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seating yourselves ? (maggie watches them seat them-
selves first, then she speaks very amiably, addressing
robin.) I don't think you are suited to me. I like
you very much. You are every bit as nice as you were
three weeks ago, but now that I've got to know you
better, I find that you depress me. (robin and miss
HESELTiNE look at each other trying very hard not to smile.)
When you play with us, for instance, I always feel you
are trying to be another kind of person from the one you
really are, and that you aren't thoroughly enjoying
yourself, and then I can't enjoy myself either. It
isn't your fault. It's the fault of your age. I don't
mean to say you are old, but you are not quite this
generation, are you ?

MISS HESELTINE (protesting). Oh !

(robin and m aggie look towards miss heseltine.)

ROBIN {smiling at miss heseltine as he says). There
are always tzvo points of view.

MAGGIE {to Miss heseltine). It's HO usc half sayiug
it or he won't catch my meaning.

ROBIN. I catch your meaning all right.

MISS heseltine {to herself in an undertone). He is
this generation.

MAGGIE {to robin). It was yesterday it was borne in
upon me so powerfully the immense difference in our
ages. You mustn't think I haven't thought about this
very seriously. I sat up quite late last night, talking
it all over with Bertha. We came to the conclusion
that it isn't fair to ask a girl of my age to marry a man
who has had his day.

Miss HESELTINE {springing up and saying indignantly
to MAGGIE). Oh, no !

MAGGIE {to MISS HESELTINE). See here ! You were
asked to stay in the room to give me your moral support.

MISS HESELTINE. I kuow I was — but wheu I hear
you talk like that about him — even a secretary has her

MAGGIE {kindly to miss heseltine). I mean to say —
he has lived and I haven't. The Avorld isn't all new and


exciting to him the way it is to me. I want parties
and people all the time. He's had all that and wants
to settle down. There's the difference between us.

ROBIN. You've hit the nail on the head, Maggie.

MAGGIE [going to robin). There's something else I
must tell you — something you may not like.

robin [smiling hopefully). You've fallen in love
with a boy of your own age.

MAGGIE. Oh, no.

miss heseltine. a man of your own age.

MAGGIE. Nothing of that sort. It's this. There
used to be some notion that it wasn't honourable for
a girl to break off her engagement unless the man were
willing to set her free.

robin [^pretending to maggie to he seriously impressed).

MAGGIE. People don't hold that notion now.

miss heseltine. You don't say so !

MAGGIE [to robin). I thought you might be old-
fashioned and want to hold me to my promise.

robin [airily). Oh, dear me, no — ^you'U find me
quite up-to-date on that point.

MAGGIE [looking at robin with admiration). I must
say you are taking it splendidly.

robin [trying to speak gravely). I am doing my best
to disguise my feelings.

[Enter louise. She wears the travelling clothes
in which she arrived in the first act, and seems
rather hysterical.)

LOUISE [crying). I'm not one to make trouble, but
I think you ought to know that I am being turned out
of the house for telling the truth. [Addressing robin.)
I owe it to myself to justify myself before the girl you
are engaged to. [Looking at maggie.) Last night —

ROBIN [interrupting her). No, Miss Parker, no. I
can't allow that. Besides, Miss Cottrell and I are no
longer engaged.

LOUISE [greatly surprised). What ?

ROBIN. She has broken it off.

LOUISE. Good gracious !

MAGGIE [going to ROBIN, says kindly). I do hope
you'll be able to find some one to console yourself with —
[with a meaning look and smile towards louise) some


older person ; some one who wants to get married as
much as you do. (Whispering.) We've all noticed
how fond she is of you. (She goes to miss heseltine and
takes her by the arm.) Come, let us leave them together.
miss heseltine. No.

(louise glides slowly towards robin with her most
seductive smile. He steps back a step or tzvo,
very much embarrassed, as she approaches.
Enter Isabella a7id henry.)
ISABELLA {speaking as she enters). Louise !
LOUISE (annoyed at being interrupted, says irritably).
What is it ?

ISABELLA. Your cab is here.

LOUISE. You may send it away again.

(Smiling and unfastening her coat as if she were
going to stay.)
MAGGIE (to robin). I'm surc you'll be happy together.
I must be off home to tell mother what I've done.

(Exit MAGGIE.)

ROBIN (bracing himself). Miss Parker.

LOUISE (smiling up at him). Louise.

ROBIN. The next time you tell the truth please tell
the whole of it, and add that Miss Heseltine and I are
going to be married. (To miss heseltine.) I suppose
we are going to get married, aren't we ?

(Taking her hands.)


LOUISE (rising majestically and giving her hand to
robin). Good-bye, Mr. Worthington.

ROBIN. Good-bye, Miss Parker. It has been such a
pleasure having you here.
LOUISE. Stop the cab !

(henry and Isabella bolt out of the door, louise
stalks out majestically, miss heseltine sits
down at her desk and begins writing on the
typewriter, robin comes behind her, gently
draws her hands from the machine, and embraces










Noel Gale (a Painter) . . . Mr. Gerald du Maurier

Sir Rufus Gale (a Retired Indian

Judge, Noel's Uncle) . . . Mr. Alfred Bishop

Captain Maurice Harding (of the ) Mr. Dawson Milward

Leila (Noel's Wife) . . Miss Marie Lo>ir

Josephine (Rufus's Wife) . . Miss Nina Boucicault

Harrison (a Maid-Servant) . . Miss Giles

The action takes place in Noel Gale's house in Chelsea, a?id covers
a period of ten tveeks.

Act I.— The Studio.
Six weeks pass.

Act II. — The DraAving-room.
A month passes.

Act III. — The Dining-room.




SCENE. — The Studio. This is a well-furnished, comfort-
able studio on an upper floor o/noel gale's house in
Chelsea. There is the studio window occupying nearly
the whole of the right-hand wall space. In the opposite
wall is a door, communicating with the rest of the
house. In the centre of the studio is a Model's dais,
and to the right of it an easel bearing a large canvas.
A chair, an ottoman, and a window-seat running the
whole width of the window are the principal pieces of
furniture ; but upon the walls there are pictures and
designs all of a decorative style, while several portfolios
of sketches lie about in some disorder.

NOEL is standing in front of the canvas. He finishes filling
his pipe, lights it, then crosses the studio to the window
and draws the ciirtains. noel is a young man, a
little over thirty years of age, pleasant in face, manner,
and disposition, clever and sensitive ; and is ordinarily
well-dressed in a fairly conventional way. noel is
disturbed by a knock on the door.

NOEL {as he is drawing the curtains). Come in.

{The door is pushed open timidly and Josephine
appears. Josephine is lady gale, a sweet,
kind and unselfish little woman of about fifty.
She has a quaint and rather provincial air. Her
clothes, which are unobtrusive, are rather old-
fashioned. There is nothing smart about her,
but she is very neat. She carries a small wicker
work-basket, containing her knitting, which con-
sists for the moment of some very small baby's

vol. II 145 L


JOSEPHINE {standing in the doorway and opening the
door). Good-morning, Noel.

NOEL {delighted to see her). Good-morning, Aunt
Josephine. Have you come to pay me a visit ?
JOSEPHINE. If it's quite convenient.
NOEL {going a little towards her). Yes — of course. I'm
delighted to see you. Where's Uncle Rufus ?
JOSEPHINE. He's here.

{Enter rufus. sir rufus gale is a newly retired
Indian Judge. He is a man of about sixty -five,
beaming, hale, and rubicund. He appears to be
still in the prime of life in spite of his white hair.
He is positive and dictatorial in manner, good-
humoured except under opposition, which he does
not very often encounter. He treats his wife like
a child, usually with condescending amiability
but sometimes tetchily.)
rufus. Good-morning, Noel. {Closes door.) You
didn't turn up to breakfast.

NOEL. I always have mine by myself, early. How
did you sleep under our roof ?

RUFUS. Wonderfully well, thank you.
NOEL. Aunt Josephine too ?

JOSEPHINE. I never sleep so well in a strange bed.
RUFUS {to JOSEPHINE). You slcpt Splendidly. Never
disturbed me once.

NOEL. What has become of Leila ?
RUFUS. She left us to go and do her housekeeping.
Told us to find our way in here as soon as we had finished
our unpacking.

NOEL. Have you finished it already — all those boxes ?

RUFUS. The maid came and interrupted us in the
middle — wanting to do the room.

NOEL. Stay with me till your room is ready. We can
have a good gossip. You got here so late last evening
we had no time for talking.

JOSEPHINE. You mustn't let us interfere with your

RUFUS {to noel). You go on with whatever you were
doing — we'll poke about and look at your things.
NOEL. All right.
JOSEPHINE. If we may.


NOEL (going back to his easel). Yes, certainly. Do
anything you like. {Continues working on his picture
while RUFUS and Josephine poke about.) I hope you
have come to stay with us for a good long time.

JOSEPHINE. Thank you, dear. We hope so too.

NOEL. For as long as you want to be in London, you
must use our house as your hotel.

RUFUS. Thank you, my boy, thank you. That's just
what your aunt and I had arranged to do.

JOSEPHINE. If we were asked.

RUFUS {to JOSEPHINE). We are asked. He's just
asked us.

NOEL (amused). Leila and I will love to have you.

JOSEPHINE (explaining to noel). We must think of
saving expenses, you see, now that your uncle has retired
and only has his pension. Before you so kindly asked
us to stay with you I was afraid I might have to forego
the luxury of a visit to London and let Uncle Rufus come
without me, which would have been a sad disappoint-
ment, I have been looking forward for so long to a little
fling in town, before we settle down anywhere — (goes
round the ottoman, picks up a portfolio and carries it to the
dais) theatres and concerts and pictures. That is what I
miss so much in India — the arts.

NOEL. Allow me.

JOSEPHINE (smilingly refusing his assistance). Don't
you bother about me. (Lays the portfolio down on the dais
as she says) I am used to doing things for myself. (Sits
on the dais and puts on her spectacles.)

(As NOEL goes back to his easel rufus comes down
between them towards the portfolio.)

rufus. What have you got there, my dear, what
have you got there ? Let me see. (Sits on the dais at
the other side of the portfolio, which he monopolises.)

(JOSEPHINE yields it meekly. Josephine does not
in the least object to yielding the portfolio. She
does not visibly object to anything he does. She
accepts it all. She has grown so accustomed.)

NOEL. Have you decided where you'll settle down ?

JOSEPHINE. We think of Cheltenham or Tunbridge

NOEL. Why not London ?

JOSEPHINE. Your uncle thought that in London we


should be rather lost — whereas in Cheltenham or Tun-
bridge Wells — we should be somebody.

RUFUS {amiably reproving Josephine). You needn't
go into all my reasons. But we think of Cheltenham —
or Tunbridge Wells — or Bath — any of those quiet respect-
able towns where we should meet refined, nice people —
like ourselves.

NOEL. A retired Indian judge and his lady would be
quite an important addition to the society of Tunbridge

RUFUS {conceitedly — making light of it). I suppose so.

JOSEPHINE {looking at a sketch). You know, Noel, it
seems to me — these sketches of yours are very good.

NOEL {genuinely pleased). I'm very glad to hear you
say so.

RUFUS {snatching the sketch from Josephine). Let me
look. {Holding it off and looking at it.) Excellent —
excellent !

JOSEPHINE {looking at the sketch over rufus's shoulder).
You have quite a style of your own.

RUFUS. Just what I was about to say.

JOSEPHINE. Full of distinction and charm.

RUFUS. Full. {Tosses the sketch on to the portfolio,
after which josephine picks it up and examines it
again, as he says to noel.) Why aren't you more
famous ?

noel {carelessly). I don't know. There isn't much
demand for decorative work. Most people don't under-
stand it or care about it.

RUFUS. Ignoramuses !

JOSEPHINE. But the few who do understand — admire
what you do — don't they, Noel ?

NOEL. They praise it, but they don't buy it. I sell
things, of course — here and there— nothing very much.

RUFUS. You ought to get hold of a big job, such as —
er — decorating a church or a town hall.

NOEL. That's what I should like to do, but in England
they don't consider you qualified to undertake a commis-
sion of that importance — until you are about ninety —
unless you are a foreigner. I've been approached lately
to go to America to decorate a public librarj^

RUFUS. Oh ! well now — that's something. Are you
going ?


NOEL. It's only an inquiry yet. It may not come to

JOSEPHINE. I think it's very silly of everybody not
to overwhelm you with commissions when you do such
beautiful work.

NOEL {coming down behind the dais with some nnore
sketches as he speaks). Those are old things you are look-
ing at. These are more recent. {Laying them down on
the top of the others between rufus and Josephine.) Tell
me what you think of these.

RUFUS {picking up a sketch at random, holding it off
and exclaiming before he can possibly have had time to form
an opinion). First rate — first rate — full of style and dis-
tinction and charm.

NOEL {crosses round dais and sits on the ottoman. Watch-
ing Josephine's face as she examines a sketch without ex-
pressing any enthusiasm or admiration). Not so good —
are they ?

JOSEPHINE {weakly, not wishing to hurt his feelings).
Oh, I don't know.

NOEL. You don't like them — do you ?

JOSEPHINE {without conviction). Oh yes, I do. I like
them very much.

NOEL. You are not enthusiastic about them as you
were about the others.

JOSEPHINE. I don't think I like them quite so well as
the others, but —

NOEL. Come and have a look at this. This is the last
thing I've done — this portrait. Come and tell me what
you think of it.

JOSEPHINE {following him reluctantly). What's the
good of my opinion ? Fm not an art critic.

NOEL. You are as good a critic as ever I had. You
may not know so much about it technically, but you have
all the feeling of an artist.

JOSEPHINE {rises and crosses to the easel, very much
pleased). Oh, Noel dear — how kind of you to say

NOEL {puts a stool in front of the picture). I shall never
forget that you were the first person to recognise that I
had any talent. It was you who persuaded father to let
me become a painter.

JOSEPHINE {sitting on the stool. Watching rufus who has


been left sitting on the dais and does not at all relish having
no notice taken of him). And your Uncle Rufus.

RUFUS {turns his back to them). I had nothing to do
with it — nothing whatever.

JOSEPHINE. Oh, yes, Rufus dear — you had — every-
thing to do with it. / may have been the first to recog-
nise the boy's talent, but that was only because I saw his
little drawings before you did. You recognised it as soon
as you saw them, (rufus begins to be mollified. She con-
tinues.) I forget now which of us it was who urged his
father, but I should think, as he was your brother, it
would be you.

RUFUS {turning to her, says condescendingly). I daresay
you are right. I've forgotten. It's so long ago.

JOSEPHINE. Do come and give us your opinion of the

RUFUS {with a haughty glance at noel). My opinion has
not been asked. {Turns away from them.)

JOSEPHINE {distressed). Oh, but Noel wants it — don't
you, Noel ? {She glances at rufus, then drops her voice
and says aside to noel.) He likes to think he knows.
It's his little vanity.

NOEL {humouring them both). Please, Uncle Rufus, I
can't go on with my work till I know what you think.

RUFUS {pretending to be more bored than pleased as he
swaggers towards the easel). Oh well, if you really want to

know {He cocks his eye-glasses on his nose and stands

before the picture, too close to it.)

JOSEPHINE {as she looks admiringly at rufus). So
many people ask him for his judgement on their pictures.

RUFUS {after putting his head first on one side and
then on the other, trying to look like a connoisseur as they
watch him, at last says.) Who is it ?

NOEL. Captain Harding, his name is

RUFUS. Captain Harding — {Repeating the busi-
ness of putting his head first on one side and then on the
other.) Oh — well — {not wishing to commit himself and
make another mistake he appeals to Josephine) what do
you think ?

JOSEPHINE. It's so different from his other work.

RUFUS. Not so good ?

JOSEPHINE. I don't mean that. I mean — that it's
not in his usual decorative style.


RUFUS {in a tone of condescending chaff). Any one could
see that. Rather superfluous to pomt it out to me.

NOEL. I am trying to become a fashionable portrait

JOSEPHINE. Oh — are you ? Why ?

NOEL (simply). Leila wants me to.

JOSEPHINE. But what a pity — when you do the other
work so well.

NOEL. The other work doesn't pay.

JOSEPHINE. Of course — if you succeed at this.

NOEL {turning to her quickly as he says). You don't
think I have succeeded ?

JOSEPHINE. I don't know. We haven't seen Captain

RUFUS. I can't tell you till I've seen him.

NOEL. You don't need to have seen Philip the Fourth
of Spain to know that Velasquez made a good portrait
of him.

RUFUS. Eh ! No.

JOSEPHINE {looking at the picture). It's not finished.

NOEL. Very nearly. I shan't do much more to it
now. {Pauses, trying to read the expression on Josephine's
face before he says.) Rotten — isn't it ?

JOSEPHINE. No, dear — no.

RUFUS {standing with his arm round Josephine's
shoulders). Not at all rotten.

JOSEPHINE. It's very clever.

RUFUS. Stylish — ^that's the word — stylish.

JOSEPHINE {agreeing with rufus). Yes. {As she comes
towards noel.) But it looks to me a little

NOEL. Mechanical.

JOSEPHINE. I think perhaps that's it. As if your
heart wasn't in your work.

NOEL {smiles as he says quietly). I said you were a good

RUFUS. That's exactly the criticism / make. His
heart's not in his work. That's what I say. Why isn't
your heart in your work ?

NOEL. How should I know ?

RUFUS. D'you need a tonic ?

NOEL {laughing). No.

RUFUS. It's a very good thing if you've been over-


NOEL. I haven't. I don't work hard enough. I
spend enough hours in my studio — but I seem lately to
have lost my power of concentration. I've known for
some time that my work is deteriorating. I didn't know,
till just now, that any one else had noticed it. I might
as well chuck this game up and go into the City.

RUFUS. What for ?

NOEL. To make money.

RUFUS. Why this rage to be rich ? You want to get
on, of course, and as you get on you'll make money, but
you don't depend on this for your living. You've got
your private income.

NOEL. Eight hundred a year doesn't go far in London.
It was all right when we lived at St. Ives.

RUFUS. Why did you ever leave St. Ives ?

NOEL {simply). Leila likes London, (rufus looks at
JOSEPHINE — she looks at him; noel, remarking their ex-
change of glatices, says to excuse leila.) It was dull for
her at St. Ives.

RUFUS. Can't you work as well in London ? Plenty
of artists do.

NOEL. I could work better — if it wasn't for all these
lunches and dinners and parties we go to.

RUFUS. Why d'you go to them ?

NOEL {simply). Leila likes society. {Another exchange
of glances between rufus and Josephine which noel sees
— he again excuses leila.) And it's right that she should
have it. Leila is a great social success. She's enor-
mously popular.

JOSEPHINE. I don't wonder. She is so charming and

NOEL {smiles at Josephine, delighted to hear leila
praised). Isn't she ?

RUFUS {who can't bear to be left out of the conversation
even for a moment). I haven't said she's not — have I ?

JOSEPHINE {soothingly to rufus). No, dear — no.

RUFUS. I don't deny that she is charming and pretty.
It is quite natural that she should be popular. But
what I do say is — if all this gadding about is too ex-
pensive for him, and has an injurious effect upon his
work she ought to be content to stay at home.

NOEL. She might get bored.
RUFUS. Let her.


NOEL. I shouldn't like her to be bored when she's
with me.

RUFUS. Well then — if she must have society— can't
she go about by herself, without dragging you along ?

NOEL. I shouldn't like that. I don't want Leila to
go about without me. That is the way so many couples
in London become estranged.

JOSEPHINE. He's quite right there, Rufus.
RUFUS {ignoring Josephine's remark — says to noel).
You are being sacrificed to Leila.

NOEL. There's a difference between a sacrifice and
an offering.

RUFUS. The more we do for people the less they think
of us.

(JOSEPHINE looks at RUFUS, hut he is not thinking
of her.)
NOEL. One doesn't only do things for people in the
hope of getting a reward — if I do anything for Leila it's


RUFUS {interrupts him). Because she exacts.

NOEL {protests). No.

JOSEPHINE. Because he loves her.

NOEL {smiles). Yes.

{Enter leila — she is a delightful young married

woman, gay and good-humoured, charming and

smart — a woman of spirit and abundant vitality

— accustomed to having her own way without

fighting for it. She carries a visiting card in

her hand — Josephine makes a movement to rise

as she enters.)

LEILA. Noel ! Don't get up, Aunt Josephine. Noel

dear, this man has called to see you. {She offers him the

card with her right hand.)

NOEL {instead of at once looking at the card, takes her
left hand and kisses it). Dear Leila !

LEILA {smiling). That is my hand. This is his card.
NOEL {smiling at her). Let's see who he is. {Before
he looks at the card he says.) You've got your hair done
in a new way.

LEILA. D'you like it ?

NOEL. Yes. I like that saucy little twist just there.
LEILA {laughs and thrusts the card at him). There !
NOEL {taking the card from her). What's his name ?


LEILA. Mr. Welkin. I think he's an American by his

NOEL {reading the card). Elisha P. Welkin. Yes, he
must be. What does he want ?

LEILA. I don't know. I didn't see him. I only heard
him. Harrison put him in the drawing-room and
brought his card to me.

NOEL {after puzzling over the card, says to leila). Oh,
I know. It's about that library. {To rufus and
JOSEPHINE.) That library in America that I told you
they might be wanting me to go and decorate.

RUFUS. Oh yes, yes, yes — to be sure. (To Josephine.)
You know.

JOSEPHINE. Yes, dear.

NOEL {adopting an American accent for fun as he says
to leila). I guess I'll go and interview Elisha P. Welkin
right now.

{He goes out. leila sits on the dais and fingers
the sketches as she speaks.)

LEILA. Have you been looking at Noel's things ?

JOSEPHINE. Yes, dear.

RUFUS {coughs and clears his throat, then turns to
leila). I am sorry to have to say, Leila, that in my
opinion his work is not as good as it used to be. Even
your aunt notices it.

LEILA {in mild surprise as she looks at Josephine). Oh.

JOSEPHINE. He says himself that it is deteriorating.

LEILA. He hasn't said so to me.

RUFUS. Can't you see for yourself ?

LEILA. I don't notice any change.

RUFUS. Perhaps you don't take very much interest
in his work.

LEILA {smiles at him, rather surprised at any one taking
this tone to her, before she answers). I take an interest in
it from the point of view that it's his. 1 want him to
succeed. I daresay I don't appreciate it as much as
some people do, because I don't understand it properly.
It would be affectation for me to pretend to be an
authority — like Aunt Josephine.

JOSEPHINE {meekly). I don't pretend to be an
authority on anything.

RUFUS {importantly, as he turns to leila). We can't
all be connoisseurs, (leila looks at him and smiles.)


Don't you think it's unwise to make him go about so

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