Clyde Fitch.

Her Own Way A Play in Four Acts online

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[SAM _comes back to front of table._

LOUISE. [_To_ STEVEN, _suddenly realizing it again._] You let _all_ my
money go?

GEORGIANA. [_To_ LOUISE.] I will share what I have with you.

STEVEN. [_To_ GEORGIANA.] But you must let me try to get back -

GEORGIANA. [_Interrupting._] It would only be throwing good money after

COAST. [_Sardonically._] How about Moles and Lizzie?

GEORGIANA. Don't _you_ worry about them! Moles and Lizzie shall have
their money back, of course.

STEVEN. But I can't do it, Georgy. It's losing - why it's like losing a
million to us!

GEORGIANA. Suppose you went on speculating with my money, and it went
the same way as Louise's and her mother's?

COAST. And Lizzie's and Moles?

STEVEN. But it can't - it _can't!_

[STEVEN _sits on the sofa._ GEORGIANA _sits beside_ STEVEN. LOUISE _is
still in the arm-chair Left._

GEORGIANA. O Steve! I've heard that so often. [_A pause._] You were
always a straight boy, Steve, and you always kept your word. Your notion
of honor, it seems to me, in little things hasn't been so strong
lately, as this fever of speculation grew on you, but still you are the
same Steve and you've never lied about your transactions; so I have
faith in you. Now let's settle this once and for all and _my way_!

STEVEN. It's very hard, Georgiana.

LOUISE. We can never all of us live on your income - not as we're used

GEORGIANA. That's true. Come, Steve. Give me your word never to go into
another speculation and let's throw it off for to-day. Dick's coming to
say good-by. Let's give him happy memories of us, at least to take away
with him. [_A moment's pause._] Come, Steve?

STEVEN. [_Low voice._] All right.

GEORGIANA. No more speculating; you'll give me your word - [STEVEN
_rises_, GEORGIANA _rises._ STEVEN _nods his head._] - of honor, Steve?


[_Nods his head._

GEORGIANA. Then that's settled.

[_Gives_ SAM _a calm, defiant look._

STEVEN. O Georgy! I don't seem grateful, but I am. I can't tell you! I
can't say! But it's wonderful what you're doing! God bless you!

[_Puts his arms on_ GEORGIANA'S _shoulders._

GEORGIANA. [_With emotion, almost breaking down._] That's all right,
Steve. We'll begin all over again.

[_She kisses him._

LOUISE. [_To_ GEORGIANA.] I suppose I ought to thank you too.

GEORGIANA. No, don't bother. Come upstairs and have your hair shampooed.
Bella must have painted mother red enough by now; it'll rest you and do
you good.

LOUISE. After all, you're no real relation of ours, and you've done a
fine thing.

GEORGIANA. [_Very simply._] Don't talk about it. I wish it were more. I
realize fully what it means to your mother and you to have all your
money gone. But we'll put our shoulders to the wheel and make the best
of it. Come, dear, come.

[_She goes out Right._ LOUISE _is about to follow, but is stopped by_

STEVEN. Louise, do you forgive me?

LOUISE. No, you ought to have asked my advice - let me know.

STEVEN. But when I used to talk to you about money matters, dear, you
always begged me not to bother you.

LOUISE. I don't care, this is different. Sam!

[_Nodding good-by._

COAST. Do you mind my joining you to see the procession go by at five?


[_She goes out Right._

STEVEN. What procession?

COAST. Coleman's regiment.

[_He puts his feet upon small gilt chair beside the table._

STEVEN. Oh, yes! Well - I've made a pretty big mess of things. I'm not
fit to live, that's what's the trouble with me.

COAST. Oh, you must take everything in the day's work; but it's a pity
she made you give her that promise.


COAST. [_Goes to him._] You all can't live on the income from five
hundred thousand dollars. Now there'll be a _bust_ up sure!

STEVEN. Ss! that's all I need.

[_Sits on the sofa._

COAST. That promise of yours to Georgiana's binding, ain't it?

STEVEN. [_Looks up._] Of course. Why?

COAST. No why.

[_A pause._

STEVEN. You think United Copper will go up again?

COAST. If not, I know something that _will_.

STEVEN. Something you're in yourself?


STEVEN. And you'd put me on?

COAST. Yep. I don't think there's any other way out of this for you all.


[_He rises._

COAST. It's _absolutely safe_.

STEVEN. I could get it back? _Some_, anyway, of what I've lost?

COAST. Sure! -

STEVEN. But I gave Georgiana my word.

COAST. Of course she got that promise out of you because she thought
you'd lose again.

STEVEN. Yes, but my word is _my_ word.

COAST. Do you suppose she'd mind, if you won, won back Louise's money,
won back the girl's happiness?

STEVEN. Suppose I tell her what you can do and ask her to let me off
this once?

COAST. No, women don't understand business. She wouldn't realize _I_ can
_know_ I'd win, any more than _you feel sure_ and lose.

STEVEN. Yes, it would do no _good_ to ask her.

COAST. Too bad, because I'd guarantee you wouldn't lose, not this deal.
Of course I wouldn't be responsible for any future transaction.

STEVEN. But I'd be satisfied with this one, if I got back my losses.

COAST. I don't say you'd get back _all_, in one deal, but a good start
which might turn your luck.

STEVEN. It's always like that; I've known such cases over and over
again. But I've never yet broken my word to Georgiana, - somehow or other
I feel as if I did that once I wouldn't have any hold over myself.

COAST. I don't suppose you could get at her securities anyway this

STEVEN. Oh, yes, I could. We have our deposit box together.

COAST. Don't you think she'd forgive you when it means such a lot to
Louise and her mother?

STEVEN. Why shouldn't she?

COAST. Why don't you risk it? That promise was just to keep you from
losing, and this time I'll see you don't lose - so why not?

STEVEN. By George, I will! Georgiana really can't blame me when there's
so much at stake.

COAST. Can you get the stuff to-day?

STEVEN. [_Looks at his watch._] Yes, if I hurry.

COAST. All right, go ahead. I'll come to your office to-morrow at nine.
Listen - I ain't supposed, of course, to have anything to do with
this - and when you get it, don't go giving my tip to other chumps.

STEVEN. Oh, no.

COAST. What you do is on your own responsibility?

STEVEN. Exactly, only _you_ guarantee?

COAST. That you don't lose this time. [_Looking at his watch._] You'd
better hurry.

STEVEN. Thank you, Sam.

[_Shakes his hand._

COAST. Oh, that's all right. Say, I want to marry your sister. No
objection on your part, is there?

STEVEN. Well, I should say not!

COAST. She don't seem to cotton to me.

STEVEN. She doesn't know you.

COAST. Do you think if she was up a tree for funds she'd look at me any

STEVEN. Not a bit.

COAST. Some women do.

STEVEN. Not Georgiana! Good-by.

COAST. [_To_ STEVE.] So long.

[STEVEN _turns to go, but stops as_ MOLES _shows_ COLEMAN _into the
room. The latter is dressed in his uniform of first lieutenant._

DICK. Hello, Steven! Hello, Coast!

COAST. We gates!

STEVEN. How are you, Dick? Excuse me, I'm in a hurry. You're off to-day?

DICK. Yes, I've come to shake hands.

STEVEN. Good-by, old man, and good luck - sorry to have to go! Good-by!

[_Shakes hands warmly, with feeling._

DICK. Good-by.

[STEVEN _goes out Left._

COAST. [_Sitting Right._] Oh, I guess she ain't so different.

DICK. Who?

COAST. Georgiana, she's _just a woman_!

DICK. No, take my word for it, she's not _a_ woman, she's _the_ woman.

[_Sits on the piano bench._

COAST. 'Spose she likes money and nice things always about her?

DICK. She's always had them, - and always would if I could help give them
to her.

COAST. Huh, huh! Well - say, Steve's got himself in a devil of a hole!
Speculated with his wife's money - and they're broke.

DICK. Good God, what do you mean?


COAST. What I say. Steve is one of those good-hearted gulls who's a
blame slob on the money market, and he's gone under to the extent of
Aunt Laura's and Louise's _spondulix_, that's all.

[_He is rather amused._ DICK _goes back of table, puts his hat on it._

DICK. What are they going to do?

COAST. Georgiana wants to pony up like a brick and keep the whole lot!

DICK. Just like her!

COAST. Oh, of course, I'll see Georgiana don't really lose by it in no
way in the end.

DICK. You _will_?

COAST. Why of course!

DICK. She isn't going to let Steve speculate with her money, is she?

COAST. Can't say.

[_A pause._

DICK. Look here, I'd like to help Steve myself, if I thought I could
protect Georgiana. I'll let Steve have some money. You needn't say
anything to anybody. How much will see him through?

COAST. That's real good of you, but I couldn't let outsiders help 'em.

DICK. I'm not exactly an outsider; and the truth is, Coast, I'd give
anything to have the right to help Georgiana. [_A silence._] Look here.
I'm going to ask you a question, straight out!

COAST. Fire ahead!

[_Looks at_ DICK _with a perfectly blank face._

DICK. Anything between you and Georgiana?

COAST. [_After a short pause._] There is -

DICK. Mrs. Carley hinted as much.

COAST. [_Unflinchingly._] I'm - er - I'm going to marry Georgiana.

[_A pause._ COAST _looks_ DICK _in the eye, then away._

DICK. Congratulate you, Coast! [_Shakes his hand._] She's worth even
more than you can give her!

COAST. That's right!

[COAST _goes out on the balcony and whistles "Congo."_ DICK _walks away
and turns his back._ DICK _goes to the mantel and takes up a picture
of_ GEORGIANA, _looks at it, takes it out of the frame, and seeing that_
COAST _isn't observing, puts it in his breast pocket. He turns round
with a pathetic sort of half-laughing exclamation to_ COAST.

DICK. I say, Coast. [COAST _comes in from the balcony._] I've been in
love with Georgiana for years.

COAST. That don't surprise me!

[COAST _sits on the piano bench._

DICK. I never realized it until the other day, when I found I was going
to leave her, and - perhaps - not coming back, and then I found boy
friendship had sort of grown up into a man's love - I almost told
her - [_Pause._] I wonder if I'd found it out sooner - before you came
along -

COAST. No use shutting the stable door _after_ the horse is swiped!

DICK. I shan't be able to say exactly what I wanted to to
Georgiana - but that's - your luck - I guess the quicker I can say good-by
and get out, the better for me -

COAST. Listen - don't say anything to Georgiana about her and me, will
you, unless of course she tells you - we're not talking about it yet.

DICK. _I_ don't care mentioning it, thank you.

[MRS. CARLEY _and_ GEORGIANA _come in Right and meet_ DICK.

MRS. CARLEY. We're so sorry to say good-by, Dick - will you have some

DICK. No, thanks.

COAST. Hello, Auntie.

[MRS. CARLEY _goes to the sofa and sits with her crocheting._


[_Shaking his hand - a second long. They look into each other's eyes._

MRS. CARLEY. Isn't he fine in his uniform?

DICK. [_Embarrassed._] I hadn't time to change before we start.

MRS. CARLEY. Louise asks me to give her farewells; she's got a bad
headache and is being shampooed - she's _too_ disappointed not to see

DICK. I'm sorry she's in her usual health.

MRS. CARLEY. Got it from her father; we didn't expect him to live a year
when I married him, but he surprised us all - and I tell Louise she'll
outlive me yet. How are you, Sammy?

[_Drops her worsted;_ COAST _picks it up and gives it to her._

COAST. All right, only I need a shave.

[_He sits Left._

MRS. CARLEY. Well, you shouldn't talk about it! You need a lot of

GEORGIANA. [_Aside to_ DICK.] Stay; I want to speak to you alone.

DICK. All right, old girl, I think I know why.

MRS. CARLEY. Why don't you all sit down?

GEORGIANA. He hasn't much time.

DICK. I haven't long to stay. I must be at the armory by a quarter to

GEORGIANA. You march by here at four, don't you, on your way to the 42d
St. Station?

DICK. Yes, rather a bore; but the Governor insists, and Roosevelt comes
on to receive us at 59th St.

GEORGIANA. We oughtn't to keep Dick, then, mother; we ought to say
good-by at once.

[_They all rise._

MRS. CARLEY. Very well, speed the parting guest! Good-by, Dick, we'll
watch the papers to see what brave things you do, and don't fall in
love with any of the _décolleté_ young nigger ladies we read about.

DICK. Good-by, Mrs. Carley. [_They wait for_ GEORGIANA _to say good-by.
A pause._] Good-by, Coast!

[_Crosses to_ COAST, _who rises and shakes hands with_ DICK.

COAST. Good-by! Good luck -

GEORGIANA. [_Pointedly._] Good-by, Sam.

COAST. Oh, I'm not going.

[_A pause._

DICK. [_To_ GEORGIANA.] Good-by.

GEORGIANA. Good-by! [_Shakes his hand and adds under her breath to
him._] Don't go. Don't go.

[_A pause; all wait._

MRS. CARLEY. He isn't in a hurry, after all, Georgiana; let's all sit
down again.

[_They all sit._

GEORGIANA. [_Laughing, embarrassed._] Of course I don't want to urge
you off, Dick.

DICK. [_Rising._] No, but really, after all, I think I _must_ go.

[_All rise again._

GEORGIANA. No! Mother, I want to speak with Dick alone, before he goes;
you won't mind leaving us, will you, you and Sam?

[_Sam rises._

MRS. CARLEY. [_Unwilling._] Oh, no - Come along, Sam. We'll be on the
balcony when you pass, Dick; be sure to look up. Good-by.


DICK. [_Shaking her hand._] I'll look up.

COAST. [_At the door Right._] I'll go up and see the kids.

[COAST _looks at Dick and goes out very slowly with_ MRS. CARLEY.

GEORGIANA. I couldn't say good-by to you like that - I couldn't share my
good-by with mother; you understand that, don't you, Dick.

DICK. Yes, old girl, though if I had my way I wouldn't say good-by to
_you_ at all - I hate good-bys to people I care about.

GEORGIANA. Sit down just a few minutes.

[_They sit down by the table._

DICK. [_Sees the tie in her hands._] Busy making reins for Toots? What
an ugly color!

GEORGIANA. Is it? Well, it's a tie for you!

DICK. Oh - I mean it's ugly for reins, but perfectly lovely for a
tie - I'll take it with me.

[_Puts it in his pocket._

GEORGIANA. I wish I could go with you.

DICK. Don't you think you're needed here just at this moment?

GEORGIANA. Has Steve told you?

DICK. No, Coast did.

GEORGIANA. Don't you think I'm doing right?

DICK. If you love him, of course, old girl, you're doing right. I think
I must go now. [_Rises._] Good-by.

GEORGIANA. No, don't go yet, please. I can't bear to have you go.

DICK. It's good of you to care so much. [_Leans against the table._] You
know only yesterday I woke up and suddenly began to hope -


DICK. Nothing; I don't hope it any more, anyway! I say, Georgiana,
you'll go around and see mother and father once in a while, won't you?

GEORGIANA. Of course I will -

DICK. It'll cheer them up a lot, you know - they feel so badly; it's
pretty tough on them, my leaving.

GEORGIANA. _I_ feel badly too -

DICK. That's jolly good of you.

GEORGIANA. And isn't it just a little _tough_ to leave me? Your oldest
friend almost, you know.

[_She adds this latter to cover up the sentiment which was coming too
near the surface._

DICK. Of course it is.

GEORGIANA. You haven't said so.

DICK. Still waters run deep, Georgy, and I - [_He moves away._] really, I
must be going.

GEORGIANA. [_Rising._] No, _don't_ go.

DICK. [_Looking at his watch._] I must.

GEORGIANA. No, let me see your watch. Yes, you have got three more
minutes. Please - sit down -

[_She persuades him to sit down again, and she reseats herself._

DICK. Have your own way!

GEORGIANA. Will there be fighting?

DICK. I hope so!

GEORGIANA. Oh, but what fighting! I've read, I know - ambushes and
tortures - their war is murder.

DICK. Yes, and that's why we're going out there to put an end to it.

GEORGIANA. Why need _you_?

DICK. Some one must, I as well as another; in fact, just now, I _better_
than any other.

GEORGIANA. Why _you_ better?

DICK. Because I want to go - I've got a restless fit, Georgiana - and want
to get away from here - I want to get away from everybody.

GEORGIANA. From _me_?

DICK. Yes, even from _you_!

GEORGIANA. [_Hurt._] Thank you.

DICK. I should think your woman's instinct would teach you why.

GEORGIANA. Well, it doesn't! and I really should be very much obliged
to you if you would help my woman's instinct out.

DICK. Of course it's all right what you're going to do, only - well, I
don't want to be here to see it.

GEORGIANA. But, Dick, I'm perfectly happy in what I'm doing.

DICK. Of course! but that doesn't make it any the pleasanter for me.
[_Rises._] Good-by.

GEORGIANA. [_Rising._] And that's all, just good-by?

DICK. No, I wish you all kinds of happiness in the future and the
happiest marriage in the world.

GEORGIANA. Oh, thank you very much.

DICK. [_With great effort._] I wish you everything that's good, Georgy,
old girl!

GEORGIANA. Well, I'm sure no one could ask for more; and what shall I
wish you?

DICK. Wish me a big fight, and an exciting one! Wish me a chance to do
something! Wish me - oh, what does it matter - wish me - "Good-by."

GEORGIANA. What does it matter? Good-by! No!

[_They shake hands; she follows him to the door._

DICK. I must. I'll be late.

GEORGIANA. _Be_ late.

DICK. [_Looking at her a moment._] _I am_ - too late. Good-by.

[_He is going out again and she stops him._ Good-by. [_Light-heartedly._

[_He goes out. She stands where he leaves her, facing the door. A

GEORGIANA. "What does it matter" - "wish me good-by."

[_She turns, looking straight ahead of her, gazing into space,
realizing what it means to her. Slowly the emotion creeps into her face,
she falters where she stands, and turns about to burst into tears, when_
COAST _comes back into the room_.

COAST. I heard Coleman go - can I talk with you a little?

GEORGIANA. [_Sitting on the sofa._] No, Sam, I don't feel like it!

[_She cannot keep her tears back._

COAST. [_Going to her._] Georgy, don't - don't - I love you.

GEORGIANA. No! I don't want you to.

COAST. It don't make any difference if you want me to or not; I do, got
to, it's so strong in me - won't you have me?

GEORGIANA. No! Won't you leave me alone a little?

COAST. No, I can't. Listen; I know I'm not refined enough for you - but
I can get over that in time. Sure! I can get over everything for you, if
you'll only love me.

GEORGIANA. No! now go away from me.

[_He kneels beside her a little awkwardly, trying to make her look at

COAST. There isn't a thing in this world that money can buy I won't give

GEORGIANA. There are some things money can't buy.

COAST. No, there ain't - not _my_ money! You'll have everything a woman
can hanker after in this world - the best there is, and Steve shall have
it, too, for your sake.

GEORGIANA. I can never love you.

COAST. Listen! I'll make my wife the biggest woman in the city - I'll
make her -

GEORGIANA. [_Interrupting._] Sam, stop! [_He rises._] I can't hear any

[_A pause - she sobs; he waits._

COAST. I won't stop, not till you say you'll marry me! If I let up
to-day, I'll begin again to-morrow, and when I stop to-morrow it'll be
to go ahead the day after! I've never failed yet in getting anything
I've set after, and this is the biggest thing I've ever made up my mind

GEORGIANA. And this time you _will_ lose. Because I can never love you.
[_He tries to interrupt._] No, let me finish. I'll tell you why I can't
love you. I'll tell you, only just you, Sam, remember that. I could
never love you because I love now, with every bit of love there is in
me, the man who has just left this house, who has gone to fight and
perhaps will never come back.

COAST. Has he asked you to be his wife?

GEORGIANA. I love him all the same!

COAST. And I love you the same way you love him - ain't you a little
sorry for me?


COAST. That'll do to go on with -

GEORGIANA. [_Laughs hysterically._] Oh - Sam, can't I make you

COAST. No, nor make me give up. I'm coming to see you again to-morrow;
when will you be in?

GEORGIANA. Not at all.

[_She moves about the room._

COAST. What time in the afternoon?

GEORGIANA. I shall be out all afternoon.

COAST. I'll call at five.

GEORGIANA. Very well! You'll find Louise and mother.

COAST. _Coleman_ thinks you'll have me!

GEORGIANA. He couldn't! Why should he?

COAST. He congratulated me, when he was here just now!

GEORGIANA. For what?

COAST. For you!

GEORGIANA. Oh! [_Laughing hysterically._] That's what he meant by his
happy marriage -

[_Laughing and crying._

COAST. If he mentioned marriage, that's what he meant.

GEORGIANA. But didn't you tell him he was wrong?


GEORGIANA. But why not?

COAST. I wanted him to think it!

GEORGIANA. But it was wrong of you - it can never be true, and I don't
want him to go away believing it. [_Music of a military band is heard
in the distance._] Here they come! [_Going to the balcony, he follows._]
No, please don't come out with me! Sam - I don't want him to see me
standing there with you. [SAM _starts towards_ GEORGIANA.] Let me go out
on the balcony _alone_, Sam! Please, alone!

[_He looks at her a moment and then deliberately goes past her out on to
the balcony._

MRS. CARLEY. [_Hurrying in from the Right._] They're coming! I've told
the children.

[_She goes out on balcony. The children run in._

ALL THE CHILDREN. The soldiers are coming! Auntie, the soldiers are

[_They rush out on the balcony._

COAST. [_In the window, picking up_ PHIL _in his arms._] Come on,
Georgy. What does it matter?

GEORGIANA. That's true, go on! What does it matter, it's good-by!

[COAST _goes on the balcony._ MRS. CARLEY, _on balcony, calls, "Here
comes_ DICK!" GEORGIANA _hesitates and then goes close to the window.
She stands in a chair so as to see over the others' heads, hidden behind
the curtain of the half-open window, and watches. The music is louder as
they pass under the balcony; a flag is seen almost on level with the
balcony floor. Those on the balcony wave and shout, and shouts are heard
in the street._ GEORGIANA _stands still, wiping the tears from her eyes
every moment with a tiny wad of a handkerchief, and as the music passes,
growing less loud,_



_Eight months later._ GEORGIANA'S _room, an octagonal room with dark
panel walnut woodwork and panels of yellow brocade, with furniture to
match. All in the simplest style of Louis XV. There is a fireplace on
the Left, and doors Right and Left. Two windows at the back. At right of
the Centre is a very large dressing table covered with massive silver
toilet articles, a big mirror, candelabra, etc., and a silver-framed,
photograph of_ DICK COLEMAN. _There is a low bench before the table,
tables and chairs about the room, and a most comfortable, roomy sofa, on
the Left, piled with embroidered pillows. It is after seven and the
lamps are lit._ STEVEN _enters from Left and sits on the sofa. He is
haggard, his clothes mussed, his linen rumpled and soiled. He is
painfully nervous and agitated; he cannot keep still; as soon as he sits
down he gets up; he goes from one place in the room to another, taking
up a picture without looking at it, sitting down and getting up again.
Twice he half whispers, half groans, "Good God!" He takes out a pistol
from his pocket, looks at it, and puts it away again as_ LIZZIE _enters

LIZZIE. Miss Carley says she'll be in as soon as she can.

STEVEN. [_Rising and going to the dressing table._] Is she dressing for
the ball now?

LIZZIE. No, sir, she's wearing a tea gown for dinner; it'll be a grand
sight, the ball, sir!

STEVEN. I suppose so.

LIZZIE. Pity _we_ couldn't 'ave got the Grand Duke here, sir, to dinner.

STEVEN. [_Moving about._] We couldn't afford to entertain a Russian
prince, Lizzie, - don't tell your mistress, - but I've been speculating
again and we're hard up.

LIZZIE. Oh, I am so sorry, sir - I know how to sympathize with you,
though we did get our money back! Perhaps you'll get yours.

STEVEN. How about you and Moles?

[_Comes to_ LIZZIE.

LIZZIE. Well, sir, last Tuesday we counted up, we're about two years
off, or fourteen hundred dollars distance, so to speak. We've calculated
then we could marry and settle down if we'd be satisfied with two rooms
and no children.

[_There is a knock on door Left._ Yes? [_Going to the door, opens it._]

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