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GEOFFREY. We thought you'd come and talk to us.
MIRIAM. That all ?

GEOFFREY. That's all. Sit down — won't you ?
MIRIAM {ungraciously). I don't mind.
GEOFFREY. Havc a drink. {She looks at geoffrey,
who says to tony). Get her a whisky and soda, Tony.
(tony goes to the sideboard prepared to pour out a
whisky and soda.)


TONY {pleasantly). Don't you want a whisky and
soda ?


GEOFFREY. There's brandy.


MIRIAM. I don't want brandy.

GEOFFREY. Won't you have anything to drink at all ?

MIRIAM. If you had some coffee, I'd take a cup.

GEOFFREY. I haven't got any up here, and it's too
late to ask for it. Everybody's gone to bed.

MIRIAM. Never mind. It doesn't matter much.
{She sloivly takes off her hat, examines it carefully, then

looks at TONY.)

TONY. I hope I didn't do much damage.

MIRIAM (with the faintest smile curling her lips). It
don't exactly improve it to have it trimmed with soda

TONY. Let me dry it for you by the fire, {Holds out
his hand for the hat.)

MIRIAM {giving him the hat with some reluctance).

TONY {taking the hat). All right. {He holds the hat to
the fire to dry. miriam leans forward in her chair watching
him anxiously.)

MIRIAM. Shake it. {tony shakes the hat in front of the
fire.) Not that way. Give it to me. {Takes the hat from
TONY and shakes it gently in front of the fire, sitting on the
fender as she does so. She looks up at tony and smiles
faintly again as she says.) Sorry to be so fussy, but it's
an only child.

{As TONY moves away geoffrey idly takes up
Miriam's metal bag which she has left on the
table and examines it. miriam cranes her neck
to see what he is doing to her bag.)

GEOFFREY {becoming conscious that she is watching
him, realises what he is doing). Oh ! I wasn't thinking
what I was doing. {Lays the bag down on the table

MIRIAM. Look inside.

GEOFFREY. I don't Want to.

MIRIAM. Go on. Look inside.

GEOFFREY {opcns the bag and takes the things out as he
says). A pocket handkerchief and twopence. {Puts the
things back in the bag again while miriam speaks.)

MIRIAM {with affected jauntiness). I always carry my
fortune about with me. I don't trust the banks.

GEOFFREY {lays the bag on the table again as he repeats).


MIRIAM. It's a rotten climate here in London — especi-
ally after Monte Carlo.

TONY {looks at GEOFFREY tts he says incredulously).
Monte Carlo !

MIRIAM. I've been spending the spring in Monte.
{Grins as she says to geoffrey.) He doesn't believe

TONY. Yes, I do, it's a nice place to be in — Monte.

MIRIAM. It's a nice place to be left in.

TONY. Left ?

MIRIAM {impatiently). Yes — left — plaqu6 — dumped, if
you like.

TONY {making himself comfortable on the sofa). How
did you come to be dumped there ?

MIRIAM. Woke up one fine morning and found he'd

TONY. What a brute !

MIRIAM. It wasn't his fault. He'd got to go back to
his wife. He treated me all right. I lived like an
actress for two months. The night before he went away
he gave me twenty pounds. Alone in Monte with twenty
pounds. It costs you that much to get out.

GEOFFREY. What havc you been doing since ?

MIRIAM. The less I tell you about that the better.

GEOFFREY. Where are you living ?

MiRiAiM {telling a lie so impertinently and apparently
that she isn't telling a lie at all). At the Ritz !

GEOFFREY {seriously pursuing his questions). Haven't
you got a room somewhere ?

MIRIAM. If you'd asked me that this time j^esterday, I
should have said " Yes," and it wouldn't have been a lie.

GEOFFREY. Havc you no place to go to ?

MIRIAM. I had — till this morning. She turned me
out at two o'clock to-day.

GEOFFREY. What for ? What had you done ?

MIRIAM {impatiently). What had I done ? What
hadn't I done ? Hadn't paid my rent, of course. Why
d'you ask me so many questions ? I didn't come here
to complain. I was asked up to chat — wasn't I ? To
be merry, and make you laugh. I was doing my best.

GEOFFREY. Havc you had any supper to-night ?
(MIRIAM turns sullen and won't answer. He waits before
he says.) When did you last have a meal ?


MIRIAM {sullenly). I had my tea.

GEOFFREY {Hses). Get up, Tony, and clear this table.
(tony rises and goes to the table.) Help him, Hugh.
(HUGH and tony clear the table, putting the things on the
window-seat while Geoffrey crosses to the sideboard,
saying.) Let's see what we've got here to eat. [Taking
up the dish of fruit and the plate of sandwiches as he
speaks.) There are the sandwiches and some fruit.
[Bringing the sandwiches and the fruit to the table.)
I've got a cake in the cupboard. Could you tackle

MIRIAM. I guess I could tackle most anything.

GEOFFREY [speaking as he goes to the sideboard, and
takes out a cake on a dish and a plate and knife and
brings them to the table). All right. I'm sorry I haven't
got more to offer you, but it's all I can manage at this
time of night. There you are.

[While he is doing this miriam rises, goes to the
table, looks at the food ; then, a little overcome
with emotion, says gratefully.)

MIRIAM. Thank you. I thank all of you. [Sits
down and begins to eat.)

GEOFFREY. You'vc got nothing to drink. I've only
got soda water if you won't have spirits.

MIRIAM. I wouldn't mind a drop of whisky now.
(GEOFFREY pours out a wMsky and soda as she continues.)
I didn't like to touch it before I'd had something to eat.
It affects you so queer on an empty stomach. I wasn't
for finding myself in a strange place without knowing
what I was doing. [As geoffrey places the tumbler
beside her on the table, she smiles as she says.) It don't
seem so strange now — with all you boys being so

(GEOFFREY takcs a cigarette from the box which is
still on the table, lights it, then sits down on
the end of the sofa. He lounges there smoking
while the following dialogue goes on, his face
well seen by the audience.)

HUGH [to MIRIAM). Are you a stranger in London ?

MIRIAM. I ought not to be. I've been here often
enough — but not for some time. I was in Paris most
of last year — at the Rat Mort. D'you know it ? It's
in Montmartre.



TONY. I know it. I've often been there.

MIRIAM. Did you ever see mc ?

TONY {sitting in an armchair and making himself com-
fortable). I don't think so. I can't remember.

MIRIAM. I was dancing there till I took sick. Then

of course I lost my job — through having to go to hospital.

{She continues eating. She is very philosophical

as she tells her story, and does not feel sorry for


HUGH. You've had a hard time.

MIRIAM, Not so bad as some girls. There's many
has a worse time than me.

HUGH. Who ?

MIRIAM. All those poor devils who can't see that life
has its comic side.

HUGH. Do you find life comic ?

MIRIAM. Many a time.

HUGH. Not lately.

MIRIAM. What about you three nuts waiting on me ?
Ain't it a scream ?

(tony laughs. MIRIAM looks at tony and laughs

HUGH. I think it's rather wonderful that you should
be able to see anything comic in that.

MIRIAM. You wouldn't have me go through the
world sighing. I can't afford it. It's my business to
be gay.

HUGH. " And if I laugh at any mortal thing,
'Tis that I may not weep."

MIRIAM {cheerfully). Lord Byron.

HUGH {rather surprised that she should recognise the
quotation). Yes.

tony. / didn't know that.

HUGH. No one supposed you did, Tony dear.

MIRIAM {thoughtfully). There' ve been times, though,
when I haven't been able to raise a laugh about any-

HUGH. I believe you.

MIRIAM. I remember once when my sense of humour
was of no use at all.

TONY. When was that ?

MIRIAM. When I was fool enough to fall in love.
That's an old story. It happened in [America. I was


raised in America ; I didn't tell you that. Oh, I was
properly in love. I got over it — pretty quick, too.

HUGH. It didn't go very deep, I expect — your love ?
You soon forgot all about him ? You were lucky.

(MIRIAM looks steadily at hugh, and finishes
masticating what she has in her mouth before
she speaks. She says her speech with a dry
intensity which is more impressive than if she
had spoken emotionally.)

MIRIAM. My man quit me to marry a rich old woman.
I and my baby were left to starve. When you're
starving for food you haven't much time to think about
being in love. Love doesn't kill — but hunger does
— and hunger killed my baby. [She continues eating.
There is a long silence. Geoffrey and tony and hugh
all sit quite still, smoking, not looking at each other while
MIRIAM eats. After a few moments she looks slowly at each
of them before she says.) There now ! I've gone and
depressed you all — damn it. I didn't mean to do that.
It's your own faults for being so sympathetic. I was
feeling so low I just out with the truth. I'd have done
better to have told you stories. I guess you are all three
wishing me far enough. All right. I'll be getting on my

GEOFFREY. You needn't go yet. I'd like you to
stay and talk to me some more — if you will.

MIRIAM. Just as you like. {Sits down again and goes
on eating.)

HUGH. I must be getting to bed. It's very late.

GEOiFREY {speaking as hugh goes to get his hat and
umbrella). All right, old boy. Thank you so much for
coming round.

TONY {getting out of his chair). Wait a minute, Hugh,
and I'll come with you.

HUGH. All right.

(tony puts on his hat and coat, and speaks aside
to HUGH near the door.)

tony. Can you lend me a sovereign ? I haven't
got anything on me.

HUGH {taking the money from his pocket). I think
I can. Give her two. {Gives two sovereigns to tony,
who quietly lays the money beside miriam on the table
as he speaks.)


TONY. That'll help to repair the damage I did to
your liat. {Goes to the door without waiting for miriam's
thanks as he sat/s.) Good-night, Geoffrey.
GEOFFREY. Good-iiight, Toiiy.
HUGH. Good-night.

(Both HUGH a7id tony go out. There is silence for
a few moments afterwards. Geoffrey con-
tinues smoking and miriam eating. She glances
at him once or tzvice before she speaks.)
MIRIAM. You look a bit down on your luck. What's
the matter ? IMoney ?


MIRIAM. Your girl ? {He turns his face away from
her. She looks at him very sympathetically before she
continues.) Been chucked — have you ? That's tough —
specially if it's the first time. You get used to it after
awhile. You get used to anything after awhile.

GEOFFREY, Think so ?

MIRIAM. The only way to be happy — it seems to me —
is just not to expect anything from anybody. Then,
when somebody does you a kindness — like youve done
me — it comes as a lovely surprise. But you don't get
down to that kind of happiness till you've had all the
pride kicked out of you and lost most all your fine
feelings. I was as nice a girl as you could wish to meet
once — modest and quiet and obliging. They could have
made what they liked of me. That was my trouble.
They made this of me.

GEOFFREY. Havc you ever tried to give it up — this
kind of life ?

MIRIAM {rises suddenly, her tone instantly changing to
one of suspicion and resentment). Now, look here ! If
you're going to try and save me, I shall clear out — now
— this minute. Even if I wanted to be reformed, it
wouldn't be no use. It's been tried. And what was
the end of it ? As soon as I turned respectable and
took to honest work — I was found out — then I was a
fraud — not fit to associate with the others. I was
turned away — put back to where I come from — only I
was worse off than before because of the time I'd lost.
It's no use, I tell you, I must go on.

GEOFFREY. I dou't scc that you need reforming much
more than the rest of the world. What about girls who


marry men they loathe in order to Hve in luxury — and
then don't keep to their bargains — half of them — take
lovers on the sly ? I don't think you're worse than
they are.

MIRIAM {reassured). That's all right, then. Now we
understand each other. May I help myself to one of
your cigarettes ?


(MIRIAM takes a cigarette from the box and lights

it, then sits in an armchair, curling herself up

comfortably as she speaks.)

MIRIAM. You must tell me when you want me to get

out. Otherwise I'm liable to outstay my welcome.

It's so dry and warm in here.

GEOFFREY. You needn't be in a hurry. I'm not tired.
I was fast asleep all evening.

MIRIAM. That's a funny time to go to sleep.
GEOFFREY, I took Something.
MIRIAM. Drugs ?


MIRIAM. That's bad. I could see there was something
of that sort the matter with you. Have you been at it

GEOFFREY. The last few weeks.

MIRIAM {very kindly and very earnestly). Since your
trouble began — eh ? You've been hard hit about some-
thing or other — so you thought you'd take to drugs, I
suppose, and whisky to make you forget. Don't you
do it, it's a shame to see a young fellow like you beginning
such habits as those — a gentleman, too — with everything
just as it should be — your nice flat and your nice friends
and all. Break away from it now, old man, before
it gets a hold on you : you won't be able to stop it by
and by. You'll go down and down, till you get like
the drunken brutes who come after me. You mustn't
be one of the no-goods. It's the respectable folks who
make the world go round. We're only a drag. {She
pauses, but as geoffrey makes no response, she says
apologetically.) I beg your pardon for talking like that
to you ; you nmst think I've got a nerve. I don't suppose
you want advice from any one — specially not from me.
{She puts on her hat.)

GEOFFREY. Wait a minute. {Going towards his bed-


room door as he says.) I've left all my money on my

{He is at the door before she calls him back.)

MIRIAM. Pss ! Here ! {He turns to her. She comes to-
wards him.) Don't yoii give me anything. {Shows him the
money in her bag.) Your friend gave me these. That's
plenty for the present. I can go back and pay my rent
now, and sleep in my own bed to-night. If you wouldn't
mind not giving me anything yourself — it would make
me feel as if I'd been your pal — if you wouldn't mind.
{She lays her bag on the sideboard, then arranges her hat
in front of the looking-glass, ''fixing" herself with great
care. When she has finished, she picks up her bag, and in
a cheery and matter-off act tone says to Geoffrey.) So
long and many thanks, and good luck, {Goes towards
the door.)

{She has opened the inner door and is just going out
when GEOFFREY calls her back.)

GEOFFREY. Comc back. {She stops and turns to him.)
I can't let you go like this — down the street and out of
sight — after you've done me such a good turn. {She
comes a little towards him, surprised by this last remark.)
Sit down again while I tell you what I mean. I'm down
on my luck — as you saw — hard hit. I can't tell you
what about but it's something I shall never get over.
I'm knocked out — completely — everything's finished.
Those two friends of mine that you saw here, knew I'd
be having a bad time to-night — so they came round, like
good fellows, to cheer me up — to take me out of myself.
But everything they said and did only irritated me —
because — they've got no troubles — they've got nothing
on their minds. I wanted to be with some one as
miserable as I am myself. Then you came — and by
different things that you said you brought it home to
me — that there are millions of people in the world who
are having a worse time than I am. That took me out
of myself. I wondered how / dare complain. Now I
want you to listen carefully while I tell you something
about myself — about my circumstances. I'm in the
city and I don't make much. You see how I live — it's
simple — and I've only got what I earn. The reason I
had for saving my money is gone, so I may as well spend
it if it's going to do any one any good. I want you to let


me do this. Take a room for you somewhere — or two
rooms if I can afford it — and pay your rent and your
food. You shall be well fed every day. (miriam breaks
down at this. She buries her face on her arm on the table
and cries. Geoffrey pauses at this, much distressed and
goes on when he is sure he can speak without betraying how
much he is moved.) You're too good a girl to turn out
again on the streets. I can't do it. So that's how we'll
manage for the present. We'll try it at any rate and see
how it works — if you agree, (miriam looks up at him and
smiles consent through her tears but is too overcome to speak).
Very well then. You've got the money to pay for your
room. {She nods her head.) You'd better go there now.
{He rises. Taking her cue from him she rises too.) And
to-morrow — come back here and ask for me. Geoffrey
Sherwood. {She nods again.) I'll tell the porter to
expect you and bring you up. Then we'll go out
together and find you a place to live. To-morrow at
three o'clock.

{He holds out his hand as he might to a man friend.
She shakes hands with him, but is still too over-
come to speak a word. Then she turns away and
goes out slowly, still crying.)



SCENE. — The same as Act I.

It is late in the afternoon about three months later
than the events in Act I. As it is summer-time it is
still quite light. The stage is empty ; the inner door
being open shozvs the hall.

Enter Geoffrey looking very smart in his city clothes :
a short black coat nith the side-pockets stuffed with
evening papers and letters, a silk hat, and his umbrella.
He looks very bright and well with no traces of his
dissipated habits of three months ago. He walks with
a springy step and whistles or otherwise shows his
lightheariedness. He closes the outer door, then comes
to the table, lays down his umbrella and his hat on
the table, pulls out the letters and papers from his side-
pockets and throws them on the table. He then crosses
to the sideboard, opens the cupboard door with a key
and takes out the decanter of whisky, gets a tumbler,
takes the stopper out of the decanter and is about to
pour some whisky into the glass, then pauses.

GEOFFREY. No, Geoffrey ! {Puts the stopper back in
the decanter and the decanter back in the cuj)board, closes
the cupboard, then pours a little soda water into the
tumbler and drinks it off. He then crosses to the table,
where he sits down and writes.) {There is a knock on the
door.) (GEOFFREY calls.) Come in.

{Enter taylor, leaving the outer door open so that
HUGH brown is seen standing in the hall.)

TAYLOR. If you please, sir, are you at home to Mr.
Brown ?

GEOFFREY {chccrily). Oh, yes, indeed. {Calls.) Come
in, Hugh. {Holds out his hand to hugh, who comes
forward : shakes hands with him without rising, talking



fast all the while.) How are you ? Awfully glad to see
you back. Sit down — do. I'll be with you in a minute.
{As HUGH crosses towards the fireplace Geoffrey calls out
to TAYLOR to stop him before he goes out of the door.)
Don't go, Taylor, I want you. (taylor remains.)
(GEOFFREY cofitifiues Speaking while he puts the note he has
written in an envelope and addresses it.) I'd like this to
go at once. It's only round the corner. Have you got
any one to send ?

TAYLOR. I'll take it myself, sir.

GEOFFREY. Thank you, Taylor. I wish you would.
{Handing the letter to taylor.) Ask if there's any
answer ?

TAYLOR. Yes, sir.

GEOFFREY {tums to HUGH as TAYLOR gocs towards the
door with the letter). Well, Hugh. {Suddenly remembering
something.) Oh! half a minute. {Calls.) Taylor!

TAYLOR {coming towards geoffrey again). Yes, sir.

GEOFFREY. Thosc sharcs of yours are going up.

TAYLOR {evidently very much pleased to hear this). No !

GEOFFREY. Thcy'vc gonc up five points since yester-


GEOFFREY. I think they'll keep on rising.

TAYLOR. You don't say.

GEOFFREY. So you'd better hang on for a bit.

TAYLOR. Whatever you tell me, sir, I'll do. " Hang
on " or — what's that other term they use — " get out."

GEOFFREY (bantering taylor as he says to hugh).
Taylor's having a flutter on the Stock Exchange. He's
a terrible fellow to gamble. There's no holding him in.

TAYLOR {laughs a little as he says to hugh). He will
have his little joke. {Then gravely to geoffrey.) I'll
go with your letter now, sir.

GEOFFREY. All right, Taylor.

(taylor goes out, closing the inner door after him.)

HUGH. What's he fluttering in ?

GEOFFREY. It's a land and irrigation scheme in
Texas. {Taking a report from among his papers on
the table.) There ! That's the report. {Hands it to
HUGH.) Take it home and read it. It's a very good

HUGH. Speculative ?


GEOFFREY. Yes — rather.

HUGH. No thanks. {Smiles as he throws the report
back on the table without reading it.)

GEOFFREY {smiUng). Dear old Hugh, I should hate
to see you do anything that wasn't thoroughly safe and
conservative. It would be out of your character.
{Taking up the report.) I won't advise you to put any-
thing in this, anyway, because it's an untried scheme,
so it carries a certain amount of risk, but I think it's
going to turn out all right. I've taken up a good few
of the ordinary shares on my own account — apart from
the firm — and I'm hoping to make a bit.

HUGH. You can take care of yourself all right, but
how about Taylor ?

GEOFFREY. Hc's Only bought fifty pounds' worth.
I'm hoping he'll make a bit too.

HUGH. He may lose his fifty pounds.

GEOFFREY. He'll ucvcr know it if he does, the silly
old ass.

HUGH. That's very generous of you — but is it the way
you conduct your business ?

GEOFFREY {good-humouredly). No, you fool, of course
it isn't. {Gravely.) But when I was so bad three months
ago and had gone most of the way to the devil, Taylor
did a lot for me that wasn't included in the service for
which I pay him. That wasn't business on his part.
It sometimes pays to be unbusinesslike. {He lays down
the report he has held in his hand and takes up another
which he offers to hugh.) Look here. Here's something
else. This is hardly at all speculative

HUGH {interrupting Geoffrey by pushing the report
away with his hand). I don't want to hear about your
old companies, I want to hear about you. I haven't
seen you for six weeks.

GEOFFREY {laying the report on the table and then
sitting down near hugh). No, — no more we have.

HUGH. And you never wrote me a single line all the
time I was away.

GEOFFREY. Didn't I ?


GEOFFREY. Oh. Well, you see, I've been so busy —
up to the neck in all these schemes. {Indicating the
reports on the table.) It's a good thing for me. It's


exciting and amusing and takes my mind off — other

HUGH {after a momentary pause). How's Miriam ?

GEOFFREY {smilcs as he says). She's all right.

HUGH. It's still a success — is it ?

GEOFFREY. Can't you see for yourself that it is ?

HUGH. How d'you mean ?

GEOFFREY. Look at me. {Leans towards hugii as
he pulls down his lower eyelid to show him his eye.) Clear.
{Holds out his hand to show hugh that it does not shake.)
Steady. {Waves his hand towards the papers on the
table.) Busy. {Seriously and generously.) And it's all
thanks to Miriam. But for her I should have gone
completely under. She's cured me of taking drugs, —
not by hiding my cachets like Taylor — nor by preaching
at me

HUGH. Like me.

GEOFFREY {kindly). You were splendid, Hugh, — so
was Tony — so was every one, but I suppose I needed
some one different — some one altogether unlike any
friend I'd ever had — to take me out of myself just then.
It was fortunate for me that I came across Miriam when
I did. Think of it — the very girl I needed — coming
up here like that, by accident — that night

HUGH. I'm very glad she's turned out so well.

GEOFFREY {cheerfully). You must come and see her
in her little flat. She's made it so attractive. She
has a kitchen. She cooks quite well. Come and try
one of her dinners some time.

HUGH. All right.

GEOFFREY. I dine with her several times a week —
either there or in a restaurant.

HUGH. Do you ?

GEOFFREY. Ycs. And then we often go to a music-
hall or a cinema. You thought I'd get tired of her in
no time, but I don't. She's wonderful — such good
company — a sense of humour and sometimes a tact
and a delicacy of feeling and taste that would surprise
you. There arc fme qualities in Miriam, only no one
had ever taken the trouble to discover and develop them

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