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MR. BAXTER. All who ?

TOJi. You and I and the girls and Miss Roberts and

MR. BAXTER. You'll ncvcr get Dulcie on a picnic,
will he, Miss Roberts ?

TOM. Why not ?

MR. BAXTER. Too much cxcrtion.

MISS ROBERTS [stUl husy filling the vases). I think
Mrs. Baxter would go if Mr. Kemp asked her.

(tom looks at jiR. BAXTER as soon as miss Roberts
has spoken and mr. Baxter looks dubious.)

TOM {hi a lower voice, to mr. Baxter). I don't want
Miss Roberts to think that I can't master Dulcie ; be-
sides, a picnic, the very thing to make her run about,
but we must approach her tactfully and keep our
tempers. I lost mine over the flowers, otherwise I've
not the least doubt I could have made her do them ;
we must humour Dulcie and cajole her. Whisk her off
to the woods in a whirl of gaiety ; you go dancing into
the dining-room like this. {Assuming great jollity.)
We're all going off on a picnic.



TOM. Why not ?

MR. BAXTER. It Wouldn't be me.

TOM. Well, er — {glancing at miss Roberts) go and —

er {Glancing again at miss Roberts.) Oh, go and

say whatever you like. But be jolly about it ; full of
the devil.

{He takes mr. Baxter by the arm and pushes him
towards the stairs.)
MR. BAXTER {imitating tom as he goes). We're all
going off on a picnic. {He stops at the top of the stairs and
says seriously.) It wouldn't be me.

{He exits.)
TOM. So you're not one of the cake and milk brigade ?


TOM, I thought you wouldn't be.

MISS ROBERTS. Aren't you going to join them ?

TOM. No, I don't want to eat cake in the middle of
the morning. I'm like you. We seem to have a lot
of habits in common.

MISS ROBERTS. Do you think so ?

TOM. Don't you ?

MISS ROBERTS. I haven't thought.

{She takes a vase to the mantelpiece, tom watches
her and follows with the other vase, miss
ROBERTS takes the vase from tom and puts it
on the mantelpiece.)

TOM. Didn't we have a nice walk together ?

miss ROBERTS. Yes ; don't you love being out in
the early morning ?

TOM. I'm up with the sun at home out West. I
live out-of-doors out there.

MISS ROBERTS. How Splendid !

TOM. You're the kind of girl for Colorado.

MISS ROBERTS {plcascd). Am I ?

TOM. Can you ride ?

MISS ROBERTS. Ycs, but I don't get any opportuni-
ties now.

TOM. Got a good nerve ?

MISS ROBERTS. I brokc a colt once ; he'd thrown
three men, but he never threw me !

TOM {smiling at her). Well done !

MISS ROBERTS. I didn't mean to boast, but I'd love
to do it again.


TOM. I should love to see you mounted on a mustang,
flying through our country.

MISS ROBERTS. With the tree tops waving down in the
valley, and the great blue mountains you told us about,
stretching away — away

TOM {watching her with admiration). You certainly
ought to come to Colorado.

MISS ROBERTS. Nothing so thrilling could happen to

{She returns to the table and picks up the remain-
ing flowers.)

TOM {following her). Why ? You've nothing to do
but get on the boat and take the train from New York,
and I'd meet you in Denver.

MISS ROBERTS {laughing). It's so nice to have some
one here to make us laugh.

TOM {a little hurt). Oh, I was being serious.

MISS ROBERTS {scriously). Do you really think
Colorado would be a good place for a girl like me to go
to ? A governess !

TOM. Yes, yes, a girl who has to earn her own living
has a better time of it out there than here, more inde-
pendence, more chance, more life.

MISS ROBERTS {thoughtfully). I do know an English
lady in Colorado Springs, at least a great friend of mine
does, and I'm sure I could get a letter to her.

TOM {cheerfully). You don't want any letters of
introduction ; you've got me.

MISS ROBERTS {smiUug). Ycs, but that is not quite
the same thing.

TOM. No, I suppose not ; no, I see : well, can't you
write to your friend and tell her to send that letter on at
once ?

MISS ROBERTS {amuscd). You talk as if it were all

TOM. I wish it were.

MISS ROBERTS {not noticing that he is flirting with her,
she says thoughtfully). I wish I knew what to do about
leaving here.

TOM. You told me you had already given my sister

MISS ROBERTS. She won't take it.

TOM. She can't make you stay if you want to go.


MISS ROBERTS {smiling, but serious). It's not as
simple as that. After Mrs. Baxter has treated me so
well, I should be making a poor return if I left her
before she found some one to take my place. On
the other hand, my duty to the children is to leave

TOM. A real old-fashioned conscience.

MISS ROBERTS. One must think of the others.

TOM. It seems to me you're always doing that.

MISS ROBERTS. If you kncw how I sometimes long to
be free to do whatever I like just for one day. When
I see other girls — girls who don't work for a living —
enjoying themselves — it comes over me so dreadfully
what I am missing. From the schoolroom window I
can see the tennis club, and while I am giving Gladys
and Margery their geography lesson, I hear them calling
" Play ! Fifteen love ! " and see the ball flying, and the
girls in their white dresses, talking to such nice-looking
young men.

TOM. Um, yes. Don't you ever talk to any of those
nice-looking young men.

MISS ROBERTS. Of coursc not.

TOM. How's that ?

MISS ROBERTS. Govcmcsses never do. We only pass
them by as we walk out with the children, or see the
backs of their heads in church. Or if we are introduced,
as I was to one at the Rectory one day — the occasion
is so unusual we feel quite strained and nervous — and
can't appear at our best. So that they don't want to
pursue the acquaintance even if they could.

TOM. You don't seem strained and nervous as you
talk to me.

MISS ROBERTS (innocently). You don't seem like the
others. {She meets his eyes — smiles at him and says.)
I must go back to the schoolroom.

{She rises.)

TOM {rising and coming to miss Roberts). Not yet.
Don't go yet. I want you to stay here — talking to me.
You are sure to hear my little nieces shrieking about in
the garden when they have done their cake.

(MRS. BAXTER enters, followed by mr. Baxter.)

MRS. BAXTER. Oh, I hurricd back to finish the flowers,
but I see you have done them. Thank you.

vol. II D


MISS ROBERTS. You askcd me to do them, Mrs.

MRS. BAXTER (smiling). Oh, no. Miss Roberts — I think
yovi are mistaken. I only said they were there waiting
to be done.

{She sits in an armchair and begins to read a novel.)

TOM {in an undertone to mr. baxter). Have you told
her about the picnic ?

MR. BAXTER. There was no suitable opportunity —

TOM. You're a coward ! {He pushes past him. tom
then motions to mr. Baxter to speak to mrs. Baxter.
He refuses, tom, assuming great cheerfulness, addresses
MRS. BAXTER.) We are all going off on a picnic.

MRS. BAXTER {pleasantly). Oh.

TOM. Yes. We four and the girls. {Whispering to
MR. BAXTER.) Back me up.

MR. BAXTER {ruhhiug his hands together, and trying to
assume jollity). Won't that be fun ?

MRS. BAXTER {brightly). I think it would be great

TOM. Ah !

MRS. BAXTER. Somc day.

TOM. Why not to-day ?

MRS. BAXTER. Why to-day ?

TOM {at a loss for an answer, appeals to mr. baxter
and MISS Roberts). Why to-day ?

MISS ROBERTS. In houour of Mr. Kemp's arrival, and
it's such a fine day — and

MRS. BAXTER. You will find the girls in the school-
room — dear.

TOM {very jolly). Shall she go and get them ready ?

MRS BAXTER {inuoccntly) . What for ?

TOM. The picnic.

MRS. BAXTER. I thought it had been decided not to go

MR. BAXTER {losing Ms temper). Oh, Duleie — you
know quite well

TOM {signing to mr. baxter to keep quiet). Sh !
{Turning to mrs. baxter and pretending to make a meek,
heartfelt appeal.) Please let us go to-day. It's in honour
of my arrival. I shall be so hurt if I don't have a picnic
in honour of my arrival.


MRS. BAXTER, Supposc it rains.

TOM {at a loss for an answer, appealing to the others).
Suppose it rains ?

MISS ROBERTS {at the window). I can't see a single

MR. BAXTER. The glass has gone up.

TOM. It won't rain if we take plenty of umbrellas
and mackintoshes and our goloshes.

MRS. BAXTER. I think we are all too tired.

TOM {scouting the idea). Too tired !

(mr. BAXTER and TOM get together.)

MRS. BAXTER. I supposc it is the excitement of Tom's
arrival which is making us feel so next-dayish.

TOM. Next-dayish !

MRS. BAXTER. You especially. You were very irrit-
able over the flowers. You ought to go and lie down.

{She takes u]) her novel and opens it as if she
considered the argument over, miss Roberts
watches them anxiously, mr. Baxter makes an
emphatic gesture, expressing his strong feelings
on the subject.)

TOM {clutching his arm). We must keep our tempers.
We must keep our tempers.

MR. BAXTER. Shall wc pokc fun at her ?

TOM. No, no, we'll try a little coaxing first. {He
takes a chair, places it close beside mrs. Baxter and sits.
Smiling affectionately at mrs. Baxter.) Dear Dulcie.

MRS. BAXTER {smiUng affectionately at tom and patting
his knees). Dear Tom.

TOM. We shall have such a merry picnic.

MRS. BAXTER. It would havc been nice, wouldn't it ?

TOM. Under a canopy of green boughs with the
sunbeams dropping patterns on the carpet of moss at
our feet.

MRS. BAXTER. Spiders dropping on our hats.

TOM. Dear, interesting little creatures, and so in-

MRS. BAXTER. Auts up our arms.

TOM {laughing). Lizards up our legs. Frogs in our
food. Oh, we shall get back to Nature, (tom and mrs.
BAXTER both laugh heartily, both in the greatest good-
humour. MR. BAXTER and miss ROBERTS ttlsO IttUgh.)

Then it's settled.


MRS. BAXTER. Ycs, dear — it's settled.

TOM {thinking he has zvon). Ah !

MRS. BAXTER. We'll all stay quietly at home.

{She resumes the reading of her book, tom is in

MR. BAXTER. The girls will be greatly disappointed.

TOM {with emotion). Poor girls ! A day in the woods.
{With mock pathos.) Think what that means to those
poor girls.

MRS. BAXTER {rising and saying seriously to miss
ROBERTS). Miss Roberts, you might go to the school-
room and tell Gladys and Margery that Mamma says
they may have a half-holiday and go for a picnic in the

(tom winks at mr. baxter. The three look at
each other agreeably surprised.)

MISS ROBERTS {moviug towards the stairs). Thank you.
Thank you very much, Mrs. Baxter. I'll go and get
them ready at once.

{She goes out.)

TOM. I knew we only had to appeal to her heart.

MR. BAXTER. We shall want twelve hard-boiled eggs.

TOM. And some ginger-beer.

MR. BAXTER. A ham.

TOM. A few prawTis.

MRS. BAXTER {looking out of the window, to which she
has strolled). I am glad Miss Roberts and the girls have
got such a fine day for their picnic.

(tom and mr. baxter look at each other in dismay.)

MR. BAXTER {after a pause). After leading us on to

TOM {in great good-humour). Can't you see she's
teasing us ? {Going to mrs. Baxter, he playfully
pinches her ear.) Mischievous little puss !

MRS. BAXTER {gravcly to MR. BAXTER). Dear, I should
like to speak to you.

MR. BAXTER. Shall wc go to my room ?

MRS. BAXTER. I don't See why we need trouble to
walk across the hall. {Glances at tom.) We may get
this room to ourselves by and by.

{She sits down.)

tom {cheerfully taking the hint). All right — all right.
I'll go and make preparations for the picnic. Don't


keep us waiting, Duleie. Prawns — hams — ginger-

{He runs off.)

MR. BAXTER (sUghtly peevish). I wish you would enter
more into the spirit of the picnic. It would do you good
to go to a picnic.

MRS. BAXTER. I dou't like the way Tom is carrying
on with Miss Roberts. Last evening they monopolised
the conversation. This morning — a walk before break-
fast. Just now — as soon as my back is turned — at it
again. I don't like it — and it wouldn't do me any good
at all to go to a picnic.

MR. BAXTER. Tom scems so set on our going.

MRS. BAXTER. Tom is Set on making me go. Tom
has taken upon himself to reform my character. He
thinks I need stirring up.

MR. BAXTER {embarrassed). What put such an idea
as that into your head ?

MRS. BAXTER {lookifig Mm straight in the eye). The
clumsy way you both go about it. (mr. Baxter looks
exceedingly uncomfortable.) ... It wouldn't deceive any
woman. It wouldn't suit me at all if Tom became
interested in Miss Roberts. I could never find another
Miss Roberts. She understands my ways so well, I
couldn't possibly do without her ; not that I'm thinking
of myself ; I'm thinking only of her good. It's not right
for Tom to come here turning her head, and I don't
suppose the climate of Colorado would suit her.

MR. BAXTER, I don't think we need worry yet. They
only met yesterday.

MRS. BAXTER. That is so like you, dear — to sit still
and let everything slip past you like the — what was
that funny animal Tom mentioned ? — the mollusc. I
prefer to take action. We must speak to Tom.

MR. BAXTER. You'll Only offcud him if you say any-
thing to him.

MRS. BAXTER. I'vc uo intention of saying anything.
I think it would come much better from you.

MR. BAXTER {with determination). I shan't interfere.

MRS. BAXTER {trying to xvork on his feelings). It's not
often I ask you to do anything for me, and I'm not strong.

MR. BAXTER {feeling uncomfortable). I shouldn't know
what to say to Tom, or how to say it.


MRS. BAXTER {approaching mr. Baxter). You know
the way men talk to each other. Go up to him and
say, " I say, old fellow, that little governess of ours.
Hands off, damn it all." (mrs. Baxter nudges mr.
BAXTER in a masculine way. mr. Baxter laughs and
retreats a little, mrs. Baxter is mightily offended.) I
don't consider that trifling with a young girl's affections
is food for laughter.

MR. BAXTER {trying to conceal his amusement). I think
I'll go and join Tom.

MRS. BAXTER. Will you tell him we wish him to pay

less (miss ROBERTS cntcrs) attention to

{She sees miss Roberts.)


{He goes out.)
MRS. BAXTER. I know what that means.

MISS ROBERTS {comiug tO MRS. BAXTER). If yOU plcaSC,

Mrs. Baxter, I'm having such trouble with Gladys and
Margery. They want to go to the picnic in their Sunday
hats, and I say they must go in their everyday ones.

MRS. BAXTER. If there's going to be any trouble about
the matter, let them have their ovra way.

MISS ROBERTS. Thank you.

{She is going out.)

MRS. BAXTER. Oh, MisS RobcrtS. (miss ROBERTS

stops.) I want a word ^xith you before you start off on
your picnic. Sit down, dear, (miss Roberts sits down.)
You know how devoted I am to my brother Tom.

miss ROBERTS {with Smiling enthusiasm). I don't
wonder. He's delightful. So amusing, so easy to get
on with.

MRS. BAXTER. Ycs, but of coursc wc all have our
faults, and a man who gets on easily with one will get
on easily with another. Always mistrust people who
are easy to get on mth,

miss ROBERTS {solemnly). Oh — do you mean he isn't
quite honest ?

MRS. BAXTER {indignantly). Nothing of the sort. You
mustn't t^^^st my meanings in that manner. You might
get me into great trouble.

MISS ROBERTS. I'm SO sorry, but I thought you were
warning me against him.

MRS. BAXTER {confuscd). Ycs — no — yes — and no. {Re-


covering herself.) I am sure you will take what I'm
going to say as I mean it, because (smiles at her) I am
so fond of you. Ever since you came to us I have wished
to make you one of the family. When I say one of
the family, I mean in the sense of taking your meals
with us. Mr. Baxter and the girls and I are so much
attached to you. We should like to keep you with us

MISS ROBERTS. I must Icavc at the end of the term.

MRS. BAXTER. We wou't go into all that now.


MRS. BAXTER (smiUng and raising her hand in pro-
testation, says politely). Try not to interrupt. (Seriously.)
I should say that a man of Tom's age who has never
married would be a confirmed bachelor. He might
amuse himself here and there with a pretty girl, but he
would never think of any woman seriously.

MISS ROBERTS (embarrassed). I can't think why you
are saying this to me.

MRS. BAXTER (plunging at last into her subject). To
speak quite frankly — as a sister — I find your attitude
towards my brother Tom a trifle too encouraging. Last
evening, for instance, you monopolised a good deal of
the conversation — and this morning you took a walk
with him before breakfast — and altogether (very sweetly)
it looks just a little bit as if you were trying to flirt —
doesn't it ?

MISS ROBERTS (with supprcsscd rage). I'm not a flirt !

MRS. BAXTER. I didn't say you were — I said

MISS ROBERTS. I'm not a flirt — I'm not.

MRS. BAXTER. We'll Say no more about it. It was
very hard for me to have to speak to you. You have
no idea how difficult I found it.

MISS ROBERTS. Mrs. Baxtcr, you have often been
very kind to me, and I don't want to forget it — but I'd
rather not be treated as one of the family any more. I
want my meals in the schoolroom, and I mustn't be
expected to sit in the drawing-room.

MRS. BAXTER. Upsetting the whole machinery of the

MISS ROBERTS. I Can't go ou mcctiug him at table
and everywhere.

MRS. BAXTER. I don't scc why not.


MISS ROBERTS. I shouldn't know where to look or
what to say.

MRS. BAXTER. Look out of the window and converse
on inanimate objects.

MISS ROBERTS {mumhUs angrily). I will not look out
of the window and converse on inanimate objects.

MRS. BAXTER {putting ujp a warning hand). Hush,
hush, hush !

MISS ROBERTS. Plcasc Understand I won't be one of
the family, and I won't go to the picnic.

{She goes hurriedly into the garden.)

MRS. BAXTER. Oh, oh, uaughty girl !

(tom and mr. baxter enter.)

TOM. Cook thinks the large basket and the small
hamper will suffice. She said suffice.

MRS. BAXTER. I'm vcry sorry, Tom, but it is out of
the question for us to go to a picnic to-day.

MR. BAXTER. Oh, Dulcic.

TOM. Too late to back out.

MRS. BAXTER. / havcu't backcd out. It's Miss

TOM. We can't have a picnic without Miss Roberts.

MR. BAXTER. What's the matter with her ?

MRS. BAXTER {solemnly). Miss Roberts and I have
had words.

(tom whistles quietly.)

MR. BAXTER. What about ?

MRS. BAXTER. Ncvcr you mind.

TOM. Oh, it can't be such a very dreadful quarrel
between two such nice sensible women. I guess you
were both in the right. {To mr. baxter.) I guess
they were both in the wrong. {Taking mrs. baxter by
the arm and cajoling her.) Come along. Tell us all
about it.

MRS. BAXTER {withdrawing her arm). No, Tom, I

TOM. Then suppose I go to Miss Roberts and get
her version.

MRS. BAXTER {in dismay). Oh, no, that wouldn't do
at all.

TOM. I only want to make peace. {To MR. baxter.)
Wouldn't it be better if they told me and let me make
it up for them ?


MR. BAXTER. Why you ?

TOM. A disinterested person.

MRS. BAXTER. But you are not.

{Putting her hand over her mouth.)

TOM {turns quickly to mrs. baxter). What ?

MRS. BAXTER. I'm not going to say any more.

{She sits down.)

TOM {seriously). You must. If your quarrel con-
cerns me, I have a right to know all about it.

MR. BAXTER {motiouing to MRS. BAXTER). You are
only putting ideas into their heads.

TOM {turning sharply on mr. baxter). Putting what
ideas into their heads ? {It dawns upon him what the
subject of the quarrel has been.) Oh ! {To mrs. baxter.)
You don't mean to say you spoke to her about— — {He
stops embarrassed.) What have you said to her ?

MRS. BAXTER. I decline to tell you.

TOM. Then I shall ask her. {Going.)

MRS. BAXTER {quickly). No, no, Tom. I — prefer to
tell you myself. I spoke very nicely to her. I forget
how the conversation arose, but I think I did say some-
thing to the effect that young girls ought to be careful
not to have their heads turned by men years older than
themselves. {She looks significantly at tom, who turns
away angrily.) Instead of thanking me, she stamped
and stormed and was very rude to me— very rude. I
simply said {in a very gentle tone), " Oh, Miss Roberts ! "
{Rousing herself as she describes miss Roberts' share in
the scene.) But she went on shouting, " I won't go a
picnic, I won't go a picnic ! " and bounced out of the
room. It just shows you how you can be deceived in
people, and I have been so good to that girl.

TOM {coming towards mrs. baxter). I'm very angry
— with you — very angry.

MRS. BAXTER. I simply gave her a word of counsel
which she chose to take in the wrong spirit.

TOM. You interfered. You meddled. It's too bad
of you, Dulcie. It's unbearable.

MR. BAXTER {watching tom). The way you take it
any one would think you had fallen in love with our
Miss Roberts since yesterday.

MRS. BAXTER. Ycs — Wouldn't any one ?

tom {addressing them both). Would there be anything


s(i strange in tliat ? Perliaps T have ; I don't know —
])erhap.s, as you imply, I'm old enough to know better.
I don't know. All I know is, I think her the most
charming girl I ever met. I've not had time to realise
what this is ; one must wait and see — give the seed a
chance to produce a flower — not stamp on it. {To mrs.
BAXTER.) You might have left things alone when all
was going so pleasantly. I was just beginning to think

— beginning to feel — wondering if perhaps — later on

Now you've spoilt everything.

MRS. BAXTER {tearful and angry). 1 won't stay here

to be abused. {Going to the window.) You've done

nothing else all the morning. I'm tired of being taken

in hand and improved. No one likes to be improved.

(mrs. BAXTER goes out through the window.)

TOM. I don't want to be unkind to her — but you
know how a man feels. He doesn't like any one
meddling when he's just beginning to

MR. BAXTER {showiug embarrassment all through the
early part of this scene). I agree with Dulcie. It would
not be suitable for you to marry Miss Roberts.

TOM. She's as good as any of us.

MR. BAX.Ti:u {hesitatingly). It's not that. Miss Roberts,
from her position here — alone in the world but for
us — and having lived here so long — is — in a sense —
under my protection.

TOM. I don't see that, but go on.

MR. BAXTER. I feel — in a certain degree — responsible
for her. I think it is my duty — and Dulcie's duty — to
try and stop her making what we both feel would be
an unsuitable marriage.

TOM. It's a little early to speak of our marriage, but
why should it be unsuitable ?

MR. BAXTER. We don't wish her to marry you.

TOM. Why ? Give me a reason.

MR. BAXTER. Why do you press me for a reason ?

TOM. Because this is very important to me. You
have constituted yourself her guardian. I have no
objection to that, but I want to get at your objection
to me as a husband to her. I'm in a position to marry.
I'd treat her well if she'd have me. We'd be as
happy as the day is long in our little home in the


MR. BAXTER {unoble to restrain himself). You married
to her ? Oh, no — oh, no, I couldn't bear that.

{He sinks into a chair and leans his head on his

TOM {completely taken aback). Dick, think what you're

MR. BAXTER. I couldu't help it. You made me say
it — ^talking of taking her away — right away where I
shall never see her again. I couldn't stand my life
here without her.

TOM. Dick, Dick !

MR. BAXTER. She kuows nothing of how I feel ; it's
only this moment I realised myself what she is to me.

TOM. Then from this moment you ought never to
see her again.

MR. BAXTER. That's impossible !

TOM. Think of Dulcie, and the girl herself ; she can't
live in the house with you both now.

MR. BAXTER. Shc's Hvcd with us for four years, and
no one has ever seen any harm in it ; nothing is

TOM. From the moment you realised what she is to
you, everything is changed.

MR. BAXTER. There has never been anything to
criticise in my conduct to Miss Roberts, and there won't
be anything.

TOM. She is the object of an affection which you,
as a married man, have no right to feel for her. I
don't blame you entirely. I blame Dulcie, for throwing
you so much together. I remember all you said last
evening. Dulcie used to play chess with you, now she
tells Miss Roberts to ; Dulcie used to go for long walks
with you, now she sends Miss Roberts. Out of your
forced companionship has sprung this, which she ought
to have foreseen.

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