Clyde Fitch.

Her Own Way A Play in Four Acts online

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brother is too damned outside information for me!

[_He rises and moves away, half in irritation, half in humor._


COAST. Pardon.

GEORGIANA. Are you as rich as people say?

COAST. Richer!

GEORGIANA. How did you get it?

COAST. I started my dough with a mine.

GEORGIANA. Why can't you put Steve into a mine?

COAST. [_Laughing._] What's the use? he'll lose everything just as quick
in Wall Street.

GEORGIANA. But I mean a good mine.

COAST. [_Coming back to her._] Listen! I worked right in our mine with
my father when I was only eight years old! That's why I ain't better
educated - I worked for ten years there down in the dirt and muck!

GEORGIANA. [_Interrupting._] And silver!

COAST. [_Leaning on the back of the chair._] Yes, and silver.
[_Laughs._] Father's out there working yet - don't have to now, but he
likes it; he ain't comfortable on top of the earth - says there's too
much room. If father'd been a man like Mackay, I guess he'd been just as
rich as him to-day.

GEORGIANA. And still you won't help Steve?

COAST. T'ain't business. [_He puts back his chair and leans toward_
GEORGIANA, _hand on table._] If helping him, mind you, would get you, I
might take it on. [_Humorously._] I'd pay even the price of Steve to buy

GEORGIANA. [_Taking the false nose and putting it on._] Well, I'm not
for sale. [_Rises._] But I would like to dispose of Steven.

COAST. Go on, please take that blame thing off.

[_Follows_ GEORGIANA _across the room to the Left._

GEORGIANA. No, I like it! You must understand this about my brother.
[_Taking off the nose._] He is the dearest, best fellow in the world!
kind-hearted and wouldn't do a thing that wasn't straightforward in

COAST. But you've got to be tricky if you want to succeed in our
business. I don't mind telling you right out between us, I'm tricky!

GEORGIANA. I'm sorry to hear it.

COAST. Louise was a pretty good liar when she was a kid. She ought to
help her husband along a little.

GEORGIANA. That's just it! if Steve had the right sort of wife, - but all
Louise wants is social position and more money.

[_She sits on the hobby horse, amusedly._]

COAST. If Louise was like you!

[GEORGIANA _puts the nose on quickly and rocks._

GEORGIANA. Heaven forbid! The only trouble with Steve is he's weak. He'd
have been all right if he'd been a girl - or married to a president of
Sorosis, or a daughter of the Present Revolution!

COAST. Miss Georgiana, take off that nose and let me ask you something.

GEORGIANA. Not at all, my dear Sammy. I know what it is you want to ask
me! I'm much obliged and I won't.

COAST. You won't marry me!


COAST. Why not?

GEORGIANA. Because I don't love you.

COAST. Who do you love?

GEORGIANA. That's not your business!

COAST. Do you love any one?

GEORGIANA. [_After a moment's hesitation, lies._] No!

COAST. [_With insinuation._] Why don't you get Dick Coleman to help

GEORGIANA. [_Taking off the nose._] Why do you ask me that now in that

COAST. Information!

GEORGIANA. Dick's a lawyer. What could he do for Steven?

COAST. That's not the information I wanted.

GEORGIANA. But it's all the information you'll get!

[_Gets off the hobby horse and comes down a little._

COAST. [_Follows her._] Georgiana, marry me, and I'll look after Steven
all the rest of his life.

GEORGIANA. Sammy, you don't want me to marry you if I don't love you.

COAST. Yes, I do. Listen! I'd risk your not loving me; there's nothing
on God's earth I wouldn't do to make you love me.

GEORGIANA. That's the trouble with you men, you think you can make a
woman love you whether she wants to or not, but you can't! - neither can
you keep her from loving you if she does, whether she wants to or not.

[_Throws nose away; crossing to the Left, sits in the rocking chair

COAST. I'd give you everything!

GEORGIANA. That you can buy!

COAST. Do you mean that you'd rather be dead poor than marry me?

GEORGIANA. No, I don't say that! When I've lost everything and Steven
and Louise are bankrupt, and we haven't a penny -


GEORGIANA. I might - I say I might -

COAST. Honest!

GEORGIANA. [_Laughing._] Oh, dear, no!

COAST. I take you at your word, anyhow.

[_The children's voices are heard._

CHILDREN. [_Off Left._] Come on back to our room and have some more

GEORGIANA. Sh! Here come the children.


COAST. Damn the children!


[_She puts finger up,_ COAST _kisses it._

COAST. Pardon! But I don't give up! Understand - I'm going to marry you!

GEORGIANA. [_Teasing him._] When? When?

[_The children rush in screaming._

THE CHILDREN. Aunt Georgiana! Here's papa! Here's papa!

[_And_ STEVEN CARLEY _enters Left. He is a slender, smooth-shaven,
young-old looking man, his voice and body almost vibrating with nerve; a
personality that so often appeals to the tenderness in women, while it
irritates men. He brings his hat and coat with him._

STEVEN. Hello, Sam!

COAST. Morning!

STEVEN. Many happy returns, Georgy.

GEORGIANA. Oh, no, thank you! It's not for me yet, thank goodness!

PHILIP. Now let's play hide and seek.

THE CHILDREN. Hide and seek!

LIZZIE. [_Entering Left._] Excuse me, please. Mrs. Jackson's maid is
here for Miss Elaine.

PHILIP. Oh, pshaw!

CHRISTOPHER. Don't you go!

ELAINE. Oh, yes, I must! I'm sorry! [_She goes up stage with great
diffidence to_ STEVEN _and shakes his hand as she curtseys.]_ Good-by,
sir. [_To_ COAST _also._] Good-by, sir. [_To_ GEORGIANA.] Good-by,
ma'am, I've had a perfectly lovely time. [_Aside to_ GEORGIANA.] Phil
is my beau, but I like Mr. Coast awfully much too!

GEORGIANA. [_Laughing._] You're beginning early! Come along, children,
we'll take Elaine down. Excuse me, everybody, please.

PHILIP. If you've got any good tips, papa, save some for little brother.

[_The children go out Left with_ GEORGIANA.

STEVEN. [_Putting his hat and coat down on the sofa._] He's on to his
father early! Sam, any news?


STEVEN. I've heard of a big thing, an absolutely straight tip, - inside

COAST. [_Sitting in the rocker._] Well, don't tell it, or you'll spoil

STEVEN. The women are so down on my speculating, Georgiana especially.

[_Sits on the table._

COAST. What do the women folks know about business? Why don't you keep
what you do to yourself?

STEVEN. But you see my money's all gone, and I need more - only to recoup

COAST. [_After a slight pause._] As I remember, you can do what you like
with Louise's money.

STEVEN. But is it right?

COAST. You're too blamed afraid, that's why you always lose.

STEVEN. [_Walking up and down._] I know it. And this is the biggest
chance I've had yet. If I dared risk it, I'm sure I could make a
fortune! Not in words! I know what I'm talking about, Sam. Louise would
have everything she wanted - and the way she'd live then! She could drop
the social chip off her shoulders, go anywhere, and receive everybody.

[_Standing beside the table, he eats a little cake._

COAST. Well?

STEVEN. Do you advise me to risk it?

COAST. [_Pretending indifference._] What?

STEVEN. Louise's money?

COAST. I ain't advising anything. If it went wrong, you'd blame me to
the women.

STEVEN. Is that the kind of a man I am?

COAST. [_Rises and goes to Steven and slaps him on the back._] No,
Steve, I take it back. You take a licking better'n any feller I ever

STEVEN. Experience! But this thing can't go wrong! The man who told me
is the head and - I told Georgiana - didn't she give you a hint?

COAST. [_After a slight pause._] No.

[_Turns up to the window and stands there with his back to Steven._

STEVEN. My tip's a great one - safe! Now, shall I take it?

COAST. Of course, when I feel as you do about a thing, I do it.

STEVEN. And by George, I will too!

COAST. Why not?

[_Turning and facing him._

STEVEN. Yes! what I make's for Louise, not for myself.

COAST. I wouldn't say anything to Louise about it.

[_Comes down a little._

STEVEN. No, she'd be sure to talk it over with Georgiana.

[_He sits by the table._

COAST. And, say, not a word, you know, about me in all this.

STEVEN. I give you my word, Sam.

COAST. Why not let the old lady in, too, Aunt Laura, if it's such a good

[_He gives a side look at_ STEVEN.

STEVEN. Didn't they tell you?

COAST. What?

STEVEN. I put mother into East Mexicos!


[_Whistles, crosses to the sofa Right, and sits on_ GEORGIANA'S _furs;
jumps up quickly, moves the furs, and then sits again._

STEVEN. That was an extraordinary thing. No one knows how it happened,
but she lost every cent.

COAST. But -

STEVEN. Dear old Georgiana pays the interest for me, and the old lady
doesn't know.

COAST. Georgiana's a damn fine girl.

STEVEN. She is! I'll pay her back out of this coup, too, another good

COAST. Fine!

STEVEN. I believe I'll go back down town now.

[_Both rise and go Left as_ MOLES _comes in._

COAST. All right. Come on, we'll go together.


MOLES. Please, sir, may I speak to you a minute, Mr. Carley?

COAST. I'll wait downstairs, Steve.

[_He goes out Left._

STEVEN. Yes, Moles?

MOLES. The champagne is out, sir.

STEVEN. Order another case.

MOLES. I did, three days ago, over the telephone, and I called them up
yesterday to ask about it, and they said your bill was so long
outstanding they'd please like it settled before filling any future

STEVEN. Tell Mrs. Carley; the household bills are her affair, aren't

MOLES. She says there is some mistake. She gave you a check for the wine
bill last month, sir.

STEVEN. Did she? Oh, of course she did. It was the day I heard about
Alabama Rails and I bought a couple on margin! They're down just now.
The wine people must wait.

[_Dismissing him._

MOLES. But we've a big luncheon, sir, to-morrow and no wine.

STEVEN. Very well, then, I'll get Miss Georgiana to give you a check. I
don't want to bother Mrs. Carley, she's got a headache.

MOLES. The wages are due, sir, and the trades books weren't settled last

STEVEN. Well, I'll attend to it all to-morrow or next day, Moles. Give
me my coat, will you? [MOLES _gets the coat from the sofa and hands it
to_ STEVEN.] I've been short of ready money for a little while, but
things are looking up. By the way, you're a good sort; I'd like to do
you a good turn. I happen to be on to something, Moles, on to something
down in Wall Street. Would you like to make a little money?

MOLES. [_Brightening visibly._] Indeed and I would, sir. I've got two
thousand three hundred and sixteen dollars in my savings bank, and I've
heard of how these Wall Street magnums made fortunes out of less'n that.

STEVEN. I'll double it for you! You get it for me, Moles, and I'll make
it into five or six thousand for you, sure!

MOLES. Thank you, sir!

STEVEN. [_Writes in note book._] I'll put in an order to buy for you the
first thing in the morning; and you have your money down at my office
by ten o'clock, can you?

MOLES. Yes, sir, I can get off in the morning. I can't thank you enough,

STEVEN. Oh, that's all right, - we'll be a rich household here before we
get through, Moles. They'll be telephoning us to please send in some
orders for champagne!

[_Puts note-book away._

MOLES. Oh, don't trouble about these bills, sir. I can hold off the
people a little longer, and I'll order the wine in another place.

STEVEN. That's a good boy, Moles, then I won't have to bother my sister.

MOLES. Yes, sir.

[_He goes out as_ GEORGIANA _and the children enter Left._

GEORGIANA. Here's papa! Come along, now, Steve, I've promised the
children a game of hide and go seek!

STEVEN. All right, I knew father wanted to do something very much, - only
couldn't think what. Of course, it was hide and seek!

GEORGIANA. Philip must be "it" first!

PHILIP. All right!

[PHILIP _goes into the corner Right, with his back to the others. All
hide behind or under the different pieces of furniture_ - GEORGIANA
_under the table,_ TOOTS _back of the rocker,_ STEVEN _under the sofa,

PHILIP. [_Impatient._] Are you ready?



[_Getting behind curtains Centre window._

PHILIP. Now are you ready?

[LIZZIE _comes in Left, as soon as_ STEVEN _hides under sofa._


[_Getting under the table._

LIZZIE. Mr. Carley, please, sir!

STEVEN. [_Putting his head out from under the sofa._] Yes, Lizzie?

CHRISTOPHER. Don't turn round, Phil, it's only Lizzie. Wait!

LIZZIE. Excuse me, but Mr. Coast sent me upstairs to see -

STEVEN. Oh, by George, yes! [_Coming out from the sofa._] I forgot. I
must go back down town.

PHILIP. Oh, pshaw!

[_About to turn._

GEORGIANA. Don't turn, Phil!

CHRISTOPHER. No, the rest of us is hid!

STEVEN. I'm sorry, children! Father'd a great deal rather play hide and
seek, but he's got to go to work. It's just like when you'd rather play
but have to study!

PHILIP. When I get growed, I shan't never do anything I don't want to.

GEORGIANA. Then you'd be the most wonderful person in the world, and
they'd put you in wax in the Eden Musée!

STEVEN. [_Kissing_ PHIL, _then_ CHRIS, _then_ TOOTS.] Good-by, dears.

THE CHILDREN. [_Dolefully._] Good-by.

[STEVEN _crosses to the door Left._

GEORGIANA. Never mind, I'll finish with you. Don't turn around, Phil.

LIZZIE. [_At the door Left._] Beg pardon, sir, but Moles has been and
told me what you was going to do for him, sir. Would you be considering
it great impertinence if I asked you to take six hundred dollars what
I've saved, sir, and do things with it?

STEVEN. Certainly, Lizzie, send it by Moles in the morning.

LIZZIE. [_Delighted._] Oh, thank you, sir!

STEVEN. I'm glad to do it; you've served us faithfully for some years
now, Lizzie.

[_He goes out._

LIZZIE. He's gone, miss.

[_She goes out also._

GEORGIANA. [_Calls._] Ready!

[PHILIP _turns and looks about the room, then begins to look under
things. He sees his_ AUNT GEORGIANA _first and is about to touch her,
but she laughingly motions him not to and points out_ TOOTS'S _hiding

PHILIP. [_Finding_ TOOTS, _touches him._] You're it!

TOOTS. [_Very pleased._] I'm it! I'm it!

[_Jumps up and down._

CHRISTOPHER. [_Disappointed._] Somebody find me.

PHILIP. Oh, come on out from behind the curtain - you're - easy.

[CHRISTOPHER _comes out. Meanwhile_ COLEMAN _is heard calling, "Hello,
Phil, Phil," outside as he comes up the stairs._

PHILIP. [_By the hobby horse._] It's Mr. Dick!

THE CHILDREN. It's Mr. Dick!


[_Starts to get out from under the table, but_ COLEMAN _enters, so she
crawls back._

[LIEUTENANT RICHARD COLEMAN _is a handsome, finely built man of about
thirty-two. He is a West Pointer, is a good oarsman, a crack shot, and a
good fellow all around. No finicking about him, no nerves. Just a sane,
healthy, fine fellow._

DICK. Hello! Many happy returns, Phil. [_Shakes hands._] Where's your
Aunt Georgiana! [_Silence._] Is she out?

PHIL. No, she's under the table!

CHRISTOPHER AND TOOTS. [_Delighted._] She's under the table! She's under
the table!

DICK. [_Laughing._] What!

PHILIP. Hide and seek.

[DICK _looks under the table; he and_ GEORGIANA _laugh._

DICK. Good morning, are you at home?

GEORGIANA. [_Very embarrassed._] Oh, mercy! Do go away so I can get out!

DICK. [_Tremendously amused._] Come on out!

GEORGIANA. No! I can't with you there. [_Laughing_.] Please leave the
room for just one minute!

DICK. Not if I know it! Come on out!

GEORGIANA. Not for worlds! Go away, please! [DICK _shakes his head
"No."_] Then I shall never come out.

DICK. Ah, but that's hardly fair, because I want to talk to you

GEORGIANA. Well, then, come on under!

DICK. Is there room?

GEORGIANA. A cable car conductor who knew his business could seat four
more people in here.

DICK. Still - I think I'm more comfortable up here.

GEORGIANA. Selfish! Go on away! [DICK _shakes his head._] Children, if
you love your auntie, go for Mr. Dick with all your might and main and
push him into the hall.

[_The children shout and rush toward_ DICK; _they catch hold of him._


DICK. [_With mock ferocity._] The first child I get hold of I'll

[_The children laugh and shout and run away from him to behind the


GEORGIANA. Ogre! Very well! After all, I'm not vain! It would take
Barnum's human snake to get out of this gracefully, anyway!

[_Coming out, arranging her dress and hair._

DICK. Have some help?

GEORGIANA. No, thank you. But still, what a horrid person you are,
aren't you?

[_They both laugh._

DICK. _You_ aren't!

GEORGIANA. O dear me! Making up now with a compliment! Well, what do
you think of my birthday antics? Playing hide and seek - or, perhaps,
trained elephants - doesn't interest you!

CHRISTOPHER. Lelephants! Oh, Auntie! Is the _circus_ coming?

[_The children give themselves up to transports._ PHIL _hugs_ TOOTS _and
repeats "Circus."_

GEORGIANA. No, darling, but this circus is going - your old-maid aunt - to
put herself to rights!

DICK. You couldn't improve on present appearances!

GEORGIANA. Really! Such fine speeches! But they don't go with your
manners! Would you like to join in the game?

PHILIP. Oh, yes! Hurrah!

[_Runs to_ DICK, _when_ MRS. CARLEY _comes in from the Left._

MRS. CARLEY. Well! What's going on?

PHILIP. Birthdays!

MRS. CARLEY. Not for me!

GEORGIANA. Don't you want to play hide and go seek, mother?

MRS. CARLEY. I'm playing it all the time with old age! That's enough!

GEORGIANA. Well, excuse me, please, while I repair damages.

[_She goes out Right._

DICK. [_Calls._] Come back.

CHILDREN. [_Calling._] Come back!

MRS. CARLEY. I want the children for a few minutes.

THE CHILDREN. [_Disappointed._] Oh, Grannie!

[_She goes to children and drives them off Left ahead of her._

THE CHILDREN. Oh, Grandma!

MRS. CARLEY. Mrs. Vale is downstairs with the twins, to wish Phil many
happy returns.

[_The children go out Left unwillingly._ MRS. CARLEY _comes back._

DICK. Going to spoil our game, Grandma?

MRS. CARLEY. Don't you grandma me! You're old enough for me to marry

DICK. Help!

MRS. CARLEY. Don't worry! Having lost two good husbands, I'm not going
to risk losing a third.

DICK. I breathe freely once more.

MRS. CARLEY. I thought Sammy Coast was here.

DICK. Not since I came. He seems a clever chap!

MRS. CARLEY. We think so, and we hope so. He adores Georgiana.


MRS. CARLEY. Huh! huh! [DICK _walks away._] What do you say to that

DICK. You don't mean? -

[_Turns to_ MRS. CARLEY.

MRS. CARLEY. Looks like it! It would be a fine thing for both of them.
Sam could give her a fortune, and Georgiana give him a big position.

DICK. But -

MRS. CARLEY. He's crazy about her! Comes here every day - follows her
like a dog.

DICK. But it isn't -

MRS. CARLEY. [_Interrupting._] Not yet, but we don't dare breathe! And
we're on tiptoe for the final word.

DICK. What does Steven say?

MRS. CARLEY. Delighted, of course. [_Walks away a little._] I hope you
haven't brought Steve any tips to-day.

DICK. [_Laughing._] No!

MRS. CARLEY. Thank goodness! He doesn't seem to have had any this week
and the house has been fairly quiet! [GEORGIANA _comes back._] I must go
to Mrs. Vale. [_Goes out._]

GEORGIANA. Mother looks pleased.

DICK. She's never very depressed, is she?

GEORGIANA. Yes, sometimes, - in the day-time! It's largely a matter of
frocks and bonnets, and depends sometimes on the exact color of her

DICK. I often wonder that you keep on living with Mrs. Carley and
Louise. They can't help being beastly uncongenial to you.

GEORGIANA. But Mrs. Carley brought me up. She did her worst with the
best intentions, and you mustn't forget Steve! [_She sits beside the
table and_ DICK _leans against it to talk to her._] He's my own
brother, you know, and I'm so afraid Louise will finally disillusion him
and spoil his happiness. I'm standing on guard.

DICK. You think a lot of Steve.

GEORGIANA. I love him better than any one else in the world. [_She adds
in a very low voice._] Almost!

[_A short pause._

DICK. Steve comes second!


GEORGIANA. [_Low voice and looking away._] Perhaps.

DICK. I hope you don't mind my asking you these questions.

GEORGIANA. No, I like it.

DICK. I don't want you to tell me anything more than you care to.

GEORGIANA. [_Turning and half laughing._] That's very good of you.

DICK. But I _wish_ you'd tell me everything.

GEORGIANA. My dear Dick, there isn't anything more for me to tell.

DICK. Oh, very well, if you want to leave it that way.

[_Moving away._

GEORGIANA. Leave what?

DICK. I mean if that's all you want to tell me.

GEORGIANA. Why don't _you_ tell _me_ something.

DICK. That's what I've come to do.

GEORGIANA. Have you?

DICK. [_Turns and faces_ GEORGIANA.] Our regiment is ordered off to the

GEORGIANA. Your regiment?

DICK. Yes.

GEORGIANA. [_Breathless._] Who's going?

DICK. Who? Why, we're going, of course.

GEORGIANA. All of you?

DICK. Yes, all of us. There are two insurrections on a couple of
islands that must be put down, and they want some fresh men.

GEORGIANA. But it will be awful warfare out there, won't it, unfair,
cruel, unlawful warfare?

DICK. I suppose that's what it's likely to be with the natives until we
teach them a thorough lesson on every one of the infernal islands.


[_Hesitates, rises; they are both in front of the table._

DICK. But what?

GEORGIANA. [_Pause._] But your business, - how can you leave your office?

DICK. There are plenty of people who'll be only too glad to take on my

GEORGIANA. But when you come back?

DICK. If the worst comes to the worst, I'll have to begin all over

GEORGIANA. No! Don't go - Dick! Don't go!

DICK. Why not?

GEORGIANA. [_Humorously, to cover her emotion._] I don't want any one
else to get your clients.

DICK. Oh, you were thinking of my career! That'll take care of itself if
I come back - and if I don't -


DICK. They said we were a lot of dandies in the regiment, and that if it
ever came to fighting, people'd see us back down!

GEORGIANA. But need you all go?

DICK. That's the glory of it! It's fine, Georgy. There isn't a single
man who'll be left behind, not on any old excuse!

GEORGIANA. Splendid!

DICK. You do want me to go, then, don't you?

GEORGIANA. Yes, if it's like that, I want you to go - but - I want you to
come back, too!

[_Almost breaking down._]

DICK. Hello! I believe you're crying.


DICK. [_Tenderly, scarcely believing._] Do you care so much as that,

GEORGIANA. [_Proudly._] Of course I care!

DICK. It's funny, isn't it - think how long we've known each other.

GEORGIANA. [_Still with a choke and a tear._] I don't see why it's

DICK. What I mean is, we're sentimental beasts - we people.

GEORGIANA. Thank you, I don't care for the way you put it.

DICK. [_Takes a long breath._] Well, I wish you joy, Georgiana.

GEORGIANA. Much obliged.

DICK. And good-by.

[_Shakes hands._

GEORGIANA. [_Rises._] Not now, for good.

DICK. [_Laughing._] Oh, no, we aren't off for ten days yet. But I wanted
to tell my old pal first.

GEORGIANA. That was good of you. And you'll come in often before you go,
won't you, Dick?

DICK. You bet! Every chance I get.

[_Both go up to the window. He has meant to go, but she manoeuvres him
to the big seat instead._

GEORGIANA. And anything I can do for you?

[_She sits._

DICK. [_Sitting beside her._] Oh, I don't think there can be anything.

GEORGIANA. Oh, yes, there is always something women can do for men who
go away to fight. They make things! Let me make something for you.

DICK. Can't think of anything. Got everything I want.

GEORGIANA. You're a lucky man to have everything you want - and going off
to the Philippines with a jolly crowd of friends and glad you're going!
I take back all my sympathy, and I wouldn't make you anything now if you
asked me to.

DICK. And, by George, just when I'd thought of something.


DICK. [_Laughing._] A court-plaster case!

GEORGIANA. You can buy one in a drug store.

DICK. I ought to have some present to carry in my breast pocket; don't

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Online LibraryClyde FitchHer Own Way A Play in Four Acts → online text (page 2 of 7)