Clyde Fitch.

Her Own Way A Play in Four Acts online

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very much about anything.

COAST. [_Discouraged._] Good-by.

GEORGIANA. Good-by, a pleasant journey.

[_She turns away. Coast is about to go when he meets_ LOUISE, _who
enters Left._

LOUISE. Good morning, Sam. Where are you off to?

[_Going to the sofa._

COAST. Chicago first, Lou, and then Denver, and eventually - hell, I

[_With a little gulp in his throat he goes out quickly._

LOUISE. What's the matter with him - he hasn't proposed to you again?

GEORGIANA. He's going away, and he's made Steve -

LOUISE. [_Interrupting._] I've just seen Steve, he's told me. Steve's
coming uptown soon - to see you -

GEORGIANA. [_Sitting on the sofa beside_ LOUISE.] To see me - why?

LOUISE. He'll tell you better than I - I feel happy, Georgiana.

GEORGIANA. I'm glad.

LOUISE. And I believe you'll be happy again.

GEORGIANA. Thank you, Louise!

[MRS. CARLEY _enters Right and sits by the table._

MRS. CARLEY. You back, Louise! I'm that tired, shopping. I'm buying
everything I can think of we'll be likely to need for months. There'll
be _no_ pleasure buying things when, instead of having them sent to 2
East 71st Street, we have to say 329 West 143rd!

GEORGIANA. [_Rises and goes back of the table._] Mother, dear, you may
not have to leave here after all!

MRS. CARLEY. What do you mean?

GEORGIANA. Louise will tell you. I've promised to sit through lunch with
the children this morning if you don't mind, and it's their hour.

MRS. CARLEY. But, Georgiana -

[_She is interrupted by a gesture and a glance from_ LOUISE _to let_

GEORGIANA. [_Sweetly._] Yes? Do you want me for anything, dear?

[LOUISE _repeats the gesture, unnoticed by_ GEORGIANA.

MRS. CARLEY. Oh, no.

GEORGIANA. If you want me -


GEORGIANA. Louise, I told Bella Shindle I'd help her get up an article
this morning on the drawing-room and dining room for her sister, - you
know - who has a friend who writes for the weekly papers. You don't mind,
do you?


GEORGIANA. Of course, if you _do_ mind -

LOUISE. But I don't, not the least in the world.

GEORGIANA. [_Smiling._] Bella says it will be a great thing for her
sister's reputation - what she calls such a "select" house as ours - and
buy her a new hat besides. So I thought we'd better.

[_She goes out Right._

MRS. CARLEY. Did you ever know any one so changed? She hasn't been
horrid to me once since he died. It makes me feel perfectly dreadful to
have her treat me so nice.

[_Almost crying, crosses to Left._

LOUISE. Mother, you know Mrs. Coleman sent for me just now.


LOUISE. Well, why, do you suppose?

MRS. CARLEY. I don't know, but I hope you'll tell me that, too,
sometime - what about Steve?

LOUISE. That must wait, mother - Dick Coleman -

MRS. CARLEY. What? Don't tell me he made another will, and didn't leave
Georgiana his money.

LOUISE. No, it's good news for Georgiana. I'm almost as afraid to tell
you as to tell her. [_Whispers._] Dick Coleman may be alive, after all.

MRS. CARLEY. Louise!

LOUISE. It is possible he was one of the three men who arrived at San
Francisco nearly a week ago.

MRS. CARLEY. Who were taken prisoners by the Ladrones and escaped?

LOUISE. Yes! The three men who got away from Ceb√Ї in a boat and were
picked up by a German steamer. It seems more than probable. They got one
name wrong in the despatches, making it "_Richard Cotten_" - who was also
missing - instead of "_Richard Coleman_."

MRS. CARLEY. But how did you find out all this?

LOUISE. From Mrs. Coleman. And it's all in the morning paper, and we
never took the trouble to look!

MRS. CARLEY. I read the society notes - it wasn't in there.

LOUISE. Well, the Colemans saw it and telegraphed at once to Washington
for confirmation.

MRS. CARLEY. Did they get it?

LOUISE. Not yet. But we're all in the greatest hopes!

MRS. CARLEY. But if Dick Coleman was with those other men in San
Francisco, why didn't he telegraph home?

LOUISE. That's the one thing that makes still a dreadful doubt. [_Rises
and rings the bell._] The Colemans are nearly mad waiting for their
reply from Washington.

MRS. CARLEY. Shall you tell Georgiana?

[_She rises._

LOUISE. Not till we are a little more certain. It would be dreadful to
open the wound of her grief again for nothing. Oh, if it's only true!

MRS. CARLEY. And you've seen Steve?

LOUISE. Yes, he went off at once to the newspaper to see how authentic
their information was, and then he was going on to the Colemans. [MOLES
_enters Left in answer to the bell._] Moles, bring me the morning paper.

MOLES. [_Unable to suppress his excitement._] I've read it, m'm! We're
all nearly crazy over it downstairs. Lizzie's took to crying and can't
answer her bells. - Is it true, Mrs. Carley?

LOUISE. Yes, we hope it's true, Moles.

MOLES. Thank God, m'm, if you'll excuse me!

LOUISE. But we're not sure yet, and you mustn't let anything drop before
Miss Georgiana till we are certain.

MOLES. No, m'm.

[_He goes out._

MRS. CARLEY. Oughtn't we to give Georgiana a hint to prepare her in some

LOUISE. Perhaps, if we do it very carefully.

MRS. CARLEY. It seems awful to me not to tell her right out. Of course
we won't have Dick Coleman's money to help live on now, if he's back.

LOUISE. Never mind that, mother.

[MOLES _returns with the paper._

MOLES. Here is the paper, m'm, and Miss Shindle is come - she says to
interview the drawing-room.

LOUISE. Very well - tell Miss Georgiana.

MOLES. Yes, m'm.

[_Goes out Right._ LOUISE _looks through the paper._ MOLES _brings in_
BELLA. BELLA _shows signs of suppressed excitement._

BELLA. Oh, Mrs. Carley, have you seen the papers - isn't it splendid?

LOUISE. Yes, if it's only true. We're trying to make sure!

[LOUISE _finds the place in the paper._

MRS. CARLEY. [_Rising._] She doesn't know yet.

BELLA. Oh, Mrs. Carley!

LOUISE. We're waiting to be _sure_, and that we may be almost any

BELLA. Mercy! I don't see how you can keep it to yourself.

MRS. CARLEY. You might give her a little hint, Bella, if you get a

BELLA. I wouldn't dare. If I opened my mouth wide enough to give her a
hint, I know it would all burst out!

LOUISE. As soon as Mr. Carley comes, make an excuse to leave her, won't
you? We expect him to bring us some definite news?

BELLA. Yes, indeed!

[MRS. CARLEY _and_ LOUISE _go out Left, as_ GEORGIANA _comes in._

GEORGIANA. [_Pleasantly._] Good morning, Bella.

[_She sits by the table._

BELLA. Good morning, ain't it a fine morning?

GEORGIANA. Is it? I haven't been out.

BELLA. I'm scared to death. [_Laughing nervously._] I ain't going to
write the article myself, you know. It's my sister's husband's
friend - she's real literary enough! She's got a typewriter.

GEORGIANA. One can't do everything in this world, Bella, and you must be
content with being a real _artiste_ in your own profession.

BELLA. Yes, I will say without boasting, so to speak, I don't believe
there's a soul in New York who can make hair go further and wear less,
than me! [_Laughs heartily._] What's this room? Of course it's one of
them Louis, I suppose, ain't it? [_Looks around the room._] Let me see,
is it Louis Eleventimes? I saw Henry Irving in that, it was fine!

GEORGIANA. No, Bella, Henry Irving has never been in this room, and it's
Louis XVI.

BELLA. Oh, of course! [_Writing._] How well you're looking, Miss
Georgiana. Look to me kinder as if you thought good news was in the

[_She glances at her surreptitiously, but down again quickly,

GEORGIANA. Why, Bella?

BELLA. Oh, that's just my idea, that's all. What might this picture be?
Shall we say - er - er - Michael Ange?

GEORGIANA. [_Suppressing a smile._] No, that is a Van Dyck.

BELLA. Of course! I might have known! [_Writing._] This entire room is a
fine bit, ain't it? All Louis - [_She looks back in her book._] 16, as a
piece, I suppose?


BELLA. So I see! My! How I love all this kind of thing. I couldn't live
without a lot o' bric-a-brah lying around sort of careless like and
undusted. These tapestries are real, I presume?


BELLA. I thought so! I got a beautiful piece of tapestry over my
washstand, hand-painted, and all the faces and clothes outlined in
chenille cross-stitch by the Singer Sewing Machine - but it's not quite
the same as yours.

GEORGIANA. It must be very pretty.

BELLA. Oh, it adds a touch! Mr. Gootch gave it to me for an engagement

GEORGIANA. Does Mr. Gootch ever speak of Mr. Coleman?

BELLA. He worships him - naturally, as Mr. Coleman got wounded in both
arms carrying him to a safe place! Mr. Gootch says as there wasn't a man
in the regiment braver or as popular as Mr. Coleman. Don't you think,
perhaps, sometimes, maybe, Miss Georgiana -

[_She stops near_ GEORGIANA.

GEORGIANA. Maybe what - ?

BELLA. Oh, I dunno - I -

GEORGIANA. [_Rising and going to the sofa._] Come, Bella, we must get on
with your article.

[_A pause._

BELLA. [_Looking about._] Why, you haven't got a cosy corner, have you?
And yet you seem to go in for the real artistic! I don't know what my
sister 'n' I'd do without our cosy corner! It is draped with a fish net,
and has paper butterflies and beetles in it! Very artistic! And she's
got - well, really now, I believe she's got at least _eleven pillers_;
counting the two ticking ones that has their covers come off at night
for our bed!

GEORGIANA. [_Rising nervously._] Bella, I have some colored dresses I'd
like to give you for your trousseau, if you care to take them. They've
not been worn very much.

BELLA. Oh, Miss Georgiana, of course I'd take 'em - only, I don't know, I
sort of feel it in my bones you'll wear 'em yourself.

[STEVEN _enters Left suddenly. He tries to conceal his great
excitement._ MOLES _is with him._

STEVEN. [_To_ MOLES.] Tell Mrs. Carley I want to see her here, please.

MOLES. Yes, sir.

[_He goes out Right._

STEVEN. Hello, Georgy!


STEVEN. Good morning, Miss Shindle.

BELLA. Good morning, Mr. Carley. I must be going now, Miss Georgiana.

GEORGIANA. But have you got enough for the article?

BELLA. Oh, yes, miss - Louise furniture, the Van Wyck picture, tapestry
effects - etcetra. Thank you ever so much. Good-by!

GEORGIANA. Wait, I'll tell you about the dining room.

[_She goes out with_ BELLA _Left, and_ LOUISE _enters._

STEVEN. Louise, it's true!

LOUISE. Oh, Steve!

STEVEN. It was a press telegram and has been verified by private wire.
Besides, Mrs. Coleman has a telegram from Dick himself.

LOUISE. From where?

STEVEN. From San Francisco, when the Colemans were at Palm Beach. Their
servants foolishly _mailed_ the telegram to them, and before it arrived
in Florida, they were on their way North, coming by easy stages.

LOUISE. [_Rises._] And the message only just caught up with them! Who
will tell her?

[MOLES _comes in Left with a note._

MOLES. A note just come for you, sir, by Mr. Coleman's man.

STEVEN. We must break it very gently, prepare her a little for it if we
can. [_To_ MOLES.] Thanks. [_Takes note, opens it, and reads it
hurriedly._] He's there! With his father and mother!

MOLES. [_Forgetting himself._] Oh, sir - I'm so glad! Excuse me, sir,
but we're all so glad, sir - any answer sir?

[_His eyes fill up._

STEVEN. No, only tell Miss Georgiana I want to see her.

MOLES. [_Who has to swallow a lump in his throat before he can speak._]
Yes, sir.

[_He goes out Right._

LOUISE. [_Wiping her eyes, goes to_ STEVEN.] What does it say?

STEVEN. [_Reads the note._] "Dick and the answer from Washington arrived
together!" He'll be over here at once - they won't keep him.

LOUISE. We must tell her before he gets here.


LOUISE. We must do it very carefully.

STEVEN. But we mustn't lose any time.

[GEORGIANA _comes in during this last speech, overhearing it. A
movement is made by others on_ GEORGIANA'S _entrance._

GEORGIANA. "Losing time!" Am I keeping you from anything? I'm very

LOUISE. [_Very tenderly, and hiding her emotion._] No, you're not
keeping us, Georgy, we only wanted to see you, that's all.

GEORGIANA. [_Going to her._] Why?

STEVEN. [_Also very tenderly._] Do we have to have a reason to want to
see you, isn't that we love you enough?

GEORGIANA. Yes, but why do you speak to me like this? - it's very kind of
you - only - what does it mean?

[_Smiling a little nervously, they hesitate._

LOUISE. Steve has news for you, Georgy.

GEORGIANA. I know about it, Coast told me.

STEVEN. It isn't that, Georgy.

GEORGIANA. What is it, then? How serious you both look.

[_She becomes frightened._

STEVEN. This is _good_ news.

GEORGIANA. _Good_ news!


STEVEN. The best in the world!


STEVEN. For you!

GEORGIANA. [_A second's pause, she speaks then in a low voice._] No, it
can't be! It can't be!

STEVEN. Yes, it _is_, Georgy!


STEVEN. Georgy! It _is_!

[MOLES _enters Left._

MOLES. [_With voice full of happy emotion which he cannot disguise._]
Please, sir -

[_He hesitates._

STEVEN. Show him here, Moles.

[MOLES _lowers his head and goes out._


[_She looks from_ STEVEN _to_ LOUISE. _They all show her by their faces
and movements that it is true._

GEORGIANA. [_Whispers._] Dick!

[_She stands waiting, breathless._ STEVEN _steals out with his arm
about_ LOUISE.

GEORGIANA. [_Excitedly, to herself._] _Come!_ No, no! It can't be true!
It can't be true! They killed him, those brutes out there! You told me
so! Every one believed it! I believed it! And so you want me to believe
he's alive! That he's here! In this house, coming into this room - that I
shall see -

[_She stops suddenly, looking up. The door-knob of the door Left turns.
Every nerve in_ GEORGIANA'S _body grows tense._ MOLES _opens the door
and lets_ DICK _pass in and closes the door behind him._

GEORGIANA. [_Cries out._] Dick!

[DICK _goes towards her, but stops. She starts towards him, stops a
moment, and they look at each other, unable to speak, - then she goes on
slowly, almost fearfully, till she reaches him._

DICK. [_Moving to her._] Georgy!

[_He stands before her with both arms bandaged in a sling._

GEORGIANA. [_Whispers._] Dick! [_Looks him straight in the eyes - he
looks back. She cries out._] Dick!

[_Holding out her arms toward him._

DICK. Georgy! [_He looks down at his arms._] My arms - I can't -


[_And putting her arms tenderly about his neck, she holds him close, as
he leans down his head and kisses her, and_



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