sively.) Mrs. Wilmore takes a great interest in
Neve is that her name?
Didn't you know?
I think my mother mentioned it.
Does Mrs. Wilmore know Miss Neve's history?
I suppose she has told my mother something about
How much does Mrs. Wilmore know?
You're very mysterious. What do you mean?
I mean, does Mrs. Wilmore know the history of
Miss Neve's relations with you?
(Starts up, betrays himself, then quickly recovers,
stands face to face with LINNELL for a moment.)
Relations with me! What bee have you got in
your bonnet now? I'll send my mother down to
you. You'd better ask her. (Going off, opens
door. 1 )
Stop. 2 I'm trying to save those dear to you from
terrible sorrow and shame. To-morrow it may be
too late. 3
(LENNARD closes door and comes down to him.)
(Very tenderly. 4 ) Come, my dear lad! You see
I know ! So spare yourself all further equivocation,
and let me help you if I can.
It's a pretty bad business, isn't it?
1 Linnell cross*
es to below
stops at door.
looks at him,
and sits L. c,
4 Putting his
hand on Len-
Trust me. Did you promise to marry her?
I suppose I did. When a man's in love he promises
And you became engaged to Miss Plugenet, know-
ing that this other
No, I'm not quite so bad as that. I hadn't seen
Helen since we were children. I was in Scotland
last spring in charge of the railway, and when Mr.
Neve left his daughter to go to Canada, she and I
were thrown together a good deal. Then the rail-
way was finished, and I came home and met Helen.
Before I became engaged I saw Miss Neve again
for a few days. We said, " Good-bye," and parted,
thinking it was all at an end. It was only to-day
that I knew the cursed truth.
What do you intend to do ?
My mother has promised to take care of her.
And Miss Plugenet ?
There's no need she should know, is there?
You'd marry Miss Plugenet, knowing this other
one has your promise, knowing what she is going
to suffer for you !
It is rough on her, poor girl! And she's really
good. It was her very innocence and she did
love me! When I remember how her face used to
light up with the loveliest smile when she caught
sight of me by Jove, Linnell, a man may get to
be a big scoundrel without meaning it, and without
But when he does know it, then he resolutely sets to
work to undo the wrong he has done as you mean
k Well, of course we shall provide for her.
Yes but Miss Plugenet? (A knock off at the
front door. 1 )
I expect that's my mother. (PATTY goes to front
door and admits MRS. WILMORE into passage.)
You'll help us to keep this quiet, eh ? You won't go
against us, and let it all come out ? 2
In here? Oh, yes. (She enters?) Ah, Len, why
didn't you go back with Helen? Run back home,
I want to have a little chat with Mr. Linnell about
this young drawing-mistress. (Looking at LIN-
(Stern and dignified.) If you please.
(MRS. WILMORE, arrested by his manner, looks in-
quiringly at him and LENNARD.)
Mother, he knows.
Knows what ? What has this girl been telling you ?
Nothing. By accident I saw a letter she wrote to
Why should she write to Lennard?
Isn't it very natural?
(LENNARD is about to speak, but MRS. WILMORE
secretly hushes him with a warning gesture.)
Was this letter addressed to Lennard?
Then to whom ?
To no one.
And you jump to the conclusion that where is
(Going to door. LINNELL intercepts her. 1 )
One moment. She's very feverish and excited.
Let me prepare her first.
2 You won't prompt her to repeat this story?
* Crossing up
Linnell is by
Story? You know it, then?
* Crossing to
It's easy to guess. I must see her, and get at the
The truth is as you know it.
(Exit. 1 MRS. WILMORE watches him off, then
turns quickly to LENNARD. Her action through-
out is rapid, keen, resolute, energetic, resourceful,
MRS. W. 2
Quick, Len! What has taken place?
He accused me, and of course I denied it.
You denied it?
At first. But, when I saw the game was up, I gave
Gave in ?
I said I was sorry.
What else? Tell me all.
I'm afraid I let out I'd promised to marry the girl.
(With a gesture of despair.) You've ruined your-
Can't we get him to hold his tongue?
I'm afraid not. I'll try. I'll try everything.
(With a sudden thought.) You say you did deny
it at first ?
Yes. I rounded on him, and asked him what bee
he had got in his bonnet!
Yes ! Yes ! And then you said you were sorry,
and pitied her, and he totally misunderstood you.
It's only his word against yours. If we can only
get the girl out of the way! What evidence is
there to connect her with you in Scotland?
Nothing that anybody can lay hold of.
Think! There were other young fellows there
your chums on the railway?
(Looking at him.) It might have been him?
It might, but it wasn't.
Where is he now?
In South Africa.
South Africa? Good! Your father will be here
directly. You'd better not wait. Leave this to
me. Oh, Len, if I can save you yet!
You are a brick, mother! And I've brought you
nothing but trouble.
Never mind that now. (Opening the door for
him.) Go! (LENNARD goes noiselessly into pas-
(As he goes off, at
(Watches him off.)
(He closes the front door noiselessly behind him;
and she stands thoughtful, scheming, deeply con-
sidering. After a moment LINNELL re-enters
from study, and comes into room. MRS. WIL-
MORE composes her features.)
'(Entering.) Your son has gone? 2
There was no reason for him to stay, was there?
We must come to some understanding about Miss
Yes. What is to be done with her? You can't
expect Mrs. Linnell to nurse a stranger through a
The sprain will only last a few days. But there's a
Yes, poor creature! I know of some excellent
rooms in Gilminster. I'll take entire charge of
her myself, and see that she's thoroughly nursed.
1 She closes
down R. c.
1 Coming down
Pardon me, when I told her just now you were
here, she seemed very much distressed.
Why should she be distressed?
(Sternly.) Mrs. Wilmore, if we are to find some
way out of this wretched business, I must beg you
to be quite candid with me.
(Rather hotly.) I don't understand you! Why
shouldn't I be allowed to take care of Miss Neve?
You forget, there is another question behind.
Miss Plugenet. (A loud knock off at the front
I believe that's Mr. Wilmore. He doesn't know
about this. (Another loud, impatient knock.)
Perhaps it would be better not to tell him for the
present, at least not until you and I have decided
what to do.
(After the second knock WILMORE has entered at
front door into passage. PATTY, who has come
out of the study to open the door for him, meets
him in passage.)
(Voice in passage.) Mr. Linnell at home?
* He crosses to Please show me in to him.
top of table,
3 SSSon ait (He blusters in, and closes the door after him. 1 )
1 Mrs. Wilmore
moves to fire-
ing on man-
Excuse this unceremonious entrance, Linnell, but
your letter about Sheldrake has thoroughly upset
me. Coming just before dinner too I could
scarcely touch a morsel. Haunch of venison too!
You saw me refuse everything, Charlotte?
Yes, but something else has arisen
I don't care what has arisen. We'll attend to this
first. Now, sir, I've been talking with your Vicar,
and we're thoroughly agreed (MRS. WILMORE
is making covert signs.) Please don't interrupt me,
Charlotte. 1 It comes to this you will either up-
hold my ideas as regards morality, or you will leave
Weybury forthwith. Which do you mean to do?
What are your ideas as regards morality?
( Upset. ) Upon my word ! My ideas of morality,
sir (tapping the table with his forefingers), are the
good, plain, old-fashioned ideas which all right-
minded persons hold! And always have held!
And always will hold! Do you, or do you not,
intend to carry out my instructions respecting Wil-
Meantime, what are your instructions respecting
your own son?
Look at home, Mr. Wilmore ! Deal with your own
* Has followed
Linnell up to
* Wilmore ex-
* Crosses down
Crosses to c.
I don't know what you mean. Explain yourself,
You will have no tampering with the plain dictates
of morality? You have only one rule in these
cases? Do you wish it to be carried out in the case
of your own son, and the girl in the next room?
(To MRS. WILMORE.) Do you know anything
(PATTY enters at back.)
If you please, sir, will you come to the young lady ?
She's light-headed, and says she must see you
I'll come to her.
(Exit PATTY into study. LINNELL follows her off,
Charlotte (To MRS. WiLMORE. 1 ) Is this
true? (MRS. WILMORE nods. 2 ) Does the girl
mean to kick up a fuss ?
No. If I can get hold of her, I think she'll be per-
suaded to go away and keep quiet. It's Linnell we
have to reckon with. 3
I wish now that I hadn't been so very strict about
Sheldrake? It's Lennard I'm thinking of! We
must buy or silence Linnell somehow 4 at any
down L. and
back to a
I don't feel very much like eating humble pie to a
curate. (Bursts out. 1 ) It's abominable of Lennard
to place me in a position where I and after all I've
done for morality too!
Oh, please don't. Can't you see, if this comes out,
the marriage with Helen will be broken off, and
Lennard will be ruined?
Lennard ruined ! We shall all be ruined ! Viveash
is in it too! They'll foreclose the mortgages, and
then what becomes of us ?
MRS. W. 2
What does it matter what becomes of us? We've
had our day. But Len! My darling! Just as
everything had opened so brightly for him !
I suppose I'd better offer Linnell the living?
Yes, perhaps. Wait and see if I can bring him
And if you can't?
(Resolutely.) We must face it out that Linnell
has made a terrible mistake, and get him out of the
place as soon as we can.
(Dubiously) Ye es. I do trust we shall be able
to avoid making many false statements. And es-
pecially any that can be tested!
If only the girl herself will say that Linnell is mis-
taken ! * (Listening. ) Hush ! 2
1 Study door
* Mrs. Wilmore
( LINNELL re-enters from back and comes c.)
How is the patient now?
She's a little delirious.
Does she support your accusation?
I've not questioned her further.
Then I must. (Attempting to go off at back.)
She'll be passing through here on her way up-stairs.
You can judge then whether you ought to put any
painful questions to her to-night.
Of course, I won't distress her, poor thing!
easy to see how your mistake arose.
You told the girl's story to Lennard. He naturally
expressed pity, and you misunderstood him
(Very sternly.) Mrs. Wilmore, I have made no
mistake, no misunderstanding. Please don't think
I shall allow that suggestion to pass for one mo-
You seem determined to take up an attitude of
Yes, Linnell, 2 you might at least listen to what we
Forgive me. What do you propose?
That depends upon whether you wish to remain in
Weybury, and work cordially with me for the wel-
fare of the parish.
Certainly I do. What has that to do with this?
It's all part of the same general question. Come
now! Why not sink your own opinions on minor
What are minor matters? This poor girl in the
next room your son's marriage with Miss Pluge-
net are they minor matters?
Well, frankly, I own I have been too severe at
times. For instance, William Sheldrake and Sarah
Piper. If I were to leave them entirely in your
And do you?
Yes, provided you take care my well-known prin-
ciples don't suffer too much. You won't give me
Sits L. C.
I've only one rule in these cases the utmost con-
demnation for the sin the utmost mercy for the
Well, that's my own rule, to a great extent. Now,
can't we act on that rule all round ?
Tell me exactly what you mean.
Mr. Daubeny is leaving Weybury
We should like to give you the living
Four hundred and fifty a year, and the vicarage,
If we could be assured of your co-operation in all
On that distinct understanding, the living is yours.
You accept it, of course ?
Not on the distinct understanding that you hire my
hands and tongue to your service in the affair of
What do you mean, sir? How dare you impute
motives to me ? - 1
I beg your pardon. Then you offer me the living
quite independently of Miss Neve and your son?
Of course we do.
I accept it. Thank you with all my heart.
At the same time, we must know eh, Charlotte ? 2
We must know whether you mean to repeat this
accusation against Lennard, or whether you'll help
us avoid a scandal.
Certainly I'll help you avoid a scandal. Not one
unnecessary word shall ever pass my lips. But Miss
I know it's dreadful, but what can we do?
Be absolutely frank and truthful with her. Let her
decide whether she loves your son well enough to
forgive him. In that case I won't say a word; ex-
cept that I cannot marry them.
You cannot marry them?
1 Moving down
* Mrs. Wilmore
rises and ad*
* Crosses up R.
Goes down B.
But if you refuse she is suspicious already she'll
guess she'll break off
You see, Charlotte, the man's impossible. (To
LINNELL.) I withdraw my offer of the living. 1
I have already refused it at your price.
Price? Price? Really! I'm accused of bribery
now ! Upon my word ! 2
Hush! We must know exactly what Mr. Linnell
suspects about Lennard.
I suspect nothing. I know.
What do you propose should be done?
I can see only one thing clearly. You must tell
I can't. It would be fatal.
The worst of cruelty to shatter a poor girl's hap-
piness, just before her marriage.
And this other poor girl in there?
We'll do all we can for her. You surely don't wish
to destroy my son's career ?
A fine young fellow like that! Anxious to serve
his country in Parliament, or any other way ! *
Come, Linnell, act up to your own principles ! The
utmost mercy to the sinner, eh? Look over it!
Youthful folly and impulse, eh?
Mr. Linnell, my son has made one great error.
Don't ruin him for life. I'm ready to do anything
for you and yours! We are absolutely in your
hands ! I beg you, I implore you you have chil-
dren of your own if it were your own child ! Save
my Lennard ! Please, save my boy !
Save him yourself ! Save him by telling the truth !
There's no other way! If I were to hush this up,
mightn't I be doing him the greatest mischief, the
greatest wrong? In a month he is to marry Miss
Plugenet. Some months after that, this other girl
will bear him a child! If it should all come
It needn't ! It won't ! It shan't !
Sooner or later it must. Then Miss Plugenet is
settling a great estate upon him. She gives him all
for what? For all his love and faithfulness!
If you let him marry her, won't you really cheat
1 Advancing a
Cheat! Did you catch the word? *
But if Miss Plugenet knows, it means Lennard's
nantly to R.,
up to fire-
* Crossing a
And what does this other mean? Think! They
enter into their new home of marriage your son
and his bride all bright, and sweet, and clean to
live in, as she thinks. She goes a bride to her new
home, and then one day she finds this carcass, this
dead rat festering under the boards, putrefying
there and poisoning all the home! You won't do
it! You daren't! You daren't let your son do it!
Save hirn from it ! Save him by telling the truth !
(MRS. WILMORE turns from him with a gesture of
angry and contemptuous impatience, then sub-
(Cold, resolute.) Is that all you have to say?
(The same cold, resolute tone.) Miss Plugenet
must be told.
I must see this girl. 2 You say yourself she doesn't
confirm this story?
No, but your son does.
Indeed, he does not.
He won't dare deny it.
fie will, most emphatically. 1
One moment. Miss Plugenet is coming to me to-
(Coming back.) What for?
To ask me this question whether I can con-
scientiously advise her to marry your son.
(MRS. WILMORE is overwhelmed for the moment.
MRS. LINNELL and MRS. BLANEY enter at the
front door f and are seen to pass the window in
(Recovering herself.) And you'll tell her this ab-
No, you'll tell her yourself.
(Struck by the idea.) Yes, indeed, I shall. 2 I
shall certainly tell her; and warn her of this
trumped-up accusation you're bringing against Len-
(MRS. LINNELL appears at door.)
(Entering. 3 ) Is anything the matter? I've just
met Mrs. Blaney.
(MRS. BLANEY appears at back. 4 )
1 Crosses to
to open it.
nell, who if
Coming U C.
(Coming in.) I came across to see how this young
person is, but if you're discussing anything pri-
vate (Looking round suspiciously.)
Oh, no. Mr. Linnell has got another what shall
we say another bee in his bonnet ! 1
crosses to B.
* Crossing to
es to her, she
crosses to Mr.
is R. c. above
MRS. W. 2
Try to make him see how wrong and foolish he is
how cruel to you and your children.
(She crosses passage, and enters study, closing door
Mr. Wilmore, what has my husband
I consented to look over our little differences, and
I offered him the living.
Ah, you offered it to me! What for?
To extend your sphere of usefulness.
You mean, to shut my lips !
(To MRS. LINNELL and MRS. BLANEY.) You see!
instead of thanking me, he accuses me of cheating,
and bribery, and he brings some utterly ridiculous
charge against my son.
Edgar! (To WILMORE.) He doesn't mean it!
I'm sure he doesn't ! Edgar, 1 if you have any love
for me and your children
1 Crosses to
is by L. c.
(Very gentle, his hand upon her head.) If I have
any love for you and my children
(Withdrawing from his caress.) Then ask Mr.
Ask his pardon ? for speaking the truth ?
(MRS. LINNELL turns away from him up to sofa.)
But what is this charge he brings against Mr. Len-
nard Wilmore ? 2
(Re-enter MRS. WILMORE from study, and across
the passage? )
Miss Neve is a little feverish, but I think she may
be safely moved. The girl is putting on her things,
and I'll take her to Gilminster myself.
Miss Neve will not leave my house to-night.
Mr. Linnell, this young lady utterly denies the
charge you have brought against her and Lennard.
She has placed herself in my care, and I will be
responsible for her from this time.
looks at her
* Coming down
moved up R.
(Very firmly.) Miss Neve will not leave my house
(RACHEL, in outdoor clothes, supported by PATTY,
has entered across passage from study. She is
excited, feverish, and a little delirious.)
(To MRS. WILMORE.) I'm ready. 1 (To LIN-
NELL.) Thank you for all your kindness, but I
must go to Gilminster! You were quite mistaken!
That letter wasn't to Mr. Wilmore. (To MRS.
WiLMORE. 2 ) I told him it was all his mistake.
Of course it was all his mistake. Are you ready?
I never said a word about Mr. Wilmore not a
word. You believe me, don't you ? 8
Yes. Give her your arm, and help me take her to
the station. 4
Mrs. Wilmore, whatever happens, this lady will
not leave my house to-night. Look! How dare
you ask it?! (To RACHEL.) Take my arm. Mary,
help me ! Mary, are you on my side, or will you go
against me too ?
(Distracted.) Oh, I don't know what to do!
Yes, you do know! You've known me all these
years. Have I ever asked you to do what wasn't
right? Trust me! I'm in the right now. I'm on
God's side, be sure. My wife, stand by me!
* Lennell cross-
es up, mo-
it by Rachel
and helps her
into it, stand-
ing on her L.
to behind L.C.
Oh, I must! I will I 1
Help me here. She must stay with us for the
(MRS. LINNELL and LINNELL support RACHEL,
and help her to the stairs? open the door and take
Linnell, I can't allow this matter to rest.
(Helping RACHEL upstairs.) Stir it up then! Stir
Will you withdraw this monstrous charge against
my son, and own your mistake ?
(On the stairs.) 4 No, not for a bishopric!
( LINNELL and MRS. LINNELL are seen helping
RACHEL upstairs as the CURTAIN goes down.)
1 Crosses in
front of Ra-
chel to her K.
her ; as they
* Mrs. Linnell
is by arm-
chair R. c.
Start to go up
turns to Wil>
Ten 'days pass between Acts II and III.
SCENE: The library at the Manor House, Wey-
bury. A room in the same house, and in the
same style of architecture as Act I.
A door at back leading into passage. A door