Henry Arthur Jones.

The physician : an original play in four acts online

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within about two yards of the footlights, and are
hung on a brass rod suspended from the ceiling,
which is rather low. Above and in line with the
curtains is a door, called throughout the Act the
inner door. All the L. side of the stage at back is
taken up with a deep recess and bay window. In
this recess is a large table with microscopes, glass



ACT in THE PHYSICIAN 63

bottles, tubes, scientific instruments and apparatus,
books, papers, MSS., scientific periodicals, etc. At
the sides of the recess and under the bay window
are shelves filled with scientific books, and there are
heaps of books on the floor in the recess. The
window looks out upon a wintry night landscape
with moon. The window and recess are also
curtained off by curtains. These curtains run
across R. and L. The space to the L. makes a kind
of hall, and is carpeted but sparely furnished, one
or two chairs and a small table somewhat to the
L. In the L. wall a window up stage, and a very
large thick old oak door with heavy handle and lock
and key doivn stage. Between the window and door
on the L. are several pegs with hats, overcoats, and
an umbrella stand with umbrella and sticks.
TIME : about half-past seven on a December evening.

Discover DR. CAREY and BROOKER at the little table
R., curtained in by the curtain running down stage
from the inner door. DR. CAREY is on the chair
above the table, BROOKER on a chair at the side of
the table. The curtains running across the stage
are also drawn, shutting off the table and scientific
apparatus. They have just finished dinner, and a
bright fire is burning.

DR. C. Well, I told you I was equal to a plain
dinner.



64 THE PHYSICIAN ACT in

BROOKER. Excellent. A cutlet, a cold chicken,
and a bottle of seventy-five claret, what can a man
want more ?

DR. C. And you really took me by surprise.

BROOKER. I had the afternoon to spare. I looked
up " Bradshaw," found I could just catch a train, have
an hour with you, and get back by the late express.
What a confounded queer place to live in, Carey !
(Looking round the place?)

DR. C. Yes, it was the kitchen belonging to the
old abbey. It tumbled into decay and got turned
into a farmhouse. It tumbled into decay again, the
farmer himself tumbled into decay, and died ; his
widow sold off the land, patched the old place up,
and made it just fit for me to live in.

BROOKER. And you can really live here all alone ?

DR. C. Not all alone. I have two human com-
panions, and some millions of microbes.

BROOKER. And where are they, the human com-
panions ?

DR. C. My housekeeper, old Granny Barton, is
racked with rheumatism, so I've sent her over to
Buxenham for a course of treatment, and her neighbour
Mrs. Bowden comes in and does for me. Then I've
one patient, Mr. Walter Amphiel fill your glass.

BROOKER (filling glass). Amphiel, the Temper-
ance organiser does he let you drink seventy -five
claret ?

DR. C. No. I've not tasted wine for the last six



ACT in THE PHYSICIAN 65

months, all the time he has been with me. But he's
away just now.

BROOKER. Oh where is he ?

(MRS. BOWDEN, a stout, pleasant -looking
country woman in bonnet and shawl,
enters at inner door, draws aside the
curtains.}

DR. C. Well, Mrs. Bowden, going for the night ?

MRS. B. Yes, doctor, unless there's anything I
can do for you.

DR. C. Nothing, thank you.

MRS. B. I suppose Mr. Amphiel won't be coming
back to-night ?

DR. C. (after a slight pause). No, I think not.

MRS. B. I've left his room ready for him in case
he does. And perhaps you'll excuse my going. I've
got my man to look after, and he does rave and storm
the house down if his supper ain't ready to the minute.

DR. C. Ah ! husbands are tiresome animals, Mrs.
Bowden.

MRS. B. (cordially). Oh they are, sir ! You know
'em, being a doctor. Whatever possesses a gal to get
married when she's well off, I cannot think. But the
chaps will come teasing and plaguing round us, and
we fools like it and then, there it is work and
worry and babies, work and worry and babies, nothing
else from the time you're twenty till you're wore out.
Oh dear, oh dear ! I do hope there's some good
purpose running through it all.



66 THE PHYSICIAN ACT m

DR. C. I hope so, Mrs. Bowden. But the ways
of Providence are dark.

MRS. B. Oh, they are, sir. You may well say
that. Breakfast as usual, sir ?

DR. C. Breakfast as usual, Mrs. Bowden.
MRS. B. Then I'll say good -night, sir. (To
BROOKER.) And good-night to you, sir.
DR. C. Good-night, Mrs. Bowden ! | ,
BROOKER. Good-night! }

(Exit MRS. BOWDEN at inner door. As she
goes off, DR. CAREY rises, pushes chair
back from table, further draws back the
curtain. BROOKER moves his chair.
CAREY pushes table a little out into
centre of room and up towards the inner
door it remains there just on the right
side of the curtain line during the
remainder of Act.)

DR. C. (taking out watch). You've half an hour
yet, old fellow. Light your cigar and let's make the
most of it.

BROOKER. How can you bury yourself in this
hole, Carey?

DR. C. Hole? Bury myself? I've been living,
Brooker, the last few months, really living for the first
time in my life.

BROOKER. But you're wasting yourself down here.

DR. C. Wasting myself! I work from morning

to night. (Goes up to curtains, draws them aside, dis-



ACT in THE PHYSICIAN 67

covers the back of the room and table with scientific
apparatus, etc.) Look ! (Takes up a tube, holds it to
BROOKER.) Don't whisper it, Brooker, I fancy I'm
on the track of the cancer microbe ! I'm not sure I
haven't got my gentleman here. And I shall have a
little to say and a great deal to do when the next
cholera outbreak comes. You know I was always
more of a student than a practitioner. I never had
quite a good bedside manner, Brooker.

BROOKER. And you've quite made up your mind
not to come back to London ?

DR. C. Quite. So settle yourself in Cavendish
Square, physic away, and say no more about it.

(Goes rather restlessly to outer door, opens it,
looks out, shuts /"/.)

BROOKER. Are you expecting anybody ?

DR. C. No. Only the evening post.

BROOKER. Carey, I shan't like leaving you to-night.

DR. C. Why not ?

BROOKER. There's something wrong with you.
I've been watching you. You're feverish, restless,
unsettled.

DR. C. Am I ?

BROOKER. What ails you? Can an old friend
be of any help or comfort ?

DR. C. I'll tell you, Brooker. I don't think I
could speak of this to anybody but you. It's too
sacred.

BROOKER. Go on !



68 THE PHYSICIAN ACT in

DR. C. I suppose most of us have been attracted
and have lightly loved many women. Those loves
are not love. And I suppose most of us have had,
once in our lives, an overpowering passion.

BROOKER. Yes. Thank God, I got mine over
early, when I was twenty-five.

DR. C. And since then ?

BROOKER. Since then I've been too busy scraping
together bread and cheese for Mrs. Brooker and my
family to get into much mischief of that sort. And
now I hope I'm comfortably past the danger of
making myself a fool for a woman.

DR. C. (looking at him). You're not to be envied,
Brooker.

BROOKER. Perhaps not. But Mrs. Brooker is.
Go on.

DR. C. You remember my coming down here last
spring? I was quite hopeless, except for the one
thought that perhaps I might make Miss Hinde happy
by restoring her lover to health.

BROOKER. Well ?

DR. C. He went on a voyage to India. Mean-
time I saw a great deal of her, helped her in her
parish work, and doctored her invalids. Brooker,
before Amphiel came back, I couldn't disguise from
myself that my whole future, my whole being, my
whole life, were bound up in that girl.

BROOKER. Nonsense, Carey ! Nonsense ! Non-
sense !



ACT in THE PHYSICIAN 69

DR. C. No, Brooker, Wisdom ! Wisdom ! From
the moment I saw her, I became young and hopeful
again. She has sweetened and blessed and renewed
the whole earth for me. I tell you, Brooker, of all
the millions around us she and I are the only living
creatures on this earth.

BROOKER. Nonsense ! Nonsense ! Nonsense !

DR. C. No, Wisdom ! Wisdom ! Wisdom ! If
I had to part from her, I feel that moment I should
drop back again into madness and despair. With
her with her O my God ! Brooker with her what
a splendid life I could live in this dull world for the
next thirty years.

BROOKER. But you say she is engaged to Am-
phiel ?

DR. C. Yes.

BROOKER. And she's attached to him ?

DR. C. Devotedly attached.

BROOKER. And she doesn't suspect your feelings
for her ?

DR. C. She must know that I have a great regard
for her, perhaps guesses that I love her. But so far
as I have been able, I have been perfectly loyal to
her, and to him.

BROOKER. Carey, this is madness, you know. It
can't continue. Why don't you get away from this
place and leave her to marry the fellow ?

DR. C. I told you he is my patient.

BROOKER. Oh yes, of course. You said he'd



70 THE PHYSICIAN ACT in

been living with you here for some months. (Gets up
to light his cigar, goes to fireplace.} Curious arrange-
ment. What's the matter with him ? (At that moment
his eyes fall upon the photograph of AMPHIEL and
EDANA which is on the shelf of the fireplace ; he shows
some astonishment and takes up the photograph.}
Carey, whose portraits are these ?

DR. C. That is Amphiel and Miss Hinde, taken
together.

BROOKER (startled). This man Amphiel this
Amphiel ?

DR. C. Yes why?

BROOKER. The young fellow who consulted
you

DR. C. Of course. You saw him that evening.
I had forgotten.

BROOKER. You forgot, too, that he had consulted
me about four years before. Carey, I wasn't mistaken
that man is a drunkard.

DR. C. Yes.

BROOKER. A hopeless drunkard ?

DR. C. No not quite hopeless, since he has
been here with me.

BROOKER. And she doesn't know ?

DR. C. She hasn't the least thought of it. She
could see he was ill, and asked me to take him under
my care. I've had him hanging round my neck like
a millstone for the last six months.

BROOKER. Where is he now ?



ACT in THE PHYSICIAN 71

DR. C. I don't know. But I shall know in a few
minutes as soon as the post comes in.

(Looking anxiously at the outer door.)

BROOKER. I don't understand you seem -

DR. C. I seem what ?

BROOKER. You seem to be waiting for some bad
news of him.

DR. C. I am ! I hate him, Brooker ! I may as
well show you all my heart now I've begun. I hate
him ! Damn him ! I hate him ! for he stands between
her and me. I brought him here to live with me ; I've
been alone with him all this while. I've scarcely let
him go out of my sight. The strain has been awful.
At times it has almost driven me mad. To sit here
and talk to him, soothe him, amuse him, knowing all
the while that the devil inside him was urging him to
get away and ruin himself. I've been doctor, nurse,
father, brother, friend to him. I never had such a
task. But I've done it, because she loves him. And
partly because the man interests me, fascinates me.
Here's the strange thing I hate him, but I want to
save him. I began to feel proud of the case. I saw
him growing brighter, happier, stronger every day.
And it made her so happy. She was so grateful to
me. Well, all went well with him till three weeks
ago -

BROOKER. What then ?

DR. C. He went out for a walk with her and
persuaded her that his temperance work called him



OF

j



72 THE PHYSICIAN ACT in

away. She believed him and came back alone. We
got no news of him. She grew more and more
anxious, and a week ago I went up to London and
put the matter in the hands of Nicholson the private
detective. I got this telegram from him this morn-
ing

(Taking telegram from pocket and giving it
to BROOKER.)

BROOKER (reading the telegram). " Have dis-
covered the person. Am writing you fully by this post.
Nicholson." (Giving back telegram to DR. CAREY.)
And you fear

DR. C. Fear? No, Brooker that's it I don't
fear I almost hope. (A postmaris knock at outer
door.} The post ! (Goes to door, opens it.}

POSTMAN (without, handing in letter}. Bitter cold
again to-night, sir.

DR. C. (taking letter}. Very cold.

POSTMAN. Good-night, sir.

DR. C. Good-night, Carter.

(Closes door, looking intently at letter}

BROOKER. From Nicholson ?

DR. C. Yes. (Opens letter watched by BROOKER.
As he reads his face shows an intense stealthy interest,
growing more and more eager, almost malignant. Very
quiet hoarse tone denoting the utmost suppressed excite-
ment} He has broken out, Brooker. They've found
him in one of the lowest dens in Bristol. He has
been there for some days. Last night he got away



ACT in THE PHYSICIAN 73

from there they don't know where. Read.
(BROOKER takes letter?) Oh, what a wretch I am to
rejoice that a man is ruined !

BROOKER (reads). " He was, however, in a much
calmer state last night, and had almost recovered.
He seems to have had some suspicion that he was
being watched, for during the evening he managed
to get away. We are making urgent inquiries for him
in every direction, and will let you know as soon as
we have traced him. We have carefully observed
your instructions concerning secrecy, and have not
allowed his name to transpire." Got away? What
do you suppose has become of him ?

DR. C. How should I know ? Am I his keeper ?
Haven't I done my best? For the last six months
I've held that man from slipping over the precipice.
If I had let go my hold for one moment he would
have dropped. Now he has tumbled in spite of me !
Well, I can't help it. I've done with him ! I give
him up! Am I not justified? Eh? Eh? Am I
not justified ?

BROOKER. Carey ! Carey !

DR. C. You know I'm justified ! I am ! I am !
I gave him every chance, more than every chance.
I've fought for him against himself! I've kept sus-
picion away from her ! I've watched him making love
to her day after day, and I've watched her lifting her
face to his with a look of that I'd whistle my soul
away to get from her. Now that's all past ! It's



74 THE PHYSICIAN ACT in

going to be my turn ! I'm free of him and she shall
be free of him. Yes, I understand her nature, she
won't love him when she knows the truth.
BROOKER. And you'll let her know ?
DR. C. How can I help it ? Why should I try
to hinder it ?

(A knock at the outer door. During the above
speeches BROOKER has unobtrusively laid
the letter on the table R.)
DR. C. Is it Amphiel ? (Goes to door, opens it.)

Enter EDANA in outdoor winter dress.

DR. C. Miss Hinde.

EDANA. You have a visitor.

DR. C. (presenting). Doctor Brooker Miss Hinde.

(EDANA bows.)

BROOKER (bowing). How d'ye do? (Takes out
watch.) Carey, I must be going. (Goes to L. side of
the room where his hat and overcoat are hanging, takes
them down.) I'm sorry to be leaving you, but I've
only just time to catch my train.

(DR. CAREY goes and helps him on with over-
coat. EDANA goes towards fire?)

BROOKER. How long will it take me to get to the
station ?

DR. C. About ten minutes.

BROOKER. You'll let me know how this turns
out?



ACT in THE PHYSICIAN 75

DR. C. Yes.

BROOKER. Good-night, Miss Hinde.

EDANA. Good-night, DR. Brooker.

BROOKER (to DR. CAREY). Good-bye.

DR. C. Good-bye. You're sure you know your
way?

BROOKER. Oh yes. Carey, old fellow (glancing at
EDANA), are you sure you know yours ?

(A significant look.)

DR. C. I'll try and find it.

(Exit BROOKER at outer door.)

DR. C. (doses door after BROOKER and comes to
EDANA, very tenderly). Miss Hinde.

EDANA. Have you heard anything of Walter ?

DR. C. (hesitates). I hope I shall have some news
for you in a day or two.

EDANA. In a day or two ! But I can't wait. I
feel sure he's in some danger or trouble. And I can't
get to him !

DR. C. (very searchingly, but without showing it to
her). Suppose you had to hear some bad news of
him you would be brave and bear it ?

EDANA. What do you mean ?

DR. C. You still wish to share in this great enter-
prise of his you are still as much attached to his
cause and to him ?

EDANA. Is there any need to ask me that ? You
know I am ! Why do you ask me ? You've heard
something ! He's dead !



76 THE PHYSICIAN ACT in

DR. C. No. You needn't fear that.

EDANA. He's ill. You've had news. (At this
moment DR. CAREY'S eyes fall on the letter BROOKER
has laid on the table L. She follows his glance. DR.
CAREY takes up the letter.} That letter ! It's about him !
Why don't you speak? Oh, why do you torture me?

DR. C. (holding letter). Miss Hinde, tell me, you
know I wouldn't willingly torture you

EDANA. I'm sure you wouldn't. But if that letter
has news of Mr. Amphiel, let me see it or at least
tell me what it contains. (Holding out her hand}

DR. C. (his face shows a momentary struggle}. Tell
me, you know that I would always do what I thought
to be best for you and him at least, best for you.

EDANA. I'm sure you would, but I must know
where he is. Why won't you tell me ?

DR. C. I don't know, and this letter doesn't say.
To read it would only add to your anxiety. Trust
me. You've trusted me for many months past. Say
that you'll trust me a little longer ?

EDANA (looks at him}. Yes, I will trust you.

DR. C. (puts letter in pocket}. And rest assured
we shall have some news of him before long.

EDANA. Ah, but when ? Oh, I can't wait ! I've
not slept for three nights.

DR. C. Not slept for three nights !

(A knock at outer door. DR. CAREY goes to
it, opens it}

DR. C. Lady Valerie !



ACT in THE PHYSICIAN 77

LADY VALERIE, in very handsome widoitfs mourning,
enters, followed by SAUNDERS, her maid, also in
mourning.

LADY V. It's an unconscionable hour to call.
But I see you do receive visitors as late as this.
(Glancing at EDANA. Bows to her. EDANA bows.)
Are you at home ?

DR. C. Yes, certainly. As soon as I've seen
Miss Hinde safely to the Vicarage.

EDANA. Oh, please no.

LADY V. My maid shall go with you.

EDANA. It's only a few steps across the fields,
and there is a moon. I won't have any one come
with me. Good-night, Lady Valerie.

LADY V. Good-night.

EDANA. Good-night, Dr. Carey.

DR. C. Good-night. Sleep well to-night. You
can and you will.

EDANA. Oh, I can't.

DR. C. Try. Try. And to-morrow we may have
news !

EDANA. Oh, I can't endure the suspense !

(Exit EDANA at outer door. DR. CAREY
looks after her.)

LADY V. Saunders, you've had nothing since
lunch. Go to the inn and get something to eat.
And wait for me there.

SAUNDERS. Yes, my lady.



78 THE PHYSICIAN ACT in

(DR. CAREY holds the door open for SAUNDERS
and closes it after her.)

DR. C. This is an unexpected pleasure

LADY V. Pleasure ?

DR. C. What brings you back here ?

LADY V. Boredom ! Boredom ! Boredom !
Boredom devours me everywhere. Even burying
one's husband has a smack of it. And widowhood,
which in the distance seems a rosy paradise, is nothing
but a Sahara when you get there. You don't seem
very pleased to see me. Am I welcome ?

DR. C. I'll try to make you so.

LADY V. You'll try ? You're terribly frank.

DR. C. Won't it be better for us to be quite
honest with each other ?

LADY V. You talk as if we had tried the other
policy and it hadn't quite succeeded.

DR. C. I've always been quite honest with you
at least, in all the great things of life.

LADY V. There are no great things in life, my
poor Lewin. It's all very small beer, and very scanty
skittles. (Looking at the table.} White muslin has
been dining with you tete-a-tete ?

DR. C. No, my old friend Brooker. He has just
left for London.

LADY V. But white muslin was here. I'm horribly
jealous but I'm horribly hungry too.

DR. C. And I've only cold chicken to offer you.
But you are heartily welcome.



ACT in THE PHYSICIAN 79

LADY V. I am heartily welcome to your cold
chicken. Thank you. I'll try your cold chicken.

(Sitting down to table?)

DR. C. My servant has gone for the night, so
I'm all alone.

(A knock at outer door. DR. CAREY goes to
open it> opens //, telegraph boy hands in
a telegram. DR. CAREY closes door?)
DR. C. Allow me.

(Opens telegram^ reads it, shows great interest?)
LADY V. You're all alone. Where is your patient
Mr. Amphiel?

DR. C. He has been away. Curiously enough,
this telegram is from him. He is coming back
to-night.

(A pause. DR. CAREY stands much absorbed

looking at the telegram?)

LADY V. What's the matter? Has anything
happened to him ?

DR. C. (recalling himself]. No. Nothing.

(Puts telegram in pocket.}

LADY V. Then light your cigar and talk to me.
But don't look at me while I'm eating.
DR. C. Not look at you ?

LADY V. I'm sure your later theory is right.
Women are entirely spiritual. I constantly feel little
shootings and sproutings about my shoulder-blades
where my wings will be, and then isn't it disgusting ?
two or three times every day my hatefully healthy



8o THE PHYSICIAN ACT in

appetite drives me to toy with such gross realities .as
this. (Holding up a chicken bone.) Oh, don't laugh
at me ! If you knew how sad my heart is (deep sigh)
you never sent me a word, Lewin.

DR. C. What could I say ?

LADY V. Any cut-and-dried message of condolence
would have done. It would have cost you nothing
and it would have meant so much to me. I wonder
if any man ever guesses the exquisite agony a woman
feels who waits and waits and waits for one word of
love from the man to whom she has been all the world
and waits in vain.

DR\ C. I wonder if any woman ever guesses the
exquisite agony a man feels who is thrown over by the
woman who is all the world to him thrown over for,
perhaps, the first chance acquaintance.

LADY V. No. No. There you're wrong. It
wasn't the first chance acquaintance. Let it pass.
You're mean to remind me of that, as mean as a
woman.

DR. C. As mean as a woman !

LADY V. Yes, that's the perpetual paradox of
womanhood. We are angels I feel sure of it and
yet we do such mean things. How do you account
for it ?

DR. C. I can't. I trust, meantime, you're making
a comfortable dinner.

LADY V. I feel as if I were picnicking on my
mother's grave in the damp.



ACT in THE PHYSICIAN 81

DR. C. Why ?

LADY V. Cold chicken is as cold as cold shoulder.
But cold chicken and love make a divine hot collation.

DR. C. I fear I have only cold chicken to offer
you.

LADY V. (shrugs her shoulders goes on eating.
After a little pause). You haven't asked me about the
last two months.

DR. C. Tell me.

LADY V. You know I got a telegram saying that
it was only a question of a few weeks. So I went out
to him at once. I didn't wish to outrage the decent
hypocrisies whereby men live

DR. C. Men don't live by hypocrisies.

LADY V. Well, society does. And I've always

loyally respected them and lived up to them. Well,

I went out to him and was perfectly kind and attentive

to him to the last. And so ended the tragic farce of

my married life. It's over. I spent one month in

unselfishly nursing him I spent the next month in

unselfishly devising a scheme of widow's mourning

that should spare my bereaved sisters the additional

pang of feeling themselves perfect frights during the

period of their greatest sorrow. (Gets up and comes

away from table?) How do you think I have succeeded ?

(She has a long handsome cloak with black

fur. She stands with arms extended

and with a little entreating gesture

towards him.)

G



82 THE PHYSICIAN ACT in

DR. C. (coldly]. Admirably, I should say. But
I'm no judge.

LADY V. Do you know what I was thinking all
the time I was planning this mourning ? I was think-
ing will it give me one of my old moments of charm
in his eyes? Or, if not, will it give me some new
little grace or attraction ?

(He does not reply. She stands for a moment
with a little appealing gesture^ then
suddenly bursts into a tempest of tears.)

DR. C. Lady Valerie ! (She is sobbing.) Lady
Valerie, will you listen to me ?

LADY V. No ! No ! No ! Oh, I hate myself, and
I hate you ! I hate you ! Oh ! Oh ! Oh ! Let me go !
(He is between her and the door.)

DR. C. No. Hear me. I cannot give you the
love I once offered you, and I have too tender a
regard for the past and for you to offer you the ghost
of it. Would you have me do it ? Would you have
me offer you a fiction, a lie? Would you have me
pretend to love you, knowing that my whole heart, my
every thought and hope and desire belong to another
woman ?

LADY V. But you can never marry her ! (A
curious look of hope on DR. CAREY'S face which she sees
and interprets^) She has broken off her engagement
to Mr. Amphiel? Something has happened to
him?

DR. C. No. He is now on his way here.



ACT in THE PHYSICIAN 83

LADY V. Then what makes you so hopeful ? You
can never marry her.


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