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Title: A Little Bit of Fluff - A Farce in Three Acts
Author: Ellis, Walter W.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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of Iowa and Google.



A LITTLE
BIT OF FLUFF

A Farce in Three Acts

BY
WALTER W. ELLIS

COPYRIGHT 1922 BY SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD.

_All rights reserved_

LONDON                  |  NEW YORK
SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD.     |  SAMUEL FRENCH
PUBLISHERS              |  PUBLISHER
26 SOUTHAMPTON STREET   |  25 WEST 45TH STREET
STRAND, W.C.2           |



THIS PLAY IS FULLY PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A fee for each and every performance is payable in advance. Inquiries
in regard to performances by amateurs should be addressed to Samuel
French, Inc.

SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.
25 WEST 45th STREET
NEW YORK CITY

Made and Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner Ltd., Frome and
London



A LITTLE BIT OF FLUFF

CHARACTERS

JOHN AYERS (_pronounced_ "_Airs_").

BERTRAM TULLY      _His friend._

NIXON TRIPPETT     _Inspector of Claims for the Motor 'Bus Company._

DR. BIGLAND        _Also for the Motor 'Bus Company._

PAMELA             _Mrs. John Ayers._

MAMIE SCOTT        _From the Five Hundred Club._

AUNT HANNAH        _Mr. Tully's Aunt._

URSULA             _Mr. Tully's Maid._

CHALMERS           _Mrs. Ayers' Maid._



ACT I

SCENE.--_John Ayers' Flat in Bayswater, No. 13 St. Mark's Mansions._

_Two weeks elapse._



ACT II

SCENE.--_The same._



ACT III

SCENE.--_Mr. Tully's Flat--next door--No. 14 St. Mark's Mansions._



A LITTLE BIT OF FLUFF

Produced at The Criterion Theatre, London, October 27, 1915, with the
following cast of Characters:--

JOHN AYERS         Mr. George Desmond.

BERTRAM TULLY      Mr. Ernest Thesiger.

NIXON TRIPPETT     Mr. Stanley Lathbury.

DR. BIGLAND        Mr. Alfred Drayton.

PAMELA AYERS       Miss Marjorie Maxwell.

MAMIE SCOTT        Miss Ruby Miller.

AUNT HANNAH        Miss Lilian Talbot.

URSULA             Miss Violet Gould.

CHALMERS           Miss Dulcie Greatwich.



A LITTLE BIT OF FLUFF

ACT I

SCENE.--_JOHN AYERS' Flat in Bayswater._

_The scene represents a room in the well-to-do flat of MR. JOHN AYERS,
in the district of Bayswater. A door to the R. leads into the bedroom
and another door L. leads to the hall and street. There are two French
windows at the back with balconies beyond. A fireplace R. above door.
Mirror on mantelpiece. Easy chair R. Table up R.C. above door, with a
pot of marguerites upon it--a writing-desk up L.C. with telephone. A
fancy table down L. with papers on it. A plan of the scene will be
found at the end of the Play. Telegraph boy's Knock and Ring heard off
L. CHALMERS, a maid, enters at L. with one telegram on salver and
crossing, meets PAMELA C. who has entered by door R. PAMELA is a smart
woman of thirty-five, handsome and beautifully gowned._

PAMELA. What is it, Chalmers? (_Seeing telegram._) Oh!

CHALMERS. Telegram, madam.

PAMELA. Thank you. (_Opens and reads--gives vent to a sigh of
satisfaction._) Hah! (_She thinks._)

(_Exit CHALMERS L. Telegraph boy's knock and ring again off L.
CHALMERS enters with second telegram._)

What's that?

CHALMERS (_still holding salver_). Another one, madam.

PAMELA. Oh! (_Reads again._) Yes--all right.

(_CHALMERS is going._)

Oh--a--Chalmers--I'm expecting three more----

CHALMERS. Telegrams, madam?

PAMELA. Y--es. Bring them to me directly they arrive.

CHALMERS. Very good, madam.

(_Exits L._)

(_PAMELA glances again at telegrams, and then going up, places them
carefully on table R.C. Door slam is heard off L. PAMELA surveys the
room quickly and noticing her hat on table down L. crosses over and
conceals it with papers, runs up to window L.C. and withdraws behind
the window curtains. JOHN AYERS enters door L. He looks very smart in
evening dress with coat and crush hat. He yawns and gazes sleepily
around. Then crosses to arm-chair humming a tune and taking off coat,
which he places over back of arm-chair, goes to mantelpiece over
fireplace and looks in mirror._)

JOHN. What a face!

(_Pulls himself together, takes vase from mantelpiece, places against
his forehead and exits down R., slams the door after him. PAMELA comes
from hiding-place and listens at door R., then picks up JOHN'S coat,
comes C. and searches the inside pocket, takes out letters, but finds
nothing incriminating, puts them back again. She pulls the sleeves of
the coat out and sniffs twice, and along whole length of sleeve, then
pulls necklace out of side pocket._)

PAMELA. Oh! Oh!

(_She replaces necklace and puts coat on back of chair left of table
R. Coming to door R. she taps loudly on it._)

JOHN (_heard off, irritably_). What is it?

(_PAMELA repeats the knocking, then crosses to C._)

(_JOHN is obviously changing his clothes and enters just with morning
trousers and braces showing._)

What is it? What the devil----? (_Surprised._) Oh! it's you, Pam. I
didn't know you were home. Haven't you been to Folkestone?

PAMELA. Of course I have. Mother wasn't well, so we came back
yesterday.

JOHN. Yesterday? Oh! Oh! oh! (_Strolls off R. to get his waistcoat and
jacket. Heard off._) Did you sleep at a--at mother's last night?

(_PAMELA does not answer, but is apparently annoyed._)

(_Re-enter JOHN buttoning waistcoat._)

I say, I suppose you slept at your mother's last night.

PAMELA (_grimly_). Where did _you_ sleep?

JOHN. Where did I sleep?

PAMELA. I'm _asking_ you.

JOHN. What a funny question to ask anyone! I slept at home--in
there--of course . . . obviously . . . naturally.

PAMELA. Whenever you adopt that innocent attitude I always know you
are telling me a wilful lie.

JOHN. I couldn't tell you a lie if I tried. Do you remember that
phrenologist we went to at Eastbourne? He told me I had an enormous
bump of veracity.

PAMELA. This is nothing to do with phrenology. Am I to believe that
you slept at home last night?

JOHN (_guiltily_). Y--yes, of course. Why?

PAMELA. I slept at home, too. Strange we didn't meet.

JOHN. Yes, that _is_ funny.

PAMELA. I locked that bedroom door from half-past eleven last night
until nine o'clock this morning.

JOHN. Well, if you lock the bedroom door, how can you possibly expect
me to sleep at home? Absurd! (_Getting into jacket._) No, I'll tell
you the whole facts of the case, Pam. We went to the--er--opera last
night.

PAMELA. We?

JOHN. Yes. My friend Tully and I. Tully had some tickets given him.

PAMELA. And you came home together?

JOHN. Y-yes. And--er--I slept at Tully's.

PAMELA. What opera did you go to?

JOHN (_broad gestures_). The--a--a--the--a--that's rather a silly
question. No one ever goes to an opera and remembers anything about
the performance.

PAMELA. But the name of the opera?

JOHN. Oh!--o-h! The name! (_With assumed confidence._) You mean what
the opera was called?

PAMELA. Exactly.

JOHN. The--er--the title?

PAMELA. Yes.

JOHN. Well--er--you know the--the opera where the girl comes on with a
sewing machine--no, you know what I mean--a spinning wheel; two long
plaits--Marguerite--Faust, that's it!

PAMELA. Faust?

JOHN. Yes, Faust--with the devil in it.

(_Business of putting fingers to forehead._)

PAMELA. And so you both went to see Faust?

JOHN. After that we came home. (_Crosses to L. laughing_). I remember
making a joke to Tully----

PAMELA. Never mind the joke.

JOHN. Well, it was just then that I missed my latchkey.

PAMELA. You missed your latchkey?

JOHN. And it was rather late to rouse Chalmers, so Tully offered me a
shakedown at his place, and I stayed there.

PAMELA. There's a good deal of _Tully_ about it. But if you lost your
latch-key, how did you get in just now?

JOHN (_smiling_). Oh, I found the key afterwards.

PAMELA. Well, give it to me.

(_JOHN hesitates._)

Give it to me, please. (_JOHN obeys. She goes up to fireplace._) While
I pay the rent of the flat----

JOHN. Oh, don't say that. It isn't cricket, Pam, to throw the rent up
in my face. After all, it was you who made me give up my office in the
city.

PAMELA. For the simple reason you were making----

JOHN. I was making a profit of five pounds a week!

PAMELA. And it was costing me another fifteen pounds to keep the
office open. (_Coming down to JOHN._) Now look here. I have enough for
both, so long as you do not work in the City.

JOHN. Well, I can't grub along on five pounds a week like some people.

PAMELA. Must I remind you that I have been allowing you forty pounds a
month?

JOHN. No, excuse me, dear; it was agreed between us that my allowance
should be fifteen pounds only.

(_Telegraph knock and ring off L._)

PAMELA. I'm quite aware it was agreed. But you keep borrowing on
account. Even now you are two years ahead with your money.

JOHN (_faintly_). As much as that?

PAMELA. Two years!

JOHN. How time flies! But I shall pay it back.

PAMELA. But let us keep to the point.

(_CHALMERS enters with three telegrams on salver._)

About last night----

JOHN. For me?

CHALMERS. No, sir, for the mistress.

PAMELA. Oh--er--Chalmers (_reading telegrams_). Will you just knock at
the flat next door and ask if Mr.--Tully is at home, and if so, will
he kindly look in here for a moment?

CHALMERS (_going_). Very good, madam.

JOHN. Chalmers, Chalmers. (_Beckoning CHALMERS to stop. To PAMELA._)
You dare not do such a thing!

PAMELA (_to CHALMERS_). Do as I tell you, Chalmers.

(_Exit CHALMERS._)

JOHN (_as CHALMERS is going off_). Chalmers--Cha--Cha--(_Turns to
PAMELA._) You are not going to show me up before my friends?

PAMELA. There will be no showing up, John, if what you say is true.
(_Moves up to table R.C._).

JOHN. No, no, of course not. (_Moves to telephone._)

PAMELA. Besides, I don't suppose your friend Tully would give you
away. Men are such cunning brutes.

JOHN (_with a burst which he checks instantly_). Aha!

(_PAMELA looks round, then goes on reading telegrams. At back,
whispering into telephone._)

Give me Regent 346, Regent 346----

PAMELA (_without turning_). It's no use your 'phoning Mr. Tully. I
should be bound to hear what you said.

JOHN (_innocently_). I was only trying to get him to come up, dear.

PAMELA. Chalmers is quite capable of taking a message.

JOHN (_rising and crossing to PAMELA_). Hang it all, Pam, don't you
believe what I've told you.

PAMELA (_turning sharply to JOHN._) _Not--one--word!_

JOHN. Why not?

PAMELA. This morning I sent a reply-paid wire to your friends at Kew.

JOHN. Harry Crombeley?

PAMELA. Yes--asking if you stopped there last night. This is his
reply. (_Hands wire._) Read it. Read it out please.

JOHN (_takes wire gingerly. Reads_). "Yes, John stayed here last
night." (_Aside._) Silly owl!

PAMELA. Well?

JOHN. Dear old Harry! I expect he thought you would be worrying about
me. He's very thoughtful is Harry. (_Gives wire back._)

PAMELA. Wait! I also sent a wire to your friend Blakiston at
Kensington asking the same question. His reply--(_handing second wire
to JOHN._)

(_JOHN amazed._)

--read it--read _that_ out, please.

JOHN (_takes wire--reads_). "Yes, John stayed here last night."
(_Pauses._) Well now, I can tell how this happened. (_Gives back
wire._)

PAMELA. Wait! Don't commit yourself. I sent three other wires to Mr.
Marshall, Gus Stanhope and Drayling. They all reply that you stayed
with _them._ Read for yourself! (_Hands wires to JOHN, which he does
not take._)

JOHN. I can explain it all, dear! You see they were probably all
together, and they thought they would put a spoof up on dear old John.
They're all jolly good friends.

PAMELA. Yes--they must all be very very good friends, or else they
must have a shocking opinion of your habits.

JOHN. I can explain everything.

PAMELA. I believe you could explain the Tower of London away, but you
can't have slept in six different beds in one night, unless you were a
sleepwalker.

JOHN. I still maintain that I slept last night at Tully's.

PAMELA. We shall see. (_Places telegrams on table R.C._)

(_Enter CHALMERS._)

CHALMERS. Mr. Tully, madam.

(_Holds door open until TULLY is on, then exits, closing the door.
TULLY is rather a spare man--with drooping moustache and rather
sanctimonious and miserable-looking. He enters and stands just above
the small table down L., nervously twisting his hands._)

JOHN (_on TULLY'S entrance JOHN makes a dive for TULLY_). I say,
Tully--didn't I----

PAMELA (_catches JOHN by right arm and pulls him down R., advances to
TULLY._) How do you do, Mr. Tully? (_Shakes hands._)

TULLY. How d'ye do, Mrs. Ayers? Morning, John!

JOHN. Morning, Tully.

PAMELA. Good morning?

JOHN. Ah, you see he wasn't up when I left this morning, lazy beggar!

PAMELA (_centre--to TULLY_). I have to apologize, Mr. Tully, for
bringing you out----

TULLY. Oh, not at all.

PAMELA. But we--er--John and I are in a little difficulty, and if you
could see your way to answer a few questions, it would be doing us a
great favour, and it might save both of us lifelong misery.

JOHN. My wife won't believe that I----

PAMELA (_to JOHN_). Will you be quiet! You're breaking down the one
slender thread that holds our married life together--I want Mr.
Tully's version of last night without your assistance. (_Turning to
TULLY._) Now, may I ask, did you have anyone staying with you last
night at the flat?

TULLY (_shaking his head_). N--o--not to my knowledge.

(_JOHN is pointing to himself frantically._)

PAMELA. No one stayed at your place at all?

TULLY (_seeing JOHN_). Oh--er--(_with a gulp_)--John stayed there!

(_PAMELA turns quickly, almost catches JOHN pointing to himself. JOHN
makes a dive for book on table R.C., and turns pages over quickly._)

PAMELA (_turns again to TULLY_). But just now you said no one stayed
there.

TULLY. We--we never count John as anybody.

JOHN (_rubs hands with glee_). No, dear, I'm nobody.

PAMELA (_gives JOHN a freezing look--then again to TULLY_). Now would
you mind telling me how you passed the evening?

TULLY. Last night? (_Looking at JOHN._)

PAMELA. Last night.

TULLY. Well, we--er--let me think. We--er--yes--

(_JOHN points to window._)

--we went out.

PAMELA. And where did you go, might I ask?

(_JOHN is gesticulating with one hand on his chest and openmouthed as
in opera._)

TULLY (_failing to interpret JOHN'S signals_). It's rather difficult
to remember off-hand--one night is so very much like another.

PAMELA. Try to think.

(_JOHN still gesticulating and openmouthed._)

TULLY. I think we must have been in a boat on the Serpentine.

(_PAMELA turns quickly. JOHN goes up to table R.C. and smells
marguerites. TULLY very embarrassed._)

JOHN. These are very beautiful flowers, dear. Did these come from
_Covent Garden?_

PAMELA. Please don't interrupt.

TULLY. Oh, now I remember--it's about _last_ night you want to know?

PAMELA. Last night!

TULLY. Oh, last night we went to Covent--to--to--to the opera.

(_JOHN nods and smiles at TULLY._)

John had tickets given to him.

JOHN (_annoyed_). No, no--those tickets were given me to give to you.
They were a present from Mr. Baxter.

TULLY. Oh, I didn't quite understand. I must write and thank Mr.
Baster.

JOHN. Baxter! Baxter!!

TULLY. Baxter--Baxter----

PAMELA. Who _is_ Mr. Baxter?

JOHN. Don't you know, dear?

PAMELA. Do you?

JOHN. Of course--he's Mr. Baster--Baxter.

PAMELA (_to TULLY_). And did you enjoy the opera?

TULLY. Not very much. I really prefer the singing down at our chapel.

PAMELA. What opera was it?

TULLY. I don't think I noticed.

PAMELA. Didn't notice!

JOHN. Of course not, dear--no decent person ever does--it's bad form.

PAMELA. Silence! (_To TULLY._) Haven't you any idea of the name of the
opera?

TULLY. Not for the moment--er--er----

(_JOHN points to pot of marguerites._)

I--er--Daisy--Daisy Daydreams?

PAMELA. I can't say I have ever heard of an opera of the name of Daisy
Daydreams.

(_JOHN is now holding a plait made from his handkerchief to the back
of his head._)

TULLY (_watching JOHN_). Was it something to do with--er--something
hanging from the back of the head?

PAMELA. And you can't remember the name of the opera?

TULLY. Not for the moment.

(_JOHN points to marguerites again._)

_Are--you--sure_--it wasn't Daisy--or Daisies--or Marguerite--er--

(_JOHN nods his head._)

Marguerite!--er--er--_Faust_, of course!

JOHN. Yes, dear, Faust, of course!

(_PAMELA turns quickly to JOHN._)

JOHN (_just as quickly turns his back_). Now are you satisfied?

PAMELA. And after you left the opera? (_To TULLY._)

TULLY. We came home.

PAMELA. What induced John to sleep at your place, seeing your door is
next to ours?

(_JOHN signalling key in door and then lost._)

TULLY. Oh, he couldn't find his keyhole.

(_PAMELA turns quickly round to JOHN._)

JOHN. No, no, dear! We simply went to the opera and saw Daisy--Faust,
I mean--came out--had a drink--I told Tully I couldn't find my
_key_--I suppose he thought I said _key-hole_--he offered me a
shake-down and I stayed there. And I think such a clear explanation
ought to satisfy anyone.

PAMELA (_doubtfully_). Yes, I suppose so.

JOHN (_going to fireplace_). Then everything is quite in order? (_Very
satisfied._)

(_TULLY sighs._)

PAMELA (_doubtfully_). Y--y--es, y--y--es, except (_picking up JOHN'S
coat with left hand_) could either of you explain this?

JOHN (_coming down to PAMELA_). That's my coat!

PAMELA. No (_taking necklace from pocket with right hand and holding
it up_) _this!_

(_Pause--JOHN and TULLY both amazed._)

TULLY. Oh, that's nothing to do with _me._

JOHN. What is it, dear? What is it?

PAMELA. A pearl necklace. (_turning to TULLY_) I suppose _you_ don't
wear pearl necklaces, do you, Mr. Tully?

TULLY. No, no!

JOHN. I can tell you all about that, dear. I saw that in a shop window
and I picked it up very cheaply. I'm sure it's a bargain.

PAMELA. And who was it intended for, may I ask?

JOHN. Who should I buy pearl necklaces for?

PAMELA. For me--for me, I suppose. (_Boiling with rage and throwing
coat up to settee C._)

JOHN. Of course--naturally. Ask Tully!

(_TULLY goes to chair by telephone L.C., stands perfectly still,
unnerved--JOHN below table R.C. stands blinking and looking into
space._)

PAMELA (_goes to table down L., uncovers her hat, picks it up--goes
towards door R. As she passes JOHN_). Oh! (_Goes to door R., opens
door._) Oh! (_Exits door R. Bangs door after her._)

TULLY (_flopping into chair he is standing by_). Oh! I'm all of a
tremble!

JOHN (_crosses up to settee--puts coat on settee--then up to TULLY_).
You're a boiled-headed owl!

TULLY. If you had told me yesterday that you could lie like that I
should never have believed you.

JOHN (_coming down R._). You did your share very well.

TULLY. What's going to happen now?

JOHN. She'll probably pack up and go home to her mother's.

TULLY (_rising and crossing to JOHN_). John, where _did_ you go last
night?

JOHN. I took a little friend out to dinner and then we went on to the
Palace, and after that we had supper at the Five Hundred Club. We
watched them dancing and had a dance or two ourselves, but it's
perfectly absurd if a man can't have a little innocent enjoyment and a
couple of dances with a little bit of fluff without all this absurd
fuss.

TULLY. But the hour?

JOHN. At the Club we kept it up a bit late, that's all. We had
breakfast at Jimmy Dawson's flat and cooked bacon and eggs.

TULLY. Won't you promise never to do such a thing again?

JOHN (_crossing to L._). I'll promise never to poach an egg in an
opera hat again. I can't possibly live without some relaxation now and
then.

TULLY. But must you really go out and about with little bits of
flu--flu--fluff?

JOHN. Most certainly if I want to. What have you got to say to that?

TULLY. Oh, dear, dear, dear!

JOHN. Everything would have been all right only you were so infernally
stupid about the opera. I'm sure "Marguerite and plaits" was perfectly
clear. If you had only said "Faust" without any hesitation everything
would have been all right.

TULLY. But it's so risky. They play a different opera every night at
Covent Garden.

JOHN. I know they do. I wonder what they _did_ play? Where's the
newspaper? (_Looking round for paper--seeing paper on table R. below
door--crosses over--gets paper._) Here it is. (_Crosses to TULLY._)
Now if my luck's in they played "Faust" (_both look at paper
together_) last night--here we are--theatres--last night--Covent
Garden--Pictures!! (_JOHN tears the paper in two--gives half to
TULLY._) Here, tear that up (_handing other half_) and this bit
too--get rid of it somehow.

(_TULLY tears paper in pieces and puts bits in handkerchief pocket._)

(_JOHN crosses to door R._)

TULLY. How do you think you will get out of this?

JOHN (_crossing C._). Quite easily. Tact and diplomacy. (_Offering his
head to TULLY._) Feel that bump--they say I have a bigger bump of tact
than Lloyd George.

TULLY (_feeling head_). Oh, I say----

(_Both stand to attention as PAMELA re-enters R., wearing a hat and
carrying a small suitcase--the pearl necklace is also in her hand. She
crosses over to door R., not looking at either of the men and dabbing
her face with a handkerchief as if crying. She stops as JOHN speaks._)

JOHN. Pam--Pam----

PAMELA (_coming down to table L. and placing suitcase on table_). I am
going home to mother's. You'll hear from her later, and probably the
solicitors.

JOHN. Well, Pam. I think you're awfully silly, and after I've bought
you a pearl necklace too.

PAMELA. I doubt very much if the necklace _was_ intended for me.

JOHN. Oh, Tully, did you hear that? The only woman in the world I have
ever loved! (_Sinking into chair left of table R.C._)

TULLY (_who has been standing watching very nervously by table with
telephone L.C.: crosses to PAMELA_). I don't think you ought to say
such things, Mrs. Ayers. (_PAMELA shrugs shoulders and turns back on
him. He crosses to JOHN._) Do leave us for a few moments, John--I----

JOHN (_rising_). But, Tully, I----

TULLY. I'll put it all right.

JOHN. But, Tully. I----

(_JOHN is persuaded to go off R. by TULLY. JOHN exits muttering--TULLY
shuts door._)

TULLY (_crossing to PAMELA_). One moment, Mrs. Ayers. You know I feel
somehow that I am to blame for all this. I don't want to pose as a
hyper-religious man, but every one says I'm very good, and I wouldn't
deceive you for the world. I'm sure that necklace was intended for
you.

PAMELA (_opening suitcase_). Well, in any case, I value my feelings at
something more than a--a--a one-and-elevenpenny pearl necklace.
(_Drops necklace into case and shuts it._)

TULLY. Really I think you are doing John an injustice. I don't think
you quite understand his little ways.

PAMELA. I understand as much as is fit for me to understand.

TULLY. No, really, I know John doesn't behave in a conventional manner
as a rule, but he is quite harmless.

PAMELA (_raging--up to TULLY--then crossing down R._). Harmless!
Harmless! A man who can sleep in six different beds in one
night--harmless! (_Throwing arms up on last "harmless."_)

TULLY. Six! Impossible! It would be a record.

PAMELA (_up to table R.C., picks up bundle of telegrams--hands them to
TULLY_). Read for yourself.

TULLY. "John stayed here, Kew." (_Reading._) "John stayed here,
Bloomsbury." "John stayed, Barnes." Kensington--Bloomsbury to Kew--Kew
to Kensington--Kensington to Barnes. It couldn't be done in the time!
Oh, I can quite understand this. It's all John's friends--all anxious
to shield him from the fury of his wife.

PAMELA (_angrily_). I beg your pardon!

(_Snatches telegrams from TULLY._)

TULLY. I mean all anxious to shield him from your displeasure. John
has such a host of good friends. There isn't one who wouldn't lay down
his life for him. Why, John's one of the best in the world.

PAMELA (_crossing to L. by table down L._). I am quite a broad-minded
woman, Mr. Tully. I don't expect men to be angels. But there's a limit
to everything.

TULLY (_crossing to PAMELA_). I quite agree with you in that, Mrs.
Ayers, but as a broad-minded woman you must see that a man like John
wants a little relaxation, and there's really no harm if he does go
out to dinner occasionally with--what was it he called them?--little
pieces--no, little bits of fluff.

PAMELA (_madly_). What? What??? (_TULLY recoils--PAMELA follows him up
to C._). You expect _me_ to sit at home while my husband goes out with
little--bits--of--fluff!!!

TULLY (_pulls out handkerchief with pieces of paper_). Well--you
know--it's a term--a joke--(_Tries to conceal pieces of paper with his
feet._)

PAMELA. I'm surprised, Mr. Tully, that your mission teaching should
have put such ideas into your head--(_crossing to table picking up
case_) as little bits of--fluff!--Good day!

(_Exit PAMELA down L., banging door behind her. The front door is then
heard to slam. TULLY stands looking into space for a time--then
proceeds to pick up torn paper._)

JOHN (_cautiously peeping in door R._). What are you doing?

TULLY. Sweeping up "Covent Garden."

JOHN (_crossing to R.C._). Has she gone?

TULLY. Y-y-es. I'm so sorry, John.

JOHN (_crosses to TULLY_). That's all through your meddling in things
that don't concern you.

TULLY. Did you really sleep in six different beds?

JOHN. Oh, don't be silly.

TULLY. Is there any chance of her returning?

JOHN. Of course she'll come back! She does this sort of thing about
every fortnight.

TULLY. Do you sleep out as often as that?

JOHN. No! She does it with the idea that I shall go and fetch her
back.

TULLY. Well, why don't you?

JOHN. Because once I do that my authority will be gone. She'll treat
me like a child, and leave home two or three times a day. Things have
never gone so badly as this before.

TULLY. I think the pearl necklace did it, don't you?

JOHN (_suddenly aroused_). Hah, the necklace! Where is it? Where is
it? Have you got it?

TULLY. No, no. Why should I have it?

JOHN. Then where is it? Where is it? The necklace! (_Looks about
wildly for the necklace._) Look for it! Don't stand there like an
anæmic camel! Look for it!

TULLY (_jumping about in a silly fashion_). Where? Where?

JOHN. Everywhere--all over the place. Perhaps it's on the floor--look
for it. (_Both look about for the necklace._) Ah, it may be under the
table. (_They both dive under the table from opposite ends--their
heads collide--they both come up holding their heads in pain._) Can't
you see where you are going?

TULLY. I can only see stars.

JOHN. Your head's like iron. But where's the necklace? (_Moving
arm-chair from right of table R.C. to below table about 3 feet._)
That's the question.

TULLY. I've got it!

JOHN. Where?

TULLY. No--not the necklace--I've got an idea.

JOHN. Oh----

TULLY. I expect Mrs. Ayers took it. You practically gave it to her,
didn't you?

JOHN (_aghast_). You think she took it?

TULLY. Yes, I remember now--while I was talking to her just now I saw
her drop it into her bag.

JOHN. Are you sure? (_Crossing to L._)

TULLY. It doesn't matter--you can get it back from her.

JOHN (_still looking about for necklace_). She'll never part with
it--she loves jewellery.

TULLY. Well, you can easily buy another. (_Putting hand in pocket._)
I'll lend you the one-and-elevenpence.

JOHN. One-and-elevenpence! One-and-elevenpence! Do you know _that
necklace is worth five hundred_ pounds!!

TULLY. Five hundred pounds!!

JOHN. Yes. It was lent to little Mamie Scott by the Rajah of
Changpoor. She took a fancy to the necklace, and he lent it to her to
wear just for the evening. There was a big crush as we came out of the
club last night, and Mamie asked me to put the necklace in my pocket
for safety's sake, as the clasp was broken, which I did, of course.
Apparently we both forgot all about it. She'll be in an awful stew.
She promised faithfully to return the necklace to the Rajah to-day.

TULLY. Oh, dear, dear, dear!

JOHN. Oh, damn, damn, damn! What can I do? What can I say? What will
Mamie think of me.

(_TULLY is twiddling the chair R.C. about._)

Oh, don't footle about with that chair!

TULLY (_stops footling_). Is there no way of getting it back from Mrs.
Ayers.

JOHN. I tell you she'll never part with it, and she may not be home
for several days, possibly a week. In the meantime the Rajah will be
clamouring for his pearls . . . I shall be branded as a--well, there's
no telling what it may lead to. Great Heavens! What a hole to be in!

(_Crossing to chair L. down stage._)

TULLY. Couldn't you tell Miss Fluffie Scott you've lost it and buy her
another.

JOHN. Didn't you hear me say that necklace cost five hundred pounds?

TULLY (_twirling chair round on one leg_). Yes, that is awkward.

JOHN. Oh, do put that chair down! (_Advancing to TULLY._)

TULLY (_sits C._). Couldn't you borrow the money?

JOHN (_crossing, sits down L._). Don't be a fool.

TULLY. It's easy enough. I had a letter from someone only this
morning, offering to lend me any sum from £10 to £10,000, without any
security. He enclosed his photograph. Such a nice, kind, honest open
face.

JOHN. You innocent lamb! Well, I suppose if I can't give it back I
shall have to find the money.

TULLY. You will? Oh, it is a fix! (_Biting his nails._)

JOHN (_rises, goes up to TULLY_). I say, Tully, I suppose you don't
happen to have five hundred that you don't want.

TULLY. Not that I don't want.

JOHN. Poor old Tully! You never seem to have any money. I don't know
what you live on. Are you sure you get enough to eat?

TULLY. You know, John, if I had the money I couldn't refuse you. You
do know that, don't you, John?

JOHN (_patting TULLY on back_). Of course I do, dear old Tully! Dear
old Tully! (_Comes down L._)

TULLY (_rising_). Why do you always call me by my surname, when I call
you John. I do wish you'd call me Bertram. Do you know when anyone
calls me Bertram, I feel _I could do any mortal thing in the world for
them!_

JOHN. Well, you get me out of this hole and I'll call you Bertram till
I bust. (_Sits down L._)

TULLY. Will you? I think I know where you could get the money. (_Comes
down to JOHN._)

JOHN (_rising suddenly_). Where? Where?

TULLY. Sit down! (_JOHN sits._) Keep calm! Dick Turner thinks the
world of you. . . .

JOHN. Yes, I know, but he hasn't much money.

TULLY. I know, I know. But he was in a 'bus accident last Friday and
he's claiming £500 compensation from the Motor 'Bus company.

JOHN. He'll never get it.

TULLY. Oh, I think he will. In fact it's nearly settled. And if you
approach him in the matter, I feel sure he would lend you the £500.

JOHN. But _I_ was in that 'bus with him coming from Kew.

TULLY. That's right--coming from Kew.

JOHN. And if Dick Turner could get five hundred, I'm positive I could.

TULLY. Well, I'm sure he's going to get it.

JOHN. But there was scarcely any damage done. I didn't receive a
scratch, neither did Dick Turner. I was thrown forward on top of a fat
old woman sitting opposite.

TULLY. Still you can't always tell at the time of the
accident--injuries sometimes develop afterwards.

(_Business of drawing patterns on carpet with foot._)

JOHN (_rises and crosses slowly R._). Yes, of course, especially after
you've seen your solicitor.

TULLY. Er--I----

JOHN. Don't talk to me--my brain's working.

TULLY. You know, John, in all cases of 'bus accidents the 'Bus
Companies have to pay out according to what the doctors think.

JOHN. The question is to _make_ the doctors think. Why should Dick
Turner get five hundred, and I get nothing?

TULLY. I suppose he was really injured.

JOHN. Don't talk, don't talk! I've got the most wonderful brain.
(_Hand to forehead._)

TULLY. Have you?

JOHN. Yes. Feel that bump!

TULLY (_obeys_). Oh!--did you get that under the table?

JOHN. No, silly ass, it's a natural bump. (_Excited._) It's all so
simple. It's wonderful how I get myself out of every difficulty. Now,
will you run down to the doctor's for me! (_Going up to telephone._)
The last block of flats, you know?

TULLY. Doctor Green?

JOHN (_looking through Telephone Book for number_). Yes! That's it.
Ask him to call at once.

TULLY. John! You're not going to pretend to the doctor that you are
ill?

JOHN. Now don't ask any questions.

TULLY. Oh no, John! (_Working fingers along back of arm-chair._) I
couldn't do a thing like that. It's not fair--it's not honest.
(_Protests in action against the suggestion until JOHN says "BERTRAM,"
when a broad smile comes across his face._)

JOHN (_rising and crossing to TULLY--pleadingly_). Bertram!
(_Affectionately._) Bertram!!!

TULLY (_giggles affectedly_). Oh! John! (_Crossing to door L._) Oh!
John! (_Giggles._) Oh! John! (_Giggles till off door L. Quick exit._)

JOHN (_goes to telephone. At 'phone_). Give me Regent
one--four--three--six quickly, Miss, please. . . . Yes. . . . Hullo!
hullo! are you the Motor Omnibus Company? . . . Yes, yes. Mrs. John
Ayers speaking! (_Adopting a feminine voice._) _Mrs._ John Ayers.
. . . Yes . . . my husband was in that terrible 'bus accident you had
last Friday coming from Kew. Yes . . . my _husband!_ And he's very ill
indeed. Yes . . . eh? (_Dropping into his own voice._) Oh! speak up! I
can't hear a damned word you're saying. (_Hand over 'phone for a
second--then resuming in feminine voice._) Oh! He didn't notice it at
the time. He has witnesses to prove everything. Eh? I can't hear.
. . . Oh, you'll send your inspector round to look into it . . . eh?
You'll send your inspector round to look into it. Oh, very good, but
don't send him immediately as the patient is asleep. Eh? . . . yes, in
about half an hour's time . . . we're quite close to your depot . . .
we're quite close to your depot . . . number 13 St. Mark's Mansions.
Yes--very well--thank you--Good-bye! (_Puts up receiver. He looks
round and takes off jacket. CHALMERS enters L._) What is it? What is
it?

CHALMERS. A lady to see you, sir. (_She smiles._)

JOHN. To see me! What are you laughing at?

CHALMERS (_pulls herself together_). Miss Scott, I think she said.

JOHN. Good Lord! Oh--I'm busy--dressing for breakfast--not at home.
(_Crossing to door R._)

(_CHALMERS is going._)

Wait! I'd better see her. (_Opens door with right hand--holding it
open._) Show her in here.

CHALMERS (_in doubt_). In there, sir? (_Pointing to door R._)

JOHN (_pointing back into room with left hand_). No. Here! Here!
(_Exit down R._)

(_Exit CHALMERS door L._)

(_CHALMERS shows in MAMIE SCOTT. She is a girl about 27, petite but
pretty, dressed with many furbelows and other fluffy things. She looks
around, as she enters, with a swagger air, sees CHALMERS smiling,
freezes her with a look. CHALMERS straightens herself and goes off
door L. with nose in air. MAMIE looks round room humming or singing a
tune, places parasol on settee at back, and comes down C. Enter JOHN,
undoing collar and tie._)

MAMIE. Hullo, Jack!

JOHN. Hullo, you dear little thing! (_In a playful temper._) But you
mustn't come here--really.

MAMIE. Why not? I thought you said the cat was away at Folkestone?

JOHN. And please don't call my wife a cat.

(_Exit JOHN into room R._)

MAMIE (_with an elaborate curtsy_). Oh, I beg the cat's pardon.
(_Sweeping round room she sees photograph on table L.C._). Say Jack,
whose picture's this?

JOHN (_spoken off_). Which one?

MAMIE. This one, here, by the telephone!

JOHN (_spoken off_). Oh, that is my wife.

MAMIE. Your wife? Some girl! She's not the sort of first wife I'd pick
out if I was going to be your second.

JOHN (_spoken off_). Why not?

MAMIE. Looks too darned healthy--I'd have to wait too long for you.

(_Enter JOHN door R._)

JOHN. She's come home unexpectedly.

MAMIE (_jumps in terror, and makes a dive for vanity bag she has
placed on table L.C._) Jack!

JOHN. Oh, it's all right. She's out just now.

MAMIE. Phew! You _did_ give me a fright!

JOHN. But it's true--she _is_ home, all the same.

(_Exit into room R._)

MAMIE. Well, come out here and talk to me. I won't keep you long.

JOHN (_spoken off_). I can't--I'm only half dressed.

MAMIE. Well, I'll come in there. (_Crossing to door R._)

JOHN. No, no, this is a bedroom.

MAMIE. I'm not afraid of bedrooms!

JOHN (_spoken off_). Give me a minute--just a minute!

MAMIE. Come out as you are. I'm not particular.

JOHN (_spoken off_). I won't be two ticks.

MAMIE (_loudly_). Right-o! (_Sits in arm-chair down R.C. and commences
to powder her face._) I say, Jack! Do you know that you didn't give me
back the necklace last night!

(_JOHN enters and creeps off again._)

(_A little louder._) I say, Jacko! do--you--know--you didn't
give--me--back that necklace--last night? (_The words slightly
smothered by using powder puff on mouth._)

(_Enter JOHN in dressing-gown._)

JOHN. I say, Mamie, that hat does suit you! You look awfully sweet!

MAMIE. You go on, Jack. You're the champion long-distance kidder in
the universe.

JOHN (_crossing to left of MAMIE_). But I mean it. It suits you
awfully.

MAMIE. Oh, awfully! (_Mockingly._) Do you know you didn't give me back
the necklace last night--you know--the pearl necklace?

JOHN (_hesitating_). No, er--I know I didn't. We both forgot all about
it, didn't we?

MAMIE (_laughing_). We did. (_Both laugh amusedly, thinking it a great
joke._)

JOHN. I left it in my coat, and I left the coat at the club.

MAMIE (_rising--alarmed_). Jack. It isn't lost?

JOHN (_pressing her gently into chair_). Sit down. Sit down and don't
worry. It can't be lost. If it is, I'll buy you another, that's all.

MAMIE. Five--hundred--pounds!

JOHN. Yes. I can't forget that! But it's a mere flea-bite to me.

MAMIE. Jack, you don't understand, the Rajah looks on it as an
heirloom--he wouldn't part with it for the world--that's why I wanted
to wear it--it was such a cute idea. But I promised faithfully to
return it to the Rajah to-day.

JOHN. Can't you make some excuse?

MAMIE. How can I? Have you been to the Club?

JOHN. No, I can't possibly go down there for a day or two--for a
particular reason.

MAMIE. Oh, I _do_ hope it isn't lost. Can't you 'phone?

JOHN. Oh, yes. I _did_ 'phone, but the club 'phone seems to be out of
order.

MAMIE. That's torn it! What _will_ the Rajah think of me!

JOHN. Now don't worry. If you'll only wait everything will be all
right. In any case if it is lost, I'll buy you another exactly like
it. I can't say more, can I?

MAMIE. You really mean that?

JOHN. Of course I do--I never break my word. I'm even going to get
some money to-day--out of accidents--I mean, in case of accidents.
Now, listen! I'm awfully glad you've called. My wife's left me!

MAMIE (_rising and throwing arms round JOHN'S neck_). Jack--darling!

JOHN (_gently but firmly disengaging her arms_). Yes, but only for a
little while--and I want you to do me a favour.

MAMIE. Of course I will, Jack.

JOHN. I'm expecting a man here presently to examine me.

MAMIE. To examine you?

JOHN. Yes, I'm very ill, you know--I was in a 'bus accident the other
day, and--er--things have been getting worse.

MAMIE. Poor old Jack! I _am_ sorry. (_Pulling his face to her with
hand under his chin._) But you don't look ill.

JOHN (_turning face again to front_). No, I'm one of those who bear up
to the last! Now, listen, when this man calls I want you to pretend
that I'm bad. Of course I _am_ bad, but while he's here I am sure to
be a little worse. Mrs. Ayers--that is me--has been speaking to him on
the 'phone and naturally when he comes he'll expect to see me--that
is--Mrs. Ayers--I--I see, you don't understand.

MAMIE (_very sympathetically_). Jack, dear, you haven't injured your
head, have you?

JOHN. No, it's quite all right. Nothing to do, but--er--don't say
you're my wife. Just pat me on the head now and then and moan "Poor
John"--you understand? . . .

MAMIE. Yes, I understand. "Poor John." But say, this is spoof, you're
not really ill, Jack, are you?

JOHN. Of course not--oh, yes, I am--but don't worry, I'm going to get
better. Just "poor John!" Lay it on thick!

MAMIE. I see--"Poor John." (_Crosses up to mantelpiece, removes hat
and tidies her hair at glass._)

(_TULLY enters hurriedly, sees MAMIE, makes a bolt for door L. JOHN
catches him by coat and pulls him back._)

TULLY. It's all right, John--(_as he enters_).

JOHN (_to MAMIE_). Excuse me a moment.

TULLY (_to JOHN_). Doctor Green was out, but they'll send him round
directly he comes back. He's out on a case--about a poor little
woman--a poor little woman--(_whispers in JOHN'S ear_) who . . .
(_then aloud_) both--both doing well.

JOHN. Well, that's more than we can say. Now I must go and finish
dressing, or rather undressing. (_Sees MAMIE._) Oh, let me introduce
you to little Mamie Scott.

TULLY (_alarmed_). Is she--is she--fast!

JOHN. Fast?

TULLY. Is she a hussy?

JOHN. You'll like her immensely, come on.

TULLY (_in terror_). No, no! I couldn't. I've never spoken to anyone
like that in my life.

JOHN (_taking hold of TULLY_). Don't be a fool.

TULLY. Oh, no, no! What would they think of me down at the
Mission--besides I wouldn't know what to say to her.

JOHN. Why not?

TULLY. I've never met a fluff.

JOHN. You do get hold of the most extraordinary expressions. (_Calling
to MAMIE._) Mamie! Let me introduce you to a very old chum of mine.
Mr. Bertram Tully--Miss Mamie Scott.

(_JOHN crosses to door R. MAMIE crosses over to TULLY._)

MAMIE (_taking TULLY'S hand_). Oh, what a beautiful boy! (_Pulls a
long face._)

JOHN. Talk to him, Mamie. He has a wonderful flow of conversation. I
shan't be long.

(_Exit JOHN door R._)

(_MAMIE beckons TULLY with head and eyes--and edges down to arm-chair
R. Sits. TULLY, very nervous, edges down to chair L. Sits._)

TULLY (_playing with bottoms of his trouser legs and trying to make
conversation_). Do you ever go--er--go--go---- No! (_Tries again._)
Would you like to--to--to---- No! (_Has another try._) It's--it's
wonderful how the fine weather lasts!

MAMIE (_very amused all the time_). Ripping, isn't it?

TULLY. Yes, isn't it?

MAMIE. Are you married?

TULLY. No, I regret to say.

MAMIE. A bit of luck in store for some one.

TULLY. Oh, thank you!

MAMIE. I expect you have a gay old time.

TULLY (_twiddling his fingers down his leg_). No, not so very gay.
. . .

MAMIE. I know--you're a fly-by-night.

TULLY. No, I assure you all my people are most respectable.

MAMIE. Well then, you're a dark horse.

TULLY (_mystified_). A dark--horse?

MAMIE. You know, one of those outsiders who comes up with a rush on
the rails at the last minute, and wins by a short head. Do you get me?

TULLY. I don't quite understand what you mean.

MAMIE. I mean you _can_ go the pace when you like. (_She raises her
dress and picks a piece of fluff from the hem--blows it into space._)

TULLY. No, I don't go. . . . (_Sees MAMIE exposing a deal of leg--he
is very embarrassed--wipes his forehead with handkerchief._) No, I
don't go at all! (_Rising, and backing away from her._)

MAMIE. What do you do to amuse yourself?

TULLY. I go to chapel on Wednesdays and Saturdays (_doing a sort of
Skating Act with legs and twisting backwards and forwards_) and I
attend the Mission on Tuesdays and Fridays. (_Again down to her and
seeing leg, stumbles backwards and wiping forehead with handkerchief
keeps up this business, doing a sort of skating waltz._)

MAMIE. Did they teach you that ragtime down at the Mission? (_Jumping
up._) I like your drunken step--I must get hold of that! (_Catches
TULLY and forces him round the room as if dancing a ragtime--MAMIE
sings and dances as well._)

TULLY (_breaks away from MAMIE and rushes to door R. and knocking on
door--feverishly_). John! John!

JOHN (_spoken off_). What is it? What is it?

TULLY. I'm being tempted!

JOHN (_spoken off_). Well, stick it! Don't be a fool!

(_TULLY rushes up to window R. then down again to arm-chair. MAMIE
follows him up and down on L. side of table. She motions to him with
her eyes, coyly, to sit in arm-chair, he succumbs. Sits gingerly on
front of chair. MAMIE sits on arm of chair and puts right arm round
his neck. TULLY snatches it away nervously._)

MAMIE. Now tell me, what's this Mission for?

TULLY. It's for the poor people. (_Sees MAMIE'S exposed ankle--turns
away nervously._) We give them musical evenings to keep them out of
the public-houses. I play the flute.

MAMIE. You do what?

TULLY. I play the flute.

MAMIE. Oh, help!

TULLY. Oh, they like it!

(_Bell heard outside door L._)

MAMIE (_starting_). I wonder what that is? (_Goes to door R. calling
to JOHN._) Jack! Jack! There's a ring at the bell--do you think it can
be the cat?

TULLY (_rising and going up C._). A cat wouldn't ring the bell surely.

(_Enter JOHN dressed in pyjamas and dressing-gown, from door R._)

JOHN. She couldn't possibly be here yet awhile whatever happened.

(_Enter CHALMERS L. with card on salver--and crosses to JOHN._)

And please don't call my wife a cat!

MAMIE. I'm sorry. (_Sits in arm-chair._)

JOHN (_reading card_). Good! Show him in at once. (_To CHALMERS._)

(_Exit CHALMERS door L._)

It's Mr. Nixon Trippett!

MAMIE. Mr. How Much?

JOHN. Mr. Nixon Trippett--the Inspector from the Motor 'Bus
Company--the man I told you about who's going to examine me. Sit down,
and ask him to wait. Say I shan't be long.

TULLY (_perplexed_). What have we got to do?

JOHN. Mamie will tell you all about it.

(_Exit JOHN R._)

MAMIE. Now, listen here, Bertie Brighteyes.

TULLY. Oh, stop it! (_Down C._).

MAMIE. All we've got to do is to keep on saying "Poor John!"

TULLY. Poor John!

MAMIE. I'm to pretend I'm John's wife.

TULLY. Poor John!

MAMIE (_rising_). What do you mean?

(_NIXON TRIPPETT enters, shown on by CHALMERS. He is a very ugly man
of forty, dressed in frock coat and wearing spectacles. He is almost
shabby genteel. CHALMERS retires--TULLY nervously retreats from MAMIE
and seeing TRIPPETT advances with uncertainty._)

TULLY (_to TRIPPETT_). Poor John! I mean Mr. Ayers won't be a minute.
Will you take a seat. (_Brings chair down from table L.C. and places
it C. in a line with arm-chair R. and small chair L._)

TRIPPETT (_places hat on table L.C. and coming down to chair C._).
Thank you, sir. (_All sit. MAMIE in arm-chair. TRIPPETT chair C. TULLY
chair L._) Thank you, sir. (_Removes gloves._)

(_JOHN groans loudly off R._)

(_All rise slowly and simultaneously with eyes fixed on door R., then
sit again._)

(_JOHN groans again very loudly. All rise. MAMIE gets behind
arm-chair. TRIPPETT drags chair up to table L.C. keeping eyes on door
R. all the time. TULLY stands by chair L. gazing at door R._)

(_JOHN enters groaning from door R.; he is in pyjamas, with a blanket
wrapped round him. MAMIE assists him into arm-chair, JOHN groaning all
the time._)

TRIPPETT (_advancing timidly to JOHN_). Er--Mr. Ayers--are you the
injured person?

JOHN. Oh--oh--oh oh!! (_Groans._)

TRIPPETT (_again advancing cautiously_). Might I ask if you are the
injured person?

JOHN. Don't I look like it. Do you think I'm doing this to be funny?

MAMIE (_patting JOHN'S head_). P-o-or John!

TULLY. Poor John!

TRIPPETT (_glares at TULLY--then over to him_). Do you think it would
be advisable for me to call another day?

JOHN. No, it's all right, I can stick it.

MAMIE. He's awfully brave, you know.

TRIPPETT. You ought to have kept in bed. (_Going to table R.C._) It
would have been better if I hadn't let you know I was coming. (_Places
gloves on table._)

JOHN. Oh no, it wouldn't.

MAMIE. Poor John!

TULLY. Poor John!

TRIPPETT (_gazes first at MAMIE and then at TULLY_). Well now, may I
ask a few questions that will help me to make out my report? (_Pulls
notebook and pencil out and looks round for something to write on._)

JOHN. Yes, ask as many as you like. (_To TULLY._) Bring that table
over for Mr. Stickson Triplets.

TRIPPETT. _Not_ Stickson Triplets! _Nixon Trippett!_

(_TULLY brings small table from down L. and places it on left of
arm-chair. TRIPPETT brings chair from left of table R.C. and places it
on left of small table._)

JOHN. I beg your pardon.

(_TULLY moves round to back of arm-chair on left of MAMIE._)

TRIPPETT (_sits and preparing to write in notebook_). Now then,
Mr.--_John_ Ayers, isn't it?

JOHN. Yes, John Ayers.

(_TRIPPETT writes._)

Oh, my back! Oh!

MAMIE. Poor John!

TULLY. Poor John!

TRIPPETT (_looks at TULLY, then writing again_). Tell me, Mr. Ayers,
are you married?

JOHN. Of course! (_Absent-mindedly taking TULLY'S hand in mistake for
MAMIE'S and places it by his face. Realizing his mistake he throws it
away calling him a "silly ass" and then taking MAMIE'S hand._) Yes, of
course!

TRIPPETT. Any--family?

MAMIE. Yes.

JOHN. No!!

TRIPPETT (_writing in book_). Yes _and_ no. What is your height?

JOHN. Four feet four and a bit.

TRIPPETT. Age?

JOHN. Forty-two.

TRIPPETT. Chest measurement?

JOHN. Forty-two, too.

TRIPPETT. Ever been vaccinated?

JOHN. Well, my godfather was Mr. Tully and my godmother was----

TRIPPETT. I said vaccinated----

JOHN. Oh, I beg----

TULLY. Oh no, he never catches anything!

TRIPPETT (_writing again_). Now, Mr. Ayers, you say you were
travelling in one of the company's 'buses when this accident took
place.

JOHN. Of course I was--last Friday--coming from Kew. Oh! (_Groans._)

MAMIE. Poor John!

TULLY. Poor John!

JOHN (_to MAMIE_). I'm afraid you won't have me with you much longer,
darling!

MAMIE. A-a-h! O-w-h! (_Cries aloud._)

TULLY (_leaning over and looking into TRIPPETT'S face_). It's hard to
see him struck down like this!

(_TRIPPETT rises slightly annoyed. TULLY retreats to window R., then
out of window and in by window L., starts back when he sees TRIPPETT
still watching and pointing at him with his pencil._)

TRIPPETT (_resuming_). Could you tell me who was inside the 'bus, or
describe the people in any way?

JOHN. There was a Mr. Richard Turner----

TRIPPETT (_breaking in_). Yes, we have acknowledged _his_ claim. A
cheque for five hundred was sent him this morning.

JOHN (_jumping up and leaning over to TRIPPETT_). What!!! (_Recovering
himself and sitting again._) Oh, it's only a spasm, that's all, oh, I
_am_ bad!

TRIPPETT. Could you describe anyone else who was in the 'bus?

JOHN. There were two soldiers in khaki and a _very fat old woman._

(_TRIPPETT writes. TULLY sidles round to back of arm-chair again._)

TRIPPETT. Did these people make any statement or pass any remark?

JOHN. When the collision occurred some one said it was like being out
at the front.

TRIPPETT. The stout lady said that.

(_MAMIE turns away smiling. TULLY shows surprise and disgust._)

JOHN. No, Mr. Trippett. The soldier!

MAMIE. Poor John!

TULLY (_who is now on left of TRIPPETT--pats TRIPPETT'S head_). Poor
John!

TRIPPETT (_turns on TULLY very annoyed, then back to JOHN_). Now may I
ask--why didn't you report this at the time?

JOHN. How could I? I was too stunned, I suppose.

TRIPPETT. I quite appreciate what you say, Mr. Ayers, but it's one of
our rules that you should have lodged your complaint at the time the
accident occurred.

JOHN. I suppose if a man was killed stone dead, he ought to leave his
name and address.

TRIPPETT. If he knew where he was going. But in this case the
situation is rather difficult. The Mr. Turner you mentioned just now
informed us that he was the only passenger injured in the accident and
the other occupants of the 'bus rather bear out his statement.

JOHN. How does he know? He couldn't see my back!

TRIPPETT. You see, you have no witnesses. (_Shrugs._)

JOHN. No witnesses indeed! Oh yes, I have. Don't you run away with any
idea like that. My friend Tully here was sitting next to me in the
'bus the whole of the time!

(_TULLY almost collapses._)

TRIPPETT. Oh, indeed--indeed!

TULLY (_quickly and very agitated--down to L. of TRIPPETT_). But I
make no claim! Indeed I don't. No. I make no claim! I make no claim at
all!

TRIPPETT. I don't think I have your name and address?

TULLY. Mr. Bertram Josiah Tully. (_Very important._) Number 14 Saint
Mark's Mansions.

TRIPPETT (_writing--then to TULLY_). And you yourself were not
injured?

TULLY. Not at present--I mean, not a scratch!

MAMIE. Poor John!

TULLY. Poor John!

TRIPPETT (_looks at JOHN_). How do you account for that, if he was
sitting next to you, Mr. Ayers?

JOHN. When the collision came I fell forward on the two soldiers--they
had been in training for months and were as hard as nails, and
naturally I sprained my back, while Mr. Tully here shot forward right
on top of _the fat old woman!_

TRIPPETT. And not hurt?

JOHN. She was _enormously fat!_

TRIPPETT (_to TULLY, who is now up again behind arm-chair_). And did
_you_ pass any comment at the time?

JOHN. No, but the woman did!

TULLY. I think I said, "Oh, dear, dear, (_pause_) dear!"

JOHN. Of course I shall have to take proceedings against your company
if it costs me every penny my wife's got. I mean, that I've got!

TRIPPETT. I don't think that will be necessary, Mr. Ayers, our company
is a very generous one, and although we cannot acknowledge any legal
obligation we like to treat our passengers as fairly as we can----

JOHN. I'm sure you do.

TRIPPETT. We like to make friends----

JOHN. You have a friendly face, Mr. Trippett.

TRIPPETT. We want to see you riding in our 'buses again.

JOHN. Mind you, I like your 'buses.

TULLY. They're such a pretty colour.

(_MAMIE digs TULLY in ribs._)

TRIPPETT. And if this matter could be settled at once, I'm sure you
would be most satisfied.

JOHN. I'm sure I should.

TRIPPETT. Now speaking without prejudice, what sum of money do you
fancy would compensate you?

JOHN (_to MAMIE_). What do you think, dear?

(_TULLY signalling five hundred on fingers._)

You see, there'll be all the doctor's expenses, a terrible loss of
time and money--probably funeral expenses----

MAMIE. Ah--a--a--h. (_Sobs._)

TULLY. Ah--a--a--h. (_Sobs._)

MAMIE (_sobs_). I can't bear it!

JOHN (_to TRIPPETT_). Suppose we say five hundred--without prejudice,
as you say.

TRIPPETT (_raises his eyebrows_). I'm afraid that's quite out of the
question. Do you realize what five hundred means? I'm afraid we
couldn't entertain anything like that. But I'll tell you what I _will_
do. If you like to settle the matter off-hand now and give me your
signature. I'll pay down at once, the sum of--(_taking note from
pocket and presenting it to JOHN_)--five pounds.

JOHN. Don't be absurd!

TRIPPETT. A five-pound Bank of England note, Mr. Ayers; you could go
away for a nice little holiday on a five-pun' note.

JOHN (_rises, anger rising_). Really I think you've come here to
insult me.

TRIPPETT. Certainly not, Mr. Ayers--and without prejudice I think you
would be well advised to accept my offer.

JOHN (_up to TRIPPETT_). And without prejudice I think you're a silly
ass! (_TRIPPETT rises._)

MAMIE (_comforting JOHN_). Don't upset yourself, John.

JOHN. Why doesn't he offer me a bag of nuts or a balloon!!

TRIPPETT (_getting gloves from table R.C._). I'm sorry you look at
things in that light, Mr. Ayers. (_TULLY during this speech gets
TRIPPETT'S hat and holds it perched high up on his right hand, with
his other hand he holds the door L. open._) All I can do is to hand in
my report. (_Going left._) The company's doctor will come and examine
you, and the matter will be out of my hands. (_Knocks into TULLY, sees
hat, takes it, bows to TULLY, goes to door L., turns._) I wish you
good-day, sir, (_to JOHN_) and I hope you'll soon get better.

(_Exit L. TRIPPETT, followed by TULLY._)

JOHN. I don't think I shall--£5 for a broken back!

TULLY (_rushing on from door L._). It's all right, John--Mrs. Ayers
has come back.

JOHN. What!!

MAMIE. Your wife, Jack! Hide me!

JOHN (_MAMIE tries to get under table R.C. JOHN pulls her back_). No,
that way! Hide her, Tully. (_TULLY wandering aimlessly about. JOHN
pushes him up to window R.C. MAMIE gathers up hat, etc., and goes
window R.C. TULLY gets MAMIE'S parasol from settee and JOHN pushes him
out of window._) Quick behind those curtains and take those things
away. (_Throwing MAMIE'S gloves after TULLY._)

(_JOHN gets into easy chair quickly, with blanket still round
him--groans._)

(_Enter PAMELA door L._)

PAMELA (_seeing JOHN, alarmed_). John! John! I didn't expect to find
you like this.

JOHN. And I didn't expect to see you back _quite_ so soon.

PAMELA. I've come to say I'm sorry. Mother has seen that necklace you
gave me--(_placing her bag on table down C._)--and she says it's worth
five hundred pounds----

JOHN. Mother knows!

PAMELA. But it _is_ valuable.

JOHN. Of course it is. Instead of spending my money on riotous living
I've been spending it on you.

PAMELA. How good of you! But do tell me, what has happened?

JOHN. Don't be alarmed. You know I was in a 'bus accident the other
day?

PAMELA. You were not hurt.

JOHN. Things have developed since. I think they are going to
compensate me.

PAMELA (_joyfully_). Then, you are not really ill? (_Goes down below
table._)

JOHN (_rising_). That depends--I am going into that bedroom (_pointing
R._), and I'm not coming out until that 'bus company gives me five
hundred pounds, not if I've got to lie there for a month!

PAMELA. Oh, don't say that, John!

JOHN. I know what I'm doing--I'll teach them to offer me a balloon--I
mean a five-pound nut--no, not nut--note. Now please go and get the
bed ready. (_Leading PAMELA to door R._)

PAMELA. But John----?

JOHN. Do go--to oblige me--I'm expecting the doctor here at any
minute. (_Pushes PAMELA off door R._)

(_JOHN signals to TULLY, who drags MAMIE out by the hand--they come
down a few steps._)

Quick--quick as you can----

(_PAMELA re-enters. TULLY and MAMIE get behind curtains again
quickly._)

PAMELA. But, John, it may be weeks and weeks before these people pay
out the money----

JOHN (_holding blanket high up to obscure PAMELA'S view of the room_).
Now, do please, do as I ask you, if the doctor finds me out of bed,
it'll ruin me.

PAMELA (_going back into room R._). Oh, very well!

(_Exit PAMELA._)

(_JOHN signals and TULLY drags MAMIE across to door L._)

JOHN. Go on! Hurry up! Hurry up!

(_They are nearly across to door when PAMELA re-enters._)

PAMELA (_enters_). But, John, it's just occurred to me----

(_TULLY and MAMIE turn and PAMELA faces them. JOHN falls over blanket
down R. TULLY still holds MAMIE'S hand, in his other hand he has
MAMIE'S parasol._)

JOHN. Oh--er--I don't think you have met before.

PAMELA (_slowly_). I--don't--think--we--have.

JOHN. Let me introduce you. This is my wife (_pointing to PAMELA_),
and this is (_pointing to MAMIE_)--this is--this is Mrs. Tully!

TULLY (_drops MAMIE'S hand--thunderstruck_). What!!

PAMELA (_doubtfully_). Mrs.--Tully?

JOHN. Yes, he was married _secretly_ a week ago.

TULLY (_boiling with rage_). Oh--I say!!

(_MAMIE turns her ring round to look like wedding ring and holds hand
up conspicuously._)

JOHN. I'm sorry to let the cat out of the bag, old man, but it can't
be helped!

TULLY (_rushes across stage in front of table and arm-chair, with
MAMIE'S sunshade raised in a threatening manner_). John! John!

JOHN (_kneeling to TULLY--pleadingly_). _Bertram! Bertram!!_

TULLY (_TULLY'S face relaxes and develops into a broad smile_). Oh,
John! John!! (_Giggles._)

(_PAMELA and MAMIE shake hands C._)

CURTAIN.



ACT II

SCENE.--_Same as Act I._

(_Two weeks have elapsed since the events in the preceding Act. For
alteration of furniture, see notes at end of play._)

(_JOHN AYERS and TULLY are seated at a small table down C. JOHN in
arm-chair on right of table. TULLY in small chair left of table. They
are playing cards. JOHN is dressed in pyjamas with blanket round him
as in Act I. TULLY wears a lounge suit and slippers._)

(_As the curtain rises JOHN is shuffling the cards and dealing for
nap._)

(_PAMELA enters from bedroom R. and then adjusts her hat, looking in
mirror by fireplace. She wears the pearl necklace._)

(_JOHN deals._)

PAMELA. I must say I think it is very good of you, Mr. Tully.

TULLY. Beg pardon, Mrs. Ayers.

PAMELA. I say it's very good of you to come and sit with John as you
do.

TULLY. Oh, not at all, Mrs. Ayers. It's a pleasure. John's one of the
best, in the world.

JOHN (_quickly_). No, that's not your card. (_Picking up one of
TULLY'S cards and looking at it._) Oh, yes it is. (_Putting card down
again._)

TULLY. But he's a dirty cheat.

JOHN. Heaven helps those who help themselves.

TULLY. No, John, we're here to help others.

JOHN. Then what are the others here for?

TULLY. To help the others, I suppose.

JOHN (_calling to hand_). Well, I'll go two.

TULLY. Now, Mrs. Ayers, didn't we stipulate that there were to be no
two's? (_To JOHN._) At two-handed nap you can't call less than three
surely.

(_They both argue loudly._)

PAMELA (_looking round_). Now don't quarrel, there's good children.

JOHN. Tully's a bad loser.

TULLY. I'm not. You're a bad player. How can we possibly call
two's--it's no game at all.

JOHN. Well, I go--_three!_

TULLY. Very good, I pass three.

(_They play the hand. PAMELA strolls down, putting on gloves, and
watches game._)

JOHN. Play to that. I'll give you "two's." That's one. (_Plays
again._)

TULLY. Trump! Aha!

JOHN. I'm not afraid of that.

TULLY. You won't get this. (_Plays card._)

JOHN. Thank you. (_Leads again._)

TULLY (_takes the trick_). That's another one up against you. (_Leads
again._)

JOHN (_takes the trick_). Got it! Got it! Got it!

(_PAMELA comes down to top of table._)

TULLY. Nothing could touch a hand like that.

JOHN (_teasing TULLY_). You _get_ the cards, Tully, but you don't know
how to _play_ them.

PAMELA. Oh, I think Mr. Tully plays a very excellent game.

(_They start dealing._)

Now just a moment.

JOHN. Where are you going?

PAMELA. I just want to run round and see how mother is. I'll leave
John in your care, Mr. Tully.

TULLY. Certainly, Mrs. Ayers.

PAMELA (_to TULLY_). Would you mind answering the door?

JOHN. Answering the door? Of course he will. What's he here for?

PAMELA. We sent the maids away a week ago, they talk so.

JOHN. Cook said she knew positively there was nothing the matter with
me at all.

PAMELA. So I've given them a holiday.

TULLY. Much the wisest thing to do.

PAMELA (_to TULLY_). If the inspector or the doctor from the 'bus
company calls, just ask him in and say I shall not be long. And you,
John----

JOHN. Oh, I shall get into bed like a flash of lightning.

PAMELA. I don't suppose they'll come.

JOHN (_looking at PAMELA_). Do you think it's wise to wear that
necklace on these dark nights. You might have it stolen.

PAMELA (_smiling and displaying necklace_). Ah! I've been waiting for
you to notice it.

JOHN. Well, it's running a risk. I should leave it at home if I were
you.

PAMELA. Does it look valuable to _you?_

JOHN. Of course it does.

PAMELA. Well, it isn't--this is only imitation.

TULLY. Oh, it looks just the same to me.

PAMELA. Mother had the real one copied for thirty shillings, she was
so afraid I should lose it.

TULLY. That's very thoughtful.

JOHN. Mother _does_ know.

PAMELA (_posing_). But it _looks_ genuine, doesn't it?

JOHN. It looks jolly good. (_Artfully._) What have you done with the
_real_ one?

PAMELA. Ah! that's telling! I'm never going to part with that as long
as I live. (_Crossing to door L._). Shall I give your love to mother?

JOHN. No!

PAMELA. John!

JOHN. I mean yes.

(_Exit PAMELA._)

Yes, if you like. (_To TULLY._) That's the fourteenth love I've sent
to mother this week.

(_Door slams off L._)

(_TULLY shuffles cards._)

I don't mind telling you, Tully, I'm more than sick of this business.
I've been shut up now for nearly a fortnight.

TULLY. But the doctor from the 'bus company ought to have called on
you long ago.

JOHN. He did call--last Friday week, and I happened to be out. Just my
luck. Pam saw him and made some excuse, and he said he'd call again.
But he hasn't been near the place since.

(_TULLY deals the cards for nap._)

TULLY. Their idea is of course to tire you out.

JOHN. And we've _got_ to be careful. Did you read about Dick Turner?

TULLY. He got his five hundred pounds out of them, didn't he?

JOHN. Yes. But do you know the latest? They're going to have him up
for fraud.

TULLY. Oh, dear! dear! dear! What does _Mrs._ Ayers say about it?

JOHN. The Turner case has rather upset her. She's terribly afraid of
the law. If you mention the word she has a panic.

TULLY. So you see, good people are the happiest after all.

JOHN. But they don't always look it. (_Looks at TULLY with a grin._)
Let me see now, it's my call, isn't it?

TULLY. No, John, you called last time.

JOHN. So I did. You're quite right.

TULLY (_jubilant_). I'm going nap!

JOHN. You're--going--nap?

TULLY. Yes!

JOHN (_rising_). Hark! It's the doctor--the doctor from the 'bus
company. (_Flings off blanket and rushes to door R., groaning as if in
pain._)

TULLY (_runs to window_). There's nobody there. Desist! (_Comes down
to door L._) Desist!

(_JOHN stops groaning._)

There's nobody at the door--not a sign of anyone.

JOHN. Really, are you sure? (_Coming to table C._)

TULLY. Quite sure.

JOHN (_mixing cards up all together_). All right! Deal again. Deal
again. (_Sits._)

TULLY (_comes to table--looks with disgust at cards, gathers them up
and sits_). It's a very funny thing, John, but every time I call nap
you imagine you hear the doctor coming. Coincidence, I suppose.
(_Gives a big sigh._)

JOHN. What's the matter with you, Tully? Have you ever been in love?

TULLY (_looks and smiles_). I was nearly caught once.

JOHN. Oh, what was her name?

TULLY. Agnes. (_Sorrowfully._) She made a vow that if she ever met a
really good man she would love him though he be as ugly as sin.

JOHN. And she loved you?

TULLY. Devotedly.

JOHN. Why didn't you marry the girl?

TULLY. She was so expensive.

JOHN. They all are. I don't believe woman _was_ the rib of man I
believe she was the expendix--I mean the appendix--no use to anybody.

TULLY. That's what makes me so timid. I'm so afraid that one of these
days some woman will get me into a corner and make me do something
thoughtless. (_Cards dealt._)

JOHN. I shouldn't worry about that if I were you. Let me see, it's my
call, isn't it?

TULLY. Yes.

JOHN. Well, I pass!

TULLY. You pass? Well--I--I--you can't hear the doctor coming, can
you?

JOHN. N--o.

TULLY. Well, I'm going--nap!!

JOHN. What again?

TULLY. You haven't given me a chance yet!

JOHN (_rises_). I have an idea.

TULLY. No, no, play this hand first; I've called nap.

JOHN (_searches on table L.C._). No, it's not there.

TULLY. What are you looking for?

JOHN. The--real necklace!

TULLY. She wouldn't leave it about like that.

JOHN. You don't know--she might.

(_Postman's double knock heard off L._)

(_Rushing for bedroom door._) The doctor! The doctor! (_The blanket is
left in arm-chair._)

TULLY. It isn't--it isn't the doctor. It's the postman. It's the
postman. I know his knock.

(_JOHN goes out of door L., returns with a letter and reads it C._)

JOHN (_speaking off_). Yes! You're right. There's a letter in the box.
(_Enters._)

TULLY. I told you it was only the postman. _Do_ come and play this nap
out. I've got such beautiful cards!

JOHN. Hang your nap--this is serious. It's from little Mamie Scott.

TULLY. Mamie Scott? Who's she?

JOHN. You know--your wife!

TULLY. Oh, don't start that again, _please!_ (_Rises._)

JOHN (_reading from letter_). "The Rajah declines to wait any longer
for his necklace and threatens to place the matter in the hands of the
police."

TULLY. Oh, dear! dear! dear!

JOHN. You'd better go and tell her the necklace is having its clasp
repaired and is coming back from the jeweller's to-morrow.

TULLY. Is it?

JOHN. Oh, do have a little common sense. I think I know where to find
her. Put on your hat and go round to the Five Hundred Club.

TULLY. Is that a ladies' club?

JOHN. No--er--mixed.

TULLY. No, I couldn't do that--really.

JOHN. Why not?

TULLY. I never believed in mixed schools or mixed bathing, and I'm
certainly not going to a mixed club at my time of life.

JOHN. All you've got to do is to ask for Miss Mamie Scott.

TULLY. No, no. I've never been to such a place as the Five Hundred
Club in my life.

JOHN. Take your Cheque Book with you. They'll make you very welcome.

TULLY. A great deal too welcome, I expect. No, I couldn't do it. Why
don't _you go?_

JOHN. How can I? I'm ill in bed. It's a hundred to one if I put my
foot on the doorstep I should run into the arms of the doctor, Pamela
and the whole 'bus company. Ruin, divorce and fraud await me on the
doorstep.

TULLY. Well, I'm not going.

JOHN. Don't forget you're in this as well as me; if that necklace is
lost you're a party to it.

TULLY. Oh, don't say that.

JOHN. You've acknowledged that little woman as your wife. She's not
the sort to be played with.

TULLY. Oh, don't talk like that.

JOHN. But I do talk like that.

TULLY. Here--take my key--step over the balcony--(_pointing to window
L.C._)--get through my window and go out through my flat and come back
the same way.

JOHN. Along the balcony and through your flat! They wouldn't see me
then. I could do it in twenty minutes in a taxi, couldn't I?

TULLY. Easily!

JOHN. Top-hole--that's splendid!

(_Exit door R._)

TULLY. There isn't a soul at home--the maid's out. (_At
card-table--calling._) I say, you'll play this nap out when you come
back?

JOHN (_spoken off_). What say?

TULLY. You'll play this nap out when you come _back?_

JOHN (_spoken off_). Oh yes!

TULLY. I'll leave the cards just as they are.

JOHN (_spoken off_). Right-o!

TULLY. I won't look at your hand.

JOHN (_off_). All right!

TULLY. Do you know this is the fourth nap I've been done out of?

JOHN (_off_). Bad luck!

TULLY. How long will you be?

JOHN (_off_). About twenty minutes, I should say.

TULLY. Somehow I don't quite like being left here alone.

JOHN (_off_). Why not?

TULLY. I have a presentiment of impending disaster.

JOHN (_off_). Say it again!

TULLY (_shouting_). I have an impediment of presenting disaster.

(_JOHN enters in overcoat, muffler and hat. N.B.--He completes his
change after next exit._)

JOHN. You do get hold of the most absurd expressions! Now, all we've
got to do is to keep Mamie quiet until we get this money and then
everything will be O.K. (_Crossing up to window, L.C._). I'll be as
quick as I can. Which way do I go?

(_Both by open window up L.C._)

TULLY. Just step over the balcony.

(_Exit JOHN through window._)

The second window to the right. (_Calling after JOHN._) Mind the
geraniums, just step over them and don't be seen.

JOHN (_heard off_). They'll take me for a creeper, won't they?

(_TULLY stands out on balcony watching JOHN._)

(_PAMELA rushes in dramatically, closing the door after her._)

PAMELA. John! John! The doctor--the doctor. (_Rushes across and opens
door R., calling off._) John! The doctor from the Motor 'Bus Company
is coming--John. (_Back to C., moves card-table to L._) John, John!
Where are you!

(_TULLY comes down from window._)

Oh, Mr. Tully, where's John?

TULLY. I couldn't say at the moment.

PAMELA. John! Is he in the house?

(_TULLY opening and shutting his mouth, but saying nothing._)

Oh, please don't stand there yawning!

TULLY. I'm not yawning. I'm trying to say something.

PAMELA. Where--is--John?

TULLY (_with a gulp_). He's out.

PAMELA. Out! Impossible! Are you sure?

TULLY. Q--q--quite sure.

PAMELA. Where has he gone?

TULLY. He's gone to--five hundred clubs----

PAMELA (_turning down L._). Great Heavens! And we've waited for this
day!

TULLY. We? We've waited for this day?

PAMELA (_dashes to door L. Stands with her back to it_). Mr. Tully,
you and I are the only people in this house.

TULLY (_alarmed and going down R._) Oh, don't say that--don't say
that?

PAMELA. We cannot miss this opportunity!

TULLY. Opportunity? Can't we? Oh, don't say that! Don't say that!
(_Moving away in apprehension._)

PAMELA. But I do say it. (_Crossing C._) And you can't have an atom of
pluck unless you do as I ask.

TULLY. Really, this is most embarrassing.

PAMELA (_madly_). I want you to get into pyjamas as quickly as you
can. (_Removes her hat and putting it on table L.C._)

TULLY. Get into pyjamas! I've never been asked to do such a thing in
my life! (_Trembling all over._) Not for all the gold in the Bank of
England, Mrs. Ayers.

PAMELA (_coming C._). Yes, yes, _please._ For my sake! dear Mr. Tully
(_Then up to window L._)

TULLY. Not for any woman breathing. Your endearments are wasted on me.
Oh, I knew this would happen one day. I knew some woman would get me
into a corner.

PAMELA. I only want you to take John's place.

TULLY. Hoh! Hoh!

PAMELA. Please--please--(_advancing to TULLY_)--just for a little time
while John is out.

TULLY. But it's right against my principles.

PAMELA. It's our only chance. (_Crosses to arm-chair, kneels on front
of it, looking up at TULLY, who is behind it, and pleading._) He may
be back here at any moment. You'll have to do this for me really, Mr.
Tully.

TULLY. I'll never do it unless you use force--and a woman can't force
a man to get into pyjamas. It isn't legal! (_Dashes up to window R.
PAMELA follows him._) If you come any nearer I'll shriek from the
window!

(_Bell heard off L._)

PAMELA (_up to window L. quickly--looks out--then back again_). There
_is_ the doctor! I knew it! Now what on earth are we going to do

TULLY. The doctor??

PAMELA. Yes, the doctor!

TULLY. The doctor??? (_Sits in arm-chair._) Oh--the doctor! Why
_didn't_ you make your meaning clear just now?

PAMELA. What did you think I meant?

(_TULLY very embarrassed._)

What did you think I meant? (_Coming down to TULLY._)

TULLY. Well, what you said.

(_Bell heard off L._)

PAMELA. That man is out there on the doorstep now, and--and there's no
John. A doctor and no patient! And we swore he was unable to leave his
bed.

TULLY. Oh, dear, dear, dear!

(_Bell heard off L.--Both listen._)

(_Rising._) Perhaps if we keep quite quiet he'll go away.

PAMELA. No, he knows we _must_ be in the house. Mr. Tully, this doctor
has never even seen John--doesn't know him from Adam.

TULLY. I won't impersonate Adam!

PAMELA. Would it be asking too much of you to let him think that
you--are--my husband?

TULLY. Well, if you put it like that, and you think I could, I'll do
my best.

PAMELA. Very well, go and get into bed.

TULLY. Oh no, I couldn't get into bed. I can't bear people to see me
in bed. What about the chair? The inspector saw John when he was
sitting up. Why couldn't he see me in the chair?

(_Bell heard off._)

PAMELA. Oh, very well. Be as quick as you can. I'll keep the doctor
talking. (_Crossing to door L._) Groan--groan when you're ready. Get
into John's pyjamas. (_At door._) I'd do the same for you!

(_PAMELA runs off L._)

TULLY. Oh! O-oh!

(_TULLY runs off R._)

(_TULLY re-enters with pyjamas, puts them on back of arm-chair, looks
round room, hops up to window L., draws curtains, hops along to window
R., draws curtains--goes to Standard lamp above door L., switches off
light--then over to arm-chair--he puts on pyjama jacket over clothes,
picks up pyjama trousers, holds them against himself--then looks
towards doors R. and L., as if some one might be looking through
keyholes, goes to fireplace and brings small firescreen to down to R.
of arm-chair--puts on trousers, jumps himself into them, fastens them
up, takes screen back to fireplace, comes back to arm-chair, wraps
blanket round him, lies back in arm-chair and groans loudly. PAMELA
enters and crosses to TULLY._)

PAMELA. I've told him you're not awake. Pretend to be asleep.
(_Switches on lights and exit L. Re-enters almost immediately holding
door open._) Oh, come in, doctor. (_Then crossing to TULLY._)

(_DR. BIGLAND enters, hat and bag in hand. He is a fairly corpulent
man of fifty, and blunt in manner--places hat and bag on small table
down L._)

This is our patient, doctor. (_Gets to back of arm-chair._)

DOCTOR. Ahem! Wouldn't he be better in bed?

PAMELA. That is what I try to impress on him, but he says he feels the
pain less sitting up. And you can't persuade him; his mind seems
thoroughly unhinged since the accident.

(_DOCTOR crosses over to TULLY, puts head to TULLY'S heart. TULLY
makes a face. DOCTOR raises his head, almost catching TULLY making a
face._)

A pity to wake him, don't you think?

(_DOCTOR still examining TULLY._)

This is the best sleep he's had for weeks.

(_JOHN is entering by window L., seeing DOCTOR he retires
immediately._)

DOCTOR (_having finished his examination, crosses C._) I understood he
was quite a small man.

(_TULLY slides down in chair, trying to make himself look smaller--a
very conspicuous movement._)

PAMELA. Yes, he _was._ But he seems to have grown considerably since
the accident.

(_DOCTOR goes to TULLY, feels his pulse._)

Oh, don't wake him, please doctor.

DOCTOR. Oh, I shan't wake him. Don't worry!

(_TULLY snores loudly._)

(_To PAMELA._) Any throat trouble.

PAMELA. No--I--er--he hasn't complained of any.

DOCTOR. Keeps you awake at night a good deal, I dare say? (_Going L._)

PAMELA. Oh! yes. He--does.

DOCTOR. By the way, has Mr. Trippett, the inspector of claims for our
company--has he been here to-day?

PAMELA. No--no, doctor--not to my knowledge.

DOCTOR. I was wondering, that's all. He said he would meet me here to
discuss the case.

(_TULLY shows nervousness._)

PAMELA. No, I don't think he's called.

DOCTOR. Ah, probably he'll come later. This matter has been hanging on
too long, you know. It ought to have been settled up days ago.

PAMELA. Yes, I quite--quite agree.

DOCTOR (_takes out watch_). Well, I have another call to pay--close by
here. I'll look back a little later on. Perhaps he'll be awake then.

PAMELA. Thank you, doctor. (_Crosses to door L., holds door open._)

DOCTOR (_picks up hat and follows her_). Allow _me._ (_Is going off._)

(_TULLY rises in chair and stares after him._)

Oh, I'm forgetting my bag (_Turning he almost catches TULLY looking,
TULLY collapses immediately._)

PAMELA. The weather keeps warm--doe-doe-doesn't it--d-d-doctor?

DOCTOR (_picking up bag_). It d-d-does--indeed.

(_Exit DOCTOR L., followed by PAMELA._)

(_JOHN enters at window L., comes down quickly, places hat on table
L.C., comes to TULLY. TULLY starts up._)

JOHN. Who told you to do this?

TULLY. That's the doctor from the 'Bus Company.

JOHN. And those are my new pyjamas. (_Throwing coat and scarf on to
settee at back._)

TULLY. I know--I know--er----

(_Enter PAMELA._)

PAMELA. Oh, there you are, John!

JOHN (_angrily_). Who, who is responsible for this absurd jumble?
(_Pointing to TULLY._) And who does the doctor think _that_ is?

PAMELA. Why _you!_ _You_, of course. There was no one else here when
the doctor came, and _some one_ had to be ill in bed.

JOHN. But not in a--_chair!_ I know this game backwards. If you can
get five hundred in bed, you can't get fifty in a chair. (_To TULLY._)
You've mucked up the whole show!

TULLY. I'm quite sure _I_ didn't want to do it. (_Turns his back on
JOHN._)

JOHN (_holding forth_). And it's not very flattering to me if he goes
out and about and becomes known as John Ayers.

TULLY. I simply did it to oblige your wife.

JOHN. If you are in the habit of getting into those things simply to
oblige ladies, you'll soon find yourself in the Divorce Court.

TULLY. Don't be cruel. (_Going R._)

PAMELA. It's no use arguing. The doctor has only gone a little way,
and he'll be back here at any minute.

JOHN (_to PAMELA_). Surely you could have kept the doctor waiting a
little while, or made some excuse?

PAMELA. What possible excuse could I make? Last time he called I said
you were in your bath.

JOHN. But that was last Friday week; surely another bath wouldn't be
out of place by now!

(_TULLY begins to remove trousers of pyjamas._)

PAMELA (_alarmed_). Mr. Tully--please--please not in my presence!

JOHN. For Heaven's sake be decent--be decent!

TULLY (_goes up to fireplace, gets behind screen and refastens strings
of pyjamas_). I've had enough of this.

JOHN (_back to C._). Can't you see the awful situation we're in? If
Trippett calls he'll demand to see _me_; if the doctor comes he'll
expect to see _Tully_--and if they both come together--Heaven help us!

PAMELA. Hush--Sh! (_Hurries up to window L._)

(_JOHN and TULLY start back in fear._)

JOHN. What is it? What is it?

PAMELA (_coming down_). Ah! It's nothing!

JOHN. Well, don't do it, Pam. It unnerves me.

TULLY (_coming down R._). I'd give anything to be out of this.

JOHN. Of course you would. Always thinking of yourself.

(_TULLY stoops and pulls down leg of pyjamas._)

And don't stretch those pyjamas!

TULLY. I don't enjoy the best of health. I shan't be a nuisance to you
much longer.

JOHN. Why talk like that--you know you will.

(_TULLY goes up to window R._)

PAMELA. I can't say that _I_ am enjoying the situation.

JOHN. Well, don't lose your heads.

PAMELA. Well, what are we going to do?

JOHN (_hand to forehead_). Already I have the whole scheme laid out
here. It's perfectly simple. This is absolutely an inspiration.
Tully--Tully--must--cut--off--his--moustache!

TULLY (_crossing to JOHN_). No--I'm ready to oblige to a certain
extent--but I'm not going to be messed about!

JOHN. It's absolutely necessary. I've always been clean-shaven, and
it's the first thing that is noticed in a man. (_To PAMELA._) Now get
me a pair of scissors--quickly. (_Pushing TULLY into arm-chair R._)

(_PAMELA gets scissors from table L.C. and takes them to JOHN. She
stands in front of TULLY. JOHN cuts off TULLY'S moustache._)

TULLY. I protest. I'm not going to be chopped about.

JOHN (_over TULLY_). If you only keep still you won't know anything
about it. Now, don't move or I shall hurt you.

TULLY. I protest--I pro--gurr! gurr!

PAMELA (_holding TULLY down in arm-chair_). Oh, don't choke him, John!

JOHN. I wouldn't do anything in the world against his wishes. Keep
still. Bertram!

(_Moustache is cut off. JOHN goes down R. PAMELA goes down L. TULLY
sits up in chair._)

I don't know why you are making all this fuss. There's practically
nothing of it when you come to gather it up. There! I've never seen
you look so handsome. (_Placing moustache in waistcoat pocket._)

PAMELA. Really, I think it suits you, Mr. Tully.

TULLY. But don't you see, the doctor's already seen me _with_ a
moustache.

JOHN. Oh, lor!

TULLY. And this is my flute night down at the Mission. (_Bell heard
off L._)

PAMELA. It's the doctor back again, I expect.

(_Runs up to window L., looks off._)

JOHN (_pulling TULLY out of chair._) Go on, get into bed. (_Leads
TULLY to door R._)

TULLY. You don't think he'll operate on me? Do you?

(_Exit TULLY door R._)

PAMELA. John, it's a woman.

JOHN (_advancing_) A woman!

PAMELA. It's Mrs. Tully----

JOHN (_back quickly to door R., puts back against it_). Mrs. Tully!!!

PAMELA (_comes down C._) Whatever is she coming here for?

JOHN. She knows I'm an invalid and can't leave the house, and I
suppose she imagines that her husband is here. Now, you had better not
be seen. Go across quickly into the dining-room (_crossing to PAMELA_)
and shut yourself in.

PAMELA. I want to know exactly why Mrs. Tully has called here.

JOHN. There's no time to discuss anything. Will you please go and hide
in the dining-room?

PAMELA. And leave you alone with that woman? Most certainly not!

JOHN. Then perhaps _you_ will be good enough to explain to Mrs. Tully
why _her_ husband is in _your_ bedroom!

PAMELA. No, no! Why can't you explain it.

JOHN. Not in your presence.

PAMELA. Couldn't Mr. Tully explain if we send his wife in to him?

JOHN. Good heavens, no! He'd go mad!

PAMELA. Why should he?

JOHN. Well--er--he's only recently been married, and he's not in his
own flat or in his own bed. Hang it, he's not in his own pyjamas!

PAMELA. Well, I'm going to ask him. (_To door R._)

JOHN. Do please listen to reason, Pam.

PAMELA (_knocking on door and calling to TULLY_). Mr. Tully, are you
in bed?

TULLY (_heard off_). Yes!

PAMELA. Your wife has called.

TULLY (_heard off--a long moan of agony_). Oh-h-h-h!

PAMELA. I say your wife has called. We are sending her in to you.

TULLY. Oh-o-h-h-h!

PAMELA. Will you kindly explain everything to her?

(_Glass and crockery crash off R._)

(_PAMELA staggers back from door. JOHN backs up a little rather
frightened._)

JOHN. That's done it!

(_TULLY dashes into room--makes a dive for door L. JOHN catches him
and swings him into chair L.C. TULLY has blanket round his shoulders
and head. He half sits, half lies, in chair in a collapsed
condition._)

TULLY. Let me go--let me go!

JOHN (_across to PAMELA_). I told you what would happen.

PAMELA. Shall I go and fetch mother?

JOHN. Fetch mother! Good heavens, no! Give the poor devil a chance.
Have you got any smelling salts?

PAMELA. Scent spray----

JOHN. Yes, that'll do.

(_PAMELA gets scent spray from mantelpiece and gives it to JOHN. JOHN
squirts scent into TULLY'S face. TULLY sneezes loudly._)

PAMELA. It's the most extraordinary thing I've ever experienced--to
see a man so afraid of his wife.

JOHN. Ah, some of us don't show it like he does.

(_Bell heard off L._)

His marriage was a mistake from the first. (_To PAMELA._) Will you go
into the dining-room now, and I'll see Mrs. Tully here in the presence
of her husband and explain everything.

PAMELA. If Mr. Tully will promise to remain in the room.

JOHN. Yes! Yes!

TULLY. No! No!

JOHN (_threatening TULLY with spray_). Yes--yes! (_TULLY cowers into
blanket._) (_To PAMELA._) Now go along as quickly as you can. (_Places
spray table R.C._)

PAMELA (_crossing to door L._). But understand I shall expect to hear
Mr. Tully's voice the whole time.

JOHN (_crossing L._). You shall--you shall. He shan't leave the room.
And when he's not talking I'll get him to sing.

(_Exit PAMELA briskly L._)

(_Turning to TULLY._) Go and let Mamie in as quickly as you can--show
her in here--then stand by that door and don't let anyone else in on
any account--_and sing_--just through the key-hole. It'll keep Mrs.
Ayers quiet.

TULLY (_crossing to door L._). You won't leave me alone with Miss
Fluffie Scott again, will you?

JOHN. I'll get rid of her as soon as ever I can. Go and let her in
quickly.

(_TULLY runs out of door L._)

(_JOHN holds the door open looking off--a moment and MAMIE hurries
in._)

Come along, Mamie.

(_JOHN shuts door, forgetting all about TULLY, and catches TULLY'S arm
in the door. TULLY gives a yell of pain, waggling his hurt fingers._)

Oh, sorry old man, I forgot!

(_TULLY shuts door._)

Now don't leave that door whatever you do--and sing--sing! (_JOHN goes
to MAMIE, who is C._)

(_TULLY stands close to door L. and sings "The Rosary."_)

MAMIE (_anxiously_). Jack, Jack! Did you get my letter?

JOHN. Your letter? What letter?

MAMIE (_seeing TULLY, who is singing loudly_). What's that?

JOHN. It's all right. He's not listening.

MAMIE. I wrote you about the necklace.

JOHN. But I sent you word last week that the necklace was in the hands
of the jeweller.

MAMIE. I know. I told the Rajah that, and he won't believe me. He's
simply furious. Where is the jeweller's? Let me take it back to him
whether it's damaged or not. Do!

JOHN. But there isn't time. I'm expecting my wife at any moment, and
you must get away from here.

MAMIE. But I dare not go home without it. (_Throwing her arms round
JOHN'S neck._) Darling, do please!

(_TULLY embarrassed, sings louder than ever._)

JOHN (_to TULLY_). Oh, dry up, dry up! (_To MAMIE._) Well, now I'll
tell you the truth--the jeweller sent the necklace back yesterday, and
I've given it to my wife to take care of.

MAMIE (_joyfully_). Then you've got it! You've got it!

TULLY (_runs towards JOHN_). You've got it? You never told me!

JOHN (_to TULLY, sharply_). Watch that door!

(_TULLY resumes singing "The Rosary."_)

(_To MAMIE._) Yes, Mrs. Ayers is wearing it.

MAMIE. Oh, I _am_ pleased. But why didn't she give it to Mr. Tully, if
she thinks I'm his wife?

JOHN. Ah, that's the point--that's the trouble. (_Nodding his head
towards TULLY._) There are some people in this world you can't trust.

MAMIE. I could tell you a few things about Mr. Tully. Ask him if he
knows a girl called Agnes--she teaches him ragtime down at the
Mission.

(_TULLY sings louder._)

JOHN (_to TULLY_). Oh, dry up! Will you dry up!!!

(_TULLY drops on "all fours" and stops singing._)

MAMIE (_looking at TULLY_). What's he doing there? Saying his prayers?

JOHN. He must keep to that door in case Mrs. Ayers comes back.

(_TULLY has stopped singing and is trying hard not to listen._)

MAMIE. Well, give me the necklace, and I'll be off at once.

JOHN. I'll send it on to you to-morrow.

MAMIE. No, I dare not go home without it.

JOHN. But how can I give it to you? Mrs. Ayers is wearing it round her
neck.

MAMIE. Can't I wait till she returns?

JOHN. No, no! She doesn't know you're here. And you must leave at once
before she comes back.

(_PAMELA knocks loudly outside door. TULLY jumps up. MAMIE and JOHN
start--all silent._)

PAMELA (_off_). I can't hear Mr. Tully's voice!

JOHN (_to TULLY_). Sing! sing!

(_TULLY resumes singing: "I hear you calling me."_)

MAMIE. That _is_ Mrs. Ayers--now you can give me the necklace.

JOHN (_back to MAMIE_). That's impossible. I don't want her to know
you're here.

MAMIE (_raising her voice_). But it doesn't matter if she thinks I am
Mrs. Tully!

TULLY. (_crosses to JOHN_). I object to that being shouted broadcast.

JOHN (_to TULLY_). You keep quiet! (_To MAMIE._) You see, he
objects--and don't be so unfeeling. We're expecting the doctor here at
any minute, I'm as ill as I can be, and Tully may be operated on at
any moment.

(_Grimaces from TULLY._)

MAMIE. I don't care who's operated on. I'm not going home without that
necklace. (_Almost in tears._)

JOHN. Can't you see the trouble we're in?

MAMIE. There'll be worse trouble when the Rajah arrives.

JOHN. Good heavens! You haven't told the Rajah about me?

MAMIE. What else could I do? And I had to give him your address.

JOHN. Oh, Tully, Tully, she's given the Rajah my address!

MAMIE (_bursting into tears_). What else could I do? Boo--boo---- It's
not my fault, and why should I be blamed for it. Boo, boo, boo!
(_Sitting in arm-chair R._)

JOHN (_down to MAMIE_). There, don't cry, don't cry.

(_TULLY bursts into tears._)

What's the matter with you?

TULLY. I can't bear to see a woman cry.

(_MAMIE shrieks and yells and kicks up her feet._)

JOHN. Hold her feet down! (_Sits on MAMIE'S feet._) (_To TULLY._)
_Don't leave that door!_

(_TULLY peeps out of door L. and crosses to JOHN._)

TULLY. John! The doctor's arrived!

JOHN (_still sitting on MAMIE'S feet_). Say--say you're having a bath;
you won't be long.

TULLY (_speaking through keyhole_). I'm in my bath! I shan't be
long!!!

JOHN. You're not shouting the odds at a race meeting!

TULLY. I'm in my bath--I shan't be long--splash--splash--(_moves up
and down, as if covering himself with water_) splash. (_TULLY uses
blanket like a towel, drying his back, up and down, exaggerated
movements._) I'm drying--I'm dying----

JOHN. Oh! Good heavens, this is awful. (_Rises, looks at MAMIE._)
She's fainting, she's fainting, what shall we do?

TULLY. Put a key down her back!

JOHN. Well, give me a key. (_TULLY rushes to door L._) No! Not that
one, idiot! We may want that! (_TULLY takes long strides over to door
R._)

JOHN. You'll split those pyjamas!

(_TULLY gives JOHN key from door R._)

Is this the proper thing to do? (_Drops key behind MAMIE on to
arm-chair--as if down her back._)

JOHN. Ah! she's coming round. No more tears! No more tears, little
girl!

MAMIE (_rises and puts arm on JOHN'S shoulder_). No, no more tears, no
more tears! (_Turning R. she sees TULLY--and screams at sight of
him--turns to JOHN._)

JOHN (_leading MAMIE off into room R._). There, dear, no more tears,
you come along into this room and you shall have the necklace, I
promise you----

MAMIE. You really mean that, Jack----

JOHN. Of course I mean it--now come along.

(_Exit MAMIE and JOHN room R._)

TULLY. Oh, Mrs. Ayers! (_Going C. and singing:_) "Oh dry those tears,
oh calm those fears."

JOHN (_entering quickly and trying to lock door R._). The key--where's
the key?

TULLY. You put it down Fluffie's back!

(_PAMELA rushes on from door L._)

PAMELA. The doctor says he can't wait much longer.

(_Exit PAMELA quickly._)

JOHN (_crosses to TULLY_). I suppose you realize that something's got
to be done. This girl demands the necklace--the police have been
informed, and the Rajah is rampant. The 'Bus Company claim me as a
patient, and my married happiness rocks in the balance.

TULLY. Oh, don't talk like that.

JOHN. Go on, get into that chair. (_Pushing TULLY to arm-chair R._)

TULLY. Haven't I done enough for one day?

JOHN. At this very moment you can wreck my life, and you're going to
take advantage of it. Bertram! Bertram!

(_Presses TULLY down into arm-chair R._)

What did I do with those pieces of your moustache?

TULLY. You put them in your pocket.

JOHN. Ah, so I did. (_JOHN picks up hat and is going to window._)

TULLY (_in arm-chair and drawing blanket round him_). You're not going
to leave me in this awful predicament?

JOHN. I shall be back immediately. I have a brilliant idea, that will
clear up everything. Now, don't forget you are John Ayers.

TULLY. I'm John Ayers??

JOHN (_over to door L._). You can come in. (_Back to TULLY._) Moan a
little, and for heaven's sake try and look intelligent.

(_JOHN goes off through windows left. TULLY makes faces, as if
intelligent. PAMELA enters L., followed by DOCTOR._)

PAMELA (_crossing to TULLY_). Ah, here he is, doctor.

DOCTOR (_putting hat and bag on table L.C._). Is he awake?

PAMELA. Are you awake, dear?

TULLY. No! (_PAMELA slaps his head_)--er--yes--yes.

DOCTOR. Still sitting up, and after a bath too; it's not wise.

PAMELA. We can't keep him in bed; he's so full of spirits.

DOCTOR. Yes, yes, I quite understand. Now, don't distress yourself, my
dear lady. (_Gets chair from R. of table L.C. and places it on left of
arm-chair._) You have your own medical man attending, of course.

PAMELA. Oh yes, doctor, of _course._ (_Imitating doctor's accent._)
But I don't think he understands the case, although he thinks it very
serious.

(_DOCTOR sits in chair. Loud knocks heard off L._)

DOCTOR. I think that must be Mr. Trippett.

(_TULLY starts up--frightened._)

PAMELA (_going to door L._). Excuse me a moment.

(_Exit PAMELA door L._)

(_DOCTOR watches her off. TULLY quickly rises and hides behind
arm-chair. DOCTOR turns round to examine TULLY, finds the chair empty,
looks dumbfounded, scratches his head, pushes blanket down, which has
been left on chair, turns left, looks under his own chair, then looks
up L. TULLY gets quickly back into arm-chair again and pulls blanket
round him--feigns sleep. DOCTOR turns again to arm-chair, sees TULLY,
can't believe his eyes, pinches himself, lifts TULLY'S arm. TULLY
drops it. DOCTOR lifts TULLY'S arm again. TULLY holds it up this time
and moves fingers._)

DOCTOR. Now then, young man, I want you to tell me exactly where you
feel this pain. We don't want you to remain an invalid all your life,
although I dare say a little compensation will act as a wonderful
restorative.

(_PAMELA enters holding door open._)

JOHN (_peeping round door_). Say it's Mr. Tully. (_JOHN is wearing a
moustache._)

PAMELA (_announcing_). Er--Mr. Tully.

TULLY (_rising_). Yes!

PAMELA. It's Mr. Tully.

(_JOHN enters._)

(_DOCTOR turns and looks at JOHN. TULLY walks on knees round arm-chair
and then sits covering himself with blanket._)

JOHN (_posing as TULLY_). May I come in? How d'ye do, Mrs. Ayers? So
pleased to see you. And how is the patient to-day?

PAMELA. Not much better, I'm afraid.

JOHN. Oh no, he's worse--a lot worse. I can see that. (_Going behind
TULLY._) Poor old John!

TULLY. Poor John!

JOHN. I don't think we shall have him with us much longer.

(_TULLY sits up._)

(_Softly._) Bertram.

(_TULLY falls back._)

DOCTOR. I don't think it's wise to dishearten the patient like that.

PAMELA (_to JOHN_). This is the doctor from the Motor 'Bus Company.

JOHN. Oh, how d'ye do? (_DOCTOR turns to JOHN._) I'm a very old friend
of Mr. Ayers, and I'm very sorry to see him struck down like this.
(_TULLY falls R. half off chair. JOHN pulls him back again._) It's a
very serious matter.

DOCTOR. Yes. The Company wish me to convey their deep sympathies.

JOHN. Deep sympathies aren't much good. I'm afraid it will cost them
something more than that.

DOCTOR. Oh! He'll be up and about in a few days.

JOHN. Oh no he won't.

DOCTOR. Oh yes he will!

JOHN. Oh no he won't!

DOCTOR. Oh yes he will!

JOHN. Oh no he won't! _I_ can promise you that. Can't you see the man
has been terribly knocked about? (_Aside to TULLY._) Groan!

(_TULLY groans long and loudly._)

DOCTOR. Now, tell me, Mrs. Ayers, is he thirsty at all?

PAMELA. No, doctor.

DOCTOR. No, no, he wouldn't be.

JOHN. But the pain in his back is simply terrible. He raves! (_Aside
to TULLY._) Rave!

(_TULLY raves, pulls hair up on end, imagines he sees something, tries
to catch it, and continues any mad business. DOCTOR follows his
movements closely and seriously._)

DOCTOR (_to PAMELA_). Does he have any pains in the head?

PAMELA. N-no--doctor.

DOCTOR. No, no, he wouldn't have.

JOHN. But his mind's affected.

DOCTOR. Is he--is he sleepy at all?

PAMELA. No, not as a rule, doctor.

DOCTOR. No, no.

JOHN. No, no, he wouldn't be. (_Imitating DOCTOR._)

DOCTOR. How dare you, sir? (_Turns away in a rage._) Of course a good
deal of this may proceed from a previous debilitated state.

PAMELA. Debilitated?

DOCTOR. I understand the patient has led rather a--well--if I may be
allowed to say so--rather a gay life?

(_TULLY rises annoyed._)

JOHN. Oh no, you're quite wrong. (_Pointing to TULLY._) No one can
ever say that John Ayers went the pace. I've known John ever since I
was born and I can safely say he's a living saint, isn't he, Mrs.
Ayers?

PAMELA (_with a gulp_). Er--yes--yes, of course.

JOHN. If anyone knocks about at all, you might accuse me. I'm known
everywhere as Tully the Rake.

(_TULLY sits up in protest._)

(_Aside._) Bertram!

(_TULLY falls back in chair._)

DOCTOR. There's just one more question, Mrs. Ayers. Does he have any
cold sweats?

JOHN. Yes, he lives entirely on soda-water.

DOCTOR. I said, sir, does he have any _cold sweats_?

JOHN. Oh, I beg your pardon, I thought you said Schweppes.

DOCTOR. Schweppes!!

PAMELA (_crossing to R. of arm-chair_). Yes, he perspires a good deal.

JOHN (_aside to TULLY_). Perspire!

(_TULLY perspires--wipes head--then wrings handkerchief out._)

DOCTOR. Perspires. That's quite natural. (_To TULLY._) Now then, will
you tell me exactly where you feel this pain in the back?

JOHN (_getting between DOCTOR and TULLY_). Just up between the ribs.

(_DOCTOR digs JOHN in back._)

Oh, that's the very place!

DOCTOR. Will you _let the patient_ tell me?

JOHN. But he doesn't know as well as I do.

TULLY (_pointing to JOHN_). Mr. Ayers--er--Mr. Tully, this gentleman
knows all about it.

DOCTOR. Mr. Tully, Mr. Tully! Where have I heard that name before? Ah,
_you_ were in the 'bus accident with him, I believe? (_To JOHN._)

JOHN. No, that was my brother.

DOCTOR. Your brother? And he escaped unhurt?

JOHN. Er--yes. He fell on top of a fat old woman who was sitting
opposite.

DOCTOR. Yes, that poor lady had three ribs broken. (_Rises._) Still,
that concerns your brother. (_Sarcastically. JOHN and TULLY exchange
looks. DOCTOR takes chair up to R. of table L.C., opens bag._) I can't
quite understand all this, you know--according to Mr. Trippett's
report, the patient was a much smaller man. (_Takes out stethoscope
from bag, wiping it with his handkerchief and coming down L._)

JOHN (_over to DOCTOR_). Surely, you're not going to measure him,
doctor? Hang it all, he's not dead yet.

DOCTOR. No, I simply wish to examine him, that's all. (_Turning to
JOHN._) Although I have taken the measure of many people in my time.

(_JOHN turns away and up stage._)

Now, Mrs. Ayers, will you kindly loosen the patient's things a
little--just in front.

(_TULLY drags his pyjama jacket tightly round him, very much alarmed.
PAMELA looks at JOHN in despair._)

JOHN (_down to TULLY_). Perhaps _I_ can assist.

DOCTOR. I shall feel much obliged, sir, if you will not interfere.
(_DOCTOR goes over to table down L., keeps his back towards the
others._)

PAMELA. Couldn't you examine him better in bed, doctor?

DOCTOR. Undoubtedly!

(_MAMIE enters from door R. JOHN sees her and pushes her back._)

JOHN. No, I can't let him go into bed. I don't advise it. (_Shutting
door R._)

TULLY. And I'm not going to strip.

(_Bell heard off L._)

PAMELA (_up to window L., looks off_). It's Mr. Trippett!

DOCTOR. Mr. Trippett, good! He's just in time!

JOHN (_to TULLY_). Good! He's just in time. That _is_ lucky. I _am_
glad!

DOCTOR. He promised to meet me here. (_Takes out watch._)

JOHN (_crosses to DOCTOR_). Isn't it Motor 'Bus etiquette for you to
discuss the case with Mr. Trippett in private?

DOCTOR. No, I don't think that's at all necessary.

(_Goes up to table L.C., puts stethoscope in bag._)

JOHN. I'm sure both Mr. and Mrs. Ayers would like you to consult
before anything is said or done in the matter. The dining-room is at
your service.

PAMELA (_crossing to and opening door L._). Yes--yes--of course.

DOCTOR. Well, if you particularly wish it, I'll see Mr. Trippett.

PAMELA. This way, doctor.

DOCTOR. I thank you, madam, I thank you.

(_DOCTOR exits, followed by PAMELA. JOHN places chair L.C. under
table. TULLY jumps up._)

TULLY. I've had enough of this! I'm going mad!

JOHN. Bertram! Bertram!

TULLY. Bertram be damned! (_Holds his mouth instantly._)

JOHN (_crosses to TULLY_). I think you're very ungrateful. Just as
everything's going so splendidly.

TULLY. Splendidly! Is it? Do you think Mr. Trippett and the doctor are
going to swallow this tale. I've lost my reputation and I've lost my
moustache!

(_PAMELA rushes in and closes door._)

PAMELA. Mr. Trippett would like to see you now. He's in rather a
hurry. What will you do?

JOHN. That's all right. Send Trippett in here in two seconds and keep
the doctor in there and keep calm.

(_PAMELA exits L._)

TULLY. Everything's going splendidly. Everything's going splendidly.
(_Taking wild leaps into the air._)

JOHN (_to TULLY_). Go on, get behind that screen.

(_Gets into chair and draws blanket round him._)

TULLY (_going up to fireplace_). If ever I get out of this I'll leave
the neighbourhood. (_Kneels behind screen in fireplace._)

JOHN. Don't talk like that.

MAMIE (_rushes on from door R._). Jack, I can't wait any longer.
Where's the necklace?

JOHN (_rises and crosses to MAMIE_). It's all right, only wait.

MAMIE. My darling, what _have_ you been doing?

JOHN. What?

MAMIE. That dreadful moustache.

JOHN. Oh, they've been putting me under glass. (_Pushes MAMIE off down
R._)

(_TULLY groans._)

Don't you groan. I'm the patient now!

(_Sits in arm-chair again. PAMELA rushes in to C. TULLY peeps round
from screen._)

PAMELA. John, the doctor says he must examine you before discussing
the case with Mr. Trippett.

JOHN (_rising_). Good heavens! Can't they make up their minds? They
must be a couple of weathercocks. All right--send the doctor in--wait
till you hear Tully groan.

PAMELA. Mr. Tully will be in the chair?

JOHN. Yes, yes. We're quite prepared. Wait till he groans, that's all.

(_PAMELA exits L._)

(_To TULLY._) Go on, get into that chair. (_Arranging blanket._) The
doctor's coming in.

(_TULLY comes down to arm-chair. PAMELA rushes in._)

PAMELA (_breathlessly_). John, Mr. Trippett and the doctor are both
coming in together!

JOHN. Both together!

(_JOHN and TULLY both rush for arm-chair._)

Wait, I know. Say there's an escape of gas.

PAMELA. Electric light! Look!

TULLY. Say the lease of the flat is up!

JOHN (_pushing TULLY into chair_). Don't be a fool. Say I'm dead!

(_Door-bell heard off L._)

PAMELA (_up to window_). John, there's a coloured man at the door!

JOHN. A coloured man! Good heavens, it's the Rajah!

(_TULLY rushes up to windows R.C. with blankets on arm._)

PAMELA. The Rajah?

JOHN. Yes! Tell him I'm buried and won't be back for a week!

(_MAMIE enters door R._)

PAMELA. But who _is_ the Rajah?

JOHN. Just a friend of mine.

MAMIE. Excuse me, he's a friend of _mine._

PAMELA. Yours!

MAMIE. Yes, a friend of mine, and I _must_ have that necklace. Will
you kindly give it to me, Mrs. Ayers?

PAMELA. This necklace--how dare you--it's mine.

(_MAMIE and PAMELA both quarrel violently about it and argue madly
till fall of curtain. TULLY goes to MAMIE at the same time as JOHN
goes to PAMELA. They both throw the men off. TULLY has taken blanket
from arm-chair. JOHN is going to door L._)

TULLY. Not that way, John! Not that way!

(_JOHN and TULLY meet centre, TULLY throws blanket over both of them
and they crawl out of window L. DOCTOR and TRIPPETT enter together
talking. DOCTOR sees the two men crawling off, he draws TRIPPETT'S
attention, and they both look on aghast._)

CURTAIN.



ACT III

SCENE.--_A room in TULLY'S flat. Lights out to open. A similar room in
construction in every way to scene in Act I excepting that it is
furnished differently. Two French windows at back opening on to
balcony, door R. leading to hall and street. Door L. leading to
bedroom. It is twilight as the curtain rises. A letter and telegram
lie unopened on table about L.C. and a settee is placed well in view
below door L. A plan of the scene will be found at the end of the
play. URSULA, TULLY'S maid, enters R., switches on lights--switch
above door R. Lights go up._)

URSULA (_in sombre tones_). You can come h'in.

(_Enter AUNT HANNAH. She is very tall and stout, old-fashioned, but a
lady._)

AUNT HANNAH (_entering_). Thank you, thank you, (_goes to chair R. of
table L.C._) thank you. (_Sits._) Oh, dear me, I am glad to sit down.
Phew! I only left the hospital this morning.

URSULA (_standing C._). You don't say.

AUNT HANNAH. Yes. I was in a terrible 'bus accident about three weeks
ago, and I had three of my ribs broken.

URSULA. You don't say.

AUNT HANNAH. It was my first experience of a motor 'bus too. They're
most dangerous things. Aren't you afraid of them?

URSULA. I ain't afraid of nothink.

AUNT HANNAH. Dear me, what courage! What courage!

URSULA (_crossing to L. of table L.C._). Take anything?

AUNT HANNAH. N-o, no thank you. I've had my _tea._ And so my nephew's
out?

URSULA. Been h'out since lunch.

AUNT HANNAH. Didn't he say he expected me?

URSULA. About three weeks ago he mentioned your name, but not since.

AUNT HANNAH. Yes, that was when I came up from Exeter. I was coming on
to see him then when I was injured in the 'bus, and they took me
straight away to the hospital.

URSULA. You don't say!

AUNT HANNAH (_tapping walking-stick on floor_). But I _do_ say. But I
sent him a telegram saying I was coming to-day.

URSULA (_pointing to table_). Telegram.

AUNT HANNAH. Oh yes. Oh yes! Unopened?

URSULA. Come h'after the master left.

AUNT HANNAH. Oh dear! What a pity! But he'll be home shortly, I
suppose, or doesn't he keep good respectable hours?

URSULA. Nothing to find fault with.

AUNT HANNAH. Has he any--er--lady friends?

URSULA. H'only one--h'Ag--er--ness.

AUNT HANNAH. I hope she's a good girl.

(_Noise off. PAMELA, MAMIE, JOHN and TULLY continuing argument loudly
off R. as at end of Act II._)

Oh, what's that?

URSULA. People next door, I suppose.

(_Noise ceases._)

AUNT HANNAH (_opening her cloak_). Dear me! It's close!

URSULA. Removing your things?

AUNT HANNAH. Yes, I should like to. (_Rising._)

URSULA (_goes to door L., opens door and holds door open_). Bedroom
this way.

AUNT HANNAH (_crossing to door_). How very convenient. And I find
every one in London so very kind and polite.

URSULA (_closing door almost on AUNT HANNAH_). In there!!

(_Noise off again._)

AUNT HANNAH. Thank you. Thank you!

(_Exit AUNT HANNAH door L._)

URSULA (_closes door, crosses up R._). 'Orrible neighbours--'orrible
neighbours!

(_Exit URSULA door R. TULLY appears in pyjamas, peeping through
curtains R. of C. he steals into room and runs down to chair L.C.,
looks round room. JOHN crawls on through window R. of C. with blanket
over him, following TULLY on._)

TULLY. Home at last. Home at last!

JOHN. It's all right! (_Throws blanket on chair at back._) I've made a
barricade with the geranium pots. Nobody could get over without making
a _terrible_ smash. We should be sure to hear them.

TULLY. Good, then we're safe for the moment. (_Groans loudly._)

JOHN. Don't make a scene! Don't make a scene!

(_Going up to window. AUNT HANNAH enters and seeing TULLY in pyjamas
she gives a scream and goes off door L. quickly. JOHN and TULLY both
start and look round the room._)

JOHN (_to TULLY_). Don't do it! Don't do it!

TULLY. I distinctly heard a woman's voice.

JOHN (_approaches window gingerly_). 'Sh! Don't make a noise. I'm
listening for the flower-pots to fall.

TULLY. What will happen if Mr. Trippett and the doctor come in and
find us gone?

JOHN. They dare not enter while the two women are arguing, perhaps
fighting. I'm only thinking what a little cat Mamie was to come out
just when everything was going so splendidly.

TULLY. Whatever induced you to run after a girl like that?

JOHN. Is there anybody in this flat?

TULLY. Only the maid.

JOHN. Well, send her out.

TULLY. She's just _been_ out.

JOHN. Never mind--send her out fifty times if it'll only help us.

(_TULLY groans._)

Don't give way! Don't give way! I've got an idea. I'm going to cut the
electric wires of the whole block of flats. I think I know where they
run. Now you go and get her out of the house. Don't lose a moment.
Please go, Bertram!

(_TULLY groans and exits door R._)

(_Calling after him._) It isn't often I ask you to do anything!

(_JOHN thinks. He has a brilliant idea. Takes out his penknife and
goes to wall at back, feels along wall._)

No, that's not it. (_Looks at wall below door L._) Ah, that looks more
like it. Yes. (_Plunges his knife into wall, a jet of soda water comes
out through rubber tube fixed in flat below door, the spout of a soda
syphon is pushed in other end of rubber tube outside, and at the cue_)
Got it! Got it! (_The water is squirted through._) Oh, damn, confound!

(_JOHN immediately places his hand over tube and with his handkerchief
stops the flow of water. Syphon is removed and placed on floor ready
for next squirt of water._)

TULLY. Help! Help! Help! (_Heard off._)

(_TULLY dashes on door R. and slamming door holds on to handle as if
besieged._)

JOHN. What's up? What's the matter with you?

TULLY (_trembling all over_). The maid doesn't recognize me without a
moustache. She thinks I'm a burglar--and she's chasing me with a
poker.

JOHN. Chasing you?

TULLY. Yes, and if this woman gets in, she'll brain us both. Come and
help, for heaven's sake!

JOHN. I can't let go here.

TULLY. Why not?

JOHN. I thought if I could cut the main electric cable and put out the
lights next door, that the doctor and Trippett would be compelled to
leave the flat--

TULLY. Good! Go on, cut the cable.

JOHN. I have tried, I have tried! And I've cut the water-pipe instead.
It'll flood the place.

TULLY (_still holding onto door_). Oh, I'd do anything to get out of
this.

JOHN. For heaven's sake don't be so selfish, just when everything's
going so splendidly! (_Still holding on to water-pipe._)

(_AUNT HANNAH opens door L. and just enters--sees JOHN and TULLY and
with a cry exits hurriedly. JOHN and TULLY both turn on each other._)

JOHN. Don't do it! _Don't do_ it!

TULLY. I didn't do anything. If you shout like that I shall have a fit
in a moment.

JOHN. Well, we don't want to stand here all night.

TULLY. Can you reach that key out of the other door?

JOHN. I've told you I can't let go here.

TULLY. If this woman gets in our lives won't be worth having.

JOHN. Whatever made you engage such a brute?

TULLY. I can't live here alone without protection.

JOHN. What's her name?

TULLY. Ursula!

JOHN. Ursula! Give her a month's notice.

TULLY. No, I don't want to lose her.

JOHN. Women--are--no--use--unless--they--are--mastered!

TULLY. I've always heard that it was best to avoid women who are
mustard.

JOHN. Mastered--not mustard! And take off those pyjamas!

TULLY. And I ought to be playing the flute to-night down at the
Mission.

JOHN. Hang your mission! I'm trying to think what I can do here. Lend
me your handkerchief--I'll plug it up with mine and then tie it up.

TULLY (_waving his handkerchief_). Catch! Catch!

JOHN. How can I catch from here?

(_TULLY runs across with handkerchief--his pyjama trousers round his
ankles--gives handkerchief to JOHN--then sits chair C._)

You'll split those pyjamas!

TULLY (_removing pyjamas_). This is the most awful afternoon I've ever
had in my life. I shall never be the same man again.

JOHN (_ties up tube with handkerchief_). There, that'll hold, I think.
Now, I'll go and cover your retreat. (_Crosses to R._)

TULLY (_picking up telegram from table L.C._). Oh! Here's a telegram!
Telegrams always make me feel so nervous! (_Opens it and reads._) It's
from Aunt Hannah, she's coming up to-day. I've been expecting her for
the last three weeks. I am the only relation she has, and in order to
avoid the death-duties she's going to make a Deed of Gift to me
amounting to several thousand pounds!

JOHN. Several thousand pounds! Now that _is_ mean. Look at the trouble
you've put me to. You might have lent me the money and so saved me a
fortnight's illness.

TULLY (_rises_). Will you accept the £500 from me?

JOHN. I suppose I must.

TULLY. That _is_ good of you!

JOHN. Not at all! You have such a winning way with you. One can't help
doing as you wish.

TULLY (_smiles broadly_). That's taken a great load off my mind. The
old lady is very generous. Directly she arrives we must both be very
nice to her.

JOHN. Trust me for that. And I _can_ be nice when I like.

TULLY. I know you can. But what about the 'Bus Company?

JOHN. Oh yes. I'll get you to go back and say I withdraw my claim.

TULLY. Yes. I'd love to do that. (_Picking up letter from table L.C._)

JOHN. I'll buy Mamie a new necklace, and tell Pam the whole
truth--that Mamie is not your wife, but your little bit of fluff named
Agnes.

TULLY. No, I draw the line there, Mamie's _your_ fluff. _You_ must
shoulder that responsibility.

JOHN. But you're a single man. It doesn't matter about you.

TULLY. Oh yes it does. I've got to think of my reputation down at the
Mission.

JOHN. Oh, hang your mission!

TULLY. Oh, dear! (_Becomes very serious as he reads letter._)

JOHN. What's up?

TULLY. It's a letter from the Motor 'Bus Company.

JOHN. Motor 'Bus Company?

TULLY. They're going to sue _me._

JOHN. Sue _you_, what for?

TULLY. The fat woman who had three ribs broken says that I am
liable--that my fall on her was premeditated and nothing to do with
the accident. Oh, and listen to this. (_Reading._) "Our representative
will have much pleasure in calling upon you this evening at seven
o'clock."

JOHN. It's gone seven now.

TULLY. They're sending some one here to-night?

JOHN. Yes, who will they send--either Trippett or the doctor. They are
both in the neighbourhood.

TULLY. Then they may be here at any moment!

JOHN. But this is a simple matter now you've got the necessary money
coming in.

TULLY. But which one will they send, because it depends on that who
_you_ are and who _I_ am.

JOHN. Well, I'll get you to creep back and tell Pam that I withdraw my
claim--then, if the doctor calls you must get back in time to see him,
and if Trippett calls, I'll see Trippett.

TULLY. But that won't help _me_ out--if they are going to sue
me--possibly for hundreds--I'm not going to lend you this money unless
I can see a clean sheet for myself--you got me into this mess, you
must get me out of it! (_Sits C. and groans._)

JOHN. You _are_ ungrateful. After all I've _done_ for you. Are you
going to lend me the £500 or are you not?

TULLY. Certainly. But I didn't fall on top of this fat woman, and I'm
not going to be made to pay. You had the fun, you ought to suffer.

(_JOHN crosses to L. and rings bell, alarmed._)

What are you going to do?

JOHN. Do as you wish. I'm going to get you out of this trouble. I've
rung for Ursula.

TULLY. Ursula!

(_URSULA enters R., holding poker at her side. TULLY bus. trying to
hide his lip._)

JOHN (_crosses to door R._). Oh, er, good evening Ursula! (_In his
best manner._)

URSULA (_abruptly_). Evening!

JOHN. We want you to do us a favour, if you will?

URSULA. A favour?

JOHN. We want you to lend us some ladies' clothes--just for an hour or
so.

URSULA. What sort of clothes?

JOHN. Oh, nothing--er--white--nothing under--underhand--just super
clothes--and if you do this, your master will be very much obliged to
you and he'll raise your wages.

(_Bus. TULLY aghast. JOHN motioning to him to keep quiet._)

URSULA. I'll see--I'll see.

(_Exit URSULA door R._)

TULLY (_rises and comes down C._). John! What are you going to do?

JOHN. I think you will acknowledge this _is_ an inspiration. These
'bus people think they are going to corner us, I can see _their_ move.
But you and I are _far_ too smart for them.

TULLY (_in doubt_). Are we?

JOHN. It has only just struck me, _but you are the living image of the
fat old lady in the 'bus!_

TULLY (_offended_). Oh! John!

JOHN. Without the fat, of course. If you get into these clothes and
pad yourself all round, no one will know the difference.

TULLY. No, I couldn't do that. It's illegal!

JOHN. I'm doing this to get _you_ out of the pickle. I'm not doing it
for my own sake, please bear that in mind.

TULLY. But what good will it do?

JOHN. If the doctor or Trippett calls here, I shall say that I am
Tully, that is Tully's brother, that I have had an interview with the
lady in the 'bus accident and she is strongly of opinion that the 'Bus
Company is liable.

TULLY. But they'll dispute it at once.

JOHN. Naturally--then we are prepared. I shall just bring you into the
room dressed as the lady, with nothing to do but to bear out my
statement.

TULLY. No, I couldn't do it. I couldn't do it! (_Turns L._)

JOHN. Bertram! I have an idea--an idea that wouldn't occur _to one man
in a million_,

(_Enter URSULA, with bundle of clothes. Crosses to JOHN._)

and you want to ignore it. Bertram! Bertram!

URSULA. Clothes! (_Gives clothes to JOHN and exits door R._)

JOHN (_takes clothes_). Thank you, Ursula, thank you. (_Gives clothes
to TULLY._) The very thing--but you'll want a fearful lot of
padding--you're so thin. (_He gathers up cushions from couch and
arm-chair and pushes them into TULLY'S arms._) Here we are, top-hole,
beautiful padding!

TULLY. But, John, what about a bodice. I must have a bodice!

JOHN. What do you want a bodice for?

TULLY. For all this part. (_Pointing to chest._)

JOHN. I'll go and get a bodice off Ursula. Meanwhile you go into the
bedroom and get into these clothes as quickly as you can. Shave your
top lip clean. Don't forget the cushions. Arrange
them--diplomatically--you know--come out and go in--and all that sort
of thing, and I'll go and get the bodice.

(_JOHN exits door R._)

TULLY. I don't know where a woman comes out and goes in!

(_Stands looking round hopelessly, then goes to door L., opens door
and is about to enter bedroom. AUNT HANNAH screams off. TULLY shuts
door quickly, rushes up to window L. Crash of falling flower-pots
heard off R. TULLY drops clothes, etc., and rushes to door R. MAMIE
enters windows R.C. breathless and excited._)

MAMIE. Oh, there you are, Bertie! Where's Jack? Where is he?

TULLY (_coming C._). Somewhere in the house.

MAMIE. Is there anyone else in the house besides Jack?

TULLY. Only the maid--and Bogie.

MAMIE. Bogie--who's Bogie?

TULLY. My little dog.

MAMIE. Do you know that Mrs. Ayers still thinks I am your wife.

TULLY (_wriggles and nods_). Yes, I'm so sorry.

MAMIE. What?

TULLY. I mean--delighted. (_Wriggles again._)

MAMIE. Oh, don't wriggle! Things are far too serious for wriggling.
You heard about the necklace that was lent to me by my friend the
Rajah?

TULLY. Yes, I _have_ heard about it.

MAMIE. Then I want you, as my husband, to take the matter into your
hands and tell Mrs. Ayers that unless the necklace is returned to me
_at once_, _you_ will take proceedings.

TULLY. Oh, I couldn't do that, I'll call John. (_Going to door R._)

MAMIE (_pulling TULLY back_). No, don't call John. It's only natural
if you are supposed to be my husband that you should help me in this
matter. And if you don't, you'll get it in the neck right where the
chicken got the axe. (_On the verge of tears, she crosses and sits C.,
searching in her handbag for letter._) Just read this letter. It's
from the Rajah--I've never had such things said to me in my
life--boo--boo--boo! (_Crying._)

TULLY (_patting back of chair_). Don't cry, child, don't cry.

MAMIE. Where did I put it? In my bag? No! (_Rising._) I remember, I
put it in my dress for safety.

TULLY. Oh! oh!

MAMIE. Would you mind unhooking my dress at the back, please.

TULLY (_very embarrassed_). Really I'm a single man!

MAMIE. Well, these are single hooks.

TULLY (_crosses to door R._). I'll call John!

MAMIE. Please don't call John.

TULLY (_calling through door and whistling_). I must have some one in
the room--Bogie! Bogie! Bogie!

MAMIE. Bertie! Bertram! Come here! (_BERTRAM going towards her._) I
want to show you something very important.

TULLY (_backing away from her_). I'll take your word for it!

MAMIE. It's the Rajah's letter. Just the top two hooks, please--as
quickly as you can. (_Approaching TULLY with her shoulder towards
him._)

TULLY. Really, I don't understand. I'm quite a novice.

MAMIE (_annoyed_). You don't want me to _tear_ the thing off?

TULLY (_advancing timidly_). For heaven's sake, don't do that!

MAMIE. Well, pull your socks up, Bertie, and undo the top one.

(_TULLY pulls up his socks._)

What _are_ you doing?

TULLY. Pulling my socks up.

MAMIE (_sidling up to him_). Go on, the top one.

(_TULLY unfastens the top hook._)

Ah, that's better. (_Trying to get letter from bodice._) Now, the next
one.

TULLY. No, no more.

MAMIE (_sweetly_). Now the next one.

TULLY (_shaking head decisively_). No more!

MAMIE. Do please, Bertie dear! Bertie darling! Bertie sweetheart!

TULLY (_smiles broadly and giggles_). Well, just this one. No more
after that.

MAMIE. No, no more after that.

TULLY (_giggles_). They are nice little hooks. Shall I go any further?

MAMIE. No, not at present. (_Secures letter._) I've got it. Just read
that!

(_Crash of flower-pots off R._)

It's the Rajah! (_Very frightened._)

TULLY. No, more flower-pots. (_Going up to window R._) More creepers!
(_In a loud whisper._) It's Mrs. Ayers!

MAMIE. I'll hide here and listen. Come and hide me, Bertie.

(_MAMIE crouches down at foot of table L.C. behind TULLY. PAMELA
enters window R._)

PAMELA (_coming down C._). Oh--Mr. Tully--where is John?

TULLY. He's very busy with my maid.

PAMELA. With your maid?

TULLY. Yes, he's trying to get some clothes off her.

PAMELA (_annoyed_). What?

TULLY. Trying to borrow some clothes I should say.

(_JOHN enters from door R., sees PAMELA and exits hurriedly, MAMIE
tickles TULLY'S legs._)

PAMELA. Well, someone must come at once. Mr. Trippett refuses to leave
the flat until he has seen John, and the doctor is coming round to
_your_ door.

TULLY (_crossing to R. towards PAMELA_). But John is going to withdraw
his claim against the Company, and I'm going to tell Mr. Trippett so.

PAMELA. Then please come at once.

(_TULLY and PAMELA go up._)

MAMIE. Stop! Before you go, I'd like you to ask Mrs. Ayers to give me
back my necklace. (_Below table L.C. standing._)

PAMELA. I've already told you, Mrs. Tully, that this necklace does not
belong to you. (_To TULLY._) And please ask your wife to apologize.
(_Goes down R._)

TULLY (_crosses to MAMIE_). Miss Scott--Miss Fluff--(_bangs hand on
table and adopts an authoritative tone_)--my wife--will you apologize?

MAMIE (_round sharply to TULLY_). Certainly not!

(_TULLY collapses in chair._)

You know as well as I do that that necklace does _not_ belong to Mrs.
Ayers. Please ask her to return it to me.

TULLY (_crosses to PAMELA_). Mrs. Ayers, will you please return the
necklace to Mrs.--er--Mrs. wife?

PAMELA. I shall do nothing in the matter until I've seen John.

TULLY (_crosses to MAMIE_). She will do nothing in the matter----

MAMIE (_pushing TULLY up stage_). Out of my way!

(_TULLY watching his opportunity, works up to window, picks up clothes
and cushions and steals out by window R._)

(_MAMIE crosses to PAMELA._) Now, Mrs. Ayers, that necklace was lent
to me and its real owner is waiting at the door of your flat. If I
don't take it back to him at once you'll have the police on your
track. Am I to take it back or not?

(_PAMELA hesitates._)

You refuse? You refuse?

PAMELA (_hands necklace to MAMIE_) Oh, very well, take it to him.
(_Crosses to writing-desk up L._) I don't want a vulgar scene over a
paltry thirty-shilling necklace. (_Sits._)

MAMIE. Thirty shillings! That shows how much _you_ know, and also that
this necklace cannot possibly be _your_ property--I'm sorry you made
such a mistake. (_Going up to window R._) Thirty shillings--that's
really good--I must tell the Rajah that! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

(_Exit MAMIE window R., laughing loudly._)

PAMELA (_rushes to door L., opens it_). John! John!

(_AUNT HANNAH screams. PAMELA closes door, rushes across to door R.
URSULA enters door R. holding poker in hand and looking very
formidable, she advances in a threatening manner._)

(_PAMELA starts with a little cry at sight of URSULA and backs up to
window R. trembling with fear._)

URSULA. What are you doing 'ere? What are you doing 'ere?

PAMELA. I beg your pardon, I was looking for my husband.

URSULA. Well, he's not 'ere. He's not 'ere! (_Loudly._)

PAMELA. No, I'm sure he wouldn't be----

(_Exit window R. calling:_ "John! John!")

(_URSULA opens door R. and beckons._)

URSULA. It's all right. You can come in now, little man. All gone!

JOHN (_entering_). Thank you, Ursula, thank you! (_JOHN is carrying a
bodice._)

(_URSULA gives JOHN the glad eye and exits with a little backward kick
of the leg. JOHN crosses to door L., opens it and throws bodice into
bedroom._)

Here you are, it's the best she's got!

(_AUNT HANNAH screams off._)

Eh? What's that, speak up, I can't hear. (_Crossing to door R._)

(_AUNT HANNAH enters, JOHN turns and bursts into laughter, mistaking
AUNT HANNAH for TULLY in disguise._)

AUNT HANNAH. You dare not attack a woman even if you _are_ a burglar!
(_With fear and anger._)

JOHN (_roars with laughter_). Excellent! Splendid! The very thing. I
shouldn't have known you.

AUNT HANNAH (_dignified_). I want to leave this house.

JOHN (_still laughing loudly_). Ha! Ha! Ha! You are the living image
of the fat old woman in the 'bus.

AUNT HANNAH. I _am_ the lady who was in the 'bus, sir, and I know
you--I know _you_ now. You were the coward who, to save his own skin,
so cruelly tried to crush me.

JOHN (_laughing_). Good! Good! If you only keep it up like that you'll
be splendid.

AUNT HANNAH. I tell you, sir, I had three of my ribs broken.

JOHN (_laughing_). Ribs! You don't look as if you had any ribs. You
are all, cushions! (_Digging AUNT HANNAH in the ribs._) Ha! Ha! Ha!

AUNT HANNAH (_screams_). Oh! Oh! (_Up to table._) Oh, my poor
side--oh, my poor heart.

JOHN (_imitating_). Oh, my poor side, oh, my poor heart! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Oh, don't make me laugh! You've got the funniest mug I've ever seen.
And you do "go out" and "come in" a lot, more "come in" than "go out."
(_Rocks with laughter._)

AUNT HANNAH. I'm going to leave this house, sir, and if you attempt to
stop me, I'll call for the police. (_Tries to pass JOHN, he stops
her._)

JOHN. If you jump about like that, your clothes will fall off.

AUNT HANNAH. Ouch! Ouch! (_Turns up stage._)

JOHN. Oh! You ought to see your back view! Ha! Ha!

AUNT HANNAH. How dare you! How dare you!

(_Bell rings off R._)

JOHN (_over to AUNT HANNAH_). Hark, that may be our man. Pull yourself
together.

AUNT HANNAH. Don't you touch me!

JOHN. Stop it, you idiot. Don't forget if that's the doctor, you're
here to discuss the 'bus accident with me. Now, go into that bedroom,
and don't come out till I call you!

AUNT HANNAH. I wish to leave this house.

JOHN (_opens door L. and is pushing AUNT HANNAH off gradually_). Come
on, don't play the giddy ox. (_Pushes her into bedroom._) Kennel!
Kennel!

AUNT HANNAH. Don't you touch me! How dare you! Oh--o--o--oh!

(_Exit._)

(_JOHN bangs the door after her. URSULA enters door R._)

JOHN. What is it? What is it?

URSULA. Dr. Bigland to see the master.

JOHN. Dr. Bigland! Good! Show him in!

(_Exit URSULA door R._)

JOHN. Who am I now? I know, I'm Tully. No, I'm not, I'm Tully's
brother, Tully's twin brother. (_Stands C., braces himself up and
removes moustache._)

URSULA (_enters, announcing_). Dr. Bigland!

DOCTOR (_enters--URSULA exits_). Yes. I expected something of this
kind.

JOHN (_reserves mock dignity_). I haven't the pleasure of your
acquaintance.

DOCTOR. You are Mr. Tully.

JOHN. Tully is my name.

DOCTOR. Hadn't I the pleasure of meeting you a short while ago next
door?

JOHN. No, that was my brother.

DOCTOR. Your brother? Good heavens! What a likeness!

JOHN. Yes, we're often mistaken for each other. If the true facts of
the case were known I believe we were very nearly twins.

DOCTOR. Remarkable! I apologize.

JOHN. Not at all. But didn't my brother tell you it was my brother? I
mean, didn't he tell you it was me?

DOCTOR. He said it was his brother who was in the motor 'bus accident.

JOHN. Quite correct.

DOCTOR. The object of my visit is in reference to that matter.

JOHN. Will you take a seat?

DOCTOR. I thank you. (_Sits by table L.C._) Now, as regards yourself.
At the time of the accident there was a lady in the 'bus who had three
ribs broken, and we understand that this was caused by your fall on
top of the lady.

JOHN. Yes, but I make no claim against the lady.

DOCTOR. No, but the lady wishes to make a claim against you.

JOHN. I don't think so. The lady herself is here, now, and quite ready
to deny your allegations against me. (_Goes to door L._)

(_DOCTOR rises, places hat on chair he has been sitting on and goes
R._)

You can come in!

(_AUNT HANNAH enters with timid little jerks._)

(_Aside to AUNT HANNAH_). It's the doctor.

AUNT HANNAH (_tearfully_). Oh! O-h-h! It's Dr. Bigland. (_Crosses to
doctor._)

(_JOHN rubs hands with great satisfaction._)

DOCTOR. Now, my dear lady, calm yourself; remember what I told you,
you must keep calm.

JOHN. You see, the poor woman's nerves are shattered, and all through
riding in your beastly 'buses. (_Signals to AUNT HANNAH to be quiet,
to which she pays no heed._)

DOCTOR (_to AUNT HANNAH_). You know this _gentleman_ who was in the
'bus accident with you?

AUNT HANNAH. Yes, and I live in fear of him.

DOCTOR. That's quite all right. There's nothing to be frightened of.
Now sit down, sit down and compose yourself.

(_AUNT HANNAH backs up to chair C., is about to sit on DOCTOR'S hat.
DOCTOR rushes up and snatches hat away._) Ah! (_Shouts._) Not on my
hat! (_Places hat on table down R._)

(_AUNT HANNAH jumps up on DOCTOR'S shout, throws arms round JOHN'S
neck. JOHN pushes her into chair C._)

AUNT HANNAH. Oh dear, dear, dear! O-h-h!

DOCTOR. Now I understand you wish to thrash out this matter of the
accident.

(_Taking notebook from pocket._)

JOHN (_crosses to DOCTOR_). Yes, we are both desirous that it should
be cleared up, aren't we?

AUNT HANNAH. Doctor, _I_ am.

JOHN (_looks over DOCTOR'S shoulder and watches him writing_). Will
you begin?

DOCTOR. No, I will not begin. I will hear what the lady has to say and
make my report.

JOHN. Good! (_Signalling to AUNT HANNAH._) Well--er--madam--the Doctor
and I have been discussing the matter, and he is under the impression
that you think that _I_ am to blame for the injury you have suffered.
Now I want you to prove to him that such is not the case.

AUNT HANNAH. But it _is_ the case.

(_JOHN starts._)

The Doctor is quite right!

(_DOCTOR makes notes. JOHN bus. shaking his head at AUNT HANNAH and
signalling._)

JOHN. I say, the Doctor thinks that I was to blame, and I want you to
deny this scandalous accusation. (_Signals._)

AUNT HANNAH. I can't deny it.

JOHN. But you don't understand.

AUNT HANNAH. I beg to state that I _do_ understand.

(_AUNT HANNAH holds finger up. JOHN smacks her hand._)

JOHN (_frowning and signalling_). Let me explain. A short while ago
when you and I were discussing this matter, you agreed with me that
the 'Bus Company and they alone were responsible for your injuries.

AUNT HANNAH. I did not agree with you in any way! It's a wicked
falsehood.

DOCTOR. Exactly as I thought.

JOHN (_to AUNT HANNAH_). You silly fool! Oh, I beg your
pardon--think--think--didn't you distinctly say you were going to sue
the 'Bus Company?

(_Nodding "Yes" to AUNT HANNAH._)

AUNT HANNAH (_rising and crossing to couch L._). I don't remember
discussing the matter with you at all, sir.

JOHN. Then the accident must have affected your memory. (_Aside to
AUNT HANNAH._) You half-witted idiot, you'll spoil everything.

AUNT HANNAH. And abuse will certainly not make me alter my decision.

DOCTOR (_crossing C._). Now, my dear lady, you are firmly of the
opinion that the injury you sustained was due to the premeditated
action of this gentleman when riding on one of the Company's vehicles?

AUNT HANNAH. That is my case exactly.

(_DOCTOR makes notes, JOHN frantic._)

DOCTOR. Very well. And the amount of damages you claim?

AUNT HANNAH. I claim--(_JOHN threatens her with his fist_). I
claim--I----

DOCTOR. I claim! I claim! What do you claim?

AUNT HANNAH. I claim-- (_JOHN threatens her._) Five hundred pounds!

DOCTOR. Five hundred pounds. (_DOCTOR writes in book._)

(_JOHN in a fury is threatening to strike AUNT HANNAH. DOCTOR turns
and catches him--they both bow. DOCTOR writes in book again. JOHN
bangs back of couch. AUNT HANNAH starts with a shriek. DOCTOR starts
also._)

DOCTOR. Now, sir, are you prepared in any way to accept this
liability?

JOHN (_right up to DOCTOR, furiously_). No--most certainly not!

DOCTOR (_closing book and crossing R._) Then there's nothing more to
be said.

JOHN (_crossing to DOCTOR_). Oh yes there is, I'm a little smarter
than you imagine, and I can tell you something. That isn't a woman
you've been talking to, that's a man!

(_AUNT HANNAH very indignant. DOCTOR laughs._)

Oh, you can laugh, you can laugh, but I can _prove_ it.

(_AUNT HANNAH screams, very nervous._)

DOCTOR. You can do what, sir?

JOHN. Prove it!

DOCTOR. Not in my presence, you don't!

(_DOCTOR exits hurriedly._)

(_JOHN rushes to door R. and with his back against it glares at AUNT
HANNAH._)

AUNT HANNAH (_rising in terror_). Don't you look at me like that, sir.
Don't you look at me like that!

JOHN. Take off those pads.

AUNT HANNAH. Pads!

JOHN. Take off those pads!

AUNT HANNAH. I don't wear pads.

JOHN (_advancing on AUNT HANNAH_). You cheat! You dirty little
turncoat--to make a fool of me like that.

AUNT HANNAH (_jumping round table L.C. to R._). Don't you touch me,
sir. Don't you touch me!

JOHN. Take off those rags, or I'll thrash you! (_Grabs at her skirt,
which he tears off, leaving AUNT HANNAH in a very pronounced
petticoat. JOHN pushes AUNT HANNAH till she falls on to couch down
L._)

(_Enter PAMELA from window R.C._)

PAMELA. John! John! I'm surprised at you--treating a woman like that.

(_Crosses to AUNT HANNAH, kneeling by her._)

JOHN. A woman! (_Gazes into AUNT HANNAH'S face._) Oh, good lor', it's
a woman!

(_Sinks into chair R. of table L.C._)

PAMELA. Yes, a woman. There, there, calm yourself, calm yourself. (_To
JOHN._) Mr. Tully told me you were trying to get clothes off someone!

JOHN. Where--_is_--TULLY?

PAMELA. I left him in our flat. He was telling Mr. Trippett that you
withdraw your claim. John, she's fainted! (_Rises--looks round._) Get
some water, get some water, John. (_PAMELA goes up behind table L.C.
looking for water._)

JOHN. I haven't the faintest idea where to get water--I don't know
this beastly flat--(_Suddenly thinks of water-spout._) Ah! I know.
Stand back. Pam--stand back!

(_Gets hold of tube water-spout. JOHN takes the plugged handkerchief
from wall and the water-pipe squirts directly on to AUNT HANNAH'S
face. JOHN plugs the pipe again and crosses to AUNT HANNAH, assisting
her to rise. AUNT HANNAH, when water falls on her, screams and makes
movement with arms as if swimming._)

JOHN. Why, who are you?

AUNT HANNAH. I'm Mr. Tully's aunt.

JOHN. Mr. Tully's aunt!

AUNT HANNAH. Yes, I am Aunt Hannah!

JOHN. Aunt Hannah! Go and look after her, Pam.

(_PAMELA picks up AUNT HANNAH'S skirt and assists AUNT HANNAH off door
L. AUNT HANNAH muttering until off._)

(_Exit AUNT HANNAH and PAMELA down L._)

JOHN (_dazed, and gazing at door_). Another five hundred gone.

TULLY (_off, window R.C._). Everything's going splendidly!
Everything's going splendidly!

(_TULLY enters windows R.C., comes right down C. and faces audience.
He is dressed in woman's clothes which are much too big for him and is
padded out with the cushions._)

JOHN (_looks up--sees TULLY_). Take it away! Take it away! You're too
late!

TULLY. Don't I look all right?

JOHN. All right? You look more like a goat than a woman!

TULLY. I thought I looked like a little bit of fluff. What's happened?
(_Turns to JOHN._)

JOHN. Do you realize that the stout--lady--in the 'bus accident
_was--your--aunt!!!_

TULLY (_going up to JOHN_). The fat woman was Aunt Hannah? How do you
know this? How do you know this?

JOHN. Because she is here now--in your bedroom.

TULLY. Really. You've seen her?

(_JOHN nods._)

Have you been very nice to the old lady?

JOHN. Nice! You should have seen what I did to her!

TULLY. Oh, it's not as bad as all that surely?

(_Enter PAMELA. TULLY picks up skirts and dashes off door R._)

PAMELA (_laughing_). What's that?

JOHN (_crossing to PAMELA_). That's Tully; I think he's gone mad.

PAMELA (_crossing R._). And so has Mrs. Tully. Do you know she swore
the pearl necklace you gave me belonged to her?

JOHN. Did she really?

PAMELA. Yes. I can't help laughing. I gave it to her.

JOHN (_starting_). You gave her the necklace.

PAMELA (_laughing_). Yes. I certainly didn't want a scene with a woman
like that.

(_JOHN goes mad with delight, dances down L._)

JOHN. Ha! Ha! You gave it to her. You gave it to her. Then the Rajah's
got it back again--the Rajah's got it back again.

PAMELA. Don't give way, John.

JOHN. Ha! Ha! I must give way. (_Still dancing._)

PAMELA. But you don't know _what_ I gave her. I didn't give her the
_real_ necklace. (_JOHN stops dancing._) I was wearing the _imitation_
one that cost thirty shillings.

JOHN (_his spirits down to zero_). You gave her the imitation one?

PAMELA. Yes.

JOHN. Are you sure?

PAMELA. Yes, I have the real one here. It has a crown on the clasp.
(_Shows necklace._) See! (_She realizes her mistake._) John! John!
I've--I've given her the _real_ one--I remember now--I changed it at
mother's. I _did_ change it. John, I've given her the _real_ necklace!
(_Bursts into tears and sits R.C._)

JOHN (_dances all round the room with joy, then over to PAMELA_).
There, there, dear, don't go mad. It can't be helped. We all make
mistakes.

PAMELA. Something must be done. This will kill mother.

JOHN. We must chance that.

PAMELA (_starting up_). Couldn't Mr. Tully get the necklace back for
me?

JOHN. No, impossible!

PAMELA. Impossible, why?

JOHN (_takes PAMELA'S arm confidentially_). I'll tell you a secret,
Pam, Tully's a wrong 'un.

PAMELA. A wrong 'un?

JOHN. Yes, he's a dark horse. And I'll tell you something else. That
isn't _Mrs._ Tully; that's Tully's little weakness. He calls her
Agnes, and that's the type of man Mr. Tully is.

PAMELA (_with a knowing nod of the head_). I had my suspicions. Then
perhaps there's time for me to catch her before she finds the Rajah.
(_She rushes off windows R.C._)

JOHN. Come back, Pam. Come back!

(_Exit PAMELA._)

(_Enter AUNT HANNAH door L., without her hat._)

AUNT HANNAH. Where is my nephew, sir? Where is my nephew?

JOHN. Ah, Aunt Hannah! He's afraid to meet you until you forgive me
for all I've done. There's been a most absurd mistake caused by your
likeness to Bertram. If you'll only let me explain.

AUNT HANNAH. Really, I don't think it matters. (_Looking at her wet
clothes._)

JOHN. But you've no idea what a wonderful likeness there is--except of
course--_you_ look the younger.

AUNT HANNAH. Oh, no, I don't. (_Coyly._)

JOHN. Oh yes you do.

AUNT HANNAH. Oh, no, I don't!

JOHN. Then all is forgiven?

AUNT HANNAH. Why, of course!

(_TULLY runs on from door R., sees AUNT HANNAH._)

TULLY. Aunt Hannah! (_Over to her, kisses her._)

AUNT HANNAH. Bertie, my boy, my boy!

(_PAMELA enters from windows, R.C._)

PAMELA. John, it's too late; the Rajah's gone and taken the necklace
with him!

JOHN. Thank heaven! And I'll save up _your_ money and buy you
another--and that's the truth!

PAMELA. But you always _do_ tell me the truth, John.

JOHN. But in future I'm going to tell you better truth. And now we can
go home in safety. (_PAMELA and JOHN going up to window R.C._) Oh,
Bertram, where are you going?

TULLY. I'm going to take Auntie down to the Mission.

JOHN. Then, good-night!!

(_Exit PAMELA and JOHN window R.C._)

AUNT HANNAH. Bertie, I'll just go and put my bonnet on.

(_Exit AUNT HANNAH door L._)

(_MAMIE puts head round door R._)

MAMIE. Bertie!

TULLY. Oh!

MAMIE (_enters and over to TULLY_). I've got rid of the Rajah. Will
you take me out to supper?

TULLY. Certainly not!

MAMIE. Don't be unkind.

TULLY. I couldn't dream of such a thing.

MAMIE. Oh, Bertie, why not?

TULLY. I've promised to take Auntie down to the Mission.

MAMIE. Tell Auntie you're going on a much nicer mission. You _will_
come--say yes--Bertie! Bertie!

TULLY (_suddenly making up his mind to take the plunge_). Oh,
Fluffie!!

(_TULLY kisses MAMIE excitedly. He moves head quickly to and from
MAMIE'S cheek, more like pecks than kisses. URSULA enters from door R.
AUNT HANNAH from door L. PAMELA and JOHN from windows R.C. All enter
simultaneously and seeing TULLY kissing MAMIE they exit simultaneously
with varied exclamations and expressions._)

CURTAIN.



[Image: Plan for Act I]

ACT I

EXPLANATORY

A. French windows.           K. Standard lamp.

B. Door opening on and up.   M. Pot with Marguerites.

C. Fireplace.                N. Telephone.

D. Table.                    P. Fender.

E. Writing-desk.             R. Book.

F. Settee.                   S. Newspaper.

G. Arm-chair.                T. Magazines.

H. Small chair.              U. Telephone Directory.

J. Small table.


ACT II

The small table (J.) down L. in Act I is moved to down C., the chair
from in front of the writing-table is moved to the left side of the
small table (now C.) and the arm-chair (G.) is moved to the right side
of the small table (now C.). Otherwise the furniture is not altered.



[Image: Plan for Act III]

ACT III

EXPLANATORY

A. French windows.           J. Small table.

B. Door opening on and up.   K. Dinner-wagon or Sideboard.

C. Fireplace.                M. Telegram.

D. Table.                    N. Letter.

E. Writing-desk.             P. Fender.

F. Couch.                    R. Blotting-pad.

G. Arm-chair.                S. Cushions.

H. Small chair.



Transcriber's Note

This transcription is based on images digitized by Google from a copy
made available by the University of Iowa. These images are posted at:

     https://books.google.com/books?id=eelNAQAAMAAJ

In general, this transcription attempts to retain the formatting,
punctuation and spelling of the source text. Some changes were made to
correct for minor errors and inconsistencies, especially in formatting
or punctuation. The following changes were made to the text:

-- p. 5: Pamela. Must I remind you that--Changed "Pamela" to
"PAMELA" for consistency.

-- p. 10: JOHN (_rising and crossing to Pamela_). Hang it all--Changed
"Pamela" to "PAMELA" for consistency.

-- p. 18: "John stayed here, Kew." (_Reading._) John stayed here,
Bloomsbury."--Inserted opening quotation mark before "John" after
"(_Reading._)".

-- p. 24: (_Protests in action against the suggestion until John says
"BERTRAM," when a broad smile comes across his face._)--Changed
"John" to "JOHN" for consistency.

-- p. 30: MAMIE (_Very amused all the time_). Ripping, isn't
it?--Changed "_Very_" to all lower case for consistency.

-- p. 33: _MAMIE assists him into arm-chair. JOHN groaning all the
time._--Changed the period after "_arm-chair_" to a comma.

-- p. 33: Now then, Mr--_John_ Ayers, isn't it?--Inserted a period
after "Mr" for consistency.

-- p. 40: MAMIE (_turns her ring round to look like wedding ring and
holds hand up conspicuously_).--For consistency, reformatted this line
as a stage direction.

-- p. 42: Two weeks have elapsed since the events--Inserted an opening
parenthesis for consistency.

-- p. 45: TULLY. No, John, you called last time--Inserted a period at
the end of the sentence.

-- p. 47: TULLY. You haven't give me a chance yet!--Changed "give" to
"given".

-- p. 50: (_PAMELA rushes in dramatically, closing the door after
her._) John! John! The doctor--the doctor.--For consistency and
clarity, the stage direction part of this line has been formatted on a
line separate from the dialogue, and the character title "PAMELA" has
been inserted before "John! John!"

-- p. 54: DOCTOR (_picks up hat and follows her._) Allow _me.--_Moved
the period after "_her_" to after the closing parenthesis for
consistency.

-- p. 58: why _her_ husband is in _your_ bedroom!"--Deleted quotation
mark at end of sentence.

-- p. 61: MAMIE. But I dare not go home without it. (_Throwing her
arms round JOHN'S neck_,) Darling, do please!--Changed the comma
after "_neck_" to a period.

-- p. 69: JOHN (_over to doctor_). Surely, you're not going
to--Changed "doctor" to "DOCTOR" for consistency.

-- p. 71: Do you think Mr Trippett--Inserted a period after "Mr" for
consistency.

-- p. 77: JOHN (_thinks. He has a brilliant idea. Takes out his
penknife and goes to wall at back, feels along wall_).--For clarity
and consistency, this section has been reformatted. The opening
parentheses was moved to before "JOHN" and whole stage direction has
been formatted as a direction separate from dialogue.

-- p. 82: Thank you, Ursula, thank you--Inserted a period at the end
of the sentence.

-- p. 95: _makes movement with arms as if swimming._--Added a closing
parenthesis after "_swimming._"

-- p. 96: Ha! Ha! I must give way (_still dancing._)--Inserted a
period after "way" and capitalized "_still_".

-- p. 101: The small table (J.) down L. in Act. I is moved to down
C.--Deleted the period after "Act".





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