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Title: Green Stockings - A Comedy in Three Acts
Author: Mason, A. E. W. (Alfred Edward Woodle)
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 "Green Stockings - A Comedy in Three Acts" ***

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Transcriber's Notes:

   1. Page scan source:
      http://www.archive.org/details/greenstockingsco00masorich



                           Green Stockings

                       _A COMEDY IN THREE ACTS_


                                  By
                            A. E. W. MASON



                 Copyright, 1910, by Louis Nethersole
               Copyright, 1912, by Margaret Angil Hull
               Copyright, 1914, by Margaret Angil Hull



                         All Rights Reserved


CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that "GREEN
STOCKINGS," being fully protected under the copyright laws of the
United States of America, the British Empire, including the Dominion
of Canada, and all the other countries of the Copyright Union, is
subject to royalty, and anyone presenting the play without the consent
of the owners or their authorized agents will be liable to the
penalties by law provided. Applications for the amateur acting rights
must be made to Samuel French, 25 West 45th Street, New York, N. Y.
Applications for the professional acting rights must be made to Alice
Kauser, 1402 Broadway, New York, N. Y.



        New York                  |              London
      SAMUEL FRENCH               |        SAMUEL FRENCH, Ltd.
        Publisher                 |       26 Southampton Street
   25 West 45th Street            |           STRAND, W.C.2



                          _GREEN STOCKINGS_

                        _All Rights Reserved_


Especial notice should be taken that the possession of this book
without a valid contract for production first having been obtained
from the publisher confers no right or license to professionals or
amateurs to produce the play publicly or in private for gain or
charity.

In its present form this play is dedicated to the reading public only,
and no performance, representation, production, recitation, public
reading, or radio broadcasting may be given except by special
arrangement with Samuel French, 25 West 45th Street, New York.

This play may be presented by amateurs upon payment of a royalty of
Twenty-five Dollars for each performance, payable to Samuel French, 25
West 45th Street, New York, one week before the date when the play is
given.

Whenever the play is produced the following notice must appear on all
arrangement with Samuel French of New York."

Attention is called to the penalty provided by law for any
infringement of the author's rights, as follows:

"SECTION 4966:--Any person publicly performing or representing any
dramatic or musical composition for which copyright has been obtained,
without the consent of the proprietor of said dramatic or musical
composition, or his heirs and assigns, shall be liable for damages
thereof, such damages in all cases to be assessed at such sum, not
less than one hundred dollars for the first and fifty dollars for
every subsequent performance, as to the court shall appear to be just.
If the unlawful performance and representation be wilful and for
profit, such person or persons shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and
upon conviction shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding one
year."--U. S. Revised Statutes: Title 60, Chap. 3.


             _Printed in the United States of America by_
            THE RICHMOND HILL RECORD, RICHMOND HILL, N.Y.



The following is a copy of program of the first performance of GREEN
STOCKINGS as produced at the Thirty-ninth Street Theatre, New York, on
October 2, 1911:


                         Liebler and Company

                               presents

                           GREEN STOCKINGS

                      _A Comedy in Three Acts_

                         _By_ A. E. W. MASON

                          CAST OF CHARACTERS

COLONEL J. N. SMITH, D.S.O.                         _H. Reeves Smith_
WILLIAM FARADAY, J. P.                                 _Stanley Dark_
ADMIRAL GRICE, R. N.                                _Arthur Lawrence_
HONORABLE ROBERT TARVER                                  _Ivo Dawson_
JAMES RALEIGH                                    _Wallace Widdecombe_
HENRY STEELE                                             _Henry Hull_
MARTIN                                                _Halbert Brown_
CELIA FARADAY                                       _Margaret Anglin_
EVELYN TRENCHARD                          _Mrs. Ruth Holt Boucicault_
MADGE ROCKINGHAM                                     _Helen Langford_
PHYLLIS FARADAY                                       _Gertrude Hitz_
MRS. CHISHOLM FARADAY                                 _Maude Granger_



                          SYNOPSIS OF SCENES

ACT I. _Room in Mr. Faraday's House, February 11th. Evening_.
ACT II. _Same as Act I. Eight months later. About six o'clock_.
ACT III. _Morning room in Mr. Faraday's house. Evening same day_.



                      DESCRIPTION OF CHARACTERS

ADMIRAL GRICE (_Retired_), _a testy old gentleman of about sixty-five,
with the manner of an old sea dog, of ruddy complexion, with white
hair and whiskers_.

WILLIAM FARADAY, _a well-preserved man of about sixty-five.
Fashionable, superficial and thoroughly selfish_.

COLONEL SMITH, _a dignified, dryly humorous man of military bearing,
about forty years old_.

ROBERT TARVER, _an empty-headed young swell_.

HENRY STEELE _and_ JAMES RALEIGH, _two young men of about thirty and
thirty-five respectively_.

MARTIN, _a dignified old family servant_.

CELIA FARADAY, _an unaffected woman of twenty-nine, with a sense of
humor_.

MADGE (MRS. ROCKINGHAM) _and_ EVELYN (LADY TRENCHARD), _handsome,
well-dressed, fashionable women of twenty-five and twenty-seven
respectively_.

PHYLLIS, _the youngest sister, a charming and pretty but thoughtlessly
selfish girl of twenty_.

MRS. CHISHOLM FARADAY, _of Chicago_ (AUNT IDA), _a florid,
quick-tempered, warm-hearted woman of fifty or thereabouts_.



                           Green Stockings



                                ACT I


SCENE: _A room in_ MR. FARADAY'S _country house; at the upper left
corner a little room is recessed, in which is a folding card table and
four chairs. Windows at back. On table are two decks of cards, an
ashtray and two bridge-markers and pencils. Hanging over table, a
shaded electrolier. There is no door, but people sitting at the card
tables are practically off the stage, though they can be seen and
heard. At right corner balancing left corner exactly is seen a portion
of the morning room (backing used is part of Act III set). Directly
against back is a small table, between two chairs, both of which are
facing it. On table, a lighted lamp and an English periodical, also an
ashtray and a vase of spring flowers. Note: All flowers used in this
set are spring flowers. Between card room and morning room on back
flat, a tapestry is hung, against flat a baby grand piano, keyboard
facing right up and down stage; on piano are a scarf, photograph
frames, vase of flowers and a lamp. In the center of the left wall of
the room, proper is hung a large picture; beneath this stands a large
cabinet on which is formal garniture. Below this is a door (_L.I_)
which leads into the hall; above door and to left center, a table on
which is a sliding book rack holding several books and an English army
list. Also a shaded lamp, a purse for_ LADY TRENCHARD _to left of
table, and a sewing-bag for_ AUNT IDA _to right of table_.

_In_ R.I _is a door balancing that in_ L.I. _It leads to hall. Above
door_ R. _is a large mantel. Above this is hung a large picture,
balancing that on left wall. On the mantel, a formal garniture of
vases; against mantel, a club fender with upholstered top, fireirons
inside fender, grate with lighted coal fire; below fender, facing
sofa, an armchair. Opposite and facing the fender and about three feet
from it is a large comfortable sofa, with a number of cushions;
against the back of this, a long magazine table. On this are,
beginning at upper end, an English timetable, a large shaded lamp,
large cigarette box containing cigarettes, ashtray, match-holder, vase
of tulips, photo frame, and at extreme lower end of table seven or
eight English periodicals. On these, a large blue linen envelope,
unsealed, flap being turned in. This contains a few spring fashion
plates. With this are four ordinary letters, containing circulars (all
of these letters are important). Below table, a square tapestry stool,
left of table an armchair, under table a waste-paper basket. Between
piano and entrance to morning room is a small light writing table. On
this, a small lamp or a pair of shaded candles, a blotting pad with
paper, envelopes, ink and pens. Above this a chair. Off_ L. _a door
bell and set of chimes. Electric light switch on_ R. _wall to_ R. _of
morning room opening. Bell push on_ L. _of back flat. The entire room
should convey the impression of quiet, dignified, tasteful elegance.
Complete darkness at windows, suggesting a rainy night. On rise of
curtain, all lamps are lighted and fire aglow_.

_Before the curtain rises_, PHYLLIS _plays for a moment or two_.

AT RISE: _Discovered_: PHYLLIS _at piano, playing_. LADY TRENCHARD
_seated at upper end of sofa, smoking a cigarette and reading a
periodical_. MADGE _writing a letter at writing table up stage_. AUNT
IDA _seated in armchair at_ R. _of table_ L,. _knitting. The girls
and_ AUNT IDA _are in evening dress_. PHYLLIS _continues to play
softly under conversation, something cheerful but not too fast. The
opening scene should be played brightly and quickly_.


MADGE. (_Rises. Brightly_) Oh, Evelyn----

EVELYN. Yes, Madge.

MADGE. (_Coming down to chair_ L. _of table_ R. _with letter in hand_)
I _do_ want this letter to my husband to catch the Indian mail. Do
_you_ know anything about the postal service in this benighted
village?

EVELYN. (_Continuing to read and speaking over her magazine_) No,
Madgie, I don't. _Celia_ always attends to those things. _She's_ away.
Ring for _Martin_.


(MADGE _goes to bell in upper flat_ L., _rings it, and then comes_
L.C.)


AUNT IDA. (_Without looking up from her knitting_) Has anyone gone to
the wharf to _meet_ Celia?

EVELYN. (_Indifferently_) Why, no. She's coming home to-night, isn't
she?

AUNT IDA. (_Vehemently_) You _got_ her _telegram_.

MADGE. (_Unconcerned_) What time is her boat due?

AUNT IDA. At _eight_, and now it's nearly _nine_.


                 (_Enter_ MARTIN R.IE. _and stands_.)


AUNT IDA. (_Continuing_) She'll have been waiting for an hour on that
dreadful wharf.

EVELYN. (_Still reading and speaking over her book_) Oh, Martin, the
motor must go at once to the wharf to fetch Miss Celia.

MARTIN. Yes, your Ladyship, but hadn't I better send down some extra
wraps; it's a very wet night.

EVELYN. (_Looking up for a moment_) Wet? Dear me, is it raining?

AUNT IDA. Cats and dogs.

EVELYN. (_Returning to her reading_) Oh, very well, then, Martin,
attend to it at once.

MARTIN. (_Turns to go to door_ R.) Yes, your Ladyship.

MADGE. (_From_ L.C.) Attend to _me_ first, Martin, if you please.

MARTIN. (_Turns back_) Yes, madam.

MADGE. How late can I post in order to catch the Indian mail?

MARTIN. Up till ten o'clock, madam.

MADGE. (_Going back to desk_) Oh, then I have time to write a longer
letter. (MARTIN _exits_ R.I.)

AUNT IDA. (_Looking around at girls, who are all occupied and quite
oblivious of_ CELIA'S _discomfort. With a deep sigh and shaking her
head_) Poor Celia.

PHYLLIS. (_Gives a slight bang on the piano, rises and comes quickly
down center. Indignantly_) Poor Celia. Well, she's coming back home
just at a moment that's going to complicate--_the--whole--situation_.

EVELYN. Why, what do you mean?

PHYLLIS. (_Addressing_ EVELYN) Well, you know how father feels about
letting me _get_ married--while Celia is settling down day after day
into a permanent old maid. If she'd stay away a little longer, he
might forget for a while, but here she's turning up just _this very
night_, just as Bobby has gained courage enough to take the bull by
the horns and beard the lion sulking in his tent.


(_Enter_ TARVER _in evening dress, dejectedly_, R.U., _coming down
center_.)


AUNT IDA. What an extraordinary proceeding.

PHYLLIS. (_Running up to_ BOBBY _and taking him by the arm_) Oh!
Bobby, Bobby! What news?

TARVER. Well, I'm afraid it's hopeless, though I spoke with singular
force. (_Sits in chair left of table_ R.)

PHYLLIS. (_Stands_ L. _of chair_, L. _of table_ R.) Oh, Bobby, how
splendid of you! How did you put it?

TARVER. In the form of a question. I said to your father, "Are you
aware, sir, that I love your daughter and wish to make her mine?"

EVELYN. What did _Father_ say?

TARVER. Oh, he said, "Has it escaped your observation, sir, that I
still have _two_ marriageable daughters?"

PHYLLIS. (_Protestingly_) But he hasn't, he hasn't.

AUNT IDA. Eh?

PHYLLIS. You know what I mean, Aunt Ida. _I'm_ marriageable, but
_Celia_--well--_Celia's_ just--_unmarried_.

EVELYN. (_With smiling sarcasm_) And very likely to stay so.

AUNT IDA. (_Grunts_) Huh!

TARVER. That's just it, but tell me, what is your father's dearest
wish in life?

PHYLLIS. To get rid of us _both_, of course.

AUNT IDA. _Phyllis Faraday!_

EVELYN. (_Putting magazine on sofa and putting out cigarette on
ashtray_) Yes, so that he can give up this house to live at his club,
but he promised poor mother to wait till we were all married----

TARVER. Yes, and he knows there's a better chance of getting Celia off
his hands as long as Phyllis is about, because people will go on
talking of her and Celia as the two Faraday _girls_, and lumping good
old Celia into the girl division just out of habit. He won't risk
letting Miss Celia put on a third pair of green stockings. (TARVER
_looks around for ashtray, sees one on upper end of table, rises, goes
to upper end of table, flicks ashes on tray and strolls down right of
sofa and sits lower end of fender_.)

AUNT IDA. Eh? Will you tell me what all this has to do with Celia's
_stockings?_


              (PHYLLIS _sits in chair_ L. _of table_ R.)


EVELYN. (_Rising leisurely, going to lower end of table, taking her
fan and crossing to_ AUNT IDA, _speaking as she goes_) Not Celia's
_stockings_, Aunt Ida, her _green stockings_.

AUNT IDA. Eh?

EVELYN. Why, yes. Have you never known of the old country custom which
requires an elder sister to wear _green stockings_ at the wedding of
her _younger_ sister, if that _younger_ sister has captured a husband
_first?_

AUNT IDA. (_Turning her back to_ EVELYN _with disgust_) No, I never
heard of such rubbish.

EVELYN. (_Patronizingly, crossing to head of table_ R. _and speaking
as she crosses_) And poor old Celia has had to put them on twice
already. Once for Madge and once for me, and now comes Phyllis. (_Puts
her hand on_ PHYLLIS'S _shoulder_.)

PHYLLIS. And if I have to wait to be married until Celia is out of the
way---- (_Sighs_. EVELYN _moves above table and down_ R. _of sofa_.)
Oh, couldn't we think of anybody who might marry Celia? Evelyn, do you
think you could do anything about it with Henry Steele or Jimmie
Raleigh?

TARVER. (_With a brilliant inspiration_) If it comes to that, why
shouldn't _Admiral Grice_ be got to marry Miss Celia? (_Everybody
exclaims and throws up their hands in horror_.)


                       (EVELYN _sits on sofa_.)


PHYLLIS. (_Horrified_) Oh, Bobby!

TARVER. Yes, Grice. (_Thoughtfully, strolling center below table_)
Isn't half a bad idea, come to think of it. I'd like to get even with
Grice. (AUNT IDA _gives a grunt of disgust_.) The way he keeps roaring
questions at me all day about my election, and neither he nor Miss
Celia are what you might call--in the first bloom of their youth.

AUNT IDA. (_Interrupting sharply_) _Mr. Tarver_, my niece, Miss Celia
Faraday, is a dear, delightful young woman, still under thirty.

EVELYN. (_Again with smiling sarcasm_) Yes, but how _much_ under, Aunt
Ida?

TARVER. Yes, as Lady Trenchard says, how _much_ is Miss Celia Faraday
under thirty? Thirty-two is freezing-point, remember. (PHYLLIS
_laughs_.)

AUNT IDA. Tcha! (_Picks up knitting and goes on with it angrily_.)

TARVER. (_Chuckling to himself and strolling right to foot of table_)
Jimmie Raleigh said a very true thing about her. He said, "Whenever I
talk to Miss Faraday, I'm warranted to stay cold for days--like a
Thermos bottle." (_Sits on stool_.)

PHYLLIS. Oh, Bobby!

AUNT IDA. Oh, Mr. Tarver! (_Smiling with suppressed fury_) I _should_
like to have you in Chicago for a week.

TARVER. (_Taking her seriously_) Oh, thanks awfully. I dare say some
day, after my election, I shall have to look up America. Just at
present, though, I have too much on my mind.

AUNT IDA. Shouldn't overburden the weak, Mr. Tarver.

PHYLLIS. (_Showing resentment_) Oh, Aunt Ida! (EVELYN _laughs_.)

TARVER. (_Rises, gives_ AUNT IDA _a resentful look, turns up_ R. _by
fender and addresses_ EVELYN) But the great thing now is to get old
Grice to _propose_ to Miss Celia.

EVELYN. (_Very patronizingly_) Why, yes, Bobby. Then out of gratitude
she might go out and canvass for you.

TARVER. (_Doubtfully_) Ye-es, that would be very nice, of course.
(_Rises enthusiastically_.) But fascinating girls are what is needed
at a time like this--like you, Lady Trenchard, and Phyllis and Mrs.
Rockingham. (_He bows to each as he addresses them. Going up to_ MADGE
_at desk_ R.) I say, when is your husband coming back from India?

MADGE. Not till Christmas. (_Rises_.)

TARVER. Then _you_ can spend all _your_ time canvassing for me, can't
you?

MADGE. (_Patronizingly_) Oh, of course, Bobby.

TARVER. (_Crossing_ L. _to_ C.) Thanks awfully. And you two girls can
do the same. But your sister--well---- (MADGE _comes to head of
magazine table_.)

AUNT IDA. (_Turning on him quickly_) _Well, what, Mr. Tarver?_

TARVER. (_Very diffidently_) Well, I'm afraid _she_ wouldn't be of
much use--you see, she's rather difficult--isn't she?

AUNT IDA. Difficult!

TARVER. (_Seeing he has made a break, tries to recover himself_) Well,
not quite the sort of person to make friends for one, don't you know?

AUNT IDA. (_Growing more and more enraged, rises and faces him_) _Mr.
Tarver!_

TARVER. (_Now thoroughly frightened_) Well, shall we say a,--a--a
trifle cold?

AUNT IDA. (_Backing him across stage to foot of table_ R.) Yes, and
who has made her a trifle cold--(_Imitating_ TARVER)-and difficult?
_You_ and your _Henry Steeles_ and _Jimmy Raleighs_.

ALL THE GIRLS TOGETHER. Aunt Ida!

TARVER. Oh, I say!

AUNT IDA. Yes, where is she now, I would like to know? Freezing for an
hour on an open wharf in the pouring rain, three miles away, because
nobody took the trouble to think of her.

MADGE. (_Coming center. Protestingly_) Oh, Aunt Ida, I heard the motor
leave not two minutes ago.

AUNT IDA. Yes, just about two hours too late. (MADGE _goes above table
and joins girls, who with_ TARVER _are evidently alarmed under_ AUNT
IDA'S _attack and express it in a murmur_. TARVER _sits_.) Oh, if only
she doesn't get tired of waiting before the motor can get there.

TARVER. (_To girls_) Don't worry. Don't worry. Why should she get
tired? It would look like a lack of confidence in you if she stopped
waiting.

AUNT IDA. Yes, and Celia is certainly accustomed to waiting for and on
every one of you.

GIRLS and TARVER. Now, you know---- Oh, I say.


                     (MADGE _turns up to piano_.)


AUNT IDA. (_Continuing_) She is a back number. That's your constant
suggestion, and because she hasn't found a Jim Raleigh to love her,
she is on the shelf--(_Disgustedly_)--a Jim Raleigh.


         (TARVER _and_ PHYLLIS _rise and she consoles him_.)


RALEIGH. (_Entering gayly through morning room_) Hello, what's that
about me? (_Goes directly to_ AUNT IDA. _They turn to table_ L.)

(AUNT IDA _flustered and exclaiming. Immediately following_ RALEIGH
_are_ FARADAY, GRICE _and_ STEELE _in the foregoing order. They are
chatting and smoking and are all in evening dress_.)

FARADAY. (_Cheerily_) You don't mind, girls, if we bring in our
cigars?

MADGE _and_ EVELYN. Not at all, Father.


   (FARADAY _crosses immediately to card table and looks it over_.)


GRICE. (_Coming down_ R. _of sofa. Gruffly to_ TARVER) _Tarver_, I
want to ask you a question.

TARVER. (_Going reluctantly to him_) Yes, sir.


(PHYLLIS _looks reproachfully at_ GRICE _and sits again in chair_ L.
_of table_ R., _swinging her foot and watching_ TARVER _and_ GRICE.
STEELE _goes to head of sofa and talks with_ LADY TRENCHARD. MADGE
_remains by piano, turning over music_. RALEIGH _crosses to left of
table, above table, still talking to_ AUNT IDA. _All of this business
occurs almost simultaneously and quickly_.)


FARADAY. (_Coming out of card room. Irritably_) Madge, where are those
new markers?

MADGE. I don't know, Father. Celia attends to everything.

FARADAY. (_Coming down center. Testily_) Well, God bless my soul,
where is Celia?


         (MADGE _gradually comes down_ C., R. _of_ FARADAY.)


AUNT IDA. (_Facing him. Vehemently_) God bless your soul, William
Faraday, down on the wharf in the pouring rain----

FARADAY. What's that?

AUNT IDA. (_Continuing_) Frozen to death by this time.

FARADAY. God bless my soul!

AUNT IDA. (_Continuing_) For all any one cares.

FARADAY. But I need her. She must be sent for at once.


(_Door opens suddenly_. CELIA, _in dripping oilskins and drenched
veil, carrying a soaking wet traveling bag, enters and crosses
immediately from_ L.IE. _to_ R.I. _All give start of surprise_.)


OMNES. Celia! Miss Faraday! (_Etc_.)

AUNT IDA. Darling!

MADGE. (_As_ CELIA _gets center. Coming down center_) We did send the
motor for you, Celia, only it was too late.

CELIA. (_Pausing at door_) Yes, I know, Madgie, but when I met him, he
wouldn't stop. He took me for the fish-monger---- (_Exit quickly_
R.IE.)

FARADAY. Fish-monger! God bless my soul!

MADGE. (_Idiotically to girls_) She must have walked.

EVELYN _and_ PHYLLIS. Why, yes.

AUNT IDA. Well, she could hardly sleep on the wharf, could she?

GRICE. (_To_ STEELE) What an unfortunate way that poor woman has of
doing things that make everyone feel uncomfortable.

STEELE. (_To_ GRICE) Yes, the idea of her walking up here alone in the
rain!

EVELYN. (_To girls_) Wherever did she get the clothes?

CELIA. (_Off stage_) Martin, send to the station at once for my hat
and coat and return these things to Wilson. He borrowed them from the
pilot.

GRICE. Wilson?

EVELYN. (_Patronizingly_) He is the man at the station. _He's_ Celia's
slave.


(CELIA _re-enters without oilskins and stands at door_ R. _She is in a
simple traveling dress_.)


FARADAY. (_From center of stage_) God bless my soul, Celia, where have
you been?

CELIA. Why; I've been away, Father, for a week. Perhaps you haven't
noticed it.

FARADAY. Not noticed it? I have missed you very much. I never get all
the right things for breakfast when you're away!

CELIA. Sorry, Father. (CELIA _crosses quickly to_ AUNT IDA, _who is in
the center of the stage_, FARADAY _having turned and gone up into the
card room_. CELIA _nodding as she crosses, to the_ ADMIRAL _and the
girls_) Good evening, Admiral. Well, girls.


(ADMIRAL _acknowledges her greeting with a grunt_, STEELE _with a
stiff bow, and the girls say_, "_Good evening_, CELIA.")


CELIA. Well, Aunt Ida.

AUNT IDA. (_Kissing her on both cheeks_) Dear child!


(CELIA _passing_ L. _over to_ MR. RALEIGH, _who is left of table_ L.
CELIA _offers her hand, which he takes with a very bored air.
Meanwhile, the groups break up after_ CELIA _has passed_. LADY
TRENCHARD _joins the_ ADMIRAL _and_ STEELE _at upper end of sofa_.
PHYLLIS _joins_ TARVER; _they sit at lower end of fender_, PHYLLIS
_sitting in chair below fender_. AUNT IDA _joins_ MADGE _and they all
talk in dumb show during_ CELIA'S _scene with_ RALEIGH.)


[Illustration: "Green Stockings" _Page 11_]


CELIA. Mr. Raleigh, how are you?

RALEIGH. I am very well, thank you. (_Pause_.) Yes.

CELIA. Yes?

RALEIGH. (_In a bored monotone, looking straight in front of him_)
Yes. I hope you enjoyed yourself, Miss Faraday. You were in London?

CELIA. No, at Southampton.

RALEIGH. Oh, yes--er--all amongst the ships and things,

CELIA. Yes.

RALEIGH. Yes.

CELIA. Won't you sit down, Mr. Raleigh?

RALEIGH. No, thanks. I never sit down.

CELIA. Eh?

RALEIGH. After dinner.

CELIA. Oh.

RALEIGH. You have been away quite a long time, Miss Faraday?

CELIA. Yes, for me.

RALEIGH. Yes, I mean for you. Well--nothing much has happened.

CELIA. Well, one hardly expects much, does one?

RALEIGH. No. Oh, Manners has got himself engaged.

CELIA. Really? To Jennie Woodcote, I suppose?

RALEIGH. Yes; they were all saying it was her last chance.

CELIA. Yes, they would.

RALEIGH. Of course, that's all nonsense. Nowadays, there's no--a----

CELIA. Age limit?

RALEIGH. Exactly! (_Then catching himself up in great confusion_) No,
no! Good Lord, no! I didn't mean----

FARADAY. (_Coming forward_ L.C.) Well, we might as well have some
bridge. (_Murmurs of_ "_Oh, splendid!_")

RALEIGH. (_With a shout of relief backs away from_ CELIA _toward card
room_) _Bridge! Oh, splendid!_


(EVELYN _and_ STEELE _go slowly to card room_. TARVER _starts_ L.)


GRICE. (_Quickly_) Tarver, I have another question to ask you.

TARVER. (_To_ FARADAY, _enthusiastically_) Admiral Grice plays a
ripping game.

FARADAY. (_Gayly_) Come along, Admiral. Come along.

GRICE. (_Crossing left_. FARADAY _takes him by the arm. They go up to
card room together, chatting gayly_) Not bad. Not bad.


(_These last few lines are played very quickly_. CELIA _has remained
in chair_ R. _of_ L. _table after_ RALEIGH _has gone to card room_.
AUNT IDA _and_ MADGE _are standing up stage and those who have gone
into the card room seat themselves in the following fashion, after the
settling of partners in dumb show_: RALEIGH _is seated down stage, his
back to the audience_; LADY TRENCHARD _to his right_, FARADAY _to his
left, and_ ADMIRAL GRICE _opposite him. They begin their game of
bridge_. TARVER _has gone up_ R. _of sofa, getting a cigarette at head
of table_. PHYLLIS _throws herself lightly on the sofa on her knees,
gathering up_ CELIA'S _letters and flourishing them at her_.)


PHYLLIS. Celia, here are some letters for you.

CELIA. (_Crossing to chair_ L. _of table_ R. _and sitting_) Letters
for me?

PHYLLIS. One is a big one. (_Gives_ CELIA _letters, kneeling on
sofa_.)

CELIA. I don't suppose any of them are very important.

PHYLLIS. (_Pityingly_) No, I don't suppose so.

CELIA. (_Looking at letters_) Circulars. Circulars. (_Tears open one
envelope and takes out circular letter. Then seeing big envelope, says
brightly as she picks it up and draws out fashion plates_) Oh, spring
fashions.

PHYLLIS. (_With an air of superiority_) Oh, _you_ don't want those.
Give them to _me_.


(CELIA _submissively hands them, over, leaving large blue envelope on
table_. PHYLLIS _takes them and sits on sofa with_ TARVER, _who has
come down after lighting his cigarette. They hold hands, backs to_
CELIA, _looking at fashions_.)


CELIA. (_Reading letter that she has opened_) "Dear Sir or Madam:
Having secured our unparalleled stock of sherry wine on a falling
market----" (_Drops envelope and opens another. Reads_) "Dear Madam:
You are cordially invited to attend our spring opening of household
linens--"

FARADAY. (_Coming from card room_) Madge, you will play?

MADGE. No, thanks, I'll finish my letter. (_Who has been talking to_
AUNT IDA, _goes back to writing table up_ R. _and resumes writing_.)

FARADAY. (_Disappointedly_) And Phyllis doesn't.

AUNT IDA. Well, there's Celia.

FARADAY. (_Coming down to_ CELIA,) God bless my soul! Of course, why
did I forget?

CELIA. Oh--that's all right, Father. (_Cheerfully opening her
letters_) It's being done, you know.

FARADAY. (_To_ TARVER _and_ PHYLLIS, _who are seated on sofa, holding
hands_) Now, then, you two, none of that! No holding hands! (_They
rise quickly, looking embarrassed and facing father_.) You are; not
engaged yet, you know.

CELIA. (_Happily_) Engaged? Phyllis and Mr. Tarver?

FARADAY. (_Reassuringly_) No, no, certainly not. Nothing of the kind.
Cheer up, my dear. (_Patting_ CELIA _on the shoulder_) You don't
suppose I would allow a chick like _Phyllis_ to marry with you on my
hands still?

AUNT IDA. (_Who has been watching him and listening to him_) William!
(_She takes him by the arm and they go up to the card room together_.)


(_There are now in the card room_ GRICE, FARADAY, STEELE, RALEIGH,
LADY TRENCHARD _and_ AUNT IDA. AUNT IDA _is out of sight_. RALEIGH,
LADY TRENCHARD, GRICE _and_ FARADAY _are playing_. STEELE _is
circulating about above table_. TARVER _goes up in the morning room,
sits left of table, and reads a magazine_. CELIA _rises and goes to_
PHYLLIS, _who meets her below sofa_.)


CELIA. Phyllis----?

PHYLLIS. (_Eagerly_) Oh, Celia, you don't really mind, do you? Just
because _you can't_--I mean, because you _don't want_ to--get married,
you won't try to stop Bobby and me, will you?

CELIA. (_In a hurt tone_) Phyllis--dear----

PHYLLIS. (_Relieved_) I knew you wouldn't. I _told_ Bobby----!

CELIA. And do you mean to say that Mr. Tarver---- (_Controlling
herself with effort_) Phyllis, dear---- You ought to know--by
now--there isn't anything I wouldn't do to make my littlest sister
happy. (_Patting_ PHYLLIS _on cheek_.)

PHYLLIS. (_Carelessly engrossed in her own affairs_) Oh, of course, I
_know_ that. But, Celia, you're quite mistaken and unjust about poor
Bobby.

CELIA. (_Smiling, rather bitterly_) Oh--I hope not, Phyllis. I--can't
stand--injustice!

PHYLLIS. (_Kneeling on stool_ R.C.) _But you are!_ In spite of all his
worries and preoccupations about his election, Bobby takes the
_greatest interest_ in you, Celia----

CELIA. (_Crosses_ C. _Smiles ironically_) Yes?

PHYLLIS. I tell you _he does!_ (_Forgetting herself in her zeal_) As
soon as he has time, Bobby means to do everything he can to get
_Admiral Grice to propose to you!_

CELIA. (_Recoiling_) What!!

PHYLLIS. (_Crestfallen_) Oh--I oughtn't to have told you, I suppose.
But it's true, all the same. (_Reproachfully_) You don't appreciate
Bobby's _noble nature_, Celia. You don't know how Bobby realizes
your--your _loneliness_, Celia. Unless you could hear him talk about
you, you'd never guess how much darling Bobby _pities_ you.

CELIA. (_In a changed voice_) Phyllis. One moment, please---- (_With
an effort at calm_) Do you mean to say that you and--and Mr. Tarver
have been--been discussing--me? Oh! (_Clenching her handkerchief_.)

PHYLLIS. Not _discussing_---- (_Self-righteously_) Bobby _would not
discuss_ anybody. But--you see, Celia, we were all--Aunt Ida and all
of us--talking, just in fun, about your having to wear Green Stockings
once more at my wedding, and Bobby--(_Laughs to herself_) Darling
Bobby, _is so witty_----!

CELIA. Oh, yes--go on, Phyllis.

PHYLLIS. (_Injured_) Well, but he is.

CELIA. Oh, yes--yes----

PHYLLIS. And so Bobby was just being most awfully _sweet_ and
_sympathetic_ about your--_your position_.

CELIA. My position--! (_Between her teeth_) My--position! And so Mr.
Robert Tarver was kind enough to express concern, was he--because
there was no possible chance of any decent man ever wanting to marry
me?

PHYLLIS. (_Half frightened_) Oh, Celia! (_Rises_.)

CELIA. And he makes jokes about my stockings. (_Goes_ L. _to chair_ R.
_of table_ L. _and stands beside it_.) I can hear his jokes!

PHYLLIS. Oh, Celia! Bobby is witty.

CELIA. (_Ironically_) Yes, very.

FARADAY. (_In card room_) I don't think much of that, Admiral.

GRICE. (_In card room_) You don't? What's the matter with it?


(_These last two lines are spoken hurriedly, almost together in card
room, as_ CELIA'S _expression conveys to the audience her sudden
determination to invent her story_.)


CELIA. (_With entire change of manner_) Call him down here, Phyllis,
please, and tell him I want to speak to him.

PHYLLIS. Celia! (_Crossing to center_) But why?

CELIA. Oh, nothing. I only want to thank him, you know, about old
Admiral Grice, and tell him that he need no longer complicate his
anxiety about his election with worries about me or the color of my
stockings.

PHYLLIS. (_Startled_) Why, Celia--what do you mean?

CELIA. Well, you see--(_Laughs_)--I am not quite accustomed to
announcing--_my_ engagement.

PHYLLIS. (_With undisguised amazement. Haltingly_) _Your engagement?_
Why--it's impossible.

CELIA. Yes, that's what Mr. Tarver says. Well, now suppose we call him
down here, Phyllis, and tell him he is mistaken.

PHYLLIS. Oh-Ce-lia! (_Embraces_ CELIA _gushingly. Rushes up to_ TARVER
_and calling_) Bobby, Bobby, Bobby, Bobby! (_TARVER drops his
magazine_, PHYLLIS _drags him down_ R. _of_ CELIA. _He is right of_
PHYLLIS.) What do you think? Celia's engaged to be married.

TARVER. (_Looks at her, greatly astonished, dropping his eyeglass_)
Never!

CELIA. (_Sarcastically_) Thanks so much, Mr. Tarver, for your kind
congratulations.

PHYLLIS. (_Who has run up to card room, calling_) Aunt Ida, Aunt Ida!


(TARVER _pauses a moment and then goes_ R., _looking over at_ CELIA
_incredulously as he goes. He finally sits on fender_.)


CELIA. (_Calling up to_ PHYLLIS) Oh, Phyllis, I only meant to tell you
and Mr. Tarver.

PHYLLIS. (_Excitedly. Bringing down_ AUNT IDA _extreme_ L.) Aunt Ida!
Celia is engaged to be married.

AUNT IDA. (_Coming down left of table and below table to_ CELIA.
_Smiling happily_) Darling--at last---- (_Kisses_ CELIA.)

PHYLLIS. (_Dances across to center_) I can be married now. _I_ can be
married now. (_Runs across to_ MADGE _and sits on piano stool_.)

AUNT IDA. I knew that this would happen.

CELIA. Did you, Aunt Ida? (_These last two lines spoken hurriedly and
together_.)

PHYLLIS. Madge, what do you think? Celia is engaged.

MADGE. (_Rises, drops her pen in blank surprise_) _Not really!_


(PHYLLIS _runs to_ BOBBY, _who is on fender, and they sit together,
talking excitedly, and looking at_ CELIA.)


FARADAY. (_Entering from card room. Testily_) Now then, now then,
can't you girls make a little less noise?

MADGE. Oh, Father! (_Rushes to him, brings him_ C. _She is_ R. _of
him_.) What do you think has happened? Celia is engaged to be married.
(_Pauses a moment to listen to ensuing dialogue and then runs up to
card room and in dumb show tells others of_ CELIA'S _engagement. They
also in pantomime express surprise and incredulity. They come slowly
out of card room_.)

FARADAY. God--bless--my--soul! (_A broad grin breaks slowly on his
face_) Celia--engaged?

CELIA. Why, yes, Father, if you have no objection to the prospect of
my leaving you.

FARADAY. Objection? (_Joyfully_) Why, I'm delighted, my dear girl,
delighted.


(AUNT IDA _and_ CELIA _exchange glances and_ AUNT IDA, _disgusted at_
FARADAY, _goes up to card room and talks to_ EVELYN.)


CELIA. Yes, Father, I thought you would be pleased.

FARADAY. Pleased? (_With mock sentiment_) I hope I show a father's
feelings when his eldest daughter proposes to--er--desert the
home-nest. (_Murmurs up in card room. Reverting to his former attitude
of enthusiasm_) And who is he? What's the d-e-a-r fellow's name? Eh,
Celia?


(EVELYN _comes down extreme left_. RALEIGH, GRICE _and_ STEELE _up_
L.C. AUNT IDA _comes back of chair_, R. _of table_ L. PHYLLIS _kneels
on sofa, facing_ CELIA. TARVER _comes and sits in chair below
fender_.)


MADGE. (_Coming down_ R.C.) Yes, Celia, tell us all about him. Who is
he? (_Sits_ L. _of table_ R.)

CELIA. (_Standing by chair_ R. _of table_ L. _Slowly_) Well--he is in
the army.

RALEIGH. (_Quickly to_ STEELE) A soldier, eh?

EVELYN. What's his rank?

CELIA. He's a cap--a colonel--dear--a colonel.


(FARADAY _center_, GRICE _up_ L.C., RALEIGH _and_ STEELE _up_ L.C.
EVELYN L. _of table_ L.)


FARADAY. Colonel? What's his name?

CELIA. (_Pause_) Smith.


                  (_They all show pained surprise_.)


FARADAY. Smith?

CELIA. Yes, _John_ Smith.

FARADAY. Smith--huh-- (_Genially_) Well, of course the dear fellow
isn't to be held responsible for that. Eh, Admiral? (_Joins_ AUNT IDA
_and_ GRICE _up_ C.)

GRICE. (_To_ FARADAY. _Coming down_ R.C.) Miss Faraday _engaged?_ You
might knock me down with a feather. My dear, I congratulate yo--_him_,
my dear, _him_.

CELIA. (_Smiling and shaking hands with_ GRICE) Thank you, Admiral,
thank you.

RALEIGH. (_Up_ L.C. _to_ STEELE) Engaged!

STEELE. By George! (_They contemplate_ CELIA _from a new point of
view_.)

FARADAY. (_Up_ R.C. _with_ AUNT IDA. _Smiling broadly and rubbing his
hands together_) Good--old--_John_--_Smith!_

EVELYN. (_Patronizingly_) Well, Father, he _may_ be one of the _good_
Smiths, you know.

MADGE. (_From chair_ R.) If Celia would only stop being such a clam,
and tell us.

CELIA. But, Madge dear, I have told you.

FARADAY. (_Comes down stage to_ R. _of_ CELIA) Well, Celia, I suppose
he will be coming to _see_ us soon?

CELIA. Oh, yes--father--after the war. (_Leaning back on chair_ R. _of
table_ L.)

PHYLLIS. (_Quickly_) The war?


                 (_All show surprise and interest_.)


CELIA. Yes, you see he sailed this morning on board a troop ship, for
Somaliland. It was just within an hour of his leaving that he--spoke
to me.

FARADAY. But during that hour he might have told you something about
himself.

PHYLLIS. Oh, Father! How absurd! On occasions of that kind, an hour
passes very quickly, (_Turns to_ TARVER _and smiles_.)


                            (_All laugh_.)


FARADAY. Well, I remember that when I proposed to your mother, I told
her my life history _three times over_ in the first hour. (_Goes up
stage_.)

EVELYN. (_Deprecatingly_) Oh, Father! (_To_ CELIA) What's his
regiment?

CELIA. Oh, it is a very good one, Evelyn dear. It's one of the West
African ones, you know. It has green thing-a-majigs all down the
front.


                (EVELYN _goes up_ L. _and crosses_ R.)


TARVER. It sounds like a garden party.

MADGE. Well, but--Celia-- (_Rises, comes to_ CELIA _and offers hand
and passes_ CELIA _in front of her to chair_ L. _of table_ R.)

PHYLLIS. Oh, yes, do tell us.

CELIA. (_Sitting_ L. _of table_ R. _Eagerly, to get rid of the
questions_) But there is very little to tell.


(RALEIGH _and_ STEELE _drop down_ R.C. EVELYN _joins them_. AUNT IDA
_is back of_ CELIA. GRICE _is_ C. MADGE L. _of_ CELIA. FARADAY _drops
down behind_ CELIA'S _chair to_ R. _of_ AUNT IDA. _They are new all
grouped about_ CELIA'S _chair, except_ TARVER, _who is in chair below
fender. They all show smiling interest_.)


CELIA. Well, you see, we had been together in the house all the
week--and--er--this morning I was in the garden--alone--and--and he
joined me. (_Pause_.) And--er--it was then. (_Covers her--face in mock
confusion_.)


                    (_All laugh sympathetically_.)


PHYLLIS. (_From sofa_) What did he say?

CELIA. (_Looks at_ TARVER _and_ PHYLLIS _and waving toward_ TARVER)
Oh, you know.


                            (_All laugh_.)


PHYLLIS. And--are you _happy?_

CELIA. (_Looking at group bending over her_) Well, I really believe
that this change will make a very great difference in my life.

FARADAY. (_Patting_ CELIA _on shoulder_) Well, I hope so, my dear
child, I hope so. Now, let's go back and finish our rubber.


(_There is a general bright buzz of conversation, such as "By jove!"
"I'll bet it does," "Why, yes, Celia," "Well, I should think it
would," "Indeed it will," etc_. FARADAY _goes up to card room with_
EVELYN, GRICE _and_ AUNT IDA. _They resume their bridge game in former
positions_. MADGE _catches_ TARVER'S _eye and they join each other up_
R., _evidently talking about_ CELIA'S _engagement_. PHYLLIS _stops on
sofa, talking across to_ CELIA, _as_ CELIA _glances over the remaining
envelopes and slips them into the large blue envelope, in view of
audience_.)


RALEIGH. (_To_ STEELE, L.C.) It's obvious that Smith didn't find it
difficult.

STEELE. (_Who is_ R. _of_ RALEIGH. _Looking thoughtfully at_ CELIA)
No, he didn't. Perhaps, we have all been mistaken. You know she isn't
so bad looking--if you look long enough. (STEELE _starts to cross to_
CELIA. RALEIGH _stops him and goes over himself_. STEELE _comes back
of chair_ L.)

RALEIGH. Miss Faraday, _I_ haven't congratulated you yet. I hope you
won't go off to Southampton soon again. We all missed you _dreadfully_
when you were away.


     (STEELE _shows impatience at_ RALEIGH'S _talking to_ CELIA.)


CELIA. I'm sure you did. My coming back as I've done seems to have
made a _very great difference_.

RALEIGH. Oh, _great_. Believe me, _great_. Well, you've every good
wish of mine. (_Gushingly extending his hand, which_ CELIA _takes
amusedly_.)

CELIA. (_Warmly_) I am sure I have, Mr. Raleigh.

FARADAY. (_From card room_) Come, Raleigh.

RALEIGH. (_Over his shoulder_) But you threw down your cards.

FARADAY. Well, I'm going to take them up again.

GRICE. (_Impatiently_) Come along, Raleigh!

STEELE. (_Triumphantly motions_ RALEIGH _back to card room and eagerly
takes his place beside_ CELIA'S _chair_) What Raleigh has just said, I
most warmly echo, my dear Miss Faraday.


          (RALEIGH _returns and takes_ STEELE _by the arm_.)


RALEIGH. You are wanted over here, Steele.


                (CELIA _watches them with amusement_.)


STEELE. But I am cut out.

RALEIGH. (_Taking_ STEELE _back to card room_) Well, you can cut in
again.


(STEELE _goes reluctantly back to card room, protesting to_ RALEIGH
_and looking back over his shoulder at_ CELIA _as he goes. Those in
card room resume former positions and go on with bridge game_.)


MADGE. (_Coming down to_ CELIA _and putting her arms around her_)
Celia!


(TARVER _strolls up to morning room and sits right of table and begins
reading again_.)


CELIA. Yes.

MADGE. The _Indian Mail_ goes out to-night-via Brindisi and Port Said.

CELIA. Well?

MADGE. _Port Said_. That's where letters to Somaliland will be
transferred.


                        (CELIA _is startled_.)


PHYLLIS. Oh, of course you must write to him. (_Jumps up, runs up to
writing table_ R.C., _brings blotter from table, containing sheets of
paper, envelopes, pens and ink, and puts them on magazine table;
stands above and to the_ R. _of_ CELIA.)

CELIA. (_Protestingly_) But it's too late.

MADGE. No, the post doesn't go until ten. You have just time.

PHYLLIS. (_Opening blotting pad and ink well_) You must, if it is only
a note. He will be expecting something.

CELIA. Oh, I couldn't write in such a hurry.

PHYLLIS. (_Forcing pen into_ CELIA'S _hand_) You must.

CELIA. (_Laughingly_) Well, I can't write with you two at my elbows,
you know.


(MADGE _goes slowly up into card room, turning and smiling at_ CELIA
_as she goes_.)


PHYLLIS. (_Running up and around and down to foot of sofa_) I shan't
look. (_Kneels on Chesterfield sofa, facing_ CELIA) What do you call
him?

CELIA. (_At a loss_) I don't know.

PHYLLIS. (_Surprised_) You don't know?

CELIA. (_Recovering herself_) I mean, dear, I use a pet name.

PHYLLIS. Oh, lovely, what is it?

CELIA. Really, it's too absurd, you know, Phyllis.
It's--it's--_Wobbles_.

PHYLLIS. (_Laughing and surprised_) Wobbles!

CELIA. Yes, dear. Everybody calls him--Wobbles.

PHYLLIS. (_Laughing_) Celia, it's delicious. Fancy your being married
to a man called Wobbles! (_Pretending to write in the air_) "My
darling Wobbles." (_Laughs and runs up to_ TARVER, _who is seated
reading in the morning room, saying as she goes_) Bobby, what do you
think? (_She tells_ TARVER _the name of_ CELIA'S _fiance in dumb show
as she sits opposite him_.)

CELIA. (_Writing_) "My darling Wobbles."


                (TARVER _laughs. Laugh in card room_.)


CELIA. (_Looks around to see that no one is overlooking or watching
her. Writes_) "I hardly know how to write you. It all seems too
hauntingly beautiful to be true. I see your face everywhere--Wobbles.
The very tulips have a look of you. Oh, dearest, don't get wounded in
the war." (_Leans back and laughs to herself_) Good Heavens, when I
got up this morning, did I ever think that I should be doing anything
like this? (_Resumes writing_) "This is my first love letter, Wobbles,
but even I know how it ought to end. Crosses, Wobbles, crosses. One,
two, three, four, five, nought, nought, nought, nought, nought. To be
taken as required. Thine forever. Celia Faraday." (PHYLLIS _comes to
right of sofa and hands envelope to_ CELIA.) Thank you, dear. (TARVER
_strolls down center, looking at_ CELIA. CELIA _turns letter face down
on blotter to prevent its being seen by_ PHYLLIS. _Then seeing that
she is being scrutinised by_ TARVER _and_ PHYLLIS, _she takes envelope
from_ PHYLLIS, _places letter in it, addresses it and seals it.
Addressing letter_) "Colonel Smith, Field Force, Somaliland, Africa."

TARVER. I say, Miss Faraday.

CELIA. Yes.

TARVER. I hope awfully that _you_ will _help_ me in my election.

RALEIGH. (_Speaking from card room, turning in his chair and holding
card aloft_) Yes, it's just girls like you, Miss Faraday, who win the
day.

TARVER. Righto!!

GRICE. (_Thumping the table_) Have you none of that suit, sir?

RALEIGH. (_Whirling around and playing_) Oh, yes, I beg your pardon.


(MADGE _comes to desk, gets her letter, goes down to foot of sofa and
hands it to_ PHYLLIS. STEELE _sees that_ CELIA _has finished letter
and comes slowly down_ C.)

CELIA. Of course, I will help you, Mr. Tarver. It's awfully nice to
have _you_ ask _me_ for help, you know.

TARVER. Oh, thanks awfully. (_Goes up and around to_ PHYLLIS, _who is
on sofa, talks to_ MADGE _and_ PHYLLIS.)

STEELE. You have finished, Miss Faraday?

CELIA. Yes.

STEELE. May I put that letter in the box for you?

CELIA. No, thanks. I will see to it.

STEELE. Well--wouldn't you like to come and play a game of billiards?

CELIA. No, thank you. I really must go and change my shoes.
(_Indicating her feet_) You can see that these are quite damp.

STEELE. (_Most graciously_) I can't be expected to see things so small
as that. But--(_Getting chair from left_) Won't you let me talk to you
for just a minute?

CELIA. (_Rising_) I really must go and change.


(STEELE _disconsolately and slowly puts back chair, leaving it turned
on stage. He stands watching_ CELIA _for a moment, then walks up_ L.
_of table_ L., _looking at big picture on left wall as he goes_. NOTE:
EVELYN _should give him a signal when_ CELIA _exits_.)

MADGE. I will go with you, dear. (_Goes to door_ R.I _and takes the
knob in her hand_.)


(TARVER _sits on fender, leans over and talks intently to_ PHYLLIS.)

CELIA. No, don't bother, Madgie.


[Illustration: "Green Stockings" _Page_ 19]


MADGE. It's no bother. I have a lovely new frock I want to show you.
You might want to copy it for your trousseau. (_Exit_ R.)

CELIA. (_Puzzled_) My trousseau? (_Recovers herself_) My trousseau,
oh, yes, yes, my trousseau. (_Looks quickly and vainly about for some
place to hide letter, either in her dress or under the table. No one
is looking at_ CELIA _during this business. She sees large blue
envelope in which she has already placed two unopened letters_. NOTE:
_The flap of this large envelope must be turned in. She quickly holds
it up and slips the letter to_ SMITH _inside and hides it between the
periodicals on lower end of table. She then looks around to see that
no one has observed her and exits quickly_ R.)


(PHYLLIS _beckons to_ TARVER _and he sits beside her on sofa.
Immediately_ CELIA _exits_, STEELE _starts after her. When he gets
down_ R.C., RALEIGH _rushes after him, carrying a card_.)


RALEIGH. Where are you going?

STEELE. I thought perhaps Miss Faraday might let me put on her
slippers.

RALEIGH. (_Taking_ STEELE _by the arm_) Well, she is not going to put
them on in the hall. She has gone to her room. You come back here.

GRICE. (_Shouts loudly and bangs table and jumps up_) Raleigh!

FARADAY. Is this a game of bridge or a game of tag?

RALEIGH _and_ STEELE. I beg your pardon! (_They rush back to card room
and_ RALEIGH _plays card that he has carried away_.)

FARADAY. There now, he revoked too, and that's game and rubber.


(STEELE _strolls down extreme_ L., _goes_ R. _a few steps and stands
watching door where_ CELIA _has made her exit_.)


RALEIGH. (_Coming down_ R.C., _also looking toward door_ R.I) Do I owe
anything?


(FARADAY _goes_ C. _up stage_. GRICE _comes_ C. _down stage_. EVELYN
_comes_ R. _of_ L. _table with a bridge score in her hand_.)


GRICE. (_Coming down center above and to the_ L. _of_ RALEIGH) Do you
owe anything? You have revoked, lost the rubber, played the worst game
I have ever seen, and now you ask if you owe anything. Yes, you owe
Lady Trenchard three and six.


(RALEIGH _turns_ L. _to_ EVELYN _and pays her_.)


FARADAY. (_Moving_ R. _toward morning room_) Come and have a whiskey
and soda.

TARVER. Whiskey and soda. What, ho! (_He rises_.)


(GRICE, FARADAY _and_ TARVER _exit through morning room. Enter_ MARTIN
L.I _with salver_. STEELE _starts for door_ R.I _and gets to door_.
RALEIGH _goes up to morning room. Just as he gets to the door, he
sees_ STEELE, _who is about to exit after_ CELIA.)


RALEIGH. No, you don't, Steele. You come along here.


(STEELE _goes up_ R. _of sofa and exits with_ RALEIGH, _protesting.
There is a general lively subdued conversation during these exits_.)

MARTIN. (_When only_ PHYLLIS _and_ EVELYN _are left on the stage_) It
is time for the letters, your Ladyship.

EVELYN. (_Goes_ L. _above table, adding up her bridge score and
deferring the matter to_ PHYLLIS) Oh, Phyllis.

PHYLLIS. (_Crossing to_ MARTIN _with letter that_ MADGE _has given
her_) Here's one of Mrs. Rockingham's. (MARTIN _comes_ C., _takes it
and turns to door_ L. PHYLLIS _turns back_ R. _Stopping_) Oh, Martin.
(MARTIN _stops at table_ R.) Has Miss Faraday given you one?

MARTIN. No, Miss.

PHYLLIS. I will call her-- Wait a minute-- Perhaps she left it here.
(_Warn electrician for lights out_. PHYLLIS _looks about on table and
writing desk, then returns to table. She aimlessly rummages through
pile of periodicals at foot of table, knocking them off on the floor.
In replacing them, she comes across blue envelope, and in picking this
up by one corner, the letters that_ CELIA _has put in it, including
the "Smith" letter, fall to the floor. She goes to replace the
letters, sees the "Smith" letter, and speaks_) Oh, here it is. (_Reads
address_) Colonel John Smith, Somaliland. (_Crosses and gives letter
to_ MARTIN _and he exits_ L.I. _She returns to table, places two of
the magazines back on it, then the large blue envelope in which she
has replaced other letters, and then the rest of the magazines on top
of these. All this should be done quickly and unconsciously_, PHYLLIS
_humming while she is doing it_.)

EVELYN. (_After_ PHYLLIS _has replaced magazines_) I wonder who he is.
Oh, let's look him up in the army list. (_Gets army list from book
slide, table_ L.)

PHYLLIS. Oh, let's. (_Crosses to_ EVELYN _and together they turn over
the pages to the S's. Reading_) "Smith--Smith--Smith--Smith"-- Oh,
here it is. "J. N. Smith, D. S. O."

EVELYN. (_With mild surprise_) Distinguished Service Order.

PHYLLIS. (_Reading_) "West African Rifles."

EVELYN. (_Crossing_ R. _to morning room_) I suppose that's the man.

PHYLLIS. It must be. (_Replaces army list in book slide and runs
after_ EVELYN _toward morning room to electric light switch by door_)
The Rifles wear green thing-a-majigs on their tunics, don't they?

EVELYN. Yes, I think they do.


(PHYLLIS _switches off light and then_ EVELYN _puts out lamp in the
morning room as they exit chatting. The room is lighted now only by
the firelight and light in card room. As soon as the stage is clear_,
CELIA _enters cautiously. She goes to table_ R., _looks for large
envelope, finds it and throws it quickly into the fire, not looking at
its contents. She stands thinking a moment, then goes to table_ L.,
_looks at book rack, snatches out army list, crosses and, after making
sure that it is the army list by looking at it in the firelight,
throws it into the fire_. NOTE: _The electrician should at this point
flash on and off a thirty-two amber lamp in the fireplace to give the
impression of the burning of the envelope and army list that_ CELIA
_has thrown into the fire_. AUNT IDA, _who has remained out of sight
in the card room, enters as_ CELIA _crosses to fire with book_.)

AUNT IDA. Why, Celia.

CELIA. (_Turns around, startled. Goes to light switch up_ R. _and
turns on lights_) Oh, it's you, Aunt Ida.

AUNT IDA. (_Comes down and crosses to center and sees book in flames_)
Celia, what was that?

CELIA. (_Sitting on fender and swinging her foot_) That? The army
list.

AUNT IDA. The army list? And you burned it? Celia!

CELIA. Well, Aunt Ida.

AUNT IDA. (_Beside chair_ L. _of table_ R. _In low voice, almost
tearfully_) Celia, darling, have you been doing something--foolish?
(CELIA _laughs_.) Is there--is there--anything peculiar about--Colonel
Smith?

CELIA. (_Smiling_) What would you call--peculiar, Aunt Ida?

AUNT IDA. (_With great gentleness, but evidently distressed_) Forgive
me, dearest. It is--is there anything about Colonel Smith you don't
want the family to know?

CELIA. Yes. (_Going to_ AUNT IDA _above chair_ R. _Laughs_) There
is--something--about Colonel Smith--I don't want the family to know.
(_Laughs_.)

AUNT IDA. Why, isn't he--what you said?

CELIA. (_Looking at_ AUNT IDA _and laughing_) He is not.

AUNT IDA. (_Timidly_) No--?

CELIA. He is--not!! (CELIA, _above chair_ R., _swings_ AUNT IDA _into
it_.)

AUNT IDA. Mercy, child! Don't drive me crazy! He is not--not what?

CELIA. Not at all. (_Looks at_ AUNT IDA _and begins to laugh
irrepressibly_.)

AUNT IDA. Celia!

CELIA. (_Bends above_ AUNT IDA, _putting her arms about her from back
and kissing her neck_) Hush--listen, dear---- Will you swear you won't
betray me?

AUNT IDA. But--Celia!

CELIA. Will you promise, Aunt Ida? I know I can trust you if you will
only really promise never to breathe a word of what I am going to tell
you to any living being?

AUNT IDA. Well--but--I am not sure.

CELIA. Oh, very well, then--if you don't want to (_Crosses to chair_
R. _of table_ L. _and sits_.)

AUNT IDA. No, no, Celia, I promise. There now, I have promised.

CELIA. Very well, then. (_Slowly and emphatically_)
There--isn't--any--Colonel Smith.

AUNT IDA. (_Helplessly_) There--isn't--any--Colonel?

CELIA. None.

AUNT IDA. Then who is he?

CELIA. He _isn't_. I invented him.

AUNT IDA. (_Rising_) But, Celia--your engagement?

CELIA. Well, naturally I invented that too.

AUNT IDA. Celia Faraday, you are not telling the truth.

CELIA. (_Shaking her head_) No.

AUNT IDA. (_Going towards_ CELIA) You are deceiving everybody.

CELIA. Yes.

AUNT IDA. You are being frightfully immoral.

CELIA. Yes.

AUNT IDA. (_Startled_) And how on earth are you going to keep them
from finding out?

CELIA. (_Taking_ AUNT IDA'S _hand_) Well, first of all, dear, a
regiment did sail for Somaliland this morning.

AUNT IDA. Yes, but regiments sail back.

CELIA. Wobbles won't.

AUNT IDA. Wobbles?

CELIA. (_Laughing to herself_) Isn't that a heavenly name, Aunt
Ida,--Wobbles?

AUNT IDA. (_Turning away from_ CELIA _reprovingly_) Celia!

CELIA. (_Still seated, throwing out her arms with a big gesture_) Oh,
the difference that dear, dear man is going to make in my life. Oh,
the difference.

AUNT IDA. (_Going back to_ CELIA _and putting her hand on her
shoulder_) Oh, my dearest child. Do give up this mad scheme and come
back with me and be happy in Chicago.

CELIA. Oh, I couldn't give it up now. It's going to be too much fun.
Now be a dear and stand by me through this and then I'll go to Chicago
and stay there forever, but first let me have this one mad experience,
do let me enjoy my blushing triumph as a brave and absent soldier's
adored fiancée. (_Crosses to table_ R. _and straightens writing
things_.) Do you know, Aunt Ida, I just loved writing that first love
letter to him just now.

AUNT IDA. But Celia, your letter!!!

CELIA. That is all right, dear. I burned that. Do you know what I am
going to do, Aunt Ida? (_Suddenly throwing herself in chair_ L. _of
table_ R.)

AUNT IDA. What?

CELIA. I am going to make it a point now to shut myself alone in my
room every afternoon for hours--let someone else look after the house
and the servants while I correspond with Wobbles. (AUNT IDA _laughs_.)
I am going to give myself a chance at last. I'm going to do all sorts
of wonderful things.

AUNT IDA. (_Down_ C.) What?

CELIA. (_Rising and coming to her_) I don't know what, but I'm going
to do them. One day I'll wear a haunted look in my eye as I gaze sadly
toward Somaliland. I wonder where it is. (_Looks around_.) The next,
I'll have a merry laugh or else a mocking smile. By day, I'll wander
through the woods and think of him. By night, I'll sit before the fire
and dream of him.

AUNT IDA. Celia! Celia!

CELIA. Oh, I know I'll be a perfect fool, but I'll be the only one who
will know it, and if one little fib can turn this household upside
down, I am going to keep it there now just as long as it pleases me.
(_Saunters right_.)

AUNT IDA. (_Frightened_) Celia, suppose you are found out!

CELIA. (_Coming back_ C.) Now, what should I do? My heroic Wobbles--my
beloved Colonel Smith will die--in Somaliland. (_Going to magazine
table, gets calendar, comes down_ C. _to_ AUNT IDA _and runs over
leaves_.) Now, let me see when--when will he die? (_Stop's at a
leaf_.) On October 11th. There, now, it is all arranged. (_She
replaces calendar on table_.) After eight brief months of the most
perfect understanding, I shall lose--Wobbles. After eight months, I'll
write out a notice of his death and _you_ will send it to the Times.

AUNT IDA. (_Slowly_) To _The Times?_ I?

CELIA. Yes.

AUNT IDA. Never. (_Sits_ R. _of table_ L.)

CELIA. What? Not if I promise to go with you to Chicago? (AUNT IDA
_shakes her head_.) And you know how much you always wanted me to do
that. Oh, yes, you will, Aunt Ida. (_Goes to her_.) I'll buy the
tickets to-morrow. You shall have the very nicest cabin on the whole
ship. On October 11th we will kill off the Colonel and the very next
day we will sail away, we'll sail away. (_Crosses_ R. _gayly_.)

AUNT IDA. I tell you, I will not help you. It's too immoral.

CELIA. Oh, very well, then. Have I, or have I not, proved now that I
can help myself?

AUNT IDA. (_Rising and coming_ C. _Half angry, half laughing_) Are
you, or are you not, ashamed of yourself, Celia Faraday?

CELIA. Ashamed? I? Why, no, not the least little bit in the world. I
don't believe I was ever so happy in all my life.

AUNT IDA. Oh, oh!

CELIA. It's all very well, dear, for you to "Oh, oh!" at me, but I ask
you, Aunt Ida, have you ever been pitied and patronized as I was here
to-night, as I have been all these years, and looked upon as old and
ugly and dowdy and dull?

AUNT IDA. (_Sympathetically_) Not that, Celia, not that.

CELIA. Oh, don't think I don't know those things about myself. I do,
but I don't like to hear them all the time, just the same. Have you
ever been a wall-flower at every ball you have gone to, while all the
other girls danced and had a perfectly lovely time? Have _you_ ever
been seated next to the _oldest_, _deafest_ members of the community
at every dinner party you have gone to? Positively, Aunt Ida, I've
grown so now that I can't talk at a dinner party except through an ear
trumpet. (_Goes_ R. _and then returns_.) And, if that Tarver creature
or a Jim Raleigh or that old fossil of an Admiral or any other mortal
trouser-wearing remnant of humanity had ever condescended to propose
to me, there isn't a man or woman in this entire household, beginning
with Martin and the boot boy, who wouldn't respect me and treat me
quite differently in consequence.

AUNT IDA. Yes, I know it.

CELIA. Oh, don't _I_ know it?

AUNT IDA. Yes, it has been pretty well rubbed in.

CELIA. Yes, I should say it has. Well, it has just been rubbed in so
hard to-night that, as Phyllis would say, the straw has broken the
worm's back and the worm has turned at last. Never, never, never again
will I be content to be what I have been all these years. "Good old
Celia." (_Walking_ R.) Yes, "Nice old thing." (_Walking to_ C.) Celia
who doesn't want things and Celia who looks after things and Celia who
doesn't mind things and Celia who attends to things. Well, Celia who
attends to things is dead. Now everything attends to Celia. (_Warn
curtain. From now on, gay and laughing and walking to and fro across
stage with_ AUNT IDA _slowly, her arm around_ AUNT IDA'S _waist_.)
When the day begins and Father shouts, "God bless my soul, what's the
matter with this coffee?" (_Turns right_) I'll be upstairs in bed,
drinking chocolate. And then, when the evening comes and Martin says,
"Beg pardon, Miss, but the whiskey is out," I'll say, "I don't care.
Colonel Smith doesn't drink." (_Turns_ L.) Instead of keeping house
accounts, I'm going to write my love letters, and instead of ordering
groceries, I'm going to order frocks, and wait until you see the
frocks I'm going to order. (_They stop walking_.) I'm going to be a
blazing dream. I'll be younger than the youngest of them, gayer than
the gayest, and what do I care now what any of them say or do or think
about me? I'll wear just as many green stockings as they wish at as
many weddings as they please, and I'll laugh and I'll sing and I'll
dance them into holes, because why? Well, I'll have a sweetheart of
_my own_, don't you see? I'll be the lady love of--_Wobbles_. (_Waves
her handkerchief in the air and she and_ AUNT IDA _embrace, laughing
heartily_.)


                            QUICK CURTAIN


(_Running time, thirty to thirty-five minutes, depending on laughs_.)



                                ACT II


SCENE: _Same as Act I_.

_There is a slight rearrangement of furniture and addition of
properties. Table and chairs_ L.C., _moved twelve inches nearer
center. Armchair put left of table and plain chair right of table. The
lamp has been moved from table to top of cabinet_ L., _making room for
teatray laid for five people. Also on the tray is a plate containing
plum cake, a three-shelf muffin-stand or curate, containing cakes and
sandwiches, is placed below cabinet. Sewing bag, purse and army list
have been removed. Throat spray for_ PHYLLIS _behind vase on table_ R.
_A medicine bottle in room off_ R. _Embroidery on table_ R. _for_
PHYLLIS. _Election speech (a roll of foolscap paper) on cabinet_ L.
_for_ TARVER. _Waste-paper basket removed. The curtains are drawn
closer than in Act I and card table has been folded and placed against
backing and chairs distributed against backing of card room. The
ladies are in afternoon house dress and_ FARADAY _in frock or morning
coat. All the flowers are changed and autumn varieties replace those
of spring. It is eight months later in the late afternoon. Halfway
through the act, it grows darker and lights are required, though
lights are full up to commence_.

_As the curtain rises_, PHYLLIS _is seated on sofa_ R., _doing some
embroidery_. EVELYN _is toying with a book, seated_ L. _of table_ R.
MADGE _is at the head of the tea table, pouring tea_. FARADAY _stands
to left of table_.

FARADAY. (_Running over the books in book slide_) Where is that army
list? It's a great nuisance, not a sign of the army list. The army
list has disappeared again. I wanted to write to General Partington
this morning and I couldn't find out whether he was a K. C. B. or a K.
C. S. I.


(AUNT IDA _enters through card room in outdoor dress and comes
directly down_ L.C. _She should show signs of nervous apprehension all
through the opening of the Act_.)


MADGE. Tea, Aunt Ida?

AUNT IDA. Please. (_Nervously_) What's the matter, William?

FARADAY. The army list has disappeared again. I haven't seen one for
months. Phyllis, will you ask Celia to order another new one? (_Sits
left_.)

PHYLLIS I do, Father, every time, but Celia always forgets it.

AUNT IDA. (_Sits on edge of chair_ R. _of table_ L. _On tenter hooks_)
Has the Times come yet?

FARADAY. No.

AUNT IDA. It's very late.

FARADAY. (_Getting up and getting muffin-stand from below cabinet,
setting it between his knees_) It is always very late. I eat much too
much tea every day, waiting for that Times. It's not good for me.
(_Selects a big muffin from stand_.)

EVELYN. But, Father, couldn't you make up your mind to restrain
yourself?


                (_Enter_ MARTIN _through card room_.)


FARADAY. I can make up my mind all right, but I can't restrain myself.
(_Bites into the muffin_.)

MARTIN. (_Announcing_) Admiral Grice.


(_Enter_ GRICE _through card room_. MARTIN _comes down_ L. _of table
to door_. GRICE _comes down to table_.)


FARADAY. How do you do, Grice? Have some tea.


              (_All greet_ ADMIRAL _in casual tones_.)


GRICE. Thanks.


(MADGE _pours him a cup of tea. He takes it and crosses and shakes
hands with_ LADY TRENCHARD _and_ PHYLLIS, _then goes and stands below
fender_.)


FARADAY. (_Stopping_ MARTIN _at door_ L.) And Martin, see that another
army list is bought. Send in to Lumley at once.

MARTIN. _Another_ army list, sir? Yes, sir. (_Exit_ L.IE.)

GRICE. (_In an injured tone_) Celia is not here!

PHYLLIS. She has gone to see old Wilson, young Wilson's father. There
is a rumor that he's wavering.

FARADAY. _Wavering_! _Wilson?_ He has some influence, too. I do hate a
station master who can't stick to his political principles.

GRICE. What's Wilson's trouble?

EVELYN. Compulsory vaccination. He can't spell it, so he's against it.

GRICE. Silly ass! Well, if anyone can settle him, it will be _Celia_.

PHYLLIS. Yes, isn't she splendid? I believe Celia could make _anybody_
do _anything_.

AUNT IDA. Have you just discovered that?

GRICE. I don't think that's much of a discovery.

AUNT IDA. Nor I.

MADGE. Yes, but Aunt Ida, you never really knew Celia before.

AUNT IDA. Before what?

MADGE. (_Enthusiastically_) Before she was engaged. Before she let
herself go, before she showed us all the _Celiaishness_ of _Celia_.

GRICE. There isn't a finer girl in England. (_Puts teacup on mantel_.)
No, nor a finer dinner than the one I'm giving her to-night.


(_Enter_ TARVER L.I, _elaborately dressed and spattered with mud. He
leans against jamb of door weakly. Everyone but_ AUNT IDA _starts in
surprise at sight of_ TARVER. NOTE: AUNT IDA _does not participate in
this scene, being wholly engrossed in the matter of the Times_.)


PHYLLIS. (_Starting up, goes toward_ TARVER _a few steps_) Bobby!!!!

TARVER. (_Leaning weakly against door_) I'm dead to the world.

EVELYN. What has happened?

TARVER. The most awful thing.

PHYLLIS. It was that dreadful ordeal of laying the corner stone, I
suppose.

GRICE. (_Contemptuously_) They asked you to lay a corner stone?

TARVER. They had to have a _personage_.

OMNES. A personage!

TARVER. You see, the beastly ground was full of puddles and, just as I
stepped forward with a trowel in my hand, I slipped, and----

GRICE. And sat down in one of them, I suppose.

TARVER. That's exactly what I did do. Oh! How they all yelled. (_All
laugh_, ADMIRAL _loudest. Coming_ C. _and limping_) It's all very well
for you to laugh, Admiral, but that puddle may cost us the seat.

FARADAY. Tarver!

GRICE. Tarver! Bring a trowel and a pail of mortar to my garden
to-morrow morning at eleven o'clock sharp. I'll teach you _how_ to lay
a corner stone. (_Gets his cup, goes up and crosses above sofa to
teatable, and puts his cup down_.)


                  (PHYLLIS _comes_ C. _to_ TARVER.)


TARVER. Oh, Phyllis, where are my voice lozenges?

PHYLLIS. (_Taking his arm sympathetically_) They're all gone, Bobby,
but Celia said she would fetch you some.

TARVER. That's kind of her. My throat's awful. Where's the spray?


(PHYLLIS _runs up and around to_ R. _of sofa, getting spray_. TARVER
_sits on stool below sofa and_ PHYLLIS _comes down to_ R. _of him_.)


PHYLLIS. (_Spraying his throat_) Never mind, Bobby, there are only ten
days more.

TARVER. (_Chokes_) I don't think I can last out the ten days. When
that bench broke last night in the middle of my speech, I really
thought it was my nervous system gone at last.

GRICE. (_Thunderously. Coming_ C.) Tarver!

TARVER. (_Jumps_) Oh, Admiral, don't speak to me like that or I shall
cry.


  (PHYLLIS _sits on foot of sofa, her arm on_ TARVER'S _shoulder_.)


GRICE, You made a mistake last night. Canada is not to the north of
Alaska.

TARVER. Did I say it was? (PHYLLIS _shakes her head. Looks toward_
PHYLLIS) Oh, how awful!

GRICE. Tarver, you are dining with me to-night.

TARVER. Yes, sir.

GRICE. Bring your Atlas. We will go slowly through the countries of
the world in my study afterwards.

PHYLLIS. (_Rises quickly_) Oh, but you can't, Admiral. There's the
Philharmonic concert after your dinner party, and we all have to go to
it.

TARVER. Yes, and my _opponent_ is going to be there.

PHYLLIS. If Bobby were late, it would produce a bad impression.

GRICE. Then come before dinner.

TARVER. (_Rising_) But, Admiral, I haven't written a word of my
election speech yet except "Gentlemen" and that's a _lie_.

GRICE. (_Threateningly_) Tarver! Wilson is not the only elector in the
Lumley division who is wavering.

PHYLLIS. (_Starts_) Oh, Admiral!

FARADAY. (_Seated_ L.) You, Grice, you?

PHYLLIS. Oh, you couldn't vote _against Bobby!_

GRICE. Perhaps not, but I might try.

TARVER. Oh! I'll bring my Atlas! (_Speaks despairingly. Turns up_ R.,
_looking for tonic_.)

PHYLLIS. (_Running to_ ADMIRAL) Oh, yes, Bobby will be delighted to
bring his Atlas.

GRICE. Bobby will be delighted to _take away_ his Atlas. (MARTIN
_enters_ L.I _with copy of the "London Times" and a small folded
periodical on salver_.) Tarver, geography, eight o'clock sharp.
Dinner, eight fifteen. (_Turns to table_.)

MARTIN. The Times, sir.

FARADAY. At last.

GRICE. Ah, the Times!

AUNT IDA. (_Rising in alarm and backing up stage from chair_. GRICE
_takes her place in chair_.) Oh, the Times, the Times!

TARVER. Oh, Phyllis, where is that bottle of Guy's tonic?

PHYLLIS. It is out here, Bobby. (_Exit in the morning room_.)

TARVER. (_Following her_) Thanks awfully. I needed it badly.


(MADGE _takes periodical and begins to read_. FARADAY _takes the outer
sheet of the Times, pulls it off, and throws it across table. It falls
to floor_ R. _of table_. GRICE _stoops to pick it up_. EVELYN _takes
it from his hand as he rises, saying, "Thank you, Admiral."_ GRICE
looks at her disgustedly and sits twiddling his thumbs_. NOTE: _The
outer sheets of the Times must be stuck together in order to have them
fall properly_. NOTE: The birth, marriage and death column of the
Times is in the upper left hand corner of the first page_. EVELYN,
MADGE _and_ FARADAY _have become absorbed in their papers_. GRICE
_looks about him and then, exasperated, seizes a book and sits_ R. _of
table_ L., _reading it_.)


FARADAY. (_After a pause_) I never saw a paper like this. (_Strikes
paper with back of his hand_.) There is absolutely nothing in this
paper.


(TARVER _and_ PHYLLIS _re-enter, go to fender and sit_. TARVER _has
had his clothes brushed_.)


GRICE. I never saw a paper with anything in it. (_Pause_.) How about
the bye-elections?

FARADAY. (_Grunting, absorbed in his paper_) Huh! (_Long pause_.)

EVELYN. (_Reading front page_) Oh, Madge, Elsie Hardiman is engaged.

MADGE. Not really?

AUNT IDA. (_From up stage, comes slightly_ R.C. _Uneasily and
anxiously watching_ EVELYN) Isn't there--isn't there any other news,
Evelyn?

EVELYN. No, dear.

AUNT IDA. Anybody married?

EVELYN. No one we know.

AUNT IDA. (_With a forced attempt at cheerfulness_) Or dead?

EVELYN. (_Absently. Looking over paper_) No, dear. Ab--so--lutely
noth---- (_Her eye suddenly lights on_ SMITH'S _death notice. She
reads it in pantomime. A look of horror comes over her face and she
utters a shrill scream_.)


               (_All rise hastily with exclamations_.)


FARADAY. (_Jumping to his feet_) God bless my soul! What's the matter,
what's the matter?

TARVER. Great Scott! What's the matter?

MADGE. What _is_ the matter, Evelyn?

GRICE. (_Coming center_) Really, Lady Trenchard, you ought not to
startle people like that. It's selfish. (_Goes to her, takes paper
from her limp hand and comes down stage_.) What's the news, eh?

FARADAY. (_Taking paper from_ GRICE _with importance, and crossing_
L.) _I'll_ tell you.

EVELYN. (_In hushed whisper_) Father, the deaths, the deaths!


(_During the following scene_, GRICE _is fairly dancing with
impatience_.)


FARADAY. (_Reads death notice and sits heavily extreme_ L. _with a
sigh_) Poor girl!

MADGE. (_From above table_) Father.


(FARADAY _hands paper to_ MADGE, _saying, "Read, read."_)


PHYLLIS. (_After a slight pause runs across stage to_ MADGE) What is
it, Madge?

MADGE. Oh, Phyllis.

PHYLLIS. (_Stands by_ MADGE, _takes paper and reads_) That does seem
cruel, doesn't it?

GRICE. Why do people want to keep the news to themselves? (_Takes
paper away from_ PHYLLIS _and comes down_ C. _He reads_) Whew!
(_Stands ruminating_) Well, well, well, well! (_Holds paper to him_.)

TARVER. (_Seated in chair below fender. Plaintively_) Will somebody
kindly tell _me_ what's happened?

GRICE. Always thinking of yourself, Tarver. (_Reads slowly and
impressively_) "On October the 11th--of wounds--at Berbera,
Somaliland--Colonel Smith."

TARVER. (_Feeling that he must say something_) On October the
11th--that is tough, isn't it?

FARADAY. Yes, it's hard. I've been inquiring about rooms at the Club.
I didn't expect this.

PHYLLIS. (_At head of table_) It's more terribly and cruelly hard on
Celia than it would be upon _any other woman_.

GRICE. (_Putting paper on table_) Why?

PHYLLIS. Because---- (_Breaks off_.) Don't you remember the night when
she told us of her engagement eight months ago. She said then that her
betrothal would make an extraordinary difference in her life.

                                            (_READY Doorbell_.)

EVELYN. Then she wasn't happy. Now she is.

MADGE. And when she is, this blow falls without even a telegram to
break the force of it.

PHYLLIS. It is too horrible. Nothing but an announcement in the Times
sent by post.


(NOTE: _The voices in each succeeding line should descend in scale_.)


MADGE. On October the 11th----

TARVER. Of wounds----

FARADAY. At Berbera----

EVELYN. Somaliland----

GRICE. Colonel Smith----

TARVER. (_Rising and coming_ L. _to stool below table_) By Jove! If
Celia withdraws from the _contest_, I'm done.


          (_Doorbell rings off_ L. TARVER _sits on stool_.)


GRICE. (_Alarmed_) Wasn't that the front doorbell?

MADGE. (_Coming down stage_) Who is to break the news to her?

GRICE. (_Pauses, looks around and suddenly points to_ TARVER)
_Tarver_.

TARVER. (_Springs to his feet in horror_) Me? No, no. I think it needs
a woman's voice. (_Waving his hands feebly up and down in front of
him_) A woman's gentle fingers.

FARADAY. God bless my soul! It isn't going to be broken to her in the
deaf and dumb alphabet.

EVELYN. Let's leave Father to break the sad news to her.

FARADAY. Me! No, no. I might break down. Someone outside the family
would have more command over their emotions. Some old, warm-hearted
friend. (_Pause, while_ GRICE _shows alarm_.) Grice, for instance.

GRICE. _Me!_ No, no. Ah! I have an idea. (_Comes down stage, and_
FARADAY, MADGE, EVELYN _and_ TARVER _gather about him_, FARADAY L.,
MADGE L.C., GRICE C., EVELYN R.C., TARVER R. _Slowly, seriously and
impressively_) Let us all break it to her--gently--when she comes into
the room. I'll give the signal--one, two, three and then we'll all say
together and very gently, "Colonel Smith is dead." (_Looks for
approval and they all turn away in disgust_.)


(FARADAY _goes extreme_ L., MADGE _back to head of table_ L., TARVER
_extreme_ R. _and_ EVELYN _to chair_ R.C.)


AUNT IDA. (_Coming down stage_) Hadn't you better leave it to me?


                   (_All show tremendous relief_.)


MADGE. Of course.

FARADAY. You are the very person.

GRICE. Hush! Now everybody try to be quite calm and natural and act as
though nothing whatever had happened. Oh!!! The Times!


(_All rush for the Times_. GRICE _seizes outer sheet of Times and
looks wildly about for some place to hide it. In desperation, he
thrusts it up his coat at the back_. PHYLLIS _seizes a sheet, runs up
and hides it under piano cover_. MADGE _also seizes a sheet and hides
it behind curtain of card room_. GRICE _sits_ R. _of_ L. _table.
Everyone assumes strained positions with set grins on their faces.
Enter_ CELIA, L.I _entrance. She brings with her two small packages
wrapped in tissue paper. She is dressed elaborately in outdoor costume
and carries a light muff_.)


CELIA. (_Brightly_) Good afternoon, everybody.


(_All give a short, nervous giggle, pause and then say together, "Good
afternoon, Celia"_ CELIA _crosses to chair_ L. _of table_.)


FARADAY. (_Coming down_ L. _of_ CELIA, _offering to take her muff_)
Allow me, dear.

CELIA. (_Giving it to him_) Oh! Thank you, Father.


(FARADAY _holds both his hands in muff_. PHYLLIS _solicitously takes_
CELIA'S _gloves_.)


MADGE. (_In a bereaved tone, offering her a cup of tea_) Celia, dear,
have some tea?


             (FARADAY _goes up and around to back_, R.C.)


CELIA. No, thanks, Madge. I've been having tea with the Duchess. Oh,
how do you do, Admiral. (_Shaking hands across table with_ GRICE) You
don't know how I'm looking forward to your dinner party to-night.
(_Sits_ L. _of table_ L., _unwrapping two small parcels and placing
tissue paper on book slide_.)

GRICE. (_Very gloomily_) It was a good dinner. I suppose that now----


(FARADAY _coughs and all in a strained whisper say, "Admiral!"_)


TARVER. (_Rising and coming_ C.) Did you manage to catch Wilson?
(TARVER'S _question shocks all_.)

PHYLLIS. (_Trying to hush him_) Bobby!

EVELYN. (_In a hoarse whisper_) Just at this time, too.

CELIA. No, Bobby, he was out; but see what I brought you--some throat
lozenges and a box to keep them in.

TARVER. (_Comes to her at foot of table and takes boxes from her.
Lugubriously_) It's awfully good of you to think of me, Celia.
(_Crosses back to_ L.C.) Just at this time, too.


(EVELYN _pulls_ TARVER _violently around_ R. _He staggers across stage
and falls in chair extreme_ R.)


OMNES. Hush!!!


(GRICE _glares at_ TARVER, PHYLLIS _and_ MADGE _offer_ CELIA _tea_,
FARADAY _the muffin-stand, and_ GRICE _offers her the plate of cake.
All this is done quickly and simultaneously_.)

PHYLLIS. You had better have some tea, Celia.

GRICE. (_Smiling at her_) Cake, with plums in it.

CELIA. (_Laughing_) You are all very kind to me this afternoon.


(_They all turn away hurriedly, quickly putting down the things they
have been offering_ CELIA _and laughing nervously_.)


OMNES. Not at all, dear. Not unusually so. Not a bit. (_Etc., etc_.)

GRICE. Cake, with plums in it.

CELIA. (_Exchanges looks with_ AUNT IDA, _who has worked down_ L.
_after_ FARADAY _has gone up_ C. AUNT IDA _nods her head.
Indifferently_) Any news in the Times?

OMNES. _The Times? The Times? Why, no, I don't imagine so. Have you
seen the Times? Now where has Martin put that Times?_ (_Etc., etc_.
NOTE: _This should come to a crescendo and then die down_.)

EVELYN. (_In a loud, hoarse whisper to_ TARVER) Oh, say something.

TARVER. (_Very nervously_) No, I don't think there was anything, was
there, Admiral?

GRICE. (_Mournfully, staring straight ahead of him_) Nothing very
lively.

OMNES. (_In a strained whisper_) Admiral!

FARADAY. (_To relieve situation. Gayly_) Now where has the Times got
to?


    (TARVER _rises and looks in fireplace, muttering to himself_.)


PHYLLIS _and_ MADGE. Where is the Times? Have you seen the Times? I
wonder what could have happened to it? (_Etc_.)


(GRICE _rises and turns_ R. _and starts up stage. The Times falls out
from his back. There is general consternation_.)


CELIA. (_Seeing Times on floor_) Why, there it is, isn't it?

FARADAY. (_In mock, great surprise_) God bless my soul! So it is.


                   (TARVER _sinks down on fender_.)


GRICE. (_Coming down stage and picking up paper_) Now, how did that
get there?

CELIA. May I see it, if everyone has quite finished? (_Holds out hand
for paper_. GRICE _reluctantly gives paper to her. She opens it and
reads. All watch her, strained and anxiously. Cheerfully_) Births,
marriages, deaths. I always look first at that column, you know.
(_After a pause. Laughing a little_) How very amusing!

OMNES. Amusing? Celia!! Great Scott! God bless my soul!

CELIA. (_Reading_) "On October the 11th----"

EVELYN. (_Almost with a sob_) _Eleventh!_

CELIA. "Elsie Hardiman to Alfred Bryce." (_All give tremendous sigh of
relief. Looking up_) Why didn't somebody tell me Elsie Hardiman was
engaged?

FARADAY. (_Comes to chair_ R. _of_ L. _table and lays muff down on
book rack_) I wouldn't go into that, Celia. I wouldn't pursue _that_
line of inquiry any further if I were _you_, my dear. (_Tries to take
paper_.)

CELIA. (_Retaining her hold on paper_) I just want to see if anybody
is dead, Father. (_Puts out a hand surreptitiously and pulls_ AUNT IDA
_near her. They all watch her with tragic anxiety. She sees notice,
reads it, and utters a long, low cry of grief, then lets paper drop on
table and with another long moan, rises and buries her face in_ AUNT
IDA'S _shoulder_.)


(TARVER _curls up in chair extreme_ R., _pulling his moustache_.)


PHYLLIS. (_Making sympathetic motion forward_) Celia--darling.

AUNT IDA. (_Waving her handkerchief up and down_) Sh--sh--sh--sh!
(_They stand in grief-stricken attitudes, contemplating her_.)

FARADAY. (_Brokenly_) Celia--my child----

AUNT IDA. (_Waving her handkerchief up and down_) Sh--sh--sh--sh!

EVELYN. _Poor Celia!_

AUNT IDA. Sh--sh--sh--sh! (_Pause_.) I think--she will--say something
soon.

CELIA. (_Raising a flushed, quivering face from_ AUNT IDA'S
_shoulder_) So you were all--trying to keep this--from me?

GRICE. (_Coming down_ R.) God help us, we were. (_Takes off his
glasses and wipes his eyes_.)

PHYLLIS. Ah--Celia.

AUNT IDA. (_In same queer, choked way_) Wouldn't it be better if you
all left her alone--with me?

FARADAY. (_Much relieved_) Quite so. Quite so. Come, children.
(_Crosses a few steps up and right. The girls, with_ PHYLLIS _first_,
MADGE, _then_ EVELYN, _form a line and, with bowed heads and folded
hands, walk across the morning room door_. TARVER _rises and walks
mournfully up to door_.) Come, Admiral.

GRICE. (_Crossing up_ R.) No, Faraday. I'll take my leave from this
house of grief. (_Exits through card room_.)

CELIA. (_Comes_ L.C.) Wait, Father. (_The girls halt in doorway_,
TARVER _above sofa_) I only want to say that I don't intend to let
this news make any difference--outwardly. You see you never knew what
I knew--about him, so I can't expect you to realize all that I've
lost. I don't see what's to be gained by any parade of grief, so I'll
go to this dinner party to-night and try to act as though nothing
whatever had happened.

TARVER. (_Beaming_) That's splendid of you, Celia. It's much the
wisest not to give way to sorrow. But you will get those votes you
promised me, won't you?

FARADAY. Take him away. Take him away.


(EVELYN _whirls_ TARVER _around and hands him unceremoniously off the
stage_. FARADAY _exits. There is a pause, then_ AUNT IDA _and_ CELIA
_burst into hearty laughter_. AUNT IDA _crosses to table_ R., _sits,
and_ CELIA _sits on the arm of her chair_.)

CELIA. Oh, Aunt Ida. Didn't we get through that splendidly?


(GRICE _re-enters through card room. They quickly turn their laughter
into sobs and bury their faces in their handkerchiefs_.)


GRICE. (_Coming down_ C.) I have been lingering, my dear Miss Faraday,
just to grasp your hand and whisper a word of cheer. Keep up your
heart, my dear. Keep up your heart. Remember there are other fish in
the sea--big fish. (_Bows and elaborately exits through card room_.)

CELIA. Old fool!--Isn't it a mercy I'm going to escape that sort of
thing? There'd be a dozen more if I gave them a chance, but instead of
that I'm going with you to Chicago to live and die a spinster with an
unawakened soul.

AUNT IDA. (_In a high tragedy tone_) Celia, I have a queer feeling
we're not done with this thing yet.

CELIA. Why, of course we are, you dear; the steamship tickets are up
in my room and I'm going with you to-morrow when you leave on the noon
train. What a brick you've been through it all, Aunt Ida, what a
brick!

AUNT IDA. (_Laughing, then recovering herself and endeavoring to be
moral. Crossing_ L.) You--you--you must never do it again, Celia.

CELIA. Well, it's hardly the sort of thing one _can_ do _very often_.

AUNT IDA. (_Seriously_) I never would have helped you send that notice
to the Times, Celia, if--if--oh, dear. (_Breaks down and laughs.
Severely_) Oh, but I consider your whole attitude _most_ immoral.

CELIA. (_Meekly_) Yes, Aunt Ida. I admit my behavior has been shocking
and what a contrast to his. (_Laughs_.)

AUNT IDA. (_Reprovingly_) Celia!

CELIA. Poor Colonel Smith! What harm has he ever done? Was ever a
career more blameless? He lifted me down from the shelf. _Dear Colonel
Smith!_ He died just at the right moment. _Dear_ Colonel Smith. Oh,
you know he was a true soldier. He did his work in silence. Well,
peace to his ashes. Dear Colonel Smith! Good gracious, dear, it's
getting late. It's time to dress for dinner. (_She seizes_ AUNT IDA
_by the arm, gayly whirls her around, crosses and gets her muff from
table_.)


(_Enter_ PHYLLIS _through morning room_ R. _Runs down_ R. _of sofa,
calling, "Celia." They resume attitudes of grief_. AUNT IDA _exits
through morning room, holding her handkerchief to her eyes_.)


PHYLLIS. (_Comes_ C. _to_ CELIA) Celia!

CELIA. Yes, dear.

PHYLLIS. I want you to help me. Bobby is frightfully tired. Don't you
think that he and I could cut the Admiral's dinner party and dine
quietly at home here? You could make it all right with the Admiral,
Celia.


(_Enter_ MARTIN, _with salver and card_, L.IE., _leaves door open_.)


CELIA. I'll try, dear. Martin, there will be two for dinner after all.

PHYLLIS. And may we dine in the little morning room here? (_Indicating
morning room_.)

CELIA. In the morning room?

PHYLLIS. It will be more snug.

CELIA. Oh, very well, then, Martin. Dinner in the morning room.
(MARTIN _offers card to_ CELIA.) I haven't time to see anyone now.
(_Crosses_ R. _to door_) Who is it?

MARTIN. Colonel James Nugent Vavasour. He was sure that you would
consent to see him, Miss, when you saw this card.

CELIA. Vavasour? Vavasour? It's some election business, of course.
Phyllis, it's your affair, after all. Attend to it for me, won't you?

PHYLLIS. Very well. (CELIA _exits_ R. MARTIN _brings the card over to_
PHYLLIS. PHYLLIS _takes card, reads it and utters a cry_) Colonel
Smith! Then, then--then? (_Bewildered_) Then he is not dead. It's a
mistake. (_Runs to door_ R. _as if to recall_ CELIA.)

MARTIN. It is Colonel Vavasour who has called, Miss. (_Goes up to
tea-table, gets tray and dishes_.)

PHYLLIS. But it's Colonel Smith's card. (_Turns card over suddenly_)
Oh, it is a message. (_Goes to_ L. _of table_ R., _sits and turns up
the lamp_.) Written in a failing hand. (_Reads_) "_Good-bye_. Be kind
to my friend, James Nugent Vavasour." (_To_ MARTIN, _who has by now
collected the dishes on tray and is below table_ R.) Show Colonel
Vavasour in and then ask Miss Faraday to come down as quickly as she
can. Just say that it really is important.

MARTIN. Yes, Miss.


(PHYLLIS _comes_ L.C. _quickly and arranges her hair, etc_. MARTIN
_re-enters, announcing_ COLONEL VAVASOUR. COLONEL SMITH _enters and
stands_. MARTIN _closes door quietly, goes up_ L., _crosses it back,
turns on lamp on piano and exits through morning room_.)


SMITH. (_Bowing_) I am speaking to Miss Celia Faraday?

PHYLLIS. (_Holding card in her hand_) Oh, no. I'm her much younger
sister, but I have sent for her. Won't you sit down, Colonel Vavasour?
(_Sits_ R. _of_ L. _table_. SMITH _sits_ L.) The card which you sent
me proves that your errand is a sad one. I want to ask you to be very
gentle in delivering your message to Celia. The news of Colonel
Smith's death was first conveyed to her in to-day's "Times."

SMITH. I am not very surprised to hear that.

PHYLLIS. (_Melodramatically_) The bolt fell from a clear sky. She
received no telegram, no letter to warn her of the impending
destruction of her happiness. (_Places card on table_.)

SMITH. (_Meaningly_) No, indeed. How could she?

PHYLLIS. She was happy. She loved and was loved. (SMITH _turns and
looks at her_.) And then in a second comes Fate with its cruel
shears----

SMITH. (_Interrupting her_) Excuse me, but do you write for the Sunday
papers?

PHYLLIS. No, but I have been listening lately to a great number of
election speeches.

SMITH. I quite understand. From them those flowers of eloquence were
culled. Please go on.

PHYLLIS. Celia bore the blow with remarkable courage. But now comes
your _visit_, which will upset her even more than the news of Colonel
Smith's death itself.

SMITH. Yes, Miss Faraday, I am quite sure that it will do that. You
have made an appeal to me to deliver my harrowing message as
delicately as I can. You can help me not to make mistakes.

PHYLLIS. How?

SMITH. By telling me where the lovers met, when they became
engaged--and how it all happened.

PHYLLIS. But you came with Colonel Smith's card and words of
recommendation written upon it by his failing hand. Didn't he tell
you?

SMITH. Well, you see, he was one of those great-hearted men who never
speak about themselves. And towards the end, when he might have
spoken, he was singularly comatose.

PHYLLIS. (_Sympathetically_) Poor fellow!

SMITH. Oh, it's dreadful--dreadful! I suppose your sister was very
devoted to him?

PHYLLIS. She _adored_ him!!

SMITH. Yes. That's the part I understand best.

PHYLLIS. But Celia's engagement meant more to her than it would to
most women.

SMITH. (_Recoils slightly_) Why?

PHYLLIS. It had somehow got into everybody's head that Celia
didn't--(_Looks around room_)--attract people. Poor old Celia. (SMITH
_turns uneasily in chair_.) Of course, her engagement altered the
whole position.

SMITH. Oh, I begin to see.

PHYLLIS. It was the night that _I_ had just announced my engagement to
Mr. Tarver.--Bobby was so witty about poor old Celia having to wear
_another_ pair of Green Stockings at _my_ wedding----

SMITH. Ah--h-- Then there are other sisters?

PHYLLIS. Yes, there's Madge. She is between Celia and myself.

SMITH. Engaged?

PHYLLIS. _More_ than engaged--_married_. And then comes Evelyn.

SMITH. Married?

PHYLLIS. Much _more_ than married. (SMITH _stares_.) A widow.

SMITH. And Miss Celia is the eldest of you all?

PHYLLIS. Oh, yes. Well, the moment after Celia was told of _my_
engagement, she announced _hers_.

SMITH. To Colonel Smith. (_Turns away from her with sudden
understanding_.) I see.

PHYLLIS. (_More melodramatically_) You know she had met him at
Southampton. (SMITH _looks at her_.) For a week they had been
together. (SMITH _turns in his chair_.) Only that morning he had told
her of his love. An hour later he was steaming down Southampton Water
to leave his neglected bones on the arid wastes of a----

SMITH. (_Interrupting her_) Ahem! You'll excuse me----

PHYLLIS. I beg pardon. He was on his way to Somaliland. She wrote to
him that night.

SMITH. (_Slowly_) Yes, the letter reached him. (_Tapping his pocket_)
I have it here.

PHYLLIS. (_Sentimentally_) He kept it?

SMITH. Yes, he kept it. He used to sit and study it by the hour.

PHYLLIS. How truly beautiful. Oh, you must tell Celia that. You
mustn't rob her of any of her grief.

SMITH. No, that would be too bad. So there was no opportunity for
Smith to come and make your acquaintance?

PHYLLIS. No, but I have heard so much of him from Celia that I could
almost believe I see him. (_Stares dreamily at_ SMITH. SMITH _rises
slowly, a little disconcerted_. PHYLLIS _rising and moving_ R.) I'll
go and send Celia to you.


               (MARTIN _enters through morning room_.)


SMITH. Thanks. Now I know where I am.

MARTIN. (_Stands up_ R.) Miss Faraday is coming down, Miss. (_Crosses
and exits_ L., _lighting chandelier in card room_.)

PHYLLIS. Very well, Martin. Then I'll leave you to deliver your
message alone. (_Crosses to door_ R. _and opens it, then turns_) You
have brought, I hope, one or two mementoes from him----

SMITH. (_Puzzled for a moment_) I beg your pardon?

PHYLLIS. Little things that Celia can treasure.

SMITH. Oh, yes, yes. A few small things--trifles which Smith
habitually wore.

PHYLLIS. (_Sentimentally_) Just what she will value most. (_Exits_
R.IE.)


(SMITH _chuckles. He looks at his ring, but can't get it off, then at
his knife. That won't do. Then at his cigarette case. That will not
do. Also at his bunch of keys. That won't do. He reluctantly takes
watch and chain from his waistcoat and looks about for something to
wrap it up in. He sees the tissue paper which Celia has left on book
slide, gets it and wraps watch and chain up in it, putting it in his
pocket. He takes out his scarf pin, looks at it, starts to replace it
in tie. He reconsiders and wraps that up too, putting it in his
pocket. He hums a snatch of song for_ CELIA'S _entrance_. CELIA _enters
in evening dress_ R. _Comes_ R.C. SMITH _does not look up_.)


[Illustration: "Green Stockings" _Page_ 81]


CELIA. Colonel Vavasour. (_She speaks briskly, having no suspicion of
his business_. SMITH _bows almost reverentially, sighs deeply. Looks
as if about to speak, is silent. His head is bowed. Impatiently_) I am
told that you wish to see me on important business.


(SMITH _nods head sadly. He looks up and, on seeing_ CELIA, _starts
with pleasurable surprise for a moment_.)


SMITH. Upon important and lugubrious business.

CELIA. Oh--? Don't tell me there's some new difficulty about Mr.
Tarver's election?

SMITH. I have come to speak to you about one who is dearer to you than
all the world. (CELIA _is perplexed_.) As soon as I read the
announcement in the "Times" this morning--I felt that I must come to
you at once.

CELIA. (_Pause_) The announcement!--in the "Times"! (_She is startled.
Stares at_ SMITH.)

SMITH. Of the death of Colonel Smith.


               (CELIA _is amazed; turns away quickly_.)

CELIA. You will forgive me, I am sure, Colonel Vavasour, but the news
of my loss is so recent that you will understand my reluctance to
discuss it with a stranger. (_She moves up toward morning room as
though to exit_.)

SMITH. Don't go, please. (CELIA _turns back_.) It was your sister who
took the card which introduces me. (_He takes up card from table_ L.)
See!


        (CELIA _advances_ L. _of table_ R. _and takes card_.)


CELIA. "Colonel Smith." But there wasn't any--I _mean_ (_Sits in
chair_.) Colonel Vavasour, I am a little overwhelmed.

SMITH. (_Sympathetically_) I was afraid you would be.

CELIA. (_Staring at card_) Colonel Smith!

SMITH. I bring to you his last dying message.

CELIA. You--knew--him!

SMITH. (_Comes to her_) Turn that card over and read the last words
written by his failing hand.


                      (CELIA _turns card over_.)


CELIA. "Good-bye."

SMITH. Yes. (_Sniffs. Very sadly_) "Good-bye."

CELIA. "Be kind to--my friend----"

SMITH. "James Nugent----"

CELIA. "Vavasour----"

SMITH. Col. Smith was my dearest friend. And knowing myself as I do, I
can safely say that no one else will ever take his place in my
affections.

CELIA. How extraordinary---- (SMITH _looks at her_.) I mean--how very
unselfish of you.

SMITH. Ah, yes. He compelled one's love. _I_ can appreciate possibly
better than any one else how great must be your grief. (CELIA _agrees
mournfully and regards him with ludicrous suspicion. Goes to table_ L.
_and sits_ L. _of it_) Before coming here, I went to see his dear old
people. He had never told them of his engagement, but he was always
secretive.

CELIA. Yes, very secretive.

SMITH. His dear little Aunt Mary was very fond of him.

CELIA. Oh! Little Aunt Mary!

SMITH. And when I told her of your engagement, she was most anxious to
meet you.

CELIA. Yes, that would be very delightful--but not just yet,
please--not just yet.

SMITH. Not just yet, of course not just yet. But possibly when time
has reconciled you to your loss. She expressed the hope that some
day--but not just yet, of course, you and she might journey together
to Somaliland with a wreath.

CELIA. Yes. (_Choking and turning away her head_.) That's a very sweet
idea. We might go out for the Xmas holidays.

SMITH. Oh, I know. I can gauge, Miss Faraday, the measure of your
grief by my own. But there is just one alleviation which I am very
glad to bring to you.

CELIA. What is that, please?

SMITH. When Colonel Smith died--of wounds--at Berbera, he died without
any pain.

CELIA. (_Rising, alarmed_) It is very good of you, Colonel Vavasour,
to have come all the way from London to tell me this. (_Starts as if
to exit, holding out her hand to_ SMITH.)


       (SMITH _also rises, takes her hand and detains her_ C.)


SMITH. This--and more. I was with him at the last. How well I remember
the scene. He used to lie on his sick bed-gazing across the thatched
roofs of Berbera to the Arab dhows riding at their anchors in the sea.
(_She turns away_ R.) And he gave into my hands a few small things to
bring you. (CELIA _turns away, horrified_.) Trifles which he
habitually wore. Here are a few of them. (_Brings out packages
containing watch and pin from pockets_.)

CELIA. Heavens!! No!--I couldn't think of taking them.

SMITH. (_In surprise, holding them towards_ CELIA) They were Smith's,
and you couldn't _take_ them! Ah, I understand. You had quarreled.
(_Puts things into pockets_.)

CELIA. No, we _never_ quarreled. There was never one harsh word spoken
by me to him or by him to me.

SMITH. (L.C. _Standing_) Then why refuse his gifts?

CELIA. (_Goes to table_ R. _At a loss_) Well--you see--he had never
given me anything.

SMITH. (_Suddenly smiles and brings out parcels again_) How like
Smith! How very like him! Even he had his failings. But we, who knew
him so well, can afford to speak of them frankly.

CELIA. I don't think you understand, Colonel Vavasour. Gifts would
have been impossible in such an engagement as that which existed
between him and me.

SMITH. (_Severely_) Let Smith be the judge of that. (_Goes a step
toward her_) Perhaps he is in this room now watching you refuse his
gifts. (CELIA _moves_ R., _uneasily looking back over her shoulder.
Sternly_) Watching you with the pain he didn't feel when he died of
wounds at Berbera. (_He follows her and forces her to take the watch.
She gingerly takes it and unwraps it, letting the watch fall out and
hang by the chain, which she holds. It is a large, heavy gold watch of
the "turnip" variety_.) His watch and chain. (_She lifts it up and
down to show its weight_.) He bids you wear it always on your bosom.
(_She recoils. Pleadingly_) To please Smith, whom we both loved. (_She
looks helplessly about for a moment and then, in essaying to hang the
watch about her neck, it slips and falls down inside her dress. They
turn away from each other with varying emotions. Turning back_) By
Jove! I say that's ripping of you.

CELIA. I beg your pardon, sir!

SMITH. (_Solemnly_) I am thanking you in my dead comrade's name, my
dearest friend. (_Bows his head_.)

CELIA. (_Crossing him to_ L.) Oh, I didn't understand.

SMITH. (_Unwraps second parcel and follows her across the stage_) With
this, Smith pinned his tie--a curious jewel. He was very fond of it. I
trust you will treasure it. (CELIA _tries to refuse pin, but_ SMITH
_forces it upon her. Goes through and empties all his pockets,
offering cigarette case, knife, keys, etc_.) And here I have a few
more things.

CELIA. (_With a gesture of horror, retreats up stage to card room_)
No, no, no, no, please! I don't want them. I----


(TARVER _enters through morning room in dinner jacket. He shows
surprise at seeing_ SMITH. SMITH _replaces articles in his pockets_.)


TARVER. (_At door_ R.) Oh, I am so sorry. I didn't know you were
engaged. I think I left my election speech somewhere.

CELIA. (_Eagerly coming down_ C.) That's quite all right, Bobby. We
have finished our business. Good-bye, Colonel Vavasour. It is
extremely kind of you to have taken all this trouble for a stranger.
(_Crosses down_ R. _as though to exit_.)


       (TARVER _crosses to cabinet_ L. _and gets his speech_.)


SMITH. (_Follows_ CELIA _to_ L.C.) But I haven't delivered a single
word of the message I am pledged to deliver.

TARVER. (_Picks up speech and comes down_ L. _of table to_ L. _of_
SMITH) I'm just going.

SMITH. Don't let me drive you away, Mr.--Mr.---- (_Looks to_ CELIA _to
introduce him to_ TARVER.)


              (CELIA _has turned and walked up stage_.)


TARVER. Oh, my name is Tarver.

SMITH. And mine is Nugent Vavasour. How do you do? I am delighted to
make your acquaintance. (_Shakes hands with him warmly_.) I have just
met Miss Phyllis Faraday.

TARVER. Oh, have you?

SMITH. Yes. I am just back from Somaliland.

TARVER. Are you? I say! I don't suppose you could stay a little longer
and help me with my election, could you?


(CELIA, _in alarm, rushes to head of table and seizes railway guide_.)


SMITH. (_Enthusiastically_) Of course I could, my dear fellow. Why
didn't you mention it before?

TARVER. Well, I haven't waited _very_ long.

CELIA. (_Looking at railway guide_) Bobby, we couldn't think of making
such a demand upon Colonel Vavasour's time.

TARVER. Well, it's touch and go with me, you know.

SMITH. And I know a great deal about elections.

TARVER. (_To_ CELIA) There!

SMITH. Yes. I was once on the Committee of a Club.


                      (TARVER _looks puzzled_.)

CELIA. (_Looking at guide. Firmly_) There's an excellent train leaving
at eight-thirty. (_Lays down guide, pushes chair aside and walks down_
R.C. _between chair and table_.)

SMITH. I shall be most happy if I can catch it, but I should be false
to my friend if I went without delivering his last dying message.

TARVER. You can't deliver it to-night, for Celia is going out to a
dinner party.


(CELIA _gives_ BOBBY _a swift, furious glance behind_ SMITH'S _back_.)


SMITH. (_Shocked_) To a dinner party?

TARVER. Why, yes, and on to a concert afterwards.

CELIA. (_With great dignity_) It's a classical concert. (_Pause_.) By
the local Philharmonic Society, and Admiral Grice, with whom we are
all dining, is the most important person in the constituency.

SMITH. (_Sternly_) So you are all going out to enjoy yourselves.

TARVER. (_Crossing_ R. _and up stage_) Oh, _they_ are. Phyllis and I
for once are going to stay at home and dine quietly.

SMITH. (_Turns toward_ TARVER _and stops him at door_) But is it wise
for you, Mr. Tarver, to stay at home at this very critical time? I
should have thought, knowing as much as I do about elections, that it
was bad policy to offend so important a person as Admiral Grice.

TARVER. (_In doorway_) Oh, that's all right. Celia can twist him
around her little finger. He simply worships----


(CELIA, _who has made a ball of the tissue paper on the table, throws
it at_ BOBBY, _who exits hurriedly without_ SMITH'S _seeing this_.)


SMITH. (_Sternly. Going to her_) You never loved him.

CELIA. (_Indignantly. Moving_ R.) Oh!

SMITH. On the evening of the very day which brings you news of his
decease, you are dressed to conquer and allure.

CELIA. (_More indignant_) Colonel Vavasour!

SMITH. You know as well as I do how at all times Smith disapproved of
a decollete gown. Born and brought up in a rigid and unbending family,
he never quite emancipated himself from the principles of Calvinism.
You know that? (_He waits for her to answer_.)

CELIA. (_Weakly. Sinks on stool at bottom of sofa_) Yes.

SMITH. (_Looks at her_) And it's not even black--! A dinner party with
an amorous Admiral. After the dinner party, the wildest gaieties!
(_Goes_ L.)

CELIA. Do you call a classical concert by the local Philharmonic
Society "the wildest gaiety"? You never heard one.

SMITH. (_Reproachfully. Coming back to_ CELIA) You know what a low
opinion Smith had of all forms of music. Dangerously sensuous. How
often have I heard him breathe those words when the regimental band
struck up the tune of "Auld Lang Syne." (_She rises; goes_ R.) You
never loved him. Give me back the watch and chain.

CELIA. (_Confused_) I can't---- You utterly fail to understand the
situation, Colonel Vavasour. All the help that any of us can give is
needed at this election. To-night is particularly important. The two
candidates are to meet on neutral ground.

SMITH. Then certainly Mr. Tarver ought to go--not you.

CELIA. But I ask you, would Colonel Smith have wished me at a time
like this to shut myself alone In my room with nothing but his memory
for my companion?

SMITH. He'd have loved it.

FARADAY. (_Entering through morning room in evening dress, carrying
coat and hat_) Ready, Celia, ready! (CELIA _and_ SMITH _separate_,
SMITH _going well_ L. FARADAY _puts coat and hat on piano stool and
comes down_ C.) Aren't the others down yet?

CELIA. Father, this is Colonel Vavasour.

FARADAY. How do you do? (_They shake hands_.)

SMITH. How do you do? I have just returned from Somaliland.

FARADAY. Oh! Then you knew----


                   (SMITH _nods; drops his head_.)


SMITH. My dearest friend.

FARADAY. Poor fellow! Poor fellow! (SMITH _looks up_.) Oh, not for
that reason--not for that reason, of course. (LADY TRENCHARD, MADGE
_and_ PHYLLIS _enter, in evening dress, followed by_ TARVER.) My
daughters, Colonel Vavasour. We are only waiting for your aunt now.


(LADY TRENCHARD _shakes hands gushingly, crosses to_ SMITH _and sits_
R. _of table_ L., _drawing on her gloves_. MADGE _merely bows as she
crosses and joins_ EVELYN. PHYLLIS _crosses, and joins them_. SMITH
_goes_ R.C. FARADAY _has gone_ L. _at back and comes down stage_ L.
_of table_ L. TARVER _goes directly and sits on fender_.)


FARADAY. (_Continuing_) Sorry we can't keep you to dinner.

CELIA. (_Sits on lower end of sofa_) That's quite all right, Father.
Colonel Vavasour is obliged to return to London to-night. There is an
excellent train at eight-thirty.

SMITH. (_Takes up railway guide which_ CELIA _has left open on table
and reads_) "Stops at every station, has a two hours' wait at
Bletchley, and arrives in London at three-thirty in the morning."
(_Looks at_ CELIA) An excellent train. The express goes at ten.

FARADAY. Then of course you'll stay and dine here first. Martin shall
look after you.

SMITH. I shall be most happy. (_At_ CELIA) I have brought a message
for Miss Faraday and I shall be unable to deliver it if she goes out
to dinner.

CELIA. (_Speaking over her shoulder_) Father, you know I promised you
this afternoon that I should not let this news interfere----

FARADAY. But, my dear child, thinking it over, we can't expect such a
sacrifice.

PHYLLIS. (_In a whisper to_ MADGE) But she must go. There's only
dinner for two.

FARADAY. Dinner for two! What two?

TARVER. (_Coming down_ R. _to door_) Well, you see, I am worn to a
shadow, and Phyllis and I thought----

FARADAY. (_Coming_ C.) Oh, you did! Did you? You get elected first, my
lad, and think afterwards.

TARVER. Oh, I say!

FARADAY. Phyllis and Tarver shall dine with Admiral Grice.

PHYLLIS. But, Father----

FARADAY. Celia and Colonel Vavasour shall stay behind and eat _their_
dinner.

TARVER. You don't know how I need a rest.

CELIA. Yes, Father, Bobby is very tired.

SMITH. As for myself, and I know a great deal about elections, I think
it would be extremely prejudical if Mr. Tarver didn't go.

FARADAY. Then that settles it.


(TARVER _exits_ R.IE., _looking back belligerently at_ COLONEL
VAVASOUR. EVELYN _in dumb show tells_ PHYLLIS _to get her wraps, and_
PHYLLIS _flounces out through morning room_.)


MARTIN. (_Entering_ L.I _and announcing_) Mr. Steele and Mr. Raleigh.


(RALEIGH _comes_ C. _quickly to_ FARADAY. STEELE, _shaking hands first
with_ EVELYN, _then stepping back and shaking hands with_ MADGE,
_speaks from_ L. _of_ MADGE _near door_.)


STEELE. How do you do, Mr. Faraday?

FARADAY. Good evening, boys.

STEELE. We have both, I believed, arrived with the same idea. We are
all going to the dinner party, aren't we? I have my mother's brougham
and, since you are rather a large party--(_Looking across at_
CELIA)--I thought I might be allowed to give _some one_ a lift.

RALEIGH. _I_ have come in _my own motor car_, and since you are rather
a large party--(_Also looking pointedly at_ CELIA)--I thought I might
be allowed to give some one a lift.

FARADAY. It is very kind of you boys to think of us. We shall be a
little bit squeezed. We _are_ rather a large party, though Celia is
not going.

STEELE _and_ RALEIGH. (_Disappointedly_) Not going?

FARADAY. No. Colonel Smith is dead. (STEELE _and_ RALEIGH _turn away
and a slow smile breaks over their faces_.) This is Colonel Vavasour.
(STEELE _and_ RALEIGH _eye_ SMITH _with interest_.) He knew Colonel
Smith.

SMITH. (L. _of table_ R.) His dearest friend. I bring his last dying
message. (CELIA _rises from sofa, glances at_ SMITH _and goes up to
doorway_ R.) He used to lie on his sickbed, gazing across the thatched
roofs of Berbera to the Arab dhows riding at their anchors in the sea.


                  (CELIA _comes down_ R. _of sofa_.)


STEELE. I am sure that must be very affecting, but it will be
extremely bad for the cause if Miss Faraday stays at home to-night,
and this is a time when it doesn't do for any of us to be selfish.
You'll come, won't you, Miss Faraday?

FARADAY, (C.) Certainly not.

SMITH. (R.C.) It would really be almost indecent to press Miss Faraday
to go. (SMITH _and_ FARADAY _turn up stage_.)

STEELE. (_Slightly piqued_) Oh, very well. Then as I can't do anything
for anyone, I suppose I had better be getting along. (_Exits_ L.IE.
_and leaves door open_.)

RALEIGH. How that fellow Steele does give himself away. Silly ass!
(_Goes_ R. _to_ CELIA.) I must say, Miss Faraday, that I think you are
absolutely right to stay away from the Admiral's. The way that old man
dogs your footsteps is positively revolting, but--(_With insinuating
smile, kneeling on stool below sofa. Fatuously_)--but you might come
on to the Philharmonic Concert afterwards. Don't you think so?
(_Laughs idiotically_.) Don't you think so?

CELIA. (_Shaking her head sadly_) Not to-night, Mr. Raleigh. Not
to-night. (_Exits_ R.IE.)

RALEIGH. Oh, very well. It's about time for me to be getting along.
(_Crosses quickly to door_ L.) I shall see you all at the Admiral's,
(_Exits quickly, closing door_.)

FARADAY. God bless my soul! I thought he came to give some of us a
lift.

MADGE _and_ EVELYN. Why, yes.


(AUNT IDA _enters quickly through morning room and comes down_ R.C.,
_looking about her_.)


AUNT IDA. (_Gayly_) Hope I am not last.

FARADAY. Well, you are.


(PHYLLIS _and_ TARVER _enter_, TARVER _in evening dress with his hat
and overcoat and atlas_. PHYLLIS _with her wraps_. TARVER _goes to
head of table_ R. _and studies his atlas_. PHYLLIS _sits on fender_.)


AUNT IDA. (_Looking about and fastening her gloves_) Well, Celia is
not down yet.

MADGE. Celia isn't coming.

AUNT IDA. What!


           (SMITH _comes down stage to_ L. _of_ AUNT IDA.)


FARADAY. (_Coming down_ L.C. _with_ SMITH) Ida, this is Colonel
Vavasour. My sister-in-law, Mrs. Chisholm Faraday. (_To_ SMITH) Who
has been, I may say, more than a mother to our poor Celia through all
this, more than a mother.

SMITH. I am delighted to make your acquaintance. (_Shakes her warmly
by the hand_.) Friends of Miss Faraday have a claim upon me which can
never be obliterated from my mind.

AUNT IDA. (_Briskly_) I am sure it is very pleasant to know that. But
why?


                 (SMITH C., AUNT IDA _to his right_.)


FARADAY. Colonel Vavasour has just returned from Somaliland.

AUNT IDA. (_In horror_) What!!

MADGE. From Somaliland.

AUNT IDA. (_Involuntarily_) But why did he do that?


                     (SMITH _looks at_ FARADAY.)


FARADAY. Eh?--I don't think you understand, Ida. Colonel Vavasour is
here--I may say--on an errand of mercy. He brings us news of our
poor--gallant--lost friend--Smith.

AUNT IDA. S-S-Smith--?

FARADAY. Colonel Smith.

MADGE. Celia's Colonel Smith.

TARVER. (_Coming_ C. _at back with atlas, beckoning to_ FARADAY, _who
joins him, and together they look over the atlas_, FARADAY _explaining
something to_ TARVER) Colonel Vavasour knew him quite well.

AUNT IDA. (_In awestruck voice_) You--knew--the--Co--Co--Colonel?

SMITH. My dearest friend. I bring to Miss Faraday a few trinkets he
habitually wore and his last dying message.

AUNT IDA. (_Wildly. Stands rigidly, staring at_ SMITH) Trinkets!! A
message!! (_During the following speech_, AUNT IDA _gradually becomes
more and more hysterical, culminating in a series of wild shrieks of
hysterical laughter and grotesque movements of her arms and body_.)

SMITH. A long message. He used to lie in his sickbed, gazing across
the thatched roofs of Berbera to the Arab dhows, riding at their
anchors in the sea, and----


(AUNT IDA, _by now, is shrieking wildly and waving her arms above_.
MADGE _runs frightened across the_ L. _of_ AUNT IDA _and_ PHYLLIS
_runs down from fender to_ R. _of_ AUNT IDA, _and together they help
her into chair to_ L. _of table_ R. TARVER _and_ FARADAY _look up
suddenly, startled_. SMITH _goes up_ L.C., _concealing laughter_.
PHYLLIS _stands_ R. _of chair below sofa, trying to hold_ AUNT IDA'S
_hand_. EVELYN _runs excitedly and aimlessly about, looking for
smelling salts_. FARADAY _runs up and down extreme_ L., _waving his
arms_. MADGE _above chair, fanning_ AUNT IDA. TARVER C., _fanning_
AUNT IDA _with atlas. He kneels and fans her more vigorously. They all
talk excitedly to each other, such as, "What has happened to your Aunt
Ida?" "God bless my soul, can't you do something for your aunt?" "She
is having a fit," "Go for a doctor," "Fan her, fan her," "Get some
water," etc., etc. During all this_, AUNT IDA _is still shrieking_.)


PHYLLIS. (_At a signal from_ AUNT IDA) The shock has been too much for
her.

MADGE. She's so devoted to Celia.


                         (AUNT IDA _whoops_.)


FARADAY. Get some vinegar.

                         (AUNT IDA _whoops_.)


EVELYN. No, smelling salts.


                         (AUNT IDA _whoops_.)


TARVER. (_Rising_) Oh, hold it upside down!

FARADAY. Nonsense, that's for drowning.

TARVER. Here, I know a remedy.


(MADGE _takes_ TARVER'S _place at_ L. _of choir and_ TARVER _goes up
above chair, gets spray from table, leans over_ AUNT IDA'S _shoulder
and sprays her forehead_.)


SMITH. (_Comes down_ C.) Slap her hands hard. That always brings them
to.


     (PHYLLIS _and_ MADGE _slap_ AUNT IDA'S _hands vigorously_.)


AUNT IDA. (_Pushing them away_) It doesn't do anything of the kind.


   (MADGE _goes_ L.C. _and helps_ EVELYN _on with evening wraps_.)


SMITH. There, what did I tell you? (_Goes up stage and to table_ L.)


(TARVER _goes_ R. _above sofa_. PHYLLIS _goes_ R. _between sofa and
fender_.)


AUNT IDA. (_Rises weakly_) Oh--oh--oh--oh--oh--oh! This must be broken
to Celia.

FARADAY. (_Going up and getting his coat and hat from piano stool_)
Celia already knows.

PHYLLIS. (_Pouting_) She and Colonel Vavasour are going to stay home
and dine together. (_Goes up to_ TARVER _and talks_.)

AUNT IDA. (_Gasping_) Dine together!! And discuss S-S-Smith!! (CELIA
_enters in mourning--black shawl and dress--door_ R.I. _She closes
door, comes a few steps on stage and stands with folded hands and
downcast eyes_. AUNT IDA _is now thoroughly bewildered_.) Celia,
you're in black! (_Waves her hand up and down weakly_.)

CELIA. Yes, dear. I made a mistake when I said I shouldn't allow this
news to interfere. I was wrong. Colonel Vavasour has shown me how
deeply he was grieved by my neglect of the trappings of distress.


(NOTE: _The bodice of the black dress_ CELIA _wears, which is
completely hidden by the black shawl, should be of some bright color,
to be disclosed in Act III_.)


AUNT IDA. (_With a long wail_) Will somebody pinch me, please?
(_Sits_.)

TARVER. (_Coming to foot of sofa and kneeling_) Let me do it for you,
won't you?


(MARTIN _enters through_ L.I _with army list on tray. Comes to_
FARADAY.)


AUNT IDA. Certainly not.

TARVER. (_Rising and going back to head of sofa_) So sorry.

MARTIN. The wagonette is at the door, sir.


(EVELYN _and_ MADGE _cross to door_ L., _bidding goodnight to_ COLONEL
SMITH, _and exit_.)


FARADAY. Very well, what have you got there, Martin?

MARTIN. Another army list, sir.

SMITH. (_Above table_ L.C. _Seeing army list_) Oh, damn!

FARADAY. All right. Put it on the table. (MARTIN _puts army list on
table, crosses_ R. _and exits through morning room, turning on lights
in morning room_.) Now then, off we go. (_Counting_) One, two, three,
four. (_To_ PHYLLIS _and_ TARVER) No hanging behind, you two. (TARVER
_and_ PHYLLIS _cross quickly_ L. _to door_.) Got your atlas, Tarver?

TARVER. Yes, sir.


 (PHYLLIS _and_ TARVER _exit, nodding good-night to_ COLONEL SMITH.)

FARADAY. Then off we go. (_Coming down to_ AUNT IDA'S _chair, helping
her up and supporting her_. AUNT IDA, _who is now in a thoroughly
demoralised condition, weakly and brokenly emits little gasps. The
feathers in her hair have fallen over one eye. She also shows other
traces of her recent fit_. FARADAY _lifts her up, puts his arm around
her waist and leads her across the stage_, FARADAY _above her_. CELIA
_follows her as far as chair_ R. _of table_ L., _where she remains_.)
Come along, Ida. This has been a little too much for you. Nothing like
fresh air for an attack like yours. You will be all right when you get
out in the fresh air. (AUNT IDA _crosses with him quickly, but
haltingly, still emitting little gasps. When she gets almost to the
door, she looks back at_ CELIA'S _dress, and with a final burst,
exits_. FARADAY _at door_) My daughter will appreciate these quiet, I
may say, these holy hours--with you, Colonel Vavasour.

SMITH. (_Comes down_ L.C.) I appreciate them, sir.


(FARADAY _exits_ L.IE., _closing door after him_. MARTIN _enters
through morning room_.)


MARTIN. Dinner is served. Miss. (_Exits through morning room_.)


               (_Clock off_ L., _upper, chimes eight_.)


SMITH. Eight!

CELIA. And your train goes at ten.

SMITH. Yes. We shall have two long hours to talk of Smith. (_Offers_
CELIA _his arm_. CELIA _takes it and they go slowly up to morning
room_.)


                            QUICK CURTAIN



                               ACT III


SCENE: _It is two hours later in the morning room. At center back are
large recess double doors with muslin curtains on lower half and
chintz curtains on upper half. When the doors are opened, a portion of
the room of the preceding acts can be seen. Directly at back is seen
the table, on which stands the book slide containing the army list.
The table runs across stage. Behind and to the_ R. _of this and
against the back drop is seen the cabinet of the preceding act.
Directly behind table is a chair. The fire glow comes from the_ R.
_The back drop should be that portion of the_ L. _wall of the
preceding set, showing large picture hung as before. At the left of
the set proper, reaching from the floor almost to the ceiling, a
semicircular conservatory window, curves out into the room. In this
are palms and flowers, with a greenery backing. Recessed into_ L.
_first flat is a china closet, containing china and bric-a-brac.
Balancing this in_ R.I _is a door leading to the hall. Balancing the
conservatory is a large recessed window, muslin curtains on the lower
sash and chintz curtains on the upper. Damask hangings over window and
also over doors_ C. _All of these hangings are looped back. In the
window is set a window box containing flowers. In the center of the
window is a small sewing table. Below it and facing it, a winged
armchair; above it and facing it, another small armchair. On the table
are a lamp and some flowers. Against back flat and to left of window
is a small serving table, on which are an empty silver serving tray, a
small tray and a small decanter of brandy and two liquor glasses on
it. To left of double doors is a chair_. R. _of conservatory, a
chintz-covered stool. Below conservatory, a three-winged,
chintz-covered screen. Below this and about three feet from_ L. _flat
is a desk, running up and down stage; the lower end being slightly
more on stage. On this, on the extreme upper end, is a telephone. Also
on the desk are inkwell, pens, paper and envelopes. On the elevated
portion of the upper end is a lamp. Below desk, a waste paper basket.
In the center of the stage and well down is a small, round dinner
table, with cloth. On the table are a cigarette box, a cigarette
lighter (burning), two ashtrays, plates, doilies and finger-bowls
containing water, fruit knives and forks, a nut-cracker, and an almond
dish. Directly in the center of the table is a fruit basket,
containing apples, grapes and peaches. One peach should be easily
accessible, it being used by_ COLONEL SMITH. _At the upper end of
table are two shaded, lighted candles, between these a vase with
flowers. At_ CELIA'S _place to the_ R. _is a claret glass, stained at
the bottom to represent a residue of wine. At_ SMITH'S _place are a
clean claret glass and a high-ball glass, containing a small quantity
of whiskey and soda. On either side of the table are chairs. On the
back flat, to each side of the doors, are candle brackets. Before
curtain rises, the clock off stage (same as used in previous act)
chimes ten. Curtain rises on the first stroke, after the usual
Westminster prelude. Dinner is over. The lamps are lit and doors at
back closed_. CELIA _sits to_ R. _of table, dipping her fingers in
finger-bowl. She is in the black dress and shawl of the preceding
act_. SMITH _is to the left. He is intent upon explaining something
to_ CELIA, _and she is listening with most apparent interest. At rise
of curtain_.


SMITH. (_Continuing his description_) It was the usual sort of
formation when a small force gets caught in the open--a square with
the maxims at the corners. We had only two,--one--here--at the tip of
the nut-crackers, and the other here--at the end of the knife-handle.
(_He has made a square with dessert knives and nut-crackers on the
tablecloth. To illustrate the position of the maxims he uses nuts_.)

CELIA. Only two!

SMITH. We should have liked some more, of course. But we'd have
gotten along all right if this fellow here--(_Touching one of the
nuts_)--hadn't jammed.

CELIA. Oh! What happened then?

SMITH. The Somalis at the corner charged. From here, from here, from
here, others swept round and flung themselves upon the back of their
companions. Imagine a huge wedge and an enormous hammer pounding
behind it. They split our ranks in a second. It was a surprise that
took you by the throat. You heard the maxim talking to 'em like a
father, and, by George, there they were in the hollow of the square,
stabbing at our backs.

CELIA. (_With much admiration_) Oh--and where were _you?_

SMITH. (_In square_) Here.

CELIA. There?

SMITH. Yes. (_He takes a peach_.) That's me. (_Places it in the
square_.)

CELIA. Ah! There! _You_ were there?

SMITH. Oh, I was all right. We faced the rear ranks about and drove
'em out of it. It was messy. You see, we could only use the bayonet
inside the square. In a little while we got the maxim going again and
made 'em respectful. However, they hung around us and we couldn't move
along very fast. That was our trouble. For we had to move along, we
were short of water and a day's march from the wells.

CELIA. Oh!

SMITH. So, you see, it was necessary that as soon as night came,
someone should get through and bring relief.

CELIA. (_With much appreciation_) I know what happened. I know!--You
volunteered----

SMITH. (_Looks at her; his eyes accept her homage and thank her. He
laughs happily_) Yes. Between you and me--it was safer outside the
square.

CELIA. (_Reproachfully_) Oh--!

SMITH. Well--I wasn't in command. So I could volunteer.

CELIA. And got the D. S. O. in consequence.

SMITH. And a drink a day before the others. I'll get a step, too, I
think.

CELIA. Then you'll be general, won't you?

SMITH. Brigadier----

CELIA. (_Smiling at him admiringly_) You can't know what it means to a
woman who has lived always in a little out-of-the-way place like this,
where only the same ordinary things happen day after day, to hear of
wonderful deeds like these--from a man who's done them! (_Speaks
earnestly, without gushing_.)


        (SMITH _beams; moves his chair slightly towards her_.)


SMITH. Oh, yes. We are getting along together capitally, aren't we?
And you can't know how all this--(_Moves his hand to include the
room_)--appeals to a man who finds the skirmish and the camp a bit of
an old story, and realizes that this--the quiet, well-ordered
household--the home--and the home-maker--is after all what is really
worth fighting for.

CELIA. (_Leans forward, listening_) But--surely you have a home?

SMITH. I have a house---- By Jove! _Now_ I have _two_ houses!

CELIA. (_Interested_) You have just bought another place?

SMITH. Inherited it. An old Abbey about the size of Trafalgar Square
on a wet day--and not as cheerful.

CELIA. But you mustn't let yourself be lonely. You ought to marry.

SMITH. (_Moves his chair closer to_ CELIA) That's what I begin to
think.


(MARTIN _enters_ R. _with tray. On it, two small cups, small sugar
bowl and a coffee pot, also one cigarette for_ CELIA.)


CELIA. (_Seeing_ MARTIN) Won't you have a cigarette? (_Offering_ SMITH
_cigarette box_.)

SMITH. (_Takes cigarette and moves back_) Thank you.

MARTIN. (_Placing coffee on the table_) Coffee, Miss.

CELIA. Sugar?

SMITH. Thanks, yes.

MARTIN. (_Has taken up_ CELIA'S _plate and finger-bowl in right hand
and now takes_ SMITH'S _plate and finger-bow_.) Old brandy, sir?

SMITH. Old brandy! By George, yes! (_Lights cigarette_.)


(MARTIN _goes up to small serving table_ R. _of door and puts plates
and finger-bowls on tray and gets brandy tray which he brings down to
table and pours out one glass, leaving brandy on table. He takes the
napkins, goes up, puts them on tray with other things and exits with
tray_ R.I.)


CELIA. (_While_ MARTIN _is serving_) I asked Martin to serve coffee
here, because I thought it would be cosier, you know. (_Having poured_
SMITH'S _coffee, she passes cup to him_.)

SMITH. (_Taking cup slowly from her_) Much--much cosier; though, for
both of us to-night--(CELIA _fills her cup_)--our one idea of cosiness
must be the grave.


                     (CELIA _drops pot on tray_.)


CELIA. (_Leans forward, takes cigarette from coffee tray and lights
it_) The grave! Then, tell me of it, won't you? Where does it lie?

SMITH. (_Openly perplexed, sees_ CELIA _smoking and attempts to use
this as a means of extricating himself. Pretending to be shocked_) Oh!
the grave! oh----

CELIA. What's the matter? (_Puffs her cigarette_.)

SMITH. (_Shrugging his shoulders_) Oh, nothing, nothing.

CELIA. Do you object to women smoking?

SMITH. I? Not at all. It's companionable, but Smith--(CELIA _chokes on
cigarette_)--would Smith have liked to see you smoking a cigarette?

CELIA. (_Annoyed, pauses_) Perhaps not--to-night.

SMITH. Not to-night and not any night. (CELIA _viciously presses
cigarette down on ashtray and puts it out. Reprovingly_) We both know
how strongly he disapproved of the modern latitude of women's manners.
(_She turns away_.) You know I'd fancy the man who could make you care
for him would be quite different from Smith. You haven't his little
shut-in way of looking at life. You have such a splendid imagination.

CELIA. (_Nervously_) Yes, and I'm beginning to think I need one.

SMITH. Did you really love each other?

CELIA. (_Takes up her coffee cup_) I can't answer for Colonel
Smith--who was a man you know. But for myself, I can truthfully say
that I have thought of him every day for eight months. Thought of
him---- Yes! And _written_ to him too.

SMITH. (_Startled_) Written to him! By Jove, then! Where _are those_
letters? You can't let things like that go astray. Letters from
_you_--knocking loose about a camp! (_He is upset and disturbed_.)

CELIA. (_Smiling to herself_) Why should you imagine--my letters never
reached him?

SMITH. (_Smiling reminiscently_) Because I was with him--when he got
the first one.

CELIA. (_Very agitated. Puts her cup sharply on saucer_) You--you--you
don't mean to say a Colonel Smith ever received---- Oh--no gentleman
_could_ have _shown_ my letter.

SMITH. (_Sincerely_) _Shown_ it? Oh, Miss Faraday, you can't know what
that letter of _yours_ meant to----

CELIA. (_Turning on him quickly_) I beg your pardon.

SMITH. I mean _did meant_--I mean _did mean_--to good old Smith.
(_Leaning forward with a smile. Moves his chair below table a little
closer to hers_.) I say, I've an idea. Let's forget Smith for five
minutes and talk of something else.

CELIA. (_Forgetting herself_) Oh, yes! Do let's.

SMITH. What shall we talk about?

CELIA. (_Very engagingly_) You. You have hardly said a word yet about
yourself--and--naturally I am interested. (_Speaks with a smile. Face
on_ L. _hand_.)


(SMITH _edges toward her, delighted_ R. _elbow on table, face on
hand_.)


SMITH. I was born--guess when?

CELIA. Thirty years ago.

SMITH. (_Holding out box_) Have a cigarette?

CELIA. No, thank you. I'd rather not. Do you think Smith would have
liked me to smoke?

SMITH. Ah, you see, we can't get away from him. He dominates us.
Living or dead, his imperious nature will not be neglected. He sits at
the table here between you and me. (_Designates a spot between them on
table_.) To satisfy him, we've got to talk about him.

CELIA. What is there to say?

SMITH. What is there to say! And you've told me nothing about the
Smith you knew.

CELIA. (_Surprised_) The Smith I knew? (_Recovering herself_) Oh, yes,
of course.

SMITH. Yes--you see I know him only as the soldier--the man of
action--the fighting man--but you----

CELIA. But there is nothing to tell.

SMITH. (_Strongly_) You mean there is nothing you wish to tell.

CELIA. (_Defiantly_) Certainly not. What is it you wish to know?

SMITH. Let us compare our pictures--mental, of course--of the man.
(_With solicitude_.)

CELIA. Oh, no--not at all. Not at all.

SMITH. Then you describe Smith as you saw him, and I'll tell you if I
agree with you.

CELIA. Of course, you know our descriptions won't be alike. No two
people's description of anyone ever would be.

SMITH. Of course not--except in the definite facts.--His eyes, for
instance----

CELIA. His eyes--his eyes were not definite.

SMITH. Not definite?

CELIA. Their color. I mean it varied. Emotion kindled them--apathy
dulled them. Sometimes they were light and again they were very, very
dark.

SMITH. That's funny. I never saw them dark. To me they always were
light, like bottle glass.

CELIA. Really? Possibly you were not very observing.

SMITH. (_Acknowledges the point with a touch of impatience_) Possibly
not. But his hair? Surely we can't differ as to that?

CELIA. His hair--you mean did it curl or was it straight?

SMITH. Yes--and its color.

CELIA. His hair--I hardly know how to describe his hair, because his
hair was---- It was like no hair that I ever saw.

SMITH. (_Laughs_) That's a splendid description of a bald man. That
always was a great grief to Smith, his baldness; his head was so very
bald and bumpy.

CELIA. Oh, yes.

SMITH. (_Puts his hand to his head_) What! (_Recovering himself_) Oh,
yes, yes. (_Growing more and more determined to trip her and more and
more interested in and appreciative of her attractiveness_) Now his
mouth----

CELIA. Well. His mouth was peculiar----

SMITH. Peculiar?

CELIA. Yes, you see it broadened when he smiled.

SMITH. (_Laughing_) Oh--did he smile for you?

CELIA. Oh, often, very often.

SMITH. Yes, we all do--don't we? What would you say of his voice?

CELIA. It was kind, always kind.

SMITH. (_Shakes head_) Gruff and commanding.

CELIA. (_Insinuatingly_) Naturally--_not to me_. (_Her hand rests on
the table_.)

SMITH. (_Slowly covering her hand with his_) No, no-how could it be?

CELIA. (_Looking over their hands to the spot that_ SMITH _had
indicated earlier_) Do you feel he's sitting there still?

SMITH. (_Leaning toward her_) You're surely not afraid of--Wobbles?

CELIA. (_Pushes chair back, sliding with it as far up stage as
possible. Faintly_) Did you say--_Wobbles?_

SMITH. (_Briskly_) You surely knew his nickname?

CELIA. (_Openly perplexed_) But I--I called him--_Wobbles_. (_Stares
at_ SMITH.)

SMITH. Why! All the Army called him--Wobbles.

CELIA. (_In dry, queer voice_) I didn't know that.

                                         (_READY Third Border_.)

SMITH. He was the most popular fellow--! You won't go to a dance or a
garden party for the rest of your life--there won't be a town in the
United Kingdom, Miss Faraday, where you won't meet somebody, some old
school-fellow, some brother-officer, who knew him:--who will
understand your loss and tell you new details of Wobbles. (_Rises_.)

CELIA. (_Rises and comes down stage_) Not if I know it! (SMITH _stares
at her. Returning, getting her chair and replacing it at table_)
Colonel Vavasour--I mean it will be quite impossible for me--to
indulge myself in any such fashion. Because just as soon as possible,
I'm sailing for America.

SMITH. (_Dropping below table_) America? Why, Smith has--four brothers
_ranching_ there. And five--I mean _three_--sisters-in-law. I
congratulate you, Miss Faraday. (_Offers_ CELIA _his hand_. CELIA
_takes it limply and he shakes it_.) You are going to the very heart
of poor Wobbles' family. Shan't I cable them to meet you at the dock?
(_They are both now in front of table_.)

CELIA. (_Withdrawing her hand_) No--no--no--no, please don't do
anything like that.

SMITH. Why not?

CELIA. Well, I don't know, but I--I might get off the ship _before it
reaches_ New York. At all events I am going where _no one_ can _ever_
find me.

SMITH. (_Quickly, but quite seriously_) Then--by Jove--I'm going there
too. (_Takes her left hand tenderly and leans forward. They look
straight into each other's eyes for a moment_.)

CELIA. (_Draws herself up_) Aren't you forgetting yourself, Colonel
Vavasour? (_With an irresistible impulse of mischief_) Or are you only
forgetting Wobbles? (_Crosses_ C. _to table. Looking back at spot on
table_.)

                                       (_THIRD Border Full Up_.)


(_A gay chatter is heard off_ L. _of party returning from concert_.)


SMITH. (_Not hearing it_) Oh, damn Wobbles. (_Crosses_ L.) I'm going
because---- (_The center doors open quickly_. GRICE, STEELE, FARADAY,
TARVER _and_ PHYLLIS, EVELYN, RALEIGH _and_ AUNT IDA _are in the
doorway, having come from the left. Conscious of the presence of
returning party_, SMITH _reverts to his tone of solemnity and_ CELIA
_bows her head with grief_. FARADAY, _in doorway, hearing_ SMITH,
_turns and raises his hands to quiet the party_. GRICE _and_ AUNT IDA
_have drifted down_ L. _ahead of the others_. AUNT IDA _sinks wearily
into chair by desk_.) Hour by hour, he lay on his sick bed, looking
out across the--thatched roofs of Berbera to the Arab---- (GRICE
_sneezes loudly. Turning_) Good Lord, what's that! (_The others come
down in the following order_: STEELE, RALEIGH _and_ EVELYN _come down_
R.; PHYLLIS _and_ TARVER _up_ C.; FARADAY _to_ R. _of_ CELIA; MADGE
_by_ AUNT IDA'S _chair_. GRICE _has gone down_ L.C. _Some of the party
are carrying programs. The doors are left open_.) In the midst of our
sad communings, how strangely out of place are these revelers.

OMNES. Revelers?

SMITH. They come flushed with new wine.

GRICE. New wine? They dined with me, sir.

CELIA. (_Turning to_ FARADAY) Was the concert a success?

FARADAY. Of course it was. _We_ were there. (_Goes up stage_.)

GRICE. (_Plaintively_) We missed you, Celia.

SMITH. Miss Faraday couldn't go without hearing Colonel Smith's last
message.


                  (AUNT IDA _laughs hysterically_.)


FARADAY. (_Crossing to_ AUNT IDA. _Sternly_) Not again, Ida, not
again.


         (AUNT IDA _relapses into a state of semi-oblivion_.)


SMITH. It's not nearly ended yet.

STEELE. Well, she has had over two hours to hear it in.

SMITH. (_Scornfully_) Two hours? It was a long message. He lay for
_weeks_ on his sickbed gazing across the thatched roofs of Berbera
to--watching----

RALEIGH. Oh, yes, watching the Arab cows feeding at their anchors.

SMITH. Dhows, man, dhows!

RALEIGH. Well, dhows or cows, I don't care. And as for Smith, I tell
you, I am fed with the fellow.


(CELIA _explodes into laughter, covers her face with handkerchief, and
sits_ R. _of table_.)


STEELE. (_Thinking_ CELIA _is crying_) You brute! You--you blundering
idiot!

TARVER. (_Coming down_ R. _of_ CELIA) Even now he's dead, he's kept
you from the concert to-night. My agent told me that we just shouldn't
do it. He expects I will lose by a hundred votes.

FARADAY. How's that?

CELIA. (_Looking up quickly_) Oh, no, Bobby, it's not too late. We'll
help you. (_Rises and crosses to_ SMITH, _who is_ R.)

SMITH. I am at your service, Miss Faraday.

TARVER. (_To_ SMITH, _eagerly_) And you're some good--aren't you?
(_Goes up to_ PHYLLIS, _back_ C.)

FARADAY. We may call on you later, Vavasour.

SMITH. Do. Do.

FARADAY. (_Taking_ ADMIRAL _by the arm and going_) Come along,
Admiral. Come and have a cigar and we'll talk it over. (_Spoken off
stage_ R.) Smith or no Smith, we must win this seat.

TARVER. (_Taking_ PHYLLIS' _arm_) Madge--Evelyn. Let's go and count
the names of the hundred beasts who won't vote for me.


(PHYLLIS _and_ TARVER _and_ MADGE _move to door_ C. _and exit_ R.)


EVELYN. (_Who has moved up to door, turns in door. Coquettishly to_
STEELE _and_ RALEIGH) I'm afraid I can't count--without some big,
strong man to help me.

RALEIGH. (_Looking round_) Ask Steele. He took all the 'rithmetic
prizes at his kindergarten.

STEELE. (_Looking round_) I'll come in one minute, Lady Trenchard.
There's something on my program I _must_ show to Miss Faraday.
(_Indicating program_.)

EVELYN. (_At door_) Well--! When Celia has quite done with _all_ of
you---- (_Exit rapidly_.)


(_Clock chimes half hour. A moment after_ EVELYN _has gone off, she
presumably switches off lights in room off_ C.--_then third border is
put out and no light except glow from fire remains. The doors remain
wide open_.)


RALEIGH. Half past ten! I thought Colonel Vavasour's train left at
ten, Miss Faraday.

CELIA. (_Confused_) Oh, did it?

SMITH. (_Coolly_) Well, didn't it? And in any case, Mr. Faraday's
clock is wrong.

STEELE. (_Taking out his watch_) Wrong? Not a bit of it.

RALEIGH. (_Also takes out his watch_) I make it ten thirty-two.
(_Ironically_) Perhaps your watch will correct me, Colonel Vavasour.

SMITH. (_Crosses_ R.C. _Absent-mindedly feels for his watch and starts
as he realizes his mistake_. CELIA _sees this and the true situation
flashes on her. She swings up stage for a moment to cover her shock
and embarrassment and then returns and faces_ SMITH, _as she leans
against the chair_ L. _of table_. RALEIGH _and_ STEELE _have turned to
each other and are discussing the situation, for the moment ignoring_
CELIA _and_ SMITH. _As_ CELIA _faces_ SMITH, _he flounders through his
explanation_) Well, you see, I--I--I--I--I left my watch in town to be
cleaned. It ran too fast.

CELIA. (_Sarcastically_) Like the inventive genius of its owner,
perhaps, and your scarf pin; no doubt, you've taken advantage of this
period of mourning to have all your jewelry attended to. (_Turns away_
R.)


[Illustration: "Green Stockings" _Page_ 85]


SMITH. Miss Faraday, please----

CELIA. (_Turning back_) Colonel Vavasour, I think you said your name
was. You will allow me, won't you, to lend you the watch you so kindly
brought from poor Colonel Smith. Otherwise, you know, you might be a
very long time without your own, and since your grief must now be
lessened, by having shared it with me, perhaps you might be induced to
mitigate your mourning and wear his pin. Do let me send them to you.
And I'll include a little nursery fable which perhaps you know,
called, "The Tortoise and the Hare," because I think--I've caught up.
Now, I'll say good-night to you, Colonel Vavasour, and good-bye.

SMITH. (_Seriously_) Good-bye?

CELIA. (_Moving to_ C. _and speaking to_ RALEIGH) There is a
midnight train to town?

RALEIGH. Oh, yes.

CELIA. (_To_ SMITH) I'm quite sure that Mr. Steele and Mr. Raleigh
will be happy to drop you at the station on their way home.

STEELE. Delighted!

CELIA. (_To_ RALEIGH, _shaking hands_) So sorry to hurry you away.

RALEIGH. Oh, I shall see you to-morrow, Miss Faraday.

CELIA. Yes, do. (_Nods good-night to_ STEELE.)

AUNT IDA. (_Who is still at desk, her head resting wearily on her
hands. Sleepily_) Everybody going?

CELIA. (_Crosses_ L.) Yes, dear, Colonel _Vavasour_ is. (_Crosses to_
AUNT IDA.)

SMITH. Is there nothing left unsaid? Is there nothing left for me to
say but good-bye?

CELIA. (_Over her shoulder_) Nothing.

SMITH. (_Bows. Speaks in a brisk, matter-of-fact way, as he crosses_
C.D.) Well, since you two fellows are kind enough to offer me a lift.
(_Exits, followed by_ RALEIGH _and_ STEELE, _who go off, chatting ad
lib. and closing door_.)

                            (_WARN Electrician for lights out_.)

CELIA. (_Tearing off her black shawl, waving it in the air, and
throwing herself in the chair_ L. _of table, her back to the audience,
disclosing her gay and decollete bodice_) Oh--h-h-h-h! Oh--h-h-h-h!
Oh--h-h-h-h! Oh--h-h-h-h!

AUNT IDA. (_Going to_ CELIA) Celia, what have you been up to now?

CELIA. Oh, when I think of it, Aunt Ida! "The Arab dhows riding at
their anchors," and how I told him---- Oh, Heavens--how I told him he
ought to marry. Oh--h-h-h-h! Oh--h-h-h-h!

AUNT IDA. Celia Faraday! (_Goes up to her and catches her by both
shoulders_) Are you mad? I vow I've a great mind to shake you.

CELIA. I wish you would, Aunt Ida. I wish you would. (_Looking toward
door_ R.) I don't believe it. I don't believe it. I don't believe what
I do believe. For Heaven's sake, dear, go and fetch me the army list,
so that I may make sure of what an awful fool I've been, and if what I
believe is true, let me sit like this in the dark. (_Goes up and
presses switch and sits in chair_ L. _of door. Lights out_.) --All the
rest of my life and blush and blush and blush until my cheeks drop off
from blushing.


(AUNT IDA _comes_ L. _of_ CELIA'S _chair. There is only the moonlight
now in the morning room, with a shaft of moonlight shining through
window_ R. _on_ CELIA. _The library, seen through the wide open doors,
is lit up by the glow from the fire_.)


AUNT IDA. Are you mad? (_Starts to exit to get army list. Sees_ SMITH
_and draws away_ R.) Hush--sh-sh-sh!


(SMITH _in an ulster is seen to cross cautiously at back to table. He
lights two or three matches at once and looks through book-slide for
army list. Finding this, he takes it and smiles in a satisfied manner,
and holding the match to the list, moves off stage_ R. CELIA _and_
AUNT IDA _peer after him. A flicker is seen on the walls and furniture
of the room off stage, as of the book burning. After a pause_, CELIA
_rises and stands_ C. _in doorway, facing audience_.)


CELIA. The army list!

AUNT IDA. Now _he's_ thrown the army list into the fire. (_Ready motor
horn_.) Celia--has Colonel Vavasour gone mad too?

CELIA. So! He thinks he can prevent my finding out, does he? That I
can't be absolutely sure until to-morrow? Well (_Rushes off_ R.)

AUNT IDA. Perhaps we are all mad--mad as hatters. (_Goes_ R. _and
presses light switch_.)

                                                  (_LIGHTS Up_.)

CELIA. (_Off stage_) Army lists don't burn as suddenly as that, I
know. (_At door_) I have burned too many of them. (_Reappears,
carrying the partly burned army list in tongs. She comes in blowing at
the burning book_) Blow, Aunt Ida, blow! (AUNT IDA _joins her. They
both blow to put out the sparks_.) Only the A's are burnt, Aunt Ida,
only the A's. (_Goes down_ L. _of table, drops book on table, and
hands the tongs to_ AUNT IDA.)

AUNT IDA. (_Waving the tongs_) Only the A's! Ha! Ha! Only the A's!


                   (_Motor horn is heard off_ R.3.)


CELIA. What's that, Aunt Ida, what's that?

AUNT IDA. It's Mr. Raleigh's motor.

CELIA. (_With an outburst of relief_) Well, then, he's gone, isn't he,
he's gone.

AUNT IDA. Yes, he's gone, he's gone!

CELIA. (_Picks up book and runs through it_) V-V-V-V-V--
Vallance--Valpey--Vanderfeldt--Varley--not a Vavasour.

AUNT IDA. Celia!

CELIA. (_Throwing down book_) Not one in the whole army list. No? Not
the tiniest little bit of a one.

AUNT IDA. (_Flourishing tongs more wildly_) Then who is he? What did
he come here for?

CELIA. I don't know, but he's gone now, isn't he? _He's gone!_

AUNT IDA. I know he's gone, but what did he come here for? (CELIA
_looks at her. A light breaks over her_.) Celia Faraday! That man--had
your letter--in his pocket. He told Phyllis he had your letter! I
thought it strange! Then Colonel Vavasour isn't Colonel Vavasour.
(_Sits_ R. _of_ C. _table_.)

CELIA. No!

AUNT IDA. _He's Colonel Smith_.

CELIA. Yes.

AUNT IDA. He's----

CELIA. (_In the smallest possible voice_) --Mr. Wobbles! (_Enter_
FARADAY R.IE.) Father, dear, has Colonel Vavasour gone?

FARADAY. No, my dear.

CELIA. What!!!!

FARADAY. I was fortunate enough to catch him at the door.


(AUNT IDA _drops tongs on floor beside her_ R.)


CELIA. But, Father, what ever possessed you to ask him to stay?
(_Crosses_ L. _Sits_.)

FARADAY. You know he offered to help us. Things are looking pretty
black for Tarver. We need all the help we can get at this mass meeting
in the morning. So I have persuaded Colonel Vavasour to stop over and
take the noon train.


(FARADAY _turns toward door_ R.I _and proudly ushers in_ SMITH. CELIA
_and_ AUNT IDA _turn their heads away, much discomfited_.)


FARADAY. (_Taking_ SMITH _by the arm and passing him across him_) A
room must be prepared at once. Has Mrs. Brown gone to bed yet?

CELIA. (_Still seated_ L. _of table. Haughtily_) I don't know, Father.
She frequently goes to bed.

FARADAY. Eh?

CELIA. (_Confused_) I mean, _early_.

FARADAY. (_As_ SMITH _goes_ C.) Good-for-nothing old person, that
housekeeper. Come with me. I'll look out for you myself. (_They walk
toward door_ C.) We'll be back presently, Celia, to say goodnight to
you and your aunt. (_They exit_ C. _door to_ L. _Off stage_) Tell
Martin to bring in whiskey and soda.

CELIA. (_After a pause_) Did you hear that, Aunt Ida?

AUNT IDA. (_Wearily_) Uh-huh.

CELIA. "Stay here for the night and then take the noon train." That's
_our_ train, Aunt Ida--the noon train. Isn't this an awful situation?
Now, what are we going to do?

AUNT IDA. (_Still more wearily_) I don't know.

CELIA. I can't face that man again, after--I can't. I have got to get
out of this house myself, _to-night_, some way, somehow. (_Rushes up
to_ C. _doors, closing and locking them_.) How can I manage it? Think,
Aunt Ida. Think--think--think--think--think.

AUNT IDA. (_Disgustedly_) Think--think--think--think--think. I can't
think. My poor old head won't stand much more of this.

CELIA. (_Coming down back of_ AUNT IDA _and putting her arms about
her_) I've got it. Since he's going to take _our_ train, there's
nothing left for us to do but take _his_.

AUNT IDA. (_Startled_) What?

CELIA. Yes, that midnight train. I don't care where it goes or if it
ever gets there. We'll manage to reach Southampton somehow before
to-morrow night. The thing is to get away from here as quickly as
possible. We must hurry terribly. It's nearly eleven now. We can have
a compartment to ourselves. I'll see if Wilson is still at the
station. (_Crossing to telephone on desk_) He'll tell us all about it.

AUNT IDA. (_Protesting_) I'm only half packed.

CELIA. That doesn't matter. I'm not packed at all. Kent's a jewel. She
will stay up all night, packing everything, and follow us in the
morning. (_Rings telephone and lifts off receiver_) Hello! Are you
there?

AUNT IDA. (_Still protesting_) My tailor suit has gone to the
cleaner's and won't be home till morning. I've nothing to wear.

CELIA. There is no time to wear anything. We must go without any
clothes.

AUNT IDA. What!!

CELIA. Except motor coats, I mean. We've got to go as we are. (_Into
telephone_) _Hello!_ Yes, put me through to the station, quick,
please. I want to speak to Wilson. (_To_ AUNT IDA) Now, don't worry,
Aunt Ida, I will bundle you up warmly.

AUNT IDA. I'll _have_ to have something to eat. I have had nothing
since morning. I couldn't eat a bite at the dinner and I feel so gone
and faint.

CELIA. Well, if you're feeling faint, dear, take a drink of that
brandy. That'll do you good.

AUNT IDA. Oh, no. I'm not addicted to the use of those things.

CELIA. But, if you're faint, you need it. (_Into the telephone_)
Hello! Hello! Is that you, Wilson?

AUNT IDA. But I do feel very faint.

CELIA. Just a minute, Wilson. (_Puts down receiver and runs across to
brandy bottle, picks up bottle and pours it into whiskey and soda
glass, while she talks excitedly. She pours the glass half full_.)
Now, please, dear. Don't be ridiculous at a time like this. You might
have one of your dreadful fainting spells in the motor, and I
shouldn't know what to do for you. Now, come, come, dear, drink this.
(_Rushes to the back of_ AUNT IDA'S _chair and holds the glass while
she drinks_. AUNT IDA _drains the glass, making a wry face and
shuddering_. CELIA _hurriedly puts down glass and flies back to
telephone_.)

AUNT IDA. If only it doesn't go to my head!

CELIA. Oh, it won't, it won't. (_Into telephone_) Hello, Wilson, are
you there? Well, listen, this is Miss Faraday. Yes, yes, Miss Celia.
I've got to get away to-night on the midnight train. It's most
important and will you look up at once what connections that train
makes for Southampton--yes, Southampton. Also please wire Bletchley,
and have a compartment reserved for me. What? It will take you ten
minutes? Please hurry. There is so little time to spare. (_Replaces
receiver_.) Now we must get the motor. (_Springs up from chair and
goes up to bell-push_ L. _of_ C. _door, rings bell, runs down to_ R.
_of_ AUNT IDA _and picks up the tongs from floor_.) How do you feel
now, Aunt Ida? How do you feel now?

AUNT IDA. Oh, I feel all right.


                  (_Enter_ MARTIN R.I. _He stands_.)


MARTIN. Yes, Miss.

CELIA. (_Holding tongs_) Oh, Martin, I want you to jump upstairs----

MARTIN. (_In open amazement_) _Jump_, Miss?

CELIA. I said, "Jump" and tell Kent to give you two motor coats and
any other kind of a wrap she can find, two motor bonnets, some veils
and furs and some pins and my motor bag and--two toothbrushes. We are
going for a drive.

MARTIN. A _drive_, Miss?

CELIA. (_Irritated_) I said _a drive_. Will you hurry, please?

                                            (_READY Telephone_.)

MARTIN. Very good, Miss. (_Exit_ R.I.)

AUNT IDA. We can't have the motor. We couldn't have it to go to the
Admiral's. It's broken.

CELIA. (_Putting tongs in the winged armchair_) It wouldn't be a motor
if it wasn't. Now what will we do? Oh, I'll get Jimmie Raleigh and
he'll come back and take us down in his. (_Goes to phone_.) Hello!
Hello! I wonder what the--(AUNT IDA _squeals_)--telephone number is.
Oh, Aunt Ida, please do be quiet. You know you will make me nervous in
a minute.

AUNT IDA. I'm not saying a word.

CELIA. Hello! Hello! Give me Sir William Raleigh's house, please. Yes,
I know the family is away, but I want to speak to Mr. James Raleigh.
(_Stuffs handkerchief in telephone receiver and turns to_ AUNT IDA.)
Aunt Ida, tell me, do you know, are there any Smiths _ranching_ in
Chicago?

AUNT IDA. (_Slightly tipsily_) Smiths? Smiths? I don't know.

CELIA. (_Into telephone_) What? He's not in? (MARTIN _enters with
wraps and bags. Crosses back of table to chair_ L. _of table_.) Well,
have him ring me up directly he comes in--Miss Faraday. Yes, please.
(_Puts up telephone. Jumps up, goes to_ MARTIN, _helps him place wraps
on chair, takes bag and puts it on floor, beside and to the_ L. _of
chair_ R.)


(NOTE: _The wraps must be placed across_ MARTIN'S _arms in the
following manner_: CELIA'S _wrap on bottom, then her veil and bonnet.
Next comes muff and fur for_ AUNT IDA. _Then the ulster for_ AUNT IDA
_and on top her bonnet. The bag is in_ MARTIN'S _hand_.)

MARTIN. (_Going_ C. _above table_) Shan't I clear the table, Miss?

CELIA. No, leave it till morning. Don't bother about anything. Go to
bed, Martin, go to bed. Good-night.

MARTIN. Thank you, Miss. Good-night. (_Goes_ L. _and exits_.)

AUNT IDA. You have forgotten the whiskey and soda.

CELIA. (_Seizes_ AUNT IDA'S _bonnet from pile of wraps and crosses to
her above table_) Of course I have. You don't suppose I'm going to
have those two men back here until we're out of the way. (_Placing
bonnet on_ AUNT IDA'S _head from back_) I don't want to hurry you,
dear, but we must be ready the minute Mr. Raleigh gets here. (CELIA
_is so excited that she gets_ AUNT IDA'S _bonnet on quite to one side,
ties a rampant bow under her right ear, then flies up stage and peeps
through curtain on door to see if the men are returning_. AUNT IDA
_during this is showing serious signs of the effect of the brandy by
grotesque gestures and movements of her head_. CELIA _returns_ R. _of_
AUNT IDA.) How do you feel now, Aunt Ida, how do you feel now?

AUNT IDA. (_Quite tipsily_) I never felt like this before in all my
life. I think I've got a chill.

CELIA. A chill? Do you want a little more brandy? (_Goes for
decanter_.)

AUNT IDA. No--no--no--no.

CELIA. (_Seizing ulster and going back to her_) Then get into this. It
will keep you warm while you are waiting. (_She helps_ AUNT IDA, _who
is still seated, into the ulster, her right arm first. She then rushes
back to chair for fur and muff_.)

AUNT IDA. (_Flopping on table_) Oh, Celia! Why do we have to go on
this dreadful journey?

CELIA. (_Handing her muff over her shoulder, which_ AUNT IDA _clutches
and hugs like a child_) To get to Chicago, dear, to get to Chicago!
(_Placing stole around her neck_) And we'll be there almost before you
realize it. (_Telephone bell rings_. CELIA _throws stole quickly
around_ AUNT IDA'S _face, almost smothering her, and rushes to
telephone_.) Hello!--Hello!--What?--Yes, Mr. Raleigh. I did--Mr.
Raleigh, Aunt Ida has just had a cable from Chicago with some very bad
news.

AUNT IDA. Oh! Oh!

CELIA. (_To_ AUNT IDA) Hush! (_Into telephone_) And she has got to get
away to-night on the midnight train. I want to go a little way with
her. Won't you come and drive us to the station in your motor?--What?
You will? Oh, that's very kind of you, but don't drive up to the door.
(AUNT IDA _rises, supporting herself on table_.) No, stay down by the
gate and we'll walk down. (AUNT IDA _has moved cautiously around and
walks over to the conservatory window_.) Just blow your horn gently
when you get here, so we'll know that you've arrived. We'll go down as
quickly as we can. Yes.--Thanks.--Yes, yes. (_Hangs up receiver and
goes for her bonnet. Crosses below table to door_ R.) How do you feel
now, Aunt Ida? How do you feel now?

AUNT IDA. I'm afraid it's a fever, or else I'm dreadfully over-heated.
(_Sits on stool_.)

CELIA. (_Going to her_) You'll be all right, once you're in the fresh
air. But I've got to leave you for a few moments while I run upstairs
and get my box of love letters. I can't go away and leave those things
behind me. There are about two hundred and fifty of them by this time.
(_Going_ R.) I've been writing to that man every day for eight months.

AUNT IDA. Celia! (CELIA _stops. Beckons to her tipsily_. CELIA _goes
to her_.) Do you know something, Celia. I believe you're half in love
with Smith.

CELIA. (_Going back_ R.) You dear old goose, you don't know what
you're talking about. I half in love with that man? Half in love with
a man who has treated me as that man has done? Well--(_Going further_
R.)--I hope I'm not quite such a fool as that, Aunt Ida.

AUNT IDA. Oh, oh, oh, oh!

CELIA. (_With her back to_ AUNT IDA) Well, and if I were? Isn't it all
the more reason for me to get out of this house before I make a bigger
fool of myself? (_Goes to door_ R., _which she barely opens when_ AUNT
IDA _stops her again_.)

AUNT IDA. Celia!!! (CELIA _turns_.) I believe--I ought to lie down.

CELIA. (_Lets the door slam to and rushes straight across the stage
to_ AUNT IDA) No, Aunt Ida, dear, you can't do anything like that.
You can sleep in the motor and in the train, but you must stay here
while I'm gone and listen for Wilson's telephone message and write it
down.

AUNT IDA. It's no use. Just five minutes. I must lie down.

CELIA. I won't be a minute.

AUNT IDA. Now I'm getting cold. Put something around me.

CELIA. Well, here. (_Puts screen in front of her_) This will keep off
the draught and you can have the fresh air at the same time, and have
a little nap while you're waiting. (_Speaking over, her shoulder, she
goes_ R. _to door_) No one will disturb you, dear. I've locked that
door and will take the key of this one with me, and I'll hurry back as
fast as I can, Aunt Ida, just as fast as---- (_Exits quickly, locking
door behind her_.)


(_There is a pause. The faint toot of a motor horn is heard off_ L.
AUNT IDA'S _hands are seen to grasp the top of the outer wings of the
screen, one by one. Her head appears for a moment. She looks about
tipsily and then drops suddenly out of sight again. After a pause, a
second toot is heard_. AUNT IDA _rises slowly and carefully and comes
out_ R. _of screen. She is extremely puzzled_.)


AUNT IDA. Now what was that? (_Her eye lights on telephone and a smile
breaks over her face_) The telephone. Wilson's message. Must write it
down. (_Goes carefully and slowly to desk and sits heavily in chair.
Takes off receiver and places transmitter to her ear. There is a pause
as she listens. A look of terror and surprise creeps over her face_.)
Now! something's the matter with my ears. I can't hear a word they
say. I believe I'm paralyzed. Oh, dear. (_Looks helplessly about
her_.) Why doesn't Celia come back? (_She has taken a pen in her right
hand to write down the message. She holds the receiver in her left
hand. She looks from one to the other and cannot make up her mind
which goes where. She finally decides and elaborately puts the pen in
the telephone hooks with a satisfied smile. She then carefully places
the receiver on the desk where the pen ought to be_.) It's not us.
This has been a dreadful day. (_Slowly and carefully rising and
looking tipsily about_) If I'm to be good for anything to-night, I
will have to lie down somewhere. (_Goes up to doors_) If only
for five minutes. (_Unlocks and opens doors_) I'll have to lie
down--I'll--have--to---- (_She exits at back to_ R., _whimpering to
herself. When she is off, the telephone bell begins to ring. After it
has rung for a moment_, FARADAY _is heard off stage, calling_)

FARADAY. (_Off stage_ L.) Celia! Celia! Where are you, Celia? (_He
appears from the_ L. _and stands in_ C. _doorway, looking off right.
His jaw drops_.) What--is--the--matter--with--your--Aunt? (_The
telephone bell continues to ring. He hurries down_.) Here! Stop it!
Stop it! Stop it! (SMITH _enters and comes down_ L. _of table above
chair where_ CELIA'S _coat and bag are_. FARADAY _sees pen in
telephone hooks, jerks it out and throws it on desk and picks up
receiver. Bell stops ringing_.) Hello! Hello! Faraday Hall. Mr.
Faraday speaking.--Tell Miss Faraday what? You've made the reservation
on the midnight train, change cars at Cobden?

SMITH. (_Sees_ CELIA'S _wraps and bag and starts slightly_) Miss
Faraday going? (_Moves_ R. _above table, thinking_.)

FARADAY. (_Into telephone_) Nonsense, man, you mean Mrs. Faraday. At
twelve noon, she's leaving, not twelve _midnight_.--What's that you
say? It was Miss Celia that telephoned and said she was going herself?
Nonsense, man! Don't argue with me. I'm afraid you've been drinking,
my man. (_Smells telephone_) The telephone _reeks of brandy!_ Try to
be sober by morning. Remember, we need you in this election. (_As
he hangs up telephone_) I've only known him to be drunk once
before--decent chap and devoted to Celia.

SMITH. (R. _of table_) Every one is, sir. She's peculiarly attractive.

FARADAY. Yes, but it's taken people a long time to find it out. Now,
where has Martin put that whiskey? (_He goes fussing about the room_)
But the men who want to step into Smith's shoes now are legion.
(_Still looking about and fussing. Picks up brandy decanter. Smells it
and puts it down_.)

SMITH. It's a legion, sir, I'd like to enlist in at once. Have I your
permission?

FARADAY. Of course you have, my dear fellow, of course you have!
(_Crossing_ R.) If I can only find that damn whiskey and soda, I will
drink good luck to you. (_Rattles door down_ R. _Finds it locked_)
What do you suppose that scoundrel Martin has been up to? _Has
everybody been drinking to-night?_ Come, we'll have to go around
through the library. (_Goes up to_ C. _door and exits_ R. SMITH
_follows him. As_ SMITH _gets to door, the motor horn toots twice. He
pauses and looks back, knowingly, then exits off_ R. _After his exit,
horn toots twice_.)


(_Enter_ CELIA _with box supposed to contain love letters and small
box supposed to contain watch and pin. She closes the door and
deliberately disregards open doors at back_.)


CELIA. (_Keeping her eyes fixed on her box of letters, crosses_ C.
_below table_) I'm back, Aunty dear. I wasn't very long, was I? I've
got my box of love letters. (_Holds out box and looks at it ruefully_)
Well, they will go into the furnace with my own hands. (_Places box
right of her on table_.) And his watch and his pin, infamous things,
he'll have those back and a letter with them, that I hope will burn
without going into the furnace. (CELIA _goes to desk and takes up a
piece of paper as if to write_) Tell me, dear. Did Wilson telephone?

SMITH. (_Who has appeared at back from_ R.) Yes, Miss Faraday, he did.
(CELIA _drops the paper from her hand, turns slowly around, sees open
doors, walks deliberately to screen and looks over it, her back to the
audience. She turns around, her face expressing chagrin and annoyance
at_ AUNT IDA'S _failing her_.) Mayn't I come into the room and speak
to you?

CELIA. Certainly not. (_Goes and viciously seizes her coat from chair
and begins to put it on_.)

SMITH. (_Coming into the room just the same and coming down above her
on the_ R.) You told me, I know, there was nothing more to say but
good-bye and I'll say that too, if I must. But first, there is
something else to say and I'd much rather _say_ it than write it.

CELIA. Mo, whatever you do, don't write--don't write me anything. I
dislike letters intensely and just at present they seem to be a drug
on the market. (_Picks up her bag and veil_.)

SMITH. But there is something I _must_ say to you before you go.

CELIA. How do you know I'm going anywhere?

SMITH. (_Looks down at her bag and smiles_) Well? (CELIA _swings bag
to other side of her_.) Besides, I overheard Wilson's message.

CELIA. Oh, you did. Well, then perhaps you will be good enough to
realize that I'm in something of a hurry. You will find your jewelry
there on the desk.

SMITH. Won't you sit down for five minutes?

                                                 (_READY Horn_.)

CELIA. Certainly not.

SMITH. Just five!

CELIA. No.

SMITH. If you don't, upon my word, I shall begin to believe that you
are afraid of me.

CELIA. (_Sits quickly with her back to the audience_ L. _of table_)
Indeed! That wouldn't be your _first_ mistake, you know.

SMITH. I know it was a foolish trick. I had no right to come here as I
did.

CELIA. It was a cruel joke.

SMITH. (_Simply and feelingly_) Yes, but a joke that is more on me now
than it ever was on you. (_Motor horn toots three times_. CELIA _turns
her head in the direction of the conservatory_.) I want you to know
that my name really is Vavasour.

CELIA. You astonish me. Isn't it anything else too?

SMITH. Yes, it's really J. N. Smith, too.

CELIA. Oh! Is that all?

SMITH. No, more. Now that I have come in to my Uncle Vavasour's old
Abbey, I have to take his name legally, Smith-Vavasour, don't you see?

CELIA. I see. What a delightful combination of class and mass! This
may be all very interesting to anyone interested, but really I haven't
time now to split hairs over a middle name. Your intention was to
deceive me, and you almost succeeded. Failure alone, I take it,
accounts for your present humility. Now, if you will be good enough to
get your watch on the desk, you will see that the five minutes you
asked for are up and, since you insist on saying good-bye to me, will
you say it as quickly as possible, please, and let me go? (_Makes no
attempt to move_.)

SMITH. No. Not until we've decided what's to be done about your other
letters. (_Hand unconsciously rests on the box of letters without his
knowing it_.)

CELIA. (_Glances at this and tries to appear unconcerned_) What other
letters?

SMITH. I have that first one here. (_Pressing his hand over his
heart_.) But--all the others. Good God! (_Moving well down_ R.) When I
think of love letters of yours wandering loose about Somaliland----
(CELIA _places her bag quickly on table, steals her arm across, seizes
the box of letters while_ SMITH _is not looking, and on the word
Somaliland, swings away from him, hiding the box awkwardly under her
cloak_.) There's one thing I can do to show you what I feel about it.
Give me some clue to the mistaken addresses you must have put upon
them and I'll start back to-morrow and fetch them. (_Comes_ L.C.,
_quite close to_ CELIA.)

CELIA. From Somaliland?

SMITH. From _Hell_, if necessary.

CELIA. Fortunately, such a journey would be superfluous.

SMITH. What do you mean?

CELIA. I mean that all of those hundreds and hundreds of letters that
I was fool enough to write to an imaginary hero are all here in this
box. And now they're going into the furnace with my own hands.
(_Starts for door, swinging the box in her right hand_.)

SMITH. (_Following her and playfully taking the box from her_) Won't
you give them to me instead?

CELIA. (_Turns back and they both hold on to box_) Certainly not. It's
an additional insult that you should even suggest such a thing. Do you
suppose I ever want to see you or hear your name again--a man who has
dared to hold me up to ridicule as you have done--to wickedly and
cruelly amuse himself at my expense---- (SMITH _gives a low laugh_.)
Oh, don't you suppose I know how funny I must have seemed to you? Ha!
Ha! (_Imitates_ SMITH'S _laugh_.) Silly idiot of a girl, tired of
having no notice taken of her, tired of being kept on the shelf, just
dying to show people how attractive she could be--only give her the
chance. And to think because of that I made such an everlasting fool
of myself before a man, a man who is capable of----

SMITH. Capable of telling you a lie, Miss Faraday? (_Puts box of
letters on table_.)

                                           (_READY Motor Horn_.)

CELIA. Well, you did. You know you did. You did everything you could
think of to deceive me.

SMITH. I can't deny it.

CELIA. And do you believe that a man or a woman could ever bring
himself or herself to respect or have anything to do with a man or a
woman who--who deceived?

SMITH. I do believe it. And judging by my own case, I may say I know
it.

CELIA. I don't think it is very generous of you to allude to me in
that manner.

SMITH. Me. We are discussing me, Miss Faraday. What can I say to
induce you to forgive me?

CELIA. Nothing. (SMITH _turns away. She glances at him. In an
indifferent tone_) But, of course, you may say it if you wish.

SMITH. (_Turns and comes to her. Tenderly_) I _did_ lie to you
elaborately, and I'm going to be jolly glad that I had the chance of
lying to you, and I want all the rest of my life the chance of telling
you the truth. These few hours with you have made me want so very much
for more like them, made me want a chance to seem less odious in your
eyes, at least to be on a fair footing, so that I may take my chances
with the rest.

CELIA. (_Looking straight into his eyes_) But they haven't any chance
at all.


(SMITH _laughs a little and_ CELIA, _realizing her "break" turns her
head away in confusion_.)


SMITH. Well, that's good news. Then give me a chance alone, won't you?
You've only known me for four hours, but am I wrong in believing that
you've been thinking of me for eight months? Can't I hope to take the
place of the man to whom you gave my name?


(CELIA _smiles and looks down a little wistfully, as if about to
consent. Motor horn toots three times_.)


CELIA. (_Throwing off her yielding mood, turns and goes to the winged
armchair, back to audience, shaking out her veil and pointing_ L.) Oh,
no, it's all too impossible. Besides, Mr. Raleigh is waiting for me in
the motor.

SMITH. (_Comes to her and gently takes her right hand_) You've been
dreaming for eight months of an ideal that you never thought to see.
I've been dreaming all my life in exactly the same way and at last
I've seen mine.

CELIA. (_After a pause, during which she lets her hand rest in his,
her head averted_) Yes, but it's too late now, because I'm leaving
here immediately. Mr. Raleigh is waiting to take me to the station.
(SMITH _pulls her gently across and down stage a few steps. She goes
quite willingly_.) Will you please let me go?

SMITH. (_Still holding her hands_) You shall go. I shall let you go.
The instant you tell me to whom you are speaking--Celia.

CELIA. Really, this is an outrage. Will you kindly let me go, Colonel
Smith?

SMITH. _He_ can't. You remember you killed him of wounds at Berbera.

CELIA. Well, Colonel Vavasour, will you please let me go?

SMITH. _He_ can't. The lawyers haven't finished making him.

CELIA. (_After a pause, while she slowly breaks into a laugh_) Oh,
very well, then--Wobbles.


(SMITH _releases her hand and she hurries to door_ R. _and opens it_.)


SMITH. Please don't go. Come into the next room and talk things over.


                (_Auto horn toots impatiently off_ R.)


CELIA. No, no, I can't. There's Mr. Raleigh. He's _come_ up to the
door. Good-bye.

SMITH. (_After a pause_) Good-bye?

CELIA. Yes, good-bye. (_Goes to door and looks off down stairs_) Why,
here he is coming up the steps. Martin's letting him in. (SMITH _turns
and goes slowly up stage to_ C. _Putting on her veil_) No wonder he's
impatient. He's been waiting for me for twenty minutes.

SMITH. (_In doorway_) Yes, but remember I've been waiting for you for
twenty years. (_Exits, off_ L.C.)

                                               (_WARN Curtain_.)


(CELIA _pauses a moment and then crosses up as if to call him back,
looking over her shoulder to see that_ RALEIGH _is not coming. She
goes off stage_ C. _and looks after_ SMITH _and then with a sigh,
comes back into room, goes to_ L. _of table, tying her veil as she
comes down_. RALEIGH _enters. He's very cold. His nose is red, his
coat collar turned up and he is chattering. Comes to_ R.C. _a little
up stage_.)


RALEIGH. Miss Faraday, I had to come in. I'm nearly frozen--you'll
miss your train. I've been waiting for you for twenty minutes. (_He
offers her his arm_. CELIA _picks up her bag, crosses to him, takes
his arm and they walk quickly to the door. He is above her. He smiles
contentedly as they start to exit. As they get to the door, she swings
him right out and turns back, going up and off_ C. _again, looking
after_ SMITH. RALEIGH _returns and stands by door_) Aren't you coming?

CELIA. (_Comes down to him and, as she reaches winged chair, she
suddenly drops her bag in the seat of it and throws back her head with
a joyous laugh_) No, I've changed my mind. I'm going to stay, because
_he's_ been waiting for me for twenty years. (_Runs gaily up and off
after_ SMITH, _waving her hand to_ RALEIGH _as she goes_. RALEIGH
_drops his hat in amazement, with a smothered, "Well, I'll be----"_)

                            QUICK CURTAIN



                              LIGHT PLOT


                                ACT I

At rise, footlights and first border white and amber full up. Four
table lamps on stage alight. In card room U.L. chandelier; and amber
bunch off.

In morning room U.R. lamp on table; and amber bunch off.

At exit of PHYLLIS and EVELYN on cue "I think they do," from PHYLLIS,
PHYLLIS switches off lights U.R. and EVELYN puts out lamp in morning
room. All lamps go out, leaving only chandelier in card room alight.
First border to one quarter. White foots out and amber foots to one
quarter. When EVELYN puts out lamp in morning room, put out bunch in
same.

When CELIA turns up switch on cue, "Oh, it's you, Aunt Ida," all
lights on stage full up as before except bunch and lamp in morning
room.

Electric switch U.R. on set to R. morning room door.

Bell push U.L.C; to R. card room door.

Amber No. 32 in fireplace on knife switch to be flickered when CELIA
throws letters and army list into fire.

Red bunch in fireplace.


                                ACT II

Amber bunch in room R. Light amber on backing card room. Red glow from
fireplace. On cue, "other fish in the sea," from GRICE, amber on
backing, changing to dark amber very slowly and then out. On cue,
"Ready, Celia, ready," from FARADAY, comes up slowly to moonlight
blue. When amber change is made on backing foots and borders down
about five points. When PHYLLIS _lights lamp_ on table R.C. on cue,
"Oh, there's a message," foots and borders full up as before.


                               ACT III

Foots and first border full up amber and white. Blue bunch in
conservatory left. Blue bunch and moonlight spots in window R.

Spot to be directed on chair left of upper doors. Red glow up and off
R. to suggest fire as in Act I. Also amber No. 32 as before to be
flickered when SMITH "burns" army list.

Two candles on table C. lighted. On cue--"Damn Wobbles, I am going
because"--from COL. SMITH, white third border full up, a moment after
EVELYN exits, put third border out. One cue, "Then let me sit like
this in the dark" from CELIA,--CELIA switches off light U.L. All
lights on stage out, except red glow and lights on backing and blue
spot on CELIA. On cue, "Army lists don't burn so suddenly as that,"
from CELIA, AUNT IDA turns up switch, lights full up as before.

Bell push U.L.C.L, of center doors light switch to L. of this.



                            PROPERTY PLOT


                       _Set Properties--Act I_

A medium-sized table L., on it a book slide containing books and army
list, lamp, sewing bag, silver purse containing coin money.

To right of table, armchair with cushion.

At head of table, a single chair.

Left of table, a single chair.

Cabinet above door L. against wall, on it a vase of flowers,
photograph frames.

A small grand piano at back with drapery, on it lamp, bowl of flowers,
some photograph frames.

Long narrow table right, an armchair with small cushion to L. of it.

Waste-paper basket under it.

Stool below it. On it a table cover, English periodicals at each end,
railway guide at upper end; a lamp, silver cigarette box, a paper
knife, letters, vase of tulips, calendar, match-holder, ashtray.

R. table a large sofa with cushions.

Against fireplace, large mantel, on it three vases. Against mantel, a
club fender.

Below mantel, armchair.

A small writing table U.R., on it small lamp, a small vase of flowers,
blotting pad containing pens, ink, paper and envelopes.

In card room U.L., card table and four chairs.

On table, two packs of cards, pencils, bridge-markers, ashtray.

In morning room, small table, two chairs.

On table, lamp, ashtray, match-holder, vase of flowers.


                                ACT II

Same as Act I, and table L.C., and chair moved to C.R., nearer center.

On it, teatray laid for five people, plum cake on plate.

Armchair moved to L. of table and plain chair moved to R. of table.

Muffin-stand placed lower end of cabinet.

On it muffins, cakes, etc.

Throat spray behind vase on the table R.C. for PHYLLIS.

Remove waste-paper basket.

Embroidery on table R.C., for PHYLLIS.

Election address on cabinet L., for TARVER.

Close table in card room--rearrange chairs and draw curtains.

Replace all flowers with autumn flowers.


                               ACT III

A small round dinner table center, two chairs R. and L. of it.

On table, lace cloth. Candles and flowers at back. In center, basket
of fruit, almond dish with burnt almonds, large silver cigarette box,
silver cigarette lighter, two ashtrays, plates and finger-bowls, fruit
knives and forks, napkins, nut crackers.

A small sewing-table U.R.

To R. of it, a high-backed winged armchair.

L. of it, a square armchair.

On table, a lamp.

R. of center doors a small table; on it, silver serving tray, small
tray with brandy decanter, two liquor glasses, desk and chair L.

On desk, pens, ink, paper and envelopes.

Couch with cushions L. desk.

China closets in first L. flat containing bric-a-brac.

In conservatory palms and flowers.

L. of center doors--chair.

In room U.C. off stage cabinet of Act I--table and armchair.

On table book-rack with army list as seen in Act II.



                      HAND PROPERTIES OFF STAGE


                                ACT I

Off R.3, cigars for FARADAY and ADMIRAL. Coins for RALEIGH. Off L.I,
oilskin coat, and hat, and traveling bag (all wet) for CELIA.


                                ACT II

Off R.3, tonic bottle for TARVER. Clothes-brush for TARVER. Off L.I,
English Times and periodical with mailing wrapper on it--on salver for
MARTIN. Two boxes wrapped in tissue paper for CELIA. Card on salver
for MARTIN. Pin and large heavy-faced open watch and chain and
cigarette case for COL. SMITH. Army list on salver for MARTIN. Off
R.3, atlas for TARVER. (Set of chimes and doorbell off L.)


                               ACT III

Off R.I, tray with coffee-pot, two demi-tasse, and sugar bowl and one
cigarette, for MARTIN. Smart motor wrap, muff, bonnet, and traveling
bag belonging to CELIA. Large heavy ulster, furs, and bonnet (for AUNT
IDA) (for MARTIN). Large covered box tied with pink ribbon and small
box supposed to contain watch and pin for CELIA. Army list partly
burnt, in tongs, off R.3, for CELIA.





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