ACT I
Scene II
 

The Studio, to which are attached living rooms, might be rented at eighty pounds a year--some painting and gear indeed, but an air of life rather than of work. Things strewn about. Bare walls, a sloping skylight, no windows; no fireplace visible; a bedroom door, stage Right; a kitchen door, stage Left. A door, Centre back, into the street. The door knocker is going.

From the kitchen door, Left, comes the very young person, ANNIE, in blotting-paper blue linen, with a white Dutch cap. She is pretty, her cheeks rosy, and her forehead puckered. She opens the street door. Standing outside is TOPPING. He steps in a pace or two.

TOPPING
Miss Builder live here?

ANNIE
Oh! no, sir; Mrs Herringhame.

TOPPING
Mrs Herringhame? Oh! young lady with dark hair and large expressive eyes?

ANNIE
Oh! yes, sir.

TOPPING
With an "A. B." on her linen? [Moves to table].

ANNIE
Yes, sir.

TOPPING
And "Athene Builder" on her drawings?

ANNIE
[Looking at one] Yes, sir.

TOPPING
Let's see. [He examines the drawing] Mrs Herringhame, you said?

ANNIE
Oh! yes, Sir.

TOPPING
Wot oh!

ANNIE
Did you want anything, sir?

TOPPING
Drop the "sir," my dear; I'm the Builders' man. Mr Herringhame in?

ANNIE
Oh! no, Sir.

TOPPING
Take a message. I can't wait. From Miss Maud Builder. "Look out! Father is coming." Now, whichever of 'em comes in first--that's the message, and don't you forget it.

ANNIE
Oh! no, Sir.

TOPPING
So they're married?

ANNIE
Oh! I don't know, sir.

TOPPING
I see. Well, it ain't known to Builder, J.P., either. That's why there's a message. See?

ANNIE
Oh! yes, Sir.

TOPPING
Keep your head. I must hop it. From Miss Maud Builder. "Look out! Father is coming."

He nods, turns and goes, pulling the door to behind him. ANNIE stands "baff" for a moment.

ANNIE
Ah!

She goes across to the bedroom on the Right, and soon returns with a suit of pyjamas, a toothbrush, a pair of slippers and a case of razors, which she puts on the table, and disappears into the kitchen. She reappears with a bread pan, which she deposits in the centre of the room; then crosses again to the bedroom, and once more reappears with a clothes brush, two hair brushes, and a Norfolk jacket. As she stuffs all these into the bread pan and bears it back into the kitchen, there is the sound of a car driving up and stopping. ANNIE reappears at the kitchen door just as the knocker sounds.

ANNIE
Vexin' and provokin'! [Knocker again. She opens the door] Oh!

MR and MRS BUILDER enter.

BUILDER
Mr and Mrs Builder. My daughter in?

ANNIE
[Confounded] Oh! Sir, no, sir.

BUILDER
My good girl, not "Oh! Sir, no, sir." Simply: No, Sir. See?

ANNIE
Oh! Sir, yes, Sir.

BUILDER
Where is she?

ANNIE
Oh! Sir, I don't know, Sir.

BUILDER
[Fixing her as though he suspected her of banter] Will she be back soon?

ANNIE
No, Sir.

BUILDER
How do you know?

ANNIE
I d--don't, sir.

BUILDER
They why do you say so? [About to mutter "She's an idiot!" he looks at her blushing face and panting figure, pats her on the shoulder and says] Never mind; don't be nervous.

ANNIE
Oh! yes, sir. Is that all, please, sir?

MRS BUILDER
[With a side look at her husband and a faint smile] Yes; you can go.

ANNIE
Thank you, ma'am.

She turns and hurries out into the kitchen, Left. BUILDER gazes after her, and MRS BUILDER gazes at BUILDER with her faint smile.

BUILDER
[After the girl is gone] Quaint and Dutch--pretty little figure! [Staring round] H'm! Extraordinary girls are! Fancy Athene preferring this to home. What?

MRS BUILDER
I didn't say anything.

BUILDER
[Placing a chair for his wife, and sitting down himself] Well, we must wait, I suppose. Confound that Nixon legacy! If Athene hadn't had that potty little legacy left her, she couldn't have done this. Well, I daresay it's all spent by now. I made a mistake to lose my temper with her.

MRS BUILDER
Isn't it always a mistake to lose one's temper?

BUILDER
That's very nice and placid; sort of thing you women who live sheltered lives can say. I often wonder if you women realise the strain on a business man.

MRS BUILDER
[In her softly ironical voice] It seems a shame to add the strain of family life.

BUILDER
You've always been so passive. When I want a thing, I've got to have it.

MRS BUILDER
I've noticed that.

BUILDER
[With a short laugh] Odd if you hadn't, in twenty-three years. [Touching a canvas standing against the chair with his toe] Art! Just a pretext. We shall be having Maud wanting to cut loose next. She's very restive. Still, I oughtn't to have had that scene with Athene. I ought to have put quiet pressure.

MRS BUILDER Smiles.

BUILDER
What are you smiling at?

MRS BUILDER shrugs her shoulders.

Look at this-- Cigarettes! [He examines the brand on the box] Strong, very--and not good! [He opens the door] Kitchen! [He shuts it, crosses, and opens the door, Right] Bedroom!

MRS BUILDER
[To his disappearing form] Do you think you ought, John?

He has disappeared, and she ends with an expressive movement of her hands, a long sigh, and a closing of her eyes. BUILDER'S peremptory voice is heard: "Julia!"

What now?

She follows into the bedroom. The maid ANNIE puts her head out of the kitchen door; she comes out a step as if to fly; then, at BUILDER'S voice, shrinks back into the kitchen.

BUILDER, reappearing with a razor strop in one hand and a shaving-brush in the other, is followed by MRS BUILDER.

BUILDER
Explain these! My God! Where's that girl?

MRS BUILDER
John! Don't! [Getting between him and the kitchen door] It's not dignified.

BUILDER
I don't care a damn.

MRS BUILDER
John, you mustn't. Athene has the tiny beginning of a moustache, you know.

BUILDER
What! I shall stay and clear this up if I have to wait a week. Men who let their daughters--! This age is the limit. [He makes a vicious movement with the strop, as though laying it across someone's back.]

MRS BUILDER
She would never stand that. Even wives object, nowadays.

BUILDER
[Grimly] The war's upset everything. Women are utterly out of hand. Why the deuce doesn't she come?

MRS BUILDER
Suppose you leave me here to see her.

BUILDER
[Ominously] This is my job.

MRS BUILDER
I think it's more mine.

BUILDER
Don't stand there opposing everything I say! I'll go and have another look--[He is going towards the bedroom when the sound of a latchkey in the outer door arrests him. He puts the strop and brush behind his back, and adds in a low voice] Here she is!

MRS BUILDER has approached him, and they have both turned towards the opening door. GUY HERRINGHAME comes in. They are a little out of his line of sight, and he has shut the door before he sees them. When he does, his mouth falls open, and his hand on to the knob of the door. He is a comely young man in Harris tweeds. Moreover, he is smoking. He would speak if he could, but his surprise is too excessive.

BUILDER
Well, sir?

GUY
[Recovering a little] I was about to say the same to you, sir.

BUILDER
[Very red from repression] These rooms are not yours, are they?

GUY
Nor yours, sir?

BUILDER
May I ask if you know whose they are?

GUY
My sister's.

BUILDER
Your--you--!

MRS BUILDER
John!

BUILDER
Will you kindly tell me why your sister signs her drawings by the name of my daughter, Athene Builder--and has a photograph of my wife hanging there?

The YOUNG MAN looks at MRS BUILDER and winces, but recovers himself.

GUY
[Boldly] As a matter of fact this is my sister's studio; she's in France--and has a friend staying here.

BUILDER
Oh! And you have a key?

GUY
My sister's.

BUILDER
Does your sister shave?

GUY
I--I don't think so.

BUILDER
No. Then perhaps you'll tell me what these mean? [He takes out the strop and shaving stick].

GUY
Oh! Ah! Those things?

BUILDER
Yes. Now then?

GUY
[Addressing MRS BUILDER] Need we go into this in your presence, ma'am? It seems rather delicate.

BUILDER
What explanation have you got?

GUY
Well, you see--

BUILDER
No lies; out with it!

GUY
[With decision] I prefer to say nothing.

BUILDER
What's your name?

GUY
Guy Herringhame.

BUILDER
Do you live here?

Guy makes no sign.

MRS BUILDER
[To Guy] I think you had better go.

BUILDER
Julia, will you leave me to manage this?

MRS BUILDER
[To Guy] When do you expect my daughter in?

GUY
Now--directly.

MRS BUILDER
[Quietly] Are you married to her?

GUY
Yes. That is--no--o; not altogether, I mean.

BUILDER
What's that? Say that again!

GUY
[Folding his arms] I'm not going to say another word.

BUILDER
I am.

MRS BUILDER
John--please!

BUILDER
Don't put your oar in! I've had wonderful patience so far. [He puts his boot through a drawing] Art! This is what comes of it! Are you an artist?

GUY
No; a flying man. The truth is--

BUILDER
I don't want to hear you speak the truth. I'll wait for my daughter.

GUY
If you do, I hope you'll be so very good as to be gentle. If you get angry I might too, and that would be awfully ugly.

BUILDER
Well, I'm damned!

GUY
I quite understand that, sir. But, as a man of the world, I hope you'll take a pull before she comes, if you mean to stay.

BUILDER
If we mean to stay! That's good!

GUY
Will you have a cigarette?

BUILDER
I--I can't express--

GUY
[Soothingly] Don't try, sir. [He jerks up his chin, listening] I think that's her. [Goes to the door] Yes. Now, please! [He opens the door] Your father and mother, Athene.

ATHENE enters. She is flushed and graceful. Twenty-two, with a short upper lip, a straight nose, dark hair, and glowing eyes. She wears bright colours, and has a slow, musical voice, with a slight lisp.

ATHENE
Oh! How are you, mother dear? This is rather a surprise. Father always keeps his word, so I certainly didn't expect him. [She looks steadfastly at BUILDER, but does not approach].

BUILDER
[Controlling himself with an effort] Now, Athene, what's this?

ATHENE
What's what?

BUILDER
[The strop held out] Are you married to this--this--?

ATHENE
[Quietly] To all intents and purposes.

BUILDER
In law?

ATHENE
No.

BUILDER
My God! You--you--!

ATHENE
Father, don't call names, please.

BUILDER
Why aren't you married to him?

ATHENE
Do you want a lot of reasons, or the real one?

BUILDER
This is maddening! [Goes up stage].

ATHENE
Mother dear, will you go into the other room with Guy? [She points to the door Right].

BUILDER
Why?

ATHENE
Because I would rather she didn't hear the reason.

GUY
[To ATHENE, sotto voce] He's not safe.

ATHENE
Oh! yes; go on.

Guy follows MRS BUILDER, and after hesitation at the door they go out into the bedroom.

BUILDER
Now then!

ATHENE
Well, father, if you want to know the real reason, it's--you.

BUILDER
What on earth do you mean?

ATHENE
Guy wants to marry me. In fact, we--But I had such a stunner of marriage from watching you at home, that I--

BUILDER
Don't be impudent! My patience is at breaking-point, I warn you.

ATHENE
I'm perfectly serious, Father. I tell you, we meant to marry, but so far I haven't been able to bring myself to it. You never noticed how we children have watched you.

BUILDER
Me?

ATHENE
Yes. You and mother, and other things; all sorts of things--

BUILDER
[Taking out a handkerchief and wiping his brow] I really think you're mad.

ATHENE
I'm sure you must, dear.

BUILDER
Don't "dear" me! What have you noticed? D'you mean I'm not a good husband and father?

ATHENE
Look at mother. I suppose you can't, now; you're too used to her.

BUILDER
Of course I'm used to her. What else is marrying for?

ATHENE
That; and the production of such as me. And it isn't good enough, father. You shouldn't have set us such a perfect example.

BUILDER
You're talking the most arrant nonsense I ever heard. [He lifts his hands] I've a good mind to shake it out of you.

ATHENE
Shall I call Guy?

He drops his hands.

Confess that being a good husband and father has tried you terribly. It has us, you know.

BUILDER
[Taking refuge in sarcasm] When you've quite done being funny, perhaps you'll tell me why you've behaved like a common street flapper.

ATHENE
[Simply] I couldn't bear to think of Guy as a family man. That's all--absolutely. It's not his fault; he's been awfully anxious to be one.

BUILDER
You've disgraced us, then; that's what it comes to.

ATHENE
I don't want to be unkind, but you've brought it on yourself.

BUILDER
[Genuinely distracted] I can't even get a glimmer of what you mean. I've never been anything but firm. Impatient, perhaps. I'm not an angel; no ordinary healthy man is. I've never grudged you girls any comfort, or pleasure.

ATHENE
Except wills of our own.

BUILDER
What do you want with wills of your own till you're married?

ATHENE
You forget mother!

BUILDER
What about her?

ATHENE
She's very married. Has she a will of her own?

BUILDER
[Sullenly] She's learnt to know when I'm in the right.

ATHENE
I don't ever mean to learn to know when Guy's in the right. Mother's forty-one, and twenty-three years of that she's been your wife. It's a long time, father. Don't you ever look at her face?

BUILDER
[Troubled in a remote way] Rubbish!

ATHENE
I didn't want my face to get like that.

BUILDER
With such views about marriage, what business had you to go near a man? Come, now!

ATHENE
Because I fell in love.

BUILDER
Love leads to marriage--and to nothing else, but the streets. What an example to your sister!

ATHENE
You don't know Maud any more than you knew me. She's got a will of her own too, I can tell you.

BUILDER
Now, look here, Athene. It's always been my way to face accomplished facts. What's done can't be undone; but it can be remedied. You must marry this young----at once, before it gets out. He's behaved like a ruffian: but, by your own confession, you've behaved worse. You've been bitten by this modern disease, this--this, utter lack of common decency. There's an eternal order in certain things, and marriage is one of them; in fact, it's the chief. Come, now. Give me a promise, and I'll try my utmost to forget the whole thing.

ATHENE
When we quarrelled, father, you said you didn't care what became of me.

BUILDER
I was angry.

ATHENE
So you are now.

BUILDER
Come, Athene, don't be childish! Promise me!

ATHENE
[With a little shudder] No! We were on the edge of it. But now I've seen you again--Poor mother!

BUILDER
[Very angry] This is simply blasphemous. What do you mean by harping on your mother? If you think that--that--she doesn't--that she isn't--

ATHENE
Now, father!

BUILDER
I'm damned if I'll sit down under this injustice. Your mother is--is pretty irritating, I can tell you. She--she--Everything suppressed. And--and no--blood in her!

ATHENE
I knew it!

BUILDER
[Aware that he has confirmed some thought in her that he had no intention of confirming] What's that?

ATHENE
Don't you ever look at your own face, father? When you shave, for instance.

BUILDER
Of course I do.

ATHENE
It isn't satisfied, is it?

BUILDER
I don't know what on earth you mean.

ATHENE
You can't help it, but you'd be ever so much happier if you were a Mohammedan, and two or three, instead of one, had--had learned to know when you were in the right.

BUILDER
'Pon my soul! This is outrageous!

ATHENE
Truth often is.

BUILDER
Will you be quiet?

ATHENE
I don't ever want to feel sorry for Guy in that way.

BUILDER
I think you're the most immodest--I'm ashamed that you're my daughter. If your another had ever carried on as you are now--

ATHENE
Would you have been firm with her?

BUILDER
[Really sick at heart at this unwonted mockery which meets him at every turn] Be quiet, you----!

ATHENE
Has mother never turned?

BUILDER
You're an unnatural girl! Go your own way to hell!

ATHENE
I am not coming back home, father.

BUILDER
[Wrenching open the door, Right] Julia! Come! We can't stay here.

MRS BUILDER comes forth, followed by GUY.

As for you, sir, if you start by allowing a woman to impose her crazy ideas about marriage on you, all I can say is--I despise you. [He crosses to the outer door, followed by his wife. To ATHENE] I've done with you!

He goes out.

MRS BUILDER, who has so far seemed to accompany him, shuts the door quickly and remains in the studio. She stands there with that faint smile on her face, looking at the two young people.

ATHENE
Awfully sorry, mother; but don't you see what a stunner father's given me?

MRS BUILDER
My dear, all men are not alike.

GUY
I've always told her that, ma'am.

ATHENE
[Softly] Oh! mother, I'm so sorry for you.

The handle of the door is rattled, a fist is beaten on it.

[She stamps, and covers her ears] Disgusting!

GUY
Shall I--?

MRS BUILDER
[Shaking her head] I'm going in a moment. [To ATHENE] You owe it to me, Athene.

ATHENE
Oh! if somebody would give him a lesson!

BUILDER's voice: "Julia!"

Have you ever tried, mother?

MRS BUILDER looks at the YOUNG MAN, who turns away out of hearing.

MRS BUILDER
Athene, you're mistaken. I've always stood up to him in my own way.

ATHENE
Oh! but, mother--listen!

The beating and rattling have recommenced, and the voice: "Are you coming?"

[Passionately] And that's family life! Father was all right before he married, I expect. And now it's like this. How you survive--!

MRS BUILDER
He's only in a passion, my dear.

ATHENE
It's wicked.

MRS BUILDER
It doesn't work otherwise, Athene.

A single loud bang on the door.

ATHENE
If he beats on that door again, I shall scream.

MRS BUILDER smiles, shakes her head, and turns to the door.

MRS BUILDER
Now, my dear, you're going to be sensible, to please me. It's really best. If I say so, it must be. It's all comedy, Athene.

ATHENE
Tragedy!

GUY
[Turning to them] Look here! Shall I shift him?

MRS BUILDER shakes her head and opens the door. BUILDER stands there, a furious figure.

BUILDER
Will you come, and leave that baggage and her cad?

MRS BUILDER steps quickly out and the door is closed. Guy makes an angry movement towards it.

ATHENE
Guy!

GUY
[Turning to her] That puts the top hat on. So persuasive! [He takes out of his pocket a wedding ring, and a marriage licence] Well! What's to be done with these pretty things, now?

ATHENE
Burn them!

GUY
[Slowly] Not quite. You can't imagine I should ever be like that, Athene?

ATHENE
Marriage does wonders.

GUY
Thanks.

ATHENE
Oh! Guy, don't be horrid. I feel awfully bad.

GUY
Well, what do you think I feel? "Cad!"

They turn to see ANNIE in hat and coat, with a suit-case in her hand, coming from the door Left.

ANNIE
Oh! ma'am, please, Miss, I want to go home.

GUY
[Exasperated!] She wants to go home--she wants to go home!

ATHENE
Guy! All right, Annie.

ANNIE
Oh! thank you, Miss. [She moves across in front of them].

ATHENE
[Suddenly] Annie!

ANNIE stops and turns to her.

What are you afraid of?

ANNIE
[With comparative boldness] I--I might catch it, Miss.

ATHENE
From your people?

ANNIE
Oh! no, Miss; from you. You see, I've got a young man that wants to marry me. And if I don't let him, I might get into trouble meself.

ATHENE
What sort of father and mother have you got, Annie?

ANNIE
I never thought, Miss. And of course I don't want to begin.

ATHENE
D'you mean you've never noticed how they treat each other?

ANNIE
I don't think they do, Miss.

ATHENE
Exactly.

ANNIE
They haven't time. Father's an engine driver.

GUY
And what's your young man, Annie?

ANNIE
[Embarrassed] Somethin' like you, sir. But very respectable.

ATHENE
And suppose you marry him, and he treats you like a piece of furniture?

ANNIE
I--I could treat him the same, Miss.

ATHENE
Don't you believe that, Annie!

ANNIE
He's very mild.

ATHENE
That's because he wants you. You wait till he doesn't.

ANNIE looks at GUY.

GUY
Don't you believe her, Annie; if he's decent--

ANNIE
Oh! yes, sir.

ATHENE
[Suppressing a smile] Of course--but the point is, Annie, that marriage makes all the difference.

ANNIE
Yes, Miss; that's what I thought.

ATHENE
You don't see. What I mean is that when once he's sure of you, he may change completely.

ANNIE
[Slowly, looking at her thumb] Oh! I don't--think--he'll hammer me, Miss. Of course, I know you can't tell till you've found out.

ATHENE
Well, I've no right to influence you.

ANNIE
Oh! no, Miss; that's what I've been thinking.

-

GUY
You're quite right, Annie=-this is no place for you.

ANNIE
You see, we can't be married; sir, till he gets his rise. So it'll be a continual temptation to me.

ATHENE
Well, all right, Annie. I hope you'll never regret it.

ANNIE
Oh! no, Miss.

GUY
I say, Annie, don't go away thinking evil of us; we didn't realise you knew we weren't married.

ATHENE
We certainly did not.

ANNIE
Oh! I didn't think it right to take notice.

GUY
We beg your pardon.

ANNIE
Oh! no, sir. Only, seein' Mr and Mrs Builder so upset, brought it 'ome like. And father can be 'andy with a strap.

ATHENE
There you are! Force majeure!

ANNIE
Oh! yes, Miss.

ATHENE
Well, good-bye, Annie. What are you going to say to your people?

ANNIE
Oh! I shan't say I've been livin' in a family that wasn't a family, Miss. It wouldn't do no good.

ATHENE
Well, here are your wages.

ANNIE
Oh! I'm puttin' you out, Miss. [She takes the money].

ATHENE
Nonsense, Annie. And here's your fare home.

ANNIE
Oh! thank you, Miss. I'm very sorry. Of course if you was to change your mind--[She stops, embarrassed].

ATHENE
I don't think--

GUY
[Abruptly] Good-bye, Annie. Here's five bob for the movies.

ANNIE
Oh! good-bye, sir, and thank you. I was goin' there now with my young man. He's just round the corner.

GUY
Be very careful of him.

ANNIE
Oh! yes, sir, I will. Good-bye, sir. Goodbye, Miss.

She goes.

GUY
So her father has a firm hand too. But it takes her back to the nest. How's that, Athene?

ATHENE
[Playing with a leathern button on his coat] If you'd watched it ever since you could watch anything, seen it kill out all--It's having power that does it. I know Father's got awfully good points.

GUY
Well, they don't stick out.

ATHENE
He works fearfully hard; he's upright, and plucky. He's not stingy. But he's smothered his animal nature-and that's done it. I don't want to see you smother anything, Guy.

GUY
[Gloomily] I suppose one never knows what one's got under the lid. If he hadn't come here to-day--[He spins the wedding ring] He certainly gives one pause. Used he to whack you?

ATHENE
Yes.

GUY
Brute!

ATHENE
With the best intentions. You see, he's a Town Councillor, and a magistrate. I suppose they have to be "firm." Maud and I sneaked in once to listen to him. There was a woman who came for protection from her husband. If he'd known we were there, he'd have had a fit.

GUY
Did he give her the protection?

ATHENE
Yes; he gave her back to the husband. Wasn't it--English?

GUY
[With a grunt] Hang it! We're not all like that.

ATHENE
[Twisting his button] I think it's really a sense of property so deep that they don't know they've got it. Father can talk about freedom like a--politician.

GUY
[Fitting the wedding ring on her finger] Well! Let's see how it looks, anyway.

ATHENE
Don't play with fire, Guy.

GUY
There's something in atavism, darling; there really is. I like it --I do.

A knock on the door.

ATHENE
That sounds like Annie again. Just see.

GUY
[Opening the door] It is. Come in, Annie. What's wrong now?

ANNIE
[Entering in confusion] Oh! sir, please, sir--I've told my young man.

ATHENE
Well, what does he say?

ANNIE
'E was 'orrified, Miss.

GUY
The deuce he was! At our conduct?

ANNIE
Oh! no, sir--at mine.

ATHENE
But you did your best; you left us.

ANNIE
Oh! yes, Miss; that's why 'e's horrified.

GUY
Good for your young man.

ANNIE
[Flattered] Yes, sir. 'E said I 'ad no strength of mind.

ATHENE
So you want to come back?

ANNIE
Oh! yes, Miss.

ATHENE
All right.

GUY
But what about catching it?

ANNIE
Oh, sir, 'e said there was nothing like Epsom salts.

GUY
He's a wag, your young man.

ANNIE
He was in the Army, sir.

GUY
You said he was respectable.

ANNIE
Oh! yes, sir; but not so respectable as that.

ATHENE
Well, Annie, get your things off, and lay lunch.

ANNIE
Oh! yes, Miss.

She makes a little curtsey and passes through into the kitchen.

GUY
Strength of mind! Have a little, Athene won't you? [He holds out the marriage licence before her].

ATHENE
I don't know--I don't know! If--it turned out--

GUY
It won't. Come on. Must take chances in this life.

ATHENE
[Looking up into his face] Guy, promise me--solemnly that you'll never let me stand in your way, or stand in mine!

GUY
Right! That's a bargain. [They embrace.]

ATHENE quivers towards him. They embrace fervently as ANNIE enters with the bread pan. They spring apart.

ANNIE
Oh!

GUY
It's all right, Annie. There's only one more day's infection before you. We're to be married to-morrow morning.

ANNIE
Oh! yes, sir. Won't Mr Builder be pleased?

GUY
H'm! That's not exactly our reason.

ANNIE
[Right] Oh! no, sir. Of course you can't be a family without, can you?

GUY
What have you got in that thing?

ANNIE is moving across with the bread pan. She halts at the bedroom door.

ANNIE
Oh! please, ma'am, I was to give you a message--very important-- from Miss Maud Builder "Lookout! Father is coming!"

She goes out.

The CURTAIN falls.