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much in society — wasting his time and frittering away
his talents ?

LEILA {putting the sketches together). I don't make him
go about. On the contrary, I'm always urging him to
stick to his work and let me go out without him.

JOSEPHINE. He wouldn't like that.

LEILA. Why not ? I'm quite as well able to take
care of myself.

RUFUS {more to himself than her). So I see.

LEILA. And I'm sure he ought to be able to trust me.

RUFUS {tries playfulness as he sits on the dais facing
her). If / were your husband, my little Leila, and I
wanted you to stop at home with me — I'd make you.

LEILA {gaily). Oh, would you ! I should like to see
any one try to make me do anything I don't want to.
{Looking from one to the other and seeing that they dis-
approve of this remark, she explains herself.) It's a good
thing for Noel for me to go about and meet people. It
makes him known. I get clients for him. It's all
through me that Captain Harding is having his portrait
painted — {checks herself then continues) Oh — but don't
tell Noel that. I shouldn't like him to think that it was
more for mz/ charms than his talents that Captain
Harding gave him the commission. It would hurt his
feelings, and I hate hurting people's feelings. It makes
me feel such a brute

RUFUS {pompously). You need not fear, my dear
Leila, that I shall say anything calculated to turn your
husband against you.

LEILA {with exaggerated sweetness). Oh, thank you, my
dear Uncle Rufus. It wouldn't matter if you did,
because you couldn't if you tried. What are you
making, Aunt Josephine ?

JOSEPHINE. Socks for my grand-daughter. {Holding
up a very tiny sock.) Isn't she growing tall ?

LEILA {taking and smiling at the little sock). How
sweet !

RUFUS {continues in his important manner). I don't
want you to run away with the idea that Noel has been
talking — about you.

LEILA {turns to RUFUs). I'm sure he has. {Smiles.)
He never does anything else.


RUFUS. Complaining, I mean.

LEILA (gaily). Noel — complain of ine ! He thinks
I'm perfection. (Turns her back on rufus again as she
says to JOSEPHINE.) How long does it take you, on an
average, to make a little sock like that ?

RUFUS (trying to recall her attention). Leila !

LEILA (ignoring him, says to Josephine). About a
fortnight ?

RUFUS. Leila !



JOSEPHINE. Your uncle is speaking.

LEILA. Oh — still ? (Turning to rufus.) Yes ?

RUFUS. I want you to give me your attention.

LEILA (turning and facing him). Of course I will.
What is it ?

RUFUS. We are often selfish, without meaning to be.

LEILA (pretending to be impressed). How true that is.
It reminds me of something I wanted to speak to you
about. I wonder if I dare. (She glances from rufus to
JOSEPHINE while RUFUS speaks, and at last goes over to him
and takes his arm.)

RUFUS. Of course, dear Leila. Out with it. Don't
be afraid.

LEILA. Well. This morning, when Aunt Josephine
and I were breakfasting together, before you came down,
we were talking about her wardrobe, which sadly needs
replenishing — I was advising her where to go and what
to get — and what do you think she said ? That she
could only afford one new dress because you wanted so
many clothes, (rufus begins to grow restive, gets his
arm free, and Josephine lays down her knitting and looks
alarmed.) I know you don't mean to be selfish, but I
thought if I put it before you — poor Aunt Josephine !

(To hide a mischievous smile, she turns away from
him, hiding her amusement from them both.
JOSEPHINE, very much upset, rises and goes
towards rufus as she speaks.)

JOSEPHINE. Don't mind anything she says, Rufus
dear. One new dress is quite enough ; if I could have
one nice evening gown — prune silk, I thought.

RUFUS (haughtily). If you require more, you have
only to say so.


JOSEPHINE. But I don't, dear, I don't — {looking
down at her rather old-fashioned gown as she continues)
I'm sure I shall do very well as I am when we get to
Cheltenham or Tunbridge Wells. You must have good
clothes, to go to your clubs in.

RUFUs {turning to her). You make me look so selfish.
{He walks about in some perturbation, while Josephine
shakes her head and feels thoroughly in the zvrong.)

LEILA. I'm so sorry I said anything. It's always
a mistake to give unsolicited advice. It's never

{Enter maurice — this is captain harding. He
wears his full-dress uniform, in which he is being
painted, and makes a most brilliant appearance —
he is a fine young fellow of twenty-eight — with
a handsome appearance and charming manners
— LEILA goes towards him to greet him when he
Oh, here's Captain Harding. Good-morning.

MAURICE. How d'you do ? {They shake hands.)
LEILA. May I introduce you to my uncle and aunt ?
Captain Harding — Lady Gale.
MAURICE. How d'you do ?
LEILA. And my uncle— Sir Rufus Gale.
MAURICE. Oh ! — the Judge — how d'you do ? {They
shake hands.) I heard you were expected.
RUFUS. You saw it in the papers ?
MAURICE. No ; your nephew told me.
RUFUS. Oh, yes ! It was in the papers.

{He joins Josephine in the window — he shows her
a letter.)
MAURICE {lays his cap and gloves on the chair beside the
ottoman. To leila). Where's the master ?

LEILA {coming towards him). He's engaged with a man
on business. I don't expect he'll be long.

MAURICE. Oh ! (leila picks up a portfolio with
sketches.) May I help you ? {Under cover of putting
the sketches away in the portfolio they talk in low tones, so
as not to be heard by rufus and Josephine). Will you
lunch with me to-morrow ?
LEILA. Is it a party ?


LEILA. Then I can't.


MAURICE. Why not ?

LEILA. I have a jealous husband.

MAURICE. Did he object the other time ?

LEILA. When ?

MAURICE. There's only once that you ever lunched
with me alone. Did he make a row ?

LEILA. Of course not. He didn't say anything. I
didn't tell him.

MAURICE. Can't you do the same to-morrow ? (leila
shakes her head.) Why ?

LEILA. I don't like being underhand.

MAURICE. There'd be no harm in your meeting me

LEILA. Of course, there'd be no harm in it.

MAURICE {with a sigh). Unfortunately.

LEILA (smiles). You are a devil.

MAURICE (smiles). So are you. That's why we get
on so well, (leila is tying the tape of a portfolio. He
tries to take her hand.) If your jealous husband went
away ?

LEILA (avoiding his hands). He never does.

MAURICE, But if he did ?

LEILA (lifts up the portfolio and holds it out to maurice
as she says in an ordinary tone). Will you please put that
portfolio back in the corner for me ? (As maurice
takes the portfolio.) Thank you. (Crosses to ^ijyi^s and


(maurice replaces the portfolio in the corner,
where it originally came from. Enter noel.)

NOEL. Good-morning, Harding.

MAURICE. Good-morning.

NOEL. I'm awfully sorry to have kept you waiting.
Shall we begin now, so as not to waste any more of your
time ? (Turning, he sees rufus and Josephine standing
together near the picture.) Oh ! (To maurice.) Do
you mind my uncle and aunt being here ?

MAURICE (amiably). Not a bit.

JOSEPHINE (politely). Wouldn't you rather we went
away ?

RUFUS. No, my dear, no ; certainly not. Let us stay
where we are. This may amuse me.

(JOSEPHINE still looks undccidcd.)

LEILA. It's all right, Aunt Josephine. I often sit in


the studio while Captain Harding is being painted —
don't I, Noel ?

NOEL (innocently). Always. (To maurice.) Come
along. Let's begin.

MAURICE (gets on to the dais and sits on a stool facing
NOEL. Speaking from the time he picks up his cap from
chair). I'm afraid I shall only be able to stay for a short
while. I have an engagement directly. But you said
if I could come for five or ten minutes, it would be better
than nothing.

NOEL. I know. I needn't detain you long this morning.

JOSEPHINE {speaking to leila). I suppose we mustn't

LEILA (gaily). Oh ! yes you may. I chatter away
whenever I feel like it. Don't I, Noel ?

NOEL. Yes, dear.

MAURICE. Fm the only one who mayn't speak. It's
such a bore — sitting here like a waxwork — not allowed
to open my mouth.

NOEL. Would you mind not moving your lips ?
There, that's it ; now you're splendid.

LEILA. Let me hold some of this wool for you.

JOSEPHINE. Oh ! thank you, dear — that would be
a great help.

LEILA (holds the wool while Josephine begins to wind
it). Noel !

NOEL. Yes.

LEILA. What did Mr. Welkin have to say ?

NOEL (working on his canvas). A great deal. He
says — if I'll go out to America — have a look at that
library — see what I can make of it, and submit my
designs, and so forth — he'll pay all my expenses. I shall
have to compete with two or three others — but he thinks
I stand a first-rate chance.

LEILA. How splendid !

NOEL. If I got the job — it would be a great thing for
me, excellent terms — much better than I expected. The
worst of it is — they are in such a hurry. They want me
to go out at once.

MAURICE. To America ?

NOEL. Yes. (Becomes intent upon his canvas, so that
he does not see maurice deliberately turn his head and look
at LEILA — their eyes meet for a moment — then leila looks


away. Nobody notices this. Josephine is intent upon
her knitting, and iiufus is watching noel. noel looks
up from his canvas at maurice and says, quite unsuspect-
ingly.) Would you mind looking this way ? (maurice
resumes his correct position. After a momenfs pause,
NOEL says to leila, working as he speaks.) Well, Leila,
what do you say ?

LEILA. It sounds most promising.

NOEL. So / think. {After a momenfs silence.) How
soon could you be ready ?

LEILA {surprised at this question, then says, after an
appreciable pause). I ?

NOEL. Yes.

LEILA. Am I to go too ?

NOEL {surprised by this question, pauses in his work and
says). I suppose so. I don't know. I never thought of
anything else. {Continues working.)

LEILA. Wouldn't it make it rather expensive for you
if I went too ?

NOEL. Welkin pays. He understood that you would
be going too. At least, I took it for granted you would
when I made the arrangements. He has invited us to
stay at his house— with him and Mrs. Welkin — for as
long as I have to be there.

LEILA. Oh, yes.

NOEL. Very kind of him, isn't it ?

LEILA. Very — very kind. When does he want you
to sail ?

NOEL. What he said was {assuming an American
accent) " Come right back with me to-morrer. Bring
Mrs. Gale along — glad to have you — bully, fierce — fine."
{The others smile at this. Continues in his natural voice.)
I told him we couldn't leave as soon as that, but that
we'd follow him in a week or two — as soon as you could
get ready.

LEILA. Oh, yes.

{There is a pause, during which maurice turns
deliberately and looks at leila.)

NOEL {looking up from his canvas at maurice, says,
unsuspectingly). Eyes right, please.

(maurice resumes his correct position.)

LEILA {after a momenfs silence). What about Uncle
Rufus and Aunt Josephine ?


JOSEPHINE {to LEILA). Oh, but you mustn't think of

NOEL. I thought if Uncle Rufus and Aunt Josephine
wanted to stay on in London after we left, they could
take care of the house for us. {Not thinking what he is
saying.) We should have to put somebody in.

LEILA. Noel !

(rufus grunts.)

NOEL {afraid he has given him offence, turns to him
quickly and says). I mean — you know what I mean.

RUFUS. Of course, my dear Noel, of course. Such
an arrangement as you suggest would suit us admirably.

NOEL. There, Leila ! You see. There's no need for
you to stay behind on their account.

JOSEPHINE {to leila). Nouc whatever.

LEILA. I'm afraid you'd find me rather in the way.

NOEL. You ! Leila ! What an idea !

LEILA. Suppose I can't get on with Mrs. Welkin.
How dreadful that would be — ^having to be civil to her
every day for. . . . How long do you expect to be gone,

NOEL. About a month — six weeks with the journeys.

LEILA. I'm sure I should be sick all the way over.

JOSEPHINE {to leila). I kuow of such an excellent
remedy ; I tried it on our last voyage from Bombay !
Marvellous ! And always before — I've been such a
martyr. Sir Rufus can tell you.

RUFUS. Don't recall it, my dear. It was horrible —
disgusting !

JOSEPHINE {in an aside to leila). No injurious after-

RUFUS. Josephine ! Please !

(JOSEPHINE says the rest in a whisper to leila.)

NOEL. You were all right last summer, Leila — in the
Mediterranean — and we had a most awful squall.

RUFUS. / should have thought she'd be glad to go.
Such a chance to see the world. It improves one so —
a residence abroad — makes one so interesting and enter-

NOEL. Never mind, Uncle Rufus. She'll go with me
if she wants to — and if she doesn't — I don't want her
to do anything that she doesn't want to.

RUFUS {looking severely at leila), I should also



have thought that she might consider it her duty
to go.

JOSEPHINE {echoing rufus's sentiments with great
conviction). Yes.

NOEL. I hope you will never do anything for me,
Leila, from a sense of duty.

JOSEPHINE {lays her hand timidly on leila's arm and
says, appealingly). He wants you to go with him.

LEILA {smiles at Josephine to make it all right, then
rises and comes towards the easel as she says, amiably, to
noel). May I come and see how you are getting on,
Noel, dear ?

NOEL {pleased by any attention from leila). Do, dear.
Come and tell me what you think of it. {Steps back from
the picture to look at it.)

LEILA {takes Noel's arm and stands beside him, looking
at the picture). Oh ! isn't that good ? Splendid ! You
have improved it. {Glances at maurice as she says.)
You've made him much too handsome. {Looking at
the picture again.) It's wonderful ! It really is —
wonderful I'm so proud of you. {Kisses him.)

NOEL. Oh, Leila ! Leila !

LEILA {withdrawing her arm from noel's). Now I
must go and answer letters. {Goes to the door, where
she pauses and says vaguely to anybody.) I shall be in
the drawing-room if anybody wants me.

{She goes out. There is a silence of several seconds
after leila goes out before maurice speaks,
during which noel continues working.)

MAURICE. Does anybody know what time it is ?
{He pauses, but no one notices his question.) Never
mind. It's sure to be time I flew. Awfully sorry I
can't stay longer.

NOEL. So am I ; but it can't be helped if you've got
an engagement. Very good of you to have come in
for these few minutes.

MAURICE {rises and steps off dais). Not at all. {Looking
at the portrait, says, pleasantly.) Getting on — isn't it ?
{Shakes hands with noel.) Good-bye.

NOEL. Good-bye, old man.

MAURICE {shaking hands with rufus). Good-bye,
Sir Rufus.

rufus. Good-bye.


MAURICE {shaking hands with Josephine, who rises as
he approaches). Good-bye, Lady Gale.

JOSEPHINE. Good-bye, Captain Harding.

MAURICE {speaking to noel as he goes towards the
door). Let me know when you go to America — won't
you ?

NOEL. Of course. As my wife is not coming — I shall
probably sail to-morrow — with Welkin.

MAURICE. I see. {Smiles round at every one). Good-

{He goes out.)

NOEL {speaking as maurice goes out). Good-bye.
{Throws palette down on shelf under paint table, his
expression is thoughtful and despondent.)

JOSEPHINE {watches him, then sits on the dais.
Sympathetically). She may decide to go with you, Noel,
after she has had time to think it over.

NOEL. No, she won't.

JOSEPHINE. You haven't discussed it properly yet.

NOEL. She has made up her mind not to go — so she
won't go. I know Leila. I'm not going to press the
point to be refused again. It's quite reasonable of her
not to come. It would be inconvenient. It's a long
way. I see all that. I shouldn't mind her refusal so
much if she'd only said she would like to go with me.
It's no use pretending to you. Staying here in the
house, you'll very soon see for yourselves how things
are. You've seen already. I daresay my disappoint-
ment is partly due to pride. It's not very pleasant to
have you all sitting round and noticing — how it's
nothing to her — if / go away — to the other side of the

JOSEPHINE {sympathetically). She's fond of you, Noel
— I'm sure she's fond of you.

NOEL. She's what's called " Fond of me in her way "
— that means — she doesn't dislike me

JOSEPHINE {a little shocked by the suggestion). Noel !

NOEL. She thinks I don't matter. It's just what
Uncle Rufus said, " The more we do for people, the less
they think of us."

RUFUS {rising and coming towards them as he says,
pompously). Very true — that remark of mine ! To be
always suppressing one's own will and desires in favour


of somebody else is no doubt extremely noble — but it
doesn't pay.

JOSEPHINE (quietly). It's the only way to get on with
some people.

NOEL. Bad-tempered people. But she's not that.
If I have given in to Leila, it has been without a struggle
— from affection — I wanted to please her. It began
when I fell in love with her. We both began like that.
When Leila and I were first married, there was quite a
race between us to see which could do most for the other
for about two months.

JOSEPHINE. It always begins like that.

RUFUS. How foolish to let it continue on one side

NOEL. Very foolish.

RUFUS. Why do you do it ?

NOEL. Aunt Josephine understands.

RUFUS. It's ridiculous for you to be at the mercy of
Leila. You are much cleverer than she is.

NOEL. Oh, yes — much — {pointing to his brain) —

RUFUS. Ridiculous ! And look what it's bringing
you to. Your life is confused, upset, unsatisfactory.
You are gradually becoming less interesting as an artist
and as a man. Worst of all, less and less able to interest
the very person for whom all these sacrifices are being

JOSEPHINE {rises, seeing how troubled noel is by the
truth of these remarks, protests gently). Rufus !

RUFUS {to JOSEPHINE). He's got to havc it. {To
NOEL.) What you need is — mental detachment.

(JOSEPHINE sits on the ottoman.)

RUFUS. You should cultivate a spirit of independence.

NOEL. I know all that, just as well as you can tell me.
But how is one to change habits while circumstances
remain the same ? You can't turn round suddenly
after breakfast one morning and become a new man —
apropos of nothing at all.

RUFUS {thoughtfully). No. It needs a crisis — some
definite point to come to issues upon. Well, here is
your opportunity.

NOEL. Where ?

RUFUS. This voyage.


NOEL. You mean — make this a test case ! Insist
upon her coming along with me ?

RUFUS. No ; go without her — the sooner the better —
to-morrow — with Mr. Welkin, (noel assents, and is
impressed and interested by all that rufus says in the
following speech.) While you are away, you'll be hard
at work. You'll be successful. You'll be made a fuss
of. That will give you confidence. Your old powers
will reassert themselves. When you have gained the
mastery over yourself, you'll be able to gain the mastery
over her.

NOEL. I shouldn't wonder if you are right. {To
JOSEPHINE.) You'll stay here and look after Leila while
I'm away, won't you ?

(JOSEPHINE is about to assent, when rufus

RUFUS. Now, now, now — none of that. Never mind
her. Think of yourself.

NOEL {smiles at rufus as he says). I don't want her
to feel lonely while I'm away.

RUFUS. Yes, you do. That's exactly what you do
want. Let her be lonely, miss you, long for you. Then
she'll remember your goodness to her. She'll appreciate
you when you are not here. And when you come home
{with an expansive smile) she'll give you such a welcome.
(noel smiles, too, as rufus gives him an encouraging
slap on the back, then goes up to door, speaking to Josephine
as he passes her.) Come along, Josephine. The room
must be ready now. Come and help me with the
unpacking. {Opens the door wide and stands waiting for


(JOSEPHINE obediently gathers up her work and
goes to the door, speaking as she does so.)

JOSEPHINE. You shall sit on the bed, dear, and
direct me where to put the things. {When she is in the
doorway she pauses and says.) Oh ! {She says it in
such a way as to attract noel's attention, josephine
turns to NOEL and says, without any suspicion, just as if
it were a piece of news.) There's Captain Harding just
coming out of the drawing-room now.

NOEL. Oh ! I suppose he's been talking to Leila.

JOSEPHINE. Very likely.

rufus {who is still waiting for Josephine to go out).


Out of the way, my dear ; out of the way. Either go
out or come in — one of the two ; but don't block up the

(JOSEPHINE and rufus go out of the room, leaving
NOEL before the easel.)



SCENE. — The drawing-room. This is a charming room
on the first floor. The windows afford a view of the
upper parts of the trees in noel's small front garden.
The room is decorated and furnished in the most
excellent taste, but not too expensively. The walls
are panelled and painted white, and all the furniture
consists of old and carefully chosen pieces. There
are windows in the back wall of the room, and between
the windows is a cabinet. Across the corner of the
room there is a writing-desk with a chair in front of
it. Near the fireplace is a sofa, and one or two smaller
chairs stand about a table upon which are a feio
books. It is early in the afternoon, six weeks later
than Act I.

(rufus is seated at the writing-desk, writing, while
JOSEPHINE is seated on the sofa sewing. Enter
HARRISON, a neat young parlourmaid.)

HARRISON. Beg pardon, my lady, I came in to look
for Mrs. Gale.

JOSEPHINE. I think you will find Mrs. Gale upstairs
in her bedroom, Harrison.

HARRISON. Thank you, my lady. {Turns to go.)

RUFUS {turning round in his chair to harrison). Who
wants her ?

HARRISON. Captain Harding, Sir Rufus.

rufus. Why don't you show Captain Harding in ?

HARRISON. He asked me to tell Mrs. Gale that he
would wait for her downstairs, in the hall.

RUFUS. Has he come to take her out ?

HARRISON. I couldn't say, Sir Rufus — he didn't
tell me.

(rufus grunts.)



JOSEPHINE. Thank you, Harrison.

(HARRISON goes OUt.)

RUFus. He comes every day now.

JOSEPHINE. Nearly every day.

RUFUS. This isn't at all what I meant. Instead of
pining for Noel she's consoling herself.

JOSEPHINE (earnestly). I wish Noel would come home.

RUFUS. What did he say about that in his last letter ?

JOSEPHINE. He was still uncertain. He hoped he
might be able to return this week or next. He couldn't
be sure.

RUFUS. It must be nearly six weeks since he went

JOSEPHINE. Six weeks to-morrow. {Sighs, and re-
sumes her sewing.)

RUFUS [rises and brings his letters to the table). She's
out to lunch more often than she's in ; tea too.

JOSEPHINE {trying to excuse leila). She has a great
many friends.

RUFUS. I believe she has been to see Captain Harding
at his rooms — from something they said the last time he
dined here.

JOSEPHINE. I gathered from what they said that
when she visited him there were others present.

RUFUS. It needs more than their saying so to convince

JOSEPHINE. Let us think the best we can of her.

RUFUS. Let us not be made fools of. {Goes to
JOSEPHINE, and pats her shoulder.) I have felt reticent
about discussing this matter with you before. {He sits
upon a stool near the sofa.)

JOSEPHINE {laying her work down). I have seen how
it is weighing upon you, Rufus dear. I know how you
must feel your own responsibility. I too feel mine most
keenly. We were left in charge of Leila by Noel. It is
most difficult to know what we ought to do. I have
ventured on one or two occasions to drop hints — but
she ignores them, and as soon as I get at all pressing,
brushes me aside, in her imperious way. Could you
speak to her ?

RUFUS. You remember how, on the morning after
our arrival, I began reproving her for her selfishness,
and how artfully she turned the tables upon me —


started talking a lot of rubbish about you not having
enough clothes. Almost succeeded for one moment
in making me believe that I am selfish. {Laughs at the
absurdity of the idea as he repeats.) I ! ( Josephine
laughs too, a little tinkling, echoing, obedient laugh.) I
don't want that to occur again.

JOSEPHINE (thoughtfully). No.

RUFUS. I'm not afraid of her.

JOSEPHINE {playing up to him, scouts the idea). You !

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