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Though there are a lot of bothers here, aren't
there? May I touch?

[VANDEAN is watching her closely. She takes
up the PILKERTON bundle and sees the

Why why here's our name! Pilkerton
written on the back of this. How funny !
VANDEAN. Are you surprised.
IDA. Yes, it's so funny that just the day I come


and pry about your desk my own name should
happen to be lying uppermost. (She looks up and
sees Mm regarding her closely). Why do you
look at mje like that? Oughtn't I to have touched
the papers? [A slight pause.

VANDEAN (going to her and facing her). Fm
going to ask you rather an odd question.

IDA (nervous and resentful). You you look
as if you were.

VANDEAN. You appeared surprised just now.
Were you really surprised to find your name
your father's name among my papers?

IDA. Why should I seem surprised if I wasn't
surprised? You're looking at me so strangely.
Why is papa's name there? (Leaning 'back).

VANDEAN. I think I'd better not answer that.

IDA. No, I oughtn't to have asked. (Rising).
But you're looking as if you suspected me of some-
thing as if you thought I wanted to get some-
thing out of you. Do you think that?

VANDEAN. No, really I don't

IDA. I believe you do, and it's rather hard.
Because what could I want from you? Do you
suspect me? (Goes down L. Laughing in an agi-
tated way). Oh, I daresay I deserve to be sus-
pected sometimes, but when there's nothing to be
suspected of

VANDEAN. I hope I haven't hurt your feelings ?

IDA. Yes, you have. I don't understand it, and
I'm not used to being treated like that. (Pause).
Please call Lady Hetty. I only came to meet her,
and and because I thought it would be fun to see
your room. But it's not fun any more. Call her,

VANDEAN. Indeed I apologise most humbly.
We get suspicious here ; everybody that comes has
an axe to grind

IDA. But what in the world could I ?



VANDEAN. I know. It was very stupid of me.

IDA. Yes, I think it was very stupid. (Turns

VANDEAN (advancing a step towards her).
Won't you forgive me?

IDA. No, I won't forgive you.

VANDEAN. That's rather hard, Miss Pilkerton.
I'm so anxious to atone.

IDA. I don't believe you want to atone.

VANDEAN. Oh come, just try me.

IDA. I won't forgive you unless you come down
and stay with us to-night.

VANDEAN. To-night? Oh, but look at
(Points to desk).

IDA. And stop till Monday. (Turns to him C.).

VANDEAN. Oh, I say!

IDA. Such hard terms, Mr. Vandean ?

VANDEAN. Such hard terms to resist.

IDA. Think how you've sinned!

VANDEAN. But it's so immoral to reward me.

IDA. That's rather (both laugh) neat if only
you wanted to come.

VANDEAN. But I think that somehow I do
want to come. So now you'll forgive me?

IDA. I forgive you thoroughly. Will you (she
holds out her hand) come?

VANDEAN (taking her hand). I'll do my pen-
ance I will come. And we're friends again?

IDA. Perhaps when you come.

VANDEAN. Not till then?

[He is holding her hand and looking at her
she turns her eyes away the sound of
laughter is heard off L. Then HETTY
comes in, followed by ADDISWORTH.]

HETTY. Ah, here she is ! I left a little surprise
for you, didn't I, Lucius? (Coming C.)
VANDEAN. The pleasure was the greater.


wouldn't you like to see my room? (Shakes
hands). Lady Hetty thinks it's ripping.

HETTY. Yes, do go, Ida dear. Have you two
made friends?

IDA. Oh yes.

VANDEAN. Oh yes!

( Pause J

HETTY. You look rather bored and serious.
VANDEAN. A privilege of friendship.
HETTY. And a proof?

ADDISWORTH. Come along, Miss Ida. (Up to
door L.)

HETTY. He'll never rest till you go, my dear.
IDA. Fm going.

[ADDISWORTH holds door L., for her; she
crosses L. and goes out, he follows her.]

VANDEAN (R. C.) And I suppose, my dear diplo-
matist, that you've something private to say to

HETTY (L.C.) Yes. You let out nothing, did

VANDEAN. Let out nothing?

HETTY. Yes, I ought to have warned you. Ida
knows nothing about that.

[She points across to desk.

VANDEAN (eagerly) She doesn't?

HETTY. Not a word. If her father's peerage
comes, it's to come as a complete surprise to her.

VANDEAN. And is how it comes to be a sur-
prise too?

HETTY. No, that's to be a secret. (Smiling).
Dear Ida is a little visionary and and unpracti-


HETTY. She mightn't understand that some-
times it's necessary to to oh, well, yon under-
stand !


VANDEAN. Oh, certainly, I understand.

HETTY. In fact, Ida's rather peculiar

VANDEAN. In her own family, anyhow!

HETTY. So we just keep it dark. Sure you
didn't give it away?

VANDEAN. Not a hint of it.

HETTY. And isn't she charming? Aren't you
sorry you're not coming to Packnam to-night?

VANDEAN. But I am going to Packnam to-

HETTY (mockingly}. Oh, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy!

VANDEAN. Oh, Hetty, Hetty, Hetty! Be off
with you you and your wicked ways! I never
know whether the nice women are nicer than the
not nice women, or the not nice women nicer than
the nice!

HETTY. And in which class do you put me,
please, sir?

VANDEAN. In the suspended state of judgment
which I have indicated it doesn't matter.

[Enter MANGAN at back. He coughs.]

Hullo, the Chief! (Goes R.).

MANGAN (coming down to C.). Why why
who's this?

VANDEAN. Very irregular, I'm afraid, sir, in
working hours. But you know Lady Hetty Wrey?

MANGAN (going to her) . To be sure! Come to
see Lucius? Come and give me a kiss, my dear.

HETTY. I declare I think I will ! You're look-
ing so handsome to-day. Aren't you ever going to
grow old, Mr. Mangan?

MANGAN. Not while I get this by keeping
young, Hetty. [He kisses her.

[IDA enters, followed ly ADDISWORTH.]

Why, quite a party !
HETTY (hanging on MANGAN'S arm). This is


my very, very great particular friend Ida Pilker-
ton. I brought her here. Scold me if you

MANGAN. I'm delighted to make Miss Pilker-
ton's acquaintance.

HETTY. This is Mr. Mangan, Ida.

IDA. I'm I'm very proud

MANGAN. Surely, Addisworth, I've heard Miss
Pilkerton's name before to-day.

ADDISWORTH (extreme left above IDA
promptly). No, sir.

MANGAN. Didn't you mention it to me, or some
name like it?


MANGAN. Perhaps it was you, Lucius?

VANDEAN. No, sir.

MANGAN. Well, it seems very familiar.

HETTY, Why, of course it is ! Ida's father is
(she looks at IDA laughing) " Save-your-Penny

MANGAN. Yes, yes, yes, to be sure! Your
father's a remarkable man, Miss Pilkerton.

IDA (eagerly). Yes, isn't he, Mr. Mangan?

HETTY. Now we'll be off and leave you to your
horrid work.

[Releasing his arm and offering her hand]

MANGAN. Good-bye, my dear. My best love to
my old friend Lady Thetford.

HETTY. Lady Thetford?

MANGAN. Your mother.

HETTY ( gently ) . Retf ord.

MANGAN. Of course! How stupid! To my
dear old friend Emma Retford.

HETTY. Emily, dear Mr. Mangan.

MANGAN. To my dear old friend Emily Eetf ord.

[They shake hands.


[HETTY goes up to door *back, ADDISWORTH
going up to open it. VANDEAN is down R.
IDA goes to MANGAN and shakes hands.]

Good-bye, good-bye.

IDA. Good-bye, Mr. Mangan. Mr. Vandean, au
VANDEAN. Au revoir, Miss Pilkerton.

[HETTY and IDA go off back. ADDISWORTH
goes with them.]

MANGAN. Nice girls, Lucius. I like nice girls.

VANDEAN. Widely diffused sort of taste, sir.

MANGAN. The Archbishop wants Smedley for
Birmingham. Just look up all about him and
about his wife, you know.

VANDEAN. Very well, sir.

[ADDISWORTH re-enters. MANGAN crosses to-
wards door R., which VANDEAN opens for

MANGAN. And send me in the Patagonian pa-

VANDEAN. Won't you have a turn at the Hon-
ours, sir?

MANGAN. They'll do next week. Have them
ready for me on Monday. And let me have any
remarks that occur to you about them, Lucius.

VANDEAN. I will, sir.

MANGAN. Nice girls !

[MANGAN passes off R. and VANDEAN closes
door after him. Then VANDEAN sits down
at his desk with a sigh and takes up the
Pilkerton bundle. ADDISWORTH sits at
his desk. A moment's pause.]

ADDISWORTH. Honours on Monday ! That's the
day I come back from Packnam.


VANDEAN (absently). Yes, the day we come
back from Packnam.


VANDEAN. Am I, or am I not, to get on with the
Honours, Addisworth?

[ADDISWORTH looks at him smiling. VANDEAN
sorts papers with great diligence as the



SCENE : A sitting room at Packnam, Pilkerton's
country house. Room is prettily furnished,
but solid style rather than especially artistic.
Doors R. and L.U.E. At back full-length
window leading into garden and showing a
path, grass and trees beyond. Down R. a fire-
place with high fender round it, which forms
a seat; above fire an armchair. L.C. a settee
diagonally across stage, below it, to L. a stool.
On L. against wall a card table. It is Sun-
day afternoon about 5. Quite light (early

[JACK PILKERTON sits in armchair above fire
R., the " Sporting Times " on his knees.
BASCOM sits on fender, smoking a cigar-
ette. JACK in light tweed and brown
gaiters, BASCOM in suit of dark material.
Both have cloth caps with them, or some-
where within reach. JACK has a simple,
rather blunt manner. BASCOM is precise
and melancholy.

JACK. I'll mention it to the old man, I can't do

BASCOM. Thanks, Jack. I think that if my
claim was properly put before your father

JACK. It wants a bit of putting, in my opinion,



BASCOM. My father was your father's partner,
that's it

JACK. He died before the business became
worth anything.

BASCOM. The claim is a sentimental one, no

JACK. That's no claim at all in the old man's

BASCOM. Well then, I'm well known in the
neighborhood of Wrensford. Being Member for
the division gives me influence and position there.
I should be of use to you, and

JACK. And it's 1,200 a year!

BASCOM. I want the money. Politics cost such
a beastly lot. Besides, I want to marry Mamie
Henson. (JACK laughs). Such a girl! Anyhow,
try and get Mr. Pilkerton to do this job for me.

JACK. There are no jobs done in our business.
We're not the Government, Bascom.

BASCOM. You'll have a shot at it for me? I
don't want to give up the House.

JACK. I'll tell him; but as for influence, I've
no more than I had when I was ten years old.
Well, you know the old man yourself.

BASCOM. Prickly, eh?

JACK (laughing). Well, except in the family,
and even there hardly

BASCOM. Malleable, eh?

JACK. By Jingo, no! (Enter HETTY from gar-
den. JACK looks round). Hullo, Lady Hetty!

HETTY. Hullo, Mr. Jack! (She comes down
C. BASCOM rises, JACK slews his chair round a
little towards her.). What are you two confab-
bing about?

BASCOM. A bit of business of mine.

HETTY. And not of mine? (JACK, watches her
as she talks). Thank you, Mr. Bascom. (Going


BASCOM. I can only wish my business was
yours, Lady Hetty.

HETTY. A proposal? In public! (Laugh from

BASCOM. A wail of despair!

HETTY. Oh, you humbug! Shall I tell Mamie
Henson? (JACK laughs).

BASCOM (going up towards back). I promised
to play a round with Addisworth.

HETTY. Golfs a horrid game. I played with
Mr. Pilkerton this morning, and he made me keep
the rules.

JACK. Yes, the old man would do that. (BAS-
COM laughs bitterly, puts on his cap and strolls
out). Old Bascom's more funereal than ever.

HETTY. Well, he's gone, anyhow.

JACK. Have you come to take me for a walk?

HETTY. Presently, perhaps but (she comes
and sits on the arm of his chair). Jack, do you
really and truly love me?

JACK. Like a house on fire, Hetty.

HETTY. And you're prepared to face every ob-
stacle for me.

JACK. Yes. Oh, barring the old man, of course.

HETTY. Barring the old man, yes! You're
afraid of him, though?

JACK. Well, it's not exactly being afraid. I'm
not afraid of the law of gravitation, but my move-
ments obey its rules. I rise or fall according.
But cheer up ; he likes you, and if you work hard
for him

HETTY. And for you, dear Jack

JACK. Yes, tell me that, I like it; but it won't
appeal to the old man.

HETTY. But he's very fond of you, and he
adores Ida. (Rises and goes O.)

JACK. Still, the old man has his adorations
under strict control.


HETTY. And have you yours?

HETTY. You know, (going to JACK again) I'm
not quite happy about Ida. Harry Addisworth
says the Honours are to be settled to-morrow ; he
told me in the very strictest confidence and I've
mentioned it to not a soul except Mr. Pilkerton
and you.

JACK. Wonderful! But what have the Hon-
ours to do with Ida?

HETTY. Well, Mr. Vandean says nothing; and
I think Ida rather likes him.

JACK. And he her?

HETTY. Yes, he likes her too.

JACK. And do you fancy either of those two
facts would surprise the old man very much?

HETTY. Surprise him ! I should as soon think
of surprising a driving-wheel Oh!

[She darts up and away from JACK and seats
herself demurely on the settee as two
FOOTMEN enter from R., one carrying
folding table which he opens and places
just "behind settee at upper end of it,
while the other carries tea things, which
they place on table and arrange.

Tea already ! We must have our walk after-

JACK (discontentedly). All of us?

HETTY (watching FOOTMEN). On Sunday, yes.
(FOOTMEN go out). But not all in the same direc-
tion, you dear old stupid.

ADDISWORTH (off). Tea, tea, tea!

[ADDISWORTH comes in from garden, goes to
table, takes cake, bites it and comes down
R. eating it. He takes stand on hearth-
rug and eats. Then enter PILKERTON L.
with IDA clinging to his arm. He is


spare, clean shaven, scanty iron-grey hair,
rather sallow face. A young sixty.

IDA. There, I've brought him. He was work-
ing working ! (Back of tea table R.C.).

[She kisses him, releases his arm as they reach
tea-table and begins to make tea. PIL-
KERTON comes and sits on settee beside
HETTY, below her. He leans back, seem-
ing tired and rather inclined to listen
than talk.

'ADDISWORTH. A man who can work after Sun-
day lunch ouf !

[Finishes cake in a big mouthful.

IDA. Father's difficulty is not to work.

HETTY. It's what fathers are made for.

JACK. And sons are made to.

ADDISWORTH. Hear, hear, hear, hear!

HETTY (to ADDISWORTH). What have you
done with Herbert Bascom, Harry? I hope you've
not let him commit suicide?

ADDISWORTH. Well, I left him handy on the
links. Golf's all very well for the first hole, but
after that it's killingly monotonous. Can't think
why there should be more than one hole.

PILKERTON. You're sitting a long way from
me, Hetty.

HETTY. My mistake, Mr. Pilkerton. I'll come
much closer. [She sits close to him.

JACK. The way those two carry on!

IDA. Shameful !

PILKERTON. You see how little my children re-
spect me, Addisworth.

ADDISWORTH. Well I suppose it isn't business

IDA (clapping her hands). The intelligence of
the boy !


HETTY. I'm always afraid of a man who's ami-
able at tea. He's sure to do something disagree-
able before dinner.

PILKERTON. And after dinner?

HETTY. Men are at the weakest.

ADDISWORTH. And women at their worst.

IDA. Nonsense! Come and get your teas!
ff Glass crash).

JACK. What's that?

ADDISWORTH. Sounds like a public meeting.

[JACK rises and takes tea to HETTY and PIL-
KERTON. ADDISWORTH gets tea for him-
self and returns to fender.

ADDISWORTH. Tea, tea! (He brings with him
the cream jug and empties it in his cup).

JACK. I say, are you living on cream? (Goes'
and takes jug from ADDISWORTH and hands it to
HETTY and PILKERTON. They discover it is empty
and look at ADDISWORTH).

[Then IDA gives JACK tea and takes cup her-
self, sitting down at tea table. BASCOM
enters from garden with a golf club.

IDA. Just in time, Mr. Bascom!

BASCOM No, thank you. Tea's poison to me.
(He comes down L. below couch as they sip their
tea.) I've just driven a ball through the billiard
room window.

JACK. Golf ball?

ADDISWORTH. Or billiard ball?

PILKERTON. A minor point. My mind is on the

BASCOM. I'm sorry. You see my luck's dead
out. [He sits on stool L. looking forlorn.

JACK. The estate'll stand it, old man.

IDA. I wonder where Mr. Vandean is!


HETTY. Haven't seen him since lunch ; but then
I've been asleep most of the time myself.

ADDISWORTH. Daresay Van's been working

PILKERTON. And been allowed to go on, not
having a daughter.

IDA. Don't be impertinent, papa.

[Enter VANDEAN from L. He carries a large
"bulky blue envelope with a l)ig seal.
JACK puts cup down on table.

Oh, there you are, Mr. Vandean!

VANDEAN. I smelt tea. (He comes to table and
takes a cup from IDA; he holds out the envelope
to her in the other hand).
What will that weigh?

[They all turn to look at Mm.

IDA. Oh, a shilling, at least.

HETTY. What's inside?

VANDEAN (laughing and throwing letter down
on card table, L.). Some stuff for the Chief.
There's a post to-night?

[He drinks tea.

JACK. Eight o'clock. (Sits in armchair).

ADDISWORTH. I say, Van, have you remem-
bered my C.B.?

VANDEAN (setting down cup). Good lord, my
dear boy, I forgot all about it! I can't open the
thing now, can I? Besides, it's all bosh, you

ADDISWORTH. Bosh be hanged! I'm in dead
earnest about it.

[IDA leaves table and comes and sits on the
arm of JACK'S chair. VANDEAN comes
down to L.C. below couch. He thus gets
right in front of BASCOM, who sighs
patiently and shifts his stool, with him-
self on it, further down L., VANDEAN tak-
ing no notice of him.


IDA (to ADDISWORTH, laughing). You don't
mean to say you've got the ?

JACK. Cheek

IDA. Yes, cheek to ask for a G.B.?

VANDEAN. They've always had plenty of cheek.
That's how they got a dukedom. We're much
older than they are. Why, we were marauders
when they were only honest peasants! But my
ancestors had no impudence, confound ? em !

BASCOM. We are better men than our fathers
some of us, Vandean.

VANDEAN. Hullo, Bascom, old boy, are you be-
hind there? Don't spoil your natural gloom
merely for the sake of scoring off me.

IDA. I didn't know people ever asked for things
like that.

ADDISWORTH. How in goodness' name did you
think they got them?

IDA. Why, by deserving them, of course.

VANDEAN. Yes, yes, of course. That is oc-
casionally, Miss Pilkerton.

IDA. Anyhow not by cadging for what they
don't deserve.

rather uncomfortable, glancing momen-
tarily at PILKERTON. PILKERTON is quite
impassive and BASCOM appears not to
hear. A moment's pause.

VANDEAN. Cadging is er of course merely
a a

PILKERTON. A term of abuse, Mr. Vandean.

ADDISWORTH. And distinctly insulting, Miss
Ida. (Lights cigarette).

IDA. Pooh !

VANDEAN. The fact, I need hardly say, is that
er representations are made

ADDISWORTH. From influential quarters


BASCOM. To the proper quarters

VANDEAN (turning a moment). Oh! Ah!
thank you, Bascom. To the proper quarters that
in er certain quarters (Pause. Gives cup to

IDA. Well?

VANDEAN. Why, that it's felt that something
ought to be done.

ADDISWORTH (approvingly). Old Van's got it.

HETTY. I do admire a man who knows how
things are done.

VANDEAN (strolling across to hearthrug and
standing by ADDISWORTH, lighting a cigarette}.
It's not quite good form You do smoke here?
(IDA nods). Not quite good form to ask for your-
self. A asks for B, then B asks for A. Then they
both ask for C, and then C does a turn for both of
them, and so it works out all round.

IDA. I see how the asking's done. Now, how is
the giving?

VANDEAN. The giving is conducted on princi-
ples of purity, Miss Pilkerton

ADDISWORTH. Tempered (VANDEAN digs him
in the ribs). Oh!

VANDEAN. Tempered by the traditions of the

PILKERTON. And the political exigencies of the

VANDEAN. Oh, oh, Mr. Pilkerton, rank treason !
I mustn't listen, really.

IDA. Doesn't merit come in at all then?

VANDEAN. Why, of course it does if there's
anything left.

ADDISWORTH. Merit comes in at the bottom
that's why I ask for a C.B.

VANDEAN. Oh, shut up about your miserable
C.B. ! Besides we've told quite enough secrets


IDA. You'd never have said such things if
they'd been true.

PILKERTON. Exaggerate your truths a little,
and they're often the most useful form of decep-

ADDISWORTH. Hear! Hear! Hear! Hear!

HETTY. Oh, you know a great deal too much. I
shan't trust myself any longer near you. (Mov-
ing a little away). And I wonder you've brought
up the children half as nice as they are!

VANDEAN (indicating HETTY). She's very fas-
cinating, Mr. Pilkerton, but quite immoral.

HETTY. Why that's what my poor husband
used to say!

ADDISWORTH. Well, I suppose he had oppor-
tunities of judging?

HETTY. But then he said all women were.

PILKERTON. Ah! The wisest of us generalise

JACK (jumping up). Come and walk. We
must get an appetite before dinner.

[He goes up to window.

HETTY. Yes, come along. (Rises and goes up

ADDISWORTH. Yes, we must get an appetite be-
fore dinner. (Takes a huge piece of cake and fol-
lows to C. up, and BASCOM rises with a sigh and
follows slowly).

HETTY. I've just got to get my hat. Wait for
me, Jack. ,^,. [She goes off R.

[JACK, ADDISWORTH, and BASCOM stop at win-
dow, light cigarettes, then go out to-
gether. IDA has slipped into JACK'S
armchair. PILKERTON looks at her, then
at VANDEAN, then rises slowly.

PILKERTON. I'll leave you and Ida to thrash
out the subject, Mr. Vandean. (He turns to L.,


then turns back towards VANDEAN; he points to
letter on card table). The post goes at eight.
VANDEAN. Eight ! Yes, thanks, I know.
PILKERTON. Not till eight. (Goes L. a little).
VANDEAN. It's quite ready, thanks, Mr, Pilker-

[ PILKERTON glances at Jiim, turns and goes
slowly up to door L.

IDA. Not going to work again, papa?
PILKERTON. Just to read through and sign a
few letters. Oh, nothing, my dear !

[He goes off L.

[VANDEAN sits down on fender. A short

VANDEAN. What a reprehensible institution
Monday is!

IDA. .Must you really go?

VANDEAN (pointing across to card table).
There lies my avant-courier. I must be hot on his

IDA. Say a word for poor merit, won't you?
I'm its only companion.

VANDEAN. If I were as powerful a one, merit
would be looking up.

IDA. Did you think me silly and ignorant? I
don't know much about politics we've never had
much to do with them. Papa's a Liberal-Conserv-
ative and Jack's a Conservative-Liberal quite
different opinions, aren't they?

VANDEAN. Well, different sides, anyhow, and
that's more important.

IDA. But I don't think either of them care
much. Are politics really interesting?

VANDEAN. Politics is just another name for
men and sometimes women. So sometimes
they're not interesting, and sometimes (shifting


to end of fender, nearer her chair) they are most

IDA (smiling). Even the women?

VANDEAN (smiling). More especially. But
never mind politics now. I haven't thought of
them since Wednesday evening.

IDA (pointing across to card table). Oh yes,
this afternoon !

VANDEAN. I had to do that tedious job. It's
done there's an end of it!

IDA (rising, strolling up to window, and look-
ing out). Isn't it beautiful? (turning round and
leaning against window). Isn't it wonderful
how some days the sun shines brighter, the flowers
smell sweeter, and everything is far more lovely
than usual, Mr. Vandean ?

VANDEAN (rising and leaning on armchair, look-
ing at her). It seems so to-day?

IDA. Yes, somehow.

VANDEAN. And yesterday?

IDA. Yes, yesterday too.

VANDEAN. And and to-morrow?

IDA. Oh oh I don't know It must be all
nonsense, mustn't it?

[She comes down to O.

VANDEAN. I suppose so or it wouldn't be so

IDA (sitting on couch L.C.). Where do you live
in London? I should like to be able to picture

VANDEAN (crossing to L.C. and sitting by her).
I live in a small flat near Berkeley Square. Small
because I'm poor and Berkeley Square because
I'm proud.

IDA. Poor, proud and powerful (Laughing).
You should take bribes, Mr. Vandean.

VANDEAN. I can imagine a case in which I
should be terribly tempted.

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Online LibraryAnthony HopePilkerton's peerage; a comedy in four acts → online text (page 2 of 6)