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Title: Woodbarrow Farm - Play in Three Acts
Author: Jerome, Jerome K. (Jerome Klapka)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Woodbarrow Farm - Play in Three Acts" ***

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WOODBARROW FARM

Play In Three Acts

By Jerome K. Jerome

Samuel French: London

1904



Allen Rollitt.......

Luke Cranbourne.....

Mike Stratton.......

Mr. Purtwee.........

Hon. Tom Gussett....

Baron Von Schnorr...

Richard Hanningford

Ichabod.............

Peters..............

Colonel Jack Dexter.

Clara Dexter........

Mrs. Rollitt........

Rachael.............

Deborah Deacon......



SYNOPSIS OF SCENERY

Act I

Woodbarrow Farm, Exmoor

Act II

13a, St. James’ Mansions

Act III

Scene 1--Same as Act II., or Library at 13a, St. James’ Mansion

Scene 2--Woodbarrow Farm

Time: The Present


[Illustration: 0007]

[Illustration: 0010]

[Illustration: 0011]



WOODBARROW FARM



ACT I.


MUSIC TO OPEN ACT: OLD ENGLISH AIR

SCENE: _Kitchen at Woodbarrow Farm. An ideal old farmhouse kitchen. From
the smoke-blackened ceiling beams hang huge sides of bacon, strings of
onions, and herbs, and poultry. Over the great fireplace are the guns,
and in profusion everywhere are the homely furnishings of a prosperous
farmhouse kitchen. A huge fire burns r. in old-fashioned fireplace, with
settle on each side. Door l.c. at back opening on corner of farmyard.
Latticed window looking out on yard to r. of door. Table r.c. piled with
linen waiting to be folded. Linen press l. Door l. below press. Settle
in front of press. Mrs. Rollitt at table r.c. discovered ironing. She
folds up clothes as she finishes with them, and crosses and places them
one by one in press l._

Mrs. R. Rachael! Rachael!! (Crossing l. then crosses to r. at back of
table r.c.) Ah, drat the girls--alius philandering about with the boys
when they’re wanted. Rachael!

(Enter Rachael, she comes slowly forward to l.c.)

Rach. Did you call, ma’am?

Mrs. R. (At table.) Did I call? Why thee be getting deaf in thee old age
sure, Rachael.

Rach. I was in the dairy, ma’am.

Mrs. R. In the dairy! Well, and the dairy bean’t a mile off, be it?
I expect there wur Joe’s thick head ’twixt you and the sound of my
voice, warn’t there? Rach. No, ma’am.

Mrs. R. Whose wur it, then?

Rach. Ichabod’s, ma’am. I--I mean Mr. Ichabod was helping me, ma’am.

Mrs. R. What at? (_Pause._) How often am I to tell ’ee I won’t have
that hulking scamp hanging about here after his work’s done. Do ’ee
understand?

Rach. Yes, ma’am.

Mrs. R. Here’s getting on for 8 o’clock, and thee master may be home
any minute as hungry as a hunter, poor lad, and noothing ready for his
supper. Get down the ham (_Rachael goes to fireplace r._), and bring me
in the frying-pan and I’ll do it myself.

Rach. (_Turning to go._) Yes, ma’am.

Mrs. R. And don’t be half-an-hour about it. Is Ichabod gone?

Rach. Oh yes, ma’am.

(_Mrs. R. turns to her work, Ichabod appears at door at hack, with a
trout in his hand. Rachael catching sight of him stops, and motions him
to go away._)

Mrs. R. Ah, a good thing for un as he has, if I catch un here again
to-night, I’ll--(_Rachael makes sign to Ichabod who is up c. Mrs. R.
looks at Rachael_)--Lord help the lass, be she struck foolish? Bean’t
’ee agoing? Rach. Yes, ma’am.

Mrs. R. Well then, do ut. Thee keeps on saying, “yes, ma’am,” “yes,
ma’am,” and there ’ee sticks. (_Drops eyes. Rachael makes sign to
Ichabod. Mrs. Rollitt catches her._)

(_Ichabod does not understand Rachel, and tries to explain to her in
pantomime about the trout, which he holds up and points to. Mrs. Rollitt
follows Rachael’s eyes, and sees Ichabod. Rachael is struck dumb, and
Ichabod grins and pulls his hair._)

Mrs. R. If thee don’t take theeself off pretty, soon, my boy, I’ll do
that for un. (_He makes no answer but continues pulling his hair and
grinning, making a few steps forward and still holding out the trout.
Mrs. Rollitt advances to him slowly._)

Mrs. R. (_Comes c._) How often am I to tell ’ee I won’t have ’ee
loafing about here after thee work’s done, and thee mother waiting for
thee at home, thee good-for-nothing young--(_eyeing the trout_)--aye,
but he be a bonny un that.

Ich. Thowt maybe he’d do for the measter’s supper, ma’am. He wur
a-having his own not half-an-hour agone, ma’am.

Mrs. R. (_l. with fish in hand._) Her be a three pound un, Ichabod.

Ich. As full as an egg, her be, just. Thee feel her, ma’am.

Mrs. R. Ah, well, I won’t say but what thee art a thoughtful lad,
Ichabod, and it will be main good for thee measter’s supper. See there’s
a clear fire. (_Crosses r.Enter Deborah from staircase L._) Rachael,
and bring me the stew pan and we’ll boil un.

Deb. No, don’t boil it, aunt. (_Takes fish from Mrs. R._) Let me fry it.
Allen alius likes ‘em best that way. (_Goes r. c. up stage._)

Mrs. R. So un does, lass, so un does. Ah, thee knaw what the lad loikes,
thee shall fry it. (_Hands trout to Deb._) And I’ll finish the linen
while I’ve got my hand on it. (_At back of table r.c._)

Deb. Allen will like that, I know. Where did you get it?

Ich. (_Confused and grinning._) What, me, Miss?

Deb. Not poached, I hope, Ichabod?

Ich. (_Offended._) Poached, Miss? No, Miss, I wur trying to teach a fly
of mine to swim, that wur all, Miss, and when I took un from the water
there wur this thing hanging on to the end of un, and I couldn’t get ‘un
off.

Mrs. R. (_At table r. c._) Thee’d best stop awhile now, Ichabod, and the
girls will gie un a bit sup. Thee mother will be main glad to be rid o’
ye a bit, I take it.

Ich. Thank ye, ma’am. Mother’s alius glad to be rid of me at supper
toime. (_To Deborah.) Gie me un, Miss, I’ll clean un for ye. (_Takes
fish from Deborah, goes down l. at back of settle.)

Rach. Shall I cook un, Miss?

Mrs. R. Na, na, thee bring the pan in here, Rachael, I woan’t trust the
master’s supper to ‘ee, while there’s a pair of breeches about the room.

Rach. (_Crosses l. with a toss of her head.) I’m sure I don’t want ‘em
there at all. (_Picks up buckets near door l. down stage.)

Mrs. R. Ah, thee wouldn’t ha’ the lad theer wi’out ‘em! Go and do as I
tell ‘ee.

[Rachael hits Ichabod with bucket. Exeunt Rachael and Ichabod l. door
down stage.]

Mrs. R. The lad will enjoy it all the more if thee cook it for un. Ah.
and he do enjoy his food too. It do me good to see un eat.

Deb. He does you a lot of good that way, doesn’t he, aunt?

Mes. R. (_Laughing.’_) Ah, yes, he be like his father wur before him,
a rare trencher man. Ah, but they’re better than those as doesn’t eat
much, but sits a-turning and a-smelling, and a-grumbling at everything
that’s set before them, for all the world like an overfed turkey cock
trying to eat potato peelings. Thee wean’t ha’ much trouble looking
arter un when I’m gone.

Deb. (_Goes to fireplace R._) Oh, aunt, how naughty you are, always
talking of being “gone,” just as if you were an old woman.

Mrs. R. No, no, lass, I bean’t talking of being gone now. I’ve many a
year before me yet, please God. But it must come sometime, thee knaws,
and I like to think that when it do there’ll be someone to gie the lad
his bit of food, and look arter un loike--and, Lord, a man do want a
power of looking arter to be sure.

Deb. (_At fire R. making it up._) I think that’s why we love ‘em, aunt,
because they’re so helpless.

Mrs. R. (_Cross to l._) Ah, maybe it is. There must be summut to account
for it.

Deb. And I suppose they be like the poultry. They get fond of us because
we feed them. He does say I’ve got a good hand for cooking, aunt.

Mrs. R. (_Cross to r._) Ah, yes, lass. It be a light hand for the
kitchen and a cool hand for the dairy. It will make a good hand for a
farmer’s wife. (_Takes Deborah’s hand at table R._)

Deb. I don’t think Allen will want a farmer’s wife, aunt.

Mrs. R. Lord, whose wife should a farmer want, then?

Deb. (_Pokes fire r._) I don’t think Allen wants to be a farmer at all.
He says he wants to be a somebody, not a nobody.

Mrs. R. Well, bean’t a farmer somebody?

Deb. Somebody, aunt, but not a somebody. Allen wants to be in the world,
you know, aunt.

Mrs. R. Well, and he be in the world sure, ain’t he? Sure I think I
ought to know. (_Cross to l._)

Deb. No, not in the world he means, aunt. Not in the great world as they
call it.

Mrs. R. Ah! he be in God’s world, that ought to be big enough for un.
(_Cross to r._)

Deb. (_A little spitefully._) Yes, aunt, but it’s not select enough.
There’s all sorts of common people in God’s world. Allen wants to be
in the big world of lords and ladies and big folk up in London. He says
it’s being buried alive down here; that he wants to be among the stir
and bustle.

Mrs. R. (_Cross to h., putting clothes in press._) Ah! that be only
his talk. The young uns be all alike. They run arter shadows like the
chickens do arter chaff. (_Cross l._) Why, I mind when I wur a lass,
I used to look in the glass and think I’d be a duchess. But the dook
didn’t come, so I just married thee uncle. The young ducks all fancies
as they’ll paddle off to the sea, But they live and dies in the old pond
arter all. (_Crosses to R._)

Deb. (_Laughing._) And you think that your duck will live and die in the
Woodbarrow pond, aunt? (_Helps Mrs. Rollitt to fold._)

Mrs. R. Ah, bless un, yes, the lads they fancy that any place is better
than the old home; but arter they’ve had a good look round, they know
that the old home’s better than any place else. He’ll flutter about a
bit maybe (_looks at Deborah_), but he’ll settle down in the nest ‘fore
long, and the children will be running about the house (_Deborah turns
away a little_) and making it untidy--Bless ‘em--afore I close my eyes.

Deb. (_Demurely._) I wonder who he’ll marry.

Mrs. R. Ah, I wonder now. (_Crosses to put linen in chest of drawers._)

Deb. (_r. folding linen._) There’s Polly Steddles. He walked home
from church with her last Sunday. I think he’s a little sweet on Polly
Steddles, don’t you, aunt?

(_Mrs. R. comes l. of table r._)

Mrs. R. Ah, it bean’t much good being a little sweet on a girl that
size. It would take a power of sweetness to go round her. (_Crosses L.
with linen._).

Deb. She’s big, but then men like big women, don’t they, aunt?

Mrs. R. (_l._) Ah, some on ’em goes in for quantity, and some on ’em
goes in for quality. The little ones, they go in for size cause they
bean’t much of it themselves; and the big ones goes in for sense, cause
that be what they be most in need of. (_Goes R._) And Allen, he be’s
medium, so he can just please himself.

Deb. And there’s Miss Dexter, that he drives over to Minehead so often.
(_Mrs. Rollitt goes l._) He thinks a lot of her, I know.

Mrs. R. (_l._) What, Colonel Dexter’s darter, oop at Lucott’s Hill? Oh,
yes, her’d be a fine un to make the butter and cure the hams, her
would. Her be loike them umbrellas they be a selling at Peter’s for 1s.
11d.--only meant to be walked out wi’. (_Near press l._)

Deb. Ah, but she’s so beautiful, aunt, and she’s a lady! (_Sighs._)

Mrs. R. Ah! (_goes to table r. c._) there be a good many sorts o’ them.

Deb. She is a lady, isn’t she, aunt?

Mrs. R. Her’s got the clothes all right. (_Sits l. of table r. A
pause--goes up and pats Deborah’s cheek._)

As if thee didn’t know the lad were in love with theeself.

Deb. (_Tossing her head._) Sure an’ I don’t see how I should--he never
says anything.

Mrs. R. Ah, the men bain’t much to say for their-selves, poor things.
Thee must go by what they does. Why, thee uncle kept company wi’ me for
three years, an’ un never said a word. The first year un only sot and
stared, and the second year un put un’s arm round my waist, and the
third year un kissed me, and then mother said it were time to put up the
banns, and her done it.

Deb. (_Laughs._) Ah, the man that wants to marry me will have to ask me
ever and ever so many times and plead, oh, as if his life depended on it
(_tossing her head--at fire._)

Mrs. R. Ah, the lad be shy, that be all. He be frightened ’o thee.

Deb. (_Smiling._) Of me, aunt?

Mrs. R. Ah, sure!--(_Laughs._)--I expect un be worrying hisself finely
for fear thee doan’t care for un, a fancying thee prefers Jim Harkabuck,
maybe.

Deb. (_Demurely--goes up r. and gets l. of Mrs. Rollitt._) Jim
Harkabuck is a very nice fellow, and he does stare. (_Smiling, and going
to her aunt._) Do you think Allen really--really does--Aunt? (_Kneels to
Mrs. Rollitt, who turns her head away r. a little._)

Mrs. R. (_Laughing, and shaking her off playfully. Pauses._) Does he!
Why beant he alius quarreling wi’ thee, and doan’t he eat twice as
much o’ anything if he knows thee cooked it--and besides--(_Pauses and
becomes absorbed in stockings._)

Deb. Besides what, aunt?

Mrs. R. Why didn’t I find un only the evening afore last when un didn’t
know I wur there. (_Laughing._)

(_Enter Rachael l. door with fish in frying-pan.--Deborah rises._)

Rach. (_Crossing r. and giving it to Deborah._) Shall I put it on, Miss?

Deb. (_c. goes R. to fireplace._) No, I’ll see to it; Rachael, thank
you.

Rach. I have put some butter in the pan, Miss.

(_Exit Rachael l. down stage._)

Deb. Yes, aunt. (_r. of table and seeing to fish with back to Mrs.
Rollitt._) You--you were saying how you came upon Allen the other
evening, aunt, when he didn’t know you were there, and he was doing
something.

Mrs. R. Ah, yes, it wur Toosday, and he--not in love wi’
’ee--(_laughing_)--why--(_taking up stocking and looking at hole._)
Ah, look at that now, blest if I can make out where the holes come from,
just.

Deb. What was he doing, aunt?

Mrs. R. Why there un wur wi’ your--

(_Enter Purtwee c.--who coughs._)

Mrs. R. (_Turning, and seeing him as he stands in doorway._) What, Mr.
Purtwee! (_Deborah in despair goes to fire and cooks fish._) Well, ’ee
do surprise me! ’Ee be quite a stranger. Come in. Thee be just in time
for a bit of sup.

Mr. P. (_Coming down l. c., puts hat on staircase rail._) I couldn’t
pass the place without looking in, I’ve just left the trap outside.
(_Shakes hands._) And how are we?

Mrs. R. Oh, I be middlin’ well, thank ’ee, and how’s yerself?

Mr. P. Oh, nicely enough, and--(_To Deborah crossing r._)--how’s Miss
Deborah Deacon?

Deb. Very well, thank you, Mr. Purtwee.

Mr. P. That’s all right--you look it, my dear (_Taking her hands._) Why
I declare she’s getting quite a woman!

Mrs. R. Ah! she’s been that for some time. Her be thinking more about
getting a man now. (_Purtwee crosses to l. c. laughing._)

Deb. Oh, aunt!

Mrs. R. Did ’ee see the lad up town?

Mr. P. What, Allen?

Mrs. R. Ah, that be the only lad in the world I know. Did ’ee see un?
(_Goes up l._)

Mr. P. Yes, I met him, and I wanted to have a chat with him. (_Mrs.
Rollitt is up l. near linen press._) But, Lord! There he was off to
Lucott’s Hill, and there was no holding him. (_Taking off his coat._)

Deb. (_Who has been engaged in her cooking, at this suddenly stops, and
looks up._) What was he going up there for?

Mr. P. (_Stopping and facing round._) What for?

Deb. (_Excitedly, but quietly._) Who was he going to see up there?

Mr. P. (_Laughing and folding coat._) Ah! who is it he always goes to
see up there?

(_Deborah turns a little sick at this confirmation of her fears.
Purtwee, who is a sharp old fellow, notices the expression of her face
and the whole truth flashes across him. He pauses suddenly, looks hard
at her, then assuming an ordinary laughing tone, continues--Mrs. Rollitt
(up l.) is engaged with the linen, and does not notice this._)

Mr. P. Why, the Walleys, of course. He and Jim seem to be inseparable of
late.

Deb. Oh, yes, I know. I asked him to try and see if the Walleys would
part with one of their short-horns.

Mr. P. Ah! that was it, then--yes, I remember that was it. (_Turns away
and looks back at Deborah, who has resumed her cooking--aside._) Poor
child! There’s trouble for her I fear. (_Throws coat over chair l._)

Mrs. R. (_Comes c._) Well, what be going on up at Minehead?

Mr. P. The same that is going on everywhere, Mrs. Rollitt--people lying
and slandering and evil-speaking; everybody thieving and cheating and
quarreling. (_Sits on table l._)

Mrs. R. Well, I guess I could have told thee that. Haven’t thee any
real news to gie us. Tell us what one person’s be a-doing. Never mind
“everybody,” I don’t know him.

Mr. P. Well, you see, Susan, a lawyer mustn’t gossip. (_Shakes finger._)

(_Deborah crosses to linen press L., sets tablecloth and lays table r.
c. for meal._)

Mrs. R. (_c._) Oh, hoity, toity! What be the use of being a lawyer and
knowing things if ’ee never tells a body a bit o’ news? And now I come
to think of it, I’ve got a bone to pick wi’ thee about that very thing.
Thee never told me old Hanningford wur agoing to die without leaving my
boy so much as a brass farthing. Do you think as how I’d ’a’ gone on
sending the old skinflint the best turkey in the yard every Christmas,
and the best goose come every Michaelmas, if I’d known as how he’d
hadn’t given us so much as the price as a suit o’ black, and Allen his
own cousin’s child. (_Crossing R._)

A cousin is a cousin, even if it be a distant one. (_Sits l. of table
r._)

Mr. P. Now, my dear Mrs. Rollitt, how could I tell he was going to die?

Mrs. R. Thee knowed he wur going to die sometime, and thee knowed he
hadn’t left the boy anything, and thee might a’ dropped me a hint. “Mrs.
Rollitt,” thee might ha’ said, “thee’s only wasting good poultry on
a worthless man. The old sinner’s a going to die as hard-fisted and
ungrateful as he’s lived.” It would ’a’ been a neighbourly act o’
thee!

Mr. P. (_Laughing._) But I didn’t know he wasn’t going to leave you
anything. You see he died intestate.

Mrs. R. In------ what?

Mr. P. (_Rises._) Intestate. (_Deborah laughs a little._) Without
leaving a will; he left nobody anything.

Mrs. R. (_Rising._) Well, then, where does the old fool’s money go to?

Mr. P. Why, to his son, of course! (_Cross to r. near chair, fireplace
down stage._)

Mrs. R. Ah, where be his son?

Mr. P. (_Folding his knee in his hand and looking at her quietly._) On
the road from Texas to Devon. (_Sits r._)

Mrs. R. What! Thee don’t mean to say thee’ve found un! (_Deborah gets
dish off dresser r. and puts it down in front of firm Mrs. R. in front
of table r., Mrs. R. and Deborah draw near interested._)

Mr. P. That’s just exactly what I do mean. We traced him at last--found
him at Port Chadbourne black as a nigger and dressed as a red Indian.

Mrs. R. What was he doing there--play-acting?

Mr. P. No, cow-boy. (_Mrs. R. sits l. of table r._)

Mrs. R. Lord love us all! and do un know?

Mr. P. Yes, my agent saw him--went down to meet him as he came through
with a drove of cattle, gave him my letters and told him everything.

Mrs. R. Has he written to you?

Mr. P. No, didn’t know how to write--a sort of half savage he seems to
be, he and all his companions. He said he was going to give the boys a
three days’ drink, or as he expressed it, “paint the town red,” and then
start straight for home.

Mrs. R. When do you expect him?

Mr. P. Any day now; it was six weeks ago my agent saw him. He might walk
into my office to-morrow morning.

Mrs. R. Lor! to think o’ it all. Him running away--driven away, as a
body might say, by ’is own father, when scarce more than a baby, and
now coming back to all this money. When do ’ee expect un?

Mr. P. To-morrow--in six months time--never!

Mrs. R. Never! (_Purtwee rises, crosses to l._)

Mr. P. Perhaps never.

Mrs. R. Why I thought thee said he’d started.

Mr. P. Started, yes; but there’s a long road between that and arriving.
He may be dead and buried--drowned--murdered--for all we can tell.
They’re a rough lot where he’s coming from. (_Takes coat off settle L.
Feels for snuff box in pockets; rises; goes c._)

Mrs. R. Well, thee’s picturing a nice fate for the lad. An’ who would
the money all go to if he were gone?

Mr. P. Why the next o’ kin of course! He isn’t married.

Mrs. R. And who be the next of kin?

Mr. P. (_Dryly._) Oh! there’s no need to worry about that now.

Mrs R. Well, I’d just like to know, that’s all. Would it be any of the
Leeds folk?

Mr. P. Oh, I really can’t say! (_Gets snuff box, puts coat on settle
l._) I--I can’t say at all who it would be. (_Angrily, rather._) Why
there’s about a hundred different relations scattered all over the
country, and goodness knows who it might turn out to be. It isn’t a
matter to be considered yet at all.

Mrs. R. Lord bless us all, don’t put theeself out, man. I didn’t know as
a body’s relations wur any secret--(_pauses_)--provided they be coom
by honestly. Doan’t tell us if ’ee doan’t want to. (_Turns away r. a
little._)

Mr. P. No--no, Mrs. Rollitt! I’m not put out, only you see it’s always
a most complicated question a next of kin, especially in a case of this
kind where the man shunned all his relations. It might be someone in
Hong Kong; it might be someone here in Devonshire--(_Enter Allen c.
door._)--it might be,--(_he is l., taking handkerchief from his overcoat
pocket, and turning sees Allen in doorway and stops. Deborah puts on the
fish._)

Allen. (_Coming down r. c._) Well mother! (_Kisses her._)

Mrs. R. Why, my boy, wherever ha’ ye been to--I wur getting quite
anxious about ’ee!

Allen. (_Taking off his hat and coat and throwing them down at back._)
Ah, I be a rare anxiety to ’ee, baint I, mother? (_To Mr. Purtwee._)
Mother alius fancies as I’ve been run off with by gypsies if I be out
more than an hour. (_Crossing and shaking hands with Mr. Purtwee._) And
how be Mr. Purtwee for the second time to-day?

Mr. P. (_Laughing and shaking hands._) Ah! your mother’s a regular old
hen with one chick I expect. (_Sits l._)

Allen. Never thee mind, mother, thee be quite right to be careful o’ me!
There baint another son like me in the whole country, be there?

Deb. (_At fire._) To the credit of old Devon be it said.

Allen. Halloa! (_Goes r. to Deborah._)

Mrs. R. Ah! now that just serves thee right for laughing at thee old
mother. (_Crosses l. and sits knitting next to Purtwee._)

Allen. Ah! that be the worst of letting the children stop oop arter
their proper toime, they allus gets so saucy. What have thee there? Lurd
bust me, I have got a vacuum inside o’ me. Poached eggs?

Deb. No; poached trout.

Mr. P. Eh! what’s that?

Allen. Hulloa! Thee’ve done it now. Why, Mr. Purtwee be Lord Netherby’s
lawyer, and he’ll ha’ thee hanged in chains on Dunkery Beacon, sure as
fate.

Deb. Ah, well, you see I didn’t poach him, I’m only frying him. There’s
no law against frying fish, is there?

Allen. (_r.c._) Aye, well, us’ll forgive thee this time, if ee’ll
promise to do it again soon. Come and give us a kiss.

Deb. Thee’ll kiss the frying-pan if you come any o’ your nonsense round
here.

Allen. What! won’t thee, when I tell ’ee I’ve bought Jim Whalley’s
tan and cream shorthorn for ’ee?

Deb. (_Pleased._) No! Have you?

Allen. I bought her this afternoon, and I got her for--(_l.c., turning
to his mother_) I say, mother, our Deb’s bin and smoshed young Whalley.

Mrs. R. Done what to un.

Allen. Smoshed him.

Deb. Why, I never touched him.

Allen. Yes thee have, thee’ve smoshed un--that be the new Lunnun word;
made un in love wi’ thee.

Mrs. R. It’s a funny way o’ doing it.

Allen. I doan’t know how her done it, but her done it. Why he wanted £25
for the cow at first, and when I told un her wur for Deb he looked as
stupid as an old cow unself and said I could have her for £20, and then
he asked me if she would like a calf. (_Goes R._)

Deb. We could do with one. What did you say?

Allen. (_Laughing._) I told un her’d better let the calf come down and
ask for unself. (_Laughs boisterously._) He never saw what I meant.
(_All laugh._)

Deb. Oh, I expect he saw it all right. Jim Whalley is a very sharp
fellow; there was no need to insult him just because he’d done a kind
action. (_Warmly--turns away r. a little._)

Allen. Oh, I wouldn’t ha’ said it if I’d known. I didn’t know thee was
in love wi’ him.

Deb. (_Half laughing and half indignant._) Oh, don’t be silly, Allen, as
if I cared for Jim Whalley.

Allen. I might ha’ guessed it too. Why, I expect that’s why thee wanted
the cow so as to have something about the place to remind thee o’ un.

Deb. Oh, you great stupid!

Allen. Why, look how you’re blushing. Look, look at her face, mother.
(_Goes to back of settle r. takes up looking-glass which is hanging on
settle r., brings it down and holds it before her._) Look at yourself!
(_she catches him a sound box on the ear. He puts his hand to his face,
and crossing puts back glass._) I didn’t know thee was so strong. That
all comes of those squab pies o’ yourn, mother, I told thee thee wur
putting too much meat in ‘em.

Mrs. R. (_Laughing._) Ah, it’s thy sauce lad, not my meat, that’s done
it. (_Rises._) Thee’d better try and make thy peace, while me and Mr.
Purtwee has a look round the out-buildings. (_To Mr. Purtwee_) I’ve been
wanting to get hold of thee for a long time. Thee’s never given us so
much as a bit o’ paint for the last ten years, and the stable roof won’t
bear an owl on it. (_Goes up c. with Purtwee._)

Allen, (_r. near settle._) Thee might show Mr. Purtwee the barn floor
while thee’s about it, mother. It be more like an earthquake than a
floor.

Mrs. R. Oh, I be a going to show him more than he wants to see, don’t
thee worrit. (_Aside to Mr. Purtwee at door c._) Ah, they’d make a
pretty couple, wouldn’t they?

Mr. P. (_Looking at them._) No, no, we must make ’em one.

(_Exit Mrs. Rollitt and Mr. Purtwee c. door._)

Allen. (_After a pause, r.c._) Well I’ve got thee the cow, anyhow, and
it’s a beauty.

Deb. (_At tire in a tone of severe and offended dignity._) Thank you,
Mr. Rollitt, it is very kind of you.

Allen. (_After a pause, with exaggerated politeness._) Don’t mention it,
Miss Deacon--quite a pleasure!

(_Allen crosses to l., whistles--a pause--pretends to take off leggings.
Puts foot on settle._)

Deb. Thee may bring me over the butter.

Allen. (_Looking up._) Hulloa! come back again! Butter, certainly!
(_Takes it from chair off l. on staircase, crosses with it, and holds
it for Deborah while she takes some._) Jolly good butter this week; who
made it? Thee?

Deb. (_Other side of plate._) Of course I did! I make all the butter
now, and the cream.

Allen. What, wi’ them little hands. They don’t look big enough to do
anything but be kissed.

Deb. (_Looking up and smiling._) They can do something else, can’t they?

Allen. Ah! They be like the parson’s, not as soft as they looks. (_Puts
down butter on the table--pause--during which Deborah proceeds with her
cooking, and Allen stands watching her._) What a jolly little farmer’s
wife thee’d make.

Deb. Yes; I only want the jolly little farmer.

Allen. Ah, thee won’t find many of that sort about. Farming don’t pay
enough for a man to get jolly on, now-a-days.

Deb. Oh, we have enough to eat and drink, and a little to spend on
foolishness. You want so much.

Allen. (_Goes l._) Not more than what a many has. Not more than a little
bit of what this young Hanning-ford is coming back to--enough to let
a man see what the world’s like a bit, instead of being cooped oop all
one’s life, like an old cow, in one corner of it.

Deb. But you can’t live all over it, and one corner must be much as good
as another.

Allen. (_Crosses r._) Ah, thee don’t understand it, lass. Thee women
folk can stand day arter day the same, but we lads are restless wi’ it.
We feel as there’s summat big and stirring going on somewhere, and
we long to be among it--to be in the great world. It seems to call to
me--(_puts foot on settle L._)--to come to it, sometimes. I hear it of
a night when I’m watching the sheep on the hill fields. Maybe it’s only
the sea breaking on the rocks down by Glenthorn--or the wind among the
old oaks, but it sounds like a distant far-off voice--(_gets l. of table
R. with back to Deborah_)--calling to me, and it rings and echoes in
my ears, till I feel at times that I must start up then and there and
follow it. (_Deborah r. of table r. Allen l. of table r._)

Deb. (_Very gravely, laying her hand on his arm._) Allen, lad, don’t you
remember reading one evening to us of the sirens, who in the old days
used to haunt the sea caves, and sing so sweetly that the sailors who
once paused to listen, were lured on and on till they were wrecked among
the cruel rocks? May not the voices that you hear be like the singing of
those sirens?

Allen. Maybe, lass; but the sailors couldn’t help but follow when they
did hear it. (_Sits in chair l. of table R._)

Deb. (_After a pause._) What be the matter, Allen? Thee used to be
contented enough. Now thee’s always talking about riches, and wanting to
go away from the dear old farm. Somethin’s come over thee, lad. (_Puts
hand on Allen’s shoulder._)

Allen. No, I wur allus like an old crow--(_Deborah takes her hand
away_)--sitting on a fence, and looking at summat too far off to see.
But thee be right partly, lass. Summat has come over me, and made me
want what I can’t get more than ever now.

Deb. (_Very kindly, r._) What be it? (_With elbows leaning on table,
R._)

Allen. (_Rises, goes l. c._) Well, I be in love, lass. (_Still looking
away from her._)

Deb. (_After a pause, during which she has smiled to herself with a
happy little sigh, and clasped her hands together in a sort of little
joyful ecstacy, unnoticed by Allen._) In love!

Allen. I fancy it must be that. I think of her all day and I dream of
her all night, and I’m jolly miserable. (_At settle, R._)

Deb. (_Demurely._) Have you any reason to suppose that she returns your
affection?

Allen. I don’t know, her’s never said anything.

Deb. Have you?

Allen. Me! No, I haven’t said anything.

Deb. Most extraordinary that she doesn’t propose. Have you given her any
encouragement? (_Leans against settle R._)

Allen. Noa--I can’t say as I have, much. (_Goes r.c._) I’ve looked at
her, you know--soft like--and sighed. (_Does so._) But her’s mostly
been looking t’other way and an’t seen it, and as for saying anything to
her--well, I can talk to her all right about other things and joke and
laugh wi’ her, but the moment I goes to say I love her--it--it seems as
if I’d got a hot potato stuck in my throat. (_Speaking as if she
had, turns away to l. corner of r.table, back to Deborah. His manner
throughout this scene carries out the idea that it is Deborah he is in
love with._)

Deb. (_After a pause, with a coquettish smile to herself._)

I--I can’t do anything to help thee, I suppose? (_Goes and leans against
settle R._)

Allen. Do thee think as her could care for a mere common farmer,
Deborah?

Deb. (_Turning and looking at him earnestly--comes to front of table
R._) Well--I think if he were a good farmer, and pleaded very hard, I--

Allen. (_Delighted._) No, lass! Do ’ee really think a girl could?
(_Advancing to her._)

Deb. (_Putting her hand to stop him with dignity._) A girl
might--though, of course, a superior sort of girl, such as she appears
to be, might think it presumption for--(_turns away r.puts hand on
corner of table R._)

Allen. (_Depressed._) Yes--I’m afraid her would. (_Turns away l._)

Deb. (_Eagerly turning around again._) Then, of course, she mightn’t.
You never can tell till you try. (_Goes to fireplace r. Fish is
changed._)

Allen. (_Scratching his head._) Blest if I know how to go about it! I
say, Deb, you’ve been proposed to, how do they begin?

Deb. (_Bending over fire._) Don’t thee think thee’d better tell me who
it is and let me ask her for thee? (_Looking slyly round, pauses._) Who
be her, Allen?

Allen. (_Going up to window R.c._) Ah, I expect thee knows who her be!

Deb. (_Beginning softly to creep toward him._) How should I when thee’s
never told me? What be her name? (_Close to him, his back is still
towards her and he doesn’t see her._) Eh?

Allen. (_Without turning, looking out of the back window up R.c._)
Clara. (_Music cue._)

(_Bus. Deb. stands still--for the first moment she hardly comprehends.
Then she understands, and stands staring straight before her with a wild
scared look--shivers, crosses back to fireplace on tip-toe and bends
down over it attending to the fish--after Deb. sobs Allen comes down
c.--music dies away._)

Allen. (_Half turning round._) Colonel Dexter’s daughter, you know.
Thee’ve seen her. Her wur at the Barnstaple ball and I danced wi’ her
and thee said how beautiful her wur and that her dress was all made o’
some’at or other, and you--(_he has gradually come close over to her
r._) What be the matter, Deb?

Deb. (_In a changed, hard tone, bending more intently than ever over her
cooking._) Nothing--Nothing.

Allen. (_Taking her hand._) Why, thee be quite cold, lass; be thee ill?

Deb. (_Snatching her hand away._) No, no, there’s nothing the matter
with me. Don’t be so foolish, don’t don’t.

Allen. (_Surprised._) I say, Deb, have I said anything I oughtn’t to?
I know I’m allus a-doing it. (_A pause--Allen stands looking at her,
troubled and bewildered--Deb. bends closer over the fire--then takes the
pan off the fire and with it in her hand turns to Allen smiling._)

Deb. (_Gives dish to Allen._) Yes, thee have--talking to a cook at the
very moment the trout is on the turn. (_Puts trout on dish._) Serve thee
right if I’d spoilt it.

Allen. Lor’, thee quite frightened me! (_Pauses._) Yes--I went up there
this afternoon. (_Deb. takes dish from Allen, puts it down in front of
fireplace._)

Deb. (_Arranging fish._) Did you see her?

Allen. Yes, I saw her.

Deb. It doesn’t seem to have made thee any more cheerful. Did thee
quarrel.

Allen. Us never got a chance. There wur a cousin or summat of the kind
hanging about all the time--just come over with some chap from America.
Can’t say as I like un much.

Deb. Thee’d best summon up thy courage and speak quick or thee may lose
thy turn. (_Allen turns away L._) Go and tell aunt supper’s ready--be
quick, it’s all spoiling.

Allen. (_Moving quickly towards door l. down stage._) Where shall I find
her?

Deb. (_Sharply._) How should I know?

Allen. (_Looks around surprised--sotto voce._) How the fire do draw out
a woman’s temper, to be sure.

(_Exit Allen l., down stage._)

Deb. (_Left alone stands r.a moment without speaking._) What right has
she to come down here and take him away? She doesn’t love him. Couldn’t
she have found enough fine gentlemen in London to amuse her? I don’t
believe she’s a good woman, and I hate her. (_Stamps her foot._) She
shan’t have him--she--(_bursts into quiet tears and, slipping down on
ground, buries her face in chair by fire--pause--after a few seconds
Luke Cranbourne appears in door c. front r., Mike Stratton behind him.
Luke pauses on threshold and coughs. Deb. hastily rises, trying to hide
her tears and stands r. Luke comes forward slowly, followed by Mike at
some distance._)

Luke. (_After pause, coming forward r.c._) I--beg pardon--there was
nobody about. Are Mrs. Rollitt and Mr. Rollitt at home?

Deb. Yes, they are at home. I will go and find them. (_Crosses to l._)
Who shall I say it is?

Luke. (_r.c._) Ah, thank you very much, my dear. Would you say Mr.
Cranbourne--Mr. Luke Cranbourne and Mr. Richard Hanningford?

Deb. (_Amazed._) Dick Hanningford!

Luke. (_Smiling._) You know the name?

Deb. Old Mr. Hanningford’s son? Why, we were only speaking of him
just this instant, and wondering when he’d come back. (_To Luke
hesitatingly._) Are--are you--

Luke. No--this is Mr. Hanningford. (_Turns to Mike, who stands awkward
and shy l.c. looking at the ground._) Did you know him? (_Laughs._)

Deb. Oh, I’m Miss Deacon--Miss Deborah Deacon. We were school-fellows,
you know. (_Timidly approaching Mike with outstretched hand._) I am very
glad to see you Mr.--Mr. Hanningford.

Mike. Thank you, Miss--I’m very pleased to see you.

Luke. (_Sitting r._) I suppose you hardly recognize our friend?
(_Watches her intently without her noticing it. Mike has turned away
again, and looks down, flicking leg with cane._)

Deb. (_Hesitating._) Um! (_Laughs._) Well, he’s certainly altered
since we used to go to school together. But yes--(_examining his
face_)--there’s something of the old face left, I think.

Luke. We only arrived from America last night, traveling hard all the
time. Pretty nearly worked me to death. Dick has--(_with a yawn_)--but
there, I suppose I should have hurried up pretty smart myself if I’d
been coming home to a fortune.

Deb. You are staying in the village then, I suppose?

Luke. Yes, we’ve put up at Colonel Dexter’s--my uncle’s--slow place.
(_Laughing._) But better than the inn apparently.

Deb. Oh. then you are the--Miss Dexter’s cousin that Allen--(_pauses
hesitating_)--was--was speaking of?

Luke. Oh, the young fellow that was there this afternoon--was that
Allen? (_With a would-be playful laugh._) And who’s Allen, eh?

Deb. (_A little stiffly._) Allen is Mr. Rollitt.

Luke. Oh, I wish I’d known that this afternoon. Dick’s been dying to see
him and his mother all day. I wanted him to wait till the morning, but
he would come down to-night.

Deb. Oh, I’m sure Allen and Aunt will both be delighted. (_Approaching
Mike, who still stands aside and looks down._) Won’t you be seated,
Mr. Hanningford? (_He makes no sign--hesitatingly._) Dick. (_Mike still
takes no notice. Luke has risen and crossed with assumed carelessness,
towards him and nozu from opposite side of him to Deborah gives him a
sharp kick. Mike starts and looks up._),

Luke. (_Turning away carelessly._) Lost in reveries of old scenes, Dick,
eh? Miss Deacon is asking you if you won’t sit down.

Mike. (_Sitting L.c._) Oh, I beg your pardon, Miss, I’m sure. Oh, thank
you, I will.

Deb. (_Going._) I shan’t be a minute. They are only somewhere about the
yard.

(_Exit Deborah c. door l. down stage. Luke goes to door, looks off,
closes door, then goes up to door c., looks off, then closes it. Comes
r. of Mike, who is l.c._)

Luke. (_After waiting an instant, and making sure that no one is
about._) Try and keep some of your wits about you, Mike--if you don’t
mind.

Mike. (_Sulkily._) I don’t see the darned good of this part of the
trick, so I tell you.

Luke. I’m afraid we shall have a rough time if your memory doesn’t
improve. I’ve explained to you at least half-a-dozen times that it was
as a sort of trial canter that I wanted to come here. If anyone in
Devon can tell who is Dick Hanningford and who isn’t it will be these
Rollitts. If you pass here you pass anywhere.

Mike. Well, it’s the very place I should have avoided, and for the same
reason. The old woman knew Dick Hanningford as well as she knows her own
son, and I’d rather avoid her.

Luke, (_r._) You’re bound to meet her sooner or later. Better get
it over and know the worst--or the best. (_Turns away r. a little._)
Sixteen years make it a little difficult to tell a man, especially
between the age of nine and twenty-five, and you’re like him enough, and
always were.

Mike. And suppose she gets asking questions--do I remember this, do I
remember that--you know what old women are.

Luke. Well, you can’t be expected to remember all the details of your
pinafore days after all this time, and knocking about as you have been.
You know all that is necessary for you to know. You knew the old man,
and you were in the house, and you knew young Hanningford. Besides, you
needn’t recollect anything yourself. You recollect what other people
recollect, that’s all you’re wanted to do.

Mike. (_Rising._) I hope we don’t make a mess of it! (_Turns L._)

Luke. (_Crossing and laying his hand on Mike’s shoulder, turns him
to c._) We shan’t make a mess of it--don’t you. You know what it’s
for--£100,000 apiece. I’ve done my share of the job--you do yours.
(_Turns r.a little._)

Mike. (_Turning round and facing him._) Are you sure you did your share?

Luke, (_l._) What do you mean? (_Turns c._)

Mike, (_r._) Are you sure he was dead?

Luke. (_After pausing, during which they have looked steadily at each
other, turning away l._) Well, the bullet went in above his ear,
because I examined the wound: and his body went over a two hundred-foot
precipice--that I could also take an affidavit to--only I’d rather not.
(_Turning round and facing Mike again._) What makes you doubt it?

Mike. I don’t know--nothing. The idea occurred to me, that’s all.
(_Turns l. a little._)

Luke. Don’t you drink so much and you won’t have so many ideas.
(_After a pause, during which he seems troubled, shaking it oft with an
effort._) Have you got the letters with you? It will look well to take
them out casually while talking. (_Crosses R.; sits on table._)

Mike. (_Who has crossed to L., taking them out of his breast pocket and
holding them in his hand._) Yes, here they are all right. Bah! (_With
a shudder._) I always see his face when I look on the darned
things--I--Mrs. R. (_Without, loudly._) Dick Hanningford--Dick
Hanningford, my boy! (_Mike drops suddenly in sitting posture on sofa L.
with a cry “Ah.” Luke works round at back and drops down l._)

(_Enter Mrs. R., excitedly, followed at little distance by Allen and
Deborah from c. Allen and Deborah remain up. Rachel from door down l._)

Mrs. R. (_Coming down towards Mike._) What, Dick, my boy, where be thee?
(_Sees Mike on sofa; making towards him._) Ah, there thee be--I thought
I’d know thee again though thee wur only in knickerbockers when I last
saw ’ee. Tain’t thy fault thy father wur a bit stingy. Come and gie us
a hug, lad. Lord love us--(_she is just in font of him, begins to speak
in a bewildered, hesitating manner, in tones gradually dying away to
an awed whisper, as she slowly step by step backs from him._) How--how
you’ve grown--Dick--Dick Hanningford--what--(_stands staring at him; a
strange awed silence prevails_).

Deb. (_Advancing in a terrified voice._) Aunt.

Mrs. R. (_Motioning her back with her arm, but not turning and speaking
in a quick, excited, loud tone._) Keep back, child, don’t come near.
(_Luke is near Mike down c._)

Allen. (_Springing forward._) Mother! What’s the matter?

Mrs. R. (_As before._) The man’s dead.

Luke. (_r. stepping forward._) Dead!

Mr. P. (_Who has entered c. followed by Ichabod and Rachel l. He goes
quietly up to Mike and lays his hand on his heart, and bends over him
earnestly, and it is a few seconds before he speaks._) Heart disease, I
suppose. (_At back of settee l. Gets r.c. of settle._) My letter in his
hand. (_Gets to back of settle._) It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any
good. (_Turns and feels Mike’s heart once again, then quietly turns away
to Allen. Comes c._) He stood between you and £200,000. You are now old
Hanningford’s heir!

Allen. I!

Mrs. R. Allen!

Luke. (_To corpse of Mike--aside as he crosses to back._) Curse you!


MEDIUM CURTAIN.



ACT II.

Scene: _Morning room in a handsome flat--a showily furnished
room--rather ostentatious and loud in its decoration and appointments.
Large table in bay window r.upper corner. Fire-place r.Doors at back
l.c. and two in l. wing. Small tables r.and L.. Easy chairs l. and R._

_Breakfast is laid on large table--it is a gorgeously laid meal--silver
and plate in profusion, and a great number of dishes--tea urn and coffee
urn--a boiling kettle--flowers and ferns in vases and stands. One, a
large wavy one, is at left edge of table close to Allen. The table in
short is crowded and showy to the last degree. A magnificent footman in
gorgeous livery is standing behind; and Mr. Piffin in solemn black waits
close to Allen’s chair, a dish in his hand. Allen is discovered sitting
l. of table, and eating his breakfast in a most melancholy fashion. He
looks intensely miserable and awed. The terrible solemnity of the
whole affair has depressed his spirits to their lowest ebb. He glances
nervously now and then as the meal proceeds, from the footman to the
valet, and vice versa, as they silently and with much ceremony walk
about and wait on him. The fern by his side keeps getting in his
way, tickling and irritating him, but he dare not move it. He eats
in silence, and when he does speak, does so in a humble, deprecating,
nervous manner. He is dressed in a loose morning costume. Music to open
Act._

Piff. (_Standing by Allen’s l. elbow c. Peters r. of table R._) May I
get you a little pâté de foie gras, sir?

Allen. (_Looking round, and speaking in a hushed voice._) I beg pardon?

Piff. A little pâté de foie gras, sir.

Allen. Patty who?

Piff. Goose’s liver, sir. I think you will like it.

Allen. No, thanks; I never eats liver. It don’t agree with me. I will
have a bit o’ the bacon though.

Piff. No, sir; it is not dressed that way, sir. I would get used to it
if I were you, sir. You will so often come across it. Peters, just pass
your master the pâté de foie gras.

(_Peters goes to do so. Allen who has turned again towards his breakfast
is about to take up some gravy from his plate with his knife_).

Piff. (_Checks him._) I wouldn’t lap up the gravy with my knife, sir. I
don’t think. It’s never done now in good society, sir.

Allen. It--it’s the best part of it, you know, I alius thinks--the gravy

Piff. Yes, it’s very tasty, sir. It’s unfortunate it’s so sloppy; and
you see, sir, eating it in that way does not show off the figure to
advantage. Peters, remove your master’s plate.

(_Peters does so, placing it a few feet beyond Allen’s left hand. Allen
watches it with jealous eyes. Peters then holds the pâté de foie gras to
Allen. He slowly runs his eye up Peters with awe, and then looks at the
pâté de foie gras, then using one hand attempts to take it. Peters,
not moving a muscle, holds it tight. Allen seems surprised, and partly
rising, attempts to take it with both hands._)

Piff. (_Coming to his rescue, cutting a piece, and putting it on his
plate._) Allow me, sir. Peters, the brown bread and butter.

Pet. (_Looking for it._) It is not on the table, sir.

Piff. No brown bread and butter; dear me, how remiss!

(_Crosses l. and rings bell. Peters also crosses l.c. door, Allen looks
cautiously round and sees they are not watching him, and stealthily
reaches over and secures a knifeful of gravy. He is about having a
second and has the knife close to his mouth, when he becomes aware that
Piff has returned and is watching him. He tries to hide the knife out
of sight. Peters has returned with bread and butter._)

Piff. (_Severely._) Peters, remove your master’s knife. Don’t you see
that it is in his way?

(_Peters does so, and then holds the bread and butter to Allen, who
takes a thin slice, folds it up, and holds it in his left hand while
taking the pâté on a fork in his right. He puts first the pâté and then
the bread and butter into his mouth and swallows them._)

Piff. I must apologize for serving you your breakfast in here, sir. Of
course, you will not have it in the drawing-room as a rule.

Allen. No, a’ coorse not. No; us alius used to have it in the kitchen at
home.

Piff. Yes, sir. Must have been very convenient. But I think I’ll get
you to put up with the breakfast parlour in future, sir--when the room’s
ready. Have you quite finished, sir?

Allen. (_Humbly suggesting._) I think I’d like a little more o’ that
pie. (_Looking longingly at pie the other side of table._) You see, I
alius wur a hearty eater. (_Said as apology_).

Piff. Yes, sir, I’m delighted to hear it, sir; but I wouldn’t eat any
more breakfast, sir. You will find it is considered correct among _bons
vivants_ to eat a very sparse dejeuner. My late lamented master, the
Count de Fizziani, never partook of anything but a cup of weak tea and a
little dry toast, and he was one of the oldest families in Europe.

(_Allen rises, Peters bows as he does so, and Allen returns the bow and
comes dozen R._)

Allen. Ah, I shouldn’t ’a’ thought as anyone could ‘a’ lived long on
that. (_He bows_).

Piff. No necessity to bow, sir.

Allen. He did it. (_Indicating Peters_).

Piff. He’s paid for it.

Allen. I allus seem to want a good feed myself in the morning. (_Takes
out an old clay pipe and prepares to fill it. Goes down r. and sits in
chair. Peters is clearing away the breakfast things_).

Piff. Are you thinking of smoking, sir?

Allen. Yes; I allus has a whiff or two arter breakfast.

Piff. It’s very soothing, sir. My late lamented master, the Count de
Fizziani, used to follow precisely the same course. But I wouldn’t smoke
a pipe, sir. Pipes are going out in good society. (_Takes cigarette case
from pocket and offers it to Allen. Takes pipe from Allen and puts it on
corner of table R.c._) I have some cigarettes here, sir, which I think
you will like, sir. These are much more _comme il faut_, sir. This case
is a present from my late lamented master, the Count.

(_Allen looks at them and gingerly takes one._)

Allen. Which end?

Piff. (_Lighting match._) Either end, sir. Allow me. (_Showing
matchbox._) Another little souvenir from my late master. He was always
acknowledging, if I may say so, my value to him. That sort of thing
is always done in good society now. (_Lights cigarette._) It is a full
flavored one, sir. (_Piffin takes Allen’s pipe from table r.c., crossing
with it to window r._)

Allen. (_Watching him, anxiously._) Don’t hurt him.

Piff. (_Turning round._) I was just going to put it outside on the
window-sill, sir.

Allen. No, don’t put him there. We used to sit up together of a night
watching the sheep. I don’t like the thought of putting him outside the
window, now I’m a gentleman. Drop him in the pocket of that old shooting
coat o’ mine that thee won’t let me wear. They know each other. (_Sits
r.and smokes his cigarette. Piff. puts the pipe on table and returns
r.c._)

Piff. (_Noticing that Allen is looking at his cigarette._) All right,
sir? (_r._)

Allen. Yes--yes, thank you, Mr. Puffin--

Piff. Piffin, sir.

Allen. I wur looking to see if it wur alight, that’s all.

Piff. You will soon get to like them, sir. And whenever you are ready to
dress, sir--

Allen. (_Surprised._) Dress? Why, I be dressed, bain’t I?

Piff. Oh, only for breakfast, you see, sir. I understood you were going
out walking, sir.

Allen. Why can’t I walk in these?

Piff. Oh, no, sir--all London would laugh at you.

Allen. Lord! I should never a’ thought as they’d take so much notice.
(_Rising. Piff. crosses to l. near down stage door._) Ah, well, I’ll
dress. (_Crossing l._) I don’t want to upset London if I can help it.
I’ll dress. (_Exit l. Bows to Piffin as Piffin does so to him_).

Piff. No necessity to bow, sir. (_Aside._) Ah, I’ve got a big job on
here!

(_Exit Piffin, following Allen l. Piffin immediately returns, having
forgotten the pipe, which he takes. He is recrossing l. as enter Dexter
and Clara, c., preceded by Peters, who takes tray from table R.c. and
exits up L._)

And I’ve got to live in the house with this.

(_Dexter goes c., Clara r. at back._)

Dex. (_Coming down._) Good-morning, Piffin, goodmorning. Having a quiet
whiff?

Piff. Thank you, sir. My stomach does not permit my indulging in the
luxury of a cutty pipe.

Dex. Is Mr. Rollitt about?

Piff. He has just this minute gone upstairs to dress, sir. I will let
him know you are here, sir.

Dex. No hurry--no hurry at all, Piffin. We are before our time. You are
not looking well, Piffin.

Piff. Anxiety, sir. May be anxiety. You see Mr. Rollitt’s unacquaintance
with the manners of the _beaux esprits_ throws much responsibility on
myself.

Dex. But you must be careful, Piffin. What would he do without you?

Piff. (_Smiling._) Well, I’m afraid he would be a little up a tree, sir,
if I may be permitted a vulgarism. (_Moving to door l._) I will go and
acquaint him with your arrival, sir. (_Takes plate from table l., puts
pipe on it._) I’ll send him to you directly, sir. (_Smells pipe._) Shag!
(_Exit l.l._)

Dex. Thank you, Mr. Piffin, thank you. (_Turning round._) Always be
affable with your inferiors--never know when you may want ‘em.

Clara. (_By window, looking out._) Do you come across many of that sort?
(_Comes down r. of table R._)

Dex. Ah, you beast--you vixen. I wonder you don’t cut yourself with that
tongue of yours.

Clara. (_Turning round with a hard laugh. At fireplace R._) It must be
pretty sharp if it goes through your skin.

Dex. Ah, you damned--

(_Enter Allen l. He has on slippers and a smoking coat_).

Allen. (_Crossing._) Don’t ’ee look at us too closely. I bean’t
properly dressed yet.

Clara. (_r.c. turns head away._) I don’t think we had better look at you
at all under those circumstances, Mr. Rollitt. (_Laughs._)

Allen. (_Laughs._) Oh, I be covered up all right everywhere. I merely
meant as I wasn’t up to fashion plate standard. (_Crossing c._) And how
be Colonel Dexter? (_Shaking hands._)

Dex. (_l._) Jolly, my boy--and how’s yourself?

Allen, (_c._) Oh, I be spry enough. (_Crossing before him and shaking
hands with Clara, and keeping her hand._) I think us’ll have a pleasant
day.

Clara, (_r. looking tenderly at him._) I’m sure we shall. (_Crosses to
sofa, stands at head of it._)

Dex. Well, you young folks will, I know, and the old folks will be happy
looking on. (_Sitting, and taking Clara’s hand in his and fondling it.
Allen crosses r._) To see his little girl happy, that’s always happiness
enough for old Jack Dexter.

Clara. (_Leaning over and kissing the top of his hand._) Silly old dad.

Dex. (_Taking out his handkerchief and pretending to weep._) Ah, like
her mother--like her mother.

Allen, (_r. c., laughs nervously._) Her--her mother must ha’ been rare
beautiful, mustn’t her?

Dex. (_c. rising and taking Allen by the hand._) Thank you,--ah, Mr.
Rollitt, you have never known the blessing of a wife--(_Clara looks at
him_)--you do not understand the feelings of a widower. (_Weeping._)

Allen. No--but--(_laughing_)--but--I hopes to one day; no--no--I don’t
mean that--I--(_confused_)--Have thee had breakfast? (_Clara sits on the
soft L._)

Dex. Yes, thank you, Allen, my boy.

Allen. (_Cheerfully._) Have another.

Dex. No thanks, not to-day.

Allen. What’s the matter? Off thee feed?

Dex. No, my lad, but we old folks ain’t like you young country
ones--nothing at present thank you--(_pauses_)--to eat.

Allen. Have summat to drink. (_Clara crosses l. Both men laugh, each in
his own distinctive way. Dex. turns l. and catches Clara’s face._)
There be some rare old whiskey in the library. Thee’ll find it on the
sideboard--(_Dex. goes up c._)--and it be more comfortable like in there
than here. I’ll just go and finish making myself beautiful. (_Crosses to
l._)

Clara. Don’t be too long. (_Crossing and sitting L.c._)

Allen. (_Laughing._) No, it oughtn’t to take me long to--(_Dex. has his
back to them, wine business at table r.c._)--do that, ought it? (_Goes
to l. door down stage. Laughs, and then low to Clara as he is going._) I
am not likely to stop upstairs long when I know thee’s downstairs.

Clara. Go away, go away.

(_Exit Allen down stage l. Bus. She kisses her hand._)

Dex. And I suppose you will go and throw this chance away, like you have
every other.

Clara. Well, what if I do? (_Rises, crosses it._)

Dex. What if you do? What are we to live on? (_Goes to Clara l._)

Clara. Gulls, I suppose--as we always have done.

Dex. Yes, and is it pleasant living? Is it pleasant to have to slave
and trick for every dinner? Is it pleasant to be kicked--sooner or
later--out of every society one goes into? (_Coming close and speaking
low._) Was it pleasant to be buried for two years in that God-forsaken
hole by Exmoor, not daring to show our heads above ground for a moment?
You’ve got a fine chance of being respectable now.

Clara. Too late, I’m afraid, though.

Dex. (_r. c._) Too late?

Clara. Yes--you see, papa, dear, you haven’t exactly brought me up
in that way, and I’m afraid I’m too old to learn now. I don’t think I
should be quite at home as the wife of a piously brought up young man
from the country. (_Leans back--laughs._)

Dex. And so you’re going to let six thousand a year slip through your
fingers. It’s wicked--it’s wicked.

Clara. (_Laughs--rises._) Well, it hasn’t slipped through my fingers
just at present, it is sticking to them pretty freely. (_Crosses to
R.--Dex is c.--toys with ring._)

Dex. (_Goes to table r.c._) And how long do you think he will stand you
playing with him?

Clara. Oh, a good long while yet. (_Goes up._)

Dex. (_Puts hat on table r.c._) That’s just where you’re making a
mistake then. He’s not a fool. He’ll want an answer, “Yes,” or “No,”
 soon, and what are you going to say then?

Clara. (_Looking out of window._) No. (_Looking into fireplace r._)

Dex. (_After a pause--violently._) Luke Cranbourne’s at the bottom
of this. What devil’s game is it that’s going on between you and him?
(_Loudly._)

Clara. I do wish you wouldn’t drink when you’re coming out anywhere, it
always makes you so noisy. (_At glass._)

Dex. (_Violently._) Take care, Clara--you seem to forget I’m your
father.

Clara. (_Coldly._) The relationship was none of my seeking.
Whatever responsibility attaches to the unfortunate--(_moves near
Dex._)--occurrence is not mine.

Dex. (_l. making movement as if to strike her._) Clara.

Clara. (_Facing him with quiet contempt--a pause._) Put down your hands,
father. That period of my life is over. (_Crosses. Dex. steps back, then
throws himself into chair, leans his head on his arms, and bursts into
tears r.c._)

Dex. (_Crying._) My own child hates me.

Clara. (_Crossing and laying a hand on his shoulder gently._) I don’t
mean to be hard, father, but you can’t expect much love and duty from
me. Curses and blows were all you ever gave me as a child, and ever
since I became a woman you have merely hawked me about as your decoy.

Dex. (_ Whimpering._) I only want you to do what’s for your own good.

Clara. (_Turns away L._) Yes, but you must allow me to be the judge of
that--and come--you haven’t had much cause to grumble up to now. You’ve
been able to be drunk every night for the last three months.

Dex. (_Rises c._) I ain’t been drunk. (_Takes hat off table r. c._)

Clara. Not for you perhaps--(_goes l. a little_)--drunk in the ordinary
sense of the word--and I will get you something to-day if I can.

Dex. (_Drying his eyes._) God bless you, Clara, you’re a good girl. Do
you think you’ll be able to get a twenty?

Clara. You must leave it to me. I’ll get you as much as I can.

Allen. (_Off l._) Thank you, Mr. Puffin.

Piff. (_Off l._) Piffin, Piffin, sir.

Clara. (_Moving away towards door--upper l._) Come into the next room
now. Here’s Allen coming back.

Dex. (_As he follows her out._) Say you want to help a poor woman who’s
very ill, and has been ordered nourishing food and--(_gags._)

(_Exeunt Clara and Dex. upper l._)

(_Enter Allen and Piff. l. Allen is completely dressed in the height of
walking costume, and is evidently very uncomfortable. Enter Peters c.
Pet. puts photo case on table r. c. Exits down c. Allen has on hat and
coat, and Piff. is carrying his umbrella and gloves. Allen should be got
up in a slightly exaggerated masher style. He is smoking a cigarette._)

Allen. I carn’t breathe, Mr. Puffin.

Piff. Oh, you will soon get used to that, sir. And would you please to
remember my name is Piffin, sir? (_Taking his hand._) Why, surely these
are nines, sir, I think we could get them down to eight and a half, and
if I were you, sir, I would show a little more cuff, sir, it’s always
done in good society, sir; besides, it makes the hand look smaller; a
little cuff, sir, goes a long way in good society.

Allen. Thank you, Mr. Piffin. (_Shakes his hand._)

Piff. Thank you, sir, but I don’t think you ought to shake hands with
me, sir. And when you do shake hands with your friends, sir--allow me
(_takes Allen’s hand_) shake high, sir. (_Shakes his hand high._) You’ll
see it’s always done in good society, sir. Lord Carmichael’s man told me
he met you yesterday, sir.

Allen. I--I don’t know him, do I?

Piff. Oh, no, sir, but he knows you, sir, and he was rather complaining
of your walk, sir?

Allen. Why, what’s it got to do with him?

Piff. Well, sir, knowing as I’m your coach, sir, he meant it as a
friendly hint. You have rather a countrified walk, if you will forgive
me for saying so--a more _négligé_ style is adopted by the _savoir
vivre_ now, sir, and a more _insouciant_ manner of carrying the
umbrella. You walk too much in this way, sir. (_Taking up umbrella,
gags, and imitates._)

Allen. Lord love us, do I walk like that?

Piff. Just like that, sir. You see yourself, sir, what a very
_undestingué_ appearance it presents. The present fashionable style is
more like this, sir. (_Performing an exaggerated Piccadilly dawdle._)
See, sir--body a little forward--knees stiff--and a slight wobble,
sir--very slight. (_Handing Allen the umbrella._) Perhaps, sir, you
would take the umbrella and try it, sir.

(_Allen attempts the business._)

Piff. (_Criticising Allen’s practice. Allen crosses to R._) A little
more bend, sir--a little wobble, sir--umbrella held lightly between
the first and second fingers, sir, (_Allen goes l._) and if you could
manage--allow me, sir--. (_takes umbrella, shows him, and returns it_)
to swing it right round now and then, sir, it adds great _aplomb_.

Allen. Great what?

Piff. French, sir.

Allen. (_Swings umbrella round awkwardly._) Like that?

Piff. Not quite like that, sir. A little more airily, sir.

Allen. (_Swinging it._) Does it ever put anybody’s eye out behind?

Piff. I don’t think that point is considered of much importance in good
society, sir--that is much better, sir. (_Goes r.Allen l._) If you
would practice like that a little every day, sir, you would soon pick it
up, sir. A little more bend, sir, and--er--don’t forget the wobble.

(_Exit l. down stage._)

(_Allen goes on practicing to himself, making as much fun as possible,
consistent with comedy, out of the bus. As he is in the middle of it,
enter Mrs. R.and Deb. door c., the door being opened for them by Peters.
They stand c. staring aghast at Allen, who continues, unconscious of
their presence._)

Allen. (_Gags._) Soon pick it up! Strikes me someone’ll have to pick me
up. It puts me in mind of one of our old turkey cocks.

(_Mrs. R. and Deb. come down stage a little._)

Allen. (_Bus. in r. corner of stage. Peters withdraws, grinning._)

Deb. (_After a long pause, clapping her hands._) I know what it is,
aunt. It’s our Allen.

Allen. (_Seeing them._) Mother! (_Comes down r.c. Deb. l. c._)

Mrs. R. My boy! (_They rush into each other’s arms c. and Mrs. R. gives
him a huge hug--gets r.of Allen, Deb. l. Then he and Deb. have an
embrace, and then he and Mrs. R. for the second time._)

Allen. (_In the middle of Mrs. R. second hug._) Hold hard!

Mrs. R. (_Alarmed._) What’s the matter, lad?

Allen. Summat’s gone.

Mrs. R. What?

Allen. I don’t know; summat behind. (_Drawing back r. and looking down
at himself._) Mother, you’ve spoilt me.

Mrs. R. Ah, they used to tell me I allus did that, lad. (_Laughs._)

Deb. (_After gazing in silent admiration at Allen._) Oh, aunt, isn’t it
lovely? Look at its hat!

Mrs. R. (_Critically examining his clothes._) Ah--and there’s some good
stuff there, too. (_Moving away._)

Deb. (_Going near and sniffing._) Oh, oh! Doesn’t it smell
nice--and--oh, look at its collar! (_Allen pleased--begins to plume
himself--Deb. begins to laugh._)

Allen. What’s the matter with the collar--what are you laughing at?
(_Trying to look at his own collar. Debt’s laugh only grows, and Allen’s
indignation begins to rise._)

Allen. What’s the matter--what are you laughing at? (_Deb. laughing more
and more, goes to walk round him. Turning round, so as to face her--his
collar prevents him turning his head, and he has to walk round._) What
are you up to?

Deb. I want to see it all round.

Allen. (_Very indignantly._) Well then, you can’t do it. I ain’t a show.
What are you laughing at? There’s nothing to laugh at. (_Mrs. R. laughs
first time._) It’s your ignorance, because you don’t understand things.
What are you laughing at?

(_Mrs. R., who has hitherto sat R. looking on, now also begins to laugh,
and she and Deb. go on laughing more and more, Allen growing more and
more indignant._)

Allen. I am surprised at you, mother. Deb. allus was a--(_the two women
only laugh louder, and Allen in spite of himself begins to laugh too;
afterwards he joins in heartily and all three laugh, after which they
have another hug. Bus._)

Mrs. R. (_Exhausted._) Well, lad, and how dost thee like being a
gentleman? (_Sits r., Deb. sits l._)

Allen, (_c. doubtfully._) Well, it’s got its drawbacks, mother. There’s
more work about it than you’d think for, you know,--but I think I shall
be all right, I’ve got a good man learning me. He wur teaching me to
walk this morning. That wus the Park stroll I wur practicing when you
come in; see, mother? (_Imitates stroll._)

Mrs. R. Ah, well, us made a good man of ’ee down in Devon. I hopes
they don’t spoil ’ee, lad, in turning thee into a gentleman.

Allen. Ah, no, mother. It’s only a polishing up the outside. I’m old
Exmoor oak--(_puts his hat and umbrella on table r. c._)--I hope, right
through, and they can’t hurt that. When did ’ee come up? (_Sits r.
c._)

Mrs. R. Only yesterday, and us went to Mrs. Clouter’s and slept, and
then us come on here this morning.

Allen. And how long can you stop?

Mrs. R. Well, us must start off to-morrow, some time.

Allen. To-morrow! Oh, nonsense, mother.

Mrs. R. Nonsense! Why, bless the lad, thee wouldn’t have me away on
Saturday. Why, who’d pay the wages, and see to everything?

Allen. Why, there’s Rogers there, ain’t there?

Mrs. R. Ah, why thee might just as well leave the key of the stable in
charge o’ the old bay mare, as trust him to look arter anything, except
his own inside.

Allen. (_After a pause._) Mother! (_Rises, goes to Mrs. R. r._) What do
ye want to go back at all for, and work and worry yourself to death? Let
me take a little house up here in London for thee and Deb, and then we
can all be together.

Mrs. R. (_Aghast._) And leave the farm?

Deb. (_Turning round._) Oh, Allen!

Allen. Why not? You’ve worked hard enough, mother--give the farm up and
enjoy yourself.

Mrs. R. Enjoy myself! Away from Woodbarrow

Farm! Why, lad, thy father wur born there and brought me home there--and
he died there, and thee wur born there--and there be the pigs and the
poultry! (_Begins to cry._)

Allen. (_Tenderly patting her._) All right, mother, all right. Us’ll
keep it on.

Mrs. R. (_Wiping her eyes._) And thee might want to come back to it
theeself some day, lad.

Allen. (_Laughing._) Why, thee don’t think I’m going to run through two
hundred thousand, do ye, mother? We Devonshire lads win fortunes, not
lose ‘em. (_Crossing c._)

Mrs. R. Ah, no, lad. But thee knows the saying “Roses blossom for a day,
But stout old ivy’s green al-way.” Thee ain’t likely to lose the money,
if thee can help it, lad, but us all be in God’s hands, and I’ll be
easier in my mind if the farm’s there for thee to come home to. If
anything happens, thee knows the way across the Moor, and thee knows how
the latch goes, and me and the lass will be inside to welcome thee.

Allen. (_Goes l. takes Deb.’s hand._) Ah, I know you will, mother, both
of you.

Mrs. R. (_Music--piano._) Leastways I shall--and the lass until her gets
married, I suppose. (_Deb. goes up a little; gets r._)

Allen. (_Surprised._) Until her gets married? (_Deb. goes to Mrs. R. r.;
tries to stop her speaking._)

Mrs. R. (_Sharply._) Ah, the lads ain’t all fools.

Allen. (_Evidently troubled._) I never seemed to think o’ Deb’s getting
married, somehow.

Mrs. R. Well, other folks have.

Allen. I can’t fancy the old farm wi’out Deb. Lord, how lonesome it
would be.

Deb. (_Who has been trying to stop Mrs. R., has come down and stands by
her aunt, l._) Oh, it’s only aunt’s fun. (_Goes to Allen, l. c._) I’m
not going to get married. Sure the pigs and cows are worrit enough wi’
their foolish ways. I don’t want any husband.

Allen. Ah, thee will some day, o’ course, and when thee does we must
make thee comfortable, lass. (_Taking her hand._) Thee shalt ha’ the
best farm in all the country, and the best dairy, and the best stock.

Deb. (_Little c._) Thank thee, Allen dear. (_Turns up stage._)

Mrs. R. (_Rising; music dies away._) Well, lass, I suppose us had better
have a clean down and summat to eat, and then see about our bit o’
shopping.

Allen. Lord help us! (_Starting._) If I ain’t forgot all about ‘em.

Mrs. R. All about whom?

Allen. Why, Clara--Miss Dexter and her father--they be in the library
waiting for me.

Deb. Oh, don’t let us keep you from them. (_A little spitefully._)

Allen. Oh, I shan’t go out this morning, now. (_Gets hat and umbrella
from table r.c._) I shall get them to stop here instead, and us can
have a nice quiet day all together. (_Going towards door, lower l._)
Come on, mother. (_Crosses to c._) I’ve got a room fitted up a’purpose
for thee and Deb, with a roost just outside the window with a cock and
three hens in it, and he crows all night.

(_Exeunt Allen, Deb., and Mrs. R. down stage._)

(_Enter Baron von Schorr (1) and the Hon. Tom. Gus-sett (2), ushered in
by Peters c. (3). Enter Luke c., and Dexter u. l. (4), afterwards Clara
(5.) Baron goes down l., Gussett r., Luke r. c., Dexter l. c._)

Dex. (_l._) Rollitt’s going out. You can’t see him. It’s no good your
coming here to try and fleece him this morning. I tell you he’s going
out.

Luke. (_Coming down r.c._) Ah, we’ll wait and say good-bye to him,
Jack.

Baron. (_l. c._) Ah, greedy Jack,--greedy Jack--you want de bird all
to yourself. Nein--nein, zhare and zhare alike. Herr Cranbourne have a
ving, Tom Gussett, he have de oder ving. You and your fair daughter have
de legs, and I vill have de breast.

Clara. No, you shall have the bones after we’ve done with them. Make
’em into a stew--keep a German baron for a week. (_Others laugh._)

Baron. Ah, Trickey, you here. (_Motioning towards Clara and her
father._) Ah, de early birds--de early birds.

Clara. Yes, we have to be. (_Rises, and goes r.imitating him._) De
worms get up so early nowadays. (_Enter Allen lower l. Baron goes to
meet him. Guss. puts him away and he turns up c. Speaks to Dex._)

Allen. Hullo! Unexpected pleasure!

(_Luke comes forward and greets Allen c._)

Guss. (_r._) Haven’t seen you for an age, dear boy.

Allen. No. (_Goes to Luke r._) I’ve been keeping pretty respectable of
late--I--I mean, you know, I haven’t been going out much.

Luke, (_l._) Tom and I are going over to Paris for the Vincennes
meeting, and we’ve come to see if you will join.

Guss. (_l. of Allen r._) Yes, do come; then we can show you about Paris
a bit, you know.

Luke. Ah, yes, and we shall be able to get you into one or two things
in the betting line if you are with us. We can introduce you to some
friends of ours.

Allen. Ah, it be very kind of thee, I’m sure.

(_They go on talking r._)

Baron. (_Aside to the Dexters, back of Clara._) I say, Jack, my boy, how
long have you been Colonel? I did not know you vas a militaire.

Clara. Papa joined the Salvation Army about the same time that you were
raised to the German Peerage. Don’t talk so loud, my dear Baron.

Baron. Gut, gut.

(_Luke sits down stage r. with back to audience, looking at betting
book._)

Guss. (_To Allen r._) Of course we shall take care of your interests as
if it was for ourselves.

Baron. (_Comes and puts arm in Allen’s._) Of course they vill take care
ob your interests for themselves. Come here. (_Goes l._) You know I have
been tinking about you so much ob late. Ja!

Allen. Ah, very kind of thee, I’m sure.

Baron, (_l._) Ja, I say to myself, my fren Rollitt--I always call you my
fren--my fren Rollitt, I say, he is a gut fellow--he has money--all
he vants is family. (_Guss. goes to Dex. l. c._) He must marry family.
(_Dex. goes c. and tries to hear conversation--Baron notices it and
crosses to r.with Allen._) Now, Miss Dexter, she is a nice girl--ach,
such a nice girl--but she has no family.

Allen. No--not yet. (_Luke gets near fireplace R._)

Baron, (_r. Seeing it after a while._) Ah, nein, nein--I do not mean vat
you mean--I mean family de oder vay--backvards--dead uns.

Allen. Oh!

Baron. Ja. Now, dere is my niece, look at her family! Look at her
ancestors--all barons--German barons! And she is such a nice girl--so
beaudiful--so plump--ach, I will indroduce her to you. She vill mash
you--so much. She--

(_Enter Mrs. R., Deb. behind her, lower l. door. Seeing the room full
she stands by door hesitatingly._)

Guss. (_Coming down and interrupting, with a sneering laugh._) Your
nurse, Rollitt, I think. (_Comes c. Luke goes to fireplace R._)

Allen. (_Turns and sees them, and then goes towards them._) Yes, Mr.
Gussett--the best nurse a man can have--my mother.

(_Guss. confused, but soon recovers himself and laughs it off. Col. D.,
Luke, and Clara come forward to greet Mrs. R. and Deb. l. c., and the
customary ceremony, etc., is gone through--all speaking together._)

Clara. (_Smiling pleasantly, shakes hands with Mrs. R._) Good-morning,
Mrs. Rollitt. You are looking so well and jolly. How are you, my dear?
(_To Deb. Between these two the greeting is really strained and awkward,
although outwardly pleasant enough. Clara kisses Deb., but Deb. seems
to shrink--she turns away. Clara notices this, and follows Deb. as she
turns away up c., with a meaning look. While it has been going on the
greeting between Mrs. R. and Luke has taken place--Mrs. R. down l._)

Allen. (_Finishing his introduction of Mrs. R. and Baron._) The Baron
von Schnorr--Mrs. Rollitt, my mother.

Baron. Your mudder--Oh, impossible. (_Goes l. c._)

Mrs. R. (_Huffy._) I beg your pardon, Mr. Snort.

Baron. Ach, ja, you are laughing at me--not your mudder.

(_Clara walks round at back, drops down r. near Luke._)

Mrs. R. (_Very indignant._) Yes--his mother. Don’t you cast any of your
nasty foreign insinuations upon me. I’m his lawful married mother, and
his father was his father, and a better man never lived, as anyone in
Exmoor--

Allen. (_Soothing her._) It’s all right, mother, the Baron only means
it complimentary. Thee’st supposed to look too young to be anybody’s
mother. He has to take (_Clara sits r._) thee for my sister.
(_Laughing--goes up l. c. with Dex._)

Baron. Ja--I take you for his sister. Ach, you English ladies, you never
seem to get more old--you only get more round, more--more jolly.

Mrs. R. (_Still indignant._) Ah--foolishness. (_Ruffling her dress and
sitting very stiff l. on sofa._)

Baron. (_Sitting on sofa beside her._) It must be de climate keep you
so moist. (_Drawing closer._) I knew a man, he lives in your Manchester,
and--(_goes on talking to Mrs. R. but is not heard._)

(_Allen goes up and joins Col. Dex. up l. c. and Clara. After a little
while Col. Dex. appropriates him, leaving Clara a little to r.of them
unnoticed. Guss. continues talking to Deb. Deb. evidently bored and
anxious to get away. Guss. trying to be very agreeable. At this point
when all the others are occupied, Luke r. beckons Clara to him and she
crosses. Their conversation is in eager undertone and they watch to see
that no one is noticing them._)

Luke. Have you got him to join yet?

Clara. No--he kicks against it.

Luke. If his name isn’t down in the list of directors before Monday I
shall be arrested.

Clara. Can’t you get away?

Luke. No, I’m watched night and day. If he joins, the company will float
and it will be all right.

Clara. I shall be seeing him alone this morning. I will try again.

Luke. And keep to plain gold and diamonds for presents. Those fallal
things (_touching her bracelet_) are no good. Don’t fetch ten per cent,
of their value.

Deb. (_Part of the conversation between herself and Guss. Abstractedly,
her attention being fixed on Luke and Clara._) Ha, ha! that was very
funny.

(_Guss. r. with Deb. looks at her in amazement._)

Luke. (_Down r._) There’s that milkmaid watching us--don’t look around,
answer as though I had been proposing to you--that will account for our
talking together. (_In a louder but still undertone._) Is there no hope
for me?

Clara. (_Down r.--smiling._) None, Luke--please don’t refer to the
subject again. I like you--respect you--will be a sister to you--but
love--

Luke. (_Grinning._) Yes, it’s that Rollitt that you love. (_Deb.,
followed by Guss., has moved away to window._)

Clara. Mr. Cranbourne, you have no right--

Luke. (_Who has been watching Deb._) Chuck it up, it’s all right, she’s
gone to the window.

Clara. I don’t suppose we’ve deceived her very much, she’s a sharp
little minx. Get these men away.

(_Clara takes up book, and standing, toys with it up r. front of r.c.
table._)

Baron. (_Finishing._) She never leave her bed for eighteen years--she
take dree dozes--den she get up and go for a dree mile walk.

Mrs. R. (_Rising._) Lor! It must have been quite a change for her.

Baron. (_Rising._) Ja. It vas a miragle. (_Turning and seeing Luke
beside him._) Ha, my dear boy, ready?

Luke. (_Crosses to Baron._) Ready and off.

Allen. (_Coming down c. followed by Dex._) Oh, are you three going?

(_Baron goes c._)

Luke. Yes, I know you’ll be glad to be rid of us. (_Laughing._)

Allen. Well, I have (_looking at watch_) one or two little things to do
this morning.

(_Baron goes up c._)

Dex. Well, look here, Allen, I’m just going to have a quiet weed in the
smoking room till you’re ready. See?

Allen. Oh, it be a billiard room now, thee know.

Luke. Oh. have you had a table put up?

Clara. (_Who has just crossed over and joined the group l. to Mrs. R.
who is just about quitting the room by door l. lower._) Do you allow
your little boy to play billiards, Mrs. Rollitt? I don’t think I should
if I had charge of him. (_Playfully._)

Mrs. R. Oh, the more he’s up to every sort o’ game that’s played the
better for him, to my thinking.

(_Exit Mrs. R. l._)

Allen. (_Laughing._) Oh, it keeps me at home out of mischief, like.
(_Moves to upper door L._) Come and have a look at it. (_Goes up c._)

Baron. (_As they go._) Ach, billiards iz a beaudiful game. (_Aside to
Luke._) But you cannot vin much at id, id take so dam long.

(_Exeunt all but Guss. and Deb. [l.]--all talking as they go. Guss. and
Deb. near fireplace._)

Deb. (_r._) Well, I’m afraid, Mr. Gussett, I must really go now. (_Goes
down stage. Guss. goes l. c. and stops her._)

Guss. (_Getting between her and the door l. to which she is backing._)
Oh, no, don’t go. Do you know, I shall really think you are trying to
avoid me.

Deb. (_Retreating behind table--Guss. takes a step._) Oh, not at all.

Guss. (_c. gets l. of r. c. table._) Ah, so pleasant to hear you say so.
You know, Miss Deacon, I so want you to like me.

Deb. Yes, well--I do very much, only I can’t stop to do it now, because
you see aunt wants me. (_Moves c. up stage. Guss. stops her. Bus. of
Deb. trying to get away and of Guss. cutting her off and trying to get
near her; is kept up throughout the scene._)

Guss. Ah, but your aunt sees so much of you and I can see so little.

Deb. (_Laughing, walks l. c. up stage. Guss. at head of sofa._) I’m
afraid there’s not very much more of me to see. I must go really,
because we have got to do some shopping this morning.

Guss. Ah, let me come with you?

Deb. Oh, no, I won’t tax your kindness. I know you men hate shopping,
and we are going into drapers’ and dressmakers’ and all sorts of
dreadful places, (_c._)

Guss. Ah, they will not be dreadful if you are there, Miss Deacon.

Deb. And aunt always takes such a long time shopping. (_Goes up c._)
Never can make up her mind, and I’m worse still, and--(_makes movement,
Guss. moves behind settle and stops her down l._)

Guss. Ah, the longer you take, the better I shall like it. I shall enjoy
coming, I assure you.

Deb. (_Getting more and more cross, comes r.c._) Well you know I really
don’t think you will; and really, Mr. Gussett--(_turns r.a little._)

Guss. (_Interrupting._) Ah, I know better. No, I quite insist upon
coming.

Deb. (_With calm, suppressed temper._) Ah, all right, Mr. Gussett, you
shall. (_Crossing l. meets Mrs. R. just entering l._) Aunt, I want you.
(_Turning her round again._)

Mrs. R. (_l._) Why, whatever’s the--

Deb. I’ll tell you, come along.

(_Exeunt Mrs. R. and Deb. l._)

Guss. (_r. turns and arranges his moustache in glass over chimney_).
Might do worse, Gussy, my boy. (_Turns round again._) She’s not a bad
little thing, lick her into shape a bit.

(_Enter Luke, upper l._)

Luke. (_Crossing to table and taking up his hat._) Coming?

Guss. No, dear boy. (_Laughing._) Got a little job on.

Luke. Oh, on the war-path?

Guss. Yes--well, I may as well keep it in hand--Chawbacon will make her
good for a thousand or two, I expect--if nothing better turns up.

Luke. Ah--wish you luck--she’ll be a good match for you, I think, Gussy.

(_Exit Luke c._)

(_Enter Mrs. R. and Deb. lower door l. Both are wearing old-fashioned
big country shawls, and big bonnets. Deb. evidently has on one of her
aunt’s. Their dress altogether is as extravagant as comedy will permit,
and has evidently been hastily put on. Deb. also carries a big country
hand-basket covered with a cloth, the neck of a bottle sticking
prominently out, and a huge gamp. Deb. smothering her laughter_).

Deb. (_Crossing r.c._) We are quite ready, Mr. Gussett

Mrs. R. Yes, we are quite ready.

Guss. (_Who has regarded them with a horrified stare._) Ah, yes, if you
will wait a minute I think I will call a cab.

Deb. Oh, we’d rather walk, thank you--you would rather walk, wouldn’t
you, aunt?

Mrs. R. Oh, I’ve made up my mind for a walk.

Deb. Yes, we would both rather walk. Will you give your arm to aunty,
Mr. Gussett? (_Guss. crosses to c._) And be very careful of her at the
crossings, because she’s rather nervous, and so am I.

Deb. (_r.c. handing the basket to Guss._) You won’t mind carrying the
basket, will you, Mr. Gussett, because it’s so heavy? (_He takes it
bewildered and helpless._)

(_As Guss., Deb. and Mrs. R. reach door c., enter Allen and Clara l.
upper e._)

Allen. Hulloa! Where be thee off to?

Deb. Down Regent street, and up--Piccadilly, I think you call it.
Good-bye.

(_Exeunt Mrs. R., Deb. and Guss. c._)

Clara. (_Comes l. laughing._) I should like to be there to see the Hon.
Tom Gussett at the crossings.

Allen. (_Half amused, half cross._) Ah, her be a madcap, her be, that
girl. What makes thee so anxious that I should join the company?

Clara. (_Sitting l. on sofa, Allen stands by her, behind sofa, leaning
over._) Why, don’t you see, poor papa could be secretary if you joined.
They would let you nominate him, and we should be so glad to be earning
something--(_very low_)--and we are so poor. (_Laying her hand on him._)
Do join, Allen, for my sake.

Allen. (_Yielding--back of sofa._) Ah, thee don’t know how hard thee
makes it for me to say no.

Clara. Then don’t say it--it would make me so happy. (_Looking up at
him._)

Allen. It would?

Clara. (_Laying her hand as if unwittingly on his._)

And I should think you--(_drooping her head._) Ah! I’d better not say
what I should think you.

Allen. Ah, well, lass, if you wish it, I will then.

Clara. You will really?

Allen. Yes--if it will make thee happy I will. And now let’s talk about
yourself. (_Sits l. next to Clara._) Thee is the company I most wants to
join. How have thee been getting on?

Clara. (_Looking down._) Oh, dear!

Allen. What does “Oh dear” mean?

Clara. “Oh, dear” means very bad. Debts. (_With assumed bewilderment._)
Awful!

Allen. (_Smiling._) What sort of debts?

Clara. Oh, all sorts--tradespeople, you know, and all that, and then I
thought I could win a little by betting--(_Allen rises_)--and put it all
right--and I’ve been and lost. Oh dear!

Allen. (_Vexed, goes c._) I should ha’ thought there wur enough fools
among us men trying to win money that way.

Clara. I am naughty, I know--but papa leaves everything to me, and I get
so frightened when I see the debts mounting up and nothing to meet them,
and I’ve no one to advise me. (_Crosses l._)

Allen. (_After a pause, rises, goes to Clara--kindly._) I didn’t mean
to speak unkind, lass. I’m full of old-fashioned notions about women, I
suppose. I like ’em to be women--not mere men in petticoats. How much
does thee owe?

Clara. Oh, heaps! (_Handing him pocket-book._) Look. (_Allen crosses to
R. and sits at table._) And I haven’t any money. (_Rising and looking
over his shoulder R., as he examines the book._) Do you think they’ll
put me in prison?

Allen. (_Turns--laughing._) Thee ought to be taken in charge by
somebody, that’s certain. (_Allen rises, puts some notes from his
pocket-book into hers, and hands it back to her._) I owe your father
a little over one or two bets. I can take it off that and give him the
rest, like. (_Crosses to l._)

Clara. (_Takes book and lays it on the table--the notes drop out on to
the table._) You are good, Allen, really. (_Puts book on table R.--half
to herself._) I wish sometimes that you weren’t--that you were more like
other men I have met. (_Turning away r._)

Allen. Why, would thee like me better?

Clara. No, but I should like myself better.

Allen. What do thee mean, lass?

Clara. Nothing. I’m not used to your sort of men. (_Goes to fireplace,
then up R., throwing off her seriousness and turning towards him._) You
are like the knight, Allen, out of some old legend that comes and slays
the dragon and sets the frightened princess free from all her trouble.
(_Laughing._)

Allen. (_Goes to table r. Clara r.c. at top of table._) When art thee
going to gie me the right to be thy knight always?

Clara..(_Sits at table playfully._) Ah, the gallant knights are apt
to turn into grim jailers--(_comes l. of r. table_)--when they get the
princess into their own castles.

Allen. Can’t thee believe me, Clara? Trust me, lass--I’m only a rough
country chap to be asking a beautiful lady like thee to be my wife. But
if I can’t gie thee anything very showy on the outside, it will make me
the more eager alius to keep a loving heart for thee within.

Clara. Oh, no. (_Sits in chair l. of table._) A lover on his knees is so
much nicer than a lover on your arm. You are so nice, Allen, as you are,
you can’t think. I really couldn’t bring myself to risk a change.

Allen, (_c._) It would be a change for thee, Clara--(_leans on table at
back of Clara, puts hand on Clara’s chair_)--from a rough and troubled
road to one where every stone wur smoothed away from your path---where
every thorn wur held back as you passed--where, instead of care for
the day and dread for the morrow, thee would feel that a strong arm wur
round thee--that a loving hand wur working out thy life for thee. Cannot
thee risk the change, Clara?

Clara. (_Rises, Allen takes her right hand, turns away R._) Ah, I
suppose there are such lives for some women. It must be very good when
you are tired. (_Facing round to L.c._) And you, Allen--women do not
always seem so charming after marriage as they did before. It might be a
risk for you.

Allen. To have the sweetest, noblest woman in the world to be my wife?
I’ll risk that. (_Laughs, comes c._)

Clara. (_Turning away again to R., Allen l.c._) Ah, you boys, you think
all women are angels.

Allen. So they are--a good woman is an angel.

Clara. (_At Are, facing round and looking at him._) How do you know I am
good? (_Very low and serious. Allen drops down c. A pause. He looks in
surprise and inquiry at her, not knowing what to answer._)

Clara. Hadn’t you better make sure, Allen? (_Laughing._) What do you
know of my past--of even my present--of whence I came--what I am?
(_Laughs._) Suppose, Allen, suppose I were only an adventuress.
(_Takes a step._) A woman with the blood of sharpers and thieves in her
veins--whose nursery was the gambling house--whose school was the Café
and the Boulevards--a woman who earned her daily bread by shamelessness
and cunning--a woman whose past would ever follow like a shadow the
footsteps of her life--whose future must ever be a darker shadow still.
Ah, Allen, take care. Cupid ties a bandage over men’s eyes. Hymen, when
it is too late, plucks it off. Hadn’t you better lift a corner off the
handkerchief, Allen, while we are yet upon the step without, lest beside
your hearth, when the door has shut us in, you cast it loose, to find
I am a stain upon your name--a shadow in your home--a blight upon your
life? (_Laughing._) Allen, take care--take care. (_Crosses to l. Allen
moves up a trifle._)

Allen. (_Recovering from the bewilderment with which he has heard her._)
Ah, it’s well for thee that it is thee, and not anyone else that talks
like this about ’ee.

Clara. Ah, but Allen, try and find out a little more about me; it’s just
a whim of mine--I want to feel sure that you know me--just to please me.

Allen. If I couldn’t trust thee--(_takes her hand_)--lass, I shouldn’t
love thee.

Clara. (_Crosses to R.c. Allen follows._) Ah, you are a dear good
fellow, Allen, and I won’t tease you any more. And you will join the
company, won’t you? And then you shall get me that dear little diamond
bracelet that we looked at--do you remember it?--and you shall put it
on yourself. (_Allen by her side r. All this is said with every trick of
fascination at her command, and now she playfully holds up her arm, from
which the loose sleeve falls back, close to his face._) On that. (_He
drops on his knees and kisses her arm_).

(_Enter Deb. c._)

Clara. (_Snatches her arm away._) Deborah! (_Allen rises._)

Allen. (_Turning and seeing her, goes to fireplace R._) Hullo, thee’s
back soon.

Deb. Yes, aunt met Mrs. Clouter just outside, so I pleaded a headache
and left them. (_Throwing off bonnet and shawl on chair and coming
down._) Don’t you think Col. Dexter would like a game of billiards,
Allen?

Allen. No, he’s all right--he’s smoking. (_Crosses l._)

Deb. Oh, I’m sure he’d like a game (_Clara motions Allen away_), and I
want to have a chat with Miss Dexter. We shan’t see each other after
this morning for goodness knows how long.

Allen. (_Moving away l._) Ah, I understand now. (_Goes up stage l._)
I’ll go, and you can tell each other about your new frocks.

(_Exit Allen l., Clara goes c., Deb. l.c. and Clara look at each
other._)

Deb. (_After a pause._) I came back to see you, Miss Dexter, before you
left.

Clara. (_Coldly._) It was very good of you.

Deb. I want to know whether you are playing the fool with Allen, or
whether you mean to marry him.

Clara. I have heard of that sort of question being put to a gentleman
under certain circumstances. (_Crosses to L._)

Deb. It is put to the person who is supposed to be acting
dishonorably--I put it to you.

Clara. I am afraid I have been mixing things up. I was under the
impression that it was the stout lady, your aunt, that was Mr. Rollitt’s
mother.

Deb. You are very smart, Miss Dexter, and I am not, but this is no
game--it is earnest.

Clara. Then I would suggest to you that your cousin is quite capable of
taking care of himself.

Deb. Yes, against a man; but not against the woman he loves and trusts.
It is his love that enables you to deceive him.

Clara. (_Crossing to R.--sits on chair near table r._) You seem to have
made up your mind, my dear child, that I am deceiving him.

Deb. (_l.c._) I know that he has asked you to become his wife, and I
know that although you have let him think it is all right, you have
never given him a real answer. I know that you accept his attentions,
his invitations, his presents. (_Noticing the book and notes on the
table, points to them._) And all the while you are having whispered
interviews and secret meetings with another man.

Clara. (_Coolly counting notes._) If you are thinking of the
conversation you were trying to listen to just now--

Deb. That is only the latest of many such I have noticed. They began
three months ago, down in Devonshire. I come to London and find the same
thing going on.

Clara. (_Sneering._)’ You really ought to have been a detective, the
force might have been some use then.

Deb. I’m not blind. (_Goes c._) Allen is. But that is not all. These
things might be explained by themselves--suspicious though they are--but
just now, going downstairs, I picked up a purse. (_Pausing and looking
at Clara, who, however, makes no sign._) It is your purse. (_Throws it
into Clara’s lap._) I opened it to see whom it belonged to--and inside
it is a wedding ring. Is your name Dexter or Cranbourne?

Clara. (_Rising._) I really must decline to answer any questions of
yours. You are so exceedingly rude. (_Crosses up behind table R.c._)

Deb. You need not answer me. Answer Allen. Tell him that you will be
his wife--or that you cannot. (_Clara takes no notice._) Do you refuse?
(_Crossing l._)

Clara. I refuse to be dictated to.

Deb. Then I shall communicate my suspicions to Allen.

Clara. (_Turning fiercely._) Do so. Tell him--(_walks round table to
back of Deb. c._)--that you believe that I am the wife of another man,
and am playing a shameful part with him merely to sponge on him. That
I am fondling him with the one hand only the better to pick his pocket
with the other. Tell him that you believe he is surrounded by a gang of
adventurers and thieves, of which I am the willing decoy. Tell him your
suspicions, and I will tell him that they are the poisonous concoctions
of a jealous woman--of a woman who loves him herself--(_laughs_)--and
seeks to win him from her more favored rival, by lies and trickery.
(_Goes dozen r._)

Deb. (_Quietly._) You shall answer him for all that, or he shall know
the reason why you dare not. (_Crosses L., and calls._) Allen! Allen!

(_Enter Allen l. up stage_).

Deb. (_l. c._) Allen, is Miss Dexter engaged to be married to you or
not?

Allen, (_l._) Well. (_Laughs._) Blest if I could tell ‘ee that, Deb.
That be the very thing I ha’ been trying to find out myself. Bain’t it,
Clara? Only her be such a tease. (_All said laughingly._)

Deb. (_Sharply._) You mean you have never been able to get a plain
answer, yes or no?

Allen. Gently, lass. Thee be mistaking this for some business of thine.

Deb. Allen, we’ve been like brother and sister all our lives, and your
happiness is my happiness. I have my reasons--very strong reasons--for
asking you to ask Miss Dexter now, before me, whether she will be your
wife.

Allen. I can’t say I thank thee, Deb, for interfering in a matter that
don’t concern thee. (_To Clara, crossing to her._) I hope, Clara, you
don’t think as I have any hand in this, but as things stand now, it will
perhaps be best (_advancing_) if I do ask thee. Will thee be my wife?

Clara. (_Crosses down. Very quietly and deliberately._) Yes! (_Stepping
forward and, putting her hand in Allen’s, c. A pause. She then, glancing
first at Deb., draws Allen slowly to her, and they kiss. They cross r._)

Allen. I think now, Deb, that Miss Dexter has a right to know thy
“reasons.”

Deb. They were mistaken ones, Allen. Please forgive me, both of you.

(_Exit Deb. l._)

Allen. (_Bewildered--looks after Deb._) What does it all mean?

Clara. I will tell you some time. Never mind now.

Allen. Ah, well, us oughtn’t to be angry with her, anyhow, for what
her’s done. (_Takes Clara’s hand in his._) Ought us? (_Draws her to him
and kisses her forehead_).

Clara. (_Disengaging herself gently._) I am going to tell papa. I am so
happy. (_Crosses l., looking back to him laughingly._)

(_Exit Clara l. up stage_).

Allen, (_c. after a pause._) Everything I want in the whole wide world,
and three months ago--(_Breaks off and pauses his hand over his eyes._)
I wonder if I shall wake up in a minute in the old farm and find that
the £200,000 and Clara have only been dreams. (_Rousing himself._) Ah,
no, it be real enough. (_Looks round._) Ah, they call Fortune a fickle
jade, but her’s been a firm friend to me. I’ll drink thee a bumper,
Fortune lass. (_Turns to table r., On which are wine and glasses, and
pours out a glassful._) I don’t know how much a bumper is, but I expects
it’s about a glassful, and thee shall ha’ it. (_Takes glass in his right
hand, and raises it._) Here’s thy jolly good health, my lass. To Lady
Fortune!

(_Enter Peters c. upper door, with card on salver._)

Allen. (_Lowers glass untouched._) What’s the matter?

Peters. (_Coming forward and presenting salver._) A gentleman to see
you, sir.

Allen. (_Takes card, but does not look at it._) He’ll have to be quick
about it then. Send un up. (_Footman seems to hesitate. Sharply._) Send
un up. Send un up.

(_Exit Peters c._)

Another of my swell friends, I suppose; they seem to be swarming
this--(_r. c. glances at card, his hand holding the glass sinks lower
and lower, he gazes round bewilderingly._)

(_Enter Richard Hanningford c._)

(_Reads card in amazed tone._) Richard Hanningford, I saw him lying dead
before my own eyes three months ago! Hann. (_At door, raising hat._) I
beg your pardon! (_The glass in Allen’s hand overturns_).


MEDIUM CURTAIN.



ACT III.

Scene I. The library at Allen’s Chambers. Fire l. Doors r.and c. Table
L.c. Big easy chair l. by fire. Peters discovered l. c. arranging and
cutting papers on table and whistling.

(_Enter Piffin r. Music to open._)

Piff. Have you seen my cub about?

Peters. (_Without looking up._) No, Foxey, I ain’t. Didn’t know as you
had had one.

Piff. (_c._) You know who I mean--your master. Peters. (_Going to door
c._) Not far off from where yours is I suppose.

(_Exit Peters c._)

Piff. Um! The master has been getting impertinent to me of late, so the
servants seem to be following suit. (_Shrugging his shoulders._) I shall
throw this job up when I’ve made another hundred or two. I wonder how
much longer he’s going to keep me waiting.

(_Exit Piff. c._)

(_Enter Allen r. creeping in cautiously in a mysterious and watchful
manner. He has a huge pewter pot in one hand and a large church-warden
clay pipe alight in the other. He looks round stealthily, listens, then
crosses nervously and sits l. in easy chair. He stretches himself out
as luxuriously as his tight clothes will allow--especially the collar.
Takes a long pull at the pot and long puffs at the pipe. In the middle
of each pull, grunts “good” in evident enjoyment._)

Allen. (_Chuckling in a deep undertone. Crosses to c. and sits._)
Ah-h-h, I’ve done un this time. He’s waiting upstairs to curl my hair.
(_Chuckling again._) Told un I’d come up when (_grandly_) I’d finished
conducting my correspondence. (_Chuckles, pulls at pipe, and takes a
deep draught._) First time I’ve ever enjoyed myself since I came into my
property. (_Breaks out into some country ale-house sort of song, sings,
warming as he goes on with great gusto._)

(_Enter Piffin c., unseen by Allen. Piff. comes down and stands c.
looking on. Allen finishes song and then buries his face in the pot.
As his eyes emerge over the brim he catches sight of Piff. He remains
looking at him for a while and then slowly puts the pot on the table._)

Allen. What do thee want? Didn’t I tell ’ee I wur going to conduct my
correspondence, and that I didn’t want to be disturbed?

Piff. (_Goes up table._) I beg pardon, sir, but I thought maybe you had
completed your correspondence, especially as there was only one letter
this morning, and that was a circular about coals.

Allen. Oh, did you. Well, I ain’t you see. I’m going to write a lot of
original correspondence this morning, and I’m collecting my thoughts.
(_Goes on smoking sulkily._)

Piff. Yes, sir--certainly, sir--but might I be allowed to suggest, sir,
that a pot of ale and a clay pipe are hardly the _dolce far niente_ of a
_grand seigneur_.

Allen. Hardly the what of my which? Look here, don’t you be so spry at
calling me them jaw-breaking foreign names, because I don’t like it.
It wur only yesterday you alluded to me as a _bo-mo_, and last week
you said I ought to be in the _hot tongs_. I didn’t say anything at the
time, but you drop it.

Piff. I referred to you as belonging to the _beau monde_, sir, and I
may have said your position was now among the _haut ton_. We always talk
like that in good society, sir. Both expressions were flattering, very
flattering.

Allen. Ah, maybe they wur and maybe they wurn’t. Next time, you call
it me in English, and then I can judge for myself. And don’t worrit me
to-day at all. I’ve got a trying morning before me, and I’m going to
have a little quiet enjoyment to set myself up before it begins.

Piff. Might I suggest, then, sir, that a cigarette and a little absinthe
would be more _de rigueur?_ My late lamented master the Count de
Fizziani invariably took a little absinthe after breakfast and found
great benefit from it.

Allen. Yes, I know. I tried your friend’s cough mixture before, you
know. Old ale’s good enough for me.

Piff. But, sir--

Allen. Don’t you worrit. I’ve been a gentleman for a month; I think I
might have a morning off.

Piff. Very well, sir. Just as you please, of course, sir; but I’ve my
character to consider, sir--and--and--I am not accustomed to the service
of gentlemen with pothouse proclivities.

Allen. (_Sotto voce._) Oh, go and hang yourself.

Piff. (_Up c._) That’s never done now, sir, in good society. My late
lamented master, the Count de Fizziani--

Allen. (_Springing up, working Piff. round, from table l. to desk r._)
Oh, you go to your late lamented master, the fizzing Count, and tell him
to--I have had eno’ of him and I’ve had eno’ of you. Blest if I’ve had a
happy moment since you came into the house. You’ve dressed me up like a
tailor’s dummy, and curled my hair like a Sunday school kid; you’ve made
me talk like a man in a play, and walk like a monkey on stilts. Thee’ve
chivied me about from morning till night, and thee’ve rammed that old
lamented corpse of yours down my throat every two minutes of the day.
I’ve put up wi’ it all for a long while because I thought thee meant
well, and wur a-trying to make me into a gentleman, but blest if I think
thee knows much more about the genuine article than I does, and I’m
going to go it in my own way now. Look here. (_Takes off his tie and
collar and throws them down and jumps on them, pulls off his coat and
throws it in a corner, nifties his hair, unbuttons and throws back his
waistcoat, kicks off his boots, and throws himself into easy chair,
sticks his feet on table, takes long pull from the pot, slams it on
table> again, and commences to smoke his pipe vigorously, looking
defiantly at Piff._) That’s the sort o’ man I’m going to be now. (_Sits
l._)

Piff. (_Who has stood aghast, moving off._) Very well, sir; then I have
only to say that I wash my hands of you entirely. (_Pause._) You can’t
make a gentleman out of a pig’s ear. (_Sneeringly_).

Allen. (_Puffing quietly at pipe._) No, it ain’t the usual method.

Piff. (_By door c. muttering to himself, but meant to be heard by
Allen._) Only what I might have expected from mixing myself up with such
canaille. (_Pauses. Allen takes no notice._) Pray understand, sir, I
give you a week’s warning on the spot. My late master, the--

Allen. (_Springing up and throwing book at him. Piff. exits r._) Yes.
(_Piff. again appears hurriedly at door r. and cries, “Upstart bumpkin,”
 and exit quickly._) I’ll give ’ee my toe on the spot if I hear any
more of--(_reseats himself, with a grunt of disgust; a pause, during
which he smokes._) He is right, I wurn’t meant for a gentleman after
all. Some of us was built for gaiters, and some on us for patent leather
shoes, and I be one of the gaiter sort--all my tastes are low. I doan’t
like claret and I doan’t like cigarettes. I’m uncomfortable in a
collar (_picking his up and fixing it_) and I prefer shove-ha’penny to
billiards. (_Sighs, continues dreamily._) Ah, I’d gie a trifle to be
going to spend this evening at the Dunkery Arms a-halping to sing a
chorus with old Joe Steddles and young Jem Whalley and Jack Clouter. Ah,
he’d got a fine voice, had old Jack Clouter. Never heard a man sing so
loud in all my life. Lord, I shall never forget her’s doing “Rock me
to sleep, mother,” round at the lodge, and a waking up mother Hammond’s
three kids just as her’d got un all off to sleep. Lord, how her let us
have it. (_Laughing._) Ah, us went home early that night. (_Chuckling._)
They coned back wi’ me, old Jack and Jim, and Deb made us a veal pasty
for supper. (_Smiling._) Ah, her do make good--

(_Enter Peters, followed by Purtwee, door c., says, “Mr. Purtwee,” takes
P.’s hat and exit. Allen rises and commences to pick up his various
articles of apparel and re fix them while talking to Purt._)

Purt. (_Coming forward._) Well, my boy.

Allen. Ah, it does me good to see thee again.

Purt. How are you?

Allen. (_Shakes hands._) Oh, I be all right outside. (_Rises, crosses
to L._) Bean’t very spry inside, so I tell ’ee. (_Explanatory of his
dressing arrangements._) Just been having a quiet smoke, you know.

Purt. (_With a smile._) And do you always undress to smoke?

Allen. (_Laughing._) No--but I has to now when I want to sit down
comfortable. (_Continues to dress--brings wine down to table._) Have a
glass of wine. I’m glad thee’ve come, I wur afraid from thy letter that
thee wouldn’t.

Purt. (_Sits in arm-chair l._) Well, it’s a very informal proceeding I’m
bound to say--not at all professional.

Allen. Perhaps not, but it’s simple and straightforward like and maybe
that’s as good. Have ’ee read the papers I sent thee?

Purt. Yes--most carefully--and they certainly make the story appear
very plausible--very plausible, indeed. Have you said anything to your
mother?

Allen. No--no, I thought I wouldn’t say a word to anybody until I was
sure one way or t’other. (_Sits L._)

Purt. Quite right--quite right. What sort of a man was he?

Allen. Blest if I could tell ’ee--I wur that taken aback I couldn’t
tell ’ee what it wur, but thee’ll see him for theeself in a minute. I
told Father Christmas to send him straight up when he comes.

Purt. (_Looking at his watch._) Well, if he’s an impostor, he’ll hardly
venture to come to a meeting of this kind.

(_Enter Peters announcing Richard Hanningford, door at back._)

Pet. Mr. Richard Hanningford.

(_Exit Peters._)

Hann. Morning, gentlemen. (_Allen goes r.c. Hann. goes c._)

Allen. Good-morning. (_Motioning to Purt., who is l._) Mr. Purtwee, the
gentleman I spoke of.

Hann. Good-morning, (_c. and then coming r.sits L.c._) Guess I’m not a
particularly welcome visitor here.

Allen, (_r._) Well, I owns as I’ve come across folks as I’ve felt more
at home wi’. (_Allen sits R._) But I suppose we’ve got to get used to
’ee.

Purt. Well now, gentlemen, we’ve come for business and must not
waste time. Mr. Rollitt has told you who I am, and if you are Richard
Hanningford I shall be only too anxious for you to have your rights.
But then, my dear sir, I shall want to be very sure that you are Richard
Hanningford.

Hann. That’s right and square. I’ve got to prove it, I know, and I don’t
say that it will be an easy job.

Purt. At present you see we have nothing but your bare word for it. You
say this man who called himself Richard Hanningford and who died at Mrs.
Rollitt’s was an impostor.

Hann. And a damned scoundrel.

Purt. Quite so, if he were not Richard Hanningford, he must have been.
But then if he were Richard Hanningford--

Hann. Why then, I am the damned scoundrel.

Purt. Well--I wasn’t going to say that--but one of you must be the right
Hanningford--and the other the wrong one--and if we made a mistake three
months ago we don’t want to make another now.

Allen, (_r._) You see it ain’t so much the money I care about. There was
a time that I thought it would be a grand thing to be rich, but now
I’ve tried it, danged if I see so much fun in it as I thought there
wur. (_Rises._) It ain’t only that: it’s the girl I love--if I lose the
money, I loses her. I can’t expect her to have me wi’out it. She’s a
lady--I’m only a country bumpkin and I know it. With this money I can
win her and make her life happy--even if she doesn’t much care for me.
If I were sure you were Dick Hanningford, I’d gie it up. But I ain’t
sure and I’m going to fight--that’s plain. (_Turns and crosses r. Sits
R.c._)

Hann. (_Coes to Allen r.c._) Plain and sensible, and I don’t like you
any the less for it; but I am Dick Hanningford, and the money’s mine,
and I’m going to have a good fight to get it. (_Coes l. puts foot on
chair._)

Purt. (_After a pause._) You say this man who tried to--and, as he
thought, did--murder you--had been a friend of yours.

Hann. (_Fiercely--takes foot off chair._) He’d been my chum for over two
years--the cur--and knew everything about me--I saved his life when the
gang were going to hang him--he shared my diggings when we were in the
mining lay, and he had half my blanket every night when we were with the
cattle. And I trusted him--the skunk.

Purt. What was his name?

Hann. Cassidy--Dan Cassidy. (_Sits again._)

Purt. And then he murdered you--or tried to as you say--took your papers
from you, and came over here to impersonate you?

Hann. I suppose so.

Allen. He was uncommonly like you, too.

Hann. Like me! Not at all!

Purt. Oh, yes, my dear sir, I never saw him alive, but his features were
yours one for one.

Hann. Dan Cassidy was no more like me than I’m like a colored angel out
of a picture book.

(_Purt. and Allen exchange glances._)

Allen. Well, all I know is, that if the man who called himself Richard
Hanningford, and who fell down dead in my mother’s kitchen three months
ago was standing beside you now, nobody would know which wur you and
which wur him. .

Hann. (_Rising._) I don’t know that man! (_All rise and look at one
another._)

(_Enter Peters c._)

Purt. (_Pause._) Then what has become of Dan Cassidy? . .

Peters. Mr. Luke Cranbourne is downstairs, sir, and would like to see
you.

Allen. Oh, bother Luke Cranbourne--tell him I’m out.

Peters. Yes, sir. (_Going. As he is by door._)

Allen. Stop! (_Peters turns._) Ask Mr. Cranbourne to come back in a
quarter of an hour. (_Looks at watch._)

Peters. Yes, sir. (_Exit c._)

Allen. What sort of a man was Dan Cassidy?

Hann. A pale, dark-eyed man with a long black beard.

Allen. Would you know him again without the black beard, and under
another name?

Hann. (_Fiercely._) Know him! Will you bring me face to face with him?

Allen. Maybe I will.

Hann. (_c._) See here! I’ve lived among a set that like to wipe off a
score, no matter what the price. You put that man into my hands so that
justice may be done on him, and we share the old man’s money between us.
(_Crosses R._)

Allen. Is that a bargain?

Purt. You don’t suspect--(_goes to r.of l. table._)

Allen. (_Crosses to Purt. Hann. goes R._) Yes I do. He’s been no friend
of mine. Is it a bargain?

Hann. Yes. Without Dan Cassidy my case might be hard to prove. With him
it would be easy. £100,000 and my revenge are good enough for me. You
give me that. (_Goes to extreme R._)

(_Enter Dexter from door c. He draws back on seeing strangers, and
stands r.c._)

Dex. Beg pardon, my dear boy. Found the door open (_Allen goes up c.
to Dex._) and took the liberty of an old friend to walk in. Thought I
should find you alone.

Allen. (_Crosses up c._) Shall be in a minute, Colonel, if you will
excuse me. (_Draws the two men together near fireplace, Allen nearest,
Purt. next, Hann. r._) Can thee play billiards?

Hann. I can, but I don’t crave for them at this particular moment.

Allen. You’ll just have time to play fifty up afore the man as I takes
to be Dan Cassidy is here.

Purt. How will you let us know?

Allen. (_Looks round thinking, then catches sight of glasses on table l.;
takes one up and holds it over hearth._) Keep thee, ears open, and
when thee hears this glass fall and break, open the door and come in.
(_All go up c. speaking low._)

(_Exit Purt. and Hann. Dex. goes L._)

Allen. (_Returning c._) Well, Colonel Dexter, what do thee want? Glad to
see thee, thee know.

Dex. (_l.c._) Nothing, dear boy--nothing for myself. I have only brought
a letter from my little girl, and am to take back an answer. (_Produces
letter and hands to Allen._) I’m only Cupid to you young folks. Ha! Hat
Only Cupid.

Allen. Ah, they usen’t to wrap ’em up so much when I wur young.
(_Crosses R., opens and reads letter._)

Dex. (_Who is very much wrapped and buttoned up, laughs with much
ostentation._) Ha! Ha! Very good, very good. We really must bring you
out more, Allen. Ha! Ha! Ha!

Allen. (_Who has sat r.in front of desk, reading._) “My darling
Popsy-wopsy.” (_Looks up puzzled and round at Dex. Aside._) That ain’t
Clara’s usual style. (_Reads._) “I am so terribly sorry to worry my own
darling boy, but I am in such fearful trouble--I want £100 to pay some
debts owing to a wicked man having cheated us. Would my own darling lend
it to his broken-hearted little blossom, and don’t say anything to me
afterwards until I pay you back, as I shall be so ashamed of it. I send
papa with this. He knows nothing about it, so please don’t tell him--he
is so proud.--(_Allen looks at Dex., who turns away and tries to assume
airy unconsciousness_)--and would be so angry with me, but you are the
only friend I have. Oh, my darling, do let me have the money or I shall
go mad. A million, million kisses to my own sweet, precious lubby-dubby
from his ever loving little birdie, Clara.” (_Dex. sits c._) “P.
S.--Please don’t cross the cheque.”

(_Takes cheque-book from desk and begins to write._) Was Clara ill when
she wrote this?

Dex. (_Who is sitting at table L.c. having wine._) No, my dear boy--oh,
no.

Allen. Oh, because the writing seems a bit shaky like, and the letter so
funny--thought maybe she wur a bit queer.

Dex. (_Confused._) Oh--ah--yes. She was a little queer--very shaky
indeed--and she seemed very much worried, too, she wouldn’t tell me what
about. She tries to keep all her trouble away from her old father, dear
child. (_Enter Clara unseen by either._) Ah, I know how anxiously she’s
waiting for me now. “Come back soon, dear, dear papa,” she said--“and
bring it with you.” (_Crying r.c._)

(_Allen having put the cheque in an envelope rises and crosses and holds
it to Dex. Clara steps forward and takes it._)

Clara. Thank you! (_c. of the two men._)

Allen. Miss Dexter!

Dex. Clara!

Clara. This letter is addressed to me, I believe. (_Opens it and takes
out cheque, which she returns to Allen._) It’s very kind of you, Mr.
Rollitt, but I do not require it.

Allen, (_r._) Didn’t thee write for it? (_Showing letter to her._) Isn’t
this thy letter?

Clara. (_Looking at it._) It is the first time I have seen it. It has
the appearance of having been written by someone who was drunk over
night--possibly my father--imitating other people’s handwriting is one
of the few things at which he has attained eminence. (_Looks at Dex._)

Dex. Clara, my dear!

Clara. And perhaps it will be better, Mr. Rollitt, for me to take this
opportunity of ending our relationship by telling you that I am already
married. (_Crosses l._)

Allen. (_Starts hack._) Married!

Dex. (_c. frantic and jumping about and screaming and hissing the words
out._) She ain’t. It’s a lie. Don’t believe her. She ain’t. She ain’t.
(_Goes c. Clara to l._) It’s only a trick to try your love. Ah, you
hussy! It’s all been planned. This is all part of it. She ain’t married.
We planned it to test your love for her. Ah, you beast! I’ll strangle
you. I’ll murder you. She’s only trying it on to see what you say. It’s
a trick. Don’t believe her. Don’t believe her.

Clara. And have been for the last three years.

Dex. (_As before._) No, she ain’t been, Mr. Rollitt. It’s a lie--it’s
a lie. It’s a lie. She says it to spite her old father. Ah you devil,
you--

Allen. Silence!

Dex. (_Cowed, but continuing in nervous undertone._) She’s not married.
I’m her father.

Allen. (_Pointing to door c._) And leave the room--afore I forget thee
art an old man. (_Turns him r.Backs Dex. up to c. door._)

Dex. (_Slinks out muttering._) She ain’t married! It’s a lie. It’s a
lie. (_Repeats_.)

(_Exit Dex. c._)

Allen. (_Turning to Clara._) What does it all mean?

Clara. (_Defiantly._) That I’ve been playing with you only for the
sake of sponging on you. And to get money out of you for my father and
husband--I haven’t had much myself--and that at last I’m grown tired of
it. (_Crosses R._)

Allen. (_l.c. after a pause._) Thee might have had all the money thee
wanted, lass, wi’out deceiving me.

Clara. (_Falling on her knees before him._) Forgive me, Allen, you
don’t know what my life has been. Dragged up among thieves and sharpers,
taught to trick and lie before I could speak plainly, I have never
know what truth and honor meant except as a dim longing. All the
humanity--all the womanhood--has been dried out of me till I am only the
thing you see me--a vulture--a human beast of prey. Ah, Allen, thank
God for your sake that I am married and that you have escaped me--forget
me--it is the only thing you can do. You can never hate me as I loathe
myself--you can never despise me as I shudder at my own life.

Allen. (_Puts his hand to his own forehead _) Poor lass! Poor lass!

Clara. (_Takes’ Allen’s hand, left._) You are the only man that has been
good to me, and I have brought you only pain and shame.

Allen. (_Raising her._) Ah, never mind that, lass. Thee didn’t mean to
do it. Come! I be more sorry for thee than for myself. I could see what
sort of life thee had got around thee, and I wanted to take thee away
from it all. I can do so little for thee now. (_Both at cabinet, Allen
r._)

Clara. You have taught me, Allen, that there are good men in the world;
forgive me for having taught you that there are bad women. (_Clara
crosses in front of Allen to r.door._)

Allen. Not bad, Clara. I guess thee’s been more sinned against than
sinning. Thy life has been very dark and thee’s stumbled here and there.
God grant that it may grow brighter for thee one day.

Clara, (_l._) Ah, Allen, don’t keep speaking kindly to me. Don’t think
kindly of me. Despise me--I can bear that--I am used to it. (_Sits at
cabinet._)

Allen. (_r.c. next to Clara._) No, lass, I can’t do that. I shall alius
think kindly of thee. I’ve loved thee too well to change now--because I
knows thy lot’s harder than I thought it wur.

Clara. (_Turns and looks at Allen._) Try not to think of me at all,
Allen--I am not worth it--forget me. There is one who loves you better
than I could ever do, and who is good and pure. (_Rises._) You men never
see the love that is under your feet--you reach only for what is beyond
you. Go back to her, Allen. She will make you a better wife than I could
ever have done. (_Allen at back of Clara up stage R._)

Allen. (_After a pause._) Who--who is this man--your husband?

Clara. Luke Cranbourne! (_She does not look at Allen._)

Allen. Luke Cranbourne! (_Looks nervously at door c. and then at
clock--then crosses to door and stands near it. He assumes to do this
naturally and not to let Clara notice his anxiety._)

Clara. We were married secretly before he left for America. Not even my
father knew it until a day or two ago.

Allen. And do you care for him? (_Allen at door c._)

Clara. With such love as a woman can feel without respect. He was the
first that I can remember ever speaking a kind word to me. He is the
only human being I have to cling to--and he is good to me in his way.
(_Looks up at Allen._) I don’t expect we shall ever see each other
again. For your sake, I wish we had never met--for myself, my life will
always seem a bit brighter for the love that an honest man once had for
me.

Allen. (_Taking her hand in his._) Good-bye--if ever thee wants a
friend, Allen Rollitt, Woodbarrow Farm, Exmoor, will find him. (_Kissing
her on the forehead._) God bless thee, Clara!

Clara. Good-bye! (_She goes without a word r.After a few seconds enter
Luke c. announced by Pet._)

Luke. (_Coming down._) How de do, dear boy? (_Shaking hands. Allen
does so listlessly and almost unconsciously._) I wanted to see you
particularly this morning, before I went to the city. I’ve come across
something that will just double your fortune. Here. (_Laying papers on
table l. and taking up and pouring out a glass of wine._) You do have
such capital wine, Rollitt, I really must help myself to a glass. It is
a splendid scheme.

Allen, (_r.c._) Very like, but we won’t discuss it now. (_Taking notes
from his pocket-book._) I want thee to leave by the noon train for the
Continent.

Luke. (_Turns round, face to audience, glass in left hand._) What’s up?

Allen. (_Crosses l. c., hands him the notes._) Thy wife can join thee
there afterwards. (_Luke starts and looks hard at Allen._) And thee can
get away to Australia, or somewhere in that direction.

Luke. (_Defiantly._) And why, pray?

Allen. Because there is a man in the next room who be more anxious to
see thee than thee may be to see him.

Luke. What man?

Allen. Richard Hanningford.

(_Luke lets fall the glass._)

Allen. Good God! Thee’ve given the signal to call him in! Quick! (_Luke
rushes in terror to door at back._) Not that way. (_Luke bewildered and
helpless with fright, turns wildly about like a hunted thing not knowing
which way to fly. Is about to make for other door, when handle of door
at back is heard to move._) Too late--keep where thee art.

Luke. (_Clinging to Allen’s arm._) Save me! (_Allen thrusts him behind
door at c. as it opens and enter Hann. and Purt. following. Allen goes
r. Hann. comes down and stands c. Purt. remains near door and is about
to close it._)

Allen. (_Who has moved down to r.c., nervously, with effort to appear
calm and careless._) Leave the door, Mr. Purtwee, leave the door.

Purt. Wide open? (_Surprised._)

Allen. Yes, yes, it’s fearfully hot in here! (_Wiping his brow._)

Hann. (_Looking at him suspiciously._) I don’t find it so. I think we’ll
have it shut over this job. (_Turns to door._)

Allen. (_Eagerly._) No, no! Don’t shut it--don’t shut it.

Hann. Why not? (_Looks hard at Allen._)

Allen. Why--why--don’t I tell you. It’s so close--so--

(_Hann. crosses, goes to door c. and locks it, then returns, eyeing
Allen sternly. Luke has crept behind the curtain, which hangs like a
pillar by the side of the door. Allen watches with intense suspense._)

Hann. (_c._) Well--you gave the signal!

(_Allen r.c. a little to front of Hann. He keeps in front of Hann.
all through the scene until Luke has got away and prevents his turning
round--he is very excited but tries to appear careless--the result being
a slightly hysterical manner. When Luke comes from behind the curtain
and while he is crossing Allen catches Hann. by the lapels of his coat
and holds and works him round so that his back is to Luke. He grows
more and more eager and intense until Luke is off, when he gradually
subsides into a quieter manner, but not too suddenly. At Hann’s hint
that he has had too much brandy, he catches at the idea to cover his
excitement, to account for his conduct._)

Allen. Yes, my dear fellow--but--but--I wur going to explain to thee--it
wurn’t the signal--it wur an accident. I dropped the glass by accident.
Thee see I had just had a glass of brandy.

Hann. More than one glass, cousin?

Allen. (_Laughs loudly._) Ha! ha! Perhaps it wur two. (_First movement
of Luke._) (_At this point Luke creeps from behind curtain, Purt. sees
him and is about to make an exclamation, when Allen, covering his action
by assumed drunkenness, lunges half round and catches Purt. on his
shoulder, clutching it tightly with his left hand while holding Hann.
with his right--laughing boisterously all the time. Purt. understands
and remains silent. Allen grows more and more excited. Laughs._) Well,
now, look’ee here.

Hanningford. Cousin Dick--my long lost--(_laughs as before and slaps him
on the shoulder. Hann. impatient half turns round--Allen seises his coat
with both hands and keeps him round._) No--no--look thee here, Cousin
Dick. Now you say this Cassidy, this creeping, crawling, lying cur, Dan
Cassidy, tried to murder thee--(_Hann. again seems as though he would
turn round_)--and these papers--these papers that you sent me. Well,
I sent ’em on to Purtwee. Ah, he’s a sharp one. (_Door clicks after
Luke’s exit._) Purtwee, he’ll know who’s who. He’ll put us right. Won’t
’ee, Purtwee, old friend? Won’t ’ee--won’t ’ee?

(_He slaps Purt. on back, laughing boisterously and half staggering
forward into Purt.’s arms. Luke has got away by door r., and from now
Allen’s excitement gradually subsides, and an air of exhaustion follows.
Sits l.c._)

Hann. (_c._) Say! Are you drunk or playing the fool? Where’s this man
Cassidy?

Allen. (_Pause._) I don’t know.

Hann. Isn’t he coming here?

Allen. No!

Hann. (_Angrily._) Didn’t you lead me to believe--

Allen. That you should be brought face to face wi’ him? Yes--but I’ve
changed my mind since then.

Hann. (_After a pause._) I understand: it was only a trick to give you
time to get him out of the way. You thought that without him I should
not be able to prove my case. I thought I was dealing with an honest man
and a friend, and I offered to share the money with you. (_With tierce
anger._)

Allen. (_Fiercely, rising._) And I tell you to take the whole of it!
(_A pause--Hann. steps back and stares at him._) I have learnt enough
within the last few minutes to believe that you are the man you say you
are, and if so, take it all. You offered me £100,000 to give thee
Dan Cassidy, I offer thee £200,000 to let him go his way in peace.
(_Pause._) Come, you may find it hard to prove thee art Hanningford
afore the law. Prove it to me and Mr. Purtwee, and give me thy hand on
it that thee’ll never seek to find Dan Cassidy or harm him, and thee art
old Hanningford’s heir, and I, Allen Rollitt, farmer and yeoman.

Hann. (_After a pause._) Your secrets are your own, cousin. I’d dearly
have loved to have my revenge upon the hound, but if Dan Cassidy is
worth £100,000 to you, you can have him--I shouldn’t have thought he
was.

Allen. He goes free, so far as you are concerned, for ever?

Hann. For ever.

Allen. Right, Dick Hanningford! (_They grasp hands._) And now we’ll
say good-bye for to-day if you don’t mind. Mr. Purtwee will see thee
to-morrow, and arrange things. I’d like to be quiet a bit just now.

Hann. You’ve had a rough morning, cousin, and I guess the kindest thing
I can do is to take myself off. Good-bye. (_Shakes hands._) Good-bye,
Mr. Purtwee.

Purt. Good-bye, Mr. Hanningford; I will write to you to-morrow.

Hann. (_Goes to door c._) No hurry. Good-bye.

(_Exit c._)

Purt. Well, I can’t understand you, my boy. It’s really a very Quixotic
thing to do. Why shouldn’t the man suffer for his crime?

Allen, (_l._) Because he can’t suffer without bringing suffering to them
as I’d rather spare--because he’s the husband of the woman I have been
calling Clara Dexter.

Purt. (_Astonished._) You don’t say that, lad! When did you learn it?

Allen. About five minutes ago. (_Crosses to r.; leans on chair._)

Purt. (_After a pause._) Hanningford said true; it’s been a rough
morning for you. (_Going up to Allen and laying his hand on his
shoulder._) Would you rather that I stopped with you a bit, lad, or left
you alone?

Allen. Leave me alone, old friend. (_Purt. goes to c. door._) I shall be
off soon.

Purt. (_At door c._) Where are you going to?

Allen. I’m going back to Woodbarrow Farm. I’ve had eno’ of the big
world. I’ve had enough of fine folks and their ways. I’m going back to
my own people--I’m going back to see the faces of them as I know loves
me, to feel the hands of them as I know thinks well of me--I’m going
back home.

(_Purt. exit R., Allen stands l. by fire, stage darkens, and scene
changes. Slow tableau. Music plays till change of scene and through
Scene 2._)

Scene 2. Same as Act i. Time, evening, fire burning brightly, and lamp
lit on table, where supper is laid. Deb. discovered by fire, attending
to cooking operations; Mrs. R. by fire, laying supper.

Mrs. R. Be it done, lass?

Deb. (_Who is kneeling down, looking into oven._) Yes, aunt, just to a
turn.

Mrs. R. (_Crossing and looking over Deb’s shoulder._) Ah, that be just
right. Thee’s a good cook, lass. (_Crossing back to table._) Ah, how un
used to like a veal pasty. (_Sighs._)

Deb. It’s a bad thing going to bed, though, ain’t it, aunt?

Mrs. R. Ah, anything be bad for them as ain’t got no stomachs, and
underdone bricks be all right for them as has. (_Gets dishes from
dresser; lays table._) Besides, we bain’t going to bed yet. Us’ll sit
and have a chat after supper.

Deb. It seems so lonely of an evening here now. (_Looking into fire._)

Mrs. R. (_In front of table r.c._) So it do, lass. (_Crossing L._)
Ah, the lads bean’t so big to look at, but they leaves a rare space
behind ’em when they goes away.

Deb. (_After a pause, still gazing dreamily into fire._) I wonder if
he’ll ever come back.

Mrs. R. Aye, aye; he’ll come back, never fear.

Deb. (_Turns._) What, to stop?

Mrs. R. (_l. sits on settle._) Ah, to stop.

Deb. What makes you think so, aunt?

Mrs. R. I dunno. It’s never seemed real to me, any on it. I’m awaiting
every day to hear un lift the latch and walk in to find as it had all
been a dream. So I alius lays for three (_l._)

(_Enter Allen c. He is dressed much as in Act 1. He shuts the door and
stands by it._)

Allen. Well, mother, (_c._)

Mrs. R. (_l. staring at him._) Allen, lad! (_Bewildered, not grasping
it. Deb. having risen, stands with the hot pie that she has that moment
taken from the oven, transfixed R._)

Allen. (_At door c._) I’ve come home, you see, to stop--for good. Are
thee glad to see me, mother?

Mrs. R. (_l._) Come home! To stop! For good! Ah! (_Rushes across with a
cry of joy and hugs him up c._) I said he would--I said he would--I said
he would. My boy! My boy! (_After a pause._) And--and all the money,
and--and Miss Dexter?

Allen. (_Taking off his hat and throwing it down at hack._) Shadows,
mother, that have passed away, out of my life, for ever. I’ll tell
thee all about it later on, never mind to-night. Let’s think only about
ourselves. (_Going to Deb. r._) Are thee glad to see me?

(_Mrs. R. pushes them together from behind r. Deb. still with pie in her
hands, puts her face up. Allen bends and kisses it. Mrs. R. catches the
two in her arms, and embraces both at once, laughing. Deb. holds pie out
at arm’s length to save it._)

Allen. Mind the pie, mother.

Mrs. R. (_Still embracing them._) Are thee hungry, lad?

Allen. Rather.

Mrs. R. Bless un, and thee’ve come back just in time for supper, as thee
alius used to. (_Laughs, sits up stage, top of table._) Can thee eat
veal pasty?

Allen. Can I eat veal--(_taking off overcoat and throwing it on chair r.
c._) Let me get at un, that’s all.

Mrs. R. Poor boy! Come and sit ’ee down. (_Pushing him in chair l. of
table._) Where be the potatoes, Deb.?

Deb. (_Bewildered, turns round and round._) I don’t know. (_Laughs._)

Mrs. R. Well, have a look in the saucepan, then. (_Sits back of table
r. c. Allen l. Deb. r._) Thee won’t find ‘em by turning round and
round. Now come lad, and get a bit inside thee. Us’ll do the talking
afterwards.

(_Deb. potters about between fire and table in a bewildered manner. She
brings potatoes, and puts them in front of Allen._)

Allen. Ah, it do smell lovely, don’t it? (_Sniffing at pie._)

Mrs. R. Never thee mind smelling it, thee taste it. Lud, how thin thee
art looking, lad. (_To Deb. who is almost doing so._) Don’t pour the
beer into the pie, child, and look where thee’s put the potatoes!
(_Takes jug away from her._)

Deb. (_Sitting down, laughing._) I don’t know what I’m doing. (_Takes
saucepan off table._)

Mrs. R. Well, us can see that.

Allen. And how’s everything been going on? How’s the colt?

Mrs. R. Kicked Parsons clean into the ditch yestermorning, the little
dear! (_All are now seated._)

Allen. No, did un? (_Laughs._)

Deb. One of the guinea hens is dead, the little one of all.

Allen. What, the one as used to squint?

Deb. Yes, Parsons left his shot on the pigstye wall, and she ate two
ounces. Oh, and you remember Jim?

Allen. What, the bantam?

Deb. Yes. He’s given his own father such a licking, and won’t let him
come near the yard.

Allen. (_Laughing heartily._) Plucky little beggar! Serve the old ‘un
right. He wur always a bully. Now, mother--(_about to hand her the
pie._) Why, mother, thee art crying!

Mrs. R. (_Crying._) No, I ain’t. Go on with thee supper, lad.

Allen. (_Looking at Deb._) And--why, here be Deb. crying too!

(_The two women laugh through their tears. Allen joins them as curtain
descends._)

Mrs. R. It’s wi’ joy, lad; it’s wi’ joy!


SLOW CURTAIN.





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