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Title: The 'Mind the Paint' Girl - A Comedy in Four Acts
Author: Pinero, Arthur Wing, Sir, 1855-1934
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 "The 'Mind the Paint' Girl - A Comedy in Four Acts" ***

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



  [Transcriber's Note:

  The HTML version of this e-text includes the third-act song
  ("If you would only, only love me") in three forms: raw lilypond
  (.ly extension, can be converted to other formats), .pdf (image),
  and MIDI file. Some sites will allow you to download these files
  individually; if so, look in the "files" directory associated with
  the HTML text.

  The published play did not include music for the title song ("Mind
  the Paint"), sung in Act I.

  Errors are listed at the end of the e-text.]



  THE
  "MIND THE PAINT"
  GIRL



_The Plays of Arthur W. Pinero_

  Paper cover, 1s 6d; cloth, 2s 6d each

    THE TIMES
    THE PROFLIGATE
    THE CABINET MINISTER
    THE HOBBY-HORSE
    LADY BOUNTIFUL
    THE MAGISTRATE
    DANDY DICK
    SWEET LAVENDER
    THE SCHOOLMISTRESS
    THE WEAKER SEX
    THE AMAZONS
  * THE SECOND MRS. TANQUERAY
    THE NOTORIOUS MRS. EBBSMITH
    THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT
    THE PRINCESS AND THE BUTTERFLY
    TRELAWNY OF THE "WELLS"
  + THE GAY LORD QUEX
    IRIS
    LETTY
    A WIFE WITHOUT A SMILE
    HIS HOUSE IN ORDER
    THE THUNDERBOLT
    MID-CHANNEL
    PRESERVING MR. PANMURE
    THE "MIND THE PAINT" GIRL

  * This Play can be had in library form, 4to, cloth,
    with a portrait, 5s.

  + A Limited Edition of this play on hand-made paper,
    with a new portrait, 10s net.


  THE PINERO BIRTHDAY BOOK
  Selected and Arranged by MYRA HAMILTON
  With a Portrait, cloth extra, price 2s 6d.


  _London: William Heinemann_



   THE

  "MIND THE PAINT"

             GIRL


  _A COMEDY_
    _In Four Acts_
      _By ARTHUR PINERO_


  London: William Heinemann
  MCMXIII



  _Copyright 1912_
  _by Arthur Pinero_



_This play was produced in London, at the Duke of York's Theatre, on
Saturday, February 17, 1912; in New York, at the New Lyceum Theatre,
on Monday, September 9, 1912; and in Germany, at the Stadttheater in
Mainz, on Monday, January 13, 1913_



_The Persons of the Play_

  VISCOUNT FARNCOMBE
  COLONEL THE HON. ARTHUR STIDULPH
  BARON VON RETTENMAYER
  CAPTAIN NICHOLAS JEYES
  LIONEL ROPER
  SAM DE CASTRO
  HERBERT FULKERSON
  STEWART HENEAGE
  GERALD GRIMWOOD
  CARLTON SMYTHE (_Manager of the Pandora Theatre_)
  DOUGLAS GLYNN, ALBERT PALK, }
    WILFRID TAVISH, and       } (_Actors at the Pandora_)
    SIGISMUND SHIRLEY         }
  VINCENT BLAND (_A Musical Composer, attached to the Pandora_)
  MORRIS COOLING (_Business Manager at the Pandora_)
  LUIGI (_Maître d'hôtel at Catani's Restaurant_)
  WAITERS

  THE HON. MRS. ARTHUR STIDULPH
    (_Formerly, as Dolly Ensor, of the Pandora Theatre_)
  LILY PARRADELL     }
  JIMMIE BIRCH       }
  GABRIELLE KATO     }
  ENID MONCRIEFF     }
  DAPHNE DURE        } (_Of the Pandora_)
  NITA TREVENNA      }
  FLO CONNIFY        }
  SYBIL DERMOTT      }
  OLGA COOK          }
  EVANGELINE VENTRIS }
  MRS. UPJOHN (LILY PARRADELL's _mother_)
  GLADYS (LILY's _parlourmaid_)
  MAUD (LILY's _maid_)

_The action of the piece takes place in London-- at LILY PARRADELL'S
house in Bloomsbury, in the foyer of the Pandora Theatre, and again at
LILY'S house._

_The curtain will be lowered for a few moments in the course of the
Second Act._



_The following advertisements are to appear conspicuously in the
programme._

MIND THE PAINT (the complete song), words by D'Arcy Wingate, music by
Vincent Bland, as originally sung by Miss LILY PARRADELL at the
Pandora Theatre in the Musical Play of "THE DUCHESS OF BRIXTON," may
be obtained from Messrs. Church and Co. (Ltd.), Music Publishers, 181
New Bond Street.

AFTER THE THEATRE. CATANI'S RESTAURANT, 459 Strand. Best _cuisine_ in
London. Milanese Band. Private Rooms. Urbano Catani, Sole Proprietor.
Tel.: 10,337 Gerrard.



  THE "MIND THE PAINT" GIRL



  THE FIRST ACT


_The scene is a drawing-room, prettily but somewhat showily decorated.
The walls are papered with a design representing large clusters of
white and purple lilac. The furniture is covered with a chintz of
similar pattern, and the curtains, carpet, and lamp-shades
correspond._

_In the wall facing the spectator are two windows, and midway between
the windows there is the entrance to a conservatory. The conservatory,
which is seen beyond, is of the kind that is built out over the
portico of a front-door, and is plentifully stocked with flowers and
hung with a velarium and green sun-blinds. In the right-hand wall
there is another window and, nearer the spectator, a console-table
supporting a high mirror; and in the wall on the left, opposite the
console-table, there is a double-door opening into the room, the
further half of which only is used._

_In the entrance to the conservatory, to the right, there is a low,
oblong tea-table at which are placed three small chairs; and near-by,
on the left, are a grand-piano and a music-stool. Against the piano
there is a settee, and on the extreme left, below the door, there is
an arm-chair with a little round table beside it. At the right-hand
window in the wall at the back is another settee, and facing this
window and settee there is a smaller arm-chair._

_Not far from the fire-place there is a writing-table with a
telephone-instrument upon it. A chair stands at the writing-table,
its back to the window in the wall on the right; and in front of the
table, opposing the settee by the piano, there is a third settee. On
the left of this settee, almost in the middle of the room, is an
arm-chair; and closer to the settee, on its right, are two more
arm-chairs. Other articles of furniture-- a cabinet, "occasional"
chairs, etc., etc.-- occupy spaces against the walls._

_On the piano, on the console-table and cabinet, on the settee at the
back, on the round table, and upon the floor, stand huge baskets of
flowers, and other handsome floral devices in various forms, with
cards attached to them; and lying higgledy-piggledy upon the
writing-table are a heap of small packages, several little cases
containing jewellery, and a litter of paper and string. The packages
and the cases of jewellery are also accompanied by cards or letters._

_A fierce sunlight streams down upon the velarium, and through the
green blinds, in the conservatory._

[_Note: Throughout, "right" and "left" are the spectators' right and
left, not the actor's._]


  [_LORD FARNCOMBE, his gloves in his hand, is seated in the arm-chair
  in the middle of the room. He is a simple-mannered, immaculately
  dressed young man in his early twenties, his bearing and appearance
  suggesting the soldier. He rises expectantly as GLADYS, a flashy
  parlourmaid in a uniform, shows in LIONEL ROPER, a middle-aged
  individual of the type of the second-class City man._

ROPER.

[_To FARNCOMBE._] Hul-lo! I'm in luck! Just the chap I'm hunting for.
[_Shaking hands with FARNCOMBE._] How d'ye do, Lord Farncombe?

FARNCOMBE.

How are you, Roper?

GLADYS.

[_To ROPER, languidly._] I'll tell Mrs. Upjohn you're here.

ROPER.

Ta. [_GLADYS withdraws._] Phew, it's hot!

FARNCOMBE.

Miss Parradell's out.

ROPER.

[_Taking off his gloves._] She won't be long, I dare say.

FARNCOMBE.

I've brought her a few flowers.

ROPER.

Have you? I've sent her a trifle of jewellery.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Glancing at the writing-table._] She seems to have received a lot of
jewellery.

ROPER.

[_Bustling across to the table._] By Jove, doesn't she! Ah, there's my
brooch!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Modestly._] I didn't consider I'd a right to offer her anything but
flowers, on so slight an acquaintance.

ROPER.

Exactly; but I'm an old friend, you know. [_Turning to FARNCOMBE._]
Perhaps, by her next birthday----

FARNCOMBE.

[_Smiling._] I hope so.

ROPER.

[_Approaching FARNCOMBE and taking him by the lapel of his coat._]
What I want to say to you is, doing anything to-night?

FARNCOMBE.

I-- I shall be at the theatre.

ROPER.

Oh, we shall all be at the theatre, to shout Many Happy Returns.
Later, I mean.

FARNCOMBE.

Nothing that I can't get out of.

ROPER.

Good. Look here. Smythe is giving her a bit of supper in the foyer
after the show, a dance on the stage to follow. About five-and-twenty
people. 'Ull you come?

FARNCOMBE.

If Mr. Smythe is kind enough to ask me----

ROPER.

He _does_ ask you, through me. He's left all the arrangements to me
and Morrie Cooling. Carlton never did anything in his life; _I_ egged
him on to this. I've been sweating at it since eleven o'clock this
morning. Haven't been near the City; not near it. Well?

FARNCOMBE.

[_His eyes glowing._] I shall be delighted.

ROPER.

Splendid. Been trying to get on to you all day. I've called twice at
your club and at St. James's Place.

FARNCOMBE.

Sorry you've had so much trouble.

ROPER.

[_Dropping on to the settee in front of the writing-table and wiping
his brow._] There'll be the Baron, Sam de Castro, Bertie Fulkerson,
Stew Heneage, Jerry Grimwood, Dwarf Kennedy, Colonel and Mrs.
Stidulph-- Dolly Ensor that was-- and ourselves, besides Cooling and
Vincent Bland and the pick o' the Company. Catani does the food and
drink. I don't believe I've forgotten a single thing. [_With a change
of tone, pointing to the arm-chair in the middle of the room._] Sit
down a minute. [_FARNCOMBE sits and ROPER edges nearer to him._] Are
you going to wait to see Lily this afternoon?

FARNCOMBE.

I-- I should like to.

ROPER.

Because if Jeyes should happen to drop in while you're here----

FARNCOMBE.

Captain Jeyes?

ROPER.

Nicko Jeyes-- or if you knock up against him to-night at the theatre--
mum about this.

FARNCOMBE.

About the supper?

ROPER.

[_Nodding._] Um. We don't want Nicko Jeyes; we simply don't want him.
And if he heard that you and some of the boys are coming, he might
wonder why _he_ isn't included.

FARNCOMBE.

He strikes me as being rather a surly, ill-conditioned person.

ROPER.

A regular loafer.

FARNCOMBE.

He appears to live at Catani's. I never go there without meeting him.

ROPER.

Exactly. Catani's and a top, back bedroom in Jermyn Street, and
hanging about the Pandora; that's Nicko Jeyes's life.

FARNCOMBE.

_He's_ an old friend of Mrs. Upjohn's and Miss Parradell's too, isn't
he?

ROPER.

[_Evasively._] Known 'em some time. That's _it_; Lily's so faithful to
her old friends.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Smiling._] _You_ oughtn't to complain of that.

ROPER.

Oh, but I'm a _real_ friend. I've always been a patron of the musical
drama-- it's my fad; and I've kept an eye on Lily from the moment she
sprang into prominence-- [_singing_] "Mind the paint! Mind the paint!"
--looked after her like a father. Uncle Lal she calls me.
[_Reassuringly._] I'm a married man, you know; [_FARNCOMBE nods_] but
the wife has plenty to occupy her with the kids and she leaves the
drama to me. She prefers Bexhill. [_Leaning forward and speaking with
great earnestness._] Farncombe, what a charming creature!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Innocently._] Mrs. Roper?

ROPER.

No, no, no; Lily. [_Hastily._] Oh, and so's my missus, for that
matter, when she chooses. But Lily Upjohn----!

FARNCOMBE.

[_In a low voice._] Beautiful; perfectly beautiful.

ROPER.

Yes, and as good as she's beautiful; you take it from me. [_With a
wave of the hand._] Well, if you see Jeyes, you won't----?

FARNCOMBE.

Not a word.

ROPER.

[_Rising and walking away to the left._] I've warned the others.
[_Returning to FARNCOMBE who has also risen._] By-the-bye, if Lily
should mention the supper in the course of conversation, remember,
_she's_ not in the conspiracy.

FARNCOMBE.

Conspiracy?

ROPER.

To shunt Nicko. We're letting her think there are to be no outsiders.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Becoming slightly puzzled by ROPER'S manner._] Why, would she very
much like Captain Jeyes to be asked?

ROPER.

[_Rather impatiently._] Haven't I told you, once you're a friend of
Lil's----! [_Looking towards the door._] Is this Ma? [_MRS. UPJOHN
enters._] Hul-lo, Ma!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_A podgy little, gaily dressed woman of five-and-fifty with a stupid,
good-humoured face._] 'Ullo, Uncle!

ROPER.

Lord Farncombe----

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Advancing and shaking hands with FARNCOMBE._] Glad to see you 'ere
again. You _'ave_ been before, 'aven't you?

FARNCOMBE.

Last week.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Of course; you came with Mr. Bertie Fulkerson. But somebody or other's
always poppin' in. [_Pleasantly._] Lil sees too many, _I_ say. It's
tirin' for 'er. Won't you set?

ROPER.

Lord Farncombe's brought Lily some flowers, Ma. [_To FARNCOMBE._]
Where are they?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Who, after waiting for MRS. UPJOHN to settle herself upon the settee
in front of the writing-table, sits in the chair at the end of the
settee-- pointing to a large basket of flowers._] On the piano.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Barely glancing at the flowers._] 'Ow kind of 'im! Sech a waste o'
money too! They do go off so quick.

ROPER.

[_Reading the cards attached to the various floral gifts._] Where _is_
Lil?

MRS. UPJOHN.

She's settin' to a risin' young artist in Fitzroy Street-- Claude
Morgan. She won't be 'ome till past five. So tirin' for 'er.

ROPER.

Never heard of Morgan.

MRS. UPJOHN.

No, nor anybody else. That's what I tell 'er. Why waste your time
givin' settin's to a risin' young artist when the big men 'ud go down
on their 'ands and knees to do you? But that's Lil all over. She's the
best-natured girl in the world, and so she gets imposed on all round.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Gallantly._] I prophesy that Mr. Morgan's picture of Miss Parradell
won't have dried before he's quite famous.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Turning a pair of dull eyes full upon him._] 'Ow do you mean?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Disconcerted._] Er-- I mean--

MRS. UPJOHN.

_Why_ won't it 'ave dried?

FARNCOMBE.

I mean he will have become celebrated _before_ it has dried.

MRS. UPJOHN.

'Is pictures never do dry, you mean?

ROPER.

No, no, Ma!

MRS. UPJOHN.

'Owever, it doesn't matter. 'E isn't even goin' to put 'er name to it.

ROPER.

Why not?

MRS. UPJOHN.

You may well ask. 'E's bent on callin' it "The 'Mind the Paint' Girl."

ROPER.

What's wrong with that? Everybody'll recognise who _that_ is.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Unconvinced._] 'Er name's printed on all 'er photos.

FARNCOMBE.

The first time I had the pleasure of seeing your daughter on the
stage, Mrs. Upjohn, a man next to me said, "Here comes the 'Mind the
Paint' girl."

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Cheering up._] Oh, well, p'r'aps young Morgan knows 'is own business
best. Let's 'ope so, at any rate.

ROPER.

[_By the tea-table, beckoning to FARNCOMBE._] Farncombe----

FARNCOMBE.

[_To ROPER._] Eh? [_To MRS. UPJOHN, rising._] Excuse me.

  [_FARNCOMBE joins ROPER, whereupon MRS. UPJOHN goes to the
  writing-table and, seating herself there, examines the jewellery
  delightedly._

ROPER.

[_To FARNCOMBE, in a whisper._] Do me a favour.

FARNCOMBE.

Certainly.

ROPER.

[_Looking at his watch._] It's only half-past four. Take a turn round
the Square. I've some business to talk over with the old lady.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Nodding to ROPER and then coming forward and addressing MRS.
UPJOHN._] I-- er-- I think I'll go for a little walk and come back
later on, if I may.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Contentedly._] Oh, jest as you like.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Moving towards the door._] In about a quarter-of-an-hour.

MRS. UPJOHN.

If we don't see you again, I'll tell Lil you've been 'ere.

FARNCOMBE.

[_At the door._] Oh, but you will; you _will_ see me again.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Well, please yourself and you please your dearest friend, as Lil's dad
used to say.

FARNCOMBE.

Thank you-- thank you very much.

      [_He disappears, closing the door after him._

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_To ROPER, looking up._] I b'lieve you gave that young man the 'int
to go, Uncle.

ROPER.

I did; told him I wanted to talk business with you.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Business? [_Resuming her inspection of the trinkets._] This is a
'andsome thing Mr. Grimwood's sent 'er.

ROPER.

[_His hands in his trouser-pockets, contemplating MRS. UPJOHN
desperately._] Upon my soul, Ma, you're a champion!

MRS. UPJOHN.

_Now_ wot 'ave I done!

ROPER.

Well, you might spread yourself a little over young Farncombe.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Spread myself! Why should I?

ROPER.

Lord Farncombe!

MRS. UPJOHN.

I treat 'em all alike; so does Lil. 'E's not the first title we've 'ad
'ere, not by a dozen.

ROPER.

No, but damn it all--! I beg your pardon----

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Beaming._] So you ought-- swearin' like a trooper.

ROPER.

_This_ chap's in love with her.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Oh, they're all in love with 'er; or _'ave_ been, one time or another.

ROPER.

Yes, but they're not all Farncombes and they're not all marrying men.
I'm prepared to bet my boots that if Lil and young Farncombe could be
thrown together----! [_Sitting on the settee in front of the
writing-table as MRS. UPJOHN rises and comes forward._] Here! Do talk
it over.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Placidly._] Where's the use o' talkin' it over? It's wastin' one's
breath. [_Moving to the settee by the piano._] My Lil doesn't want to
marry-- any'ow not yet awhile; she's 'appy and contented as she is.
[_Sitting and smoothing out her skirt._] When she does, I s'pose it'll
be the Captain.

ROPER.

[_Between his teeth._] The Captain! [_Quietly._] Ma, the day Lil
marries Nicko Jeyes, you and she'll see the last o' _me_.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Oh, don't say that, Uncle.

ROPER.

I do say it. The disappointment 'ud be more than I could stand.
Selfish, designing beggar!

MRS. UPJOHN.

Now, no low abuse.

ROPER.

A fellow who gets on the soft side of Lil before she's out of her
teens-- before she's made any position to speak of; and when she _has_
made a position, and _he's_ practically on his uppers, sticks to her
like a limpet!

MRS. UPJOHN.

She sticks to 'im, too. It meant a deal to Lil in 'er 'umble days,
reck'lect-- receivin' attentions from a gentleman in the army. She
doesn't forget that.

ROPER.

[_Jumping up and walking about._] It's cruel; that's what it is-- it's
cruel. Here's Gwennie Harker and Maidie Trevail both married to peers'
sons, and Eva Shafto to a baronet-- all of 'em Pandora girls; and
Lil-- _she's_ left high and dry, engaged to a nobody! It's cruel!

MRS. UPJOHN.

She's not ackshally engaged.

ROPER.

Ho, ho!

MRS. UPJOHN.

The ideer was, when 'e shirked goin' to India an' gave up soldierin',
so as to be near 'er, that 'e should get something to do in London;
_then_ they were to be engaged.

ROPER.

[_Sarcastically._] Oh, to be just, I admit he's in no hurry. He's been
a whole year looking for something to do in London-- looking for it at
Catani's and at the Pandora bars!

MRS. UPJOHN.

'E _'as_ to be on the spot at night, to bring Lil 'ome after 'er work.

ROPER.

Exactly! And when a decent, eligible young chap comes along, and means
business, he's choked off by finding Nicko Jeyes in possession.
[_Stopping before MRS. UPJOHN._] But, I say!

MRS. UPJOHN.

Wot?

ROPER.

_Farncombe_ hasn't tumbled to it yet.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Indifferently._] 'Asn't 'e?

ROPER.

Bertie Fulkerson's held his tongue about it; so have the other boys
who're friends of Farncombe's. _They_ see he's hard hit.
[_Enthusiastically._] Oh, they're good boys; they're good, loyal boys!
There's not one of them who wouldn't throw up his hat if Nicko got the
chuck. [_Suddenly._] Ma!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Startled._] Hey?

ROPER.

[_Dropping his voice._] This little spree to-night at the theatre--
Lil thinks it's to be merely among the members of the Company.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Ain't it?

ROPER.

[_Sitting beside her._] You keep quiet, now. No, it isn't.

MRS. UPJOHN.

'Oo----?

ROPER.

The boys-- and Farncombe.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Disturbed._] Gracious! There'll be an awful fuss with the Captain
to-morrer.

ROPER.

[_Snapping his fingers._] Pishhh!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Rising and walking away to the right._] 'E's so 'orribly jealous.
When Lil tells 'im 'oo was at the party, there'll be a frightful
kick-up!

ROPER.

[_Falling into despondency._] Oh, I dare say I'm a fool for my pains,
Ma. Nothing'll come of it. [_Rising and pacing the room again._]
Farncombe's as shy as a school-girl; he'd be on a desert island with a
pretty woman for a month without squeezing her hand.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_In an altered tone._] Uncle.

ROPER.

Hullo!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Thoughtfully._] _I_ shouldn't raise any objection, bear in mind, if
Lil could be weaned away from the Captain and took a fancy to young
Farncombe.

ROPER.

Objection!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Sitting on the settee in front of the writing-table._] All said an'
done, to be Lady F., with no need to work if you're not disposed to,
is better than bein' Mrs. Captain Jeyes an' 'avin' to linger on the
stage, p'r'aps, till you drop, to 'elp keep the pot a' boilin'.
[_Opening her eyes widely._] Lady F.!

ROPER.

[_Coming to her._] And Countess of Godalming when his father dies.

MRS. UPJOHN.

I s'pose there'd be any amount of unpleasantness with the fam'ly?

ROPER.

[_Disdainfully._] The family!

MRS. UPJOHN.

There's generally a rumpus in sech cases.

ROPER.

Why, Ma, these tiptop families ought to feel jolly grateful that we're
mixing the breed for them a bit. Look at the two lads who've married
Gwennie Harker and Maidie Trevail-- Kinterton and Glenroy; and
Fawcus-- Sir George Fawcus-- Eva Shafto's husband; they haven't a chin
or a forehead between 'em, and their chests are as narrow as a
ten-inch plank.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Quite true.

ROPER.

Farncombe himself, _he's_ inclined to be weedy. I maintain it's a
grand thing for our English nobs that their slips of sons have taken
to marrying young women of the stamp of Maidie Trevail and Gwennie
Harker-- or Lil; keen-witted young women full of the joy of life, with
strong frames, beautiful hair and fine eyes, and healthy pink gums and
big white teeth. Sneer at the Pandora girls! Great Scot, it's my
belief that the Pandora girls'll be the salvation of the aristocracy
in this country in the long run!

  [_CAPTAIN NICHOLAS JEYES lounges in. He is a man of about
  five-and-thirty, already slightly grey-haired, who has gone to seed.
  ROPER sits in the chair in the middle of the room rather guiltily and
  MRS. UPJOHN puts on a propitiatory grin._

JEYES.

[_Nodding to MRS. UPJOHN and ROPER as he closes the door._] Afternoon,
Mrs. Upjohn. How'r'you, Roper?

MRS. UPJOHN.

Ah, Captain!

ROPER.

Hullo, Nicko!

JEYES.

[_Advancing._] Lily not in?

MRS. UPJOHN.

No; she's in Fitzroy Street, settin' to Morgan.

JEYES.

[_Frowning._] Why didn't she ask me to go with her?

MRS. UPJOHN.

Dun'no, I'm sure. She's took Miss Birch.

JEYES.

[_With a grunt._] Oh? [_Looking round._] Flowers.

MRS. UPJOHN.

'Eaps of 'em, ain't there?

ROPER.

[_Jerking his head towards the writing-table._] Yes, and some nice
presents over here.

MRS. UPJOHN.

She's beat 'er record this year, Lil 'as, out an' out.

  [_JEYES goes to the writing-table and ROPER and MRS. UPJOHN rise and
  wander away, the former to the conservatory, the latter to the settee
  by the piano._

JEYES.

[_Scowling at the presents._] Very nice. [_Picking up a case of
jewellery._] Ve-ry nice. [_Throwing the case down angrily._] Confound
'em, what the devil do they take her for!

ROPER.

[_At the entrance to the conservatory._] I may remark that one of
those gifts is from _me_, Jeyes.

JEYES.

Oh, I'm not alluding to _you_.

ROPER.

[_Stiffly._] Much obliged.

JEYES.

[_Coming forward and addressing MRS. UPJOHN._] I've called in to ask
Lily whether she'll come out to supper with me to-night, to Catani's,
to celebrate her birthday. Luigi's decorating a table for me
specially. Mr. and Mrs. Linthorne'll come, and Jack Wethered. [_To
ROPER._] Are you free, Roper? [_MRS. UPJOHN sits uneasily on the
settee by the piano and ROPER finds some object to interest him near
the tea-table._] I suppose it's no good asking _you_, Mrs. Upjohn?

MRS. UPJOHN.

N-n-o, thank you, Captain, and I-- I'm afraid----

JEYES.

Afraid----?

MRS. UPJOHN.

I'm afraid Lil can't manage it either.

JEYES.

Why not?

MRS. UPJOHN.

I-- I'm surprised she didn't mention it to you 'erself when you
brought 'er 'ome last night.

JEYES.

Mention what?

MRS. UPJOHN.

They're givin' 'er a supper to-night at the theatre.

JEYES.

The theatre?

ROPER.

[_Advancing._] Yes, Carlton's standing a little spread in the foyer,
in honour of the occasion. [_Sitting at the tea-table._] Quite right
too; she's _his_ best asset, and chance it.

JEYES.

When was it fixed up?

ROPER.

Late last night.

JEYES.

The fact is, Lily and I had a slight tiff coming home last night.
[_Sitting on the settee in front of the writing-table._] Ha! I suppose
she kept it from me to pay me out. [_Sharply._] Who's invited?

ROPER.

Er-- only the principal members of the Company, I understand.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Moistening her lips with her tongue._] Yes, only the members of the
Company, Lil says.

ROPER.

With Morrie Cooling and Vincent Bland thrown in.

JEYES.

[_Looking at ROPER._] _You_ seem to know a lot about it, Roper.

ROPER.

I was behind when Morrie was going round to the dressing-rooms.

JEYES.

[_To ROPER, suspiciously._] Are _you_ asked?

ROPER.

[_Taken aback._] E--eh?

JEYES.

Are _you_ asked?

ROPER.

[_With an attempt at airiness._] Oh, yes, they've dragged me into it.

JEYES.

Since when have _you_ been a member of the Company?

ROPER.

No, but-- dash it, I've done business for Carlton in the City for
twenty years or more----!

JEYES.

That doesn't make you one.

ROPER.

And I'm an old friend of Lil's.

JEYES.

Not older than I. [_Violently._] Why the blazes doesn't Smythe invite
_me_?

ROPER.

[_Extending his arms._] My dear Nicko, _I'm_ not giving the party.
Really, you do jump down a man's throat----!

JEYES.

Sorry, sorry, sorry. [_Leaning back and thrusting his hands into his
pocket._] Well, I'll put Jack and the Linthornes off. They don't want
to sup with _me_; I shouldn't amuse 'em. [_Gazing at the carpet._] Her
birthday, though! It'll be the first time I shall have been out of
_that_ for-- how many years?-- six years. I---- [_Raising his head, he
detects MRS. UPJOHN and ROPER eyeing each other uncomfortably._]
Anything the matter?

ROPER.

T-t-the matter?

JEYES.

[_Taking his hands from his pockets and sitting upright._] Any game
on?

MRS. UPJOHN.

Game?

JEYES.

At my expense?

MRS. UPJOHN.

I dun'no wot you're drivin' at, Captain.

JEYES.

[_Harshly._] How long's Lily sitting this afternoon?

MRS. UPJOHN.

Till five.

JEYES.

[_Looking at his watch._] What's Morgan's number in Fitzroy Street?

MRS. UPJOHN.

Sixty.

JEYES.

[_Rising._] I'll fetch her.

  [_As he makes a movement towards the door, it is thrown open and LILY
  PARRADELL enters with a rush-- an entrancing vision of youth, grace,
  and beauty. She is followed by JIMMIE BIRCH, a _petite_, bright-eyed
  girl in an extremely _chic_ costume._

LILY.

[_Tearing off her gloves as she enters._] Wh-e-e-w! I'm dead! [_Giving
her hand to JEYES carelessly._] Ah, Nicko! [_To MRS. UPJOHN._]
I couldn't stand the heat in the studio any longer, mother. [_Finding
ROPER beside her, she offers her cheek to him and he kisses it._] _Mon
Oncle!_

JIMMIE.

[_Closing the door._] That young man Morgan ought to paint the
infernal regions.

LILY.

[_Taking her scarf from her shoulder._] He might finish with the
angels first, though. [_To JEYES, softly, as ROPER turns to shake
hands with JIMMIE._] You in a better temper to-day?

JEYES.

[_In her ear._] You drove me wild last night.

LILY.

[_Making a face at him._] Served you right. [_Passing him._] For God's
sake, let me lie down. [_She throws herself upon the settee in front
of the writing-table, and JEYES moves away as MRS. UPJOHN and ROPER go
to her._] Don't come near me. Give me my fan. Jimmie, where's my fan?

JIMMIE.

Oh, I've left it in Fitzroy Street!

LILY.

Beast!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Hurrying to the writing-table._] There's one 'ere, among your
presents.

LILY.

[_Unpinning her hat._] Uncle Lal, what an adorable ring that is you've
sent me!

ROPER.

[_Taking the fan from MRS. UPJOHN._] Ring! A brooch!

LILY.

_Somebody's_ sent me a ring.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Sitting in the chair at the end of the settee by the writing-table._]
There's three rings.

LILY.

Of course! One of them's from Nicko! [_To JEYES._] Did you get my
sweet telegram, Nicko?

JEYES.

[_Who has greeted JIMMIE and is now seated in the chair on the extreme
left-- sulkily._] I had your telegram, but it's a _pendant_ I sent
you.

JIMMIE.

[_Sitting upon the settee by the piano and pulling off her gloves._]
Ha, ha, ha!

LILY.

You shut up, Jimmie. [_Snatching the fan from ROPER._] How on earth am
I to remember! [_Fanning herself._] Who's given me _this_ pretty
thing?

MRS. UPJOHN.

Mr. Monty Levine.

LILY.

Bless him! He's a dear little man, though he does bite his nails.
[_GLADYS appears with VINCENT BLAND, who saunters in after her. Seeing
LILY, GLADYS advances to her._] Hallo, Vincent!

BLAND.

[_A thin, delicate looking man of eight-and-thirty, not over smartly
dressed, wearing an eye-glass-- nodding to LILY casually._] You
needn't have cut me, almost on your door-step. [_To JIMMIE and
JEYES._] H'lo, Jimmie! H'lo, Nicko!

GLADYS.

[_Viewing LILY with an elevation of the brows._] Oh, are you home?

LILY.

[_Returning GLADYS'S stare._] Apparently.

GLADYS.

I'll whistle up to Maud.

LILY.

Don't, if it's too severe a strain on you.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_To GLADYS, as the girl moves to the door._] Gladys, we'll 'ave tea.

GLADYS.

[_At the door._] You can't till it's ready.

LILY.

[_Calmly._] Cheek!

  [_GLADYS retires._

BLAND.

[_Who has strolled across to LILY, indolently._] Why do you retain the
services of that tousled-headed hussy?

LILY.

[_With conviction._] Oh, she's a little under the weather, but she's a
perfect servant.

BLAND.

[_To MRS. UPJOHN._] Ma, you look blooming.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Wish I could return the compliment, Mr. Bland.

BLAND.

[_To ROPER, who is wearing a waistcoat of rather a pronounced
pattern._] Congratulations on your waistcoat, Lal.

ROPER.

[_Joining JIMMIE, annoyed._] Now, no personalities.

LILY.

[_Giving BLAND her hand._] Vincent, yours is one of the loveliest
presents I've had to-day. _Remerciement!_ How's that for a French
accent?

BLAND.

[_Dropping his eyeglass._] You cat!

LILY.

Why----?

BLAND.

You know I've given you nothing, not even a penny nosegay.

JIMMIE.

Ha, ha, ha!

LILY.

[_Raising herself on her elbow._] On my honour--! Vincent dear,
I swear I thought----!

BLAND.

The funds are too low. [_Replacing his eyeglass._] I did go so far as
to price a bangle at Sellby's, but that was before a certain event
yesterday.

JIMMIE.

What horses did you back, Vincent? I won a fiver, through Jerry
Grimwood.

ROPER.

[_To BLAND._] You _are_ a patent ass. Why don't you leave betting
alone?

BLAND.

[_To ROPER, flaring up._] Why don't you leave your City muck alone?

LILY.

[_Putting her feet to the floor, imperiously._] That'll do. Be quiet,
you two! I won't have any wrangling in my house. Run away and play,
all of you. I want to speak to Vincent for a minute privately. [_With
a gesture._] Uncle Lal-- Jimmie-- Nicko-- [_To MRS. UPJOHN._] Scoot,
mother!

MRS. UPJOHN.

Oh, dear, wot a child!

  [_ROPER, JIMMIE, JEYES, and MRS. UPJOHN move away and LILY beckons to
  BLAND._

LILY.

Vin.

BLAND.

[_Close to her, with a wry face._] Mercy!

LILY.

[_In a low voice._] You've broken your word to me, then? [_Through her
teeth._] Those damned horses!

BLAND.

Cooling had a tip from the stable----

LILY.

Cooling! Morrie Cooling has no children; only a fat wife. You've a
darling little wife and three kiddies. How much did you drop
yesterday?

BLAND.

Shan't say.

LILY.

[_Rising and touching his arm._] Oh, Vincent!

  [_She looks round, to assure herself that she is unobserved. MRS.
  UPJOHN and ROPER are seated at the tea-table with their heads
  together, talking; JIMMIE is at the piano, fingering out a piece of
  music; JEYES is half hidden in the arm-chair facing the settee at the
  back. LILY tiptoes to the writing-table and seats herself there as
  GLADYS reappears showing in the BARON VON RETTENMAYER._

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_A tall, fair young man of three-and-thirty, speaking in thick,
guttural tones-- advancing to LILY._] Aha, goddess! [_Gladys
withdraws._] Many habby returns of the day!

LILY.

H'sh! I'm busy for a moment, Baron.

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_To LILY-- shaking hands with BLAND._] A thousand bardons.

LILY.

Talk to mother and Jimmie.

VON RETTENMAYER.

With bleasure. [_Going to MRS. UPJOHN and ROPER and shaking hands with
them._] How are you, my dear Ma? How are you, Jimmie? [_Waving a hand
to ROPER and JEYES._] My dear Rober! My dear Neegolas!

JIMMIE.

[_To VON RETTENMAYER, mimicking him._] Rober! Neegolas! Why don't they
provide you with throat lozenges at the Embassy, Baron?

  [_VON RETTENMAYER laughs. LILY has quickly opened a drawer in the
  writing-table and produced a cheque-book. After another glance over
  her shoulder, she sweeps the presents aside and writes. Then she
  replaces the cheque-book, rises, and returns to BLAND. Again there is
  a loud guffaw from VON RETTENMAYER in response to some sally of
  JIMMIE'S._

LILY.

[_To BLAND, folding a cheque and slipping it into his hand._]
Promise-- promise you won't make another bet.

BLAND.

[_Unfolding the cheque._] Your cheque?

LILY.

[_Hastily._] Put it in your pocket.

BLAND.

A blank one.

LILY.

[_In a whisper._] Don't fill it in for more than you can help. _I'm_
not over flush.

  [_He deliberately tears the cheque into four pieces and, looking at
  her steadily, puts them into his waistcoat-pocket._

BLAND.

[_As he does so._] I'll keep those, Lil, for as long as I keep
anything.

LILY.

[_Hotly._] You fool, Vincent!

BLAND.

My dear, as if----!

LILY.

Such ridiculous pride! [_Stamping her foot._] Lord, what I owe to you!

  [_GLADYS enters with SAM DE CASTRO. GLADYS is carrying a lace-edged
  table-cloth which, assisted by MRS. UPJOHN, she proceeds to lay upon
  the tea-table._

BLAND.

[_Moving away to join the others-- to DE CASTRO._] Ha, Sam!

DE CASTRO.

[_A stout, coarse, but genial-looking gentleman of forty, of marked
Jewish appearance, speaking with a lisp-- shaking hands with LILY._]
How are you to-day, Lil? Many happy returnth, wunth more.

LILY.

Thanks, dear old boy. [_Sitting on the settee in front of the
writing-table._] Did I send you a wire this morning?

DE CASTRO.

Not you; not a thix-pen'north.

LILY.

I ought to have done so, to acknowledge your-- what was it?

DE CASTRO.

A ring-- diamondth and thapphires.

LILY.

Ah, yes; beautiful.

DE CASTRO.

It _ith_ rather a nithe ring. [_Lowering his voice._] But I thay.

LILY.

What?

DE CASTRO.

Mind you don't go and tell Gabth, on any account.

LILY.

[_With a great assumption of ignorance, raising her eyebrows._] Gabs?

DE CASTRO.

Gabrielle-- Mith Kato.

LILY.

Why shouldn't I?

DE CASTRO.

Nonsenth; _you_ know very well. [_Urgently._] You won't, will you?

LILY.

[_Shrugging her shoulders._] I won't if I remember not to.

DE CASTRO.

[_Alarmed._] Ah, now, don't be thtupid! Whath the good o' making
mithchief! [_LILY shows him the tip of her tongue._] Oh, Lil! [_GLADYS
goes out._] Lil----!

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Leaving the group at the back and putting an arm round DE CASTRO'S
shoulder._] My dear friend Zam!

DE CASTRO.

How are you, Baron? [_Going to MRS. UPJOHN._] Afthernoon, Ma!
[_Nodding to JIMMIE and ROPER._] Afthernoon, everybody! [_Shaking
hands with JEYES, who has risen and now joins the group._] How are
you, Nicko?

LILY.

[_Giving her hand to VON RETTENMAYER._] Excuse me for cutting you
short when you came in. Thanks for your splendid present. I did send
you a wire, didn't I?

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Kissing her hand and bowing over it._] I shall breserve it, with a
few oder souvenirs, till the end of my life.

LILY.

[_Withdrawing her hand and blowing the compliment away._] Phew! Lal,
lal, lal, la!

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_In an altered tone, after a cautious look round._] Goddess.

LILY.

Eh?

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Anxiously._] My drifling liddle offering-- I endreat you not to
mention it to Enid.

LILY.

[_Laughing heartily._] Ha, ha, ha, ha! Another of you!

VON RETTENMAYER.

The gharming Miss Mongreiff.

LILY.

[_Seriously._] Baron, I wish you boys wouldn't make me presents and
then ask me to keep them a secret from the other girls.

VON RETTENMAYER.

And I-- I wish it were not nezezzary. But, goddess, you are alzo a
young lady of the world-- you know what women are.

LILY.

H'm! I know what you men are.

  [_MAUD, a buxom young woman with a good-tempered face, dressed as a
  lady's-maid, enters quickly, tying her apron, and runs to LILY. JEYES
  comes to the further side of the writing-table and VON RETTENMAYER now
  joins him there. JIMMIE BIRCH also comes forward, accompanied by DE
  CASTRO._

MAUD.

[_To LILY._] Here, give me your things. [_LILY tosses her hat, scarf,
and gloves to MAUD._] I was in my room, having a lie down. Is my hair
untidy?

LILY.

I've never seen it anything else.

MAUD.

[_Merrily._] Ha, ha, ha! [_To JIMMIE and DE CASTRO._] Afternoon, Miss
Jimmie. Afternoon, Mr. de Castro. [_To LILY._] Now, don't let them all
tire you to death, there's a pet.

LILY.

Oh, clear out. [_As MAUD is departing._] Hi! [_Rising and kicking off
her shoes and sending them in MAUD'S direction._] Fetch me a pair of
slippers.

MAUD.

[_Picking up the shoes and chuckling._] He, he, he!

  [_When MAUD reaches the door, which she has left open, GLADYS appears
  with the tea-tray and with FARNCOMBE at her heels._

GLADYS.

[_To MAUD, in a low voice, witheringly._] Oh, you're doing something,
are you?

MAUD.

[_In the same tone, passing GLADYS._] Yes, setting you an example, my
girl. [_Encountering FARNCOMBE._] Beg pardon.

  [_MAUD withdraws, closing the door, and FARNCOMBE stands looking at
  LILY, who is talking to JIMMIE. GLADYS carries the tray to the
  tea-table._

LILY.

[_Become aware of FARNCOMBE'S presence and nodding to him._] How d'ye
do?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Moving a step or two towards her._] I-- I've been here before this
afternoon. I ventured to bring you some flowers.

LILY.

[_Going to him and shaking hands with him formally._] Nobody told me.
Awfully kind of you. Where have they put them?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Lifting his basket of flowers from off the piano and showing it to
her._] Here.

LILY.

Pretty. [_Pulling out a carnation._] Stick it up there again. [_He
replaces the basket._] You're Lord Farncombe, aren't you?

FARNCOMBE.

Yes.

LILY.

[_With a glance at the others._] Know anybody here?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Looking round the room._] Nearly everybody, I fancy. [_He advances
to VON RETTENMAYER, who comes to meet him. LILY sits upon the settee
by the piano and fastens the carnation in her dress. GLADYS goes
out._] Karl----!

VON RETTENMAYER.

My dear Eddie!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Bowing to DE CASTRO, who is now seated beside JIMMIE on the settee
in front of the writing-table._] How are you, Mr. de Castro? [_To
JEYES, who is standing by the chair at the writing-table gnawing his
moustache and watching LILY and FARNCOMBE sourly._] How are you,
Captain Jeyes? [_Turning to BLAND._] How are you, Mr. Bland? [_To
LILY._] I've been talking to Mrs. Upjohn and Mr. Roper already.

LILY.

[_Looking across to JIMMIE._] Miss Birch-- Lord Farncombe.

JIMMIE.

[_Nodding to FARNCOMBE._] How d'ye do?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Going to JIMMIE and shaking hands with her._] I-- I needn't say that
I am one of Miss Birch's warmest-- most profound----

JIMMIE.

[_Smiling at him._] That's all right; don't you bother about that.

  [_MAUD returns, carrying a pair of silken slippers. VON RETTENMAYER,
  who has come to LILY, makes a dart at the slippers and takes them from
  MAUD._

VON RETTENMAYER.

Aha! Permid me.

MAUD.

Now, Baron----! [_Slapping his arm._] Ha, ha, ha----!

  [_He pushes MAUD out of the room, she resisting laughingly, and closes
  the door._

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Holding the slippers aloft._] Gendlemen! Homage to Beaudy! Vollow
me! Zam! Vinzent! Rober! Neego! Eddie! [_The men put themselves behind
him, in single file, in the order in which he calls them, with the
exception of JEYES, who deliberately sits at the writing-table, and
FARNCOMBE, who is embarrassed. JIMMIE claps her hands and MRS. UPJOHN,
who is pouring out tea, laughs herself into a fit of coughing._] Ta,
ta, ra, ra, ta, ta! Boum, boum!

LILY.

Baron, you great baby!

VON RETTENMAYER.

Quig! Marge!

ROPER.

[_Calling to FARNCOMBE._] Come along, Farncombe!

JIMMIE.

[_Giving FARNCOMBE a shove._] Go on!

  [_FARNCOMBE takes his place behind ROPER and, headed by VON
  RETTENMAYER, the men march round the room._

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Waving the slippers in the air and singing._]

  Weib, was ist in aller Welt
  Dir an Schönheit gleichgestellt!
  Reizumflossen, wunderhold,
  Perl' der Schöpfung, Herzensgold!
  Tag's Gedanken, Traum der Nacht,
  Schweben um Dich, Süsse, sacht.

  [_VON RETTENMAYER halts before LILY and kneels to her. She extends her
  left foot and he kisses her instep and puts her foot into her slipper.
  She rewards him by lightly boxing his ears. He makes way for DE
  CASTRO, handing him the other slipper, and DE CASTRO performs the same
  ceremony with LILY'S right foot. She upsets DE CASTRO'S balance by a
  little kick._

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Seating himself beside JIMMIE, singing._]

  Venus, seinen Nacken beut
  Dir Den Sklave, dienstbereit!

  [_DE CASTRO gathers himself up and sits in the chair at the end of the
  settee in front of the, writing-table. BLAND and ROPER, having knelt
  and kissed LILY'S foot, also sit, the former in the chair in the
  middle of the room, the latter in the chair on the extreme left.
  Finally, FARNCOMBE finds himself before LILY. He looks at her
  hesitatingly and she returns his look with awakened interest and
  withdraws her foot._

LILY.

[_Shaking her head._] No, no; don't _you_ be silly, like the others.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Loudly._] Tea!

  [_BLAND, VON RETTENMAYER and DE CASTRO jump up and go to the tea-table
  where FARNCOMBE joins them. GLADYS enters, carrying a stand on which
  are a plate of bread-and-butter, a dish of cake, etc. ROPER takes the
  stand from her and the girl retires. FARNCOMBE brings LILY a cup of
  tea. DE CASTRO and BLAND follow him, the one with a milk-jug, the
  other with a sugar-basin. VON RETTENMAYER carries a cup of tea to
  JIMMIE, and then DE CASTRO and BLAND, having waited upon LILY, go to
  JIMMIE with the milk and sugar. ROPER hands the bread-and-butter and
  cake to LILY, then to JIMMIE, and in the end ROPER, BLAND, DE CASTRO
  and VON RETTENMAYER assemble at the tea-table and receive their cups
  of tea from MRS. UPJOHN._

ROPER.

[_Relieving GLADYS of the stand._] Give it to me. I want a little
exercise.

LILY.

[_Taking her cup of tea from FARNCOMBE._] Thanks.

DE CASTRO.

[_Helping LILY to milk._] Milk-ho!

BLAND.

Sugar?

LILY.

Br-r-r-rh! I'm putting on weight as it is.

ROPER.

[_Offering the bread-and-butter, etc.-- facetiously._] Ices, sweets
_or_ chocolates, full piano-score!

LILY.

Nothing to eat, Uncle; I dine at six.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Calling to JEYES from the tea-table._] Captain, ain't you goin' to
'ave any tea?

JEYES.

[_Moodily examining the presents on the writing-table._] No, thank
you, Mrs. Upjohn.

BLAND.

[_To JIMMIE, after she has been helped to milk._] Sugar?

JIMMIE.

Two lumps.

ROPER.

[_Pushing BLAND and DE CASTRO aside, imitating a female voice._] Ices,
sweets _or_ chocolates, full piano-score!

JIMMIE.

[_Cutting a slice of cake._] Lal, the world 'ud be a much happier
place to live in if Lloyd George taxed your jokes.

VON RETTENMAYER, BLAND, and DE CASTRO. [_Returning to the tea-table._]
Ha, ha, ha, ha!

LILY.

[_To FARNCOMBE, who remains standing near her._] Seen our show at the
Pandora?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Gazing at her._] Twenty-three times.

LILY.

Not really?

FARNCOMBE.

This week and last, every night.

LILY.

[_Running her eye over him._] You in the Guards, by any chance?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Nodding._] Yes.

LILY.

[_Smiling._] Ah, you'll never do a braver deed than seeing our show
twenty-three times.

JIMMIE.

[_As ROPER leaves her to go to the table, her mouth full of cake._]
Boys! [_Choking._] Heugh, heugh, heugh! Wait a minute; I've swallowed
some of the Baron's German. [_Gulping._] B-oys, seriously-- no rot--
[_raising her tea-cup_] jolly good health to Lily! [_There is a cry of
approbation from BLAND, VON RETTENMAYER, DE CASTRO and ROPER.
FARNCOMBE fetches himself a cup of tea from the tea-table._] She's a
white woman, Lily is-- the staunchest, truest pal, where she takes a
liking----

BLAND, VON RETTENMAYER, DE CASTRO, AND ROPER.

Hear, hear!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Pressing forward through the men and going to LILY._] And the best
daughter breathing. [_Embracing LILY and then turning to the others._]
D'ye notice the new dress I'm wearin' this afternoon?

LILY.

Don't, mother; don't.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Fifteen guineas it's cost her. [_Sitting in the chair on the extreme
left, proudly._] Madame Godolphin made it, and a 'at to go with it
_ong sweet_.

LILY.

[_To MRS. UPJOHN._] Hu-s-s-sh!

JIMMIE.

Well---- [_sipping her tea as if drinking a toast_] in a cup of tea!

BLAND, DE CASTRO, AND ROPER.

[_Sipping their tea._] In a cup o' tea!

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Drinking._] In a gob o' dea!

JIMMIE.

[_To VON RETTENMAYER, mockingly._] Gob o' dea!

LILY.

[_Waving her hand._] Thank you, Jimmie. Thank you, dear boys, from the
bottom of my heart.

JIMMIE.

[_To the men._] By Jove, she saved _me_ once from going home to a
cheap lodging and taking a dose of rat-killer!

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Behind ROPER and DE CASTRO, peeping over their shoulders._] A pidy--
a gread pidy.

JIMMIE.

[_To VON RETTENMAYER._] I'll attend to you presently, Baron.

LILY.

[_To JIMMIE._] I remember. A wretched little shrimp you looked that
day.

JIMMIE.

[_To everybody._] It was my first morning at the Pandora. They'd had
me up from Harrogate in a hurry, to take Gwennie Harker's place. I'd
been playing her part in the Number Two Co. in the country; and she'd
left 'em in a hole, to get married to a stupid lord---- [_To
FARNCOMBE, finding him standing near her._] Sorry. I was to have only
one rehearsal; [_clenching her fist_] and, oh, didn't they treat me
abominably! Miss Ensor was late and we were all hanging about on the
stage, waiting for her. I've never felt so cold in my life, or so
lonely. Not a word of welcome, not a nod, from a single soul; simply a
blank stare occasionally from a haughty beauty with a curled lip! And
at last, when I was on the point of howling, I became conscious that
somebody was watching me-- a tall, pretty thing in a lavender
frock----

DE CASTRO.

[_Sitting in the chair in the middle of the room._] Lil.

JIMMIE.

I caught her eye, and she came straight over to me and sat down beside
me. "Shaky?" she said. "A corpse," I said. And she quietly laid hold
of my hand and held it till Dolly Ensor condescended to stroll in. And
when I got up I asked her who she was, and she told me. "Oh, my God,"
I said, "I'll never forget your kindness! Why, of course, you're the
'Mind the Paint' girl----!"

ROPER, DE CASTRO, AND VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Singing._] "Mind the paint! Mind the paint! Tra, lal, la, lal, la,
lal, la, lal, la, lal, tra, la, la, la----!"

  [_BLAND seats himself at the piano and thumps out the air of the
  refrain of "Mind the Paint." The three men, mouthing the time
  silently, wave their arms, and LILY'S head and body move from side to
  side._

BLAND.

[_With a groan._] Ugh! Is there anything more ancient than a
four-year-old comic song? [_Playing a few bars of the melody of the
song._] Shade of Nineveh and all the buried cities!

ROPER, VON RETTENMAYER, AND DE CASTRO.

[_To LILY, coaxingly._] Lily! Goddess! Lil!

LILY.

[_Shaking her head._] Oh, boys, it's gone. [_Pressing temples._]
I couldn't----

  [_BLAND plays the introductory symphony and then pauses. Then she
  sings, he accompanying her. In a moment or two, the song comes back to
  her readily and she gives it with great witchery and allurement. JEYES
  starts up and goes to the window in the wall on the right and looks
  out._

LILY.

[_Singing._]

  I've a very charming dwelling,
  (You know where without the telling)
  Decorated in a style that's rather quaint!
                            Smart and quaint!
  When you pay my house a visit,
  You may scrutinise or quiz it,
  But you mustn't touch the paint!
                            Brand-new paint!
  Mind the paint! Mind the paint!
  (No matter whether Maple's bills are settled or they ain't!)
  Once you smear it or you scratch it,
  It's impossible to match it;
  So take care, please, of the paint-- of the paint!

  [_Rising and coming to the middle of the room, LILY repeats the
  refrain, dancing to it gracefully. JIMMIE also rises and she, ROPER,
  VON RETTENMAYER, and DE CASTRO join in the chorus and the dance, the
  three men very extravagantly. FARNCOMBE looks on, enraptured, while
  MRS. UPJOHN beats time with her hands._

LILY.

[_Singing._]

  I'm possessed of all the graces,
  Oh, a perfect dr-r-r-ream my face is!
  (It may owe to Art a trifle or it mayn't
                            H'm, it mayn't!)
  And I'll cry out for assistance.
  Should you fail to keep your distance,
  Goodness gracious, mind the paint!
                            Mind the paint!
  Mind the paint! Mind the paint!
  A girl is not a sinner just because she's not a saint!
  But my heart shall hold you dearer--
  You may come a little nearer--
  If you'll _only_ mind the paint-- mind the paint!

  [_The refrain is repeated as before, MRS. UPJOHN rising and taking a
  share in it. Then LILY drops on to the settee before the
  writing-table, laughing and holding up her hands in protest._

LILY.

No more, boys! [_ROPER, VON RETTENMAYER, and DE CASTRO gather round
her, applauding her and urging her to continue._] No, no; no more!
I've had such a stiff day----

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_With sudden energy, to everybody._] Out you go, all of you; out you
go!

JIMMIE.

[_To the men._] Come on; let's mizzle. [_Shaking hands with
FARNCOMBE._] Cruel of us to tire her so.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Tapping VON RETTENMAYER on the shoulder._] Now, then, Baron!

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Shaking hands with LILY._] I'm goming.

JIMMIE.

[_Taking VON RETTENMAYER to the door._] Well, _gome_!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Pulling ROPER away from LILY._] Now, Uncle!

ROPER.

[_Adjusting his coat._] Mind the paint, Ma.

JIMMIE.

[_Calling out._] Good-bye, Lil!

LILY.

[_As she shakes hands with DE CASTRO, calling to JIMMIE._] Good-bye!

  [_JIMMIE and VON RETTENMAYER disappear._

MRS. UPJOHN.

Now, Mr. de Castro! [_Moving with ROPER towards the door._] 'Owever
d'ye think she's goin' to get through her work to-night!

DE CASTRO.

[_Pausing to comb his moustache._] Quite right, Ma---- [_thoughtlessly_]
and a thupper and a danthe afterwardth.

ROPER.

[_Turning upon him quickly._] Sssh! [_In a low voice._] Dam fool!

DE CASTRO.

[_Clapping his hand to his mouth._] Oh----!

  [_They glance at JEYES who, hearing de Castro's remark, has left the
  window and come forward a step or two._

ROPER.

[_Uneasily._] Er-- good-bye, Nicko.

DE CASTRO.

[_To JEYES, in the same way._] G-good-bye.

JEYES.

[_To both, dryly._] Good-bye.

BLAND.

[_Talking to LILY, neither of them having heard de Castro's slip._]
That jingle-- an echo of old times, eh?

LILY.

[_Looking up at him._] Yes, but not better times than these times,
Vin?

BLAND.

[_Sadly, holding her hand._] Ah, Lil, there are so many tunes in life
left for _you_, my dear!

ROPER.

[_At the door, with MRS. UPJOHN and DE CASTRO-- to BLAND._] Come along,
Vincent.

  [_BLAND joins the group at the door as FARNCOMBE approaches LILY._

FARNCOMBE.

[_Shaking hands with her._] Thank you. [_With fervour._] Glorious!

LILY.

[_Reproachfully._] For shame!

FARNCOMBE.

I mean it.

LILY.

T'sh! [_Lightly._] See you again some day, perhaps?

FARNCOMBE.

Ah, yes--

ROPER.

[_Calling to FARNCOMBE._] Coming our way, Farncombe?

  [_ROPER, BLAND, and DE CASTRO depart. FARNCOMBE bows to LILY and makes
  for the door._

FARNCOMBE.

[_To JEYES._] Good-bye, Captain Jeyes.

JEYES.

[_Who has wandered to the entrance to the conservatory, where he is
now standing with his back to the room-- half turning._] Good-bye.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Shaking hands with MRS. UPJOHN._] Delightful! Enjoyed myself
amazingly.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Graciously._] Oh, we're always glad when a few folks pop in-- [_he
wrings her hand_] if they don't over-stay their welcome.

FARNCOMBE.

Naturally. [_Hurriedly._] Good-bye. [_He vanishes._

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Remaining at the door._] Captain----

JEYES.

[_Advancing._] I want just half a dozen words with Lily, Mrs. Upjohn.

LILY.

[_To MRS. UPJOHN._] Tell Maud to put out my old green frock, mother;
I'll be up in a minute or two.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_To JEYES._] Now, you won't keep 'er longer, will you?

JEYES.

[_Grimly._] No, no; I know she won't be in bed till four o'clock
to-morrow morning at the earliest. [_MRS. UPJOHN goes out, closing the
door, and Jeyes comes to LILY._] So Smythe is giving you a grand feed
to-night at the theatre, Lil?

LILY.

[_Arranging the pillows on the settee._] In the foyer.

JEYES.

And a dance, it appears.

LILY.

[_Yawning._] Oh-h-h-h! [_Lying upon the settee at full length._] Who
told _you_, grumpy?

JEYES.

Roper and your mother told me about the supper. _You_ didn't.

LILY.

Ha, ha! You were in such a vile mood last night, coming home.

JEYES.

Who will there be to dance _with_ to-night?

LILY.

The men of the Company.

JEYES.

That doesn't sound very inspiring.

LILY.

Rather school-treaty, isn't it!

JEYES.

Nobody from outside?

LILY.

No; it's to be only the men in the theatre and the principal ladies.

JEYES.

_Roper's_ going.

LILY.

Uncle Lal? Oh, well, he's hardly from outside.

JEYES.

And de Castro.

LILY.

Sam?

JEYES.

I'm sure of it, from something I heard him say just now.

LILY.

Sam used to finance Carlton. I suppose they reckon _him_ one of us.

JEYES.

[_Sitting in the chair in the middle of the room._] Smythe might have
extended the compliment to _me_, Lil. He knows how I stand towards
you.

LILY.

Awfully sorry; _I_ can't help it.

JEYES.

[_Twining his fingers together._] You see, if Roper and de Castro are
asked, there may be others.

LILY.

[_Changing her position._] Oh, lal, lal, lal, lal, la!

JEYES.

[_With a set jaw._] Some of the more juvenile "boys," perhaps.
[_Examining his nails._] Lil.

LILY.

What?

JEYES.

When did you make the acquaintance of the young sprig o' the nobility
who's been here this afternoon?

LILY.

Lord Farncombe? Bertie brought him and introduced him one day last
week.

JEYES.

Ha! _He's_ at your feet now.

LILY.

Phuh!

JEYES.

Oh, you may "phuh"! He's in front every blessed night. There he sits,
Row B., three stalls from the end, prompt side!

LILY.

There are a few good-looking girls at the Pandora besides your humble
servant.

JEYES.

Rubbish! His glass follows you all over the stage. I watched him
talking to you in this room----

LILY.

[_Raising herself._] Did you indeed!

JEYES.

[_Beating his clenched hands upon the arms of his chair._] God in
heaven! First it's one, then it's another, chasing you!

LILY.

[_Putting her feet to the ground._] Oh, you're maddening, Nicko! You
_are_; you're maddening. Last night it was Stewie Heneage you chose to
be jealous of, simply because you'd heard him sounding my praises at
Catani's! You almost broke the window of the car, you went on so!

JEYES.

I confess I object to Heneage, or any man, raving about you at the top
of his voice in a public place.

LILY.

Sakes alive, why _shouldn't_ Stewie rave about me in a public place,
if he feels like it! I belong to the public. He might rave about a
girl who's a jolly sight less deserving of being raved about, as a
girl _and_ an artist, than I am.

JEYES.

Well, we'll dismiss Heneage.

LILY.

Yes, exit Stewie and enter somebody else for you fuss and fume about.
This afternoon it's Lord Farncombe, and to-morrow it'll be a fresh
person altogether. One 'ud think, to hear you, that I don't know how
to take care of myself, and of any poor boy who loses his head over
me! [_Rising and walking away._] You're growing worse and worse with
your jealousy, Nicko. Stop it! I'm surprised at you, after all these
years! It's beginning to fret me, and that's bad for my spirits and
bad for me in business. [_At the tea-table, grabbing a piece of
bread-and-butter and biting at it._] And now you're making me spoil my
dinner-- [_relenting_] and that's not good for me either, you brute!

JEYES.

[_His hands hanging loosely between his knees, sighing heavily._] Oh,
Lily, Lily----!

LILY.

Yes, oh, Lily, Lily!

JEYES.

Why-- why don't you put me out of my misery?

LILY.

[_Munching._] Poison you?

JEYES.

Marry me.

LILY.

[_Behind his chair._] Marry you? [_Taking his handkerchief from his
breast-pocket and wiping her fingers upon it-- sarcastically._] Have
you come to tell me you've got some work to do at last? Break it
gently, Nicko; the shock might be too great for me.

JEYES.

Oh, _I'd_ find a billet soon enough, Lil, if only I'd an incentive to
hunt for it.

LILY.

Incentive! You _had_ an incentive twelve months ago, when I was
willing to engage myself to you absolutely if you could obtain a good
secretaryship or something of the sort.

JEYES.

I-- I've no fancy for a beggarly secretaryship.

LILY.

No; all _you've_ a fancy for, seemingly, is for living on your
unfortunate people. [_Throwing him his handkerchief and leaving him._]
How a man of your age can rest satisfied with being a burden to others
passes my dull comprehension!

JEYES.

I-- I _have_ been a bit slack, I own-- I _have_ been a bit leisurely;
but----

LILY.

[_Inspecting some of the flowers about the room._] Nicko, that
pendant, or whatever it is, you've given me-- I don't want to hurt
you, but I won't accept it. You take it away with you; do you hear?

JEYES.

[_Not heeding her, weakly._] Lil----

LILY.

I'm in earnest; you remove it from off my premises.

JEYES.

Lil-- [_she returns to him_] my eldest brother-- Robert-- [_looking up
at her_] Bob-- [_She nods inquiringly._] Bob's at me to go out to
Rhodesia, to manage a group of stock farms he's interested in near
Bulawayo.

LILY.

Oh, why don't you go?

JEYES.

[_Forlornly._] Rhodesia! Bulawayo! [_Looking up at her again with a
dismal smile._] Come with me?

LILY.

Don't be absurd.

JEYES.

[_Rising and putting his hands upon her shoulders._] No, you wouldn't
care a straw-- not a brass farthing-- if I _did_ go, would yer!

LILY.

[_Softening again._] Stuff! I should miss you horribly. [_Toying with
a button of his waistcoat._] Who'd bring me home from the theatre at
night then, and from rehearsals; who----?

JEYES.

Ah, _who_! [_His grip tightening on her._] _Who!_

LILY.

[_Wincing._] Ssss! You'll bruise my skin if you're not careful.

JEYES.

[_Taking her hand and crumpling it in his._] Well, it might be that
you'd miss me for a while-- the old dog that you're accustomed to find
lying on your door-mat; [_pressing her hand to his lips_] but you
don't _love_ me, Lil-- not even as much as you did a year ago. You
don't _love_ me!

LILY.

[_With a faint shrug of her shoulders._] Perhaps I don't, in the way
you mean; [_wistfully_] perhaps it's not in me really to love anybody
in a marrying way. [_Meeting his eyes._] Still, as you say----

JEYES.

As I say----?

LILY.

[_Pursing her mouth at him winningly._] I'm _accustomed_ to you,
Nicko. [_He draws her to him; but, with a laugh, she checks him by
offering him her head to kiss._] There-- [_putting the point of her
finger playfully on the crown of her head_] you may _there_. [_As he
kisses her._] Now I must run upstairs, or mother'll whack me.

JEYES.

[_Detaining her._] Won't you allow me to fetch you after the dance?

LILY.

Three or four in the morning! No; I'll give you a rest. Uncle Lal or
Sam'll take on your job. [_Going to the door._] And don't try to see
me to-morrow.

JEYES.

[_Sharply._] Why not?

LILY.

Not till you turn up at night as usual. I shall be a shocking rag all
day.

JEYES.

[_Breaking out._] Yes, I expect you'll manage to enjoy yourself
thoroughly, and dance yourself off your feet, whoever your partners
may be!

LILY.

[_Wilfully._] Expect I shall. [_Tossing her head up._] Ha, ha! I'll do
my best.

  [_She departs, leaving him standing near the tea-table. He takes out
  his handkerchief and mops his brow. As he does so, his eyes rest upon
  the telephone-instrument on the writing-table and he stares at it. He
  hesitates, as if struggling to resist an impulse; then he goes quickly
  to the instrument and puts the receiver to his ear._

JEYES.

[_After a pause._] Gerrard, three, eight, four, eight. [_Discovering
that LILY has left the door wide open, he lays the receiver upon the
writing-table and goes to the door and shuts it. Then he returns to
the writing-table and again listens at the receiver._] Is that the
office of the Pandora Theatre?... [_Suddenly, imitating the voice of
DE CASTRO._] Ith Mithter Morrith Cooling in?... I'm Mithter de Castro
... Tham de Castro ... Gone, ith he?... Oh, ith that you, Mithter
Hickthon?... Yeth, you'll do ... About the thupper-party to-night that
Mithter Smythe ith giving to Mith Parradell ... Yer there?... I didn't
quite underthtand whether ith to be at the theatre or at a rethtaurong
... At the theatre?... Oh, yeth ... A largth party?... Oh, that _ith_
nithe!... Who are the guesth, d'ye know?... Yeth?... Yeth?... Oh, an'
the boyth!... oh, thome o' the _boyth_ are comin', are they!...
Hey?... Haven't got the litht from Mithter Roper yet?... Oh, _he'th_
been helpin' to get it up!... Oh, we _shall_ have a thplendid time!...
The boyth!... Yeth!... Yeth!... ha, ha, ha, ha!... thankth....
goo'bye!

  [_He replaces the receiver and stands looking at the door for a
  moment. Then, with his head bent and his hands clasped behind him, he
  goes slowly out._

  END OF THE FIRST ACT.



  THE SECOND ACT


_The scene is an artistically decorated refreshment-saloon-- or
"foyer"-- on the first-circle floor of a theatre. The wall facing the
spectator is panelled partly in glass, and through the glazed panels
the corridor behind the circle, and the doors admitting to the circle,
are seen. The right-hand wall is panelled in a similar way, showing
the landing at the top of the principal staircase and an entrance to
the corridor. Some music-stands and stools are on the landing,
arranged for a small orchestra._

_In the right-hand wall there is a double swing-door giving on to the
landing; and in the wall at the back, opening on to, and from, the
corridor, there is a single swing-door on the left and another on the
right. The left-hand door is fastened back into the saloon by a hook.
Between the two doors in the back wall runs the refreshment-counter._

_In one of the further corners of the saloon there is a plaster statue
representing the Muse of Comedy, in the opposite corner a companion
figure of Dancing. In the wall on the left, the grate hidden by
flowers, is a fireplace with a fender-stool before it, and on either
side of the fireplace there is a capacious and richly upholstered
arm-chair. A settee of like design stands against the wall on the
right between the double-door and the spectator._

_The counter is decked-out as a sideboard, and at equal distances from
each other there are four round tables laid for a supper-party of
twenty-six persons. There are eight chairs at one table and six at
each of the others, the chairs being of the sort usually supplied by
ball-caterers._

_The saloon and the landing without are brilliantly lighted, the
corridor less brightly._


  [_LUIGI and four waiters-- one of whom has a curly head and a fair
  beard ending in two flamboyant points-- are putting the finishing
  touches to the laying of the tables, while MORRIS COOLING, a person of
  imposing presence displaying a vast expanse of shirt-front, is engaged
  in placing upon each of the serviettes a card bearing the name of a
  guest._

COOLING.

[_Referring to a plan of the tables which he has in his hand._] Miss
Connify-- Miss Connify-- Miss Connify-- where's Miss Connify? Ah, here
you are, my dear-- [_moving to MISS CONNIFY'S chair and putting a card
upon her serviette_] next to old Arthur.

  [_The four waiters, obeying a direction in dumb-show from LUIGI, go
  out at the door on the left._

LUIGI.

[_A little, dark, active man-- viewing the tables with satisfaction._]
Tables look nice, Mr. Cooling?

COOLING.

[_Absorbed._] Not bad-- not bad-- not bad. [_LUIGI follows the
waiters._] Miss Kato? [_Moving to another table and laying a card upon
a serviette._] Gabrielle.

  [_ROPER bustles in through the double-door, in high feather._

ROPER.

Hul-lo! [_Cutting a caper._] Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and
how are you to-morrow!

COOLING.

[_Deep in his plan of the tables._] Hullo, Lal!

ROPER.

[_Surveying the tables._] Splendid! [_Going from one table to
another._] Seating 'em, hey?

COOLING.

Mr. Palk-- Mr. Palk-- Mr. Palk? [_Placing another card._] Albert.

ROPER.

Which d'ye make your principal table?

COOLING.

There it is; you're at it.

ROPER.

Ah, yes. [_Examining the cards._] "Miss Lily Parradell--"! [_His jaw
falling._] Why, you've gone and put the Baron on her right!

COOLING.

[_Unconsciously._] Well, what's the objection?

ROPER.

Where's Farncombe? Where's Lord Farncombe?

COOLING.

On the other side, with Dolly Stidulph and Enid.

ROPER.

Rats!

COOLING.

What do you mean by Rats? [_Advancing to the principal table--
nettled._] Look heah, Lal----!

ROPER.

My dear fellow, Miss Parradell is the heroine o' the party; the seat
next to her is the seat of honour.

COOLING.

That's why I've put the Baron there. With things as they are between
England and Germany----

ROPER.

If Germany doesn't like it, she must lump it. Lord Farncombe's the
eldest son of an Earl; you can't get over that.

COOLING.

[_Picking up FARNCOMBE'S card._] Oh, have it your own way.

ROPER.

[_Picking up VON RETTENMAYER'S card._] Besides, the Baron's sweet on
Enid just now; I'm sure he'd prefer-- [_They exchange the cards and
rearrange them._] thanks, ol' man. Sorry I was shirty.

COOLING.

[_Laying down his plan and cards and producing a letter from his
breast-pocket._] By-the-bye, the fair Lily-- the heroine of the party,
as you call her-- is in a pretty tantrum over the whole business.

ROPER.

Tantrum?

COOLING.

[_Unfolding the letter._] Had this from her ten minutes ago. Listen to
_this_. [_Reading._] "My Dressing-room. 11-15. 80 degrees, with the
windows open." [_In an injured tone._] Haw, so I should think!

ROPER.

[_Concerned._] What's amiss?

COOLING.

[_Reading._] "Morrie, you pig." [_ROPER whistles._] "Morrie, you pig.
I should feel deeply indebted to you if you would kindly inform me why
the devil you went out of your way to deceive me last night. You led
me to suppose-- and so did that lying worm Lal Roper----" [_looking at
ROPER_] _You._

ROPER.

Oh, lord!

COOLING.

[_Resuming._] "--that lying worm Lal Roper----"

ROPER.

[_Testily._] All right, all right.

COOLING.

"--you both led me to suppose that this rotten banquet was to be a
family gathering of the ladies and gentlemen of the Pandora Theatre,
and no outsiders asked. Now I find that only three or four of the men
of the Company are invited, and I hear from Nita Trevenna, who has got
it from young Kennedy, that several of the Boys are to be laid on for
the occasion. The result is you have made me tell a regular whopper to
a particular friend of mine with regard to this affair----"

ROPER.

[_Passing his hand over his brow._] Nicko Jeyes.

COOLING.

"--which I will never forgive you for, Morris Cooling-- neither you
nor Lal Roper. As true as I am alive, I have a jolly good mind not to
show, but to put on my old rags and go straight home. You are two
cads. So take it out of that and believe me, Always yours
affectionately, Lil."

ROPER.

[_Walking about._] Well, I'm blessed!

COOLING.

[_Returning the letter to his pocket._] Haw! Tasty document!

ROPER.

Lying worm and a cad! And from Miss Lily Margaret Upjohn! [_To
COOLING._] Done anything about it?

COOLING.

No; waited for you. [_Going on with his arrangements at the tables._]
_You're_ responsible. What _I_ did last night was simply to oblige a
pal.

ROPER.

[_Irresolutely._] I'd better run round to her, and try to smooth her
down, hadn't I?

COOLING.

Perhaps you _had_. [_Placing a card._] Mr. Stewart Heneage. [_To
ROPER._] Why you wanted to mislead the girl I can't understand.

ROPER.

Damn it, you agreed that that sulky brute Jeyes 'ud be a wet blanket!
You blow hot and cold, you do!

COOLING.

There you go! More filthy temper!

ROPER.

If ever I assist in getting up another party----! [_As he reaches the
door on the left, he encounters CARLTON SMYTHE, who is entering at
that moment, and puts on his humourous manner._] Hul-lo! Here we are
again! All change for Oxford Circus!

SMYTHE.

[_A bulky, sleepy-looking man with grey hair, a darker moustache and
beard, and a heavy, rolling gait._] Ha, Lal!

ROPER.

I'm just going to have a word with Lil Parradell.

  [_He disappears and SMYTHE advances._

COOLING.

[_Approaching SMYTHE._] How are you to-night, Chief?

SMYTHE.

[_A silk hat on the back of his head, an overcoat on his arm--
regarding the preparations with disgust._] Puh! Here's a muck and a
muddle!

COOLING.

Don't worry; we'll clear it away in no time. Shall I tell you who are
coming?

SMYTHE.

No; I shall know soon enough. What was the house to-night?

COOLING.

[_Producing a long slip of paper and handing it to SMYTHE._] Big.
[_SMYTHE scans the paper through half-closed lids and gives a growl of
contentment._] Haw! And the weather dead against us.

SMYTHE.

[_Screwing up the paper, and cramming it into his waistcoat-pocket._]
There's no bad weather for a good play. [_Looking at his hands._] I'll
go and have a wash and brush up. [_LUIGI returns, entering at the door
on the left, and goes behind the counter. The waiters follow him,
carrying some melons lying upon ice in plated dishes. They deposit the
dishes upon the counter and LUIGI proceeds to cut the melon into
slices. COOLING resumes, at a table on the left, the placing of the
cards. As SMYTHE is moving towards the right-hand door at the back,
STEWART HENEAGE and GERALD GRIMWOOD-- two exquisitely dressed youths
with blank faces-- enter from the landing. SMYTHE shakes hands with
them._] Ha, Mr. Heneage! Ha, Mr. Grimwood! [_HENEAGE and GRIMWOOD
murmur some polite expressions._] Excuse me; I'm just going to wash my
hands. [_DE CASTRO enters, also at the double-door, and SMYTHE shakes
hands with him. HENEAGE and GRIMWOOD drift over to COOLING, who hails
them warmly._] How do, Sam! Back in a moment; just going to wash my
hands.

DE CASTRO.

[_Detaining him._] I thay, Carlton.

SMYTHE.

Eh?

DE CASTRO.

[_Lowering his voice._] I've been in front again to-night.
Magnifithent! Marvellouth!

SMYTHE.

[_Resignedly._] It'll do; I shall get a couple o' years out of it.

DE CASTRO.

There'th jutht _one_ little improvement I'd like to thee, if I may
thuggetht it.

SMYTHE.

What's that?

DE CASTRO.

[_Linking his arm in SMYTHE'S._] You're thure you won't conthider me
prethumptuouth?

SMYTHE.

Of course not; very kind of yer.

DE CASTRO.

[_In SMYTHE'S ear._] If you _could_ give Gabth-- Mith Kato-- a tiny
bit more to do in the thecond act----!

SMYTHE.

[_Nodding._] Ah, yes, yes.

DE CASTRO.

She'th a little lump o' talent, that gal, if you only realithed it;
a perfect little lump o' talent.

SMYTHE.

[_Trying to escape._] Er-- I'll think it over.

DE CASTRO.

Will yer! An extra thong! That'th all it need be-- an extra thong! Oh,
it would be _thuch_ an improvement! [_VON RETTENMAYER enters at the
double-door. The waiters now go to the tables and lay a plate with a
slice of melon upon it at each cover._] Here'th the Baron. We've been
thitting together to-night, I and the Baron. [_Wringing SMYTHE'S
hand._] Thankth. [_Joining COOLING and the others on the left as
SMYTHE greets VON RETTENMAYER._] Hullo, Morrith! [_Shaking hands with
HENEAGE and GRIMWOOD._] Well, boyth!

SMYTHE.

[_Shaking hands with VON RETTENMAYER._] Glad to see yer, Baron.

VON RETTENMAYER.

Zo good of you to haf me.

SMYTHE.

Excuse me; I'm just going to wash my hands.

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Detaining him._] Bardon me-- one moment----

SMYTHE.

Eh?

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Dropping his voice._] May I dake the liberdy of indulging in a
liddle griticism on your eggcellent blay?

SMYTHE.

Certainly.

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Drawing SMYTHE away from the tables._] Gome here. [_His mouth close
to SMYTHE'S ear._] The zecond aggd!

SMYTHE.

Second act; what's the matter with it?

VON RETTENMAYER.

The pard where the gharming Miss Barradell is ghanging her gostume----

SMYTHE.

Yes?

VON RETTENMAYER.

That is where the biece reguires lifding-- [_with a gesture_] lifding.

SMYTHE.

Lifting?

VON RETTENMAYER.

Mr. Davish-- Mr. Balk-- eggsdremely glever; [_slipping his arm through
SMYTHE'S_] but if you could zee your way glear to gif Enid-- Miss
Mongreiff-- anoder dance----

SMYTHE.

[_Nodding._] Ah, h'm, h'm.

VON RETTENMAYER.

It would remove the zolitary imberfection.

SMYTHE.

Er-- I'll think it over. [_Releasing himself._] I'm just going to wash
my hands. We'll talk about it later.

VON RETTENMAYER.

Schoensten Dank. [_Going to the men on the left._] Aha, Mr. Gooling!
My dear Steward-- my dear Jerry----!

  [_As SMYTHE is again making for the door on the left, MRS. STIDULPH
  enters from the landing with COLONEL STIDULPH._

SMYTHE.

[_To MRS. STIDULPH._] Ha, Dolly! [_Kissing her._] How are you, my
dear?

MRS. STIDULPH.

[_A mature but still beautiful woman, gorgeously dressed and wearing
showy jewels-- with a lofty air._] How are you, Carlton?

SMYTHE.

[_To STIDULPH._] How d'ye do, Arthur? Delighted to see yer.

MRS. STIDULPH.

Lucky I'm able to come to you to-night. It's so difficult to catch me
in the season.

SMYTHE.

Been in front?

MRS. STIDULPH.

M'yes; [_in a tone of boredom_] oh, yes.

SMYTHE.

What, don't you like it?

MRS. STIDULPH.

Oh, I don't say I _dis_like it; [_shrugging her shoulders_] but one
can't forget what one _used_ to do here in the old days.

STIDULPH.

[_An elderly, distinguished-looking man with a meek voice and a
courteous but rather nervous manner._] I've had a most enjoyable
evening, Carlton. So bright; so very bright!

MRS. STIDULPH.

[_To STIDULPH, sneeringly._] Oh, anything pleases _you_; _you'd_ laugh
at Punch and Judy.

SMYTHE.

I'm just running away to wash my hands. [_Looking towards the men on
the left._] You know Von Rettenmayer?

MRS. STIDULPH.

Know him! Why, he was about in my time! [_Crossing to VON RETTENMAYER,
followed by STIDULPH._] Karl!

VON RETTENMAYER.

My dear lady! [_Kissing her hand perfunctorily._] What bliss!
[_Shaking hands with STIDULPH._] Golonel!

MRS. STIDULPH.

[_Shaking hands with DE CASTRO._] How are you, Sam?

DE CASTRO.

Ah, Dolly! [_To STIDULPH._] Hullo, Arthur!

COOLING.

[_Presenting HENEAGE and GRIMWOOD to the STIDULPHS._] Mr. Stewart
Heneage-- Mr. Gerald Grimwood----

  [_As the STIDULPHS leave SMYTHE, HERBERT FULKERSON enters from the
  landing with FARNCOMBE. In dumb-show, SMYTHE and FULKERSON greet each
  other and then FULKERSON introduces FARNCOMBE._

SMYTHE.

[_Shaking hands with FARNCOMBE._] Glad to make your acquaintance.

FARNCOMBE.

Glad to make _yours_, Mr. Smythe-- and in such circumstances!

FULKERSON.

[_A white-faced young man with red eyes and of dissipated appearance--
espying MRS. STIDULPH._] By Jove, if it isn't Dolly Ensor! [_Hurrying
to MRS. STIDULPH._] What cheer, Dolly!

MRS. STIDULPH.

[_Coldly._] How do you do, Mr. Fulkerson?

FULKERSON.

[_Slightly abashed._] Oh, I-- I'm pretty middlin', thanks; hope you're
the same. [_Nodding to STIDULPH._] Evenin', Arthur.

  [_VINCENT BLAND has sauntered in at the door on the left and now joins
  the group surrounding the STIDULPHS._

BLAND.

[_Nodding to HENEAGE and GRIMWOOD._] H'lo, Stewart! H'lo, Jerry!
[_Coming to the STIDULPHS._] Dolly----Colonel----

SMYTHE.

[_To FARNCOMBE._] I'll be back in a minute or two; I'm just going to
wash my hands.

FULKERSON.

[_Calling to FARNCOMBE._] Hi! Eddie!

  [_FARNCOMBE crosses to FULKERSON and is presented by him to the
  STIDULPHS. GABRIELLE KATO enters at the right-hand door at the back,
  meeting SMYTHE as he is going out. The waiters have finished setting
  the plates of melon upon the tables and now withdraw, carrying the
  plated dishes and preceded by LUIGI, at the door on the left._

SMYTHE.

[_To GABRIELLE._] Ha, Gabby, my dear! Quite well, eh?

GABRIELLE.

[_A pretty young woman with a fretful little face expressive of
extreme dissatisfaction with the world-- looking at SMYTHE
spiritlessly._] This _is_ a treat. Why, you haven't been to see us for
ages.

SMYTHE.

[_Cunningly._] I see you all far oftener than you suspect.

GABRIELLE.

Do you? That _is_ sly of you.

SMYTHE.

[_Leaving her._] I'm just going to have a wash and brush up.

GABRIELLE.

Really? Oh, you _are_ full of news.

  [_He departs as DE CASTRO approaches GABRIELLE._

DE CASTRO.

[_In a low voice._] Hullo, Gabth! How are you to-night?

GABRIELLE.

Oh, I'm all right, I s'pose. Isn't it hot?

DE CASTRO.

[_Not at his ease with her._] It _ith_ inclined that way.

  [_DAPHNE DURE, NITA TREVENNA, DOUGLAS GLYNN, and ALBERT PALK enter at
  the door on the left. NITA is a tall, handsome girl, DAPHNE a plump,
  little, fair, baby-faced thing. They are charmingly dressed, as are
  all the ladies of the Pandora Theatre. GLYNN and PALK-- the latter a
  short, thick-set man who might reasonably be a low comedian-- are two
  professional-looking gentlemen of the best class. The arrivals are
  warmly hailed by FULKERSON, VON RETTENMAYER, HENEAGE, and GRIMWOOD
  and, with more reserve, by MRS. STIDULPH. STIDULPH has seated himself
  wearily in the armchair on the nearer side of the fireplace and,
  beyond listening to BLAND who is talking to him, has withdrawn himself
  from the proceedings._

FULKERSON.

[_To FARNCOMBE._] Here's Daphne Dure-- and Nita Trevenna. [_Going to
the new comers._] Hullo, Daphne! Hullo, Nita! How'r'yer, Douglas!
Hullo, Albert!

DAPHNE and NITA.

How d'ye do, Bertie? [_To VON RETTENMAYER._] How d'ye do, Von?

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Kissing their hands._] Dear ladies! [_To GLYNN and PALK._] Aha, Mr.
Glynn-- Mr. Balk--!

DAPHNE and NITA.

[_To HENEAGE and GRIMWOOD._] How d'ye do, Stewie? How d'ye do, Jerry?
[_To MRS. STIDULPH._] Oh, Dolly! That you, Dolly?

MRS. STIDULPH.

Well, girls!

FULKERSON.

Here! I want to introdooce Lord Farncombe. Miss Dure-- Miss Trevenna--
Lord Farncombe. Douglas-- Albert-- Lord Farncombe.

NITA.

[_Pouncing upon Cooling._] I say, Morris!

COOLING.

What is it, my dear?

NITA.

Is it true that little Kennedy's met with an accident?

COOLING.

Yes; can't join us.

FULKERSON.

The Dwarf! What's happened?

COOLING.

Ran his car into a 'bus, just outside the theatre.

NITA.

Oh!

COOLING.

Pitched himself forward on to his head.

NITA.

His head!

DAPHNE.

[_With a simper._] Don't be anxious, Nita; there's nothing to hurt
_there_.

VON RETTENMAYER.

Poor Dwarf!

  [_GABRIELLE and DE CASTRO now move over to the others._

FULKERSON.

Hullo, Gabs! Hullo, Sam!

GABRIELLE.

Ah, Bertie!

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Kissing GABRIELLE'S hand._] Gabrielle!

GABRIELLE.

Ah, Von! [_To HENEAGE and GRIMWOOD._] Ah, boys! [_To MRS. STIDULPH._]
How'r' _you_?

DE CASTRO.

[_Shaking hands._] Daphne-- Nita-- Douglath-- Albert--!

FULKERSON.

I want to introdooce Lord Farncombe. Miss Kato-- Lord Farncombe----

  [_A band of musicians have mustered upon the landing and there is the
  sound of the tuning of instruments._

COOLING.

[_Hurrying across to the double-door._] No, no; no music yet. Wait for
Miss Parradell! [_As he reaches the double-door, ROPER enters quickly
at the right-hand door at the back and seizes his arm._] Eh?

ROPER.

[_To COOLING._] It's all right; she'll be round in a minute.

COOLING.

Amiable?

ROPER.

Angelic. She's wearing a new dress, and that's taken her mind off it.

COOLING.

Her bark's always worse than her bite. I knew it 'ud blow over.

ROPER.

[_Formidably._] Oh, but I have given her such a talking to! [_COOLING
passes through the double-door, and instructs the leader of the band,
while ROPER bustles over to the throng on the left._] Hul-lo!
[_Imitating a street news-vendor._] Speshul edishun, cricket, py-per!
[_Shaking hands all round._] Dolly-- Nita-- Gabs-- Daphne! Douglas--
Albert! Ah, here you are, Farncombe! [_Discovering STIDULPH._] Hul-lo,
Colonel! Results, py-per, extry speshul!

  [_ENID MONCREIFF, WILFRID TAVISH, and SIGISMUND SHIRLEY enter at the
  right-hand door at the back. ENID is a long, spare-figured girl with
  the lissom walk of a dancer; TAVISH and SHIRLEY are tall, clean-shaven
  men of gentlemanlike appearance. VON RETTENMAYER makes for ENID
  eagerly and is followed, at a more moderate pace, by HENEAGE,
  GRIMWOOD, and DE CASTRO, and by FULKERSON bringing FARNCOMBE._

VON RETTENMAYER.

Miss Mongreiff! [_Kissing ENID'S hand with fervour._] Your dancing was
more zurprizing to-night than ever. [_To TAVISH and SHIRLEY._] Aha, my
friends!

ENID.

[_Shaking hands with HENEAGE, GRIMWOOD, and DE CASTRO._] Well, Stew!
How are you, Jerry! Sam!

FULKERSON.

I want to introdooce Lord Farncombe. Miss Moncreiff-- Lord Farncombe.

ROPER.

[_Hurrying across._] Hul-lo, here's Enid!

DE CASTRO.

[_Shaking hands with TAVISH and SHIRLEY._] Piethe went thplendidly
thith evenin', didn't it?

FULKERSON.

[_Shaking hands with TAVISH and SHIRLEY._] I want to introdooce Lord
Farncombe. Mr. Tavish-- Mr. Shirley-- Lord Farncombe.

ENID.

[_Coming forward to greet MRS. STIDULPH who advances to her._] Dolly
dear!

MRS. STIDULPH.

[_Embracing ENID._] Enid darling! Good gracious, you're becoming an
absolute skeleton!

ENID.

Indeed? Well, no one can say that of _you_.

MRS. STIDULPH.

It _is_ a pleasure, meeting all you girls to-night. Of course, one
can't help seeing _changes_.

ENID.

[_Icily._] Ah, it must be a pleasure, _that_.

MRS. STIDULPH.

I'm going to scold dear old Carlton by-and-by. He never gave _me_ a
birthday-party when I was with him.

ENID.

No; and you had so many birthdays here, hadn't you?

  [_COOLING returns, entering from the landing, and, after looking at
  the assembly, goes out at the right-hand door at the back. At the same
  moment, FLO CONNIFY, SYBIL DERMOTT, OLGA COOK, and EVANGELINE
  VENTRIS-- four statuesque beauties with impassive faces-- enter at the
  door on the left. OLGA is in a dark gown and EVANGELINE is wearing a
  rather elaborate head-dress. Instantly there is a movement in the
  direction of the new arrivals on the part of ROPER, HENEAGE, and
  GRIMWOOD. DE CASTRO and FULKERSON follow, FULKERSON still leading
  FARNCOMBE about with him. MRS. STIDULPH turns from ENID disdainfully
  and joins NITA and DAPHNE at the fireplace. TAVISH and SHIRLEY also
  move to the left, where they come upon STIDULPH and shake hands with
  him, while VON RETTENMAYER and ENID, the latter flushed with victory,
  seat themselves upon the settee on the right._

ROPER.

[_Hastening to the beauties._] Hul-lo! Show your tickets, please! Room
inside for four! [_Shaking hands._] How are you, Flo! How are you,
Sybil! How are you, Olga! I _say_, look at 'Vangy!

THE FOUR BEAUTIES.

[_As the men shake hands with them, mechanically._] How d'ye do? How
d'ye do? How d'ye do? How d'ye do?

FULKERSON.

Here! I want to introdooce Lord Farncombe. Miss Connify-- Lord
Farncombe. Miss Dermott-- Miss Cook-- Miss 'Vangy Ventris-- Lord
Farncombe.

THE FOUR BEAUTIES.

[_As before._] How d'ye do? How d'ye do? How d'ye do? How d'ye do?

  [_COOLING hurries back._

COOLING.

[_To everybody._] Miss Parradell! [_Opening the double-door and
signalling to the leader of the band._] Now!

  [_The band strikes up the air of "Mind the Paint" as LILY enters at
  the right-hand door at the back with JIMMIE BIRCH. LILY is dressed in
  white, and altogether fulfils exteriorly ROPER'S description of
  "angelic." She carries a large bouquet of lilies and pale roses with a
  broad ribbon flowing from it. All the men but FARNCOMBE, who holds
  aloof, press round her, STIDULPH rising and joining them. The ladies
  follow._

THE MEN.

[_Struggling for her hand._] Many happy returns of day! Many happy
returns of the day! Many happy returns of the day!

JIMMIE.

[_Battling with the men._] Keep away from her! Bertie, you're on her
frock! Mind her frock!

ROPER.

Mind the paint!

SOME OF THE MEN.

Ha, ha, ha!

LILY.

[_Holding her bouquet above her head._] My roses! Be careful of me,
boys! One at a time!

THE MEN.

Many happy returns of the day!

LILY.

I want to kiss the girls. Girls----!

  [_The men make way for the ladies who come to LILY._

THE LADIES.

Many happy returns of the day!

LILY.

[_Embracing them._] Sybil-- Nita--! Oh, Mrs. Stidulph!-- Enid--
Daphne-- Gabs-- Flo dear-- Olga-- 'Vangy----!

PALK.

[_Suddenly._] Here's the guv'nor!

  [_SMYTHE enters at the door on the left. LUIGI and the waiters are
  behind him, the waiters carrying trays on which are sugar-casters and
  dishes of powdered ginger. At once there is a movement towards SMYTHE
  of everybody except those who have already greeted him, and LILY who
  is detained by ROPER and others._

TAVISH.

How are you, guv'nor?

SOME OF THE LADIES.

How d'ye do, Mr. Smythe?

OTHER LADIES.

[_Hustling him._] How are you, Carlton?

SMYTHE.

[_In the midst of them all._] Girls, girls! I'll shake hands with you
all in turn, girls.

ENID.

Thought you were dead.

DAPHNE.

Yes; look at Olga-- she's in deep mourning.

SOME OF THE LADIES.

Ha, ha, ha!

SMYTHE.

[_Shaking hands._] Don't, girls, don't; you're smothering me.

LILY.

[_During a momentary lull, finding FARNCOMBE standing before her and
raising her eyebrows._] You! [_Giving him her hand carelessly._] Oh,
it isn't long before we meet again, is it?

SMYTHE.

[_Puffing and blowing._] That's the lot of yer. Phew! Where's Lily?
Lily here? [_The crowd divides, to allow him to advance. Seeing LILY,
he opens his arms and she goes to him and lays her head upon his
breast._] Lil-- [_patting her shoulders_] my dear!

LILY.

[_Half gaily, half tearfully._] Ha, ha, ha! Carlton!

SMYTHE.

Go'blessyer! [_In another tone._] Well, what about something to eat!

LUIGI.

Ready, Mr. Smythe. [_Loudly._] Ladies and gentlemen, supper is ready!

SMYTHE.

Ha!

COOLING.

[_At the principal table._] Here you are, Chief! Miss Parradell!

SMYTHE.

[_To LILY._] Come along!

  [_There is a general hunt for places and much hubbub and confusion._

COOLING.

[_Calling to ROPER._] Lal, that's your table.

ROPER.

[_Imitating a shop-walker._] Mr. Roper, forward!

COOLING.

Mrs. Stidulph! Lord Farncombe! [_Pointing to another table._] Glynn,
you're there.

BLAND.

Here you are, Daphne!

ROPER.

[_At his table._] Miss Kato, wanted!

DE CASTRO.

[_Calling to GABRIELLE._] Gabth!

NITA.

[_Calling to HENEAGE._] Stewie!

COOLING.

Baron-- Enid----

VON RETTENMAYER.

Aha!

COOLING.

[_To STIDULPH._] Over there, Colonel.

FULKERSON.

[_Wandering about._] Where am _I_? Where am _I_?

NITA.

[_Pushing him aside._] Oh, be off!

LILY.

[_Calling._] Jimmie!

COOLING.

[_At his place at a table._] Olga, you're here. Mr. Grimwood!

FULKERSON.

Where am _I_?

JIMMIE.

[_To FULKERSON._] Next to me, worse luck. [_Screwing up her face at
him._] Ugh!

ROPER.

Ladies' mantles on the second-floor!

COOLING.

Where's Sybil?

DAPHNE.

[_Calling._] Syb! Syb!

  [_The curtain falls, but the music of "Mind the Paint" continues for a
  while. Then it ceases and, after a short silence, the curtain rises
  again. The supper-tables have disappeared and the saloon is empty of
  people. The musicians and their music-stands and stools have also
  gone, and faintly from the distance comes the sound of a waltz. Two
  settees, matching the rest of the furniture, now stand in the centre
  of the saloon back-to-back, one of them facing the counter, the other
  facing the spectator. LILY'S bouquet lies on the nearer of the two
  settees, and upon the floor there is a fan, a red rose that has fallen
  from a lady's corsage, and a pocket-handkerchief with a powder-puff
  peeping from it. On the counter there are carafes of lemonade,
  decanters of spirits and syphons of soda-water, a bowl of
  strawberries-and-cream, various dishes of cakes, boxes of cigars and
  cigarettes, a lighted spirit-lamp, and other adjuncts of a buffet.
  COLONEL STIDULPH wanders in through the double-door as the waltz comes
  to an end. Feebly and dejectedly he goes to the counter, takes a
  cigarette, and is lighting it when LUIGI and the waiters enter the
  door on the left. Two of the waiters are carrying bottles of champagne
  in wine-coolers, another brings a tray on which are champagne-glasses
  and tumblers, and the bearded waiter follows with a large dish of
  sandwiches._

LUIGI.

[_Behind the counter-- to STIDULPH, familiarly._] Ain't you dancing,
Colonel?

STIDULPH.

Dancing-- I? [_Shaking his head._] No.

LUIGI.

[_Who speaks Cockney English with a slight foreign ascent-- cutting
the wire of a champagne bottle._] Why, you used to be a regular
slap-up dancing man when I first knew you.

STIDULPH.

[_Nodding._] Ah, ah; [_moving away_] my dancing days are done.

LUIGI.

Done! Oh, I like that! I bet you ain't sixty, come now, eh?

STIDULPH.

What's the time, Luigi? I haven't a watch on.

LUIGI.

Time, Colonel? [_Looking at his watch._] Twenty to three.

STIDULPH.

No later? [_Sitting on the settee on the right, with a sigh._] Oh,
dear!

  [_One of the waiters goes out, in obedience to a direction from LUIGI,
  at the door on the left as HENEAGE enters with ENID, GRIMWOOD with
  NITA, and VON RETTENMAYER with MRS. STIDULPH at the right-hand door at
  the back. A wisp of hair has fallen over HENEAGE'S forehead, GRIMWOOD
  looks somewhat downcast, and VON RETTENMAYER is obviously bored by
  MRS. STIDULPH._

ENID.

[_To HENEAGE, walking across to the left._] Never been to Ostend!
You've never been born, then. I'm counting the hours to my holiday.
[_Sitting in the chair on the nearer side of the fireplace._] Hôtel de
la Plage. Why don't you run over while I'm there?

NITA.

[_To GRIMWOOD, following ENID._] My dear boy, I give you my solemn
word it wasn't you. It was that fool Bertie. Anyhow, it's a rotten old
frock. [_Showing a small rent in her skirt to ENID, gaily._] Pom,
pa-ra, rom, pom, pom!

  [_HENEAGE and GRIMWOOD go to the counter, secure a waiter, and return
  with him to ENID and NITA. The waiter receives his orders and
  presently fetches the ladies glasses of lemonade._

MRS. STIDULPH.

[_Whispering to VON RETTENMAYER._] Well! Did you ever! Just fancy!

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Absently, looking at ENID._] I beg your bardon?

MRS. STIDULPH.

Fancy those two girls walking into a room before _us_! [_Discovering
the fan upon the floor._] Oh, I do believe that's my fan!

  [_VON RETTENMAYER restores the fan to MRS. STIDULPH as ROPER and
  GABRIELLE enter at the door on the left._

GABRIELLE.

[_To ROPER, in a low, complaining voice._] It's a shame of you; that's
what it is. You went and put Lily Parradell into rubber and enabled
_her_ to make a bit. She told us so.

ROPER.

Yes; but how long ago?

GABRIELLE.

That's not the point. The point is, it's always Lily Parradell with
you; you never do anything for us other girls.

  [_She sits upon the nearer settee in the centre and she and ROPER, he
  standing by her, continue their conversation._

MRS. STIDULPH.

[_To VON RETTENMAYER._] No, thanks; I'm on a diet. Didn't you notice
me at supper? [_Moving to the settee on the right._] Let's sit. [_To
STIDULPH._] Oh, get up. [_STIDULPH rises quickly._] Why aren't you
dancing? If you don't dance, go home and put yourself to bed. You
might, for all the good you're doing here.

STIDULPH.

[_With a forced, painful laugh._] Ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha!

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_As MRS. STIDULPH seats herself._] Blenty of room for you too,
Golonel.

STIDULPH.

No, no; I won't inconvenience you.

  [_He moves away and VON RETTENMAYER sits beside MRS. STIDULPH. The
  waiter who has previously gone out now returns at the door on the left
  with a tray of ices in paper cases. He goes to the counter for a
  supply of ice-spoons as FARNCOMBE enters with LILY at the right-hand
  door at the back. Her cheeks are flushed, her eyes sparkling._

ROPER.

[_All his attention suddenly directed to LILY and FARNCOMBE._] Here's
Lil!

LILY.

[_Excitedly, seizing STIDULPH'S hand._] You're not dancing, Colonel
Stidulph. [_Showing him her programme._] Dance with me. I'll make one
of the others give up a dance for you.

STIDULPH.

[_Going to the counter._] No, no; I'm too old.

LILY.

Too old for dancing! I shall never be too old for dancing. [_Coming to
the nearer settee in the centre, picking up her bouquet, and sitting
beside GABRIELLE._] Ah-h-h-h!

ROPER.

[_To FARNCOMBE, who follows LILY._] Hul-lo! [_Beaming._] Jolly party,
hey, Farncombe?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Boyishly._] Lovely! [_To LILY._] May I bring you some lemonade-- an
ice----?

LILY.

[_Looking up at him._] You may keep on bringing me ices till the music
starts again. [_FARNCOMBE leaves her._] Gabby, wasn't that waltz
delicious!

  [_PALK and SYBIL enter at the door on the left. SYBIL seats herself
  beside NITA on the fender-stool and PALK fetches her some
  refreshment._

GABRIELLE.

[_To LILY, drearily._] I say, Lil.

LILY.

What?

GABRIELLE.

How much did you make out of rubber last year through Lal?

LILY.

Rubber, rubber, rubber? Br-r-r-rh! I don't know. [_To ROPER._] How
much?

ROPER.

Four-fifty.

GABRIELLE.

There!

LILY.

I did my house up with it-- gave the job to young Charlie Ramsden
who's gone in for decorating----

ROPER.

Yes, and blued the whole lot at one go!

LILY.

[_Laughing._] Blued it completely. Ha, ha, ha! [_Singing._] "What does
the blue sea Whisper to me-ee--!" [_FARNCOMBE appears at her side with
the waiter carrying the ices._] Ices!

ROPER.

[_Leaving GABRIELLE and, with his hands in his pockets, walking about
exultingly._] Ices, sweets or chocolates, full piano-score! Hul-lo,
here! Ha, ha, ha!

  [_GLYNN and OLGA and DE CASTRO and EVANGELINE have entered at the
  right-hand door at the back. OLGA and EVANGELINE seat themselves upon
  the further settee in the centre and GLYNN and DE CASTRO summon a
  waiter to attend upon them. SHIRLEY and FLO now enter at the door on
  the left and go to the counter. At the same moment SMYTHE, COOLING,
  and TAVISH enter at the right-hand door at the back, SMYTHE smoking a
  huge cigar. They also stand at the counter and are served with drinks
  by LUIGI. LILY and GABRIELLE having each taken an ice, the waiter with
  the ices moves away and offers his ices to the other ladies. Another
  waiter carries round a tray on which are a box of cigarettes and the
  spirit-lamp, and the bearded waiter moves about with the dish of
  sandwiches. Some of the ladies light cigarettes, a few of the men take
  sandwiches._

COOLING.

[_As he enters with SMYTHE and TAVISH._] Haw, haw, haw! You're
wonderful, Chief. [_To TAVISH._] The Chief's in great form, Willy.
[_To STIDULPH._] Colonel, listen to the Chief.

MRS. STIDULPH.

[_To VON RETTENMAYER, confidentially._] Of course, this is strictly
between ourselves-- though I almost hinted as much to Smythe-- but the
fact is the Pandora isn't in the least what it _was_, Karl.

VON RETTENMAYER.

Noding is what it was, my dear Dolly, and nobody.

MRS. STIDULPH.

[_Fanning herself._] I suppose he can't find the artists; _that's_ it.
If you don't have the artists--! [_Shutting up her fan._] You
recollect my "Polly Taggart" in _The Merry Milliner_?

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Stifling a yawn._] Gharming; gharming.

  [_FARNCOMBE is bending over LILY while she is eating her ice and they
  are talking lightly but intently. GABRIELLE, finding that she is "out
  of it," rises with a pout and, carrying her plate, joins the ladies
  and men who are at the fireplace. BLAND enters with JIMMIE at the door
  on the left._

MRS. STIDULPH.

[_To VON RETTENMAYER._] I hate blowing my own trumpet, but I was
looking through my press-cuttings only yesterday. _I've_ never seen
such notices as I had for "Polly Taggart."

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Closing his eyes._] Vavourable?

MRS. STIDULPH.

Favourable! They make me blush to read them. Stupid of me; but they
make me blush, positively.

  [_JIMMIE comes to LILY, BLAND following her. On her way she sees the
  handkerchief and powder-puff lying upon the floor._

JIMMIE.

Why, _there_ it is! [_Picking up the handkerchief and puff, and
rubbing the puff, which is an extremely ragged one, over her nose--
singing sentimentally._] "There are no friends like the old friends,
The constant, tried, and true;--" [_Sitting beside LILY._] Room for a
little 'un?

  [_LILY, without interrupting her talk with FARNCOMBE, lays her hand on
  JIMMIE'S for a moment._

BLAND.

[_To JIMMIE._] Bring you anything?

JIMMIE.

[_Wrapping the puff in the handkerchief tenderly and slipping it into
her bosom._] A liqueur of petrol and a lucifer-match.

BLAND.

[_Leaving her._] Oh, go on!

MRS. STIDULPH.

[_To VON RETTENMAYER._] And then to give it all up, as I was idiot
enough to do when I married, and for a life as dull as ditch-water! If
ever a woman sacrificed herself in this world----!

  [_FULKERSON and DAPHNE enter at the door on the left and hurry to the
  counter._

FULKERSON.

[_Boisterously._] Time! Time! [_To those standing at the counter._]
'Low me. 'Low me. [_To LUIGI._] Glass o' lemonade and a
whiskey-and-soda. Quick with the whiskey-and-soda.

MRS. STIDULPH.

[_To VON RETTENMAYER._] But I don't intend to stick to _that_
arrangement. If I can't get back into the theatres, there are the
halls! I was telling the Colonel this morning----

ROPER.

[_Appearing before MRS. STIDULPH, his programme in his hand._] Ours,
Dolly.

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Rising with alacrity._] Aha! [_Bowing to MRS. STIDULPH._] I yield
with relugtance.

  [_ROPER sits beside MRS. STIDULPH and VON RETTENMAYER hastens to
  ENID._

ROPER.

[_To MRS. STIDULPH._] Another waltz.

DAPHNE.

[_To HENEAGE, who is claiming her._] Wait till I've finished my drink,
Stewie.

BLAND.

[_To NITA._] Nita.

NITA.

No; this is with Douglas.

BLAND.

Nothing o' the sort.

NITA.

[_Referring to her programme._] You're correct; my mistake.

DE CASTRO.

[_Coming to GABRIELLE who is talking to SYBIL._] Gabth.

GABRIELLE.

[_Dolefully._] Oh, you again!

DE CASTRO.

[_Mortified._] Afraid tho.

  [_The sound of distant music is again heard, and there is a great deal
  of bustle as the men claim their partners. TAVISH goes to EVANGELINE,
  GRIMWOOD to, FLO, PALK and GLYNN to OLGA and SYBIL, and gradually the
  assemblage melts away._

FULKERSON.

[_Coming to JIMMIE, who is conning her programme, and standing before
her-- reading from his programme._] "_Vawlse. Cry dee cure._"

JIMMIE.

[_With withering accuracy._] "_Valse. Cri de coeur._"

FULKERSON.

[_Wagging his head._] Very likely. Come along, Jimmie.

JIMMIE.

[_Rising and shaking herself out._] Jane to you, _if_ you please.

FULKERSON.

Tosh!

JIMMIE.

I was christened Jane, _Herbert_.

FULKERSON.

Well, I wasn't at the christening, see.

JIMMIE.

No; but if you are not more careful of those feet of yours while
you're waltzing, you _will_ be at my funeral.

  [_She takes his arm and they go out at the door on the left. SMYTHE,
  STIDULPH, COOLING, and SHIRLEY follow, talking together. All the
  couples have now disappeared except VON RETTENMAYER and ENID and
  FARNCOMBE and LILY. VON RETTENMAYER and ENID are at the counter, where
  LUIGI is giving VON RETTENMAYER a glass of champagne, and the waiters
  are busying themselves in collecting the soiled glasses, plates, etc.,
  which have been left upon the mantel-piece and chairs. The bearded
  waiter comes to LILY and she hands him her plate._

FARNCOMBE.

[_To LILY._] Shall we go down?

  [_She rises, leaving her bouquet upon the settee, and is about to put
  her arm through FARNCOMBE'S when she checks herself and looks at her
  programme._

LILY.

[_Frowning._] Tsss!

FARNCOMBE.

Eh?

LILY.

[_In a low voice._] One, two, three, four--! Why, this-- this is our
fifth dance!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Softly._] Yes.

LILY.

Five out of eight!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Looking at his programme._] And 10, 12, and 14 are mine, too.

LILY.

[_With a movement of her shoulders, accepting his arm._] How unfair!

FARNCOMBE.

[_As they go to the right-hand door at the back._] Unfair?

LILY.

To the others. I can't think what made me so thoughtless.

  [_They disappear. Two of the waiters carry out the soiled glasses,
  etc.; another follows with the ices, and the bearded waiter with the
  strawberries-and-cream. After a while, LUIGI also withdraws._

ENID.

[_Leaving the counter with VON RETTENMAYER._] Well, what did you say
to him?

VON RETTENMAYER.

I told him the biece wants lifding in the zecond aggd and that he
ought to gif you anoder dance.

ENID.

[_On the right._] What did _he_ say?

VON RETTENMAYER.

He will think it over!

ENID.

[_Scornfully._] Ha! That's Smythe's invariable formula, cunning old
fox!

VON RETTENMAYER.

But we are to dalk aboud it lader. I am waiding to ged him alone.

ENID.

Pff! _You_ won't get him alone, you stupid; _he'll_ take precious good
care of that. [_Finding that LUIGI and the waiters have departed, and
walking across to the left._] Ah, but it isn't dancing my mind's
dwelling on just now, dear boy.

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Following her._] Nod?

ENID.

It's rest I'm yearning for-- my holiday!-- rest for my weary bones.
[_Turning to him without a sign of disturbance._] Karl, I'm simply
bursting with rage.

VON RETTENMAYER.

Rage?

ENID.

That wretched hotel at Ostend-- the Plage! They've the confounded
impudence to ask me a hundred-and-twenty-five francs a day for two
cubby-holes on the third floor, for my aunt and me.

VON RETTENMAYER.

Monsdrous. [_With a shrug._] But Ostend is-- Ostend.

ENID.

Thanks for the information. Is that all the sympathy you can offer?

VON RETTENMAYER.

Bardon. [_Humbly._] There may be gheaper hodels.

ENID.

Where the common people pay for their beds and meals with Cook's
coupons! [_Sitting upon the arm of the further settee in the centre
and swinging her feet._] Oh, it doesn't matter. I suppose it'll have
to be Swanage, or some brisk resort of that description. [_Sighing._]
So be it! [_Humming._] Tra, lal, lal, la----!

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Sitting on the nearer settee in the centre, close to her, with an
anxious expression._] A hundred-and-twendy-five frangks a day?

ENID.

Including nothing-- absolutely nothing!

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Biting his nails._] Prezisely! There's the eading and dringking.

ENID.

One can't starve, that's certain.

VON RETTENMAYER.

Which would amound to----?

ENID.

[_Watching him out of the corner of her eye._] I believe aunt and I
could manage to feed ourselves on forty francs a day-- or fifty-- at a
pinch.

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_His face growing longer and longer._] A hundred-and-twendy-five--
and fifdy----

ENID.

A hundred-and-seventy-five. [_Stroking his hair with a finger._] Call
it two hundred.

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Leaning back appalled._] Fifdy-sigs bounds a weeg!

ENID.

Sixty, in round figures.

VON RETTENMAYER.

For a fordnight?

ENID.

Oh, no, dear; a fortnight's no use.

VON RETTENMAYER.

But one begomes sig of a blace afder a fordnight.

ENID.

If you only go for enjoyment; not if you go for rest-- rest.

VON RETTENMAYER.

Three weegs, then?

ENID.

A month. Smythe gives me the whole of August.

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Passing his hand across his forehead._] A month!

ENID.

[_Rising and carefully picking a piece of fluff from her skirt._]
We're losing this dance. Shall we have a turn?

  [_He gets to his feet with some difficulty and then faces her._

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Breathing heavily._] Enid----

ENID.

[_Guilelessly._] Yes?

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Putting his heels together and bowing to her._] If you would permid
me to be your bangker during your sday at Ostend-- four weegs----

ENID.

Karl----

VON RETTENMAYER.

I should be mosd gradified.

ENID.

[_Going to him._] I couldn't. Such an obligation!

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Bowing again._] On my side.

ENID.

[_Giving him her hands._] Of course, I'd defray my travelling
expenses, and tips and incidentals----

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Raising her hands to his lips._] Ah!----

ENID.

Not a penny of those should fall on you. [_Withdrawing her hands
quickly and backing away from him._] H'sh!

  [_STIDULPH enters at the door on the left and again wanders to the
  counter._

STIDULPH.

[_Taking another cigarette._] You're missing a very pretty waltz, Miss
Moncreiff.

ENID.

[_Going to the door on the left, VON RETTENMAYER following her._]
I was just saying so to the Baron.

  [_ENID and VON RETTENMAYER disappear. STIDULPH lights his cigarette
  and is leaving the counter when GABRIELLE and DE CASTRO enter at the
  right-hand door at the back, DE CASTRO looking exceedingly sulky._

STIDULPH.

[_To GABRIELLE and DE CASTRO._] Ah, Miss Kato; ah, Sam! A pleasant
party, eh?

DE CASTRO.

[_Shortly._] Yeth. [_STIDULPH goes out at the right-hand door at the
back. DE CASTRO crosses to the left and then turns to GABRIELLE._] Dam
pleathant party!

GABRIELLE.

[_Dolefully._] Well, don't make a scene.

DE CASTRO.

Thene! _I'm_ not makin' a thene. Walkin' away from me in the middle of
a danthe and leavin' me thtandin' thtarin' after you like a detherted
child! _You're_ makin' the thene!

GABRIELLE.

I'm very sorry.

DE CASTRO.

I'm jutht ath good a waltzther ath anyone here, and better than motht.
[_Waving his arms._] If you're tired of me, announthe the fact
quietly. Don't go and wipe your bootth on me in public, becauthe that
hurtth my pride.

GABRIELLE.

[_With a little twist of her body._] I can't do more than apologise.
First time I've ever done _that_ to a man.

DE CASTRO.

[_Coming to her, mollified._] I don't athk it, Gabth; I don't athk it.
All I athk----

GABRIELLE.

[_Sitting on the nearer settee in the centre._] If I'm rude, it's
owing to my low spirits. I'm so shockingly low-spirited.

DE CASTRO.

I know you are, and I make allowanthes for yer. I repeat, all I
athk----

GABRIELLE.

[_Gazing at vacancy._] Mine's a strange nature. _On_ the stage, I'm
liveliness itself----!

DE CASTRO.

A perfect little lump o' talent! I've been tellin' Carlton tho--
perthuadin' him to introduthe an extra thong for you in Act Two.

GABRIELLE.

[_Looking at DE CASTRO._] You have?

DE CASTRO.

Yeth.

GABRIELLE.

Did he promise to think it over?

DE CASTRO.

Hith exthact wordth!

GABRIELLE.

[_With a hollow laugh._] Ha, ha, ha! [_Resuming her former attitude._]
As I was remarking, I'm a mass of inconsistency. _On_ the stage the
embodiment of elfish fun----

DE CASTRO.

That wath in the _Mail_.

GABRIELLE.

[_Nodding._] In the _Mail_. _Off_ the stage, I'm a sufferer from
what's called the artistic temperature-- no-- temperament----

DE CASTRO.

[_Uncomfortably, patting her shoulder._] Po' little girl; po' little
girl!

GABRIELLE.

[_Her melancholy increasing._] Sometimes I've an idea that if I had a
motor-car of my _own_ I should feel easier and happier.

DE CASTRO.

[_With a change of tone._] What d'ye mean-- motor-car of yer own?
Mine'th alwayth at your dithpothal, ithn't it?

GABRIELLE.

[_Shaking her head._] That's not the same thing. Whenever I have yours
out, I'm weighed down by a sense of borrowing.

DE CASTRO.

Well, if I gave you a new car, you'd be weighed down by a thenthe of
my havin' paid for it.

GABRIELLE.

At first I should, but not for long. Seeing my family crest on the
door-panels, instead of your monogram, 'ud help me to forget you'd had
anything to do with it. [_Gloomily._] Of course, it 'ud only be an
experiment. It might cheer me up, or it mightn't.

  [_The music ceases. A waiter carrying a tray enters at the door on the
  left, goes behind the counter, and mixes some drinks._

DE CASTRO.

[_After a pause, loosening his collar-- in a low voice._] Here! We'd
better dithcuth thith experiment. [_Glancing over his shoulder at the
waiter._] Let'th come and thit in the pit.

GABRIELLE.

[_Rising._] I can't argue; my head's too bad for that.

DE CASTRO.

[_Leading her to the double-door._] I don't want to argue; I thimply
want to arrive at an underthtandin'. Thuppothin' I buy you a car, am I
to be made an arth of at the nexth danthe we happen to meet at-- yeth
or no?----

  [_They go out on to the landing and disappear as FULKERSON hurries in
  at the right-hand door at the back. His eyes are rather glassy and his
  utterance is a little thick._

FULKERSON.

[_To the waiter, joining him behind the counter._] Hi! Wake up, there!
Gla'sodawa'erf'misspirch'nth'stage. [_Distinctly._] Misspirch-- on
th'stage-- gla'-- sodawa'er. I'll have a whiskey. Wh'sthwhiskey?
Which-- is-- the-- whiskey? Than'g. [_Pouring some whiskey into a
tumbler._] You take sodaw'er t' Misspirch; I'll mix m'own whiskey.
Loo' sharp, sodaw'er Misspirch. [_The waiter goes out with the drinks
and FULKERSON, glass in hand, comes to the nearer side of the counter.
He swallows his drink greedily, singing to himself between the
gulps._] "Oh, the gals! Oh, the gals! I am awfully fond of the gals!
[_Putting his empty glass upon the counter and making for the door on
the left._] Be they ebon or blond, Of the gals I am fond; I am
_dreadfully_ fond of the gals!"

  [_He vanishes as FARNCOMBE and LILY enter at the right-hand door at
  the back. There is an air of constraint and uneasiness about the girl.
  She comes to the nearer settee in the centre and again picks up her
  bouquet. FARNCOMBE follows her. They talk in subdued voices and with
  frequent pauses._

FARNCOMBE.

Another ice?

LILY.

[_Rearranging a rose, almost inaudibly._] No, thanks.

FARNCOMBE.

[_After a pause._] I-- I wish I had given you a bouquet instead of a
big, ugly basket.

LILY.

Why?

FARNCOMBE.

You-- you might have brought it to the theatre, as you have that one,
and carried it about with you.

LILY.

[_Coldly._] I didn't bring this to the theatre.

FARNCOMBE.

No?

LILY.

I found it with a lot of other flowers at the stage-door. It's from
the gallery boys-- [_looking at him for a moment steadily_]-- and I
attach some value to it.

  [_The bearded waiter enters at the right-hand door at the back, takes
  a box of cigars from the counter, and goes out at the door on the
  left. LILY walks away from FARNCOMBE and seats herself upon the
  further settee in the centre._

FARNCOMBE.

[_After the waiter has withdrawn, producing his programme._] Number
Nine. "_Two Step. Mind the Paint._" [_To LILY._] Of course, you-- you
are engaged for this?

LILY.

And you, surely?

FARNCOMBE.

No, I-- I kept it open, in case-- in case----

LILY.

[_Decidedly._] I dance it with Morrie.

FARNCOMBE.

Mr. Cooling?

LILY.

Morrie Cooling.

FARNCOMBE.

[_After another pause, sitting, behind her, upon the nearer settee._]
Miss Parradell.

LILY.

Well?

FARNCOMBE.

I wonder whether Mr. Cooling would let you off.

LILY.

I shouldn't dream of asking him.

FARNCOMBE.

No, but-- may _I_?

LILY.

[_Haughtily._] I beg you'll do nothing of the sort.

FARNCOMBE.

Forgive me.

  [_There is a further pause and then she turns to him._

LILY.

Why I spoke so-- so sharply to you-- was----

FARNCOMBE.

You didn't speak sharply to me.

LILY.

Was because I've been very nasty with Morrie-- wrote him a furious
letter-- and I want to make it up to him.

FARNCOMBE.

Ah, yes.

LILY.

I called him a pig, and other things; I hate myself for it.

FARNCOMBE.

A pig?

LILY.

[_Smiling._] Still, that's no reason why I should be nasty with _you_.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Laughingly._] And call _me_ a pig.

LILY.

[_Impulsively, kneeling upon the settee so that she may compare her
programme with his._] Look here! Fifteen-- the last but one. Are you
fixed up for Fifteen?

FARNCOMBE.

No.

LILY.

No!

FARNCOMBE.

I kept it open-- in case----

LILY.

[_Merrily._] Ha, ha--! [_Checking herself, severely._] I _might_ be
able to give you Fifteen. [_FARNCOMBE scribbles on his programme
eagerly._] Don't count on it, please; but it's booked to Mr.
Fulkerson, and Bertie's not always to be depended upon at that hour.

FARNCOMBE.

Thank you-- thank you-- thank you. [_She resumes her seat and he jumps
up and goes to her._] That reminds me. May I ask who is going to see
you home, Miss Parradell?

LILY.

See me home?

FARNCOMBE.

It would be an honour that I should-- appreciate-- more than I can--
find words to express.

LILY.

[_Rising, sternly._] I am very much obliged to you. [_Walking away
from him again._] I dare say Mr. Roper will see me home-- and Mr. de
Castro-- and Mr. Bland----

FARNCOMBE.

[_Following her, unhappily._] I-- I hope-- I-- I hope I haven't
offended you.

LILY.

Not in the least; [_in a frigid tone_] only I am in the habit of
relying on old friends for those little services.

  [_STIDULPH enters from the landing and again wanders to the counter
  and to the cigarettes. The "Mind the Paint" air, to the time of a Two
  Step, is played in the distance._

FARNCOMBE.

[_Bowing to LILY slightly and drawing himself up._] Shall I-- take you
to Mr. Cooling?

LILY.

[_With dignity, inclining her head._] Will you? [_She is putting her
hand through his arm when the look upon his face softens her. She
drops her voice to a whisper._] Have I hurt you?

FARNCOMBE.

Oh, I deserve the rebuke.

LILY.

No, you don't. [_Gently._] You may leave me at my door, with the
others, if it will give you any satisfaction.

  [_As they walk to the door on the left, they are met by COOLING._

COOLING.

[_To LILY, breathlessly._] Haw! Here you are!

LILY.

[_Leaving FARNCOMBE, her manner altering completely._] Come on,
Morrie! [_Her feet moving to the music._] Tra, lal, la! Tra, lal, la!
[_Giving her bouquet to FARNCOMBE._] Hi-i-i-i-i! Bring my flowers!

COOLING AND LILY.

Tra, lal, la! Tra, lal, la----!

  [_They run out, half dancing._

STIDULPH.

[_Calling to FARNCOMBE, who is following them._] Lord Farncombe!

FARNCOMBE.

Yes?

STIDULPH.

[_Going to him._] Will you spare me a moment?

FARNCOMBE.

[_A little impatiently._] Er-- certainly.

STIDULPH.

[_Laying a shaky hand on FARNCOMBE'S arm and leading him away from the
door._] Excuse me for what I'm going to say to you. I-- I know your
father-- knew him very well years ago-- and your mother. [_With deep
feeling._] My boy-- my dear boy----

FARNCOMBE.

[_Surprised._] Colonel?

STIDULPH.

I-- I-- I'm sorry to find you in this set.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Stiffly._] What do you mean?

STIDULPH.

Don't be angry with me. I'm an old man-- and an old fool; but it's
from the fools that the useful lessons are to be learned.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Withdrawing his arm from STIDULPH._] I really don't understand you.

STIDULPH.

Try to. Not now-- another time; when this music isn't exciting you,
nor these pretty women. Think it out by yourself! You're at the
beginning of your career, my boy. Remember me-- the old fool who's
brought _his_ to a miserable end-- and that I cautioned you--
cautioned you--!

  [_LUIGI hurries in at the door on the left, followed by a waiter
  carrying a tray, and by the waiter with the beard._

LUIGI.

[_Laughing._] He, he, he, he! [_Behind the counter, preparing
drinks._] Look out, gentlemen; you are losing it all. They are having
a romp-- a fine lark. [_FARNCOMBE goes out at the door on the left._]
Make haste, Colonel; make haste! [_STIDULPH goes out, slowly, at the
right-hand door at the back._] Whiskey-and-soda for Mr. Tavish;
liqueur of brandy-- Mr. Grimwood. [_The waiter carrying the tray goes
out with the drinks at the door on the left._] Ha, ha, ha! [_Singing
to the music._] Tra, lal, la! Tra, lal, la----!

  [_LUIGI is following the waiter who has carried out the tray when the
  bearded waiter, coming to the nearer settee in the centre, calls to
  him._

THE BEARDED WAITER.

[_Sitting upon the settee, gruffly._] Luigi.

LUIGI.

[_Halting._] Eh?

THE BEARDED WAITER.

[_Taking out a handful of money and selecting some gold from it._]
Here! [_Putting the gold into LUIGI'S palm._] For your chaps.

LUIGI.

Oh, you are spoiling them.

THE BEARDED WAITER.

[_Giving some more gold pieces to LUIGI._] For you.

LUIGI.

[_Bowing low._] Thank you very much. [_With a polite grin, as he
disposes of the coins in different pockets._] Hope you have enjoyed
yourself, Captain.

THE BEARDED WAITER.

[_Speaking in the voice of JEYES._] Thoroughly. [_Quietly, between his
teeth._] Warm work, though! [_Rising slowly, like a man with stiff
joints._] I'll be off now, with your permission.

LUIGI.

See you at lunch, Captain?

JEYES.

Probably. [_Nodding._] Good-night. Good morning. [_He slouches away to
the door on the left and there stops, listening. There is the sound of
people approaching, singing uproariously and shouting and laughing._]
Hullo!

LUIGI.

[_At his elbow._] Ho, ho, ho, ho!

  [_LUIGI goes out into the corridor and JEYES retreats behind the
  counter. The noise increases and presently FULKERSON rushes in,
  flourishing his arms madly. He is followed by GLYNN and SHIRLEY who
  are carrying LILY upon their interlocked hands, and by PALK who is
  helping to support her. Then come HENEAGE and NITA, GRIMWOOD and
  DAPHNE, TAVISH and FLO, VON RETTENMAYER and ENID, DE CASTRO and
  GABRIELLE, ROPER and MRS. STIDULPH, FARNCOMBE and JIMMIE, BLAND and
  EVANGELINE, COOLING and SYBIL, and SMYTHE and OLGA. Singing the chorus
  of the "Mind the Paint" song, and dancing to it wildly, they circle
  the saloon twice, go out at the right-hand door at the back, return at
  the door on the left, and finally disappear through the double-door
  and along the landing. The waiters, who have brought up the rear of
  the procession, gather, with LUIGI, in the left-hand corner, clapping
  their hands, and STIDULPH returns, entering at the right-hand door at
  the back._

LILY.

[_Waving her bouquet and shrieking with laughter._] Ha, ha, ha, ha!
Don't drop me! Don't drop me!

HENEAGE AND GRIMWOOD.

[_Yelling._] Whoop! Whoop!

FULKERSON.

[_Deliriously, endeavouring to stand upon his head._] Wh-o-o-op!

JIMMIE.

[_Breaking from the rank and jumping on to the further settee--
singing._] "Mind the paint! Mind the paint! A girl is not a sinner
just because she's not a saint!----"

LILY.

Ha, ha, ha! You'll drop me! Oh----!

  [_As the procession passes out of sight, followed by LUIGI and the
  waiters, JEYES departs at the door on the left and STIDULPH once more
  goes to the counter and lights a cigarette._

  END OF THE SECOND ACT.



  THE THIRD ACT


_The scene is LILY'S boudoir-- a room upon the second floor of her
house, adjoining her bedroom. The decorations, though delicate, are
gay, with a good deal of pink in them._

_In the wall facing the spectator are two doors, one on the left, the
other in the centre. The left-hand door opens into the room from the
landing, where the staircase is shown; the centre door admits to the
bedroom. In the right-hand wall there are two sash-windows giving a
view of the tops of trees growing in a square; in the opposite wall,
the grate hidden by a low, painted screen, is the fireplace._

_A prettily designed "fitment" runs along the left-hand wall and the
further wall, taking in the fireplace and doors as part of its scheme.
On either side of the fireplace there is a cupboard with drawers
beneath it; between the door on the left and the door in the centre is
a similar cupboard; and on the right of the centre door, extending to
the right-hand wall, there is a wardrobe with sliding doors. The
cupboard doors are glazed and curtained in pink silk._

_In the middle of the room, a little to the right, there is a large
and comfortable settee, and on the left of the settee is a table
littered with books, magazines, a scent-atomizer, a small
silver-framed mirror, a case of manicure instruments, a box of
cigarettes and a match-stand, and other odds and ends. Behind the
table there is a fauteuil-stool, and on the right of the table a cosy
arm-chair. A second arm-chair stands apart, between the table in the
centre and the fireplace._

_On the extreme left of the room, on the nearer side of the fireplace,
there is a box-ottoman; on the other side of the room, by the nearer
window, are a small writing-table and chair; standing across the
right-hand corner, the key-board towards the further window, are a
cottage-piano and a music-stool; and at the back of the piano there is
another small chair, with some soiled gloves upon it._

_A quantity of music is heaped untidily on the top of the piano; one
of the wardrobe doors is open, revealing some dresses hanging within;
and the edge of a lace petticoat, with its insertion of coloured
ribbon, peeps out from under the carelessly-closed lid of the
box-ottoman. Two milliner's hat-boxes are on the floor by the ottoman,
and a pair of satin slippers are lying, one here, one there, under the
centre table._

_The window-blinds are down but the daylight is seen through them._


  [_The door on the left opens and LILY, still carrying her bouquet,
  enters and makes straight for the windows and draws up the blinds,
  letting in the clear, morning light. She is followed by ENID,
  GABRIELLE, DAPHNE, and JIMMIE and they by FARNCOMBE, VON RETTENMAYER,
  DE CASTRO, ROPER, FULKERSON, and BLAND. They are all pale and haggard,
  and slightly dishevelled, but everybody seems broad awake except
  DAPHNE, who is borne down by sleepiness. Some of the men are smoking._

LILY.

[_Laying her bouquet upon the table in the centre as she crosses to
the windows-- to the women._] Come in, dears; [_drawing up the blind
of the nearer window_] come in, boys. Take off your things for a
minute.

FULKERSON.

[_Whose inebriety has reached the argumentative stage._] Working
classhes! Don' talk t' me 'bout th' working classhes!

JIMMIE.

H'sh! Shut up, Bertie.

FULKERSON.

I'm s'h'ick o' th' ve'y mention o' th' name-- working classhes!

JIMMIE.

Sit on his head, somebody. We shall wake Ma and the servants.

LILY.

[_Taking off her wrap and hanging it up in the wardrobe._] Don't
worry; you won't wake _my_ servants. And mother's bound to hear us;
she sleeps so lightly when I'm out.

DAPHNE.

[_Gaping violently._] Oh-h-h-h!

JIMMIE.

[_Clapping her hand over DAPHNE'S mouth._] Manners!

FULKERSON.

[_Depositing his overcoat and hat upon the fauteuil-stool._] One 'ud
'magine th' working-man'sh th' on'y pershon who ever does day'sh work!
Ridiculush!

VON RETTENMAYER AND BLAND.

Ha, ha, ha, ha!

DE CASTRO.

Thome truth in what Bertie'th thayin', though. For inthtanthe----

FULKERSON.

[_With great disgust._] Br'ish working-man!

ROPER.

By Jove, yes! When I think o' the work Mr. Lionel Hesketh Roper
manages to dispose of in the course of a day----!

  [_VON RETTENMAYER and DE CASTRO have placed their overcoats and hats
  upon the chair at the back of the piano and FARNCOMBE, BLAND, and
  ROPER have piled theirs on the arm-chair on the left. ENID and
  GABRIELLE throw their wraps upon the settee, DAPHNE drops hers upon
  the box-ottoman, and JIMMIE puts hers over the arm of the chair by the
  centre table._

LILY.

[_To everybody._] I'll just run upstairs and tell mother that all's
serene. [_She goes to the door on the left; FARNCOMBE, BLAND, and
ROPER get in each other's way in their desire to open it for her._] If
any of you want a drink, you must hunt for it yourselves in the
dining-room. [_To ROPER._] You play host, Uncle Lal.

  [_She disappears, turning to the left and ascending the stairs._

ROPER.

[_Briskly._] Now, then, give your orders, gents! [_Coming forward._]
Ladies, don't all speak at once.

FULKERSON.

[_Making for the door._] I'll have sma' whiskeyan' soda.

  [_He goes along the landing and down the stairs._

BLAND.

[_Following him._] No, no! Bertie! Bertie----!

JIMMIE.

[_Seated in the arm-chair by the centre table-- to ROPER._] Stop it.
We'll have trouble enough to get that boy home as it is.

  [_ROPER hurries out after BLAND and FULKERSON. VON RETTENMAYER and DE
  CASTRO also move to the door._

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_To ENID, who is sitting with GABRIELLE on the settee._] Enid----?

ENID.

A glass of soda-water.

GABRIELLE.

Same for me, Von.

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_To JIMMIE._] Jimmie----?

JIMMIE.

No, thanks.

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Looking down upon DAPHNE, who has curled herself up on the
box-ottoman and is already asleep-- sentimentally._] Baby-- baby----

DAPHNE.

[_Half sighing, half moaning._] Ah-h-h-h!

JIMMIE.

[_To VON RETTENMAYER._] Don't disturb her. Let her have her snooze in
peace.

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Still contemplating DAPHNE._] Shall I bring you your boddle, you
preddy liddle baby?

ENID.

[_Annoyed._] Don't be an idiot, Karl. [_To DE CASTRO, who is talking
to FARNCOMBE._] Sam, will _you_ fetch me some soda-water?

VON RETTENMAYER. [_To ENID, bestirring himself._] I beg bardon.

  [_He goes out, with DE CASTRO. ENID has taken the mirror from the
  table and now looks at herself in it._

ENID.

What a sight! [_To GABRIELLE._] I wonder whether Lil would mind me
going into her bedroom?

GABRIELLE.

[_Taking the mirror from ENID._] Of course she wouldn't. [_Viewing
herself with dismay._] Oh, I'm yellower than you!

  [_She jumps up, throwing the mirror upon the settee, and goes to the
  door in the centre. ENID follows her and the two girls open the door
  narrowly and withdraw. JIMMIE rises and picks up the mirror._

JIMMIE.

[_With one knee upon the settee, surveying herself._] Ugh, you lovely
creature! [_Glancing at FARNCOMBE as she readjusts a comb, and finding
that he is gazing at her earnestly._] Turn your face to the wall,
please; I'm about to use my puff.

  [_Suddenly, with rapid movements, he shuts the door on the left, gives
  a quick look at DAPHNE, assures himself that the centre door is
  closed, and comes to JIMMIE. She stares at him in astonishment._

FARNCOMBE.

[_Standing at the back of the settee-- in a low voice._] Miss Birch,
you're Miss Parradell's friend-- her great friend. Will you be a
friend of mine too, and do me a service?

JIMMIE.

[_Startled._] It-- it all depends----

FARNCOMBE.

Beg her to allow me to remain behind, with you, for a few minutes
after the others have gone.

JIMMIE.

Remain-- you and I?

FARNCOMBE.

And then, if she will, will you wait in the next room while I speak to
her? Miss Birch, I-- I must speak to her.

JIMMIE.

W-w-wouldn't-- to-morrow----?

FARNCOMBE.

It _is_ to-morrow _now_. It's day.

JIMMIE.

[_Dropping her eyes._] She's tired.

FARNCOMBE.

Five minutes-- no longer. [_Entreatingly._] Won't you try to arrange
it for me?

JIMMIE.

[_Pursing her lips._] H'm! _I'd_ stay; delighted. [_Demurely._] It
doesn't matter how tired _I_ feel.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Contritely._] I'm a brute!

JIMMIE.

But I really think the _arranging_ is your job, Lord Farncombe.

FARNCOMBE.

I know I should make a bungle of it with all these people round me,
and attract attention. _You're_ clever.

JIMMIE.

[_Raising her eyes to his, abruptly._] Look here! Do I guess
correctly?

FARNCOMBE.

What----?

  [_She pulls him towards her and whispers into his ear. He nods. She
  whispers again, breathlessly, and then releases him._

JIMMIE.

Eh? Eh?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Drawing back and facing her, firmly._] Yes.

JIMMIE.

[_Walking away, in a flutter._] Oh! Oh! Oh!

FARNCOMBE.

You'll help me? [_She pauses, deliberating._] You'll help me?

JIMMIE.

[_Returning to him, with an air of prudence._] I tell you what I
_will_ do. [_Pointing to the writing-table._] Scribble her a note--
a line-- and I'll give it to her. That won't attract attention. I've
no objection to do _that_ for you. Hurry up! [_He sits at the
writing-table and searches for writing materials._] In the drawer.
[_He opens a drawer and takes out a sheet of note-paper. Standing at
the other side of the table, she selects a pen and hands it to him._]
A "J" suit you?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Taking the pen from her._] What shall I say?

JIMMIE.

Ho, ho! Well, I _never_! [_He writes._] Oh, but it isn't exactly a
love-letter, is it? Simply say-- what was the expression you used just
now?-- "will you allow me to remain behind for a few minutes with Miss
Birch after the others have gone?"

FARNCOMBE.

[_Writing._] Thank you.

JIMMIE.

[_With a little wriggle._] Call me Jimmie if you like.

FARNCOMBE.

Thank you.

JIMMIE.

[_Knitting her brow thoughtfully._] I suppose you ought to give her an
inkling, though-- the merest hint-- of the _reason_, oughtn't you?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Looking up._] Ought I?

JIMMIE.

Well, you don't want her to think it's only to chat about the
weather----!

FARNCOMBE.

For heaven's sake, don't chaff me! [_writing_] "--after the others
have gone?" [_Biting his pen._] How would this do? "I know I am
presuming a lot, but I-- I can't leave you-- I can't leave you till
I-- till I have asked you-- till I have asked you the most important
question a man can put to a woman."

JIMMIE.

Oh, but that's ideal! [_GABRIELLE reappears._] Dash these girls! [_To
GABRIELLE, whose complexion is much improved._] Lord Farncombe is
writing me out a remedy for freckles. Isn't it sweet of him?

GABRIELLE.

[_Mournfully._] Freckles! If you want to see a martyr to freckles,
knock at _my_ door.

  [_ENID returns, with lips that are a little too red, as VON
  RETTENMAYER and DE CASTRO re-enter at the door on the left. They leave
  the door open. VON RETTENMAYER is carrying a syphon of soda-water and
  DE CASTRO two tumblers. The men put the syphon and tumblers on the
  centre table and VON RETTENMAYER fills the glasses and he and DE
  CASTRO hand them to ENID and GABRIELLE._

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_To ENID and GABRIELLE._] I hobe we haf nod kepd you waiding.

DE CASTRO.

Bertie'th been makin' himthelf a reg'lar nuithanthe downthairth.

ENID.

Poor Bertie! Pity he has this little failing.

GABRIELLE.

[_With mild enthusiasm._] Yes, there's not a nicer boy in London than
Bertie, bar that.

DE CASTRO.

Flieth to hith head tho!

  [_The four continue talking. JIMMIE has gone back to FARNCOMBE, who is
  still writing, and is watching him impatiently._

JIMMIE.

[_To FARNCOMBE, under her breath._] Do be quick!

  [_Hastily he blots his note and folds it. BLAND, FULKERSON, and ROPER
  appear on the landing, issuing from the staircase, and there they are
  joined by LILY, who comes down the stairs._

FULKERSON.

[_On the landing, to LILY, indignantly._] Lirry-- Misspa'dell----

JIMMIE.

[_To FARNCOMBE._] Here she is!

ROPER.

[_To FULKERSON._] Now, then; have it out with Lily!

LILY.

What's wrong?

  [_FARNCOMBE rises and slips his note into JIMMIE'S hand._

FULKERSON.

[_To LILY._] Mosht unjusht'fiable treatmen' 'n th' part 'f these
gen'lemen!

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Listening, with the others at the centre table, to what is going on
upon the landing._] Ha, ha, ha, ha!

JIMMIE.

[_To FARNCOMBE, over her shoulder._] Good luck!

BLAND.

[_To LILY._] The youth is irate with us for cutting off supplies.

  [_LILY enters with FULKERSON; ROPER and BLAND following. BLAND strolls
  over to the piano, laughing._

FULKERSON.

[_To LILY._] M' argumen' is this. When a gen'leman'sh invited b' th'
lady 'f th' house t' partake 'f refreshmen'----

LILY.

[_To FULKERSON._] Be quiet, Bertie, or I'll box your ears. [_Joining
the group at the centre table._] Ho, ho! I've had such a wigging for
asking you up. Mother says we girls'll look as ugly as sin on the
stage to-night.

ENID.

So we shall-- hags.

LILY.

[_Sitting in the arm-chair by the centre table._] I feel as fresh as
paint. [_To GABRIELLE._] Give me a sip.

  [_DE CASTRO hands GABRIELLE'S glass to LILY._

FULKERSON.

[_Gazing at DAPHNE stupidly and singing to himself._] "Oh, the gals!
Oh, the gals! I am awfully fond of the gals!----"

VON RETTENMAYER, ROPER, DE CASTRO, ENID AND GABRIELLE.

[_Chiming in with FULKERSON lightly._] "Be they ebon or blond, Of the
gals I am fond;----"! Ha, ha, ha, ha!

BLAND.

H'sh, h'sh! Ma's quite right. [_Seating himself at the piano._] One
more turn and then let's clear out.

LILY.

[_Jumping up._] Hurrah! [_To ROPER, as BLAND runs his hands over the
key-board._] Shut the door, Uncle Lal.

VON RETTENMAYER.

Aha! One more durn! [_To ENID._] Enid----!

FULKERSON.

[_Singing._] "I am dreadfully fond of the gals!"

ROPER.

[_Closing the door._] Choose your partners, gents! [_Very softly BLAND
plays the melody of a languorous song and instantly VON RETTENMAYER
and ENID and DE CASTRO and GABRIELLE dance to it-- VON RETTENMAYER and
ENID at the back, DE CASTRO and GABRIELLE near the piano._]
Jimmie----!

  [_JIMMIE passes LILY to go to ROPER. As she does so, she presses
  FARNCOMBE'S note into LILY'S palm._

JIMMIE.

[_To LILY, in a whisper._] Rat-tat, says the postman! [_Catching hold
of ROPER and swinging him round._] La, ra, ral, la----!

LILY.

[_To FARNCOMBE, who is standing by the writing-table._] Lord
Farncombe----?

  [_FARNCOMBE goes to her and they dance together._

FULKERSON.

[_To DAPHNE, tapping her on the shoulder._] Missdure, may I have th'
grea' pleasure----? [_Shaking her._] Missdure-- Missdure----

DAPHNE.

[_Starting up._] Oh! [_Looking round wildly._] Oh----!

FULKERSON.

[_Dancing with her._] Pray 'xcuse th' absence 'f gloves.

DAPHNE.

[_Faintly._] Oh! Oh, I-- I thought I'd gone to bed!

  [_With their hands on each other's shoulders, the couples, swaying
  from side to side, half sing, half murmur, the refrain of the song._

  If you would only, only love me;
  If you would merely, merely say,
  Wait but a little, little for me,
  I will be yours, be yours some day!

  [_The refrain is repeated, the dancers droning to it with a, buzzing
  sound, and then BLAND returns to the melody._

LILY.

[_As she dances, recollecting the note she is holding and opening
it._] What's this? [_Reading the note, her arm resting upon
FARNCOMBE'S shoulder._] "Dear Miss Parradell.... [_glancing at the
signature_] Farncombe"! [_To FARNCOMBE._] From you!

FARNCOMBE.

Yes.

LILY.

[_Reading._] "Will you allow me to----?"

  [_She reads to the end silently, and then she stops dancing and they
  stand for a moment looking confusedly at each other. Then, with an
  expressionless face, she slips the note into her dress and they dance
  again, singing the refrain as before._

BLAND.

[_At the finish, shutting down the lid of the piano and rising._]
Ladies and gentlemen, the festivities connected with Miss Parradell's
birthday are over. [_Leaving the piano._] Our lives will now resume
their normal, serious course.

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Regretfully._] Ah-h-h-h!

  [_The ladies put on their wraps, the men their overcoats, and there is
  a great deal of stir and chatter. DE CASTRO assists GABRIELLE; VON
  RETTENMAYER, ENID; FULKERSON, DAPHNE; and FARNCOMBE, JIMMIE. LILY
  joins in the talk and bustle with forced animation. JIMMIE and
  FARNCOMBE glance at her, and then, inquiringly, at one another._

ROPER.

[_Putting on his overcoat with BLAND'S help._] Well, nobody can say
the affair hasn't been a brilliant success; that's one comfort.

GABRIELLE.

Wouldn't be true if they did. [_To DE CASTRO, irritably._] You've got
it inside-out.

LILY.

[_To ENID and GABRIELLE, kneeling upon the settee._] Ah, yes, haven't
we had a splendid, splendid time!

ENID.

Splendid!

VON RETTENMAYER.

A gharming pardy!

DE CASTRO.

Abtholutely A 1!

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Singing._] "Venus, seinen Nacken beut Dir Dein Sklave,
dienstbereit!"

LILY.

[_Running to ROPER and seizing his hands._] A vote of thanks to Lal
for his share in getting it up!

BLAND.

[_Slapping ROPER on the back._] Bravo, Lal!

SOME OF THE OTHERS.

Bravo, Lal!

LILY.

[_Walking about._] And to Carlton! Bravo, Carlton!

SOME OF THE OTHERS.

Bravo, Carlton! Bravo, Smythe!

DE CASTRO.

[_Putting on his overcoat._] Don't forget Morrie Coolin'!

LILY.

No, don't forget Morrie. Dear old Morrie!

SOME OF THE OTHERS.

Bravo, Morrie!

DE CASTRO.

There hathn't been a hitch from thtart to finish, in fact.

LILY.

[_At the nearer side of the table again._] Not a hitch.

FULKERSON.

[_Remembering his grievance._] I beg yo' par'n-- no' a 'itch! [_In
difficulties with his overcoat._] When a gen'leman'sh invited b' th'
lady 'f th' house t' partake 'f some refreshmen'----

SOME OF THE OTHERS.

Ha, ha, ha, ha!

GABRIELLE.

[_Coming to LILY and kissing her._] So long, dear.

  [_ENID, DAPHNE, and JIMMIE also come to LILY, who embraces them
  demonstratively, and the men follow._

LILY.

[_To the girls._] Ta-ta; ta-ta; ta-ta! I won't come down.

ENID.

No, no; we'll let ourselves out. [_Leaving LILY._] Till to-night!

LILY.

Till to-night! [_Shaking hands with the men._] Ta-ta; ta-ta; ta-ta!

THE MEN.

Ta-ta! Ta-ta! Ta-ta!

VON RETTENMAYER.

[_Kissing her hand slyly._] Goddess!

LILY.

[_To BLAND, in a whisper._] Take care of Bertie. [_Everybody moves to
the door, except LILY who remains standing in the middle of the room.
Some are on the landing, some in the doorway, when she calls to ROPER
and JIMMIE._] Uncle Lal! Jimmie! I want to speak to you two for a
second. [_ROPER and JIMMIE detach themselves from the rest and
return._] Oh-- and Lord Farncombe! [_FARNCOMBE also returns and LILY,
passing him, goes on to the landing and mixes with the others._] Be
off; Lord Farncombe and Lal will look after Jimmie. Vincent, _you_
close the front-door. No noise! Au revoir, mes enfants! [_She watches
them descend the stairs and, her manner softening, comes back into the
room._] Lord Farncombe wants to have a quiet talk with me, Uncle Lal--
about-- about something, and he's asked me to let him remain behind
with Jimmie for a few minutes. [_To JIMMIE._] But there's no necessity
for you to wait, dear.

JIMMIE.

Don't consider me.

LILY.

But I do. Go upstairs and tell mother that Lord Farncombe's with me.
Say I promise he shan't stay long. [_To ROPER._] You'll take Jimmie
home, won't you, Lal?

ROPER.

[_His eyes bolting._] W-w-with pleasure.

LILY.

[_To JIMMIE._] I shall see you again later in the day, perhaps?

JIMMIE.

Rather! [_Throwing her arms round LILY'S neck and pressing her cheek
to LILY'S._] Rather! [_To ROPER, significantly._] Sit in the hall till
I'm ready.

  [_She runs out on to the landing, pausing at the door to bestow a
  parting nod and a smile upon FARNCOMBE, and ascends the stairs._

ROPER.

[_In a state of great excitement and exhilaration-- to LILY._] Yes,
yes, I won't keep you and-- [_winking at her and jerking his head in
FARNCOMBE'S direction_] from your _tête-à-tête_. [_Patting her face
gleefully._] Ha, ha, ha, ha! [_Taking her hand, his own quivering._]
Lil, Uncle Lal you call me, but I've always felt more like a parent
towards you-- acted as such, hey?

LILY.

Y-y-yes, Lal.

ROPER.

And any happiness that befalls you-- any happiness that befalls you--
[_choking_] I'll leave it there. God bless yer; God bless yer!
[_bustling over to FARNCOMBE who, his hat in his hand, his overcoat on
his arm, is standing near the piano_] and God bless _you_, my lad!
[_incoherently_] I'm proud-- proud to have the honour-- and to have
been the means of-- the means of-- [_wringing FARNCOMBE'S hand_] God
bless you both! [_He goes to the door and there finds LILY._] I-- I--
I-- I'll drop in by-and-by and-- and-- and inquire after you, my pet.

LILY.

[_Faintly._] All right, Lal.

ROPER.

[_Patting her face again._] Ha, ha, ha, ha! [_With a hop._] Wurrr-roo!
Stand away from the lift; no more passengers this journey!

  [_He waves to FARNCOMBE gaily and departs, closing the door. There is
  a short silence and then FARNCOMBE places his hat and overcoat upon
  the chair by the piano and turns to LILY._

FARNCOMBE.

[_In a low voice._] It's awfully kind and gracious of you to have
granted my request, and frightfully selfish of me to have made it.
I deserve to be kicked.

LILY.

[_Slowly advancing to the table in the centre-- avoiding his gaze._]
Is-- is Jimmie aware of precisely what's in your note?

FARNCOMBE.

Y-y-yes. [_Drawing nearer to her._] I hope you won't be angry with me
for confiding in her. You see, I-- I----

LILY.

[_At the further side of the table, fingering one of the objects upon
it._] And _she'll_ confide in Uncle Lal. [_Shrugging her shoulders._]
Oh, but dear old Lal appears to have summed up the situation pretty
accurately as it is. [_With an artificial little laugh._] Ha, ha, ha!
Well, I'm afraid they'll be horribly disappointed, poor wretches.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Blankly._] Disap-pointed?

LILY.

[_Raising her eyes to his and shaking her head at him._] You-- you
silly boy!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Coming to her quickly._] Ah, please-- please don't take that tone
with me. I'm no boy. And I'm simply mad about you. If you don't marry
me, I-- I-- I'm done for.

LILY.

H'sh! Nonsense; not you!

FARNCOMBE.

It's true. Life'll be over for me from that moment, if you refuse to
marry me.

LILY.

[_Mockingly._] Over!

FARNCOMBE.

Oh, love is all on my side at present, naturally; but, as God hears
me, it'll be no fault of mine if you don't grow to love me in time.

LILY.

Listen----!

FARNCOMBE.

I'll worship you-- worship you. I _do_ worship you!

LILY.

H'sh! Lord Farncombe----

FARNCOMBE.

_Eddie!_ Won't you?

LILY.

Certainly not.

FARNCOMBE.

Do! Eddie! Eddie!

LILY.

Eddie, then----

FARNCOMBE.

Ah----!

LILY.

Sit down a minute. [_She goes to the settee and sits there, somewhat
ruffled, and he moves to the arm-chair by the centre table and also
sits, his elbows on his knees, bending towards her. She pushes her
hair back from her brow impatiently, as if vexed with herself._] Lord
Farncombe-- Eddie-- for how long have you known me?

FARNCOMBE.

What does it matter? I-- I admit----

LILY.

Reckoning our acquaintance from last week-- from the afternoon Bertie
brought you here, when we scarcely spoke to one another-- you haven't
known me for as many days as you can count on your fingers.

FARNCOMBE.

I've watched you-- watched you in the theatre----

LILY.

On the stage! Ho, ho! Oh, you-- but I mustn't call you silly boy
again, must I! And what do you know _of_ me, apart from the glimpse
you've had of me off the stage, and my being a shining light at the
Pandora? What do you know of my-- what's the word?-- origin-- where
and what I've sprung from; how I was reared; how much education I've
received; how much I've contrived to pick up of the way to behave in
_per_lite society? You can judge from poor mother, if from nothing
else, that I come from humble beginnings. Yes, but _how_ humble you
couldn't _dream_, [_making a grimace_] not after a supper of raw
carrots!

FARNCOMBE.

Do you think I _care_ how humble your beginnings were! What I do
know-- what I _am_ sure about-- is that you're good-- and beautiful--
and-- and-- and gifted-- and-- and-- [_leaning his head on his hands_]
oh, I can't describe you; you're-- you're-- to me, you're _perfect_.

LILY.

[_After a pause, looking at him with blinking eyelids._] You-- you
_dear_! [_He raises his head. She changes her tone instantly._]
_Merci_; yes, perfect, _pour le moment_. Hear my French! [_Taking the
box of cigarettes from the table._] Have a cigarette? Don't get up.
[_She tosses him a cigarette and he catches it._] My name's printed on
them-- "Lily." [_Lighting a cigarette._] Isn't it _chic_!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Producing his cigarette case and exchanging her cigarette for one of
his own._] I'll never smoke _that_.

LILY.

[_Pushing the match-stand towards him._] _Stoo_pid! Now, attend to me.
What do you say to a tiny provision shop in Kennington, over the
water?

FARNCOMBE.

Was that----?

LILY.

[_Nodding._] H'm; that was my start in the world. Father kept a small
shop in Kennington-- Gladwin Street, near the Oval. We sold groceries,
and butter and eggs and cheese, and pickled-pork and paraffin. I was
born there-- on the second floor; and in Gladwin Street I lived till I
was fourteen. Then father smashed, through the Stores cutting into our
little trade. Well, hardly smashed; that's too imposing. The business
just faded, and one morning we didn't bother to take the shutters
down. Then, after a while, father got a starvation berth-- eighteen
shillings a week!-- at a wholesale bacon warehouse-- Price and
Moseley's-- still over the water; and I earned an extra five at a
place in the Westminster Bridge Road, for pasting the gilt edges on to
passe-partouts from nine a.m. till six in the evening.

FARNCOMBE.

[_His head bowed again._] Great heavens!

LILY.

Not a syllable against the passe-partouts! They were the making of me.
It was the passe-partouts that brought me and Tedder together.

FARNCOMBE.

Who?

LILY.

Tedder. In the house where I worked, a man of the name of Tedder--
Ambrose Tedder-- taught dancing-- stage dancing-- "Tedder's Academy of
Saltatory Art"-- and every time I passed Tedder's door, and heard his
violin or piano, and the sound of the pupils' feet, I--! [_Breaking
off and throwing herself back._] Oh, lor', if once I----!

FARNCOMBE.

Go on; go on.

LILY.

Well, ultimately Tedder took me and trained me-- did it for nix-- for
what he hoped to get out of me in the future. Ah, and he _hasn't_ lost
over me-- poor old Ambrose! He collared a third of my salary for ever
so long; and now that the old chap's rheumaticky and worn out, I-- oh,
it's not worth mentioning. [_Jumping up and walking away._] My stars,
he could teach, could Tedder! I began by going to him for the last
twenty minutes of my dinner-hour. He wanted to stop _that_, because it
was bad for me, he said, to practise on a full-- a full--! Ha, ha, ha!
On a _full_--! [_Behind the table, resting her two hands upon it and
shaking with laughter._] Ho, ho, ho! As if I ever had-- in those
days----!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Writhing._] Ah, don't-- don't----!

LILY.

[_Brushing the tears from her eyes._] I was a pupil of Tedder's for
twelve months, and then he got me on at the Canterbury; and from the
Canterbury I went to Gatti's, and from Gatti's to the Lane, for a few
lines in the pantomime and an understudy-- my first appearance in the
West End-- [_singing_] "Oh, the West End is the best end!"-- and from
there I went to the old Strand, and there Morrie Cooling spotted me,
and that led to me being engaged at the Pandora, where I ate my heart
out, doing next to nothing, for two whole years. Then came the
production of _The Duchess of Brixton_, and it was in _The Duchess_--
thanks to Vincent Bland-- that I sang the "Mind the Paint" song. He
believed in me, did Vincent; _he_ saw I was fit for something more
than just prancing about, and airing my ankles, in a gay frock. By
Jupiter, how he fought for me; _how_ he fought for me, up to the final
rehearsal! And to this day, whenever I indulge in a prayer, you bet
Vincent Bland has a paragraph all to himself in it! [_Checking herself
and coming to FARNCOMBE._] Oh, but-- I needn't inflict quite so much
of my biography on you, need I? [_He rises._] Sorry. I merely wanted
to tell you enough to show you-- to show you----

FARNCOMBE.

[_Close to her, gazing into her eyes._] To show me what a-- what a
_marvel_ you are!

LILY.

[_Pleased._] Ha, ha! Oh, I'm not chucking mud at myself really. Why
should I! Many a woman 'ud feel as vain as a peacock in my shoes.
Fancy! From the shop in Gladwin Street to-- [_with a gesture_] to
_this_! And from Tedder's stuffy room in the Westminster Bridge Road
to the stage of the Pandora, as principal girl!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Tenderly._] Wonderful!

LILY.

[_Carried away by her narration and putting her hands upon his
shoulders familiarly._] Yes, and all the schooling I've ever had,
Eddie, was at a cheap, frowsy day-school in Kennington, with a tribe
of other common, skinny-legged brats. Imagine it!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Taking her hands._] I can't imagine it; I defy anybody to.

LILY.

[_Unthinkingly allowing him to retain her hands._] Everything I've
learned since-- except my music, and that I owe to Tedder and
Vincent-- everything I've learned since, I've learned by sheer
cuteness, from novels, the papers, the theatres, and by keeping my
ears open like a cunning little parrot. [_Softly._] Ha, ha! That's
what I am-- a cunning little parrot!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Laughing with her._] Ha, ha!

LILY.

[_Tossing her head._] Ho, I dare say, if I had the opportunity,
I could imitate the fine _ly_dies _you_ mix with, so that in less than
six months you'd hardly know the difference between them and me!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Holding her hands to his breast._] There is no difference already;
there _is_ none.

LILY.

Isn't there! [_Almost nestling up to him._] Ah, you should see me in
one of my vile tempers. [_Wistfully._] Then-- then you wouldn't--!
[_Becoming conscious of her proximity to him, she backs away and
stands rubbing the palms of her hands together in embarrassment._]
Anyhow-- anyhow it isn't my intention to give you a chance of
comparing us.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Under his breath._] Oh-- Miss Parradell----!

LILY.

[_Collecting herself._] No, I-- I'm not going to let you make a fool
of yourself over _me_, if I can help it.

FARNCOMBE.

Fool----!

LILY.

[_Facing him and speaking quietly but firmly._] Recollect, however
shrewd and apt I may be, and however straight I've managed to keep
myself, still-- I'm only a Pandora girl, and should always be
remembered as one by your chums and belongings. Only a Pandora girl.
Nothing can alter that, dear boy; and you mustn't-- you mustn't
handicap yourself by hanging _me_ round your neck.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Heavily._] I-- I shouldn't be the first of my sort to marry a
"Pandora girl," not by half a dozen or more.

LILY.

No, but-- without wishing to flatter you-- I don't quite put you on a
level with Robbie Kinterton, and Glenroy, and Georgie Fawcus, and--
that crew. [_Cheerfully._] And so I mean to take care of you-- to take
care of you for your own sake and for your mammy's and daddy's. [_She
turns from him and fetches his hat and coat and gives them to him. He
receives them from her with a dazed look._] Time's up. [_After a
silence during which neither stirs._] Never mind. You'll survive it.
[_Another pause._] Come along.

  [_She passes him, to go to the door on the left. As she does so he
  flings his hat and coat on to the settee, and clasps her in his arms._

FARNCOMBE.

Lily-- Lily----!

LILY.

Ah, that's not fair!

FARNCOMBE.

Don't-- don't send me away like this!

LILY.

[_Her hand against his breast._] It isn't fair of you!

FARNCOMBE.

Say you'll take time to consider.

LILY.

I hate you for it!

FARNCOMBE.

Ask Roper's advice-- your mother's----!

LILY.

I've trusted you!

FARNCOMBE.

Ask Miss Birch----!

LILY.

Eddie! Lord Farncombe----! [_He releases her and they confront one
another, she panting, he hanging his head guiltily._] W-w-well, I--
I _have_ been mistaken in you.

FARNCOMBE.

[_In despair._] I-- I---- [_Turning from her and hitting his temples
with his fists._] Forgive me. Forgive me.

LILY.

Ha! I-- I thought you were such a quiet, bashful fellow.

FARNCOMBE.

Forgive me. Forgive me.

  [_She wavers and then slowly approaches him._

LILY.

[_Gently._] Don't-- don't fret about it. _I_ forgive you. [_Touching
his arm with her finger-tips._] I'm to blame. [_Drawing a deep
breath._] All those dances----!

  [_He seizes her hand and kisses it passionately._

FARNCOMBE.

I may see you again? I may see you again? Lily-- Lily--! Lily----!

LILY.

[_In a whisper, averting her head._] N-no-- we'd better not----
[_There is a low but distinct knocking at the door on the left. She
withdraws her hand and they look at each other, he inquiringly, she
with a calm face. The knocking is repeated._] Mother. [_She goes to
the door and speaks with her mouth close to it._] That you, mother?
[_She listens for a reply and again the knocking is heard._] Who is
it? [_She opens the door. JEYES is outside._] Nicko! [_JEYES comes
into the room. He has rid himself of his wig and beard and is wearing
an overcoat buttoned up to his chin and a cap drawn down to his brows.
His face is white and his jaws are set determinedly._] How-- how have
you got in? [_He produces a bunch of keys and grimly displays a
latch-key._] Oh-- oh----! [_Pulling off his cap, JEYES advances to the
table in the centre, glaring at FARNCOMBE. LILY closes the door
sharply and also advances, speaking volubly to FARNCOMBE as she comes
forward._] Captain Jeyes is in the habit of bringing me home from the
theatre after my work; and a long while ago I gave him a latch-key to
carry on his key-ring, so that he could let me into my house whenever
I'd forgotten my own key. He hasn't the slightest right to use it at
any other time; nobody knows that better than he does. It's a
confounded liberty! [_To JEYES, hotly._] What are you doing here at
all at this hour of the morning?

JEYES.

[_After an expressive glance at FARNCOMBE._] An odd question, in the
circumstances.

LILY.

Answer me!

JEYES.

Keeping an eye on _you_.

LILY.

Spying on me!

JEYES.

On you-- [_jerking his head towards FARNCOMBE_] and----

LILY.

How dare you!

JEYES.

I've been at it all night.

LILY.

All night!

JEYES.

Yes; I was in the theatre while you were supping and dancing.

LILY.

_You_ were!

JEYES.

I _meant_ to be there. You did your best to stop it----

LILY.

That's a lie!

JEYES.

So that you could enjoy yourself thoroughly-- [_glancing at FARNCOMBE
again_] with----

LILY.

A lie!

JEYES.

I didn't leave till past three. You and-- [_with another motion of the
head towards FARNCOMBE_] had just had your fifth dance together, and
they were hauling you round the building.

LILY.

Where _were_ you? Who----?

JEYES.

Excuse me; that's my business. Then I went back to Jermyn Street, and
it suddenly struck me I'd like to see how your escort was composed.

LILY.

You've been watching outside?

JEYES.

Since a quarter-to-four-- under the portico at the corner.

LILY.

[_Contemptuously._] _You_----!

JEYES.

Yes, but, by God, I wasn't quite prepared for _this_!

LILY.

This!

JEYES.

[_Cramming his cap into his overcoat-pocket and coming to FARNCOMBE._]
What the hell's your game? You've got some accommodating friends, both
of you, in that blackguard Roper and that slut Jimmie Birch!

LILY.

Oh--! [_Approaching JEYES with clenched fists._] Ah, you cur----!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Holding up his hand to her appealingly._] Miss Parradell----!

LILY.

[_To JEYES._] You cur! Mother's been told that Lord Farncombe's with
me. I sent Jimmie up to tell her.

JEYES.

Where _is_ your mother?

LILY.

In bed, of course.

JEYES.

Snoring! Ha, ha, ha! Faugh, there's an ugly name, my girl, for such
mothers as yours!

LILY.

Ah--! [_Raising her fist._] Ah-h-h-h----!

FARNCOMBE.

Miss Parradell----!

LILY.

[_Restraining herself with difficulty and pacing the room._] Oh, the
cur! The cur! The cur!

FARNCOMBE.

[_To JEYES, looking at him steadily._] Captain Jeyes----

LILY.

The low cur!

FARNCOMBE.

Captain Jeyes, do you happen to know where I lodge?

JEYES.

No; I don't know where your sty is.

FARNCOMBE.

St. James's Place-- forty-seven. I shall be in at twelve o'clock.
[_Picking up his hat and overcoat._] From the tone this gentleman
adopts, Miss Parradell, I assume that he considers himself entitled to
concern himself in your affairs. [_Moving over to the left where LILY
joins him._] Perhaps it will make it easier for you if I----

LILY.

[_Clutching his arm._] Ah, I'm so indignant, Eddie! I-- I-- I----!

JEYES.

Eddie! _Eddie!_

LILY.

[_Turning upon JEYES in a fury._] Yes, you cad-- Eddie, _Eddie_,
EDDIE! You cad! You sneak! You idler! You waster! I've stood it long
enough. This is the last straw! I've done with you! I'm sick to death
of you! How I've tolerated you all these years is a mystery to me!
After this, get out of my sight and never show yourself to me again!

JEYES.

[_Grasping her wrist, fiercely._] Lily----!

LILY.

[_Wrenching herself free._] _What!_ [_Losing control over herself
utterly._] You'll spy on me, will you, you shabby loafer! You'll peep
at me while I'm eating my supper, and count the dances I choose to
give that boy over there, will you! And then you'll break into my
house, and insult my friends behind their backs, and insinuate foul
things against my poor old mother-- you damned coward!-- and against
me, [_pointing to FARNCOMBE_] and _him_! Why, you're not fit to black
his boots, and you never were-- never-- you-- you-- you scum! Here!
[_Taking FARNCOMBE'S note from her bosom and thrusting it at JEYES._]
Read that! [_Sitting in the arm-chair by the centre table._] Read it!
Read it! Read it! [_JEYES reads to himself._] Out loud!

JEYES.

[_Mumbling._] "Dear Miss Parradell. Will you allow me----?"

LILY.

Louder!

JEYES.

"Will you allow me to remain behind for a few minutes with Miss Jimmie
after the others have gone? I know I am presuming a lot, but I cannot
leave you till I have asked you the most important question a man can
put to a woman. Farncombe."

LILY.

[_Breathless._] Written here-- on my note-paper-- while I was out of
the room! It came on me like a thunder-clap! Ah! Ah! Ah! [_JEYES sits
upon the settee, staring at the carpet._] And Morrie Cooling and Lal
will tell you that I hadn't a notion that Lord Farncombe was to be at
the supper last night, or any of the boys; not a notion.
I blackguarded 'em both for deceiving me, and causing me to deceive
_you_. [_Taking the scent-atomizer from the table and spraying her
face with it._] Now! What have you to say now! Ah! Ah! Ah!

JEYES.

[_Huskily._] Why-- why the devil did you let Jimmie go? Why did you
let her go? It was knowing that you and Farncombe were alone that--
that made me----

LILY.

Oh, if I'd suspected that a private detective was hovering around, I'd
have kept the whole lot of my friends! As it was, Jimmie was looking
dead, and--! [_in disdain._] Pah!

  [_There is a pause and then JEYES sits upright and draws his hand
  wearily across his eyes._

JEYES.

[_To LILY._] Well, I-- I beg your pardon. [_LILY continues to spray
herself energetically._] I'm not so completely _scum_ as not to see
that I ought to beg your pardon. [_Humbly._] I beg your pardon.

LILY.

[_Softening by degrees._] You-- you drive me mad sometimes--
positively frantic!

JEYES.

[_Partly to himself._] Mad! [_To FARNCOMBE._] And you, Farncombe--
I hope you'll accept my apologies. I offer them unreservedly.

  [_FARNCOMBE bows, somewhat stiffly._

LILY.

[_To JEYES, protruding her lower lip._] I-- I didn't mean half I said,
Nicko; I didn't mean half of it. [_Eyeing FARNCOMBE askance as she
replaces the atomizer._] And I-- I'm ashamed of myself for losing my
self-control as I did. [_There is another pause and then JEYES gets to
his feet and silently returns the note to LILY. She looks up at him
piteously and puts the note back into her bosom. Then he takes out his
key-ring, removes the latch key from it, and throws the key on to the
table. Having done this, he drags his cap from his pocket and makes
for the door on the left. As he passes LILY, she rises and gently
plucks at his sleeve._] Nicko-- Nicko----

JEYES.

[_In a thick voice._] Eh?

LILY.

Won't you-- won't you give Lord Farncombe-- some explanation----?

JEYES.

Explanation----?

LILY.

Of the sort of terms we've been on, you and I, He-- he must be--
rather puzzled-- [_turning away to the table._] Oh, it's due to you as
well as to me!

JEYES.

[_Dully._] Just as you please. [_With a hard laugh._] Ho, ho! Yes,
perhaps it _is_ due to me that he should learn a little more about me
than he's been able to gather from personal observation-- and from
your eloquent but summary description. [_Under his breath, screwing up
his cap._] Idler-- waster-- loafer----!

LILY.

[_Penitently._] Nicko!

JEYES.

[_To FARNCOMBE, quietly._] Oh, it's a true bill, Farncombe. And yet,
a very few years back-- _she_ won't dispute it-- I was one of the
smartest chaps going, good at my job, with prospects as rosy as any
man's in my regiment. There wasn't a cloud the size of your hand,
apparently, in my particular bit of sky at the time I speak of; not a
speck! Then I met this young lady, and-- [_pointing to the
box-ottoman_] well, since we're in for it----!

FARNCOMBE.

Oh, Captain Jeyes----

JEYES.

No, no; she wishes you to understand the exact nature of the
friendship between her and me. I'm obeying instructions. [_FARNCOMBE
sits on the ottoman, nursing his hat and overcoat. Then JEYES sits in
the arm-chair by the centre table, first turning the chair so that it
faces FARNCOMBE._] Farncombe, I was under thirty, and still a
subaltern, when I made Miss Parradell's acquaintance. Like most of my
pals, I was spending my nights, whenever I could get away from
Aldershot, in the stalls at the Pandora-- much the same as _you've_
been doing recently, and as a certain class of young man'll go on
doing as long as the Pandora, and similar shops, continue to flourish.
Ha! How honoured we felt, we men, in those days, at knowing some of
the Pandora girls, and having the privilege of supping 'em and
standing 'em dinner on Sunday evenings! If they'd been royal
princesses we couldn't have been more elated. [_With a gesture._]
Don't jump at conclusions. It generally ended there, or with our
running into debt at a jeweller's. _We_ were young, _they_ were
beautiful-- or we thought 'em so; but the majority of us weren't
vicious, any more than the majority of the girls were-- though many of
'em were mighty calculating. It would have been better for us men if
all the girls _had_ been wicked; the glamour, the infatuation, the
folly, would have been sooner over, and one of us at least would have
had a different tale to tell.

  [_JEYES pauses, gazing at the floor, FARNCOMBE moves impatiently on
  the ottoman and LILY seats herself upon the settee._

LILY.

[_Plaintively._] Nicko-- Nicko-- I merely wanted you to----

JEYES.

[_Rousing himself and speaking to LILY over his shoulder._] Who was it
introduced us?

LILY.

Miss Du Cane-- Aggie Du Cane.

JEYES.

Agnes Du Cane. _She's_ gone under. [_To LILY._] Outside Buckley's
oyster-bar, wasn't it?

LILY.

Not outside; in the parlour.

JEYES.

[_To FARNCOMBE._] Lily had only lately come to the Pandora--
a pale-faced slip of a thing. [_To LILY._] Eighteen, weren't you?

LILY.

[_Nodding._] Eighteen.

JEYES.

I confess I wasn't overwhelmingly attracted by her at first; she was
so unlike the rest. [_Laughing bitterly._] Ha, ha, ha!

LILY.

[_Weakly._] Ha, ha, ha! Wasn't I dowdy!

JEYES.

But she was humble, and naïve, and confiding; and my vanity was
tickled by her delight at the little treats I gave her, and by her
gratitude for a tuppeny-ha'penny present or two. Nobody, I believe,
with any pretensions to being a gentleman, had paid her much attention
before I arrived on the scene.

LILY.

[_In a murmur._] No; nobody.

JEYES.

I didn't find out that I was in love with her-- you guess it's a love
story, don't you?----

FARNCOMBE.

[_Delicately._] My dear Captain Jeyes----

JEYES.

I didn't find out that I was neck and heels in love with her until
nearly a year afterwards, when my regiment went to the Curragh. _That_
did it-- separation! What I suffered in that hole, thinking of her,
starving for her! In less than three months I was in London again, on
leave, and in my old stall at the Pandora. But even then, Farncombe, I
hadn't your pluck.

FARNCOMBE.

Pluck?

JEYES.

The pluck to snap my fingers at the world and propose marriage to a
Pandora girl. Besides, my mother was alive then, and-- [_abruptly,
with a wild look_] would you like to know what _she_ used to call
these Pandora women, Farncombe? [_Bending forward, his hands tightly
clenched._] She used to call them _a menace to society_. With their
beauty, and their flagrant opportunities for displaying it, they are a
living curse, she used to say-- a source of constant dread to mothers
whose hope it is to see their sons safely mated to modest, maidenly
girls of the typical English pattern. She told us once-- my brothers
and me-- frightened as to where _we_ were drifting, that she was one
of many mothers who prayed on their knees daily that their boys might
be spared from being drawn into the net woven by their own weaknesses
and passions-- drawn into it by these-- these----! [_He breaks off,
stares about him for a moment, and then rises._] Oh, but I oughtn't to
have repeated this to _you_. Pardon. [_Walking away unsteadily._] Ho,
damned bad taste! [_Behind the table, supporting himself by leaning
upon it._] Where was I? Back from the Curragh! [_Confused._] Yes--
yes-- and so things went on for a couple o' years-- I trailing after
Lily closer than ever-- and at last-- at last I _did_ ask her to be my
wife.

LILY.

[_Who has been listening to JEYES with parted lips and wide-open
eyes-- appealingly._] Don't! Don't, Nicko; don't!

JEYES.

[_Oblivious of her interruption._] But I'd left it too late. The
novelty of me had worn off; she'd scores of friends by that time;
she'd made her big hit, and followed it with another, and was the talk
o' the town. And she'd money; she wasn't dependent on _me_ any longer
for her gloves and her trips and outings!

LILY.

[_Her head drooping._] Oh! Oh! [_Wringing her hands._] Oh, that's
_beastly_ of you; _beastly_!

JEYES.

She was kind to me too, in a way-- kind and cruel. She didn't want to
marry me; she didn't want to marry anybody; she was in love with
herself, and her success, and what it was bringing her. But she
wouldn't give me the kick. No, she wouldn't do that; I _had_ been
something to her. And there's where the kindness came in-- and the
merciless cruelty. [_Sitting upon the fauteuil-stool rigidly._] God,
if only she'd broken with me then, firmly and finally-- if only she'd
broken with me then-- she-- she might have saved me!

LILY.

[_Struggling with her tears._] Oh, Nicko, Nicko!

JEYES.

Twelve months ago she did throw me a bone. The regiment was under
orders for India, and of course I sent in my papers; and out of pity,
I suppose-- and because I was always pestering her-- she promised to
become engaged to me if I'd get other work to do. Work! I wonder
whether really she was grinning to herself when she made the
stipulation!

LILY.

Oh-- oh----!

JEYES.

Work! All the spunk, all the energy, had been sapped out of me long
before, and even her promise couldn't revive it. My search for a berth
wasn't much more than a sham. At the back of my head I knew very well
what I'd come to. The only work _I_ was capable of was dancing
attendance on _her_, and filling in what remained of the day and night
at a rotten restaurant, a Bohemian club, and the bar of the theatre.
And that's _been_ my sole employment for the past year-- nothing but
that. Pretty, for a man who started life as swimmingly as I did! [_His
voice dying away._] Pretty-- pretty-- pretty-- pretty----!

LILY.

[_After a profound stillness._] I-- I don't think you've ever-- put
the case to me-- quite so plainly as this, Nicko.

JEYES.

I-- I don't think I've ever put it quite so plainly-- to myself.

LILY.

[_Her lip trembling._] You-- you won't believe me----

JEYES.

What?

LILY.

I-- I've never fully realised it till now-- the harm I've done you.
I declare to God I've never realised it till now. [_Faintly._]
Nicko----!

JEYES.

[_After a further pause._] Ah, well--! [_With a deep sigh._] Ah, well!
[_To FARNCOMBE, resignedly._] Farncombe, I-- I'm afraid I'm a shocking
brute. I-- I got carried away. Forget-- forget the things I've said of
this girl. Forget 'em, will yer? [_Starting to his feet._] And look
here! A man who isn't a sportsman deserves to be shot. You've won her;
I've lost her. Congratulate yer, old chap; congratulate yer! [_Pulling
on his cap._] Take care of her, that's all; m-m-mind you take care of
her!

  [_He turns towards the door and she jumps up and runs to him and
  seizes his arm. FARNCOMBE also rises._

LILY.

No, no, Nicko! Nicko--! [_Giving FARNCOMBE a half frightened, half
imploring look._] Nicko, I can't undo the mischief I've done; I can't
do that. But I can try to make it up to you-- some of it-- and I will,
if you'll let me. [_Putting her arms round his shoulders._] Nicko----!

JEYES.

[_Roughly._] Make it-- up to me?

LILY.

[_Her face close to his._] You know what I mean! As soon as possible--
next month, if you like-- next week-- quietly--! [_He grips her arms
and stares at her blankly._] Ha, ha! Yes, you've been in too great a
hurry to settle matters, _you_ have. Lord Farncombe and I-- we--
_we're_ not going to be married. I've refused him. [_Wildly._] I--
I've ruined _you_, Nicko; but I-- I've told him-- I'm not going to
draw _him_ into my net! [_Clinging to JEYES and burying her face in
the breast of his coat, crying._] Oh! Oh! Oh! I'm not going to draw
_him_ into my net!

  [_Again there is a pause and then JEYES turns to FARNCOMBE, dazed._

JEYES.

Farncombe----?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Inclining his head._] Yes-- yes----

JEYES.

[_With feeling._] My dear fellow, I-- I----!

LILY.

[_Raising her head and speaking through her tears-- to JEYES._] Nicko,
I-- I want to have one more word with Lord Farncombe-- just one more
word. [_He nods understandingly and goes to the door on the left. She
follows him._] Only a minute; [_he opens the door_] and then you must
walk away together, you and he, and part good friends. [_He goes out
on to the landing and she closes the door and stands with her back to
it, drying her eyes with her handkerchief. FARNCOMBE, still carrying
his hat and overcoat, has crossed to the settee, a forlorn figure._]
W-w-well, you-- you _have_ had a lucky escape, haven't you?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Heavily._] Escape?

LILY.

[_Leaving the door and advancing._] You-- you've heard what a
cold-blooded, selfish wretch I am-- how I've treated Nicko!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Waving the idea away._] Oh----!

LILY.

[_Coming to him._] And you've seen what I'm like when I'm in a rage;
you've seen what the genuine Lily Margaret Upjohn is, without her
disguise. [_Looking up into his face pathetically._] Yes, that was
_me_, Eddie, under the crust. Common as dirt, dear; common as dirt!
[_Holding the lapels of his coat._] Oh! Oh, you'll always remember me,
with my eyes starting out of my head, spitting at Nicko! You'll always
picture that horrible sight when you think of me.

FARNCOMBE.

You-- you were provoked; I-- I admired you for it.

LILY.

[_Tenderly._] Ah, you dear boy! [_In an altered tone._] Eddie----

FARNCOMBE.

Yes?

LILY.

Had you-- a little hope-- that, after all, I might turn your offer
over in my mind and-- and eventually----?

FARNCOMBE.

Yes-- yes.

LILY.

[_With a catch in her breath._] Ah----! [_In a whisper._] I-- I'll
tell you something.

FARNCOMBE.

What?

LILY.

[_In his ear._] I _might_ have, if-- if you'd persisted.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Groaning._] Oh-h-h-h!

LILY.

[_Retreating a step or two._] Thank God Nicko came along! Thank God
Nicko came along! _What_ was it his mother called us girls? A menace
to society; creatures to be dreaded, and prayed against! You see I was
right in wishing to protect you for your mammy's sake as well as your
own. But, oh-- thank God Nicko came along! [_He sits suddenly upon the
settee and covers his face with his hands. She returns to him
quickly._] Ah, don't do that; don't do that! [_Touching his hands._]
Eddie! Eddie! I'm not worth it. Eddie! [_With an effort, he lifts his
head._] Listen. _This_ is what I want to say to you. Don't come near
me any more; you mustn't. And don't come to the theatre again either.
If I thought you were sitting in front, I-- I'm sure I couldn't----!
[_Entreatingly._] Swear-- swear you'll keep away from me, and from the
theatre! [_He nods._] And you'll never go to any supper or dinner or
dance where you're likely to meet the other girls, will you? Eddie!
[_He shakes his head._] Swear! [_He rises and, as he does so, she
grips the lapels of his coat again, her eyes blazing fiercely._] Oh!
Oh! If one of the other girls ever got hold of you, I-- I-- [_hissing
into his face_] I'd kill her! [_She leaves him and goes to the door on
the left and opens it._] Nicko! [_JEYES enters the room._] March, both
of you! [_Exhausted._] I-- I'm pretty well baked. [_FARNCOMBE joins
LILY and JEYES at the door and she stands between the two men looking
from one to the other and taking a hand of each._] Ha, ha, ha! I've
made the _pair_ of you precious miserable, if you only knew it. [_To
JEYES._] The difference is that _he'll_ soon forget me, and _you_,
with _me_ for a wife, are doomed for life. [_Putting her hands upon
JEYES' shoulders._] Nicko----! [_She kisses him lightly and, having
done so, asks him a question with her eyes. JEYES turns aside and she
faces FARNCOMBE and offers him her lips. They kiss._] Good-bye.
[_After a moment's pause, to both of them._] Away with you! [_The two
men go out and she follows them to the top of the stairs and watches
them descend. Then she slowly comes back into the room and stands
listening at the door. There is a distant sound._] Ah! [_Partly
closing the door, she wanders about the room aimlessly for a while.
Then, impulsively, she runs to the further window, lifts the sash, and
looks below._] Ah!... Ah!... [_Drawing back._] Ah-h-h-h----!

  [_She shuts the window and comes to the settee and, sitting there,
  takes off her shoes. Then she goes down upon the floor inelegantly,
  hunts for her slippers, and puts them on. As she rises, the door on
  the left is pushed open and MRS. UPJOHN peeps in cautiously._

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_In a dressing-gown and with her hair, now very scanty, tightly
screwed up._] Lil----?

LILY.

[_Stiffening herself and speaking in a cold, level voice._] Oh, I was
just coming up to you, mother, to get you to undo me.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Bustling to LILY._] I didn't mean to, but I fell off. [_Unhooking
LILY'S dress._] It _was_ the front-door I 'eard a minute ago, then? It
gave me sech a start. [_In difficulties with the hooks._] Turn more to
the light, dearie. These dressmakers do it a' purpose, I b'lieve. The
'ooks on that noo gown o' mine are a perfect myst'ry. Wot's _this_?

LILY.

[_Twisting her body._] Oh, don't fiddle so, mother!

MRS. UPJOHN.

You _did_ let 'im stay a time, Lil. 'Eaps to talk over, eh?

LILY.

[_Stonily._] Heaps. [_Trying to assist MRS. UPJOHN._] Oh----!

MRS. UPJOHN.

Well, dear; well, well! Tell me wot's took place. Don't keep me in
suspense.

LILY.

I shan't tell you anything, mother, till I've had a sleep. I must go
through the sheets first. [_Stamping her foot._] Oh, tear the thing;
tear it!

MRS. UPJOHN.

'Ave you consented to make 'im 'appy, poor young gentleman? That's all
I want to know, Lil. [_Overcoming a hook._] There!

LILY.

Thank you, mother. [_Slipping her arms out of her dress._] I can
manage the rest.

MRS. UPJOHN.

But, Lil, dearie----!

LILY.

Oh, for mercy's sake, leave me alone! [_Violently._] Why can't you
leave me alone!

MRS. UPJOHN.

Ho! Very good! [_Moving away indignantly as LILY, with shaking
fingers, unfastens a necklace._] _This_ is my reward for layin' awake
'alf the night, is it, an' for thinkin' of you, an' wonderin' about
you! Ungrateful little puss, you! [_Going towards the door._] After
this, you can keep your affairs to yourself for as long as ever you
choose. Don't you expect _me_----!

LILY.

[_Suddenly, sitting upon the settee._] Mother----!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Sharply._] Yes?

LILY.

[_Her hand to her brow._] Oh, mother----!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Hurrying to LILY._] Wot is it?

LILY.

[_Swaying._] At last-- at last----!

MRS. UPJOHN.

At last----?

LILY.

[_Clinging to MRS. UPJOHN._] I'm in love, mother-- I'm in love-- in
love-- in love----!

  END OF THE THIRD ACT.



  THE FOURTH ACT


_The scene is the same as in the preceding act, but the light outside
is brighter and warmer and in the room is more diffused. On the table
in the centre, placed close to the settee, there is a small tray with
a breakfast of tea and toast upon it. The bedroom door is partly
open._


  [_LILY, wan and red-eyed, is lying, propped up by cushions, upon the
  settee. A newspaper is on her lap but she is gazing at vacancy. She
  is in _négligé_. A dainty morning-robe covers her night-gown, her
  bare feet are in slippers, and her hair is in a simple knot. MAUD
  is at one of the drawers of the cupboard at the back, engaged in
  selecting some articles of _lingerie_, and MRS. UPJOHN, completely
  dressed for the day, is sitting in the arm-chair by the centre
  table, her face hidden by a newspaper which she is reading.
  Presently MAUD shuts the drawer and, carrying the _lingerie_,
  comes forward._

MAUD.

[_To LILY._] What frock'll you put on?

LILY.

[_Starting slightly._] Eh?

MAUD.

One of your embroidered muslins, or your Ninon?

LILY.

[_Languidly._] Either; _I_ don't care.

MAUD.

Oh, gracious, what on earth _is_ the matter with you this morning!
I've never known you as queer as this after any hop you've been to in
_my_ time. [_To MRS. UPJOHN, who has lowered her paper._] Nothing
wrong, is there?

LILY.

[_Turning over and burying her head in the cushions._] Maud.

MAUD.

[_Moving to the settee and bending over LILY._] Here I am, lovey.

LILY.

[_In a muffled voice._] Go into the next room and shut the door, and
don't let me see your stupid, fat face till I come to you.

MAUD.

[_Laughing heartily._] Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho! That's better. [_Going
to the bedroom door._] That's how I like to hear her talk. We needn't
send for Dr. Gilson yet awhile. Ha, ha, ha!

  [_She disappears into the bedroom and closes the door._

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Looking at LILY._] Lil.

LILY.

Yes, mother?

MRS. UPJOHN.

'Ave another cup o' tea, won't you?

LILY.

No.

MRS. UPJOHN.

'Nother bit o' toast, then?

LILY.

No.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Smoke a cigarette.

LILY.

No.

MRS. UPJOHN.

You always _do_ 'ave a w'iff after your breakfast. Come!

LILY.

No.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Rising and walking away._] Oh, dear; oh, dear! Deuce take Carlton
Smythe an' 'is supper party-- those are _my_ sentiments; _an'_ Lal
Roper, busybody that 'e is! Things were goin' on with us as smooth an'
peaceful as could be, before this upset.

LILY.

[_Raising herself, angrily._] _You_ were in it, mother; you're as much
to blame as anybody.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Halting._] 'Ow _in_ it?

LILY.

In Uncle Lal's artful plan to prevent Nicko from being invited. You've
confessed you were.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Lal twisted me round 'is little finger. I was clay in the porter's
'and, as your dad was fond of sayin'.

LILY.

[_Changing her position._] If only Nicko had been there, I shouldn't
have given young Farncombe all those dances, nor wandered about with
him in the intervals, nor allowed him to see me home. It all simply
wouldn't, _couldn't_ have happened. [_Hitting a cushion._] Oh!
[_Sitting up and embracing her knees._] Mother----!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Behind the settee._] Wot?

LILY.

[_Knitting her brows._] I-- I'm so surprised at myself.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Surprised?

LILY.

So-- so disappointed with myself.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Why, you 'aven't done anything that-- that's not quite respectable,
Lil. On the cont'ry----

LILY.

No, I haven't done anything that's actually not nice, but-- fancy!----

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Close to LILY._] Fancy----?

LILY.

[_Opening her eyes widely._] Fancy my letting myself go with young
Farncombe as I did! _He-- he'd_ been admiring me from a distance for
weeks and weeks, but I'd scarcely noticed him till last night!
[_Leaning her head against MRS. UPJOHN, softly._] I-- I always thought
I was such a cold girl, mother, in-- in that way.

MRS. UPJOHN.

I s'pose it was wot's called love at first sight, Lil.

LILY.

[_Laughing shamefacedly._] Ha, ha, ha! [_Putting her feet to the
ground and shielding her face with her hands._] Oh, don't talk rot,
mother.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Moving away._] Any'ow, it's not too late, Lil-- even now----

LILY.

Not too late----?

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Behind the centre table._] To back out, dearie. The Captain couldn't
possibly 'old you to a 'asty promise given 'im between four an' five
in the mornin'.

LILY.

Oh! Oh, how _can_ you! I've passed my word to Nicko and I wouldn't
break it for twenty thousand pounds. [_Looking up._] Mother----!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Fussing with the things upon the table._] Yes?

LILY.

[_Resolutely._] I'm going to pull Nicko _up_, mother. I've dragged him
down, and I mean to raise him. [_Clenching her hands._] So help me
God, I do!

MRS. UPJOHN.

Well, you've got a tough job before you, Lil, in my opinion.

LILY.

Perhaps; but I mean to succeed. [_After a pause._] Besides----

MRS. UPJOHN.

Besides----?

LILY.

[_Slowly._] I've told you-- Nicko or no Nicko-- I'm determined-- I'm
determined not to draw Eddie Farncombe into my net.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Into your _net_? [_Another pause._] Lil----

LILY.

Eh?

MRS. UPJOHN.

That's twice you've made use o' that remark. 'Oo's accused you----?
[_There is a lively rat-tat at the door on the left._] Come in!

  [_The door opens and JIMMIE BIRCH bounces into the room._

JIMMIE.

[_As she closes the door._] Ah, Ma! Ah, Lillums!

MRS. UPJOHN.

Good mornin'.

JIMMIE.

[_Kissing MRS. UPJOHN._] Ha, ha! We've met before, this morning,
haven't we! [_Coming to LILY._] Well, dear old girl, and how are _you_
to-day? [_Kissing LILY and then eyeing her keenly._] A wreck?

LILY.

Rather.

JIMMIE.

I _ought_ to be, but I'm not. Directly I laid my pretty head on my
pillow I went off, and never stirred till I found the breakfast-tray
on my chest. [_Reckoning on her fingers._] Five to six-- six to
seven-- seven to eight-- eight to nine-- nine to ten-- ten to eleven.
I've had six hours; that's not so dusty. [_To LILY, slyly._] You
didn't sleep very soundly, probably?

LILY.

Not very.

JIMMIE.

[_Smiling from ear to ear._] Excited? [_LILY shrugs her shoulders.
There is a silence and then JIMMIE, still beaming, looks round and
sees that MRS. UPJOHN has seated herself upon the fauteuil-stool._]
May I sit down for a minute?

LILY.

Of course, Jimmie; do.

  [_JIMMIE sits in the arm-chair by the centre table, awaiting some
  communication which doesn't come. MRS. UPJOHN drums upon the table
  with her fingers and LILY busies herself with re-arranging the
  cushions on the settee._

JIMMIE.

[_After a while._] Hope I haven't dropped in too early?

LILY.

[_Settling her shoulders into the cushions._] Not a bit, dear.

JIMMIE.

It's nearly half-past twelve. I-- I _dashed_ round. [_After another
pause, unable to restrain herself further._] Any news? Any-any-anything
to tell me?

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Abruptly._] Yes.

JIMMIE.

W-w-what----?

MRS. UPJOHN.

Lil's engaged.

JIMMIE.

Hah! [_Triumphantly._] Hah, hah! [_Clapping her hands and beating her
feet upon the floor._] Hah, hah, hah, hah! [_Jumping up and sitting
beside LILY and hugging and kissing her._] Oh! Oh! Oh! Y'm! Y'm! Y'm!
Oh, you humbugs! [_Rising and rushing at MRS. UPJOHN and embracing
her._] You solemn humbug, Ma! [_Leaving MRS. UPJOHN and singing and
dancing to the refrain sung in the previous Act._] "If you would only,
only love me;--" Ha, ha, ha! "If you would merely, merely say,----"
[_Her voice gradually dying away as she sees that the expression on
LILY'S face, and upon MRS. UPJOHN'S, doesn't alter._] "Wait but a
little-- [_standing still_] little-- for me----"

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Caustically._] Yes, you _'ad_ better wait a little; you'd better
wait till you 'ear _'oo_ she's engaged _to_.

JIMMIE.

Who-- to!

LILY.

[_Studying her nails._] _Whom_ to, mother.

JIMMIE.

Why, isn't it----?

MRS. UPJOHN.

No, it ain't. It's the Captain.

JIMMIE.

T-t-the Cap--! [_To LILY._] N-n-nicko? [_LILY nods. JIMMIE draws a
deep breath._] Oh-h-h-h!

LILY.

[_Calmly._] Nicko turned up here early this morning-- while Eddie--
while Lord Farncombe was with me, in fact-- and I-- we-- the three of
us-- we talked matters over, and-- and----

JIMMIE.

[_Her eyes starting out of her head._] Was there a row?

LILY.

Oh, don't be so curious, Jimmie. Poor Nicko has been after me for six
years. A girl must play the game, if she's at all decent and wishes to
preserve a shred of self-respect.

  [_Again there is a pause and then JIMMIE silently resumes her seat in
  the arm-chair._

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Moistening her lips with her tongue-- to JIMMIE._] 'Ow do you feel
about it?

JIMMIE.

[_Thoughtfully._] How do I feel about it? [_To LILY._] May I say?

LILY.

[_Coldly._] Certainly.

JIMMIE.

[_Rubbing the arm of her chair with the palm of her hand._] Well, if I
were on board a ship at this moment, I should be ringing for the
stewardess; that's how I feel about it.

LILY.

[_Throwing herself, face downward, at full length upon the settee._]
Oh! Oh, you're just like the rest of our girls on the question of
marriage! You-- you-- you're detestable!

JIMMIE.

[_Sliding out of her chair and kneeling at the settee and putting an
arm round LILY._] Oh, Lil-- Lil----!

LILY.

[_Repulsing her._] Yes, you are! [_Raising herself upon her elbow._]
You'd rejoice to see me draw this boy into my net, wouldn't you! You
know you would. [_MRS. UPJOHN rises and comes forward._] I dare say
you jolly well wouldn't object to catching him yourself if you'd half
a chance! [_Fiercely._] You try it; you try it-- you, or any of you!

JIMMIE.

[_Attempting to rise, scandalised._] Oh----!

LILY.

[_Holding her._] No, no----! Jimmie----!

MRS. UPJOHN.

Lil, I'm perfec'ly ashamed of you, speakin' to Jimmie Birch in that
manner.

LILY.

[_Dropping her head on JIMMIE'S shoulder._] Oh----!

JIMMIE.

She doesn't mean it.

MRS. UPJOHN.

I 'ope not. It ain't exac'ly pleasant to 'ave a dog in the manger for
a daughter. [_To LILY._] Why _shouldn't_ young Farncombe turn 'is
attention to Miss Birch, pray, or to any young lady who doesn't object
to take your leavin's!

JIMMIE.

[_To MRS. UPJOHN._] H'sh, h'sh, h'sh!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Walking about._] No, I won't 'ush!

JIMMIE.

[_To LILY, quietly._] I'll come back in the afternoon.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Lil seems to 'ave got some maggot or other in 'er brain about drawin'
Lord Farncombe into 'er _net_. Net indeed! [_JIMMIE, not heeding MRS.
UPJOHN, arranges LILY comfortably upon the settee and then rises and
smoothes out her skirt preparatory to departure._] As Lal Roper was
sayin' yesterday, our tiptop, aristocratic English fam'lies ought to
be 'xtremely grateful that strong, 'ealthy perfeshunals o' the class
of Miss 'Arker an' Miss Trevail an' Miss Shafto are enterin' their
ranks. An' if Lil chooses to be pig-'eaded enough----! [_JIMMIE makes
a movement towards MRS. UPJOHN._] 'Ave a bottle o' ginger beer before
you go. [_There is a prolonged, playful knocking at the door on the
left followed, on the part of those in the room, by a gloomy pause._]
That _is_ Lal.

LILY.

[_Groaning._] Oh-h-h-h!

JIMMIE.

[_Drawing a long face._] H'm!

LILY.

[_To JIMMIE._] Oh, Jimmie-- stay----!

  [_The knocking is repeated. JIMMIE retreats to the right as MRS.
  UPJOHN goes to the door and opens it. ROPER is outside._

ROPER.

[_Entering, in high spirits._] Hullo, hullo, hullo, hul-lo!
[_Embracing MRS. UPJOHN._] Morning, Ma! [_Advancing._] Any _more_ bids
for the handsome gilt candelabra with the crystal drops? Ha, ha, ha!
[_To JIMMIE._] Morning, Jimmie! [_Looking down, upon LILY, eagerly._]
Well, Lil! Well, my pet!

LILY.

[_In a weary tone, giving him the tips of her fingers and then turning
upon her side with her face to the back of the settee._] How are you,
Uncle Lal?

ROPER.

[_Chilled._] Oh, I-- thank you, Lil-- [_After a short pause, to MRS.
UPJOHN-- glancing at LILY._] Not up to much to-day?

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Glumly._] No great shakes.

ROPER.

Dancing too hard, I 'spect.

MRS. UPJOHN.

A deal too 'ard.

ROPER.

[_After another pause._] Anything else amiss, Ma?

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Sitting upon the box-ottoman-- to JIMMIE, who is at the piano
examining some of the music._] _You_ tell Lal, Jimmie.

ROPER.

T-t-tell--? [_To JIMMIE, who comes to the settee-- apprehensively._]
Jimmie----!

JIMMIE.

[_Behind the settee, gravely._] No, the old Pandora isn't going to
score _this_ time, Lal.

ROPER.

Isn't going to--? I d-d-don't follow you.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Be plain, Jimmie.

JIMMIE.

[_Endeavouring to relieve the situation._] Ha, ha! Nature's taken
precious good care of that, in my case.

ROPER.

[_Angrily._] Now, look here, Jimmie! A jest is a capital thing in its
way. No man has a keener sense of humour than Lal Roper. But there
_are_ occasions when it's out o' place, and this is one of 'em, my
dear; and if it's not putting you to serious inconvenience----

JIMMIE.

[_Also losing her temper._] Oh, well, then, have it in the neck! Lil's
declined young Farncombe. There! And when _you_ crack a joke next, Mr.
Roper, I beg you'll contrive to favour us with a little variety;
[_flouncing away_] because you bore me pallid with your rotten
wheezes, and always have done.

ROPER.

[_Going to MRS. UPJOHN, aghast at the tidings._] Ma----!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_To ROPER, under her breath._] Won't draw 'im into 'er net, Uncle.

ROPER.

Won't draw him into her----?

JIMMIE.

[_At the back._] K-n-e-double t-- net!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Pacifically._] Jimmie----!

JIMMIE.

[_Mimicking ROPER derisively._] Hullo, hullo, hullo, hul-lo! Fresh
fish from the sea! Buy 'em on the beach; buy 'em on the beach; buy 'em
on the beach!

ROPER.

[_To JIMMIE, indignantly._] Jimmie Birch----!

JIMMIE.

[_Sitting upon the fauteuil-stool._] Ha, ha!

ROPER.

[_To MRS. UPJOHN, wiping his brow._] Of course, there is _this_ to be
said, Ma. [_Rallying at the idea._] It may be wise of dear Lil to
decline Farncombe _at first_. It-- it-- it-- it doesn't do for a girl,
does it, to appear to throw herself at _any_ man, let alone a young
fellow of the position-- the-- the-- the social status----!

LILY.

[_Suddenly sitting up and putting her feet to the floor again._] Oh,
for mercy's sake, cease discussing my affairs in my presence! [_To
MRS. UPJOHN._] Mother, why do you keep Uncle Lal in the dark? [_To
JIMMIE._] Jimmie, why don't _you_----?

ROPER.

In the dark!

MRS. UPJOHN.

Yes, Lal; your flyin' out at Jimmie over 'er 'armless joke stopped 'er
finishin'.

ROPER.

Finishing----?

MRS. UPJOHN.

Lil's not on'y refused young Farncombe but she's gone an' plighted
'erself to another individual.

ROPER.

Plighted herself----?

LILY.

[_Passionately._] To one of the best! To one of the best!

ROPER.

[_Stupefied._] Do I-- do I know him?

JIMMIE.

Ha!

LILY.

Know him! You know him sufficiently to have plotted and schemed to
prevent his being asked to the party last night.

JIMMIE.

[_To LILY._] Did Lal do that?

LILY.

_Did_ he!

JIMMIE.

Impudence!

ROPER.

[_Sitting in the arm-chair by the centre table-- quietly._] Jeyes!

JIMMIE.

Nicko.

LILY.

[_Firmly._] Nicko.

MRS. UPJOHN.

But the Captain _was_ at the party last night notwithstandin'.

JIMMIE.

[_To MRS. UPJOHN._] Nonsense, Ma!

LILY.

Yes, Nicko managed to get into the theatre somehow or other.

JIMMIE.

[_To LILY._] And watched you and young Farncombe----!

LILY.

And stationed himself under the portico of Twenty seven, to see who
brought me home.

JIMMIE.

Oh----!

MRS. UPJOHN.

'E's always been frightfully jealous, the Captain 'as.

JIMMIE.

[_Looking at ROPER._] Oh, so _really_ it's entirely owing to Lal
Roper's interference that matters were brought to a head this morning!

LILY.

[_Her eyes flashing._] Entirely.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Joining in the attack upon ROPER._] Yes, if Lal 'ad been content to
mind 'is own business----

JIMMIE.

And hadn't meddled----!

MRS. UPJOHN.

_An'_ muddled----!

JIMMIE.

Things might have gone on much the same as before.

MRS. UPJOHN.

An' might 'ave ended different.

LILY.

[_Rising and walking away to the right._] Ah, no, mother----!

JIMMIE.

[_Rising and joining LILY._] Certainly they might.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Rising._] Any'ow I 'ope it'll be a lesson to Lal----

JIMMIE.

_Do_ you, Ma!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Moving over to the girls._] Not to put 'is fingers into other
people's pies.

JIMMIE.

[_To MRS. UPJOHN, with a withering glance at ROPER._] Oh, you _are_
sanguine!

ROPER.

[_Rising and straightening himself out._] Ma-- Mrs. Upjohn-- Lily----

JIMMIE.

[_Scornfully._] Hullo, hullo, hullo, hul-lo----!

ROPER.

[_To JIMMIE._] P'sh! [_Impressively._] Ma-- Lily-- for years-- longer
than it's agreeable to count-- I've been a patron of the drama--
particularly musical comedy, of which I've studied the development
with especial interest.

JIMMIE.

[_Resting her elbows upon the back of the settee._] Yes, you've
studied a lot of development, Lal, in your day.

ROPER.

[_Ignoring JIMMIE._] It's been a fad with me; I put it no higher than
that. [_Producing his gloves._] But I've devoted time to it----

JIMMIE.

Any amount.

ROPER.

[_Drawing a glove on._] Often to the neglect of my ventures in the
City. Here I am _now_, for instance.

JIMMIE.

That's obvious.

ROPER.

And-- I frankly admit it-- I've had more than one serious dispute with
_Mrs._ Roper on the subject. [_JIMMIE softly whistles a few bars of
"Rule, Britannia."_] Yesterday, by a coincidence-- [_feeling the
outside of his breast-pocket_] letter from the wife-- full o'
complaints-- haven't been to Bexhill, to her and the kids, for weeks.
And to do Ellen Roper justice, she's not the woman to grumble without
cause. [_Picking up his hat and cane which he has placed upon the
centre table._] Dash it all, home ties _are_ home ties! [_Polishing
his hat with his sleeve._] And, taking one consideration with
another-- and after this-- this occurrence-- it's my intention for the
future-- my firm intention----

LILY.

[_Running to ROPER and throwing her arms around his neck._] Oh, Uncle
Lal, not altogether! We're tired and cross this morning! Not
altogether!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Behind the centre table._] No, no, Uncle, you mustn't----!

LILY.

[_To ROPER._] Forgive us! [_Coaxingly._] Mother and Jimmie are
cats----!

MRS. UPJOHN AND JIMMIE.

Oh----!

  [_The door on the left opens, and GLADYS enters with a card on a
  salver._

GLADYS.

[_Advancing to LILY._] Are you _in_?

LILY.

In?

GLADYS.

[_Surveying LILY with mingled disdain and pity._] Oh you _do_ look
washed out!

LILY.

[_Going to GLADYS._] Never you mind whether I look washed out or not.
Who is it?

  [_LILY takes the card, reads some writing upon it, and stands
  twiddling the card in her fingers._

GLADYS.

They're in the dining-room.

LILY.

[_To GLADYS, after a pause._] W-wait outside-- on the landing.

GLADYS.

Oh, all right. _This_ won't get my silver cleaned.

  [_GLADYS withdraws. LILY waits for the door to close and then walks
  about distractedly._

LILY.

Oh, why can't they leave me alone! What do they want with me now, both
of them!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Moving towards LILY._] 'Oo----?

LILY.

Nicko's downstairs-- with Lord Farncombe.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Lord Farncombe----!

ROPER.

And Jeyes!

LILY.

[_Reading the card again._] Nicko asks me to see him and the boy
together. [_ROPER and MRS. UPJOHN go to LILY, one on each side of her,
and try to read the card. She pushes them from her and sits in the
arm-chair by the centre table._] I won't; I won't.

JIMMIE.

[_Joining MRS. UPJOHN and ROPER._] Yes, yes, Lil; do.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Bewildered._] Wot----?

JIMMIE.

Perhaps they've arrived at a friendly understanding----!

ROPER.

Understanding?

JIMMIE.

[_Excitedly._] And have come to propose that Lil should choose between
them!

ROPER.

Great Scot----!

LILY.

I _have_ chosen; I _have_ chosen. It's settled.

ROPER.

_Undoubtedly_ she ought to see them.

LILY.

It's a shame to persecute me so-- a shame!

JIMMIE, MRS. UPJOHN, AND ROPER.

[_Behind LILY'S chair._] Lil! Lily----!

MRS. UPJOHN.

Give 'em a minute, dear.

ROPER.

Hear what they've got to _say_.

JIMMIE.

It _would_ be uncivil _not_ to.

LILY.

Oh--! Oh----!

JIMMIE.                 }

Buck up, Lil!           }

ROPER.                  } [_To LILY, urgently._]

My pet!                 }

MRS. UPJOHN.            }

'Ark to reason, dearie. }

JIMMIE, MRS. UPJOHN, AND ROPER.

Lil! Lily----!

LILY.

[_Yielding helplessly._] Oh, very well----

JIMMIE, MRS. UPJOHN, AND ROPER.

Ah----!

LILY.

Tell Gladys-- when I ring----

JIMMIE.

[_Flying to the door on the left._] I'll tell her.

ROPER.

[_To MRS. UPJOHN, importantly._] Lucky I was on the spot; lucky I was
on the spot.

JIMMIE.

[_On the landing, to GLADYS._] Bring the gentlemen up when Miss Lily
rings.

LILY.

[_Rising and pacing the room on the right._] Give me some stockings!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Hurrying into the bedroom._] Yes, dearie. [_As she disappears._]
Maud----!

JIMMIE.

[_Returning and closing the door and then whispering to ROPER._] Bet
my boots that's it!

ROPER.

[_To JIMMIE, in a whisper._] Choose between 'em!

JIMMIE.

What else can it be?

ROPER.

_I_ can't----

JIMMIE.

[_Throwing herself into ROPER'S arms._] Oh, if it _is_!

ROPER.

[_Hugging her._] Oh----!

JIMMIE.

[_Suddenly, releasing herself._] Oh----! [_Haughtily._] Thought you
were Lily.

  [_MRS. UPJOHN returns, carrying a pair of stockings. LILY seats
  herself upon the fauteuil-stool where, concealed by the centre table,
  she draws on the stockings with MRS. UPJOHN'S assistance._

LILY.

[_Whimpering._] Oh--! Oh----!

MRS. UPJOHN.

Don't, dearie; don't. Mother's _'ere_.

ROPER.

[_Impatiently._] I-- ah-- I think I'll run downstairs and shake hands
with Jeyes and Farncombe while Lily's tidying herself.

JIMMIE.

[_Who has moved over to the right-- to ROPER._] Be careful. I should
advise you not to risk it.

ROPER.

[_At the door._] Risk it?

JIMMIE.

If Nicko knows you were the cause of his being shut out of the party
last night, he'll simply throttle you.

ROPER.

[_Opening the door._] Throttle _me_! [_Formidably._] Throttle Lal
Roper----!

  [_He disappears, closing the door, as MAUD enters from the bedroom
  with a pair of shoes._

LILY.

[_Weakly._] Oh! Oh! Oh! Get me something to keep these up with.

JIMMIE.

[_To MAUD._] Ribbon----

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Snatching the shoes from MAUD._] Ribbon.

  [_MAUD opens one of the drawers underneath the further cupboard on the
  left and finds a roll of bright, new ribbon, while JIMMIE, searching
  among the objects on the centre table, discovers the case of manicure
  instruments and takes from it a pair of scissors._

LILY.

[_Putting on her shoes-- to MRS. UPJOHN._] No, no; that's the left
foot-- oh----!

MRS. UPJOHN.

Don't agitate yourself, dearie. Mother's _'ere_.

  [_MAUD comes to the centre table with the ribbon and JIMMIE cuts off
  two lengths from the roll._

MAUD.

[_To JIMMIE._] Morning, Miss Jimmie!

JIMMIE.

[_To MAUD._] Morning!

LILY.

[_To MRS. UPJOHN._] Where's the mirror? Where's the mirror?

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Taking the mirror from the table and giving it to LILY._] 'Ere it
is, dearie; 'ere it is. An' _I'm_ 'ere too.

LILY.

[_Viewing herself in the mirror and running her hand over her hair._]
Oh, how horrid I look! [_JIMMIE goes to LILY with the two lengths of
ribbon and MAUD replaces the roll in the drawer._] Ring the bell.
[_JIMMIE hands LILY the garters, relieving her of the mirror, and MRS.
UPJOHN hastens to the fireplace and presses the bell-push
continuously._] That'll do, Maud; _you_ hook it.

MAUD.

[_Going to the bedroom door._] Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho! That's how I
like to hear her talk. Ha, ha, ha, ha!

  [_MAUD vanishes into the bedroom, closing the door, and LILY, having
  tied up her stockings, rises and comes to the settee._

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Still pressing the bell-push._] _Now_ I don't believe I've rung.

LILY.

[_At the uttermost tension._] Ah, stop it, mother; stop it! [_Sitting
on the settee._] We're not calling the fire-brigade.

JIMMIE.

[_At the back of the settee, to LILY._] I'll wait in your bedroom till
the men have been shown up, and sneak out that way. [_Bending over
LILY._] Mind! If Nicko _is_ willing, after all, that you should make
your choice----

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Advancing._] Yes, dearie, if 'e _is_ willing----

LILY.

[_Frantically._] I tell you I _have_ made it. I keep on telling you
_I've chosen-- I've chosen-- I've chosen!_ [_Clenching her hands._]
If you torment me any more, either of you----!

  [_MRS. UPJOHN and JIMMIE retreat precipitately to the bedroom door.
  They open the door and then, standing in the doorway, listen
  intently._

JIMMIE.

[_Disappearing._] Ah----!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Partially disappearing._] Ah--! [_Only her head visible, speaking to
LILY in a hoarse whisper._] Mother's _'ere_, dearie.

  [_The head is withdrawn and the door softly closed. After a pause,
  GLADYS enters at the other door followed by JEYES and FARNCOMBE. The
  men are carrying their hats and canes. GLADYS retires, closing the
  door, and JEYES comes to LILY and shakes hands with her._

JEYES.

[_To LILY, gently._] How are you to-day, Lil? Very fagged?

LILY.

[_Almost inaudibly._] I _am_ a little. [_JEYES turns from her, to lay
his hat and cane upon the box-ottoman, and then FARNCOMBE, who has
hung back, advances hesitatingly to the further side of the centre
table and bows to LILY. She rises and, avoiding his eyes, gives him a
limp hand across the table._] How d'ye do? [_To JEYES who, having got
rid of his hat and cane, moves away from the ottoman._] Sit down,
won't you? [_She resumes her seat upon the settee and JEYES, with a
nod, sits in the arm-chair by the centre table. FARNCOMBE remains
standing and again she addresses him without meeting his eyes._] And
you?

  [_FARNCOMBE, with another bow, sits upon the fauteuil-stool. There is
  a brief silence and then JEYES speaks._

JEYES.

Lil----

LILY.

Y-yes?

JEYES.

In the first place, Farncombe wants you distinctly to understand how
it is he's committing this breach of his compact with you. [_To
FARNCOMBE._] You promised----?

FARNCOMBE.

I promised never to attempt to come near Miss Parradell again, nor
even to enter the theatre.

JEYES.

[_To LILY._] And if I'm any judge of a man, Lily, Farncombe would have
kept his promise. He'd have kept it faithfully, but for _me_. I've
brought him along-- insisted on it. [_Emphatically._] _I've brought
him along._ See?

LILY.

W-w-why, Nicko?

JEYES.

I'll tell you, my dear. You remember, when we left you early this
morning, ordering us to walk away together and to part good friends?

LILY.

P-perfectly.

JEYES.

Well, we did walk away together, and we did part good friends. But we
didn't part at all till some hours later, in his rooms. We didn't part
till I'd made him stand by me and listen to me while I had a long jaw
with my brother on the 'phone.

LILY.

[_Wonderingly._] With-- your----?

JEYES.

About that Rhodesian business.

LILY.

What Rhodesian business?

JEYES.

I mentioned it to you yesterday. Bob owns a third, with Peter Chalmers
and Tom Dalby, of a group of farms near Bulawayo, and he's been
badgering me eternally to cut this and to settle out there as their
agent. [_Simply._] And I've accepted, old girl.

LILY.

[_With a blank face._] Ac-cepted?

JEYES.

[_Grimly._] Leaving you to bring an action against me, to recover
damages for a broken heart. [_Drawing a deep breath._] Yes, I'm
chucking you, Lil. I give you formal notice of my intention; and you
can drive down to your solicitors this afternoon and instruct them to
writ me without delay. [_Forcing a laugh._] Ha, ha, ha!

LILY.

[_Faintly._] Nicko----!

JEYES.

Unless-- unless you've an idea of consoling yourself shortly with--
with another chap, and prefer not to carry the matter into Court.

LILY.

[_About to rise._] Nicko----!

JEYES.

[_Restraining her by a gesture._] H'sh! No, no, no. [_She sinks
back._] Ah, Lil-- Lil-- I know you're full of generous, honest
impulses, though I _did_ tear you to rags in Farncombe's hearing a few
hours ago. But I'm not going to allow you to sacrifice yourself to
them; I-- I-- I've come to my senses, and I'm not going to permit it.
[_Bending forward._] Oh, my dear, why should I make you pay for the
weaknesses of my character? Because that's what it 'ud amount to. I've
bullied you for having played skittles with my life, my career. So you
_have_! Damn it, so you have! But you've done it out of blind
thoughtlessness; and if I'd been a fairly strong man, with some
ballast in me, you _couldn't_ have landed me where I am-- not you nor
fifty Pandora girls! [_Sitting erect._] And that-- that's the moral of
the tale; and-- and-- [_abruptly, to FARNCOMBE_] There's nothing more,
is there, Farncombe?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Brokenly._] Except that-- that I'd like to repeat-- what I've
already said to Jeyes-- that I-- [_his elbows on the table, his head
bowed_] oh, you make me feel terribly small, Jeyes.

  [_Again there is a pause, and then LILY struggles to her feet and
  holds out her hand to JEYES uncertainly, and at once he rises and
  takes her in his arms. FARNCOMBE also rises and, standing behind the
  settee, turns his back to JEYES and LILY._

LILY.

[_To JEYES, choking._] Ah, Nicko-- I can't-- I can't----

JEYES.

[_Patting her shoulder._] Ah----!

LILY.

Why, what-- what would become of my resolutions----?

JEYES.

Resolutions?

LILY.

To-- to raise you _up_, Nicko.

JEYES.

You _are_ raising me up-- setting me on my legs again.

LILY.

[_In a fright._] And-- and drawing Eddie into my net!

JEYES.

Oh, we've talked of that too, he and I. He's given me an account of
what passed between you here. My dear girl, your conscience may be
quite clear on that point. Nobody can ever reproach _you_ with trying
to draw him into your net.

LILY.

They _would_-- they _would_----

JEYES.

At all events, the task you have to face now is to prove to the
world-- _his_ world-- that Miss Parradell is equal to playing "lead"
on a bigger stage than the stage of the Pandora. [_Holding her at
arms' length and shaking her fondly._] And you'll _do_ it! Ho, ho, ho,
ho! _You'll_ do it! Ha, ha, ha--! [_His voice dies away miserably and
he releases her. Then, pulling himself together, he looks at his
watch._] Well, I've got to lunch with Bob at half-past one at the
Junior Carlton----

LILY.

[_Agitatedly._] Ah, it's not nearly that, Nicko; it's not nearly that!
Nicko--! [_She passes him, moving towards the door on the left as if
to intercept him, and then turns to him. A strip of ribbon lies upon
the spot where she has been standing. After gazing at it for a moment,
he stoops and picks it up._] Oh--! [_He folds the ribbon carefully and
puts it into his pocket._] Oh--! [_Hitching up her stocking through
her robe, piteously._] Ha, ha!

JEYES.

Ha, ha, ha----!

  [_They face one another, laughing, and then she sits upon the
  fauteuil-stool and drops her head upon the table and he fetches his
  hat and cane from the box-ottoman._

LILY.

[_Weeping._] Nicko-- Nicko----!

JEYES.

[_Coming to her._] Oh, this isn't good-bye, Lil, not by any manner o'
means, my dear. We'll kill the fatted calf several times before I
start-- you, I, and the boy. Besides, by-and-by, you and he must take
a trip and come out to see me. "Seringa Vale" is the farm where I
shall be quartered, Bob tells me. [_Looking into space._] Jermyn
Street to Seringa Vale! [_Shaking himself._] Ph'h, there are no great
distances in these days! [_To FARNCOMBE, with a change of tone._]
Farncombe-- [_FARNCOMBE comes forward._] You dine with me to-night,
recollect; it's an engagement.

FARNCOMBE.

Yes.

JEYES.

Eight o'clock.

FARNCOMBE.

Eight o'clock.

JEYES.

Catani's.

FARNCOMBE.

Catani's.

  [_Without looking at LILY again, JEYES goes to the door and opens it.
  FARNCOMBE follows him and the two men halt in the doorway._

JEYES.

[_To FARNCOMBE, with a motion of his head towards LILY._] And
afterwards-- _you_ fetch her from the theatre and take her home.
That's _your_ job.

LILY.

[_Rising._] Oh----!

  [_FARNCOMBE goes out on to the landing with JEYES and parts from him
  at the top of the stairs. Then FARNCOMBE slowly returns, closes the
  door, and finds LILY sitting upon the settee in a woeful attitude._

FARNCOMBE.

[_Coming to LILY and standing before her, thoughtfully._] Lily----

LILY.

[_Feebly._] Eh-- eh----?

FARNCOMBE.

I'm afraid there's one thing finer than winning the woman you love
and, when you've won her, being prepared to go through fire and water
for her.

LILY.

What's that?

FARNCOMBE.

Having the courage to give her up, as Jeyes has done.

LILY.

[_With a renewed outburst._] Oh, Nicko! Poor Nicko! Poor Nicko!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Sitting beside her and taking her hand consolingly._] By George,
he's a brick, isn't he!

LILY.

[_After a pause, drying her eyes._] Eddie----

FARNCOMBE.

Yes?

LILY.

If-- if ever we marry----

FARNCOMBE.

[_His jaw falling._] _If----!_

LILY.

W-w-when, then. When we marry, you'll be obliged to resign your
commission in the Guards, won't you?

FARNCOMBE.

[_Snapping his fingers._] P'sh! I shan't care a rap about that.

LILY.

[_Snatching her hand away._] The snobs! The snobs! They'd let you
marry any bit of trash in your own set; but a Pandora girl, though
she's as pure as the Queen of England----! Oh, the contemptible snobs!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Regaining possession of her hand._] H'sh! H'sh! It-- it's the
practice----

LILY.

Blow the practice! A cheerful reflection for _me_, it'll be. The
arrant snobs!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Stroking her hand._] Ah! Ah!

LILY.

And then-- poor mother! You-- you won't be very proud of poor mother.

FARNCOMBE.

Your mother? [_Boyishly._] Oh, she-- she's an awfully good sort.

LILY.

She hasn't an H. to her name.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Inadvertently._] She _oughtn't_ to have.

LILY.

[_Withdrawing her hand again, sharply._] She calls herself _H_upjohn,
you mean!

FARNCOMBE.

[_Distressed._] No, no, no. [_In a difficulty._] Er-- at any rate, h's
don't lead you to heaven, do they?

LILY.

[_Gloomily._] You're right; mother's lead _her_ to _'eaven_. [_Rising
and walking away._] Well, you'd better go now.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Rising._] And to-night----?

LILY.

No; I'll come home alone.

FARNCOMBE.

Lily----!

LILY.

[_Imperatively._] Please----!

FARNCOMBE.

When----?

LILY.

[_Moving to the door on the left._] Not for two or three days. Give me
time to shake down over this.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Taking up his hat and cane which he has left upon the centre
table._] Sunday?

LILY.

[_Fretfully._] No.

FARNCOMBE.

Monday?

LILY.

[_Opening the door._] No.

FARNCOMBE.

[_Joining her at the door._] Tuesday?

LILY.

[_Appealingly._] I-- I'll write. [_Again he takes her hand, she
keeping him at a distance. He attempts to lessen the distance, but she
checks him, shaking her head._] Not just yet, Eddie. [_He smiles at
her tenderly and, with a bow, departs. From the doorway, she watches
him disappear; then she shuts the door and wanders listlessly to the
door of the bedroom. Her hand lingers upon the knob for a moment, and
then she opens the door a little way and calls._] Mother! Mother----!

  [_She leaves the door and is returning to the settee when MRS. UPJOHN
  enters._

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_All agog._] Yes, Lil? [_LILY seats herself upon the settee without
speaking._] Yes, dearie; yes? [_Advancing to the centre table._] 'Ave
they given you your choice?

LILY.

[_Dully._] No; they've given me no choice.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Advancing further._] Wot----?

LILY.

Nicko's going out to South Africa, mother.

MRS. UPJOHN.

South Africa!

LILY.

Well, to Rhodesia.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Then you're free, Lil!

LILY.

No, I'm not.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Not!

LILY.

Nicko-- Nicko's handed me over, mother.

MRS. UPJOHN.

'Anded you over!

LILY.

To-- to Lord Farncombe.

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Gasping._] An' you an' the young gentleman----!

LILY.

I-- I suppose so.

MRS. UPJOHN.

Oh--! [_Sinking into the arm chair by the centre table._] Oh, the dear
Captain!

LILY.

[_Transferring herself from the settee to MRS. UPJOHN'S lap._] Oh! Oh!
Oh! [_Putting her arms round MRS. UPJOHN'S neck._] Oh, poor Nicko!

MRS. UPJOHN.

[_Soothingly._] 'E'll 'ave 'is reward, Lil; 'e'll 'ave 'is reward
'ereafter.

LILY.

And poor Carlton Smythe! Oh, poor Carlton!

MRS. UPJOHN.

Poor Carlton----?

LILY.

He's losing every one of his best girls, mother. Gwennie Harker--
Maidie Trevail-- Eva Shafto-- and now _me_! Oh, poor Carlton!

MRS. UPJOHN.

'Ush, dearie; 'ush! Don't consider _'im_! [_Rocking LILY to and fro
like a baby._] Think-- think wot a lot o' good you're all doin' to the
aristocracy!

  [_The door on the left opens and JIMMIE and ROPER look in gleefully
  and then tiptoe towards LILY and MRS. UPJOHN._


  THE END.



_All applications respecting amateur performances of this play must
be made to Sir Arthur Pinero's agents, Samuel French, Limited,
Southampton St., London, W.C._



  Printed By
  Ballantyne & Company Ltd
  At The Ballantyne Press
  Tavistock Street Covent Garden
  London


       *       *       *       *       *
           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *


ERRATA (noted by transcriber)

First Act:
  I prophesy that Mr. Morgan's picture
    _text has comma for period_
  N-n-o, thank you, Captain, and I-- I'm afraid----
    _text has "I I-I'm afraid----": changed to match all others_

Second Act:
  STIDULPH has seated himself wearily in the armchair
    _text unchanged: everywhere else hyphenated "arm-chair"_
  It _is_ a pleasure, meeting all you girls to-night.
    _hyphen invisible_
  Karl----
    _text has no visible punctuation after "Karl"_

Third Act:
  [_Gazing at DAPHNE stupidly ..._
    _"at" printed in Roman (non-italic) type_
  Say you'll take time to consider.
    _final period missing or invisible_





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