Hubert Henry Davies.

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After a pause he says.) Well — -Maggie.

MAGGIE {looking at the ground). Well — Robin.

(robin looks at the basket in his hand, then looks

about him for a place to deposit it, makes a few

hesitating movements, and finally puts it on

the writing-table and comes towards maggie.)

ROBIN {very nicely and gently). You are very sweet.

(maggie puts up her face, expecting to be kissed ; he kisses

her.) Dear Maggie, I am very much touched that you

care for me. (maggie, smiling, sits on the settee. He

sits, taking her hand and looking at it.) What dear little

hands ! {He puts his arm round her waist and kisses

her again.)

{The door is suddenly thrown open. Enter Isa-
bella, followed by louise parker. Isabella
comes marching gaily in, dressed in her out-
door clothes. LOUISE is tall, graceful, affected,
beautifully dressed, and twenty -nine.)
ISABELLA {speaking as she enters). Here's Louise !
{She stops petrified, as she sees robin and maggie sitting
in a sentimental attitude on the settee.) Oh !

(robin and maggie, very much embarrassed, jump
up as they enter, louise comes towards
ROBIN, who goes towards her, holding out his

ROBIN. How d'you do, Miss — Miss

LOUISE {languidly giving him her hand). Parker —
Louise Parker.

ROBIN. I hope you've had a nice journey from —


LOUISE. Leamington.


{There is a pause of embarrassment, robin looks
at MAGGIE and goes to her.)
MAGGIE {whispering to robin). Hadn't you better
tell them we are engaged ?

ROBIN. Yes. {Turning to Isabella and louise, who
look towards him as he speaks.) Miss Cottrell has just
consented to become my wife.

{He takes maggie's hand. Another long pause
of embarrassment. Isabella and louise look
at each other in consternation, robin looks


MAGGIE {going to ISABELLA). I know witliout you
telling me that you congratulate me. Thank you very
much ! {She shakes Isabella warmly by the hand.
ISABELLA does not respond. She does nothing hut submit
to have her hand shaken, maggie then turns to louise
and shakes her warmly by the hand.) Thank you very
much, (louise submits in the same manner as Isabella.
MAGGIE turns to ROBIN.) I'll bc off home now to tell
the family the joyful news.

{She takes her basket from the table and goes to

the window.)

ROBIN. I'll come with you. {To Isabella and

LOUISE.) You'll excuse me, I'm sure — under the

circumstances. I shall be back to lunch. Come along,


(robin and maggie go off. louise looks after
them, then at Isabella.)
ISABELLA {in great distress). My poor Louise — what
must we do ?

LOUISE. We must lay our heads together, dear, and
see if we can't wean him away from her.

{She unfastens her coat.)



SCENE. — ROBIN worthington's drawmg-room. A large
French window stands wide open and all the windows
afford a view of robin's garden ; a different view
from that seen from his study window. The fireplace
is banked up with ferns and flowering plants. There
are plenty of comfortable armchairs, a cushion seat
and tzvo settees. Against the wall a cabinet. Up
by the zvindow a good-sized oval table is laid with a
white cloth and tea-things for eight people. Chairs
around this table.

Three weeks have passed by since the first act.
It is half-past four on an afternoon in June.

henry and Isabella and louise parker are in the
room. HENRY is looking off from the window.
ISABELLA is Seated on one sofa and louise on the
other. HENRY wears tennis flannels, and Isabella
and LOUISE are charmingly dressed for a garden

Laughter and noise are heard off in the garden ;
the loud young voices of maggie and dickie cottrell
and bertha sims. The voice of bertha is then
heard above the laughter.

bertha {in the garden). Stop it, Dickie ! Come on,
Mag ! Play !

{The laughter and noise die away.)

henry. Robin's engagement really has rejuvenated
him. There he is, running about the tennis court like
a boy of fourteen, picking up balls for Maggie in the
most gallant way. {To Isabella.) There's no doubt
about it — he's tremendously in love with her.

LOUISE {languidly). He has only been engaged to
her for three weeks yet. (henry looks at louise with



marked disapproval, Isabella merely looks resigned
and bored, louise goes towards the window, saying
graciously to Isabella as she passes her.) I'm going out
to talk to Lady Cottrell.

{She goes out.)

henry {indignantly). However much longer does that
woman intend to stay ?

ISABELLA {resigned). I wish I knew.

HENRY. It's monstrous ! Lingering on week after
week, uninvited — making up to Robin in this extra-
ordinary fashion.

ISABELLA. Louise has not improved since she left

HENRY. The way she manceuvres to get him alone,
insists upon reading everything he writes, and is always
trying to give the conversation an intellectual turn.

ISABELLA {letting herself go in irritation against
LOUISE). Oh, yes — and the way she keeps coming down-
stairs in one elaborate gown after another, gliding about
so gracefully — and he takes no notice of her.

HENRY. A good thing for us that he doesn't see what
she's up to — since she's our friend.

ISABELLA {meekly). Mine, dear.

HENRY {stamping about). What is her object in it
all ? Does she think she'll get Robin awa^' from Maggie ?

ISABELLA. That was what she said she meant to do
when she first came. But, as you know, dear, I soon
let her see I couldn't countenance anything of that sort.
It's one thing to try and make a match, but it's quite
another thing to try and break off an engagement.

HENRY. Doesn't she see that ?

ISABELLA. When a woman doesn't wish to see a thing
she has very little difficulty in persuading herself that
it is not so. I can quite understand that it was very
disappointing for Louise to come all the way from
Leamington for nothing — but it wasn't my fault that
Robin got engaged just before she arrived.

HENRY. He probably wouldn't have taken any notice
of her anyway.

ISABELLA. That's what I told her to try and console

HENRY. What troubles me most is that it looks so
bad for you for her to be staying here so long and


behaving in this way. It looks as though you en-
couraged her.

ISABELLA. I know. It presents me as a most repulsive
character. But what can I do ? She simply won't go.

HENRY. You've given her some good strong hints,
haven't you ?

ISABELLA. Dozens !

HENRY. What does she say ?

ISABELLA. She doesn't say anything. She just stays.
It looks as if she meant to stay for ever.

HENRY. I'm afraid you'll have to be rude to her.

ISABELLA. I've been ruder to her already than I ever
was to any one in my life.

HENRY. I don't see how any one else can say any-
thing to her. You invited her.

ISABELLA (troubled). Don't reproach me, darling.
You don't know how I regret writing that letter.

HENRY {going towards her to comfort her). I'm not
reproaching you, dear.

ISABELLA. I can't help feeling you are displeased with

{She begins to cry.)

HENRY. No, dear.

ISABELLA. I'm afraid you are — but you know, Henry
— {she svcallows her tears and looks up at henry) I do
love you and baby.

{They embrace.)

{Enter louise and lady cottrell. lady

coTTRELL is a strong, alert, opinionative woman

of fifty ; her clothes are loose and comfortable

without being eccentric.)

LOUISE. Lady Cottrell and I have come in to see if
tea is ready.

HENRY." I suppose we must wait for Robin.

LADY COTTRELL. Not at all. Ring the bell. {She sits
on the sofa. Isabella obediently rings the bell.) He's
forgotten all about us. He thinks only of Maggie. {Ad-
dressing ISABELLA.) Have you heard ? We are going
to have the wedding quite soon.

ISABELLA {interested). Oh — no — I hadn't heard.

HENRY. Nor had I. When is it to be ?


(LOUISE places her hand to her heart, lady


COTTRELL starcs at her without betraying emotion
of any kind, henry and Isabella exchange
glances, louise totters towards Isabella.)

LOUISE {to Isabella). Have you got your vinaigrette
about you ?

ISABELLA {irritably detaching a vinaigrette from the
long chain which she wears round her neck). There !

LOUISE. Thank you, dear. {She sniffs the vinaigrette
as ISABELLA glanccs at her with the utmost disapproval.
LOUISE smiles wanly at lady cottrell.) I felt a Httle

LADY cottrell. Your dress is too tight, (henry
giggles. LOUISE glances haughtily at lady cottrell,
turns from her as if not deigning to reply, as she sniffs the
vinaigrette, and sits down, lady cottrell addresses
ISABELLA.) That's the cause of nearly all the fainting —
tight-lacing. {She pulls her dress away from her in front
to show that she is not tightly laced.) I don't faint ! It's
the cause of a great deal of bad temper, too — not to

mention biliousness Yes. In six weeks. August

the tenth. Why should we wait ? Nothing to wait for
except the clothes.

LOUISE. Do you think it's wise, dear Lady Cottrell, to
let your girl be married so young ?

ISABELLA {angrily under her breath). Louise !

LADY COTTRELL. Wisc ! Of coursc I think it's wise
or I shouldn't let her do it.

LOUISE. It seems to me to be thrusting responsi-
bilities upon her almost too early. {With a rapid,
affectedly impulsive movement, she darts to the cushion seat
and drops gracefully upon it almost at lady cottrell's
feet.) Do let her remain a child a little longer.

(ISABELLA looks at HENRY, who shrugs his shoulders.)

LADY COTTRELL. Evcry girl ought to be married by
the time she's twenty. / was — so were my two sisters ;
so was my eldest daughter, and so shall Maggie be.
Marriage comes natural to a girl at that age. She loves
her husband and obeys him instead of sitting up and
criticising him as they do if they haven't acquired the
wifely habit in good time — the good old habit of sub-
jection. It's all due to this present craze for late mar-
riages that we have so many hysterical spinsters. They
don't know what's the matter with them, but their


mothers do. Nothing infuriates me more than the way
our modern young women spend the time when they
ought to be having children, in thinking and reading
and writing and talking about marriage ; deciding among
themselves what men ought to be like. By the time
they tliink they are ready to put on their orange blos-
soms, they've grown so exacting they can't settle down
to one man. Maggie shall marry in good time. {Enter
GLADYS with the tea, and plate of hot buns, which she places
on the oval table up stage.) Tea ! {cheerfully) I feel
about ready for it after that harangue.

{Goes up to inspect the tea-table. Gladys goes out.

HENRY joins LADY coTTRELL at the tea-table.

LOUISE remains drooping upon the cushion seat

the picture of despair. Isabella goes towards

the window, passing between louise and the sofa.)

ISABELLA {as shc passcs LOUISE). Get up !

LOUISE {slowly rising to her full height and saying

tragically to herself). August the tenth !

{She presses her hand to her temples.)
ISABELLA {at the window). They've finished their

HENRY. Are they coming in ?

ISABELLA. Yes. Racing to see who'll get here first.
Bertha Sims is last.

LADY COTTRELL. Who's fil'St ?

{Enter dickie cottrell carrying a racquet. He

is a bright-faced, merry boy of eighteen. He

wears tennis flannels. He enters running.)

DICKIE. Here we are ! (dickie runs in, then turning

to look at the others who are following.) Come along, Mr.

Worthington !

(robin and maggie enter, hand in hand, running.
ROBIN is rather blown.)
MAGGIE. I'd have won if you hadn't held me back.
ROBIN {protesting). I can run as fast as any of you.
DICKIE. Are you out of breath, Mr. Wortliington ?
ROBIN {who obviously is out of breath). No, of course
I'm not out of breath.

MAGGIE. Shall we all sprint back to the tennis lawn
and back again ?

ROBIN {very positively). No ! Certainly not !


DICKIE {dancing up stage and looking off in the direction
they have come). Here comes Bertha ! Go it, Bertha !
Run, Bertha !

{He claps his hands.)
MAGGIE {clapping her hands and dancing about with
DICKIE, screaming). Bertha ! Bertha ! Bertha !

{Enter bertha sims. bertha is a fat girl of
sixteen. She is puffing and blowing as she runs
BERTHA. I didn't get a fair start.
ROBIN {laughing). Poor Bertha !
DICKIE. Good old Bertha !

{He slaps bertha soundly on the back.)

BERTHA. Don't !

LADY coTTRELL. Dickie ! You mustn't do such
things as that.

(DICKIE is momentarily subdued.)
MAGGIE {dancing up to the tea-table). Come on, come
on, come on. Tea !

{She seats herself at the tea-table.)
ROBIN. Come on, Dickie. We'll have tea at the big

DICKIE {making robin pass in front of him). You
must sit beside your inamorata.

robin {going to the seat by maggie, he says before he
sits). Come along. Bertha.
BERTHA. Where shall / sit ?
robin. Anywhere.

(robin and maggie pour out the tea together.)
DICKIE. Don't make a fuj>s, Bertha. It doesn't
matter in the least where you sit.

(bertha sits down.)

LADY COTTRELL {to louise). I think wc may as well

let the gentlemen wait upon us ; don't you. Miss Parker ?

LOUISE. August the tenth, did you say ?

LADY COTTRELL. Ycs ; I supposc you'll havc gone

away by then ?

LOUISE {mysteriously). I don't know.

{There is some general chattering and laughter at
the tea-table.)
henry. May I give you some tea. Lady Cottrell ?

{She takes a cup of tea from henry.)


HENRY (giving another cup to louise). Tea ?
LOUISE. Thanks.

LADY coTTRELL {calling out). Dickic ! Bring Miss
Parker and me some buns.

{Shrieks of laughter come from the tea-table. They
all look towards it.)
ROBIN {rising and scarcely able to speak for laughter).
Bertha — has just stuck her thumb in the strawberry

{He sits down, shaking with laughter. All the

others laugh, too, except louise. bertha,

sucking her left thumb, laughs round at them all,

delighted with herself)

LADY COTTRELL {tumiug to LOUISE, says, laughing).

Bertha has just stuck her thumb in the strawberry jam.

(louise doesn't laugh.)
DICKIE. Oh, Bertha, you are a disgusting girl !
MAGGIE. Sit down !

{She throzvs a piece of food at dickie. They all
laugh and chatter round the table.)

LADY COTTRELL {tO LOUISE). HoW dcHghtful it is tO

see Mr. Worthington unbend with the young people !
No one would think, to look at him now, that he's a
clever man.

(lady COTTRELL and LOUISE turn to look at robin,

who is whispering with maggie, his face nearly

under the brim of her hat. louise rises hastily

and goes up towards the window.)

ISABELLA {anxiously to henry). What is Louise up to

now ?

LOUISE {calling). Mr. Worthington. (robin is so en-
grossed in MAGGIE he doesn't hear louise. She calls
louder.) Mr. Worthington ! ;jnj

ROBIN {turning to louise). Yes ? 'I

LOUISE. Do come here. I want to show you some- |

ROBIN {to maggie). Excusc me a minute.

{He joins louise.)
LOUISE {affectedly, indicating the view from the window).
Aren't the various lights and shadows in the garden
lovely ?

ROBIN. Lovely !

{He hurries back to his seat beside maggie.)


LOUISE {gazing across the garden). They remind me of

(She looks round and finds him gone, then she gets
a book and sits down.)
ISABELLA {to henry). Trying to make out she's so

BERTHA. I say, can any of you do this ?

{She throws a lump of sugar in the air and tries to
catch it in her mouth, but fails.)

{She throws a piece of food at bertha.)


{She throws a piece of food back at m aggie, m aggie
throws a bun at bertha, lady cottrell
laughs heartily.)
robin. Can you do this ?

{Juggling with some lumps of sugar.)
MAGGIE {taking lumps of sugar from the sugar-basin).
Oh ! I must try that. One, two, three !

{Juggling with them.)
DICKIE {also juggling with lumps of sugar). One, two,
three ! — don't jog me.
bertha. Look !

{She tries to balance her teaspoon on her nose.)
{Enter miss heseltine with a type-written letter
in her hand. She remains near the door, a
little timid among all the noise and laughter
which seems to greet her. They subside when
she enters, and all look towards her. robin
comes down to miss heseltine.)
ROBIN. What is it, Miss Heseltine ?
miss HESELTINE. You asked me to bring you this
letter as soon as it was written.

ROBIN. Oh, yes. {Taking the letter from miss hesel-
tine he reads it over to himself.) That seems all right.
{He looks at miss heseltine and says kindly.) You
look tired. You'd better leave off for to-day and go

MISS HESELTINE. I haveu't finished typing the
American article.

ROBIN. Won't it do to-morrow ?

MISS HESELTINE. You promised to send it off to-night.

ROBIN. But I don't want you to overwork yourself.


MISS IIESELTINE. If I didn't overwork myself — /
might lose my head, too.

{She takes the letter out of his hand and goes out
quickly with it. robin looks after her till she
has closed the door, louise comes towards him,
smiling, with a small volume in her hand.)
LOUISE. Mr. Worthington, have you read this new
volume of Eastern Poems ?
ROBIN {preoccupied). Yes.

LOUISE. Do you think we are meant to take them
literally or allegorically ?
ROBIN, Both.

{He passes louise and sits on the cushion seat,
taking out his cigarette case and helping himself
to a cigarette, while louise sits on the settee and
peruses the volume of Eastern Poems.)
DICKIE {coming to robin). Shall we go and play some
more tennis ?
ROBIN. Not yet.

DICKIE. Why not ? What are we waiting for ?
ROBIN. Digestion.

DICKIE. You don't need to digest a cup of tea and a
handful of buns.

ROBIN. You don't. I do.

DICKIE. Make him come and play tennis. He's

MAGGIE {coming to robin). Don't make him play if
he doesn't want to. {Kindly to robin.) Vll go and
play with them while you have your snooze.

robin {jumping up as if he had been shot). Snooze ! I
don't want a snooze ! {Gaily.) Who's coming to play
tennis ?

BERTHA {still eating a bun). I'm ready.
MAGGIE. Come along then.

(MAGGIE goes into the garden, running.)
BERTHA. Wait a tick.

{Exit BERTHA, running and eating.)
DICKIE. Come along, Mr. Worthington.

{Exit DICKIE, running.)
HENRY. I say, Robin, you'd much better not play
again immediately.


ROBIN. Why ? They do.

HENRY. They are a generation younger than you.

ROBIN. I wish everybody wouldn't treat me as if I
were an old gentleman.

{He goes out after them.)

LADY COTTRELL. I declare, Captain Worthington,
your brother is the youngest of the party.

HENRY. He'll pay for it to-morrow. He'll be so stiff
he won't be able to walk.

LADY COTTRELL. After a few sets of tennis ? He's
not as old as all that.

HENRY. It's not the tennis that's going to find him
out. It's all that idiotic ragging and jumping about and
screaming. It's not natural at his time of life. A man
of such sedentary habits, too.

ISABELLA. If he's uot Very careful he'll break one of
his ligaments.

LOUISE. It's so bad for him intellectually to mix with
such very young people. A man of his ability ought not
to have been so much amused when Miss Sims stuck her
thumb in the strawberry jam.

LADY COTTRELL. / was exceedingly amused. It was
a thoroughly characteristic example of British wit and

{She goes out. Isabella glances at louise, who is
again absorbed in the Eastern Poems, before she
says to HENRY in an undertone.)

ISABELLA. I consider the way Louise behaved all
through tea was nothing short of scandalous.

HENRY. You'll really have to say something to her.
You'd better take this opportunity. {Exit henry.)

ISABELLA. Louise — I'm ashamed of you !

LOUISE {in mild surprise). Why ?

ISABELLA. Everybody must have noticed.

LOUISE. What ?

ISABELLA. The way you run after Robin, (louise
looks affronted.) Your attempts to wean him away from
Maggie— {with a reproving smile as louise is about to
retort) your own words, dear, (louise hangs her head.)
And it's not only to-day, it's all the time. I don't know
what Lady Cottrell must think.

LOUISE {retorting). I am only treating Mr. Worthing-
ton as I treat every man.



ISABELLA. I hope not.

LOUISE. I mean to say — I'm amazed you should see
anything to criticise in my behaviour. I am sure no
one — except you who know why you invited me and are
therefore, I suppose, on the look-out for motives in every-
thing I do — no one else could say otherwise than that I
treat Mr. Worthington in a perfectly easy and friendly

ISABELLA. It was the same thing at school.

LOUISE. I don't know what you mean.

ISABELLA. You Can't have forgotten the young mian
with the bicycle who lived opposite !

LOUISE {angry). I wasn't the only one. You and
Jinny and Margaret were just as bad.

ISABELLA. There ! That is an illustration of what I
mean. You think we were as bad as you.

LOUISE. You were.

ISABELLA. We were all just as madly in love with
him, but we none of us went the lengths you did. We
only smiled at him and waved our pocket-handkerchiefs.
You used to wTite him letters and threw nosegays at
him out of your bedroom window — till he got in such a
fright he told his mother and she complained, and you
were expelled.

LOUISE {crestfallen). I don't see why you need rake
that up now.

ISABELLA. I only remind you of it because you are
still doing exactly the same sort of thing.

LOUISE. When have I ever written a letter to Mr.
Worthington ? When have I thrown a single nosegay
at him ?

ISABELLA. You've got bcyond that, I should hope.
What I mean to say is — here you are again, making
the boldest advances — without apparently realising that
you are doing anything out of the ordinary.

LOUISE {childishly). I'm very much hurt that you
should think such things about me. You've made me
feel horrid.

ISABELLA. Let me give you a word of advice, Louise.

LOUISE. Well, what is it ?

ISABELLA. It's uot the Way to succeed in love to be
so persevering.

LOUISE {sitting on the floor at Isabella's feet in the


attitude of one willing to learn). What do you think
would be a better way ?

ISABELLA. Be more reticent. If you don't encourage
a man too much he will make advances.

LOUISE {thoughtfully). Not always.

ISABELLA. You must sliow him now and then that
you like him.

LOUISE. Of course.

ISABELLA. But dou't show him too often. Otherwise
he takes fright or gets bored — or says to himself, " I
can have her any time," and takes no trouble, so nothing
comes of it.

LOUISE. That's so true !

ISABELLA {warming to her subject). Baffle them a bit.
Then they begin to wonder about you till their heads
become so full of you they can think of nothing else.
That's love. {As she meets Louise's earnest and inquiring
gaze she stops short.) Oh ! {Uneasily.) 1 hope you don't
think I am giving you hints as to how to succeed with —
any one in particular ?

LOUISE. Oh, no, dear. We were speaking quite im-

ISABELLA. I can't think how I allowed myself to be
led away into considering the best ways to attract
men except that the subject is so engrossing. But that's
not what we are talking about. I'll have nothing to
do with helping you to wean Robin away from Maggie.
I've told you so repeatedly. I don't think you ought
to be here.

LOUISE. Whenever I propose leaving, Mr. Worthing-
ton invarial)ly asks me to stay on.

ISABELLA. Mere politeness.

LOUISE. I couldn't very well leave by the next train
because I found on my arrival that Mr. Worthington
was engaged.

ISABELLA. I never suggested you should leave by the
next train. The right and proper thing for you to have
done was to have stayed here for two or three days, and
then had an engagement elsewhere.

LOUISE {thoughtfully). I had thought of leaving to-

ISABELLA. That's right.

LOUISE, But I have Just heard that the wedding-day


is fixed for August the tenth. It'll look very funny if
I leave now,

ISABELLA. It'll look mucli fuunier if you don't.

LOUISE. Every one would say, " Miss Parker stayed
until the wedding-day was fixed, then, seeing she had
no chance, she left." Oh, no — I can't leave now. It
would be putting myself in a very false position.

ISABELLA. You canH hang on like this ! {Marching
towards louise and saying with great determination.)
You really must go — please, dear.

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