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a new one, and says solemnly.) Isabella — Belle, dear, I
didn't tell you. I have made up my mind to leave to-

ISABELLA (unable to conceal her delight). Not really !

LOUISE (pained). I know you wish it.

ISABELLA (politely). Not on my own account.



LOUISE. As I am leaving to-morrow, I should like to
stay at home this evening.

ISABELLA (suspiciously). To say good-bye to Robin ?

LOUISE (coldly). To pack.

ISABELLA (eagerly). Fll help you with your packing.

LOUISE. Thank you, dear ; but I never can pack if
there's any one in the room.

ISABELLA. I'll sit ou the landing and be ready when
you want me.

LOUISE (losing her temper and rising abruptly). Don't
be such a fool.

ISABELLA. You needn't think I don't see through you.

LOUISE. What d'you mean ?

ISABELLA. I don't bclicvc you have the slightest in-
tention of leaving to-morrow.

LOUISE. Do you think I'm a liar ?

ISABELLA (cheerfully). Yes.

LOUISE. How dare you say such a thing ?

ISABELLA. As if I don't know what you are up to.

LOUISE (defiantly). What am I tip to — as you term it ?

ISABELLA. Do you Want me to tell you ?

LOUISE (haughtily). Certainly.

ISABELLA. As soon as Henry and I have left the house
you'll rush upstairs and put on a tea-gown — the white
one most likely, with the angel-sleeves — and then —
when you have calculated that Robin will just about
have begun his dinner — you'll come floating in. You
won't have had any dinner. He'll feel obliged to ask
you to share his. You'll refuse at first — if you think
you stand any chance of being pressed — then you'll sit
down. You will begin the conversation by telling him
that Maggie doesn't appreciate him. That I believe
is the usual opening with those who attempt to make
discord between lovers

LOUISE (exploding with wrath). Isabella, you're a

ISABELLA (with great determination). You shan't stay
here alone with Robin because I won't allow it.

LOUISE (changing her tactics, turns to Isabella and
says calmly and seriously). He asked me to remain.

ISABELLA (staring at louise in amazement). He asked
you. . . .

LOUISE (going a little towards Isabella). Not in so


many words — but saying he wants to be left alone is an
invitation to me to stay.

ISABELLA {bursting out laughing). Louise !
LOUISE. I know it. While you were upstairs dressing
we had the most wonderful talk.

ISABELLA {immediately sobered). What about ?
LOUISE. It was not so much what we said as what we
left unsaid. When you sent for me I asked him if he
wished me to leave him, and he said " No." He begged
me to remain. He was longing to confide in me. I felt
it. He knows he has made a mistake. He was just on
the point of admitting to me that Maggie Cottrell is not
the girl for him to marry — when you came into the

ISABELLA {hardly knowing whether to believe louise or
not). I think it must be your imagination.

LOUISE. You are responsible for what has happened.
You invited me here. You encouraged me to fall in
love with him.

ISABELLA. There's no harm done, because you are not
in love with him.

LOUISE. I soon could be. Isabella {turns away.)
Please let me stay behind.

ISABELLA {with determination). No.
LOUISE {falling on her knees in despair and grasping
ISABELLA by the hand). Isabella ! Isabella ! It's a

ISABELLA {very uneasy). Louise ! Louise ! Suppose
somebody comes in ! {She wrenches her hand away.
LOUISE sinks upon the ground.)

{Enter mrs. higson, who has a white linen table-
cloth folded over her arm, and a small tray-cloth.)
MRS. HIGSON. The cab's here, ma'am.
ISABELLA. Thank you, Mrs. Higson. (mrs. higson
lays the cloth down and begins to gather the articles together
on the writing-table. Isabella is very firm as she ad-
dresses LOUISE.) Are you ready ?

(louise rises slowly and tragically from the ground.
ISABELLA pulls her up to her feet, louise slaps
her as she releases herself. Isabella goes to the
door, pauses, turns to louise, and beckons her
as she says " Louise ! " She waits till she sees
LOUISE begin to follow her, then goes out.


LOUISE pauses at the door, then hastily closes it
and turns to mrs. higson.)
LOUISE, By the way, Mrs. Higson, I may arrive home
a httle in advance of the others.
MRS. HIGSON {stiffly). Indeed !

LOUISE. In case you should want to go to bed early —
{smiles at mrs. higson in her most ingratiating manner as
she comes towards her) is there an extra latch-key ?

MRS. HIGSON {mistrustfully). Oh, no, miss — we've got
no extra latch-keys.

LOUISE. Oh ! {Pauses.) You needn't tell anybody I
asked you for one.

(mrs. HIGSON makes no response, but busies herself
with the things on robin's desk. While she is
doing this, louise fumbles in her bag and takes
out a ten-shilling piece, louise offers mrs.
higson the ten-shilling piece with her sweetest
MRS. higson {not offering to take it). Thank you, miss
— it will do when you leave.

LOUISE. Oh ! {She puts the ten-shilling piece in her
bag, then goes to the door, where she pauses.) You needn't
tell anybody I offered it to you.

{Exit LOUISE. MRS. higson ironically kisses her
hand after louise, then unfolds the small table-
cloth, and lays it on miss heseltine's desk.)
{Enter Gladys with a tray containing the glass and
silver, etc., necessary for robin's dinner.)
GLADYS. They're off. I think they must be late.
MRS. HIGSON. What makes you say that ? Mr.
Burgess is never late with his cab.

GLADYS. I only thought they might be because Mrs.
Worthington was that impatient — wouldn't get into the
keb without Miss Parker got in first. Looked as if
there'd 'ave bin words if Captain Worthington 'adn't
pushed 'em both in from be'ind.

MRS. HIGSON. 'Elp me lay this cloth. {They lay the
cloth together as she continues.) I'm sure I don't wonder
he wants to dine quietly in his study after all the racket
there's been this afternoon.

GLADYS {grinning). They were playin' 'ide-an'-go-

MRS. HIGSON {contemptuously, as she smooths the cloth).


'Ide-an'-go-seek ! What it's going to be like here after
'e's married, I can't think. Pandemonium, / should
say, with dirt on all the carpets.

GLADYS. I shan't mind the extra work if it makes
things 'um a bit more.

MRS. HiGSON, Careful with that silver.
GLADYS. Cook and I was only saying this afternoon
it was quite refreshing to look out upon somethin' besides
lawns and flowers and green trees.

MRS. HIGSON. You won't wclcomc changes so much
when you reach my age. And it's not as if you'd known
Mr. Worthington the years / 'ave. And per'aps you
'aven't got the maternal instinct.

GLADYS (primly). No, I 'aven't — an' I 'ope I won't
'ave before I get my marriage lines.

MRS. HIGSON. I think that's everything now.

{Enter robin. He wears a dinner-jacket and a
black tie.)
ROBIN {speaking as he enters). I'll have my dinner
as soon as it's ready.

{He takes a book from the bookshelves.)
MRS. HIGSON. Gladys ! Tell cook. {Exit gladys.)
{The front door bell rings, robin pauses and
robin. Who's that ?

MRS. HIGSON. Post most likely. What will you take
to drink, sir ?

ROBIN. I think I could do with some champagne.
MRS. HIGSON. Yes, sir.
ROBIN. A small bottle.
MRS. HIGSON. Yes, sir.

{Exit MRS. HIGSON. ROBIN scttlcs Mmself to read.
GLADYS comes in carrying a roll of typewritten
GLADYS. If you please, sir — with Miss 'Eseltine's

{She holds out the roll to robin.)
ROBIN {taking it). Is Miss Heseltine here ?
GLADYS. Just gom, sir.
ROBIN. Run after her.

GLADYS. Yes, sir. {She hurries to the door.)

ROBIN. No, don't.
GLADYS. No, sir.


{Exit GLADYS. ROBIN spends a moment or two
in indecision, looks at the roll of manuscript,
leaves it on the settee, rises, crosses to miss
heseltine's desk and lays his book upon it ;
then he goes to the window, and draws back the
curtain. He opens the window and looks out.)
ROBIN {calling — not loudly). Miss Heseltine !

{After a moment or two miss heseltine appears at

the window. She wears a long, loose, ready-made

coat, a cheap, ordinary -looking hat, and makes,

altogether, a somewhat dowdy appearance.)

miss heseltine {coming just inside the room). Did

you wish to speak to me ?

{They are both embarrassed and constrained when
they meet, miss heseltine's manner is ex-
tremely prim, to cover her nervousness.)
ROBIN {referring to the roll of manuscript in his hand,
which he takes from the settee). What's this thing ?

miss heseltine. The American article. I thought
you might Kke to look it over before it goes.
ROBIN. Why didn't you bring it in ?
miss heseltine. I didn't wish to disturb you.

ROBIN. I see — thank you — well {looking at miss

heseltine). You know if it's all right.

MISS heseltine. I can guarantee there are no mis-
takes in it now.

robin {giving her the roll of manuscript). Let it go

MISS HESELTINE. I'll take it home and put it up for

{She is going.)
ROBIN. You might as well do that here— at your

MISS HESELTINE {hesitating a moment, she glances at
him, and then says). Very well — as I'm here. {Coming
to her desk.) It won't take me but a few minutes.

{She sits at her desk, opens a drawer and takes
out a large envelope in which she places the
American article. She does this with a good
deal of fumbling and fluttering of papers, owing
to her nervousness.)
ROBIN. You must have worked very hard to get
that ready.


MISS HESELTiNE (wUhout lookifig up). It all had to be

ROBIN. I hope you haven't gone without your dinner.
(miss HESELTINE begins to address the envelope, apparently
not having heard his last remark.) You have dined —
haven't you ?

MISS HESELTINE {stUl addressing the envelope and not
looking up). Not yet.

ROBIN, Are you going to have some dinner now ?

MISS HESELTINE. I shan't have time. I'm due at an
evening party.

ROBIN. A dinner party ?

MISS HESELTINE. Oh, no — Only games.

ROBIN. You won't get any dinner.

MISS HESELTINE. There'll be light refreshments handed
round most likely.

{She stamps the envelope.)

ROBIN {a little embarrassed and shy at giving the
invitation). Look here ! I'm having a bit of beefsteak
by myself, and Mrs. Higson is so convinced I don't
eat enough, she always gives me twice as much as I
can manage. Won't you stay and share it with me ?

MISS HESELTINE {quickly and nervously as she rises).
Oh, no, thank you — I can't do that.

ROBIN. You'd much better. You can go to the
evening party afterwards.

MISS HESELTINE. Quitc impossible. Thank you all
the same.

(She goes towards the window.)

ROBIN (going after her). I shall be wretchedly lonely
all by myself, (miss heseltine pauses and looks at
him.) You'd be doing me a kindness if you'd stay.

miss HESELTINE. I dou't think I'd better.

ROBIN. You won't enjoy your party if you don't cat
something first.

MISS HESELTINE. I'm uot cxpccting to enjoy it much,

ROBIN. / shan't enjoy my steak if you go hungry to
your party.


ROBIN {trying to make her sorry for him). No. {A
pause.) Nor my tomatoes.


ROBIN. Really.

MISS HESELTiNE. Thcn I'll stay — just a very few

ROBIN (smiling). That's right. [He draws the curtain
over the window. Enter mrs. higson with a dish con-
taining a steak and tomatoes, robin speaks as mrs.
HIGSON enters.) Set a place for Miss Heseltine. She's
going to have some dinner with me.

MRS. HIGSON. Yes, sir. (mrs. higson neither shows
nor feels any surprise when she hears that miss heseltine
is going to dine with robin.) We'd better cook you
something extra, sir.

robin. I expect there's enough here. (He raises
the dish cover to see.) Oh, yes, quite.

MISS HESELTINE. I dou't think I can stay — really !

robin. Oh, yes, you can ! (To mrs. higson.) A
place for Miss Heseltine.

MRS. HIGSON. Yes, sii.


ROBIN (smiling at the dish and taking a long sniff).
Smells good — doesn't it ?

miss HESELTINE (glancing longingly at the dish).
Dehcious ! But what about this ? (She holds up the
envelope in her hand.) I think I'd better take it to the
post. I could slip it in the letter-box on my way to
the party.

robin (taking the envelope out of her hand). I'll
send somebody with that. (He throws the envelope
down.) Won't you take your things off ? (He brings
a chair to the table. When he has done this, he stands
with his hands on the back of the chair, watching miss
HESELTINE take her things off. miss heseltine takes off
her hat. Her hair is prettily arranged, quite different
from the usual plain style in which she wears it. She
next takes off her coat and places it on the chair with her
hat. When she has taken off her coat she appears in a
pretty, but simple and modest evening dress, in which she
looks altogether charming, robin cannot conceal his
pleasure in her unexpected appearance.) I've never
seen you in an evening dress before. (Enter mrs.
higson with the extra glasses, plates, knives, forks, etc.,
etc., necessary for miss heseltine, a small bottle of
champagne and a cork-screw, robin opens the bottle of


champagne, indicating the envelope containing the American
article as he says to mrs. higson.) Will you have that
thing sent to the post at once ?

MRS. HIGSON. Yes, sir.

{Picks up the envelope.)

MISS HESELTiNE {murmuring, half-fascinated and
half-alarmed). Champagne !

ROBIN. Now then, Miss Heseltine, are you ready ?
(robin sits behind the table, miss heseltine sits at the
end of it. robin speaks next as mrs. higson takes off
the dish-cover.) I told you she always gives me much
more than I can eat.

{Smiles at mrs. higson, who smilingly goes off
with the dish-cover and the envelope.)

MISS heseltine. I only want a very little corner.

ROBIN {cutting a piece off the steak). Like that ?


ROBIN. Nonsense ! Tomato ?

MISS HESELTINE. Ycs, please. {He serves her.) Thank

{Then he helps himself.)

ROBIN. I hope you won't find it too underdone.

MISS HESELTINE. Oh, HO, thank you ; I prefer it

ROBIN. How fortunate we both like our meat cooked
the same way. (robin offers to pour some cha7npagne
into MISS heseltine's glass.) May I give you some
champagne ?

miss heseltine {in a flurry, not able to make up her
mind whether to accept champagne or not). Oh — I don't
know^ — no, I don't think so, thank you.

ROBIN. Just a drop. {He pours it out.)


ROBIN {filling his own glass). You know what it's like.
MISS HESELTINE. No, I don't. I Hcvcr tasted it.
ROBIN {surprised). Never tasted champagne ?


ROBIN. How's that ?

MISS HESELTINE. Quitc a lot of pcoplc liavc never
tasted champagne.

ROBIN. Think of that, now. {He takes a good long
drink, miss heseltine watches him with curiosity,
then raises her own glass to her lips, frowning as she takes


a little sip. robin watches her with an amused smile till
she takes the glass away from her lips. ) Do you like it ?

MISS iiESELTixE {her frown relaxing slowly into a
beaming smile). Yes.

{From here on she becomes much more at home and
quite natural and easy in her manner.)

ROBIN {eating). I begin to feel better now. I was
nearly dead after those children had gone home.

MISS iiESELTiNE {also eating). I'm not surprised.

ROBIN {smiling). I adore their youth and their vigour ;
the movements of their strong straight limbs ; their
shouts and their bright, pretty faces. Enchanting !
{With a sigh.) But it's no use trying to be one of them
after forty.

MISS HESELTiNE. It's a change to be dining like this.

ROBIN. Such a picnic.

MISS HESELTINE. I mean, it's a change from high tea.

ROBIN {smiling at her). How different you look this
evening !

MISS HESELTINE. It's bccausc I'm dressed up. You've
always seen me in workaday.

ROBIN. Your hair looks so pretty. I never noticed
before that your hair was so pretty.

MISS HESELTINE {plcascd). My hair is my best feature.

ROBIN. Do you often go to parties ?

MISS HESELTINE. Oh, uo — vcry seldom. I have such
a limited circle of acquaintances in Farnham. I don't
get much chance of meeting people, for one thing ; and,
living alone, the way I do, I need to be cautious. It's
very easy to find oneself swallowed up in the wrong set
before one knows it.

ROBIN {with deep meaning, thinking of the Cottrells).
Very ! I suppose you'll go to plenty of parties when
you live in London.

MISS HESELTINE. I don't cxpcct to. I've lived there
before, you know. I find London much more dead and
alive than Farnham.

ROBIN {amazed). London dead and alive !


ROBIN. / left because it's so noisy.

MISS HESELTINE. You had your friends and your tele-
phone. I only had a bed-sitting-room. I scarcely ever
went out with any one except my landlady, and not very


often with her. We occasionally did a pit if we felt

ROBIN {sympathetically). Is that the kind of life you
have to look forward to now ?

MISS HESELTiNE (simply). Yes.

ROBIN. You've lived by yourself a long time ?

MISS HESELTINE. Evei siuce father married again.

ROBIN (gloomily). When I'm married, I suppose
there'll be jolly tennis parties and gaiety and fun
every day of the week. {He looks at her.) I wonder
what is to become of me and my work when you go ?

MISS HESELTINE {troubled). I don't believe I could
stay on.

{She sits back.)

ROBIN {nervously). No.

MISS HESELTINE. It Wouldn't do.

ROBIN. No. {He lays his knife and fork together, and
assumes a businesslike 7nanner.) Have you finished ?

MISS HESELTINE. Ycs, thank you.

{She lays her knife and fork together.)

ROBIN. I don't think we need ring the bell. Vll
change the plates.

{He rises to do so.)

MISS HESELTINE {rising and speaking as if she were
asking him a favour.) Let me.

ROBIN. Oh, no ; I'll do it.

MISS HESELTINE. I sliould like to. Please sit down
and let me — let me wait upon you.

ROBIN {humouring her). Very well.

{He sits.)

MISS HESELTINE {taking his plate as she says, smiling).
" It was Sunday evening, and both the servants had
gone to church ; so, as their custom was on these occa-
sions, they waited on themselves."

ROBIN. What's that ?

MISS HESELTINE. A quotation out of one of your

ROBIN. Which one ?

MISS HESELTINE. It nevcr had a name. You began
it about four years ago, and tore it up after the second

ROBIN. What a memory you have !

MISS HESELTINE. Ycs, for somc things.


( While this conversation is going on miss heseltine
changes the dishes and plates.)

ROBIN. It doesn't seem right for me to be sitting here
while you do the waiting.

MISS HESELTINE. It pleases me.

ROBIN. I never thought of waiting at table being a

MISS HESELTINE {standing near him with a dish in her
hands). It is, if you know how to dream.

ROBIN {not comprehending — echoes). To dream !

MISS HESELTINE. More than half a woman's life is
made of dreams. She couldn't bear it otherwise.

{She places the dish on the table.)

ROBIN. What's the good of a dream ?

MISS HESELTINE {with supprcsscd exaltation). Some-
times it grows so vivid it almost seems to have come
true. {She gives a low-toned little laugh as she looks
towards her desk, robin looks at her and follows the
direction of her eyes.) That's my desk that I work at —
our sideboard is. {She goes to her desk, robin watches
her, smiling. She carries the dish of fruit and two plates
to the table, and places them in front of him.) I shall
never be able to believe this really happened afterwards.
{She returns to her place as she says.) I expect I shall be
trying to remember what story it was, where we dined
together. Whenever you dictate a novel to me I always
imagine that I'm the heroine.

robin {offering to refill her glass). Let me give you
some more champagne ?

MISS HESELTINE {putting her hand over her glass). No,
thank you. {Gravely.) They tell me it makes one

ROBIN. Please chatter. I want to know more about
you — {handing her fruit) what you think, what you feel,
what you are like, what you do with yourself when you
are away from me. Though I've known you so well for
— how long is it ?

MISS HESELTINE {promptly). Five years last first of

ROBIN. And how many hours in all that time have we
spent alone in this room together ?

MISS HESELTINE {joyfully). So many we couldn't
possibly count them up.


ROBIN. And yet, after all that, I am only just begin-
ning to get to know you. Why did you never tell me
about yourself ?

MISS HESELTiNE. You never asked.

ROBIN. I wonder why.

MISS HESELTINE. You Were always working.

ROBIN {after a moment's reflection). What a lot of
time one wastes attending to one's work. {They go on
eating before robin says.) I suppose I'm always think-
ing about myself and my own things.

MISS HESELTINE {kindly). That's only because you are
a man, {He laughs. She becomes a little confused.)
Though I'm sure I don't know why I should be talking
as if I knew all about it. I've never known any man
well with the exception of you and father.

ROBIN. Will you tell me about your father ?

{He takes a cigarette-case from his pocket.)

MISS HESELTINE. I'd rather not. I was very un-
happy at home — and to-night I want to forget all pain-
ful things. I am weaving a wonderful memory for the
lonely evenings to come, (robin sighs.) You want a
light for your cigarette. Wait there, I'll get you one.

(miss HESELTINE goes to the mantelpiece for a
match, which she strikes, then holds while he
lights his cigarette, robin offers her his

ROBIN. Will you have a cigarette ?

MISS HESELTINE {primly). Oh, no, thank you — I don't
think I'll go as far as that.

{She returns to her place at the tabic.)

ROBIN {after a pause). How restful you are !

MISS HESELTINE. Will you always think of me so ? I
should like you to think of me, after I'm gone, a little
differently from anybody else.

ROBIN. I can promise you that. {He smokes in
silence a moment before he says gloomily.) It gets worse
and worse the more I think of it.


ROBIN. Your going away. I don't see how we shall
ever get through when it comes to the last day — our
last morning's work. It's so sad doing anything the
last time if it's something one has done regularly every
day for a long time.


MISS HESELTiNE. I remember when I left home — the
last Sunday evening we sang a hymn. We always sang
a hymn on Sunday evening — the same hymn. I was
so sick of it. I used to have to play the tune. I thought
I should be so glad never to have to do it any more ;
but when it came to doing it the last time, I couldn't
see the notes, I couldn't see the words, I couldn't see
the others — I was crying so.

ROBIN. I shan't know what has become of you. You
might be unhappy or badly off, for all that / shall know.

MISS HESELTINE. I might Write perhaps — now and

ROBIN (sadly). Letters ! Once a week, once a month,
two or three times a year. I shall want to see you every

MISS HESELTINE. I shall Want to see you, too.

(They look at each other steadily for some time
before he speaks.)

ROBIN. You look as you looked this afternoon. It's
a wonderful look. I have never seen it in a woman's
eyes before. (He pulls himself together, disgusted with
himself.) I'm ashamed — I'm ashamed to have said that.

(He rises from the table.)

MISS HESELTINE (ttlso riseu — very gently and kindly).
Don't be ashamed. I'm glad you know I love you.
(robin turns and looks at her.) You've taken it so
kindly, I feel as if a great load had been lifted off my
heart. I've been set free — after years of oppression.
The pain it has been to keep my secret all to myself.
Like a child, I had no right to, I hugged it and hid it —
fearful lest some one should discover it, and I should be
disgraced. And now you — of all people — have found
me out, and I'm not humiliated — I'm happy. Though
I know that to-morrow is coming, to-night I can only
feel — how good it is for me that you should know.

ROBIN [slowly, quietly, and impressively). It seems to
me now as if I had always known. So silently and
steadily your influence has grown, it possessed me un-
awares. {Speaking with sudden, passionate energy.) I've
made a dreadful blunder. I'm terrified of my future. I
can't face it ! (miss heseltine sits on the settee. He

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