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of travel and lives. All so as I won't disgrace you by
appearing too ignorant — (tentatively) in case you should
ever want to show me off. [She watches him hojjefully,
hut as he does not notice her, but seems absorbed in his own
thoughts, her hope turns to disappointment. She is very
resigned as she says.) Of course if you think it's best to


keep me dark, it's all right. Whatever you say goes.
{She still watches him as he moves slowly away, evidently
in deep thought.)

GEOFFREY. I never thought of you being dissatisfied
with things as they are. It comes as a kind of sur-

MIRIAM. I'm well off. I know that. I should be an
ungrateful girl if I was to think anything else after all
that you've done for me. It's only that — if I had the
chance and if you wished it — I think I might be rather
more of a companion to you than I am. See what I
mean ?

GEOFFREY (slowly). Ycs. I scc what you mean.

MIRIAM {cheerfully as she rises and gathers her things,
except her hag, from the table). Shall we go to dinner now,
Geoffrey ? It must be getting about time.

GEOFFREY {cmbarrasscd). I'm afraid I'm not free this

MIRIAM {disappointed). Can't you dine with me ?

GEOFFREY. I'm awfully sorry.

MIRIAM {cheerfully). If you can't you can't. That's
all there is to it ; I'd better fly along though before the
shops shut and buy myself something to eat.

GEOFFREY. I wish I hadn't made that engagement
with Hugh and Tony.

MIRIAM. Are you dining with them ?


MIRIAM. Just you three ?

GEOFFREY. Ycs, I'vc promised to go with them to the
Savoy Grill Room.

MIRIAM {wistfully). It's a nice place that^ — so they tell
me. I've never seen it. {In a matter-of-fact way.) I must
hurry and fix myself up a bit before I go out. (miriam
goes into the bedroom and as geoffrey stands looking
after her the entrance bell rings, geoffrey opens the
door. Enter iivGii, followed by tony Hewlett.)

HUGH. Are you ready for us ?

TONY. Good-evening, Geoffrey, don't let me be kept

HUGH. I telephoned down to tell them to keep us a

GEOFFREY {ttftcr closing the door, comes down between
HUGH and tony). Look here, I want to ask you some-


thing. (iiUGH and tony both turn to him.) Shall you
mind if we take Miriam with us ?

(iiuGU and tony both look surprised.)

HUGH. Miriam ?

TONY. To the Savoy ?

GEOFFREY. Ycs. Shc's just been here. She's in
there now. {Indicating his bedroom.) She seems to
have counted on me dining with her this evening. I
don't want to break my engagement with you, and I
don't want to send her home alone.

TONY. Couldn't we take her somewhere else ?

GEOFFREY. I dou't Want to do that either. I told her
we were going to the Savoy and ii we change she'll think
it's because we're ashamed of her. {To hugh.) Should
you mind very much ?

HUGH. Not personally, but I think it's a mistake.

GEOFFREY. She looks all right.

TONY. She's damned smart now, Hugh. You haven't
seen her lately.

HUGH {to GEOFFREY). I wasu't thinking of how it
would look. I don't care twopence about that. Besides
— nobody knows about her past except us three, and we
shall never give her away.

TONY {to HUGH). Then what's the matter with you ?

HUGH {ignoring tony's remark, says to geoffrey).
I think you'll be making a mistake if you let her think
she can interfere with your engagements. She'll en-
croach and become inconvenient.

GEOFFREY. That's what Fve been thinking about —
protecting myself, but what about her ? D'you think
she doesn't notice it ? And hasn't she a right to feel sore,
if after I've encouraged her to improve herself, and when
she's doing everything she can to make herself present-
able and companionable, I only take her out to places
where I shan't be seen with her ? You see, I've made a
friend of her — and I can't treat a friend that way — I — I

{Enter miriam from the bedroom. She closes the
door after her while hugh speaks.)

HUGH. Hullo, Miriam ! Will you dine with us three
at the Savoy ?

{She looks from one to the other to see if they really
mean it.)


GEOFFREY {smiUng at her). Do !

TONY. We wish you would.

MIRIAM {crossing to the table to get her hag). Thanks very
much, boys, but I have an engagement.

GEOFFREY {good-humouredly). What are you talking
about ? You know you haven't got an engagement.

MIRIAM. It's very kind of you all, but I think I won't

GEOFFREY. We shan't enjoy ourselves a bit if you go
off by yourself.

TONY. You are such good company, Miriam. You
always make me laugh.

MIRIAM {with a little smile at tony). Bless you.

HUGH. Why won't you come ?

MIRIAM. There's something I want to say to Geoffrey,
something I was thinking of in there. I didn't know you
two were with him, but it don't matter, I may as well say
it in front of you ; you're his friends.

HUGH. We're your friends, too, Miriam.

tony. Yes.

MIRIAM {with a grateful little nod to each of them). I know
— I know — {Then she addresses herself to geoffrey.)
I should hate more than anything in this world that you
should ever find me an encumbrance.

GEOFFREY {draws her towards him and says in a tone
of affectionate reproach). Miriam !

MIRIAM. Listen, Geoffrey. I think I see things pretty
well as they are. If you think it would be best for your-
self to be quit of me, for good, I'll clear out. And I'll go
with no other feelings towards you but those of love and

GEOFFREY {murmurs). Miriam !

MIRIAM. I thought, for one moment, I'd take myself
off without a word of explanation to any one.

TONY. Without saying good-bye to us ?

MIRIAM {to tony). Yes. {To all of them.) It's so
simple for me, my children, to slip away and leave no
trace. No relatives to think of ; no letters to be sent on.
{To GEOFFREY.) Then I thought — perhaps it wouldn't
be quite fair to you — to leave you that way — without
giving you the choice, if I really have, as you say I have,
been of some use in helping you pull yourself together.
But I guess you can get along without me now, so let


it be whatever is best for yoUy and you needn't worry-
about me, I shall be all right.

GEOFFREY. Plcasc stay with me. I want you.
You've been so kind to me, and loyal, I didn't reahse
till now that, though it's been all right for me, it isn't
much of a life for you at present. If you'll trust me I'll
see what I can do to give you a rather better time, I'll
take you about more in future. We'll have no end of
fun, if you'll only stick to me and put all those silly
notions out of your head about me not wanting you.
{He puts his arm round her and hugs her to him a
moment and then says, intending to speak cheerfully hut
with a strong undercurrent of emotion.) And now I think
it would be a good plan if we all went out to dine.

MIRIAM {addressing all of them). You really want me to
dine with you ?

HUGH. Of course we do.

TONY. We insist.

MIRIAM. Watch me walk into the Savoy !

{She walks to the door with an exaggerated, easy, and
indolent grace. Geoffrey, hugh, and tony
watch her, laughing.)



SCENE. — A sitting-room in Miriam's Maisonette. This
room is decorated and furnished in a flamboyant
style. Everything is ornate and expensive and is in
exquisite taste within its own style. On cither side of
the room there is a door, and in the wall opposite the
audience a fireplace. There is a divan heaped with
cushions, and a chaise longue in the middle of the room
with a small table and a chair near it. Other chairs,
cabinets, bookshelves, and small tables to complete
the scene. Cupids and festoons of fruit and flowers
appear largely in the decorations ; there are several
small statuettes of nude or semi-nude flgures ; some
beautifully bound books and some French novels in
paper covers : the pictures on the walls are all
amorous subjects.

MIRIAM is reclining on the chaise longue and Geoffrey
is sitting on the side of it, leaning against her and
holding her hands, which he kisses, miriam is
wearing a very elaborate tea-gown. She is as smart
as a woman can be in every detail of her dress and
coiffure, and has gained immensely in style and
distinction of manner and bearing. Geoffrey wears
an ordinary business suit as it is afternoon.

MIRIAM. Must you go back to the city this afternoon ?

GEOFFREY. No, my darhng, I'm going to stay here with
you. There's nothing much I can do in the city to-day.

MIRIAM. I should think you've made enough money
by now to last you for a little while.

GEOFFREY. I havcn't done so badly lately.

MIRIAM. Clever little head ! {She caresses his head
while she says.) When I think that it was your brains
provided me with my beautiful home. {Leans back and
surveys the room.)



GEOFFREY {suTvcying the room with satisfaction).
Everything paid for ! {He takes his cigarette case from
his pocket and takes out a cigarette while miriam speaks.)

MIRIAM. I love to remind myself that all the things
I have about me — you gave me — and every stitch of
clothing that I wear.

GEOFFREY. What sliould I do with the money I make
if I hadn't got you to dress up and sui round with nice
things ?

MIRIAM. I used to feel afraid — when first you began
making money — afraid that you wouldn't think so much
of me now, but might be wanting to look around you
for some smarter girl.

GEOFFREY. I did look around.

MIRIAM. You didn't ?

GEOFFREY. Ycs, I did — but I couldn't find her.
There wasn't a smarter girl to be found in the whole of
London or Paris.

MIRIAM {squeezing his hand in both of hers). You dear !
(GEOFFREY, delighted to have scored off her, makes
a face at her and laughs.)

MIRIAM. Will you be going to Paris again soon ?

GEOFFREY. I might havc to go next week. Do you
want to come with me ?

MIRIAM. Sure. I had a grand time when you took
me there before.

GEOFFREY. All thosc hats and new dresses — eh ?


GEOFFREY. Maxim's and the Cafe de Paris ?

MIRIAM. Yes — and the evening we went to dine with
those business friends of yours — Monsieur and Madame
Duval, and you passed me off as your wife.

GEOFFREY. I'm rather ashamed when I think of that.

MIRIAM (anxiously). Why ? Did / make you
ashamed ?

GEOFFREY {scoutiug the suggcstion). You ! You were
wonderful. I never saw anything like it, " ravissante "
he said you were, and she said, " elle est delicieuse,
si elegante, si spirituelle." Oh, you were a great success
— but all the same, I oughtn't to have done it — only
when Duval had called to see me at the hotel he had
fallen so violently in love with you and taken it so for
granted that we were married


MIRIAM (finishing his sentence for him). You didn't
like to give me away — did you ?


MIRIAM. That was real sweet of you, Geoffrey. And
what are those people anyway ? Only the bourgeoisie.
(GEOFFREY sTTiiles at her and kisses her hand, then she con-
tinues gravely.) I think that the chief reason why I like
going to Paris with you so much is that you call me
your wife in the hotels. It makes all the servants and
every one treat me with such marked respect.

{Enter beamish.)
(beamish is a plain-faced parlourmaid, very cor-
rectly dressed, with a little white cap on her
head, but with most inferior manners. She
saunters in and out and speaks as if she were
addressing nobody in particular. She is not
so much deliberately rude as indifferent.)
MIRIAM. You should knock on the door.
BEAMISH, So I did.
MIRIAM. I didn't hear you.

BEAMISH. That's not my fault. Would you like to
see Miss Essex ? She's just called.


GEOFFREY. Do you Want to see her ?

MIRIAM. No, but I think I'd better because she's in

GEOFFREY. Very well.

{Rises, takes a book from the table, and then sits
upon the divan.)

BEAMISH. Shall I bring her in ?

MIRIAM. Yes. Bring her in.

BEAMISH. All right.

(beamish, in going out of the room, leaves the door

GEOFFREY. What's Nelly's trouble ?

MIRIAM. Same old thing.

GEOFFREY. Jack Soamcs ?

MIRIAM. Yes. He's been drunk again for over a week
and knocking her about something cruel.

GEOFFREY. Why docsu't she leave him ?

MIRIAM. She's fond of him. {Rises and comes towards
GEOFFREY as she says.) I'm sorry she's called now —
but it does her good to pour out her woes to me —


though I guess it makes her envious, too, to see me so

{Enter beamish.)
BEAMISH. Miss Essex.

{Enter NELLY ESSEX. She is a pretty girl of
twenty-five, very fashionably dressed, who looks
and behaves almost like a lady. As soon as
NELLY has entered, beamish goes out.)
NELLY. I've only popped in for a moment,
MIRIAM {as she meets her). We're glad to see you.
NELLY. Hullo, Geoffrey.
GEOFFREY {kisses his hand to nelly). Hullo.
NELLY. I've come to tell you some news.
MIRIAM. What ? Is Jack sober ?

(nelly playfully threatens to strike miriam.


NELLY {crossing towards Geoffrey). Don't laugh.
It's serious. {She looks from Geoffrey to miriam before
she speaks, but it is evident from her happy expression
that her news is not tragic.) I'm going to be married.

MIRIAM {incredulously). You're not ?

NELLY. Yes I am.


NELLY. Jack, of course.

MIRIAM. He's going to make you his wife ? {She is
almost overcome with emotion.) Oh, Nelly, I am glad.
That's fine. The man you're so fond of — and you're
going to bear his name.

GEOFFREY. I suppose I ought to Congratulate you.

NELLY. Thanks, Geoffrey. Thanks ever so much.

MIRIAM. Sit down, Nelly, and tell us more about it.

NELLY. It was yesterday that he made me the
proposal — yesterday afternoon. He's been ill, you
know, for the past week — ^oh, very bad indeed he's been
this time — right up to the night before last. Then he
became himself again, and went to bed and slept. All
the morning he was very quiet and — you know — full of
remorse, and I suppose felt that he hadn't been treating
me quite as he should — anyway, towards evening, he
said he'd marry me. It all came from himself ; I never
suggested anything — and to make a long story short,
{smiles and looks very happy as she says) we're to have
our wedding in a fortnight's time.


MIRIAM (wistfully). I guess I shan't see much more of
you after that.

NELLY [a little embarrassed). I don't know, I'm sure.
I hope so — but of course that'll have to depend on what
Jack says about it.

MIRIAM. Naturally. I quite see that. It isn't to be
expected he'd let you come to see me as his wife.

NELLY. We won't be in London much, you see. Jack's
got property in Lancashire — somewhere near Liverpool,
I believe. We're going to live there mostly.

MIRIAM [smiling pleasantly). You'll have your country
house then and entertain the gentry ?

NELLY (smiling). P'raps.

MIRIAM. Sell at bazaars and sit on committees with
the other ladies.

NELLY. Who knows ?

MIRIAM (wistfully). Things will be changed with you,
I can see that.

NELLY (impulsively). But I shan't forget you, dearie.
I shall never forget your kindness to me. I don't know
what I should have done sometimes — when things were
at their blackest and I didn't know what way to turn
— if I hadn't known I could run in here and be sure of
kind words and a welcome.

MIRIAM. No need to thank me. I'm sure if I've ever
been any comfort — I'm very pleased.

NELLY. I must be going now. Jack's waiting for
me to go shopping. He's going to buy me an engage-
ment ring. Good-bye, Geoffrey.

GEOFFREY. Good-byc, my dear. Best of luck.

NELLY. Thanks. Good-bye, Miriam.

MIRIAM. Not yet. I'll go with you as far as the front

(They go out. geoffrey then returns to his book.
MIRIAM re-enters almost immediately and closes
the door after her, while she speaks cheerfully.)

MIRIAM. Isn't that grand ? Poor old Nelly — as I
used tc call her — making that splendid marriage.

(She comes towards geoffrey, but stops when he
speaks. He sits up on the edge of the divan.)

GEOFFREY. Tied up for life with a drunkard ! I
should think she'd do much better for herself if she
remained free. Jack Soames for all his faults is generous,



and he knows that if he tries her patience too far she
can leave him. She has that hold over him. Nelly's
an attractive girl. She'd have no difficulty in finding
some one else.

MIRIAM. I've no doubt it's sense you're talking — but
married !

GEOFFREY. What kind of a marriage is that ? I can
imagine nothing more awful than Nelly's future. Shut
up in a gloomy house in the country, with a husband
who's almost certain to go from bad to worse. He'll
have nothing else to do but drink, because nobody will
know them.

MIRIAM {simply). He might reform himself for her
sake — for the sake of his bride.

GEOFFREY {sviUes and goes towards her as he says). He
might. {Kisses her.) But I wouldn't be too optimistic.
{Replaces his book on the table, and then lies down on the
chaise longue.) I've seen such mamages as theirs before.

MIRIAM. As for people not wanting to know Nelly, —
I daresay it'll be hard for her at first — perhaps always.
But on the other hand, her neighbours may not know
properly who she is. She speaks well and she dresses
well, and if they don't know for certain, and she makes
herself agreeable, and they like her — {Pauses before she
says, speaking zvith a slightly forced lightness of tone, not
looking at him.) It's almost — you might say — in a
way — as if / were to be married to — any one — and we
went and lived far away from London — somewhere in
the country. {He glances at her, but when at this point
she turns to look at him he takes his book from the table
again and pretends to be partially engaged with it so as
not to be under the necessity of looking at her.) Who'd
know for certain ? You and the boys wouldn't give me
away, — and if any one else were to do such a thing, it
might not be believed. {She takes her eyes off him and
looks in front of her as she continues, and he, knowing that
she is not watching him, glances at her from time to time
as he idly turns the pages of his book, but should not give
the impression that he is reading.) It would be much
easier for me though than for Nelly, because — as I come
from America — they wouldn't expect to know all about
me. 1 should be — vaguely — an American woman who has
lived in Paris, — a widow or a divorcee — they wouldn't


be sure which — {Turning to him again and speaking
rather eagerly.) And it wouldn't really matter, because
in America we can get divorces for all sorts of reasons —
incompatibility or any old thing. It doesn't necessarily
mean that a woman has been guilty.

GEOFFREY [unoble to ignore her meaning any longer,
smiles at her and says very kindly). You're a good girl,

MIRIAM {looking in front of her again and speaking
very gravely and definitely). I don't say a man ought to
marry his mistress, however well she's behaved herself,
— nor whatever she's done for him. I don't see any
reason why he should, I don't think it's her due. It's
entirely a matter of his own wishes. {Pauses and looks
at him again while she says.) But there's something to
be said for people knowing one another thoroughly
before marriage. Jack and Nelly already know the best
and the worst — {very lightly as if it were an afterthought)
like you and me.

GEOFFREY {lays Ms hook on the table and gives her his
whole attention as he says). I don't exactly expect Nelly
will be able to stick it long. She'll miss the noise of
London too much — the restaurants and music-halls
and parties — all the gaieties and frivolities and excite-
ments which are like food and drink to her. How can
she settle down to a quiet, dull, domestic life after the
kind of life she's been leading here ?

MIRIAM. There are some girls like that. Most of
those who have ever gone in for the gay life are like that.
It's in their blood. They can't settle down. {Slowly.)
But there's others too. I don't know about Nelly, I'm
sure — but I know there are some who'd give much to
get away, who are sick and tired of it all, who've come
to see that it's only passing the time and trying to forget
and being of no real use to themselves or any one — ^girls
who want peace and rest and to be good. I know there
are some like that.

GEOFFREY {sits ou the side of the chaise longue, towards
her, and says very gravely and kindly). It's the reaction,
my dear. It's the discontent we all feel at times, what-
ever life we have chosen. But I fear that it doesn't
last. You'd want to be back again as soon as your rest
was over. It's only reaction.


{He rises intending to move away^ but she rises

almost at the same time to detain him. lie

stops and waits for her to speak, seeing by the

expression on her face that there is something

important she wishes to say.)

MIRIAM {very earnestly and appealingly and at the

beginning timidly). Mightn't it be the woman in nie —

the woman I smothered for so long — strugghng — trying

to Hve still — asking to come out and show herself ?

Couldn't it be that ? Love works such wonders. I

long so to be something better, Geoffrey — since I've

known you — to be of some good in the world — to take

my place among the helpful ones. {She is nearly crying

as she says.) But they won't have me. I can't even

help to raise the poor and the fallen because of what I

am. There's no true woman's life to be found outside

of marriage.

{She breaks down and cries, using her handkerchief.

GEOFFREY, distressed, goes towards her and

puts his arms about her, trying to comfort her.)

GEOFFREY. Dou't Cry, dear, don't cry. Oh, it's

dreadful, I know, it's horrible. Poor Miriam ! I'm

so sorry for you. I'll take you out to some nice place

this evening, and I'll buy you those black peails.

{She makes a movement away from him. Then
TONY HEWLETT and BEAMISH are heard speak-
ing outside the room. Geoffrey listens as soon
as he hears their voices, but their words need
not be distinctly heard.)
tony. Is she at home ?
BEAMISH. I believe you'll find her in there.
TONY. Will it be all right for me to go in, do you
think ?

GEOFFREY {Ustcns, then says warningly to miriam).
Some one's called. It's Tony.

(miriam goes out of the room, drying her eyes.
Enter tony Hewlett.)
TONY. How are you, Geoffrey ? Where's Miriam ?
GEOFFREY. Only gone to her room. She'll be back
soon. How are you ?

TONY. I came to ask her if you'd both come and sup
with me to-night. I'm having some people to meet Ida
Mason — the girl who does that Egyptian dance in Over


the Way. She's so pretty and awfully nice. I'm sure
Miriam would like her. D'you think you can come ?

GEOFFREY. / shall be very glad to come, thanks, Tony
— and I expect Miriam will too. It'll do her good. She
wants cheering up. Sit down and keep me company till
she comes and then ask her.

TONY. All right. If I'm not in the way. {Makes
himself comfortable on the chaise longue while Geoffrey
brings a box of cigarettes).

GEOFFREY. There ! Help yourself.

TONY. Thanks.

GEOFFREY. Where have you come from ?

TONY. Now ?


TONY. I've been lunching with Valentine.

GEOFFREY. Oh. How's Valentine ? Going strong ?

TONY. Not very.

GEOFFREY. What's the matter with her ?

TONY. She's all right as far as her health is concerned,
but of course she's miserably unhappy.

GEOFFREY. What about ?

TONY. I suppose you know that she's left her husband ?
{This comes as a tremendous surprise to Geoffrey.
There is a pause before he can speak.)

GEOFFREY. No. I didn't know that.

TONY. About a month ago. Perhaps I oughtn't to
have told you, but I thought you'd be sure to have heard.

GEOFFREY. I ucvcr sec Valentine now. I've only
seen her once since her marriage. She came to call on
me at my rooms one day— ages ago. Why has she left
her husband ?

TONY. I don't know whose fault it is, I'm very sorry
for both of them. She's bored to death with him and
he's crazy about her — and there it is — I suppose she
couldn't stand him any longer. They aren't separated
permanently, not legally I mean. He believes she'll
come back to him and she swears she won't, and it's all
like that. He's up in Scotland somewhere fishing and
she's at Claridge's with her mother.

GEOFFREY. What line does her mother take ?

TONY. She sides with the husband. She's at Valentine
day and night to try and make her go back to him.

GEOFFREY. Poor little Valentine !

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