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Title: East of Suez - a Play in Seven Scenes
Author: Maugham, W. Somerset (William Somerset), 1874-1965
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 "East of Suez - a Play in Seven Scenes" ***

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produced from scanned images of public domain material







(_Sketches and Impressions in Andalusia_)





NEW [Illustration] YORK







_The action of the play takes place in Peking_


SCENE                                                      PAGE

 I  A STREET IN PEKING                                       11

AMERICAN TOBACCO COMPANY'S PREMISES                          17









SCENE: _A street in Peking_

     _Several shops are shown. Their fronts are richly decorated with
     carved wood painted red and profusely gilt. The counters are
     elaborately carved. Outside are huge sign-boards. The shops are
     open to the street and you can see the various wares they sell. One
     is a coffin shop, where the coolies are at work on a coffin: other
     coffins, ready for sale, are displayed; some of them are of plain
     deal, others are rich, with black and gold. The next shop is a
     money changer's. Then there is a lantern shop in which all manner
     of coloured lanterns are hanging. After this comes a druggist where
     there are queer things in bottles and dried herbs. A small stuffed
     crocodile is a prominent object. Next to this is a shop where
     crockery is sold, large coloured jars, plates, and all manner of
     strange animals. In all the shops two or three Chinamen are seated.
     Some read newspapers through great horn spectacles; some smoke
     water pipes._

     _The street is crowded. Here is an itinerant cook with his two
     chests, in one of which is burning charcoal: he serves out bowls of
     rice and condiments to the passers-by who want food. There is a
     barber with the utensils of his trade. A coolie, seated on a stool,
     is having his head shaved. Chinese walk to and fro.

     Some are coolies and wear blue cotton in various stages of
     raggedness; some in black gowns and caps and black shoes are
     merchants and clerks. There is a beggar, gaunt and thin, with an
     untidy mop of bristly hair, in tatters of indescribable filthiness.
     He stops at one of the shops and begins a long wail. For a time no
     one takes any notice of him, but presently on a word from the fat
     shopkeeper an assistant gives him a few cash and he wanders on.
     Coolies, half naked, hurry by, bearing great bales on their yokes.
     They utter little sharp cries for people to get out of their way.
     Peking carts with their blue hoods rumble noisily along. Rickshaws
     pass rapidly in both directions, and the rickshaw boys shout for
     the crowd to make way. In the rickshaws are grave Chinese. Some are
     dressed in white ducks after the European fashion; in other
     rickshaws are Chinese women in long smocks and wide trousers or
     Manchu ladies, with their faces painted like masks, in embroidered
     silks. Women of various sorts stroll about the street or enter the
     shops. You see them chaffering for various articles._

     _A water-carrier passes along with a creaking barrow, slopping the
     water as he goes; an old blind woman, a masseuse, advances slowly,
     striking wooden clappers to proclaim her calling. A musician stands
     on the curb and plays a tuneless melody on a one-stringed fiddle.
     From the distance comes the muffled sound of gongs. There is a
     babel of sound caused by the talking of all these people, by the
     cries of coolies, the gong, the clappers, and the fiddle. From
     burning joss-sticks in the shops in front of the household god
     comes a savour of incense._

     _A couple of Mongols ride across on shaggy ponies; they wear high
     boots and Astrakhan caps. Then a string of camels sways slowly down
     the street. They carry great burdens of skins from the deserts of
     Mongolia. They are accompanied by wild looking fellows. Two stout
     Chinese gentlemen are giving their pet birds an airing; the birds
     are attached by the leg with a string and sit on little wooden
     perches. The two Chinese gentlemen discuss their merits. Round
     about them small boys play. They run hither and thither pursuing
     one another amid the crowd._



_A small verandah on an upper storey of the British American Tobacco
Company's premises, the upper part of which the staff lives in. At the
back are heavy arches of whitewashed masonry and a low wall which serves
as a parapet. Green blinds are drawn. There is a bamboo table on which
are copies of illustrated papers. A couple of long bamboo chairs and two
or three smaller arm chairs. The floor is tiled._

_On one of the long chairs_ HAROLD KNOX _is lying asleep. He is a young
man of pleasing appearance_. _He wears white ducks, but he has taken off
his coat, which lies on a chair, and his collar and tie and pin. They
are on the table by his side. He is troubled by a fly and, half waking
but with his eyes still closed, tries to drive it away._

KNOX. Curse it. [_He opens his eyes and yawns._] Boy!

WU. [_Outside._] Ye.

KNOX. What's the time?

[WU _comes in; he is a Chinese servant in a long white gown with a black
cap on his head_. _He bears a tray on which is a bottle of whisky, a
glass and a syphon._]

WU. My no sabe.

KNOX. Anyhow it's time for a whisky and soda. [WU _puts the tray down on
the table_. KNOX _smiles_.] Intelligent anticipation. Model servant and
all that sort of thing. [WU _pours out the whisky_.] You don't care if I
drink myself to death, Wu--do you? [WU _smiles, showing all his teeth_.]
Fault of the climate. Give me the glass. [WU _does so_.] You're like a
mother to me, Wu. [_He drinks and puts down the glass._] By George, I
feel another man. The bull-dog breed, Wu. Never say die. Rule
Britannia. Pull up the blinds, you lazy blighter. The sun's off and the
place is like a oven.

[WU _goes over and pulls up one blind after the other_. _An expanse of
blue sky is seen._ HENRY ANDERSON _comes in_. _He is a man of thirty,
fair, good-looking, with a pleasant, honest face. His obvious
straightforwardness and sincerity make him attractive._]

HARRY. [_Breezily._] Hulloa, Harold, you seem to be taking it easy.

KNOX. There was nothing to do in the office and I thought I'd get in my
beauty sleep while I had the chance.

HARRY. I thought you had your beauty sleep before midnight.

KNOX. I'm taking time by the forelock so as to be on the safe side.

HARRY. Are you going on the loose again to-night?

KNOX. Again, Henry?

HARRY. You were blind last night.

KNOX. [_With great satisfaction._] Paralytic.... Hulloa, who's this?
[_He catches sight of the_ AMAH _who has just entered_. _She is a
little, thin, wrinkled, elderly Chinawoman in a long smock and trousers.
She has gold pins in her sleek black hair. When she sees she has been
noticed she smiles obsequiously._] Well, fair charmer, what can we do
for you?

HARRY. What does she want, Wu?

KNOX. Is this the face that launched a thousand ships?

AMAH. My Missy have pay my letter.

HARRY. [_With sudden eager interest._] Are you Mrs. Rathbone's amah?
Have you got a letter for me?

AMAH. My belong Missy Rathbone amah.

HARRY. Well, hurry up, don't be all night about it. Lend me a dollar,
Harold. I want to give it to the old girl.

     [_The_ AMAH _takes a note out of her sleeve and gives it to_ HARRY.
     _He opens it and reads._

KNOX. I haven't got a dollar. Give her a chit or ask Wu. He's the only
man I know who's got any money.

HARRY. Let me have a dollar, Wu. Chop-chop.

WU. My go catchee.

[_He goes out._ _The_ AMAH _is standing near the table_. _While_ KNOX
_and_ HARRY _go on talking she notices_ KNOX'S _pin_. _She smiles and
smiles and makes little bows to the two men, but at the same time her
hand cautiously reaches out for the pin and closes on it. Then she
secretes it in her sleeve._

HARRY. I thought you were going to play tennis this afternoon.

KNOX. So I am later on.

HARRY. [_Smiling._] Do it now, dear boy. That is a precept a business
man should never forget.

KNOX. I should hate to think you wanted to be rid of me.

HARRY. I dote on your company, but I feel that I mustn't be selfish.

KNOX. [_Pulling his leg._] To tell you the truth I don't feel very fit

HARRY. A little bilious, I dare say. Half a dozen hard sets are just
what you want. [_He hands_ KNOX _his coat_.]

KNOX. What is this?

HARRY. Your coat.

KNOX. You're making yourself almost more distressingly plain than nature
has already made you.

[WU _comes back and hands_ HARRY _a dollar, and then goes out_. HARRY
_gives the dollar to the_ AMAH.

HARRY. Here's a dollar for you, amah. You go back to missy and tell her
it's all right and will she come chop-chop. Sabe?

AMAH. My sabe. Goo'-bye.

KNOX. God bless you, dearie. It's done me good to see your winsome
little face.

HARRY. [_With a smile._] Shut up, Harold.

[_The_ AMAH _with nods, smiles and bows, goes out_.

KNOX. Harry, my poor friend, is it possible that you have an

HARRY. What is possible is that if you don't get out quick I'll throw
you out.

KNOX. Why didn't you say you were expecting a girl?

HARRY. I'm not; I'm expecting a lady.

KNOX. Are you sure you know how to behave? If you'd like me to stay and
see you don't do the wrong thing I'll chuck my tennis. I'm always ready
to sacrifice myself for a friend.

HARRY. Has it struck you that the distance from the verandah to the
street is very considerable?

KNOX. And the pavement is hard. I flatter myself I can take a hint. I
wonder where the devil my pin is. I left it on the table.

HARRY. I expect Wu put it away.

KNOX. It's much more likely that old woman pinched it.

HARRY. Oh, nonsense. She wouldn't dream of such a thing. I believe Mrs.
Rathbone's had her for ages.

KNOX. Who is Mrs. Rathbone?

HARRY. [_Not wishing to be questioned._] A friend of mine.

[GEORGE CONWAY _comes in_. _He is a tall, dark man in the early
thirties. He is a handsome, well-built fellow, of a somewhat rugged
appearance, but urbane and self-assured._

GEORGE. May I come in?

HARRY. [_Eagerly, shaking him warmly by the hand._] At last. By Jove,
it's good to see you again. You know Knox, don't you?

GEORGE. I think so.

KNOX. I wash bottles in the B. A. T. I don't expect the legation bloods
to be aware of my existence.

GEORGE. [_With a twinkle in his eye._] I don't know that an Assistant
Chinese Secretary is such a blood as all that.

KNOX. You've just been down to Fuchow, haven't you?

GEORGE. Yes, I only got back this morning.

KNOX. Did you see Freddy Baker by any chance?

GEORGE. Yes, poor chap.

KNOX. Oh, I've got no pity for him. He's just a damned fool.


KNOX. Haven't you heard? He's married a half-caste.

HARRY. What of it? I believe she's a very pretty girl.

KNOX. I daresay she is. But hang it all, he needn't have married her.

GEORGE. I don't think it was a very wise thing to do.

HARRY. I should have thought all those prejudices were out of date. Why
shouldn't a man marry a half-caste if he wants to?

KNOX. It can't be very nice to have a wife whom even the missionary
ladies turn up their noses at.

HARRY. [_With a shrug of the shoulders._] You wait till Freddy's number
one in Hankow and can entertain. I bet the white ladies will be glad
enough to know his missus then.

GEORGE. Yes, but that's just it. He'll never get a good job with a
Eurasian wife.

HARRY. He's in Jardine's, isn't he? Do you mean to say it's going to
handicap a man in a shipping firm because he's married a woman who's
partly Chinese?

GEORGE. Of course it is. Jardine's are about the most important firm in
China and the manager of one of their principal branches has definite
social obligations. Freddy Baker will be sent to twopenny halfpenny
outports where his wife doesn't matter.

KNOX. I think he's damned lucky if he's not asked to resign.

HARRY. It's cruel. His wife may be a charming and cultivated woman.

KNOX. Have you ever known a half-caste that was?

HARRY. I have.

KNOX. Well, I've been in this country for seven years and I've never met
one, male or female, that didn't give me the shivers.

HARRY. I've no patience with you. You're a perfect damned fool.

KNOX. [_A little surprised, but quite good-humoured._] You're getting
rather excited, aren't you?

HARRY. [_Hotly._] I hate injustice.

GEORGE. Do you think it really is injustice? The English are not an
unkindly race. If they've got a down on half-castes there are probably
very good grounds for it.

HARRY. What are they?

KNOX. We don't much like their morals, but we can't stick their manners.

GEORGE. Somehow or other they seem to inherit all the bad qualities of
the two races from which they spring and none of the good ones. I'm sure
there are exceptions, but on the whole the Eurasian is vulgar and noisy.
He can't tell the truth if he tries.

KNOX. To do him justice, he seldom tries.

GEORGE. He's as vain as a peacock. He'll cringe when he's afraid of you
and he'll bully when he's not. You can never rely on him. He's crooked
from the crown of his German hat to the toes of his American boots.

KNOX. Straight from the shoulder. Take the count, old man.

HARRY. [_Frigidly._] Oughtn't you to be going?

KNOX. [_Smiling._] No, but I will.

HARRY. I'm sorry if I was rude to you just now, old man.

KNOX. Silly ass, you've broken no bones; my self-esteem, thank God, is
unimpaired. [_He goes out._

HARRY. I say, I'm awfully glad you're back, George. You can't think how
I miss you when you're away.

GEORGE. As soon as the shooting starts we'll try and get two or three
days together in the country.

HARRY. Yes, that would be jolly. [_Calling._] Wu.

WU. [_Outside._] Ye'.

HARRY. Bring tea for three.

GEORGE. Who is the third?

HARRY. When you said you could come round I asked somebody I want you
very much to meet.

GEORGE. Who is that?

HARRY. Mrs. Rathbone ... I'm going to be married to her and we want you
to be our best man.

GEORGE. Harry.

HARRY. [_Boyishly._] I thought you'd be surprised.

GEORGE. My dear old boy, I am so glad. I hope you'll be awfully happy.

HARRY. I'm awfully happy now.

GEORGE. Why have you kept it so dark?

HARRY. I didn't want to say anything till it was all settled. Besides,
I've only known her six weeks. I met her when I was down in Shanghai....

GEORGE. Is she a widow?

HARRY. Yes, she was married to an American in the F. M. S.

GEORGE. Is she American?

HARRY. Only by marriage. I'm afraid she didn't have a very happy married

GEORGE. Poor thing. I think I'd take a small bet that you won't beat

HARRY. I mean to try my best to make her happy.

GEORGE. You old fool, I've never known a man who was likely to make a
better husband.

HARRY. I'm most awfully in love with her, George.

GEORGE. Isn't that ripping? How old is she?

HARRY. Only twenty-two. She's the loveliest thing you ever saw.

GEORGE. And is she in love with you?

HARRY. She says so.

GEORGE. She damned well ought to be.

HARRY. I do hope you'll like her, George.

GEORGE. Of course I shall. You're not the sort of chap to fall in love
with a woman who isn't nice.

[HARRY _walks up and down for a moment restlessly_.

HARRY. Will you have a whisky and soda?

GEORGE. No, thanks ... I'll wait for tea.

HARRY. She ought to be here in a moment. [_Suddenly making up his
mind._] It's no good beating about the bush. I may as well tell you at
once. Her--her mother was Chinese.

GEORGE. [_Unable to conceal his dismay._] Oh, Harry. [_A pause._] I wish
I hadn't said all that I did just now.

HARRY. Of course you didn't know.

GEORGE. [_Gravely._] I should have had to say something very like it,
Harry. But I shouldn't have put it so bluntly.

HARRY. You said yourself there were exceptions.

GEORGE. I know. [_Distressed._] Won't your people be rather upset?

HARRY. I don't see how it can matter to them. They're nine thousand
miles away.

GEORGE. Who was her father?

HARRY. Oh, he was a merchant. He's dead. And her mother is too.

GEORGE. That's something. I don't think you'd much like having a Chinese
mother-in-law about the place.

HARRY. George, you won't let it make any difference, will you? We've
known one another all our lives.

GEORGE. My dear old chap, as far as I'm concerned I shouldn't care if
you married the first cousin of the Ace of Spades. I don't want you to
make a hash of things.

HARRY. Wait till you see her. She's the most fascinating thing you ever

GEORGE. Yes, they can be charming. I was awfully in love with a
half--with a Eurasian girl myself years ago. It was before you came out
to the country. I wanted to marry her.

HARRY. Why didn't you?

GEORGE. It was up in Chung-king. I'd just been appointed vice-consul. I
was only twenty-three. The Minister wired from Peking that I'd have to
resign if I did. I hadn't a bob except my salary and they transferred me
to Canton to get me away.

HARRY. It's different for you. You're in the service and you may be
Minister one of these days. I'm only a merchant.

GEORGE. Even for you there'll be difficulties, you know. Has it occurred
to you that the white ladies won't be very nice?

HARRY. I can do without their society.

GEORGE. You must know some people. It means you'll have to hobnob with
Eurasian clerks and their wives. I'm afraid you'll find it pretty

HARRY. If you'll stick to me I don't care.

GEORGE. I suppose you've absolutely made up your mind?

HARRY. Absolutely.

GEORGE. In that case I've got nothing more to say. You can't expect me
not to be a little disappointed, but after all the chief thing is your
happiness, and whatever I can do I will. You can put your shirt on that.

HARRY. You're a brick, George.

GEORGE. The little lady ought to be here, oughtn't she?

HARRY. I think I hear her on the stairs.

[_He goes to the entrance and then out._ WU _brings in the tea and sets
it on the table_. GEORGE _walks over to the parapet and looks
thoughtfully before him_. _There is a sound of voices in the adjoining

HARRY. [_Outside._] Come in; he's on the verandah.

DAISY. [_Outside._] One brief look in the glass and then I'm ready.

[HARRY _enters_.

HARRY. She's just coming.

GEORGE. I bet she's powdering her nose.

DAISY. Here I am.

[DAISY _enters_. SHE _is an extremely pretty woman, beautifully, perhaps
a little showily, dressed_. _She has a pale, very clear, slightly sallow
skin, and beautiful dark eyes. There is only the very faintest suspicion
in them of the Chinese slant. Her hair is abundant and black._

HARRY. This is George Conway, Daisy.

[GEORGE _stares at her_. _At first he is not quite sure that he
recognizes her, then suddenly he does, but only the slightest movement
of the eyes betrays him._

DAISY. How do you do. I told Harry I had an idea I must have met you
somewhere. I don't think I have after all.

HARRY. George flatters himself he's not easily forgotten.

DAISY. But I've heard so much about you from Harry that I feel as though
we were old friends.

GEORGE. It's very kind of you to say so.

HARRY. Supposing you poured out the tea, Daisy.

GEORGE. I'm dying for a cup.

[_She sits down and proceeds to do so._

DAISY. Harry is very anxious that you should like me.

HARRY. George and I have known one another since we were kids. His
people and mine live quite close to one another at home.

DAISY. But I'm not blaming you. I'm only wondering how I shall
ingratiate myself with him.

HARRY. He looks rather severe, but he isn't really. I think you've only
got to be your natural charming self.

DAISY. Have you told him about the house?

HARRY. No. [_To George._] You know the temple the Harrisons used to
have. We've taken that.

GEORGE. Oh, it's a ripping place. But won't you find it rather a
nuisance to have those old monks on the top of you all the time?

HARRY. Oh, I don't think so. Our part is quite separate, you know, and
the Harrisons made it very comfortable.

[HAROLD KNOX _comes in_. _He has changed into tennis things._

KNOX. I say, Harry ... [_He sees_ DAISY.] Oh, I beg your pardon.

HARRY. Mr. Knox--Mrs. Rathbone.

[KNOX _gives her a curt nod, but she holds out her hand affably_. _He
takes it._

DAISY. How do you do.

KNOX. I'm sorry to disturb you, Harry, but old Ku Faung Min is
downstairs and wants to see you.

HARRY. Tell him to go to blazes. The office is closed.

KNOX. He's going to Hankow to-night and he says he must see you before
he goes. He's got some big order to give.

HARRY. Oh, curse him. I know what he is. He'll keep me talking for half
an hour. D'you mind if I leave you?

DAISY. Of course not. It'll give me a chance of making Mr. Conway's

HARRY. I'll get rid of him as quickly as I can.

[_He goes out accompanied by Knox._

KNOX. [_As he goes._] Good-bye.

[GEORGE _looks at_ DAISY _for a moment_. _She smiles at him. There is a

GEORGE. Why didn't you warn me that it was you I was going to meet?

DAISY. I didn't know what you'd say about me to Harry if you knew.

GEORGE. It was rather a risk, wasn't it? Supposing I'd blurted out the

DAISY. I trusted to your diplomatic training. Besides, I'd prepared for
it. I told him I thought I'd met you.

GEORGE. Harry and I have been pals all our lives. I brought him out to
China and I got him his job. When he had cholera he would have died if
I hadn't pulled him through.

DAISY. I know. And in return he worships the ground you tread on. I've
never known one man think so much of another as he does of you.

GEORGE. All that's rot, of course. Sometimes I don't know how I'm going
to live up to the good opinion Harry has of me. But when you've done so
much for a pal as I have for him it gives you an awful sense of
responsibility towards him.

DAISY. What do you mean by that?

[_A short pause._

GEORGE. I'm not going to let you marry him.

DAISY. He's so much in love with me that he doesn't know what to do with

GEORGE. I know he is. But if you were in love with him you wouldn't be
so sure of it.

DAISY. [_With a sudden change of tone._] Why not? I was sure of your
love. And God knows I was in love with you.

[GEORGE _makes a gesture of dismay_. _He is taken aback for a moment,
but he quickly recovers._

GEORGE. You don't know what sort of a man Harry is. He's not like the
fellows you've been used to. He's never knocked around as most of us do.
He's always been as straight as a die.

DAISY. I know.

GEORGE. Have mercy on him. Even if there were nothing else against you
he's not the sort of chap for you to marry. He's awfully English.

DAISY. If he doesn't mind marrying a Eurasian I really don't see what
business it is of yours.

GEORGE. But you know very well that that isn't the only thing against

DAISY. I haven't an idea what you mean.

GEORGE. Haven't you? You forget the war. When we heard there was a very
pretty young woman, apparently with plenty of money, living at the Hong
Kong Hotel on very familiar terms with a lot of naval fellows, it became
our business to make enquiries. I think I know everything there is
against you.

DAISY. Have you any right to make use of information you've acquired

GEORGE. Don't be a fool, Daisy.

DAISY. [_Passionately._] Tell him then. You'll break his heart. You'll
make him utterly wretched. But he'll marry me all the same. When a man's
as much in love as he is he'll forgive everything.

GEORGE. I think it's horrible. If you loved him you couldn't marry him.
It's heartless.

DAISY. [_Violently._] How dare you say that? You. You. You know what I
am. Yes, it's all true. I don't know what you know but it can't be worse
than the truth. And whose fault is it? Yours. If I'm rotten it's you who
made me rotten.

GEORGE. I? No. You've got no right to say that. It's cruel. It's

DAISY. I've touched you at last, have I? Because you know it's true.
Don't you remember when I first came to Chung-king? I was seventeen. My
father had sent me to England to school when I was seven. I never saw
him for ten years. And at last he wrote and said I was to come back to
China. You came and met me on the boat and told me my father had had a
stroke and was dead. You took me to the Presbyterian mission.

GEORGE. That was my job. I was awfully sorry for you.

DAISY. And then in a day or two you came and told me that my father
hadn't left anything and what there was went to his relations in

GEORGE. Naturally he didn't expect to die.

DAISY. [_Passionately._] If he was going to leave me like that why
didn't he let me stay with my Chinese mother? Why did he bring me up
like a lady? Oh, it was cruel.

GEORGE. Yes. It was unpardonable.

DAISY. I was so lonely and so frightened. You seemed to be sorry for me.
You were the only person who was really kind to me. You were practically
the first man I'd known. I loved you. I thought you loved me. Oh, say
that you loved me then, George.

GEORGE. You know I did.

DAISY. I was very innocent in those days. I thought that when two people
loved one another they married. I wasn't a Eurasian then, George. I was
like any other English girl. If you'd married me I shouldn't be what I
am now. But they took you away from me. You never even said good-bye to
me. You wrote and told me you'd been transferred to Canton.

GEORGE. I couldn't say good-bye to you, Daisy. They said that if I
married you I'd have to leave the service. I was absolutely penniless.
They dinned it into my ears that if a white man marries a Eurasian he's
done for. I wouldn't listen to them, but in my heart I knew it was true.

DAISY. I don't blame you. You wanted to get on, and you have, haven't
you? You're Assistant Chinese Secretary already and Harry says you'll be
Minister before you've done. It seems rather hard that I should have had
to pay the price.

GEORGE. Daisy, you'll never know what anguish I suffered. I can't expect
you to care. It's very natural if you hate me. I was ambitious. I didn't
want to be a failure. I knew that it was madness to marry you. I had to
kill my love. I couldn't. It was stronger than I was. At last I couldn't
help myself. I made up my mind to chuck everything and take the
consequences. I was just starting for Chung-king when I heard you were
living in Shanghai with a rich Chinaman.

[DAISY _gives a little moan_. _There is a silence._

DAISY. They hated me at the mission. They found fault with me from
morning till night. They blamed me because you wanted to marry me and
they treated me as if I was a designing cat. When you went away they
heaved a sigh of relief. Then they started to convert me. They thought
I'd better become a school teacher. They hated me because I was
seventeen. They hated me because I was pretty. Oh, the brutes. They
killed all the religion I'd got. There was only one person who seemed to
care if I was alive or dead. That was my mother. Oh, I was so ashamed
the first time I saw her. At school in England I'd told them so often
that she was a Chinese princess that I almost believed it myself. My
mother was a dirty little ugly Chinawoman. I'd forgotten all my Chinese
and I had to talk to her in English. She asked me if I'd like to go to
Shanghai with her. I was ready to do anything in the world to get away
from the mission and I thought in Shanghai I shouldn't be so far away
from you. They didn't want me to go, but they couldn't keep me against
my will. When we got to Shanghai she sold me to Lee Tai Cheng for two
thousand dollars.

GEORGE. How terrible.

DAISY. I've never had a chance. Oh, George, isn't it possible for a
woman to turn over a new leaf? You say that Harry's good and kind. Don't
you see what that means to me? Because he'll think me good I shall be
good. After all, he couldn't have fallen in love with me if I'd been
entirely worthless. I hate the life I've led. I want to go straight. I
swear I'll make him a good wife. Oh, George, if you ever loved me have
pity on me. If Harry doesn't marry me I'm done.

GEORGE. How can a marriage be happy that's founded on a tissue of lies?

DAISY. I've never told Harry a single lie.

GEORGE. You told him you hadn't been happily married.

DAISY. That wasn't a lie.

GEORGE. You haven't been married at all.

DAISY. [_With a roguish look._] Well then, I haven't been happily
married, have I?

GEORGE. Who was this fellow Rathbone?

DAISY. He was an American in business at Singapore. I met him in
Shanghai. I hated Lee. Rathbone asked me to go to Singapore with him and
I went. I lived with him for four years.

GEORGE. Then you went back to Lee Tai Cheng.

DAISY. Rathbone died. There was nothing else to do. My mother was always
nagging me to go back to him. He's rich and she makes a good thing out
of it.

GEORGE. I thought she was dead.

DAISY. No. I told Harry she was because I thought it would make it
easier for him.

GEORGE. She isn't with you now, is she?

DAISY. No, she lives at Ichang. She doesn't bother me as long as I send
her something every month.

GEORGE. Why did you tell Harry that you were twenty-two? It's ten years
since you came to China and you were seventeen then.

DAISY. [_With a twinkle in her eye._] Any woman of my age will tell you
that seventeen and ten are twenty-two.

[GEORGE _does not smile_. _With frowning brow he walks up and down._

GEORGE. Oh, I wish to God I knew nothing about you. I can't bring myself
to tell him and yet how can I let him marry you in absolute ignorance?
Oh, Daisy, for your sake as well as for his I beseech you to tell him
the whole truth and let him decide for himself.

DAISY. And break his heart? There's not a missionary who believes in God
as he believes in me. If he loses his trust in me he loses everything.
Tell him if you think you must, if you have no pity, if you have no
regret for all the shame and misery you brought on me, you, you,
you--but if you do, I swear, I swear to God that I shall kill myself. I
won't go back to that hateful life.

[_He looks at her earnestly for a moment._

GEORGE. I don't know if I'm doing right or wrong. I shall tell him

[DAISY _gives a deep sigh of relief_, HARRY _comes in_.

HARRY. I say, I'm awfully sorry to have been so long. I couldn't get the
old blighter to go.

DAISY. [_With complete self-control._] If I say you've been an age it'll
look as though Mr. Conway had been boring me.

HARRY. I hope you've made friends.

DAISY. [_To_ GEORGE.] Have we?

GEORGE. I hope so. But now I think I must bolt. I have a long Chinese
document to translate. [_Holding out his hand to_ DAISY.] I hope you'll
both be very happy.

DAISY. I think I'm going to like you.

GEORGE. Good-bye, Harry, old man.

HARRY. I shall see you later on in the club, sha'n't I?

GEORGE. If I can get through my work.

[_He goes out._

HARRY. What have you and George been talking about?

DAISY. We discussed the house. It'll be great fun buying the things for

HARRY. I could have killed that old Chink for keeping me so long. I
grudge every minute that I spend away from you.

DAISY. It's nice to be loved.

HARRY. You do love me a little, don't you?

DAISY. A little more than a little, my lamb.

HARRY. I wish I were more worth your while. You've made me feel so
dissatisfied with myself. I'm such a rotter.

DAISY. You're not going to disagree with me already.

HARRY. What about?

DAISY. About you. I think you're a perfect duck.

[_The_ AMAH _appears_.

HARRY. Hulloa, who's this?

DAISY. Oh, it's my amah.

HARRY. I didn't recognize her for a moment.

DAISY. She doesn't approve of my being alone with strange gentlemen. She
looks after me as if I was a child of ten.

AMAH. Velly late, missy Daisy. Time you come along.

HARRY. Oh, nonsense.

DAISY. She wants me to go and be fitted. She never lets me go out in
Peking alone.

HARRY. She's quite right.

DAISY. Amah, come and be introduced to the gentleman. He's going to be
your master now.

AMAH. [_Smiling, with little nods._] Velly nice gentleman. You keep
missy Daisy old amah--yes? Velly good amah--yes?

DAISY. She's been with me ever since I was a child.

HARRY. Of course we'll keep her. She was with you when you were in

DAISY. [_With a little sigh._] Yes, I don't know what I should have done
without her sometimes.

HARRY. Oh, Daisy, I do want to make you forget all the unhappiness you
have suffered.

[_He takes her in his arms and kisses her on the lips._ _The_ AMAH
_chuckles to herself silently_.



     SCENE: _The Temple of Fidelity and Virtuous Inclination. The
     courtyard of the temple is shown. At the back is the sanctuary in
     which is seen the altar table; on this are two large vases in each
     of which are seven lotus flowers, gilt but discoloured by incense,
     and in the middle there is a sand-box in which are burning
     joss-sticks; behind is the image of Buddha. The sanctuary can be
     closed by huge doors. These are now open. A flight of steps leads
     up to it._

     _A service is finishing. The monks are seen on each side of the
     altar kneeling in two rows. They are clad in grey gowns and their
     heads are shaven. They sing the invocation to Buddha, repeating the
     same words over and over again in a monotonous chaunt._ DAISY
     _stands outside the sanctuary door, on the steps, listlessly_.
     _The_ AMAH _is squatting by her side_. _Now the service ends; the
     monks form a procession and two by two, still singing, come down
     the steps and go out. A tiny acolyte blows out the oil lamps and
     with an effort shuts the temple doors._

     DAISY _comes down the steps and sits on one of the lower ones_.
     _She is dreadfully bored._

AMAH. What is the matter with my pletty one?

DAISY. What should be the matter?

AMAH. [_With a snigger._] Hi, hi. Old amah got velly good eyes in her

DAISY. [_As though talking to herself._] I've got a husband who adores
me and a nice house to live in. I've got a position and as much money as
I want. I'm safe. I'm respectable. I ought to be happy.

AMAH. I say, Harry no good, what for you wanchee marry? You say, I
wanchee marry, I wanchee marry? Well, you married. What you want now?

DAISY. They say life is short. Good God, how long the days are.

AMAH. You want pony--Harry give you pony. You want jade ring--Harry give
you jade ring. You want sable coat--Harry give you sable coat. Why you
not happy?

DAISY. I never said I wasn't happy.

AMAH. Hi, hi.

DAISY. If you laugh like that I'll kill you.

AMAH. You no kill old amah. You want old amah. I got something velly
pletty for my little Daisy flower.

DAISY. Don't be an old fool. I'm not a child any more. [_Desperately._]
I'm growing older, older, older. And every day is just like every other
day. I might as well be dead.

AMAH. Look this pletty present old amah have got.

[_She takes a jade necklace out of her sleeve and puts it, smiling,
into_ DAISY'S _hand_.

DAISY. [_With sudden vivacity,_] Oh, what a lovely chain. It's beautiful
jade. How much do they want for it?

AMAH. It's a present for my little Daisy.

DAISY. For me? It must have cost five hundred dollars. Who is it from?

AMAH. To-day is my little Daisy's wedding-day. She have married one
year. Perhaps old amah want to give her little flower present.

DAISY. YOU! Have you ever given me anything but a beating?

AMAH. Lee Tai Cheng pay me necklace and say you give to Daisy.

DAISY. You old hag. [_She flings the necklace away violently._]

AMAH. You silly. Worth plenty money. You no wanchee, I sell rich

[_She is just going after the necklace, when_ DAISY _catches her
violently by the arm_.

DAISY. How dare you? How dare you? I told you that you were never to let
Lee Tai speak to you again.

AMAH. You very angry, Daisy. You very angry before, but you go back to
Lee Tai; he think perhaps you go back again.

DAISY. Tell him that I loathe the sight of him. Tell him that if I were
starving I wouldn't take a penny from him. Tell him that if he dares to
come round here I'll have him beaten till he screams.

AMAH. Hi, hi.

DAISY. And you leave me alone, will you. Harry hates you. I've only got
to say a word and he'll kick you out in five minutes.

AMAH. What would my little Daisy do without old amah, hi, hi? What for
you no talkee true? You think old amah no got eyes? [_With a cunning,
arch look._] I got something make you very glad. [_She takes a note out
of her sleeve._]

DAISY. What's that?

AMAH. I got letter.

DAISY. [_Snatching it from her._] Give it me. How dare you hide it?

AMAH. Have come when you long Harry. I think perhaps you no wanchee read
when Harry there. [DAISY _tears it open_.] What he say?

DAISY. [_Reading._] "I'm awfully sorry I can't dine with you on
Thursday, but I'm engaged. I've just remembered it's your wedding-day
and I'll look in for a minute. Ask Harry if he'd like to ride with me."

AMAH. Is that all?

DAISY. "Yours ever. George Conway."

AMAH. You love him very much, George Conway?

DAISY. [_Taking no notice of her, passionately._] At last. I haven't
seen him for ten days. Ten mortal days. Oh, I want him. I want him.

AMAH. Why you no talkee old amah?

DAISY. [_Desperately._] I can't help myself. Oh, I love him so. What
shall I do? I can't live without him. If you don't want me to die make
him love me.

AMAH. You see, you want old amah.

DAISY. Oh, I'm so unhappy. I think I shall go mad.

AMAH. Sh, sh. Perhaps he love you too.

DAISY. Never. He hates me. Why does he avoid me? He never comes here. At
first he was always looking in. He used to come out and dine two or
three days a week. What have I done to him? He only comes now because he
does not want to offend Harry. Harry, Harry, what do I care for Harry?

AMAH. Sh. Don't let him see. Give amah the letter.

[_She snatches it from_ DAISY _and hides it in her dress as_ HARRY
_comes in_. DAISY _pulls herself together_.

HARRY. I say, Daisy, I've just had the ponies saddled. Put on your habit
and let's go for a ride.

DAISY. I've got a headache.

HARRY. Oh, my poor child. Why don't you lie down?

DAISY. I thought I was better in the air. But there's no reason why you
shouldn't ride.

HARRY. Oh, no, I won't ride without you.

DAISY. Why on earth not? It'll do you good. You know when my head's bad
I only want to be left alone. Your pony wants exercising.

HARRY. The boy can do that.

DAISY. [_Trying to conceal her growing exasperation._] Please do as I
ask. I'd rather you went.

HARRY. [_Laughing._] Of course if you're so anxious to get rid of me....

DAISY. [_Smiling._] I can't bear that you should be done out of your
ride. If you won't go alone you'll just force me to come with you.

HARRY. I'll go. Give me a kiss before I do. [_She puts up her lips to
his._] I'm almost ashamed of myself, I'm just as madly in love with you
as the day we were married.

DAISY. You are a dear. Have a nice ride, and when you come back I shall
be all right.

HARRY. That's ripping. I shan't be very long.

[_He goes out. The lightness, the smile, with which she has spoken to
Harry disappear as he goes, and she looks worried and anxious._

DAISY. Supposing they meet?

AMAH. No can. Harry go out back way.

DAISY. Yes, I suppose he will. I wish he'd be quick. [_Violently._] I
must see George.

AMAH. [_Picking up the necklace._] Velly pletty necklace. You silly
girl. Why you no take?

DAISY. Oh, damn, why can't you leave me alone? [_Listening._] What on
earth is Harry doing? I thought the pony was saddled.

AMAH. [_Looking at the necklace._] What shall I do with this?

DAISY. Throw it in the dust-bin.

AMAH. Lee Tai no likee that very much.

DAISY. [_Hearing the sound of the pony, with a sigh of relief._] He's
gone. Now I'm safe. Where's my bag? [_She takes a little mirror out of
it and looks at herself._] I look perfectly hideous.

AMAH. Don't be silly. You velly pletty girl.

DAISY. [_Her ears all alert._] There's someone riding along.

AMAH. That not pony. That Peking cart.

DAISY. You old fool, I tell you it's a pony. At last. Oh, my heart's
beating so.... It's stopping at the gate. It's George. Oh, I love him. I
love him. [_To the_ AMAH, _stamping her foot_.] What are you waiting
for? I don't want you here now, and don't listen, d'you hear. Get out,
get out.

AMAH. All-light. My go away.

[_The_ AMAH _slinks away_. DAISY _stands waiting for_ GEORGE, _holding
her hands to her heart as though to stop the anguish of its beating_.
_She makes a great effort at self-control as_ GEORGE _enters_. _He is in
riding kit. He has a bunch of orchids in his hand._

GEORGE. Hulloa, what are you doing here?

DAISY. I was tired of sitting in the drawing-room.

GEORGE. I remembered it was your wedding-day. I've brought you a few
flowers. [_She takes them with both hands._]

DAISY. Thank you. That _is_ kind of you.

GEORGE. [_Gravely._] I hope you'll always be very happy. I hope you'll
allow me to say how grateful I am that you've given Harry so much

DAISY. You're very solemn. One would almost think you'd prepared that
pretty speech beforehand.

GEORGE. [_Trying to take it lightly._] I'm sorry if it didn't sound
natural. I can promise you it was sincere.

DAISY. Shall we sit down?

GEORGE. I think we ought to go for our ride while the light lasts. I'll
come in and have a drink on the way back.

DAISY. Harry's out.

GEORGE. Is he? I sent you a note this morning. I said I couldn't dine on
Thursday and I'd come and fetch Harry for a ride this afternoon.

DAISY. I didn't tell him.


DAISY. I don't see you very often nowadays.

GEORGE. There's an awful lot of work to do just now. They lead me a
dog's life at the legation.

DAISY. Even at night? At first you used to come and dine with us two or
three nights a week.

GEORGE. I can't always be sponging on you. It's positively indecent.

DAISY. We don't know many people. It's not always very lively here. I
should have thought if you didn't care to come for my sake you'd have
come for Harry's.

GEORGE. I come whenever you ask me.

DAISY. You haven't been here for a month.

GEORGE. It just happens that the last two or three times you've asked me
to dine I've been engaged.

DAISY. [_Her voice breaking._] You promised that we'd be friends. What
have I done to turn you against me?

GEORGE. [_His armour pierced by the emotion in her voice._] Oh, Daisy,
don't speak like that.

DAISY. I've tried to do everything I could to please you. If there's
anything I do that you don't like, won't you tell me? I promise you I
won't do it.

GEORGE. Oh, my dear child, you make me feel such an awful beast.

DAISY. Is it the past that you can't forget?

GEORGE. Good heavens, no, what do I care about the past?

DAISY. I have so few friends. I'm so awfully fond of you, George.

GEORGE. I don't think I've given you much cause to be that.

DAISY. There must be some reason why you won't ever come near me. Why
won't you tell me?

GEORGE. Oh, it's absurd, you're making a mountain out of a molehill.

DAISY. You used to be so jolly, and we used to laugh together. I looked
forward so much to your coming here. What has changed you?

GEORGE. Nothing has changed me.

DAISY. [_With a passion of despair._] Oh, I might as well batter my head
against a brick wall. How can you be so unkind to me?

GEORGE. For God's sake ... [_He stops._] Heaven knows, I don't want to
be unkind to you.

DAISY. Then why do you treat me as an outcast? Oh, it's cruel, cruel.

[GEORGE _is excessively distressed_. _He walks up and down, frowning._
_He cannot bear to look at_ DAISY _and he speaks with hesitation_.

GEORGE. You'll think me an awful rotter, Daisy, but you can't think me
more of a rotter than I think myself. I don't know how to say it. It
seems such an awful thing to say. I'm so ashamed of myself. I don't
suppose two men have ever been greater pals than Harry and I. He's
married to you and he's awfully in love with you. And I think you're in
love with him. I was only twenty-three when I--first knew you. It's an
awful long time ago, isn't it? There are some wounds that never quite
heal, you know. Oh, my God, don't you understand? [_His embarrassment,
the distraction of his tone, and the way the halting words fall
unwillingly from his lips have betrayed the truth to_ DAISY. _She does
not speak, she does not stir, she looks at him with great shining eyes.
She hardly dares to breathe._] If ever you wanted revenge on me you've
got it now. You must see that it's better that I shouldn't come here too
often. Forgive me--Goodby.

[_He hurries away with averted face._ DAISY _stands motionless, erect;
she is almost transfigured_. _She draws a long breath._

DAISY. Oh, God! He loves me.

[_She takes the orchids he has brought her and crushes them to her
heart._ _The_ AMAH _appears_.

AMAH. You wantchee buy Manchu dress, Daisy?

DAISY. Go away.

AMAH. Velly cheap. You look see. No likee, no buy.

DAISY. [_Impatiently._] I'm sick of curio-dealers.

AMAH. Velly pletty Manchu dresses.

[_She draws aside a little and allows a man with a large bundle wrapped
up in a blue cotton cloth to come in. He is a Chinese. He is dressed in
a long black robe and a round black cap._ _It is_ LEE TAI CHENG. _He is
big and rather stout. From his smooth and yellow face his black eyes
gleam craftily. He lays his bundle on the ground and unties it, showing
a pile of gorgeous Manchu dresses._ DAISY _has taken no notice of him_.
_Suddenly she sees that a man, with his back turned to her, is there._

DAISY. [_To the_ AMAH.] I told you I wouldn't see the man. Send him away
at once.

LEE TAI. [_Turning round, with a sly smile._] You look see. No likee, no

DAISY. [_With a start of surprise and dismay._] Lee!

LEE TAI. [_Coming forward coolly._] Good afternoon, Daisy.

DAISY. [_Recovering herself._] It's lucky for you I'm in a good temper
or I'd have you thrown out by the boys. What have you brought this junk

LEE TAI. A curio-dealer can come and go and no one wonders.

AMAH. Lee Tai velly clever man.

DAISY. Give me that chain. [_The_ AMAH _takes it out of her sleeve and
gives it to her_. DAISY _flings it contemptuously at_ LEE TAI'S _feet_.]
Take it. Pack up your things and go. If you ever dare to show your face
here again, I'll tell my husband.

LEE TAI. [_With a chuckle._] What will you tell him? Don't you be a
silly girl, Daisy.

DAISY. What do you want?

LEE TAI. [_Coolly._] You.

DAISY. Don't you know that I loathe you? You disgust me.

LEE TAI. What do I care? Perhaps if you loved me I shouldn't want you.
Your hatred is like a sharp and bitter sauce that tickles my appetite.

DAISY. You beast.

LEE TAI. I like the horror that makes your body tremble when I hold you
in my arms. And sometimes the horror turns on a sudden into a wild
tempest of passion.

DAISY. You liar.

LEE TAI. Leave this stupid white man. What is he to you?

DAISY. He is my husband.

LEE TAI. It is a year to-day since you were married. What has marriage
done for you? You thought when you married a white man you'd become a
white woman. Do you think they can look at you and forget? How many
white women do you know? How many friends have you got? You're a
prisoner. I'll take you to Singapore or Calcutta. Don't you want to
amuse yourself? Do you want to go to Europe? I'll take you to Paris.
I'll give you more money to spend in a week than your husband earns in a

DAISY. I'm very comfortable in Peking, thank you.

LEE TAI. [_Snapping his fingers._] You don't care that for your husband.
He loves you. You despise him. Don't you wish with all your heart that
you hadn't married him?

AMAH. He very silly white man. He no likee Daisy's old amah. Perhaps one
day he b'long sick. Daisy cry velly much if he die?

DAISY. [_Impatiently._] Don't be such a fool.

AMAH. Perhaps one day he drink whisky soda. Oh, velly ill, velly ill.
What's the matter with me? No sabe. No can stand. Doctor no sabe. Then
die. Hi, hi.

DAISY. You silly old woman. Harry's not a Chinaman and he wouldn't call
in a Chinese doctor.

LEE TAI. [_With a smile._] China is a very old and a highly civilized
country, Daisy. When anyone is in your way, it's not very difficult to
get rid of him.

DAISY. [_Scornfully._] And do you think I'd let poor Harry be murdered
so that I might be free to listen to your generous proposals? You must
think I'm a fool if you expect me to risk my neck for that.

LEE TAI. You don't take _any_ risk, Daisy. You know nothing.

AMAH. Lee Tai velly clever man, Daisy.

DAISY. I thought so once. Lee Tai, you're a damned fool. Get out.

LEE TAI. Freedom is a very good thing, Daisy.

DAISY. What should I do with it?

LEE TAI. Wouldn't you like to be free now? [_She looks at him sharply.
She wonders if it can possibly be that he suspects her passion for
George Conway. He meets her glance steadily._] One day Sen Shi Ming was
sitting with his wife looking at a Tang bronze that he had just bought
when he heard someone in the street crying for help. Sen Shi was a very
brave man and he snatched up a revolver and ran out. Sen Shi forgot that
he had cheated his brother out of a house in Hatamen Street or he would
have been more prudent. Sen Shi was found by the watchman an hour later
with a dagger in his heart. Who killed cock-robin?

AMAH. Hi, hi. Sen Shi velly silly man.

LEE TAI. His brother knew that. They had grown up together. If I heard
cries for help outside my house late in the night, I should ask myself
who had a grudge against me, and I should make sure the door was bolted.
But white men are very brave. White men don't know the Chinese customs.
Would you be very sorry if an accident happened to your excellent

DAISY. I wonder what you take me for?

LEE TAI. Why do you pretend to me, Daisy? Do you think I don't know you?

DAISY. The door is a little on the left of you, Lee Tai. Would you give
yourself the trouble of walking through it?

LEE TAI. [_With a smile._] I go, but I come back. Perhaps you'll change
your mind.

[_He ties up his bundle and is about to go._ HARRY _enters_.

DAISY. Oh, Harry, you're back very soon!

HARRY. Yes, the pony went lame. Fortunately I hadn't gone far before I
noticed it. Who's this?

DAISY. It's a curio-dealer. He has nothing I want. I was just sending
him away.

[LEE TAI _takes up his bundle and goes out_.

HARRY. [_Noticing the orchids._] Someone been sending you flowers?

DAISY. George.

HARRY. Rather nice of him. [_To the_ AMAH.] Run along, amah, I want to
talk to missy.

AMAH. All light.

HARRY. And don't let me catch you listening round the corner.

AMAH. My no listen. What for I listen?

HARRY. Run along--chop-chop.

AMAH. Can do. [_She goes out._]

HARRY. [_With a laugh._] I couldn't give you a greater proof of my
affection than consenting to have that old woman around all the time.

DAISY. I don't know why you dislike her. She's devoted to me.

HARRY. That's the only reason I put up with her. She gives me the
creeps. I have the impression that she watches every movement I make.

DAISY. Oh, what nonsense!

HARRY. And I've caught her eavesdropping.

DAISY. Was it amah that you wanted to talk to me about?

HARRY. No, I've got something to tell you. How would you like to leave

DAISY. [_With a start, suddenly off her guard._] Not at all.

HARRY. I'm afraid it's awfully dull for you here, darling.

DAISY. I don't find it so.

HARRY. You're so dear and sweet. Are you sure you don't say that on my

DAISY. I'm very fond of Peking.

HARRY. We've been married a year now. I don't want to hurt your
feelings, darling, but it's no good beating about the bush, and I think
it's better to be frank.

DAISY. Surely you can say anything you like to me without hesitation.

HARRY. Things have been a little awkward in a way. The women I used to
know before we married left cards on you--

DAISY. Having taken the precaution to discover that I should be out.

HARRY. And you returned those cards and that was the end of it. I asked
George what he thought about my taking you to the club to play tennis
and he said he thought we'd better not risk it. The result is that you
don't know a soul.

DAISY. Have I complained?

HARRY. You've been most awfully decent about it, but I hate to think of
your spending day after day entirely by yourself. It can't be good for
you to be so much alone.

DAISY. I might have known Mrs. Chuan. She's a white woman.

HARRY. Oh, my dear, she was--heaven knows what she was! She's married to
a Chinaman. It's horrible. She's outside the pale.

DAISY. And there's Bertha Raymond. She's very nice, even though she is a

HARRY. I'm sure she's very nice, but we couldn't very well have the
Raymonds here and refuse to go to them. Her brother is one of the clerks
in my office. I don't want to seem an awful snob....

DAISY. You needn't hesitate to say anything about the Eurasians. You
can't hate and despise them more than I do.

HARRY. I don't hate and despise them. I think that's odious. But
sometimes they're not very tactful. I don't know that I much want one of
my clerks to come and slap me on the back in the office and call me old

DAISY. Of course not.

HARRY. The fact is we've been trying to do an impossible thing. It's no
good kicking against the pricks. What with the legations and one thing
and another Peking's hopeless. We'd far better clear out.

DAISY. But if I don't mind why should you?

HARRY. Well, it's not very nice for me either. It's for my sake just as
much as for yours that I'd be glad to go elsewhere. Of course everybody
at the club knows I'm married. Some of them ignore it altogether. I
don't mind that so much. Some of them ask after you with an exaggerated
cordiality which is rather offensive. And every now and then some fool
begins to slang the Eurasians and everybody kicks him under the table.
Then he remembers about me and goes scarlet. By God, it's hell.

DAISY. [_Sulkily._] I don't want to leave Peking. I'm very happy here.

HARRY. Well, darling, I've applied for a transfer.

DAISY. [_With sudden indignation._] Without saying a word to me?

HARRY. I thought you'd be glad. I didn't want to say anything till it
was settled.

DAISY. Do you think I am a child to have everything arranged for me
without a word? [_Trying to control herself._] After all, you'd never
see George. Surely you don't want to lose sight of your only real

HARRY. I've talked it over with George and he thinks it's the best thing
to do.

DAISY. Did he advise you to go?

HARRY. Strongly.

DAISY. [_Violently._] I won't do it. I won't leave Peking.

HARRY. Why should his advice make the difference?

DAISY. Why? [_She is confused for a moment, but quickly recovers
herself._] I won't let George Conway--or anybody else--decide where I'm
to go.

HARRY. Don't be unreasonable, darling.

DAISY. I won't go. I tell you I won't go.

HARRY. Well, I'm afraid you must now. It's all settled. The transfer is

DAISY. [_Bursting into tears._] Oh, Harry, don't take me away from here.
I can't bear it. I want to stay here.

HARRY. Oh, darling, how can you be so silly! You'll have a much better
time at one of the outports. You see, there are so few white people
there that they can't afford to put on frills. They'll be jolly glad to
know us both. We shall lead a normal life and be like everybody else.

DAISY. [_Sulkily._] Where do you want to go?

HARRY. I've been put in charge of our place at Chung-king.

DAISY. [_Starting up with a cry._] Chung-king! Of course you'd choose

HARRY. Why, what's wrong with it? Do you know it?

DAISY. No--oh, what am I talking about? I'm all confused. Yes, I was
there once when I was a girl. It's a hateful place.

HARRY. Oh, nonsense! The consul's got a charming wife, and there are
quite a nice lot of people there.

DAISY. [_Distracted._] Oh, what shall I do? I'm so unhappy. If you cared
for me at all you wouldn't treat me so cruelly. You're ashamed of me.
You want to hide me. Why should I bury myself in a hole two thousand
miles up the river? I won't go! I won't go! I won't go! [_She bursts
into a storm of hysterical weeping._]

HARRY. [_Trying to take her in his arms._] Oh, Daisy, for God's sake
don't cry. You know I'm not ashamed of you. I love you more than ever. I
love you with all my heart.

DAISY. [_Drawing away from him._] Don't touch me. Leave me alone. I hate

HARRY. Don't say that, Daisy. It hurts me frightfully.

DAISY. Oh, go away, go away!

HARRY. [_Seeking to reason with her._] I can't leave you like this.

DAISY. Go, go, go, go, go! I don't want to see you! Oh, God, what shall
I do?

[_She flings herself doom on the steps, weeping hysterically._ HARRY,
_much distressed, looks at her in perplexity_. _The_ AMAH _comes in_.

AMAH. You make missy cly. You velly bad man.

HARRY. What the devil do you want?

AMAH. [_Going up to_ DAISY _and stroking her head_.] What thing he
talkee my poor little flower? Maskee. He belong velly bad man.

HARRY. Shut up, you old ... I won't have you talk like that. I've put up
with a good deal from you, but if you try to make mischief between Daisy
and me, by God, I'll throw you out into the street with my own hands.

AMAH. What thing you do my Daisy? Don't cly, Daisy.

HARRY. Darling, don't be unreasonable.

DAISY. Go away, don't come near me. I hate you.

HARRY. How _can_ you say anything so unkind?

DAISY. Send him away. [_She begins to sob again more violently._]

AMAH. You go away. You no can see she no wanchee you. You come back
bimeby. My sabe talk to little flower.

[HARRY _hesitates for a moment_. _He is harassed by the scene. Then he
makes up his mind the best thing is to leave_ DAISY _with the_ AMAH. _He
goes out._ DAISY _raises her head cautiously_.

DAISY. Has he gone?

AMAH. Yes. He go drink whisky soda.

DAISY. Do you know what he wants?

AMAH. What for he tell me no listen? So fashion I sabe he say something
I wanchee hear. He wanchee you leave Peking.

DAISY. I won't go.

AMAH. Harry velly silly man. He alla same pig. You pull thisa way, he
pull thata way. If Harry say you go from Peking--you go.

DAISY. Never, never, never!

AMAH. You go away from Peking you never see George anymore.

DAISY. I should die. Oh, I want him! I want him to love me. I want him
to hurt me. I want.... [_In her passion she has dug her hands hard into
the_ AMAH.]

AMAH. [_Pushing away_ DAISY'S _hands_.] Oh!

DAISY. He loves me. That's the only thing that matters. All the rest....

AMAH. Harry wanchee you go Chung-king. Missionary ladies like see you
again, Daisy. Perhaps they ask you how you like living along Lee Tai
Cheng. Perhaps somebody tell Harry.

DAISY. The fool. Of all the places in China he must hit upon Chung-king.

AMAH. You know Harry. If he say go Chung-king, he go. You cly, he velly
solly, he all same go.

DAISY. Oh, I know his obstinacy. When he's once made up his
mind--[_Contemptuously._]--he prides himself on his firmness. Oh, what
shall I do?

AMAH. I think more better something happen to Harry.

DAISY. No, no, no!

AMAH. What you flightened for? You no do anything. I tell Lee Tai more
better something happen to Harry. I say you not velly sorry if Harry

DAISY. [_Putting her hands over her ears._] Be quiet! I won't listen to

AMAH. [_Roughly tearing her hands away._] Don't you be such a big fool,
Daisy. You go to Chung-king and Harry know everything. Maybe he kill

DAISY. What do I care?

AMAH. You go to Chung-king, you never see George no more. George, he
love my little Daisy. When Harry gone--George, he come say....

DAISY. Oh, don't tempt me, it's horrible!

AMAH. He put his arms round you and you feel such a little small thing,
you hear his heart beat quick, quick against your heart. And he throw
back your head and he kiss you. And you think you die, little flower.

DAISY. Oh, I love him, I love him!

AMAH. Hi, hi.

DAISY. [_Thinking of the scene with George._] He would hardly look at me
and his hands were trembling. He was as white as a sheet.

AMAH. [_Persuasively._] I tell you, Daisy. You no say yes, you no say
no. I ask Buddha.

DAISY. [_Frightened._] What for?

AMAH. If Buddha say yes, I talk with Lee Tai; if Buddha say no, I do
nothing. Then you go to Chung-king and you never see George any more.

     [_The_ AMAH _goes up the temple steps and flings open the great
     doors_. DAISY _watches her with an agony of horror, expectation,
     and dread. The_ AMAH _lights some joss-sticks on the altar, and
     strikes a deep-toned gong._ HARRY _comes in, followed by_ LEE TAI
     _with his bundle_.

HARRY. [_Anxious to make his peace._] Daisy, I found this fellow hanging
about in the courtyard. I thought I'd like to buy you a Manchu dress
that he's got.

DAISY. [_After a moment's reflection, with a change of tone._] That's
very nice of you, Harry.

HARRY. It's a real beauty. You'll look stunning in it.

LEE TAI. [_Showing the dress, speaking in Pidgin English._] Firs class
dless. He belong Manchu plincess. Manchus no got money. No got money, no
can chow. Manchus sell velly cheap. You takee, Missy.

     [DAISY _and_ LEE TAI _exchange glances_. DAISY _is grave and
     tragic, whereas_ LEE TAI _has an ironical glint in his eyes.
     Meanwhile the_ AMAH _has been bowing before the altar. She goes
     down on her knees and knocks her head on the ground_.

HARRY. What in God's Name is amah doing?

DAISY. She's asking Buddha a question.

HARRY. What question?

DAISY. [_With a shadow of a smile._] How should I know?

HARRY. What's the idea?

DAISY. Haven't you ever seen the Chinese do it? You see those pieces of
wood she's holding in her hands. She's holding them out to the Buddha so
that he may see them and she's telling him that he must answer the
question. [_Meanwhile the_ AMAH, _muttering in a low tone, is seen doing
what_ DAISY _describes_.] The Buddha smells the incense of the burning
joss-sticks, and he's pleased and he listens to what she says.

HARRY. [_Smiling._] Don't be so absurd, Daisy. One might almost think
you believed all this nonsense. Why, you're quite pale.

DAISY. Then she gets up. The pieces of wood are flat on one side and
round on the other. She'll lift them above her head and she'll drop them
in front of the Buddha. If they fall with the round side uppermost it
means yes. [DAISY _has been growing more and more excited as the
ceremony proceeds. Now the_ AMAH _steps back a little and she raises her
arms_. DAISY _gives a shriek and starts to run forward_.] No! no! Stop!

HARRY. [_Instinctively seizing her arms._] Daisy!

     [_At the same moment the_ AMAH _has let the pieces of wood fall.
     She looks at them for an instant and then turns round_.

AMAH. Buddha talkee, can do.

DAISY. [_To_ HARRY.] Why did you stop me?

HARRY. Daisy, how can you be so superstitious? What is the result?

DAISY. Amah asked Buddha a question and the answer is yes. [_She puts
her hand to her heart for an instant, then looking at_ HARRY _she
smiles_.] I'm sorry I was silly and unreasonable just now, Harry.



     _The sitting-room in the_ ANDERSONS' _apartments. At the back are
     two double doors. The lower part of them is solid, but above they
     are cut in an intricate trellis. The ceiling is raftered, painted
     red and decorated with dim, gold dragons; the walls are
     whitewashed. On them hang Chinese pictures on rolls. Between the
     doors is a little image of the domestic god, and under it a tiny
     oil lamp is burning. The furniture is partly Chinese and partly
     European. There is an English writing-table, but the occasional
     tables, richly carved, are Chinese. There is a Chinese pallet-bed,
     covered with bamboo matting, and there is an English Chesterfield.
     There are a couple of Philippine rattan chairs and one or two of
     Cantonese blackwood. On the floor is a Chinese carpet. A Ming tile
     here and there gives a vivid note of colour. It is a summer night
     and the doors are wide open. Through them you see one of the
     courtyards of the temple_.

     _The_ AMAH _is seated in one of the blackwood chairs by the side of
     a table. She has her water-pipe. She puts a pinch of tobacco in and
     then going to the lamp under the image lights a taper. She seats
     herself again and lights her pipe. She smokes quietly_.

     DAISY _comes in. She wears an evening dress somewhat too splendid
     for dinner with only her husband and a friend_.

AMAH. B. A. T. fellow, when he go?

DAISY. You know his name. Why don't you call him by it? I think he's
going almost at once.

AMAH. What for he go so soon?

DAISY. That's his business, isn't it? As a matter of fact his sister is
arriving from England, and he has to go to meet her.

AMAH. More better he go soon.

DAISY. Why do you smoke your pipe here? You know Harry doesn't like it.

AMAH. Harry one big fool, I think. When you go to Chung-king?

DAISY. Harry hasn't said a word about it since.

AMAH. You got key that desk?

DAISY. No. Harry keeps all his private papers there.

     [_The_ AMAH _goes up to the desk and tries one of the drawers. It
     is locked and she cannot open it_.

AMAH. What Harry do now?

DAISY. He and Mr. Knox are drinking their port.

     [_The_ AMAH _takes out a skeleton key out of her pocket and inserts
     it in the lock. She turns the key_.

AMAH. Velly bad lock. I think him made in Germany. Hi, hi. [_She opens
the drawer and takes out a revolver. She hands it to_ DAISY.] Lee Tai
say, you take out cartridges.

DAISY. What do you mean? [_She suddenly guesses the truth and gives a
cry._] Oh!

AMAH. [_Hurriedly putting her hand over_ DAISY'S _mouth_.] Sh, you no
make noise. [_Holding out the revolver._] Lee Tai say, more better you
do it.

DAISY. Take it away. No, no, I won't, I won't.

AMAH. Sh, sh. I do it. I sabe.

     [_She takes the cartridges out of the revolver and hides them about
     her._ DAISY _looks at her with horror_.

DAISY. It's not for to-night?

AMAH. I no sabe.

DAISY. I won't have it. Do you hear? Oh, I shall go mad!

AMAH. Then Harry shut you up. Hi, hi. All same Chung-king.

     [_She puts the revolver back into the drawer and shuts it_ _just
     as_ HARRY _and_ HAROLD KNOX _come in. They wear dinner jackets_.

KNOX. Hulloa, there's the little ray of sunshine. I missed your bonny
face before dinner.

AMAH. You velly funny man.

KNOX. No wonder I dote upon you, dearie. You're the only attractive
woman I've ever been able to persuade that I was a humourist.

HARRY. [_Catching sight of the_ AMAH'S _water-pipe_.] I told you I
wouldn't have your disgusting pipe in here, amah.

AMAH. Belong velly nice pipe.

HARRY. I swore I'd throw the damned thing out myself if I found it lying

AMAH. [_Snatching it away._] You no touch my pipe. You velly bad man.
Velly bad temper. You no Christian.

HARRY. A fat lot you know about Christianity.

AMAH. I know plentything about Christianity. My father velly poor man.
He say, you go and be Christian. I go Catholic mission and they baptize
me. English Church missionary, he come along and say, Catholic mission
no good, you go to hell, I baptize you. All right I say, you baptize me.
By and by Baptist missionary come along and say, English Church mission
no good, you go to hell, I baptize you. All right, I say, you baptize
me. By and by Presbyterian missionary come along and say, Baptist
mission no good, you go to hell, I baptize you. All right, I say, you
baptize me. [_To_ KNOX.] You know Seventh Day Adventists?

KNOX. I've heard of them.

AMAH. By and by Seventh Day Adventist he come along and say,
Presbyterian mission no good.

KNOX. You go to hell.

AMAH. How fashion you sabe what he said?

KNOX. I guessed it.

AMAH. You go to hell, he say. I baptize you. I been baptized one, two,
three, four, five times. I velly Christian woman.

HARRY. [_Smiling._] I apologize.

AMAH. They all say to poor Chinese, love one another. I no think
missionaries love one another velly much. Hi, hi.

KNOX. [_Taking out his watch._] D'you mind if I look at the time? I
don't want to get to the station late.

HARRY. Of course not. I say, won't you have a cigar? [_He goes to his
desk._] I have to keep them locked up. I think the boys find them very
much to their taste. [_He puts the key into the lock._] Hulloa, the
drawer's open. I could have sworn I locked it. [_He takes out a box of
cigars and hands it to_ KNOX.]

KNOX. [_Helping himself._] Thanks very much.

DAISY. You know, you mustn't let me keep you if you want to be off.

KNOX. I've got two or three minutes.

HARRY. Oh, Daisy, before Harold goes I wish you'd show him that Manchu
dress I bought you.

DAISY. I'll go and fetch it. [_To the_ AMAH.] Is it hanging up in the

AMAH. No, I have puttee in paper. I velly careful woman.

     [_They both go out._

KNOX. I say, old man, I hope you don't think I'm an awful swine to rush
off like this the moment I've swallowed my dinner.

HARRY. Rather not. As a matter of fact it's not exactly inconvenient,
because I'm expecting George. I want him to have a heart to heart talk
with Daisy.


HARRY. She's grousing rather about going to Chung-king and I want him to
tell her it's a very decent place. He was vice-consul up there once.
He's dining at the Carmichael's, but he said he'd come along here as
soon as he could get away.

KNOX. Then it's all for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

     [DAISY _comes in with the dress_.

DAISY. Here it is.

KNOX. By George, isn't it stunning? I must try to get one for my sister.
She'd simply go off her head if she saw that.

DAISY. Harry spoils me, doesn't he?

KNOX. Harry's a very lucky young fellow to have you to spoil.

DAISY. [_Smiling._] Go away or you'll never arrive in time.

KNOX. I'm off. Goodby and thanks very much. Dinner was top-hole.

DAISY. Goodby.

     [_He goes out._ HARRY _accompanies him into the courtyard and for a
     moment is lost to view. The gaiety on_ DAISY'S _face vanishes and a
     look of anxiety takes its place_.

DAISY. [_Calling hurriedly._] Amah, amah.

AMAH. [_Coming in._] What thing?

DAISY. What have you done? Have you...? [_She stops, unable to complete
the agonised question._]

AMAH. What you talk about? I done nothing. I only have joke with you.
Hi, hi.

DAISY. Will you swear that's true?

AMAH. Never tell a lie. Velly good Christian.

     [DAISY _looks at her searchingly. She does not know whether to
     believe or not_. HARRY _returns_.

HARRY. I say, Daisy, I wish you'd put on the dress. I'd love to see how
you look in it.

DAISY. [_With a smile._] Shall I?

HARRY. Amah will help you. It'll suit you right down to the ground.

DAISY. Wait a minute. Bring the dress along, amah.

AMAH. All right.

     [DAISY _goes out, followed by the_ AMAH _with the Manchu dress_.
     HARRY _goes to his desk and opens the drawer. He examines the lock
     and looks at the keyhole_.

HARRY. [_To himself._] I wonder if that old devil's got a key.

     [_He shuts the drawer, but does not lock it. He strolls back to the
     middle of the room._

DAISY. [_In the adjoining room._] Are you getting impatient?

HARRY. Not a bit.

DAISY. I'm just ready.

HARRY. I'm holding my breath. [DAISY _comes in. She is in full Manchu
dress. She is strangely changed. There is nothing European about her any
more. She is mysterious and enigmatical_.] Daisy! [_She gives him a
little smile but does not answer. She stands quite still for him to look
at her._] By George, how Chinese you look!

DAISY. Don't you like it?

HARRY. I don't know. You've just knocked me off my feet. Like it? You're
wonderful. In my wildest dreams I never saw you like that. You've
brought all the East into the room with you. My head reels as though I
were drunk.

DAISY. It's strange that I feel as if these things were made for me.
They make me feel so different.

HARRY. I thought that no one in the world was more normal than I. I'm
ashamed of myself. You're almost a stranger to me and by God, I feel as
though the marrow of my bones were melting. I hear the East a-calling. I
have such a pain in my heart. Oh, my pretty, my precious, I love you.

     [_He falls down on his knees before her and clasps both his arms
     round her._

DAISY. [_In a low voice, hardly her own._] Why, Harry, what are you
talking about?

     [_She caresses his hair with her long, delicate Chinese hand._

HARRY. I'm such a fool. My heart is full of wonderful thoughts and I
can only say that--that I worship the very ground you walk on.

DAISY. Don't kneel, Harry; that isn't the way a woman wants to be loved.

[_She raises him to his feet and as he rises he takes her in his arms._

HARRY. [_Passionately._] I'd do anything in the world for you.

DAISY. You could make me so happy if you chose.

HARRY. I do choose.

DAISY. Won't you give up this idea of leaving Peking?

HARRY. But, my darling, it's for your happiness I'm doing it.

DAISY. Don't you think that everyone is the best judge of his own

HARRY. Not always.

DAISY. [_Disengaging herself from his arms._] Ah, that's the English
way. You want to make people happy in your way and not in theirs. You'll
never be satisfied till the Chinese wear Norfolk jackets and eat roast
beef and plum pudding.

HARRY. Oh, my dear, don't let's argue now.

DAISY. You say you'll give me everything in the world and you won't give
me the one thing I want. What's the good of offering me the moon if I
have a nail in my shoe and you won't take it out?

HARRY. Well, you can smile, so it's not very serious, is it?

DAISY. [_Putting her arms round his neck._] Oh, Harry, I'll love you so
much if you'll only do what I ask. You don't know me yet. Oh, Harry!

HARRY. My darling, I love you with all my heart and soul, but when I've
once made up my mind nothing on earth is going to make me change it. We
can only be happy and natural if we go. You must submit to my judgment.

DAISY. How _can_ you be so obstinate?

HARRY. My dear, look at yourself in the glass now.

     [_She looks down on her Manchu dress. She understands what he
     means. She is a Chinese woman._

DAISY. [_With a change of tone._] Amah, bring me a tea-gown.

     [_She begins to undo the long Manchu coat. The_ AMAH _comes in with
     a tea-gown_.

HARRY. [_Dryly._] It's very convenient that you should always be within
earshot when you're wanted, amah.

AMAH. I velly good amah. Velly Christian woman.

     [DAISY _slips off the Manchu clothes and is helped by the_ AMAH
     _into the tea-gown. She wraps it round her. She is once more a
     white woman._

DAISY. [_Pointing to the Manchu dress._] Take those things away. [_To_
HARRY.] Would you like to have a game of chess?

HARRY. Very much. I'll get the men.

     [DAISY _goes to the gramophone and turns on a Chinese tune. It is
     strange and exotic. Its monotony exacerbates the nerves._ HARRY
     _gets the chessboard and sets up the pieces. They sit down opposite
     one another. The_ AMAH _has disappeared with the discarded dress_.

HARRY. Will you take white?

DAISY. If you like. [_She moves a piece._]

HARRY. I hate your queen opening. It always flummoxes me. I don't know
where you learned to play so well. I never have a chance against you.

DAISY. I was taught by a Chinaman. It's a game they take to naturally.

     [_They make two or three moves without a word. Suddenly, breaking
     across the silence, stridently, there is a shriek outside in the
     street._ DAISY _gives a little gasp_.

HARRY. Hulloa, what's that?

DAISY. Oh, it's nothing. It's only some Chinese quarrelling.

     [_Two or three shouts are heard and then an agonised cry of "Help,
     help."_ HARRY _springs to his feet_.

HARRY. By God, that's English.

[_He is just going to rush out when Daisy seizes his arm._]

DAISY. What are you going to do? No, no, don't leave me, Harry.

[_She clings to him. He pushes her away violently._

HARRY. Shut up. Don't be a fool.

     [_He runs to the drawer of his desk. The cry is repeated: "For
     God's sake, help, help, oh!"_

HARRY. My God, they're killing someone. It can't be ... [_He remembers
that George is coming that evening._]

DAISY. [_Throwing herself on him._] No, Harry, don't go, don't go, I
won't let you.

HARRY. Get out of my way.

     [_He pushes her violently aside and runs out._ DAISY _sinks to the
     floor and buries her face in her hands_.

DAISY. Oh, my God!

     [_The_ AMAH _has been waiting just outside one of the doors, in the
     courtyard, and now she slips in_.

AMAH. Harry velly blave man. He hear white man being murdered. He run
and help. Hi, hi.

DAISY. Oh, I can't. Harry, Harry.

     [_She springs to her feet and runs towards the courtyard, with some
     instinctive idea of going to her husband's help._ The AMAH _stops

AMAH. What side you go?

DAISY. I can't stand here and let Harry be murdered.

AMAH. You stop here.

DAISY. Let me go. For God's sake let me go. Wu, Wu.

[_The_ AMAH _puts her hand over_ DAISY'S _mouth_.

AMAH. You be quiet. You wanchee go prison?

DAISY. [_Snatching away her hand._] I'll give you anything in the world
if you'll only let me go.

AMAH. You silly little fool, Daisy.

     [DAISY _struggles to release herself, but she is helpless in the_
     AMAH'S _grasp_.

DAISY. [_In an agony._] It'll be too late.

AMAH. Too late now. You no can help him.

     [_She releases_ DAISY. DAISY _staggers forward and covers her face
     with her hands_.

DAISY. Oh, what have I done?

AMAH. [_With a snigger._] You no done nothing, you know nothing.

DAISY. [_Violently._] Curse you! It's you, you, you!

AMAH. I velly wicked woman. Curse me. Do me no harm.

DAISY. I told you I wouldn't have anything done to Harry.

AMAH. You say no with your lips but in your belly you say yes.

DAISY. No, no, no!

AMAH. You just big damned fool, Daisy. You no love Harry. Him not velly
rich. Not velly big man. No good. You velly glad you finish with him.

DAISY. But not that way. He never did me any harm. He was always good to
me and kind to me.

AMAH. That velly good way. Velly safe way.

DAISY. You devil! I hate the sight of you.

AMAH. What for you hate me? I do what you want. Your father velly clever
man. He say: no break eggs, no can eat omelette.

DAISY. I wish I'd never been born.

AMAH. [_Impatiently._] What for you tell me lies? You want Harry dead.
Well, I kill him for you. [_With a sudden gust of anger._] You no curse
me or I beat you. You velly bad girl.

DAISY. [_Giving way._] Oh, I feel so awfully faint!

AMAH. [_Tenderly, as though_ DAISY _were still a child_.] You sit down.
You take smelly salts. [_She helps_ DAISY _into a chair and holds
smelling salts to her nostrils_.] You feel better in a minute. Amah love
her little Daisy flower. Harry him die and Daisy velly sorry. She cry
and cry and cry. George velly sorry for Daisy. By and by Daisy no cry
any more. She say, more better Harry dead. Good old amah, she do
everything for little Daisy.

[DAISY _has been looking at her with terrified eyes_.

DAISY. What a brute I am! I'd give anything in the world to have Harry
back, and yet in the bottom of my heart there's a feeling--if I were
free there'd be nothing to stand between George and me.

AMAH. I think George he marry you maybe.

DAISY. Oh, not now! It'll bring me bad joss.

AMAH. You no wanchee fear, my little flower. You sit still or you feel
bad again.

DAISY. [_Jumping up._] How can I sit still? The suspense is awful. Oh,
my God, what's happened?

AMAH. [_With a cunning smile._] I tell you what's happened. Harry run
outside and he see two, three men makee fighting. They a little way off.
One man cry, "Help, help!" Harry give shout and run. He fall down and
him not get up again.

DAISY. He's as strong as a horse. With his bare hands he's a match for
ten Chinamen.

AMAH. Lee Tai velly clever man. He no take risks. I think all finish

DAISY. Then for God's sake let me go.

AMAH. More better you stay here, Daisy. Perhaps you get into trouble if
you go out. They ask you why you go out,--why you think something happen
to your husband.

DAISY. I can't let him lie there.

AMAH. He no lie velly long. By and by night watchman come here, and he
say white man in the street--him dead. I think his throat cut.

DAISY. Oh, how horrible! Harry, Harry!

[_She buries her face in her hands._

AMAH. I light joss-stick. Make everything come all right.

     [_She goes over to the household image and lights a joss-stick in
     front of it. She bows before it and going on her knees knocks her
     head on the ground._

DAISY. How long is it going on? How long have I got to wait? Oh, what
have I done? The silence is awful. [_There is a silence. Suddenly_ DAISY
_breaks out into a shriek_.] No, no, no! I won't have it. I can't bear
it. Oh, God help me! [_In the distance of the next courtyard is heard
the chanting of the monks at the evening service. The_ AMAH, _having
finished her devotions, stands at the doorway looking out steadily_.
DAISY _stares straight in front of her. Suddenly there is a loud booming
of a gong_. DAISY _starts up_.] What's that?

AMAH. Be quiet, Daisy. Be careful.

     [_The door of the courtyard is flung open._ HARRY _comes in,
     through the courtyard, into the room, pushing before him a coolie
     whom he holds by the wrists and by the scruff of the neck_.

DAISY. Harry!

HARRY. I've got one of the blighters. [_Shouting._] Here, bring me a

DAISY. What's happened?

HARRY. Wait a minute. Thank God, I got there when I did. [WU _brings a
rope and_ HARRY _ties the man's wrists behind his back_.] Keep quiet,
you devil, or I'll break your ruddy neck. [_He slips the rope through
the great iron ring of one of the doors and ties it so that the man
cannot get away._] He'll be all right there for the present. I'll just
go and telephone to the police station. Wu, you stand outside there. You
watch him. Sabe?

WU. I sabe.

     [_As_ HARRY _goes out a crowd of people surge through the great
     open doorway of the courtyard. They are monks of the temple,
     attracted to the street by the quick rumour of accident, coolies,
     and the night watchman with his rattle. Some of them bear Chinese
     lanterns, some hurricane lamps. The crowd separates out as they
     approach the room and then it is seen that three men are bearing
     what seems to be the body of a man_.

DAISY. What's that?

AMAH. I think belong foreign man. [_The men bring in the body and lay it
on the sofa. The head and part of the chest are covered with a piece of
blue cotton._ DAISY _and the_ AMAH _look at it with dismay. They dare
not approach. The_ ABBOT _drives the crowd out of the room and shuts the
doors, only leaving that side of one open at which the prisoner is
attached. The_ AMAH _turns on the god in the niche_.] You say can do.
What for you make mistake?

     [_She seizes a fan which is on the table under her hand and with
     angry violence hits the image on the face two or three times._
     DAISY _has been staring at the body. She goes up to it softly and
     lifts the cloth slightly, she gives a start, and with a quick
     gesture snatches it away. She sees George Conway_.

DAISY. George. [_She opens her mouth to shriek._]

AMAH. Sh, take care. Harry hear.

DAISY. What have you done?

AMAH. I do nothing. Buddha, he makee mistake.

DAISY. You fiend!

AMAH. How do I know, Daisy? I no can tell George coming here to-night.
[_The words come gurgling out, for_ DAISY _has sprung upon her and
seized her by the throat_.] Oh, let me go.

DAISY. You fiend.

[HARRY _comes in. He is astounded at what he sees_.

HARRY. Daisy, Daisy. What in God's name are you doing?

     [_Restrained by his voice_, DAISY _releases her hold of the_ AMAH,
     _but violently, pushing her so that she falls to the ground. She
     lies there, putting her hand to her throat_. DAISY _turns to_

DAISY. It's George.

HARRY. [_Going up to the sofa and putting his hand on George's heart._]
Confound it, I know it's George.

DAISY. Is he dead?

HARRY. No, he's only had a bang on the head. He's stunned. I've sent for
the doctor. Luckily he was dining at the Carmichaels' and I sent
George's rickshaw to bring him along as quick as he could come.

DAISY. Supposing he's gone?

HARRY. He won't have gone. They were going to play poker. By God, what's
this? [_He takes away his hand and sees blood upon it._] He's been
wounded. He's bleeding.

     [DAISY _goes up to the body and kneeling down, feels the pulse_.

DAISY. Are you sure he's alive?

HARRY. Yes, his heart's beating all right. I wish the doctor would make
haste. I don't know what one ought to do.

DAISY. How do you know he's at the Carmichaels'?

HARRY. George told me yesterday he was going to be there. George said he
did not want to play poker and he'd come along here after dinner.

DAISY. [_Springing to her feet._] Did you know George was coming?

HARRY. Of course I did. When I heard someone shouting in English the
first thing I thought of was George.

     [DAISY _bursts into a scream of hysterical laughter. The_ AMAH
     _suddenly looks up and becomes attentive_.

HARRY. Daisy, what's the matter?

AMAH. [_Sliding to her feet and going up to Daisy, trying to stop her._]
Maskee. She only laughy laughy. You no trouble.

HARRY. Get some water or something.

AMAH. [_Frightened._] Now, my pletty, my pletty.

DAISY. [_Recovering herself, violently._] Let me be.

HARRY. By George, I believe he's coming to. Bring the water here.

     [DAISY _takes the glass and leaning over the sofa, moistens_
     GEORGE'S _lips. He slowly opens his eyes_.

GEORGE. Funny stuff. What is it?

HARRY. [_With a chuckle that is half a sob._] Don't be a fool. Oh,
George, you have given me a nasty turn.

GEORGE. There's something the matter with the water.

DAISY. [_Looking at it quickly._] What?

GEORGE. Damn it all, there's no brandy in it.

DAISY. If you make a joke I shall cry.

[_He tries to move, but suddenly gives a groan._

GEORGE. Oh Lord. I've got such a pain in my side.

HARRY. Keep quiet. The doctor will be here in a minute.

GEORGE. What is it?

HARRY. I don't know. There's a lot of blood.

GEORGE. I hope I haven't made a mess on your nice new sofa.

HARRY. Damn the sofa. It's lucky I heard you shout.

GEORGE. I never shouted.

HARRY. Oh, nonsense, I heard you. I thought it was you at once.

GEORGE. I heard a cry for help too. I was just coming along. I nipped
out of my rickshaw and sprinted like hell. I saw some fellows
struggling. I think someone hit me on the head. I don't remember much.

HARRY. Who did cry for help?

GEORGE. [_After a pause._] Nobody.

HARRY. But I heard it. Daisy heard it too. It sounded like someone being
murdered. [_As_ GEORGE _gives a little chuckle_.] What's the joke?

GEORGE. Someone's got his knife into you, old man, and the silly ass
stuck it into me instead.

[_The_ AMAH _pricks up her ears_.

DAISY. I'm sure you oughtn't to talk so much.

GEORGE. It's a very old Chinese trick. They just got the wrong man,
that's all.

HARRY. By George, that explains why I tripped.

GEORGE. Did you trip? A piece of string across the street.

HARRY. I wasn't expecting it. I went down like a ninepin. I was up again
in a flash and just threw myself at the blighters. You should have seen
'em scatter. Luckily I got one of them.

GEORGE. Good. Where is he?

HARRY. He's here. I've tied him up pretty tight.

GEORGE. Well, we shall find out who's at the bottom of this. The methods
of the Chinese police may be uncivilized, but they are ... Oh, Lord, I
do feel rotten.

HARRY. Oh, George.

     [DAISY _gives_ HARRY _the glass and he helps_ GEORGE _to drink_.

GEORGE. That's better.

HARRY. We'd better get you to bed, old man.

GEORGE. All right.

HARRY. Wu and I will carry you. Wu, come along here.

     [_The boy approaches. The_ AMAH _realizes that for a moment the
     prisoner is to be left unguarded. There is a table knife on one of
     the occasional tables with which_ DAISY _has been cutting a book.
     The_ AMAH'S _hand closes over it_.

GEORGE. Oh, no, that's all right. I can walk.

     [_He gets up from the sofa._ HARRY _gives him an arm. He staggers._

HARRY. Wu, you fool. [DAISY _springs forward_.] No, let me take him,
Daisy. You're not strong enough.

GEORGE. [_Gasping._] Sorry to make such an ass of myself.

     [HARRY _and_ WU, _holding him one on each side, help him out of the

DAISY. Shall I come?

HARRY. Oh, I'll call you if you're wanted.

     [DAISY _sinks into a chair, shuddering, and covers her face with
     her hands. The_ AMAH _seizes her opportunity. She cuts the rope
     which binds the prisoner. As soon as he is free he steps out into
     the darkness. The_ AMAH _watches for a moment and then cries out_.

AMAH. Help, help!

[DAISY _springs up and_ HARRY _hurries in_.

HARRY. What's the matter?

AMAH. Coolie. Him run away.

HARRY. [_Looking at the place where he had been tied up._] By God!

AMAH. Missy feel velly ill. No can stand blood. Feel faint. I run fetch
smelly salts and when I come back him gone. Him bad man.

[HARRY _goes to the door and looks at the rope_.

HARRY. This rope's been cut.

AMAH. Perhaps he have knife. Why you no look see before you tie him.

HARRY. [_Looking at her sternly._] How do you think he could get at a
knife with his hands tied behind his back?

AMAH. I no sabe. Maybe he have friend.

HARRY. Didn't you hear anything, Daisy?

DAISY. No. I wasn't thinking about him. Oh, Harry, George isn't going to
die, is he?

HARRY. I hope not. I don't know what sort of a wound he's got. [_The_
AMAH, _thinking attention is withdrawn from her, is slipping away_.] No,
you don't. You stop here.

AMAH. What thing you wantchee?

HARRY. You let that man go.

AMAH. You velly silly man. What for I want let him go?

HARRY. [_Pointing._] What's that knife doing there? That's one of our

AMAH. Missy takey knife cutty book.

HARRY. When I got into the street I wanted to fire my revolver to
frighten them. There wasn't a cartridge in it. I always keep it loaded
and locked up.

AMAH. Revolver. I don't know him. I never have see revolver. Never.

     [_She makes a movement as though to go away. He seizes her wrist._

HARRY. Stop.

AMAH. My go chow. My belong velly hungly. You talk by and by.

HARRY. If I hadn't come in just now, Daisy would have strangled you.

AMAH. Daisy velly excited. She no sabe what she do. She never hurt old

HARRY. Why were you angry with her, Daisy?

DAISY. [_Frightened._] I was beside myself. I don't know what I was

HARRY. [_With sudden suspicion_.] Are you trying to shield her?

DAISY. Of course not. Why on earth should I do that?

HARRY. I suppose you look on it as a matter of no importance that she
tried to kill me.

DAISY. Oh, Harry, how can you say anything so cruel? Why should she try
and kill you?

HARRY. I don't know. How do you expect me to guess what is at the back
of a Chinese brain? She's hated me always.

AMAH. You no love me velly much.

HARRY. I've put up with her just because she was attached to you. I knew
she was a liar and a thief. It was a trap and I escaped by a miracle.
Only, George has got to suffer for it.

DAISY. Harry, you're nervous and excited.

HARRY. What are you defending her for?

DAISY. I'm not defending her.

HARRY. One would almost think she had some hold on you. I've never seen
anyone let an amah behave as you let her behave.

DAISY. She's been with me since I was a child. She--she can't get it
into her head that I'm grown up.

HARRY. Well, I've had about enough of her. [_To the_

AMAH.] The police will be here in ten minutes and I shall give you in
charge instead of the man you allowed to escape.

AMAH. You give me policeman? I no have do wrong. What for you send me to

HARRY. I daresay you know what a Chinese prison is like better than I
do. I don't think it'll be long before you find it worth while to tell
the truth.

DAISY. [_With increasing nervousness._] Oh, Harry, I don't think you
ought to do anything before you've had time to think. After all, there's
absolutely no proof.

HARRY. [_Looking at her with perplexity._] I don't understand. What is
the mystery?

DAISY. There is no mystery. Only I can't bear the idea that my old amah
should go to prison. She's been almost a mother to me for so many years.

     [_There is a pause._ HARRY _looks from_ DAISY _to the_ AMAH.

HARRY. [_To the_ AMAH.] Then get out of here before the police come.

AMAH. You talkee so quick. No can understand.

HARRY. Yes, you can. Unless you're out of here in ten minutes I shall
give you in charge ... Go while the going's good.

AMAH. I think I go smoke pipe.

HARRY. No, you don't, you get out quick or I'll throw you out myself.

AMAH. You no throw me out and I no go to prison.

HARRY. We'll soon see about that.

     [_He seizes her roughly and is about to run her out into the

DAISY. No, don't, Harry. She's my mother.

HARRY. That!

     [_He is aghast. He releases the_ AMAH. _He looks at her with
     horror._ DAISY _covers her face with her hands. The_ AMAH _gives a
     little snigger_.

AMAH. Yes, Daisy, my daughter. She no wanchee tell. I think she a little
ashamed of her mother.

HARRY. My God!

AMAH. I velly pletty girl long time ago. Daisy's father, he call me his
little lotus flower, he call me his little peach-blossom. By and by I no
velly pletty girl any more and Daisy's father he call me you old witch.
Witch, that's what he call me. Witch. He call me, you old hag. You velly
bad man, I say to him. You no Christian. You go to hell, he say. All
right, I say, you baptize me.

     [HARRY _turns away, with dismay, and repulsion. The_ AMAH _takes
     her pipe and lights it_.



_The courtyard in the_ ANDERSONS' _part of the temple_.

     _At the back is the outer wall raised by two or three steps from
     the ground. From the top of the wall, projects a shallow roof of
     yellow tiles supported by wooden pillars painted red, shabby and
     rather weather-worn, and this roof is raised in the middle of the
     wall, where there is a huge wooden gateway. When this is opened the
     street is seen and on the other side of it a high, blank, white
     wall. The courtyard is paved with great flags. On each side of it
     are living rooms._

     _There is a long rattan chair; a round table and a couple of
     armchairs._ GEORGE _is lying on the long chair, looking at an
     illustrated paper, and the_ AMAH _is seated on the ground, smoking
     her water-pipe_.

GEORGE. [_With a smile, putting down the paper._] You're not as chatty
as usual this afternoon, amah.

AMAH. Suppose I got nothing to talk about I no talk.

GEORGE. You are an example to your sex, amah. Your price is above

AMAH. No likee rubies velly much. No can sell velly much money.

GEORGE. In point of fact I wasn't thinking of giving you rubies, even
reconstructed, but if I did I can't think you'd be so indelicate as to
sell them.

AMAH. I no think you velly funny man.

GEORGE. I was afraid you didn't. Would you think it funny if I sat on my

AMAH. Yes, I laugh then. Hi, hi.

GEORGE. The inscrutable heart of China expands to the self-same joke
that convulses a duchess in London and a financier in New York.

AMAH. You more better read the paper.

GEORGE. Where's Missy?

AMAH. I think she in her room. You wanchee?


AMAH. I think she come by and by.

GEORGE. [_Looking at his watch._] Mr. Anderson ought to be back from the
office soon. [_There is a loud knocking at the door._] Hulloa, who's

     [_A_ SERVANT _comes out of the house and going to the gateway
     withdraws the bolt_.

AMAH. I think doctor come see you, maybe.

GEORGE. Oh no, he's not coming to-day. He said he'd look in to-morrow
before I started.

     [_The_ AMAH _gets up and looks at the doorway of which now the_
     SERVANT _has opened one side_. HAROLD KNOX _and his sister_ SYLVIA
     _are seen_.

KNOX. May we come in?

GEORGE. Good man. Of course.

     [_They come towards_ GEORGE. SYLVIA _is a very pretty, simple,
     healthy, and attractive girl. She is dressed in a light summer
     frock. There is in her gait and manner something so spring-like and
     fresh that it is a pleasure to look at her_.

KNOX. I've brought my young sister along with me. [_As_ GEORGE _rises to
his feet_.] Don't get up. You needn't put on any frills for a chit like

GEORGE. Nonsense. I'm perfectly well. [_Shaking hands with_ SYLVIA.] How
d'you do? My name is Conway.

 KNOX. I only omitted to inform her of that fact because she already
knew it.

SYLVIA. Strangely enough that happens to be true. But I wish you'd lie
down again.

GEORGE. I'm sick of lying down. The doctor says I'm perfectly all right.
I'm going home to-morrow.

 KNOX. [_Catching sight of the_ AMAH.] Hulloa, sweetheart, I didn't see
you. Sylvia, I want you to know the only woman I've ever loved.

GEORGE. [_Smiling._] This is Mrs. Anderson's amah.

SYLVIA. [_With a little friendly nod._] How do you do?

AMAH. [_All in a breath._] Velly well, thank you. How do you do? Velly
well, thank you ... You Mr. Knox sister?


AMAH. You missionary lady?


AMAH. What for you come China then?

SYLVIA. I came to see my brother.

AMAH. How old are you?

KNOX. Be truthful, Sylvia.

SYLVIA. I'm twenty-two.

AMAH. How many children you got?

SYLVIA. I'm not married.

AMAH. What for you no married if you twenty-two?

SYLVIA. It does need an explanation, doesn't it? The truth is that
nobody's asked me.

KNOX. What a lie!

AMAH. You come China catchee husband?

SYLVIA. Certainly not.

AMAH. You Christian?

SYLVIA. Not a very good one, I'm afraid.

AMAH. Who baptized you?

SYLVIA. Well, you know, it's an awfully long time ago. I forget.

KNOX. She's like me, amah, she's a Presbyterian.

AMAH. You go to hell then. Only Seventh Day Adventists no go to hell.

SYLVIA. It'll be rather crowded then, I'm afraid.

AMAH. You only baptized once?

SYLVIA. So far as I know.

AMAH. I baptized one, two, three, four, five times. I velly Christian

KNOX. I say, old man, I don't want to dash your fond hopes, but in point
of fact we didn't come here to see you.

GEORGE. Why not? Surely Miss Knox must want to see the principal sights
of Peking.

KNOX. The man is not a raving lunatic, Sylvia. His only delusion is that
he's a humourist ... Sylvia thought she'd like to call on Mrs. Harry.

GEORGE. I'm sure Daisy will be very glad. Amah, go and tell Missy that
there's a lady.

AMAH. Can do.


KNOX. I say, have they caught any of those blighters who tried to kill

GEORGE. No, not a chance. They weren't after me, you know; they were
after Harry.

KNOX. Is there anyone who has a grudge against him?

GEORGE. I don't think so. He doesn't seem very keen on discussing the

[DAISY _comes in_.

KNOX. Here she is. I've brought my sister to see you, Mrs. Harry.

DAISY. [_Shaking hands._] How do you do?

SYLVIA. What a wonderful place you live in!

DAISY. It's rather attractive, isn't it? You must see the temple before
you go.

SYLVIA. I'd love to.

DAISY. Do sit down. [_To_ KNOX.] What do you think of my patient?

KNOX. I think he's a fraud. I never saw anyone look so robust.

DAISY. [_Delighted._] He's made a wonderful recovery.

GEORGE. Thanks to you, Daisy. You can't think how she nursed me.

KNOX. It was rather a narrow escape, wasn't it?

DAISY. For two days we thought he might die at any minute. It was--it
was rather dreadful.

GEORGE. And do you know, all that time she never left me a minute. [_To_
DAISY.] I don't know how I can ever thank you.

DAISY. Oh, well, Harry had his work. I didn't think he ought to be
robbed of his night's rest for a worthless creature like you, and I
hated the idea of a paid nurse looking after you.

SYLVIA. You must have been worn out at the end of it.

DAISY. No, I'm as strong as a horse. And it was such a relief to me when
the doctor said he was out of danger, I forgot I was tired.

KNOX. I don't know why you bothered about him. There are such a lot of
fellows who want his job and they all know they could do it much better
than he can.

GEORGE. Everyone's been so extraordinarily good to me. I had no idea
there was so much kindness in the world.

DAISY. [_To_ SYLVIA, _very pleasantly_.] Will you come and look at the
temple now while they're bringing tea?

SYLVIA. Yes, I'd like to very much.

DAISY. I think you'll enjoy your tea more if you feel you've done the

SYLVIA. It's all so new to me. Everything interests me. I've fallen
passionately in love with Peking.

[_They wander off, talking gaily._

GEORGE. Harold, you're a very nice boy.

KNOX. That's what the girls tell me. But I don't know why you should.

GEORGE. I think it was rather sporting of you to bring your sister to
see Daisy.

KNOX. I don't deserve any credit for that. She insisted on coming.


KNOX. She met Harry at the club and took rather a fancy to him. When I
told her Daisy was a half-caste and people didn't bother much about her
she got right up on her hind legs. I told her she'd only just come out
to China and didn't know what she was talking about and then she gave me
what she called a bit of her mind. I was obliged to remark that if that
was a bit I didn't much care about knowing the rest.

GEORGE. It sounds as though you'd had a little tiff.

KNOX. She said she had no patience with the airs people gave themselves
in the East. A Eurasian was just as good as anybody else. And when I
happened to say I was coming here to-day to see how you were she said
she'd come too.

GEORGE. It's very kind of her. Daisy leads a dreadfully lonely life. It
would mean so much to her if she knew one or two white women. If they
take to one another, you won't try to crab it, will you? I fancy Daisy
wants a friend rather badly.

KNOX. I shouldn't like it very much, you know. Would you much care for
your sister to be very pally with a half-caste?

GEORGE. Daisy is one in a thousand. You can't think what she's done for
me during my illness. My mother couldn't have taken more care of me.

KNOX. They're often very good-hearted. But as a matter of fact nothing I
can say will have the least effect on Sylvia. Girls have changed a lot
since the war. If she wants to do a thing and she thinks it right,
she'll do it. And if I try to interfere she's quite capable of telling
me to go to the devil.

GEORGE. She seems to be a young woman of some character.

KNOX. Perhaps because she's had rather a rough time. The fellow she was
engaged to was killed in the war and she was awfully cut up. She drove
an ambulance for the last two years and then she went up to Girton.
After that my father thought she'd better come out here for a bit.

GEORGE. She ought to like it.

KNOX. If she doesn't put up people's backs too much. She can't stand
anything like injustice or cruelty. If she thinks people are unkind to
Daisy or sniffy about her, she'll stick to her like a leech. However, I
daresay she'll get married.

GEORGE. [_Smiling._] That'll learn her.

KNOX. Why don't you marry her? It's about time you settled down.

GEORGE. [_With a chuckle._] You fool.

KNOX. Why? You're by way of being rather eligible, aren't you?

GEORGE. I don't know why you want to get rid of her. She seems a very
nice sister.

KNOX. Of course I love having her with me, but she does cramp my style a
bit. And she ought to marry. She'd make you a first-rate wife.

GEORGE. Much too good for the likes of me.

KNOX. Of course she's a bit independent, but one has to put up with that
in girls nowadays. And she's as good as gold.

GEORGE. One can see that at a mile, my son.

KNOX. I say, who was Rathbone, Daisy's first husband, do you know?

GEORGE. [_His face a blank._] Harry told me he was an American. He said
he was in business in the F. M. S.

KNOX. That's what Harry told me. I met a fellow the other day who lives
in Singapore who told me he'd never heard of Rathbone.

GEORGE. [_Chaffing him._] Perhaps he didn't move in the exalted circles
that a friend of yours would naturally move in.

KNOX. I suppose there was a Mr. Rathbone?

     [_There is a distant sound in the street of Chinese instruments
     being played._

GEORGE. Hulloa, there's the procession coming along.

KNOX. What procession?

GEORGE. It's a Manchu wedding. The amah was talking about it this

KNOX. I must call Sylvia. She'd love to see it. Sylvia.

     [DAISY _and_ SYLVIA _come out of the house just as he calls_.

SYLVIA. Don't shout, Harold.

KNOX. Come along and have your education improved. A Manchu wedding is
just going to pass by....

SYLVIA. Oh, good, let's go out into the street!

DAISY. You can see it just as well from here. I'll have the doors
opened. Boy, open the gate.

KNOX. Yes, that's the ticket. We shall see it better from here.

     [WU _during the last few speeches has appeared with the tea, which
     he sets down on the table. On receiving_ DAISY'S _order he goes to
     the doorway and draws the bolt. He pulls back one heavy door while_
     KNOX _pulls back the other. The empty street is seen. The music
     grows louder. Now the procession comes, gay, brilliant, and
     barbaric against the white wall of the street; first men on
     horseback, then Buddhist monks in gray, with their shaven heads;
     then the band, playing wild, discordant music; after them passes a
     long string of retainers in red, with strange shaped hats; then
     come retainers bearing in open palanquins great masses of cardboard
     fruits and all manner of foodstuffs, silver vessels and gold; these
     are followed by two or three youths on horseback, gorgeously
     dressed, and these again by the palanquin, carved and richly
     painted and gilt, of the bride. Then pass more priests and another
     band and finally a last string of retainers in red. When the last
     one has disappeared a beggar shows himself at the open doorway. He
     is excessively thin, and he has a bush of long, bristly hair; he is
     clothed in pale rags, torn and patched; his legs and feet are bare.
     He puts out a bony hand and breaks into a long, high-pitched

KNOX. Oh, Lord, get out!

DAISY. Oh, no, please, Harold, give him a copper or two.

GEORGE. Daisy never lets a beggar go away without something.

DAISY. It's not because I'm charitable. I'm afraid they'll bring me bad

KNOX. [_Taking a coin from his pocket._] Here you are, Clarence. Now
buzz off.

     [_The beggar takes his dole and saunters away._ WU _closes the

SYLVIA. [_Enthusiastically._] I _am_ glad I saw that.

DAISY. You'll get very tired of that sort of thing before you've been
here long. Now let's have tea.

SYLVIA. Oh, I don't think we'll stay, thank you very much. We have
another call to make.

DAISY. How tiresome of you. Harry ought to be back in a few minutes.
He'll be disappointed not to have seen you.

SYLVIA. I promised to go and see Mrs. Stopfort. Do you know her?

DAISY. I know who you mean.

SYLVIA. I think people are being absolutely beastly to her. It simply
makes my blood boil.

DAISY. Oh, how?

SYLVIA. Well, you know that her husband's a drunken brute who's treated
her abominably for years. At last she fell in love with a man and now
her husband is going to divorce her. It's monstrous that he should be
able to.

DAISY. Are the ladies of Peking giving her the cold shoulder?

KNOX. The cold _shoulder_ hardly describes it. The frozen silverside.

GEORGE. I think she's well rid of Reggie Stopfort at any price, but I'm
sorry the other party is André Leroux.

SYLVIA. Why? She introduced me to him. I thought he was a very nice

GEORGE. Well, you see, if he'd been English or American, he would have
married her as a matter of course.

SYLVIA. So I should hope.

DAISY. Because she was divorced on his account, you mean?

GEORGE. Yes. But the French haven't our feeling on that matter. I'm not
quite sure if André will be willing to marry her.

SYLVIA. Oh, that would be dreadful! Under those circumstances the man
must marry the woman. He simply must.

GEORGE. Of course.

KNOX. Come along, Sylvia. We won't discuss women's rights now.

SYLVIA. [_Giving_ DAISY _her hand very cordially._] And if there's
anything I hate it's people who say they're going and then don't go.
Good-bye, Mrs. Anderson.

DAISY. It's been very nice to see you.

SYLVIA. I do hope you'll come and see me soon. I'm so very much alone
you'd be doing me a charity if you'd look me up. We might do the curio
shops together.

DAISY. That would be great fun.

SYLVIA. Good-bye, Mr. Conway. I'm glad to see you so well.

GEORGE. Thank you very much, good-bye.

     [KNOX _and_ SYLVIA _go out._ DAISY _has walked with them towards
     the doorway and now returns to_ GEORGE.

GEORGE. What a very nice girl, Daisy.

DAISY. She seems to make a specialty of speckled peaches. First me and
then Mrs. Stopfort.

GEORGE. I was hoping you'd like her.

DAISY. It's hardly probable. She's everything that I'm not. She has
everything that I haven't. No, I don't like her. But I'd give anything
in the world to be her.

GEORGE. [_Smiling._] I don't think you need envy her.

DAISY. Don't you think she's pretty?

GEORGE. Yes, very. But you're so much more than pretty. I expect you
have more brains in your little finger than she has in her whole body.

DAISY. [_Gravely._] She has something that I haven't got, George, and
I'd give my soul to have.

GEORGE. [_Embarrassed._] I don't know what you mean. [_Changing the
conversation abruptly._] Daisy, now that I'm going away....

DAISY. [_Interrupting._] Are you really going to-morrow?

GEORGE. [_Breezily._] I'm quite well. I'm ashamed to have stayed so

DAISY. I don't look forward very much to the long, empty days when
you're no longer here.

GEORGE. [_Seriously._] I must go, Daisy. I really must.

DAISY. [_After a moment's pause._] What were you going to say to me?
Don't thank me for anything I may have done. It's given me a happiness I
never knew before.

GEORGE. Except for you I should have died. And when I think of the past
I am ashamed.

DAISY. What does the past matter? The past is dead and gone.

GEORGE. And I'm ashamed when I think how patient you were when I was
irritable, how kind and thoughtful. I hardly knew I wanted a thing
before you gave it to me. Sometimes when I felt I couldn't breathe, the
tenderness of your hand on my forehead--oh, it was like a dip in a
highland stream on a summer day. I think I never knew that there was in
you the most precious thing that anyone can have, goodness. Oh, Daisy,
it makes me feel so humble.

DAISY. Goodness? [_With the shadow of a laugh._] Oh, George.

GEORGE. It's because Harry is better and simpler than I am that he was
able to see it in you. He felt it in you always and he was right.

[_The_ AMAH _comes in_.

DAISY. [_Sharply._] What d'you want?

     [_The_ AMAH _crosses from one to the other and a thin smile crosses
     her eyes_.

AMAH. Master telephone, Daisy.

DAISY. Why didn't you take the message?

[_She is about to go into the house._

AMAH. He have go now. He say very much hurry. I say no can findee you. I
think you go out.

DAISY. Why did you say that?

AMAH. I think more better, maybe.

GEORGE. [_Smiling._] That's right, amah. Never tell the truth when a lie
will do as well.

DAISY. Well, what was the message?

AMAH. Master say he must to go Tientsin. Very important business. No
come back to-night. Come back first train to-morrow.

DAISY. Very well. Tell the boy that we shall be only two to dinner.

AMAH. I go talkee he.


GEORGE. [_Urbanely._] I say, I don't want to be an awful trouble to you.
I think I'd better go back to my own place to-night.

DAISY. [_Looking at him._] Why should you do that?

GEORGE. I was going to-morrow anyway.

DAISY. Do you think my reputation is such a sensitive flower?

GEORGE. [_Lightly._] Of course not. But people aren't very charitable.
It seems rather funny I should stay here when Harry's away.

DAISY. What do you suppose I care if people gossip?

GEORGE. I care for you.

DAISY. [_With a smile, almost archly._] It's not very flattering to me
that you should insist on going the moment Harry does. Do I bore you so
much as all that?

GEORGE. [_With a chuckle._] How can you talk such nonsense? I haven't
wanted to get well too quickly. I've so enjoyed sitting quietly here
while you read or sewed. I've got so much in the habit of seeing you
about me that if I don't go at once I shall never be able to bring
myself to go at all.

DAISY. Since that horrible accident I've been rather nervous at the
thought of sleeping here by myself. I'm terrified at the thought of
being left alone to-night.

GEORGE. Come in with me, then. The Knoxes will be delighted to put you
up for the night.

DAISY. [_With a sudden change of manner._] I don't want you to go,
George. I want you to stay.

GEORGE. [_As serious as she is._] Daisy, don't be too hard on me. You
don't know. You don't know. [_With an effort he regains his self-control
and returns to his easy, chaffing tone._] Don't forget it's not only a
wound in the lung that I've been suffering from. While you and the
doctor between you have been patching that up, I've been busy sticking
together the pieces of a broken heart. It's nicely set now, no one could
tell that there'd ever been anything wrong with it, but I don't think it
would be very wise to give it a sudden jolt or jerk.

DAISY. [_In a low quivering voice._] Why do you say things like that?
What is the good of making pretences?

GEORGE. [_Determined to keep the note of lightness._] It was very silly
of me to bother you with my little troubles. It was very hot. I was
overworked and nervous at the time or I shouldn't have made so much of
it. I'm sure that you'll be as pleased as I am to know that I'm making a
very good recovery, thank you.

DAISY. [_As though asking a casual question._] You don't care for me any

GEORGE. I have the greatest affection for you. I admire you and of
course I'm grateful to you. But if I thought I was in love with you I
was mistaken.

DAISY. Do you know why I wouldn't have a professional nurse and when you
were unconscious for two days refused to leave you for a minute? Do you
know why, afterwards, at night when you grew delirious I wouldn't let
Harry watch you? I said it would interfere with his work. I dared not
leave you for a single moment. And it was your secret and mine. I
wouldn't let anybody in the world share it with me. Do you know what
you said in your delirium?

GEORGE. [_Disturbed._] I expect I talked an awful lot of rot. People
always do, I believe.

DAISY. [_Passionately._] You used to call me, "Daisy, Daisy," as though
your heart was breaking. And when I leaned over you and said: "I'm
here," you would take my face in your hands so that I could hardly
believe you weren't conscious. And you said: "I love you."

GEORGE. Oh, God!

DAISY. And sometimes I didn't know how to calm you. You were frantic
because you thought they were taking me away from you. "I can't bear
it," you said, "I shall die." I had to put my hands over your mouth so
that no one should hear.

GEORGE. I didn't know what I was saying. I wasn't myself. It was just
the madness of the fever.

DAISY. And sometimes you were so exquisitely tender. Your voice was soft
and caressing. And you called me by sweet names so that the tears ran
down my cheeks. You thought you held me in your arms and you pressed me
to your heart. You were happy then; you were so happy that I was afraid
you'd die of it. I know what love is and you love me.

GEORGE. For God's sake, stop. Why do you torture me?

DAISY. And then you were madly jealous. You hated Harry. I think you
could have killed him.

GEORGE. That's not true. That's infamous. Never. Never.

DAISY. Oh, you can say that with your lips! Sometimes you thought he put
his arms round me and kissed me and you sobbed aloud. Oh, it was so
painful. I forgot that you were unconscious and I took your hands and
said: "He's not here. You and I are alone, alone, alone." And sometimes
I think you understood. You fell back. And a look of peace came on your
face as if you were in heaven and you said--do you know what you said?
You said: "Beloved, beloved, beloved."

     [_Her voice breaks and the tears course down her cheeks._ GEORGE
     _is shattered by what she has told him_.

GEORGE. I suppose there are few of us that wouldn't turn away from
ourselves in horror if the innermost thoughts of our heart, the thoughts
we're only conscious of to hate, were laid bare. But that shameful thing
that showed itself in me isn't me. I disown it....

DAISY. I thought you had more courage. I thought you had more sense. Do
you call that you, a few conventional prejudices? The real you is the
love that consumes you more hotly than ever the fever did. The only you
is the you that loves me. The rest is only frills. It's a domino that
you put on at a masked ball.

GEORGE. You don't know what you say. Frills? It's honour, and duty, and
decency. It's everything that makes it possible for me to cling to the
shadow of my self-respect.

DAISY. Oh, all that means nothing. You fool. You might as well try with
your bare hands to stop the flow of the Yangtze.

GEORGE. If I perish I perish. Oh, of course I love you. All night I'm
tortured with love and tortured with jealousy, but the day does come at
last and then I can get hold of myself again. My love is some horrible
thing gnawing at my heart-strings. I hate it and despise it. But I can
fight it, fight it all the time. Oh, I've been here too long. I ought to
have got back to work long ago. Work is my only chance. Daisy, I beseech
you to let me go.

DAISY. How can I let you go? I love you.

GEORGE. [_Thunderstruck._] You? [_Impatiently, with a shrug of the
shoulders._] Oh, you're talking nonsense.

DAISY. Why do you suppose I've said all these things? Do you think a
woman cares twopence for a man's love when she doesn't love him?

GEORGE. Oh, it's impossible. You don't know what you're saying. I know
how good and kind you are. You've been touched by my love. You mistake
pity for love.

DAISY. I'm not good and I'm not kind. There's no room in my soul for
pity. In my soul there's only a raging hunger. If I know what you feel
it's because I feel it too. I love you, I love you, I love you.

GEORGE. And Harry?

DAISY. What do I care about Harry? I hate him because he's stood between
me and you.

GEORGE. He is your husband. He is my friend.

DAISY. He doesn't exist. I've loved you always from the first day I saw
you. The others were nothing to me, Lee Tai and Harry and the rest. I've
loved you always. I've never loved anyone but you. All these years I've
kept the letters you wrote to me. I've read them till I know every word
by heart. They're all blurred and smudged with the tears I've wept over
them. They were all I had. Do you think I'm going to let you go now? All
my pain, all my anguish, are nothing any more. I love you and you love

GEORGE. Oh, don't, don't!

DAISY. You can't leave me now. If you leave me I shall kill myself.

GEORGE. I must go away. I must never see you again. Whatever happens we
must never meet.

DAISY. [_Exasperated and impatient._] That's impossible. What will you
say to Harry?

GEORGE. If need be I'll tell him the truth.

DAISY. What difference will that make? Will you love me any the less?
Yes, tell him. Tell him that I love you and you only and that I belong
to you and to you only.

GEORGE. Oh, Daisy, for God's sake try and control yourself. We must do
our duty, we must, we must.

DAISY. I know no duty. I only know love. There's no room in my soul for
anything else. You say that love is like a wild beast gnawing at your
entrails. My love is a liberator. It's freed me from a hateful past.
It's freed me from Harry. There's nothing in the world now but you and
me and the love that joins us. I want you, I want you.

GEORGE. Don't, don't! Oh, this is madness! There's only one thing to be
done. God, give me strength. Daisy, you know I love you. I love you with
all my heart and soul. But it's good-bye. I'll never see you again.
Never. Never. So help me God.

DAISY. How can you be so cruel? You're heartless. I've wanted you all
these years. I've hungered for you. You don't know what my humiliation
has been. Pity me because I loved you. If you leave me now I shall die.
You open the doors of heaven to me and then you slam them in my face.
Haven't you made me unhappy enough? You'd have done better to kill me
ten years ago. You trampled me in the mud and then you left me. Oh, what
shall I do? [_She sinks down to the ground, weeping as though her heart
would break._ GEORGE _looks at her for a minute, his face distorted with
agony; he clenches his hands in the violence of his effort to control
himself. He takes his hat and walks slowly towards the gate. He
withdraws the bolt that holds it. When_ DAISY _hears the sound of this
she starts to her feet and staggers towards him_.] George. No, no. Not

     [_She staggers and with a cry falls headlong. She has fainted._

GEORGE. [_Rushing towards her._] Daisy. Daisy. [_He kneels down and
takes her head in his hands. He is fearfully agitated._] Oh, my darling,
what is it? Oh, my God! Daisy! Speak to me. [_Calling._] Amah, amah!
[DAISY _slowly opens her eyes_.] Oh, my beloved! I thought you were

DAISY. Lift me up.

GEORGE. You can't stand.

     [_He raises her to her feet so that when she is erect she is in his
     arms. She puts her arms round his neck._

DAISY. Don't leave me.

GEORGE. My precious. My beloved.

     [_She turns her face to him, offering her lips, and he bends his
     head and kisses her. She closes her eyes in ecstasy._

DAISY. Take me in. I feel so ill.

GEORGE. I'll carry you.

     [_He lifts her up and carries her into the house. From the opposite
     side the_ AMAH _appears. She goes to the gateway and slips the bolt
     forward into position. Then she comes to the tea-table, sits down
     and takes a scone_.

AMAH. Hi, hi.

     [_She bites the scone and chews placidly. On her face is a smirk of



_A small room in a Chinese house in Peking._

     _The walls are whitewashed, but the whitewash is not a little
     stained. Three or four scrolls hang on them, written over in large
     characters with inscriptions. On the floor is matting. The only
     furniture consists of a table, with a couple of chairs, a wooden
     pallet covered with matting, with cushions at one end of it, and a
     Korean chest heavily ornamented with brass. At the back are two
     windows, elaborately latticed and covered with rice paper, and a
     lightly carved door._

     DAISY _is seated in one of the chairs. She has taken her pocket
     mirror out of her bag and is looking at herself. She is gay and
     happy. The_ AMAH _comes in. She carries a long-necked vase in which
     are a couple of carnations_.

AMAH. I bring you flowers make room look pletty.

DAISY. Oh, you nice old thing! Put them on the table.

AMAH. You look at yourself in looking-glass?

DAISY. I'm looking young. It suits me to be happy.

AMAH. You very pletty girl. I very pletty girl long time ago. You look
alla same me some day.

DAISY. [_Amused._] Heaven forbid.

AMAH. You velly good temper to-day, Daisy. You glad because George come.

DAISY. I didn't see him yesterday.

AMAH. He keep you waiting.

DAISY. The wretch. He always keeps me waiting. But what do I care as
long as he comes? We shall have three hours. Perhaps he'll dine here. If
he says he can, give him what he likes to eat. No one can make such
delicious things as you can if you want to.

AMAH. You try flatter me.

DAISY. I don't. You know very well you're the best cook in China.

AMAH. [_Tickled._] Oh, Daisy! I know you more better than you think.

DAISY. You're a wicked old woman. [_She gives her a kiss on both
cheeks._] What are they making such a row about next door?

AMAH. Coolie, he got killed this morning. He have two small children.
Their mother, she die long time ago.

DAISY. How dreadful! Poor little things.

AMAH. You like see them. They here.

     [_She goes to the door and beckons. A little, old, shabby Chinaman
     comes in with two tiny children, a boy and a girl, one holding on
     to each hand. They are very solemn and shy and silent._

DAISY. Oh, what lambs!

AMAH. They no got money. This old man he say he take them and he bring
them up. But he only coolie. He no got much money himself.

DAISY. Is he related to them?

AMAH. No, him just velly good man. He no can do velly much. He just do
what he can. The neighbours, they help little.

DAISY. But I'll help too. Have you got any money on you?

AMAH. I got two, three dollars.

DAISY. What's the good of that? Let him have this.

     [_She has a chain of gold beads round her neck. She takes it off
     and puts it in the old man's hands._

AMAH. That chain very ispensive, Daisy.

DAISY. What do I care? Let him sell it for what it'll fetch. It'll bring
me luck. [_To the old man._] You sabe?

[_He nods, smiling._

AMAH. I think he understand all right.

DAISY. [_Looking at the children._] Aren't they sweet? And so solemn.
[_To the_ AMAH.] You go chop-chop to the toy shop opposite and buy them
some toys.

AMAH. Can do.

     [_She goes out._ DAISY _takes the children and sets them up on the

DAISY. [_Charmingly._] Now you come and talk to me. Sit very still now
or you'll fall off. [_To the little boy._] I wonder how old you are.
[_To the old man._] Wu? Liu?


DAISY. [_To the little boy._] Six years old. Good gracious, you're quite
a man. If I had a little boy he'd be older than you now. If I had a
little boy I'd dress him in such smart things. And I'd bath him myself.
I wouldn't let any horrid old amah bath him. And I wouldn't stuff him up
with sweets like the Chinese do; I'd give him one piece of chocolate
when he was a good boy. Gracious me, I've got some chocolates here. Wait
there. Sit quite still. [_She goes over to the shelf on which is a bag
of chocolates._] There's one for you and one for you and (_to the old
man_) one for you. And here's one for me.

     [_The children and the Chinaman eat the chocolates solemnly. The
     AMAH returns with a doll and a child's Peking cart_.

AMAH. Have catchee toys.

DAISY. Look what kind old amah has brought you. [_She lifts the children
off the table and gives the doll to the little girl and the cart to the
boy._] Here's a beautiful doll for you and here's a real cart for you.
[_She sits down on the floor._] Look, the wheels go round and

AMAH. Have got more presents.

     [_She takes out of her sleeve little bladders with mouthpiece
     attached so that they can be blown up._

DAISY. What on earth is this? Oh, I love them! We must all have one.
[_She distributes them and they all blow them up. There it the sound of
scratching at the door_.] Who's that, I wonder?

AMAH. If you say come in, perhaps you see.

DAISY. Open the door, you old silly. [_She begins to blow up the balloon
again. The_ AMAH _goes to the door and opens it_. LEE TAI _steps in_.]
Lee Tai. Send these away. [_The_ AMAH _makes a sign to the old Chinaman,
he gives each child a hand and with their presents they go out. The_
AMAH _slips out after them_.] I thought you were dead.

LEE TAI. I'm very much alive, thank you.

DAISY. Ah, well, we'll hope for the best.

LEE TAI. I trust you're not displeased to see me.

DAISY. [_Gaily._] If you'd come yesterday I should certainly have
smacked your face, but to-day I'm in such a good humour that even the
sight of you is tolerable.

LEE TAI. You weren't here yesterday.

     [_The_ AMAH _comes in carrying on a little wooden tray, two Chinese
     bowls and a tea-pot_.

DAISY. My dear Mamma seems to think you've come to pay me a visit. You
mustn't let me keep you too long.

LEE TAI. You are expecting someone? I know.

[_The_ AMAH _goes out_.

DAISY. [_Chaffing him._] I always said you had a brain.

LEE TAI. No better a one than yours, Daisy. It was a clever trick when
you got me to try to put your husband out of the way so that you should
be free for George Conway.

DAISY. It was nothing to do with me. I told you I'd have nothing to do
with it. You made a hash of it. One can forgive the good for being
stupid, but when rascals are fools there's no excuse.

LEE TAI. The best laid schemes of mice and men, as my favourite poet
Robert Burns so elegantly puts it, gang aft agley.

DAISY. I don't care a damn about your favourite poet. What have you come
here for to-day?

LEE TAI. As it turns out I do not see that there is any cause for
regret that George Conway got the knife thrust that was intended for
your husband. I wish it had gone a little deeper.

DAISY. [_Coolly._] As it turns out you only did me a service. But still
you haven't told me to what I owe the honour of your visit.

LEE TAI. Civility. I like to be on friendly terms with my tenants.

DAISY. [_Surprised._] Your what?

LEE TAI. [_Urbanely._] This happens to be my house. When I discovered
that your honourable mother had taken the rooms in this courtyard so
that you might have a place where George Conway and you could safely
meet I thought I would buy the whole house.

DAISY. I hope it was a good investment.

LEE TAI. Otherwise perhaps I should have hesitated. It was clever of you
to find so convenient a place. With a curio shop in front into which
anyone can be seen going without remark and an ill-lit passage leading
to this court, it is perfect.

DAISY. What is the idea?

LEE TAI. [_With a twinkle in his eyes._] Are you a little frightened?

DAISY. Not a bit. What can you do? You can tell Harry. Tell him.

LEE TAI. [_Affably._] George Conway would be ruined.

DAISY. [_With a shrug._] He'd lose his job. Perhaps you would give him
another. You're mixed up in so many concerns you could surely find use
for a white man who speaks Chinese as well as George does.

LEE TAI. I find even your shamelessness attractive.

DAISY. I'm profoundly grateful for the compliment.

LEE TAI. But do not fear. I shall do nothing. I bought this house
because I like you to know that always, always you are in my hand. Where
you go, I go. Where you are, I am. Sometimes you do not see me, but
nevertheless I am close. I do nothing. I am content to wait.

DAISY. Your time is your own. I have no objection to your wasting it.

LEE TAI. One day, and I think that day is not very far distant, you will
come to me. I was the first and I shall be the last. If you like I will
marry you.

DAISY. [_With a smile._] I thought you had two, if not three, wives
already. I fancy that number four would have rather a thin time.

LEE TAI. My wife can be divorced. I am willing to marry you before the
British Consul. We will go to Penang. I have a house there. You shall
have motor cars.

DAISY. It's astonishing how easy it is to resist temptations that don't
tempt you.

LEE TAI. Sneer. What do I care? I wait.... What have you to do with
white men? You are not a white woman. What power has this blood of your
father's when it is mingled with the tumultuous stream which you have
inherited through your mother from innumerable generations? Our race is
very pure and very strong. Strange nations have overrun us, but in a
little while we have absorbed them so that no trace of a foreign people
is left in us. China is like the Yangtze, which is fed by five hundred
streams and yet remains unchanged, the river of golden sand, majestic,
turbulent, indifferent, and everlasting. What power have you to swim
against that mighty current? You can wear European clothes and eat
European food, but in your heart you are a Chinawoman. Are your passions
the weak and vacillating passions of the white man? There is in your
heart a simplicity which the white man can never fathom and a
deviousness which he can never understand. Your soul is like a rice
patch cleared in the middle of the jungle. All around the jungle hovers,
watchful and jealous, and it is only by ceaseless labour that you can
prevent its inroads. One day your labour will be vain and the jungle
will take back its own. China is closing in on you.

DAISY. My poor Lee Tai, you're talking perfect nonsense.

LEE TAI. You're restless and unhappy and dissatisfied because you're
struggling against instincts which were implanted in your breast when
the white man was a hungry, naked savage. One day you will surrender.
You will cast off the white woman like an outworn garment. You will come
back to China as a tired child comes back to his mother. And in the
immemorial usages of our great race you will find peace.

     [_There is a moment's silence._ DAISY _passes her hand over her
     forehead. Against her will she is strangely impressed by what_ LEE
     TAI _has said. She gives a little shudder and recovers herself_.

DAISY. George Conway loves me, and I-- Oh!

LEE TAI. The white man's love lasts no longer than a summer day. It is a
red, red rose. Now it flaunts its scented beauty proudly in the sun and
to-morrow its petals, wrinkled and stinking, lie scattered on the

[_There is a sound of a footstep in the courtyard outside._

DAISY. Here he is. Go quickly.

     [GEORGE _opens the door and stops as he catches sight of_ LEE TAI.

GEORGE. Hulloa, who's this?

     [LEE TAI _steps forward, smiling and obsequious_.

LEE TAI. I am the owner of this house. The amah complained that the roof
leaked and I came to see for myself.

GEORGE. [_Frowning._] It's of no consequence. Please don't bother about

LEE TAI. I wish I needn't. The amah has a virulent and active tongue--I
am afraid she will give me no peace till I have satisfied her outrageous

GEORGE. You speak extraordinarily good English.

LEE TAI. I am a graduate of the University of Edinburgh.

DAISY. Robert Burns is his favourite poet.

LEE TAI. I spent a year at Oxford and another at Harvard. I can express
myself in English not without fluency.

GEORGE. Let me compliment you on your good sense in retaining your
national costume. I think it a pity that the returned students should
insist on wearing ugly tweed suits and billycock hats.

LEE TAI. I spent eight years abroad. I brought back with me no more
admiration for Western dress than for Western civilization.

GEORGE. That is very interesting.

LEE TAI. You are pleased to be sarcastic.

GEORGE. And you, I think, are somewhat supercilious. Believe me, the
time has passed when the mandarins of your country, in their
impenetrable self-conceit, could put up a barrier against the advance of
civilization. If you have any love for China you must see that her only
chance to take her rightful place in the world is to accept honestly and
sincerely the teaching of the West.

LEE TAI. And if in our hearts we despise and detest what you have to
teach us? For what reason are you so confident that you are so superior
to us that it behooves us to sit humbly at your feet? Have you excelled
us in arts or letters? Have our thinkers been less profound than yours?
Has our civilization been less elaborate, less complicated, less refined
than yours? Why, when you lived in caves and clothed yourselves with
skins we were a cultured people. Do you know that we tried an experiment
which is unique in the world?

GEORGE. [_Good-naturedly._] What experiment is that?

LEE TAI. We sought to rule this great people not by force, but by
wisdom. And for centuries we succeeded. Then why does the white man
despise the yellow? Shall I tell you?


LEE TAI. [_With a smiling contempt._] Because he has invented the
machine-gun. That is your superiority. We are a defenceless horde and
you can blow us into eternity. [_With a tinge of sadness._] You have
shattered the dream of our philosophers that the world could be governed
by the power of law and order.... And now you are teaching our young men
your secret. You have thrust your hideous inventions upon us. Fools. Do
you not know that we have a genius for mechanics? Do you not know that
there are in this country four hundred millions of the most practical
and industrious people in the world? Do you think it will take us long
to learn? And what will become of your superiority when the yellow man
can make as good guns as the white and fire them as straight? You have
appealed to the machine-gun and by the machine-gun shall you be judged.

     [_There is a pause. Suddenly_ GEORGE _gives_ LEE TAI _a
     scrutinizing glance_.

GEORGE. What is your name?

LEE TAI. [_With a thin, amused smile._] Lee Tai Cheng.

GEORGE. [_With a frigid politeness._] I'm sure you are very busy, Mr.
Lee. I won't detain you any longer.

LEE TAI. [_Still smiling._] I wish you a good day.

     [_He bows slightly and shakes his own hands in the Chinese manner.
     He goes out. He leaves behind him an impression that is at once
     ironic and sinister._

GEORGE. What the devil is he doing here?

DAISY. [_Amused._] He came to make me an offer of marriage. I pointed
out to him that I was married already.

GEORGE. [_Not without irritation._] How did he know you were here?

DAISY. He made it his business to find out.

GEORGE. Does he know that...?

DAISY. [_Coolly._] You know China better than most Englishmen. You know
that the white man can do nothing without the Chinese knowing it. But
they won't tell other white men unless--unless it's to their advantage
to do so.

GEORGE. You told me that this house belonged to the amah.

DAISY. [_Smiling._] That was a slight exaggeration.

GEORGE. You put it very mildly.

DAISY. You said you wouldn't come to the temple. It meant finding some
place where we could meet or never seeing you at all.

GEORGE. [_Sombrely._] We began with deceit and with deceit we've

DAISY. [_Tenderly._] There's no deceit in my love, George. After all,
our love is the only thing that matters.

GEORGE. [_With a certain awkwardness._] I'm afraid I've kept you
waiting. André Leroux came to see me just as I was leaving the Legation.

DAISY. [_Remembering._] I know. Mrs. Stopfort's young man.

GEORGE. He said he knew Mrs. Stopfort's friends were rather anxious
about her future and he wanted them to know that he was going to marry
her as soon as she was free.


GEORGE. Of course it's the only decent thing to do, but I wasn't sure if
he'd see it. He's a very good fellow. [_With a smile._] He spent at
least half an hour telling me how he adored Mrs. Stopfort.

DAISY. [_Good-humouredly._] Oh, you know I'm not the sort of woman to
grouse because you're a little late. I can always occupy myself by
thinking how wonderful it will be to see you. And if I get bored with
that I read your letters again.

GEORGE. I shouldn't have thought they were worth that.

DAISY. I think I have every word you have ever written to me--those old
letters of ten years ago and the little notes you write to me now. Even
though they're only two or three lines, saying you'll come here or can't
come, they're precious to me.

GEORGE. But do you keep them here?

DAISY. Yes, they're safe here. They're locked up in that box. Only amah
has the key of this room ... George.


DAISY. Will you do something for me?

GEORGE. If I can.

DAISY. Will you dine here to-night? Amah will get us a lovely little

GEORGE. Oh, my dear, I can't! I've got an official dinner that I can't
possibly get out of.

DAISY. Oh, how rotten!

GEORGE. But I thought Harry was coming back this morning. He's been gone
a week already.

DAISY. I had a letter saying he had to go on to Kalgan. But don't say
anything about it. He told me I was to keep it a secret.

GEORGE. He must hate having to be away so much as he's been lately. The
death of that man Gregson has upset things rather.

DAISY. [_Smiling._] I wish I could thank Gregson for the good turn he
did _us_ by dying at the psychological moment.

GEORGE. [_Dryly._] I don't suppose that was his intention.

DAISY. Except for that Harry would have insisted on going to Chung-king.
Now there's no possibility of that for at least a year.

GEORGE. I suppose not.

DAISY. We've got a year before us, George, a whole year. And in a year
anything can happen.

GEORGE. [_Gravely._] Do you never have any feeling that we've behaved
rottenly to Harry?

DAISY. I? I've been happy for the first time in my life. At last I've
known peace and rest. Oh, George, I'm so grateful for all you've given
me! In these three months you've changed the whole world for me. I
thought I couldn't love you more than I did. I think every day my love
grows more consuming.

GEORGE. [_With a sigh._] I've never known a single moment's happiness.

DAISY. That's not true. When I've held you in my arms I've looked into
your eyes and I've seen.

GEORGE. Oh, I know. There've been moments of madness in which I forgot
everything but that I loved you. I'm a low rotten cad. No one could
despise me more than I despise myself. I've loved you so that there was
room for nothing else in my soul. Waking and sleeping you've obsessed

DAISY. That's how I want you to love me.

GEORGE. And I've hated myself for loving you. I've hated you for making
me love you. I've struggled with all my might and a hundred times I
thought I'd conquered myself and then the touch of your hand, the
softness of your lips--I was like a bird in a cage, I beat myself
against the bars and all the time the door was open and I hadn't the
will to fly out.

DAISY. [_Tenderly._] Oh, darling, why do you make yourself unhappy when
happiness lies in the hollow of your hand?

GEORGE. Have you never regretted anything?

DAISY. Never.

GEORGE. You're stronger than I am. I'm as weak as dishwater. It's funny
that it should have taken me all these years to find it out. I was weak
from the beginning. But I was weakest of all that day. I was distracted,
I thought you were dying, I forgot everything except that I loved you.

DAISY. [_With passion._] Oh, my sweetheart! Don't you remember how, late
in the night, we went outside the temple and looked at the moonlight on
the walls of the Forbidden City? You had no regrets then.

GEORGE. [_Going on with his own thoughts._] And afterwards your tears,
your happiness, the dread of giving you pain and the hot love that
burnt me--I was in the toils then. I too knew a happiness that I had
never known before. On one side was honesty and duty and everything that
makes a man respect himself--and on the other was love. I thought you'd
be going away in two or three weeks and that would be the end of it. Oh,
it was no excuse--there are no excuses for me, I can never look Harry in
the face again, but though my heart was breaking at the thought, I--I
knew that in a few days I should see you for the last time.

DAISY. [_Scornfully._] Do you think I'd have gone then?

GEORGE. And then came that sudden, unexpected, disastrous change in all
Harry's plans. And this house and all the sordid horror of an intrigue.
And then there was nothing to do but face the fact that I was a cur. I
wouldn't wish my worst enemy the torture that I've undergone.

DAISY. [_Full of love and pity._] Oh, my darling, you know I'd do
anything in the world to give you happiness!

GEORGE. [_Sombrely looking away from her._] Daisy, I think you can never
give me happiness, but you can help me, not to make amends because
that's impossible, but to ... [_Impulsively, looking at her now._] Oh,
Daisy, do you really love me?

DAISY. With all my heart. With all my soul.

GEORGE. Then help me. Let us finish.

DAISY. [_Quickly._] What do you mean?

GEORGE. I don't want to seem a prig. I don't want to preach. Heaven
knows, I've never pretended to be a saint. But what we've done is wrong.
You must see that as plainly as I do.

DAISY. Is it wrong to love? How can I help it?

GEORGE. Daisy, I want to--cease doing wrong.

DAISY. You make me impatient. How can you be so weak?

GEORGE. I want you to believe that I love you. But I can't go on with
this deceit. I'd sooner shoot myself.

DAISY. You couldn't say that if you loved me as I love you.

GEORGE. [_Brutally._] I _don't_ love you any more.

DAISY. [_With a scornful shrug._] That's not true.

GEORGE. [_Clenching his teeth._] I came here to-day to tell you
that--well, that it's finished and done with. Oh, God, I don't want to
make you unhappy! But you must see we can't go on. Everything that's
decent in me revolts at the thought. I beseech you to forget me.

DAISY. As if I could.

GEORGE. I'm going away for a bit.

DAISY. [_Startled._] You? Why?

GEORGE. I didn't trust myself, you see; I've lost my nerve, so I applied
for short leave. I'm sailing for Vancouver on the _Empress_. I leave
here the day after to-morrow.

DAISY. [_Suddenly distraught._] You don't mean that you're going to
leave me? I didn't pay any attention to what you said. I thought it was
just a mood. George, George, say that you don't mean that?

GEORGE. It's the only thing to do, for your sake and Harry's and mine.
[_Taking his courage in both hands._] This is good-bye, Daisy.

DAISY. [_Seizing him by the shoulders._] Let me look at your eyes.
George, you're crazy. You can't go.

GEORGE. [_Drawing away._] For God's sake, don't touch me. I wanted to
break it to you gently. I don't know what's happened. Everything has
gone wrong. I'm going, Daisy, and nothing in the world can move me. I
implore you to bear it bravely. [_She looks at him with suffering,
anxious eyes. She is stunned._] I'm afraid you're going to be awfully
unhappy for a little while. But I beseech you to have courage. Soon the
pain won't be so great, and then you'll see I've done the only possible

DAISY. [_Sullenly._] How long are you going for?

GEORGE. Three or four months. [_A pause._] I knew you'd be brave,
Daisy. Do you know, I was afraid you'd cry most awfully. It tears my
heart to see you cry.

DAISY. Do you think I'm a child? Do you think I can cry now?

GEORGE. It's good-bye, then, Daisy.

     [_She does not answer. She hardly hears what he says. He hesitates
     an instant wretchedly, and then goes quickly out of the room._
     DAISY _stands as if she were turned to stone. Her face is haggard.
     In a minute_ LEE TAI _comes softly in. He stands at the door,
     looking at her, then gives a little cough. She turns round and sees

DAISY. [_Fiercely._] What do you want?

LEE TAI. I was waiting till you were disengaged.

DAISY. Have you been listening?

LEE TAI. I have heard.

DAISY. I wish I could have seen you with your ear to the keyhole. You
must have looked dignified.

     [_She begins to laugh, angrily, hysterically, beside herself._

LEE TAI. Let me give you a cup of tea. It's quite warm still.

DAISY. I should have thought you were rather old and fat to stoop so

LEE TAI. Fortunately the windows are only covered with rice paper, so I
was saved that inconvenience.

     [_He hands her a cup of tea. She takes it and flings it at him. The
     tea is splashed over his black robe._

DAISY. Get out of here or I'll kill you.

     [_He wipes his dress with a large silk pocket handkerchief._

LEE TAI. You forget sometimes the manners that were taught you at that
elegant school for young ladies in England.

DAISY. I suppose you've come to crow over me. Well, crow.

LEE TAI. I told you that I thought I should not have to wait very long.

DAISY. [_Scornfully._] You fool. Do you think it's finished?

LEE TAI. Did I not tell you that the white man's love was weak and

DAISY. He's going away for four months. Do you think that frightens me?
He's loved me for ten years. I've loved him for ten years. Do you think
he can forget me in four months? He'll come back.

LEE TAI. Not to you.

DAISY. Yes, yes, yes. And when he comes it'll be for good. He'll hunger
for me as he hungered before. He'll forget his scruples, his remorse,
his stupid duties, because he'll only remember me.

LEE TAI. [_Very quietly._] He's going to be married to Miss Sylvia Knox.

[DAISY _springs at him and seizes him by the throat_.

DAISY. That's a lie. That's a lie. Take it back. You pig.

     [_He takes her hands and drags them away from his throat. He holds
     her fast._

LEE TAI. Ask your mother. She knows. The Chinese all know.

DAISY. [_Calling._] Amah, amah. It's a lie. How dare you?

LEE TAI. He told you he was going to an official dinner, but he didn't
tell you that as soon as he could get away he was going to play bridge
at the Knoxes'. Pity you don't play. They might have asked you too.

[_The_ AMAH _comes in_.

AMAH. You call me, Daisy?

DAISY. [_Snatching her hands away._] Let me go, you fool. [_To the_
AMAH.] He says George Conway is engaged to Harold Knox's sister. It's
not true.

AMAH. I no sabe. George's boy say so. Knox the night before last at the
club, he say to his friend, George Conway and my sister, they going to
make a match of it.

     [_A horrible change comes over_ DAISY'S _face as all its features
     become distorted with rage and jealousy_.

DAISY. The liar.

     [_She stares in front of her, hatred, anger, and mortification
     seething in her heart. Then she gives a cruel malicious chuckle.
     She goes quickly to the Korean chest and flings it open. She takes
     out a parcel of letters and crossing back swiftly to_ LEE TAI
     _thrusts them in his hands_.

LEE TAI. What is this?

DAISY. They're the letters he wrote me. Let them come into Harry's


DAISY. So that Harry may know everything.

LEE TAI. [_After a moment's thought._] And what will you do for me if I
do this for you?

DAISY. What you like.... Only they must get to him quickly. George goes
away the day after to-morrow.

LEE TAI. Where is your husband?

DAISY. Kalgan.

LEE TAI. The letters shall reach him to-morrow morning. I'll send them
by car.

DAISY. It'll be a pleasant surprise for his breakfast.

LEE TAI. Daisy.

DAISY. Go quickly--or I shall change my mind. There'll be plenty of time
for everything else after to-morrow.

LEE TAI. I'll go.

[LEE TAI _goes out_. DAISY _gives him a look of contempt_.

DAISY. Fool.

AMAH. What you mean, Daisy?

DAISY. Harry will divorce me. And then....

[DAISY _gives a little cry of triumph_.



_The sitting-room in the_ ANDERSONS' _apartments_.

_The scene is the same as_ SCENE IV. DAISY _and the_ AMAH.

DAISY _is walking restlessly backwards and forwards_.

DAISY. At what time does the train from Kalgan get in?

AMAH. Five o'clock, my think so.

DAISY. What time is it now?

[_The_ AMAH _takes a large gold watch out and looks at it_.

AMAH. My watch no walkee.

DAISY. Why don't you have it mended? What's the good of a watch that
doesn't go?

AMAH. Gold watch. Eighteen carats. Cost velly much money. Give me plenty

DAISY. [_Impatiently._] Go and ask Wu what time it is.

AMAH. I know time. I tell by the sun. More better than European watch. I
think half-past four perhaps.

DAISY. Why doesn't George come?

AMAH. Perhaps he velly busy.

DAISY. You gave him the note yourself?

AMAH. Yes, I give him letter.

DAISY. What did he say?

AMAH. He no say nothing. He look: damn, damn.

DAISY. Did you tell him it was very important?

AMAH. I say, you come quick. Chop-chop.


AMAH. I tell you before. Why you want me tell you again? He say he come
chop-chop when he get away from office.

DAISY. As if the office mattered now. I ought to have gone to him

AMAH. You no make him come more quick because you walk up down. Why you
no sit still?

DAISY. The train is never punctual. It'll take Harry at least twenty
minutes to get out here.

AMAH. Lee Tai....

DAISY. [_Interrupting._] Don't talk to me of Lee Tai. Why on earth
should I bother about Lee Tai?

AMAH. [_Taking up an opium pipe that is on the table._] Shall Amah make
her little Daisy a pipe? Daisy very restless.

DAISY. Have you got opium?

AMAH. Lee Tai give me some. [_She shows_ DAISY _a small tin box_.]
Number one quality. You have one little pipe, Daisy.


[WU _comes in with a card. He gives it to_ DAISY.

Miss Knox. Say I'm not at home.

WU. Yes, missy.

[_He is about to go out._

DAISY. Stop. Is she alone?

WU. She ride up to gate with gentleman and lady. She say can she see you
for two, three minutes.

DAISY. [_After a moment's consideration._] Tell her to come in.

[WU _goes out_.

AMAH. What you want to see her for, Daisy?

DAISY. Mind your own business.

AMAH. George come very soon now.

DAISY. I shall get rid of her as soon as he does. [_Almost to herself._]
I want to see for myself.

     [SYLVIA _comes in. She wears a riding-habit_. DAISY _greets her
     cordially. Her manner, which was restless, becomes on a sudden gay,
     gracious, and friendly_.

DAISY. Oh, my dear, how sweet of you to come all this way!

[_The_ AMAH _slips out_.

SYLVIA. I can only stop a second. I was riding with the Fergusons and
we passed your temple. I thought I'd just run in and see how you were. I
haven't seen you for an age.

DAISY. Are the Fergusons waiting outside?

SYLVIA. They rode on. They said they'd fetch me in five minutes.

DAISY. [_Smiling._] How did your bridge party go off last night?

SYLVIA. How on earth did you hear about that? Did Mr. Conway tell you? I
wish you played bridge. We really had rather a lark.

DAISY. George didn't come in till late, I suppose?

SYLVIA. Oh, no, he got away in fairly decent time. Where there's a will
there's a way, you know, even at official functions.

DAISY. [_With a little laugh._] Oh, I know! I'm expecting him here in a
minute. I hope you won't have to go before he comes.

SYLVIA. Well, I saw him yesterday. I can live one day without seeing

DAISY. I wonder if he can live one day without seeing you?

SYLVIA. I'm tolerably sure he can do that.

DAISY. [_As if she were merely teasing._] A little bird has whispered to
me that there's a very pretty blonde in Peking....

SYLVIA. [_Interrupting._] Probably peroxide.

DAISY. Not in this case. Who is not entirely indifferent to the
Assistant Chinese Secretary at the British Legation.

SYLVIA. Fancy!

DAISY. I suppose you haven't an idea who I'm talking about?

SYLVIA. Not a ghost.

DAISY. Then why do you blush to the roots of your hair?

SYLVIA. I was outraged at your suggestion that my hair was dyed.

DAISY. It's too bad of me to tease you, isn't it?

SYLVIA. I'm a perfect owl. You know what a tactless idiot my brother is.
He will chaff me about George Conway, so it makes me self-conscious when
anybody talks about him.

DAISY. Darling, it's nothing to be ashamed of. Why shouldn't you be in
love with him?

SYLVIA. [_With a laugh._] But I'm not in love with him.

DAISY. Why does your brother chaff you then?

SYLVIA. Because he's under the delusion that it's funny.

DAISY. But you do like him, don't you?

SYLVIA. Of course I like him.... I think he's a very good sort.

DAISY. Would you marry him if he asked you?

SYLVIA. My dear, what are you talking about? The thought never entered
my head.

DAISY. Oh, what nonsense! When a man's as attentive to a girl as George
has been to you she can't help asking herself if she'd like to marry him
or not.

SYLVIA. [_Coldly, but still smiling._] Can't she? I'm afraid I haven't a
close acquaintance with that sort of girl.

DAISY. Am I being very vulgar? You know, we half-castes are sometimes.

SYLVIA. [_With a trace of impatience._] Of course you're not vulgar. But
I don't know why you want to talk about something that's absolute Greek
to me.

DAISY. The natural curiosity of the Eurasian. Everybody tells me that
you're engaged to George.

SYLVIA. Look at my hand.

[_She stretches out her left hand so that_ DAISY _should see there is no
ring on the fourth finger_. DAISY _stares at it for a moment_.

DAISY. You always used to wear an engagement ring.

SYLVIA. [_Gravely._] It was put on my finger by a poor boy who was
killed. I meant to wear it always.

DAISY. Why have you taken it off?

[_She looks at_ SYLVIA. _She can no longer preserve her artificial
gaiety and her voice is cold and hard. Before_ SYLVIA _can answer_
GEORGE CONWAY _comes in_.

DAISY. [_Regaining with an effort her earlier sprightliness._] There you
are at last.

GEORGE. I couldn't come sooner. I was with the Minister.

DAISY. We were wondering why you were so late.

SYLVIA. Daisy was wondering.

GEORGE. [_Shaking hands with Sylvia._] I thought that was your pony

SYLVIA. Clever.

GEORGE. The Fergusons were just riding up as I came.

SYLVIA. Oh, they've come to fetch me! I must bolt.

GEORGE. I'm afraid we kept you up till all sorts of hours last night.

SYLVIA. Not a bit. Do I look jaded?

GEORGE. Of course not. You young things can stay up till three in the
morning and be as fresh as paint. Wait till you're my age.

SYLVIA. You haven't passed your hundredth birthday yet, have you?

GEORGE. Not quite. But I'm old enough to be your father.

SYLVIA. I will not stay and listen to you talk rubbish. Good-bye, Daisy.
Do come and see me one day this week.

DAISY. Good-bye.

GEORGE. I'll come and help you mount, shall I?

SYLVIA. Oh, no, don't bother! Mr. Ferguson is there.

GEORGE. Oh, all right!

[_She goes out._

DAISY. [_Her smiles vanishing, hostile and cold._] You might shut the

GEORGE. [_Doing so._] I will.

DAISY. Aren't you going to kiss me?

GEORGE. Daisy.

DAISY. [_Hastily._] Oh, no, it doesn't matter! Don't bother.

GEORGE. You said you wanted to see me very importantly.

DAISY. It's kind of you to have come.

GEORGE. [_With an effort at ease of manner._] My dear child, what are
you talking about? You must know that if there's anything in the world I
can do for you I'm only too anxious to do it.

DAISY. Is that girl in love with you?

GEORGE. Good heavens, no! What put that idea in your head?

DAISY. The eyes in my head.

GEORGE. What perfect nonsense!

DAISY. Has it never occurred to you that she was in love with you?

GEORGE. Never.

DAISY. Why do you lie to me? I've been told that you were engaged to

GEORGE. That's ludicrous. It's absolutely untrue.

DAISY. Yes, I think it is. At the first moment I believed it. And then I
thought it over and I knew it couldn't be true. I don't think you'd do
anything underhand.

GEORGE. At all events I shouldn't do that.

DAISY. In fairness to me or in fairness to her?

GEORGE. My dear Daisy, what are you talking about?

DAISY. Did you break with me yesterday so that you might be free to
propose to her?

GEORGE. No, I swear I didn't.

DAISY. Why are you so emphatic?

GEORGE. Oh, Daisy, what's the good of tormenting yourself and tormenting
me? You know I loved you just as much as you loved me. But I'm not like
you. It was a torture. I knew it was wrong and hateful. I couldn't go

DAISY. Do you think it would have seemed wrong and hateful if it hadn't
been for Sylvia?


DAISY. You don't say that very convincingly.

GEORGE. I do think it is because she is so loyal, and good and straight
that I saw so clearly what a cad I was. I think I found courage to do
the only possible thing in her frankness and honesty.

DAISY. I think you deceive yourself. Are you sure this admiration of
yours for all her admirable qualities isn't--love?

GEORGE. My dear, I'm unfit to love her.

DAISY. She doesn't think so. If you asked her to marry you she'd accept.

GEORGE. [_Impatiently._] What nonsense. What in heaven's name made you
think that?

DAISY. I made it my business to find out.

GEORGE. Well, you can set your mind at rest. I'm not going to ask her to
marry me.

[_The_ AMAH _comes in_.

AMAH. Five o'clock, Daisy.

DAISY. Leave me alone.

[_The_ AMAH _goes out_.

GEORGE. When does Harry come back?

DAISY. [_After a pause, in a strange, hoarse voice._] To-day.

GEORGE. [_Surprised at her tone and manner._] Is anything the matter,

DAISY. I'm afraid I have some very bad news for you.

GEORGE. [_Startled._] Oh!

DAISY. You know those letters. I kept them locked in the box. Lee Tai
was furious because I wouldn't have anything to do with him. Last night
he broke open the box. He's sent the letters to Harry.

GEORGE. [_Overwhelmed._] My God!

DAISY. I'm awfully sorry. It wasn't my fault. I couldn't dream that
there was any risk.

GEORGE. Was that why you sent for me?

DAISY. Say you don't hate me.

GEORGE. Oh, poor Harry!

DAISY. Don't think of him now. Think of me.

GEORGE. What do we matter now, you and I? We're a pair of rotters. Harry
is a white man through and through. He loved you, and he trusted me.

DAISY. What are we going to do?

GEORGE. Give me a minute. I'm all at sixes and sevens. It's such a
knock-out blow.

DAISY. Harry will be here soon. His train's due at five.

GEORGE. We'll wait for him.

DAISY. What?

GEORGE. Did you think I was going to run away? I'll stay and face him.

DAISY. He'll kill you.

GEORGE. [_With anguish._] I wish to God he would.

DAISY. Oh, George, how can you be so cruel? Don't you love me any more?
I love you. George, what is to become of me if you desert me?

GEORGE. Harry loves you so much and he loves me too. Heaven knows what
sacrifices he's not capable of. Oh, I'm so ashamed!

DAISY. Why do you bother about him? He doesn't count. He'll get over it.
After all, what can he do? He can only divorce me and perhaps we can get
him to let me divorce him.

GEORGE. Could you _allow_ him to do that?

DAISY. It means so little to a man. I don't care, I was thinking of you.
It would make it so much easier for you. [_He gives her a quick look. He
perceives the allusion to marriage._] George, George, you wouldn't
leave--leave me in the cart.

GEORGE. Of course I'll marry you.

DAISY. [_Smiling now, loving and tender._] Oh, George, we shall be so
happy. And you know, some day I'm sure you'll think it's better as it's
turned out. I hate all this deceit just as much as you do. Oh, it'll
make such a difference when our love can be open and above board. When
I'm your wife you'll forget all that has tormented you. Oh, George, I
know we shall be happy!

[_All this time_ GEORGE _has been thinking deeply_.

GEORGE. How do you know that Lee Tai sent those wretched letters to

DAISY. He sent me a message. He wasn't satisfied with doing a dirty
trick. He wanted me to know that he'd done it.

GEORGE. How did he know you kept my letters there?

DAISY. I told you I was reading them while I waited for you. He came in
and I put them away. I suppose he suspected. It was very easy for him to
get into the room after amah and I went away.

GEORGE. [_Sarcastically._] Had you left the key of the box on the table?

DAISY. What do you mean, George? I'd locked it up. Of course I took the
key with me. I suppose he broke it open. What does it matter? The harm's

GEORGE. How do you know Harry received the letters this morning?

DAISY. Lee Tai said he would.

GEORGE. In Kalgan?


GEORGE. How did he know Harry was in Kalgan?

DAISY. The Chinese know all one's movements.

GEORGE. They can't do miracles. Harry was going up there unexpectedly on
a private mission. The fellows in that company know very well how to
keep their own counsel when it's needful.... I imagine you were the only
person in Peking who knew Harry was going to Kalgan.

DAISY. [_Casually._] Well, it appears I wasn't.

GEORGE. How do you suppose Lee Tai found out something that Harry had
particularly told you to keep quiet about?

DAISY. How can I tell? He may have found out from the amah for all I

GEORGE. Surely you hadn't told her?

DAISY. Of course not. She may have read the letter. She always does read
my letters.

GEORGE. Can she read English?

DAISY. Enough to find out about other people's business.

GEORGE. Why should she have told Lee Tai?

DAISY. I suppose he bribed her. She'd do anything for a hundred dollars.

GEORGE. Not if it would do you harm.

DAISY. She's not so devoted to me as all that.

GEORGE. She's your mother, Daisy.

DAISY. [_Quickly._] How d'you know?

GEORGE. Harry told me.

DAISY. I thought he was too ashamed of it to do that.

GEORGE. [_Persistently._] How did Lee Tai know that Harry was in Kalgan?

DAISY. I tell you I don't know. Why do you cross-examine me? Good God,
I'm harassed enough without that! What do you mean?

GEORGE. [_He seizes her wrists and draws her violently to him._] Daisy,
did you send those letters to Harry yourself?

DAISY. Never! Do you think I'm crazy?

GEORGE. Did you give them to Lee Tai to send?


GEORGE. God damn you, speak the truth! I will have the truth for once in
your life.

     [_They stare at one another. He is stern and angry. She pulls
     herself together. She is fierce and defiant. She shakes herself
     free of him._

DAISY. I gave them to Lee Tai.

GEORGE. [_Hiding his face with his hands._] My God!

DAISY. He told me you were engaged to Sylvia. For a moment I believed it
and I gave him the letters. I hardly knew what I was doing. And now,
even though I know it wasn't true, I'm glad. I wish I'd done it long

GEORGE. You fiend!

DAISY. [_Violently._] Do you think I'm going to let you go so easily? Do
you think I've done all I have to let you marry that silly little
English girl?

GEORGE. [_With anguish._] Oh, Daisy, how could you?

DAISY. Has it never struck you how you came to be wounded that night? It
wasn't you they wanted. It was Harry.

GEORGE. I know. [_Suddenly understanding._] Daisy!

DAISY. Yes, I could do that. I only wish it had succeeded.

GEORGE. I can't believe it.

DAISY. You're mine, mine, mine, and I'll never let you go.

GEORGE. [_With increasing violence._] Do you think I can ever look at
you again without horror? In my heart I've known always that you were
evil. Ten years ago when I first loved you there was a deep instinct
within that warned me. Even though my heart was breaking for love of you
I knew that you were ruthless and cruel. I've loved you, yes, but all
the time I've hated you. I've loved you, but with the baser part of me.
All that was in me that was honest and decent and upright revolted
against you. Always, always. This love has been a loathsome cancer in my
heart. I couldn't rid me of it without killing myself, but I abhorred
it. I felt that I was degraded by the love that burned me.

DAISY. What do I care so long as you love? You can think anything you
like of me. The fact remains that you love me.

GEORGE. If you had no pity for Harry, who raised you from the gutter and
gave you everything he had to give, oh, if you'd loved me you'd have
had mercy on me. What do you think our life can be together? Don't you
know what I shall be? Ruined and abject and hopeless. Oh, not only in
the eyes of everyone who knows me shall I be degraded, but in my own. Do
you think there's much happiness for you there?

DAISY. I shall have you. That's all the happiness I want. I'd rather be
wretched with you--oh, a thousand times--than happy with anyone else.

GEORGE. [_Wrathfully, trying to wound her._] You were tormenting me just
now because you were jealous of Sylvia. Do you know what I felt for her?
It wasn't love--at least not what you mean by love. I can never love
anyone as I've loved you and God knows I'm thankful. But I had such a
respect for her. I've been so wretched and she offered me peace. And I
did think that some day when all this horror was over, if I could do
something to make myself feel clean again, I should go to her and, all
unworthy, ask her if she would take me. And now the bitterest pang of
all is to think that she must know what an unspeakable cad I've always

     [_He has flung himself into a chair. He is in despair._ DAISY _goes
     up to him and going down on her knees beside him puts her arm round
     him. She is very tender_.

DAISY. Oh, George, I can make you forget her so easily. You don't know
what my love can do. I know I've been horrible, but it's only been
because I loved you. Ten years ago I was all that she is. I'm like clay
in your hands and you can make me what you will. Oh, George, say you
forgive me!

     [_In the caressing gestures of her hands as she tries to move him
     one of them rests by chance on his coat pocket. She feels something
     hard. He moves slightly away._

GEORGE. Take care.

DAISY. What's that in your pocket?

GEORGE. It's my revolver. Since my accident I've always carried it about
with me. It's rather silly, but the Minister asked me to. He said he'd
feel safer.

DAISY. Oh, George, if you only knew the agony I suffered when you were
brought in! The remorse, the fear! I thought I should go mad.

GEORGE. [_With a bitter chuckle._] It must have been rather a sell for

DAISY. Oh, you can laugh! I knew you'd forgive me. My darling.

GEORGE. I'm sorry for all the rough things I said to you, Daisy. I don't
blame you for anything. You only acted according to your lights. The
only person I can blame is myself. It's only reasonable that I should
suffer the punishment.

DAISY. My sweetheart!

GEORGE. I suppose you know that I shall be quite ruined.

DAISY. You'll have to leave the service. Does that really matter to you
very much?

GEORGE. It was my whole life.

DAISY. You'll get a job in the post office. With your knowledge of the
language they'll simply jump at you. It's a Chinese service. It has
nothing to do with Europeans.

GEORGE. Do you think the postmaster in a small Chinese city is a very
lucrative position?

DAISY. What does money matter? If I'd wanted money I could have got all
I wanted from Lee Tai. We can do with very little. You don't know what a
clever housekeeper I am.

GEORGE. [_In a level, dead voice._] I'm sure you're wonderful.

DAISY. We'll go to some city where there are no foreigners. And we shall
be together always. We'll have a house high up on the bank and below us
the river will flow, flow endlessly.

GEORGE. You seem to have got it all mapped out.

DAISY. If you only knew how often I've dreamed of it. Oh, George, I want
rest and peace too! I'm so tired. I want endless days to rest in. [_With
a puzzled look at him._] What is the matter? You look so strange.

GEORGE. [_With a weary sigh._] I was thinking of all the things you've
been saying to me.

DAISY. If you think it'll be easier for you if you don't marry me, you
need not. I don't care anything about that. I'll be your mistress and
I'll lie hidden in your house so that no one shall know I'm there. I'll
live like a Chinese woman. I'll be your slave and your plaything. I want
to get away from all these Europeans. After all, China is the land of my
birth and the land of my mother. China is crowding in upon me; I'm sick
of these foreign clothes. I have a strange hankering for the ease of the
Chinese dress. You've never seen me in it?

GEORGE. Never.

DAISY. [_With a smile._] You'd hardly know me. I'll be a little Chinese
girl living in the foreigner's house. Have you ever smoked opium?

GEORGE. No. [DAISY _takes the_ AMAH'S _long pipe in her hands._] Who
does that belong to?

DAISY. It's amah's. One day you shall try and I'll make your pipes for
you. Lee Tai used to say that no one could make them better than I.

GEORGE. However low down the ladder you go there's apparently always a
rung lower.

DAISY. After you've smoked a pipe or two your mind grows extraordinarily
clear. You have a strange facility of speech and yet no desire to speak.
All the puzzles of this puzzling world grow plain to you. You are
tranquil and free. Your soul is gently released from the bondage of your
body, and it plays, happy and careless, like a child with flowers. Death
cannot frighten you, and want and misery are like blue mountains far
away. You feel a heavenly power possess you and you can venture all
things because suffering cannot touch you. Your spirit has wings and
you fly like a bird through the starry wastes of the night. You hold
space and time in the hollow of your hand. Then you come upon the dawn,
all pearly and gray and silent, and there in the distance, like a
dreamless sleep, is the sea.

GEORGE. You are showing me a side of you I never knew.

DAISY. Do you think you know me yet? I don't know myself. In my heart
there are secrets that are strange even to me, and spells to bind you to
me, and enchantments so that you will never weary.

[_A pause._

GEORGE. [_Standing up._] I'll go and get myself a drink. After all these
alarums and excursions I really think I deserve it.

DAISY. Amah will bring it to you.

GEORGE. Oh, it doesn't matter! I can easily fetch it myself. The
whisky's in the dining-room, isn't it?

DAISY. I expect so.

     [_He goes out._ DAISY _goes over to a chest which stands in the
     room and throws it open. She takes out the Manchu dress which Harry
     once gave her and handles it smilingly. She holds up in both her
     hands the sumptuous headdress. There is the sound of a door being
     locked_. DAISY _puts down the headdress and looks at the door

DAISY. [_With a little smile._] What are you locking the door for,
George? [_The words are hardly out of her mouth before there is the
report of a pistol shot._ DAISY _gives a shriek and rushes towards the
door._] George! George! What have you done? [_She beats frantically on
the door._] Let me in! Let me in! George!

[_The_ AMAH _comes in running from the courtyard_.

AMAH. What's the matter? I hear shot.

DAISY. Send the boys, quick. We must break down this door.

AMAH. I send the boys away. I no want them here when Harry come.

DAISY. George! George! Speak to me. [_She beats violently on the door._]
Oh, what shall I do?

AMAH. Daisy, what's the matter?

DAISY. He's killed himself sooner--sooner than....

AMAH. [_Aghast._] Oh!

[DAISY _staggers back into the room_.

DAISY. Oh, my God!

     [_She sinks down on the floor. She beats it with her fist. The_
     AMAH _looks at her for an instant, then with quick determination
     seizes her shoulder_.

AMAH. Daisy, Harry come soon.

DAISY. [_With a violent gesture._] Leave me alone. What do I care if
Harry comes?

AMAH. You no can stay here. Come with me quick.

DAISY. Go away. Damn you!

AMAH. [_Stern and decided._] Don't you talk foolish now. You come. Lee
Tai waiting for you.

DAISY. [_With a sudden suspicion._] Did you know this was going to
happen? George! George!

AMAH. Harry will kill you if he find you here. Come with me. [_There is
a knocking at the outer gate._] There he is. Daisy! Daisy!

DAISY. Don't torture me.

AMAH. I bolt that door. He no get in that way. He must come round
through temple. You come quick and I hide you. We slip out when he safe.

DAISY. [_With scornful rage._] Do you think I'm frightened of Harry?

AMAH. He come velly soon now.

[DAISY _raises herself to her feet. A strange look comes over her face._

DAISY. Lee Tai has made a mistake again. Bolt that door.

     [_The_ AMAH _runs to it and slips the bolt. While she does this_
     DAISY _takes the tin of opium and quickly swallows some of the
     contents. The_ AMAH _turns round and sees her. She gives a gasp.
     She runs forward and snatches the tin from_ DAISY'S _hand_.

AMAH. What you do, Daisy? Daisy, you die!

DAISY. Yes, I die. The day has come. The jungle takes back its own.

AMAH. [_Distraught._] Oh, Daisy! Daisy! My little flower.

DAISY. How long will it take? [_The_ AMAH _sobs desperately_. DAISY
_goes to the Manchu clothes and takes them up_.] Help me to put these

AMAH. [_Dumbfounded._] What you mean, Daisy?

DAISY. Curse you, do as I tell you!

AMAH. I think you crazy. [DAISY _slips into the long skirt and the_ AMAH
_with trembling hands helps her into the coat. In the middle of her
dressing_ DAISY _staggers_.] Daisy.

DAISY. [_Recovering herself._] Don't be a fool. I'm all right.

AMAH. [_In a terrified whisper._] There's Harry.

DAISY. Give me the headdress.

HARRY. [_Outside._] Open the door.

DAISY. Be quick.

AMAH. I no understand. You die, Daisy. You die.

[_The knocking is repeated more violently._

HARRY. [_Shouting._] Daisy! Amah! Open the door. If you don't open I'll
break it down.

     [DAISY _is ready. She steps on to the pallet and sits in the
     Chinese fashion_.

DAISY. Go to the door. Open when I tell you.

     [_There is by_ DAISY'S _side a box in which are the paints and
     pencils the Chinese lady uses to make up her face_. DAISY _opens
     it. She takes out a hand mirror_.

HARRY. Who's there? Open, I tell you! Open!

     [DAISY _puts rouge on her cheeks. She takes a black pencil and
     touches her eyebrows. She gives them a slight slant so that she
     looks on a sudden absolutely Chinese_.

DAISY. Open!

[_The_ _Amah_ _draws the bolt and_ HARRY _bursts in_.

HARRY. Daisy! [_He comes forward impetuously and then on a sudden stops.
He is taken aback. Something, he knows not what, comes over him and he
feels helpless and strangely weak._] Daisy, what does it mean? These
letters. [_He takes them out of his pocket and thrusts them towards her.
She takes no notice of him._] Daisy, speak to me. I don't understand.
[_He staggers towards her with outstretched hands._] For God's sake, say
it isn't true.

     [_Motionless she contemplates in the mirror the Chinese woman of
     the reflection._


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "East of Suez - a Play in Seven Scenes" ***

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