Still the library. Ten minutes later. Julia, angry and
miserable, comes in from the dining room, followed by
Craven. She crosses the room tormentedly, and throws
herself into a chair.
What is the matter? Has everyone gone mad
to-day? What do you mean by suddenly getting up from the table and
tearing away like that? What does Paramore mean by reading his paper
and not answering when he's spoken to? (Julia writhes impatiently.)
Come, come (tenderly): won't my pet tell her own father what--
(irritably) what the devil is wrong with everybody? Do pull yourself
straight, Julia, before Cuthbertson comes. He's only paying the bill:
he'll be here in a moment.
I couldn't bear it any longer. Oh, to see them sitting there at
lunch together, laughing, chatting, making game of me! I should have
screamed out in another moment--I should have taken a knife and killed
her--I should have--(Cuthbertson appears with the luncheon bill in his
hand. He stuffs it into his waistcoat pocket as he comes to them. He
begins speaking the moment he enters.)
I'm afraid you've had a very poor lunch, Dan. It's
disheartening to see you picking at a few beans and drinking soda
water. I wonder how you live!
That's all he ever takes, Mr. Cuthbertson, I assure you. He
hates to be bothered about it.
Reading his paper, I asked him wasn't he coming; but he
didn't hear me. It's amazing how anything scientific absorbs him.
Clever man! Monstrously clever man!
Oh yes, that's all very well, Jo; but it's not
good manners at table: he should shut up the shop sometimes. Heaven
knows I am only too anxious to forget his science, since it has
pronounced my doom. (He sits down with a melancholy air.)
You mustn't think about that, Craven:
perhaps he was mistaken. (He sighs deeply and sits down.) But he is
certainly a very clever fellow. He thinks twice before he commits
himself. (They sit in silence, full of the gloomiest thoughts.
Suddenly Paramore enters, pale and in the utmost disorder, with the
British Medical Journal in his clenched hand. They rise in alarm. He
tries to speak, but chokes, clutches at his throat, and staggers.
Cuthbertson quickly takes his chair and places it behind Paramore, who
sinks into it as they crowd about him, Craven at his right shoulder,
Cuthbertson on his left, and Julia behind Craven.)
I mean my disease--Paramore's disease--the
disease I discovered--the work of my life. Look here (pointing to the
B. M. J. with a ghastly expression of horror.) If this is true, it was
all a mistake: there is no such disease. (Cuthbertson and Julia look
at one another, hardly daring to believe the good news.)
CRAVEN(in strong remonstrance)
And you call this bad news! Now
PARAMORE(cutting him short hoarsely)
It's natural for you to think
only of yourself. I don't blame you: all invalids are selfish. Only a
scientific man can feel what I feel now. (Writhing under a sense of
intolerable injustice.) It's the fault of the wickedly sentimental
laws of this country. I was not able to make experiments enough--only
three dogs and a monkey. Think of that, with all Europe full of my
professional rivals--men burning to prove me wrong! There is freedom
in France--enlightened republican France. One Frenchman experiments on
two hundred monkeys to disprove my theory. Another sacrifices 36
pounds--three hundred dogs at three francs apiece--to upset the monkey
experiments. A third proves them to be both wrong by a single
experiment in which he gets the temperature of a camel's liver 60
degrees below zero. And now comes this cursed Italian who has ruined
me. He has a government grant to buy animals with, besides the run of
the largest hospital in Italy. (With desperate resolution) But I won't
be beaten by any Italian. I'll go to Italy myself. I'll re-discover my
disease: I know it exists; I feel it; and I'll prove it if I have to
experiment on every mortal animal that's got a liver at all. (He folds
his arms and breathes hard at them.)
CRAVEN(his sense of injury growing upon him)
Am I to understand,
Paramore, that you took it on yourself to pass sentence of death--yes,
of Death--on me, on the strength of three dogs and an infernal monkey?
PARAMORE(utterly contemptuous of Craven's narrow personal view of the
Yes. That was all I could get a license for.
Now upon my soul, Paramore, I'm vexed at this. I don't wish to
be unfriendly; but I'm extremely vexed, really. Why, confound it, do
you realize what you've done? You've cut off my meat and drink for a
year--made me an object of public scorn--a miserable vegetarian and a
Well, you can make up for lost time now. (Bitterly,
shewing Craven the Journal) There! you can read for yourself. The
camel was fed on beef dissolved in alcohol; and he gained weight under
it. Eat and drink as much as you please. (Still unable to stand
without support, he makes his way past Cuthbertson to the revolving
bookcase and stands there with his back to them, leaning on it with
his head on his hand.)
Oh yes, it's very easy for you to talk, Paramore.
But what am I to say to the Humanitarian societies and the Vegetarian
societies that have made me a Vice President?
Aha! You made a virtue of it, did you, Dan?
I made a virtue of necessity, Jo. No one can blame
Well, never mind, Daddy. Come back to the dining
room and have a good beefsteak.
Ugh! (Plaintively) No: I've lost my old manly
taste for it. My very nature's been corrupted by living on pap. (To
Paramore.) That's what comes of all this vivisection. You go
experimenting on horses; and of course the result is that you try to
get me into condition by feeding me on beans.
PARAMORE(curtly, without changing his position)
Well, if they've
done you good, so much the better for you.
That's all very well; but it's very vexing. You
don't half see how serious it is to make a man believe that he has
only another year to live: you really don't, Paramore: I can't help
saying it. I've made my will, which was altogether unnecessary; and
I've been reconciled to a lot of people I'd quarrelled with--people I
can't stand under ordinary circumstances. Then I've let the girls get
round me at home to an extent I should never have done if I'd had my
life before me. I've done a lot of serious thinking and reading and
extra church going. And now it turns out simple waste of time. On my
soul, it's too disgusting: I'd far rather die like a man when I said I
Perhaps you may. Your heart's shaky, if that's
any satisfaction to you.
You must excuse me, Paramore, if I say that I no
longer feel any confidence in your opinion as a medical man.
(Paramore's eye flashes: he straightens himself and listens.) I paid
you a pretty stiff fee for that consultation when you condemned me;
and I can't say I think you gave me value for it.
PARAMORE(turning and facing Craven with dignity)
unanswerable, Colonel Craven. I shall return the fee.
Oh, it's not the money; but I think you ought to realize your
position. (Paramore turns stiffly away. Craven follows him
impulsively, exclaiming remorsefully) Well, perhaps it was a nasty
thing of me to allude to it. (He offers Paramore his hand.)
PARAMORE(conscientiously taking it)
Not at all. You are quite in the
right, Colonel Craven. My diagnosis was wrong; and I must take the
CRAVEN(holding his hand)
No, don't say that. It was natural enough:
my liver is enough to set any man's diagnosis wrong. (A long
handshake, very trying to Paramore's nerves. Paramore then retires to
the recess on Ibsen's left, and throws himself on the divan with a
half suppressed sob, bending over the British Medical Journal with his
head on his hands and his elbows on his knees.)
CUTHBERTSON(who has been rejoicing with Julia at the other side of
Well, let's say no more about it. I congratulate you,
Craven, and hope you may long be spared. (Craven offers his hand.) No,
Dan: your daughter first. (He takes Julia's hand gently and hands her
across to Craven, into whose arms she flies with a gush of feeling.)
Ah, is Julia glad that the old Dad is let off for a few years
Oh, so glad: so glad! (Cuthbertson sobs
audibly. The Colonel is affected. Sylvia, entering from the dining
room, stops abruptly at the door on seeing the three. Paramore, in the
recess, escapes her notice.)
Tell her the news, Julia: it would sound ridiculous from me.
(He goes to the weeping Cuthbertson, and pats him consolingly on the
Silly: only think! Dad's not ill at all. It was only a mistake
of Dr. Paramore's. Oh, dear! (She catches Craven's left hand and
stoops to kiss it, his right hand being still on Cuthbertson's
I knew it. Of course it was nothing but
eating too much. I always said Paramore was an ass. (Sensation.
Cuthbertson, Craven and Julia turn in consternation.)
Never mind, Miss Craven. That is what is
being said all over Europe now. Never mind.
SYLVIA(a little abashed)
I'm so sorry, Dr. Paramore. You must excuse
a daughter's feelings.
It evidently doesn't make much difference to you,
I'm not going to be sentimental over it, Dad, you may bet.
(Coming to Craven.) Besides, I knew it was nonsense all along.
(Petting him.) Poor dear old Dad! why should your days be numbered any
more than any one else's? (He pats her cheek, mollified. Julia
impatiently turns away from them.) Come to the smoking room, and let's
see what you can do after teetotalling for a year.
Vulgar little girl! (He pinches her ear.) Shall we
come, Jo! You'll be the better for a pick-me-up after all this
I'm not ashamed of it, Dan. It has done me good. (He goes
up to the table and shakes his fist at the bust over the mantelpiece.)
It would do you good too if you had eyes and ears to take it in.
Ibsen, man: Ibsen. (He goes out by the
staircase door followed by Sylvia, who kisses her hand to the bust as
she passes. Craven stares blankly after her, and then up at the bust.
Giving the problem up as insoluble, he shakes his head and follows
them. Near the door he checks himself and comes back.)
Well, well: I won't. (He comes to Paramore, who is pacing
restlessly up and down the middle of the room.) Come, Paramore, I'm
not selfish, believe me: I can feel for your disappointment. But you
must face it like a man. And after all, now really, doesn't this shew
that there's a lot of rot about modern science? Between ourselves, you
know, it's horribly cruel: you must admit that it's a deuced nasty
thing to go ripping up and crucifying camels and monkeys. It must
blunt all the finer feelings sooner or later.
PARAMORE(turning on him)
How many camels and horses and men were
ripped up in that Soudan campaign where you won your Victoria Cross,
That was fair fighting--a very different thing,
Yes, Martinis and machine guns against naked spearmen.
I took my chance with the rest, Dr. Paramore. I risked
my own life: don't forget that.
PARAMORE(with equal spirit)
And I have risked mine, as all doctors
do, oftener than any soldier.
That's true. I didn't think of that. I beg your pardon,
Paramore: I'll never say another word against your profession. But I
hope you'll let me stick to the good old-fashioned shaking up
treatment for my liver--a clinking run across country with the hounds.
PARAMORE(with bitter irony)
Isn't that rather cruel--a pack of dogs
ripping up a fox?
JULIA(coming coaxingly between them)
Oh, please don't begin arguing
again. Do go to the smoking room, Daddy: Mr. Cuthbertson will wonder
what has become of you.
Very well, very well: I'll go. But you're really not
reasonable to-day, Paramore, to talk that way of fair sport--
Well, well, I'm off. (He goes good-humoredly, pushed out by
JULIA(turning at the door with her utmost witchery of manner)
look so disappointed, Dr. Paramore. Cheer up. You've been most kind to
us; and you've done papa a lot of good.
PARAMORE(delighted, rushing over to her)
How beautiful it is of you
to say that to me, Miss Craven!
I hate to see any one unhappy. I can't bear unhappiness. (She
runs out, casting a Parthian glance at him as she flies. Paramore
stands enraptured, gazing after her through the glass door. Whilst he
is thus absorbed Charteris comes in from the dining room and touches
him on the arm.)
Charming woman, isn't she, Paramore?
(Looking admiringly at him.) How have you managed to fascinate her?
I! Do you really mean-- (He looks at him; then recovers
himself and adds coldly.) Excuse me: this is a subject I do not care
to jest about. (He walks away from Charteris down the side of the
room, and sits down in an easy chair reading his Journal to intimate
that he does not wish to pursue the conversation.)
CHARTERIS(ignoring the hint and coolly taking a chair beside him)
Why don't you get married, Paramore? You know it's a scandalous thing
for a man in your profession to be single.
PARAMORE(shortly, still pretending to read)
That's my own business,
Not at all: it's pre-eminently a social question. You're
going to get married, aren't you?
PARAMORE(rising angrily and rapping one of the SILENCE placards)
Allow me to call your attention to that. (He crosses to the easy chair
near the revolving bookstand, and flings himself into it with
CHARTERIS(following him, too deeply concerned to mind the rebuff)
Paramore: you alarm me more than I can say. You've been and muffed
this business somehow. I know perfectly well what you've been up to;
and I fully expected to find you a joyful accepted suitor.
Yes, you have been watching me because you admire
Miss Craven yourself. Well, you may go in and win now. You will be
pleased to hear that I am a ruined man.
The turf!! Certainly not.
Paramore: if the loan of all I possess will help you over
this difficulty, you're welcome to it.
PARAMORE(rising in surprise)
Charteris! I-- (suspiciously.) Are you
Why on earth do you always suspect me of joking? I never
was more serious in my life.
PARAMORE(shamed by Charteris's generosity)
Then I beg your pardon. I
thought the news would please you.
CHARTERIS(deprecating this injustice to his good feeling)
I see I was wrong. I am really very sorry. (They shake
hands.) And now you may as well learn the truth. I had rather you
heard it from me than from the gossip of the club. My liver discovery
has been--er--er--(he cannot bring himself to say it).
CHARTERIS(helping him out)
Confirmed? (Sadly.) I see: the poor
No: on the contrary, it has been--er--called in question.
The Colonel now believes himself to be in perfectly good health; and
my friendly relations with the Cravens are entirely spoiled.
I did, of course, the moment I read the news in this. (He
shews the Journal and puts it down on the bookstand.)
Why, man, you've been a messenger of glad tidings! Didn't
you congratulate him?
Congratulate him! Congratulate a man on the
worst blow pathological science has received for the last three
No, no, no. Congratulate him on having his life saved.
Congratulate Julia on having her father spared. Swear that your
discovery and your reputation are as nothing to you compared with the
pleasure of restoring happiness to the household in which the best
hopes of your life are centred. Confound it, man, you'll never get
married if you can't turn things to account with a woman in these
Excuse me; but my self-respect is dearer to me
even than Miss Craven. I cannot trifle with scientific questions for
the sake of a personal advantage. (He turns away coldly and goes
toward the table.)
Well, this beats me! The nonconformist conscience is bad
enough; but the scientific conscience is the very devil. (He follows
Paramore and puts his arm familiarly round his shoulder, bringing him
back again whilst he speaks.) Now look here, Paramore: I've got no
conscience in that sense at all: I loathe it as I loathe all the
snares of idealism; but I have some common humanity and common sense.
(He replaces him in the easy chair and sits down opposite him.) Come:
what is a really scientific theory?--a true theory, isn't it?
Never mind that. Now it's a perfectly damnable thing for
you to hope that your liver theory is true, because it amounts to
hoping that Craven will die an agonizing death. (This strikes Paramore
as paradoxical; but it startles him.) But it's amiable and human to
hope that your theory about Julia is right, because it amounts to
hoping that she may live happily ever after.
I do hope that with all my soul--(correcting himself) I mean
with all my function of hoping.
Then, since both theories are equally scientific, why not
devote yourself, as a humane man, to proving the amiable theory rather
than the damnable one?
I'll tell you. You think I'm fond of Julia myself. So I am;
but then I'm fond of everybody; so I don't count. Besides, if you try
the scientific experiment of asking her whether she loves me, she'll
tell you that she hates and despises me. So I'm out of the running.
Nevertheless, like you, I hope that she may be happy with all my--what
did you call your soul?
Oh, go on, go on: finish what you were going
CHARTERIS(suddenly affecting complete indifference, and rising
I don't know that I have anything more to say. If I were
you I should invite the Cravens to tea in honor of the Colonel's
escape from a horrible doom. By the way, if you've done with that
British Medical Journal, I should like to see how they've smashed your
PARAMORE(wincing as he also rises)
Oh, certainly, if you wish it. I
have no objection. (He takes the Journal from the bookstand.) I admit
that the Italian experiments apparently upset my theory. But please
remember that it is doubtful--extremely doubtful--whether anything can
be proved by experiments on animals. (He hands Charteris the Journal.)
It doesn't matter: I don't intend to make any.
(He retires to the recess on Ibsen's right, picking up the step ladder
as he passes and placing it so that he is able to use it for a leg
rest as he settles himself to read on the divan with his back to the
corner of the mantelpiece. Paramore goes to the left hand door, and is
about to leave the library when he meets Grace entering.)
How do you do, Dr. Paramore. So glad to see you. (They shake
It is you who are too kind--to your patients. You sacrifice
yourself. Have a little rest. Come and talk to me--tell me all about
the latest scientific discoveries, and what I ought to read to keep
myself up to date. But perhaps you're busy.
No, not at all. Only too delighted. (They go into the recess
on Ibsen's left, and sit there chatting in whispers, very
How they all love a doctor! They can say what they like to
him! (Julia returns. He takes his feet down from the ladder and sits
up.) Whew! (Julia wanders down his side of the room, apparently
looking for someone. Charteris steals after her.)
Probably a diagram of the liver. (Julia, with an
exclamation of disgust makes for the recess. Charteris catches her
sleeve.) Stop: be careful, Julia. (She frees herself by giving him a
push which upsets him into the easy chair; then crosses to the recess
and stands looking down at Grace and Paramore from the corner next the
JULIA(with suppressed fury)
You seem to have found a very
interesting book, Dr. Paramore. (They look up, astonished.) May I ask
what it is? (She stoops swiftly; snatches the book from Paramore; and
comes down to the table quickly to look at it whilst they rise in
amazement.) Good Words! (She flings it on the table and sweeps back
past Charteris, exclaiming contemptuously) You fool! (Paramore and
Grace, meanwhile, come from the recess; Paramore bewildered, Grace
CHARTERIS(aside to Julia as he gets out of the easy chair)
She'll have you turned out of the club for this.
You will not leave me here to be insulted by this woman, Mr.
Charteris. (She takes his arm as if to go with him.)
When two ladies quarrel in this club, it is against the rules
to settle it when there are gentlemen present--especially the
gentleman they are quarrelling about. I presume you do not wish to
break that rule, Miss Craven. (Julia sullenly drops Charteris's arm.
Grace turns to Charteris and adds) Now! Trot off.
GRACE(to Julia, with quiet peremptoriness)
Now: what have you to say
JULIA(suddenly throwing herself tragically on her knees at Grace's
Don't take him from me. Oh don't--don't be so cruel. Give him
back to me. You don't know what you're doing--what our past has
been--how I love him. You don't know--
Get up; and don't be a fool. Suppose anyone comes in and sees
you in that ridiculous attitude!
I hardly know what I'm doing. I don't care what I'm doing: I'm
too miserable. Oh, won't you listen to me?
Do you suppose I am a man to be imposed on by this sort of
JULIA(getting up and looking darkly at her)
You intend to take him
from me, then?
Do you expect me to help you to keep him after the way you have
JULIA(trying her theatrical method in a milder form--reasonable and
impulsively goodnatured instead of tragic)
I know I was wrong to act
as I did last night. I beg your pardon. I am sorry. I was mad.
Not a bit mad. You calculated to an inch how far you could go.
When he is present to stand between us and play out the scene with
you, I count for nothing. When we are alone you fall back on your
natural way of getting anything you want--crying for it like a baby
until it is given to you.
JULIA(with unconcealed hatred)
You learnt this from him.
I learnt it from yourself, last night and now. How I hate to be
a woman when I see, by you, what wretched childish creatures we are!
Those two men would cut you dead and have you turned out of the club
if you were a man and had behaved in such a way before them. But
because you are only a woman, they are forbearing, sympathetic,
gallant--Oh, if you had a scrap of self-respect, their indulgence
would make you creep all over. I understand now why Charteris has no
respect for women.
Yes: because I will not give myself to any man who has learnt
how to treat women from you and your like. I can do without his love,
but not without his respect; and it is your fault that I cannot have
both. Take his love then; and much good may it do you! Run to him and
beg him to have mercy on you and take you back.
Oh, what a liar you are! He loved me before he ever saw
you--before he ever dreamt of you, you pitiful thing. Do you think _I_
need go down on my knees to men to make them come to me? That may be
your experience, you creature with no figure: it is not mine. There
are dozens of men who would give their souls for a look from me. I
have only to lift my finger.
How I should like to kill you! I don't know why I don't.
Yes: you like to get out of your difficulties cheaply--at other
people's expense. It is something to boast of, isn't it, that dozens
of men would make love to you if you invited them?
I suppose it's better to be like you, with a cold
heart and a serpent's tongue. Thank Heaven, I have a heart: that is
why you can hurt me as I cannot hurt you. And you are a coward. You
are giving him up to me without a struggle.
Yes, it is for you to struggle. I wish you success. (She turns
away contemptuously and is going to the dining-room door when Sylvia
enters on the opposite side, followed by Cuthbertson and Craven, who
come to Julia, whilst Sylvia crosses to Grace.)
Here I am, sent by the faithful Paramore. He hinted that I'd
better bring the elder members of the family too: here they are.
What's the row?
SYLVIA(taking Craven's left arm and hugging it affectionately)
old Rip Van Winkle!
Well, Mrs. Tranfield, all I can say is that I hope you will
succeed in establishing your complaint, and that Julia may soon see
the last of this most outrageous institution. (Sylvia, still caressing
his arm, laughs at him; Charteris returns.)
SYLVIA(releasing the Colonel)
Yes: you're wanted here as a witness.
(Charteris comes in.) It's a bad case of womanliness.
GRACE(half aside to him, significantly)
You understand. (Julia,
watching them jealously, leaves her father and gets close to
Charteris. Grace adds aloud) I shall expect your support before the
If you have a scrap of manhood you will take my part.
But then I shall be expelled for being a manly man.
Besides, I'm on the committee myself; I can't act as judge and
witness, too. You must apply to Paramore: he saw it all.
JULIA(with sudden resolution)
What is Dr. Paramore's number in
Seventy-nine. (Julia goes out quickly by the staircase
door, to their astonishment. Charteris follows her to the door, which
swings back in his face, leaving him staring after her through, the
glass. Sylvia runs to Grace.)
Grace: go after her. Don't let her get beforehand with
Paramore. She'll tell him the most heartbreaking stories about how
she's been treated, and get him round completely.
Sylvia! Is that the way to speak of your sister,
miss? (Grace squeezes Sylvia's hand to console her, and sits down
calmly. Sylvia posts herself behind Grace's chair, leaning over the
back to watch the ensuing colloquy between the three men.) I assure
you, Mrs. Tranfield, Dr. Paramore has just invited us all to take
afternoon tea with him; and if my daughter has gone to his house, she
is simply taking advantage of his invitation to extricate herself from
a very embarrassing scene here. We're all going there. Come, Sylvia.
(He turns to go, followed by Cuthbertson.)
Stop! (He gets between Craven and
Cuthbertson.) What hurry is there? Can't you give the man time?
Well, no matter: she's only one person. And she ought to
have an opportunity of laying her case before him. As a member of the
committee, I think that's only just. Be reasonable, Craven: give him
half an hour.
What do you mean by this, Charteris?
Nothing, I assure you. Only common consideration for poor
You've some motive. Craven: I strongly advise that we go
at once. (He grasps the door handle.)
No, no. (He puts his hand persuasively on
Craven's arm, adding) It's not good for your liver, Craven, to rush
about immediately after lunch.
His liver's cured. Come on. Craven. (He opens the door.)
CHARTERIS(catching Cuthbertson by the sleeve)
mad. Paramore's going to propose to Julia. We must give him time: he's
not the man to come to the point in three minutes as you or I would.
(Turning to Craven) Don't you see?--that will get me out of the
difficulty we were speaking of this morning--you and I and
Cuthbertson. You remember?
Now, is this a thing to say plump out before everybody,
Charteris? Confound it, have you no decency?
CHARTERIS(turning to Cuthbertson)
No--don't be unkind, Cuthbertson.
Back me up. My future, her future, Mrs. Tranfield's future, Craven's
future, everybody's future depends on our finding Julia Paramore's
affianced bride when we go over to Savile Row. He's certain to propose
if you'll only give him time. You know you're a kindly and sensible
man as well as a deucedly clever one, Cuthbertson, in spite of all
your nonsense. Say a word for me.
I'm quite willing to leave the decision to Cuthbertson; and I
have no doubt whatever as to what that decision will be. (Cuthbertson
carefully shuts the door, and comes back into the room with an air of
I am now going to speak as a man of the world: that is,
without moral responsibility.
Therefore, though I have no sympathy whatever with
Charteris's views, I think we can do no harm by waiting--say ten
minutes or so. (He sits down.)
Ah, there's nobody like you after all,
Cuthbertson, when there's a difficult situation to be judged.
Oh, well, Jo, if that is your decision,
I must keep my word and abide by it. Better sit down and make
ourselves comfortable, I suppose. (He sits also, under protest.)
I can't sit down: I'm too restless. The
fact is, Julia has made me so nervous that I can't answer for myself
until I know her decision. Mrs. Tranfield will tell you what a time
I've had lately. Julia's really a most determined woman, you know.
Well, upon my life! Upon my honor and
conscience!! Now really!!! I shall go this instant. Come on, Sylvia.
Cuthbertson: I hope you'll mark your sense of this sort of thing by
coming on to Paramore's with us at once. (He marches to the door.)
Craven: you're trifling with your daughter's
happiness. I only ask five minutes more.
Not five seconds, sir. Fie for shame, Charteris! (He goes
CUTHBERTSON(to Charteris, as he passes him on his way to the door)
Bungler! (He follows Craven.)
Serve you right, you duffer! (She follows Cuthbertson.)
Oh, these headstrong old men! (To Grace) Nothing to be done
now but go with them and delay the Colonel as much as possible. So I'm
afraid I must leave you.
Not at all. Paramore invited me, too, when we were
talking over there.
You don't mean to say you're coming!
Most certainly. Do you suppose I will let that woman think I am
afraid to meet her? (Charteris sinks on a chair with a prolonged
groan.) Come: don't be silly: you'll not overtake the Colonel if you
delay any longer.
Why was I ever born, child of misfortune that I am! (He
rises despairingly.) Well, if you must come, you must. (He offers his
arm, which she takes.) By the way, what happened after I left you?
I gave her a lecture on her behavior which she will remember to
the last day of her life.
That was right, darling. (He slips his arm
round her waist.) Just one kiss--to soothe me.
GRACE(complacently offering her cheek)
Foolish boy! (He kisses her.)
Now come along. (They go out together.)