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LOUISE {calmly and seriously). And do you sincerely
believe, Isabella, that Maggie Cottrell will make him
happy ?

ISABELLA. That's uobody's business but his. He has
chosen her. He is engaged to her, and he is going to
be married to her in six weeks.

LOUISE {moving about, as she says, dramatically). It
must be stopped ! Why can't you do something ?
Why doesn't your husband interfere ? He ought to
save his brother. Poor Mr. Worthington is out of his
mind. He's infatuated, bewitched. He'll be bored to
death in no time by that wretched chit of a child.

ISABELLA {quite unimpressed by Louise's exhibition
of feeling). When are you going to leave ?

LOUISE {deliberately). I haven't made up my mind.

ISABELLA. I shall tcU Henry.

{Enter robin quickly.)

ROBIN {indignantly). What do you think ? They've
got tired of playing tennis, and now they want to play
hide-and-seek all over the garden ! I won't do it.

(ISABELLA laughs.)

LOUISE {smiling at robin). Poor Mr. Worthington !
We'll protect you.

ROBIN {still speaking indignantly). I can't keep this
up. I've been on the go ever since three o'clock. {He
sits.) The more they run about the livelier they get,
but / don't. {Enter maggie. robin does not see her,
as his back is towards her. maggie puts her finger to
her lips as a sign to Isabella ajid louise not to let robin
k7iow she is there. She advances towards robin smiling,
and on tiptoe, then suddenly puts her hands over his eyes
and laughs, robin, taken by surprise, is exceedingly
annoyed, struggles, and says, crossly.) Don't do that.


Who is it ? {He frees himself, rises, and seeing maggie
softens.) Oh ! Maggie, is it you ? {He takes her hand
and says kindly.) I'm sorry I spoke crossly — but you
know, my dear — I think you are getting a little old to
do that sort of thing.

MAGGIE {sweetly). You said the other day that the
way I play and run about is one of my chief charms in
your eyes.

ROBIN. I like you to be playful prettily.

{He talks apart with maggie.)

ISABELLA {to LOUISE as she goes towards the door).
Come along, Louise. I don't think we are wanted here.

{She waits for louise.)

LOUISE {rising reluctantly, glances at robin and
MAGGIE, and then joins Isabella). He is beginning to
get bored with her. I shall certainly not leave yet.

(ISABELLA and LOUISE go out.)

MAGGIE. Shall we go out ?

ROBIN. Presently.

MAGGIE. It's a sin to stick in the house on a day like

this, (robin invites her in smiling dumb-show to come

and sit beside him on the sofa. She comes tozvards him

as she says.) Very well. We'll sit here just five minutes.

{She springs on to the sofa beside him and nestles

close up to him. He puts his arm round her.)

robin. This is the nicest part of the whole day.

MAGGIE. I love playing hide-and-seek.

ROBIN. I love having you all to myself.

(MAGGIE smiles up in his face, then gives his nose
a little playful pinch. He kisses her hand.)

MAGGIE {counting the buttons down his coat with her
forefinger). One, two, three, four. I feel terribly kiddish
to-day. Some days — when it's fine and bright like this
— I just want to run about very fast all the time like a

ROBIN. Don't you ever want to sit still and bask
like a lizard ?

MAGGIE. Oh, no, never — at least — not for long at a
time. I always want to be up and doing, I feel as if
I could dance and sing the minute I get up in the morning.

ROBIN. I can't bear being active before breakfast !

MAGGIE. Can't you ? / can. {He puts his arm
further round her to draw her closer to him.) Wait a


minute. That's not comfortable. {She sits up and
shakes herself, then leans her back against his shoulder,
in a most unromantic position.) There ! That's better !
(She lets her head fall back on his shoulder, which places
him in a most uncomfortable position.) I could go to
sleep like this.

ROBIN. / couldn't.

{Enter Gladys to clear away the tea-things, followed
by MRS. HiGSOK. MRS. HiGSON is the house-
keeper ; a middle - aged, respectable - looking
woman, maggie sits up and then goes to the
MAGGIE. She's come to clear away. We'd better go out.
ROBIN {also rising). She'll have finished in a minute.
{To MRS. HIGSON.) We'vc made rather a mess there,
haven't we, Mrs. Higson ?

{Takes a cigarette.)
MRS. HIGSON. What does that matter, sir, so long as
you enjoyed yourselves ?

ROBIN. After all — one is only middle-aged once.
MAGGIE. I should enjoy a good game of hide-and-seek.
(robin takes out his match-box and strikes a match.
MAGGIE runs quickly towards him and blows
out his match.)
ROBIN {taken by surprise, is annoyed). Oh, don't —
please. What a silly thing to do.

MAGGIE {laughs). All right. I won't do it again.
{Having gathered up everything mrs. higson goes out.
ROBIN strikes a second match, and while he is doing so
MAGGIE snatches the cigarette out of his mouth and runs
away with it, saying gaily.) I didn't say I wouldn't do
that. I love playing tricks on people, (gladys follows
MRS. higson off with the tea-cloth and cake-stand, robin
sits on the settee looking very solemn.) You aren't cross,
are you ?

ROBIN. No, dear, but you know — sometimes — you
are just a little bit rough.

(MAGGIE crosses to him and kisses him on the
cheek very nicely and gently, then steps back.
He smiles at her quite won over.)
MAGGIE. Shall we go out now ?

ROBIN. Soon. {Leans towards her.) Sit down and
have a little talk first.


(MAGGIE, showing no inclination to be cuddlesome,
sits on the cushion seat.)

MAGGIE. What do you want to talk about ?

ROBIN {smiling). August the tenth.

MAGGIE. We talked about that this morning.

ROBIN (wistfully). Do you remember that evening
when we sat in this room for a long time, holding each
other's hands and hardly saying a word ?

MAGGIE (cheerfully). We were two sleepy things.
We'd been out in the air all day.

ROBIN. It was such a happy, restful evening.

MAGGIE. Wasn't it — but when I'm feeling really
strong there's nothing I like so well as to dance till mid-
night and end up with a good pillow fight.

ROBIN (slowly and thoughtfully). There is a great
difference — in our ages.

(Enter miss heseltine. She carries a number of
loose typewritten pages in her hand.)

MAGGIE. Hullo, Miss Hescltine.

robin (to miss heseltine). Do you want me for any-
thing ?

miss heseltine. I can come later on, if it's incon-
venient now.

ROBIN. If you wouldn't mind.

MAGGIE (springing up). No. This is business. (To
miss HESELTINE.) You told mc I must never interfere
with his business. I'll go out and play with Dickie and
Bertha. / don't mind.

(She pats robin's arm and goes off to the garden
skippingly— and calling " Dickie.")

MISS HESELTINE (referring to the pages in her hand).
There seems to be something wrong with this.

ROBIN (takes pages). Is that the American article ?

MISS HESELTINE. Ycs. I Wouldn't have disturbed
you with it now, only it must go to-night,

ROBIN. What's wrong with it ?

MISS HESELTINE. You'vc Written parts of it in the
first person singular and other parts in the first person

ROBIN. Not really ?


ROBIN (glancing down the sheets). So I have. How
did I come to make such a mistake as that ?


MISS HESELTTNE {primly). You must have had your
head lull of something else.

ROBIN {turning over the sheets). Like when I wrote
that article the other day and called beer rice.

MISS iiESELTiNE. Ycs. And in the last chapter of
the new novel you called several of the characters by
the wrong names.

ROBIN {looking at her before saying, gravely). Has all
my work been careless lately ?


ROBIN. Sit down, won't you, while I look over this.
(miss HESELTINE sits.) It means going over the whole
thing carefully from beginning to end, and I am so
tired ! {Turning over a page or two.) I can't do any
good with it till I've had at least an hour's rest.

miss HESELTINE. That throws it so late. It has to be
typed after youve been through it.

ROBIN {sighing). Oh, dear, then I suppose I must,
but you know — it's not so much that I'm tired physically.
It's my brain — it's completely disorganised. I can't

miss HESELTINE. I think I could make the necessary
changes if you'd trust it to me. {She comes towards
him.) I could take it home to do and bring it back to
you this evening.

ROBIN. Why take it home ? Why can't you do it
here ?

miss HESELTINE. There's too much noise in the

ROBIN {with a weary little smile). It isn't like our usual
quiet afternoons, is it ?

MISS HESELTINE. No, it isii't — not at all.

ROBIN. It won't be like this much longer. When
I'm married and we've settled down — you and I will be
able to work together peacefully again — as we used to
do. Shan't we ?

MISS HESELTINE {taking the pages from him). I'm
afraid not.

ROBIN. Why not ?

MISS HESELTINE. Bccausc wlicu you are married — I
shan't be here.

ROBIN {surprised). What do you mean ? You won't
be here ?


MISS HESELTINE. I'm leaving Farnham.
ROBIN. Leaving ?


ROBIN. Where are you going ?

MISS HESELTINE. I don't know quite. I think I shall
go and live in London.

ROBIN. That's not far away. You can still come and
work for me — can't you ?

MISS HESELTINE. I don't think so.

{Moves as if to go.)

ROBIN. Wait a minute. I want to know about this.

MISS HESELTINE. That's all. I find I must leave.

ROBIN {going towards her). People don't usually leave
without giving a reason, (miss iieseltine hesitates.) I
think you owe me some explanation.

MISS HESELTINE {looMfig at the pages in her hand). I
must go and do this now.

ROBIN {taking her by the arm). Sit down and tell me
why you want to leave me.

(miss HESELTINE reluctantly sits again. He
watches her all the time, standing.)

MISS HESELTINE. There's no particular reason — that
I can give you.

ROBIN. What do you intend to do after you leave
here ?

MISS HESELTINE. That hasn't been definitely decided

ROBIN. Then why need you go ? (miss heseltine
looks on the ground.) I don't want to be too inquisitive,
but it's so extraordinary that you can't give me any
^ miss HESELTINE. I need a change.

ROBIN. If it's a holiday you want

MISS HESELTINE {interrupting him). Oh, no, thank
you. I don't want a holiday. I had three weeks in

ROBIN. And you'll be having another three or four
weeks quite soon — when I go away on my honeymoon.

MISS HESELTINE. I shall havc left before that.

ROBIN. I had no idea you were dissatisfied, (miss
HESELTINE mokcs a restless, nervous movement.) If it's
a question of earning more money — I shall be very happy
to meet you in any way I can.


MISS HESELTiNE. It's not that. Please don't think
it's that. I'm more than satisfied with what you give

ROBIN. Are you going to be married ?

MISS HESELTINE [olmost angrily). Of course not !

(She turns away from him in her seat.)

ROBIN. Then what is it? {With a ring of genuine
distress in his voice as he sits on the ottoman at her feet.)
Why — why go away and leave me ?

MISS HESELTINE {distressed by his distress, is greatly
agitated). I must. I'm very sorry — but I must !

ROBIN. But I can't think what I shall do without
you. I shan't be able to get on at all. I can hardly
imagine yet what it's going to be like here without you.
I've never thought of you leaving me. You've been
coming to me every day for such a long time — five years
— it's a long time, (miss heseltine, unable to control
her agitation, rises. He rises almost at the same time as
he says.) Don't decide yet — not just yet.

miss HESELTINE. I Can't stay. It's no use pretending
I can. I can't. I can't do it !

ROBIN {'puzzled). Are you afraid your position here
is going to be made difficult after my marriage ? {A
pause for her to reply.) Is that it ? {Another pause as
before.) I don't see why it need be difficult. Maggie is
very good about not disturbing me in my work hours.
She won't interfere with you. {Making light of it.) If

that's all it is (miss heseltine bursts into tears.

ROBIN is very much distressed to see her in tears and goes
to her.) Miss Heseltine ! What's the matter ? I can't
bear to see you like this. What is it ? Is it something
Fve done ? Have I hurt you without knowing it ?
{Putting his hands on her shoulders and turning her
towards him.) Miss Heseltine ! Look at me ! — tell me !
why must you leave me ?

{He gently pulls her hands away from her face ;
she looks up at him appealingly, unable to hide
her love for him. He understands and stands
looking at her transfixed.)

MAGGIE {from the garden). Robin ! What are you
doing ?

DICKIE {also from the garden). Where is he ?

MAGGIE. In here. {When their voices are heard.


ROBIN steps back from miss heseltine. She makes an
undecided step or two as if she didn't know where to go,
then begins nervously gathering up the pages. Enter
MAGGiK followed by dickie and bertha sims, all darting
about and skipping, maggie, speaking as she enters and
coming towards robin.) We want to wind up with
something really silly before we go home.
robin (protesting). Oh, no — my dears — no !


bertha {beginning to dance and sing by herself). Here
we go round the mulberry bush.

DICKIE (singing). The mulberry bush.

MAGGIE (joining in as well). The mulberry bush !

(They all laugh.)
(While this is going on miss heseltine, with the

pages in her hand, slowly goes out.)
(LOUISE comes in from the garden. Taking in the
situation, she says, " Mr. Worthington, too ! "
and seizing him by both hands dances him
round. He is then swept into the ring between
DICKIE and MAGGIE. LOUISE trics to enter the
ring, first on robin's left, in which attempt she
fails, and then on his right, this time achieving
success. They all laugh and dance in a ring.



SCENE. — The same as the first act. The scene is arranged
as before except that the cradle is no longer there. It
is beginning to grow dusk, robin, dressed as at the
end of the second act, is standing, with his hands in
his pockets, staring at miss heseltine's desk.

ROBIN (slowly and thoughtfully, as if scarcely able to
credit what he says). Miss Heseltine !

(LOUISE enters. She wears an elaborate dinner-

LOUISE {in the doorway). May I come in ?

ROBIN {suddenly brought to himself). Is it as late as that ?

LOUISE. I dressed early. I mistook the time. The
drawing-room was deserted, so I thought I'd come in
here. I hope I don't intrude.

ROBIN {merely politely). Not at all.

LOUISE {smiling as if she had received a most pressing
invitatioti to stay). Thank you ! {She closes the door
and comes towards robin.) Has she gone ?


LOUISE {with a little sigh of satisfaction). Ah !

ROBIN. She took her work home to do.

LOUISE. Maggie ?

ROBIN. Miss Heseltine. Oh, yes ; those children
have all gone. Thank goodness ! {Hurriedly correcting
himself.) The dears.

LOUISE. Weren't you rather glad — between ourselves
— to see them go ?

ROBIN. I don't feel safe even yet. I can't help
thinking that Bertha Sims is still lurking among the
bushes — ready to spring out at me. What's that
noise ? {He goes to the window and looks out, then closes
the curtains.) Only the rooks going home.

{He goes towards the electric switch.)



LOUISE (sentimentally). The twilight hour. [She leans
back luxuriously and says languidly.) How peaceful it
is here ! How perfectly harmonious ! (robin turns
on the electric light. This surprises and disconcerts
LOUISE.) Oh ! (She sits up. robin takes out his
cigarette case and helps himself to a cigarette. He is
absorbed in his own thoughts, and does not notice louise.)
Have you got a cigarette to give me ?

ROBIN (offering her his cigarette case). I beg your
pardon. My mind was full of something else.

LOUISE (smiles at him as she slowly draws a cigarette
from the case). Thank you very much.

ROBIN (after a moment'' s pause). Don't mention it.
You want a light.

(He moves away for the match-box, which is on
the writing-table, brings it to louise and offers
it to her. louise smilingly makes a sign with
her hands for him to strike a match. He does
so. LOUISE does not offer to take the match,
but lights her cigarette from it as he holds it.)


ROBIN. I beg your pardon ?

LOUISE. Ta ! (robin lights his own cigarette, then
throws the match in an ash-tray, and sits on a settee at
some distance from louise.) I hope you don't object
to women smoking ?

robin. I don't mind one way or the other.

LOUISE. I was afraid you might think it unwomanly.

ROBIN. I shouldn't like my wife to smoke.

LOUISE (rising). I practically never smoke. (She
puts her cigarette on an ash-tray.)

(Enter Gladys.)

GLADYS (addressing louise). If you please, miss,
Mrs. Worthington sent me to say will you kindly come
and talk to her while she dresses ?

louise (sweetly to Gladys). Tell Mrs. Worthington
I will come — presently.

GLADYS. Thank you, miss.

(Exit GLADYS.)

ROBIN. If you want to go and talk to Isabella, don't
mind me.

LOUISE (reproachfully). Do you want me to go ?
ROBIN. Oh, no — X didn't mean that — of course.


LOUISE (archly). Shall I stay ?

ROBIN (after a pause, reluctantly). Do,

LOUISE. I know you wouldn't say that unless you
meant it. (She sits by him.) You and I never seem
to be left alone together — do we ?

ROBix (carelessly). Don't we ?

LOUISE. Never. And I always feel we should have
so much to say to each other if we could once break
through our British reserve. (He looks at her in surprise.
She smiles at him.) You have dra\^Ti me to you by your
writings. I am one of your most devoted readers. I
buy all your books. Oftentimes — after reading one or
other of your various masterpieces — I have turned from
the contemplation of Robin Worthington, the author,
to the contemplation of Robin Worthington the man.

ROBIN (embarrassed). Oh, yes !

(Enter Gladys.)

GLADYS (addressing louise). Mrs. Worthington says
will you please come at once. It's most partickler.

ROBIN (attempting to rise). Don't let me detain you.

LOUISE (preventing robin rising by laying her hand on
his arm, as she turns to Gladys and says impatiently).
Say I am coming — presently.

GLADYS. Yes, miss.

(Exit GLADYS.)

LOUISE (intensely). I want to see you take your
place among the immortals. You could if you would.
But you never will — until you have the right woman
beside you — a woman of heart, brain, experience — a
woman who has lived and suffered — one who would
help you in your work, who would be capable of being
at the same time your companion and your inspiration.
(She drops her intense tone and says, colloquially.) Maggie
Cottrell can't appreciate you.

robin (rising abruptly^ and annoyed). We won't dis-
cuss her, please.

LOUISE (reproachfully). You are angry with me.

robin (turning to her). No, I'm not angry, but

LOUISE (interrupting him by rising and saying frankly).
Forgive me ! (She comes to him and extends both her
hands, robin reluctantly takes her hands.)

(Enter Gladys.)

GLADYS. Mrs. Worthington says


LOUISE {losing her temper). Tell her I'm busy. {Exit
GLADYS. LOUISE plants herself in front of robin and
looks earnestly in his face.) You do forgive me ?
ROBIN {bored). Oh — yes, of course.
LOUISE. Yes, but really.
ROBIN. I must go and dress.

{He tries to get past her.)
LOUISE {planting herself in front of him). I ought
not to have spoken as I did of Maggie Cottrell — but I
can't bear to see you throwing yourself away.
ROBIN. I shall be late.

{He makes another attempt to get past her.)
LOUISE {preventing him getting away by laying her
hand on his arm). If only you were going to marry
some woman worthy to be your wife !

ROBIN {trying to free himself). Yes, but I'm not — I
mean I am.

{Enter Isabella, carrying her gloves, and then
HENRY. ISABELLA wears a smart dinner-
gown, and HENRY his evening clothes.)
ISABELLA {sharply as she enters). Louise ! I sent
for you three times.

LOUISE {sweetly as she goes towards Isabella). I
know you did, dear. Was it anything that mattered ?
{They talk together, Isabella obviously chiding
LOUISE. ROBIN joins HENRY after beckoning
ROBIN {drawing henry aside). I'm so glad you came
in. I was having such a time.
henry. What's happened ?

ROBIN. I don't think I'm naturally the kind of fellow
who thinks every woman is in love with him — but
really — this afternoon ! It must be my lucky day.

(ISABELLA comes towards robin zvhen she speaks,
while LOUISE sits by the fire.)
ISABELLA. Aren't you going to dress ?
ROBIN. Yes, I'll go now.

ISABELLA. The cab will be here in about ten minutes.
ROBIN. What cab ?

ISABELLA. To take us to the Hendersons'.
ROBIN {addressing henry and Isabella in turns
during the next speech). Oh, dear me ! yes. Wc promised
to go and dine at the Hendersons' — didn't we ? I'd,


forgotten all about it. I don't want to go a bit. I say,
couldn't you three go without me ?

HENRY. I don't know, I'm sure.

ISABELLA. What will Mrs. Henderson say ?

ROBIN. Tell her I had to stay and work. You don't
mind, do you ? I really need an evening to myself. I
shall dine quietly in my study, and go to bed early.
(He takes his latch-key out of his pocket and gives it to
HENRY.) There's my latch-key. You don't mind, do
you ? Thanks so much ; it's awfully kind of you.

(He goes out.)

ISABELLA. How tircsomc of him to back out ! {To
HENRY.) Have you got everything ?

HENRY. I think so.

ISABELLA. Cigarettes ?

HENRY (feeling his breast-pocket). Yes.


HENRY (feeling his watch-pocket). Yes.

ISABELLA. Pocket-handkerchief ?

HENRY. Yes — (looks in sleeve and pocket) no.

(Exit HENRY.)

LOUISE (pressing her hands to her temples, and calling
out, as if in sudden pain). Oh — oh !

ISABELLA (anxiously). What's the matter ?

LOUISE. I've got such a splitting headache. It's as
if some one were driving a nail right through my temple.

ISABELLA (coming towards louise, much concerned).
I'm so sorry.

LOUISE. I can't possibly go to the Hendersons'.

ISABELLA (immediately suspicious, she backs away).
Louise !

LOUISE. You couldn't ask me to go to a dinner-party
with my head in this state.

ISABELLA (drily). You'll feel better soon.

LOUISE. Whenever I have a headache it always lasts
all the evening.

ISABELLA. We'll take some menthol with us.

LOUISE. Think of driving in a closed cab !

ISABELLA. We'll have it open,

LOUISE. That would blow our hair about.

ISABELLA. We'll take veils.

LOUISE. It's no use, dear. I'm suffering too much ;
I shouldn't enjoy myself.


ISABELLA (mercilessly). I don't ask that you should
enjoy yourself. T ask that you should come with us.

LOUISE. I really must stay at home.

ISABELLA. Very well, then — we'll all stay at home.
(She sits down facing louise. louise looks pout-
ingly at Isabella a moment before she speaks.)

LOUISE. There's no dinner for you.

ISABELLA. There's none for you, either.

LOUISE. What is enough for one is generally enough
for two — but it's not enough for four.

ISABELLA [muttering). I thought so.

LOUISE. I have no intention of dining with Mr. Worth-
ington. (Rising in her queenliest manner.) I shall ask
Mrs. Higson to serve me a snack in my room.

ISABELLA (calmly, but firmly). I shall not go and leave
you here, Louise.

LOUISE (reproachfully). You don't trust me.

(Sits beside Isabella.)

ISABELLA (in an ironically affectionate tone). Darling
— you wrong me. I only meant — how could I sit
through an elaborate dinner if I knew that my friend
was suffering alone in her chamber ?

LOUISE. That's very sweet of you. But think of poor
Mr. and Mrs. Henderson. They will be so disappointed
if you don't go.

ISABELLA (amiably). Henry must make my excuses.

LOUISE. But if three out of four of their guests don't
turn up !

ISABELLA (assuming gaiety and friendliness). They
won't think much of themselves, will they ? (louise
turns away, looking cross.) You and I will have a nice
little mess of something all by ourselves upstairs. It'll
be just like the dear old school-days, when we used to
have forbidden feasts in our bedrooms. (She drops the
gay and friendly tone, and says, drily.) Is your head
any better ?

LOUISE (seeing that her present line is hopeless, takes

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