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Title: Conquest - Or, A Piece of Jade; a New Play in Three Acts
Author: Stopes, Marie Carmichael
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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CONQUEST

Or

A Piece of Jade

A New Play in Three Acts

by

MARIE C. STOPES

D.Sc., Ph.D., F.R.S.Litt., etc.



1/- net

Copyright 1917 by Dr. Marie C. Stopes

New York
Samuel French
Publisher
28-30 West 38th Street

London
Samuel French, Ltd.
26 Southampton Street
Strand

1917



LEATHERHEAD, SURREY,
ENGLAND.

DEAR MR. DELIGHTFULEST-MANAGER-IN-THE-WORLD,--

I am sending you this play printed instead of type-written because I
think you will find it much easier to slip into your pocket and read,
and also because I don’t know your address, and printed books have a
way of finding people without being addressed which typescripts have
not yet learnt. So instead of sending my play round, in what people
tell me is the usual way, to lots and lots of managers in typescript
and wasting ever so much valuable time while they don’t read it, I am
sending it to you direct, and hope you will like it. When you read it
you will find that there is still another reason why I am glad to see
it in print.

First let me have just one word in your ear, please: don’t look to
see how many pages long it is, and (reckoning “a page a minute”) say
it is too short to fill an evening, for I ought to tell you it is a
full-length play but the printer is war-economising and has printed it
all on fewer pages than he would have done in the days of Paper, Peace
and Plenty long ago.

While I was writing the leading part I pictured one of our finest
actresses in it, and she has read it and says the play is “simply
splendid”: if you want her to take the part I will tell you her name
and address, but she is such an angel she will forgive you if some one
you love better seems to you to be the heroine.

  Yours sincerely,
  MARIE C. STOPES.



_Registered Copyright by Marie C. Stopes._

_The Copyright of_ CONQUEST _is the sole property of the author, to
whom application should be made for a license to produce, translate,
place on the cinematograph or use in any other way._

  _Addressing_: DR. MARIE STOPES,
  _Craigvara, Leatherhead,
  Surrey, England_.



“CONQUEST,” or “A PIECE OF JADE.”

A NEW PLAY IN THREE ACTS, BY

MARIE C. STOPES.


  TIME: _1915_.      PLACE: _New Zealand and London_.


  ACT I.

  An Out-station on the Hyde’s Sheep Farm,
  New Zealand.

  Afternoon.


  ACT II.

  The Hyde’s Homestead, New Zealand.

  Morning.

  Three or four months elapse between Acts I. and II.


  ACT III.

  The Duchess of Rainshire’s Drawing-room, London.

  Evening.

  About two months elapse between Acts II. and III.



“CONQUEST,” or “A PIECE OF JADE.”



DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.


_In the order of their appearance_:

  FIRST SHEPHERD.
  SECOND SHEPHERD.
  GORDON HYDE, _New Zealand Sheep Farmer_.
  ROTO, _an old Maori_.
  NORA LEE, _A New Zealand Girl_.
  LOVEDAY LEWISHAM, _Nora’s Cousin, out from England_.
  ROBERT HYDE, _New Zealand Sheep Farmer, Gordon’s Brother_.
  JOHN VARLIE _alias_ THE REV DR. CHAPMAN.
  RECRUITING OFFICER.
  THE DUCHESS OF RAINSHIRE.
  A CABINET MINISTER.
  SMITHERS.

ALSO (_Without words_):

  TWO (OR PERHAPS THREE) YOUNG MEN _in New Zealand Khaki_.
  LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, _Guests at the Duchess’ Evening Party_.
  MAID, _Footman’s substitute in uniform_.
  TWO PLAIN CLOTHES OFFICERS.
  ONE OR TWO COLLIE DOGS.
  SHEEP--ONE, OR MORE, _if convenient_.



“CONQUEST,”

OR

“A PIECE OF JADE.”

A NEW PLAY IN THREE ACTS BY

MARIE C. STOPES.



ACT I.


 _THE SCENE is set in the hills of the sheep-raising part of the S.
 Island of New Zealand._

 _The back-cloth is painted with fine rocky and wooded hills and
 lakes, rather like Scotland but with a clearer, bluer sky and keener
 atmosphere._

 _The stage represents a temporary camp in a clearing, for the
 mustering and marking of sheep. There are boulders and groups of
 luxuriant trees. The grass is trampled under foot. RIGHT CENTRE is
 an open fire with cooking utensils. BACK RIGHT the corner of sheep
 enclosures. On LEFT is a temporary cover, part canvas, part tree
 branches._

 _TWO SHEPHERDS are DISCOVERED near the fire, binding up the leg of a
 sheep. The collie dogs prowl and lie around._

1ST SHEP. (_An old, wiry man._) A fine muster, this year.

2ND SHEP. (_A dour man, about 45 years old._) Aye.

1ST SHEP. The best season I mind for ten years. (_Working with sheep’s
leg._) Plague take it, it’s slipped. Lie still you bleatin’ fule ye!
And sheep s’d fetch a guid price this year and all.

2ND SHEP. Aye.

1ST SHEP. I’m thinkin’ these sheep will be making the fortune of the
young masters, but they do nought but make work for us.

2ND SHEP. (_Spits._) Aye.

1ST SHEP. The young masters must get an extra man, we never had to
handle so many sheep.

2ND SHEP. Men’ll be scarce now.

1ST SHEP. They will that. Do you hear they recruitin’ fellows are
scourin’ the country for likely lads?

2ND SHEP. Aye.

1ST SHEP. When did you know it?

2ND SHEP. ’Bout a week ago.

1ST SHEP. (_Reproachfully._) And ye kept a tale like that from me--and
me that glad of any bit of news in this lonesomeness. I call that nasty
of ye.

 (_2ND SHEPHERD is silent; spits slowly._)

I call that nasty of ye.

2ND SHEP. Aye.

1ST SHEP. And what else do ye know ye might tell me if--if, well,
if I had a wee drop of something to loosen your lips--(_Pulls out a
flask and a tin cup and pours a small drink--the dogs come up._) Down
Jock--get out Scottie. What news have ye for this, eh?

 (_2ND SHEPHERD reaches out his hand._)

1ST SHEP. Na-na. News first. It mayn’t be worth it all.

2ND SHEP. The new young lady from England is comin’ this afternoon.

1ST SHEP. What young lady? Why don’t I know a’ these wild doin’s?
What’s she like. Who’s she stayin’ with?

2ND SHEP. Old man Lee and his daughter.

1ST SHEP. Have you seen her? What’s she like?

2ND SHEP. (_Stretching out his hand for his drink._) I’ve earned it.

1ST SHEP. (_Drawing it away._) Ye’ll tell me what she’s like first.

2ND SHEP. A flower. You give it to me now.

1ST SHEP. (_Hands it grudgingly._) Well, perhaps you desarve it. That’s
news.

 (_He slowly fills a kettle out of a pail of water which he observes
 with annoyance is nearly empty and puts kettle on the fire._)

For why is she coming here?

2ND SHEP. London city was killin’ her. The doctor ordered six months of
healin’ air.

1ST SHEP. If she’s as bonny as you say it’ll be joyful doings for the
young masters. Lasses are scarce here.

2ND SHEP. There’s Nora Lee.

1ST SHEP. Well, fule. She’s only one. We’ve got two young masters, let
alone the other young chaps hereby.

2ND SHEP. Mister Gordon’s lame. What’d he do with a girl?

1ST SHEP. Only a bit lame, only a wee bit lame, like--and he’s got a
rare brain--look at the exchange o’ reapers and such like he rigged
up for the freeholders around here. He’s just chock full o’ ideas and
always dreamin’ and readin’ and talkin’ about ’em. That’s what girls
like. He’ll be as good in a girl’s eyes as his brother--better I
shouldn’t wonder.

2ND SHEP. He’s no good for the war.

1ST SHEP. And what matters that? Am I any good for the war? Down
Scottie, down will ye! Yourself is not much good for the war, and yet a
pretty girl or two don’t come amiss to your eyes even though they never
looked at ye. War! You’re crazy on the war. Why man it’s more’n ten
thousand miles off and it’s a game for the young chaps anyway.

2ND SHEP. It’s no game.

1ST SHEP. It’ll raise the price of sheep. That’s one thing I’m
thinking. And we have more sheep on this station to-day than there have
been in my memory. Aren’t there now?

2ND SHEP. Aye.

 (_GORDON HYDE comes slowly on from right wing, a fishing rod and bag
 of fish on his shoulder. He is slight, bronzed, and with a fine noble
 face. He limps, his leg dragging. 1ST SHEPHERD takes up a tin of
 salmon and slowly begins to prepare to open it._)

GORDON. There’s a good haul for supper, lads. (_Throws down fish._)

 (_THE SHEPHERDS move a little from the fire respectfully, but don’t
 touch their hats or get up._)

1ST SHEP. Aye, aye, Boss.

 (_He is just about to insert the tin opener, GORDON suddenly notices
 him._)

GORDON. What have you got there?

1ST SHEP. A tin of salmon, Boss.

GORDON. Stop opening it then. Use that fresh fish instead. Tinned stuff
is extra valuable nowadays. It can be sent to the front. We have time
to think out here on these hills. I have thought till my head reeled
and not yet found out what _big_ things we can do for our country,
but the little duties are clear enough, and one of ’em is not to be
wasteful.

2ND SHEP. Aye, Boss. That’s true.

 (_1ST SHEPHERD shamefacedly lays down the tin._)

1ST SHEP. Eh, Boss, the sheep’s fine this year.

GORDON. What is the full tally?

1ST SHEP. Mr. Robert hasn’t come in yet, but from what I’ve heard, it
looks to be the best year on this station.

GORDON. Fine. We can’t have too much wool and mutton this year.

 (_ROTO comes on from left second Entrance, somewhat staggering under
 two pails of water. He is an old Maori, with straight black hair
 turning white, and a few tatoo marks on his face. He has high cheek
 bones, a broad nose, and full lips, but is light brown in colour and
 very intelligent and fine in expression. He wears a short pair of
 pants, and a piece of fine matting on his shoulders, his scanty shirt
 is open at the neck and a string with a carved green jade charm is
 partly seen._)

ROTO. Here is the water for Miss Nora’s tea, Boss.

1ST SHEP. (_To 2nd Shep._) She has an healthier thirst than yours.

GORDON. (_Busying himself smoothing a seat of fern._) She’ll be tired
after that long ride.

1ST SHEP. The other lady’ll be worse. She’s not native born like Miss
Nora.

GORDON. (_Quickly._) Her fine lady cousin! She’s coming, of course. I’d
forgotten! Here, you chaps, get that place straight. (_Indicates the
shelter, which shows a disorder of blankets, etc._) What is this sheep
doing here?

1ST SHEP. Her leg broke when she tried to push through over a rocky
bit. I have tethered her down. The young lady may like to pat her or
tie a ribbon round her neck perhaps.

GORDON. (_Grinning._) You old fool. All right. Leave her. Go and
straighten things up a bit in the shelter. ’Tis like a pig-stye.

 (_A clatter of horses hoofs, shouts of “Whoa there, Nellie. Here we
 are,” etc., is heard without. TWO GIRLS with riding hats and whips
 ENTER front right wing._

 _NORA LEE is dainty with light hair and a rather sunburnt face and
 neck. She has pale lashes; she is petite and pretty and rather
 self-assured. She advances laughing._)

NORA. Here we are!

GORDON. (_Springing up and limping hurriedly to meet her, taking off
his hat._) Oh, Nora, I’m glad you’ve come.

NORA. Where is Robert?

GORDON. Out with the men. He’ll be back by tea-time.

 (_LOVEDAY stands a little back looking round and waiting. She is
 taller than NORA; a splendidly built, dark-haired and beautiful woman,
 with a clear skin, deep searching eyes, regular features. She walks
 like a Queen and has a deep-toned, but soft and thrilling voice. She
 is all in white._)

NORA. This is my cousin, Loveday Lewisham, Gordon.

 (_LOVEDAY smiles, comes forward and shakes hands with GORDON._)

You know I told you all about her, and how she broke down with war-work
in England and is going to make her home with us for six months. _You_
know.

GORDON. I do know. (_Smiles._) I wish you welcome, Miss Lewisham.

NORA. Loveday.

GORDON. Yes. This is a friendly country. My name is Gordon.

LOVEDAY. How beautiful that view is. And _what_ a ride we had. Three
hours of fairyland!

NORA. Oh, that’s nothing! Let us show her everything. Where’s old Roto?
She wants to see a Maori. And where is Robert?

GORDON. I’ll coo-ee for Robert.

 (_His coo-ee is long and penetrating so that it re-echoes._)

And there is Roto. Hi. Come along, Roto. Miss Nora wants to show you
off.

 (_ROTO advances from shelter, which is now in better order, the
 blankets piled up, etc._)

ROTO. (_Grinning._) Here, Miss Nora.

NORA. Good-day, Roto. See, Loveday. This is a real live Maori. Nothing
wonderful after all!

LOVEDAY. Oh, how do you do?

ROTO. Finely, Miss.

LOVEDAY. (_Smiling winningly._) You are not nearly so terrifying as I
expected!

ROTO. (_Grinning, pleased._) Maoris not allowed to be terrible now,
Miss.

LOVEDAY. That _is_ a shame. I’d so _much_ rather be a savage myself.
What do you do now they won’t let you be a savage any more?

ROTO. Help with the sheep and cook.

LOVEDAY. (_Stooping forward and taking hold of ROTO’S green jade charm
hanging on its long string round his neck._) And what is that queer
thing you wear round your neck?

NORA. (_Hastily._) A jade charm--these natives often wear them. They
are very superstitious.

GORDON. The Maoris believe in all sorts of charms and magic and
spirits. They have a legend about these forests, for instance, that a
goddess of wisdom lives in these hill tops and is a tree by day and a
white woman at night.

LOVEDAY. (_Her eyes sparkling_). Have you seen her?

GORDON. Not yet--but sometimes--

LOVEDAY. But sometimes--go on--do tell me--

GORDON. Sometimes after a day alone in these forests, at sunset, when
the heavens seem opening, one half imagines Wisdom is just behind one,
slipping between the trees--I (_hesitates_).

LOVEDAY. What an enchanting country. Tell me--

 (_Sounds of arrival disturb them. ROBERT HYDE ENTERS. He is like
 GORDON, but much sturdier. He is very strong and manly, with a more
 sensual and less spiritual face. A very good fellow._)

NORA. Here’s Robert. Robert! I have brought Loveday. This is Loveday
Lewisham. She arrived last week, when you were out here. She would
come so as to see a camp before you break it up. She wants to see
_everything_.

 (_ROBERT and LOVEDAY shake hands. ROBERT is evidently much impressed._)

ROBERT. I’ll show her. (_Goes over towards fire, and points to sheep
enclosures at back._) Do you see those? That’s just the beginning of
them. We have a rare good lot of sheep this year.

LOVEDAY. I _am_ glad. We need everything good we can get this year.

ROBERT. We need everything we can get every year.

LOVEDAY. But this year specially. There are so many people in England
who need extra feeding and clothing. Your sheep will be useful.

ROBERT. I hadn’t thought of that.

GORDON. Wool and mutton! Both necessaries. Of course we’ve all thought
of that, Robert.

NORA. Loveday is simply obsessed with the idea of the war, and says we
ought not to have any luxuries.

2ND SHEP. Aye. She’s right.

LOVEDAY. What is that sheep doing? (_Goes toward the lame sheep by the
fire._)

ROBERT. I dunno. Sick, I expect. Here, Roto. What is that sheep here
for?

ROTO. Leg broke, Boss.

LOVEDAY. Oh, isn’t it thirsty? Look how its tongue hangs out. Let me
give it some water.

ROBERT. (_Smiling._) It doesn’t want water.

LOVEDAY. Are sheep like rabbits? Don’t they need water?

ROTO. (_Laughing._) Rabbits!

ROBERT. (_Smiling._) Don’t you speak of rabbits to a New Zealander!
Rabbits are the very devil here! We poison ’em, we shoot ’em, we trap
’em, we set dogs on ’em, we set stoats on to ’em, we imported weasels
to catch ’em, we sent to Europe for ferrets to hike ’em out, we breed
cats to catch ’em, we wire ’em in, and burn ’em out, and set poisoned
corn over their runs, and kill ’em by thousands--but millions of ’em
spring up out of the very earth and sometimes threaten to starve out
the sheep, they clear the grass out. Rabbits! For the Lord’s sake don’t
speak affectionately of rabbits.

LOVEDAY. (_Laughing mischievously._) Darling little furry things with
nice white tails!

ROBERT. (_Groans._) But you’re joking! Come and I’ll show you why we
sheep farmers hate ’em like poison.

 (_THEY stroll off together. ROTO takes the empty pail and goes off.
 NORA and GORDON are left together._)

GORDON. (_Eagerly going, with a possessive air toward NORA._) Oh, it is
wonderful to see you again!

NORA. (_Pertly, teasing him and evidently enjoying it._) Women are
scarce here, I know, but there’s nothing else wonderful about me.

GORDON. For me you are the dream of God which stirs the woodland, you
are--(_noting her unresponsive face_). I say, do sit down. You’ll be
tired after that ride. Let me take your whip. Take your gloves off.
Those little hands must ache after holding the reins for three hours.

NORA. Pooh! I like having the reins in my own hands.

GORDON. And so you should, they are such clever little hands.

NORA. (_Yawns affectedly._) Gordon, you’re a romantic goose.

GORDON. I’m not. Everyone thinks you are wonderful, ask--

NORA. Robert doesn’t think I’m at all wonderful.

GORDON. Of course he does.

NORA. Then why doesn’t he tell me?

GORDON. He--he’s shy. But besides, though all men may _think_ such
things about a girl, they only _say_ them when they love her.

NORA. (_Quizzically._) So _you_ love me?

GORDON. (_Tenderly._) Is it a hundred or a hundred and one times I have
told you so?

NORA. And what have I answered a hundred or a hundred and one times?

GORDON. You have never once said no!

NORA. I didn’t ask you what I didn’t say, but what I _did_ say. And
what did I say?

GORDON. (_Persuasively._) Say something different this time. You can’t
_always_ be cruel, with that sweet face you have.

NORA. Oh, can’t I?

GORDON. Don’t be, then.

NORA. Besides I’m not cruel. You love me. That is very nice for _you_.
Being in love _is_ nice. Isn’t it?

GORDON. Being in love with you would make the world a heaven if only
you were kind!

NORA. I am kind--to myself. Being not in love with you is much kinder
to myself than what you ask. You want _me_ to be happy, don’t you?

GORDON. Of course! I’d die to make you happy!

NORA. I don’t ask _that_. I only ask you not to talk of love.

GORDON. How can I not talk of it when I love you?

NORA. (_Turning away._) Well, if you are willing to die for me, why not
stop loving me?

GORDON. No man could.

NORA. (_Flattered._) ’Um. Perhaps. But a _man_ could stop talking about
it. Talk of something else--anything interesting. What is Robert doing
away so long?

GORDON. (_Checking his tenderness with an effort, speaking in off-hand
tones._) Shewing Miss Loveday the sheep. I say, she’s handsome.

NORA. Oh? _I_ don’t think so. But you will be soon making love to her I
see. I needn’t have worried about your worrying me for long.

GORDON. Don’t say that, Nora. You know you are every beautiful thing to
me. I hear your sweet voice every time the bell bird calls. I see your
hair in the golden clouds after the sunset; I think of you and the home
nest you are making somewhere, particularly when I am out here sleeping
out of doors. You know I never shall think there is anyone in the world
like you.

NORA. (_Peremptorily._) Stop! Where _are_ Robert and Loveday? Call
them, Gordon.

 (_GORDON coo-ees. An answer is heard._)

GORDON. (_With a little gust of temper._) You try to prevent us being
alone. You grudge me these few minutes. It is cruel.

NORA. Oh. La-la-la! (_Whistles a snatch of tune._)

 (_LOVEDAY and ROBERT return, conversing. LOVEDAY comes quickly across
 to NORA._)

LOVEDAY. Oh, Nora, what _lots_ of sheep! And the hills, how beautiful
they are. The air is as clear as crystal and the sky seems so big.

GORDON. You notice that? Isn’t the sky the same size in England, Miss
Loveday?

LOVEDAY. No! The sky in England seems closer down on us than it is
here. Our sky, even when it is blue, is as though all the smoke from
all the chimneys had got on to it and weighed it down a bit.

GORDON. Everything is big here; and mostly beautiful. It makes big
ideas come into one’s head to be so solitary on these wide hills. Big
ideas hover but they won’t settle down into words, so one doesn’t know
clearly what they are.

LOVEDAY. (_Smiling encouragingly._) What are they about, the big ideas?

GORDON. Well, of course at present, about the war. The war is so huge
one needs to be away from it, like we are here, to see how big it is.

LOVEDAY. Yes. I felt that on the voyage out, passing over those miles
and miles of clean, shining blue sea. I’d worked my hardest in a tiny
corner till I had broken down, in London you know, but I didn’t realise
what I had been working at till I was far away on the sea. Then I began
to ache and ache to find some way of doing more for it than I had done.
(_Whimsically._) And as I am on the sick list I seem able to do nothing
at all.

GORDON. But you _have_ done something. I’ve done nothing yet.

LOVEDAY. “Your sheep----.”

GORDON. (_Smiling._) Wool and mutton are useful, I help produce those,
but I must do more, Robert and I will both do more when we see clearly
what we ought to do.

LOVEDAY. That’s a Briton’s attitude.

GORDON. I’ve thought of joining an Expeditionary Force, but they
haven’t called for us yet--and, anyway, I don’t know if that _is_ the
best one can do--to leave all these sheep we are raising, you know.
They _are_ needed.

 (_The beautiful note of the bell bird is heard calling through the
 wood._)

LOVEDAY. (_Clasping her hands._) What is that? Oh, what is that lovely
note?

 ROBERT  }
 _and_   }
 GORDON. } (_Together._) That is the bell bird.

LOVEDAY. Is it wild?

NORA. Of course, it is quite common.

LOVEDAY. How clear and sweet! It is the voice of New Zealand herself,
calling to her sisters all over the world, to wake, wake and sing the
triumphal song of the Empire. That song will cross the waves in a
thousand hearts and echo in the very centre of our lands.

NORA. Don’t be a romantic goose, Loveday. The bell bird is as common as
thrushes are in England.

LOVEDAY. You have so much beauty around you, has it become common to
you?

ROBERT. Of course not, only we don’t say much about it. You at home
don’t pour out poetry over every thrush that sits on a haw-hedge.

LOVEDAY. I would if I could! (_Smiling._) But I’ll try not to make you
think me _too_ great a goose. This beautiful country has gone to my
head perhaps. Everything here seems perfect!

 (_Noises without of an arrival on horseback, shepherds’ voices, dogs
 barking, etc._

 _ROBERT and GORDON look over their shoulders and exchange a knowing
 grin._)

ROBERT. I think I hear the voice of _one_ in perfection!

 (_ENTER JOHN VARLIE. He is a florid man, with rather bulging eyes,
 a clean shaven face, with a noticeable but small triangular scar on
 the right cheek, one eyelid slightly more closed than the other. He
 wears American clothes and speaks with a strong American accent. He is
 accompanied by the shepherds and dogs._)

VARLIE. Waal, boys! Here we are again. I have just delivered your new
shearing gear down at your homestead and they told me down in the
valley I should strike your trail up here, so I flicked up my grey mare
to keep you from feelin’ lonesome without me.

ROBERT. (_Amiably._) Halloo, Varlie. We aren’t lonesome to-day.

VARLIE. (_Looking from one to the other._) The ladies! I just can’t
quit now though I guess I’m as little wanted as a bug in a blanket.

ROBERT. Not a wet blanket anyway.

GORDON. You’re welcome. We’ll show you off. Miss Loveday Lewisham
is fresh out from home and wants to see all the native sights. Miss
Loveday, this is Mr. John Varlie, the universal provider. A regular
conjurer who wafts the appliances of civilisation into our rude
wilderness.

VARLIE. Miss Lewisham, I’m proud to make your acquaintance. Say, cut
that Hyde. I’m no conjurer. I’m a plain business man, and only doing
what any other business man could do if he had the brains.

ROBERT. That’s it. It takes a Yankee to think of selling the goods we
want in this part of the British Empire.

LOVEDAY. What do you want?

VARLIE. (_Slapping his leg._) What I’ve got here, Miss Lewisham.

NORA. (_A little spitefully._) I often thought you used your brains to
make them think they wanted to buy what you wanted to sell.

VARLIE. Aw--come now, Miss Nora. You’re real cute, but you don’t think
I could monkey with British brains?

NORA. (_Lightly._) Well, the British brains in _my_ neighbourhood are
not fair game for you. (_Looks at ROBERT._) They don’t know what they
ought to want (_looks at GORDON_) or they want what they can’t get.

VARLIE. Well, they all ought to have _this_! (_Produces sample tin
opener from his pocket. The SHEPHERDS look eagerly on._) Is there a tin
of food stuff around? Sure-ly?

ROTO. Here you are, Boss.

 (_Runs to the shelter and returns with one._)

VARLIE. Now this tin opener won’t only save your breath, but it’ll let
the recording angel have a holiday. See that? (_Has slit the tin round
rapidly and easily._) Can you beat that with any tin opener you ever
set eyes on?

1ST SHEP. Noa. That’ll be a useful kind--if they all work as easy.

2ND SHEP. Aye.

GORDON. Bully for you.

VARLIE. How many will you take? You chaps ought to have one each. And
the ladies! There will be a day when the ladies are alone to get the
supper, none of you handy Herculeses around. With this opener, getting
the supper is as easy as smiling. Now then! Only sixpence each. Finest
American non-rusting steel.

NORA. Fancy wasting your time with such a trifle, Mr. Varlie.

VARLIE. Don’t fret. I ain’t wastin’ my time. I came around your
homestead with the big dump of machinery. And I am like the elephant’s
trunk, calculated to pull up a tree or pick up a pin. (_Laughter._) I’m
picking up more than you think, maybe.

LOVEDAY. (_Smiling and counting the people._) One, two, three, why
there are six of us, if we have one each all round! You don’t mean to
tell me that you have six tin openers in your pocket?

VARLIE. Yep. ’N I’ve got a pack horse over there with sixty on it, and
sixty dozen in Dunedin, and sixty thousand where they came from! Now,
you’ll have one, Miss?

LOVEDAY. Yes, I will.

VARLIE. Bully. And you--

 (_GORDON takes it half laughing._)

GORDON. All right.

VARLIE. And you--

ROBERT. Not I. My jack knife has a claw that’s good enough for me.

VARLIE. Now, Mr. Hyde, just let me....

 (_Leads ROBERT aside and tries to persuade him. Meanwhile there is a
 clatter without as of several horses arriving. A RECRUITING OFFICER
 and two or three YOUNG MEN, all in khaki ENTER as if just from
 horseback after a long ride._

 _VARLIE steps aside whispering with 1ST SHEPHERD._)

RE. OFF. Hey, lads. They told me I should find a covey of you here.
Fine! I’m glad we struck your camp. Whew! We’re dead thirsty! Have you
got any tea?

GORDON. Sure. Those kettles are boiling. We’ll have tea in a jiffy.

ROBERT. Where are you going?

RE. OFF. Zig-zagging cross country to the outlying stations.

 (_VARLIE aside, whispering with 1ST SHEPHERD. The word “Germany” is
 overheard._)

1ST SHEP. (_Indignantly._) Are you askin’ who around here sympathises
with Germany?

VARLIE. (_Annoyed._) No, no, you fool! You ain’t got me square! (_Shuts
up note-book with a snap and turns away._)

1ST SHEP. Are you square?

VARLIE. (_Tipping him._) Here’s to prove it. (_The SHEPHERD takes the
money, but looks rather distrustfully at VARLIE. They separate._)

NORA. (_To RECRUITING OFFICER._) My! But you look fine! That’s the
first khaki we’ve seen round here.

RE. OFF. It’ll not be the last, Miss. Khaki breeds khaki.

ROTO. (_Chuckles. Suddenly, to ROBERT._) He is the colour of a rabbit,
Boss, that’s why.

ROBERT. Shut up, you fool. This is serious.

LOVEDAY. (_Laughs._) Rabbits? (_She looks mischievously at ROBERT._)

GORDON. Sit down and have tea first, and then tell us all about it.

RE. OFF. Thanks. (_To his MEN._) You may sit down too, lads. We’ve
ridden hard. But first water the horses.

 (_One of his MEN goes out with pails, assisted by ROTO. Splashing and
 champing sounds are heard. In a few minutes THEY return and sit with
 the rest._)

ROBERT. Are you recruiting?

RE. OFF. You’ve hit it, my lad. (_Takes off his hat and wipes his
forehead._)

NORA. Let’s see your hat. It is smart.

RE. OFF. (_Flattered, passes it._) There, miss.

 (_NORA leans over to LOVEDAY and they examine it together. NORA takes
 off her own and coquettishly tries it on, catches ROBERT’S eye, he
 smiles and looks away; catches GORDON’S eye, he gazes admiringly at
 her, she tosses her head and takes the hat off. Mugs of tea are handed
 round, the men drink thirstily._)

VARLIE. (_Remaining, eagerly listening, leans over to RECRUITING
OFFICER._) Say, stranger, are you getting along well with your job?

RE. OFF. (_Keenly._) And who are you?

VARLIE. Waal, I guess it can’t be hard for you to lay your finger on
the name of my country.

RE. OFF. I asked you.

VARLIE. I’m an Amurrican.

RE. OFF. Passports all right?

VARLIE. (_Affecting laziness, drawing them out._) I should say.

 (_RECRUITING OFFICER examines them, looks at him keenly, and passes
 them back._)

ROBERT. _He’s_ all right, Officer! We have had him around the station
many a time.

NORA. He’s the only man with brains enough to sell us the things we
want.

ROBERT. He has brains enough to sell us the things we _don’t_ want.

RE. OFF. Brains are always suspicious.

ROBERT. Oh, I say! That’s being _too_ British! _He’s_ all right. _Some_
straight men have brains.

GORDON. And lots of straight men are muddled headed enough to think
that wasting peoples time making a lot of truck nobody wants is good
for trade.

RE. OFF. Pardon. This tea’s good. Have you more, Missy?

NORA. As much as _you_ want--Officer! Is that what I should call you?

RE. OFF. That’ll do for me fine, Missy.

NORA. Fill up the kettle, Roto.

RE. OFF. Now my men. ’tenshun. (_All three rise._) We’ll have our
meeting.

 (_ROTO returns, and he and the SHEPHERDS crowd eagerly behind the
 others listening._)

LOVEDAY. But we seem like friends now, are you going to give us a
formal speech?

RE. OFF. When we speak of our King and Country we stand up to it like
men, Miss.

LOVEDAY. Then _so_ do we.

 (_She springs up. All rise and stand round the RECRUITING OFFICER who
 is flanked by his own men._)

RE. OFF. God Save the King.

ALL. God Save the King.

 (_A fleeting sneer is seen on VARLIE’S face, but he shouts louder than
 any._)

RE. OFF. (_Oratorically._) We have lived in New Zealand, some for
years, some of us all our lives, and we know what New Zealand means to
us. And most of us also know the Old Dart, know her and love her.

SEVERAL. Hear, hear!

LOVEDAY. (_Whispering._) The Old Dart, what’s that?

ROBERT. (_Smiling down on her._) That’s England, Great Britain, our pet
name for the Old Country.

RE. OFF. Now the Old Dart’s in trouble, fighting for her life--and, my
lads, it’s not only her life, it’s _our_ life, too, she’s fighting for.
Like a mother fightin’ for her young. And, she’s not only fightin for
her young, which is us, she is fightin’ for the world! for decency, and
truth, for liberty.

ALL. (_Increasingly enthusiastic._) Hear, hear! That’s right. Bravo.

RE. OFF. She’s fightin’ for liberty, fightin’ so that promises shall be
kept between nations as decent men keep ’em between each other.

 (_A murmur of assent._)

You know if your neighbours were all the time to lie to you over
everything they promised to do, you would never be able to keep going
with them. Like a man, you’d have to up and show ’em what’s what. And
that’s what the Old Dart is doing, and it is a big fight. But it is
going on in Europe, which is more than 10,000 miles away from us. You
may ask what has it all to do with _us_?

 ROBERT }
 _and_  }
 GORDON.} Not us. We know. We _don’t_ ask what it has to do with us!

RE. OFF. (_Hesitates as if thrown off his track._) Then you don’t need
my speech. (_Suddenly brightens and smiles appealingly._) Don’t spoil
my speech lads. Pretend to ask so you can hear it. It will make you
feel real grand.

 ROBERT }
 _and_  }
 GORDON.} Fire away then. Hear, hear!

ROTO. (_Excited._) That’s it, Mister. Give it us.

RE. OFF. (_Continues more eloquently._) Now we are New Zealanders, and
we live in this free and happy land, you may ask, what has all this
trouble in Europe to do with us?

 ROBERT,    }
 GORDON     }
 _and the_  }
 SHEPHERDS. } Hear! Hear! We do, we do ask!

RE. OFF. (_Very effectively._) But I answer you lads, what language do
we speak? English! What race are we? Britons! Why, lads, the British
over there aren’t as British as we are; They are English and Scotch
and Irish and Welsh--but what are we? All these British strains mixed!
Most of us have some Scotch blood and some English blood and some
Irish blood mixed in our veins, many of us have been to other parts of
Britain and got a touch of Canada, or Australia, or South Africa into
us. I say lads we are _more_ British than the folks in the Old Dart. We
are a fine blend of all the flavours of different Britons, we are the
very essence of Britain! We are epitomes of Empire.

ALL. (_Enthusiastic._) Hurray, that’s right. Hear, hear! Go it!

ROTO. (_Particularly enthusiastic._) We are, we are, hear, hear, Boss!

1ST SHEP. (_Digging ROTO in the ribs._) Ho, Ho!

RE. OFF. Do I need to tell you it’s a righteous war?

GORDON. We know that!

ROBERT. Shut up, let him give us his speech!

RE. OFF. (_Smiling._) I wasn’t going into that. I don’t have to tell
our lads it’s a righteous war. I only asked it like a rhetorical
question this time.

ROTO. Go on, Boss, go on. You speak most as fine as a Maori chief.

RE. OFF. Now, if Britons are engaged in this war, _we_ are engaged, for
are we not the Britons of the British? We are. And lads, I will tell
you, in the words of our own Prime Minister, Mr. Massey himself, I say
to you that “_All that we have and are is staked upon the issue of the
war!_”

ALL. (_Tremendous enthusiasm._) Hear, hear, bravo, hurrah!

 (_A roar of sound drowns the actual words. VARLIE shouts, but has
 a slight sneering smile on his lips as he watches the generous
 enthusiasm of the others._)

RE. OFF. Now lads, you know we are free Britons in this country. We
expect every New Zealander will do his duty because he’s glad, aye and
proud to do it. You are all only waiting to be told what to do. We have
no compulsion. But when you know what we are going to do, you’ll all
want to join in.

SHEPHERDS. Tell us Mister.

RE. OFF. We are a small nation. Only about a million souls of us
altogether, counting women and children. Now that’s very small as
nations go. But what are we going to do? We are going to put a larger
number of troops in the field than the British had in the great battle
of Waterloo!

 (_ALL at first incredulous, then wildly enthusiastic._)

RE. OFF. Aye, Aye, lads. Well may you shout. That’s what comes of being
New Zealand Britons. But we are going to do more. We are going to do
what the experts tell us is the most possible that any nation _can_
do; in three years we are going to have ten per cent. of our total
population in the field! That’s the maximum, the absolute scientific
limit of what any nation _can_ put in. And that means from our little
country we shall send one hundred thousand men to the field.

ALL. Hurray, hurray!

LOVEDAY. (_Glowing._) How splendid, how splendid you are!

RE. OFF. That’s it Missy, that’s how New Zealand women take it.

ROBERT. She’s English, she’s just visiting from home!

RE. OFF. From the Old Dart? Our men’ll follow you back Missy, all of us
would like to, only the years have passed over some, and that ties ’em.
When the years press on your shoulders you can’t carry the knapsack
too! And I see some of you chaps are too old.

1ST SHEP. (_Groans._) I am, curse the day I was born.

RE. OFF. But all of you, every one of you has your part to play. If
you can’t fight you can _save_. That’s what the people of New Zealand
haven’t realised yet. How many of our patriots have reduced their
consumption of petrol or of beer by a single gallon because of their
patriotism? Yet that is what they must do. That’s what we all must do.

    Men must fight
    And women must save
    The path of glory for Britons to pave.

 (_LOVEDAY and GORDON stand a little apart and are talking._)

GORDON. Ah, this stirs one! I wonder if _this_ is what I ought to do?

LOVEDAY. (_Smilingly shakes her head._) I don’t know.

GORDON. A man has only one life. That’s all he _can_ give to his
country.

LOVEDAY. But the thousands of sheep you raise may be even more useful!
(_mischievously_). It is a question you know--is one man as much use to
his country as his ten thousand sheep?

GORDON. Old men can raise sheep.

RE. OFF. (_Louder, catching all eyes._) And now to come to the fighting
element. I’ve just said, all of you can do _something_. But those of
you who can fight are wanted now. Have you seen this paper? (_Takes
official set of questions out of his pocket._)

MEN. (_Shaking their heads._) No. What is it?

RE. OFF. Then I’ll read it to you. It is addressed to all men between
nineteen and forty-five. Which of you are between nineteen and
forty-five?

GORDON. (_Looks across at LOVEDAY and says to her alone._) That’s a
direct message to me.

 (_GORDON, ROBERT, ROTO and the 2ND SHEPHERD stand out, each saying “I
 am!”_)

RE. OFF. (_Slapping ROTO on the shoulder._) How old are you?

ROTO. (_Quickly._) Forty-five, Mister.

RE. OFF. Open your mouth.

 (_ROTO opens and shows browned teeth._)

RE. OFF. (_Laughing._) Forty-five, with that hair and those teeth!

ROTO. (_Protesting._) I am, I am. My hair gone pale when I was nearly
drowned in the Rotorua hot spring.

RE. OFF. Get out.

ROTO. (_Persistently._) I’m strong man. I’m young man, see my muscle.
Feel my arm.

RE. OFF. You are not a Pakeha. You can’t fight with the Pakeha.

LOVEDAY. (_To NORA._) What is Pakeha? What does he mean?

NORA. Pakeha are white men, Englishmen.

ROTO. (_Protesting._) My father was a Queen-Maori.

RE. OFF. Was he? That’s good.

LOVEDAY. Whatever is a Queen-Maori?

RE. OFF. In the great war, missy, the Maori war, the Maoris who fought
on the side of the English, under Queen Victoria, you know, they were
called Queen-Maoris.

ROTO. My father fought with Pakeha then, why not me to-day? Take me.
I am strong like the branches of the Kauri pine. I am hard as my
hei-tiki. My father was a Queen-Maori. I will be a Queen-Maori and
fight for you. Take me.

RE. OFF. You are too old. You are sixty years old if you are a minute.

ROTO. No, no.

RE. OFF. (_To the 1ST SHEPHERD._) He is on your station, isn’t he? How
old is he?

1ST SHEP. Well, we don’t know exactly. But it is about six years ago
since we had a feast and a good drink because he said it was his
fiftieth birthday.

RE. OFF. There! Stand aside my man. If you are so strong you must do
the work the young men leave behind them.

 (_ROTO protests, and expresses chagrin but says no more._)

RE. OFF. (_To GORDON not noticing his lameness as he stands with the
others._) How old are you, sir?

GORDON. Twenty-nine.

RE. OFF. (_To ROBERT._) And you, sir?

ROBERT. Thirty-one.

RE. OFF. Good! (_To 2ND SHEPHERD._) And you?

2ND SHEP. Forty-two.

RE. OFF. H’m. You look more.

2ND SHEP. I’m forty-two (_glares_.)

RE. OFF. (_Feeling his arm and looking at him._) H’m. Well. Now lads.
On this paper are the following questions addressed specially to you
as you are between nineteen and forty-five. Question A. Have you
volunteered for military service beyond New Zealand as a member of an
Expeditionary Force in connection with the present war? If so, have you
been accepted for service or rejected?

ALL THREE. No. No, Boss. No.

RE. OFF. Well, Question B. If you have _not_ volunteered for service,
are you, being a single man without dependants, willing to become a
member of an Expeditionary Force? or (2) Are you--? By the way, let’s
settle that first. Are you all single men?

ALL THREE. Yes. Yes. Yes, sir.

RE. OFF. Then I needn’t read the alternative questions. Are you willing
to become members of an Expeditionary Force?

ALL THREE. Yes.

RE. OFF. That’s right, lads. Now I’ll be honest with you, and tell you
that all the law asks of you is to sign copies of this paper and send
them in--you will get them officially in a few days maybe--but that’s
not what _I’m_ here for, to get from you a mere scrap of paper with a
promise for the future on it. I’m here to get you yourselves, lads,
now. That’s better fitted to a Briton than to write his name on a bit
of paper, and to go back to his ordinary job! He that puts his hand
to the plough and turns back--you know what it says in the Bible. You
lads, and I, have got acquainted this afternoon, and I know you’re not
_that_ kind.

ALL THREE. No! We are not! We’ll come now, right now!

ROBERT. (_Taking a step forward._) I’ll come at once. That’s square.
(_Looking at LOVEDAY and smiling._) Can you fit me out in khaki right
now, Officer?

RE. OFF. The doctor’ll have to examine you (_indicating one of the men
with him_) and you’ll have to take the oath.

ROBERT. Yes, yes. Surely you have an extra uniform handy!

RE. OFF. (_Smiling._) It’s very irregular, sir. We’ll see later, step
aside.

GORDON. Now me.

RE. OFF. (_Examines him more carefully. Speaking kindly._) Step across
to me, sir.

 (_GORDON tries to conceal his limp as much as possible, but of course
 fails._)

RE. OFF. (_Shaking his head._) No good, sir. Why, you’re lame!

GORDON. Hardly at all. And I’m strong! I’ve never been ill. I can ride
day and night in the saddle. I’d join the mounted rifles!

RE. OFF. Not a bit of good, sir.

GORDON. (_Unbelieving._) I’m the right age. I’m strong. I can ride like
a cow-boy. I can shoot better than my brother.

ROBERT. That’s so.

RE. OFF. Your bit is not at the front.

LOVEDAY. Oh, officer. Is it impossible? It is such a _trifling_ limp.

 (_GORDON looks acutely distressed but smiles bravely and very
 gratefully at LOVEDAY._)

RE. OFF. Not a bit more good than if _you_ was to ask, Missy.

GORDON. (_Half stammering in his eagerness._) You must take me,
_somehow_ or other. You must. I can shoot. I never miss my aim! What
is the good of coming here and rousing us all up with your talk of
soldiering if you won’t take the best shot in the place?

RE. OFF. (_Kindly._) You’ll do no fighting, sir.

GORDON. (_Overcome._) Curse the tree that staked me! Curse the fools
that didn’t heal me square!

 (_There is an awkward silence. He flings up to NORA, who is a little
 apart from the rest, his eyes blazing._)

GORDON. Nora, what do you say? Aren’t I fit to go?

NORA. (_Calmly._) Of course not, Gordon. I can’t think how you could
have expected--

GORDON. (_Wildly._) Now I see why you never loved me! You’ve teased me
often enough. I’ve made love like a man, but to you, to _you_ I was
never a man! I see it now. You all think me useless. You don’t look on
me as a _man_!

 (_A tense pause, LOVEDAY and ROBERT look rather awkwardly distressed._)

NORA. (_Somewhat cowed._) Don’t be silly.

ROBERT. I say, old chap, don’t take it so hard.

GORDON. Wouldn’t you take it hard if both your country and the woman
you love told you plainly you were mere useless rubbish?

LOVEDAY. (_Pitifully._) Perhaps you will find a still greater thing to
do for your country. It is not _only_ fighters she needs.

GORDON. (_His lips quivering._) You are kind. But, oh God!--

 (_He goes toward shelter away from the OTHERS and aimlessly unfolds
 the blankets, folds them up again, and re-arranges the pile; opens
 them out and re-folds them, and so on._

 _Meanwhile, the RECRUITING OFFICER has quietly asked questions of the
 2ND SHEPHERD, whose answers are satisfactory._

 _LOVEDAY looks from one to the other, then sits brooding, glancing
 pitifully at GORDON from time to time._

 _While this is going on, the RECRUITING OFFICER takes ROBERT and the
 2ND SHEPHERD out, followed by the men with him, leaving NORA, 1ST
 SHEPHERD, ROTO and VARLIE in a group. LOVEDAY a little apart._)

ROTO. (_Grumbling, to 1ST SHEPHERD._) You have a black heart, you
Pakeha tutua.

1ST SHEP. Trying to lie about your age? You are older than I am.

ROTO. Why not lie about your age, too?

1ST SHEP. What would become of the sheep if I went off? Are the sheep
to die on the hills because the Germans are scurvy dogs? And the best
lot of sheep we have had, too, since I’ve been on the station!

NORA. When will you black fellows learn not to tell lies? What is the
good of telling lies any way, when you are always found out?

ROTO. I wouldn’t have been if he hadn’t wagged his tongue! And to tell
a bit of a lie so to give your life, that’s no lie.

VARLIE. Ah, Miss Nora, don’t try to stamp out necessary lying. The
world would be in a queer way if none of us told lies once in a way.
I’ll wager you this patent button hook you tell lies yourself now and
then. Little ones!

NORA. (_Smiling._) Oh, well--when I say I’m glad to see you, for
instance, that’s not a lie. It doesn’t take you in!

VARLIE. Freeze on to the button hook, Miss Nora. I’ve won my wager. It
is only sixpence.

NORA. (_Tosses it back to him._) What are you dreaming about, Loveday?

LOVEDAY. Before ever I met you all--for months past--I have been
thinking about Gordon’s problem. What is one who cannot fight to do for
our country?

NORA. Save, as you said yourself.

LOVEDAY. It isn’t only fighting and saving the nation’s needs. It needs
_thinking_. Wouldn’t it be splendid to see a man’s strength and his
brains put into thinking that might save thousands of lives in the time
to come.

VARLIE. People who talk about thinking are generally fools. The wise
man thinks his hardest how to conceal what he is thinking.

LOVEDAY. (_Swiftly and scornfully._) That’s a worldly man, whose
thoughts are grasping. I was dreaming of a man whose thoughts would be
_gifts_.

VARLIE. Thoughts are pretty cheap gifts.

LOVEDAY. Is there anything we possess that did not grow from a thought?
Isn’t the freedom in your country the result of the thought of the men
who framed your Constitution? Isn’t all law, all order, all happiness,
thought, or the results of it?

VARLIE. Huh! That’s too deep for me.

NORA. (_Reproving._) You are such a dreamer, Loveday. It’s so woolly to
dream, stop it.

LOVEDAY. My dreams are beginning to clear. If no one had ever thought,
we would be savages still. All human beings would be tearing out each
other’s eyes, always.

VARLIE. Yep. But talking about _my_ thoughts is not my job.
(_Yawning._) I must be getting along. When are those fellows going to
start?

 (_Sounds of cheering and laughter and trampling without. ROBERT
 comes swaggering on in a Khaki uniform with hat jauntily tilted. He
 is followed by the 2ND SHEPHERD with Badge and Armlet. RECRUITING
 OFFICER and his MEN follow, grinning. The group round the fire start
 up. All crowd round ROBERT shouting, admiring and patting him on the
 back. ROBERT goes up to LOVEDAY and salutes her, she smiles at him
 cheerily._)

LOVEDAY. Bravo! How fine you look!

 (_She looks past him however, to where GORDON is wistfully watching
 the group, and mastering himself to come forward. She smiles very
 sweetly and encouragingly at GORDON. The sky slowly takes on sunset
 tints._)

NORA. (_To ROBERT._) Give me one of your buttons. I’ll wear it.

ROBERT. (_Putting her off, with forced gaiety._) With the officer
looking? Shame on you!

NORA. (_To RECRUITING OFFICER._) A man who’s enlisted is allowed to
give away _one_ button, isn’t he?

RE. OFF. (_Smiling._) One--only one--to the girl he loves.

NORA. (_Invitingly._) Now, Robert, you hear!

 (_GORDON overhears this and waits eagerly for ROBERT’S answer._)

ROBERT. (_Laughs and comically struts._) Don’t shear my feathers off me
yet!

NORA. (_To VARLIE._) Men _are_ vain.

VARLIE. Take one of _my_ buttons! (_Holds out his coat._)

NORA. (_Eyes flashing._) When you’re in khaki!

GORDON. (_Pulling himself together, holds out his hand to ROBERT,
speaks huskily._) Good luck, old chap, the best of luck!

 (_LOVEDAY looks proudly at GORDON._)

ROBERT. (_Claps GORDON’S shoulder with his free hand._) Keep the
station going till I come back, sonny.

GORDON. I will, Robert.

ROBERT. _If_ I come back!

NORA. (_Excitedly._) Of course you will. You’ll come back with a V.C.,
won’t he, lads?

ALL. Of course. He’s just the make of a hero. Hurrah! Bravo!

 (_ALL crowd round him shouting and singing snatches of “Rule
 Britannia, God Save the King,” etc._

 _The sunset is crimson by now._)

ROBERT. Look at the sky! Come, we must be getting back.

 (_ALL follow him, marching, waving branches, etc., singing, “See the
 Conquering hero comes.” The rest troop off, but ROBERT turns and goes
 up to LOVEDAY who is lingering and keeps her apart._)

ROBERT. Wait a minute, won’t you?

LOVEDAY. Yes? Of course, what is it?

ROBERT. (_Shyly._) I say, I--won’t you--(_he takes out his jack knife
and cuts off a button, offering it to her_) I say, won’t you, won’t you
wear it, just to bring me luck?

LOVEDAY. (_Hesitates._) Oh--I--

ROBERT. Of course I don’t mean--to--to bother you in any way. I mean it
only in--in friendship! Just to bring me luck. Do! There’s nothing in
it--nothing silly--like what _they_ said.

LOVEDAY. (_Smiling, very charmingly._) Shall I sew it on again for you?

ROBERT. Oh! If you _won’t_ have it--you may sew it on if I may keep my
coat on while you are doing it!

LOVEDAY. Very well. Heroes have to be humoured, I suppose. Come along,
it’s getting late!

 (_THEY follow the others, as she is going off she looks back and sends
 a compassionate glance towards GORDON._

 _The sky rapidly darkens. GORDON stays behind, waits till they are
 all out of sight, then he throws himself face down on the ground,
 clenching his hands and moving as though in pain. The bell bird’s
 clear sweet note is heard. He lies in silence then groans aloud._)

GORDON. To both my country and the woman I love, I’m not a man. I’m
lumber--useless lumber! Nora! Nora!

 (_GORDON crouches in despair. The stage is now dusky, a pale moon
 shows. Softly, without any noise, between the trunks of two tall trees
 appears behind him the upper part of a white figure, with the forehead
 and head half covered by a floating white veil; the face is tender
 and grave, the eyes glowing as if inspired. In the shadowy light the
 figure looks like a vision. GORDON does not recognise that it is
 LOVEDAY. He slowly, as if mesmerised, rises on to his knees. There is
 a sweet low call of the bell bird far away. Stillness for a moment.
 LOVEDAY stands silent between the trees._)

GORDON. (_Still half kneeling, speaking in awed tones._) You are a
spirit?

 (_LOVEDAY is quite still._)

GORDON. You are the goddess of the woods come to me in my pain! Tell
me, you beautiful, you wonderful--tell me, what have I to do? Speak to
me, speak to me!

 (_LOVEDAY does not move; in a soft, penetrating voice, she intones,
 like a chant._)

 LOVEDAY. The bodies of men that can fight are mown down like the grass.

 The body of one young man, even if he is a prince among men cannot
 slay more than a hundred of his enemies.

 But by thought a man’s brain might conceive of a way to kill or to
 save hundreds of thousands.

 Now is the time for a Briton to arise who can slay with his great
 thought all the enemies of the future.

 Now is the time for one to bring forth a noble plan, so that all the
 treacherous aggressors shall be for ever disarmed and the peaceful
 nations be for ever free from fear of onslaught.

 (_She draws the veil across her face, takes a step back into the dusk
 and vanishes._)

GORDON. (_Exalted and trembling with eagerness._) Angel! Goddess! Tell
me--how--

 (_She does not return and makes no sound._)


_Slowly the CURTAIN descends._



ACT II.


 _Three or Four months later than Act I._

 _The Hyde’s Homestead, S. Island, New Zealand. Left back, one end of
 the low homestead with its broad, creeper-covered verandah abuts on
 to the garden. A rough piece of road runs across right back of stage.
 Back cloth painted with luxurious vegetation and vivid blue sky.
 Mixture of common English fruit trees and Eucalyptus, the lily-palm,
 masses of crimson ratas in flower._

 _GORDON HYDE and LOVEDAY DISCOVERED sitting together in garden, down
 right. GORDON has a sheaf of papers and writing pad on his knee,
 pen in hand. LOVEDAY is chewing the end of a flower stalk as though
 thinking._

GORDON. (_Laying down papers and looking at LOVEDAY with friendship
and admiration in his eyes, but not love._) It _is_ good of you coming
over so often to help me. I don’t know what I should have done without
you. The others try to slay with laughter all my young ideas. I _am_
indebted to you!

LOVEDAY. No, no! It has been simply splendid for me to see you work
out these great ideas. It has been wonderful to watch the little germ
of your conception grow and grow and take practical shape in your
wonderful brain!

GORDON. Oh, it is not mine. None of all this (_indicating papers on
his knee_) is mine. All my ideas before that day had been vague and
muddled. Now I am only writing down the ideas that vision, that goddess
gave me.

LOVEDAY. The practical ideas _are_ yours.

GORDON. No.

LOVEDAY. Yes. Indeed they are, I’ve watched you shaping them.

GORDON. No. The germ of everything was in that beautiful message she
gave me.

LOVEDAY. (_Looking at him as though acquiescing tenderly to humour him.
He does not see the look._) Who was it do you think?

GORDON. A spirit.

LOVEDAY. (_Triumphantly._) There _are_ no spirits you know--no spirits
that talk to living people. The ideas are your own, your very own--

GORDON. Perhaps the Maoris are right. This _was_ a spirit. It
_couldn’t_ have been imagination! I heard her speak quite clearly. Her
wonderful voice was like music, thrilling and deep like the songs of
birds in a cool, deep glade.

LOVEDAY. But you were overwrought. Imagination plays tricks then.

GORDON. Yes, I was overwrought. That recruiting business had amazingly
stirred me. But what she said was so remote from my misery that I
_could_ not have imagined anything so vital, so full of hope. I felt
shamed, anguished. I felt my manhood beaten in the dust, by my country,
by the woman I loved.

LOVEDAY. (_Murmurs._) No, no.

GORDON. Do you know what love is? Have you ever loved? If not, you
could never understand my shame.

LOVEDAY. I have never loved--

 (_His face is averted, she looks at him long and tenderly._)

until--

GORDON. Ah, but you--beautiful and radiant as you are will never know
what it is to have love _spurned_--as I have.

LOVEDAY. I’m not--so--sure!

GORDON. (_Eagerly._) Are you not sure that my love is spurned? Do you
think Nora, after all, may love me?

LOVEDAY. That’s--that’s not quite what I meant. But--when--when once
Nora sees how the great world honours you for these ideas (_taps papers
on his knee_) she will love you, she must. All women will love you and
bless you--for you will be the saviour of their sons!

GORDON. But Nora is so living--so--_feminine_. I don’t think dreamy
things like _ideas_ appeal to her. Oh, how well I remember her as a
girl with her golden hair flying! We three were brought up together,
she and Robert and I. She never cared about reading, but always played
some real game.

LOVEDAY. As she gets older she will see that ideas are real. Perhaps,
and then--

GORDON. Wish that for me!

LOVEDAY. Are you sure you wish it for yourself?

GORDON. Sure! Wish it for me! There is something wonderful about you.
Your wishes would bring me luck.

LOVEDAY. I wish you every, every happiness.

GORDON. That’s vague. Say, “I wish that Nora may love you and make you
happy.”

LOVEDAY. I wish that if Nora loves you she may make you happy.

GORDON. Ah, _if_ (_suddenly looking at her_). What’s the matter with
you? Your voice sounds tired. Are you tired?

LOVEDAY. Yes. That’s it. I am a little tired.

GORDON. We’ll stop the work.

LOVEDAY. No, no. See. I’ll come here in the shade. (_She moves where he
can’t see her face._) Now read over some of what you have written, and
I’ll listen critically.

GORDON. (_Looks at her for a moment, then reads._) “The nations shall
unite and have a super-parliament to which they shall all send a
small number of representatives. This super-parliament shall make
International laws, but it shall chiefly exist to prevent any nation
flying at another’s throat. If necessary, by force.” (_In another
tone._) Flying at another’s throat, doesn’t seem formal enough, does it?

LOVEDAY. Perhaps not. Mark it. Go on.

GORDON. “In order to prevent any murderously-minded nation flying at
another’s throat (_in different tone_) as Germany did at Belgium.
_That_ example will never be forgotten.”

LOVEDAY. Never. But go on.

GORDON. “In order to prevent for ever,” I’ll add for ever, shall I?

LOVEDAY. Yes.

GORDON. “In order for ever to prevent any murderously-minded nation
flying at another’s throat, or stealing any of the rights, or breaking
any international law, the super-parliament shall have behind it the
whole of the armaments of the world.” That’s good, isn’t it? _That’s_
the point.

LOVEDAY. Splendid! That’s where your scheme differs from all the dear
crack-brained pacificists. Have you written out the clauses by which
that is secured?

GORDON. Yes. (_Shuffles the papers._) “The super-parliament is to have
complete control of all the armies and all the armament factories in
the whole world. Any individual or group of individuals violating
that monopoly and attempting private manufacture of armaments shall be
subject to instant death.”

LOVEDAY. Good!

GORDON. You are bloodthirsty!

LOVEDAY. I am only cruel to villains to be kind to the virtuous. But
I’m afraid a really sneak-dog nation, like--well, like _some_ we could
mention, would have made armaments secretly and piled them up.

GORDON. No, no, because--(_shuffles the papers_.) Where is it? There is
to be a clause preventing any such hanky-panky.

LOVEDAY. There is no doubt, that if that is managed properly, however
greedy or treacherous any individual nation might be, it simply
wouldn’t _dare_ to go to war.

GORDON. That’s the idea.

LOVEDAY. And that is a much more practical idea than that of the
pacificists who talk about _voluntary_ limitation of armaments.

GORDON. They idealise human nature.

LOVEDAY. Now _your_ plan _compels_ decent behaviour.

GORDON. _Don’t_ call it mine. It is all the gift of my fairy genius of
the woods.

LOVEDAY. (_Smiling as though tenderly humouring him._) Have you seen
her again--your spirit in the woods?

GORDON. No, only that once.

LOVEDAY. Well, what you told me of her words then was just the vague
dream of an idea, but look at all these sheets and sheets of carefully
worked out clauses. All these actual, practical, useful ideas are
_yours_!

GORDON. They are not. Though I was dreaming and longing vaguely for
something of the kind, I’m not big enough actually to have thought it
out.

LOVEDAY. You are. You are big enough for anything!

GORDON. Nora doesn’t think so.

LOVEDAY. (_Scornfully._) Nora!

GORDON. Why are you so keen on making me think too well of myself?

LOVEDAY. Not too well.

GORDON. Why do you trouble that I should even think well of myself at
all?

LOVEDAY. Because when a man is a man he should respect himself as one
man respects another.

GORDON. You are wonderful--women generally try to make a man feel a
worm.

LOVEDAY. (_Hastily._) What I like best about this splendid scheme of
_yours_ is, that even Germany will _have_ to accept it when it is
proposed to her, because she is all the while demanding “only her own
national safety,” and pretending she has no aggressive desires, so she
can’t have the face to refuse to join in--and yet when she does her
militarism will be choked. Nothing could destroy all militarism more
completely than this!

GORDON. Yes. And she would give herself away so utterly if she stood
out!

LOVEDAY. And if she _did_ stand out, she’d--

 (_NORA, with a basket of fruit on her arm, enters from road._)

NORA. (_Laughing._) Halloo, you two? At it again? Settling the affairs
of the world in _this_ remote spot!

GORDON. Why not? Every spot is remote from somewhere else.

NORA. London is not remote from the war, and _if_ your ideas aren’t
boiled gooseberries, they had better get to London.

LOVEDAY. Of course they will get to London. All ideas reach London in
the end.

GORDON. Robert left me here on trust. I must keep his sheep going, at
any rate till I can get a responsible manager. Then I’ll go to London.

NORA. London has got too many ideas of its own to listen to an utterly
unknown New Zealand sheep farmer.

GORDON. (_Sighing._) It may take time!

NORA. (_Laughing._) Time! It’ll take more than time. You don’t know a
soul in London.

GORDON. I don’t, that’s flat.

LOVEDAY. _I_ do.

NORA. _You_ do? Of course you do. You will have to write him
introductions. How will you begin? “A young genius, called Gordon Hyde,
has ideas to set the Thames on fire. For love of me please give him a
match”--or--“Gordon Hyde is my dear friend, and a dear fool, and as
sometimes fools rush in where angels fear to tread, please send him in
your motor car at once to the Prime Minister.”

 (_BOTH laugh, though GORDON flushes as if somewhat hurt._)

LOVEDAY. You laugh because you don’t know how powerful a really great
idea is.

NORA. I don’t. Perhaps because I’ve never met one.

LOVEDAY. (_Seeing GORDON looking wistfully at NORA, rises._) Here,
Gordon, give me those papers. We have done enough for the present. I’ll
take them into the house. (_She saunters along the verandah and enters
the house._)

GORDON. Sit down, Nora. You’ll be tired after picking all that fruit.
I’ll carry it over for you when you are rested.

NORA. I can carry it quite well myself. I’m every bit as strong as you.

GORDON. Don’t, Nora. Don’t always be cruel now.

NORA. I’m not cruel. It would be much crueller to keep you dangling
around, puffed up with hope.

GORDON. I’d be happier.

NORA. Only for a bit. It couldn’t go on.

GORDON. Why not?

NORA. Am I the kind of girl never to marry?

GORDON. Nora! You’re not--not engaged?

NORA. Not--yet.

GORDON. But--when will it be, I wonder!

NORA. Now, you are rude. Couldn’t I be engaged any minute I liked.

GORDON. Nora, how you tease me! And yet, I believe, underneath it all
you are fond of me--a little.

NORA. Of course, I’m fond of you. We were brought up like brother and
sister.

GORDON. But now, Nora--oh, bother!

 (_There is a hullabaloo outside and ROTO and the 1ST SHEPHERD run on
 looking towards road and shouting._)

ROTO.     }
1ST SHEP. } Hey, mister, here’s a sight. Look at that now! The
first, the very first that’s been along that road. Hoo-o!

 (_There is the sound of a carefully driven car, and a spidery looking
 motor car driven by VARLIE draws up at the gate. VARLIE waves his hat.
 ALL run forward, LOVEDAY comes out of the house, the collie dog runs
 up, and a babble ensues._)

VARLIE. Yes, siree. I’m the boy to get the hustle on to these roads.
I’ll lay my bottom dollar this is the first car that has pulled up at
this Homestead.

SEVERAL. Yes. It is. It is that. Just fancy!

NORA. I say, _what_ an idea! You are a smart man, Mr. Varlie.

VARLIE. Smart! It ’ud tickle a racer to get ahead of me. I’m out to
bring this country up to date. Why, you folk would go on sleeping here
same as if automobiles had never been invented.

LOVEDAY. And I wish they hadn’t!

VARLIE. You just say that, Miss Loveday, because you are a beautiful
English girl--for England’s so small it is most over-run with
automobiles, that drop off it into the sea--but you wait till you see
what this little roundabout can do for these God-forsaken stations.

GORDON. (_Grinning amiably._) Don’t you lay it on too thick if you want
to sell your car. And I suppose that’s what you’re after?

VARLIE. Sure! (_Laughing._) Did you think I was intending to give it to
you?

GORDON. We might do without it.

VARLIE. Not likely. Not when you had once set eyes on it. The ladies
would fair grab at it if you let it slip.

NORA. There is my dad--he’ll be mad not to see it. He is away out in
the hills, or I’d fetch him along this minute.

VARLIE. Waal, let me show you what this little packet of lightening
can do. With this back seat raised she will take four of you into the
city in just one-third of the time that your horses would take you on
their backs. And you arrive spick and span as a daisy in your glad rags
instead of carrying your things to change every time there is a dance
or a the-atre.

NORA. (_Clapping her hands._) Splendid, simply splendid. Wouldn’t that
be lovely!

LOVEDAY. It might.

GORDON. If it didn’t jib half way.

VARLIE. No, siree. Not if you drive her right.

NORA. You’ll have to learn how, Gordon.

GORDON. If _you_ have the car I will learn to drive it all right.

NORA. I _must_ have it.

GORDON. Your dad’ll never spend so much just on your running about.

VARLIE. But I’ve not done yet, by gum! See what business she’ll do. See
what she will carry. If you don’t have that little back seat raised,
but have it locked down, this whole back top of her will open out on
a hinge, and run behind on runners, stretching her out like a trolley
car. See? (_He manipulates the back of car as he speaks._) Then you put
up these rails, bolt ’em together--and look at the freight she’ll carry!

 NORA,      }
 GORDON     }
 and OTHERS }
 TOGETHER   } Wonderful! I say, that’s neat. Fancy that now! That’s a
 difference from my young days.

VARLIE. She won’t carry machinery or dead weight like that--but all
your ordinary freight--flour, groceries--all you want out from the
city--she’ll take in your fruit so that you can sell it fresh in town
instead of letting it rot on your trees--she--

GORDON. Have you sold any around here?

VARLIE. Sold any? Why, there’s scarcely a station that isn’t ordering
one.

NORA. We must, dad _must_!

VARLIE. Ah, Miss Nora. I bet your poppa knows his duty to a peach like
you!

GORDON. (_Prowls round the car, examining it closely and with
interest._) Where was she made?

VARLIE. That’s an Amurrican made sample, but when I have booked enough
orders, the firm will set up and make them here.

GORDON. It is ingenious.

VARLIE. Any suggestion you like to make, sir, I’ll report to my firm.
We are out to supply to this country what she requires. It’s a fresh,
growing country with fresh-growing needs, and the firm that doesn’t try
to foist off continental models into it, but supplies those needs, will
get some business.

GORDON. That is so.

VARLIE. Why, the folk around here don’t know what it is to spend money.
There’s a power of unconscious demands right here waiting the supplies.
You need to learn how to require luxuries.

GORDON. (_Hotly._) And waste good work making things we are happier
without! No! Till this war is settled up, and after it, till everyone
is fed and clothed decently, work must be spent on those jobs, not on
senseless fripperies which enslave us to make some soulless idiot rich!

VARLIE. (_Strolls towards seat, down left._) Say! Have you got any
lemonade? I’m as dry as a fish. (_Sits._)

 (_NORA and LOVEDAY sit near him._)

GORDON. Here, Roto, fetch along the drinks! (_ROTO hurries into the
house._)

1ST SHEP. (_Hovering near car, to GORDON._) Eh! But it’s a fair
miracle. Boss!

GORDON. (_Leaving the car and coming to outskirts of group, down
left._) Like all miracles, it don’t seem _sure_ to work.

 (_ROTO returns, with tray of drinks and tumblers. GORDON helps to hand
 them round._)

GORDON. (_To 1ST SHEPHERD, stretching out with a tumbler towards him._)
Here you are.

1ST SHEP. Thank you, Boss. (_Comes up to outskirts of group and stands
there sipping his drink._)

VARLIE. (_Cheerily._) Waal, and how have you been making time fly since
I was here last?

NORA. Much as usual, only we work harder and--(_laughs_)--Gordon moons
more than ever now he has someone to encourage him!

VARLIE. Ah, writes poetry, does he, poor chap?

GORDON. No. I don’t.

NORA. Well, what you do is just as useless.

LOVEDAY. It isn’t! He is working out ideas of great practical
use--immense--there is nothing more important in the world.

VARLIE. So _that’s_ how the land lies! (_Twinkling a knowing look at
LOVEDAY’S unconscious face._) And what _is_ the great idea, if I don’t
intrude?

GORDON. It is to make another such war as this impossible.

VARLIE. Oh, ho! That’s a _real_ smart idea, that is! Are you going to
do it by preaching to the armies, or lovin’ ’em like brothers, or how?

 (_ROTO and 1ST SHEPHERD guffaw loudly._)

GORDON. I’m no silly mug of a pacifist.

NORA. Their idea--

LOVEDAY. _His_ idea--

NORA. Well then, as you like--his idea is to have only one army in the
world. Ha, ha, ha. He, he, he! Isn’t that practical!

LOVEDAY. Nora, you _are_ a tease! It’s nothing of the sort, Mr.
Varlie. Gordon’s idea is to have an international parliament, a
super-parliament, and for that to have complete control of an
international army, and also--what is very important--complete control
of all armament making.

GORDON. Then any nation would have all the rest of the world against it
directly it tried to do anything aggressive.

LOVEDAY. Yes. That’s where it will get Germany so splendidly. Germany
_pretends_ she goes in for her militarism only for self-preservation.
Now this international scheme will secure her self-preservation, but
will entirely destroy her militarism and make her aggression impossible!

VARLIE. Donnerwetter! (_Confused, trying to cover his mistake._) Sake’s
alive--

NORA. (_Pertly._) Are _you_ a German?

VARLIE. What do you take me for? I’m Amurrican. But I’ve travelled in
Germany, like most travellers.

NORA. It would be a joke if you were a German, wouldn’t it?

VARLIE. (_Cheerfully._) I’d be taking risks, wouldn’t I? But let’s hear
more of this idea. It’s a great idea if it’ll kill German militarism!
Why (_looking at GORDON_), I’d no idea you were such a top hole genius.

LOVEDAY. Now you’re laughing, too. None of you seem to think war _can_
be made impossible.

ROTO. That it can’t, Missy. Not while men are men.

1ST SHEP. (_Agreeing._) That’s so, that’s so!

LOVEDAY. How can _you_ think that, Roto? Why, there used to be war in
this very land between you and the English, and now there is none.

ROTO. That’s because the Pakeha are strong. They make laws we have to
obey. If a Maori kill a Pakeha or a Maori now, the Maori is hung by the
law. So Maori and Pakeha live without killing.

LOVEDAY. But that’s just it! If the International Parliament was strong
and it made laws, the nations would have to obey and if one nation went
to war and tried to kill another, that nation would suffer. So the
nations would live without war.

1ST SHEP. (_Shaking his head._) He, he, he! That’s likely! (_Whistles
to the collie and goes off._)

VARLIE. Germany would never consent.

GORDON. Then she would openly proclaim that her militarism is
aggressive and not for self-defence. It would have to be one of the
terms of peace that she did come in.

VARLIE. Waal, that may not be so easy.

LOVEDAY. Then all the more need for Gordon’s scheme. It is the only way
to destroy militarism.

GORDON. Without some such plan the nations will all be burdened beyond
endurance, with armament making and the upkeep of armies.

LOVEDAY. And all the lovely face of England will be scarred with
factories and works, and her people go grey and weary under roofs
instead of singing while they work under the blue sky. And not only
in England but everywhere, machines, machines, machines will sap the
vitals of men and women and make life a grey and sordid fear!

NORA. Aren’t they just _too_ absurd for anything, those two! As though
it was _their_ business to set the world right!

GORDON. Whose is it then?

NORA. Nobody’s.

GORDON. It is the business of everyone to make the world safer and more
beautiful--

NORA. (_Putting her fingers in her ears._) Aren’t they hopeless! (_To
VARLIE._) Come along, and I’ll show you my bed of English roses. You’ll
like them.

VARLIE. (_Rises, throws down a nearly burnt cigar and goes with her
across stage, standing down right with her to admire a rose bed in
bloom._) I guess you’re the best rose among them all.

NORA. (_Smiles as if pleased._) You have nothing to sell _me_!

VARLIE. No. But I might have something to give.

 (_Meanwhile GORDON limps off after smiling at LOVEDAY. She picks up a
 book and begins to read._)

NORA. _You_ never give anything unless you get its value back!

VARLIE. This time it is a free gift I’m thinking of, but I don’t deny I
might get its value back! More than its value perhaps.

NORA. Well, I’m sure you haven’t got anything I want as a gift.

VARLIE. Ah, you Angel face. Couldn’t you take a free gift of a man?

NORA. What man?

VARLIE. Suppose it was myself!

NORA. (_Meditating._) You are a _man_.

VARLIE. I am that. Would you take me as a free gift?

NORA. But what would I do with you?

VARLIE. Waal--what does a woman do with a man? Sometimes she marries
him.

NORA. Oh! Well--but _that_ wouldn’t be a free gift of a man. You would
get me in exchange.

VARLIE. Didn’t I say I might get more than its value back for my gift?

 (_Meanwhile ROTO is sitting on the ground not far from LOVEDAY,
 finishing VARLIE’S cigar, and playing with a carved jade curio.
 Between the puffs of the cigar, and under his breath, he hums snatches
 of the following song:_

    [ROTO.    He roa te wa ki Tipirere
                He tino mamao,
              He roa te wa ki Tipirere,
                Ki taku kotiro.
              E noho pikatiri,
                Hei kona rehita koea,
              He mamao rawa Tipirere
                Ka tae ahua.])

NORA. Then that’s no bargain for me!

VARLIE. Say, you think it over. I’ve got a mighty fine business now,
and you could help me in it. You could live in the city or run about
with me or whatever you liked--and say, Angel face, I think you are
just the best ever!

NORA. You’re smart--but--

VARLIE. (_Leans over quickly and kisses her._) Say, Angel face, that’s
a man’s kiss, ain’t it?

NORA. Oh! (_Confused, half pleased, half indignant._) That’s not how to
treat New Zealand girls! (_She runs into house and slams the door._)

 (_VARLIE, satisfied with himself, strolls back across stage and stands
 looking down at the green jade curio ROTO is cleaning carefully.
 LOVEDAY continues to read near by._)

VARLIE. Say, Sambo, what’s that pretty thing?

ROTO. I’m not a Sambo.

VARLIE. That’s right. I beg yours.

ROTO. (_Resentfully._) My name’s Roto, and I thought you knew it, Boss.

VARLIE. I did, then I didn’t, and I do now. Waal, Roto, let’s get back
to the trail. What’s that? (_Seats himself so that he can see the curio
in ROTO’S hands._)

ROTO. That’s a hei-tiki.

VARLIE. A hei-tiki, is it? Does it tick?

ROTO. Silly joke. Hei-tiki is Maori.

VARLIE. What for?

ROTO. For this. (_Shows greenstone charm round his neck._) Same here.

VARLIE. Let me see.

ROTO. No. No one touch but me. It is tapu.

VARLIE. Tapu? What does that mean?

ROTO. No one may touch but me. This one is tapu, sacred.

VARLIE. I won’t hurt it.

ROTO. When tapu put on anything, no one can touch unless tapu is raised.

VARLIE. Waal, and how is the tapu raised?

ROTO. Long ago, only death did--now--oh now, in weak men’s
time--_money_ will raise tapu.

VARLIE. The almighty dollar! And how much money will raise this tapu?

ROTO. Much, very much.

VARLIE. Why?

ROTO. This very rare, very useful hei-tiki.

VARLIE. How so?

ROTO. It has death in it, secret, strong death.

 (_LOVEDAY looks up from her reading and watches quietly, and with
 simple curiosity._)

VARLIE. How?

ROTO. Great secret. A very great wise chief found how to get secret
poison from karaka kernels.

VARLIE. Karaka?

ROTO. Every New Zealand Pakeha knows karaka seeds, very bad poison. But
kills too quick, too ugly, legs all stiff anyhow--all know that karaka
poison. But this great chief took part of karaka seed-poison, mixed
with magic, and then it kills more slowly in one, two hours after, like
as if the man died of himself.

VARLIE. And who do _you_ want to kill?

ROTO. Me? No fellow. All friends. But this hei-tiki useful. It has
secret poison, no doctor could tell was poison. That’s why tapu would
cost much for a pakeha to touch it.

VARLIE. I’d like to have it. How much?

ROTO. Good Maori-stone carved hei-tiki, with secret death. Very much
cost.

VARLIE. Twenty shillings?

ROTO. Oh, no, no! Two hundred shillings.

VARLIE. Gosh! Let me see it.

ROTO. No.

VARLIE. Waal, you can’t get my bottom dollar for a thing I haven’t even
seen!

ROTO. (_Holds it carefully in his hands._) Well, see.

 (_The audience also can see a green jade carving of very peculiar
 shape._)

VARLIE. Where is the poison?

ROTO. Quite safe. Inside. If top pressed hard, pushes bottom on one
side, and poison drops out.

VARLIE. Is the poison coloured?

ROTO. Three or four drops clear like water. One drop enough. Try! And
take the poison yourself!

VARLIE. You old scamp. I guess you are not friends with me. You’d like
me to take the poison!

ROTO. (_Cunningly._) You’re not deep friend to our Pakeha, are you?

VARLIE. (_Laughing noisily._) That’s a good one! (_Looks up and sees
LOVEDAY._) Say, Miss Loveday, did you hear that? He don’t seem to trust
me!

LOVEDAY. He has queer intuitions sometimes. But perhaps he is only
afraid of your business superiority.

ROTO. Very cheap, Maori-stone, safe kill, no pakeha doctor could tell.

VARLIE. (_Laughing._) He’s a nice villain!

LOVEDAY. He’s all right. If he wanted to use it he wouldn’t talk about
it.

VARLIE. You’re smart. Do you believe in it? Or is he just pulling my
leg?

LOVEDAY. I believe in it. Gordon knows about a thing like that. I
thought he said it was the last though.

ROTO. This the _very_ last. This worth much money.

VARLIE. (_Taking out a pocketful of money._) Come. I’ll have it, to
keep you out of mischief. Take twenty shillings?

ROTO. No.

VARLIE. Forty then?

ROTO. No.

VARLIE. Fifty then? (_Lays out the money temptingly._)

ROTO. (_Looks eagerly at it, then yields._) Ten more.

VARLIE. Oh, all right! (_Lays down money._)

 (_ROTO takes up the money, and hands the green stone to VARLIE who
 looks at it [so that audience can see its shape] then slips it into
 his pocket._)

VARLIE. (_Laughing reassuringly and sitting a little nearer LOVEDAY._)
These queer old curios get me every time. I’ll test a drop of his
precious poison on a mangy old dog I have, and if it _is_ as he says,
I’ll wash it out and keep eau de cologne in it. The jade is a pretty
shape.

LOVEDAY. Yes, it is. And it is quite a good bit of jade, too. It is
worth money. But do be careful with the stuff. I more than half believe
what he says.

VARLIE. An old hand like I am at life, don’t run no risks with a bit of
jade. I’ve seen too much of the world.

LOVEDAY. You have travelled much?

VARLIE. I should say! I have run around a bit, and got into many a good
scrape in my time. Why, any day you are lonesome, Miss Loveday, ask me
for the story of my wounds!

LOVEDAY. I’ve been rather lonesome this afternoon. How did you get that
red triangle on your right cheek bone? I have often wondered. It is so
regular.

VARLIE. (_Turns his right cheek so that she can see it, points it out
and turns again so that audience can see the bright red, definite small
triangle on his cheek._) Ah, now that’s one of my best stories. I was a
spry young fellow then. (_Looks at her._) Now, if you were a smart girl
you’d say, “_That’s_ not long ago then, Mr. Varlie!”

LOVEDAY. (_Smiling._) I’ll say it if it is a regulation part of the
story. Is it?

VARLIE. Waal, as you are a high and mighty young English girl, we’ll
take it as said.

 (_Sounds of footsteps and panting along road--1ST SHEPHERD hurries on
 carrying a telegram held out before him._)

1ST SHEP. Where’s Mr. Gordon? Oh, where is he? This telegram’s for him.

LOVEDAY. He went round the back of the house not long ago.

1ST SHEP. Oh, terrible, terrible. That I’ve to take him this telegram.

LOVEDAY. What is it?

1ST SHEP. Bad news, terrible bad news. The postman, he told me.

LOVEDAY. (_Anxiously._) But tell us.

1ST SHEP. Oh, Missy, how’ll ever Mister Gordon take it? Mr. Robert has
been killed.

LOVEDAY. (_Sinking back in chair._) Robert _killed_, oh! _poor_ Gordon!

VARLIE. Sakes alive, that’s a knock out.

1ST SHEP. That’s what I say. It had better been the other way about.

LOVEDAY. (_Swiftly, in anger._) How _can_ you say that?

NORA. (_Running out of house._) What _is_ the fuss?

1ST SHEP. (_A little important as being the bearer of sad news._) Ah,
Missy, it’s sad tidings there is in this telegram. Mr. Robert’s killed.

NORA. (_Screams and staggers. LOVEDAY springs up and goes to her._)
Robert, Robert! Killed. How do you know? It must be lies. How do you
know?

1ST SHEP. Postman told me. This is a Government telegram, telling it to
ye, official.

GORDON. (_Hurries round the house and comes centre forward._) Whatever
is the matter?

 (_ROTO comes in and learning news from VARLIE, shows signs of real
 grief._

 _ALL hesitate to tell GORDON. 1ST SHEPHERD holds out telegram._)

1ST SHEP. It’s, it’s bad news, Mister Gordon.

GORDON. The telegram is official--it’s--is Robert wounded? (_Tears open
the telegram._)

GORDON. Killed! (_Lets telegram fall, and staggers forward to chair,
all are silent._)

NORA. (_Crying softly._) Oh Robert, Robert, Robert!

 (_LOVEDAY tries to soothe her and is sad also. ROTO sniffs. The collie
 dog comes up to the group, looking from one to the other, then goes to
 GORDON and rubs against him licking his hand. GORDON pats him._)

GORDON. Good old chap. Yes, he’ll never come back. Your master is
dead--died a hero’s death.

VARLIE. (_Comes up and shakes GORDON’S hand._) Accept my condolences.

GORDON. Thanks--thanks, you’re kind. (_Pays little attention to him,
goes over to NORA, who is still weeping._) Nora, dear. (_He kneels
beside her._) How sweet of you to care so much--he, he’d be proud if he
knew.

NORA. (_Fiercely._) He wouldn’t! He never cared for me. _And I loved
him_--and I hate you. Go away!

 (_She pushes him roughly from her so that, on his knees, still, he
 scarcely keeps his balance. She turns and weeps fiercely in LOVEDAY’S
 arms. LOVEDAY, soothing her, really watches and feels for GORDON. As
 he staggers blindly to his feet, she looks with infinite tenderness
 and pity towards him and stretches out a hand to steady him. He takes
 it, and clasps it for a moment._)

ROTO. (_Wailing._) What’ll happen? What’ll happen now Mister Robert
won’t come back?

1ST SHEP. Eh, eh, dear, dear.

GORDON. He won’t come back! (_He looks up suddenly, and seems to gather
strength._) He won’t come back! He has done _his_ job for the Empire!
That frees me! Now I’ll do mine! I’ve nothing to keep me here.

1ST SHEP. Why! the sheep do, Boss.

GORDON. Robert charged me to keep the station going for him till he
came back. Now he’ll never come back; I’m done with the station! Other
men must raise the sheep.

LOVEDAY. (_Her eyes sparkling._) You’ll go to London?

GORDON. Yes. We have often said I’d have to go to London some day to
get _my_ job put through.

VARLIE. (_Half aside._) The man’s mad! He doesn’t propose seriously to
bring forward that devilish scheme of his. (_Aloud._) What will you
do? Have you the dollars? It’ll take a good deal of money!

GORDON. No. All I have is the homestead, and the sheep. But I’ll sell
them.

VARLIE. It’s the worst time to sell just now.

GORDON. I’ll lose something of course, but the homestead and all is
really worth quite ten thousand pounds altogether.

VARLIE. Snakes! It’s not worth nearly half that.

1ST SHEP. Yes it is, Mister. It’s a good station. None better
hereabouts.

VARLIE. Is it freehold?

GORDON. Yes. And unencumbered.

VARLIE. Is it all yours?

GORDON. Yes--_now_ it is. Robert and I shared it. He left his will with
me--he said his share was all for me, as he hadn’t got a girl.

 (_NORA is seen to shudder as though hurt._)

VARLIE. Then you can sell at once.

GORDON. I shall.

1ST SHEP. Don’t ’e, Mister Gordon, don’t ’e. You’ll best wait. Land’s
not sellin’ just now. Wait a bit.

GORDON. But my work won’t wait! I shan’t.

LOVEDAY. Splendid! Go.

GORDON. You say so? You back me?

LOVEDAY. Yes. Yes.

GORDON. Well, I have one on my side.

VARLIE. It’s a fool business.

GORDON. I must sell at once. Perhaps neighbour Lee might like to join
this station on to his.

NORA. (_Looking up fiercely._) My dad? I won’t let him. I won’t!

VARLIE. You’ll not get a purchaser at present.

ROTO. That’s true, Boss. No one is buying land just now.

GORDON. (_Turning away._) Well, I must sell for else I have no money to
go to Europe with and I _will_ go. It will be a very expensive job.
Propaganda costs. I must put my scheme before the Prime Minister of
England, and it’s no good to write to him. I must see him, I must talk
to him.

VARLIE. Has he a good opinion of you?

GORDON. He doesn’t know me yet.

NORA. (_Scolding._) How do you think that you, an absolutely unknown
Colonial with a hair-brained scheme, are going to get at him?

GORDON. I’ll manage it somehow.

VARLIE. London is not like Dunedin, I opine. Do you know anyone in
London who knows the Prime Minister?

GORDON. No. But I’ll get to.

NORA. Do you know a single living soul in London?

GORDON. No. But I will when I get there.

LOVEDAY. He will. _I’ll_ see to that!

NORA. (_Spitefully._) Oh! Do _you_ know people who know the Prime
Minister of England?

LOVEDAY. (_Quietly._) I do.

NORA. (_Taken aback._) Oh! Who?

LOVEDAY. The Duchess of Rainshire.

VARLIE. (_Very alert, evidently taking note of the name._) Does she
know the Prime Minister intimately?

LOVEDAY. Yes. He often comes to see her.

GORDON. (_Triumphfully._) Splendid! You never told me that, Loveday,
when you said I should have to go and see him somehow.

LOVEDAY. (_Smiling._) I had it up my sleeve though. There was no need
to speak of it so long as you were not going. Now (_sadly_) you can
think only of this work. I’ll be proud to help in it. It is worth doing.

GORDON. With Robert’s example before me--I’ll do it, or die.

LOVEDAY. You’ll do it.

GORDON. But it may take a long time, and I must have money, plenty of
money too. I must sell the station at once.

VARLIE. (_Drawling._) I’ve put my thinking cap on. A business
connection of my firm is looking out for freehold in this country. If
this is freehold, I reckon I’d be safe to get my money back from him if
I bought it myself.

GORDON. You!

VARLIE. Yaas. I’ve got plenty of free cash when it’s wanted, you know.
Business hasn’t been bad lately, and--waal. I’ll lay down for this
freehold of yours.

GORDON. Good. That’ll save ever so much time I might waste in looking
for a buyer.

VARLIE. Let’s strike then.

GORDON. It is worth ten thousand pounds.

VARLIE. Shucks!

GORDON. But I’ll take less.

VARLIE. Waal?

GORDON. Say seven thousand--for money down.

VARLIE. (_Laughing derisively._) What do you take me for?

GORDON. It is really worth that, why the sheep alone--

VARLIE. Sell your sheep separately then. I ain’t buying sheep, I’m
buying land.

1ST SHEP. But you can’t do nothin’ with this land without sheep, Boss.

ROTO. It’s worth more than seven thousand pounds, that’s a bargain
price, Boss.

VARLIE. Sell elsewhere then.

ROTO. Do, Mister Gordon. Next month a Pakeha I know is coming to the
city. He thinkin’ of a station like this. I fetch him along, Mister
Gordon.

GORDON. Next _month_! I want to be half way to England next month.

VARLIE. (_Lighting a cigar._) I’ll give you four thousand five hundred
for it--

GORDON. That’s too little to discuss.

1ST SHEP. That’s robbery, Boss, don’t take it. After the war it’ll
fetch three times that. After the war--

GORDON. After the war will be too late for me. The international
super-parliament must be considered in the terms of peace.

1ST SHEP. (_Groans._) Them ideas! You’d let the sheep rot for ideas!

VARLIE. I’ll give you four thousand five hundred for it, down _to-day_.

GORDON. To-day!

VARLIE. Right now. We’ll ride into the city and get a notary to fix it
up all square.

GORDON. That’s better than waiting for an uncertain buyer--but it’s
very little--

VARLIE. But it’s here, _to-day_.

GORDON. To-day. Well, I’ll take it!

VARLIE. Done. A deal. Shake.

 (_ROTO and the SHEPHERD mutter, and shake their heads._)

NORA. You’re a perfect _fool_, Gordon! You throw away more than
half your fortune so as to be able to rush off to England with a
crack-brained scheme! Why not write to the papers instead?

GORDON. (_Looks helpless, says appealingly._) Oh, Nora!

VARLIE. A lot of energy is let off safely in gas to the papers. Hyde is
bottlin’ his energy up it seems. That makes him dangerous, eh?

GORDON. (_To Loveday._) You’ll give me a letter of introduction?

LOVEDAY. (_Smiling sweetly._) No. I won’t.

VARLIE. Gee. Even _she_ thinks you are going off the rails.

GORDON. Loveday, you _said_ you would give me a letter of introduction!

LOVEDAY. How many introductory letters do you suppose the Duchess of
Rainshire gets? A _letter_ would do you very little good.

GORDON. (_Crestfallen._) Oh, Loveday, what do you mean?

LOVEDAY. Why! (_Taking a step towards him, radiant, in the centre of
stage._) I’m not going to trust to letters, which people can put in the
waste-paper basket!

GORDON. But, what do you mean, Loveday?

LOVEDAY. _I’ll come with you myself!_ I’ll wait on their doorsteps (I
know lots of people in London), I’ll waylay them at parties, and seize
the very _best_ opportunities for getting the right people to know you.

GORDON. You will? You are a brick! How splendid!

VARLIE. (_Somewhat disturbed, aside._) Ach! The English are mad enough
for anything. Gott sei dank I know of this! (_Aloud._) What about Mrs.
Grundy?

NORA. Yes. A pretty pair you will look. What will people say?

LOVEDAY. When the whole world’s future is at stake, do you think I care
what people say?

VARLIE. Who was it said the English are all mad? He was right.

GORDON. It is too much, Loveday!

NORA. You are English. You will make me agree with Mr. Varlie’s opinion
of your country’s sanity.

LOVEDAY. British women are free from the need to care what foolish
people think! (_Turning to GORDON._) We will go to London, Gordon, and
there I’ll work for you and your great idea, for all I’m worth!

 (_GORDON takes a step towards her, his face shining with enthusiasm._)

CURTAIN.



Act III.

 _About a Couple of months later than Act II._

 _The Duchess of Rainshire’s drawing-room, London. The fore-part of the
 stage represents an alcove of the big drawing-room; the back of the
 stage opens out so as to suggest a large room beyond. Heavy curtains
 hang on either side of back of alcove. Left second entrance, a door
 leading direct from alcove to outer hall. Left front, up against wall
 and projecting into room, a grand piano, closed. Right front, a large
 Chesterfield placed at convenient angle. One or two small chairs, big
 pictures, a palm or two, etc., as in a first class house._

 _THE DUCHESS OF RAINSHIRE, LOVEDAY and GORDON DISCOVERED in the
 foreground. Back of stage occasional guests pass to and fro in the big
 drawing-room, and faint sounds of music in the distance are heard._

 _THE DUCHESS is a middle-aged, smart woman of the world, with a
 commanding manner and quick way of speaking, but kindly._

GORDON. (_Standing, speaking earnestly declaiming as though concluding
a long argument._) I fear I have bored you, there is so much to
say, but perhaps the chief point is that there shall not only be
international law, but adequate force behind that law to enforce it.

DUCHESS. (_Stifling a yawn._) Well, Mr. Hyde, I’m sure I wish you the
success you deserve, and not what I fear you are likely to get. London
simply swarms with panaceas and their parents.

LOVEDAY. (_Appealing._) But they haven’t all got _you_ to help them!

DUCHESS. Oh yes, most of them have! But mercifully the schemes
counteract each other on the whole, or where should _I_ be?

LOVEDAY. You must not allow _anything_ to counteract this.

DUCHESS. (_To MR. HYDE._) Well, young man, remember! It’s neither for
yourself nor for your ideas I’m launching you on the defenceless man at
the helm, but simply because Loveday used to have fascinating freckles
on her nose when she was six years old.

GORDON. I know I owe her an awful lot. And you too. I’m ever so
grateful, I can’t say how grateful. Posterity will--

DUCHESS. (_Interrupting._) You are going to say that I’ll go down to
history as the patron of genius, of course--I’m glad to hear it. It may
help to counteract the _other_ way I shall go down to history. No one
who has had two successive husbands, both Dukes, could fail to find
posterity as critical as the present generation is spiteful.

 (_GORDON looks bewildered._)

LOVEDAY. Don’t believe her, Gordon. Everybody’s awfully fond of her.

DUCHESS. Go and think that over somewhere by yourself, young man. I
haven’t seen Loveday since her escapade into Greater Britain and I want
to hear from her how this little island looks in true prospective.

 (_GORDON bows and goes toward back of stage and mingles with other
 quests, strolling out of sight. Meanwhile a guest or two stroll partly
 round the alcove, but seeing the DUCHESS talking, retire._)

DUCHESS. (_Taking LOVEDAY’S arm and pushing her down on to sofa, sits
beside her._) Now, Miss, your confessions.

LOVEDAY. He is really wonderful.

DUCHESS. Though New Zealand is British my experience of home Britons
tells me it is not peopled by geniuses. He is exceptional. Naturally.

LOVEDAY. Not at all naturally.

DUCHESS. Hoity-toity.--I’m not old enough to say that properly, but
it is so effective, I’m beginning young, so as to get enough practice
before my public use of it. So--hoity-toity!

 (_LOVEDAY smiles, says nothing._)

DUCHESS. What’s wrong, don’t I say it properly? It ought to elicit some
retort from you which should reveal your secret more completely than
ever.

LOVEDAY. I haven’t got a secret.

DUCHESS. Hoity-toity!--I think I did it rather better that time--

LOVEDAY. (_Earnestly._) I _haven’t_ a secret really!

DUCHESS. I must have done it better: you retorted, telling me that you
have a secret.

LOVEDAY. (_Laughing._) I haven’t, really and truly I haven’t.

DUCHESS. Hoit--no. I’ll vary it. Fiddlesticks! Who is it?

LOVEDAY. _Who_ is what?

DUCHESS. Whom are you in love with?

LOVEDAY. Nobody.

DUCHESS. Is he in love with you?

LOVEDAY. Who? Nobody? Yes. Nobody is in love with me.

DUCHESS. He. (_Points with her fan through opening of alcove._) Your
New Zealand Genius.

LOVEDAY. (_A shade despondently, but unconscious of it._) No, he is not.

DUCHESS. (_Pouncing._) Ha! that’s it, is it?

LOVEDAY. That’s what? Oh, dear! Why is it I always talk such bad
English when I am with you?

DUCHESS. Tush. Tell me about him!

LOVEDAY. (_Brightening._) Oh, how nice of you. I did _so_ want you to
take an interest in his ideas. They are so _wonderful_. They will make--

DUCHESS. I don’t care one Jellicoed submarine about his ideas. Tell me
about himself.

LOVEDAY. He is a little lame, poor boy--

DUCHESS. So I _have_ observed.

LOVEDAY. But it isn’t fundamental. He got a stake through his thigh
when he was a lad and it healed badly. It must have been dreadful for
him.

DUCHESS. Are you going to marry him?

LOVEDAY. Oh, how _can_ you say such things? It has never entered his
head!

DUCHESS. Hoity-toity.

LOVEDAY. Oh, it hasn’t!

DUCHESS. Well, here is a personable young man for whom you feel pity,
and you are twenty-seven to his thirty. I only ask, are you going to
marry him?

LOVEDAY. (_Rising indignantly._) How _can_ you say such things. I never
thought of it! Why he--he loves someone else!

DUCHESS. Oh, _that’s_ the trouble, is it? Where is she?

LOVEDAY. In New Zealand.

DUCHESS. (_Patting LOVEDAY’S hand._) Then that’s all right, my dear.
You can have him if you want.

LOVEDAY. But I don’t want, that way.--Oh, I don’t want any way! Oh, why
_do_ you have such dreadful conversations?

DUCHESS. That’s it. Quarrel with your benefactor! Are you going to
flounce out of the house _before_ the Prime Minister comes?

LOVEDAY. I can’t now--but I’m not going to take anything back because
you promised to help us.

DUCHESS. (_Laughing delightedly and pulling LOVEDAY down again beside
her._) Oh, so it is us?

LOVEDAY. Only for this piece of work, till his idea is launched, of
course. What do you suppose I came across from New Zealand for?

DUCHESS. (_Chuckling._) I wondered.

LOVEDAY. Don’t you care a bit for a big idea that will help the world?
Can’t you imagine a woman gladly crossing the world to have even a
small share in helping it forward?

DUCHESS. I could imagine it; but I have never yet _observed_ it.

LOVEDAY. Well, you can now. Look at me.

DUCHESS. I do, my child, and I see a young woman in love.

LOVEDAY. (_Shaking herself._) Ooh!

DUCHESS. Never mind, my dear. He is a personable young man enough.
There are no available Dukes, Earls or Marquises I can recommend at
present and I believe in people marrying for love. I have seen too much
of the other thing. So what can I do for you?

LOVEDAY. You know quite well. I only asked you, begged you, to make the
Prime Minister listen to him.

DUCHESS. Oh, the poor man! When he comes here for an hour it is for
relaxation and quiet. He looks to me to _protect_ him from Cranks, not
to stuff them down his throat.

LOVEDAY. (_Emphatically._) Gordon is _not_ a crank.

DUCHESS. All cranks have emphatic relatives who testify ardently to
their sanity.

LOVEDAY. I’m _not_ his relative.

DUCHESS. Hoity-toity.

LOVEDAY. (_Smiling._) That doesn’t react with me any longer.
(_Coaxing._) Come now, be an _angel_ and introduce Gordon to the Prime
Minister. Don’t say anything about your suspicions that he is a crank.
Just say he is a nice young man from New Zealand.

DUCHESS. And what am I to say about you? Or are you dying to be
sacrificed on the altar of friendship and have nothing said about you?

LOVEDAY. Oh, yes.

DUCHESS. You don’t insist on an introduction too?

LOVEDAY. No. I ask only one introduction. Promise _that_.

DUCHESS. Very well.

LOVEDAY. You darling!

DUCHESS. But I will use the introduction for you, not the man. The
Prime Minister likes young girls if they are at all good looking, and I
think one may call you that.

LOVEDAY. Oh, you mustn’t! I _won’t_ be introduced.

DUCHESS. What! You refuse to be introduced to the Prime Minister?

LOVEDAY. (_Punching a cushion._) I do. I do absolutely. That one
introduction is for Gordon. You _promised_ one; and Gordon is to have
it.

 (_THE REV. DR. VARLIE, separating himself from the guests, has
 strolled into the alcove._)

DUCHESS. Well, I suppose it must be.

LOVEDAY. You are a _dear_.

DUCHESS. But for your purpose, it is not the Prime Minister you want
first of all. There is another Cabinet Minister whose word in the Prime
Minister’s ear would be priceless.

LOVEDAY. Oh! Then _please_ introduce Gordon to him first!

DUCHESS. He’s very amiable.

LOVEDAY. Splendid. Is he here to-night?

DUCHESS. Yes. Go and fetch your phenomenon. If you two are to be found
here when wanted. I’ll either send for you or stroll this way with him
if I can.

LOVEDAY. Thanks _awfully_! (_Goes through curtains, to drawing-room
beyond._)

 (_THE REV. DR. VARLIE advances. He has a considerable beard, and wears
 clerical garb. He politely presents himself to the Duchess. She greets
 him without enthusiasm._)

DUCHESS. Oh, Dr. Chapman, I’m glad you found time to come for a little
relaxation.

VARLIE. Oh, dear lady. I take no relaxation in these sad times. But I
wanted a word with you before your next Committee for the relief of the
homeless Serbians. As you know, the American people have been stirred
to the depths, and out of the fulness of their hearts they have sent
_me_ to join my ministrations with yours. As you well know, these weeks
past I have put my back into it.

DUCHESS. Very good of you I’m sure. We can’t have too much help.
_Practical_ help.

VARLIE. At the last Committee Meeting I opined that a cheque would not
be out of place in your hands, Duchess.

DUCHESS. Never.

VARLIE. (_Taking out his pocket book._) Waal, my flock answered my
prayers, and sent this to me for you. If you could sign the receipt
yourself, Duchess, it would be like placing seed in fertile ground. I
know your secretary does such routine work for you, Duchess, and that’s
why I took this chance of handing it to you myself.

DUCHESS. Of course I’ll sign the receipt if you like. Is that all?

VARLIE. Waal, the other business will do when we meet at the next
Committee.

DUCHESS. (_Moving off, back of stage._) Then come along with me, and
I’ll find you an interesting girl or two to entertain you. You just
missed one as you came in.

VARLIE. So I divined from her earnestness. A lovely type.

 (_They go out together. In a moment LOVEDAY and GORDON return._)

LOVEDAY. So we are to sit _here_ till she comes or sends for you.

GORDON. (_Gratefully._) I _say_. You do work miracles.

LOVEDAY. It is the Duchess who will do that. Isn’t she a dear?

GORDON. She terrifies me rather.

LOVEDAY. For moments, just at times, she terrifies me. But all the safe
times in between I know she is a dear.

GORDON. I say, I’m nervous you know.

LOVEDAY. Oh, _don’t_ be! You will only have a few minutes this time:
just to make a good impression. If you do that then the Minister may
give you a serious interview later.

GORDON. I’m wretchedly nervous. Is he, is he _short_ with people?

LOVEDAY. He likes people to be short with him! He is dreadfully bored
by long-winded cranks of course.

GORDON. I say, what do you think? (_Pulls out some papers from his
pocket._) I thought of wording Clause 29 of the suggested constitution
as follows: “The Super-Parliament is to have the power of prohibiting
the manufacture of _anything_ which in its opinion constitutes a menace
to the Peace of the world: with power to inflict the death penalty on
all concerned in any infringement of its prohibition in any country.”

LOVEDAY. Yes. I think that is good. Coupled with the other clauses that
makes it safer.

GORDON. I hope the Prime Minister will see that. I must learn this
clause off by heart now. Teach it to me, will you?

LOVEDAY. You don’t know the other clauses off by heart, _do_ you?

GORDON. Yes, of course I learnt them. I couldn’t _read_ them to the
Prime Minister, could I? And I’m so nervous, I’d muddle them up unless
I just learn them off.

LOVEDAY. (_Horrified._) You don’t intend to _say off_ all the
thirty-three clauses of the suggested constitution to the Prime
Minister at this first meeting, do you?

GORDON. (_Simply surprised._) Why, yes! I’m to tell him the ideas,
aren’t I?

LOVEDAY. Good heavens! not in a block like that though. After you have
made an impression on him you must give him these all typed out so that
his secretaries and colleagues and everybody can make marginal notes on
them and hash them up.

GORDON. If I’m not to say the clauses I have learnt, what on earth _am_
I to say?

LOVEDAY. Say you have an idea worth his serious
attention--say--oh--whatever he makes you _feel_ will reach his
attention!

GORDON. Good heavens. What a gamble!

LOVEDAY. Not a bit. The inspiration will come.

GORDON. _You_ have been my inspiration for so much of this.

LOVEDAY. No, no. I have only suggested a word here and there.

GORDON. I owe you so much. How strange it is I should have met you the
same day that the vision came to me. Next to my vision-spirit, you are
the source of all the ideas worth anything in it.

LOVEDAY. Nonsense. Absolute nonsense. I simply had nothing concrete in
my mind at first! It is you, you, _you_ who have put all the ideas into
practical, living, useful shape.

GORDON. But _I_ had no concrete ideas at first!

LOVEDAY. Well, _you_ evolved them out of your inner consciousness.

GORDON. (_Obstinately._) The vision, and you, gave me the ideas to work
out.

LOVEDAY. (_Almost irritably._) It’s sheer _nonsense_, that old vision!
The thoughts were yours, yours, _yours_! She only mumbled a little
vague _tosh_!

GORDON. (_Astonished._) Loveday!

LOVEDAY. Well, I’m tired of seeing you being so humble, and failing
to realise how splendid you are, and how the credit of it is all your
_own_.

GORDON. Loveday.--You don’t really think that?

LOVEDAY. I do.

GORDON. (_Whimsically._) I’m so accustomed to women thinking poorly of
me--Nora--

LOVEDAY. (_After a pause._) Does she--does she still _hurt_ you, Gordon?

GORDON. No I have waked from my foolish dream of love for her. She, she
was too cruel--and besides--she, you know, you heard--she loved Robert.

LOVEDAY. (_Joy showing in her face, which she tries to conceal._) Then
you feel free.

GORDON. Yes. Thank God I’m free from love of any earthly woman.

(_LOVEDAY’S face falls._)

GORDON. _You_ make most women look small, and then--then--anyway, I’m
not the type of man such a woman as I could love now, would look at.
Thank God, no mortal woman can rack my heart. My vision Queen has my
heart and my dreams.

 (_LOVEDAY looks bright--then a little mischievous. VARLIE returns,
 strolling round the room, unnoticed by them. He starts somewhat at
 seeing them talking together so deeply and nods as if recognising
 something and saying “ha ha” to himself. He studies the angle of the
 room and places himself back of the piano, turning towards the wall
 and pretending to examine a picture. Meanwhile LOVEDAY and GORDON
 continue, unaware, to talk._)

LOVEDAY. Spirits _don’t_ appear. She must have been a real woman.

GORDON. Impossible.

LOVEDAY. But a spirit is _more_ impossible! (_triumphantly_). So you
see, every single bit of credit for it is yours.

GORDON. Yours.

 (_Both laughing say together “yours.”_)

 (_From back of stage, enter CABINET MINISTER with the DUCHESS. THE
 MINISTER is old, benign and white haired, with a long white beard. A
 plain clothes detective [SMITHERS] in evening dress follows him at a
 little distance and hovers near the curtains at the back._)

MINISTER. Ah! I remembered that this alcove is generally nice and
quiet. You are a good hostess, my dear.

 (_THE DUCHESS throws a comical look at the back of the sofa where
 GORDON and LOVEDAY are sitting._)

DUCHESS. I’m glad _you_ think so! It isn’t easy to satisfy different
people at the same time.

MINISTER. All I ask is a quiet cup of coffee with you, my dear. Can we
have some coffee here, by the way?

DUCHESS. Of course. (_Slips quickly to wall and rings._) It will be
here directly.

MINISTER. And your coffee is good. Ah, it reminds me of Paris in the
late seventies--when I was a young man. But you didn’t know Paris in
the late seventies I expect? No, no, of course not.

 (_MAID in smart uniform, waistcoat, brass buttons, enters from
 entrance right, going quickly up to the DUCHESS, who whispers “coffee
 at once, here.” MAID goes out._)

MINISTER. Paris in the seventies was an adventure.

DUCHESS. Any city is an adventure to the right man.

 (_MAID enters with coffee, MINISTER helps himself to sugar and cream,
 stands centre of stage holding it in his hand._)

MINISTER. That’s true. You are a witty woman, my dear. And that’s a
thing not often come by now-a-days.

DUCHESS. Modern women are all clever, and cleverness kills wit as a
magnifying glass kills a complexion.

MINISTER. Good, good.

 (_LOVEDAY and GORDON, observing their nearness, rise and stand a
 little way off. The DUCHESS signals imperiously to LOVEDAY, but she
 makes a determined grimace and slips round the left side of the sofa.
 As she leaves GORDON she whispers “The great moment is coming--Good
 Luck.” GORDON stands hesitating. The DUCHESS signs to him to come
 forward._)

DUCHESS. Ah, _here_ is the young man of whom I spoke to you. May I
introduce Mr. Hyde? You said you could endure a chat with him. He wants
your influence with the Prime Minister you know. I tell him _you_ are
even more important.

MINISTER. Flatterer!

 (_LOVEDAY behind the group waves her hand joyously. HYDE looks
 relieved and very pleased._)

DUCHESS. The power behind the throne, Mr. Hyde.

MINISTER. (_Kindly._) Ah, how do you do, Mr. Hyde.

 (_Shakes hands after carefully turning and laying down his coffee cup
 on the corner of the piano behind him, placing the cup so that it is
 on the audience side of the piano. VARLIE, who is still standing with
 his back to the group, looking at the picture above the piano, notes
 this quickly and keenly. He is seen by the audience to be listening
 intently._)

MINISTER. How do you do. You come from Australia I believe?

GORDON. New Zealand, Sir.

MINISTER. New Zealand, yes, yes. A thousand miles by sea from the
nearest port in Australia.

GORDON. Yes, Sir.

MINISTER. I remember that because I was there myself when I was a young
man and very much it surprised me to be sure. I had always pictured New
Zealand as being to Australia like England to the Continent. Yes, yes.
A thousand miles away. Just think what a difference it would make, if
_England_ were a thousand miles from France at this present moment.

GORDON. Yes indeed, Sir.

MINISTER. So it is very fine of you young New Zealanders to join in
with us all the way you do. Very fine.

 (_LOVEDAY crosses to right of stage and looks curiously at VARLIE but
 without recognition._)

GORDON. We are Britons all, Sir.

MINISTER. Yes, yes. We are all fighting shoulder to shoulder, though I
expect the realisation of it has hardly touched you yet.

GORDON. My only brother was killed a few weeks ago in Gallipoli, Sir.

MINISTER. Dear, dear. A sad business that. I’m sorry for that, my lad.

GORDON. (_Beginning to be desperate._) And that is one reason why, Sir,
I am so anxious to ask your help for my scheme of international--

 (_VARLIE meanwhile has very quietly slipped round so as to be on the
 front of the piano, within reach of coffee cup._)

MINISTER. (_Putting up his hand and gently interrupting._) Now don’t
talk about schemes, young man. This is my recreation hour. Seeing you
carries me back to when I was a young chap myself. My father was one of
the old school and sent me round the world to finish my education.

 (_VARLIE’S right cheek now faces LOVEDAY, she gazes at it, starts with
 amazed half recognition, for the top half of the scar is visible._)

MINISTER. I remember very well going to New Zealand--and seeing its
pink and white terraces. Ah! They were wonderful, wonderful.

GORDON. They must have been, Sir (_his heart beginning to sink into his
boots_).

MINISTER. Yes, of course. They were destroyed before you could have
seen them. A terrible volcanic outburst that! Incredible. Why those
great pink and white terraces looked as though no power on earth could
destroy them. So beautiful they were too! So beautiful. Like coloured
marble that had been spun into lace cascades by magicians. Well, well,
_sic transit gloria mundi_! (_He shakes GORDON’S hand._) I’m glad to
have had this little talk with you, Mr. Hyde. These pleasant meetings
help to link up the Empire. Good-bye. Good Luck.

 (_Meanwhile, through the last part of this conversation, VARLIE
 has taken out the Green Jade Carving, seen in Act II., from his
 pocket. LOVEDAY recognises it and shows tense anxiety and suppressed
 excitement. VARLIE glances stealthily round the room, and sees that
 no one is looking at him, for LOVEDAY pretends not to see him; she
 then turns her head just in time to see him drop a drop of the poison
 into the coffee cup on the piano, and quickly to turn away, his back
 to the group, and go to another picture, hanging down right front of
 the piano. VARLIE calmly pretends to be absorbed in examining the
 picture. LOVEDAY is for a moment weak with amazement and anxiety, and
 is evidently hesitating as to what course to follow, by the time the
 MINISTER says, “Good-bye, good luck.”_)

GORDON. Good-bye, Sir, thank you. (_Desperate._) And may I come and
see you in office hours about my scheme? It is very important, it--is
a series of clauses for an international arrangement which will wipe
German Militarism and all other militarism off the earth--it--

MINISTER. If you _must_ send it--and I really ask you not to, I am
deluged with other people’s ideas--if you _must_ send it, my secretary
will attend to it. Good-bye.

 (_GORDON steps back very dejected. The MINISTER turns, takes up his
 coffee cup and says a word to the DUCHESS._)

MINISTER. And now for our chat, my dear.

 (_He raises the coffee cup, about to drink slowly. LOVEDAY springs
 forward and dashes the cup from his hand, spilling the coffee._
 [NOTE.--_Better have a brown carpet so that the successive stains of a
 long run won’t show._] _The DUCHESS and MINISTER look amazed._)

LOVEDAY. (_Panting but quietly._) That man, that man there!

 (_Points at VARLIE, who is now in the corner between the footlights,
 the piano, and the MINISTER’S group. Very unostentatiously he digs the
 jade piece into the earth of pot and has barely covered it by this
 time._)

Hold him, Gordon, hold him.

 (_GORDON literally hurls himself on VARLIE and, before he has time to
 turn, has his two arms pinned from behind. The two men struggle. The
 MINISTER looks bewildered. Hearing the struggle the evening-dress-clad
 detective near the curtains comes forward hurriedly and helps GORDON.
 They succeed in holding VARLIE._)

DUCHESS. For God’s sake don’t have a scene in public.

 (_She runs across room and rings repeatedly. MAID comes in by door
 right._)

DUCHESS. (_To MAID._) Draw those curtains _instantly_ and stand by
them. Don’t let anyone in, not anyone unless I tell you.

 (_The MAID hurries to obey and draws the heavy velvet curtains,
 shutting off the alcove from the main drawing room and stations
 herself by them._)

MINISTER. Dear, dear, what _is_ this all about! Why it is a clergyman!
isn’t it? What on earth are they handling a clergyman in this fashion
for? Why, Smithers man, you are to guard me, not to assist a young
ruffian in mauling a reverend gentleman.

SMITHERS. (_Puzzled, half relaxing hold on VARLIE_) I’m sure, Sir, I
don’t know--

LOVEDAY. Don’t, _don’t_ leave him! For God’s sake hold him.

DUCHESS. What _on earth_ is this outrageous fracas about? Loveday, I’m
_amazed_! The Rev. Dr. Chapman is an American whom I know and respect.
Let him go at once, Smithers. And you, Mr. Hyde, you outrageous humbug!

LOVEDAY. Don’t! (_She goes quickly up to VARLIE, pulls his beard with
one hand, and it comes off._)

 (_Amazement and consternation of all._)

LOVEDAY. Yes, I thought so! Look, Gordon, see that scar on his cheek,
that little triangular red scar! But anyway you must know his face now,
it is VARLIE!

VARLIE. How the devil--What does all this mean! You attack the Minister
of Peace! I am the Rev. Dr. Chapman, as you well know, Duchess. If I
choose to wear a false beard till my own grows because I desire to
follow John the Baptist’s example, though alas late in life, is _that_
any crime? Why don’t you go round among your guests and arrest the
ladies with false hair. _They_ intend to attract and deceive while I
but symbolise my belief in the Nazarene vows.

 (_He seems to be making an impression on the DUCHESS and the
 MINISTER._)

LOVEDAY. No! Hold him, he’s dangerous. Hold him till I can tell you all!

GORDON. Sure, Loveday, _I’ll_ hold him, even if Mr. Smithers won’t.

LOVEDAY. Oh, but you both must. Listen. The reason I spilt the coffee
was that he had put poison in it!

 MINISTER.}
 DUCHESS. } (_Incredulous._) Poison? Poison!

LOVEDAY. Yes, poison. A deadly, secret poison, made from the karaka
nut. It would never have been detected, never! A few hours later
you would just have had a stroke and died! Of course he knows how
dreadfully important you are.

 MINISTER.}
 DUCHESS. } Bless my soul. Are you raving or am I dreaming, young lady.
 How do you know this--this amazing thing? Fiddlesticks--tush--but,
 good God.

LOVEDAY. I saw him do it.

VARLIE-CHAPMAN. (_Putting on a superior air._) Can you really even
_listen_ to such an absurd charge against one of my cloth?

LOVEDAY. I can prove it. You will find on him a green carved jade
hei-tiki, it has a secret recess in which the poison was. It must be on
him. He couldn’t swallow it, it’s too big. Search him!

VARLIE-CHAPMAN. (_Calmly._) Search me, officer--if you are an
officer--to satisfy the hysterical young lady and settle this absurd
business once and for all.

LOVEDAY. Don’t trust him. Have another man in to help. I charge him
with attempted murder you know, murder of the most important Cabinet
Minister.

DUCHESS. Oh, Loveday, this is too awful (_She sits._)

MINISTER. I feel a bit shaken, perhaps I may sit too.

SMITHERS. This is serious you know. It had better be looked into if
you’ll excuse me, sir. I have some of my men outside. If you would
ring three times quickly, and then twice more, my men will come in.
(_Loveday rushes to the bell and does so._) Thank you, Miss.

VARLIE. Waal, if this isn’t high comedy! But _most_ unseemly! And to
think that it is in _your_ house, Duchess, that I should be served up
with this nice little surprise party.

 (_Enter two stalwart plain clothes men from door on right._)

SMITHERS. Hold this gentleman firmly while we search his pockets.
Excuse me, sir, but I think I ought to satisfy myself.

DUCHESS. I’m terribly distressed. I don’t know what to think. I have
known Loveday since she was six and had freckles on her nose, and she
has _never_ been hysterical.

LOVEDAY. (_Quietly._) I’m not hysterical now there are two such nice
strong men to hold Mr. Varlie.

MINISTER. (_Pathetically._) _Could_ I have some coffee do you think, my
dear? I was really needing it before----

DUCHESS. Of course. This awful fracas must have exhausted you.

MINISTER. (_Shaking his finger playfully at her._) No fancy cakes now!

DUCHESS. There are none in my house, not even to-night. I may not be
clever, but I can see the obvious as well as most people, and it is
glaringly obvious that anyone whose hands are steady enough to decorate
foodstuffs can handle tools of more use to the country. (_To MAID by
curtains._) Go and fetch some hot coffee at once. I will stay by the
curtains while you are gone. Don’t say one word to anyone, mind!

 (_She goes out quickly through door right. Meanwhile SMITHERS
 systematically searches all VARLIE’S pockets. He finds a revolver,
 which he lays out with an accusing look._)

SMITHERS. That don’t look like a clergyman, sir!

VARLIE. All Americans have those little pets on them. In the backwoods
I have had to have it cocked on to my congregation so as to hold their
attention!

 (_Meanwhile LOVEDAY is quite quietly and unobtrusively looking round
 the corner, front right, where VARLIE had been standing before his
 arrest. The coffee comes in, the MINISTER drinks it, the DUCHESS
 returns from the curtains and the MAID takes up her place there
 again._)

MINISTER. This is very painful, my dear, very painful. I’m sure I don’t
know what to think.

DUCHESS. We must wait and see.

VARLIE. Waal, Duchess, in a time like the present I quite understand
your young girls getting hysterical. Don’t let my position make you
feel bad. I bear no malice. It is my duty and my pleasure to turn the
other cheek!

 (_LOVEDAY stands gazing curiously at the palm, down right, near where
 VARLIE was. The smooth green moss is broken through in one place, and
 rough earth shows._)

SMITHERS. (_Rising._) There is no jade ornament too large for him to
swallow on him that I can see.

VARLIE. Naturally! It grieves me that you should be so inured to
deception, young man, that you should doubt my word.

MINISTER. There, there. It was all a fancy. But you and I and the
Duchess can forgive a pretty girl more than this, can’t we, Mr., Mr.----

VARLIE. Dr. Chapman, sir. Now your myrmidons can unhand me, I reckon.

 (_SMITHERS hesitates to give the order._)

LOVEDAY. Don’t! It’s not settled. Look at this.

 (_SMITHERS comes forward and looks at pot as she indicates._)

SMITHERS. I see nothing there, Miss.

LOVEDAY. The earth has been disturbed here--look, the rest of the pot
is covered with moss.

DUCHESS. Oh, Loveday, Loveday. The gardener has pulled up a weed,
I suppose. Pulling up weeds always does disturb the moss. Even the
Government knows that.

LOVEDAY. Gordon, Mr. Smithers--haven’t you a penknife one of you? Dig
just there for me, please do.

VARLIE. (_Gets suddenly restive in his keepers’ hands._) This is the
limit! This beats everything. She put it there herself.

SMITHERS. (_Looking at him keenly._) Put it there? You said there
wasn’t anything just now.

VARLIE. I have had enough of this. (_To the two holding him._) Let me
go, you monkey-faced jumbos. (_To SMITHERS._) I’m due at our Embassy.
You can do your agricultural work as well when I’ve gone.

SMITHERS. (_Now suspicious of him._) We’ll just see first if there is
anything in this plant.

VARLIE. She did it herself. She simply put something in herself!

LOVEDAY. (_Spreading out her hands._) Look! I’ve got white kid gloves
on! I _couldn’t_ have done it without leaving earth on them! and there
isn’t a grain!

MINISTER. (_Leans forward intently interested._) She is a bright girl
that. I call that clever.

DUCHESS. Clever, yes. But not witty! She lost an opportunity of saying,
“I have the proof at my finger tips.”

MINISTER. (_Chuckling._) No case! The white gloves of a Judge on
circuit!

DUCHESS. Good! Ha, ha!

LOVEDAY. Look at _his_ hands. Look!

 (_VARLIE closes his hands [which are gloveless] and clenches his nails
 in._)

VARLIE. By gum, you don’t insult me like this!

SMITHERS. Please open your hands, sir.

VARLIE. I won’t, damn you.

SMITHERS. You had better, sir.

VARLIE. I dropped a coin in a flower bed this afternoon! I have some
earth in my nails anyway. (_He half opens his hands reluctantly._)

 (_ALL lean forward to see. Two fingers are stained and there is earth
 in two or three of the nails._)

SMITHERS. You’d have washed your hands if what you say about dropping
a coin is true before coming here, sir. Hold him well, men. Yes, Miss.
I’ll dig this pot up for you.

 (_He digs with his penknife, all wait breathlessly, in a minute the
 green jade ornament appears. He wipes it with his handkerchief, holds
 it out to LOVEDAY._)

SMITHERS. Is that it, Miss.

LOVEDAY. (_Eager._) Yes, yes, that _is_ it!

 MINISTER.}
 DUCHESS. } (_Coming forward to look at it._) Dear, dear! Fancy! I
 said Loveday wasn’t hysterical.

SMITHERS. That looks as though the young lady was right. You’ve had a
narrow escape, sir!

VARLIE. That don’t amount to shucks! What does that prove. There is
only wild talk. I tell you I’m known at the American Embassy, I’m known
to the Duchess here. You can’t begin to prove I ever saw that green
trumpery. The only thing you’ve got against me is that I wore a false
beard! (_Sneers._) Bring that up against an American citizen and a
minister of religion and you would look queer in the Law Courts!

LOVEDAY. And you are known to me--to us. To both Mr. Hyde and me. You
were Mr. Varlie in New Zealand.

GORDON. Yes, Varlie, there’s no mistaking you! You bought the freehold
of my Station and all my sheep and I’m not likely to forget it.

LOVEDAY. And you travelled all over New Zealand, selling things under
the name of Varlie, and you wouldn’t be pretending to be somebody else
and a clergyman too, if you were honest. Besides (_scornfully_), I saw
you buy that special secret poison from Roto, the old Maori, and you
made very special enquiries about its use, too!

SMITHERS. (_As though recollecting something._) Varlie--Varlie--New
Zealand. The secret service particular warned me against a man called
Varlie who has been hauling in a lot of freehold in New Zealand under
various names, and travelling for German American firms. We had lost
track of him. (_Joy spreading over his face._) You don’t mean to say he
is John Varlie! Not John Varlie, Miss?

LOVEDAY. Yes, yes.

GORDON. That’s the name I’ve known him under in New Zealand for months.

SMITHERS. My, men! We have got a haul. Well, ladies, the man is safe
now, anyway. There is no need to bother you any more to-night.

DUCHESS. Cleverness seems to get an appropriately solid result, Loveday?

SMITHERS. You are staying here, Miss? No? Your address, please.

 (_He takes out a note book, she tells her address [a mumble and dumb
 show]._)

And yours, sir? (_GORDON does the same._)

 (_Meanwhile the MINISTER looks from one to the other, turns to
 DUCHESS._)

MINISTER. He is evidently really a dangerous man! But a _clergyman_
too! What an outrage to the cloth. That’s the kind of thing to make
atheists.

SMITHERS. (_Snapping his note book and turning quickly._) He is no
clergyman. A _very_ dangerous man, sir. It is all a pretence too about
his being an American. He is an out and out German, sir, and I make no
doubt the young lady was right about his attempt on your life, sir. I
expect you have had a narrow escape. We won’t trouble you any further
to-night. Take him off, men. I’ve got all the addresses. Good-night,
ladies--good-night, sir, good-night, sir. (_Goes out after VARLIE, led
by the men, unresisting now._)

 (_LOVEDAY and GORDON look at each other. DUCHESS subsides into sofa by
 the MINISTER._)

DUCHESS. As I said, even London is an adventure for the right man.
(_Fans herself._) Loveday, come here.

MINISTER. (_Rises and shakes her hand, keeps it and pats it._) My dear
young lady, my dear young lady. The service you have done me is too
great for thanks. You may command me--always. And I hope I may often
have the happiness of serving you. But please give me something to do
at once. What can I do for you?

LOVEDAY. Oh, there _is_ one thing you can do for me, if only you will!
Will you!

MINISTER. An-y-thing you like to ask, my dear, if it is humanly
possible. What is it?

LOVEDAY. Please, oh please, let Mr. Hyde tell you about his wonderful
International plan.

MINISTER. Of course, of course! So he is a friend of yours, is he?

GORDON. (_Coming forward._) I have that great honour, sir.

GORDON. (_Takes out sheaf of papers._) If there was a Super-Parliament
constituted as I suggest Prussian Militarism, all Militarism, is not
only defeated now, but for ever! It is plucked out by the roots, but
not at the ruinous cost of imposing militarism on all other nations.
Oh, there’s so much. (_Hesitates._)

LOVEDAY. (_Breaking in, her voice almost chanting, like one inspired,
its notes resembling those used by her at the close of Act I._) And
Militarism is met, not by the weakness of a too trusting idealism but
by force controlled by intelligence. Law is devised with behind it
international force, which shall protect the nations, as law backed by
civil force protects each man and woman in Britain.

 (_HYDE starts, gazing intently at her set inspired face and seems
 to recognise her voice. He stretches out a hand, withdraws it, and
 whispers in awed voice._)

HYDE. My queen! My vision. It is _she_! (_Sits as though entranced._)

LOVEDAY. (_Does not notice him, but continues uninterruptedly._) And
the nation which will not come into this council of nations proclaims
itself an outlaw, an aggressor, a planner of evil, and it inscribes its
own doom, for law that is outraged takes vengeance implacable.

 (_There is a pause, she relaxes--smiles._)

MINISTER. My dear--I must think.

LOVEDAY. (_Holding out her hands to him appealingly._) You are the
most powerful man in England, it is for you to initiate this new era,
of international safety and peace. Whatever the terms of an ordinary
peace, militarism will spring up again to ravage the world. Let Britain
lead in this new enlargement of law and freedom, for this is the only
way to bring _security_ to the world.

MINISTER. (_Very seriously._) I will think about it, my dear.

DUCHESS. (_Returning to her normal._) If that is cleverness it makes me
a little dissatisfied with mere wit.

MINISTER. (_To HYDE._) Have your suggested constitution typed out,
young man, and bring it to Downing Street the day after to-morrow. I’ll
send you a card with the hour. Your address? (_HYDE hands him a card._)
I’ll try to get the Prime Minister interested. Good-night.

LOVEDAY. How splendid.

MINISTER. Good-night, my dear, good-night. If you leave it very long
before I see you again, I’ll have to send for you. Heaven guard you, my
dear.

(_To DUCHESS._) I must say good-night. I have long outstayed my time.

DUCHESS. Let me see you off my premises. I only pray there are no more
adventures for you on them. I hope exterminated dangers leave rest
behind them. (_They go off back centre together, the FOOTMAN pulls
curtain apart to let them out and follows them. Faint strains of music
are heard from distant room._)

LOVEDAY. (_Sits on sofa, looks at GORDON with a rapt gaze._) Your
chance, the world’s chance, has come!

GORDON. (_In awe-struck voice, tenderly. He stands half stooping before
her._) And _you_, you are not only my friend but my Goddess, my vision!
Your look just now--your wonderful voice when you were speaking to the
Minister a little ago. It was you that night in the woods--you I have
been adoring, and from you I have been drawing my inspiration!

LOVEDAY. (_Softly._) It was I in the woods. Chance gave me a moment’s
inspiration! which you worked into reality.

GORDON. (_Half kneels before her._) I know my love can be nothing at
all to you--I am not a fit mate for you. But let me go on kneeling to
you! Don’t spurn me.

LOVEDAY. (_Slowly._) Why are you so sure your love is nothing to me?

GORDON. (_As though blinded by a sudden shaft of light in the
darkness._) Oh! It can’t be that it _is_ anything to you?

LOVEDAY. Your love is everything to me.

 (_Slowly he advances, with almost incredulous rapture. They kiss._)


CURTAIN.



_BY THE SAME AUTHOR._

PLAYS OF OLD JAPAN: THE “NŌ”

BY MARIE C. STOPES AND

PROFESSOR JOJI SAKURAI

PREFACE BY BARON KATO


_The Times_ says: “_The Sumida River_ is a little play which, even in
translation, one feels to be of great beauty and intolerable pathos.
Dr. Stopes has written a lucid and serviceable introduction on the ‘Nō’
plays, which deserve the study of every student of the drama.”

_The Morning Post_ says: “The translators have chosen a rhythmic,
simple, irregular verse, which isolates just that element of pure
tragedy that underlies the native literary crust of ornament.... We
are convinced that drawing-room and library will welcome her to their
hearts.”

_T.P.’s Weekly_ says: “We advise all who care for the drama to read
this book. The effect may be compared to that of having the best work
of Synge with an added national and religious interest.”

_The Spectator_ says: “Dr. Stopes has made the ‘Nō’ and their history
for the first time accessible to the ordinary reader ... there is
pleasure to be got from them even by those who only read a translation
of the poems.”

_The Times_ (New York) says: “Dr. Stopes has placed the English reader
under a debt of gratitude by her work on these exquisite lyric plays.”

_The Athenæum_ says: “The author’s vivid and imaginative sympathy has
really enabled her in some degree to communicate the incommunicable.”


W. HEINEMANN. 5/- net.



MAN

OTHER POEMS & A PREFACE

BY

MARIE C. STOPES, D.SC., PH.D., F.R.S.L. Fellow of University College,
London.


“The title-poem, wherein is set forth with thoughtful earnestness and
no little grace of language the changing aspects of man to the eyes
of ripening womanhood, and ‘The Brother,’ a ‘true and unvarnished’
tragedy, deriving force from the very homeliness of its telling, stand
out most clearly in a volume of which the dominating qualities are
clearness of vision and a distinctive point of view.”--_The Athenæum._

“DR. STOPES is by calling a fossil botanist, and her scientific
training gives restraint and substance to all her verse. This is
particularly noticeable in the longish poem which opens the book,
tracing the changing image which man assumes in the mind of a growing
girl--a difficult theme well treated from the personal point of view,
and in graceful measured phrase. But there is no lack of emotion in
her pages; she sings with enthusiasm of the joy of married love;
and sometimes in a minor key of regret for old, dead loves. Her
highest level, we think, is reached in ‘Tokio Snow’--a beautiful
fancy expressed in stanzas which have a curious but very successful
rhyme-scheme, and ‘Human Love,’ an impressive moment of spiritual
reflection on the theme ‘Amantium irae.’”--_The Times._


W. HEINEMANN. 3/6 net.

Women’s Printing Soc., Ltd., Brick St., Piccadilly, W.1.



       *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's note:


The following apparent errors have been corrected:

p. 10 "GORDON Stop" changed to "GORDON. Stop"

p. 30 "Iv’e" changed to "I’ve"

p. 34 "blazing" changed to "blazing.)"

p. 42 "anquished" changed to "anguished"

p. 51 "ingenius" changed to "ingenious"

p. 72 "stuft" changed to "stuff"

p. 75 "luovely" changed to "lovely"

p. 85 "VARLIE-CHAPMAN (_Calmly._)" changed to "VARLIE-CHAPMAN.
(_Calmly._)"


The following are used inconsistently in the text:

now-a-days and nowadays





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