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Ethel Watts Mumford Grant.

Sick abed : a farcical comedy in three acts online

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FLEXNER. (Crosses up back of table down to L.
of nurse, hands her prescription} Have this made
up.

WIDNER. Rest, quiet, isolation, no excitement, no
noise, no interviews !

Miss DURANT. (Crosses to front of sofa to R. of
JAY) I understand, a low diet. (Crosses back of
sofa, puts prescription on mantel, then to L. of sofa
and puts pillow at JAY'S back in chair)

JAY. (Loudly) No!

(Warn bell.}



SICK ABED 37

FLEXNER. (L. of table. Holding up restraining
hand to JAY) Unless his temperature rises, he may
eat freely. (Crosses to front of sofa R. of nurse)

JAY. And drink and drink?

WIDNER. It would be unwise to break suddenly
into a well established habit. GAY looks at win-
dow} A highball champagne, when weak.

FLEXNER. (To WIDNER) He may sit up for
his evening meal, don't you think?

WIDNER. I'm opposed to nourisment taken
when reclining. (JAY sits up straight} Now, Miss
Durant, gentle but firm. (Crosses to c. to R. of
Miss DURANT)

FLEXNER. (FLEXNER and WIDNER go up c.)
Good day, Mr. Jay, good day, Miss Durant. We
may, I think, safely leave him to the progress of
his malady.

WIDNER. Yes, yes, let nature take its course.

FLEXNER. We hope for the best.

WIDNER. But prepare for the worst. (Exeunt
WJDNER and FLEXNER up c.)

(Miss DURANT moves to L. of JAY. Starts to
wheel him to R.)

JAY. Solitude for two.

Miss DURANT. And now I must wheel you to
your room.

JAY. No don't let's, yet. (Turns chair.
Nurse wheels him a step towards c.)

Miss DURANT. But you must. (Wheeling him)

JAY. (Turning chair front) The doctors said
you must be gentle with me. (A ring outside
Bell)

Miss DURANT. But very firm. (Bell.) Listen

more people. Come now, you've got to begin
vour isolation.



38 SICK ABED

JAY. (Turns chair face front, grinning at her)
Not icy isolation. (He turns the wheel chair to
face her. She takes the handles and turns him
round again)

Miss DURANT. Now, no. Don't let's make a bad
beginning. (Turns chair to face c.)

JAY. But that makes a good ending.

Miss DURANT. That remains to be seen.

JAY. What?

Miss DURANT. That remains

JAY. Don't call me "remains," I don't like it.

Miss DURANT. (Wheeling him toward door)
Very well then. One, two, three (Bell) Some-
body's coming. (At c. he turns the wheels again
and faces her. All through this scene they struggle
with the wheel chair, he with wheels, she with
liandle bars)

JAY. (Facing front, R.) Say, do you know 1
don't think I could have gone through with it, if it
hadn't been for you.

Miss DURANT. (To L. of him) You're not
through with it yet. You haven't begun.

JAY. (Beatifically) We haven't begun. We've
got this whole long, beautifull illness to go through
together, haven't we?

Miss DURANT. That's one way to put it. Now
come along av.d wash up for dinner.

JAY. (Turns chair) Do you dine with me?

Miss DURANT. I sit with you.

JAY. Say, Nursey, do you believe in love at first
sight? (Holding chair as she tries to turn it He
wheels about again)

Miss DURANT. Aren't you naughty! (Bell)
There's the door. (Ring. Goes up c.) And there's
the hall bell. (JAY turns chair and follows her up

c.)

JAY. (Up c.) Nursey, nursey, what is love?



SICK ABED 39

Tell me. {Nurse come c. takes chair and wheels
JAY off R. talking. She manoeuvres in front of the
door)

Miss DURANT. Love? Love is emotional hyper-
strabismus of the mental optics otherwise known
as hallucination. (She whirls him expertly to the
door)

JAY. Sounds like a disease. (They exit through
the door as CONSTANCE staggers into the room,
followed by SAJI protesting. Her hat is a wreck,
her clothes awry.)

CONSTANCE. I'm going to see him I tell you!
(Comes down c. to L. of table)

SAJI. (L. of CONSTANCE) No can do. Mista
Jay velly, velly sick.

CONSTANCE. Oh, he is, is he ?

SAJI. Yes.

CONSTANCE, (c.) I knew they were framing
something.

SAJI. He double sick, two doctors, two nurses.
No have pain. No can see anybody. Velly, velly
sick.

CONSTANCE. (Backing SAJI to D.) It's a fraud!
He isn't sick. And what did he mean by having me
taken down a service lift and left in a cellar? I'll
get to the bottom of this.

SAJI. (c.) You got bottom pretty damn quick.

CONSTANCE. I'm a wreck. And I had to bribe
the Janitor. Where is he? Where have they taken
him? (Crosses back of table to R. of it)

SAJI. (Moving a step to table) Nurse take him
to bedloom.

CONSTANCE. (Crosses to R. of table) Bedroom!

SAJI. (Looks to R.) More better you go now.
(Moves to L. of table)

(CONSTANCE crosses quickly with SAJI trying to
stop her.)



40 SICK ABED

CONSTANCE. Sick, indeed ! It's a heartless, cruel,
wicked imposture ! (Starts to go to R.)

SAJI. (Nervously) No, no, no can do. Docta
tell nurse girl maybe he die.

CONSTANCE. (To front of table) Indeed! We'll
see. (Turns, comes face to face with Miss DUR-
ANT, who enters and firmly closes the door behind
'her. The two women eye each other at R. CON-
STANCE utters a little scream of surprise) Oh! I
wish to go in there to see Mr. Jay.

Miss DURANT. (At door R.) It's quite impos-
sible.

CONSTANCE. (Backs a step, almost in furious
tears) So you're the nurse. (Backs to front of
table. Miss DURANT slowly walks to R. of table as
the scene progresses)

Miss DURANT. (Quietly) I am the nurse.

CONSTANCE. I want to see Mr. Jay.

Miss DURANT. (Moves towards table) I have
the doctor's explicit orders that he is to see no one.
If you will leave your name and address I will see
that you are notified daily. You will attend to that
Saji? (Starts to clear table)

SAJI. (Anxiously, backing a step) Yes eviy
day I tell you evelything. You go now, missy.

CONSTANCE. This is an outrage! (Crosses to

L. C.)

Miss DURANT. It is a misfortune.

CONSTANCE. There isn't a word of truth I
knew it

Miss DURANT. (R. of table) If you please
Saji, show this lady out.

(SAji goes up c.)

SAJI. Yes, pleasure, please.

CONSTANCE. (Crosses to L. of table) You'll be



SICK ABED 41

sorry (She turns on Miss DURANT) You went
into this I don't care what they paid you.

Miss DURANT. (Firmly) If you please.

CONSTANCE. (Crosses to sofa L. c. Thumping
herself down on sofa) I won't go. I'll sit right
here till I see him.

Miss DURANT. (To back of table) Do you
wish to submit to the indignity of being carried
out?

CONSTANCE. You don't dare, either of you.
(Exits up c.)

(Enter PAT wheeling the mover in front of him.
CONSTANCE looks up in terror and screams,
makes one bound for the door and runs for it,
The others look after her in amazement.
CONSTANCE bumps against PAT who is upset on
the floor.)

PAT. (Picking himself up) Howly Saints!
She's nutty to! (SAji exits up c. laughing PAT
throws the last empty box which is up c. to L. of
center doors on the mover)

Miss DURANT. (Moves up R. c.) Saji, lock
the outside door after her. (To PAT) Janitor

PAT. (c.) Superintendant, ma'am.

Miss DURANT. (Comes down R. c.) My mis-
take. You don't have to move out anything more,
and that door must be kept closed and locked.

PAT. Yes miss. Sure, Miss, I don't want them
nuts loose in me halls no more than you. (Exits
up c.)

Miss DURANT. Oh! Saji. Will you get Mr.
Jay's dinner please. (Goes up c. and closes doors)

SAJI. Yes, Miss. (Crosses to down L. and exit)

JAY. (Wheeling himself in R.) She gone?

Miss DURANT. (Crosses back of table to down



42 SICK ABED

K. Crossing to bedroom and speaking as she opens
the door) She's gone. I'm sure she'd better see
a doctor. Wait (JAY turns chair at door to
face front) I'll wheel you. (Returns, wheeling JAY
towards c.)

JAY. (Settles himself in chair) Oh, thank good-
ness you got rid of her!

Miss DURANT. (Wheeling JAY to c.) Don't
worry. I'll see that nobody troubles you. And
now, how's the appetite hungry?

JAY. (c.) Thirsty. (Turns chair c. to face
front) Oh, I say, we'll split a little bottle, won't
we?

Miss DURANT. Nurses never drink.

JAY. It isn't any fun drinking alone.

Miss DURANT. (Starts to turn chair to c.) But
you're not having fun, you're ill.

JAY. Oh!

(Enter SAJI.)

Miss DURANT. (Goes to c., takes tray from
SAJI and comes R. of table, puts tray down. SAJI
stands back of table) And here's your tray.

(JAY moves chair to L. of table.)

JAY. (c.) This is too early for dinner. I dine
at eight.

Miss DURANT. (Arranging tray) You go to
bed at eight.

JAY. The deuce I go to bed at eight !

SAJI. That all?

Miss DURANT. Mr. Jay may have a little cham-
pagne. (SAJI crosses down L. Miss DURANT
prepares tray for JAY Saji stops L., of tray)

SAJI. She good nurse. (Exit L. i.)

JAY. (Wheeling himself up to L. of table.



SICK ABED 43*

Sniffing) Um um chicken broth. Good!
Where's your plate?

Miss DURANT. I have my dinner later.

JAY. Then I can't eat! (Wheels back to up c.)

Miss DURANT. Yes you can too. Comet
(Takes the spoon and tastes. JAY playfully swings
chair while being persuaded by Miss DURANT, then
wheels chair to table)

JAY. (Holding out spoon to Miss DURANT)
Now you taste. I'll yell if you don't.

Miss DURANT. (Back of table) Give me that
spoon. Don't act like a child. (Comes to between
table and JAY, takes spoon from him, picks up soup)
Now, open your mouth. There! (Holding spoon
to JAY'S mouth) All the soup all of it! QAY
take spoonful and smiling, wheels backwards up c.
Then forward for more soup, approaching her with
open mouth. Repeated four times. The fourth
time he starts chair wheeling past Miss DURANT,
taking soup in his mouth as he passes her. Then
wheels to c.)

JAY. Say, Nursey, you're a peach.

Miss DURANT. (Returns to R. of table) Peach?
It's not on your diet list.

JAY. Oh yes it is. The doctors prescribed one.

Miss DURANT. When?

JAY. When they sent you. I have to be hu-
mored.

Miss DURANT. Well, what else am I doing? I'm
spoiling you.

JAY. No, you're not. What's that sole?
(Wheels chair to table)

Miss DURANT. Nice fresh sole. (SAJI enters.
Crosses to behind table L.) And here's your cham-
pagne. (She takes a service tray with champagne
and two glasses from SAJI. SAJI crosses interest-
edly, shrugs)



44 SICK ABED

JAY. Ah Saji, you're a good boy. You knew
enough to bring two glasses.

SAJI. (Back of table) Me got wisdom.

JAY. Here. (At table. Extends his glass to
Nurse) Drink my health ! Please!

Miss DURANT. No, Mr. Jay.

JAY. But you've got to, I'm ill. Now please!

Miss DURANT. No, thank you.

JAY. Saji, take my dinner away. (Backs away)

Miss DURANT. No, Saji, no!

JAY. Do as I tell you.

Miss DURANT. No!

JAY. Yes!

SAJI. (Looking at both) Excuse please, who's
boss?

Miss DURANT. I am!

SAJI. Yes, Miss. (Laughs SAJI crosses to the
door L. JAY turns when SAJI is at the door)

JAY. Come here, Saji !

SAJI. She's boss. (Looking at JAY) You got
new boss. (Laughs. Exit L.)

Miss DURANT. Eat your sole.

JAY. (Laughs} Eat your sole! it sounds dev-
ilish, doesn't it? (Wheels up to table) You won't
drink my health?

Miss DURANT. How can I when you're ill? Well
then (She takes her glass, they clink) Here's to
your speedy recovery there ! (She sips)

JAY. (Dismayed, puts glass down) Speedy
recovery? You want to get rid of mer

Miss DURANT. (R. of table) Get rid of you?
Of course I don't. GAY starts to take her hand.
Miss DURANT moves it away) But you're not eat-
ing.

JAY. Say "Please, Reggie, for my sake."

Miss DURANT. I don't know you well enough
lo call you "Reggie."



SICK ABED 45

JAY. But you're going to. Besides I'm taking
a chance. I don't know a bally thing about you,
and here I am in your power.

Miss DURANT. (Laughs, leans over towards
him} Well, then, please Reggie, for my sake, eat
your sole.

JAY. For you sake, I'd eat anything. Speaking
of souls tell me about yourself.

Miss DURANT. (Gets chair up R., places it R. of
table, sits R. of table} Oh no, let's talk about you
wouldn't you rather most men would.

JAY. No, I'd rather hear about you.

Miss DURANT. Shall I begin at the beginning?

JAY. From the day you were born

Miss DURANT. Oh, but I'm not interesting.

JAY. Oh yes you are. Tell me Nursey, why did
you take up nursing?

Miss DURANT. Well, I come of a family who
for generations have been famous.

JAY. I can believe that all right.

Miss DURANT. Yes famous as dog lovers.
(JAY registers} I was so successful with my fam-
ily of delicate Pekingese that I realized my talent
for nursing.

JAY. Oh, you're chaffing me.

Miss DURANT. Oh, no !

JAY. I want the real story.

Miss DURANT. But you don't think that was a
nice story? All my patients like it very much.

JAY. Oh come on, Nursey. Tell me the real
story. (JAY wheels chair back up c. and down
again}

Miss DURANT. Well, if you insist, my father
was a stock broker.

JAY. (Slowly eating. To Miss DURANT) Go
on, your father was a broker-
Miss DURANT. My father lost everything in the



46 SICK ABED

world in the panic. Poor father couldn't stand pov-
erty, so he beat it. GAY registers and jerks his
chair') It was an awful shock for there were six
of us all girls and something had to be done.
Mother went on the stage with five of the girls
that made a sextette.

JAY. (Throws down knife and fork} This is
interesting !

Miss DURANT. But very sad. So there was no
place for me. I'm not clever. I can't sing, and I
can't dance because I'm knock-kneed.

JAY. (Registers') Oh, I don't believe a word of
it. (Backing away to c. Miss DURANT laughs)
But you have got to tell the real story. Please !

Miss DURANT. (Rises) The real story isn't in-
teresting. You wouldn't like it.

JAY. Oh yes, I would. I'd read the telephone
book all day if it only had your name in it.

Miss DURANT. Of course if you want a lot of
characters and very little plot Your napkin please.
(Reaches for it. She starts gathering up the lunch
things}

JAY. Don't you bother, that's Saji's business.

Miss DURANT. Oh, no, it's the nurse's business.

JAY. Your business is to soothe and console me.
It's your duty.

Miss DURANT. I only soothe and console when
on duty, it's 7 o'clock now. I'm off duty. (Walk-
ing with tray to L. i. Exits')

JAY. You can't soothe and console me by leav-
ing me. Oh I say. Come back here! Confound
it, Nursey nursey (Starts after her, zvheeling
furiously She looks at him with a teasing smile
and shuts the door, when the door opens, revealing
Miss HEPWORTH in uniform. JAY looks at her,
grabs the wheels of his chair and backs frantically
to c. and stands up in chair} Who are you ?



SICK ABED 47

Miss HEPWORTH. (To L. c.) I'm the night
nurse.

JAY. (Rising in his chair) Do I have to spend
the night with you?

Miss HEPWORTH. (Puts hands on hips) Yes.

JAY. Good night nurse! (Collapses in chair)

Curtain.

ACT II

SCENE: JAY'S bedroom. One week later. 9:00 A.
M. JAY is lying in bed, humped up. Miss HEP-
WORTH is lying on settee between the bed and
the window, still on duty. JAY'S bed is a low
bedstead with low footboard, so that he can be
plainly seen. Bottles of sherry, baskets of fruit,
etc. on table L. c. JAY'S dressing-gown hangs
within reach on a chair; his slippers are by the
bedside. Stage semi-dark. Electric stand lamp
lighted at bedside. He looks at HEPWORTH
gives a grunting snore. SAJI puts his head in
at the door and reconnoiters tip-toes in. HEP-
WORTH snores, heavily. JAY turns and sees
. SAJI, and begins waving at him to keep quiet.
SAJI crosses to L. of HEPWORTH, looks at her
and grins.
JAY. Sh ! Sh !

SAJI. (Crosses to above bed) I come like sil-
ences of night times. ( HEPWORTH snores) She no
wake up. (SAji by this time is in front of HEP-
WORTH ; he looks forward and peers at her, making
an awful face as if nauseated)

JAY. (Watching) Well, how do you like the
sleeping beauty?

SAJI. (Gesture of disgust In a raucous whis-
per) My country we use 'em scare birds off rice.
(Points at HEP.)



48 SICK ABED

JAY. It would. (SAji starts to go, nearly fall-
tug into HEP) What did you come for, anyway?

SAJI. (Crosses down) I got one terror-gram.
(Goes to head of bed He hands out telegram)

JAY. You got a terror-gram well, maybe you're
right. (HEP snores, they both hang suspended,
afraid that she will wake. She gives a comfortable
snort and settles back. They sigh simultaneously
with relief. JAY opens the telegram, his face gath-
ers into a puzzled frown) When did this "terror-
gram" come?

SAJI. It just come.

JAY. (Reading) "Mr. Reginald Jay. This is
the I7th of March. Do you remember? Constance."
Now what does she mean by that ? Saj i, do you re-
member anything particular that happened on the
1 7th of March?

SAJI. I know all light.

JAY. Well, it's more than I do what's the an-
swer?

SAJI. Pattlick glet dlunk.

JAY. So it is ! St. Patrick's day !

SAJI. Patlick Pat grouchy Janitor get dlunk.
Make me much insult.

JAY. (Still more mystified) But why the dick-
ens should Constance pick on that?

SAJI. Maybe he make her insult too.

(HEP stirs.)

JAY. Sh ! (HEP starts, yawns and wakes JAY
throws himself back on the bed and jerks the covers
over his head. SAJI falls on stomach below bed)

Miss HEPWORTH. (Yawns pulls herself to-
gether. Rises, yawns and moves chairs up c., looks
at bed and thinking JAY asleep crosses to table and
takes drink. Then crosses to below bed and sees
JAY asleep. Crosses to table for more drink, then



SICK ABED 49

crosses to SAJI) You again! How dare yoxi fol-
low me like this ! (SAJI crosses to c. R. c. to SAJI)
You appear to forget that this is a sick room.
(Points L.) Go!

SAJI. (Crosses to door L.) You make me sick.
(He starts for the door again}

JAY. (Weakly, imploringly) Saji, don't go.

(SAJI stops.)

HEP. Wery well, the patient must be humored.
You may remain (SAJI starts to cross back) but
don't come near me. And now, Mr. Jay (Crosses
to up-side of bed after taking pills from tablet HEP
holds up restraining hand SAJI up L. c.)

JAY. Oh oh (Groans)

HEP. It's time for your pill. GAY groans and
dives under covers. Miss HEP takes pill and ap-
proaches the bed. HEP raises him with difficulty
to a sitting posture, revealing a suit of noisy pa-
jamas. She offers him the pill. He looks at her and
is unable to take it) Come come you've had
an excellent night.

JAY. I know. I haven't disturbed your snoring
/once.

Miss HEP. Do you mean to insinuate that /
slept while on duty !

JAY. Of course not of course not! How could
I?

HEP. You've groaned a good deal but on the
whole you've had a very good night.

JAY. Oh, I have, have I ?

HEP. Here's your pill. (Puts pill in JAY'S
mouth JAY tries to take pill, gets it stuck in hi*
throat. HEP turns to SAJI) Water! (SAJI picks
up sherry from table, meanwhile HEP slaps JAY on
back. He swallows pill. SAJI hands sherry to HEP,



50 SICK ABED

She drinks it} I'll take another little sip of this
sherry. It restores one's strength after a night of
nursing. (Crosses to table)

SAJI. She drink like fish.

HEP. (Sits R. of it, helps herself to all the
dainties on table) I dislike ever to say anything
when I'm employed in the house of others, but to
maintain my strength is my duty ! I had a most
unsatisfactory supper. That Oriental (Points
to SAJI) takes pleasure in tramping the halls dur-
ing my hours of sleep. Miss Durant persists in
leaving me all of her work to do.

JAY. (Sitting up and crawling to foot of bed)
Now, see here, Miss Hepworth, Miss Durant doesn't
do anything of the sort it's you you leave every-
thing for her to do and I wish you'd stop it.

HEP. (Crosses to upside of bed SAJI crosses
to above table) Indeed! GAY dives under covers)
So that's what you think. (Pulls cover back) I'll
have you understand that I'm a decent nurse. (SAJI
start to remove sherry but is stopped by HEP) Put
that down! (SAJI puts decanter down To SAJI)
I'm here to nurse exclusively.

JAY. Well, I wish you weren't here to nurse me.

HEP. (R. c. foot of bed) Indeed ! I am only a
nurse and I must overlook your insults. But I
certainly shall complain to the physicians of my
inhuman treatment while here.

JAY. Well, what do you want me to do, give you
a little kiss?

HEP. (Moves to c.) I shall give up the case.
' JAY. Good.



SICK ABED 51

HEP. (Turns crosses to foot of bed) Only
my duty keeps me here.

JAY. It is only the free lunch that keeps you
here.

HEP. (To c.) I shall certainly leave if my
powers of endurance are over-taxed.

JAY. Tax! It's the first time I ever liked that
word. Oh for heaven's sake, get out of here and
let me lay.

HEP. (Crosses to table. Taking another drink
of sherry) Thank heaven, I shall be off duty at
ten o'clock. GAY leans over, takes large silver
clock from the night table, sits up in bed and delib-
erately moves the hands ahead, as Miss HEP smacks
her lips, and pours more sherry; she then makes a
selection of all the good things and places them in
her apron pockets, talking all the while) I trust
you have no objection to my taking a trifle.

JAY. Not to a trifle.

HEP. This place is so badly managed that I fear
I shall hardly have the breakfast that my hours
of fasting make necessary. Not that I ever permit
myself anything but the simplest diet. But when
great responsibilities arise they must be met by a
corresponding number of calories. (Moves to
mirror L. and powders her nose)

JAY. Isn't she pretty ?

HEP. (Rises, crosses to front of table) Besides
to one in your condition such foods as these are un-
suitable. I'm sorry there aren't any alligator pears,
arid in these troublesome times I despise wilful
waste. (Puts apple in pocket and picks up crumbs
on table and eats them. Looks in mirror L. A
final drink of sherry quenches her flow of
language)



52 SICK ABED

JAY. (Holding up the clock) Oh look! It's after

ten now. You can go you're off-
Miss HEP. So it is. How time flies. And I

trust you will tell your Asiatic menial to keep away

from my bedroom. I do not wish to be disturbed.

(Starts to go L.)
JAY. (To SAJI) Good Lord! Do you want to

disturb her?
SAJI. No, no.

(Miss HEP returns to c.)

Miss HEP. And while I am speaking of such
unpleasant matters, permit me also to add that the
attitude of the Hungarian Janitor of this building
is no less than insulting.

JAY. What, Pat, too?

HEP. He pays no attention whatsoever when it
has been necessary to call his attention to misman-
agement.

JAY. What, no attention?

HEP. No worthy attention. And as to his in-
sinuations and innuendoes well, I'm a lady
(Exits)

JAY. (Calling after her) You're a white house
picket. (Bell)

SAJI. Excuse please. Bell ring. (Crosses to
L.) I go out on door. (Exits)

JAY. And I go out on shutter! (Gets out of
bed, puts on slippers and dressing gown and crosses
to table. He mops his brow, picks up sherry decan-
ter, and starts to pour, the bottle is empty. He looks
at it critically and then at the door) Gee, the old
girl must have hollow legs. (A tap on the door



SICK ABED 53

and SAJI enters. SAJI crosses to L. of JAY and L.
of table)

SAJI. Excuse please, Mista Jay. Doctors send
lady massage.

JAY. (R. of SAJI) A lady-what? I don't get
you.

SAJI. Massage she say Dr. Flexner Dr. Wid-
ner send her make massage

JAY. No, don't get you.

SAJI. Please, what you call lady makes slap
lap. (Pats himself, trying to make himself un-
dertood)

JAY. (Crosses to bed) Lady massage! Oh,
no! (Takes running jump over footboard into
bed. Gathers bed-clothes about him for protection)
I don't want a massage.

SAJI. I tell her go 'way !

CONSTANCE. (Enters veiled Outsde, to SAJI)
Go way, my man doctor's orders. (Pushing SAJI
out)

SAJI. (Outside) Mista Jay "no can do."

(CONSTANCE crosses to foot of bed and pinches
JAY'S foot.)

JAY. (Looks out of bed clothes) Constance!
Oh, it's you ! How dare you come in my bedroom ?

CONSTANCE. Now, Reggie, how dare you try
to balk me? Of course, I understand your loyalty
to John, but how about your loyalty to me (Lean-
ing over bed) Of course I know people will talk
at first, but isn't it worth it, in the end?

JAY. The end! That's just it the end My
finish.

CONSTANCE. (Crosses down to lower foot of



54 SICK ABED

bed) Reggie, dear, we must take a few chances.

JAY. (Widly. Rolls over} Help! Help!

CONSTANCE. (Going right on To upside of
bed) Sh ! What will they think of your masseuse ?
And don't you think I'm taking my chances, com-
ing here this way?

JAY. You're taking chances on me.

CONSTANCE. (Interrupting) You you're tak-
ing no chances. You're a man. My dear boy let
tne tell you that I know all. About everything
here (Comes down foot of bed)

JAY. Constance, your place is in your home
go to it.

CONSTANCE. (Sitting on the bed beside him) A
real home yes; Reggie, won't you stop this silly
pretense of illness, and be a witness for me about


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