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Title: Lady Huntworth's Experiment - An original comedy in three acts
Author: Carton, Richard Claude
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lady Huntworth's Experiment - An original comedy in three acts" ***

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                           LADY HUNTWORTH'S
                              EXPERIMENT

                  ~An Original Comedy in Three Acts~


                                  BY
                             R. C. CARTON
              AUTHOR OF "LIBERTY HALL," ETC., ETC., ETC.

                  COPYRIGHT, 1904, BY SAMUEL FRENCH.

       CAUTION:--Professionals and Amateurs are hereby notified
    that this play is fully copyrighted under the existing laws of
          the United States Government, and nobody is allowed
             to do this play without first having obtained
                 permission of Samuel French, 24 West
                   22d St., New York City, U. S. A.

                               NEW YORK
                             SAMUEL FRENCH
                               PUBLISHER
                          24 WEST 22D STREET

                                LONDON
                          SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD.
                          26 SOUTHAMPTON ST.
                         STRAND, LONDON, W. C.



LADY HUNTWORTH'S EXPERIMENT.

     _Produced at the Criterion Theatre, London, 26th April, 1900._



CHARACTERS.


  CAPTAIN DORVASTON (late Bengal Cavalry)      Mr. Arthur Bourchier.

  REV. AUDLEY PILLENGER (Vicar of
    Stillford, in the parish of Droneborough)  Mr. Eric Lewis.

  REV. HENRY THORSBY (his Curate)              Mr. A. E. Matthews.

  GANDY (Man-servant at the Vicarage)          Mr. Ernest Hendrie.

  NEWSPAPER BOY                                Master R. Denny.

  MR. CRAYLL                                   Mr. Dion Boucicault.

  MISS HANNAH PILLENGER (Rev. Audley's
    sister)                                    Miss Fanny Coleman.

  LUCY PILLENGER (their Niece)                 Miss Gertrude Elliot.

  KEZIAH (Servant at the Vicarage)             Miss Polly Emery.

  CAROLINE RAYWARD (Cook at the
    Vicarage)                                  Miss Compton.



                                ACT I.

                    THE VICARAGE GARDEN.--Morning.

                                ACT II.

               THE VICARAGE KITCHEN.--The same evening.

                               ACT III.

                 THE VICARAGE LIBRARY.--Next morning.

[Illustration: _Act I._ _Scene Plot._

_Scene--Back of Vicarage with Garden._]

[Illustration: PLAN OF BREAKFAST TABLE.--ACT I.

FACING DOWN STAGE.

  _Note 1._--Those articles _not_ marked with an asterisk are
          discovered.

  _Note 2._--Those articles marked with an asterisk are brought on.

  _Note 3._--Great care must be used in setting the table.]

[Illustration: _Act II._ _Scene Plot._

_Scene--Vicar's Kitchen._]

[Illustration: _Act II._

_Position of Articles discovered and where placed when brought on,
which must be very exact_]

[Illustration: _Act III._ _Scene Plot._

_Scene--Vicar's Study._]

  ACT I.      PROPERTY PLOT.

  Circular Table, L.C.    4 Rustic Chairs, Round Table, L.C.
  Seat round Tree, R.C.   Parsley-bed, L.I.E.
  Small Rustic Table, L. of Tree R.C.   Bench in front of Window.
  Table Cloth                  }
  4 Napkins in Rings           }
  4 Large Plates               }
  4 Small Plates               }
  4 Cups, Saucers, and Spoons  }  _Discovered set on_
  4 Large Knives and Forks     }   _Breakfast Table_
  4 Small Knives               }         _on_
  Large Fork and Spoon         }  _Butler's Tray_ L.C.
  1 Cruet                      }
  Slop Basin                   }
  Milk in Jug                  }
  Sugar in Basin with Tongs    }

  Butter in Dish with Knife    }
  Jam in Dish with Spoon       }
  Toast in Toast-rack          }
  Kidneys in Entrée Dish       }  _All off_ L.O.E.
  Tea in Tea-pot (4 people)    }     _for_
  Large Oval Salver            }    GANDY.
  Large Circular Salver        }
  Small Card Salver            }
  3 Eggs in stand and Spoons   }

  2 White Pudding Basins       }
  Fork                         }
  White China Dish             }
  2 Eggs in Basin              }  _All off_ L.U.E.
  Bottle Salad Oil             }       _for_
  Medium-sized Salver          }    CAROLINE.
  Syphon of Potash             }
  Whiskey in Decanter          }
  2 Tumblers.                  }

  Door Bell to Ring in Kitchen.

  Letters in Tree R.C., _Discovered_.    Letters for Thorsby, L.
  "Standard" with par.         }  _In American cloth Wrapper_
  "Sporting Life"              }            _for_
  6 various papers             }         _Boy off_ L.
  Flowers in Bowl for Lucy _off_ L.U.E.
  Five Letters for Gandy _off_ R.U.E.
  Tobacco Pouch                }
  Pipe                         }
  Matches and Match-box        }  _For_ DORVASTON.
  Marriage Settlement          }
  Orchid for DORVASTON _off_ R. "2" E.
  Cigars in case for CRAYLL.   Chimes _off_ L.U.E.


  ACT II. PROPERTY PLOT.

  Kitchen Table, L.C.   2 Kitchen Chairs.   Kettle on Stove.
  Cake in Tin in Oven down Stage.
  Kitchen Fender and Fire-irons.   Hearth-rug.

  Clock            }
  Tin Jelly Moulds }  _On Mantelpiece._
  Candlesticks     }

  Jelly Moulds on Walls above Mantel.
  Candle in Stand and Matches on Bracket above Fireplace.
  Meal-sack above Fireplace.   Towel on Roller above Meat-Jack.

  Plates in Rack above Sink   }
  Warm Water in Bowl on Sink  }  _In Scullery._

  Work-box containing Pudding Cloth,  }
    Needle, &c.                       }
  Glass Tray                          }  _All in Window._
  Newspaper ("Standard")              }
  Plate Basket                        }

  1 Meat Cover on Wall over Meat-Jack.
  Almanac on Wall.   Brooms and Pail in Cupboard.
  Looking-glass on Flat between Garden-door and Larder.
  Mat outside Garden-door.

  Cheese Dish        }
  Large Butter Dish  }  _In Larder._
  Fruit Salad        }

  4 Cheese Plates  }
  4 Fruit Plates   }  _On Dresser._
  1 Wine Glass     }

  Dresser Furnished.

  2 Glass Cloths   }
  "Family Herald"  }  _In Kitchen Table Drawer._

  Orchid in Specimen-glass in Window.   Stuffed Fish in Cases.
  Ham on Dish for Keziah.   Canary in Cage, hanging in Window.

  Salmon on Dish             }
  4 Plates                   }
  4 Fish Knives and Forks    }
  4 Teaspoons                }  _Discovered on Table._
  Piece of Rag               }
  Radishes in Water in Bowl  }
  Radishes in Dish           }

  2 Chickens on Dish  }
  Salad Bowl          }
  4 Plates            }  _1st Load on Butler's Tray._
  4 Knives and Forks  }

  Fruit Salad                  }
  4 Plates, Forks, and Spoons  }  _2nd Load._

  Whiskey Syphon and Glass             }
  4 Tumblers, 4 Claret Glasses         }
  Bread Platter and Knife              }
  Cheese Dish and Butter Dish          }  _3rd Load._
  Radish Dish, 4 Knives, and 4 Plates  }

  HAND PROPERTIES.

  Hand-bag for GANDY        }
  Music Case for DORVASTON  }  _Off_ R.I.E.
  Cigars in Case            }
  Pins for CAROLINE.   Letter in Letter-case for CRAYLL.

  ACT III. PROPERTY PLOT.

  Oak Table R.C. and Cover.   3 Oak Chairs R.L. and Top of Table.
  Davenport R. Oak Chair at Davenport.   Armchair in Alcove L.
  Library Steps Alcove R.   Settle above Fireplace.   Fender and
  Fire-irons.   2 Large Rugs.   Stair Carpet and Rods on Stairs.
  Pictures on Walls.

  "Bradshaw"             }
  Box of Safety Matches  }  _On Mantelpiece dt._

  Electric Push below Fireplace.   Books in Bookcase.
  2 pairs Green Plush Curtains and 1 single ditto.
  2 Spring Blinds fitted to Window.

  HAND PROPERTIES.

  2 Coffee Cups (coloured)   }
  Milk in Milk-jug           }  _All on Japanese Tray for_
  Sugar in Basin and Tongs   }        CAROLINE, L.
  Bread and Butter on Plate  }

  Lady's shoe       }
  Sprig of Syringa  }  _For_ CAROLINE, L.

  Cigarettes in Case for DORVASTON.
  Wedding Ring for THORSBY.
  Lawyer's Letter for CAROLINE.

  Papers:--
    "Standard," "Sporting Life."
    "Church Times" for GANDY, R.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE.--Properties are marked with a small asterisk showing their
position.

The crosses with numbers in Act I. show where the chairs are moved to;
the C. one is not moved at all.

All doors want proper locks on. The gate in Act I. wants a latch and
spring to make it spring to.

Inside Broom Cupboard must have small bolt for DORVASTON to bolt when
inside.

The down-stage oven must open to receive cake in tin. It should have
iron fixings on to make realistic noise.



LADY HUNTWORTH'S EXPERIMENT.



ACT I.

           SCENE.--_The Vicarage Garden, according to plan._

                        TIME.--_Early morning._

  (_After the curtain rises_ THORSBY _enters at gate_ L. I. E.,
    _looks at French window, crosses and looks at kitchen window,
    goes over cautiously to the tree_ R.; _he mounts on the seat and
    extracts a letter from the cavity in the tree, replacing it with
    one of his own; he then stands leaning against the tree, while he
    opens, kisses, and begins to read the letter; while he is doing
    this_, GANDY _comes out of the house with toast in rack and jam
    on dish on salver; he catches sight of_ THORSBY; _crosses to top
    of table_ L.)


GAN. Good morning, Mr. Thorsby!

THOR. (_startled, squashes letter into his pocket_) Eh! Oh, good
morning! I was--I--wanted to see Mr. Pillenger.

GAN. Mr. Pillenger ain't much in the 'abit of climbin' trees before
breakfast. (_puts jam on table_)

THOR. No, of course not. (_he jumps down_) I thought I saw a bird's
nest, (_looks_) I was mistaken; but feeling (BOY _heard whistling the
A.M.B._) rather warm after my walk, I fancied it would be cooler under
the branches. My object, in fact, was----

GAN. Shady! (_crosses down_ L. _of table_)

THOR. What?

GAN. I was sayin' it's shady under the h'oak. (_puts toast on table_)

THOR. Exactly.

      (NEWSBOY _enters at gate, crosses to_ C. _and calls towards
                           kitchen window_.)

BOY. Papiers!

GAN. Late again! (_crosses in front of table_)

BOY. No, I ain't. (_turns and faces_ GANDY)

GAN. Yes, you h'are. (_looks at silver watch_) Four minutes and a
half late. (THORSBY _sits_ R. _and reads letter_) Your prospects of a
Christmas-box are darkenin' week by week.

BOY. Well, but I say, Gandy! (_crosses down_ C.)

GAN. Mr. Gandy! A leetle more respect might assist your grandmother's
next h'application to the coal and blanket fund. Now, is this to-day's
"Standard?"

BOY. Yus! (_giving it_)

GAN. Very good. And the other papers?

BOY. "Sportin' Life!" (_gives it_)

THOR. "Sporting Life!" (BOY _sees jam, and works round to top of
table_) That's rather an innovation, isn't it?

GAN. (_crosses to_ THORSBY C.) It's for Captain Dorvaston. We deplore
it, but we're 'elpless. (_places papers on table_ R. C., _startles_ BOY
_and comes towards him_. BOY _backs towards gate. To_ BOY) Go along
with you, and, mind me, if there's any more tip-cat down our road, I
call at the police station.

BOY. All right. Keep your 'air on. (_goes off, singing the chorus of
A.M.B._)

           (LUCY _comes out of house with bowl of flowers_.)

LUCY. Good morning, Mr. Thorsby! (C.)

THOR. Good morning! (_rises_)

LUCY. You're an early visitor. (_puts bowl on table_)

THOR. Yes, I--I was----

GAN. (_has crossed and turns at porch_) Bird's nestin'! (_he goes in
through porch_)

LUCY. (_they both watch him off_, LUCY _goes up a little and down
again_) What does he mean?

THOR. He caught me standing up on that seat. I had just found your
letter, (_she hushes him_) and I had to give some explanation.

LUCY. And couldn't you rise to anything better than that? My dear
Harry, what an idiot you are.

THOR. You see, I greatly dislike any deviation from the truth.

LUCY. Truth is a luxury very few of us can afford. When you and I are
married----

THOR. (_advancing_) Darling! (_rushes to embrace her, she waves him
off_)

LUCY. Stay where you are! All the back windows have eyes to them.
Muslin curtains don't count. When we are married---- (_crosses_ L.)

THOR. In fact, after to-morrow----

LUCY. Oh, Harry, do shut up a minute. You object to shams, how is a
properly organised household to be carried on without 'em? (_sits_
R. _of breakfast table_) Suppose I'm up to my neck in something
important--putting finishing touches to a new ball-dress, we'll
say--and some female horror calls--mustn't I be out because I happen to
be at home? Deviation from the truth! My dear boy, I should deviate for
all I was worth. So you got my letter?

THOR. Yes.

LUCY. And your answer?

THOR. I posted it in our usual letter box. (_going to tree_)

LUCY. All right, I'll get it directly. Does it give full directions?

THOR. I think so. (_comes_ C.)

LUCY. Got the special license?

THOR. Yes. (_makes to embrace her, she puts him off and points to
windows_)

LUCY. You've arranged with old Bristowe?

THOR. Yes.

LUCY. And we bike over to Ingledene Church--what time? Early of course?

THOR. I said nine.

LUCY. Very well. (_rises_) Now you'd better go. (_he objects_) They'll
be coming out to breakfast.

THOR. (_again advancing_) Darling!

LUCY. (_motions him off again_) Back windows! (_crosses up_ C. _to
house to see if they have been seen_)

THOR. (_turning towards her_) I was going to say that I can't help
regretting the way we are treating Captain Dorvaston.

LUCY. You mind your own business. (_she crosses down_ R. _and leans on
rustic table_) Captain Dorvaston is in my department.

THOR. I never fully understood how you came to be engaged. (_crosses to
her_)

LUCY. Simple enough. My father was a colonel who did some rather big
things on the Indian frontier, and in a dust up with one of the native
Princes got himself into rather a tight corner. Jack Dorvaston--he was
only a subaltern then--pulled him out of it, and in fact saved his
life; so when the governor died a year or two later, he left a strong
wish behind that the Captain should marry me.

THOR. I understand.

LUCY. (_crosses round and sits on tree seat_ R.) It was a queer way
of showing his gratitude, seeing that I was then a particularly
unattractive child, all elbows and knees.

THOR. Lucy!

LUCY. It's all right, don't be nervous; time has softened them
down. (_beckons him nearer_) I have a notion that Jack has always
funked the thing, but his colonel had given his orders, (_he sits on
table_) don't you see? And that was enough for _him_. I don't regard
discipline--military or parental--with the same amount of respect.
British freedom means the right to make a fool of one's self in one's
own way. You're my way, and that's enough for _you_. (_he tries to take
her hand, she draws it away_) Back windows!

THOR. I suppose no one guesses that we----?

LUCY. Mean business! No, with the exception possibly of Cook.

THOR. Cook! (_he looks at her in surprise_)

LUCY. Somehow I've a notion she's tumbled to it.

THOR. Would it matter? Would she----?

LUCY. Prattle about it? No, I think she rather likes me--tolerates
would be a better word.

THOR. Tolerates? A woman of that class?

LUCY. Cook is a very great personage; she rules the vicarage. Auntie
made a show of resistance at first, but Uncle and Jack have been abject
slaves from the start.

THOR. Really?

LUCY. Oh yes; when a woman is striking in appearance, evidently has a
past history, and can make an omelette, I don't see what's going to
stop her.

THOR. What's her history?

LUCY. How should I know? She was recommended to us by the Duchess
of Sturton at the time she opened the bazaar--you remember. Local
philanthropic?

THOR. Then you've nothing tangible to go on?

LUCY. Not from a masculine standpoint. (_rises_) Cook doesn't give
herself away, but, like Achilles, she has one vulnerable point, and in
the same locality.

THOR. How is that? (_rising with_ LUCY)

LUCY. She wears the neatest, quietest shoes imaginable, only I happened
to notice they have Louis heels. (_he looks in wonder_) That tells you
nothing--the inference is too subtle; but it's quite enough for me.
(GANDY _appears with butter on tray, he comes right of table_) Make a
dignified clerical exit--here comes Gandy.

THOR. (_takes hat and backs to_ C.) I think I won't wait, Miss Lucy.
(GANDY _coughs_, THORSBY _turns nervously, and looks at him_) So will
you kindly give my message to Mr. Pillenger?

LUCY. Certainly!

THOR. Thank you. (_crosses to gate_ L.) Good morning!

LUCY. Good morning. (_he looks towards_ LUCY--_catches_ GANDY'S _eye
and exits through gate_. LUCY _is applauding his exit when_ GANDY
_turns and hides her action_. LUCY _sits on garden chair and opens the
"Standard"_) Gandy! what is there for breakfast? (GANDY _has crossed to
top of table and placed butter on it_)

GAN. H'eggs!

LUCY. Poached?

GAN. Biled.

LUCY. Auntie said poached.

GAN. Cook said biled.

LUCY. Oh! There's some fish, isn't there?

GAN. Kidneys.

LUCY. But Auntie particularly mentioned fish.

GAN. Cook thought kidneys would be _preferable_.

LUCY. Oh! (_she reads paper_)

         (MR. PILLENGER _comes out_ C. _looking at his watch_.)

PIL. Ah, Lucy! breakfast not ready? (LUCY _rises and crosses to_ C.)

LUCY. Breakfast is late--as usual.

PIL. As usual? What do you mean by as usual?

LUCY. I mean--as usual. (_returns to seat_)

PIL. Cook is most punctual. If some trivial hitch has occurred
this morning, I daresay a perfectly reasonable explanation will be
forthcoming. (_takes "Sporting Life" off table_)

GAN. Kidneys was late! (_at table_)

PIL. Kidneys was late! (_to_ LUCY)--er--were late. I knew it! That man
Skeggs' meat--which I more than suspect of being colonial--is never
delivered in time. (_to_ GANDY) Explain to Cook that the delay is of
no consequence, and beg her not to hurry.

GAN. (_speaking as he goes_) She won't hurry! (_he goes into the
house_; PIL. _and_ LUCY _look at each other_; PIL. _then opens paper
and sees his mistake_.)

PIL. (_takes "Standard" from_ LUCY) If I shall not be depriving you of
the "Standard"----?

LUCY. Not at all! (_she picks up "Sporting Life"_) I'll have a look at
Jack's "Sporting Life."

PIL. (_crossing to table, turn to her_) By the way, during the--I
trust--brief interval of time that must elapse before your marriage
with Captain Dorvaston, you might hint to him that the newspaper he
favours is at variance with the general tone of a pious household.

LUCY. I'll mention it.

PIL. I am obliged to you. (_crosses and sits_ L.)

          (MISS PILLENGER _comes out through French window_.)

MISS P. Good morning, Audley!

PIL. Good morning. (LUCY _rises, crosses and kisses_ MISS PILLENGER
_and returns_ R.)

MISS P. Well, Lucy!

LUCY. Good morning, Auntie.

MISS P. Is breakfast not ready? (_looking at table through glasses_)

PIL. No, it isn't ready--not quite ready. I have no doubt it's _nearly_
ready.

MISS P. I shall really have to speak sharply to Cook. (_moves towards
kitchen_)

PIL. I see no necessity for any--er--drastic step of that description.
The delay is due to that man Skeggs.

MISS P. Skeggs? (_returns to_ C.)

PIL. Skeggs. It is also traceable, in a minor degree to yourself--your
injudicious selection of kidneys.

MISS P. Kidneys?

PIL. Yes; you are aware of my preference for fish, and therefore I
consider the substitution of kidneys----

MISS P. I ordered fish--and I did _not_ order kidneys. Cook is entirely
responsible for the change, and I shall certainly---- (_moves towards
kitchen again_)

PIL. Hannah! Hannah! If Cook understood your order, which is by no
means obvious (MISS PILLENGER _crosses round and sits_ L.), she was
doubtless influenced by--er--by Lucy's partiality for kidneys.

LUCY. I never touch them.

PIL. Well, she couldn't know that. Really I think this discussion has
been sufficiently prolonged.

  (GANDY _comes out with breakfast. He places large salver with tea
    in tea-pot, dish of kidneys, and eggs in stand on chair at top_
    R. _of table_. MR. PILLENGER _hands him the "Standard," which he
    puts on back of chair. He then places eggs and dish of kidneys on
    table, takes tea-pot and tray up, and crosses to_ L. _to place
    it in position; he then removes cover of kidney dish, and slowly
    exits through porch_.)

PIL. Here is the breakfast. Let us endeavor to approach it in a seemly
spirit. Where is Captain Dorvaston? (LUCY _crosses to_ L.) Upon my
word, Lucy, considering the ties that will unite you, I hope _very_
shortly, to Captain Dorvaston, I think he might conform to my rules.

LUCY. Jack was late last night. (_sits and takes napkin out of ring_)

PIL. He _was_. Creaking boots after midnight are a serious infliction.

LUCY. I'll call up to him if you like.

PIL. I should be indebted. (LUCY _rises and goes up_ C. MR. PILLENGER
_takes napkin out of ring and puts it inside his collar_)

LUCY. (_goes up stage_) Jack! Jack! (CAPTAIN DORVASTON _opens window,
he is in his shirt sleeves_)

DOR. Hulloa!

LUCY. Breakfast!

DOR. What say, little woman?

LUCY. Breakfast! Kidneys! Devilled! (MR. PILLENGER, MISS PILLENGER
_and_ GANDY _all start_)

PIL. Tut! tut! Broiled--broiled!

DOR. Right-O! down in a minute! (_he shuts the window._ LUCY _returns
to the table_)

MISS P. What are your plans for to-day, Audley? (MISS PILLENGER _has
undone napkin and is pouring out tea_)

PIL. I expect to be rather busy.

LUCY. It's sermon day, isn't it? (_hands toast to_ MR. PILLENGER, _and
takes an egg and toast herself_)

PIL. It _is_. So I trust your piano practice will be reduced to a
minimum.

LUCY. I'm going down to the village. I suppose you'll have broken the
back of it by lunch time.

PIL. Possibly--probably!

            (DORVASTON _comes out from French window; takes_
              LUCY'S _hand between both his caressingly_.)

DOR. 'Fraid I'm a bit late. How are you, sir? (_bowing to_ MR.
PILLENGER _and_ MISS PILLENGER)

PIL. In my ordinary health, I am obliged to you.

DOR. You look astonishing fit. (_sits_) Now d'you know, I feel as jumpy
as a flea.

MISS P. Captain Dorvaston!

DOR. Fact, ma'am! (_takes his napkin out of ring_) How are _you_ this
morning?

MISS P. Without being actually indisposed, I feel---- (_hands tea to_
LUCY)

DOR. Chippy--I know; same here. Where are those kidneys you were
shouting about, Lucy? (MR. PILLENGER _hands them_) Thanks! (MR.
PILLENGER _passes kidneys to_ DORVASTON, _which he serves himself_)

LUCY. You kept it up again last night, Jack?

DOR. I had a gentle flutter at the Plough and Rainbow. There was a
little pool, so of course I went in.

MISS P. I hope you changed your things, (DORVASTON _and_ LUCY _laugh_)
Captain Dorvaston. Damp clothing is so very dangerous.

LUCY. Pool is a kind of billiards, Auntie.

MISS P. Oh, I misunderstood! Your tea, Captain Dorvaston. (_she hands
tea to_ DORVASTON)

DOR. Thank you, ma'am. (PILLENGER _hands salt, etc._)

LUCY. How did you do over it? (_hands toast to_ DORVASTON)

DOR. So so. I took a few lives at the finish.

MISS P. Dear me! It sounds rather a bloodthirsty pastime.

DOR. There was a man there named Crayll--nailing good player! Potted
'em just as he liked. He seemed to be a thirsty little beggar. I should
say he took a bit of knowing.

LUCY. Who's that, Jack?

DOR. This fellah Crayll. He's stopping at the Plough and
Thingummy--we're going to try a horse together.

LUCY. To-day?

DOR. Yes. Said he'd call round some time this morning. (_pause_)

PIL. Hannah, we must dine earlier this evening, in view of the Penny
Reading.

DOR. Another of those festive gatherings! Hope you don't expect me to
tip 'em anything this time?

PIL. No, Captain Dorvaston; your contribution on the last occasion may
have been well intentioned--I judge no man, and will hope so----

DOR. Thought it was just the thing to wake 'em up after that
Shakespearian bit of yours--The Ball of Worsted.

PIL. The Fall of Wolsey!

MISS P. I was not present last time. What did Captain Dorvaston read?

DOR. It was an account of the last American glove fight, don't you know?

MISS P. Oh!

PIL. Described with a wealth of technical detail. (_hands his cup
to_ MISS PILLENGER) The whole occurrence was most regrettable. I was
observing, Hannah, we shall have to dine earlier----

MISS P. I had some idea of making it a cold meal.

PIL. Cold meal! A most unpleasant suggestion. Cold food, especially in
the evening, has a tendency to lie heavy on the stom--er--that is, I
see nothing feasible in the notion.

DOR. Oh no, hang it all, ma'am! Cold stuff ain't the kind of thing to
do a Penny Reading on.

MISS P. I thought under the circumstances it might be easier for Cook.

PIL. Eh?

DOR. What? (_long pause, the men look at her_)

MISS P. But as you both object----

DOR. Hold on, ma'am!

PIL. One moment, Hannah!

MISS P. I will explain to Cook.

PIL. Hannah! Hannah! You're so hasty.

DOR. Hannah--ma'am--pity to be hasty.

PIL. If you will permit me to explain myself, Captain Dorvaston? I have
no wish, Hannah, to add weight to Cook's very arduous duties.

DOR. Hear, hear! (_slaps the table_)

PIL. (_raising his voice_) And therefore it seems to me--er--unmanly to
lay stress upon possible digestive difficulties which fortitude and a
little pepsin should enable us to face with calmness. Let the meal be a
cold one. (LUCY _has folded up napkin again, and taken "Standard" from
back of chair, and is reading it_)

DOR. Point of fact, it makes a pleasant change.

MISS P. But, Audley!

PIL. The question is decided. We will not pursue the subject. (_pause_)

DOR. (_to_ LUCY) Anything in the paper?

LUCY. There's something about the Huntworth Divorce case.

PIL. We have no wish to hear any news relating to such a matter.

DOR. But it's an old business, ain't it? When I was at Malta last year,
the chaps used to chat about it at mess.

LUCY. Lord Huntworth brought the divorce, didn't he?

PIL. Yes, Lord Huntworth was the petitioner. It was a sad case.

DOR. I know Bob Carruthers.

LUCY. Who's he? (_rises and crosses up to_ DORVASTON--_still reading
the paper_)

DOR. The co----

PIL. Tut! tut!

DOR. Bob was an extraordinary good chap!

PIL. How can any individual be described as good who has occupied the
position of--er--a co-respondent?

DOR. Bob managed it.

PIL. You seem to ignore poor Lord Huntworth.

DOR. Didn't know Huntworth--did know Bob. He once lent me a monkey when
I wanted it badly--lent it when _he_ wanted it badly. Devilish good
chap!

PIL. Tut! tut!

DOR. Beg pardon, sir--slipped out.

LUCY. Did you know _Lady_ Huntworth, Jack? (_crosses to_ R. _and sits
under tree_)

DOR. No. Heard she was a nice woman.

PIL. Nice?

DOR. So fellahs who met her used to say.

MISS P. But I always understood the suit was undefended.

PIL. Entirely undefended.

DOR. Matrimonial thimblerig is a confusing game to watch.

PIL. Thimblerig?

DOR. Three thimbles, don't you know? Husband--wife--and the other chap.
(MR. PILLENGER _looks up_) Well, what I meant to say was, it ain't easy
for the looker-on to say which thimble the fault is under. By-the-bye,
I saw something in the paper about Lady Huntworth the other day.

PIL. Surely the whole affair is uninteresting and unsavory?

DOR. Noosance to forget a thing! What was the bit you were reading,
Lucy?

LUCY. That yesterday the rule was made absolute. What does that mean?

DOR. Only that the time was up. They keep 'em in blinkers for six
months after the verdict. (DORVASTON _draws napkin through the ring_)
But that wasn't what I read? What the devil was it now?

PIL. Tut! Really! Really! I think we've all finished, haven't we?
(GANDY _appears with letters, three of which_ MR. PILLENGER _takes, and
two_ MISS PILLENGER) Hannah, you will probably wish to interview Cook.
(DORVASTON _rises, takes chair_ R., _sits and begins to load his pipe_)

MISS P. I will see her in your presence. (GANDY _has come back to top
of table_) Gandy, will you ask Cook to come to me? I wish to give her
my orders.

GAN. H'orders? (DORVASTON _fills pipe and lights it_)

MISS P. Orders.

GAN. I'll name it to her. (_slowly exits through porch_)

PIL. (_opening letter, which he holds during the whole scene with_
COOK) Hannah, I would suggest that whatever you have to say to Cook may
be said calmly and without undue severity.

MISS P. (_opening letters which she holds during the whole scene with_
COOK) That should be left to my discretion; a stand must be made
somewhere.

          (CAROLINE _has come out of kitchen during this; she
                        advances to the table_.)

CAR. You wished to speak to me? (_the men turn and face her_)

MISS P. Yes, Cook. I want to give you the orders for to-day's dinner.

CAR. Certainly! What do you fancy? What would you all like? (_she
glances round, both men beam at her_)

MISS P. Before we speak of that I have a word to say with regard to the
breakfast.

CAR. To-morrow's breakfast?

MISS P. No, to-day's. I am very much astonished and annoyed.

PIL. Tut, tut!

CAR. What was wrong with the breakfast? When I sent it out it looked
all right.

MISS P. Why were my directions disregarded? I ordered the eggs to be
poached--you boiled them; I mentioned fried bacon--none came to table;
I requested you to procure fish--you gave us kidneys. Now what have you
to say?

CAR. I'm afraid I forgot about the eggs? I haven't any other excuse to
offer.

PIL. A most reasonable explanation!

DOR. Things do slip one's memory. (MISS PILLENGER _glares at_ DORVASTON)

CAR. I didn't cook any bacon; it had got rather low, and I didn't think
the result would please you.

PIL. Impossible to cut rashers from bacon that is--er--practically
non-existent.

DOR. Thing no fellah could do! (MISS PILLENGER _glares at him_)

CAR. I remember you did mention fish, but you've had a good deal of
fish lately, so I thought I'd try you with kidneys. But if there has
been any inconvenience, I'm sorry.

PIL. There has been no inconvenience.

DOR. None at all. (MISS PILLENGER _glares at_ DORVASTON)

PIL. Hannah, I think we may pass (as they say in the House of Commons)
to the orders of the day.

DOR. Hear, hear! (PILLENGER _looks at him_)

MISS P. Well, Cook, since you express your regret (DORVASTON _and_ LUCY
_laugh_) I will say no more. Now as to this evening, you will be in
sole charge of the house, (_both men look up_) as I have given Keziah
permission to go to the Penny Reading--so I think we will make it a
cold meal, as that will entail less washing up.

CAR. Just as you like.

MISS P. We will begin with salmon.

CAR. (_reflectively_) Salmon? Yes, you might have salmon.

MISS P. Pickled salmon.

CAR. Oh, no, not pickled! (_both men shake their heads_) That would be
a pity! I'll make you a mayonnaise.

PIL. Delightful!

DOR. Rippin'!

CAR. I shall want some lettuces. I'll tell Gandy.

MISS P. After that we will have two cold ducklings.

CAR. Ducklings? It's late for ducklings.

PIL. Maturity in poultry is to be deprecated.

DOR. Leathery beasts at this time of the year. (MISS PILLENGER _glares
at_ DORVASTON)

MISS P. Then why not a gosling?

CAR. It's early for geese.

DOR. Deuced early!

PIL. Entirely premature.

MISS P. When I mentioned a goose I was thinking of Mr. Pillenger.
(DORVASTON _and_ LUCY _laugh_)

PIL. Tut, tut! Hannah!

DOR. Hope, ma'am, when you mentioned a duck, you were thinking of _me_.

MISS P. I fail to understand you. My brother is exceedingly partial to
goose.

CAR. There's a ham in cut, so I think we'd better fall back on fowls.
It isn't easy to do anything very novel with cold fowls, but if I stuff
and glaze them, I've no doubt they'll pass muster.

MISS P. But, Cook, I----

CAR. You like sweets, of course?

MISS P. Certainly, you had better make us----

CAR. Will you leave the sweets to me? I want to try a new kind of fruit
salad; it's my first attempt, but you'll find it will be all right--and
perhaps I might throw in a shape of jelly--we'll see.

MISS P. But----

CAR. What time will you dine?--at least it isn't dinner--what time will
you sup?

MISS P. At seven to-night, instead of half-past.

CAR. Seven! I shall be ready. Is there anything else you wish to say to
me?

MISS P. No, Cook; I don't suppose anything will be gained by my saying
any more. (_turns away and reads letters_)

CAR. Very good! (_takes kidney dish off table_, MR. PILLENGER
_assisting her; she crosses_ C.)

DOR. (_speaking eagerly_) Ah! here's that bit about Lady Huntworth.
(CAROLINE _looks round at him in a startled manner_) It's in the
Agony column. (_reads_) "Will Lady Huntworth communicate with Messrs.
Brampton and Stokes, Capel Court, on a matter of considerable
importance?"

PIL. Why should we resume the discussion of that disgraceful woman?
(CAROLINE _turns and looks at him_)

MISS P. Why, indeed? (CAROLINE _looks at her_)

DOR. (_to_ LUCY) When we were talking just now, couldn't remember where
I'd read that. Hate to forget a thing.

MISS P. Cook! (CAROLINE _stands thinking quietly_) Cook!

CAR. I--beg your pardon!

MISS P. We needn't keep you, if you quite understand about the supper.

CAR. Oh, quite, thanks! (_exit into kitchen_; DORVASTON _rises, looks
after her_ U. B.)

MISS P. Don't you think that woman has a very singular manner?

PIL. Singular! No, she is certainly superior--very superior.

MISS P. (_rises, crosses_ C.) She is _so_ superior that she seems above
taking my orders.

  (GANDY _comes out during this and continues clearing away. He
    places_ MR. PILLENGER'S _chair up_ B. C. _and_ MISS PILLENGER'S
    _chair up_ L. _above gate. Folds cloth over tray, and takes it
    into the kitchen. Then comes back, folds up table and takes it
    away into house before cue, "This is July."_)

DOR. I wouldn't say that, (_crosses to_ C.), ma'am; she met you half
way over the salmon. (_returns to window._ MISS PILLENGER _goes up with
dignity and enters house through French window_)

PIL. (_rises, crosses_ C.) Thorsby is late. I expected him to call.

LUCY. He came early this morning, but he wouldn't wait.

PIL. Tut, tut! He knows I wished to see him. I have two christenings at
one-thirty, and an interment at three. However, Lucy and--er--Captain
Dorvaston (_crosses and brings_ DORVASTON _down_) as you are together
for once--I will avail myself of the opportunity to say a few serious
words to you both. (DORVASTON _and_ LUCY _look at each other nervously_)

DOR. Peg away, sir! (LUCY _stands near table_ R. DORVASTON _stands
centre_)

PIL. I have no wish to appear unduly inquisitive on a subject with
which I have merely an indirect concern (_sits_ R. _of table_) but may
I enquire if you have fixed the time that will make you both--that will
make us all happy? (_puts arm on table and leans back._ LUCY _and_
DORVASTON _again look at each other_) Has a date been arrived at?

LUCY. Not precisely.

DOR. Not to a day or so.

PIL. Have you settled on the week or the month?

DOR. No, we haven't got as far as that. But something was said about
the autumn.

LUCY. The late autumn.

PIL. (_has been leaning his arm on the table--now sits up and faces
them_) The late autumn! (_sits up_) But last autumn something was said
about the early spring; the question was then relegated to the late
summer. This is July, and where are we? (_he leans back and is about
to rest his arm on table, but_ GANDY _has just removed it, with the
result that he loses his balance and comes on his hand_. DORVASTON
_goes to his assistance_)

DOR. Allow me, sir!

PIL. Thank you. I was unaware that Gandy had removed the table. But, to
resume what I was saying--can you give me any definite information?

DOR. You see, sir, I haven't worried Lucy, because I know girls are apt
to be a bit--a bit----

PIL. Well?

DOR. Noosance! I've lost a word. Girls are apt to be a bit----

LUCY. Coy.

DOR. That's it! Thanks, little woman--a bit coy. (_comes to_ PILLENGER)

PIL. Coy! (_rises, comes_ C.) Well, the expression hardly seems to me
to convey Lucy's habitual demeanour; but in any case she is of age.
(_to_ LUCY) You were twenty-one last week I think?

LUCY. Yes, I was.

PIL. Your small fortune is carefully tied up.

DOR. Quite right, sir, so it ought to be.

PIL. Captain Dorvaston (_patting him on the shoulder_) is in a firm
financial position.

DOR. Pretty fair as things go.

PIL. Then why any further delay? Why not August? Nice seaside month. My
own thoughts are turning towards Eastbourne.

DOR. I had an offer from a fellah I know to go halves in a shoot this
August, (_going to_ LUCY) but I wouldn't let that stand in the way, not
for a moment.

LUCY. Thanks, Jack, (_crosses down_ R. _a little_)

PIL. Take my advice, let no trivial obstacle intervene between you. Let
there be no postponement or interruption.

DOR. There shan't be, sir. (CAROLINE _comes out from porch_)

PIL. That's well! (_they shake hands_) That's well!

CAR. Gandy! (_both men turn round to her without releasing hands_)

PIL. Do you want anything, Cook? (_crosses up to her_ L.)

DOR. Anything I could do? (_they both go up_, DORVASTON _on her_ R.)

CAR. I wanted Gandy for a second.

PIL. Certainly. He was here just now.

DOR. Saw him a minute ago.

PIL. I'll call him. (_goes_ L.) Gandy!

DOR. Fancy he went this way. (_goes_ R.) Gandy!

PIL. Sorry to detain you! Gandy!

DOR. Noosance having to wait! Gandy!

CAR. Pray don't bother about it; I only wanted him to pick me some
parsley.

PIL. No trouble at all. Where _is_ Gandy?

DOR. What's happened to the beggar? Could I--er--take on the job?

PIL. Tut, tut! absurd! How should you know the proper way to--er--pick
parsley?

DOR. Never too old to learn, sir. (_to_ CAROLINE) Where should I be
likely to drop across it?

CAR. There's a small parsley bed over there (_she points left_)

DOR. Right-O! (_crosses_ L., _kneels_)

CAR. But it's really too bad to trouble you. (_crosses_ C. MR.
PILLENGER _goes with_ CAROLINE _on her_ L.)

DOR. Not a bit! To oblige you I'd pick oakum! (_he kneels and picks
parsley_)

PIL. I--er--regret--that--er--the absence of Gandy--as to which I shall
require some explanation, should have caused you all this inconvenience.

CAR. It doesn't signify. Captain Dorvaston is doing the work very
nicely.

DOR. Fact is I've broken out in a new place. Where shall I put the
pieces? (_holding up parsley_)

CAR. In this dish. (MR. PILLENGER _takes dish from her, and_ DORVASTON
_snatches it from him--puts parsley in it, and holds it out_)

DOR. It's very easy when you get into the swing of it. Will that be
enough?

CAR. Plenty, thanks.

DOR. There! (_rises, crosses to hand her bowl_; PILLENGER _trying to
get hold of it_)

CAR. I'm much obliged.

DOR. Don't you think I should make a good gardener?

CAR. Capital, I should say. (_crosses to porch_)

PIL. Tut! tut! (_she goes up stage_)

DOR. Cook! Cook! (_she turns round_) If I try for the situation will
you give me a character?

CAR. I'm afraid I haven't one to spare! (_he laughs; she returns to the
kitchen_)

DOR. (_going up to window, then turns to_ PILLENGER) By George she's a
devilish--er----

PIL. Tut! tut! (_up_ L. C.; LUCY _knocks on the table two or three
times to draw their attention_)

DOR. Just so, sir; but I mean she _is_--don't you know--isn't she?

PIL. (_crosses down_ L. C.) She is undoubtedly possessed of great
refinement for anyone in her present sphere.

DOR. Refinement! (_crosses down_ R. C.)

PIL. We gathered from the Duchess of Sturton that Cook had seen better
days. Her Grace is somewhat vague conversationally; but we understood
as much as that.

DOR. (_confidentially, he hides_ LUCY _from_ PILLENGER'S _view_) Funny
thing a woman like that should be running loose. Odd she hasn't married
some fellah.

PIL. It is singular--in fact remarkable. For a certain type of man she
would make--I should say--an admirable wife.

DOR. Just the wife for a soldier man!

PIL. Pardon me, I disagree with you. No--she has a quietude, a
dignified reserve--that would fit her to preside over the household
of a staid medical man--or a barrister in fair practice--who was no
longer young--or even--a--a---- (_catches_ DORVASTON'S _eye_) But we're
wasting the morning. (_crosses_ L.)

LUCY. Don't say that, uncle. (_they both stare at her_)

PIL. Lucy! (_crosses to top of chair_ R.)

DOR. Hulloa, little woman! Still there?

LUCY. Yes, I'm still here.

DOR. By George, sir, (_crosses and sits on chair facing the others_)
weren't we all chatting over something?

PIL. I--er--think I was urging you both--to--er----

LUCY. You were urging us to name the day--and to avoid any kind of
trivial interruption. (_the men look at each other_)

PIL. I--believe that is so.

LUCY. And Jack agreed.

DOR. Yes.

LUCY. And I chimed in with the general sentiment. But of course--at the
time--it was impossible to foresee the parsley, (_the two men exchange
glances--she rises_) I'm going down to the village. I punctured a tire
yesterday, and I've got to fetch my bike.

PIL. I must get to work. I'm late as it is. (_crosses_ C. _looking at
watch_)

DOR. Make it a ten minutes' sermon, sir, weather's extr'ordinary hot.

PIL. I beg, Captain Dorvaston, you will spare me any such irreverent
suggestions; and I trust that if you must sleep in a sacred edifice,
you will render your slumber less aggressive. (_moves to French window_)

LUCY. You do snore, Jack--you nearly drowned the second lesson last
Sunday.

PIL. (_turning to_ LUCY) _You_ are not blameless. As his future wife,
it is your duty--and--er--privilege--to nudge him. For what purpose has
Heaven given you elbows? (_he goes into house. Slight pause._ DORVASTON
_puts pipe away_. LUCY _crosses up, turns to chair_ R.)

LUCY. Jack!

DOR. Yes, little woman?

LUCY. Do you care for me?

DOR. 'Course I do!

LUCY. How much? (_crosses to chair and kneels on it_)

DOR. How much? (_rises, crosses_ C.) Well, I'm a bad hand at explaining
things.

LUCY. For instance, would you give up a big thing for my sake?

DOR. What sort of big thing?

LUCY. An Empire?

DOR. Oh, yes.

LUCY. A peerage?

DOR. Oh, Lord, yes!

LUCY. Would you give up--a dish of parsley?

DOR. (_long puzzled look_) What do you mean? I--don't understand.

LUCY. You're a humbug!

DOR. Sorry you think that.

LUCY. Well, do something to please me.

DOR. Anything I can.

LUCY. Fetch me an orchid, (_he looks surprised_) to wear this
evening--there are lots in the orchid house--will you?

DOR. 'Course I will.

LUCY. Thanks. (DORVASTON _crosses up_ R. LUCY _crosses_ L. C., _and_
DORVASTON _crosses down to her_)

DOR. (_places hands upon_ LUCY'S _shoulder and speaking over her
shoulder_) Little woman! Ever since the time when your dear old dad
first gave us the word of command, I've always had a pretty clear
notion where the word duty came in; so when once you've pulled yourself
together, and named the day, I mean to pull myself together and do my
level damnedest to make you happy. D'you see? (_turns her round_)

LUCY. (_facing him_) Yes, I see. (_puts hand on his shoulder_) I'm
quite sure you mean all you say, and it's nice of you to say it, and to
mean it. The only thing is, you seem to be entering upon a matrimonial
campaign without any transports.

DOR. I don't follow.

LUCY. (_takes him by the lapels of coat_) When I said you were a
humbug, I meant there is one person you are always trying to deceive.

DOR. Who's that?

LUCY. Jack Dorvaston! (_he looks bewildered_) Don't you mind what I
say; go and fetch my orchid. (_turns him round and pushes him away. He
pauses, rubs his head reflectively, and at last strolls off_ R. LUCY
_goes over to the tree and sits for a moment in thought. She suddenly
remembers the letter in tree, and jumps on seat to get it._ CAROLINE
_has come out, bringing with her two pudding basins which she places on
the seat under the garden window; she comes down to table_ R. _to take
up the newspaper, she catches sight of_ LUCY _who is trying to get the
letter out of cavity_)

CAR. (_coming_ C.) Shall I do that?

LUCY. Oh, Cook, is that you? (_turning quickly_) You startled me.

CAR. Did I? I'm sorry.

LUCY. What was it you said?

CAR. I offered to get your letter for you. I have a longer reach.

LUCY. What letter? (_jumps down_)

CAR. The latest one from Mr. Thorsby.

LUCY. Cook! How dare you?

CAR. I'm not naturally timid.

LUCY. You are excessively impertinent.

CAR. Am I? Very likely. But as that is your opinion, I'll chance a
rather rude question--When are you going to bolt with Mr. Thorsby?

LUCY. What do you mean? I'm foolish to listen to you at all. I shall go
to my uncle and aunt and tell them what you've just said. (_comes close
to_ COOK, _then wavers and takes a step back_)

CAR. (_pause_) If I am mistaken about you and Mr. Thorsby, you would be
quite right to tell them. Am I mistaken? (LUCY _tries to brave her, but
her head droops_) Quite so! Then I think I would get the compromising
letter out of the tree and say no more about it--unless you'll let _me_
do it. (_makes a movement to get letter_)

LUCY. Oh, no! (_she jumps hastily on seat and gets letter_) There! I
don't care if you _do_ know. Anybody may know after to-morrow.

CAR. So it's to be to-morrow?

LUCY. (_jumps down_) Yes, it is. I am bound to trust you--I can't help
myself; so if you choose to give the whole thing away, you can.

CAR. I shan't do that. On the contrary, I should like to do any little
thing I could to help you. (LUCY _looks in wonder_)

LUCY. Thank you. (_slight pause; sits_) How did you find
out--about--us? (_looking at_ COOK)

CAR. (_goes up a step_) Two or three Sundays ago--I was coming home
about ten in the evening--it was my Sunday out--and as I came round the
corner, you and Mr. Thorsby were outside the gate.

LUCY. Oh! (_her eyes drop_)

CAR. You were supposed to be spending the evening with your friend Mrs.
Bronson, if you remember?

LUCY. Yes.

CAR. You didn't hear me coming and Mr. Thorsby said good-night to you.

LUCY. Oh!

CAR. He said it--very thoroughly.

LUCY. Yes--I believe he did.

CAR. That was how I found out.

LUCY. (_after slight pause_) How funny it seems to be talking to you
about it all. What did you think--when you saw--what you saw?

CAR. I was rather amused.

LUCY. What did you think of _me_?

CAR. Need we go into that?

LUCY. I should like you to say.

CAR. Well, to tell you the truth, I thought you weren't going quite
straight.

LUCY. Because of Captain Dorvaston?

CAR. Yes.

LUCY. I don't care for Captain Dorvaston--and I do care for Mr.
Thorsby. Surely it's better to marry the man you love?

CAR. I daresay it would be. I have nothing to say against Mr.
Thorsby--he seems a very pleasant young fellow. I shouldn't think he
would take to drink (LUCY _looks in surprise_) or turn out badly to any
special extent. Of course, one can't tell beforehand.

LUCY. Cook! (_surprised_)

CAR. It would be all right if you weren't engaged to another man.

LUCY. But Jack isn't in love with _me_! (_rises_)

CAR. You think not?

LUCY. He likes me, and he wouldn't admit to anybody--certainly not to
himself--that I wasn't all the world to him, and a bit over; but in the
way of _real_ love he doesn't care a rap for _me_. He doesn't care--a
sprig of parsley! (_they look at each other_, COOK _smiles_, _and then_
LUCY _takes it up_)

CAR. Ah! that makes a difference. (_slight pause_) Well, I must see to
the mayonnaise. (_she turns and goes up to the seat under the kitchen
window, she begins to break eggs into the basin._ LUCY _goes up to
porch and sits on it, leaning her head against the pillar_)

LUCY. Do you know, I think you've been trying to be very kind to me?

CAR. Not at all.

LUCY. I was wondering--if you would tell me a little--about yourself.

CAR. Tell you what?

LUCY. Tell me--about--your life.

CAR. My life! No. It's waste of time to discuss failures.

LUCY. You are a riddle--because you are--pardon me--a lady.

CAR. Well?

LUCY. And yet--yet--(_looking away_) Who are you? What are you?

CAR. The Vicar's cook. (_their eyes meet_) You will do me a favor, Miss
Pillenger, if you will leave it at that.

LUCY. Oh, certainly! I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be inquisitive.

                 (_Church clock chimes the half-hour._)

CAR. I'm sure you didn't.

LUCY. I ought to go down to the village. (_crosses to French window_)

CAR. (_takes up fork and begins to stir eggs_) Don't let me make you
late for any appointment. (COOK _puts bowl on window_; LUCY _tries to
laugh, and exits through French window_)

                (DORVASTON _enters with large orchid_.)

DOR. Here you are, little woman,. (_looks for_ LUCY)

CAR. She has gone down to the village.

DOR. Hulloa! Are you there, Cook? (_goes to her_)

CAR. Yes.

DOR. Doing a bit of al fresco cooking?

CAR. I'm mixing the mayonnaise.

DOR. Are you, by George! That's devilish interesting. I suppose, now,
the kitchen's a bit hot for things that go off color.

CAR. Yes.

DOR. Eggs, for instance. (_sits_ R. _of_ COOK) I suppose you start with
eggs as a ground plan--and then--and then you beat 'em. I often thought
I should like to beat eggs. (_seriously_)

CAR. (_rising_) You can beat these; at least, you can stir them, if
you've a fancy that way. I want to baste my two fowls.

DOR. Oh! (_disappointed, stops stirring_)

CAR. (_she gives him the basin; pause; rises and turns to porch_) Don't
leave off stirring till I come back.

DOR. (_beginning to stir_) Not for worlds. (COOK _turns_) But basting
now, basting must be an unusual engrossing branch of the science.
Couldn't I come and watch you baste?

CAR. (_standing at entrance to porch_) No; go on with the eggs please.
That orchid seems rather in your way.

DOR. Got it for Lucy to wear to-night.

CAR. Give it me.

DOR. Thanks! (_gives it to her_)

CAR. Tell her I'm taking care of it. (_going_)

DOR. I say, Cook!

CAR. (_pausing_) Yes.

DOR. I want awfully to have a chat with you. (_edging to end of bench_)

CAR. You're chatting now. (_leans against post and faces_ DORVASTON)

DOR. Can't talk here--people about--and there's the basting.

CAR. That's true.

DOR. You'll be all alone this evening. Don't fancy I shall want much
of the Penny Reading--a ha'porth will be plenty. Thought I'd stroll
back--and _then_, don't you understand?

CAR. I think I understand _you_, but I'm doubtful if you quite
understand me. I've an idea that what you want to say wouldn't interest
me at all.

DOR. (_rises_) You're wrong. I don't mean an atom of harm--swear I
don't. What I want to say I would say before anybody--only I'd rather
talk it over quietly. May I come?

CAR. If you like.

DOR. Then you believe in me?

CAR. (_pauses_) Yes, I think I do. What time are you likely to be back?

DOR. Round about nine thirty.

CAR. Nine thirty! All right! Don't forget to stir the eggs (_he begins
eagerly_) Very gently. (_enters porch and then kitchen._ DORVASTON
_watches her off and is looking through window, still stirring, when_
PILLENGER _comes out of French window_)

PIL. Captain Dorvaston! Captain Dorvaston! Captain Dorvaston!
(DORVASTON _turns to him_) If you are at leisure I should be glad
if---- (_seeing basin and pointing to it_) What is that?

DOR. Fancy they call it a pudden basin.

PIL. What are you----? why should you----?

DOR. I'm stirring the eggs for the mayonnaise. Cook asked me to.

PIL. Tut, tut! I have received a letter from the lawyers, respecting
the draught copy of your marriage settlement. I gave it to you. May I
ask you to fetch it!

DOR. Just now, sir?

PIL. Naturally. Why not?

DOR. Promised I wouldn't leave off stirring. Look here, sir, if I fetch
the paper, will you go on with the eggs? (_gives him basin--they both
stir--so as not to stop_)

PIL. Well, rather than cause--er--domestic inconvenience (_takes
basin_) but have the goodness to make haste. The position is not
without embarrassment.

DOR. I'll look sharp, sir. (_crosses up back_) Don't forget to stir
very gently.

PIL. The caution is quite superfluous. (_crosses to back of chair_ R.)

          (MISS PILLENGER _comes out followed by_ LUCY; _both
                         dressed for walking_.)

DOR. Hulloa, ma'am! Going for a prowl?

MISS P. Fowl? (_crosses_ C.)

PIL. Tut, tut! (_conceals the basin behind him_)

MISS P. (_crossing to him_) You here, Audley? I am accompanying Lucy to
the village. I imagined you were writing your sermon.

PIL. I have been delayed by--er--unforeseen interruptions (DORVASTON
_tells_ LUCY _about basin; she goes up behind_ PILLENGER _and taps
it_) You are yourself wasting the freshness of the morning.

MISS P. I thought the moment was opportune for the purchase of your new
socks.

PIL. Tut, tut!

MISS P. But you have given me no instructions as to pattern or texture.

PIL. Both are indifferent to me. I rely on your taste and judgment.

MISS P. I will go then. (_she moves_ L.; DORVASTON _opens gate and
stands talking to her_; LUCY _laughs_)

PIL. What is amusing you, Lucy?

LUCY. I was laughing because----

PIL. I have no wish to hear. I object to frivolity.

LUCY. Do you, uncle? (_crosses_ L.) Wait for me, Auntie. (_turns to_
DORVASTON) Jack, where's my orchid?

DOR. Cook is taking care of it.

LUCY. (_looking at_ PILLENGER) What a treasure Cook is. (_looking at_
DORVASTON) I wonder what any of us would do without her? (_exit. The
two men face each other for a second_)

DOR. (_laughs_) Sorry I let you in, sir, (_coming_ C.) but Lucy won't
say anything. I'll be back directly--and, I say, you won't forget to
stir very gently? (_exit off_)

PIL. (_angrily_) No, I won't! No, I won't! No, I won't! (_crosses;
sits_ R. _of table, stirs violently for a moment, then remembers and
slows down_; COOK _comes out_)

CAR. Captain Dorvaston! (_sees_ PILLENGER) Is Captain Dorvaston----
(_he turns round_) Oh, you've got it! (_comes to top of table_)

PIL. The basin? Yes. I was compelled to interrupt Captain Dorvaston, so
I was endeavoring to supply his place; I fear with poor results. (_puts
paper on seat_)

CAR. Let me look? (_takes basin, crosses a little_ C.) Thanks. (_she
looks at it_) Oh, no--it's all right.

PIL. I am relieved to hear it. Still, it probably needs
the--er--hum--the final touch of the artist. (_she turns to go_) You
don't care for--er--compliments?

CAR. (_looking round_) No! (_coming_ C.)

PIL. Rather an unkind restriction.

CAR. A bird of some experience is apt to change its first opinion of
bird-lime.

PIL. Yes, very true. But compliments that are the expression of honest
and--er--respectful appreciation--what of them?

CAR. I don't know. I've never met that kind of compliment. If you'll
excuse me, I'll go back to the fowls. (_going up_)

PIL. (_he follows her between tree and table to porch_) I have no right
to detain you from more congenial society. (_door bell heard_) But I
have something I particularly wish to say to you. (_she looks at him_)
Something I wish to explain.

CAR. Certainly! What is it?

PIL. My explanation might--in fact, would occupy some time. (_door bell
heard more violently_) The present moment is obviously ill-chosen for
the purpose. You will be the sole occupant of the house this evening.

CAR. Shall I?

PIL. _Every_body--Keziah included--is going to the Penny Reading--even
Gandy has asked permission to visit his aged mother.

CAR. Has he an aged mother? I didn't know.

PIL. He doesn't lay much stress on her--she suffers from spasms, and is
a Nonconformist.

CAR. Well?

PIL. I thought if I came back early from the Parish room, I could
explain what I--er--wish to explain. (_very violent ring at bell
without interruption_)

CAR. You would discuss this all-important matter in the kitchen?

PIL. If you--er--see no objection.

CAR. It's your kitchen, and your responsibility; but if I were you I
wouldn't explain.

PIL. Do you prohibit me from doing so?

CAR. No, come if you like. What time am I to expect you?

PIL. About nine o'clock. It's a quiet hour, and usually free from
callers.

CAR. We'll hope it will prove so. Very well--till nine o'clock then.
(_she goes into kitchen--he crosses up to French window at_ COOK'S
_exit, still looking after her, buried in thought_. CRAYLL _comes
through gateway, stands at steps, sees_ PILLENGER _and speaks_)

CRAY. Mornin'! (PILLENGER _does not hear, so_ CRAYLL _prods him in back
with stick_) Mornin'.

PIL. Eh! Oh, good morning! (_comes_ C.)

CRAY. What time's the funeral?

PILL. Funeral?

CRAY. Ain't anybody dead? I rang your beastly front door bell till my
arm ached; so I turned it up and came round to the back.

PIL. My butler--er--my male servant--is rather remiss. But to the best
of my knowledge, he is still alive.

CRAY. Damn sorry for it.

PIL. Tut, tut!

CRAY. What's the matter?

PIL. I cannot countenance such language. My sacred calling----

CRAY. (_looking at him more attentively_) Oh, I see! Didn't know you
were a magpie. Come to think of it, s'pose I passed your place of
business a little way up the road, (_pointing up_ L.)

PIL. Er--hum--yes.

CRAY. Oh, well then, I take back the damn. After all, it don't do to
open one's front door too quick. S'pose you thought I was the Water
Rate. (_puts foot on chair, pulls out handkerchief, and dusts boot_)

PIL. No, sir.

CRAY. Gas?

PIL. Certainly not.

CRAY. Then what the devil did you think? (_dusts other boot_)

PIL. I had no theory on the subject; and as to your language--I really
must beg----

CRAY. Beg? Yes, that's your trade. Same time I'll take back the devil.
We don't often part company. Talking of the devil, did you ever have
D.T.?

PIL. D.T.? D.T.? If you refer to the "Daily Telegraph," I usually read
the "Standard."

CRAY. No, no! D.T. Jim-jams!

PIL. Jim-jams?

CRAY. Delirium tremens--ever had 'em?

PIL. Eh? What? Never, sir, never!

CRAY. Lucky beast! Well, when you _do_ have 'em, you'll know 'em again.
I've had 'em twice.

PIL. Really!

CRAY. The last bout was a blazer. A man generally sees snakes, or rats,
or spiders. It was spiders with me. (_makes movement of spider on_
PILLENGER'S _chest_)

PIL. Was it indeed?

CRAY. Yes--fat brutes with as many legs to 'em as an Empire ballet--all
over the walls by day--all over the bed at night. If you lit a candle
you saw 'em--if you didn't you felt 'em. Pah! filthy devils! (_sits
exhausted_) Could I have a whiskey and soda?

PIL. You haven't mentioned the object of your visit.

CRAY. Man named Dorvaston hangs out here, don't he?

PIL. Captain Dorvaston is my guest at present.

CRAY. Thought so. Promised to look him up. We're goin' to price
a horse--a nailer--risin' thirteen--and well up to Dorvaston's
weight--which is sayin' somethin'.

PIL. Captain Dorvaston's physique is substantial.

CRAY. If he stood on your foot, I expect you'd ask him to move.

PIL. Probably!

CRAY. He's goin' to be somethin' to you by marriage, ain't he?

PIL. He is affianced to my niece.

CRAY. Hope he'll like it. (_takes cigar out of case_)

PIL. Why should he not, sir?

CRAY. I daresay you stick up for marriage--double blessedness and all
that kind of muck. (_biting end of cigar_)

PIL. I regard the married state as best calculated to confer the
greatest happiness that--er--the----

CRAY. Have you ever bin married? (_looking up at him_)

PIL. No.

CRAY. (_lights cigar_) I thought not. You beggars are always jawin'
about what you don't understand. You've never had D.T., but that
wouldn't stop you preaching about drink. You've never bin married, and
yet you get up in the pulpit and talk about Hell as if you knew the
country.

PIL. May I ask, Mr.--er----

CRAY. Crayll.

PIL. May I enquire, Mr. Crayll, if _you_ are married?

CRAY. (_blows out light and smiles_) Not at present.

                        (DORVASTON _comes out_.)

PIL. Ah! Here is Captain Dorvaston.

DOR. (_coming to_ PILLENGER C.) There's the paper you wanted, sir. It
took a bit of finding. Keziah cleaned my room out yesterday. (_gives it
to him_) Hulloa, Crayll! (_slaps him on back and crosses_ L.)

CRAY. Hulloa! (_rises_)

PIL. (_to_ DORVASTON) Now you have come, I will ask Mr. Crayll to
excuse me.

CRAY. Don't name it. (_crosses to_ L.) Dorvaston will see to me. I
daresay he knows where the whiskey's kept. (DORVASTON _laughs and goes
up a step or two with_ PILLENGER)

PIL. (_aside_) Surely a most offensive person. (_crosses up_)

DOR. He's all right, sir. He takes a bit of knowing. (PILLENGER _goes
into the house_)

CRAY. Now, for the Lord's sake get me a drop of whiskey to wash the
parson out of my mouth.

DOR. (C.) Whiskey it is! Take potash with it?

CRAY. A little potash. (_crosses_ R.)

DOR. Right-O! Have a look at "Sporting Life"?

CRAY. What d'ye fancy for the Leger?

DOR. Centipede! It's a dead snip. You should have a bit on it.

CRAY. No, thank ye. Don't like the name--it's too spidery. (DORVASTON
_goes up to kitchen window unseen by_ CRAYLL. CRAYLL _crosses behind
chair, gets "Sporting Life," comes round_ L. _of table, puts hat on
ground, stick behind him, and starts to read paper_)

DOR. Cook! Cook! (_at window_ COOK _appears_)

CAR. Yes?

DOR. Fact is, friend of mine has just turned up, and he's unusual
thirsty. Would you bring him out a whiskey and potash?

CAR. Certainly.

DOR. Very kind of you--extr'ordinary kind.

CAR. Not at all. (_she disappears from window._ DORVASTON _goes back
to_ CRAYLL)

DOR. Look here, I'll run up and put another coat on, and then we'll
start.

CRAY. How about the whiskey?

DOR. It'll be here directly. (_exits through French window_)

CRAY. Thank ye. (_he resumes the newspaper_; COOK _comes to table_ R.
_with small tray containing whiskey, etc.; she brings it down to small
table, and speaks before putting the tray down_)

CAR. Whiskey and potash!

CRAY. All right! (_he puts down cigar on tray and turns slowly, the
paper falls. They face each other in mutual astonishment_)

CRAY. Goodness a'mighty! (_slight pause_) Is that you? (_she is
silent_) Is that you? (_speaking louder_)

CAR. Yes--what then?

CRAY. Phew! (_wipes his forehead_) When I saw you standin' there,
dressed like that, I thought I'd got 'em again. Damned if I didn't.

CAR. Why?

CRAY. Why, who'd expect to see Lady Huntworth masqueradin' as a cook.

CAR. I'm not Lady Huntworth any longer. Surely Lord Huntworth is the
last person who should need the reminder.

CRAY. I'm not Lord Huntworth down here. My name's Crayll for the
present.

CAR. Really?

CRAY. I'm keepin' out of the way--for--reasons.

CAR. The local police don't strike me as being very shrewd.

CRAY. Police! What d'you mean? It's duns I'm hidin' from.

CAR. Duns!

CRAY. It's debt--it ain't crime.

CAR. Ah! not yet. Well, good-day, Mr. Crayll. I must go back to my
cooking. (_crosses up_)

CRAY. Here, hold on. Damn it, don't be in such a hurry. (_crosses down_
C.) I want to talk to you.

CAR. I have to baste the fowls.

CRAY. Curse the beastly fowls. I must see you alone for half-an-hour,
d'you hear?

CAR. I hear.

CRAY. It's infernal important. Will you meet me to-night?

CAR. No.

CRAY. Why not? What are you afraid of?

CAR. I'm not afraid of _you_. I think you know that.

CRAY. That long fool will be back in a minute. You'll see me somehow
to-night, because--you've damned well got to--d'you understand?

CAR. I haven't the smallest notion why you want to see me, but since
fate has played me a final dirty trick by throwing us together again,
perhaps we _had_ better understand each other. So you can come here
this evening for half-an-hour. I shall be alone. You had better tap at
the window.

CRAY. That'll do--I'll come.

CAR. What time shall I have the honor?

CRAY. I'll get here about nine.

CAR. (_smiling_) Nine! You must make it earlier than that. I expect I
shall be rather busy about nine.

CRAY. Eight-thirty then.

CAR. Yes, that would suit me. (_crosses to porch and then stops_)

CRAY. (_turns and sees she is in hesitation_) Is there anything else?

CAR. (_crosses down_ C. _to him_) As you seem to want to talk about
something important you might break through a rule for once--and turn
up in a possible condition.

CRAY. Not come drunk--is that what you mean?

CAR. No, I don't want to be unreasonable. At that time in the evening
you are certain to be drunk,--but try not to be _too_ drunk to be
coherent. I'll expect you at eight-thirty. (_she goes up stage, stands
at kitchen window; after she has gone_ CRAYLL _picks up cigar from tray
and draws at it, finding it out he throws it down violently and swears.
He then pours out whiskey and drinks._ DORVASTON _comes out dressed for
walking_)

DOR. Ready, old chap? (CRAYLL _half chokes_)

CRAY. In half-a-minute. (_drinks more whiskey_)

DOR. (_speaking across to_ COOK) Ah! Cook! friend and I are going for a
stroll.

CAR. It's a pleasant day for walking.

DOR. How is our mayonnaise coming on? (CRAYLL _looks up on hearing
this_)

CAR. Very well, I think.

DOR. That's all right! (_to_ CRAYLL, _who has been listening vacantly_)
Shall we get along?

CRAY. Yes. (DORVASTON _goes out at the gate_; CRAYLL _puts hat on,
takes stick, rises, crosses_ L. C., _and looks back. As he does so_,
COOK _turns and looks at him_) Goodness A'mighty. (_he then goes out at
gate_)

       (_After he has gone_ COOK _comes down to the rustic table
                      and takes up "Standard."_)

CAR. (_reads_) "Will Lady Huntworth communicate with Brampton and
Stokes, Capel-Court, on a matter of considerable importance?" (_she
stands in thought for a moment, then turns and goes up, reading the
paper as she goes_)

                                CURTAIN.



ACT II.

           SCENE.--_The Vicarage kitchen, according to plan._

                           TIME.--_Evening._

  (_As curtain rises_ COOK _takes salmon to larder_ R. U. E. _and
    returns to table down_ L. _with fruit salad_; GANDY _enters with
    butler's tray; crosses to_ R. _of table_; KEZIAH _enters and
    takes ham to larder and returns to dresser_.)


GAN. Sweets, Cook!

CAR. Quite ready! (_clearing tray of chicken dish and plates_) They
seem to have taken very kindly to the stuffed fowls.

GAN. Oh, horful! There's 'ardly a gizzard left for hus to make a supper
of. Dorvaston's the worst.

KEZ. (_at dresser_) Oh, and master too. (_takes plates_) I thought he'd
'ave bust 'imself--I did reelly. (_crosses to top of_ GANDY, _places
plates on butler's tray_)

GAN. They told me to look sharp. It's wonderful they don't want a rest.
(CAROLINE _holds up dish of fruit salad_; GANDY _takes dish in both
hands admiringly; then lets_ COOK _put it on tray_) So that's it, Cook?
It looks lovely.

CAR. Glad you like it.

GAN. (_takes up tray_) It ain't no good _me_ likin' it, I shan't get
none--they'll see to that. (_moves to_ R. KEZIAH _moves to follow him_)
Keziah, don't you come. You'll never wait at table--your mind can't
rise above 'anding bread when nobody wants it. (_she returns to top of
table; he carries tray to door_ R., _then pauses_) It _do_ look lovely.
Let's pray to 'eaven they don't eat it all. (_he goes out_; COOK
_crosses to larder with chicken and back round top down to_ L.)

KEZ. (_at top of table clearing_) Gandy's a bit narked to-night. (_rubs
knives with a piece of rag_) When there's a bit of anythink extra for
supper, 'e does grodge it to 'em, don't 'e? Now with me it's, as you
may say, different. If any trifle takes me fancy--such as a breast of
chicken--or what not--while it's bein' carved I simply turn me 'ead
away.

CAR. (L. _of table arranging plates_) Take these plates into the
scullery.

KEZ. Yus, Cook. Not as it always answers. (COOK _crosses to larder with
salad dish_) I wes 'anding that sauce stuff--I forgot what you call it,
Cook----

CAR. Mayonnaise. (_at larder; crosses back to_ L. _of table and begins
to put radishes in bowl into glass dish_)

KEZ. Yus, Cook, that was it--in a butter boat. Well, I was 'anding it
to old Madam as the Captain cut himself off--oh, such a slice of 'am--I
dote on 'am, I do, reelly. Well, I had to shet me eyes, and just then
Gandy hustled me with 'is elbow, and me wrist turned, as you may say,
sudden like, and I upset the myanneasy on to milady's gown. She did
talk to me a treat. (_takes fish plates to scullery_; GANDY _enters
hastily, stands_ C.)

GAN. Now then, Keziah, one claret glass short. That's your silly fault.
(KEZIAH _crosses to dresser, gets glass and hands it to_ GANDY R.;
_then returns to dresser for plates_)

CAR. Do they seem to fancy the fruit salad?

GAN. Fancy it! Dorvaston and the governor are both in their second
'elpings. It's 'ideous to see 'em--'ideaous!

KEZ. (_at dresser_) I shall be awful late with me washin' up. (_crosses
to window with plates_) I shall miss a good 'alf of it.

CAR. (_crosses to larder for cheese_) I'll wash the glass and silver
for you.

KEZ. (_crosses to top of table and takes chicken plates to scullery,
leaving four forks on table_) That's wonderful good of you, Cook; it is
reelly. D'you know I'm in two minds which 'at to wear.

CAR. Are you? (_crosses from larder to table_ R. _with cheese, places
it at top of table_)

KEZ. (_fingering top of chair_ L.) The straw's tasty; but the large 'at
with the flowers is more dressy like.

CAR. I wouldn't wear the large one with the flowers. (_returning to
larder for butter_)

KEZ. Wouldn't you now?

CAR. (_stops on her way to larder_ C.) It might have been made in the
Old Kent Road.

KEZ. Might it, now? Is that in London? (_sits_ L.)

CAR. Yes. (_crosses to_ R. _of table with butter, and stands at the
head_)

KEZ. At the shop where I bought it, they told me as it was copied from
a London pattern, so I dessay you're right, Cook. Well, I could wear
the straw, but--(GANDY _enters with tray_--KEZIAH _rises, crosses to
window ledge for cheese plates_)

GAN. (_speaking sadly_) Now then, cheese--cheese. (COOK _is at top of
table clearing butler's tray_)

CAR. I see they've finished the fruit salad.

GAN. Finished it! Of course they've finished it. It's 'eartbreakin'.
Put the dish away, and let me try to forget it.

KEZ. (_comes down to table_ L.) 'As the Governor still bin goin' it?
(_putting cheese plates on butler's tray_; COOK _places cheese and
butter on butler's tray_)

GAN. I should think 'e 'ad. Ah! and it will pay 'im out. This night's
work'll lie 'eavy on 'im. I know 'is constitooshon. Ready, Cook! A bit
of that cheddar all round ought to just settle 'em. (COOK _takes fruit
dish to larder_, KEZIAH _crosses to top of table, and puts radishes on
butler's tray_. GANDY _hurries out_.)

KEZ. As I was sayin', Cook, (_calls_) as I was sayin' I could wear the
straw, only I'm wishful to look me best, cos the young gentleman as I'm
walkin' out with at present'll be there.

CAR. Oh! (_crosses to_ R. _of table, takes cloth out of drawer, and
back to_ C.)

KEZ. We shan't be able to sit together, cos of old Madam--"I don't
allow no followers," she said when I come after the place--"I don't
allow no followers"--You know 'er sniffy way? (KEZIAH _takes plates to
scullery, leaving spoons on table_)

CAR. (_puts cloth on table, crosses to mantel and gets matches off
bracket_) What does your young gentleman do when he isn't following?

KEZ. Didn't I tell you? (_comes back to table_) 'E's at Bilkins, (_sits
on table_ R.) the pork butchers. You remember that pound of sausages
that came from me aunt at Cambridge? (COOK _nods_) That was 'im--'e
began with sausages--(COOK _lights gas over stove_ L.) next comes along
a photograph frame, last week _pig's feet_ and a _shell pin-cushion_.
'E's free 'anded, as you may say.

CAR. He must be. (_crosses to_ R.)

KEZ. Won't you be feelin' lonesome (COOK _lights gas_ R. _and leaves
match-box on dresser_) this evenin'? All of us out--and Gandy goin' to
see 'is mother. She lives two stations down the line and used to take
in washin'.

CAR. No, I don't fancy I shall feel lonesome.

KEZ. I'll (_jumps off table, comes round and sits on chair_ R. _and
gets book out of drawer_) lend you my girl's "Special Monthly Journal."
There's a most _interestin'_ tale in this number. It's in 'ere. There's
an _'url_ and 'e goes ridin' through a wood and 'e's all dressed up in
armour, you know--just like the dish covers. (COOK _crosses to window,
gets knife basket and comes down to top of table_) I say, Cook, when
you lived in London did _you_ ever see any 'urls?

CAR. One or two.

KEZ. And do they dress themselves up like that?

CAR. Not as a rule. (_cleaning spoons and putting them in basket_)

KEZ. My word, I wish I'd bin born a toff! They must find life come easy.

CAR. (_at top of table_) Not always. Trouble is like a postman--sooner
or later he knocks at _every_ door.

KEZ. Why, they can eat and drink just what they like.

CAR. No. After a time their doctors have a word to say.

KEZ. And they can wear just what suits 'em.

CAR. They wear whatever their dressmakers and tailors tell them to
wear--whether it suits them or not. It generally doesn't.

KEZ. Any'ow they don't 'ave to pay for their breakages.

CAR. In the long run they pay just as heavily for their breakages as
you do for yours. (_crosses and replaces basket on window ledge and
comes down_ L.)

KEZ. My word! Think of that now! (GANDY _enters and puts down tray on
table_; KEZIAH _jumps up and crosses to head of table_)

GAN. That's over. (_sits_) I'm fair sick of it. The governor is rushin'
on to 'is fate. (COOK _takes off the bread, cheese and glasses and
puts them on lower end of table_; KEZIAH _takes up cheese plates,
knives, butter and radish dish, leaving the syphon, decanter of whiskey
and one glass till the last_) Took radishes with 'is cheese. (KEZIAH
_looks horrified_) Keziah, I have brought out the Captain's whiskey and
syphon--I shan't be 'ere to-night, so you must take 'em up to 'is room
the last thing, d'ye 'ear?

KEZ. I 'ear. (_she takes whiskey, soda, and glass to window ledge_)

GAN. I've done most of the clearin' away. (COOK _takes cheese to
larder_)

CAR. (_to_ KEZIAH) Bring me the bowl, Keziah, and then you can put your
things on. (KEZIAH _crosses to table, takes butler's tray and places
it against wall above meat jack, then goes to scullery for bowl. To_
GANDY, _coming out of larder and crossing_ L.) Will you have your
supper now? (KEZIAH _brings hot water to top of table; then takes glass
radish dish and butter dish into larder_)

GAN. No, thank'ee. They've put me off it. I shall try to pick a bit by
and bye when I get to mother's.

CAR. (_to_ GANDY) Is your mother a good cook? (L. _of table_)

GAN. No, she ain't; far from it! 'Er jints are flabby, and 'er pie
crust is h'ashfelt.

KEZ. (_coming out of larder_) Is there anything more, Cook, as I can do?

CAR. No, thanks. (COOK _takes plates into scullery_)

KEZ. Good night, Gandy. (_crosses to door_ R.)

GAN. Not so much Gandy! _Mr._ Gandy would do you more credit, and might
lead to a cap ribbon at Christmas. (COOK _comes out of scullery, takes
large radish bowl and re-enters scullery_) It's 'ard on a respectable
man to mix with such riff-raff.

KEZ. Riff-raff your own self. Why, for two pins--I'd----

CAR. Keziah! (_at scullery door, crosses_ L. _again_)

KEZ. (_meekly_) Yus, Cook! (C.)

CAR. Go and dress.

KEZ. Yus, Cook; I'm sorry as I spoke hasty before you.

CAR. Very well, go along; you'll be late.

KEZ. Yus, Cook. (_she goes quietly to door_ R., _then turns and speaks
very respectfully_) Good-night, Mr. Gandy. (_she then goes out_)

GAN. (COOK _takes bread to larder top way and returns round top_ L.)
That's the worst of domestic service--one 'as to put up with the cheek
of h'underlings. It ain't a fit life for such as h'us--we're a good
many cuts above it. (_he rises_) Well, Cook, I shall 'ave to change my
coat, so if you will excuse me----

CAR. Certainly! (_washing glasses_)

GAN. But before I go to-night, I should like 'alf a word with you about
a little matter which 'as bin floatin' on the top of my mind for this
month past.

CAR. Won't it keep?

GAN. No, it won't--not if you was to put it in the refrigerator.

CAR. People change their minds sometimes.

GAN. I shan't change my mind.

CAR. Well, change your coat, or you'll miss your train. (_he moves
towards the door, as he does so_ LUCY _enters dressed for the evening,
but with cloak on_)

LUCY. Cook! I've come for my orchid. (_crosses to_ C.)

CAR. I'll fetch it. (_crosses to window_; LUCY _crosses to chair_ R.
_of table_)

LUCY. Gandy, I thought you were going to see your mother to-night.

GAN. So I h'am, miss--I am just h'off. (_goes out_ R.)

CAR. Here it is. (_crosses down_ R. _of_ LUCY)

LUCY. Thanks!

CAR. Shall I pin it in?

LUCY. Thanks! (COOK _arranges the flower_)

CAR. What time to-morrow do you take the plunge?

LUCY. Oh, quite early in the morning, before anybody is up. Mr. Thorsby
will fetch me.

CAR. I see.

LUCY. Why did you want to know?

CAR. So that I should think of you and wish you luck.

LUCY. I don't see what reason you have to wish me luck.

CAR. You're a nice child--and I was always fond of children.

  (DORVASTON _comes in--he is in evening dress with light overcoat
    and carries a small music-case--he doesn't see_ LUCY _at first_.)

DOR. I say, Cook, I--ah! (COOK _backs and he sees_ LUCY) I--hulloa,
Lucy!

LUCY. Well, Jack, what do _you_ want? (COOK _retires round top of table
down_ L. _and resumes her glass-washing_)

DOR. I--ah--I--wanted--to--er--(_seeing orchid_) Of course, I came to
fetch your orchid.

LUCY. You needn't have troubled. (_looks at_ COOK) I fetched it myself.

DOR. Didn't know, don't you know!

LUCY. Have you got my music?

DOR. Got it here. (_showing music-case_)

LUCY. That's right. Is Auntie ready?

DOR. Fancy she's waiting in the hall. (_crosses to_ R.)

LUCY. Oh! then I must go. (_crosses to_ R.) Good-night, Cook. Thanks
for taking care of the flower.

CAR. Not at all! Good-night!

LUCY. (_turning at door_) Are you coming, Jack?

DOR. In a second. Thought perhaps Cook would give me a light. (_takes
out cigar case_)

LUCY. Very well, we'll go on. You can catch us up. You needn't hurry.
(_she goes out door_ R.)

DOR. (_holding cigar_) May I?

CAR. There's a box of matches on the dresser. (DORVASTON _crosses to
dresser for matches, lights his cigar. She washes glass and silver_)

DOR. (_crosses to top of table_) This is a devilish snug kitchen. D'you
know, I'd much rather stop here--and watch you doing--whatever you are
doing--what _are_ you doing?

CAR. Washing up. (_washing glasses_)

DOR. Are you, by George? Washing up, now. How is that generally done?
(_at top of table_)

CAR. With water and a tea-cloth.

DOR. It must be an awful fag. When it comes to work, seems to me you
women beat us hollow.

CAR. You have your drill--and parade--and fighting, too, in these days.

DOR. Fighting ain't work--it's fun.

CAR. Each to his trade! I prefer cooking and washing up. (_they both
laugh_) Oughtn't you to go?

DOR. Yes, I'll get along. I say, you haven't forgotten--nine-thirty?

CAR. No, but I was hoping you had.

DOR. Upon my soul, what I want to say won't take ten minutes. Hulloa!
cigar's out. I'll just light up again, you don't mind? (_he goes to
dresser for matches._ PILLENGER _looks in at window_)

PIL. Cook!

CAR. Yes!

PIL. I just wished to say one word. (_he comes in at the back door_) I
wish (_closes door, takes off hat, and sees_ DORVASTON, _who has turned
at the moment_) Tut!--dear me!

DOR. Hulloa, sir!

PIL. I imagined you had accompanied my sister and Lucy. They have
started.

DOR. Came in here to fetch the orchid!

PIL. What orchid?

DOR. The orchid--and I hadn't a match--and Lucy had got it already,
don't you see--so Cook gave me one--and--that's how it was, don't you
know.

PIL. Cook gave you an orchid?

DOR. No, a light.

PIL. Then why allude to an orchid? However, it is quite immaterial.

CAR. You said you wished to speak to me, Mr. Pillenger!

PIL. (_coming a little to her_) I desired to express my approval--my
warm approval--of the excellent meal you gave us this evening; but I
fear I have not sufficient time to do justice to the theme.

DOR. (R.) By George, sir, you did justice to the fruit salad?

PIL. Very possibly, Captain Dorvaston, but I may remind you that your
own appreciation assumed a very practical form.

CAR. Won't you both be rather late? (_they both look at each other and
then go up to the door_)

PIL. (_turning at garden door_) I fear we shall. I may have to return
early--I am conscious of the approach of a headache.

DOR. Deuced odd thing! I feel a bit off colour--doubt if I shall manage
to see it through.

PIL. Tut, tut! you look singularly well! Merely fancy, I'm sure.
(_opens door_) Good-night, Cook!

CAR. Good-night! (PILLENGER _goes out at back door_)

DOR. (_following_) Good-night, Cook!

CAR. Good-night!

DOR. (_turning at door and speaking in whisper_) Nine-thirty! (COOK
_nods--he goes out. After a second_ MR. PILLENGER _puts his head in at
the window_)

PIL. Cook! you remember our appointment? Nine o'clock.

DOR. (_in the distance_) Are you coming, sir?

PIL. (_to_ DORVASTON) Yes--in one moment! (_to_ COOK) Nine! you quite
understand?

CAR. (_calmly_) Quite!

PIL. Thank you. I thought I would just recall it to your memory. I'm
coming, Captain Dorvaston! (_he goes_; COOK _continues her work_; GANDY
_enters_ R., _is crossing to door, stops, comes to top of table_ R.;
_he has changed his dress and carries a small hand-bag; he puts this
down and his hat, and hastily consults silver watch_)

GAN. Cook, I'm a leetle pressed for time--but I find I've just got
three minutes and a 'alf to waste.

CAR. Well, what is it? (_washing glasses_ L.)

GAN. I'll come straight to the pint. I've saved money--I'm sick of
service, and I want to settle down. I know of a eatin' 'ouse to be
'ad--good situation--terms moderate--part cash down--remainder in
monthly instalments. Will you marry me and take over the kitchen
department?

CAR. No.

GAN. (COOK _crosses to oven and kneels and opens it_) Don't be 'asty
now. We should crush all local competition. Think it over careful.
(_looks at his watch again_) I can give you a minute and a 'alf. I'm a
staid respectable man, and I want a staid respectable wife.

CAR. (_kneeling at oven_ L., _looks over her shoulder_) And do I strike
you in that light?

GAN. You do.

CAR. That is a very unexpected compliment. (_rises, places cake on
table_ L.)

GAN. (_comes down to chair_ R.) Yes, Cook; since I met you I've come
to see there's things in life as I didn't suspect. (COOK _stops
work_) You've showed me the superiority of braized beef over biled
beef--you've rewealed the difference between 'aricot and 'ash--before
you came apple fritters was to me a mere flash in the frying pan.
(_suddenly stopping and looking at his watch_) Now I wouldn't 'urry
you, but time's on the move. 'Ow's it to be?

CAR. It's to be no!

GAN. Oh!

CAR. I wish the eating-house every success, but I don't intend to marry.

GAN. But couldn't you----?

CAR. No, I couldn't. Don't miss your train.

GAN. Well, (_takes up bag and hat_) it's a disappointment, but if you
say it's to be like that----

CAR. It's to be like that. (_she resumes her work_) Good-night.

GAN. (_goes slowly up stage, pauses, turns--is about to speak, thinks
better of it_) Good-night. (_he goes out at back door._ COOK _takes
cake to larder, and then crosses back to window, brings glass tray
down to top of table and puts glasses on it_. KEZIAH _rushes in after
a slight pause, hastily dressed for walking, with large hat trimmed
lavishly with flowers_)

KEZ. Ready at last, Cook! I'm always a cow's tail, ain't I? Thought I
should never get into this dress. Miss Fletcher sent it 'ome so tight,
I can't 'ardly bear myself, and no 'ook and eye at the neck, if you
please. (_crosses to_ COOK) Lend us a pin, there's a dear! (COOK _gives
her one, and stands watching her_) Thanks! (_crosses to looking-glass
on wall_, R. U. E., _and fastens her collar with pin_.) I'll talk to
me lady when I pay 'er. (_turning sees_ COOK _looking at her_) You're
looking at the 'at? Yus, I 'ad to wear the big one, the straw didn't go
with this dress, (_comes_ C.) It made me look almost common like. Well,
I must step it. (_goes up_)

CAR. You've forgotten your gloves.

KEZ. Got 'em in my pocket--can't put 'em on yet--me hands is too 'ot.
Am I all right at the back? This skirt seems to kick up. (_turns her
back to_ COOK, _and kicks her foot up at the same time at back, looking
over shoulder_)

CAR. Not more than it does in front.

KEZ. That's a blessing. (_opens door_) 'Arry war! (_she goes, leaving
back door open._ COOK _takes glass tray to window, crosses and shuts
door_ R.; _crosses and takes bowl to scullery, pours out water and
wipes her hands, gets plate basket (chimes strike three-quarters) comes
down_ L., _puts spoons in basket, crosses to_ R. _and exit. There is
a slight pause, then_ CRAYLL _looks in at window, he taps twice, then
whistles softly--there is another slight pause, then_ COOK _comes back
and crosses_ C.)

CRAY. (_at window_) Oh! there you are! Anybody about?

CAR. No. Come in, the door is open. (_crosses to_ L., _he enters_)

CRAY. Well, I've got here. (_he stands leaning against the door_)

CAR. So I see.

CRAY. There's a beast of a dog somewhere on the premises, ain't there?

CAR. Yes, but he's chained up, and he's rather particular about his
food; you needn't be nervous. (CRAYLL _slams door and crosses_ C.)

CRAY. (_looking round kitchen_) And these are your quarters, are they?
You've brought your pigs to a nice market. (_she is silent_) Well?

CAR. Well?

CRAY. Why don't you speak?

CAR. I was waiting for you to begin.

CRAY. Don't you feel the damned degradation of your position?

CAR. No. You seem to forget I was your wife for nearly ten years.

CRAY. Ah! Have you any whiskey?

CAR. No!

CRAY. (_seeing decanter on slab in window_) Why, what's this?

CAR. That belongs to Captain Dorvaston.

CRAY. That's all right. (_crosses to window_) He knows me. He won't
mind. (COOK _sits_ L. CRAY _stands at window with whiskey, syphon, and
glass in hand_) A cook! That's what beats me. Why a cook?

CAR. It was an experiment.

CRAY. If you were broke (_comes to top of table and pours out whiskey_)
why didn't you try the stage? The divorce would have given you a leg up.

CAR. How did you find me out?

CRAY. Accident! (_takes a drink and crosses_ C.) I came down here
because I thought your pal the Duchess might give me the straight tip
as to your whereabouts. My spottin' you was a bit of luck.

CAR. You must be very hard up?

CRAY. Oh! it's bin a rotten season! Nothin's paid me. Had some big
stable information for Doncaster week--that didn't pay me, couldn't
even win place money. Tried the Stock Exchange; damned if that paid
me--jumped in at the top of the market, crawled out at the bottom.
(_crosses to chair_) Then there was the trial----

CAR. Ah! I suppose the law expenses were heavy?

CRAY. Oh, devilish!

CAR. Bribing the servants must have been rather a serious item!

CRAY. What d'ye mean?

CAR. That was a most elaborate story my maid Thompson told the
jury--Thompson was not very intelligent. It must have involved a great
deal of careful rehearsal.

CRAY. We needn't go into all that. (_puts glass on table_)

CAR. You are astonished to find me here. What did you think I should do?

CRAY. Thought you were with Carruthers.

CAR. No, you didn't. (_he looks at her, tries to brave it out, but
his eyes fall_) You had been dangling your title before the eyes of a
certain rich widow, but I see by the papers (_he pours out whiskey_)
she has slipped through those shaking fingers of yours and is going to
marry another man.

CRAY. (_taking up glass nervously and drinking_) Yes; women are damned
shifty.

CAR. Your notion didn't come off, but that was why you trumped up your
case against me, knowing it was all a lie.

CRAY. You didn't deny it?

CAR. No.

CRAY. Neither did he?

CAR. No. Bob is a good fellow--and a good friend. He helped me.

CRAY. Helped you to cheat the law!

CAR. Helped me to cheat the law that ties a woman to such a man as you.

CRAY. That was the game, was it?

CAR. Why did you want to find me out? By the way, (_crosses to window
and brings down "Standard" to top of table_), has that anything to do
with it?

CRAY. How do you mean?

CAR. (_watching him closely_) To-day's "Standard." There's a little
advertisement in the agony column.

CRAY. I--can't see--light's bad. Read it out!

CAR. (_crosses to gas_ L., _takes paper and reads_) "Will Lady
Huntworth communicate with Messrs. Brampton and Stokes, Capel-Court, on
a matter of considerable importance?" (_crosses to_ L. _of table and
throws paper down_) Did you know of that?

CRAY. No. Who are Brampton and Stokes? Never heard of 'em.

CAR. (_leaning over table with one hand on it for support_) Then why
have you been hunting me up? I hadn't a shilling--you saw to that.

CRAY. (_after slight pause, makes to touch her hand_) I wanted you
to--come--back.

CAR. What?

CRAY. I'm willin'--to bury the past. (COOK _looks at him_) Well, I tell
you, I want to bury the past.

CAR. (_pause, she puts hand on chair_) Before we talk of burying the
past, I should like you to look down into the still open grave----

CRAY. (_shudders_) Filthy way of talkin'!

CAR. (_sits_ L.) When I married you I was thirty--quite old enough to
know better! but I'd spent my youth in nursing my father. When he died
I inherited a fortune--and my freedom--without much notion what to do
with either. That was a bad year for me. I lost my father and I found
you. (CRAYLL _scowls at her_) I don't know what crime I had committed
that fate should sentence me to ten years' penal servitude. But my
father had wished it and so did your mother. You had been a little
wild, they said, but all you needed was gentle guidance. I believed
them, but my gentle guidance that was to work miracles generally
took the shape of helping you up to bed in the small hours, when the
difficulty of adjusting the latchkey had been overcome.

CRAY. Look here, it 'pears to me you're trying to be 'fensive.

CAR. That was my life for ten years. The dregs of your fortune and the
whole of mine gradually melted away--in cards--(_he pours out drink_)
racing, drink--and a few extra establishments.

CRAY. You never grumbled about th' extra 'stablishments.

CAR. (_rises in disgust_) Oh, no! I only mention them now--to fill
up the picture of our home life. With regard to your gambling and
drunkenness I was sorry for myself, but in the matter of your
infidelities I was sorry for the other women.

CRAY. Your language's 'fensive--damned 'fensive!

CAR. At the finish we had a pleasant little chat; you hadn't a sixpence
left--or a friend either--except Bob Carruthers. He had lent you more
than he could afford and he was sick of it. You tried to get me to ask
him again. I wouldn't. It was on that occasion you reached up and tried
to strike me. (_touches him on shoulder_) Do you remember?

CRAY. Momentary irritation--regretted it d'rectly!

CAR. (_returns paper to window_) We parted that night. The place was
sold up, and I didn't hear of you again till you commenced proceedings
for our divorce. (_he moves chair and faces her_) Then I went to Bob.
He offered to see me through--engage counsel and all that. It would
have been easy to smash your case, (_crosses and stands over him_) but
that would have left me tied to you; so I asked him if he would join me
in making no defence. He pointed out what society would think of me. I
said I knew enough of society to care nothing for its bad opinion. He
did as I wished, so you got your decree nisi and the sympathy of the
public. (_crosses to top of table again_)

CRAY. All this is beastly 'fensive. (_leans limply over back of chair_)

CAR. My only problem was how to live. I couldn't teach or make dresses
or typewrite. There was only one thing I could do properly--I could
cook. It was always a fad of mine. I used often to prepare little
dishes for my father--in the old days--and while I was trying to see
my way, I met Millicent Sturton. I told her everything, and asked her
to help me. She had influence with these good people--so I resumed my
own name and became the vicar's cook. (_pause_; COOK _has gradually
crossed_ L. _again_. CRAYLL _moves chair back to table and drinks_) Now
you understand everything! I'll say good-bye. I'm likely to be rather
busy this evening.

CRAY. Don't say goo'bye. I wan' you to come back. My 'ntentions are
disin'ersted. Won't you come back?

CAR. (_stands with hands behind her back_) Not while there's a crossing
to be swept--or a box of matches to be sold.

CRAY. (_rising unsteadily--leaning over table_) S'pose I was to--give
th' show away--d'you think they'd keep a woman like you--a woman who
was n'torious?

CAR. No!

CRAY. Very well, then I can squash you. Word from me'd sweep you into
the gutter--an' if you don' come back--I'll do it. I'll show you what
comes of r'fusin' disin'ested offer. (_she laughs and shrugs her
shoulders_) Don' laugh at me, you fool! I'll do it! I'll drag you off
your damned high horse, I'll--I'll--(_raises his arm to strike her_)

CAR. No, you won't! (_pauses; his arm slowly falls and he sways about
limply_) you're too anxious to keep your own identity secret just now
to say anything about mine. Isn't that so--Mr. Crayll?

CRAY. (_swaying about_) Tha's true, tha's true! Le's be frien's--shall
we? Don' le's be touchy. If you'll come back, I'll do the right
thing--marry you again--marry you anywhere you like--St. Paul's
Cathedral, if you like. Come back and be a comfort to ailin' man.
(_sinks into chair_) Le's have 'nother honeymoon. Shall we? Le's kiss
an' be friends; but first le's have a little more whiskey. (_taking
whiskey_) Shall we?

CAR. (_removing the tumbler, etc._) No, we won't have any more
whiskey--in fact, I think we had better go now. (_she takes whiskey
syphon and glass to window, and looks out_)

CRAY. (_who is now maudlin_) Not friendly! No r'sumption of former
'fectionate footin', same time--no desire to remain--where not wanted.
(_puts cap on_) Where's cigar case? Want cigar--smoke going home. (_he
very sleepily takes out letter case from his outside pocket_) Oh, here
'tish! (_as he holds it, he begins to doze, his arm falls its full
length, and a letter falls out of case--his head falls right back, and
he breathes heavily. He falls gradually into a deep sleep. She watches
him quietly, then comes round to the right of him_)

CAR. (_pause_) Wake up! (_shakes him_) You mustn't sleep here.

CRAY. (_muttering_) Want cigar!

CAR. Want a cigar? But this is your letter case. (_she takes it from
him, and puts it into his outside pocket_ R. _She then sees the
fallen letter_) And you've dropped something. (_she picks it up--he
snores_) Looks like a writ. (_she glances at it_) Messrs. Brampton and
Stokes (_she pauses and looks at him_) Ah! my first idea was right
(_crosses to gas with letter round to fireplace and reads it under
the gas_) "Messrs. Brampton and Stokes present their compliments to
Lord Huntworth, and would be greatly obliged if he could place them in
communication with the lady who was till very recently his wife. The
reason for the application is urgent, as information has been received
from an Australian firm of solicitors that Lady Huntworth has succeeded
to a considerable fortune through the death of an uncle. (_she again
turns and looks at him_) Messrs. Brampton and Stokes would greatly
appreciate an early reply. Capel Court. May 9th." More than two months
ago! Ah! (_slight pause, crosses to top of table, and leans over it_)
Lord Huntworth, you will do me the favour to wake up. (_he snores_) I
thought I had said everything I had to say, but I find I was wrong.
(_she stops and listens, then puts letter hurriedly inside her dress_)
What's that? Did I hear the gate go? (_crosses to window, then crosses
to_ CRAYLL _and shakes him and pulls him up_) Wake up--you mustn't be
found here. (_she pulls him up_)

CRAY. Wha's matter?

CAR. I must put you somewhere; you wouldn't be easy to explain away.
(_she half-supports, half-carries him up and into scullery; when there
she allows him to droop into a sitting position against the sink;
she then shuts the scullery door_) Quite like old times! (_looks out
of window--brings work-box down, goes up to door and listens._ MR.
PILLENGER _enters_)

PIL. Hum! Cook! (_at door_)

CAR. Yes?

PIL. May I come in?

CAR. Certainly! (_crosses to chair_ R. _and sits, takes out pudding
cloth and starts to hem it_)

                 (MR. PILLENGER _enters at back door_.)

PIL. I--er--explained to Miss Pillenger that I thought it advisable to
return home early--as I was feeling somewhat indisposed.

CAR. (_looks up at him_) Then you would like to go to bed? I'll let
Miss Pillenger in. (_looks at door_ L.)

PIL. That is not necessary, I gave her my latchkey. I fear I must admit
my illness has no--er--tangible existence.

CAR. Oh!

PIL. I trust I am not interrupting any--er--domestic occupation?

CAR. I have to hem some pudding cloths, but I can listen while I work.
What do you want to say to me? (_she begins sewing_; PILLENGER _crosses
to top of table, puts hat down; as he crosses_ COOK _looks at door_ L.)

PIL. I--er--find some difficulty in approaching the subject. It is one
with which I have been hitherto--quite unfamiliar.

CAR. Perhaps if you sat down it might be easier.

PIL. Er--thank you. (_crosses to fire and stands with back to it_) The
suggestion is very considerate. (_he makes several efforts to begin,
but baulks himself_) During the few months you have been with us--you
must have noticed that you had roused--in me--a strong feeling--(_she
looks up at him_) of--er--of interest?

CAR. I saw it--I didn't notice it.

PIL. Exactly! (_moves to back of chair_ L.) You would
not--care--perhaps, to give me a somewhat larger measure of
your--er--confidence--touching the--er--the past.

CAR. (_stops work for a moment_) No; I think we'll leave the past alone.

PIL. I may possibly persuade you to be less reticent--when I have
submitted my--er--my proposal to you.

CAR. Proposal? (_resumes work_)

PIL. Yes. After such reasonable hesitation as should precede the taking
of any important step, I have decided to offer you an alternative to
your present life, the nature of which you may have already guessed.

CAR. (_smiling back_) I suppose _you_ are the alternative?

PIL. (_moves to top of table near her_) Precisely. I ask you to
be--er--to be my wife.

CAR. (_smiles_) Thanks! (_stops work_)

PIL. I am no longer young, but my health is good, with the exception
of a little periodic gout. My temper, if not invariably equable, is
what a long succession of curates has made it; and as to worldly
considerations, without being a rich man, my position is an independent
one.

CAR. It ought to be.

PIL. I beg your pardon?

CAR. You say you don't speak without consideration. Have you considered
what your sister would say?

PIL. (_moves round to_ L.) It is a point to which I have devoted
very exhaustive attention. At first she might not welcome the idea
with--er--absolute enthusiasm. (_sits_ L.)

CAR. No, she might not. Have you also considered what the world would
say?

PIL. The world?

CAR. It's rather a tolerant world where a man is concerned, but it
holds special views about clergymen, and it wouldn't stand the notion
of a vicar marrying his cook.

PIL. The social disparity between us is far more apparent than real.
Your present vocation must be the outcome of caprice--or temporary
necessity.

CAR. Take it at that. (_puts work in box_) What do you know of me? I
may be an adventuress--in fact, most of the evidence points that way.
At any rate I have no intention of marrying. (_smiles_) I have said the
same thing once before this evening in reply to a similar proposition
from Gandy. (_rises and crosses back of her chair and leans on chair_)

PIL. Gandy? Did he dare?

CAR. He did. (_smiling_) This seems to be rather a susceptible
household. (_crosses to window and looks out_)

PIL. (_rising_) You haven't given me a conclusive answer?

CAR. (_hearing footsteps_) Haven't I? I thought I had.

PIL. (_crosses to_ C.) You may require a little time for final
reflection.

CAR. I think not. (_looking out of window_)

PIL. Nevertheless, if you will spare me your attention.

CAR. One moment! I thought I heard a step on the path. (_she looks out
of window_) Yes, it's Captain Dorvaston.

PIL. (_crosses to door and looks out, returns and takes hat from
table_) You don't say so? That is highly inconvenient. What had I
better do?

CAR. I think you had better go to bed.

PIL. An opportunity like the present is so difficult to obtain. He will
merely pass through to his room. I'll wait in the scullery. (_makes for
it_)

CAR. (_puts hand on door_) The scullery is rather in confusion. (_goes
back to window and looks out_)

PIL. Then the larder is probably available. (_goes towards it_)

CAR. I really wouldn't wait if I were you.

PIL. (_speaking from entrance to larder_) I do so on my own initiative.
There are several arguments I wish to----

CAR. (_at window_) He's coming.

PIL. Oh! (_hastily goes in and closes larder door_)

           (DORVASTON _simultaneously enters at garden door_)

DOR. Well, Cook, I've got back. May I come in?

CAR. If you like. (_drops down_ L. DORVASTON _enters and locks door
after him_) You needn't have locked the door.

DOR. Don't you keep it locked?

CAR. I do generally--it doesn't matter. (_sits_ L.)

DOR. The governor was seedy and left early.

CAR. Yes, he came back.

DOR. Gone to bed, I s'pose? (_she is silent and has resumed her work_)
I tried to think of something a bit more novel, but I couldn't, so I
had to tell the old lady I wasn't feeling fit myself.

CAR. Why did you trouble?

DOR. (_crosses to top of table and puts hat down_) Oh, well, don't you
know, I wanted to say something to you.

CAR. Yes. (_stops work_)

DOR. I'm a bad hand at getting my notions into words. P'raps if you go
on doing--whatever you're doing--I may manage to make a start. (_she
resumes work_) That ought to look exceptional pretty when it's finished.

CAR. Do you think so?

DOR. Yes! What--is it?

CAR. A pudding cloth.

DOR. Jove! You don't say so? (_laughs_) I say, you mustn't think me an
awful ass!

CAR. It doesn't matter what I think.

DOR. It matters to me.

CAR. It oughtn't to matter. (_pause--he takes up the weekly journal_)

DOR. Been doing a bit of reading? (_sits on table_ R. _corner_)

CAR. No. That belongs to Keziah.

DOR. This sounds promising. (_reads_) "The belted Earl entered the
lists with lance in rest. His shield bore for device a bar sinister
with Fleur de Lys rampant." That ain't heraldry!

CAR. Yes, it is, (_looking up_) "Family Heraldry." (_he laughs_) I
don't want to hurry you, but it's getting late.

DOR. (_rises_) Well, I--I hope you haven't misunderstood my--object
in--bothering you?

CAR. I should like to think I had.

DOR. I don't follow.

CAR. Members of your profession don't generally make an appointment
with cook in order to assure her of their respect.

DOR. Some of us may be a bit rackety, but we know a lady when we see
one, and we shouldn't treat her any different because she chose to
pretend to be a cook.

CAR. Pretend?

DOR. (_crosses_ C. _and gets gradually to chair_ R. _of table_) Why,
any duffer could see--_I_ can see you were never meant to be what
you are. These things generally come about through loss of coin--for
instance, a woman's father speculates, and the home goes biff. He shuts
up in his stride, and she takes up the running. Now what that woman
wants is a friend to give her the lead over the fences--a friend who
don't want anything from her--will you keep your eye on that?--who
don't want anything from her, but who would like awfully to do her a
turn, if she'd let him. I think that goes into the four corners of what
I wanted to say. (_sits_)

CAR. (_rising_) Do you know you're a wonderfully good fellow?

DOR. Oh, rot! Well, may I be--a little use to somebody for once?

CAR. I won't borrow money of you, if you meant that.

DOR. False pride!

CAR. No, that isn't it.

DOR. It's a devilish odd thing that every good woman is a bit of a
coward, and she's always afraid of what people will say, especially if
it isn't true.

CAR. That description fits me less than any woman in the world.

DOR. You won't let me be of use to you, because I happen to be a man,
and you happen to be a woman--ain't that so? (_rises_) I see how it is.
I've made an ass of myself. You won't have my help or my friendship.

CAR. (_rises_) I don't need the help, but I'll take the friendship.

DOR. Thanks!

CAR. (_shuts work-box_) What I thought about you was wrong. I beg your
pardon.

DOR. Oh, that's all right!

CAR. (_leans on box_) Now, will you do me a little favour?

DOR. Anything! (_leans over table_)

CAR. Will you go to bed? (_he backs with surprise_) They mustn't come
back and find you here.

DOR. Of course not, I'll go at once; and if at any time you should want
a pal, you'll let me----

CAR. Hush! (_crosses to door and opens it_) I fancy I heard the key
in the front door. (_she listens_) Yes, it is them. Miss Pillenger is
saying she wants to speak to me.

DOR. (_takes up hat_) By George! I'd better nip into the scullery.
(_crosses to scullery_)

CAR. No!

DOR. The larder? (_crosses to it_)

CAR. No. Go into the garden.

DOR. Of course! Stupid of me! (_he tries the door_)

CAR. Make haste.

DOR. Can't get the beastly door open. Something's wrong with the key.

CAR. You'll be too late! (_advances towards him_)

DOR. Here! (_opens door_) What's this? Ah, the broom cupboard, any port
in a storm! (_goes in_; COOK _shuts door and stands there for a moment_)

                       (MISS PILLENGER _enters_.)

MISS P. Cook, I remembered I hadn't ordered to-morrow's breakfast.
(_crosses and sits_ R. _of table_)

CAR. No. What would you like? (_crosses to top of table_)

MISS P. (_sitting_ R. _of table_) Has Keziah returned?

CAR. Not yet.

MISS P. Both my brother and Captain Dorvaston were too unwell to remain
with us. They have doubtless gone to bed, so I will ask you to go
upstairs very quietly.

CAR. Certainly! I think I hear Keziah. (_she goes to back-door_)

MISS P. She is very late. (_pause_) Why don't you open the door?

CAR. The key sticks a little.

MISS P. It should be oiled. (COOK _opens the door and admits_ KEZIAH,
_who doesn't see_ MISS PILLENGER)

KEZ. Oh, Cook, I did enjoy myself a treat! 'E was there--and when I
come out---- (_comes_ C. _and sees_ MISS PILLENGER) Oh lor!

MISS P. Keziah!

KEZ. Yes, mum.

MISS P. Why are you so late?

KEZ. I dunno, mum.

MISS P. Who is the person you spoke of when you came in?

KEZ. What person, mum?

MISS P. You said distinctly _he_ was there.

KEZ. Oh, that was me sister's 'usband's brother, mum. (_winks at_ COOK)
'E's a plumber, and Church of England.

MISS P. You are aware I don't allow followers?

KEZ. 'E don't follow _me_, mum. I did give 'im good evenin', bein', as
you may say, relations, and 'e told me as my sister 'as just 'ad 'er
_seventh_, and both doin' well, and----

MISS P. That will do. I hope you are telling the truth.

KEZ. Oh yes, mum, it's gorspel, it is reely!

MISS P. Mind you go upstairs quietly; your master is unwell.

KEZ. Yes, mum. (_goes to door again, winks at_ COOK) Good night, mum.

MISS P. Good night! (KEZIAH _goes out_) I'm afraid, Cook, you must have
had a rather dull evening.

CAR. No, I haven't been dull. (_puts box on window-ledge and returns_)
You were going to speak about the breakfast.

MISS P. Yes. Let me see, we shall have fish. (_noise in cupboard_) What
was that? I heard a noise in that cupboard.

CAR. It may have been a mouse.

MISS P. I didn't know we had any mice. You had better set a trap
to-morrow.

CAR. You mentioned fish? Will you have it grilled?

MISS P. No, fried with egg and breadcrumbs. (_noise in cupboard is
repeated more loudly_) That can't be a mouse. The cat must have got
shut up in there.

CAR. The cat is in the scullery.

MISS P. Then it must be a strange cat. (_rises and crosses to_ R. C.)

CAR. (_going to cupboard, her hand on knob_) Strange cats sometimes fly
at you. If you'll go, I'll see to it. I'm not nervous.

MISS P. (_advances to cupboard_) Neither am I. I prefer to see for
myself. (_waves_ COOK _back_) How this door sticks. (_she pulls at
the handle of the door, which at last opens, discovering_ DORVASTON)
Captain Dorvaston! (_he comes out sheepishly; pause_) May I ask
you to explain this? (DORVASTON _looks first at_ MISS P. _then at_
COOK--_takes his hat off_)

DOR. Well, ma'am, it ain't exactly easy to make the thing clear.

MISS P. I see. (_speaking at_ COOK) The explanation is only too
obvious. My niece has gone to her room, so I shall not disturb her
to-night, but to-morrow it will be my painful duty to tell her
everything. (_moves a step to the door_)

DOR. I say, ma'am, just a moment.

MISS P. (_moves toward_ COOK _and stops_) As to you, Cook, I will--or,
rather, Mr. Pillenger--will speak to you in the morning.

CAR. (_smiling_) Very well! (_at top of table._ MISS PILLENGER _moves
to go_--DORVASTON _intercepts her_)

DOR. Look here, ma'am--upon my soul you must listen. I wanted to say
something to Cook. It was nothing--anybody might have heard it.

MISS P. Then why conceal yourself in the broom cupboard?

DOR. I know the broom cupboard ain't easy to get out of. I could
explain better, only I feel in such an awful hat----

MISS P. You are not wearing your hat!

DOR. No, but--really, you know, I simply wanted--

CAR. Captain Dorvaston, don't trouble; whatever you may say Miss
Pillenger won't believe you.

MISS P. That is true. There are things that cannot be explained away.
The broom cupboard is one of them. (_going_)

DOR. But I say, ma'am! (_moves again_)

MISS P. (_motions him away_) Good-night, Captain Dorvaston. (_he opens
door, she goes out._ DORVASTON _and_ COOK _look at each other, she
smiles_)

DOR. (_after pause_) I've made a nice mess of it.

CAR. You have rather. (_closes cupboard door, returns_ L.)

DOR. If nature allowed a fella to kick himself, I'd do it with the
greatest pleasure. (_comes to_ R. _and puts hat down on table_) To drag
you into such a beastly muddle! And I did so want to do you a turn.

CAR. I know you did. You meant kindly, and I'm very grateful. Go to bed
and forget all about it.

DOR. There'll be an awful row to-morrow. I'm not thinking of myself,
I'm thinking about you.

CAR. You needn't worry about me. Oddly enough, I've had news to-night
that makes this affair very unimportant. Now I must really ask you to
go.

DOR. All right, I'll be off. But, I say--you do forgive me?

CAR. Of course I forgive you.

DOR. Thanks. Good-night!

CAR. Good-night! (_he goes to door_ R., _then returns to table for his
hat. As he does so_ PILLENGER _cautiously emerges from the larder. The
two men face each other_)

PIL. Hum! Tut, tut! (COOK _turns and sits_ L.)

DOR. Hulloa, sir! Were you in there?

PIL. Yes--I--er--was.

DOR. What, all the time?

PIL. I had an important reason for desiring a few minutes' conversation
with--er--Cook.

CAR. Mr. Pillenger shared your wish that I should better myself.

DOR. That's devilish lucky, because, as you were a witness, you can
clean the slate for us, and back up what I say.

PIL. You fail to perceive that my perfectly innocent sojourn in the
larder would be as difficult of plausible explanation as your own
regrettable occupancy of the broom cupboard.

DOR. Jove, yes, that's true! What had we better do?

CAR. The first step--especially as you are both invalids (_the men look
at each other_) is for you to go to bed.

PIL. The suggestion is most judicious. (_they both start for the door_;
PILLENGER _stops Dorvaston_) I think, Captain Dorvaston, I will precede
you by a few minutes. The stairs have a tendency to creak, and would
certainly do so under our combined weight. Good-night.

DOR. Good-night, sir.

PIL. (_is going but pauses_) With your permission I will remove my
boots. (_he does so_) It would not be fair to disturb the household.
Good-night! (_he goes out with a boot in each hand, and his hat under
his arm_)

DOR. (_crosses and sits_ R.) By George! then the governor was there all
the time.

CAR. Yes, I was well provided with chaperonage. (_turns to mantel and
puts gas out, takes candlestick from bracket and crosses to window_)

DOR. It don't get you out of the mess, that's the worst of it.

CAR. (_shutting the window and then crossing to larder_) You needn't
mind me.

DOR. I'm bound to mind you. Are you sure there's nothing I could do to
help you--in any sort of way?

CAR. No. (_shuts door; her eye goes to scullery_) Well, there is one
thing you could do for me--if you really mean what you say.

DOR. I swear I do! (_rises_)

CAR. (_crosses_ C.) What I should want you to do would be rather a
nuisance. Are you sure you wouldn't mind?

DOR. Try me.

CAR. Well, there's a man in the scullery.

DOR. Another man!

CAR. Yes. I fancy you'll find he is asleep against the sink.

DOR. Is he, by George?

CAR. Might I trouble you to fetch him out? (_crosses to dresser and
lights candle_)

DOR. Eh? What? Oh, certainly! (_he goes to scullery, opens door and
discovers_ CRAYLL _asleep in a sitting position_; DORVASTON _picks
him up, places him in a chair_ R. _of table_) There you are! (COOK
_crosses with candle, and light falls on_ CRAYLL'S _face_) Why, it's
Crayll! (_looks at_ COOK)

CAR. Yes.

DOR. He's as drunk as a fiddler.

CAR. Yes. He called on me this evening, rather to my inconvenience.

DOR. Did he?

CAR. Might I ask you--to put him somewhere for me? (DORVASTON _looks at
her wonderingly_) There's a dry ditch--at the end of the garden--that
would do.

DOR. Anything you wish, of course.

CAR. Thanks! (_turns_ B. _gas out_)

DOR. Then you know Crayll?

CAR. Yes. (_turning to_ DORVASTON) He was my husband at one time.
(_turns out gas_)

DOR. (_in an amazed whisper_) What!

CAR. Good-night! (_she goes out quietly at door_ R.)

  _The stage is now dark except the moonlight which streams in at
    door._ DORVASTON _stands transfixed with astonishment--then he
    puts on his hat--goes up and opens the back door--returns--picks
    up_ CRAYLL _and carries him up stage. As he does so the_

                             CURTAIN FALLS.



ACT III.

          SCENE.--_The Vicarage Library (according to plan)._

                      TIME.--_Early next morning._

  (_When the Act opens the stage is dark, but the morning sun
    shines in through the chinks of the shutters_; LUCY _enters
    in white biking costume; she steals downstairs, puts jacket
    on chair_ R., _crosses to_ O.P. _windows, opens shutters, and
    draws curtains--crosses to back and does the same; then waves
    handkerchief to_ THORSBY, _and runs up stairs again; stands
    looking off, to see no one has heard; after a moment_ THORSBY
    _enters; steals to balustrade and kisses_ LUCY'S _hand, which is
    on the balustrade_.)


THOR. Darling!

LUCY. Hush!

THOR. Mustn't I?--on our wedding day?

LUCY. No!

THOR. Oh!

LUCY. At least--whatever you wish to convey to me must be done in dumb
show.

THOR. I see. (_he kisses her_)

LUCY. Mind my hat. (_looks off_) When we have been married a few years
you'll realize that my hats must be treated very respectfully.

THOR. I suppose the household is still in bed?

LUCY. Yes. (_crosses to settle and sits on_ R. _end_) I crept
downstairs feeling like a burglar. I had one awful moment--I stumbled
over Auntie's shoes--they were outside her door.

THOR. My dearest--that was rather careless. (_leans on post_)

LUCY. Careless! Auntie's shoes aren't easy to avoid in a narrow
passage. It was all right. Uncle and Aunty were still asleep--I could
hear them----

THOR. And Captain Dorvaston?

LUCY. Oh! I expect Jack was asleep, too, not dreaming the hour of his
emancipation was at hand. Poor old Jack! I wish he was coming with us.

THOR. Hum! Do you?

LUCY. I wish he could have given me away.

THOR. I--hardly share that feeling.

LUCY. You don't know him; he'd have done it in a minute if I'd asked
him. I'd have told him all about it, only he's such a clumsy old
duffer; he might have given me away in a different sense.

THOR. You seem to place great reliance on his affection for you.

LUCY. He has tons of affection for me--tons--but not love--at least,
not the business article you and I deal in. (THORSBY _goes to embrace
her, she waves him off_) By the way, Harry, (_she is putting on her
gloves_) there are one or two points we have never properly settled.

THOR. What are they?

LUCY. I mean to be a clinking parson's wife.

THOR. Darling! (_moves to her, she waves him off as before_)

LUCY. Hold on! I mean to be a clinking parson's wife, but I have my
limitations. Church on Sunday--how many times?

THOR. (_hesitatingly_) Three?

LUCY. Oh, no! Mornings generally, evenings sometimes, afternoons never.

THOR. Never?

LUCY. Never! (THORSBY _moves to_ C.; LUCY _rises and follows_) Now
you're shocked--your face has grown a couple of inches longer. Well,
if I'm not orthodox enough for you it's off, and I'll go back to bed
again. (_moves to go_)

THOR. Lucy dear, (_catches her arm_) in answer to what you said, I
shall merely exact one promise.

LUCY. Which is?

THOR. That in all things--and in all seasons--you will do--or not
do--whatever you please. Do you promise?

LUCY. (_after slight pause. She puts left hand on shoulder_) Harry, I
do promise; it shall be exactly as you say. Indeed, indeed, I'll keep
my word. Now then, fasten my glove, and we'll go and get it over. (_he
proceeds to fasten her glove, as_ CAROLINE _enters, carrying a small
tray with coffee, bread and butter, etc.; she also carries a large shoe
under her arm_)

CAR. (_at top of stairs_) I beg your pardon. (LUCY _and_ THORSBY _are
much startled_. THORSBY _moves away towards table_ R.C.)

LUCY. Cook!

THOR. Dear me!

CAR. I hope I didn't startle you?

LUCY. Oh, no!

THOR. Not at all!

CAR. (_comes down, and stands at bottom of stairs_) I thought you might
like a cup of coffee (_smiling_) to help you face the ordeal.

LUCY. Was that why you wanted to know last night what time I meant to
start?

CAR. No. I told you I wanted to think of you, and wish you luck. The
coffee was an afterthought.

LUCY. I see.

CAR. Won't you both sit down and have it comfortably?

LUCY. Is it safe to wait? (_crosses up_ C. _and looks off--anxiously_)

CAR. Quite.

LUCY. Keziah?

CAR. Keziah is not awake--I wrapped the alarum in a blanket. (LUCY
_crosses to top_; THORSBY _to_ R.; COOK _crosses to top of chair and
puts tray on table and shoe on chair_ L.; LUCY _and_ THORSBY _then sit_)

LUCY. It has probably dawned on you, Harry, that Cook is a good friend
of ours?

THOR. It has, indeed! (_he rises, bows--sits again_)

CAR. Cook was once young herself--it was some years ago--but she
hasn't forgotten the circumstances. (_to_ LUCY) Milk and sugar?

LUCY. Thanks. (_she holds cup to her_)

CAR. Mr. Thorsby?

THOR. If you please--two lumps. (_she hands cup to him_)

CAR. Bread and butter? (_they both take some_) It isn't up to
much--yesterday's loaf--but it was the best I could do. And how do you
both feel? Nervous?

LUCY. Beastly nervous! (_eating_)

THOR. (_eating_) The moment is naturally a solemn one. I feel anxious,
but not nervous. (_takes up cup and drinks_)

LUCY. Oh, it's all right for you; you've tied up such a lot of poor
misguided people, that you know the words backwards. It's different
with me--I know I shall bungle it.

CAR. There are only three words that really signify.

LUCY. Which three?

CAR. Love, honor, and obey.

LUCY. I think I can manage the first two, but I mean to slur the third,
(THORSBY _drops cup in saucer_) cough, or sneeze or something.

THOR. (_to_ CAROLINE, _smiling_) That sounds rather an alarming
prospect. Don't you pity me?

CAR. (_glancing at_ LUCY, _and also smiling_) No, I don't think I do.
(_crosses_ C.) How do you go to Church?

LUCY. (_rising_) We are going to bike there. By-the-bye, would you tell
somebody--Auntie or Jack--anybody will do--that I've run over to see my
friend, Jenny Thornton, and they're not to wait breakfast?

THOR. (_rising_) My dear Lucy, ought we to involve a third person in
our deception?

CAR. The third person hasn't a very tender conscience in such matters.
(_to_ LUCY) I'll tell your little fib for you with pleasure.

LUCY. (_leans over chair, sees shoe_) There, Harry, I knew she would.
Thank you, Cook. (_taking up the shoe which_ COOK _has placed on a
chair_) What's this?

CAR. (C.) I wanted to throw a shoe after you, and that was the only one
I could find. It's one of your Aunt's--she put it outside her door to
be cleaned.

THOR. Dear me! It looks rather formidable.

CAR. It _is_ large! We'll hope that the luck it brings will be
proportionate. Now, I should say it was time for you to go.

THOR. (_going up to window_) Yes, I don't think we ought to delay.

LUCY. (_puts shoe down again, crosses up to window, and down to below
table_ C.) All right, come along. Stop a second though. I say, Harry,
have you got everything?

THOR. (_returns from_ R.) Got everything? (COOK _crosses to back of
table, and puts things on tray_)

LUCY. Everybody's fee. I should like to do the thing well.

THOR. Yes.

LUCY. How about the ring?

THOR. Eh? Oh, yes, I--(_searching his pockets_) I bought it yesterday.
(_still searching_)

LUCY. Very likely, but have you got it with you to-day?

THOR. I certainly think so. I have a distinct recollection of putting
it in my waistcoat pocket. (_still searching_)

LUCY. You've lost it. (_to_ COOK) There's a pretty mess!

THOR. Ah! here it is. (COOK _crosses to_ C.) There is a hole in the
pocket, and it had slipped down into the lining.

LUCY. (_to_ COOK) Thank goodness! That would have been a nice thing,
wouldn't it?

CAR. (_to_ LUCY) Will you wear this? It's only syringa, but it looks
like orange blossom. (LUCY _and_ THORSBY _exchange glances_) I picked
it for you this morning.

LUCY. (_fixing it_) You _have_ been kind to me, and I've no means of
thanking you. Will you stoop down and let me kiss you? (COOK _does so_)
I'm afraid that's all I can do.

CAR. I'm quite repaid. I fancy Mr. Thorsby agrees with me. (LUCY
_crosses up to window_)

THOR. (_goes up_ R. _a little; takes_ LUCY'S _coat with him_) Good-bye!
May I add my thanks also?

CAR. Not at all. Good-bye.

LUCY. (_crosses down again to_ COOK) It isn't good-bye--we're coming
back as soon as it's over; and we mean to tell everything to everybody.
So we shall see you again.

CAR. One never knows what may happen. I think we'll make it good-bye.
(_puts hand on_ LUCY'S _shoulder_) Now, go along and get married, and
live happy ever after, as they do in the fairy tales. (THORSBY _goes
out of the window_; LUCY _follows, but turns and kisses her hand. They
go_)

  (COOK _follows them to the verandah, and throws shoe as she returns
    for tray_. DORVASTON _enters from_ O. P. _door_.)

DOR. Hulloa! Good-morning!

CAR. (_at top of table_) Good morning. Rather a close shave.

DOR. I beg your pardon?

CAR. Nothing! (_is taking up tray_)

DOR. (_at top of table_ R. _of_ COOK) Look here, don't go. I want to
have half a word with you.

CAR. Well?

DOR. I--saw to that little job.

CAR. Yes?

DOR. I--put him in the ditch.

CAR. Thanks. Did he say anything?

DOR. (_top of table_) He muttered something about another whiskey, and
that he would like to be called about nine. Now would you mind telling
me a little about it all? Give you my word it ain't mere curiosity,
it's interest in you and everything that concerns you.

CAR. (_at back of chair_ L.) I told you the chief thing last night. Mr.
Crayll was my husband at one time.

DOR. You say he was your husband.

CAR. Yes. We are divorced.

DOR. Oh, that was it! (_pause_) I haven't known your--er--I haven't
known Crayll more than a day or two, but I can see he's an awful little
swine. I suppose he treated you anyhow?

CAR. Yes. Is there anything else you would like me to tell you?

DOR. It's extraordinary good of you to give me your confidence.

CAR. You've earned it. (_takes tray, and turns_)

DOR. (_crosses behind her, to her_ L.) Well then, I say, what are you
going to do now?

CAR. See to the breakfast.

DOR. No, no! I mean about--Miss Pillenger--and--the broom cupboard.
There'll be an infernal row, and I'm afraid you'll get beans.

CAR. (_smiles_) I'm used to handling all kinds of vegetables.
(DORVASTON _laughs too_) As I told you last night, it doesn't matter.

DOR. (_sits_ L. _of table_) But, by George, it _does_ matter! When I
asked you then to let me be of use to you, I put it to you as a favor,
now I ask it as a right. I got you into this mess, simply through my
beastly clumsiness, and you've got to let me see you through it somehow.

CAR. (_back of table_) News has reached me, in rather a roundabout way,
that I have come into some money; so you see I'm independent--of Miss
Pillenger--and the broom cupboard.

DOR. Really?

CAR. Really!

DOR. You're not--pulling my leg?

CAR. (_smiling_) No!

DOR. Then I'm devilish glad for your sake, and devilish sorry for my
own. I thought at last I saw my way--to doing you a turn.

CAR. (_places her hand on chair at back of_ DORVASTON) My life hasn't
been a very pleasant one, but in one respect I've been lucky, I have
known two men who honestly tried to befriend a woman.

DOR. Who was the other chap?

CAR. His name is Carruthers.

DOR. Not old Bob? (_rises and backs_ C.)

CAR. (_affirmatively_) Old Bob.

DOR. Why, he's a dear pal of mine!

CAR. Is he?

DOR. And did he try to be a pal to _you_?

CAR. I was thinking of his kindness to Lady Huntworth.

DOR. Ah, how about Lady Huntworth? Did you know her?

CAR. Yes! (_smiling_) We are rather intimate--like myself she was
unfortunate in her choice of a husband.

DOR. Huntworth brought the divorce, didn't he?

CAR. Yes. Thinking he saw his way to marrying another woman, with
another fortune, he brought his suit against his wife and your friend.

DOR. Damn him! Pardon! couldn't help it. (_crosses and kneels on chair_
L. _of table_)

CAR. The whole thing was utterly untrue and I know she asked Bob to
join her in making no defence rather than remain Lady Huntworth.

DOR. The only thing that rather fogs me is, when the verdict was once
given, why didn't Bob marry her?

CAR. He did suggest it.

DOR. Well?

CAR. She said no.

DOR. Why did she do that?

CAR. She knew he didn't care for _her_, nor she for _him_--at least not
in that way.

DOR. (_rises, crosses_ C.) Still, it was game of her to refuse! There
ain't many women placed as she was who'd have done it. (_goes up and
leans on balustrade, thinking_)

CAR. Perhaps not. (_pause--takes up tray and crosses_ C.; _as she
moves_ C. DORVASTON _turns and places hand on tray_) I must go now.

DOR. No, wait one minute. I'm going on duty directly. My duty is to
make Lucy a happy little woman and I mean to do it. But you seem to
be going down rather a lonely road and I want you to remember that
somewhere or other there is an old duffer lumbering about the world who
will never forget you--will you remember?

CAR. I shall remember. (_pulls tray away_) Now I really can't stay any
longer. (_crosses to first step_)

DOR. (_holding out his hand_) I say! (_she turns--places tray on
balustrade_) Will you?

CAR. Of course! Why not? (_they shake hands_)

DOR. Supposing I'd been a free man, do you think you--could----

CAR. Oh! (_draws hand away and takes up tray, moves to second step_)
That opens out a very large question. I haven't time to answer that.

DOR. (_touches her on shoulder, she turns_) I wonder if we shall ever
come across each other in the future?

CAR. (_looking at him_) More unlikely things have happened. (_mounts
third step, turns to him_) Good-bye! (_exit_)

  (DORVASTON _sinks into big chair lost in thought, takes out
    cigarette case_. GANDY _enters, door_ R., _and is crossing the
    stage_.)

DOR. Good morning! (GANDY _crosses from_ O.P. _to steps_)

GAN. Mornin'. (C.)

DOR. Got a match about you?

GAN. No. (_crosses to mantel_) There should be a box 'ere. (_goes to
mantel_) There is! (_he brings them to_ DORVASTON)

DOR. (_taking them, rises_) Thanks! I suppose the papers haven't come
yet?

GAN. They 'aven't.

DOR. You seem a trifle down. Not quite your own bright self, are you?
(_lights cigarette_)

GAN. I ain't!

DOR. You went to see your mother, didn't you?

GAN. Yes.

DOR. Hope you found her feeling fit?

GAN. She's fit enough! It's me.

DOR. What's the matter? (_hands back matches_)

GAN. Weal cutlet for supper--that's wot's the matter! (DORVASTON
_crosses up back to window_. GANDY _puts matches on mantelpiece_) I've
always done my dooty by mother, so I picked a bit, and then I went
to bed and dreamt I was superintendin' my own funeral. Weal cutlet!
(_crosses up steps_) Mother gets above herself.

DOR. (_at window_) Have you tried a drop of brandy?

GAN. I 'ave. (_first step_)

DOR. I should try another.

GAN. (_second step_) I mean to. (DORVASTON _strolls out through the
window and off_ R. MISS PILLENGER _enters_ L., GANDY _giving way_)

MISS P. Gandy, can you tell me what has happened to my shoes?

GAN. No.

MISS P. I put them outside my door last night, but this morning I find
one of them still uncleaned and the other has disappeared. You haven't
seen it, I suppose?

GAN. I 'aven't.

MISS P. Very singular! (_crosses to window up back._ GANDY _goes up
stairs_) Have you seen Miss Lucy? She is not in her room!

GAN. No.

  (MR. PILLENGER _enters_ L. GANDY _gives way. He has cut his cheek
    while shaving and is wearing a piece of black sticking plaster._)

PIL. Good morning!

MISS P. Good morning, Audley.

PIL. (_to_ GANDY) Has the post come?

GAN. No, it ain't. (_he goes off_ L.)

MISS P. You appear to have had an accident.

PIL. Accident!

MISS P. In completing your toilette.

PIL. Eh? Hum--yes. The razor slipped. My nervous system is slightly
disorganized.

MISS P. The result of last night.

PIL. (_startled_) Last night? I--er--fail to understand you.

MISS P. I was referring to your indisposition.

PIL. Oh!--Ah!--exactly. (_crosses to window_)

MISS P. Are you going out?

PIL. I thought the fresh morning air might be beneficial.

MISS P. I must ask you to remain. I have a most painful subject to
talk over with you. (_sits_ R.)

PIL. Need we deal with it now? Painful subjects should never be
discussed on an empty--before breakfast.

MISS P. It does not admit of delay. We may have to face a serious
scandal.

PIL. (_crosses to chair_ L.) Scandal! I trust, Hannah, you are weighing
your words very carefully.

MISS P. I am not in the habit of speaking heedlessly. What I have to
tell you refers to Cook--(DORVASTON _appears at the window--he has_
MISS PILLENGER'S _shoe in his hand_)--and to Captain Dorvaston.

                     (DORVASTON _enters smoking_.)

PIL. Ah! here--is--er--Captain Dorvaston. (_he crosses to_ L. _and
indicates to_ DORVASTON _that_ MISS PILLENGER _is in the room_.
DORVASTON _throws cigarette away and comes to top of chair_ R. C.)

DOR. Good morning, sir. Good morning, ma'am! (MISS PILLENGER _bows
frigidly_. DORVASTON _crosses to chair_)

PIL. Hannah was just--er--mentioning, as you entered, that--you----

DOR. (_quietly beating the back of chair with shoe_) Yes, I fancied I
caught my name. What were you saying, ma'am?

MISS P. I was saying, Captain Dorvaston---- (_she notices the shoe_)
What are you doing with that shoe?

DOR. Just picked it up.

MISS P. Why did you touch it? Your doing so seems to me to be strangely
wanting in delicacy.

DOR. Don't see anything indelicate in picking up an old shoe. I found
it on the garden path.

MISS P. My shoe on the garden path!

DOR. Yours! I thought it was Gandy's.

MISS P. If you thought to keep me a prisoner in my room by the removal
of my shoe, the expedient was abortive. I have several other pairs.

DOR. Don't know what the deuce you're driving at, ma'am. Sorry I
disturbed the thing. Shall I put it back?

MISS P. I will thank you to restore it to me. (DORVASTON _hands shoe,
and_ MISS PILLENGER _crosses, and puts it on cabinet_ R.) Thank you!
(_she returns and sits_ L. _of table_) Now, with your permission, I
will resume what I was saying to Mr. Pillenger when you came in. (_the
men exchange glances_) I warned you last night I should consider it my
duty to acquaint Lucy with the details of--my--very painful discovery
(DORVASTON _starts to go off at window_; PILLENGER _follows his
example upstairs_) but I find she has gone out for a walk--at least
so I imagine. Well--Audley--Audley (MISS PILLENGER _calls_ PILLENGER
_back, and he calls_ DORVASTON _back_; PILLENGER _sits on settle, and_
DORVASTON _leans on balustrade_) Well, Audley, the painful discovery I
allude to was this. After returning home last night I had occasion to
visit the kitchen in order to speak to Cook for a moment. While doing
so, I heard a mysterious noise. I investigated its origin, and found
Captain Dorvaston concealed in the broom cupboard. He was unable to
give me any lucid explanation. I now leave the matter in your hands.
(_slight pause_)

DOR. I don't know whether it's much good me saying anything--is it, sir?

PIL. (_rises_) I think otherwise. (DORVASTON _surprised_) I shall be
very happy to hear anything you care to tell me. Appearances are often
misleading.

MISS P. But, Audley, surely----

PIL. Hannah, the matter has now been submitted to my judgment. I shall
not approach it in a spirit of carping doubt. If our dear friend can
give us his personal assurance that the whole thing was--a--little joke
for instance----

MISS P. A little joke!

PIL. If he could tell us that in concealing himself in the--er--broom
cupboard, he had an idea of jumping out suddenly and startling somebody
by saying "Boo"--not you particularly--but Cook, or Keziah, or
myself----

MISS P. You? What should you be doing in the kitchen?

PIL. No--that is so; but still, though I deprecate practical joking
as a rule, I should consider the explanation as not being without a
certain measure of antecedent plausibility.

MISS P. You appear to be putting words into Captain Dorvaston's mouth.

PIL. No, pardon me, I merely say that such a line of defence would
carry conviction to an unbiased mind. The army is proverbially a
light-hearted profession.

DOR. Well, sir, I'm afraid I can't exactly say that.

MISS P. There!

PIL. In any case, Hannah, our friend Dorvaston is Lucy's
responsibility. (_leans on mantel_)

MISS P. At all events, Cook is _yours_!

PIL. Eh? Hum--yes----

MISS P. You will of course ring the bell and discharge her.

PIL. I--really think we should endeavour to avoid any----

MISS P. (_rises_) Her continued presence in the house would be an
insult to _me_.

PIL. (_loudly_) To avoid any appearance of temper--do you hear me,
Hannah?--of temper.

DOR. (_coming to_ MISS PILLENGER) Upon my soul, ma'am, Cook hadn't
anything to do with it. I was there against her wish.

PIL. (_crossing to_ C.) Surely that is a most convincing testimony.

DOR. I know last night things didn't look quite square, but whatever
fault there _was_, was my fault.

PIL. Precisely! No doubt! (_the men look at each other_)

DOR. I was chatting to Cook--it was a stoopid thing to do--but there
was no harm in it.

PIL. None whatever, I feel sure.

DOR. In fact, the governor knows there wasn't!

MISS P. How should my brother know?

PIL. Hum!--tut--tut!

DOR. How! Why, because he was in the lar---- (_pause_, MISS PILLENGER
_stares, both men stare at each other with their mouths open_)

PIL. (_eagerly_) I was sure to take a broad-minded view. Doubtless that
is our friend's meaning.

DOR. Yes, that is what I meant. It got late, and I heard you coming,
ma'am, and I knew you're a bit strict, don't you know!

PIL. Quite so!

DOR. And as I was supposed to be seedy, I thought you'd take my being
there the wrong way, don't you see? So I--nipped into the broom
cupboard, don't you understand? (_crosses up back_)

PIL. (_crosses to top of table_) To a moderately impartial intelligence
the whole thing is as clear as day, and really reflects discredit on no
one.

MISS P. Is it your intention to say nothing to Cook on the subject?

PIL. I think we should give her to understand that careful
investigation has tended to modify our original misconception of the
true facts of the case.

MISS P. (_rising_) Then, Audley, I have this to say---- (_crosses to_
R.)

                          (GANDY _enters_ L.)

GAN. (_at top of steps_) I've just found a gent in the dry ditch at the
end of the garden.

PIL. (_pause_) A gent in the ditch! (DORVASTON _crosses to balustrade_)
What gent?--er--gentleman?

GAN. 'E was asleep and I shook 'im--'e grunted, and I shook 'im again.
'E says his name's Crayll, and 'e'd like to see you.

PIL. Crayll! (_to_ DORVASTON) That is the person who called on you
yesterday?

DOR. Yes, I know him.

PIL. He wished to see _me_? (_to_ GANDY)

GAN. 'E said so.

PIL. Show him in. (GANDY _goes out_. DORVASTON _crosses_ L.) Surely a
most singular circumstance! Why did he go to sleep in my ditch? (MISS
PILLENGER _crosses up to top of window_)

DOR. I suppose, as he's an acquaintance of mine, he thought you
wouldn't object.

PIL. He must be very eccentric. (_crosses to_ R. _corner_)

DOR. Yes, he's a rum sort of chap! (GANDY _enters, followed by_ CRAYLL,
_who looks rather dilapidated_)

GAN. Mr. Crayll! (_at top of steps--he goes out_--CRAYLL _is at top of
steps_)

CRAY. Good mornin'! (_at top of steps_)

PIL. Good morning!

CRAY. (_to_ DORVASTON) How are you? (_crosses down and puts hat on
settle_)

DOR. How are you?

CRAY. Think I'll sit down. (_crosses_ R.) Feel rather shaky. (_he sits_
L. _of table_; DORVASTON _is standing with his back to the fireplace_)

PIL. By all means. (_indicating_ MISS PILLENGER) My sister!

CRAY. Oh! (_he nods carelessly_)

PIL. But, my dear sir, (_sits_ R.) I understand you passed the
night--or some portion of it--in er--the ditch?

CRAY. 'Pears I did.

PIL. But--how did you get there?

CRAY. How the devil should I know?

PIL. Tut, tut!

CRAY. I must have bin sprung last night, that's about the size of it.
I seem to recollect somebody pickin' me up, and then chuckin' me down
again, like a sack of coals. (_to_ PILLENGER) It wasn't you, was it?

PIL. Certainly not! But you seem to be shivering. May I offer you
anything?

MISS P. (_from back of table--coming down a little_) A hot cup of tea?

CRAY. Tea be damned!

PIL. Tut! (MISS PILLENGER _is shocked, and goes up_)

CRAY. No, I should like a hair of the dog that bit me.

PIL. (_rises excitedly and leans over table_) Bitten by a dog! Good
Heavens! My dear sir, the place should be cauterised at once--no time
should be lost!

CRAY. Oh, don't be such an ass! I mean whiskey. (_looking closely at_
PILLENGER) What's that on your face? What is it? What's that filthy
black thing crawling over your face?

PIL. I--er--you probably----

CRAY. What is it? (_loudly--rises excitedly_) Why the devil don't you
tell me what it is?

PIL. A slight accident in shaving. My razor is somewhat out of
condition--merely sticking plaster.

CRAY. Oh! (_subsiding_) Thought it was a spider. (_pause_) I want to
talk to you.

PIL. Yes. (_sits_)

CRAY. Want to say a word or two about your Cook. (DORVASTON _makes a
slight movement_; MISS PILLENGER _crosses down to chair_)

PIL. Indeed!

CRAY. I s'pose you didn't know much about her when you took her. Did
you?

MISS P. No.

PIL. Hannah, permit me! In answer to your inquiry, I may say we
obtained the highest testimonials from the Duchess of Sturton.

CRAY. Oh yes, that's all right--they're pals. (_all start_) Did she
tell you your Cook was married.

MISS P. Married?

PIL. Hannah! Hannah! No, sir, she did not.

CRAY. Well she _is_. Did she say she was a well-known society woman,
who wasn't living with her husband?

MISS P. Good gracious!

PIL. Her Grace did not mention the fact--if it _is_ a fact.

CRAY. It _is_--you may lay your shirt on it. That ain't quite the sort
of party you want in your kitchen, is it? Now I happen to know the
husband'd be willin' to overlook the past--and take her back again----

PIL. Er--really?

CRAY. He's a good-natured beggar, and he don't bear malice. He put it
to her, but she's an obstinate devil--she didn't listen to reason. Now
it struck me that as you're a magpie----

PIL. Tut!

MISS P. A magpie?

CRAY. Beg pardon--I mean as you're a parson, with your eye on the
marriage service--"Those who Heaven joined" and all that kind of
thing--you might see your way to chuckin' her out, neck and crop,
without a character--D'you see?--and so bring her to a sense of dooty.

MISS P. Really, Audley, there is something to be said for this
gentleman's suggestion.

PIL. Whatever course it may ultimately be desirable for me to adopt, I
shall require more definite information than I at present possess as to
the intentions and--er--general identity--of the alleged husband.

CRAY. You can have it. I'm her husband.

PIL. You! (MISS PILLENGER _also conveys surprise_)

CRAY. Yes, you ask her; she'll admit she's been married all right.

MISS P. I'll ring for her at once. (_makes movement, rises and crosses
to_ L.)

CRAY. (_hastily_) Hold hard! Stop that, old woman! (MISS PILLENGER
_pauses_) I don't want to see her--there wouldn't be any good in
that--the meeting would be painful all round. (_rising_) No! you do
what I say--tell her to pack up her traps and go--and then my arms
will be open to her. (MISS PILLENGER _returns and sits_) Good mornin'!
(_crosses_ C.)

            (CRAYLL _goes_ L., DORVASTON _intercepts him_.)

DOR. You're not leaving us?

CRAY. Yes, I am!

DOR. I think not!

CRAY. What d'you mean? I suppose I can go when I like? (_moves forward_)

DOR. You will go when I like; and before you do, you've got to face
the lady you've just been trying to injure. Sit down there (_pointing
to settle_) and don't move, or I shall hurt you! (CRAYLL _hesitates_)
Sit down! (CRAYLL _sits sulkily_) Now I'm going to ring the bell, and
Mr. Pillenger will send for Mrs. Crayll; but if you try to get away, I
shall probably hurt you rather badly. Do you follow me?

CRAY. Yes.

DOR. That's all right. (_crosses and rings bell; to_ MR. PILLENGER)
Sorry to take the business out of your hands, sir, but we've got to see
it through, don't you know?

PIL. I think it would undoubtedly be desirable. (GANDY _enters_)
Will you ask Mrs.--er--I mean--er--kindly inform Cook we should like
to speak to her. (GANDY _goes out_, MISS PILLENGER _sits; long pause,
during which no one moves_) Er--wonderful how the--eh--fine weather
lasts! (_another pause_)

  (_Then_ CAROLINE _enters in outdoor costume; she is putting on her
    gloves. She comes down the steps and advances quietly to the
    table._)

CAR. You have something to say to me?

MISS P. Yes, we have.

CAR. That is fortunate, because I have something to say to you.

PIL. (MISS PILLENGER _makes to speak_) Hannah, you will greatly oblige
me by remaining silent. We wished, Cook----

CAR. (_near chair_ C.) Pardon me, Mr. Pillenger, I have no longer any
claim to that title--I beg to hand in my resignation.

PIL. You contemplate leaving us?

CAR. Yes. I've sent for a fly.

MISS P. Audley, since this lady objects to be referred to as Cook, I
think you should address her by her name--her real name.

CAR. (_glancing at_ MISS PILLENGER) I doubt if you know it.

MISS P. We are better informed than you imagine, Mrs. Crayll!

CAR. Oh, that's it!

PIL. (_rises_) My dear madam, pray believe the--er--somewhat startling
information came to us unsought. Our informant was that gentleman.
(_points to_ CRAYLL)

CAR. What gentleman?

DOR. (_to_ CRAYLL) You can stand up now. (CRAYLL _rises and crosses
down_ L. C., _and advances a step or two_. COOK _turns and sees him_)

CAR. I see! (_slight pause_) Well, what has he told you?

MISS P. This gentleman came here this morning to beg us----

CAR. To turn me out?

MISS P. Be that as it may, he is anxious to make an appeal to his, I
fear, misguided wife.

CAR. Is he indeed?

CRAY. I've been tellin' 'em I want you to come back--man can't say
more, can he?

CAR. What else did he tell you?

MISS P. He mentioned you were a well-known woman in society--and that
you had been living apart from your husband.

CAR. Quite so! Was that all he said?

PIL. I think that embraced the whole of Mr. Crayll's statement.
(_pause_)

CAR. Up to a certain point he told the truth. I did marry him some
years ago.

MISS P. You concealed the fact when you entered our service.

CAR. It wasn't a thing I felt inclined to boast of. As he was so
confidential, it seems odd he forgot to tell you we were recently
divorced.

PIL. Divorced!

MISS P. Divorced!

CAR. There is one other thing--I think it is only fair you should know
what a distinguished individual you have been entertaining in the
person of Mr. Crayll.

CRAY. Keep your infernal tongue between your teeth!

CAR. This gentleman----

CRAY. I shan't stay here to be baited--and badgered. (_going_)

DOR. (_advancing_) You'll stay where you are!

CAR. This gentleman is Lord Huntworth, I am--I was Lady Huntworth.
(_all convey astonishment_) Last night Lord Huntworth dropped in the
kitchen a letter. It was from a firm of solicitors.

CRAY. (_putting his hand to his breast pocket_) Damn!

CAR. Telling him I had inherited a large sum of money. Lord Huntworth
is rather hard up just now. There is nothing unusual in the
circumstance, but I mention it because it explains the reason of his
generous offer to condone the past. (_pause_) Here is your letter;
(_producing it_) you needn't trouble to answer it--I shall call on
Messrs. Brampton and Stokes in the course of the day. (CRAYLL _snatches
the letter_) I don't think we need detain you any longer, need we?
(CRAYLL _turns for hat_ L., _snarls at_ DORVASTON _and exits up steps_;
CAROLINE _watches him off_)

PIL. Is it actually the case that you are the Lady Huntworth?

CAR. (_turns to the_ PILLENGERS) Yes, I am the Lady Huntworth who is so
widely and so very unfavourably known. (_turns to_ DORVASTON) Would you
oblige me by ringing the bell, Captain Dorvaston?

DOR. Certainly? (_he does so_)

CAR. (_again speaking to the_ PILLENGERS) If I thought there was even
a chance that you could understand my doing what I have done I would
try to make it clear to you, but you couldn't--I should only waste your
time and my own. (GANDY _enters_) Gandy, has the fly come?

GAN. It 'as.

CAR. Thanks! Good-bye! (_she holds out her hand, he takes it
respectfully_) We've been good friends, haven't we?

GAN. We 'ave; servin' with you 'as bin a honour. (_exit_)

CAR. (_smiling and to the_ PILLENGERS) Mr. Pillenger--(_he rises_)
You have done everything in your power to render my little experiment
a pleasant one. I am grateful; and if your thoughts should ever turn
in my direction I hope you will let your mind dwell on the excellence
of my curried chicken, rather than on the supposed hopelessness of my
moral character. Good-bye.

PIL. (_bows sadly_) Good-bye! (_sits disconsolate_; COOK _nods to_ MR.
PILLENGER _pleasantly; then turns and gives a very stately bow to_ MISS
PILLENGER, _who stiffly returns it_; COOK _then goes_ L., _but pauses
as she mounts the steps and speaks to_ DORVASTON)

CAR. We have already taken leave of each other, but it has occurred to
me that perhaps you might care to let me hear from you. I am leaving
England for some time, but that address will find me. (_gives a card to
him_) Poste Restante, Brussels.

DOR. Poste Restante, Brussels.

CAR. Yes. Good-bye!

DOR. (_with a sigh_) Good-bye! (_sits down on settle; she goes out_)

  (_After she has gone_ DORVASTON _sits pensively on the settle;
    there is a pause; all three sit staring at nothing; then_ GANDY
    _enters with newspapers at window; he goes to_ PILLENGER.)

GAN. (_crosses to_ R. _to_ PILLENGER) "Standard!" (PILLENGER _takes
it, but allows it to drop by his side_; GANDY _then crosses to_ MISS
PILLENGER) "Church Times!" (_he then crosses to_ DORVASTON _and hands
him the other paper_) "Sportin' Life!" (PILLENGER _and_ DORVASTON _pick
up papers and try to read_; MISS DORVASTON _reads_, GANDY _goes up two
steps, then turns_) 'Ow about dinner?

PIL. Eh?

DOR. What?

GAN. 'Ow about dinner?

PIL. Don't dare allude to it. (_rises and sits at exit_)

DOR. Get out of the room! (_rises and sits at exit_)

  (GANDY _goes out, the two men open their papers firmly and
    begin to read_; LUCY _enters at window followed nervously by_
    THORSBY--LUCY _dragging him into_ C.; LUCY _is_ L. C., THORSBY R.
    C.)

LUCY. Good-morning, everybody!

MISS P. Good morning!

PIL. (_not looking up_) Good morning!

DOR. (_doing the same_) Good morning!

LUCY. I've brought Mr. Thorsby with me.

MISS P. Good day, Mr. Thorsby! (_he bows_)

DOR. (_not looking round_) Ah, Thorsby! (THORSBY _bows_)

DOR. (_not looking round_) How are you, Thorsby? (THORSBY _bows once
more_)

LUCY. We've just been married.

  MISS P. } What? (_all rise and throw down papers_;
  PIL.    } DORVASTON _immediately takes Bradshaw off_
  DOR.    } _mantel and sits on settle looking out trains_)

LUCY. Uncle, it wasn't Harry's doing, so if you feel riled you
must pitch into me. I'm responsible. Harry hated the deception all
through--didn't you?

THOR. I----

LUCY. All right, don't interrupt. We started early, biked over to
Ingledene Church--did the trick--rode back, and we want everybody's
blessing, and a good breakfast.

PIL. As you are practically independent of my control I fear I have no
power to withhold the blessing. The good breakfast may be less easily
obtained.

LUCY. Why?

PIL. Cook has left us? (_crosses up to desk_ R., _kicking the papers
from his feet viciously as he goes_)

LUCY. Oh! I'm sorry! She got up early, and made us some coffee, (_takes
hat up_ R. C.)

DOR. Then she knew?

LUCY. Of course she did! I told her.

MISS P. She would naturally take a prominent part in any duplicity.
(_crossing to window_; THORSBY _goes up after her to make his peace_)

LUCY. That's all rot. She was a real good sort--a long way better than
most of us (_she goes to_ DORVASTON) Jack, old boy!

DOR. Yes, little woman? (_sitting_ L. _looking at Bradshaw_)

LUCY. You're the only one that matters. I cared for Harry--and you
didn't care for me--did you? Tell me you didn't, or I shall hate
myself. You'd have married me and tried to look pleasant, but it would
have taken you all your time. Now, Jack, I want to hear you take your
oath you don't mind.

DOR. (_rises_) Mind! (_rings bell, returns, and takes_ LUCY _by both
hands_) My dear child, you don't know what a turn you've done me by
throwing me over for a better man. Mind? (_crosses to_ THORSBY, _claps
him on the shoulder_) My dear Thorsby, I wish you all the luck you
could wish yourself--and you'll get it! A chap who could carry out a
thing of this kind in such an exceptional way has all the makings of a
future bishop. (GANDY _enters_) Pack my things at once; I must catch
the 11:15 to town. (GANDY _goes out_)

LUCY. Going to leave us?

DOR. (_crosses to_ LUCY) I must, little woman--but I won't forget
to send you a wedding present--silver mug--no, that's later! (LUCY
_crosses to_ THORSBY U. B. _To_ PILLENGER) Good-bye, sir. (PILLENGER
_rises, and they shake hands across the table, he then sits again_)
Keep your head up and your liver active.

PIL. Good-bye!

DOR. (_to_ MISS PILLENGER) Good-bye, ma'am. I mean to be quite
respectable by the time we meet again. (_they shake hands_)

MISS P. I hope so.

DOR. (_to_ THORSBY) Good-bye, young fellah! Give that little filly her
head, and she won't want the whip. (_crosses_ L. _of_ LUCY _and the
others_) Good-bye, little woman! (_kisses her_) God bless you! (_kisses
her--runs up steps_)

LUCY. Good-bye, dear old boy! (_leans over balustrade; he is going_)
You'll let us hear from you?

DOR. Yes! (_runs up steps_)

LUCY. Where will a letter find you?

DOR. (_hastily taking out card and looking at it. Turns to her_) Poste
Restante, Brussels! (_as he goes off the_

                             CURTAIN FALLS.



  TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES


  Silently corrected simple spelling, grammar, and typographical
  errors.

  Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.

  Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

  Enclosed distinctive font in ~tildes~.





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