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moves about as he speaks rapidly and excitedly.) I was
content the way we went on till Henry and Isabella


came. It was seeing them — their happiness, their
affeetion, their kisses, and caresses. I determined to
marry and be happy, as they are. I looked about me
for a wife, thought of all the girls I knew — all except
one. You were so near at hand, and I was looking out
into the world. I was caught and carried away by the
snares of the charm of youth. I only see you in my
work-time — always quiet, always patient, always ready,
and never exacting. I took all that as a matter of
course — selfishly accepted it. How dull of me never to
have thought — what wonderful qualities those in a
woman ! {Speaking like a lover, as he sits on the settee
beside her.) I have never seen you as you are to-night.
(miss heseltine rises slowly and steps back froin him,
fascinated, but afraid. He goes on passionately.) I
ought to be holding my tongue, stifling my heart as
yoii did yours ; but to-night I can't any more than you
can. I cant marry Maggie ; it's not possible. She's
dear, she's sweet, she's lovely ; but she's a child. She
knows nothing, feels nothing, understands nothing.
She has no soul, and very little heart. If I marry
Maggie, I shall be finished, destroyed, done for. And
now — now that I know that I love you and that you
love me ! {Helplessly.) What are we to do ?

{They stand looking helplessly at each other ; then
by a mutual instinct go towards each other, and
fall into each other's arms. They remain some
moments locked in a close embrace. The
curtains over the windows are parted, louise
is there. She has time to stand and take in the
situation before they discover her presence.
LOUISE advances into the room, then moves
slowly and haughtily to the door, observing the
dinner-table as she passes it. robin and miss
HESELTINE wotch her dumbfounded, louise
goes out. miss heseltine turns and looks at
robin, then covers her face with her hands.)



SCENE. — robin's study again. It is ten o'clock in the
morning on the day after the events of the last two acts.
ROBIN is seated at his writing-table, his head on his
hands. Enter lady cottrell. robin rises when
she enters.

LADY cottrell. My husband has had a note from
you asking him to come and see you — so I came.

ROBIN {worried). Oh, but I want most particularly
to see Sir Richard. That's why I asked him to call on
me instead of going to call on him because — well, you
know what it's like at your house. There's no privacy.
Dickie or Maggie or one of the others is apt to burst
into the room at any moment. I must see Sir Richard
undisturbed. It's most important. I think I'll run
over and see him now— if you'll excuse me. {He picks
up a newspaper and thrusts it into lady cottrell's
hands.) There's the paper. I'll send Isabella to you
to keep you company.

{Exit ROBIN, quickly.)

lady cottrell {looking after robin in surprise).

(ISABELLA enters, followed by henry.)

ISABELLA {speaking as she enters). Good-morning,
Lady Cottrell.

LADY COTTRELL {nods unccrcmoniously to them both
without rising or offering to shake hands). Good-morning,
good-morning. What's the matter ?

ISABELLA. Nothing.

HENRY. Why ?

LADY COTTRELL {to henry). I thought from your
brother's strange manner that something must have
happened since I saw you yesterday.



HENRY {looking at Isabella). Not that I know of.

ISABELLA. Nothing unusual.

HENRY. We dined at the Hendersons' last evening.

LADY COTTRELL. Nothing else ?

ISABELLA (looking at henry). No.

HENRY. Miss Parker had a headache and left the
party early. When we got home she had gone to bed ;
so we went to bed, too — and — ^that's about all. We got
up and had breakfast as usual this morning.

LADY COTTRELL. Nothing of any importance ?

ISABELLA (seriously). Baby was rather fretful in the

LADY COTTRELL (contemptuously). You won't call that
important when you've got fourteen.

(Enter louise. She enters quickly, and with such
an air of having something important to tell
that she attracts all their attention. They watch
her as she closes the door and comes down
among them.)

LOUISE. I waited till Mr. Worthington went out.
There is something I think you all ought to know. Sit

(She pushes Isabella into a chair and waves the
others to their seats.)

LADY COTTRELL, I knew thcre was something.

(They watch louise expectantly.)

LOUISE. Last night, when I left the Hendersons'
(to LADY COTTRELL) I Came away before the others. I
had a headache. (To Isabella.) You remember.
(Addressing them all.) I slipped away without a word,
not wishing to make a fuss. I got my cloak and when
I came out at their front door I was fortunate enough
to find a cab. (To Isabella.) The one that brought
that man who came after dinner. (Addressing them all.)
I told the cabman to drive me to this gate, where I
got out. (To LADY COTTRELL.) It was such ii fine
moonlight night I thought I should like to walk up the
drive. When I got near the house I heard sounds of
revelry — (she looks round from one to the other exjjecting
to make a great effect ; they watch her with unmoved faces
during the whole of her recital) issuing from this window —
sounds of revelry. (She looks round at thern all again.)
I naturally thought it rather strange, so I stopped out-



side the window and listened. I thought it might be
the servants taking advantage of our absence. Not at
all. I distinctly heard two voices — Mr. Worthington's
and a woman's. {She looks from one to the other as before
expecting to make an effect — they all move forward slightly.)
I was just going to pass on when a little gust of wind
blew the curtains apart. There was nothing for me to do
then but to walk into the room. I hardly like to tell
you what I saw — but I must. It's a duty. The table
was all in disorder as if two people had been feasting
together. I remember noticing a champagne bottle —
empty. The next thing I saw was — Miss Heseltine —
the type^vriter — in an evening dress. She was in Mr.
Worthington's arms. They were kissing each other.

{She looks round at them all triumphantly expecting
to make a sensation. She apparently makes
no effect of any kind. They sit still gravely for
some moments before lady cottrell speaks.)
LADY COTTRELL {with perfect com,posure). I don't
believe a word of it.


LOUISE {annoyed at the reception of her story). But I
saw it.

LADY COTTRELL. Dreamt it ! Robin and his typist —
I no more believe it than if you'd told me you'd caught
Captain Worthington there kissing me.

ISABELLA {in dismay at the thought of such a thing).

LOUISE. If you don't believe me, ask the servants.
They can tell you whether Miss Heseltine dined here
or not.

LADY COTTRELL. Why shouldn't Miss Heseltine dine
here ? {To henry.) Do you see any reason why she
shouldn't ?

HENRY. No reason on earth.

LADY COTTRELL {to louise). We nonc of us see any
reason against it.

ISABELLA. They probably had some business to dis-

LOUISE. They were drinking champagne.

HENRY. Why shouldn't they drink champagne ?

ISABELLA. We drank it ourselves at the Hendersons'.



to think it's immoral to drink champagne.

LOUISE. The woman was decolleU.

LADY COTTRELL {to louise). Is it the fashion where
you come from to dine high neck ?


ISABELLA {to LADY cottrell). I think Louisc has
gone mad.

HENRY {to LADY COTTRELL, 071 the Other Side). Trying
to find a queer meaning to a most ordinary proceeding.
It's monstrous !

ISABELLA. Disgusting !


HENRY. If he mayn't dine quietly with his secretary.

ISABELLA. It may be indiscreet.

LADY COTTRELL. Don't be so provincial, Mrs. Worth-
ington. It isn't at all indiscreet. It might be for
some people if they were that kind of person, but a
serious man of his age dining alone with his typist to
talk about his business, dressed in suitable clothes and
drinking what I often drink myself, — I can't see anything
in it at all.

LOUISE. They were clasped together in a wild embrace.

LADY COTTRELL. That I rcfusc to belicvc.

HENRY. So do I, absolutely.

ISABELLA. And so do I.

LOUISE. Can't you see what it all means ? We were
all to have dined at the Hendersons' last evening — we
three — and Mr. Worthington. At the last moment
Mr. Worthington backs out — says he wishes to dine
alone. We are packed off. In our absence comes this
woman. Not a word to any of us to say she is expected.
I arrive home early and find them in this most com-
promising position. And it's not only what took place
last evening. Think of the hours and hours a day
they spend shut up in this room together.

HENRY. Working.

LOUISE {sharply to him). How do we know what
goes on ? (henry and Isabella exclaim together.)

HENRY. What d'you mean ?

ISABELLA. Louise !

LOUISE {ignoring their exclamations, turns to lady
COTTRELL). You surcly won't let your daughter be


engaged to a man while he is carrying on an intrigue
with another woman.

ISABELLA {indignantly). Louise !

HENRY {at the same time that Isabella exclaims).

Really, Miss Parker, I

{All except lady cottrell talk at once.)

LADY cottrell {with authority). Leave her to me.
{She addresses louise calmly but zintheringly.) We
decline to believe one word of your unsupported testi-
mony against our friends. You have told us what is
untrue. We know Mr. Worthington. He is a man of
exceedingly high character. As for Miss Heseltine, I
cannot say that I know her — but I have observed her.
She satisfies me. I am convinced that she is a most
respectable young woman.

LOUISE. How can you tell by observing a woman
whether she is respectable or not ?

LADY COTTRELL. I Can suiff the difference.

LOUISE {to ISABELLA). Surely you see

ISABELLA. Hush, Louisc. I'm ashamed of you —
trying to make a scandal out of nothing.

LOUISE {excitedly). But it's true, I tell you — it's true.
They'll deny it, of course, and there's no one to support
my word, but it's true, it's true, it's true !

HENRY {indignantly). You've said enough and a
great deal more than enough. I take it upon myself
in my brother's absence to teU you to leave the


HENRY. How you can do such a thing as this — after
accepting Robin's hospitality — I can't trust myself
to say what I think of your conduct. You \\'ill please
leave the house at once.

LOUISE. Do you think I would consent to remain
one moment longer in such a house as this ?

ISABELLA. Louise !

LOUISE {addressing Isabella). If you can't see what's
perfectly plain to any intelligent person — that's your

LADY cottrell. Hush !

LOUISE. It shall never be said of me that I condoned
immorahty. I leave for Leamington immediately —


{Exit LOUISE. They watch her go out, and then
look at each other in amazement.)
LADY COTTRELL. What is she thinking of to come to
us with such a story ? What is her motive ?

ISABELLA. / know Well enough what her motive is,


ISABELLA. Something must have happened last night.
He probably repulsed her, and this is her revenge.
HENRY. I see.


HENRY {to ISABELLA). I supposc wc had better tell
Lady Cottrell everything.

ISABELLA {in a whisper to henry). I don't want her
to know why I invited Louise here.


COTTRELL.) I am sorry to have to tell you, Lady
Cottrell, that Miss Parker has been doing her best all the
time she has been here to get Robin away from Maggie.

LADY COTTRELL {impressed and concerned). Indeed !

ISABELLA. I've had the most dreadful time with her.
I haven't known what to do. Last evening she actually
told me she had had the most wonderful talk with him,
and that he had as good as admitted to her that he
didn't want to marry Maggie. Of course, I knew it
wasn't true ; but fancy her saying such a thing. And,
later on, when Robin backed out of going to the Hender-
sons', she wanted me to let her stay behind with him.
But I wouldn't hear of it. I made her come to the
Hendersons' with us.

LADY COTTRELL. She sccms to havc found no difficulty
in outwitting you when she got there.

ISABELLA. I couldn't keep my eye on her all the time.
She got out when I wasn't looking. Then I suppose
she hurried home, thinking she would find Robin by
himself, and would practise her wiles upon him. But,
of course, she found him with Miss Heseltine. Then I
should think that he either repulsed her ; or, disappointed
at not finding him alone, she became so enraged she
worked herself into the state of mind in which a woman
can make herself believe anything.

LADY COTTRELL. I supposc shc'll go and spread this
nasty story.

ISABELLA. I shouldn't wonder.


{Enter robin. He halts and looks at them. He
is serious and worried, lady cottrell,
HENRY, and ISABELLA watch him in silence for
a moment.)


we'd better tell him, don't you ? {They all look at
ROBIN. ROBIN looks from one to the other for an explana-
tion. LADY COTTRELL stUl addresses henry and Isa-
bella.) What do you think ? Shall we tell him or
not ? (henry goes slowly to robin, lays his hand kindly
on his shoulder for a moment, then walks away, robin
watches henry, wondering, then turns to lady cottrell
and ISABELLA for an explanation.) Perhaps we had
better not tell him after all.

ISABELLA. I think we shall have to tell him.

HENRY. I think so, too. It appears, Robin, that
last evening

ISABELLA. I can't think how she could.

LADY COTTRELL. Miss Parker says that INIiss Heseltine
is your mistress.

( ROBIN is so taken aback and distressed he can't
speak for a moment, hut looks round helplessly
at the others.)

HENRY {sympathetically). We don't believe it.

ISABELLA. We told her so.

ROBIN. Of course it's not true. {He sits at his desk.
They watch him anxiously. After a moment he looks up.)
You'd better tell me what else she said.

HENRY. She said that you dined here last evening
alone with Miss Heseltine.

ROBIN. That's true.

HENRY. And that you were drinking champagne.

ROBIN. That's true.

HENRY. She also said that you — that she saw you

{He hesitates, not quite knowing how to express


ROBIN {after a pause), i want to marry Miss Heseltine.
{They all look at robin, then at each other, mute with
surprise, robin addresses lady cottrell.) That's
what I went to tell Sir Richard. I didn't see him. He'd
gone out — so I may as well tell you. I — I find I've made
a mistake, and I don't care for Maggie as much as I


thought I did ; so the only honourable thing for me to
do now is to break off my engagement.

HENRY {dismayed, then slowly perceiving what he
imagines to he the truth). Bravo ! {They all look at
HENRY in surprise.) I call that magnificent. {To
ROBIN.) To sacrifice yourself in order to save Miss
Heseltine's reputation. It's noble.

ROBIN {bewildered). But

ISABELLA {smiling at robin). It's just like you,


LADY coTTRELL {beaming upon him). Most chivalrous !


LADY COTTRELL {holding up her hand to silence robin
as she says). But don't forget that one may carry
chivalry too far and become quixotic.

robin. You don't understand. I love Miss Heseltine.

{They all laugh heartily.)

LADY COTTRELL. My dear, good man — what is the
use of trying to bluff us ?

robin {coming towards lady cottrell as he speaks).
I'm very much in earnest. Lady Cottrell. I realise
what a very serious matter it is to break off an engage-
ment, and I don't for one moment want to underestimate
my responsibilities — but surely it is better to recognise
my mistake now instead of later on.

lady cottrell {preparing to be indignant). To hear

you talk one would suppose — oh — {remembering he is

bluffing, as she thinks) but of course you don't mean it.

{She smiles and pats him on the arm.)

ROBIN. Can't you all see that this is quite a likely
thing to happen ? It's most unfortunate. I am much
to blame — but it's not the first time that a man has got
engaged and then found out that he loved some one else.

ISABELLA {sweetly). Robin, dear — if it were really
true that you love Miss Heseltine — you'd have thought
of it before now.

ROBIN. That's the funny thing about it. I have
known her for five years, and I never discovered I was
in love with her till last evening.

LADY COTTRELL. Most unconviucing !

(lady COTTRELL and ISABELLA IttUgh.)

ROBIN {distractedly). Can't I make them understand ?


{To HENRY.) You, Henry. You know when I mean a

HENRY [calmly and kindly and rather pompously). I
believe you would make this sacrifice, but I shall not let

ROBIN {taken aback by henry's superior attitude). Oh
— indeed ! {Derisively.) You won't let me. We'll see
about that.

henry. It's totally unnecessary. Take the advice
of a man of the world ; I'm younger than you, I know
— but you see — after all — you are only a writer —
(robin turns to him. quickly as if to retort.) I don't mean
to be offensive

ROBIN. I'm sure you don't, Henry ; but if I did
happen to want the advice of a man of the world —
I should never think of going to a thick - headed

ISABELLA {indignantly when henry is called a thick-
headed soldier). Oh !

HENRY {coming to ISABELLA and speaking indulgently
of robin). Never mind, dear. The poor old fellow is
so upset.


He'll come to his senses directly.

HENRY. I hope so. The trouble with him is — he
doesn't know life. He lives in a world of his own — a
world of romantic books where they indulge in these
heroic sacrifices.

ISABELLA {to robin). You scc, Robin ; even if Louise
did go and spread this story, nobody would be likely to
believe her, so it wouldn't do Miss Heseltine much

HENRY. We shall all do what we can to protect Miss

LADY COTTRELL. / wiU befriend the girl. I will go to
her now.

ROBIN {coming quickly towards lady cottrell). No.

LADY COTTRELL. Where does she live ? {Rises.)

ROBIN. I shan't tell you.

LADY COTTRELL. Maggie kuows.

ROBIN. Lady Cottrell ! I cant let you go to Miss
Heseltine. You'll talk her round. She'd pack up her
little box and go away without a word.


LADY COTTRELL. But I'm going to ask her to stay.
To let every one see that there isn't a word of truth
in Miss Parker's story — I shall ask Miss Heseltine as
a personal favour to me — to remain here after your

ROBIN. Impossible.

LADY COTTRELL. Not at all. Maggie is a sensible
girl. She knows that every literary man is closeted for
hours daily with a typist. She won't be jealous of Miss
Heseltine. I'll soon put everything all right. You shall
have them both. {Exit lady cottrell.)

ROBIN {desperately). I don't want Maggie.

HENRY. Why ?

ROBIN. She's too young.

ISABELLA. Three weeks ago you were all for youth.

ROBIN. I know I was, but I've had enough of it.
Maggie is just as sweet and pretty as she was three weeks
ago, but now that I've got to know her better — I can't
see anything in her at all.

(henry and Isabella both look extremely shocked.)

ISABELLA. If he really feels that way about her.

henry {smiles reassuringly at iSABEiiLA). He doesn't.
I know exactly how he feels. {He approaches robin
and says kindly.) You have got what we call in my
regiment " Bridegroom's Funk." We all get it as the
wedding-day approaches. I'd have given anything to
get out of marrying Isabella when it came to the last

ISABELLA {indignantly). Oh — oh !

{She bursts into tears and hurries towards the

HENRY {very much distressed, follows Isabella).
Isabella ! Listen ! I only meant

ISABELLA {wailing as she goes out). You don't love me.


HENRY. Isabella ! {Exit henry.)

ROBIN. Idiots !

{Enter miss heseltine. She is without her hat.)

MISS heseltine {^oausing on the threshold). I didn't
know whether to come as usual this morning or not.

robin. I'm so glad you came. Now at last we can
talk sense. Shut the door, please, (miss heseltine
shuts the door and meets him.) She told.


MISS HESELTINE. I knew she would.
ROBIN. They won't beheve her.


ROBIN. Lady Cottrell and Henry and Isabella. They
won't believe me either when I say that I want to break
my engagement and marry you.

MISS HESELTINE. Has Maggie been told ?

ROBIN. Not yet. She won't believe it when she is,
and even if she does, they'll all be at her, telling her I
don't mean what I say and urge her not to let me off.
I don't know what to do. They won't any of them
believe anything. It would be awfully funny if it
wasn't us. {He paces up and down.)

MISS HESELTINE. I uever thought of them taking it
this way. It simplifies it for us very much.

ROBIN {not comprehending). Simplifies it ?

MISS HESELTINE. If they none of them believe there's
been anything between us.

ROBIN. It leaves me more than ever engaged to

MISS HESELTINE. I doii't Want to make trouble.

ROBIN {anxiously). Oh, I say, you don't feel differently
about me this morning, do you ?

{He holds her hand.)

MISS HESELTINE {it is evident that she loves him more
than ever). After what you said to me last night ? No.
{With determination.) But I don't think it right or
reasonable that I should come between you and not only
Maggie, but your family and friends.

ROBIN {grimly). I've got you all against me now.

MISS HESELTINE. What could I bring you for all that
you would lose ? I've got no arts to hold you with, nor
beauty. I could only love you and work for you.
That isn't always enough.

ROBIN. There's every reason why you and I should
marry. Let alone the great reason. Leaving love out
of the question, it's the only sensible thing to do. We
suit each other. We have mutual interests and ideas.
The same things make us laugh. Besides which, we've
got accustomed. I feel no strangeness in your com-
pany, none of that wearisome effort to be a kind of
person that I'm nothing like. With you I could live
my life, I could do my work, I could be myself. Whereas


with Maggie — poor Maggie ! It isn't her fault she's so
tiresome. It's the fault of her youth.

MISS HESELTINE (troubled). I can't but remember that
it was / who sounded her for you — here in this room —
three weeks ago to-day.

ROBIN. I don't think she cares for me much. I
don't think it's in her to care for any one much.

MISS HESELTINE. That's what we want to think.

ROBIN {with determination). If I were to marry
Maggie now, I should do her a very great wrong, (miss
HESELTINE shttkes her head.) Oh, yes I should. If I
take her away from the home where she's happy, playing
with her brothers and her friends, bring her here and
don't love her — can't love her — it would be cruel. I
must tell her everything. I'll go and see her now at once.

MISS HESELTINE {anxiously). You will tell her, I
suppose, and then let her choose.

ROBIN {pausing). Choose ?

MISS HESELTINE. Choose whcthcr she will give you
up or not.

ROBIN. Suppose she chooses not to ?

MISS HESELTINE (simply). You would have done the
right thing.

ROBIN {doubtfully). Yes. {After a moment's reflection.)
But I should still be saddled with Maggie. I can't pass
the rest of my days with a young woman who has no
idea of life beyond extracting the utmost merriment
out of each moment. I shall tell her just as kindly

and as gently as I can, but

{Enter maggie.)

MAGGIE. Good-morning.

ROBIN. Good-morning, Maggie.

MAGGIE. I thought perhaps you'd be by yourself.

MISS HESELTINE. Am I in the way ?

ROBIN {to MAGGIE). Do you Want to sec me alone ?

MAGGIE. What I really wanted was to see her first
and you after.

ROBIN. Shall I leave you here with Miss Ilcscltine ?

MAGGIE. Let me think. {She considers a moment
while they watch her.) No ; on second thoughts, I'll
take you both together. I think I should feci more
courageous. And I shall only have to go over the
ground twice if I don't. {To miss iieseltine.) You


arc in the secret because, if you remember, you sounded
me about him.

MISS iiESELTiNE. I havcu't forgotten.

MAGGIE {addressing them both). Would you mind

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