubt it means a wedding here, at once--after mine!
[VIDA _and_ JOHN _leave the drawing-room and walk slowly toward

VIDA. [_Affecting an impossible intimacy to wound_ CYNTHIA _and
tantalize_ SIR WILFRID.] Hush, Jack--I'd much rather no one should
know anything about it until it's all over!

CYNTHIA. [_Starting and looking at_ SIR WILFRID.] What did I tell you?

VIDA. [_To_ CYNTHIA.] Oh, my dear, he's asked me to champagne and
lobster at _your_ house--his house! Matthew is coming! [CYNTHIA
_starts, but controls herself._] And you're to come, Sir Wilfrid.
[_Intending to convey the idea of a sudden marriage ceremony._] Of
course, my dear, I would like to wait for your wedding, but something
rather--rather important to me is to take place, and I know you'll
excuse me. [_The organ stops._

SIR WILFRID. [_Piqued at being forgotten._] All very neat, but you
haven't given me a chance, even.

VIDA. Chance? You're not serious?


VIDA. [_Striking while the iron is hot._] I'll give you a minute to
offer yourself.


VIDA. Sixty seconds from now.

SIR WILFRID. [_Uncertain._] There's such a thing as bein' silly.

VIDA. [_Calm and determined._] Fifty seconds left.

SIR WILFRID. I take you--count fair. [_He hands her his watch and goes
to where_ CYNTHIA _stands._] I say, Mrs. Karslake--

CYNTHIA. [_Overwhelmed with grief and emotion._] They're engaged;
they're going to be married to-night, over champagne and lobster at my

SIR WILFRID. Will you consider your--

CYNTHIA. [_Hastily, to get rid of him._] No, no, no, no! Thank you,
Sir Wilfrid, I will not.

SIR WILFRID. [_Calm, and not to be laid low._] Thanks awfully.
[CYNTHIA _walks away. Returning to_ VIDA.] Mrs. Phillimore--

VIDA. [_Returning his watch._] Too late! [_To_ KARSLAKE.] Jack, dear,
we must be off.

SIR WILFRID. [_Standing and making a general appeal for information._]
I say, is it the custom for American girls--that sixty seconds or too
late? Look here! Not a bit too late. I'll take you around to Jack
Karslake's, and I'm going to ask you the same old question again, you
know. [_To_ VIDA.] By Jove, you know in your country it's the pace
that kills.

            [SIR WILFRID _follows_ VIDA _out the door._

JOHN. [_Gravely to_ CYNTHIA, _who has walked away._] Good-night, Mrs.
Karslake, I'm going; I'm sorry I came.

CYNTHIA. Sorry? Why are you sorry? [JOHN _looks at her; she winces a
little._] You've got what you wanted. [_After a pause._] I wouldn't
mind your marrying Vida--

JOHN. [_Gravely._] Oh, wouldn't you?

CYNTHIA. But I don't think you showed good taste in engaging
yourselves _here_.

JOHN. Of course, I should have preferred a garden of roses and plenty
of twilight.

CYNTHIA. [_Rushing into speech._] I'll tell you what you _have_
done--you've thrown yourself away! A woman like that! No head, no
heart! All languor and loose--loose frocks--she's the typical, worst
thing America can do! She's the regular American marriage worm!

JOHN. I have known others--

CYNTHIA. [_Quickly._] Not me. I'm not a patch on that woman. Do you
know anything about her life? Do you know the things she did to
Philip? Kept him up every night of his life--forty days out of every
thirty--and then, without his knowing it, put brandy in his coffee to
make him lively at breakfast.

JOHN. [_Banteringly._] I begin to think she is just the woman--

CYNTHIA. [_Unable to quiet her jealousy._] She is _not_ the woman for
_you_! A man with your bad temper--your airs of authority--your
assumption of--of--everything. What you need is a good, old-fashioned,
bread-poultice woman!

            [CYNTHIA _comes to a full stop and faces him._

JOHN. [_Sharply._] Can't say I've had any experience of the good
old-fashioned bread-poultice.

CYNTHIA. I don't care what you say! If you marry Vida Phillimore--you
sha'n't do it. [_Tears of rage choking her._] No, I liked your father
and, for _his_ sake, I'll see that his son doesn't make a donkey of
himself a second time.

JOHN. [_Too angry to be amused._] Oh, I thought I was divorced. I
begin to feel as if I had you on my hands still.

CYNTHIA. You have! You shall have! If you attempt to marry her, I'll
follow you--and I'll find her--I'll tell Vida-- [_He turns to her._] I
will. I'll tell Vida just what sort of a dance you led me.

JOHN. [_Quickly on her last word but speaking gravely._] Indeed! Will
you? And why do you care what happens to me?

CYNTHIA. [_Startled by his tone._] I--I--ah--

JOHN. [_Insistently and with a faint hope._] _Why_ do you _care_?

CYNTHIA. I don't. Not in your sense--

JOHN. How dare you then pretend--

CYNTHIA. I don't pretend.

JOHN. [_Interrupting her; proud, serious and strong._] How dare you
look me in the face with the eyes that I once kissed, and pretend the
least regard for me? [CYNTHIA _recoils and looks away. Her own
feelings are revealed to her clearly for the first time._] I begin to
understand our American women now. Fire-flies--and the fire they gleam
with is so cold that a midge couldn't warm his heart at it, let alone
a man. You're not of the same race as a man! You married me for
nothing, divorced me for nothing, because you _are_ nothing!

CYNTHIA. [_Wounded to the heart._] Jack! What are you saying?

JOHN. [_With unrestrained emotion._] What,--you feigning an interest
in me, feigning a lie--and in five minutes-- [_With a gesture,
indicating the altar._] Oh, you've taught me the trick of your
sex--you're the woman who's not a woman!

CYNTHIA. [_Weakly._] You're saying terrible things to me.

JOHN. [_Low and with intensity._] You haven't been divorced from me
long enough to forget--what you should be ashamed to remember.

CYNTHIA. [_Unable to face him and pretending not to understand him._]
I don't know what you mean?

JOHN. [_More forcibly and with manly emotion._] You're not able to
forget me! You know you're not able to forget me; ask yourself if you
are able to forget me, and when your heart, such as it is, answers
"no," then-- [_The organ is plainly heard._] Well, then, prance gaily
up to the altar and marry that, if you can!

    _He abruptly quits the room and_ CYNTHIA, _moving to an
    armchair, sinks into it, trembling._ MATTHEW _comes in and is
    joined by_ MISS HENEAGE _and_ PHILIP. _They do not see_
    CYNTHIA _buried deeply in her chair. Accordingly_, MISS
    HENEAGE _moves over to the sofa and waits. They are all
    dressed for an evening reception and_ PHILIP _is in the
    traditional bridegroom's rig._

MATTHEW. [_As he enters._] I am sure you will do your part, Sarah--in
a spirit of Christian decorum. [_To_ PHILIP.] It was impossible to
find my surplice, Philip, but the more informal the better.

PHILIP. [_With pompous responsibility._] Where's Cynthia?

            [MATTHEW _gives a glance around the room._

MATTHEW. Ah, here's the choir! [_He moves forward to meet it._ CHOIR
BOYS _come in very orderly; divide and take their places, an even
number on each side of the altar of flowers._ MATTHEW _vaguely
superintends._ PHILIP _gets in the way of the bell and moves out of
the way._ THOMAS _comes in._] Thomas, I directed you--One moment, if
you please. [_He indicates the tables and chairs which_ THOMAS
_hastens to push against the wall._

PHILIP. [_Walking forward and looking around him._] Where's Cynthia?
[CYNTHIA _rises, and, at the movement_, PHILIP _sees her and moves
toward her. The organ grows suddenly silent._

CYNTHIA. [_Faintly._] Here I am.

            [MATTHEW _comes down. Organ plays softly._

MATTHEW. [_To_ CYNTHIA.] Ah, my very dear Cynthia, I knew there was
something. Let me tell you the words of the hymn I have chosen:

    "Enduring love; sweet end of strife!
    Oh, bless this happy man and wife!"

I'm afraid you feel--eh--eh!

CYNTHIA. [_Desperately calm._] I feel awfully queer--I think I need a

    _Organ stops._ PHILIP _remains uneasily at a little
    distance._ MRS. PHILLIMORE _and_ GRACE _enter back slowly, as
    cheerfully as if they were going to hear the funeral service
    read. They remain near the doorway._

MATTHEW. Really, my dear, in the pomp and vanity--I mean--ceremony of
this--this unique occasion, there should be sufficient exhilaration.

CYNTHIA. [_With extraordinary control._] But there isn't!

            [_Feeling weak, she sits down._

MATTHEW. I don't think my Bishop would approve of--eh--anything

CYNTHIA. [_Too agitated to know how much she is moved._] I feel very

MATTHEW. [_Piously sure that everything is for the best._] My dear

CYNTHIA. However, I suppose there's nothing for it--now--but--to--to--

MATTHEW. Courage!

CYNTHIA. [_Desperate and with a sudden explosion._] Oh, don't speak to
me. I feel as if I'd been eating gunpowder, and the very first word of
the wedding service would set it off!

MATTHEW. My dear, your indisposition is the voice of nature. [CYNTHIA
_speaks more rapidly and with growing excitement._ MATTHEW _makes a
movement toward the_ CHOIR BOYS.

CYNTHIA. Ah,--that's it--nature! [MATTHEW _shakes his head._] I've a
great mind to throw the reins on nature's neck.

PHILIP. Matthew! [_He moves to take his stand for the ceremony._

MATTHEW. [_Looks at_ PHILIP. _To_ CYNTHIA.] Philip is ready. [PHILIP
_comes forward and the organ plays the wedding march._

CYNTHIA. [_To herself, as if at bay._] Ready? Ready? Ready?

MATTHEW. Cynthia, you will take Miss Heneage's arm. [MISS HENEAGE
_moves stiffly nearer to the table._] Sarah! [_He waves_ MISS HENEAGE
_in the direction of_ CYNTHIA, _at which she advances a joyless step
or two._ MATTHEW _goes over to give the choir a low direction._] Now
please don't forget, my boys. When I raise my hands so, you begin,
"Enduring love, sweet end of strife," etc. [CYNTHIA _has risen. On the
table by which she stands is her long lace cloak._ MATTHEW _assumes
sacerdotal importance and takes his position inside the altar of
flowers._] Ahem! Philip! [_He signs to_ PHILIP _to take his
position._] Sarah! [CYNTHIA _breathes fast, and supports herself
against the table._ MISS HENEAGE, _with the silent air of a martyr,
goes toward her and stands for a moment looking at her._] The ceremony
will now begin.

    _The organ plays Mendelssohn's wedding march._ CYNTHIA _turns
    and faces_ MISS HENEAGE. MISS HENEAGE _slowly reaches_
    CYNTHIA _and extends her hand in her readiness to lead the
    bride to the altar._

MISS HENEAGE. Mrs. Karslake!

PHILIP. Ahem! [MATTHEW _walks forward two or three steps._ CYNTHIA
_stands as if turned to stone._

MATTHEW. My dear Cynthia. I request you--to take your place. [CYNTHIA
_moves one or two steps as if to go up to the altar. She takes_ MISS
HENEAGE'S _hand and slowly they walk toward_ MATTHEW.] Your husband to
be--is ready, the ring is in my pocket. I have only to ask you
the--eh--necessary questions,--and--eh--all will be blissfully over in
a moment.

            [_The organ grows louder._

CYNTHIA. [_At this moment, just as she reaches_ PHILIP, _stops, faces
round, looks him_, MATTHEW, _and the rest in the face, and cries out
in despair._] Thomas! Call a hansom! [THOMAS _goes out, leaving the
door open._ MISS HENEAGE _crosses the room quickly_; MRS. PHILLIMORE,
_shocked into action, rises._ CYNTHIA _catches up her cloak from the
table._ PHILIP _turns and_ CYNTHIA _comes forward and stops._] I
can't, Philip--I can't. [_Whistle of hansom is heard off; the organ
stops._] It is simply a case of throwing the reins on nature's
neck--up anchor--and sit tight! [MATTHEW _moves to_ CYNTHIA.] Matthew,
don't come near me! Yes, yes, I distrust you. It's your business, and
you'd marry me if you could.

PHILIP. [_Watching her in dismay as she throws on her cloak._] Where
are you going?

CYNTHIA. I'm going to Jack.

PHILIP. What for?

CYNTHIA. To stop his marrying Vida. I'm blowing a hurricane inside, a
horrible, happy hurricane! I know myself--I know what's the matter
with me. If I married you and Miss Heneage--what's the use of talking
about it--he mustn't marry that woman. He sha'n't. [CYNTHIA _has now
all her wraps on and walks toward the door rapidly. To_ PHILIP.]
Sorry! So long! Good-night and see you later.

    _Reaching the door, she goes out in blind haste and without
    further ceremony._ MATTHEW, _in absolute amazement, throws up
    his arms._ PHILIP _is rigid._ MRS. PHILLIMORE _sinks into a
    chair._ MISS HENEAGE _stands supercilious and unmoved._
    GRACE, _the same. The choir, at MATTHEW'S gesture, mistakes
    it for the concerted signal, and bursts lustily into the

    "Enduring love--sweet end of strife!
    Oh, bless this happy man and wife!"



    SCENE. _The scene is laid in_ JOHN KARSLAKE'S _study and
    smoking-room. There is a bay window on the left. A door on
    the left leads to stairs and the front of the house, while a
    door at the back leads to the dining-room. A fireplace and a
    mantel are on the right. A bookcase contains law and sporting
    books. On the wall is a full-length portrait of_ CYNTHIA.
    _Nothing of this portrait is seen by audience except the gilt
    frame and a space of canvas. A large table with writing
    materials is littered over with law books, sporting books,
    papers, pipes, crops, a pair of spurs, &c. A wedding ring
    lies on it. There are three very low easy-chairs. The general
    appearance of the room is extremely gay and garish in colour.
    It has the easy confusion of a man's room. There is a small
    table on which, lying open, is a woman's sewing-basket, and,
    beside it, a piece of rich fancy work, as if a lady had just
    risen from sewing. Laid on the further end of it are a lady's
    gloves. On a chair-back is a lady's hat. It is a half hour
    later than the close of Act III. Curtains are drawn over the
    window. A lamp on the table is lighted, as are, too, the
    various electric lights. One chair is conspicuously standing
    on its head._

    NOGAM _is busy at the larger table. The door into the
    dining-room is half open._

SIR WILFRID. [_Coming in from the dining-room._] Eh--what did you say
your name was?

NOGAM. Nogam, sir.

SIR WILFRID. Nogam? I've been here thirty minutes. Where are the
cigars? [NOGAM _motions to a small table near the entrance door._]
Thank you. Nogam, Mr. Karslake was to have followed us here,
immediately. [_He lights a cigar._

NOGAM. Mr. Karslake just now 'phoned from his club [SIR WILFRID _walks
toward the front of the room._], and he's on his way home, sir.

SIR WILFRID. Nogam, why is that chair upside down?

NOGAM. Our orders, sir.

VIDA. [_Speaking as she comes in._] Oh, Wilfrid! [SIR WILFRID _turns._
VIDA _coming slowly toward him._] I can't be left longer alone with
the lobster! He reminds me too much of Phillimore!

SIR WILFRID. Karslake's coming; stopped at his club on the way! [_To_
NOGAM.] You haven't heard anything of Mrs. Karslake--?

NOGAM. [_Surprised._] No, sir!

SIR WILFRID. [_In an aside to_ VIDA, _as they move right to appear to
be out of_ NOGAM'S _hearing._] Deucedly odd, ye know--for the Reverend
Matthew declared she left Phillimore's house before _he_ did,--and she
told them she was coming here!

            [NOGAM _evidently takes this in._

VIDA. Oh, she'll turn up.

SIR WILFRID. Yes, but I don't see how the Reverend Phillimore had the
time to get here and make us man and wife, don't y' know--

VIDA. Oh, Matthew had a fast horse and Cynthia a slow one--or she's a
woman and changed her mind! Perhaps she's gone back and married
Phillimore. And besides, dear, Matthew wasn't in the house four
minutes and a half; only just long enough to hoop the hoop. [_She
twirls her new wedding ring gently about her finger._] Wasn't it lucky
he had a ring in his pocket?


VIDA. And are you aware, dear, that Phillimore bought and intended it
for Cynthia? Do come [_Going toward the door through which she has
just entered._], I'm desperately hungry! Whenever I'm married that's
the effect it has! [VIDA _goes out and_ SIR WILFRID, _following, stops
to talk to_ NOGAM.

SIR WILFRID. We'll give Mr. Karslake ten minutes, Nogam. If he does
not come then, you might serve supper.

            [_He joins_ VIDA.

NOGAM. [_To_ SIR WILFRID.] Yes, sir. [_The outside door opens and_
FIDDLER _walks in._

FIDDLER. [_Easy and business-like._] Hello, Nogam, where's the
guv'nor? That mare's off her oats, and I've got to see him.

NOGAM. He'll soon be here.

FIDDLER. Who was the parson I met leaving the house?

NOGAM. [_Whispering._] Sir Wilfrid and Mrs. Phillimore have a date
with the guv'nor in the dining-room, and the reverend gentleman-- [_He
makes a gesture as of giving an ecclesiastical blessing._

FIDDLER. [_Amazed._] He hasn't spliced them? [NOGAM _assents._] He
has? They're married? Never saw a parson could resist it!

NOGAM. Yes, but I've got another piece of news for you. Who do you
think the Rev. Phillimore expected to find _here_?

FIDDLER. [_Proud of having the knowledge._] Mrs. Karslake? I saw her
headed this way in a hansom with a balky horse only a minute ago. If
she hoped to be in at the finish--

            [Fiddler _is about to set the chair on its legs._

NOGAM. [_Quickly._] Mr. Fiddler, sir, please to let it alone.

FIDDLER. [_Putting the chair down in surprise._] Does it live on its
blooming head?

NOGAM. Don't you remember? _She_ threw it on its head when she left
here, and he won't have it up. Ah, that's it--hat, sewing-basket and
all,--the whole rig is to remain as it was when she handed him his
knock-out. [_A bell rings outside._

FIDDLER. There's the guv'nor--I hear him!

NOGAM. I'll serve the supper. [_Taking a letter from his pocket and
putting it on the mantel._] Mr. Fiddler, would you mind giving this to
the guv'nor? It's from his lawyer--his lawyer couldn't find him and
left it with me. He said it was very important. [_The bell rings
again. Speaking from the door to_ SIR WILFRID.] I'm coming, sir!

    NOGAM _goes out, shutting the door._ JOHN KARSLAKE _comes in.
    His hat is pushed over his eyes; his hands are buried in his
    pockets, and his appearance generally is one of weariness and
    utter discouragement. He walks into the room slowly and
    heavily. He sees_ FIDDLER, _who salutes, forgetting the
    letter._ JOHN _slowly sinks into the arm-chair near his study

JOHN. [_As he walks to his chair._] Hello, Fiddler! [_After a pause,_
JOHN _throws himself into a chair, keeping his hat on. He throws down
his gloves, sighing._

FIDDLER. Came in to see you, sir, about Cynthia K.

JOHN. [_Drearily._] Damn Cynthia K!--

FIDDLER. Couldn't have a word with you?

JOHN. [_Grumpy._] No!

FIDDLER. Yes, sir.

JOHN. Fiddler.

FIDDLER. Yes, sir.

JOHN. Mrs. Karslake-- [FIDDLER _nods._] You used to say she was our

FIDDLER. Yes, sir.

JOHN. Well, she's just married herself to a--a sort of a man--

FIDDLER. Sorry to hear it, sir.

JOHN. Well, Fiddler, between you and me, we're a pair of idiots.

FIDDLER. Yes, sir!

JOHN. And now it's too late!

FIDDLER. Yes, sir--oh, beg your pardon, sir--your lawyer left a
letter. [JOHN _takes letter; opens it and reads it, indifferently at

JOHN. [_As he opens the letter._] What's he got to say, more than what
his wire said?--Eh-- [_Dumbfounded as he reads._] what?--Will
explain.--Error in wording of telegram.--Call me up.-- [_Turning
quickly to the telephone._] The man can't mean that she's
still--Hello! Hello! [JOHN _listens._

FIDDLER. Would like to have a word with you, sir--

JOHN. Hello, Central!

FIDDLER. That mare--

JOHN. [_Consulting the letter, and speaking into the 'phone._] 33246a
38! Did you get it?

FIDDLER. That mare, sir, she's got a touch of malaria--

JOHN. [_At the 'phone._] Hello, Central--33246a--38!--Clayton
Osgood--yes, yes, and say, Central--get a move on you!

FIDDLER. If you think well of it, sir, I'll give her a tonic--

JOHN. [_Still at the 'phone._] Hello! Yes--yes--Jack Karslake. Is that
you, Clayton? Yes--yes--well--

FIDDLER. Or if you like, sir, I'll give her--

JOHN. [_Turning on_ FIDDLER.] Shut up! [_To 'phone._] What was that?
Not you--not you--a technical error? You mean to say that Mrs.
Karslake is still--my--Hold the wire, Central--get off the wire! Get
off the wire! Is that you, Clayton? Yes, yes--she and I are still--I
got it! Good-bye! [_He hangs up the receiver; falls back into a chair.
For a moment he is overcome. He takes up telephone book._

FIDDLER. All very well, Mr. Karslake, but I must know if I'm to give

JOHN. [_Turning over the leaves of the telephone book in hot haste._]
What's Phillimore's number?

FIDDLER. If you've no objections, I think I'll give her a--

JOHN. L--M--N--O--P--It's too late! She's married by this!
Married!--and--my God--I--I am the cause. Phillimore--

FIDDLER. I'll give her--

JOHN. Give her wheatina!--give her grape-nuts--give her away!
[FIDDLER, _biding his time, walks toward the window._] Only be quiet!

            [SIR WILFRID _comes in._

SIR WILFRID. Hello! We'd almost given you up!

JOHN. [_In his agitation unable to find_ Phillimore's _number._] Just
a moment! I'm trying to get Phillimore on the 'phone to--to tell Mrs.

SIR WILFRID. No good, my boy--she's on her way here! [JOHN _drops the
book and looks up dumbfounded._] The Reverend Matthew was here, y'
see--and he said--

JOHN. [_Rising, turns._] Mrs. Karslake is coming here? [SIR WILFRID
_nods._] To this house? Here?

SIR WILFRID. That's right.

JOHN. Coming here? You're sure? [SIR WILFRID _nods assent._] Fiddler,
I want you to stay here, and if Mrs. Karslake comes, don't fail to let
me know! Now then, for heaven's sake, what did Matthew say to you?

SIR WILFRID. Come along in and I'll tell you.

JOHN. On your life now, Fiddler, don't fail to let me--

            [SIR WILFRID _carries_ JOHN _off with him._

VIDA. [_From the dining-room._] Ah, here you are!


    _A moment's pause, and_ CYNTHIA _opens the front door, and
    comes in very quietly, almost shyly, as if she were uncertain
    of her welcome._

CYNTHIA. Fiddler! Where is he? Has he come? Is he here? Has he gone?

FIDDLER. [_Rattled._] Nobody's gone, ma'am, except the Reverend
Matthew Phillimore.

CYNTHIA. Matthew? He's been here and gone? [FIDDLER _nods assent._]
You don't mean I'm too late? He's married them already?

FIDDLER. Nogam says he married them!

CYNTHIA. He's married them! Married! Married before I could get here!
[_Sinking into an armchair._] Married in less time than it takes to
pray for rain! Oh, well, the church--the church is a regular quick
marriage counter. [VIDA _and_ JOHN _are heard in light-hearted
laughter._] Oh!

FIDDLER. I'll tell Mr. Karslake--

CYNTHIA. [_Rising and going to the dining-room door, turns the key in
the lock and takes it out._] No--I wouldn't see him for the world!
[_Moving to the work-table with the key._] If I'm too late, I'm too
late! and that's the end of it! [_Laying the key on the table, she
remains standing near it._] I've come, and now I'll go! [_There is a
long pause during which_ CYNTHIA _looks slowly about the room, then
sighs and changes her tone._] Well, Fiddler, it's all a good deal as
it used to be in my day.

FIDDLER. No, ma'am--everything changed, even the horses.

CYNTHIA. [_Absent-mindedly._] Horses--how are the horses?

    [_Throughout her talk with_ Fiddler _she gives the idea that
    she is saying good-bye to her life with_ JOHN.

FIDDLER. Ah, when husband and wife splits, ma'am, it's the horses that
suffer. Oh, yes, ma'am, we're all changed since you give us the
go-by,--even the guv'nor.

CYNTHIA. How's he changed?

FIDDLER. Lost his sharp for horses, and ladies, ma'am--gives 'em both
the boiled eye.

CYNTHIA. I can't say I see any change; there's my portrait--I suppose
he sits and pulls faces at me.

FIDDLER. Yes, ma'am, I think I'd better tell him of your bein' here.

CYNTHIA. [_Gently but decidedly._] No, Fiddler, no! [_Again looking
about her._] The room's in a terrible state of disorder. However, your
new mistress will attend to that. [_Pause._] Why, that's not her hat!

FIDDLER. Yours, ma'am.

CYNTHIA. Mine? [_Walking to the table to look at it._] Is that my
work-basket? [_After a pause._] My gloves? [FIDDLER _assents._] And I
suppose-- [_Hurriedly going to the writing-table._] My--yes, there it
is: my wedding ring!--just where I dropped it! Oh, oh, oh, he keeps it
like this--hat, gloves, basket and ring, everything just as it was
that crazy, mad day when I-- [_She glances at_ FIDDLER _and breaks
off._] But for heaven's sake, Fiddler, set that chair on its feet!

FIDDLER. Against orders, ma'am.

CYNTHIA. Against orders?

FIDDLER. You kicked it over, ma'am, the day you left us.

CYNTHIA. No wonder he hates me with the chair in that state! He nurses
his wrath to keep it warm. So, after all, Fiddler, everything _is_
changed, and that chair is the proof of it. I suppose Cynthia K is
the only thing in the world that cares a whinney whether I'm alive or
dead. [_She breaks down and sobs._] How is she, Fiddler?

FIDDLER. Off her oats, ma'am, this evening.

CYNTHIA. Off her oats! Well, she loves me, so I suppose she will die,
or change, or--or something. Oh, she'll die, there's no doubt about
that--she'll die. [FIDDLER, _who has been watching his chance, takes
the key off the table while she is sobbing, tiptoes up stage, unlocks
the door and goes out. After he has done so_, CYNTHIA _rises and dries
her eyes._] There--I'm a fool--I must go--before--before--he--

            [_As she speaks her last word_, JOHN _comes in swiftly._

JOHN. Mrs. Karslake!

CYNTHIA. [_Confused._] I--I--I just heard Cynthia K was ill-- [JOHN
_assents._ CYNTHIA _tries to put on a cheerful and indifferent
manner._] I--I ran round--I--and--and-- [_Pausing, she turns and takes
a few steps._] Well, I understand it's all over.

JOHN. [_Cheerfully._] Yes, it's all over.

CYNTHIA. How is the bride?

JOHN. Oh, she's a wonder.

CYNTHIA. Indeed! Did she paw the ground like the war-horse in the
Bible? I'm sure when Vida sees a wedding ring she smells the battle
afar off. As for you, my dear Karslake, I should have thought once
bitten, twice shy! But, you know best.

    VIDA, _unable to keep her finger long out of a pie, saunters

VIDA. Oh, Cynthia, I've just been through it again, and I feel as if I
were eighteen. There's no use talking about it, my dear, with a woman
it's never the second time! And how nice you were, Jack,--he never
even laughed at us! [SIR WILFRID _follows her with hat and cane._ VIDA
_kisses_ JOHN.] That's the wages of virtue!

SIR WILFRID. [_In time to see her kiss_ JOHN.] I say, is it the
custom? Every time she does that, my boy, you owe me a thousand
pounds. [_Seeing_ CYNTHIA, _who approaches them, he looks at her and_
JOHN _in turn._] Mrs. Karslake. [_To_ JOHN.] And then you say it's not
an extraordinary country!

            [CYNTHIA _is more and more puzzled._

VIDA. [_To_ JOHN.] See you next Derby, Jack! [_Walking to the door.
To_ SIR WILFRID.] Come along, Wilfrid! We really ought to be going.
[_To_ CYNTHIA.] I hope, dear, you haven't married him! Phillimore's a
tomb! Good-bye, Cynthia--I'm so happy! [_As she goes._] Just think of
the silly people, dear, that only have this sensation once in a

            [JOHN _follows_ VIDA _out the door._

SIR WILFRID. [_To_ CYNTHIA.] Good-bye, Mrs. Karslake. And I say, ye
know, if you have married that dull old Phillimore fellah, why, when
you've divorced him, come over and stay at Traynham! I mean, of
course, ye know, bring your new husband. There'll be lots o' horses to
show you, and a whole covey of jolly little Cates-Darbys. Mind you
come! [_With real delicacy of feeling and forgetting his wife._] Never
liked a woman as much in my life as I did you!

VIDA. [_Outside; calling him._] Wilfrid, dear!

SIR WILFRID. [_Loyal to the woman who has caught him._] --except the
one that's calling me!

    JOHN _returns, and_ SIR WILFRID, _nodding to him, goes out._
    JOHN _shuts the door and crosses the room. There is a pause._

CYNTHIA. So you're not married?

JOHN. No. But I know that you imagined I was.

CYNTHIA. [_After a pause._] I suppose you think a woman has no right
to divorce a man--and still continue to feel a keen interest in his

JOHN. Well, I'm not so sure about that, but I don't quite see how--

CYNTHIA. A woman can be divorced--and still-- [JOHN _assents; she hides
her embarrassment._] Well, my dear Karslake, you've a long life before
you, in which to learn how such a state of mind is possible! So I
won't stop to explain. Will you be kind enough to get me a cab? [_She
moves to the door._

JOHN. Certainly. I was going to say I am not surprised at your feeling
an interest in me. I'm only astonished that, having actually married
Phillimore, you come here--

CYNTHIA. [_Indignantly._] I'm not married to him!

JOHN. [_Silent for a moment._] I left you on the brink--made me feel a
little uncertain.

CYNTHIA. [_In a matter of course tone._] I changed my mind--that's

JOHN. [_Taking his tone from her._] Of course. [_After an interval._]
Are you going to marry him?

CYNTHIA. I don't know.

JOHN. Does he know you--

CYNTHIA. I told him I was coming here.

JOHN. Oh! He'll turn up here, then--eh? [CYNTHIA _is silent._] And
you'll go back with him, I suppose?

CYNTHIA. [_Talking at random._] Oh--yes--I suppose so. I--I haven't
thought much about it.

JOHN. [_Changing his tone._] Well, sit down; do. Till he comes--talk
it over. [_He places the armchair more comfortably for her._] This is
a more comfortable chair!

CYNTHIA. [_Shamefacedly._] You never liked me to sit in that one!

JOHN. Oh, well--it's different now. [CYNTHIA _moves and sits down,
near the upset chair. There is a long pause, during which_ JOHN
_thoughtfully paces the room._] You don't mind if I smoke?

CYNTHIA. [_Shaking her head._] No.

JOHN. [_Lighting his pipe and sitting down on the arm of a chair._] Of
course, if you find my presence painful, I'll--skiddoo.

    _He indicates the door._ CYNTHIA _shakes her head._ JOHN
    _smokes his pipe and remains seated._

CYNTHIA. [_Suddenly and quickly._] It's just simply a fact, Karslake,
and that's all there is to it--if a woman has once been married--that
is, the first man she marries--then--she may quarrel, she may hate
him--she may despise him--but she'll always be jealous of him with
other women. Always! [JOHN _takes this as if he were simply glad to
have the information._

JOHN. Oh--H'm! ah--yes--yes.

CYNTHIA. [_After a pause._] You probably felt jealous of Phillimore.

JOHN. [_Reasonably, sweetly, and in doubt._] N-o! [_Apologetically._]
I felt simply: Let him take his medicine.


JOHN. I beg your pardon--I meant--

CYNTHIA. You meant what you said!

JOHN. [_Moving a step toward her._] Mrs. Karslake; I apologize--I
won't do it again. But it's too late for you to be out alone--Philip
will be here in a moment--and of course, then--

CYNTHIA. It isn't what you _say_--it's--it's--it's everything. It's
the entire situation. Suppose by any chance I don't marry Phillimore!
And suppose I were seen at two or three in the morning leaving my
former husband's house! It's all wrong. I have no business to be here!
I'm going! You're perfectly horrid to me, you know--and--the whole
place--it's so familiar, and so--so associated with--with--

JOHN. Discord and misery--I know--

CYNTHIA. Not at all with discord and misery! With harmony and
happiness--with--with first love, and infinite hope--and--and--Jack
Karslake,--if you don't set that chair on its legs, I think I'll
explode. [JOHN _crosses the room rapidly, and sets the chair on its
legs. His tone changes._

JOHN. [_While setting chair on its legs._] There! I beg your pardon.

CYNTHIA. [_Nervously._] I believe I hear Philip. [_She rises._

JOHN. [_Going up to the window._] N-o! That's the policeman trying the
front door! And now, see here, Mrs. Karslake,--you're only here for a
short minute, because you can't help yourself, but I want you to
understand that I'm not trying to be disagreeable--I don't want to
revive all the old unhappy--

CYNTHIA. Very well, if you don't--give me my hat. [JOHN _does so._]
And my sewing! And my gloves, please! [_She indicates the several
articles which lie on the small table._] Thanks! [CYNTHIA _throws the
lot into the fireplace, and returns to the place she has left near
table._] There! I feel better! And now--all I ask is--

JOHN. [_Laughing._] My stars, what a pleasure it is!

CYNTHIA. What is?

JOHN. Seeing you in a whirlwind!

CYNTHIA. [_Wounded by his seeming indifference._] Oh!

JOHN. No, but I mean, a real pleasure! Why not? Time's passed since
you and I were together--and--eh--

CYNTHIA. And you've forgotten what a vile temper I had!

JOHN. [_Reflectively._] Well, you did kick the stuffing out of the
matrimonial buggy--

CYNTHIA. [_Pointedly but with good temper._] It wasn't a buggy; it was
a break cart-- [_She stands back of the arm-chair._] It's all very well
to blame me! But when you married me, I'd never had a bit in my mouth!

JOHN. Well, I guess I had a pretty hard hand. Do you remember the time
you threw both your slippers out of the window?

CYNTHIA. Yes, and do you remember the time you took my fan from me by

JOHN. After you slapped my face with it!

CYNTHIA. Oh, oh! I hardly touched your face! And do you remember the
day you held my wrists?

JOHN. You were going to bite me!

CYNTHIA. Jack! I never! I showed my teeth at you! And I _said_ I would
bite you!

JOHN. Cynthia, I never knew you to break your word! [_He laughs.
Casually._] And anyhow--they were awfully pretty teeth! [CYNTHIA,
_though bolt upright, has ceased to seem pained._] And I say--do you
remember, Cyn--

            [_He leans over her armchair to talk._

CYNTHIA. [_After a pause._] You oughtn't to call me "Cyn"--it's not
nice of you. It's sort of cruel. I'm not--Cyn to you now.

JOHN. Awfully sorry; didn't mean to be beastly, Cyn. [CYNTHIA _turns
quickly._ JOHN _stamps his foot._] Cynthia! Sorry. I'll make it a
commandment: thou shalt not Cyn!!

            [CYNTHIA _laughs and wipes her eyes._

CYNTHIA. How can you, Jack? How can you?

JOHN. Well, hang it, my dear child, I--I'm sorry, but you know I
always got foolish with you. Your laugh'd make a horse laugh. Why,
don't you remember that morning in the park before breakfast--when you
laughed so hard your horse ran away with you!

CYNTHIA. I do, I do! [_Both laugh. The door opens and_ NOGAM _comes
in, unnoticed by either._] But what was it started me laughing?
[_Laughing, she sits down and laughs again._] That morning. Wasn't it
somebody we met? [_Laughing afresh._] Wasn't it a man on a horse? [_As
her memory pieces the picture, she again goes off into laughter._

JOHN. [_Laughing too._] Of course! You didn't know him in those days!
But I did! And he looked a sight in the saddle!

    [NOGAM, _trying to catch their attention, moves toward the

CYNTHIA. Who was it?

JOHN. Phillimore!

CYNTHIA. He's no laughing matter now. [_Seeing_ NOGAM.] Jack, he's

JOHN. Eh? Oh, Nogam?

NOGAM. Mr. Phillimore, sir--

JOHN. In the house?

NOGAM. On the street in a hansom, sir--and he requests Mrs.

JOHN. That'll do, Nogam. [NOGAM _goes out and there is a pause._ JOHN,
_on his way to the window, looks at_ CYNTHIA, _who has slowly risen
and turned her back to him._] Well, Cynthia?

            [_He speaks almost gravely and with finality._]

CYNTHIA. [_Trembling._] Well?

JOHN. It's the hour of decision; are you going to marry him?
[_Pause._] Speak up!

CYNTHIA. Jack,--I--I--

JOHN. There he is--you can join him. [_He points to the street._

CYNTHIA. Join Phillimore--and go home--with him--to his house, and
Miss Heneage and--

JOHN. The door's open. [_He points to the door._

CYNTHIA. No, no! It's mean of you to suggest it!

JOHN. You won't marry--

CYNTHIA. Phillimore--no; never. [_Running to the window._] No; never,
never, Jack.

JOHN. [_Opening the window and calling out._] It's all right, Judge.
You needn't wait.

    _There is a pause._ JOHN _leaves the window and bursts into
    laughter. He moves toward the door and closes it._ CYNTHIA
    _looks dazed._

CYNTHIA. Jack! [JOHN _laughs._] Yes, but I'm here, Jack.

JOHN. Why not?

CYNTHIA. You'll have to take me round to the Holland House!

JOHN. Of course, I will! But, I say, Cynthia, there's no hurry.

CYNTHIA. Why, I--I--can't stay here.

JOHN. No, of course you can't stay here. But you can have a bite,
though. [CYNTHIA _shakes her head._ JOHN _places the small chair,
which was upset, next to the table, and the armchair close by._] Oh, I
insist. Just look at yourself--you're as pale as a sheet and--here,
here. Sit right down. I insist! By George, you must do it! [CYNTHIA
_moves to the chair drawn up to the table, and sits down._

CYNTHIA. [_Faintly._] I _am_ hungry.

JOHN. Just wait a moment.

            [JOHN _rushes out, leaving the door open._

CYNTHIA. I don't want more than a nibble! [_After a pause._] I am
sorry to give you so much trouble.

JOHN. No trouble at all. [_From the dining-room comes the cheerful
noise of glasses and silver._] A hansom, of course, to take you round
to your hotel? [_Speaking as he returns with a tray._

CYNTHIA. [_To herself._] I wonder how I ever dreamed I could marry
that man.

JOHN. [_Now by the table._] Can't imagine! There!

CYNTHIA. I am hungry. Don't forget the hansom.

    [_She eats; he waits on her, setting this and that before

JOHN. [_Goes to the door, opens it and calls._] Nogam, a hansom at

NOGAM. [_From without._] Yes, sir.

JOHN. [_Again at the table, shows, and from now on continues to show,
his true feelings for her._] How does it go?

CYNTHIA. [_Faintly._] It goes all right. Thanks!

            [_Hardly eating at all._

JOHN. You always used to like anchovy. [CYNTHIA _nods and eats._]
Claret? [CYNTHIA _shakes her head._] Oh, but you must!

CYNTHIA. [_Tremulously._] Ever so little. [_He fills her glass and
then his._] Thanks!

JOHN. Here's to old times! [_Raising his glass._

CYNTHIA. [_Very tremulous._] Please not!

JOHN. Well, here's to your next husband.

CYNTHIA. [_Very tenderly._] Don't!

JOHN. Oh, well, then, what shall the toast be?

CYNTHIA. I'll tell you-- [_After a pause._] you can drink to the
relation I am to you!

JOHN. [_Laughing._] Well--what relation are you?

CYNTHIA. I'm your first wife once removed!

JOHN. [_Laughing, drinks._] I say, you're feeling better.


JOHN. [_Reminiscent._] It's a good deal like those mornings after the
races--isn't it?

CYNTHIA. [_Nods._] Yes. [_Half-rising._] Is that the hansom?

JOHN. [_Going up to the window._] No.

CYNTHIA. [_Sitting down again._] What is that sound?

JOHN. Don't you remember?


JOHN. That's the rumbling of the early milk wagons.

CYNTHIA. Oh, Jack.

JOHN. Do you recognize it now?

CYNTHIA. Do I? We used to hear that--just at the hour, didn't we--when
we came back from awfully jolly late suppers and things!

JOHN. H'm!

CYNTHIA. It must be fearfully late. I must go.

    _She rises and moves to the chair where she has left her
    cloak. She sees that_ JOHN _will not help her and puts it on

JOHN. Oh, don't go--why go?

CYNTHIA. [_Embarrassed and agitated._] All good things come to an end,
you know.

JOHN. They don't need to.

CYNTHIA. Oh, you don't mean that! And, you know, Jack, if I were
caught--seen at this hour, leaving this house, you know--it's the most
scandalous thing any one ever did, my being here at all. Good-bye,
Jack! [_After a pause and almost in tears._] I'd like to say,
I--I--I--well, I sha'n't be bitter about you hereafter,
and-- [_Halting._] Thank you awfully, old man, for the fodder and all
that! [_She turns to go out._

JOHN. Mrs. Karslake--wait--

CYNTHIA. [_Stopping to hear._] Well?

JOHN. [_Serious._] I've rather an ugly bit of news for you.


JOHN. I don't believe you know that I have been testing the validity
of the decree of divorce which you procured.

CYNTHIA. Oh, have you?

JOHN. Yes; you know I felt pretty warmly about it.


JOHN. Well, I've been successful. [_After a pause._] The decree's been
declared invalid. Understand?

CYNTHIA. [_Looking at him for a moment; then speaking._]

JOHN. [_After a moment's silence._] I'm awfully sorry--I'm awfully
sorry, Cynthia, but, you're my wife still.

            [_There is a pause._

CYNTHIA. [_With rapture._] Honour bright?

            [_She sinks into the armchair._

JOHN. [_Nods. Half laughingly._] Crazy country, isn't it?

CYNTHIA. [_Nods. After an interval._] Well, Jack--what's to be done?

JOHN. [_Gently._] Whatever you say.

            [_He moves a few steps toward her._

NOGAM. [_Quietly coming in._] Hansom, sir.

            [_He goes out and_ CYNTHIA _rises._

JOHN. Why don't you finish your supper?

            [CYNTHIA _hesitates._

CYNTHIA. The--the--hansom--

JOHN. Why go to the Holland? After all--you know, Cyn, you're at home

CYNTHIA. No, Jack, I'm not--I'm not at home here--unless--unless--

JOHN. Out with it!

CYNTHIA. [_Bursting into tears._] Unless I--unless I'm at home in your
heart, Jack!

JOHN. What do you think?

CYNTHIA. I don't believe you want me to stay.

JOHN. Don't you?

CYNTHIA. No, no, you hate me still. You never can forgive me. I know
you can't. For I can never forgive myself. Never, Jack, never, never!

            [_She sobs and he takes her in his arms._

JOHN. [_Very tenderly._] Cyn! I love you! [_Strongly._] And you've got
to stay! And hereafter you can chuck chairs around till all's blue!
Not a word now.

    [_He draws her gently to a chair._

CYNTHIA. [_Wiping her tears._] Oh, Jack! Jack!

JOHN. I'm as hungry as a shark. We'll nibble together.

CYNTHIA. Well, all I can say is, I feel that of all the improprieties
I ever committed this--this--

JOHN. This takes the claret, eh? Oh, Lord, how happy I am!

CYNTHIA. Now don't say that! You'll make me cry more.

    _She wipes her eyes._ JOHN _takes out the wedding ring from
    his pocket; he lifts a wine-glass, drops the ring into it and
    offers her the glass._

JOHN. Cynthia!

CYNTHIA. [_Looking at it and wiping her eyes._] What is it?

JOHN. Benedictine!

CYNTHIA. Why, you know I never take it.

JOHN. Take this one for my sake.

CYNTHIA. That's not benedictine. [_With gentle curiosity._] What is

JOHN. [_Slides the ring out of the glass and puts his arm about_
CYNTHIA. _He slips the ring on to her finger and, as he kisses her
hand, says_:] Your wedding ring!


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

Page 614: Phillmore changed to Phillimore. (MISS HENEAGE. Thomas, Mr.
Phillmore's sherry?) (THOMAS _gives the list to_ MRS. PHILLMORE _and
moves away._)

Page 654: entremely changed to extremely. ([JOHN _looks entremely dark
and angry;_)

Page 679: nad changed to and. (WILFRID _nad_ CYNTHIA _are practically

Page 685: tradional changed to traditional. (in the tradional
bridegroom's rig.)

Page 691: couldn'. changed to couldn't (his lawyer couldn'. find him)

Page 691: importantt changed to important. (He said it was very

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Representative Plays by American Dramatists: 1856-1911: The New York Idea" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.