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HUGH. You are not falling in love with her — arc you ?

GEOFFREY. No, of coursc not. That's out of the


question. She attracts me and she needs me. We are
both lonely. I see no reason to remain virtuous — now
— for nobody's sake, and it's very much better that I
should be having an affaire with Miriam than with some
woman of our o^^'n class who'd expect more from me.
It wouldn't be right for me to devote myself to any one
like that now, nor to marry what is called " a really
nice girl," for if it should ever come to a choice between
any one else and Valentine, it would be Valentine every
time. But we needn't go into that. She's not for me.
{There is a knock on the door. Geoffrey calls.) Come
in. {Etiter TAYhOR. He carries a visiting-card. Geoffrey
speaks as soon as taylor enters.) Did you take it ?

TAYLOR. Yes, sir.

GEOFFREY. Any answer ?

TAYLOR. No, sir. The gentleman was out.

GEOFFREY. Oh. All right, thanks. (Turning to
HUGH.) Now tell me about yourself.

TAYLOR (still standing near geoffrey interrupts him
with). If you please, sir

GEOFFREY (tuming to TAYLOR again). What is it,
Taylor ? (taylor hands the visiting-card to geoffrey.
GEOFFREY takcs it, looks at it, and is much surprised and
troubled. He turns the card over and examines it, and
after a long pause says quietly to hugh.) It's Valentine.
(After another pause, during which geoffrey and hugh
look at each other, geoffrey says.) Where is she,
Taylor ?

TAYLOR. Her ladyship is downstairs in the hall, sir,
■waiting for me to bring her your answer.

GEOFFREY (undccided). Well — wait a minute.

TAYLOR. Yes, sir. (Turns towards the door.)

GEOFFREY. No don't gO.

TAYLOR. I will wait outside till you call me, sir.

(He takes Geoffrey's hat and umbrella ; then

goes into the hall, closing the inner door after


GEOFFREY. She's Scribbled on the back of her card

to know if I'm here and if she can come up and see me

if I'm not busy.

HUGH. Do you want to see her ?

GEOFFREY. I don't like to send her away. I think
I'd better see her.


HUGH {rising). Give me time to get out of the way

GEOFFREY (Hsing). Don't go, Hugh. Stay a few
minutes at any rate. It'll take some of the edge off
if you are in the room when we meet.
HUGH. All right. Just as you like.

(GEOFFREY goes to the door and opens it.)
GEOFFREY {speaking to TAYLOR, who is outside). Ask
her ladyship to come upstairs.

{He comes towards hugh again, leaving the door
ajar. He listens for valentine's approach
only half paying attention to zvhat hugh says.)
HUGH. While I think of it, Geoffrey — will you dine
with me this evening ?

GEOFFREY. This evening — very well, — yes — thanks.
HUGH. Tony's coming. He has to catch a train to
Stafford at ten o'clock so we are not going to dress.


HUGH. No. We shall dine at the Savoy Grill Room
at eight.

GEOFFREY. That's the lift coming up. Did you
hear it ?

HUGH {listens, then nods). Yes. {Then he adds.)
We'll call for you here about half-past seven — Tony
and I.

GEOFFREY. All right.

{Enter taylor.)
TAYLOR {announces). Lady Morland.

{Enter valentine. She is tall and beautiful and
distinguished and is expensively and fashionably
dressed. Her manner and poise are so perfect
that she does not betray any of the embarrassment
she feels in meeting geoffrey again, but is
charmingly gracious and natural as she greets
valentine. How d'you do, Geoffrey.
GEOFFREY. How d'you do, Valentine.

{They shake hands, then valentine sees hugh,
crosses to him and shakes hands ivith him.)
valentine. Oh, how d'you do, Mr. Brown ; I haven't
seen you for quite a long time.

HUGH. No. It must be nearly six months.
valentine. More than that, I think.


GEOFFREY. Won't you sit down ?

VALENTINE. Thank you. {She sits before she con-
timies. The others also sit.) I've been to a concert
this afternoon and then I went to a tea-party at the
Ritz, — and as I had a httle time to spare before going
home to dress for dinner, I thought I'd drop in and
see you.

GEOFFREY. Very kind of you.

VALENTINE. I hopc I'm uot interrupting something.
You weren't talking business or anything ?

GEOFFREY. Hugh won't do business with me. I've
been trying to make him invest his money in some of
our companies but he's too wary.

(valentine looks from Geoffrey to hugh.)

HUGH. I just looked in to let Geoffrey know I was
back in London.

valentine. Have you been away ?

HUGH. On circuit.

valentine. Oh, yes. Did you have any interesting
trials at any of the assizes ?

HUGH, Nothing extraordinary — except the Trent

VALENTINE. What was that ?

HUGH {without any intention of being personal or
realising that he has been so until valentine, and then
GEOFFREY, speak). A tragedy of a young man and his
sweetheart. They'd been keeping company for a couple
of years and then she got a chance to marry some one
with more money, so she jilted her lover and he stabbed

valentine {remarks quickly). Yes, yes, I remember
reading about it.

GEOFFREY. What a fool he must have been to take
it so much to heart as that.

HUGH. They were rough sort of people without much

GEOFFREY. Not like us.

HUGH. No. {There is a momenfs embarrassment, then
HUGH rises.) I must be getting along now, Geoffrey.

GEOFFREY. All right, old man.

HUGH {shaking hands with valentine). Good-bye.

valentinte. Good-bye.

HUGH {speaking to geoffrey as he goes towards the


door). Tony and I will be round here about half -past

GEOFFREY. All right. I'll be ready for you. You
can let yourself out, can't you ?

HUGH. Yes, thanks. {He goes out.)

VALENTINE. D'you kuow, Gcoffrcy, I hadn't the
slightest intention of calling on you when I left home.
It was as I was leaving the Ritz — standing on the steps
there — waiting for my car, I had an impulse. I suddenly
thought I should like to see you again, so I told the
chauffeur to go home and said I was going to walk — and
I walked straight here.

GEOFFREY. Is that the first time you've thought of
me since our last meeting ?

VALENTINE. Of coursc uot. I'vc oftcu thought of
you. One of my reasons for coming here was— I knew
we were bound to meet somewhere or other, sooner or
later — and it's best to get it over like this first.

GEOFFREY. I don't scc why we are bound to meet.

VALENTINE. We havc so many mutual friends.

GEOFFREY. I ucvcr SCC them now.

VALENTINE. Havc you dropped them all ?

GEOFFREY. Completely.

VALENTINE. I'm sorry.


VALENTINE. They were so fond of you.

GEOFFREY. Pcoplc who go out a great deal and
entertain a great deal don't miss any one. One young
man more or less at their parties makes no difference to

VALENTINE It's a pity to lose one's friends.

GEOFFREY. My fHends have stuck to me. Those
others arc only my acquaintance. I only went to their
houses to meet you and because you wished it. I never
cared about society for its own sake.

VALENTINE. I SCC — and then — I suppose you are very


VALENTINE {after a momenVs pause). I had another
reason for coming.


VALENTINE. Nothing very special — only — I wanted
to see how you were.


GEOFFREY. I'm vcry well.
VALENTINE. You look vcry well.
GEOFFREY. You sccm disappointed.
VALENTINE. A little Surprised.


VALENTINE. Only because Tony Hewlett told me
three months ago that you were — not very well.

GEOFFREY {coolly). He told you I'd taken to drink ?


GEOFFREY. That was a phase. I soon got through it.
I'm a reformed character now.

VALENTINE {in a low voice). I'm glad to hear it.

{There is a pause during which geoffrey looks at
her searchingly before he speaks.)

GEOFFREY. Why did you climb up here to find me,
Valentine ?

VALENTINE {surpriscd by this question). For the
reasons I've told you.

GEOFFREY. Are you sure ?

VALENTINE. Of course. Why ? What do you mean?

GEOFFREY. Wasn't it rather to see for yourself if
I'm still suffering from broken heart, and if you think
I'm recovering too easily to try and bring about a
relapse ?

VALENTINE {kurt and indignant). No.


VALENTINE. I didn't stop to examine my motives.
I came, as I told you — -on impulse.

GEOFFREY. You'd like to count for something in my
life still — though I'm to count for nothing in yours.
You don't want me, but at the same time you don't
want to let me escape you. You'll keep me in your
power if you can, isn't that it ?

VALENTINE. I supposc you'll bclievc nothing but
what's bad of me now.

GEOFFREY. I wish you hadn't come. It would have
been much kinder of you if you'd left me alone. I've
been doing my best to forget you — avoiding every place
where there was a chance of meeting you — trying to fill
my life full of all kinds of interests and amusements so
that I shouldn't have time to think about you and regret
you. And I was succeeding. I was well on the way
to forgetting all about you. There's no sense in our


remembering each other. It's no satisfaction to either
of us to meet hke this.

VALENTINE. I know how you must feel about every-
thing and towards me. It's only natural you should be
hurt and angry, but don't be unjust. It isn't only vanity
that makes me want not altogether to lose sight of you.
I miss you, Geoffrey. Nobody but you has ever under-
stood me. It seems such a pity — after all that there
used to be between us — if there's nothing of it left — if we
can't ever meet as friends.

GEOFFREY. I'm in no mood to sit down and talk
sentimentally about the past. Much better cut me out
of your thoughts and stand by what you've done.

VALENTINE. You are very practical, Geoffrey.

GEOFFREY. So wcrc you when you threw me over to
marry Sir John Morland.

VALENTINE. I was ignorant then — ignorant of what
marriage means. {He turns to her surprised.) That sur-
prises you. Modern girls are supposed to know. We do
know — in the sense that we are told — but with so little
experience of life and so little imagination as many of us
possess — we often understand very imperfectly.

GEOFFREY {with a good deal of hesitation and in-
credulity). You haven't come here to tell me, I suppose,
that you find, when it's too late, that you've made a
mistake ?

VALENTINE {evading his question). My husband treats
me very well — much better than I deserve. He's
extremely generous and attentive — too attentive. (Geof-
frey turns away distressed and indignant, controlling his
feelings with difficulty, valentine becomes ashamed of
what she has said and begins to apologise, but grows more
and more agitated as her feelings carry her away.) I'd
no business to say that. I'm sorry — but if you knew
how intolerable it becomes at times not to be able to
speak out my thoughts to any one ; I've no one to talk
to — no one. Mother won't listen. She encouraged my
marriage and she won't hear anything that sounds like
criticism of what she did. I can't blame her. She
didn't force me. Nobody forced me. I chose for myself,
and I daresay my marriage is as happy as most — but with
no one to confide in — turned in upon myself — I feel so lost
and lonely. {Breaks down.)

vol. II R


GEOFFREY. I can do nothing to help you. You've
gone right out of my world. You are the wife of Sir
John Morland, and after having been your lover I'm
not going to sink down to being your confidant.
{Greatly distressed to see her distress.) I wish you hadn't

VALENTINE (pulls hersclf together, dries her eyes, and
rises as she says). You've told me that — already, Geoffrey,
I'll take you at your word. It's time I was getting home
anyway. {Regaining her composure as she continues.)
It was a mistake my coming here to-day. I shan't act
on impulse again. As we aren't likely to meet anywhere,
it seems — I should like to tell you, and I want you to try
to believe this, for I really mean it — I'm glad that losing
me hasn't ruined your life, and that you seem to be
getting over your disappointment.

GEOFFREY. Would you be glad if you heard I'd
consoled m^^self ?

VALENTINE {a little surprised by this question). I hope
and fully expect that you'll do that some day — but you
aren't engaged to any one else yet ?
GEOFFREY. No. I'm uot engaged.

{Enter miriam. She walks straight into the room
a few paces, then stops short suddenly when she
sees Valentine. There is a great change for the
better in Miriam's appearance, nothing tawdry
about her now. She looks like a quiet, well-
behaved woman. She is very well dressed,
quietly and simply, but with everything in
excellent taste. There is a long pause when she
appears. All three of them are acutely em-
barrassed. VALENTINE freezes, but is complete
mistress of herself in spite of her anger and
MIRIAM. How d'you do, Geoffrey. I thought I'd pay
you a surprise visit.

VALENTINE. I really must be going now. {Goes
towards the door.)

GEOFFREY. Let me show you to the lift.
VALENTINE. Oh uo, plcasc dou't. I'd much rather
you didn't.

{She goes out, leaving both the doors open, miriam
watches her till she has gone, and then watches


GEOFFREY tts he closes the doors and comes back
to her side.)
MIRIAM. Aren't you glad to see me, Geoffrey ?
GEOFFREY. Yes, dear, of course I'm glad to see you.
MIRIAM. You didn't look much like it.
GEOFFREY. I was taken by surprise. It's the first
time you've come in like that— unannounced.

{He embraces her and kisses her, then stands with

his arm round her. She fingers his clothes as

she speaks.)

MIRIAM. There was no one at the lift when I arrived,

so I walked up the stairs ; I was just going to ring your

bell when I noticed that the door wasn't latched — so I

didn't see why I shouldn't come right in. You aren't

cross, are you ?

GEOFFREY. No, dear. Of course I'm not cross.
{Kisses her.) But I think it's better if you don't come
up when I'm not expecting you, because, you see —
any one might be here.

MIRIAM {a little chilled by this remark, moves away as
she says). All right, I apologise. I wouldn't have done
it if I'd thought you'd mind.

GEOFFREY {kindly). That's all right, my dear, don't
worry. You look very nice this afternoon. What have
you been doing with yourself all day ?

(MIRIAM takes off her hat, sticks the pins through

it, and lays it on the table as she talks racily and

good-humouredly with a half-amused perception

of what she is saying.)

MIRIAM. I had a charwoman in this morning. I was

ordering her around for a while. By the time she was

through it was one o'clock — so I asked her to stay to


GEOFFREY. The charwoman ? Oh, well — after all —
why not ?

MIRIAM. She looked kind of half -starved. I thought
it would be fun to feed her up, and there wasn't such a
heavy rush of guests to my lunch table that I couldn't
squeeze one more in.

GEOFFREY {amuscd). What did you talk about, you
and the charwoman ?

MIRIAM. Told each other a pack of lies. She said she
didn't drink and / said I was a widow. (geoffrey


smiles at her. She continues with mock gravity.) My hus-
band was a sliip's officer on board an Atlantic liner.
He was washed overboard in a squall — year before
last — so I'm now living on the pension granted to me
by the company — I don't think, (geoffrey laughs.
MIRIAM continues as she crosses to the sideboard, fixing
her hair in front of the glass there while she talks.) I
had to be respectable or she wouldn't have sat at my
table on account of her social position. I rather fancied
myself, as that officer's widow, being kind to the poor old

GEOFFREY. You havc the best heart in the world.

MIRIAM. What about you ?

GEOFFREY {disclaiming her praise). Oh ! [She turns to
him smiling. He holds out his hand to her as he says.)
Come here. {She sits on the arm of his chair, settling
herself with her arm round his neck.) Get comfortable.
That all right ?

MIRIAM, Lovely.

GEOFFREY. Go ou. Tell me some more. What did
you do after lunch ?

MIRIAM. I went to hear the band play in Hyde Park.
That was a penny for my chair, and another penny
for my programme, that's twopence. I don't want
you to think I'm scattering pennies as if they were

GEOFFREY. Rubbish ! You are very good indeed the
way you keep down your expenses.

MIRIAM. I thought I ought to know what they were
playing — ^that's why I bought a programme, so as to
improve my musical education and be able to spot the
classics when I hear them, like you and Hugh.

GEOFFREY {sviUcs at her). I see.

MIRIAM. You're making fun of me.

GEOFFREY {kindly). No, I'm not. Don't be silly.

MIRIAM. I was enjoying myself fine, listening to that
band — when a young fellow came along and sat himself
down in the next chair to mine.


MIRIAM. He got mighty fresh.


MIRIAM. He asked me to tea.
GEOFFREY. What did vou do ?


MIRIAM. You don't think I went with him — do you,
Geoffrey ?

GEOFFREY {reassuHng her). No, of course not.
MIRIAM. Not that there'd have been any harm in it if
I had gone to tea with him, but I didn't think you'd
like it.

GEOFFREY. You thought right.
MIRIAM. So I withered him.
GEOFFREY. With a look ?
MIRIAM. Yes — and a few well-chosen words.
GEOFFREY. Then did you get up and go ?
MIRIAM. No, but he did.

GEOFFREY {laughs, then says). Have you had any tea ?
Do you want some now ? You can have it up here if
you like.

MIRIAM. Oh, I should have enjoyed that, but I've had
tea already, thanks, Geoffrey. I went to an A. B.C. near
Victoria. I took a bus ride as far as there. [Breaking
off suddenly as she thinks of something.) Oh and say — I
was nearly forgetting. (Getting off the arm of the chair.)
Let me get at my bag. (Crossing behind his chair to get
her bag which is on the table as she continues.) When I
came out of the tea-shop I went and bought something.
(As she dives her hand into her bag.) Wait a minute. Sit
still and I'll show you. Here we are. This is it. (She
produces a tiny paper parcel from her bag and gives it to
GEOFFREY.) There ! It's for you. It's a present.
GEOFFREY (smiUng at her as he takes it). For me ?
MIRIAM. Yes. (She watches him unwrap the paper and
take out a pencil which slides into a metal sheath — worth
about three-and-sixpence. She waits till he is examining
it before she says.) It's a pencil, to carry about in your
pocket. It might come in useful some time.

GEOFFREY. How vcry kind of you. Dear Miriam,
I'm quite touched.

MIRIAM. D'you like it ?
GEOFFREY. Very much.
MIRIAM. Will you use it ?
GEOFFREY. Ycs, indeed.

MIRIAM. I'm glad. (Watches geoffrey /or a moment
as he plays with the pencil and examines it before she says.)
Well now, Geoffrey, tell me, what have you been doing
with yourself this afternoon ?


GEOFFREY. I got liome from the city about half-past
five : then Hugh Brown came to see me.
MIRIAM. And then ?
GEOFFREY. Then — oh, then, you came.

{There is a pause before miriam speaks.)
MIRIAM. Who is she ?


MIRIAM. The one who was here just now.

GEOFFREY. A friend of mine.

MIRIAM. I might have guessed that by myself. {Pauses
again before she says.) Funny you can't say who she is.

GEOFFREY. You shouldn't have come up here un-

MIRIAM. No. I see that. It was a bit of a shock to
both of us — and I daresay to her too. {Moves away as she
says.) Oh, well, I suppose you do what you like up here.
{Faces him as she says very sincerely.) But I want you to
know that I'm true to you. There's nobody but you
comes to my place.

GEOFFREY. I hope you don't think she came here for
anything but just to call on me — just as Hugh or Tony
or any of my friends might call.

MIRIAM. If that's all she came for I wonder you can't
tell me who she is. What am I to make of it ? It don't
matter to you, I suppose, what I make of it. It's none
of my business who comes here. But I can't help
ha^^ing my own thoughts and feelings about the
matter. It makes it pretty difficult for me to be your
friend, if you're never going to tell me anything about

GEOFFREY. I'vc told you a great deal about myself.

MIRIAM. Things you could tell to the whole street.

GEOFFREY. I told you, a long time ago, that I was
once engaged to be married.

MIRIAM. Was that her ?


MIRIAM. She's beautiful.

GEOFFREY. Ycs — but I'd rather not talk about her. I
don't like discussing that part of my life with any one.
Now that you know who she is you ought to be satisfied
that her coming here means nothing, because — as I've told
you already — everything was ended between her and me
— long ago.


MIRIAM. She's married now, isn't she ?


MIRIAM {with a sudden outburst of jealous anger).
What does she want to come back for ? Isn't one man
enough for her ?

GEOFFREY {angry in his turn, says as he rises). No more
of that. I won't have it. You must understand that
I can't allow you to say anything disrespectful about
that lady.

MIRIAM {resentfully). She's a lady — she is — and I'm
not a lady, so it don't matter if she walks out as soon as
I come in — passes me by as if I was dirt. You don't
defend me — only her. I've seen it before, this — free-
masonry that there is among ladies and gentlemen to
stand by each other and protect themselves. {Dejectedly
as she sits down.) I'm not in on that.

GEOFFREY {comes towards her, feeling very sorry for her,
lays his hand on her shoulder and says very kindly). Never
mind. Come along. Cheer up. I'm sorr}^ but you
know how it is. She was my first love. You can't get
away from the memory of things you've grown up with.
I knew her so well for so many years. The first time I
saw her she was a girl of sixteen with her hair down her
back. She came to stay with us for her summer holidays.
After that I used to go a lot to their house in London.
We were always seeing each other and writing — then we
were engaged — and then — you know what happened.
She has no use for me now — and it gives me no pleasure
to see her now. It's all over and done with. I've left
it behind me, but meeting her again this afternoon
stirred everything up, and I still can't bear to hear any
one say anything against her — so you won't — ever — will
you ? {He holds out his hand to her to make friends again.
She takes his hand.) I know you won't. {He is going
to move away after that, is about to withdraw his hand, when
she draws it impulsively towards her and lays her cheek
against it. He is touched and says kindly. ) I'm sorry I was
cross and spoke sharply.

MIRIAM. It isn't that. {Drops his hand and looks very

GEOFFREY {knccls bcsidc her as he says). What is it
then ? What's the matter ? Mm ?

{She looks mournfully in his eyes.)


MIRIAM. I wish I was more to you, Geoffrey.

GEOFFREY. But you are — a great deal to me. You
know that. I've never pretended that my affeetion for
you is more than it is — but I've shown you over and over
again, in all sorts of ways, how fond I am of you. You're
the greatest comfort to me. You are really.

MIRIAM. Some one to take out evenings when you've
nothing better to do.

GEOFFREY {liurt and chilled by this remark). How can
you say that ?

MIRIAM, Isn't it true ?

GEOFFREY. I'm in the city all day.

MIRIAM. I know it.

GEOFFREY. And you have plenty to do in the daytime,
too, looking after your flat.

MIRIAM. It's an old woman's job, that is, keeping two
rooms clean and cooking meals for myself.

GEOFFREY. It's the daily life of many a wife whose
husband goes out to his work.

MIRIAM. Yes — but there's a difference. When he
comes home from his work they go out together.


MIRIAM. I know, but I mean — she goes where he goes.


MIRIAM. No. I don't go where you go. When we
go out together, it's to some little out-of-the-way joint
where your friends won't see us. I'm not expecting
you can take me wdth you everywhere — but I wish
you didn't feel you must hide me. (geoffrey is
embarrassed by hearing the truth put into words. She
continues apjjealingly.) I've been at such pains to
make myself fit to be seen with you. Isn't my
language much better ? Don't you notice it ? And
my clothes ! Did you ever see anything more quiet
and ladylike than this ? So chic too. Then I study
the papers to know what's going on in the world —
and I read books, not only novels — history and books

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