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Title: Carlyon Sahib
Author: Murray, Gilbert, 1866-1957
Language: English
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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.

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_CARLYON SAHIB_



_BY THE SAME AUTHOR_


UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME

ANDROMACHE

A Play in Three Acts


LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN
21 Bedford Street, W.C.



_CARLYON SAHIB_


_A DRAMA_

_In Four Acts_


_By_

_GILBERT MURRAY_


_LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN_

_MDCCCC_



_PREFATORY NOTE_


_This play was written at Viareggio in 1893, and passed an eventful
Mrs. Patrick Campbell at the Princess of Wales' Theatre, Kennington, on
June 19, 1899. The version here published is not exactly that which was
acted, though it is much nearer to the acted version than to the
original play as it stood before I had the benefit of Mrs. Campbell's
vivid and helpful criticism._

_I may remark here that the Play never had the ghost of a glimmer of a
conscious political allusion in it; nor did it occur to me, when I put
my Napoleonic hero in the surroundings which seemed to give most scope
to his autocratic and unscrupulous genius, that any sane person would
suppose that I wished to attack the Indian Civil Service. The plays on
my bookshelves teem with villains of the most diverse professions, from
kings and clergymen--chiefly, I must confess, Roman Catholics or
Dissenters--to lawyers and journalists. I do not think I should chafe at
the appearance of a villanous Professor of Greek. And on the whole I
cannot help hoping that those of my critics and friends who adopted a
high patriotic tone against this play, will upon reflection be inclined
to agree that their imperial sensitiveness was a little overstrained._

_GILBERT MURRAY._



_DRAMATIS PERSONÆ_


THE RIGHT HON. SIR } _Sometime Chief Commissioner of Rajpor,_
DAVID CARLYON      } _and formerly Political Agent in Bhojâl._


VERA CARLYON         _His daughter: student of Medicine at Zurich._
ELIZABETH            _A friend, acting as housekeeper to the Carlyons._
ADENE                _A young writer on philological subjects._
DR. RHEINHARDT       _A medical professor at the University of Zurich._
SELIM                _A former servant of Sir David Carlyon._

A TRAINED NURSE
A MANSERVANT
A PUNKAH-BOY

(CARLYON _is a man approaching sixty, strong, genial, eagle-eyed_;
ELIZABETH, _a nice-looking though slightly haggard elderly lady, with
white hair, very quiet in demeanour_; RHEINHARDT, _a short man with an
excitable manner and bristly iron-grey hair_.)

_The First Three Acts take place in Carlyon's country house in England._
_The Fourth Act in a bungalow in the Ghautgherry Hills, India._

_Carlyon is pronounced like the two words "car-lion," the accent being
on the_ i. _The Indian form Kaliena, has the_ i _long and accented, the
other syllables short_.



CARLYON SAHIB



THE FIRST ACT


SIR DAVID CARLYON'S _country house_; VERA'S _sitting-room. Window right,
behind window a curtain on a rod projecting into the room and forming a
recess. By window table strewn with books and papers. The books chiefly
foreign, with paper backs. On another table a very large birdcage
covered with a tablecloth. Doors in the left corner of the back wall,
and in the side wall, right._

ELIZABETH _discovered sitting in a large chair in the recess_. VERA
_holding an ophthalmoscope_.

ELIZABETH.

Am I sitting right, dear?

VERA.

Yes, that's it. Just the same as before. [_Drawing the curtain so as to
darken the recess._] Now, I must let the light fall full on your
eye--just for a minute. Don't wink. That's all; now you can go right
into the dark again, Elizabeth. [ELIZABETH _comes out rubbing her
eyes_.] I'm afraid it hurt; it is so kind of you!

ELIZABETH.

Not at all, dear. And it is all right as soon as I get into the dark
again.

VERA.

Should you like to see what the end of your optic nerve is like? There!
[_Showing plate in a book._

ELIZABETH.

Dear me, Vera; is there anything wrong with me?

VERA.

Not a thing! That's a picture of a typical healthy eye. You are quite
uninteresting, you and Father both!

ELIZABETH.

I don't see how _his_ eyes can be uninteresting.

VERA.

From Dr. Rheinhardt's point of view, quite. Here are two abnormal ones.
See how different they are from yours.

ELIZABETH.

[_Without interest._] Yes, dear. [_Hesitating._] I was wondering----

VERA.

You see the depression of that line? That man died insane in two years.
If ever one saw that, one would know---- [_Breaks off._] What did you
say?

ELIZABETH.

That poor bird: I wondered if I might feed him in here, where it's warm?

VERA.

[_Suspiciously._] What are you going to feed him with?

ELIZABETH.

[_Apologetically._] Well, you see, Vera, he is really ill. He won't eat
anything at all unless it's alive.

VERA.

Then you can't feed him in my room!

ELIZABETH.

Very well, dear. [_Goes and takes the great cage._] Do you know, Vera,
I think you are really a little unkind about my eagles.

VERA.

I can't think why father ever gave you such horrid things!

ELIZABETH.

I dare say I shouldn't care for them so much if he hadn't given them to
me. But really, Vera, they are such splendid great things, with their
fierce eyes----

VERA.

Oh, their looks are magnificent; it's their habits! But I must get to
work again.

[_Turns to the table and opens a book_; ELIZABETH _is moving towards the
door back, when enter_ SERVANT, U.L.

SERVANT.

If you please, ma'am, a gentleman asking for Sir David.

ELIZABETH.

Oh!

[_Moving towards door_ R. _with evident wish to escape_.

VERA.

Don't run away, Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH.

I think I must, dear. [_Exit_ ELIZABETH.

VERA.

I cannot see any one till five.

[ADENE _appears behind_ SERVANT _in doorway_.

ADENE.

I beg your pardon, Miss Carlyon, I only wanted to ask----

VERA.

My father is not at home. Why, surely it isn't----? [_Rises._

ADENE.

Yes, it is!

VERA.

Mr. Adene! How stupid of me! But you've changed a great deal!

ADENE.

I wrote to Sir David. Didn't he tell you?

VERA.

Father has been away for three days. No doubt I forwarded your letter to
him.

ADENE.

Without recognising the handwriting? [VERA _motions him to a chair and
sits_.] When will he be back?

VERA.

This afternoon.

ADENE.

I am glad. I want to ask him for some advice and some introductions. I'm
going to India.

VERA.

What!

ADENE.

The fact is, I feel rather run down, and I'm going to take a
holiday--with a little work to fill in spare moments.

VERA.

I know your idea of a holiday: twelve hours a day at a new subject
instead of ten at an old one!

ADENE.

I'm going to Rajpoor, your father's old province: and I want specially
to get up into the mountains, to the scene of his great exploits.

VERA.

To Bhojâl! You'll find that difficult. But why in the world are you
going?

ADENE.

You know I've been working for some years at Indian dialects?

VERA.

Yes; you sent us your book. Father said he couldn't imagine where you
had learnt all those languages.

ADENE.

Where? Why at "Stratford-atte-Bow!" [VERA _looks inquiringly_.] More
precisely at Limehouse. All nationalities come in course of time to
London Docks. But Bhojâli is my last acquisition--since my book. I came
across my Bhojâli by accident a year ago. And now I can talk pretty well
with him.

VERA.

Then, all the more, why go to Bhojâl?

ADENE.

Well, you see, it is history rather than philology that I have in mind
for the moment.

VERA.

Not the history of Bhojâl?

ADENE.

The history of the Indian Frontier--from the native's point of view!

VERA.

Do you mean an account of the various small wars?

ADENE.

Well, chiefly all that came before the wars; the intrigues, and the
motives----

VERA.

Isn't it all in the Blue Books?

ADENE.

Of course, but the point is---- [_Pauses with a smile._

VERA.

Don't be afraid!

ADENE.

If you take the Blue Books, the natives always seem to be in the first
place treacherous criminals----

VERA.

Which savages often are.

ADENE.

And also insanely blind to their own interests; which even savages are
not! [VERA _laughs as if beaten_.] I know the English mind already; I
want to get inside the Bhojâli mind.

VERA.

It is like the programme of a Baboo Protection Society. I hope the
officials will like it.

ADENE.

I have thought of that. But I know too much of India to be even
suspected of thinking ill of the officials. And Sir David's
recommendation will soften them.

VERA.

"Please give bearer every facility for attacking the reputation of my
late colleagues;" is that it?

ADENE.

[_Rising._] I don't want to attack any one! Of course there may be
cases. If I met an actual instance of foul play on our part----

VERA.

[_Mockingly._] "Foul play!" It is to be as bad as that?

ADENE.

I suppose even Englishmen have occasionally done wrong?

VERA.

And you go there expecting to find crimes committed by English officers?

ADENE.

In some cases, I am afraid--or if not crimes----

VERA.

How considerate of you to begin with Bhojâl!

ADENE.

[_Sitting, in amused impatience._] Oh, let us start fair again! I begin
with Bhojâl because a certain Sir David Carlyon was the Political Agent
there, a gentleman who was afterwards Chief Commissioner of the province
of Rajpoor.

VERA.

Don't be ironical!

ADENE.

Everybody who has heard of India has heard of his marvellous power of
governing; also, everybody knows that if ever there was a war forced
upon us against our will, it was the war of the annexation of Bhojâl.

VERA.

And then?

ADENE.

Then, I want to begin my studies with the best possible instance.

VERA.

[_After fidgeting for a moment._] Well, it makes me somewhat impatient.
Suppose you do discover that in the summer of 1820 an English major
threw a bootjack at his syce?

ADENE.

Forcing an unjust war on a weak tribe is a different thing from
misdirecting a bootjack.

VERA.

How are you to know the war was unjust? The people who made it had full
knowledge. You come to judge them with very imperfect knowledge; and you
appeal to the public, which has no knowledge at all!

ADENE.

[_Shaking his head._] When I write a book there is no danger of its
appealing to the public.

VERA.

That is shirking! Besides, _I_ am the public and it _did_ appeal to me.

ADENE.

Let Sir David deal with me! He did more for the natives than I am likely
to ask.

VERA.

Agreed! But it's five o'clock.

[_Goes from table to small book-case with books._

ADENE.

[_Rising._] Let me help! Where does this go?

[_Touching the ophthalmoscope._

VERA.

That is very precious! [_Takes it and puts it down on table_ R.] But
I'll tell you one thing more. Father has made things harder for the
ordinary officials, especially for residents. It is practically
impossible to come up to his standard. A man who first conquered and
then ruled the most savage and turbulent tribes in India without ever
letting his lowest subordinate do an oppressive act, a man with that
extraordinary power of making others obey him----

[_She is now back again at the table and does not see_ CARLYON, _who
enters at this moment_.

CARLYON.

[_Genially._] Who is this paragon, Vera?

VERA.

Father! [_Goes to him._

CARLYON.

[_Continuing._] Ah, Adene, you are most welcome! So you've taken my
answer for granted. That's right.

ADENE.

I thought I might venture. I have so little time before starting for
India. [_They shake hands._

CARLYON.

You must give us all you can spare of it. It must be two years since we
were all at Rothesay.

ADENE.

Miss Carlyon actually did not know me.

VERA.

For the first instant!

CARLYON.

At any rate she has resumed the friendship where it was broken off.
Making you tidy her books, I see, and scolding you as you do it!

[ADENE _continues putting the books away_.

ADENE.

I interrupted her; and worse, she took me for a champion of the Baboo!

CARLYON.

She never forgives an interruption. That is why I always have the
general tea in her room. By-the-bye, Vera, before I forget, you're to
give away the prizes at the Y.M.C.A. Shooting Club.

VERA.

Oh, Father, when?

CARLYON.

Thursday next: eleven A.M. It'll take most of the day. But what is this
about India and the black man? I heard noble sentiments as I came in.

VERA.

Mr. Adene says that he expects to find----

ADENE.

That _if_ I find a British official guilty of unfair behaviour----

VERA.

Foul play!

ADENE.

I shall report the action.

VERA.

Attack the man.

ADENE.

You have heard us both.

VERA.

I want you to make him feel the difficulties.

ADENE.

And I claim that you for one have conquered the very worst difficulties
without ever acquiescing in wrong to a native.

CARLYON.

[_Coolly; sitting down in chair by the tea-table._] Both of you wrong,
quite wrong. I never knew any real difficulties, and I often wrong
people--natives and others. What do you call a wrong?

ADENE.

Roughly, anything you wouldn't do to an Englishman in England.

CARLYON.

Any objection to murder, for instance?

ADENE.

[_Smiling._] Ah, but seriously, a general attitude----

CARLYON.

I have condoned murders occasionally. On the whole I am not sure we have
enough of them. I have often wished to see a man knocked on the head
when nobody would do it.

[_Turns chair facing_ ADENE.

_Enter_ SERVANT _with tea, and exit again_.

VERA.

[_To_ ADENE, _laughing_.] Prepare to receive shocks!

CARLYON.

Oh, Adene knows of old how unregenerate I am. But I've said as much as
that to an interviewer!

ADENE.

There are certainly people I should like to see removed----

CARLYON.

Well, I'll tell you. Once when I was at---- I wish somebody would give
me tea! Where's Elizabeth?

VERA.

[_To_ CARLYON, _taking possession of the tea-table_.] Be patient! [_To_
ADENE.] Now you've done us a service. We can never make him talk about
himself.

CARLYON.

Well, I won't say where I was, it might implicate people; but there was
a poor fellow, a villager, there, called Natthu, who was in the power of
a money-lender. You know the sort of man?

_Enter_ ELIZABETH, R., _with her left hand wrapped, negligently in a
handkerchief. She comes first up to the tea-table, and then retires to
the back of the room._

ADENE.

The worst in the world! I admit occasional murdering may do them good.
[_Takes tea._

CARLYON.

It wasn't the money-lender this time! It was a policeman. Natthu had a
wife and one daughter about twelve. Well, at last the money-lender was
going to carry off his standing corn.

[ELIZABETH _comes forward so as to look at_ ADENE. VERA _beckons her to
come and pour out the tea. She declines and retires back again._

ADENE.

Sheer ruin, of course.

CARLYON.

Starvation. Natthu was in despair, when the policeman came round one
night and offered to get the money-lender sent to prison if Natthu would
let him have his daughter, and he gave her.

ADENE.

But he had no power to get the man imprisoned?

CARLYON.

None in the world of course! In a few days down came the money-lender
to cut the corn, and the policeman with him to see no resistance was
made. Natthu reproached him; the policeman laughed, and said he could
now have the girl back if he liked! Thank you! [_Receiving tea, from_
VERA.

ADENE.

The brute!

CARLYON.

Next day but one the brute was found in a ditch with his head off. And I
don't mind telling you I smuggled Natthu and his wife out of the
country.

ADENE.

He could hardly have been hanged.

CARLYON.

Possibly not.

[VERA _offers_ ELIZABETH _tea; she comes and takes it and retires
again_.

ADENE.

Then why couldn't you let him take his trial?

CARLYON.

He'd have been murdered by the policeman's relations, and his wife with
him. They had a shot at me as it was. Now are you going to attack me?

ADENE.

I'm not sure. Couldn't you have had him tried first and then sent him
off?

CARLYON.

Too dangerous! And there were other reasons too. Anyhow I thought of it,
and determined I had better not.

ADENE.

I'm not clear that you were right.

CARLYON.

Well, they'll finish your education in Rajpoor.

ADENE.

I don't mean to stay in Rajpoor, it is too English. I want to get into
Upper Bhojâl among the hills.

CARLYON.

[_Looking hard at him, then turning a little towards_ ELIZABETH.]
Capital! Capital! My pet tribes! Yes, I wondered if you meant that in
your letter.

ELIZABETH.

[_Calmly, as though to herself and stating a fact._] You will never be
able to get there.

VERA.

Have you met my Aunt Elizabeth, Mr. Adene. [_To_ ELIZABETH.] Or am I to
say "Cousin"?

ELIZABETH.

Well, I'm only a second or third cousin at the best, dear.

[_Comes down and shakes hands with_ ADENE _who rises_.

ADENE.

[_To_ ELIZABETH.] I have a Bhojâli acquaintance who will go with me.

CARLYON.

You realise the geography, do you? Lower Bhojâl of course, is British,
and part of the province of Rajpoor.

ADENE.

Annexed by you! Yes, that is where my man comes from.

CARLYON.

The Upper Country is almost inaccessible, and quite cut off from
communication. Koreb's rebels fled there.

ADENE.

My man has relations in the Upper Country.

CARLYON.

I shouldn't depend much on that. However, if you're only well disguised
and avoid speaking----

ADENE.

I must _speak_! It is information I go for!

CARLYON.

Oh, it is not the place for information. They have no writings, and no
one village knows anything of another.

ADENE.

There must be local traditions, and if I question them----

CARLYON.

If you question them they will shoot you. I knew an American killed
there for pressing a Bhojâli to tell his children's names.

VERA.

[_Coming across to him._] But, Father, you've travelled over all that
country yourself!

ADENE.

And unarmed, wasn't it?

CARLYON.

[_To_ VERA.] Yes, child, but it does not follow that another man can!
[_Turning to_ ADENE _with change of manner from proud to pleasant_.]
Perhaps you've not heard how they have shrines built to me there and
offer sacrifices to one of my old swords.

ADENE.

Yes, I know. Like Nicholson in the Mutiny. Had you to persecute your
worshippers as he did?

CARLYON.

No; froze the heresy by neglect.

ADENE.

Well, you will give me letters?

CARLYON.

[_Laughing._] Yes, of course I will, and tokens to the tribesmen too,
which will be more to the purpose.

ADENE.

Then I will risk the rest.

CARLYON.

Oh! The recklessness of youth!

ADENE.

Well, with your letters and tokens, when they had that devotion to
you----

CARLYON.

[_Turning sharply._] Do you think it was from love they didn't touch me?
The account you will get of me there is not what you'll get at Exeter
Hall.

ADENE.

Surely it was at bottom because of your fairness, because you stood by
the weak?

CARLYON.

Much those savages care for that! It was not my fairness that saved me!
Do you know the Bhojâli song, "Said the tiger to Carlyon?"

ELIZABETH.

[_Above table_ L.] Will no one have some more tea?

ADENE.

I know a proverb--No thank you--about you. "He has no fear and his
justice is----"

CARLYON.

No, no, no! Not that absurd thing!

VERA.

You are quite right, Mr. Adene! He brought it on himself, pretending to
be such a reprobate: "His justice is the justice of a god."

CARLYON.

If people took there opinion of me from you, Vera. No, my song is a very
different thing: "Said the tiger to Carlyon as they hunted together:
'Let us kill no more. My hunger is dead and my limbs are weary.' And
Carlyon answered the tiger: 'Out of my body I will give thee hunger and
strength, for my hunger dies not and my limbs are never tired.' Said the
death-snake to Carlyon----"

VERA.

[_Rising and putting her arms round his neck and her hands over his
month from behind._] That's quite enough! We don't admire your song.

ELIZABETH.

Oh, you don't understand.

CARLYON.

It goes on to tell how the cobra had spent all its poison till I gave it
of the venom of my heart, and we all went on killing together. Upon my
word, it's what they believe of me!

VERA.

It was just a wild angry song of the rebels!

ELIZABETH.

Don't you see, child? The tiger was the noblest of beasts for them;
there was nothing else so royal and terrible. They meant that he was
nobler than the noblest! [_She speaks with quiet emotion._

CARLYON.

Exactly! Exactly! And they happened to be fond of snakes, so they said I
was like one! [_Satirically._

ELIZABETH.

Of course they only saw him as a deadly fighter; that was as much as
they could understand! They never dreamed of the heights and depths----

CARLYON.

_You_ would have made me one of your invalid fowls, Elizabeth, wouldn't
you? Hullo, has one of them been biting you?

[_Pointing to her hand in the handkerchief._

VERA.

Why, Elizabeth!

ELIZABETH.

Oh, it's nothing at all.

VERA.

Let me see. [ELIZABETH _tries to put her off_.] No, I _will_ see! Why,
it is right to the bone both sides! That creature ought really----

ELIZABETH.

[_With mild annoyance._] Dear me, Vera, it's really nothing at all! The
chicken I put in was frightened and lay still, so the poor fellow
wouldn't look at it. So I just put my hand in and was stirring the
chicken up----

CARLYON.

And he swooped upon you! Go away at once, Elizabeth; and never say I'm
like those eagles again!

[ADENE _opens the door for_ ELIZABETH.

ELIZABETH.

[_To_ VERA.] No, you shan't come with me, dear! I am quite ashamed, Mr.
Adene, to make such a fuss!

ADENE.

My dear lady, it is the absence of fuss that strikes me! [_Exit_
ELIZABETH.] Well, if I had had my hand bitten right through by a
Himalayan eagle----

VERA.

It's a frightful bite!

CARLYON.

[_Carelessly._] Oh, that's Elizabeth all over! It is true, though, in
the main, what she was saying. The thing those people care for is
fighting-power. They like a conqueror to enjoy his conquering, the
trampling and slaughtering and all the rest of it.

ADENE.

What did they make of your hospitals and your care for the wounded?

CARLYON.

Didn't like it! Too inconsistent altogether!

VERA.

In fact, Mr. Adene, if you want to be popular in Bhojâl, get a
certificate from a clergyman stating that you are a professional robber,
and have burnt alive all your female relations!

ADENE.

Well, you've rather staggered me. But I can't give up Bhojâl. It is my
work.

CARLYON.

[_Rises._] You young people and your work! I suppose I am growing
decrepit. I would sooner keep a whole skin than even know about the
dialects. It is to be the dialects? Or is it the history?--of Bhojâl.
[_Near_ ADENE.

ADENE.

History first.

CARLYON.

Ah well, there isn't any! So even the dialects are more important.
Forgive me, Adene! I am far from depreciating your work, but you're like
Vera. She thinks the world would stand still if a particular medical
treatise were not ready by November, and you---- Ah, I prefer to take
things easily! [_Goes towards door. To_ VERA _who follows him_.] Mr.
Adene may have letters to write. You'll ring when he wants to be shown
his room.

[ADENE _rises. Exit_ CARLYON; VERA _goes with him to the door_.

VERA.

Shall I ring now? Post at six.

ADENE.

Not unless you wish to be rid of me. I suppose this is the medical
treatise?

[_Pointing to MS. on table._

VERA.

That is what he meant. It is only a thesis for my degree.

ADENE.

So you're at Zurich under my old friend Rheinhardt! I saw him in London,
by the way.

VERA.

Is he over in England? I wonder if he would come here?

ADENE.

Judging from what he said, he'd go to the North Pole if you asked him.

VERA.

[_With interest._] Did he speak of me?

ADENE.

Of almost nothing else--you and his enemy Steinmetz; but he forbade me
to repeat a word of it. Would you much like to know?

VERA.

Of course I should, immensely. But I'm not going to try and find out if
he doesn't want me to.

ADENE.

That's what he said you would say! [_Touching the MS._] When is it to be
sent in?

VERA.

I have only a month left, and look what I have to get through! [_Goes to
revolving case._

ADENE.

You can't possibly read all these?

[_Goes to her up_ R.

VERA.

I just glance through them. They are reports of foreign hospitals, and
I want to see if there is anything on my subjects.

ADENE.

[_Handling one of the volumes._] No index?

VERA.

No such concession to weak human nature! Hardly any headings and no
capital letters. It is only mechanical work, looking through them. I do
it at night when I am tired.

ADENE.

What is your subject? [_Picking up several volumes._] I'll do these for
you.

VERA.

You, Mr. Adene! Your time is ever so much too valuable!

ADENE.

I'm having holidays now, and this is just what I like. What is your
subject?

VERA.

No, I can't let you know!

ADENE.

If you don't tell me, I shall make a table of contents all through.

VERA.

I never knew anything so kind. It will take days! [_Rises._

ADENE.

I've spent many happy weeks making indexes. What did you say the subject
was?

VERA.

The relation of the brain and the optic nerve, but any brain thing may
come in.

ADENE.

Diseases of the brain--very good. I'll have them all marked for you.

VERA.

Many, many thanks. [_He drops a book._] But you need not destroy the
ophthalmoscope.

ADENE.

What is it?

VERA.

My favourite toy!

ADENE.

How do you play with it?

VERA.

I examine everybody's eyes. I've tried all the eyes in the house, nearly
all in the village, and any others that would submit to be made victims
of.

ADENE.

[_Rises._] Here are two, if you will condescend to them.

VERA.

[_Goes up to window to ring bell._] Not now, though I should like to
look at you. You have read so much you ought to have something or other
the matter with you. [_Laughing._] The village children are all as
normal as ninepins. Now you must go and write.

ADENE.

[_Sitting in the chair by the curtain._] I must be paid beforehand for
all these catalogues. Now!

VERA.

No, you're frivolous! Well, you've taken the right chair. I can't ever
resist.

[_She arranges the curtain, &c., while he talks._

ADENE.

I begin to repent: it is so like a dentist's. Is it going to hurt? You
must tell me when to grip the arms of the chair and keep myself
violently still. Now what am I to do?

VERA.

Look at my finger and don't talk. [_Examines eyes. With sudden change of
expression and voice._] Now down!

[ADENE _gets up as she puts the instrument down_.

ADENE.

Not the other too? I can bear it. Or wasn't I quiet enough? You seem
disappointed in me.

[_Rises._

VERA.

[_With forced gaiety._] No, no! There's nothing at all to see. You're
perfectly normal, ridiculously normal: not worth looking at!

ADENE.

[_Coming down to the table for books._] As bad as the children--and the
ninepins?

_Enter_ SERVANT.

VERA.

Will you show Mr. Adene his room? [_Suddenly showing anxiety, and then
repressing it._] Oh, you mustn't take those books! Yes, keep them if you
like.

ADENE.

[_Taking the books over and laughing._] Would it be any improvement if I
cultivated a squint?

[_Exeunt_ ADENE _and_ SERVANT R.

[VERA _stands for a moment by the table, then covers her face with her
hands_.

VERA.

His eyes were like a child's eyes, and then that frightful thing! Heaven
help me! What am I to do?


END OF THE FIRST ACT



THE SECOND ACT


_The lawn of_ CARLYON'S _house. Wall of house at left and back; steps in
left back corner. A French window in the wall to the left. In front
right centre garden-seat with bushes behind, concealing seat from main
steps in the corner; to the right a garden with trees. Time. After
lunch._

     _Enter down the big steps_ CARLYON, ADENE _and_ RHEINHARDT.

CARLYON.

Yes, it would be a grand undertaking. But upon my word your recklessness
is infectious. I give notice, "All recent remarks are against my better
judgment."

ADENE.

I'm so grateful for your encouragement, I don't mind what has brought it
about.

CARLYON.

I don't encourage you. The best I hope for is that they will only cut
off your ears. Bear witness, Dr. Rheinhardt, have I encouraged him?

ADENE.

Yes, hasn't he?

RHEINHARDT.

I comprehend this way his position. Primo, you cannot get into Bhojâl;
secundo, you can never come again out; tertio, there is nothing to be
learned there; conclusion, you had better try it!

CARLYON.

I admit the premises.

ADENE.

And I claim the conclusion! Were you going down the garden?

CARLYON.

I must just get my hat.

ADENE.

Let me fetch it for you.

CARLYON.

Nonsense, I am not reduced to that.

[_Exit_ CARLYON _up big steps_ L.

RHEINHARDT.

Gott im Himmel! why do you offer to fetch that man's hat?

ADENE.

Fetch his hat? Oh, I'd do more than that for him! I think him a really
great man, you know.

RHEINHARDT.

There it comes. Gott im Himmel, there it comes. Your great men! Sit down
and do not excite yourself. You are much too excitable.

ADENE.

[_Sitting down._] Don't you feel something in his manner yourself? He is
so strong, and seems so confident that he is right in all he does; that
his word----

RHEINHARDT.

Do I feel something in his manner? Yes, I feel great solid block
rudeness in his manner. He is confident he is right? Yes, when he is
very likely wrong!

ADENE.

But seriously, don't you feel that he is a big man, and a man who can do
whatever he means to do, however difficult?

RHEINHARDT.

Bah! and however bad. I do not like your great men; I am not a world
conqueror. I am just like other people, and I expect other people to be
just like me. I do not overcrush my fellow creatures. A fool contradicts
me, and I submit to the argumentation of that fool! [ADENE _tries to
speak, but_ RHEINHARDT _checks him with a gesture_.] A cow charges upon
me, and I run myself away from that cow; I do not say, "I, Rheinhardt,
am Almighty!" You say this Sir Carlyon is a great man; you will say
Steinmetz is a great man----

ADENE.

No, I won't, I'll believe anything you like to tell me about Steinmetz.

RHEINHARDT.

You contradict me flatly when I speak! I tell you Steinmetz is an
arrogant man, a rash man, an ingenious man, a clumsy man. You show me
what you call his road-making experimentations! I tell you that I behold
so many miserable assassinates! If he is a great man, I am a great man
myself!

_Re-enter_ CARLYON _with_ VERA, _her arm round his waist_, L.

ADENE.

I am sure you are.

RHEINHARDT.

Sir, you insult me!

CARLYON.

Here I am! Will you come too, Rheinhardt?

RHEINHARDT.

No, I will not! I will talk to my pupil. Go!

[_Exeunt_ CARLYON _and_ ADENE _down garden right_. ELIZABETH _appears on
the steps, looking after_ CARLYON, _then withdraws again_.

RHEINHARDT.

So you see I have come. I started so soon as I got your letter.

VERA.

I am very, very grateful to you. I do so hope I may be wrong.

RHEINHARDT.

He does not show much sign of it.

VERA.

He has such self-command.

RHEINHARDT.

Not at all! He is irritable and contradicts me much.

VERA.

I had not noticed him irritable. He is sometimes depressed.

RHEINHARDT.

I tell you he is irritable. You must be careful not to excite him, not
to contradict him; bah, let little things pass! [_With a sweep of the
hand._

VERA.

Then you think from what I have told you that it really is so?

RHEINHARDT.

How can I say? The evidences are much too small. Have you examined him
again?

VERA.

I managed it again yesterday. I think it's even clearer; of course I
can't be sure.

RHEINHARDT.

You have watched him in daily life? Yes?

VERA.

Of course. I have a good many notes for you to see.

RHEINHARDT.

He does not suspect anything?

VERA.

Nothing. He says he is overworked; but you would never know from himself
that he was at all ill.

RHEINHARDT.

That is right, of course he must not be told.

VERA.

It has no effect on a glioma, has it? For the patient to know?

RHEINHARDT.

What do _you_ know about gliomas? What do you know about any tumour on
the brain at all?

VERA.

I only asked.

RHEINHARDT.

Of course he must not know!---- You say his knowledge does not make the
glioma worse. No, but it makes the effects worse! It strikes the man
down; it is a moral paralysis, when he knows he has a mortal disease.
You say it does not bring death nearer? What do you call it if a man has
no spirit left in him, no courage, no interest in life? You say it is
not important----

VERA.

Please, I never said so.

RHEINHARDT.

You contradict me flatly when I speak! I tell you it robs a man of all
that is living in him. It makes him at once half dead.

VERA.

Would even a very strong-minded man?----

RHEINHARDT.

Hut! You have been reading Steinmetz. Is a strong-minded man immortal?
Will a strong-minded man stand up when I knock him with a
sledging-hammer down? There is no such person as Steinmetz's
strong-minded man. Take me in. [_Going to the door._] Show me your
notes! Most likely you were wrong from the beginning.

[_During this speech re-enter_ CARLYON _and_ ADENE _from back_. VERA
_and_ RHEINHARDT _are by the steps_ L.

ADENE.

[_To_ CARLYON.] Well, I shall be in the library, and am ready whenever
you are.

[_Goes off by the steps at the back._

CARLYON.

What, doctor, is she upholding your vanquished opponents? Be severe with
her. She would be merciless to us for half such a crime!

VERA.

I'll be back in a moment, father.

[_Exeunt_ VERA _and_, RHEINHARDT, RHEINHARDT _making impatient gestures
without answering_. VERA _kisses her hand to_ CARLYON. CARLYON _sits
down_ R., _but gets up again as_ ELIZABETH _comes in from the French
window_ L.

CARLYON.

Well, out with it! [ELIZABETH _looks surprised._] You've been following
me about for two days now, so I suppose there's some mystery coming.

ELIZABETH.

You sometimes speak as if I were no help to you at all!

CARLYON.

Do I? Well, I think I know what you are going to say this time.

ELIZABETH.

What?

CARLYON.

First that I was reckless the other day to talk as I did, and quote that
tiger song.

ELIZABETH.

Yes.

CARLYON.

Well, I wasn't. I knew what I was doing.

ELIZABETH.

That was not the chief thing.

CARLYON.

Next, that Adene, of all men in the world, must not be sent researching
in Bhojâl.

ELIZABETH.

Yes.

CARLYON.

And, thirdly, that there is a way of stopping him.

ELIZABETH.

You mean that he cares for Vera? [CARLYON _nods_.] That is just it! Do
not put too much on her. She is more than half in love with him, too.

CARLYON.

[_Rather irritably._] Oh, that's nonsense.

ELIZABETH.

Haven't you seen how she is always watching him? Her face clouds at once
if you speak of him suddenly; she has grown quite pensive.

CARLYON.

Why, she'd sooner buckle my shoes than have him at her feet!

ELIZABETH.

Oh, of course. I didn't mean as much as that. But I do wish you would
find some safer way.

CARLYON.

[_Ironically._] Explain matters to the present Rajpoor Government, eh?
H'm, well, now it's off your mind, Elizabeth. You must feel better?

ELIZABETH.

You _will_ be careful about her?

CARLYON.

I will tell her as much as ever she can bear! However, you have been of
some use this time.

[_Rises; nods kindly to her. Enter_ VERA _by the steps_; ELIZABETH
_moves off towards the French window_.

VERA.

Where are you going, Elizabeth?

ELIZABETH.

Just to look at my birds. [_Exit_ ELIZABETH.

CARLYON.

Vera, I am going to confide in you. Will you help me?

VERA.

Oh, father, if you will only let me try! I have longed for you to try
me; but you never seemed to have any difficulties.

CARLYON.

As a soldier, you know! Absolute obedience!

VERA.

How could I ever disobey you?

CARLYON.

It is not really that. Only I have never felt sure that you were strong
enough. You have grown up in such seclusion, such entire ignorance of
the world.

VERA.

I have done men's work at the University.

CARLYON.

Students' work! A student is as ignorant as a woman. I doubt still if
the rude facts of life will not be too great a shock for you to face.

VERA.

Not with you, father.

CARLYON.

You know, Vera, a man's conscience and a woman's conscience are
different things. A man has greater difficulties to face, and must risk
doing greater wrongs, just as he is called upon to make greater
sacrifices for his duty--things that a woman knows nothing of.

[_Takes_ VERA _to the seat_ L., _and brings a chair near her_.

VERA.

Don't say a woman, say a child! I know this, and I am ready for the
bigger life. It is the lesson you have always taught me.

CARLYON.

Have you learned it?

VERA.

I learned it when I learned to honour you. I always thought of you----
may I say what I thought?

CARLYON.

Go on?

VERA.

Just what I always felt about the sea. It is so deep, so great, so far
beyond everything else, that though all the waste things of the world
are cast upon it, it takes no stain from them, it is always pure and
strong. I thought you were like that.

CARLYON.

You think in poetry, child. But I believe you know me. What I have to
say is this: You must prevent young Adene from going to Bhojâl.

VERA.

But I was glad he was going! And I thought he had convinced you he would
succeed.

CARLYON.

That is why he must not go. I have done things there which will never be
forgotten in Bhojâl, and which must never be known in England.

VERA.

I don't understand. You can't have done anything bad?

CARLYON.

Nothing that causes me remorse. Nothing that I would not do again. But
you know how these things are judged.

VERA.

I know the public might misunderstand; but Mr. Adene, he has travelled
so much----

CARLYON.

Adene has the conscience of a child.

VERA.

[_As if involuntarily, with pain._] His eyes are just like a child's
eyes.

CARLYON.

[_Rises, walks away, and then turns._] I will not have Adene in his
study and the public in their arm chairs judging the desperate things I
did when I was face to face with death!

VERA.

Yes, I can see that. But tell me what it was.

CARLYON.

You know how I stand. I have already more influence in India than any
living man. And here--well, I am not free to speak of it yet; but if I
accept what is offered me, my power here will be very great. If this is
once known, good-bye to everything, here or there.

VERA.

It can be nothing that would bring you dishonour.

CARLYON.

Dishonour? Public infamy!

VERA.

I _know_ that what you did was not dishonourable.

CARLYON.

I will tell you the worst at once.

[_He places the chair nearer her._

VERA.

[_Forcing a smile._] I am not afraid.

CARLYON.

I believe you have enough knowledge of me, and enough courage, to see
that what I did was right.

VERA.

Thank you for trusting me, father.

CARLYON.

It was when I was in Koreb's town, almost alone, just before the war.
The place was full of his men; they came streaming in every day.

VERA.

It was in time of peace, was it?

CARLYON.

It was called peace, but we all knew what was coming. War would have
been better. A frank declaration of war was the one thing wanted;
but--[_watching her keenly_]--of course it was my duty to avoid war as
long as possible.

VERA.

[_Simply._] Of course.

[CARLYON _seems about to speak angrily, but changes his mind_.

CARLYON.

I sent to Government for advice and Government advised--our waiting
patiently to have our throats cut.

VERA.

[_Shuddering._] Poor father, what did you do?

CARLYON.

[_Darkly._] You remember the little hospital I had there?

VERA.

Yes.

CARLYON.

I utilised my infectious cases.

VERA.

[_After a moment's pause._] What do you mean?

CARLYON.

You know the natives have no idea about infection and that sort of
thing.

VERA.

Of course. You used to have such trouble to get even the infected
clothes burnt.

CARLYON.

Exactly, in ordinary times. Well, at this time I didn't take so much
trouble, I took a little trouble the other way.

VERA.

But--What do you mean? What did you want?

CARLYON.

[_Harshly._] I wanted the tribes who were crowding round us to disperse.
And I knew that cholera would disperse them.

VERA.

Do you mean that you deliberately----?

CARLYON.

Don't trouble about the details. My servant Selim did most of it. There
was always a case or two of cholera in Bhojâl, and it's not hard to make
such things spread if you want to.

VERA.

I don't understand. What did you do?

CARLYON.

I poisoned the well. It only took ten days and the tribes began to
disperse. It was a regular panic. So we took our opportunity and cut our
way back to Rajpoor. I only lost two men; and Selim for a third.
[_Rising, with a sigh of relief._] Then the war broke out.

VERA.

[_Shuddering uneasily._] Of course you were right! But there was always
cholera there. It may not have come from anything you did.

CARLYON.

I don't know about that. [_Grimly._] I think Selim understood his
business.

VERA.

[_Shuddering again._] How horrible! But of course you were right. All
the women and children, too?

CARLYON.

Naturally; I couldn't isolate the non-combatants. There weren't very
many. I saved my own men. [_He pauses, takes a step or two_ L. _and
breaks out_.] I deceived the Government, disobeyed the Government, and
saved the whole of Rajpoor! I shut the war up in the Bhojâli country,
conquered Bhojâl, annexed half of it, and drove the rebellious element
beyond the frontier.

VERA.

[_Shuddering and cowed._] It was very horrible!

CARLYON.

Horrible! And what if Koreb had been let loose upon Rajpoor? If you had
ever seen the sacked villages and the torture stakes----

VERA.

Oh I know, I know. I didn't mean anything _you_ did was horrible.

CARLYON.

[_With emotion._] If some chance, some supernatural stroke had done what
I did, there would be no horror at the sacrifice, there would be nothing
but hymns and thanksgivings. They all prayed to God that this might come
to pass! Who dares to blame me because I did the thing they prayed for?

VERA.

[_Rising, after a moment's silence._] But how will _his_ going do any
harm? Surely it is known already; the others knew it?

CARLYON.

No one but old Selim and I. [_With a curious smile._] And afterwards the
chief--Koreb.

VERA.

Koreb? How did he know?

CARLYON.

There must have been a rumour among his people, but somehow he knew
more.

VERA.

Didn't Koreb speak when he was taken prisoner?

CARLYON.

[_Looking at her._] Don't you remember what happened to him? He didn't
know how to write.

VERA.

Oh, they cut his tongue out--his own people! I remember. [_She
shudders._

CARLYON.

[_Pacing the room._] There are many nasty things to rake up in the past
if we let Adene go. [VERA _silent_.] Can you stop him?

VERA.

I?

CARLYON.

You!

VERA.

I don't know. I don't see how I can. [_With horror._] Why, yes, I could!
But it would be--Oh, no, it would be too wicked!

CARLYON.

[_Coming to her._] What is it? Wouldn't he stay if you asked him?

VERA.

No, not unless----

CARLYON.

Unless you promised to marry him! If that too much?

VERA.

Oh, no, no, no! That never entered my head. I could do that. I could do
anything myself, but----

CARLYON.

Am I not first, after all?

VERA.

[_Not noticing what he says._] I tell you _I_ can do anything; but I
cannot sacrifice _him_!

CARLYON.

If you care for him so much----

VERA.

[_Turning quickly._] I care nothing for him, nothing! Of course you are
first. I will do anything in the world for you---- only this is so
terrible! I can't tell him.

CARLYON.

Tell him! Of course you can't!

VERA.

Oh, not that! I did not mean that!

CARLYON.

Then what can't you tell him?

VERA.

I can't tell him that he's a dying man--that he has a mortal disease of
the brain.

CARLYON.

[_After a moment of silence._] There was never any one who could really
stand against me! How long do you give him? [_He sits down with an air
of relief._

VERA.

It may be a long time. I can't say.

CARLYON.

I must have some idea; say what you think. Afterwards we can find some
one who knows.

VERA.

I think probably he will be blind in a year, and paralysed in two years,
and then----

CARLYON.

Blind in a year, paralysed in two!

VERA.

But I may be utterly wrong; I know so little and I have only had a few
stolen opportunities of observing him.

CARLYON.

Have you told Rheinhardt?

VERA.

Yes, that is why I asked him here----

CARLYON.

[_Observing that she is hurt._] A dying man can be as dangerous as
another. How can you stop him?

VERA.

By telling him.

CARLYON.

And he'll spend the rest of his life in getting doctored; yes. At any
rate he isn't likely to go travelling in Bhojâl. I should think he was a
brave man too.

VERA.

He won't be brave any more! Dr. Rheinhardt has told me all about it--it
crushes a man, breaks his nerve, takes away all his spirit.

CARLYON.

[_Who has not been listening to her--pacing the room again._] Yes, that
is evidently the plan. It is as simple as daylight. Poor fellow, he had
the makings of a fine man.

VERA.

Oh, don't pity him. I can't do it if you pity him.

CARLYON.

You're not going to give him his disease!

VERA.

No, but to tell him----

CARLYON.

You'll have to tell your patients things.

VERA.

If there was any hope of curing him----

CARLYON.

So there is! There _must_ be--_some_ hope, unless you send him off to
Bhojâl in ignorance. Then I agree there is none. [VERA _looks at him
with suspicion_.] It happens to be dangerous to me, certainly, but that
doesn't make it prudent for him.

VERA.

Father, don't try to make little of it. I will do what you ask; but I
must do it by breaking his spirit. I shall tell him suddenly,
brutally--so as to crush him once for all. Oh, how I shall loathe
myself! [_After a pause._] Only the last few months of his life!

CARLYON.

[_Coming up to her._] There speaks my brave girl again! What could he do
with that crippled life? And think of the long years that lie before
me--and you with me.

[_He turns and walks a little way up the garden._

VERA.

If it were any one but you!

_Re-enter_ RHEINHARDT _down the steps; he sees_ VERA _but not_ CARLYON.

RHEINHARDT.

You were quite right, quite right! You have seen at a glance what it
would take weeks and weeks--Of course it was just a piece of luck; it
was not any skill--you have none. [_To_ CARLYON.] Ah, I did not see you!
I was talking of your daughter's work.

CARLYON.

[_Coming down to_ RHEINHARDT.] Ah, Dr. Rheinhardt, I know the sad piece
of work you are referring to. Is there no hope?

RHEINHARDT.

[_To_ VERA.] Did you speak hereof to another person?

VERA.

Only my father, Dr. Rheinhardt.

RHEINHARDT.

"Only"! "Only"! And you wish to be a doctor!

CARLYON.

Come, Doctor, you mustn't be hard upon her. I extorted the facts.

RHEINHARDT.

A professional secret cannot be extorted! Miss Carlyon has only one
apology: she is not yet even in name a physician, and has time to
reflect before she attempts it to become.

CARLYON.

Well, I will leave her to be scolded alone. It is worse before
witnesses! Unless you would care to say anything to me?

RHEINHARDT.

That is not my affair.

[_Exit_ CARLYON, _with a sort of stern, humorous defiance_, L.]

So it was an extortion, eh? A compulsion?

VERA.

Yes.

RHEINHARDT.

And now you are sorry for what you have done? eh? and you pray
forgiveness, and you will never do it again?

VERA.

No, I had to. I would always do the same.

RHEINHARDT.

Gott im Himmel! Then I blame you no more! If you can show courage to
Rheinhardt!--You may have had reasons. Well, well, I trust you.

VERA.

Don't do that.

RHEINHARDT.

I will put you to a test. Your conclusions are right, if your
observations are right. That is what I must see.

VERA.

Are _you_ going to tell him?

RHEINHARDT.

Tell him? Am I mad? And what is more, he must not know that you have
watched him. You understand?

VERA.

Oh, yes! [_She sits down, dispiritedly._

RHEINHARDT.

This diagnosis, you are proud of it, eh? Well, we shall say nothing
about it. [VERA _nods_.] I will speak of his headaches; he will let me
treat them. Then I will watch! I will watch!

VERA.

You don't think--there couldn't be any chance of an operation?

RHEINHARDT.

Not the faintest! Not the ghost! Operation? Bah! it would be criminal,
it would be an assassinate! [_With a climax of contempt._] Ugh! it is
what Steinmetz would do!

VERA.

[_Rising._] Would Steinmetz try it? He is coming over here for the
Medical Congress.

RHEINHARDT.

Gott im Himmel! Would Steinmetz ever refuse an assassinate? He would
just kill him one year sooner, that is all. He is dying fast enough for
me.

VERA.

[_To herself._] Is it worth while to be so long dying?

RHEINHARDT.

Are you coming in?

VERA.

No, I want to sit out in the air. [_She sits again._

RHEINHARDT.

Ah, then the thesis is finished: or is it given up?

VERA.

Doctor, don't be angry with me for little things, when there may come
great ones. [_Shakes his hand._] Just to show that you forgive me this
time for telling father. I expect some day you will never forgive me.
[RHEINHARDT _looks curiously at her, and exit_. VERA _waits motionless
for an instant, then rises with a hard laugh_.] Well, the sooner the
better. [_Going across to window back._] Mr. Adene! Mr. Adene!

ADENE.

[_From inside._] Miss Carlyon! Yes, I am coming at once.

_Enter_ ELIZABETH _hurriedly from the house_.

ELIZABETH.

What is it? Why do you call him?

VERA.

I have something to say to him.

ELIZABETH.

Vera, Vera, have you thought well what you are doing?

VERA.

No, and I won't think!

ELIZABETH.

You must not betray your father!

[_Holding her arm._

VERA.

[_Throwing her off._] It is not my father I am betraying!

ELIZABETH.

[_Letting go._] Thank Heaven for that! Oh, child! put all your faith in
him, and, whatever you suffer, you will never be lonely or forsaken!

[_Exit_ ELIZABETH, _as_ ADENE _appears on the steps, pen in hand_.

ADENE.

I have just been writing----

VERA.

You are perfectly determined to go?

ADENE.

Of course. Why?

VERA.

Is there nothing you could think of that would turn you back?

ADENE.

No; especially now that your father approves.

VERA.

But will you go on to other places after Bhojâl?

ADENE.

Naturally. Why are you cross-examining me? I will confess everything.

VERA.

And if you find an Englishman who has done wrong ever so long ago to a
native, you will expose him?

ADENE.

Certainly, if I find any.

VERA.

Take a man who has left it all behind him . . . who was serving his
country in some high and difficult post?

ADENE.

I shall report anything I think ought to be known to the proper
authorities. I am not a police agent nor a spy; but I am a historian,
and I do not intend to hide things in order to oblige people!

VERA.

Peace and war the same?

ADENE.

Of course there is great latitude allowed in war, but----

VERA.

[_Interrupting._] I know you will do harm! I wish you would wait and
think. . . . Wait for six months.

ADENE.

Six months!!

VERA.

You are doing evil work there! You are upsetting the work of
government. . . . It is all being reformed. You will be killed yourself
. . . . I shall never ask anything but this of you: only wait! Wait till
you can think it over! [_Comes a little to him._

ADENE.

[_Mastering some impatience._] My dear Miss Carlyon. I have thought it
over long ago. You don't suppose I have worked for years towards this
scheme and never asked myself whether it was right?

VERA.

It is not too late to think again.

ADENE.

I cannot understand why you are so troubled.

VERA.

I have told you why.

ADENE.

You can't want to screen any one!

VERA.

Whom could I screen? I know no one but father.

[_She moves a little away from him._

ADENE.

[_Goes to her._] Is it possible that it is my life you care for? I
should never have dared to hope it. If it is really that, may I, when I
come back----

VERA.

Will you go or will you stay?

ADENE.

I will take every possible care. My life never seemed so precious to me
as it does now. If only when I return I may come to you----

VERA.

Will you go or will you stay?

ADENE.

You are unreasonable. [_Takes her hand._] Surely one must take the
risks----

VERA.

[_Interrupting._] Leave go, leave go! You are mad! [_He recoils from
her._] Your life may well seem precious; you have barely a year of it
left!

ADENE.

What do you mean?

VERA.

I have watched you day by day. I saw it in your eyes with that glass.
There are a dozen symptoms to make it as clear as daylight. You don't
feel much yet, but you're going blind, you're going paralysed, you are
dying slowly under my eyes. . . . [ADENE, _incredulous but
horror-struck, grasps the back of the chair_.] Dr. Rheinhardt knows it.
He has seen my notes and watched you. First blind, then paralysed, then
dead! Now go if you can; cross the mountains and ruin good men by raking
up their old wrongdoings.

ADENE.

It can't be true! [_Calling out._] Reinhardt, Rheinhardt! Here! Come at
once!

RHEINHARDT _appears on the steps_ L.

RHEINHARDT.

Why, what in this world . . .

ADENE.

Is this true? Have you seen anything in me?----

RHEINHARDT.

Woman, woman! you have not told him?

ADENE.

Then it is true. Is there no chance for me?

RHEINHARDT.

My friend, your case is somewhat serious.

ADENE.

She says there is no hope; is a true? What is it?

RHEINHARDT.

[_Slowly._] There is much reason to fear that you may have what we call
a glioma in the substance of the brain. But you need not yet be uneasy.
You may live a considerable time.

ADENE.

Is there no operation possible?

RHEINHARDT.

None at all, none at all! It would be criminal at present.

ADENE.

How long shall I have the use of my faculties?

RHEINHARDT.

You may well live until some experimentation---- Yes, the subject is
being much attended to.

ADENE.

Oh, Rheinhardt, you are my friend. How long can I calculate upon? Two
months? One month?

RHEINHARDT.

Longer than that.

ADENE.

Six months? [RHEINHARDT _assents._] Then I must start at once. I can do
most of it! [_Coming across to_ VERA.] Thank you. Miss Carlyon, for
letting me know. Forgive me for what I said--what I tried to say. I did
not, of course, know how painful it was. I shall always--I am privileged
now, am I not?--I shall always love and honour you, and be grateful for
the anxiety you showed to save me from what you thought a danger. But I
shall be happier when I get to work.

VERA.

But you won't go? You won't go! Is it all for nothing?

ADENE.

Will work hurt me, Rheinhardt?

RHEINHARDT.

Far better work than not--if you can.

ADENE.

Oh, I can, sure enough. Miss Carlyon, may I----

VERA.

No, no! Go away from me and forget that you ever saw me. [_She falls on
the settee, sobbing._

ADENE.

Good-bye, Rheinhardt. But you must have another look at me, to make
certain.

RHEINHARDT.

Of course I must. [_Exit_ ADENE.] Ach, Gott! What a man! But he must
break down. He must break down! Oh, if Steinmetz were to be right after
all? [_Passing by_ VERA.] Ach! you miserable, you rotten-hearted girl!


END OF THE SECOND ACT.



THE THIRD ACT


_A sitting-room in_ CARLYON'S _house; time_, 10 _p.m. Doors left and
right; also in right back corner opening into veranda with aviary_.
ELIZABETH _is in the aviary crooning to her Himalayan eagles_; CARLYON
_is writing_ L.C.; VERA, _with the_ British Medical Journal _in her
hand, watches him rather anxiously till he ceases and begins to read
over his letter, then she rises and comes up to him_.

VERA.

Are you busy, Father?

CARLYON.

I am only reasoning with Her Majesty's Government. There, copy that!

[_Gives her the draft letter._

VERA.

There is a thing you ought perhaps to see in this paper--some
experiments of Dr. Steinmetz.

[_Offering him the_ B. M. J.

CARLYON.

[_Sharply._] What paper?

VERA.

Only the _British Medical Journal_. You said I could keep it on.

CARLYON.

You have given up all the others?

VERA.

Yes. All except this. There is an article here----

[_Offers it to him again: he does not take it._

CARLYON.

Do you care about this one?

VERA.

[_With a sigh and a smile._] I have read it all through three times.

CARLYON.

[_Rising; peremptorily._] Vera, I don't offer you my work as a _pis
aller_. If you wish to go back to your medicine. . . .

VERA.

Dr. Rheinhardt has definitely forbidden me!

CARLYON.

You could win Rheinhardt round in ten minutes. The point is--do you wish
it?

VERA.

[_Dispiritedly._] Oh, no; I want only to serve you. When you first spoke
of making me your secretary, it came to me like a ray of sunlight.

CARLYON.

But now you have regrets?

VERA.

No. I always felt a sort of doubt and fear of things when I depended on
myself; and now that is all gone.

CARLYON.

You don't feel at home in my world yet; naturally.

VERA.

I think I do. It is so restful to have you to guide me and judge for me.
Only I do enjoy this old thing--[_showing the_ B. M. J.]--and it takes
very little time.

CARLYON.

It is not a question of time; it is a question of divided allegiance.

VERA.

I will give it up it you think right, father.

CARLYON.

No, not just yet. Here are three more letters. [_Hands them to her._]
Decline that. Agree to that. Tell the Deputation to come on the 15th at
10 A.M.

VERA.

Yes.

CARLYON.

Also write out a telegram. [_Looks at her and pauses._] No; that is
all. Take them upstairs; I may want to dictate something.

VERA.

Yes.

[_Exit_ VERA. CARLYON _sits again_. ELIZABETH, _who has approached from
the veranda, looks at_ CARLYON _questioningly_.

CARLYON.

Well, Elizabeth? [_Not looking up, absently._

ELIZABETH.

[_Standing above him._] Aren't you hard upon her? She did so love her
medicine! And she has hardly any of her old light-heartedness left.

CARLYON.

She has got some, and I shall have to take that away. Do you know,
Elizabeth, you were light-hearted once?

ELIZABETH.

But you won't make her like me?

CARLYON.

Precisely, except that she'll be cleverer. I suppose you are happy
enough at the end of the process?

ELIZABETH.

Oh, _I_ am happy if only I can satisfy you. But she will never quite
give herself up.

CARLYON.

Oh yes, she will! Why, already she follows without question every word I
speak!

ELIZABETH.

[_Coming round in front of him._] Every spoken word, I should hope so!
But what about your unspoken thoughts and feelings? Oh, you _know_ she
will never be like me. Can you bring _her_ in from another room by
wishing for her? Does _she_ come in smiling if you are glad, and sad if
you are angry? [CARLYON _shrugs his shoulders_.] Has there ever been any
one but me like that?

CARLYON.

[_With a laugh._] Well, Selim for one! And the late Khan of Bhojâl for
another! However, since you can read my feelings, do you know what is
the matter with me to-night?

ELIZABETH.

No, I know that you are troubled.

CARLYON.

I have had letters from Rajpoor; that man Adene has come back across the
frontier from Bhojâl. And that's not all; read this. [_Gives her a
letter._

ELIZABETH.

[_Reading._] Well, when once you let him go----

CARLYON.

A sick half-dying man like that--the chances were enormous against his
ever returning.

ELIZABETH.

[_Reading._] What is all this long description of the man who has come
back with him? "A huge one-armed Mahometan----"

CARLYON.

[_Repeating from memory._] "With a fixed glazed look as though he were
seeing something horrible." Bah! that's enough. [_Takes letter._] And
now he is on his way to Koreb at Travancore.

ELIZABETH.

What does it mean? I never knew what you did to Koreb.

CARLYON.

No, but _he_ does!

ELIZABETH.

How can you tell?

CARLYON.

I know the man who is with him. I do not forget that look.

ELIZABETH.

Oh! why won't you let _me_ help you?

CARLYON.

There is no difficulty. I'll have Adene back at once to be operated
upon.

ELIZABETH.

Surely he knows that an operation is not possible?

CARLYON.

If Vera writes to him that it _is_ possible, he'll come!

ELIZABETH.

Vera? Oh, do take care! She might obey you in everything else, but
you'll have to deceive her about him.

CARLYON.

I shall not deceive her. If she flinches, I shall tell her a little
truth.

ELIZABETH.

Truth? [_Nervously._] Do you mean you will tell her about me, or
something you have never told me? She won't bear it!

CARLYON.

Of course she won't. I should like to see her bear a thing that I mean
to crush her!

ELIZABETH.

[_Suddenly throwing herself down and kissing his hand._] Oh, do let it
be me! Let me do something for you! If you would only try me----

CARLYON.

What use can I possibly make of you?

ELIZABETH.

[_Continuing._] I have courage enough. When you were vexed with me
yesterday, I went and walked in the cage there, among the eagles!

CARLYON.

To punish yourself? [_Grimly._] Well, I suppose they were asleep!

ELIZABETH.

I woke them! Oh, you can't trust her like me; and I will do anything,
anything!

CARLYON.

Come, come, Elizabeth! [_Lifts her up._] That letter must come from
Vera, and from no one else. [_A ring is heard at the front door._] And I
am not anxious. It would want a miracle to unseat me now; and I don't
suppose my fortune intends to desert me all of a sudden.

_Enter_ VERA _hurriedly_.

VERA.

Did you hear that bell? I am sure it is Dr. Rheinhardt; I knew his step
on the gravel walk.

CARLYON.

It can't be Rheinhardt! Why, he is in Zurich. What is the matter with
you?

VERA.

No. He came to Carlisle to the Medical Congress, but----

_Enter a_ SERVANT.

SERVANT.

Dr. Rheinhardt wishes to see you, sir, for a few minutes.

CARLYON.

What can he be coming here for? Show him in.

_Enter_ RHEINHARDT. ELIZABETH _goes to speak with the_ SERVANT, _and so
exit with him_.

RHEINHARDT.

[_Addressing_ CARLYON _and ignoring_ VERA, _who looks anxiously at him
and then turns away_.] I have come----

CARLYON.

Well, this is a surprise, Doctor. Where have you come from?

RHEINHARDT.

I have come merely for a few minutes, to ask if you know the address in
India of Mr. Adene. I had it till he left Rajpoor; but since then a
telegram has been returned to me.

CARLYON.

Adene's address? No; let me think.

VERA.

Yes; we can easily find him.

CARLYON.

[_Sharply turning._] You are wrong, Vera. You only know that old
address. [_To_ RHEINHARDT.] I had one or two letters from him, but the
people at Rajpoor whose address he used have lost sight of him.

RHEINHARDT.

Is there no person he has written to here?

VERA.

[_With an impulse._] Do you mean to go to him?

[RHEINHARDT _stands stiffly, taking no notice_.

CARLYON.

Nobody. I believe he has a sister or something at Clifton.

RHEINHARDT.

Please give me her address and also the address of the people at
Rajpoor.

CARLYON.

I do not know the address at Clifton. At Rajpoor it is Stephen Bonsor,
Esq.----

RHEINHARDT.

Bah! that is what I have. Have you a 'Bradshaw'? I will go to Clifton.

CARLYON.

But you can't mean to go to Clifton to-night?

RHEINHARDT.

If I can get a train!

[VERA _meantime has fetched him a 'Bradshaw,' which he puts down on the_
British Medical Journal.

[_Sarcastically._] I was not aware that Miss Carlyon any longer
professed an interest in these studies!

[_He examines 'Bradshaw'_; VERA _does not reply, but joins_ CARLYON
_down centre_.

CARLYON.

[_Apart, to_ VERA.] What made you think he was going himself? He may be
only going to write.

VERA.

No, I am sure he is going!

CARLYON.

Why, the operation has never been attempted?

VERA.

Yes. That was what I wanted to show you just now. Steinmetz has done it
four times, and killed the patient each time. The _Journal_ is
indignant. He can hardly mean to try it! But he won't tell us; he
wouldn't even speak to me!

CARLYON.

We'll soon see that! [_Approaching_ RHEINHARDT.] By the way, Doctor, I
see that your old master, Steinmetz, has been very successful in
performing that operation on the brain, that young Adene----

RHEINHARDT.

Steinmetz my master? Steinmetz was never my master! You call it
successful, you call it Steinmetz's section? Very well, I do not
complain! It is Steinmetz's section because he has cut open five people
and killed four--[_Movement of_ VERA _and of_ CARLYON]--and he is my
master because I have only cut open two and killed none! He is your
great man.

VERA.

[_Excitedly._] You have done the operation yourself?

RHEINHARDT.

I only followed him; he showed the way. When have I said anything else?
And if I do not kill my people it is because I have no originality, I am
a plodder, a second-rate man! Bah! he is a bungler!

CARLYON.

Then you _are_ going to India to operate on Adene?

RHEINHARDT.

What does it matter--I am nobody--what I do? Good-night.

CARLYON.

Stop a moment. Vera has just reminded me that we have got a later
address. If you are going to operate, or think it possible, we must
telegraph to him to come back at once.

RHEINHARDT.

I will not telegraph. What can I promise him? "Come back and let me see
if it will kill you to cut out a big bit out of your head!" I will go
and find him.

VERA.

[_With a sheet of paper on which she has just been writing._] Look, Dr.
Rheinhardt, this is the right address.

[_Gives it him._ CARLYON _frowns, with some surprise_; RHEINHARDT
_hesitates, then takes it ungraciously_.

CARLYON.

I advise you to telegraph all the same. The climate of India will be
very unfavourable for his recovery.

RHEINHARDT.

Climate? Bah! it has a hundred climates. I shall start to-morrow if
there is a steamer. Good-night!

CARLYON.

But you will have to wait three hours for a train.

RHEINHARDT.

Well, there is a waiting-room.

[_Exit_ RHEINHARDT. VERA _is motionless for an instant, then starts
after him_.

CARLYON.

[_Peremptorily._] Vera!

VERA.

[_Impulsively._] Oh, father! could I go with him?

CARLYON.

With Rheinhardt to India? Good God, girl, it may come to that yet! [_He
paces the room disturbed and angry, then turns upon her._] Then it was
all wrong, what you've been telling me about those operations? You said
it was impossible.

VERA.

It was, a few months ago.

CARLYON.

Do you mean that you think that Rheinhardt can do it?

VERA.

He never operates unless he is almost certain of success. Oh, how
wonderful it would be!

CARLYON.

[_With fury._] Wonderful! Are you a perfect fool, Vera? [_Pause. He
continues coldly._] You heard me speak of a telegram to be sent
to-night?

VERA.

Yes.

CARLYON.

[_Watching her, taking from his pocket-book a sheet of notepaper._] It
was this--to Adene; to return at once, as the operation can be
performed.

VERA.

But you did not know then--you did not think it could be performed!

CARLYON.

[_Deliberately._] I thought it was impossible. [_Pause._

VERA.

I don't understand.---- Oh, Father, I can't believe it! I thought you
had made up your mind to face all that might come. What you did in
Bhojâl was right; why are you afraid of his knowing it? Oh, you are not!
You are not a man who can be afraid! You are not; or why did you never
speak of him all this time? Why did you never try to stop him?

CARLYON.

I gave the Bhojâl Mountains the chance of stopping him first. And if
they failed, then I had magic for him!

VERA.

Magic?

CARLYON.

The promise of a chance of life to a man slowly dying. [_Tapping the
telegram._] I had only to send this, and he was bound to come home.

VERA.

Have you been waiting for him like a beast of prey all this time?

CARLYON.

[_With passion._] No, it is he who is waiting for me like a beast of
prey. Do you think I have not felt him there all these months? Do you
suppose I have not made ready to strike him as he springs?

VERA.

I would never have sent such a telegram. [_Defiant, then instantaneously
submissive._] It would be no good. He wouldn't come. He wouldn't even
believe you--now!

CARLYON.

[_Coldly._] This telegram is signed by you, not by me. [_She comes up to
him and looks at the telegram._] Are you calm enough to listen to
reason?

VERA.

I can listen to anything you have got to say. But I would sooner murder
him outright than this!

CARLYON.

It may very possibly come to that--especially after you have given
Rheinhardt that address--against my wish!

VERA.

You spoke of giving him a later address----

[_Her manner is cowed._

CARLYON.

You knew I did not wish it.

VERA.

Yes, I am sorry.

CARLYON.

You preferred to disobey me; perhaps you mean to disobey me now? I make
no appeal because of my danger; I can defend myself without you--or even
against you. [_Sits on settee._

VERA.

[_Passionately, on her knees to him._] How could I ever be against you?
If anything happens I will die with you!

CARLYON.

There is no question of dying. And if you are ready to judge me and
desert me on your first impulse, without caring to understand, it is
just as well for me that there is not.

VERA.

Oh! I ought not to judge you! Father, I don't judge you. But make me
understand.

CARLYON.

Did you think me right about the poisoning of the well?

VERA.

No, not at first. But I began quickly to see----

CARLYON.

Will you take that as a lesson to show you how to trust me? Vera, I am a
man greater than other men. I see my way clearly. I shrink from nothing,
and I strike hard. Another man cannot keep pace with me: he cannot
criticise me: he must either stand out of my path, or follow me with
perfect devotion.

VERA.

Yes, yes; I know. I always feel it. Only that is why I cannot hear you
to be plotting. I want always to say what the Bhojâlis said: "He has no
fear, and his justice is the justice of a god."

CARLYON.

Do you know what they meant by the justice of a god? That is the very
thing you dare not face. A god has his great ends which men know not of,
and woe to the men or the nations that block those ends! And so it is
with me. So it has been with all great rulers and conquerors of men. You
cannot judge them, you cannot judge me, step by step, detail by detail.
You need only know that ultimately, taken all in all, what I will is
good, and I have never yet failed.

VERA.

[_Moved._] Oh, it is true; I always knew it.

CARLYON.

You want to think me purer and juster than other men? So I am. I have a
high and clear standard, and never swerve from it without cause. I am
merciful, because I have seldom needed to be cruel; I speak the truth,
because I am seldom afraid. But, once or twice, here and there, when
things were different, I have never been turned from my purpose by the
mere nervous horror of a crime that most men feel; and where the first
step led to a second and a third, I have gone on without flinching.

VERA.

I can understand you, father. You have broken ordinary laws, because you
listened to higher laws. You have followed your own conscience.

CARLYON.

Conscience? I don't know what it means. I tell you I have seldom, very
seldom, broken through what people call justice. But when I did--where
other men would flinch and prevaricate, I lied and swore false oaths.
Where they would connive at wrong occurring, I did the wrong with my own
hands, and cleared away the evidence of it. My own people in Bhojâl knew
me; they told in their songs how I could give the tiger fresh hunger and
the cobra poison; but they said too, "Best to be in the hand of God,
next best in the hand of Kal[^y]ona Sahib."

VERA.

Yes, yes. I am bewildered, but I can see some great right and truth
coming out through it all. You saved your own people and all Rajpoor.
One man had gone mad with fear----

[_She is going over it, to convince herself._

CARLYON.

[_With swift contempt._] Do you think mere danger made me poison the
Bhojâli waters?

VERA.

You told me how it was. Any one who knew all would forgive you!

CARLYON.

Forgive me! I want no forgiveness! I did what I did because it was the
right thing to do; not because I was afraid. [_She looks up
bewildered._] I did it to make the Bhojâlis rebel, and then to crush
them.

VERA.

[_Aghast._] To make them rebel? You poisoned the water to make them----?

CARLYON.

Yes, and all fell out exactly as I meant. They were panicstricken,
paralysed, stung to fury, all at one blow. And they struck when they
were weak and I was strong!

VERA.

But you said--you said---- I can't believe it!

CARLYON.

Only one thing went wrong. I had too much power over Koreb. The man
loved me like a dog, and somehow couldn't fight against me.

VERA.

I know. Oh, I know! Poor Koreb!

CARLYON.

[_His hand on her shoulder._] He fled from his own people and came to
me. He was half crazy by that time, and went babbling like a fool right
and left. I thought of having him shot. I thought of one thing after
another. Selim was with me; and that night Selim fell upon him in his
sleep, and made sure of his silence!

VERA.

[_Recoils in horror and puts her hand over her mouth._] You never----

CARLYON.

I never spoke a word, but my thought somehow drilled its way into his
brain, and when I woke in the morning the thing was done.--Rouse
yourself! You are the daughter of a man born for greatness, a man who
does what others dream of! You love me, and you dare not disobey! [_She
raises her eyes to his in a fascinated, half-stupefied way._] Read that
letter!

VERA.

[_Utterly unnerved._] I can't read! What is it?

CARLYON.

Adene has come back from Bhojâl. He is almost dying, but---- Do you see
that?

VERA.

What is it?

CARLYON.

[_Taking the letter back and speaking in a tone of anger and fear._]
Selim is with him!

VERA.

Then Selim can defend you, not I! [_He stops her as he is trying to
rise._] Oh, let me go!

CARLYON.

Selim won't defend me! After that morning he knew too much. It was two
nights later, in the jungle.--Are you listening?

VERA.

Yes. You murdered him too! What is it you want of me?

CARLYON.

No! The wretch knew what was in my mind. He dodged my stroke, and I only
cut through his arm, and he went over, wounded, to the enemy.

VERA.

And now he has come back?

CARLYON.

Now this Adene has hunted him out, and they are going to Travancore to
Koreb's prison.

VERA.

And am I to murder some one? Who is it?

CARLYON.

Vera, you are sobbing like a hysterical girl. Look things in the face!
There is no question of murder.

VERA.

Oh! it is all murder! [_Gets up._] There is nothing but murder! You have
done too much, and they are crowding from their graves against you.
There is no escape--oh, thank God, there is no escape! Now I can forgive
you everything; you have only to suffer and let them hunt you to death!

CARLYON.

[_Rising._] No escape? Is it Adene and two half mad natives you are
afraid of?

VERA.

Oh, make me see that what you did was right! I shall believe everything.
Only I am weak, and I can't bear it if you leave me without help.

CARLYON.

Vera take my hands--[_She does so._]--look me in the face. My cause was
worth a war, and I made it. It claimed Koreb and Selim, and I sacrificed
them. Am I now to prolong the life of one dying man that all the
sacrifices of the past may be wasted? Do you see?

VERA.

Yes, I am stronger now. I don't care about the past. I will do what you
bid me.

CARLYON.

Well, the first thing is to telegraph--[_He makes a slight pause: then
deliberately_]--so that he shall come to England and miss Rheinhardt.

[_Throughout this scene_ CARLYON _has fixed his eyes on_ VERA,
_controlling her with them, except for sudden outbreaks. Her manner
gradually becomes submissive and dazed, as if she were answering each
question in answer to the outside stimulus, without fully understanding
what she said._

VERA.

Yes.

CARLYON.

Will that be enough?

VERA.

No! It is not safe. Other people here could operate.

CARLYON.

Then what do you advise?

VERA.

I must go with Dr. Rheinhardt to India.

CARLYON.

And then?

VERA.

[_Sweeping her other hand across her brow._] I won't say it. I never
thought of it myself; it is only _your_ thought drilling itself into my
brain!

CARLYON.

You can _help_ Rheinhardt when he operates.

VERA.

They will never let me help.

CARLYON.

Don't you see, if you go to India to nurse him, Rheinhardt will think
you are in love with the man?

VERA.

[_Appealing for mercy._] I believe I was once---- Oh, Father! Father!

CARLYON.

[_Lets her go; moving towards door._] Think of it by yourself. [_Turning
to her._] I leave you your full freedom! [_To himself._] I wish
Elizabeth were here.

VERA.

Oh, don't leave me alone!

CARLYON.

[_Continuing, without regard to her appeal._] Think of it quietly!
[_Exit_ CARLYON, R.

[VERA _follows_ CARLYON _towards the door, then runs to the window and
puts her head out_.

_Enter_ ELIZABETH.

ELIZABETH.

Vera, my eagle is dead! [VERA _silent_.] I felt sure it was coming, he
has been so changed these last days,--he has been afraid of things!

VERA.

[_Looking round for a moment, startled, as if she did not understand._]
Oh, the eagle! [_Leans out again._

ELIZABETH.

Why, childie! Are you crying? What is the matter?

VERA.

Don't mind me, Elizabeth. I feel just like a child crying.

ELIZABETH.

You have been studying too much. That is it!

VERA.

No, I am only left alone.

ELIZABETH.

Why are you alone? You need not be, dear.

[_Goes up and offers_ VERA _her hand_.

VERA.

[_Reaching her hand back to_ ELIZABETH, _without looking in_.] Thank
you, Elizabeth. You are kind to me. But you cannot be any good to me
now.

ELIZABETH.

Very well, my dear. Only you will feel better if you trust somebody. It
is always so.

VERA.

Who is there to trust? I mean to betray some one who trusts me.

ELIZABETH.

My dear, I think you had better come in from that window. [_Turns._]
What can you see to keep you out there?

VERA.

Would you like to know? [ELIZABETH _shows increasing emotion during
this speech of_ VERA'S.] I see a sort of wide bottomless sheet of
water,--it is only the spread of moonlight, you know. A great wide sheet
of water--down there--and there is some one drowning in it. I can see
his two eyes looking up to me from the depths of it, and there are his
hands somewhere reaching out to me for help; and, do you know what,
Elizabeth? I shall reach down and down until I can grip them, and then I
shall hold him under the water till he is cold and dead---- he is cold
already. That is what I see. It isn't a cheerful thing, is it? And
then,--I don't know what it will be then; but now I can only see the
eyes: they are not really like a man's eyes, they are like a child's
eyes full of pain, and--[_turns and looks at_ ELIZABETH]--so trusting
and innocent, like a little child being murdered!

ELIZABETH.

[_With a shriek._] No, no! God help me! Not a child's eyes! Not you too!
Oh, say you don't see them!

VERA.

[_Coming towards her._] Elizabeth! What is it? I have never seen you
like this.

ELIZABETH.

Oh, tell me that you don't see them! It is only to try me. _I_ know they
are there. I see them always. But not you. Not a child's eyes!

VERA.

It was only fancy. It was what I seemed to see in the moonlight on the
mist. It meant nothing.

ELIZABETH.

Has he told you? Why did he do it? Tell me, has he told you? [_Turns and
catches hold of_ VERA.

VERA.

Yes, he has--he has told me----

ELIZABETH.

And you are angry! You can't forgive him! Oh, Vera, you are wrong. Blame
me if you like. I did love the child, but it was I who wished it. Every
woman living would have wished it! [_Sits on settee._

VERA.

I don't understand. Why are you like this?

ELIZABETH.

I was stupid with weeping when he came that night, and he was so brave
and strong. He never feared anything in his life. He called me "Poor
child." "Poor child," he said, "do you know why you are unhappy? Because
you dare not do the thing that your heart is praying for." . . . Then he
took the child out with him and came back alone.

VERA.

What child? Was it his own child? [_Fiercely, starting towards
her._]--Tell me, or I will kill you!--and were you its mother?

ELIZABETH.

I thought he had told you.

VERA.

When was it?

ELIZABETH.

Thirty-four--thirty-five years ago; before he went to India. I loved him
long before your mother did.

VERA.

You say you loved the child. Didn't you hate him for it?

ELIZABETH.

Hate him? No. I was half mad, I think. I used to watch his face. If
there had been a single shadow on it, I think I should have hated him.
But he never changed. He was always untroubled, and his eyes were always
true and fearless! Then I knew he could bear all my burdens, and I need
fear nothing any more.

VERA.

Why did he not marry you?

ELIZABETH.

He told me from the first he would not. I don't suppose he loved me
much; how could he? He was so far above me, so much stronger and wiser.
I got all I wanted afterwards, when he let me come here and look after
you.

VERA.

I don't understand you, Elizabeth. [_Vehemently._] Are you mad, and is
it all untrue?

ELIZABETH.

The baby's eyes haunt me; I dare not look into deep water. But it is
just this that has given me peace.

VERA.

Peace!

ELIZABETH.

It is the want of trust that makes life hard. You cannot be happy
without perfect courage; and you cannot have courage without perfect
strength. He has both; and they are yours if you trust him.

VERA.

Is it possible to trust any one? Suppose he did what you knew was wrong?

ELIZABETH.

How should I know it was wrong? When I have found a man who stands out
above other men, who shrinks from nothing, who is true to himself----

VERA.

[_Shuddering._] But to murder a little thing like that!

ELIZABETH.

It was just the helplessness of the little thing that would have
frightened another man. It must be very hard to murder a child. But
neither strength nor helplessness can frighten him!

VERA.

[_After a pause._] And have you never doubted him?

ELIZABETH.

Vera, how could I doubt? Why, if I had doubted him then I should have
hated him; if I doubted him now I should die! [VERA _shudders_.

VERA.

Shut out that ghastly moonlight! [ELIZABETH _rises and draws the
curtain_. VERA _goes up to her, and they sit together_.] Let me come
closer to you. Tell me it all again.

ELIZABETH.

Tell what again? Poor child, I have suffered all that you have, and
more.

VERA.

Say again: "Your father betrayed me, murdered my child----"

ELIZABETH.

[_Interrupting._] No, he never betrayed me. He did an awful thing for my
sake. He gave me peace.

VERA.

[_Looking at her._] If only one could trust like that!

ELIZABETH.

You can, childie. Think of him as always with you; try to feel him
looking into your heart, commanding----

VERA.

[_Half frightened._] Will that do it? But I am always doing that! I
can't help it!

ELIZABETH.

Then all this storm and suspicion will pass away, and you will be like
me!

VERA.

[_Starting away from her._] Like you! No, not like you! I can't be!
[ELIZABETH _rises and comes down to her_.] Oh, how did you blind
yourself? Has he sucked your heart's blood and left you dead, with no
will, no conscience, no power to think? [_With fury._] Oh, beat him back
from you! Fight him! Fight him!

ELIZABETH.

Child, child! how could one fight him? You don't know what you say!

VERA.

With his own weapons. By lies, pitiless treachery! I have seen him
afraid, Elizabeth! I have seen him afraid! [_Starting nervously._] Ah!
there is his step. Don't let him come! Keep him from me, just for one
moment, Elizabeth! If he speaks to me now I can't think. [_Running to
the window._] Oh! here I can breathe!

[_She stays with her head out of the window as before._

_Enter_ CARLYON.

CARLYON.

[_To_ ELIZABETH.] Why is she there? What have you said?

ELIZABETH.

She is frightened! I thought you had told her.

CARLYON.

You told her _that_! [_Pause._] So much the better. If she understands
one thing she will understand all. [_Cross_ L.] Well, Vera----

ELIZABETH.

[_Reaching across after him._] She understands nothing! Don't trust her!

[CARLYON _utterly disregarding_ ELIZABETH, _and walking up to_ VERA.

CARLYON.

You've had time to think. Is it to be the world or me?

VERA.

[_Turning and coming down to meet him._] I see it all clearly now,
father, and I won't be afraid any more.


END OF THE THIRD ACT.



THE FOURTH ACT


_In front of a Bungalow in the Ghautgherry Hills; the Bungalow with its
veranda occupies the left half of the stage; the rest is Compound, with
thick trees at the right. A door in the centre of the veranda leads into
the house; another, at the left, leads to_ ADENE'S _sick-room. In front,
to the right_, ADENE _is reclining in a long Singapore chair with
cushions. Just above him a table, covered with Bhojâlee curiosities
which have just been taken from a box. At the table is_ RHEINHARDT
_seated, looking at the objects. Behind is_ SELIM, _an old native with
one arm, dusting the veranda with a feather mop_.

ADENE _has a Bhojâlee belt in his hands, with empty sheath_; RHEINHARDT
_has the knife, and is examining it closely_.

ADENE.

The belt is said to have been Koreb's own. There is nothing particular
about the knife--an ordinary Bhojâl kukri.

RHEINHARDT.

[_Holding the knife up for the light to strike its edge._] Do they use
poisoned knives in Bhojâl?

ADENE.

They have the secret; but I never heard of its being used in war, except
in the last war, against us. [_He sits up and reaches for the knife,
which_ RHEINHARDT _gives_.] Do you see anything that looks like poison?

RHEINHARDT.

Come, come! [_Presses him down in the chair._] If I let you come outside
the veranda, you must be content to lie still.--Selim, two pegs lower.
[_Holds up two fingers._] And the cushions. [_To_ ADENE, _as_ SELIM
_nods his understanding_.] I never know how much that man understands.

[SELIM _lowers the back of the chair, and rearranges the cushions
tenderly and skilfully. A bell is heard, off._

ADENE.

Oh, he understands most things. [_Exit_ SELIM _up_ C.] You see,
Carlyon's methods at that time had turned them into perfect fiends!
[RHEINHARDT _looks sharply up_.] Well, infected them, we'll say, with
the Carlyon spirit. [RHEINHARDT _continues to look disapprovingly at_
ADENE.] Look here, Rheinhardt, do you think this is a delusion of mine
about Carlyon?

RHEINHARDT.

No.

ADENE.

Then why do you look hurt whenever I refer to the things that I know
about him?

RHEINHARDT.

Sir Carlyon may be the Devil himself; I have in him no interest. It is
only the children of the Devil that I am sorry for.

ADENE.

[_With sudden constraint._] I have never said a word affecting Miss
Carlyon.

RHEINHARDT.

Nor thought a word, eh?

ADENE.

I have no material for thinking about her, one way or the other.

_Re-enter_ SELIM _with letters_.

RHEINHARDT.

I will give you material!

SELIM.

[_Interrupting and laying letters on table in front of_ RHEINHARDT.]
Post!

RHEINHARDT.

[_Taking the letters, while_ ADENE _sits up and looks at them_.] No, you
do not open your letters yet!

ADENE.

Goodness knows I don't want to; unless there is one from my sister----

RHEINHARDT.

[_Reading the addresses._] "An den Herrn Professor Rheinhardt, M.D.,
Ph.D." "Dr. Rheinhardt." [_Stopping and looking again._] Ach! no.
"_Miss_ Rheinhardt." It is for my assistant. [_To_ SELIM.] Here; for the
Mem-sahib!

ADENE.

That is Carlyon's handwriting! [_Rises._

[SELIM, _who has just reached the door, turns suddenly and drops the
letter with signs of fear_. ADENE _crosses towards him_.

SELIM.

Kal[^y]ona Sahib! [_Stands shrinking from the letter._

RHEINHARDT.

What matters it to you whose letter it is? Take it!

SELIM.

[_In terror, catching_ ADENE'S _arm_.] Ai! ai! Sahib.

[_Draws_ ADENE _into the doorway and whispers to him._

ADENE.

Yes, yes, I know; but don't be afraid. [_To_ RHEINHARDT.] It is no good;
he won't touch that letter!

RHEINHARDT.

Won't touch it? Very well, he shall not touch it. [_Takes a plate from
among the curiosities on the table and puts letter upon it._] There;
take it on this. [_Exit_ SELIM _with plate_.] And you, come back! [ADENE
_comes down again to his chair and sits thinking_. RHEINHARDT
_continues_.] Gott in Himmel! so long as it does not touch his skin, so
long it is all right.

[_Laughing._

ADENE.

Rheinhardt, who _is_ this assistant of yours, whom I never see?

RHEINHARDT.

Who my assistant is?--she was a pupil of mine.

ADENE.

If you would allow it, I would like to see her.

RHEINHARDT.

[_After a pause._] Very well; I also wish you to see her. But
[_deliberately_] you have at present no material for thinking about
her--one way or the other. [ADENE _starts_.] I will give you some. When
first I heard of Steinmetz's experimentations, and saw his mistakes, I
said, "If I had the right assistant, I could save Adene." But I had him
not. I wanted--ah, so many things! You will not understand: a doctor who
should be also a nurse, who should know my ways--and more. There was
just one person, but she was just the one person I could not ask. No. I
was too angry.

ADENE.

Then how did she come?

RHEINHARDT.

She came to me herself, suddenly, in London, just as I am starting. She
was all pale, with her eyes--she had had some great struggle.

ADENE.

Her father!

RHEINHARDT.

[_Waving down the interruption._] I know not what it was, but it was
something. And when she entered at the door, I said, "Here it is come at
last; he will be saved!" And he is! [_Rises._] There is your material
for thinking! And if you do not know what she is, all the time you are
unconscious, all the time you are in the dark, there are others who do.
[_Warming up._] There are others who----

ADENE.

Oh, Rheinhardt, let me see her!

RHEINHARDT.

[_Sharply._] You do not deserve to see her. [_With resignation._] Bah!
what does it matter? I will send her to you. [_At door._] Old Rheinhardt
has his work. [_Exit_ RHEINHARDT, _up_.

[ADENE _walks to and fro, thinking_.

_Enter_ SELIM, _and approaches_ ADENE, _who turns away from him,
saying_:

ADENE.

Not now, Selim.

[SELIM _turns back and is going off when his eye rests on the knife; he
hovers over it, but draws back as_ ADENE _turns, and exit_.

VOICE OF RHEINHARDT INSIDE THE HOUSE.

There! He is on the veranda.

[ADENE _goes up to door_ (C.) _with hands outstretched; to him enter_
VERA _and takes both his hands_.

ADENE.

It is really you! [_Leads her down._] And you have been by me all this
time?

VERA.

[_With attempted lightness._] It did seem rather absurd, didn't it? to
keep me away from you, when we were such old friends.

ADENE.

Friends! [_Earnestly._] All the way out to Bhojâl there were two
thoughts with me always: "I love Vera Carlyon; I am presently going to
die." I had nothing to give; only a little broken end of life. But I
said, "That at least shall be hers. I will work for her these last
months; I will pile up my little monument to her father's greatness, and
die building it."

VERA.

Go on! You found it was the monument of his shame!

ADENE.

No, no! Not shame: greatness, but greatness so terribly dashed----

VERA.

You can still say that? Oh, thank you, thank you!

ADENE.

Oh, Vera--when the first shock of my discoveries came, it almost
maddened me. I mistrusted every one!

VERA.

I know. I have been through that.

ADENE.

Vera, I mistrusted _you_! [VERA _shrinks_.] I thought you knew the whole
story and tried to screen him.

VERA.

No, not all! Not all!

[_Murmuring to herself, so as scarcely to break his speech._

ADENE.

I gnashed my teeth inwardly and raged against you. [VERA _draws back
from him, shrinking_.] You can't forgive me?

VERA.

I have nothing to forgive.

ADENE.

You see what must come! I shall try to be just to your father--to spare
him; but what good will it be? I shall wound you past all healing!
[_Breaking off._] Oh, why could not this have come to some one who did
not love you? Or at least to some strong man, who could bear it and go
his ways? I, Heaven help me, am a broken, crippled man; I could never
ask for your love as an equal, never hope to make you my wife.
[_Passionately._] But some little corner of your love I must have----

VERA.

[_Kneeling down by his chair, bending slightly over him._] Oh, dearest,
dearest, you are ill and talking wildly! The wound in me is past
healing; but it is _he_, not you, that struck it. How could _I_ ask you
to spare him? I am bound up as one with him. And I claim now that we
shall have our punishment! Dearest, what you thought of me in your anger
was the truth! I did plot to screen him and keep you back. I tried that
day to strike you with despair--to break down your spirit, to----

ADENE.

But you didn't know what he had done! You can't have known.

VERA.

No, I didn't know that, and I didn't know your courage. It was high
above our reach, and we could not break it.--_You_ not a strong man!
_You_ to ask for a corner of my love! It is yours all, long ago. It is
thrown at your feet for you to gather as you will! [_Throws herself down
before him._] The love of one who wronged you, who plotted against you,
who was sent here now to---- [_Breaking off with a paroxysm of
self-abasement._] Oh, _he_, _he_, who knew me, could think I would do
that!

ADENE.

Sent? Did he send you to me? To do what?

[_Preparing to rise._

VERA.

I can't tell you. I have not done it. I have saved you from him.

[ADENE _has risen, and stands sternly thinking_. VERA _is huddled up at
his feet, her face hidden in her hands. After a pause, he looks down at
her, and changes from stern anger to tenderness._

ADENE.

My poor, poor love, let us forget him! [_Sitting and raising her._] Just
for a little, forget him altogether.

VERA.

[_Startled--clutching the letter in her bosom and raising her head._]
You have nearly made me forget everything! [_Rising, smiling through her
tears._] Forget my first business! _I_ can't afford to break down and
let myself be comforted, like another woman!

ADENE.

Why not? [_Tries to detain her._

VOICE OF RHEINHARDT INSIDE THE HOUSE.

Not back yet? It is quite dark. Bring the lamps. And set the punkah
going again.

VERA.

No, no; you are my patient. You mustn't comfort me. You are my sick
child.

_Enter_ RHEINHARDT.

RHEINHARDT.

[_At door._] Hut!--Bah! [_Running forward and seizing_ ADENE'S _pulse_.]
Gott im Himmel! take him in! Take him in! He lies down flat, straight,
this moment, just as he is! [_To_ VERA.] No, not you! Here, Nurse! Take
him in. [_Calling._

VERA.

[_As_ RHEINHARDT _leads_ ADENE _off, after a moment of thought_.] Come
back to me afterwards, Doctor. I want to speak to you.

[_Exeunt_ RHEINHARDT _and_ ADENE _into the sick-room, the_ NURSE
_appearing at_ ADENE'S _door_.

_Enter_ PUNKAH BOY, _and sits in corner_ R., _working punkah_.

_Enter_ SELIM _with a lamp_. VERA _makes room for it on the table among
the curios, then begins to put the curios into their box_.

[_Exit_ SELIM.

_Re-enter_ RHEINHARDT.

VERA.

[_While_ RHEINHARDT _is still at the door_.] I have been so foolish!
Have I done him any real harm?

RHEINHARDT.

Harm? No; it had to come, one way or another. So long as he sleeps!----

VERA.

I have heard from my father. He is coming here.

_Re-enter_ SELIM _with second lamp_.

RHEINHARDT.

Sir Carlyon coming here? When, does he say?

[SELIM _notices and trembles_.

VERA.

[_Looking at letter._] As far as I can judge, he might come to-night.
[SELIM, _listening acutely, trembles violently, clutches the poisoned
knife which is still lying on the table, and glides off rapidly into the
trees_.] That is, if he rides from Johilcund, as he says he will.

RHEINHARDT.

_Ride_ from Johilcund! Gott in Himmel! Let me look. [VERA _gives him the
letter_.] From Bombay. [_Looking at the envelope._] Nineteenth,
twentieth. Ah, yes. He ought to get here to-morrow midday.

VERA.

[_With constraint._] Has Mr. Adene said anything to you about him?

RHEINHARDT.

[_Same manner._] Yes. [_Their eyes meet and then avoid each other._]
There is no need for them to meet. [_Slight pause._] And you--you have
said all your say with Mr. Adene?

VERA.

Yes.

RHEINHARDT.

He is a good man. Yes, he is a brave fellow. That is settled. And old
Rheinhardt will go back to Zürich, Universitätstrasse, hundert und
zwölf; and will grow fat; and will write fat, fat books!

VERA.

[_Tenderly, going up to him._] And save more people's lives, and make
more pupils love him.

RHEINHARDT.

Ach! you say that? We have had a happy time here, we two; two good
companions--_nicht so?_ And it is over. Bah!--it will be there to think
about, in the nights, when it is warm and still like this--and I smoke!

VERA.

Isn't it wonderfully still? You can hear every sound. Hark! there is
some one riding on the road.

[_They listen together for a moment. Then_ RHEINHARDT _looks at her and
says abruptly_:

RHEINHARDT.

Good-night! [_Exit_ RHEINHARDT, _up_.

VERA.

Good-night!

[_She waits listening to the horse hoofs, which are heard more and more
distinctly; then comes the sound of a man dismounting on a stone floor._
VERA _turns to_ PUNKAH BOY, _who is wide awake and listening, and makes
a sign to him. He runs back_ L., _and immediately returns, crying,
"Kal[^y]ona Sahib." Excited whispers of the name are heard, off; then_
CARLYON'S _voice speaking to the servants in Hindustani_.

_Enter_ CARLYON, _from_ L. _back round the house_.

CARLYON.

[_Coming forward impulsively._] Vera, it gives me fresh life to see your
face! [_Kisses her, then throws himself into the chair. She stands
helpless, having stifled her first impulse to run forward and greet
him._] Great Heavens, how tired I am! I have ridden fifty miles since
midday. [_Throwing himself back and stretching his arms out._] Ah, I
suppose I should not have thought much of it once!

VERA.

[_Constrainedly._] Why have you come?

CARLYON.

I thought your heart might fail you. You were all alone.

VERA.

You thought I had been long?

CARLYON.

I was anxious at not hearing from you. I knew it was a heavy burden for
you, and I came to help. Did you need help?

VERA.

None.

[_Pause._ CARLYON _gets up and walks a little way, then turns._

CARLYON.

Then why is it not done?

VERA.

It is done--almost all.

CARLYON.

It is? Oh, thank God! I was so tired! I felt this man as a terror
hanging over me. I seemed like an old man just now, for the first time.
[_Pause; he walks again, then looks at her closely._] You are pale. He
is not actually dead?

VERA.

No, he is not dead.

CARLYON.

You do not like to speak of it? Never mind.--Vera, you have been a good
and brave daughter to me. You have given me rest, the first time in my
life I have ever needed it.

VERA.

There is no rest for you here.

[_She stands leaning backward slightly against the wall, and speaks with
effort, throwing the lamplight full on his face._

CARLYON.

What do you mean? [_Putting up his hand._] Turn off that light from my
eyes!

VERA.

You must face more light than this. I have not helped you. There is no
rest for you here, no rest anywhere that I know of.

CARLYON.

You are not failing me after all?

VERA.

I have watched him till he is almost safe. If you want him to die now
you must kill him outright--by force.

CARLYON.

Vera, you have mistrusted me.

VERA.

[_Passionately._] No. I have betrayed you! Can't you ever see it? I have
turned against you, and you are beaten! You have told me everything. I
alone----

CARLYON.

_You_ daren't lift your voice! I don't fear that.

VERA.

There are proofs enough without me! And witnesses; Selim first----

CARLYON.

[_As if stung._] Be quiet! Let me think. [_Pause._] To think that _you_
should have done it! To think of the vermin I have trusted before, and
none of them ever betrayed me!

VERA.

No; _you_ betrayed _them_! Oh, it is their blind faith that has made you
so pitilessly false!

CARLYON.

To trust _you_--it was like trusting myself!

VERA.

[_With a bitter laugh._] It was! It was! It was like trusting Judas! [_A
pause._] Was I to be a Koreb, mad and heartbroken in prison? Or like
Elizabeth, who has lost her very soul, and cannot see that there is any
human being in the world but you?

CARLYON.

[_With a scornful laugh._] But _you_ can? Is that it? Good God! to think
a wretched instinct like that should master you! To betray _me_ for a
chance lover!

VERA.

It was just the opposite. If I had not half-consciously loved him you
could never have deluded me. I wanted to stifle my heart, and I all but
stifled my conscience with it.

CARLYON.

When did you change? How long have you meant this?

VERA.

I have not changed. I meant it ever since that night, when
Elizabeth--[_breaks off_]--when I saw that to trust in you was to go
mad!

CARLYON.

And you have been lying to me all this time!

VERA.

Were you to come at him with your poisoned daggers, and I not shield him
with as much as a lie? [_Checking herself._] Oh, Father, I did not mean
to be like this to you! Father, he is not your enemy any more than I. He
will spare you in every way----

CARLYON.

Do you mean he will not press to have me hanged? [_She shakes her
head._] You spare me that? [_With fury._] I am not to be killed, after
all your hunting? Only maimed and branded and left for stray dogs to
tear? I am to "live it down," am I?--crawl on through a weary,
interminable life----

VERA.

It can be as short as you will. I will wait and bear the shame for you.

CARLYON.

Suicide, is it? [_With a short laugh._] No, I won't do that for you. The
thought of it gives me all my natural spirit again.

VERA.

Yon cannot be afraid of that too?

CARLYON.

Afraid? No. But I have not finished living. Do you think I am an old
man? There is as much blood and muscle in my arms as there ever was. I
feel life leaping in every limb. I won't kill myself. No! nor let
another man kill me! And I won't bear that penance either. There are
other places besides England and British India.

VERA.

Oh, why do you rage like this? Can you not face your hour when it comes,
take your defeat, like a strong man, steadily?

CARLYON.

Defeat? Defeat? From him and his crazy natives? Who will believe their
story against mine? [_She is silent. A slight pause._] But suppose I
confess all. Suppose I stand up straight before all Englishmen and bid
them judge me: "Here I am: I have broken rules and treaties; I have
fought with all weapons; I have had no law nor conscience nor pity--for
your enemies! I am yours to chain or unchain; I am your fighting man,
your bloodhound, your leashed panther! Have you no use for me?" Do you
think, among all the swarming cowards that govern us, I shall not bring
a host to my side when I say that?

VERA.

[_Grave and calm._] This is like the madness that goes before a great
fall!

CARLYON.

His fall and yours!--when you try to turn and rend me, and are crushed!
[_Looking at her._] Before Heaven, I pity you! [_Turning away._] Give me
a fresh horse.

VERA.

What are you going to do?

CARLYON.

Do you expect another of my secrets?

VERA.

I will tell them to bring the horse. [_Exit_ VERA.

[CARLYON _crosses_ R., _throws himself down again in the chair, in an
attitude of utter weariness, his hands over his eyes_. SELIM _during the
last words has stolen out from the trees and creeps towards_ CARLYON
_with the knife_. CARLYON _moves his hands from his eyes, sees_ SELIM'S
_shadow, and starts swiftly forward as_ SELIM _springs upon the chair
from behind. A brief struggle follows_, SELIM _shouting_, CARLYON
_silent_. CARLYON _gets the knife, flings_ SELIM _down off the stage_
L., _pursues him for one instant to stab him finally, and returns. There
is a slight red scratch on_ CARLYON'S _forehead_.

_Re-enter_ VERA _hurriedly_.

VERA.

Father, Father! Are you hurt?

CARLYON.

[_Furious, with the knife uplifted._] Did you mean it? Did you know he
was there?

VERA.

No, no! Oh, are you safe?

[_Pause. He is trembling with excitement._

CARLYON.

[_Exultantly._] Vera, Vera! Don't you see what has happened? Don't you
see it? I am saved. Koreb is mad. Adene has nothing but hearsay----

VERA.

[_Shrinking back to coldness._] What do you mean?

CARLYON.

Don't you see that I've just killed Selim, and Selim was the one fatal
witness? Adene cannot hurt me now. It is only you. It is all simple for
you. You needn't kill him. You needn't say one word that is untrue. Only
say nothing, and I am safe. [_With increasing confidence._] You don't
answer! Think! You know in your heart you cannot conquer me. And if you
could, who would be the better for it? I tell you I am a man who has
never failed! [_He stops as if suddenly giddy; then continues in a
weaker voice._] I give you now the power of standing beside me. Do not
wait too long. Can any one else offer you half such a life?

[_He clings for a moment to the pillar of the veranda for support._

VERA.

[_Alarmed._] You are wounded!

CARLYON.

No, he never touched me. I tell you I killed him. Vera, Vera, why do you
try to stand against me? You love me more than that cripple, and I hold
the lives of both of you in my hand!

[_Half lifting the knife._

VERA.

Killing us will not help you! And I do not love you more than the truth.

CARLYON.

Truth! Barren truth about past facts that can do no jot or tittle of
good to any one! Is it for that you would try to blast my life?

[_He puts his hand to his brow, drops the knife, and falls into the
chair._

VERA.

[_Kneeling beside him, and calling._] Dr. Rheinhardt! Dr. Rheinhardt!
Quickly! [_To_ CARLYON.] No, stay where you are!

[CARLYON _waits motionless, recovering himself._

_Enter_ RHEINHARDT.

RHEINHARDT.

[_Off._] What is it? [_Entering._] Your father! Wounded!

VERA.

Selim attacked him, but I can't understand why he is like this.

RHEINHARDT.

[_Hurrying up to_ CARLYON.] Let me see.

CARLYON.

[_Pushing him aside and rising cautiously, he speaks wanderingly but
without violence._] A little thing like that cannot hurt a man. My horse
is tired, terribly tired; you said you would give me one of yours.
[_Reeling again; moaning to himself._] You pitiful civilised crowds, I
want no more of you! You haven't beaten me, but you can't understand,
you can't obey!

[_Moves unsteadily away towards the trees._

VERA.

Where do you want to go?

[_Tries to bring him back._

CARLYON.

[_With a full return of his old manner._] Back beyond the frontier! To
the Bhojâl Mountains where the rebels went! I will go to the men who
know me and hate me, and worship my broken sword!

VERA.

[_To_ RHEINHARDT, _whispering_.] What can it be?

CARLYON.

[_Swaying as he stands, his hands to his brow._] If I could only see
with this blood in my eyes! [_Breaking out with an effort._] This time I
come as their friend, with a sword that is not broken.

_Enter_ ADENE _followed by_ NURSE _from sick-room_. CARLYON _points at
him_.

Go, marry your cripple, O you who might have been great! He is fit for a
half-bribed murderess and a coward! Great God, how I despise you all!
Oh, shall I kill you where you stand, or----

[_Reels and clutches the veranda post for support._ RHEINHARDT, _who has
watched closely all the time, and looked also at the things on the
table, starts forward_.

RHEINHARDT.

Ach, Himmel! the poisoned knife!

CARLYON.

You lie! It is only my eyes that are filled with blood.

VERA.

[_Running to him._] There is no blood in your eyes. Father! Father!

[CARLYON _lifts the knife to his lips, tastes the edge, and drops it
with a gesture of despair_.

CARLYON.

Back! Don't touch me, and I shall not die yet!

[ADENE _moves across to_ RHEINHARDT _and speaks with him_.

RHEINHARDT.

That is it! But what poison! He must be stopped!

CARLYON.

[_With a flash of his old manner as he moves off._] Out of my path, sir!
I am still Carlyon!

[_He sweeps_ RHEINHARDT _aside, then falls_. RHEINHARDT _loosens
his collar_.

RHEINHARDT.

Fetch my case. [_Exit_ NURSE _to house_.] Bring that water.

[VERA _brings it and supports_ CARLYON'S _head. They put it to his
lips._

VERA.

[_To_ RHEINHARDT.] What?

NURSE _re-enters with case_.

RHEINHARDT.

Ach! [_Throws up his hands, suggesting no hope._

[_The_ PUNKAH BOY _has during this slipped across the stage to the place
where_ CARLYON _dropped the knife_. VERA _and_ ADENE _gaze at one
another across the body_.

NURSE.

Ah, what is that boy doing?

ADENE.

He is kissing the knife that Carlyon threw away.


THE END.


Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO.
London & Edinburgh



Transcriber's Notes:-

Page 30  "Pointing to MSS. on table." changed to "Pointing to MS. on
          table."

Page 39  "Got im Himmel, there it comes." changed to "Gott im Himmel, there
          it comes."

Page 81  "if Steinmitz were to be right" changed to "if Steinmetz were to
          be right"

Page 88  "to Korob at Travancore." changed to "to Koreb at Travancore."

Page 149 "an attidude of utter weariness," changed to "an attitude of
          utter weariness,"

Other than obvious full stop omissions, original spelling and punctuation
  retained.





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